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Chapter 43 Persuasion under the Moon - Part 2


「So, what do you think?」

 ...While calling out to Maria, Chihiro had a faint feeling of discomfort. 

 Things are going strangely well. 

 Even though he faced Maria, it seemed to be going too easily. 

 Normally, she would have connected her first kick with another attack. The fact that she panicked when one of her arms was caught and tried to shake it off is also a little disconcerting. 

 It would have been more effective to strike Chihiro with her free right hand without making a fuss. 


**a


 Maybe she’s not feeling well, or... 


 Maria’s voice interrupted his thoughts. 


「So what?」


 Her voice sounded pained, but clear. 


「I’m not gonna tell you I’m give up, no matter what」


 So that’s it. 

 The only way to settle this is for Maria to say she gives up. So no matter what, if she doesn’t give in, she doesn’t lose. It’s not a match in class, so there’s no time limit, and with her self-healing ability, Maria doesn’t have to give up out of concern for her body. 

 In effect, this is not a battle, but a contest of endurance. 

 Maria had no intention of saying "I give up" from the start. 

 The only way to get her to admit defeat was for Chihiro to show all his effort and determination. 

 At any rate, the first obstacle has been cleared when he is able to successfully restrain her. 


 *squeak* *squeak* 


 Since a while ago, Chihiro’s joints have been screaming faintly. 

 The strain that Maria is feeling on her joints is being returned to Chihiro. 


 The point is, the real battle starts here. 

 Don’t let go of her arm, no matter what. 


「I’m not giving up until Maria says she’s give up」

「...You’re not going to win this one」

「I know」


 But it’s the only way. 

 He can’t think of any other way to beat Maria except by sheer force of will. 

 Even if he screws her like he did to Riko, or threatens her with pictures. He doesn’t think that would give the girl a fatal shock. 

 So, Chihiro continued to push Maria to the ground. 


 For a few tens of seconds, a few minutes, a dozen minutes. 


 It felt like a long time. 

 The situation remained the same. Maria was still on the ground and Chihiro was still on top of her. The only thing that changed was Chihiro’s condition. 

 His arms are numb and he’s starting to lose feeling. 

 He’s using his legs to restrain Maria’s wrists, but it won’t be long before he loses consciousness from the pain. 


「Ugh...」


 Hold on. 

 Just bear it. 

 Clenching his teeth, he desperately clings to the girl’s body. 

 Suddenly... 


「...Izumi-kun. Whatever it is, you stink. You can hold Nishizaki-san all you want, but if you’re going to meet people, at least take a shower」


(Is she harassing me?)


 Maria said as if to throw up. 

 It was true that neither Chihiro nor Riko had time to wash themselves properly because they had come straight from the private training room to this place. 

 But she didn’t have to say it now. 


「...!」

「...Kuh...!?」


 Just as he felt sadness in his heart, Maria moved. 

 She twisted around hard, and when Chihiro hurriedly tried to gather his strength, he felt pain in his arms again. 

 Then, with a snap. 

 Chihiro was shaken off by Maria and fell to the ground. 


「Oh...」


 He can’t get up. 

 His arms are weak and his whole body feels sluggish. 

 Still, he managed to move his legs and get up. But――


 *creak* 


 A woman’s leather shoe stepped on Chihiro’s shoulder. 


「Aah...!」


 He’s stomped. 

 Maria stomps down on his shoulder. It might not have been a big stimulus in normal times, but now that both his arms are hurt, it was painful. 


「Give up!」


 A cold voice echoed. 

 His vision wobbled and he couldn’t see Maria’s face clearly. 


**b


「No, no」

「...please, just give up」

「No」


 And yet, he resisted with only his will... 


「Then」


 Maria’s feet leave his shoulders. 

 Then, she stomps down on his right palm. 


「Gaaaaaah!」


 Her stomp is relentlessly strong. The pain is so intense that Chihiro can feel his hand again, even though every nerve in his arm is used to feel the pain. 

 Then his left hand stomped again. 

 Right hand again. Left hand. Right hand. 


「Oh, uh...」


 He doesn’t know what’s going on. 

 His eyes were filled with tears and drool was leaking from his mouth. His eyes are blinking and he can’t see anything. 


「Then I’ll go. Go after me if you can」


 It sounded like it was coming from far away. 

 And that voice came from Maria. 


「Izumi!」


 Riko comes running with a scream. 

 As he felt it with his ears and skin, Chihiro thought. 


(Oh, no)

(Maria is going away)

(I’ve lost) 


 After that, Chihiro fainted and a single tear fell from his eye. 



 ☆   ☆   ☆



「Do you really want to die!?」

「...Nishizaki-san!」


 After confirming that Chihiro was still breathing, Riko stood up again. 

 She then stopped Maria in her tracks with her sharp voice. 


「Take care of Izumi-kun. I’m sure his body will heal after he sleeps, but he might not be able to eat for a while」

「...You」


 A strange feeling crept into Riko’s chest, but she didn’t have time to find out why. 

 Maria walked slowly out of the park. 

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