When Chihiro returned to the living room after taking a shower and changing into his uniform, breakfast is still steaming.
「I guess it's time for the second assessment」
「Yeah. I hope you both get promoted」
Maria's words sounded like nothing else. It seemed she herself had almost given up on promotion.
「My abilities are hard to grow」
Retaliation and Self-Healing are both "closed" abilities that target Maria herself.
But because of this, these abilities are fuel-efficient and provide unparalleled strength in personal combat, but they do not change dramatically as they grow. For example, even if the speed and range of healing is enhanced, only Maria will benefit from it.
This is fatal in rank assessment, where social activities and range of application are also important.
「...I see. That's a bit disappointing」
「No, not at all. If I'm ranked C, I can get a good amount of grant money」
She didn't seem to care about the rank, and was unconcerned.
"More importantly", Maria said, easily turning the conversation to another topic.
「Izumi-kun, have you decided what to do with your third ability?」
She was referring to Chihiro's third ability, after [Mind-reading] and [Sleep Enhancement], which is [Domination].
The effect is to force those who sincerely swear to obey Chihiro into a state of "good state" at all times.
It is difficult to explain and reproduce, so he was wondering if he should reveal it to the judges.
「I think I'll just reveal it」
Basically, there is no penalty for not telling others about his abilities, but it would be less troublesome if he did.
Moreover, when he talks about his ability, he doesn't need to mention the names of Maria, Riko, or Hana, whom he has already targeted. Then it is up to the judges to consider whether they can prove the ability or not.
Maria nodded briefly, looking vaguely pleased.
「Then, Izumi-kun might be able to get a C rank」
It wasn't that he didn't think so, but it sounded too unrealistic.
Chihiro, who was ranked E when he entered the school, could be ranked C so easily?
「That would be true. Now you're a [Lost Item] with three abilities. ...You're pretty valuable at that point, and more importantly, your [Dominance] is very powerful」
Those who receive the ability can maintain their good condition without consuming physical or mental strength. For example, if all members of an organization are placed under the influence of [Dominaton], the indirect effects would be tremendous.
...Well, it's impossible to judge the usefulness of the effect until the number of people affected and the range of the effect are determined.
「Chihiro got a C rank. I'll have to work hard too」
She doesn't seem to be concerned about the rank itself, but she seems to be enthusiastic about it in the same way as studying for a test.
「...Oh, by the way, Riko, about that assessment...」
「When determining, do you remove the "mark"?」
While under Chihiro's [Domination], the subject's body will have a "mark" visible on their body.
In this state, the target will be in the good state which mentioned earlier, but this is only an effect of Chihiro's ability.
However, when assessing Riko, if the effect is continued, it may be perceived that Riko herself has grown.
There is no real harm in doing so, but it is slightly unfair.
「I don't care either way, so I'll leave it to Riko」
Riko thought about Chihiro's question for a while, and then shook her head.
「Fine, leave it like this. It's too much trouble to remove this for that」
Chihiro nodded. Then that's fine.
Riko smiles and says.
「If I keep it in from now on, it won't affect my ability after all. ...Haha. If this gets me to C, I'll thank you, Chihiro」
The last day of summer vacation.
More members coming in and out of the apartment.
The second assessment will come.
Many things come and go, and new goals are born.
「The school festival after the assessment. I'm looking forward to it」
「Yes. The main event is supposed to be in early November. But I heard that it will take a long time to prepare」
Thus, Chihiro and the others are able to start the second semester slowly and peacefully.
- Note: The small disturbance caused by Sashiro Kanako right after the opening ceremony (the story in the extra chapter) was rather unimportant, so it was treated as a "peaceful start" by Chihiro.