Chapter 25 Decision - Part 2

 In the afternoon, the class is training for battle. The results remained the same. However, the habit of running away before a fight is getting a little better, and Chihiro thinks he has become a little stronger against pain, but his fighting ability is still lacking.
 So, whether his mind-reading was successful or not, Chihiro is eventually beaten down by his classmates.
 Then, a match is arranged with Aika.
 She stood in front of Chihiro, wearing a white outfit and a gray gym uniform.
Take care of me, Izumi-kun
Take care of me, too
 They bowed to each other lightly, took a breath, and then the teacher shouted.
 Immediately after, Aika stepped forward. Looking straight ahead into her eyes, Chihiro felt a thrust from the front.
 Should he evade or intercept?
 He prepares his stance while pondering.
 Aika's speed is surprisingly fast. Her steps are firm, and her experience in fighting is evident. It seems that she attended a dojo for self-defense for three years in middle school. In terms of skill, she is probably a better fighter than Riko.
 But, in actual training, she seems to be at the mercy of Riko's illusions, and her results are not good.
 However, Chihiro cannot play any tricks on her. In the end, he decides to evade and strike a blow, and moves his body. He read the trajectory of the attack with his mind reading, and moved to a line where he could dodge it.
 Aika closes her eyes for a moment, half a second, and then opens them again.
 Once the mind reading is cut off, when it is resumed, the plan of attack has changed. She stopped a step-in front of him and did a spinning kick.
 Chihiro guards the kick, which is heavy for a girl, with his arm. But, while feeling the impact, he takes a step forward and makes a fist.
 Aika narrowly avoided it, and thumped the floor hard with her returned foot.
 She quickly swung her fist into Chihiro's arm, which is crossed in front of his chest. The impact on Chihiro's guarded arm made it lightly numb.
 On the next attack...
 As Chihiro tried to look at Aika, she kept her face down to prevent the reading of her mind.
 And Aika pulled her arm back, and immediately afterwards, turned around to show her back.
 For a moment, Chihiro is slow to react and is hit in the side of the head by a back kick.
...I give up
 Frowning at the pain in his side, Chihiro announced that he gave up.

 Well, there are exceptions, such as the last match between Kamishiro and Maria. But another reason is that Chihiro doesn't want to get into a mud fight with Aika.
 When Chihiro gave up, Aika relaxed her stance and let out a sigh of relief.
Thank you very much. ...That was a little close
A little close?
 Chihiro asked, returning Aika's bow.
 The answer came calmly with a smile.
Yes. If you don't decide early, Izumi will read everything
Is that so?
Yes, I think it's an amazing ability
 The reason why Chihiro's mind-reading is so effective is because Aika is so straightforward.
 Chihiro didn't want to point this out, because he didn't want to undermine her strengths, so he didn't say anything.
 Instead, he said something else to Aika.
Takatsuki-san, how can I become stronger?
 Aika's eyes blinked. She can't seem to keep up.
No matter who I fight, I won't be able to win like now. ...I thought Takatsuki-san might be able to help me figure out why
 As a student of martial arts, she must have a certain level of observation. It would be useful to get advice from that perspective.
 If he asks Kamishiro for the same kind of advice, it's unlikely to be helpful because they are on different levels, and Maria and Riko are the type to make the most of their abilities. And they are not very good at telling others how to fight.
I see... I see...
 After receiving Chihiro's advice, Aika tilted her head for a moment, and then said
It's a little strange for me to say, but maybe Izumi-kun is too simple
 Because he can read minds, he concentrates too much on responding to others. Or, even when he goes for the opponent himself, his movements are too simple to be read.
Well, I have often been told, "If you use feints or unusual moves, your opponent will be confused. Also, if you're not good at such things, you should simply train to become stronger"
...That's difficult, Takatsuki-san
 After all, neither of these things can be learned overnight.
 Aika agreed with him with a wry smile.
That can't be helped. Everyone is working hard
That's true
 The conversation then died down.
 Aika turned her gaze to the distance. There, after the match, Kamishiro is having a conversation with his opponent.
Kamishiro, he's great, isn't he? He's so direct
 A strangely cute voice came looking back at him.
 She is blushing somehow. Perhaps she is surprised that Chihiro guessed who she is looking at.
 After a few seconds of puzzling, Aika nodded her head.
Yeah, I guess so. I think he's cool
 Then she looked up and said,
B-But... It's not like I like him, or anything. It's just that everyone makes fun of me
 Her expression seemed to indicate that she is more than aware of Kamishiro.
You're worrying about it too much. They're probably just teasing you
 Chihiro replied to Aika, still not pointing it out.
 ☆   ☆   ☆
I'm going to train
 After school, Chihiro returned to his apartment and told Maria and Riko.
 Needless to say, this is the strategy Maria and Riko had proposed to take Aika away from Kamishiro, and it's the result of his conversation with Aika.
Heh. I see you've decided to take this seriously
 Riko, who had changed from her uniform to her casual clothes, said while playing with her glass of iced tea.
Well, sort of. I don't think I can win, though
 Maria, sitting opposite Riko, smiles and nods.
Why not? I think you should try it. Is there anything we can do to help?
I'd be happy to, but you don't have to. I'm selfish
 Chihiro went to the trouble of telling them because he would be home late. If he's going to train outside of class, it will be after school, so he'd better tell his roommate.
Okay, okay, Izumi-kun. ...you're right, we wouldn't be able to handle the same training as you
? What do you mean?
 Riko is puzzled by Maria's words.
Izumi-kun recovers several times more during sleep than normal people. He's going to take advantage of that and do additional training every day
I didn't know that at all
I'm sorry, I didn't get a chance to tell you
 Chihiro just acquired it and it's not like he's going to use it in public, so if he doesn't say anything, no one will know.
You have that ability and you're an E?
No, I haven't been evaluated since I got it
 It's an ability that has no effect on the outside world, so its social value is low, and its effect on rank is unknown.
I've thought about it, but I think the fastest way to get stronger in a short period of time is to use my abilities. Then, all I can do is to train every day
 The increased recovery from sleep means that he can sleep less. If Chihiro takes advantage of this, even if he is too tired, if he can sleep in one night, it will not affect him in the morning.
 Thus, he can continue to abuse his body to the limit every day.
It's kind of sweaty... Well, I'll help you if I feel like it
 That was Riko's only response to Chihiro's words. Riko's response is simple, but her expression is not as harsh as her words. In fact, there is even a smile on her face.
That's why you should do it to your heart's content. But don't forget to study one more thing
Another thing?
 Chihiro doesn't think Maria is talking about the test.
 And as he expected, Maria got up from her seat and took out the DVD and picture book she bought yesterday.
I'm talking about this one. And of course, don't forget to hold us, okay?
...Isn't that too hard?
Don't worry. That's what you're good for, right?
Well... it's not easy to be a Master
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