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Chapter 38 The Two at Home - Part 1


 They left the room without being able to return the greeting or be seen off to the end.

 Upon leaving, Chihiro left a card with Hana’s contact information on the doorstep. Then, both of them walked to the entrance of the apartment without saying a word.

「See you later」

 If he wanted to go back to the dormitory, he had to go in the other direction.

 And unable to come up with any witty words, Chihiro tried to say goodbye with only a few words.

 Riko, however, took her hand off her luggage and grabbed Chihiro’s clothes.

**a

「Wait. I still have something to tell you. Besides, I can’t leave Izumi alone right now」

「But...」

 Chihiro lives in the boys’ dorm. It’s no place for a girl.

「It’ll be fine. We just need to be careful when we go in」

 ...Eventually, Riko insisted and followed him to the dorm.

 After making sure there was no one around the entrance, the two of them walked to the front of the room.

「Are you really going to come?」

「What are you talking about now?」

「...」

 Apparently, Riko didn’t want to give up.

 Chihiro gave up, unlocked the door and invited Riko in.

 Riko took off her shoes at the door and looked around while carrying her own luggage.

「So this is Izumi’s room」

「It’s a dormitory, it’s not that different」

「No, it’s different. The girls’ dormitory I’m in is a bit bigger than this」

「...」

 Despite feeling like a loser, Chihiro carried in his own luggage. The air was stagnant, probably because he hadn’t been in and out for a month, so he opened the windows to ventilate.

 Riko continued to look around the room,

「It’s surprisingly tidy」

「It’s only been in use for two months. Also, thanks to Maria for cleaning up」

「...Did she come to Izumi’s room too?」

「She came, I guess」

 With that said, Chihiro told her how he ended up staying at the apartment.

「What’s that? She didn’t let Izumi come back, yet she’s kicking you out so easily」

 Riko exhaled half in anger, half in disgust.

 Indeed.

 Looking around like this, the room is strangely tidy. He remembered that the breakfast dishes were still soaked in water that day, but they had been taken care of and put away in the cupboard.

 Really, not only did Maria come to pick up his luggage, but she also did a simple cleaning.

 ...But it was for Master, not for Chihiro.

「*sigh*」

(I should stop)

 There’s no point in continuing to think resentfully.

 Then, Chihiro offered Riko a cushion and sat down in front of the low table. Unlike Maria’s room, there is no such thing as an elegant Western-style chair and table.

「What should we do?」

「...」

 He asked, but Riko just stood there holding the cushion she had received. After a few seconds, she moved to the kitchen. She opened the refrigerator, checked the vegetable and freezer compartments, and came back.

「Let’s eat together. I didn’t find anything, so I’ll go out and get something」

「Oh, I’ll do it」

「Just sit down, Izumi. Your body must be at its limit」

 She is right.

 Chihiro went to class, trained for two hours after school, and Hana took his powers. After that, he kept straining without a break and came home with a heavy load.

 But because of this girl, she has kept him from being conscious, still, he’s already over the edge.

**b

「...Sorry, thanks」

「No problem. Just give me the key.」

 When Riko received the key to the room, she muttered, "It looks brand new", and left the room. Chihiro saw her off and went to take a nap until she returned.

「Izumi」

 The next thing he knew, Riko was looking at him with a large bag on the table. She had gone to a hamburger store in the neighborhood.

 She looks into his face and asks him in a caring way.

「Did you get some sleep?」

「Yeah. I feel like I slept for at least an hour」

「...Haha. It didn’t take that long, though」

 At least Chihiro feels a little calmer.

 As he felt so, he sat facing Riko and shared the hamburger she had bought for him. There is a lot of food, so they will never be short.

 Thinking about it, it’s been a long time since he ate junk food for dinner.

 For the past few weeks, he has been eating Maria’s and Riko’s home-cooked meals at night. Perhaps because of this, he missed the taste of the common hamburger, but also felt sad.

「Izumi. You’re not going to quit school, are you?」

 Riko suddenly muttered.

「...I hadn’t thought about that」

「Really? Because if you lost your ability, then you’re not a [Lost Item] anymore, right?」

 He hadn’t thought about it, but she’s right.

 The criterion that separates a normal human from a [Lost Item] is basically whether or not they have abilities. Strictly speaking, it can be determined by the composition of DNA, but it is not a commonly used method.

 If the school learns that he has lost his abilities, will he be able to stay in school?

「...No, I’m not quitting. I’m still a [Lost Item]」

 If Hana releases the ability, it returns to its owner.

 That’s how she explained her ability, [Looting]. Perhaps that itself is false, but as of now, Chihiro hasn’t completely lost the qualification to be a [Lost Item].

 Only his mind-reading ability has been taken away.

 The ability to amplify emotions may have been taken with him, but his [Sleep Enhancement] remains. This is probably because it is treated as a separate ability from mind-reading.

 Hana must have been telling the truth when she said she could only take one of them.

「I see. You have another ability, and the one that was taken might still come back...」

 Riko breathed out a sigh of relief as she held the hamburger package. Her expression is sad, and she looked much more mature than she usually did.

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