「Actually, I have a favor to ask Izumi-kun」
The girl nodded and looked at the entrance to the rooftop behind her.
She took a step, her slippers moving away from Chihiro. As she took a second step, she looked at Chihiro as if to say follow her.
Chihiro obediently followed her.
The two of them then walked around to the back of the entrance. The narrow space, only a little more than a meter from the wall to the fence, created an atmosphere of secrecy.**a
The girl exhaled, stopped beside the fence and looked back. When Chihiro stands near the wall, they are only a meter away from each other.
「Nice to meet you. My name is Mishuku Hana from Class A. I’m here today as a representative of Class A」
The girl, Hana, first introduced herself as such.
She seemed to know Chihiro, so she skipped the self-introduction and got right to the point.
「I’d like to ask Izumi-kun a favor about the sports festival」
So that’s why she called Chihiro out of the blue. There must have been something necessary for the upcoming sports festival.
Though, he still doesn’t know the specific purpose or why she called him.
Then, Hana tells Chihiro with a sincere look in her eyes.
「Class A is aiming for the top of the grade level results. We want to beat B and C and be the best in the first year, that’s what we’re thinking」
It’s not surprising that they want to win. Class C is more interested in winning the team championship and prizes than in ranking by grade, but their classmates must also want to beat the other classes.
「In that case, I think our rival will be Class C, not Class B」
「Why is that?」
「Because there are a lot of good people in Class C. Kamishiro-kun is probably the best first-year player, and Fukami-san, Takatsuki-san, Maisaka-kun. And...」
Hana’s comment about Class C being the best was a little surprising. Maisaka had said that Class A was the most advantageous, but it seemed that different perspectives would have different opinions.
It was also unexpected that Hana mentioned Maisaka’s name.
I think it would be difficult for him to play an active role in a sports festival where the main focus is on physical strength.
「And, Izumi-kun, you too」
That surprised him.
Chihiro himself had no idea what was so remarkable about him.
He thought that she was joking, but Hana’s serious expression remained unchanged.
And then, she took a step toward Chihiro and said,
「Izumi-kun is someone we should be wary of. At least, that’s what we in Class A think」
On the second step, the distance between them closes as he is puzzled.
Hana’s face, which was looking down faintly, seemed to be a little red. Why, under these circumstances?
――The love letter.
The thought that Chihiro had discarded when he read the letter came to his mind again.
In this situation, it’s no wonder that he’s reminded of it, isn’t it?
「Izumi-kun, my request is nothing else」
Hana stopped in front of Chihiro.
A distance that seemed to take his breath away. And there was no escape in front of him or behind him, and moving to the left or right from here would have been taken as a clear rejection.
Then, a small voice tickles his ear.
「Would you like to help us at the sports festival? We’ll cut corners in the cavalry battle, and then we’ll find some harmless way to prevent Class C from giving it their all. That’s all I need」
"And I’ll return the favor".
Hana added shyly, staring down at Chihiro’s neck.
「What do you mean, thank me?」
「Don’t you know...?」
A woman raises a "thank you" to remind the other person of her sexuality.
Even if he asks for specifics, there’s only one explanation for why she doesn’t answer. Considering that Hana said she was a representative of Class A...
Chihiro took another look at Hana’s appearance.
She’s cute. Although she wasn’t dressed up and didn’t seem to be interested in fashion, she was clean and fresh. She has an atmosphere of a literary girl, which is different from Maria and Riko.
And Chihiro finds her attractive.
「...I’m sorry. Please look elsewhere for that kind of thing」
But he can’t accept this request.
「Why? Is it because I don’t thank you enough?」
「It’s not that. I just didn’t think I could make Class C lose on purpose」
And he doesn’t like the idea of Hana giving herself up for the class to win.
She asked Chihiro to join her. It seemed likely that he would take the offer.
He might have agreed if it was to solve Hana’s personal problem and not the class’s, and if the conditions were limited to Chihiro himself.
Hearing Chihiro’s answer, Hana fell silent and dropped her shoulders.
As Chihiro pondered if he should say something to her,
「I expected you to say that」
Hana looked up, smiling again.
「If you said no, I was going to ask you for a real favor. Izumi, Chihiro-kun. Please go out with me」
For a moment, the world went silent.
Well, it’s not because of the lack of club activities at Shibahou Academy or because there are few cars around the school. But, because of the shock he felt that made him think so.
He could not accept what he was told.
Or perhaps it was better to hear Maria’s words in the rain, even if he didn’t understand the meaning from the very beginning.
Why would Hana confess her feelings to Chihiro when they had never met?
Was the whole story about the sports festival a lie?
While Chihiro is confused, Hana looks into Chihiro’s eyes. This was the first time he had ever looked her straight in the eye,
Chihiro’s reflexive response to the incoming thoughts was interrupted by Hana.
Her body was pressed against his chest, and his head was held firmly in both hands. Her feet also firmly stepped on Chihiro’s flip-flops.
For five seconds, their eyes met.
The effect of the mind reading disappeared and Hana looked away from Chihiro.
At the same time, the hold was released and Hana moved away, but Chihiro was not interested in that. Rather...
――The effect of mind-reading disappeared.
It didn’t disappear after the reading mind disappeared, but rather it disappeared after the reading mind disappeared.
「Take away the ability...?」
A somewhat cold voice replied to the trembling one.
「That’s right. The condition is that I maintain eye contact with the opponent for five seconds. But I can only keep one ability while I take it, and if I release it, it returns to its owner」
While saying that, Hana’s behavior had changed from before.
Her tone of voice was the same, but her tone was much lower. She let out a sigh and flicked her blouse across her chest, showing no sincerity towards Chihiro.
It must have been an act.
His eyes meet hers again. But the other person’s emotions do not come into it. Instead, Chihiro felt a strange tickle around his chest. It’s as if someone is peeping at his naked body even though he was wearing clothes.
（Is this what it feels like to have my mind read?）
In other words, Hana has taken away Chihiro’s mind-reading ability. Also, the fact that Hana read Chihiro’s thoughts when their eyes met earlier was her strong will to take away his ability.
「Let me introduce myself again. I’m Mishuku Hana. I belong to first year class A, rank B, and my ability is [Looting]」
Then she smiled thinly behind her glasses.
It was a different kind of smile, a cynical one, as if she disliked Chihiro.