Although the rank of [Lost Item] is based on the same index all over the world, it varies depending on the region and interpretation, and in Japan, the assessment is conducted under the control of the government.
However, Chihiro and the other students of Shibahou Academy can take the test on the school premises.
They are called up in turn between classes or after school and asked to do this and that. It usually takes about thirty minutes for each student to finish.
This is possible because the school has been granted permission by the government.
Thinking about it, it is quite easy because until middle school, students had to move several stations from the nearest station to their home on holidays and take the test at some kind of center.
Also, this time, the period of the exam does not coincide with the assessment, so it is even easier.
「So, how did it go? I think I'll still get an E」
A few days after the assessment period started, Maisaka took Chihiro out to the cafeteria during the lunch break.
Chihiro was taken out to the cafeteria by Maisaka, who refused Aika's offer to go with him, telling him that it was between men.
（...I don't think there's any need to ask the result now, since the result won't be announced soon）
Chihiro replied to the disappointingly handsome man who asked him while eating fried rice at the opposite seat, poking at the lunch box that Aika had made for him.
「Oh... um, I don't know yet. Because I took the second test」
「Heh? You took the trouble to apply? It's an extra assessment, right?」
On Monday morning, Chihiro applied to his homeroom teacher and was accepted just in time.
――The ability assessment is a two-stage process, a normal primary assessment and a detailed secondary assessment.
The primary assessment is the one generally referred to in the school, and students are required to take it several times a year. The second assessment is an additional assessment that only those who request it are required to take.
So, Chihiro took the primary survey at least once, but after demonstrating his abilities and having a question and answer session in front of several teachers in an empty classroom, he was being told "You can continue to take the secondary assessment".
This is not what one would call a response.
「Hmm... you're really into it」
He was convinced, but he didn't hear what he wanted to hear.
He let out a breath and looked up.
「Well, that's good then. ...and about Kamishiro..」
Somehow, Chihiro knew it would lead to that.
After all, since the match, he has hardly talked to him. They only say hello when they bump into each other.
Kamishiro is still the same... or should that be "the same"? And at first glance, he seems to be working out as hard as ever.
「He said he didn't feel well either. Looks like he's going to stay at C rank this time」
Chihiro nodded his head, sounding somewhat disappointed.
After all, the wall of B rank was thick.
Of course, it wasn't that Kamishiro wasn't great, it was that his abilities were simple and unimpressive.
「...Even if he's that strong, it's no good」
「His ability is hard to build on in terms of achievements..」
Then he stared at Chihiro and muttered.
「Well... What I'm about to say is my personal opinion, or rather, it's just a chat, so I hope you don't mind too much」
Maisaka made a pretentious preamble.
Then, he stops eating, looks somewhere in the distance, and says.
「Sometimes I wonder if he's stuck in a slump because of you」
Chihiro then look down at his lunch box.
He digests and understand what Maisaka just said.
It's not that he didn't expect it.
「Well, that was just something I couldn't compromise on」
Chihiro chose his words carefully and answered in one word.
Maisaka nodded surprisingly easily.
「...I guess you're right. It's difficult」
A deeper, heavier sigh than before escaped from his mouth.
Chihiro looks up, and Maisaka looks down at his food instead.
He then takes a spoonful of fried rice.
「I'm trying to be as fair or neutral as possible, but, you know. He's different」
「Is that love?」
「Yes, yes. I don't expect him to be interested in me because we're both men, but... hey, wait!? That's wrong!?」
Really, it was an aggressive rant.
Well, it was Chihiro who had initiated it, since Maisaka's mood was unusually heavy.
「Ehh, umm, what was it? ...Oh, yes, yes. Friendship, it's friendship. Really, I said it twice because it's important. And you know, he's the kind of guy you can count on to get stronger, and it just feels good to hang out with him」
「Okay okay, I understand」
Kamishiro's temperament and abilities are simple and stoic.
That's why people can watch him with peace of mind, included Maisaka. He makes people think that they can do great things too.
「...You think so, too, right?」
「You know, I'm talking about that. Well, what I'm trying to say is..」
There was an unnatural pause before the next words.
「If you could, I'd appreciate it if you'd stop interfering in his life」
☆ ☆ ☆
「Interfering...huh? You're right, it's not like Maisaka. I don't know how he feels」
When Chihiro told Maria, Riko and Aika about Maisaka's story, their reactions are mixed.
For the record, Hana is not here now. And he is not going to tell her about it later.
Because he has a strong feeling that she might say, "If that's the case, it would be fun to interfere with Kamishiro" and try to take away his ability.
「Well... but, to be honest, isn't it bothersome to be told that? It's not like there's nothing you can do about it」
「Yeah. As Riko said, I suppose there's no need to worry too much about it」
Riko looked unhappy, and Maria responded with a frown.
Aika narrowed her eyes wistfully after hearing their reactions.
「I-I understand. He doesn’t want Chihiro-kun to fight」
「But there won't be any more fights like that for a while, right?」
「Eh, no. It's not that... I just don't want to see them hurting each other」
She means a fight, not a match.
That is, not the match itself, but the fact that Chihiro and Kamishiro hate each other and don't want to fight.
「Because I think that would only hurt both of you」
「...I guess so」
It's fine if it's just hostility, but it's certainly not good if it's hatred.
After all, there will be no end to it until one of them surrenders to the other, and a pitched battle will always be waiting.
『I'm not fighting an enemy』
That's what Kamishiro said back then.
Rivals, opponents, and enemies have completely different meanings.
And the current Chihiro isn't a complete enemy of Kamishiro.
「No, it's nothing」
Maria shook her head and returned to her normal expression.
――But if he's going to mess with our territory, we'll have to fight him even if we don't want to.
Chihiro thought he heard such a voice coming from somewhere, but it was just an illusion of course, he didn't know Maria's true intentions.
Still, he hoped that the day would never come when he would have to fight with Kamishiro.
- Suzu's face illustration -> here