「We're running out of food, as expected...」
Friday's breakfast consisted of leftover ingredients.
Miso soup with leftover vegetables, stir-fried vegetables with meat, white rice and sliced cabbage. Despite the excessive amount of vegetables, the taste itself is not bad.
「Well, let's go to the grocery store after school today」
「You'll help me?」
「Uh... uh, no. You've been good to me. I'll help you at least with that」
「No, you can't」
In the end, they decided to go shopping together.
And after breakfast, they change into their school uniforms, and separate at the entrance of the apartment building to go to school.
On the way, Chihiro wonders how Riko is doing.
He thought there is a news of what happened yesterday and it has already caused a stir... But there is no possibility of that, but now that a night has passed, he doesn't know for sure what she will do.
It is also possible that she will try to kill Chihiro in a desperate attempt. But he had prepared the photo as an insurance against that possibility.
「Good morning, Izumi-kun」
「Oh ...Good morning, Takatsuki-san」
Unusually, Chihiro is approached by Aika on his way to school.
There is no one with her. She's alone. Perhaps that's why, with a casual movement, she lined up with Chihiro and started talking to him.
「Did you have a cold yesterday? Are you okay now?」
「...Yeah. I'm a little tired. But I'm fine now」
「I see. I'm glad」
She smiled as if relieved.
Then, taking advantage of this opportunity, Aika started talking to Chihiro about various things. They talked about the weather, their classes, what they had eaten this morning.
She seemed to enjoy talking about such trivial things. Not only that, she listens carefully to Chihiro's stories and laughs.
As they approached the school, they ran towards a female student who seemed to be a friend of her, still for a brief moment, they are able to have a peaceful conversation.
After arriving at the classroom, Riko hadn't arrived yet.
A few minutes later, the morning HR started and ended without any problems. The homeroom teacher did not tell that Riko is absent, but there is no sign of her coming to school even after the HR is over.
Perhaps because Riko is not a serious person, her classmates don't seem to care much about her.
Just in case, while preparing for the first period and listening to the commotion, Chihiro overheard a conversation between two girls who are close to Riko.
「No, I can't get through」
「I wonder what's wrong with her? Skipping class?」
「Maybe. Well, it's tough. This class」
「That's true. Sweat, exercise every day」
Riko seems to be ignoring her friends' calls.
Maybe she's asleep, or maybe she's mentally unwell.
Chihiro hopes it doesn't turn out that she's already committed suicide.
If that happens, he won't be able to play with Riko anymore.
☆ ☆ ☆
At lunchtime, Riko still didn't come to school. Although some students sometimes skip the class and attend only the afternoon class, Riko didn't intend to do so.
He glanced at Maria. She seems to be having dinner with the girls again today.
Then, Chihiro left his seat.
A tall boy, Kamishiro, called out to him.
He smiled good-naturedly and said to Chihiro.
「If you have nothing to do, would you like to go to the cafeteria with me?」
There is no reason for Chihiro to refuse, so he accepted his offer.
They left the classroom together and walked toward the cafeteria.
But why did he suddenly call out to Chihiro?
In the two months since he entered the school, Kamishiro had never invited Chihiro to lunch. And that is without the accompaniment of other classmates.
When he asked his intentions as they walked, Kamishiro replied, "I wanted to talk to you about something".
「Something you want to talk about?」
「I'll tell you about it when we get there」
The cafeteria is crowded with many students. Because many students live alone, Shibahou Academy has a high percentage of students using the cafeteria and store.
Because of this reason, Chihiro has rarely used the cafeteria. This is because when he eats in the cafeteria, he has to make eye contact with other people, even if he only buys bread or rice balls at the store.
Now, though, he is less averse to mind-reading ability than before.
「So, what do you want to talk about?」
After buying a ticket from the ticket machine, Chihiro hand it to the staff and receive his food. He chose curry and rice, and topped it with croquette.
When Kamishiro saw Chihiro's order, he asked, "Is that enough?", but his order is kitsune udon and gyudon. Kamishiro wondered if he was eating too much, but apparently he was consuming too many calories due to his ability.
「Oh, yeah. It's about the training later」
Chihiro asked back and tilted his head.
He had thought that the timing of this conversation would be Riko-related. ...Well, even in that case, the circumstances are still a mystery.
Kamishiro nodded, stirring his udon noodles.
「You'll probably run into me in training today, right?」
「...I guess so」
The training combinations are rotated to some extent.
In Chihiro's case, it didn't matter who he hit, so he didn't pay attention to it.
But thinking that Kamishiro, who must be "the same" as Chihiro in the opposite sense of the word, remembered the cycle, he is surprised. It is an orthodox chicken curry with a slightly sweet taste. Kamishiro is concerned about the lack of ingredients, but the croquette made up for it.
Kamishiro repeated the cycle of sipping udon, shoveling in gyudon, and drinking udon soup in between conversations. Udon is a substitute for soup.
「So, do me a favor. I want you to read my mind and do everything in your power to stop me」
「Do you mind?」
「No, I don't mind」
Or rather, he would have done so even if he hadn't been asked.
Also, Chihiro wondered if he could read Kamishiro's actions by reading his mind, prevent his initial attack, and then strike back. After all, with the difference in ability between Chihiro and Kamishiro, there is little that can be done.
「Well, thank you. Actually, I wanted to do what I could before I fought Fukami-san」
Chihiro almost called her by her first name in public. But he took a bite of the curry to cover up his mistake. Looking forward, his plate is still only half full, but Kamishiro had already finished most of it before he knew it.
「Oh. Maybe I'll fight with her today. ...And I'm sure the fight with her will be pretty tough. That's why I want to get some experience with an irregular opponent before that. Because feinting won't work against you」
Indeed, feinting is hard to use against Chihiro. That's because he is able to anticipate his opponent's true intentions and respond accordingly. However, this is only if Chihiro can read the opponent's battle plan well, and there is another way out of feinting: change the plan after the opponent has read the mind.
In addition, Maria herself is not a mind reader, so Kamishiro doesn't think this is a direct countermeasure.
If he thinks that fighting different types of opponents gives him experience, then that's probably important to him.
「Fine. I'll do what I can」
Kamishiro looked at Chihiro with a surprising expression.
「No... I just thought you weren't that type of guy. I'm just a little surprised」
He finished the rest of his bowl of beef and udon, drank all the broth, and stood up.
He left with a fresh smile and a few short words.
「Let's have a match, no hard feelings」
The strongest of the class seemed to be a nice guy as Chihiro looked.
☆ ☆ ☆
As soon as the lunch break is over, it's time for practical training.
Not necessarily because of Kamishiro's words, but Chihiro had decided to actively participate in the game that day.
Although there are some people in the class, especially Riko, who avoided his mind-reading ability, when he thought about it, there is no reason for him to be shunned for his ability in training, let alone in daily life.
So, he resolves to fight head-on against his opponent from the first round... only to lose.
The new abilities - [Acceleration of Sleep Effect] and [Amplification of Emotions when Reading Minds] are almost ineffective in battle. Chihiro's strength has not changed at all, and he was able to beat Riko yesterday because he was prepared for anything. It was not so easy to win.
After a short break, the opponents are switched - the second game.
As predicted, Kamishiro stood in front of Chihiro.