「...I wonder. But I bet Kamishiro-kun must be in some pain. If so, your speed may have decreased so that even my kick can reach you」
If he can only use his legs, he should fight with them.
Kamishiro sounded like he was biting his lip.
He shouted with a look of utter incomprehension.
「Why wouldn't you pass out from the pain? How can you stand up?」
「Even if you say so... it's not like I can't stand it. But I'm used to being in pain for a reason」
Is he insensitive to pain?
「Isn't that also an ability?」
「...Yeah, I guess so」
Is it [Pain tolerance]? It seems not, so it's [Pain Reduction].
Chihiro has never been aware of it. He's not even sure how long he's had it, but now that he put it that way, it makes sense.
The throbbing pain in his arm and the stabbing pain in his stomach.
Rather than ignoring them, it eases them and increases his tolerance.
「In any case, I wish it’s an ability」
He might want to apply for a detailed checkup at the next assessment.
Though, it would have cost a bit of time and money...
Kamishiro wondered what had gotten into Chihiro head.
So, he lunged at him with indignation in his heart. And because Chihiro's mind was pulled, he couldn't read Kamishiro's attack plan.
But he can guess. If his fist is injured, then...
As expected, Kamishiro raised his leg in front of him and moved to retreat.
It seems his emotional swinging kick completely misses.
So, aiming at Kamishiro's off-balance axle, Chihiro desperately swung his leg away.
「What are you doing, Kamishiro Yuuki? You're going to lose to someone other than me?」
Just as he was about to pass, Kamishiro's expression tightened at the sound of the voice.
His axial leg became stronger, and he is able to avoid Chihiro's foot strike. On the other hand, Chihiro lost his balance and is hit by Kamishiro's hard right fist to his torso.
He is blown away. He is slammed a meter away and scraped the floor for the same distance.
His body ached helplessly.
He tried to get up, but his arms are useless.
「You still want to do this?」
Kamishiro asks as he slowly walks towards him.
「...I give up」
Chihiro declares his defeat so that the viewer can hear.
The noise around him became stronger.
He must have been consciously shutting it out until now. And while thinking this, Chihiro looked up at the ceiling.
Then he saw Kamishiro's neat face.
「Let's do it again, but not this time」
Calling out his name in a small voice, Kamishiro gave Chihiro a firm slap in the face.
He looked away to avoid Chihiro's gaze as he continued.
「I honestly believe that your persistence is――no」
He shakes his head, about to say something, and crouches down beside Chihiro.
But the girl's sharp voice stops him from helping him up.
「Don't touch him!」
Aika ran up to them and glared at Kamishiro sharply.
「Move aside, Kamishiro-kun」
Perhaps it was the result of putting treatment first, but...
Aika's brief words must have sounded like rejection to Kamishiro.
Kamishiro shook his head, a puzzled look on his face.
「Well, but take him to the infirmary first」
「Riko-chan has already arranged it. So let me heal Chihiro-kun」
...Did Riko run again?
Chihiro doesn't know whose decision it was, but he felt a little sorry.
After that, as soon as Kamishiro was out of the way, Aika sat down and put her hand on Chihiro's right arm, which was wrapped in clothes.
Light flooded in and the pain in his arm eased a little.
「...I'm sorry, Aika」
Aika smiled at him.
「...No. We had a deal, right? So, I'd rather you thank me than apologize」
「I see. Well, thank you」
Kamishiro watched them from a distance, and after a moment, he left. Soon a stretcher arrived and Chihiro was placed on it.
「You can go back to sleep, Chihiro-kun. Doctor and I will take responsibility for your recovery」
With Aika's gentle voice, Chihiro closed his eyes and slowly fell asleep.
☆ ☆ ☆
A familiar white ceiling.
Chihiro woke up on the bed in the infirmary. The thin curtains are still closed, and there is a small noise outside, as if someone is working.
（I don't hear anything else, so I guess I slept for a long time this time）
His clothes were taken off and he was wearing a jersey. Beside the bed are Riko and Aika in their school uniforms.
「Good morning, Chihiro. You've done it flashy again」
「Chihiro. How is your condition?」
「Thanks, both of you. Yeah, it doesn't hurt as long as I don't move it」
But it's quite uncomfortable when he tries to move it.
Chihiro tried not to use it as much as possible and continued the conversation in his sleep.
「Of course it does. Your arm, it was so bad」
Although Riko said it in an easy-going manner, it was not so funny.
As Chihiro was letting out a bitter laugh, the curtain opened slightly and a woman in a white coat came in from outside.
「It's true. This time it took not two, but three of us」
A woman with short hair and glasses.
She is plain and unremarkable, but not as quiet as Hana. Rather, she seems to be the type who simply doesn't care about her appearance.
She is one of the two school nurses in charge of the infirmary, and her name is Koiwai Noriko.
The tiredness on her face is... well, it's probably Chihiro's fault.
「Koiwai-sensei, um, thank you very much」
As expected, Chihiro couldn't stay asleep, so he sat up and bowed. Noriko waved her hand lightly and grabbed Chihiro's arm.
「That's not nearly enough to hurt. After putting up with all those injuries」
As expected, Noriko, who speaks in a masculine way, is quite frank in her communication.
She probably didn't have any sexual harassment in mind, and was just trying to palpate him.
「Excuse me, sensei. Who are the three who healed me?」
「Hmm? Oh, that's me, Takatsuki, and the first-year student with glasses」
「That's Hana-chan. She helped me with the healing」
Apparently Hana helped heal Chihiro when she saw Aika trying to heal him as much as she could.
But there is a paper from her, and when he opened it with smile, it said "You owe me one" in Hana's handwriting.
Well, the purpose is almost certainly "that".
He is tempted to say that he didn't ask for it, but he should thank her for helping him. Although he rejected the idea of leaving her alone with Maria, he decided to think about what he should do.
While Chihiro still thinking that, Noriko lets go of her arm, exhales, and looks down at Chihiro.
「It's going to be tough to recover, so if you're going to get hurt, do it in moderation」
「Eh, umm... Don't hurt myself, right?」
「Even if I told you, it would be useless anyway」
She gave me a dumbfounded look.
「Besides, you seem like a good training partner for Takatsuki. It's valuable to have someone who gets hurt so often」
「A training partner...」
「After all, it'd be bad to wake up when someone gets hurt on purpose」
Pat… Pat… Pat…
She patted Chihiro lightly on the head as if she were treating a child, and went back to her work.
（...I wonder if she's done this before）
「So, Chihiro, are you satisfied?」
Riko asked, and Chihiro thought back to the match.
In terms of the result, he had lost again.
But, in a way, he felt a sense of accomplishment.
『Izumi-kun, you can't beat me in this match』
He didn't expect Kamishiro to say something like that.
If he had to say it, then...
Kamishiro, who says he yearns to be a hero, sounds like he's not exactly out of reach.
So, it's still a goal to aim for.
「Yeah. I think I'll stop obsessing about Kamishiro-kun now」
Aika smiled first.
「Then, let's go home. Maria-chan and the others are waiting for us」
- The school nurse is probably a sub-character.
- Suzu's face illustration -> here