Chapter 41 Thinking About the Case - Part 1

 After a moment, Chihiro exhaled and operated his phone. 

(I’ve gathered enough information from this conversation. Even if I didn’t go to the library, I could just wait for Maisaka)


 As he thought so, he selected Riko’s number from the phone book and called her. 

『Oh, Izumi? Where are you?』

「I’m about to go home」

『I see. I’ll be at your dorm in about 30 minutes』

「Eh, wait...」


 The call ended abruptly. 

 Judging from her cheerful voice, it seems that there was no problem. Was it just because she didn’t have a key to come to Chihiro’s room and decided to make time? 

 That was a bit troublesome. 

 With that, Chihiro took his bag and left the training area. There was some leeway in thirty minutes, but it was better to move early. 


「Oh, Izumi-kun」

 He met Aika in the corridor of the main school building. She was wearing some kind of apron-like lab coat over her summer clothes. 

 She paused there and spoke to Chihiro. 

「Are you on your way home?」

「Yeah. Takatsuki-san is in the infirmary?」

「Yeah. I’m just helping out」

 She had said that Saturdays, when classes are over early, are the best time to visit. 

 After school on weekdays, the infirmary is usually crowded with students who have finished their classes, but on Saturdays, it seems that students who are training on their own come to the infirmary with injuries. 

 It must be very hard to deal with those students with only two school doctors and a few helpers. 

 Fortunately, Aika herself seems to be enjoying it. 

「I see. ...That lab coat looks good on you」

 Aika already told Chihiro that it’s hard work and that he should do his best, so he complimented her on her outfit instead. 

 Aika’s lab coat may be a simple one, but from the front it looks like a nurse’s uniform. It suits Aika’s atmosphere, and the white color makes it look a bit summery. 

「Is that so? Thanks」

 Aika didn’t feel bad and smiled at him.

「Izumi-kun, if you need anything, don’t hesitate to come. Oh, sorry. Don’t come after all」

「Uh, yeah」

 When someone tells him not to come, it stings him to the core. 

 Perhaps the subtlety of his feelings showed on his face, but Aika hurriedly added. 

「Oh, I didn’t mean anything bad. It’s better if you don’t get hurt, besides...」


「Izumi-kun is somewhat delicate」

 It seemed that she didn’t mean it in a positive way. 

 When Chihiro was at a loss for an answer, Aika looked into his face. She looked intently at Chihiro’s face, 

「Look, you still look tired」

 Their faces are close together. 

 Chihiro’s feelings toward Aika are as strong as ever. 

 His feelings for Aika are a bit more pure than for Maria and Riko, and he doesn’t know what to do when a girl he’s interested in does that to him. Naturally, his face flushes and he mumbles to himself in embarrassment. 

「...You shouldn’t do that kind of thing to boys too much」

「Eh? Why?」

「Because they’ll fall in love with you」

 Really, what did he just say? 

 But it’s too late. 


 Aika’s mouth dropped open. 

「Eh, uhhhhhh...」

 As soon as she understood the meaning, her face turned red and she started to make meaningless noises. Aika looked around as if she was having trouble placing her eyes, and then she turned her head and said. 

「...That’s the first time a boy has ever said that to me」

 Well, that’s not something people would say. 

 Most people would be embarrassed. On the other hand, an experienced seducer would have come up with something a little more clever. Either way, what Chihiro said was out of theory, or rather out of common sense. 


「Sorry, that was...」

「Izumi-kun, too」

 Chihiro was about to say, "Forget it", but he was interrupted. 

 Aika took a step forward and looked at Chihiro with a red face. 

「Are you going to like me?」

 Or rather. 

「...Well, perhaps it’s too late...」

 How did this happen? 

 As if in desperation, Chihiro spoke honestly. He was embarrassed for himself, but Aika must have been even more embarrassed. 


 She turned her face away as if she had been hit, and ran in the direction of the infirmary. 

 Chihiro stood there until he heard no more footsteps or sight of Aika. 

 The hallway was silent. It’s a good thing someone didn’t walk by in the middle of that conversation.

(...I guess she didn’t like me)

 After all, he had said something weird. She must have thought Chihiro was weird or creepy and avoided him. 

 It might have ruined his hopes of winning Kamishiro over straight away. 


 Letting out a sigh, Chihiro started walking down the corridor. He changed into his shoes at the entrance and went straight to the dormitory. Because of all the things he had been doing, he arrived a few minutes before the time Riko had given him. 

 After he put his bag in his room and changed into his casual clothes, he received a call on his smartphone. 

『I’m in front of your room, are you okay? 』

「Yeah. I’ll open it」

 Then, he opened the door to his room from the inside, made sure it was clear, and welcomed Riko. Riko was dressed in casual clothes, a shopping bag in her hand. 

「What’s that?」

「You haven’t shopped yet, right?」

 So, she went to the supermarket to get some things. 

 In fact, he was frankly grateful for this, since he had once again forgotten about the meal. 

「Thanks, Riko」

「...N-No, it’s not that much trouble. And it’s not like it takes much to do this」

 Riko looked away embarrassed, her tone becoming slightly weird. 

 Since it was a rather large amount of food, the two of them split up and packed it in the fridge. Eggs, meat, vegetables, fish. All the ingredients were there. 

「I doubt I can eat this much」

「It should be fine if we eat it together.」

「Eh, we’re eating here?」

「Yeah. Tomorrow is Sunday, so it won’t be a problem to come and go」

 Isn’t that a problem?

 Well, it’s probably a pointless thing to say. As for Chihiro, it’s nice of her to come here. 

「I’ll tell you the rules later, or just take measures not to get angry」


 After sorting out the ingredients, Riko started to sort out the stuff she had brought from the apartment. 

 Apparently, she was dividing her clothes and underwear into two groups.

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