Chapter 49 The Settlement of Betrayal - Part 1

 After seeing Mishuku Hana off, Riko is the first to speak.
「... Really, you're a crazy person. If it's an act, tell us it's an act」
 Riko must have been relieved that Hana's training - or rather, the retaliation and silencing of her - finally ended. She lets out a sigh and turns her gaze to Maria.
「Yeah, I agree」
 Chihiro agreed with her.
 Well, the three of them hadn't had much time to talk in the past few days because of Hana's training.
 He had heard about Maria's situation on Sunday, but had decided not to pursue the matter.
 That's why the serious discussion is about to begin. 
「I'm sorry」
 Although an apology had already been received, Maria again expressed her sorry to both of them.
 This whole thing, Maria's rude remark to Chihiro and the others, was an act.
 Maria chose to end it on her own because she could not deal with Hana in a normal way, and there was a possibility that the conflict would drag on.
 If she cooperated with Chihiro and the others, the possibility of a failure in the plan would increase.
 Both Chihiro and Riko are sharp when they are on their game, but they are not good at tricks. In addition, they did not know the extent of Hana's information-gathering ability, so Maria thought it best to avoid risking anything.
 ――In fact, given Maisaka's involvement, it was probably the right decision to be wary.
 At the same time, when Chihiro mentioned Hana's name.
 Maria realized that Hana was a troublesome opponent, so she decided to jump into her pocket.
(Fortunately, I also had the perfect trump card)
 Return the pleasure.
 Maria had saved the special function of [Retaliation] because she had no use for it.
 At any rate, Maria is too sensitive, and using it on Chihiro would be too much. Riko also hadn't reached the level of training necessary to use it for lesbian play.
 She saved it if she was attacked by a thug, which worked out well.
『But this makes me hurt him... makes me hurt everyone』
 She was planning to shun them and make them hate her.
 Then, she wanted to atone for all the anger Chihiro and Riko felt with her own body, after capturing Hana and offering her to them.
 But Chihiro and the others didn't give up on Maria.
 They gathered information, got closer to their relationship, and came to persuade Maria.
(At that time, I really wanted to entrust this to them)
 Surely their methods will work. Even if it's not the shortest and best way, if it's the way Chihiro and the others want, maybe it's better to cooperate with them.
 Or maybe it would be better to just tell them what's going on and be at ease.
 That's what Maria thought, but she decided not to do it now that she had come this far.
 After all, half-heartedness is the worst.
 Besides, when she was called to the park, the preparation was not yet completed. And in fact, she had planned to call Hana after the sports festival was over and the closing ceremony was over. That way, they would have more time to keep Hana locked up.
 However, when she saw how impatient Chihiro and the others were, she couldn't afford to delay.
 But, in order to buy some more time, she hurt Chihiro, while avoiding his legs and his crotch, which was very important, and immediately contacted Hana.
 She invited her to her apartment, caught her off guard, and then restrained her back.
 The rest is as Chihiro and the others know.
『But why? You have no use for me after I lost my ability to read minds, right?』
『No. Even if you lose your ability, you're the Master I've chosen. There's no way I'm just going to abandon you. If there's a way to get rid of Hana-san, I'll do whatever it takes to get rid of her』
 But that includes betraying Master.
 Even if it results in being abandoned.
 However, if she can deal with Hana, then this matter won't hurt Chihiro too much.
『I'm determined. I'm a slave who puts my Master before myself』
 But... hurting her master, even to protect him, is unforgivable.
 Sin is sin.
 Whoever commits a sin must be punished.
 Even so, if it results in less damage to Master, it is natural to do so.
 That's Maria's idea of a slave.
『I think you're crazy after all』
『Thank you, Nishizaki-san. It would be more helpful if you could speak clearly』
 After hearing Maria's confession, Chihiro forgave her for the moment.
 He stopped nagging her and cursing her. He didn't have much time, and he was afraid that if he started talking, he wouldn't be able to stop.
 He put everything on hold and ordered her to cooperate with Hana's training.
 Maria solemnly accepted the order.
 And then, all the anger and sadness and impulses that she had nowhere else to go, she took out on Hana.
 In hindsight, she thinks she overdid it, but she was so relentless that she was afraid of herself.
 Even so, Hana's training was far from complete.
 After all, she had intended to turn her into a slave to the core.
 However, since Hana was a more serious lesbian than Maria had expected, and since Hana's physical strength was limited in three days, and since Chihiro and the others were still too inexperienced to train a virgin, the training was limited to the minimum level.
 Nevertheless, Hana was released because it was determined that the absolute minimum had been met.
『Now, Hana-san can't harm Izumi-kun anymore. I don't know what she'll say, though』
 This is what Maria said.
