Chapter 44 Is the destination of awakening... Shuraba? - Part 1

 It’s bright. 

 When he opened his eyes, Chihiro saw a familiar place. 

 It’s his room in the dorm. The light was bright because of the lighting. Looking out the window through the curtains, it was still dark. 

 But his body ―― it hurt. His arms are tingling. 

 But he doesn’t seem to have any trouble moving them. His fatigue was also lighter than he expected. 

 Which means he must have been asleep for quite a while. 



「Izumi-kun, are you awake?」

 A voice called from beside him. 

 When he twisted his head to look, he saw an unexpected person sitting right beside Chihiro. A person he had never invited to his room before, and didn’t even know where his room was. 

 But now, she was wearing a thin, long-sleeved dress with her hair tied back with a string, an outfit he had never seen before. 


 He murmured, and Aika smiled and nodded. 

「How’s your body?」

 Her gentle voice warmed his heart. 

 At the same time, it also confirmed his current situation. 

 In other words, he wasn’t in better shape because of the rest. 

「Takatsuki-san healed me」

「Yeah. I just got a call from Riko-chan. I was so surprised, Izumi-kun collapsed in the park」

 Aika now smiles wryly. 

 ...So Riko called Aika. 

 That’s the only way, but still, he felt somewhat surprised. 


「I’m sorry. I couldn’t think of anyone else who might be able to come」

 Riko appeared from the bathroom. 

 She sat down a little away from Aika and told Chihiro what had happened. Her explanation was a bit vague, as she didn’t want to mention Maria’s name. 

 It seems that after Chihiro collapsed in the park, Riko first tried to carry him. 

 However, it was impossible for a girl to do so alone. 

 Nevertheless, it was not good for Chihiro’s health to leave him lying outside. After thinking about it for a while, she had no choice but to call for help. 

 The person was registered in the phone book and was likely to respond to a sudden call on a Sunday night. 

 In addition, she needed someone who would be somewhat tight-lipped and would not pry into their life unnecessarily... In that case, there was no one better than Aika. 

 In fact, Aika agreed to Riko’s request with two words and rushed to the park immediately. 

 From there, the two of them brought Chihiro to the dormitory, treated him, and now he is here. 

「...I see. Thank you. Nishizaki-san and Takatsuki-san」

 Aika quickly shook her head as he thanked them with a bite. 

「No. Don’t worry about it. Anyone can’t leave someone like that alone」

 Aika’s answer was as refreshing as ever. 

 But that didn’t mean he could ignore her. 

 At least try to bow, Chihiro tried to get up from the bed... 

「Oh, wait, Izumi!」


 Riko interrupted, but only a little too late. And――


 When Chihiro woke up, the quilt came off, revealing what was underneath. 

 Chihiro’s body, without a stitch of clothing. He had probably been taken off to wipe sweat off or to treat himself. He wasn’t aware of it, but of course it was normal.... 

 No, that’s not the point. 

「I-I’m sorry」

「...Uh, no, no. I’m sorry too」

 Fortunately, the lower half of his body was not exposed, but Chihiro felt like his face was going to burst into flames. He hurriedly wrapped the quilt around him and lowered his head, but Aika shook her head with a bright red face. 




 Then, there was a subtle silence. 

 Then Riko stood up without saying a word, searched on the dresser and took out a pair of pajamas. 

 Chihiro took the pajamas without saying a word, and put them on in the futon. 

 Then, with a quick flick, he pulls out his smartphone. 

 ...and he searches for Maria. 

 As Chihiro was about to make a call, Riko stopped and looked at him. She shakes her head. Riko must have tried several times already and had no luck. 

「Right now, I don’t think it’s possible. I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it right now」

 Chihiro lowered his hand in resignation at his last-minute words of comfort. 

 He turned back to Aika and the others. 

「...Thank you for your trouble」

「Uh, yeah」

 There’s a lot he has to tell her. Although he doesn’t know how much Aika is aware of the situation, if asked, he would like to answer as much as he can. 

 ...Of course he’s concerned about Maria. But Chihiro doesn’t know where she’s gone. After fighting her but losing, it’s unlikely that she’ll listen to Chihiro and the others now. 

 So, he had to change the methods. 

 He could wait for her in front of the apartment on Monday morning. Or call either Maria or Hana at lunchtime. 

 In any case, it’s hard to imagine that Mishuku Hana has the means to make everything too late this one night. Though he doesn’t know if he’s qualified to take back Maria, since he couldn’t beat her in the first place. 

 But first of all, he should take care of the problem in front of him. 

 So, he took a light breath. 

 After calming his breathing, Chihiro slowly opened his mouth. But――


 An untimely rumbling of his stomach caused the atmosphere to relax.

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