「Hey, Izumi, can I leave my clothes and facial cleanser here?」
「Uh, yeah. I don’t mind」
「Got it. Thanks」
The rest of the stuff is going back to the dorm.
The main purpose of this is so that it won’t be inconvenient when Riko drops by occasionally.
After Riko finishes organizing her things, she pours herself a cup of tea from a plastic bottle and takes a break.
「Right. I have a spare key for this place, in case you need it」
「I need it」
Riko said firmly.
「...So, how’d it go?」
「Yeah. Some progress, I guess」
Chihiro was able to ask Maisaka to investigate, and Hana and he made contact again and had a conversation.
At this stage, the information is only fragmentary, but if he combines it with the results of the investigation from Maisaka, it may provide a clue.
「Also, there’s something that’s been bugging me」
「What is it, exactly?」
「Well, it’s hard to say」
There are some vague feelings of discomfort.
For example, what Chihiro pointed out to Hana today. Does Hana intend to return the ability to Chihiro? If not, will she continue to fill up her [Looting] slot with his reading mind? If she does, is there anything she can do to deal with Chihiro’s subsequent counterattack?
『If you mess with me, Maria-chan will be involved too, don’t you think? 』
If that’s really the extent of her threats, there are ways to settle her grudge.
『It doesn’t matter as long as I achieve my goal』
What’s Hana’s purpose?
It’s as if there’s a clue that’s being overlooked or not seen.
「So you can do something about it?」
「Yes, I think so. I’d like to think so」
Riko tilts her glass.
She drank more than half of the remaining barley tea in one gulp and set it down with a small clink.
「Hey, Izumi... let’s assume you get your ability back and Fukami-san doesn’t come back」
「Would you give up? Or not?」
If Chihiro gets his ability back and Maria doesn’t come back.
If she’s really enslaved to Hana.
「...Maybe, I can’t give up」
Chihiro would try to do something about it.
He’ll try to humiliate Maria and force her to be his. He might even try to kill Hana.
After all, he already knows what it feels like to lay hands on someone with the intent to kill.
If necessary, Chihiro is capable of killing people.
「Do you like Fukami-san?」
After saying that, Riko looks at him as if she’s checking him out.
It took some hesitation for him to answer.
「I like her. But I don’t think it’s the same as wanting to be my girlfriend. It’s more like, I need Maria」
Just when he was struggling, she showed up out of nowhere, making ridiculous demands.
He couldn’t simply give up on someone with whom he had made a contract.
Riko listened to him without anger or sadness.
「Then, what about me?」
「I like you too. If you don’t stay with me, I’ll probably feel uneasy」
Attachment, affection... those kinds of feelings. If Maria is "I want her to be with me", Riko is "please be with me".
Riko giggled and let out a small sigh at the same time.
「Izumi. You know that’s the worst thing to say」
「Uh... ...Yeah, well」
Having told Aika that he liked her, he couldn’t argue with her.
After all, he’s trying to "keep" a bunch of girls. No wonder all the girls couldn’t stand him.
「Well, that’s okay. I’m going to stay by Izumi’s side until you say you don’t want me」
The blonde girl dyed her cheeks in embarrassment at her own words.
「Isn’t it obvious? Master took my purity and screwed me many times. It’s too irresponsible of me to go to another man」
「...Yeah. I know」
The first relationship was a disaster.
On first time, girl torture him, on the second time, he torture her into submission. But the two of them who could only show their relationship through force are together now.
They understand the whole story and say they’ll stick together.
But, that makes Chihiro happy.
And he couldn’t be happier.
☆ ☆ ☆
After that, Chihiro hugged Riko and slept in the same bed with her... and Sunday came.
As Chihiro was waiting for Maisaka’s information about Hana, he decided to go to the school to exercise.
When he told this to Riko, she said as if it were natural.
「Then, I’ll go with you」
She said that she was too bored to be alone, and that she would not be able to do anything else back at the dormitory. She seemed to be enjoying herself as she started to prepare her lunch, so Chihiro decided not to say anything.
They left the dormitory before ten o’clock in the morning and went to the school.
If anyone saw them, they would be suspected of being friends, but Riko seemed to have already taken care of that.
「I mean, they’re already suspicious. They think something might have happened between Izumi and me」
「Those girls you hang out with?」
「Yeah. I told them to just ignore it because I’m too lazy to bother with them」
Riko said, patting her choker as she walked next to him.
Well, it’s natural to be suspicious. After all, Riko suddenly stopped attacking Chihiro and her personality became softer. She wears the choker every day, which seems to be a present from someone.
Has she made up with Chihiro?
Or did she get a boyfriend?
For the moment, the two are separate topics, but it would not be surprising if they are connected at any moment.
Fortunately, they did not encounter anyone until they reached the private training room.
Thinking that Chihiro had been immersed in this facility for a while now, he requested to use the room. The representative of the group passes the student ID card through the reader.
By searching by ID, they can check the status of the room.
But while checking, he remembered Hana’s words and hesitated for a moment. He could have asked Riko, but Chihiro ended up using his own student ID. It would be nice if she could come to see him.
「So, what are you doing?」
「Well, the usual」
Basic training, stance and swing.
He changed into his clothes, and when he tried to start with bending, Riko, who had also changed into her clothes, helped him. She pushed his back and helped him to relax.
Then they started training. At first, Riko was repeating the basic training beside Chihiro, but after about an hour, she moved to the wall and started watching.
「My body can’t take it if I work at the same pace as Izumi」
Chihiro’s stance was quite normal, as he would stop when he was about to collapse and would be OK as long as he made it back to the dormitory. But if a normal person were to imitate him, the muscles would be so sore the next day that it would be useless.
Riko kept training and resting, and Chihiro kept training with a short rest in between. Around noon, they ate the lunch that Riko had made and resumed their training.
「Izumi, how do you never get bored?」
Riko muttered after three o’clock in the afternoon.
「Well, it’s simple work. I don’t have to think about anything else while I’m doing it.」
He replied, stopping his swinging hand.
However, his fatigue has reached its peak.
So, he sat down to take a rest. Immediately, he feels dizzy and Riko runs up to him and supports him.
「You’re pushing yourself a little too hard 」
「Don’t worry. I’ll recover after sleeping for a while」
「...Seriously? You always do that...」
A sigh escaped her lips.
Riko’s hand gently wrapped around Chihiro’s head, half forcing him into a sleeping position.
「Take a nap. I’ll lend you my lap」
「...Hmm... Okay. Thanks.」
It seems that Chihiro can’t refuse her, so he decides to accept it.
He put his head on Riko’s lap, closed his eyes, and let his whole body get tired. As he does so, his consciousness sinks deeper and deeper.
But it’s really soft.
The warmth of human skin, different from that of a pillow, made Chihiro feel asleep.