 To be honest, it's a bit skeptical, but anyway, they succeeded in making an exchange agreement with Hana.
 Not only did her actions become restricted, but Maria also prepared candy, so it is unlikely that she will break the agreement.
 Or, perhaps, the three-day limit was a good thing.
 If the training had been prolonged, Hana might have become a cripple. Rather than that, it would have been more beneficial to leave her rational, and the timing of this meeting, with the sport festival and the final day of school coming up, would have reduced the risk of being perceived as "giving up on the training". 
「Master, please allow me to apologize again. I apologize for my rudeness, and for raising my hand to Master as I did. No matter how many times I bow, I cannot apologize enough」
 Maria straightened her posture and knelt in front of Chihiro. Now, she is not wearing her collar. She took it off to take a bath, and now it's resting in Chihiro's hands.
 ――The choice of whether to give this collar to her again, I must decide it. But――
(What should I say first?)
 Chihiro thought for a few seconds and then opened his mouth.
「Thank you, Maria.」
 Maria looked up at him, rolling her eyes. Chihiro squatted down beside her, smiling at the expression on her face, which was unlike her usual calm demeanor.
 He put his hand on her head and said...
「Thanks for working so hard for us. Thanks to you, I've regained my abilities and I was able to subdue Hana-san」
「Master, but I...」
 He nodded.
「To be honest, I'm not too happy about it. I mean, having everything taken care of by yourself, it's like you don't trust us... and my hand that was stomped on really hurt」
「So, I will give you an order」
 Chihiro put a little pressure on Maria's head.
「From now on, I don't want you to sacrifice yourself without consulting me. I don't want you to say things like that, even if it’s a lie. Like I said before, I need Maria」
 Slaves are property of their masters.
 Even if they're breakable.
 Chihiro doesn't want to see his things hurt or broken. Especially if it's out of his reach.
 Tears welled up in Maria's jet-black eyes. Riko saw this and gasped faintly.
 Chihiro reached out, and Maria jumped into his chest. Maria's body, smaller and lighter than Chihiro's, is embraced by him.
 And then a slightly muffled voice came from Maria.
「I promise you. I won't cause you any trouble like this again」
 Hearing her answer, Chihiro picked up the collar and put it around Maria's neck.
 Riko saw this and said in a somewhat amused tone.
「You're so soft, Izumi. Why don't you give her a severe punishment?」
 Chihiro smiled back at her, relaxed and relieved.
「...Well, the punishment will begin now, though, won't it?」
「Eh? You're going to do it?」
 They looked at each other for a few seconds, and then Riko turned away first.
 She sighed in exasperation, as if she had given up.
 Maria pulled her face away and looked up at them, not even trying to wipe her tears.
「Oh, you're in sadistic mode. So, how are you going to punish her?」
「Hmm. It's hard to think of a punishment Maria wouldn't like.」
「That's true. Then how about this?」
「Hmm, then something like this would be better.」
 After a few conversations with Riko, he decided on a plan.
 Riko smiled and moved away from Chihiro. She crouched down and whispered into Maria's ear. 
「Be prepared. We're going to punish you to the point where you'll be ashamed. Maybe you'll enjoy it」
 *rush of blood to the head*
 Maria's cheeks flushed red. It seemed impossible to understand what it meant without using mind-reading.
 The black girl's right hand gripped Riko's clothes tightly.
「Thank you so much, Nishizaki-san.」
「Huh? What, you're all of a sudden so formal」
「You stayed by Izumi-kun's side for a long time, didn't you? That's why」
「Oh. Oh... that's」
 Riko's cheeks flushed slightly as she stared into Maria's earnest eyes.
「I-It's not like I'm doing it because I wanted to. It's not something you should thank me for」
 She hid her embarrassment blatantly.
 Maria smiled at Riko as she turned her head away.
「...I guess so. But thank you」
 And pulled the bottom of her clothes tighter,
「I hope you don't mind if I call you Riko from now on」
 Maria may be outrageous in her behavior, but she's a beautiful girl.
 It would be difficult for even a member of the same gender to say no to such a girl if she begged you nicely up close.
 Riko, on the other hand, is the type of girl who has a lot of emotions despite her lack of honesty.
「I-It's not like I mind that. So, just do what you want... Maria」
「Fufu... Hmm, I'll do it. Riko」
 Change of name.
 Did Maria have a change of heart when she decided to call Riko by her first name?
 From being just a classmate, connected through Chihiro, she now officially acknowledges Riko as a peer or a friend.
 If this brings the girls closer together, it is a good thing.
 Whether it's through physical contact, words, or a collar...
 ...because it's easy to be apart when the time comes.
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