Chapter 61 Lover - Part 1

「Hold still」
 Aika's healing ability is activated as her hand is placed on Chihiro's aching right arm.
 This time, after the match, Aika offered to heal Chihiro first. Although he objected that she should heal herself first, she refused to budge.
 In the end, they sat side by side on the floor of the private training room, and Chihiro's injury was healed first.
「It was my fault to begin with, so let me do this at least」
「No, I agreed to the match」
「We agreed that the loser would give priority to the opponent」
 If she insists, there's nothing more Chihiro can say. So, she let his arms heal to the point where moving them doesn't bother him, and withdraws, thinking it's okay.
「You don't have to hold back」
「No. Takatsuki-san, you need to heal your legs at least」
 After all, it would be difficult to even get back to the dormitory with the pain.
 Then Hana intervened.
 She walked up to Aika, squatted down and said.
「Okay, let's do this. Takatsuki-san, can I borrow your ability?」
 Hana, who borrowed Aika's [Healing], heals Aika.
 Now that Aika had some energy left, she healed Chihiro a little more after Hana gave her back her ability.
「That's very generous of you」
「Well, I admit that you worked hard. I just thought it was okay to send a little salt」
 Maria and Aika both laughed at her not-so-honest reply.
 Well, Hana is probably not a bad girl, as long as she is dating other girls and not Chihiro.
「Well. Here you go」
 Just then, Riko comes into the room from the entrance of the private room. She had gone to a nearby vending machine to buy some drinks.
「Thanks, Riko」
「Hmm. Good job, Chihiro. You worked hard」
 Riko smiled at him as she handed him a well-chilled can of soda.
 The others also took drinks from Riko and sipped them.
「So, Takatsuki-san, what are you going to do?」
「...Oh, right」
 Aika nodded and straightened her posture when Riko offered her a drink of water.
 She sat down in front of Chihiro and said with her cheeks dyed in embarrassment.
「Izumi-kun, I'm sorry, I won't be so selfish anymore, please go out with me」
 *thump* Chihiro's heart skipped a beat.
 It's the first time he's ever being confessed.
 His first relationship with Maria had been a master-servant contract, and his relationship with Riko had been a very twisted one. Hana had once asked him to go out with her, but that had been a complete lie.
 And yet...
 The girl Kamishiro confessed to twice.
 The girl that Chihiro had somehow come to admire.
 Aika iss now within Chihiro's reach.
「Do you not want to?」
 She asked hesitantly, and Chihiro shook his head.
「But, Takatsuki-san, are you sure you're okay with Izumi-kun? To be honest, I don't think he's the kind of person you should go out of your way to confess to」
「...Wow. This girl didn't even hesitate to interfere in a good mood」
 The good mood is ruined in an instant.
 Riko's continued intrusion seemed to have pushed things over the edge, but whatever.
 Aika shook her head at Hana's advice.
 Then, she looked around at Chihiro, Hana and the rest of the group and proudly said.
「I'm sure, even if I go out with Kamishiro-kun, I won't be able to leave Izumi-kun behind. If I do, I'm sure I'll regret it at some point that I can't get back. That's what I learned from the match just now」
「...A match?」
「Yes. Even though we had to fight out of the blue, Izumi-kun didn't hate me even when I really choked you. That's probably why..」
 Chihiro looked back at Aika and their eyes met.
 Her voice and her feelings reached him at the same time.
「I like you, Izumi-kun. That's why I'll never ever regret it, and that's why I didn't compromise. I didn't compromise on the fact that we're not lovers」
「Call me Aika」
 Slowly, the palm of her right hand extended.
 Chihiro placed his left hand on top of it.
「Aika... thank you」
 This time, no one disturbed them.
 Thus, Chihiro and Aika ended up in a relationship.
 Afterwards, Chihiro and the others all moved to Maria's apartment.
 The important part of the conversation is over, but there are still many details to be discussed. So, they decided to take care of them over lunch.
 On the way to the apartment, the atmosphere is quite lively. 
「Takatsuki-san, you can call us whatever you want. We're not strangers anymore」
「Thank you. The, I'll call you by your first name. You can call me Aika if you want」
「Oh, I'll keep that in mind」
「Me too. You can call me whatever you want」
「Eh, why!?」
 Are they close or not?
 As Chihiro followed the girls while they are chatting, he felt a strange feeling.
(...I wonder how long we've been together)
 Before he knew it, he arrived at the apartment. Maria and the others took care of lunch for all four of them. Although this is not so much a result of cooperation, but because each of them didn't want to be left out.
 Chihiro sat at the living room table and vaguely listened to the girls as they huddled together in the kitchen cooking.
「Sorry to keep you waiting」
 The food served is an omelet, a vegetable salad and a consommé-based soup.
「It's a little embarrassing to compare it to the food we had yesterday」
 Although Aika is modest about it, all the dishes on the menu are filled with comforting deliciousness.
 The ingredients are carefully chopped and the eggs are perfectly cooked.
 The salad is prepared with a homemade dressing that tasted of vegetables, and the simple soup of bacon and onions is in harmony with the other two dishes.
「It's delicious」
 Chihiro smiled after taking a bite, and Aika patted her chest, relieved.
「I'm glad」
 And now, in the living room, the table is full for the five of them. Perhaps it should be said that it's amazing that there are five chairs.
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