Suzu, as it turned out, played her role very well.
She analyzed the existing abilities in detail, and even discovered abilities that Chihiro were not aware of.
『I think Chihiro-kun can be promoted to rank C』
『Are you sure?』
『Yes, definitely. Not that I'll decide on my own, but at least I'll report to the higher-ups that C is appropriate』
As she said, Chihiro is later notified that he had been promoted to rank C.
Apparently, there has never been a case of a student being promoted from E to C in the first six months of school.
But well, it seems that the most promising students have been promoted to D rank or higher when they entered the school in the first place.
Even so, Chihiro is now at the "top" of the first-year class.
Although the number of C ranks seems to be slowly increasing after two rounds of assesment, C is still a target of aspiration for many students.
Still, from the beginning of his enrollment, there was the feud with Riko, the match with Kamishiro a short while later, the promotion to D rank, the cavalry battle at the sport festival, and finally the relationship with Aika, all of which marked a dizzying change in Chihiro's environment.
「Oh. I didn't expect you to move up to C. Well, I suppose I should congratulate you」
「Thank you, Maisaka-kun」
Maisaka is the first to congratulate him, and his classmates didn't hesitate to toy with Chihiro.
「C rank...Izumi-kun, do you have any tricks?」
「You have a lot of subtle abilities, right? Show me something」
Because of the [Mind-reading] incident, Chihiro is still not very good at talking to other people, but his classmates' feelings are much more favorable than before.
In some ways, it's just a matter of cash, but in other ways, the psychological hurdle has been lowered by Aika, Riko and Maisaka talking to him. And above all, he can't forget...
In the crowded classroom, Maria is sitting quietly in her seat, as usual.
Eventually, she turned around and smiled at Chihiro, after staring at him for a while.
She said only one word, and went back to her own world.
He wanted to say something to her, but he was too busy answering to his other classmates and ended up not being able to say anything.
Kamishiro also called out to Chihiro.
He had a pure smile on his face and reached out his hand to Chihiro. That was enough to make the students around them pay attention to them.
「Congratulations. It didn't take you long to stand together」
「Thanks. But I'm no match for Kamishiro-kun」
He meant it, but when Kamishiro heard Chihiro's reply, his smile turned into a wry grin.
「That's not true. I'll have to work harder too」
As Maisaka had told Chihiro before, he remained in the C rank this time.
His rival, Yuse Shuka, also failed to reach the B rank, leaving Mishuku Hana - a girl with the ability to [Looting] - as the only first-year B rank.
Maria, Aika, Riko, Maisaka, and other students with whom Chihiro have been in constant contact also failed to change their ranks this time.
That's why Chihiro's promotion to C rank is such great news for everyone.
「You know, when someone's rank goes up, there's a part of me that gets impatient, but there's also a part of me that's happy. Because it means that if I work hard, I will be evaluated properly」
That's what Riko said.
The night of the announcement, a small party is held at the apartment. Hana didn't want to attend, saying "Why am I celebrating Izumi-kun?", but Aika was happy to join the party.
They bought a whole cake at a nearby cake shop and enjoyed it with Japanese, Western and Chinese dishes prepared by the three girls including Aika.
Incidentally, the cake is purchased out of Chihiro's pocket.
It's not because of any teasing or anything, but because he wanted to help the girls with their cooking.
Chihiro's family consists of 3 people, his mother, his sister, who is working, pays the bills at home and him.
In accordance with the family's policy of not worrying about family finances until after one has reached adulthood, the subsidy received as a [Lost Item] is Chihiro's pocket money, so the C rank has given him a little more room in his pocket.
Since they are all underage, no alcohol is consumed, nor do they make a lot of noise like idiots, but that night, the living room of the apartment is filled with a more harmonious atmosphere and smiles than usual.
As the food is too much for them to finish, they naturally concluded that they could eat it in the morning, and the party is over.
「Is there anything you want us to do?」
It was when the cleanup is finished that Aika asked him this.
She said that they wanted to do something to celebrate.
「I can't do anything too expensive, but other than that...」
「Emm... Let's see...」
He can't think of anything right off the top of his head.
In terms of service from everyone, he just had a great play the other day.
It's enough that they're all around him, taking care of him like this... he thought, but it probably wouldn't be enough for her.
So, there must be something.
Thinking about it, Chihiro came up with an idea.
「Did you come up with something?」
「Yeah... It's not really for everyone, it's mainly for Aika, if that's okay?」
Aika and the others looked at each other, smiled, and nodded.
「Good. Well then...」
Chihiro smiled and looked at Aika.
Then, he said an idea for a solution to her recent problem - a desire that he had come up with after peeking into Aika's desires the other day.
「...Umm, can I develop your butt?」
There is a moment of silence.
Needless to say, Aika and the others responded with a three-way, grand response.