A few minutes after receiving Riko's call.
The corridor is surprisingly quiet.
But there is a blonde girl standing alone in front of the bedroom, looking as if she had no idea where she was.
Looking back at the door, she looked slightly relieved.
「Riko, where are Aika and the others...?」
Riko answered and looked at the door nearby.
（...I see, that's why I couldn't hear them）
Maybe they were worried about disturbing the next room or the room above them by their quarrel.
The fact that they didn't start a fight suggests that they are still rational. Or maybe they expected that the conversation would never end peacefully.
If the latter is the case, it's not a surprise.
「Why, all of a sudden?」
「...We were just talking in the living room. But after I asked Maria what she was doing today, things got ugly...」
Aika was getting more and more heated in her questioning, but Maria kept on pushing her in an indifferent manner.
They continued to argue, and eventually moved to the bedroom.
Riko tried to warn them, but to no avail, and left the bedroom to ask Chihiro for help.
Chihiro nodded, put his things in the corridor and put his hand on the door.
――This is not the kind of third party intervention he had feared at first, but in a way his fears had come true.
If Maria and Aika had caused the trouble, it was Chihiro's responsibility to take care of it.
He opened the door, making sure that Riko followed Chihiro with a mysterious face,
A dry sound echoed in the bedroom.
He rushed in and saw that Aika had just slapped Maria.
Maria's cheeks are red and swollen, and Aika's cheeks are swollen as well. It was probably the result of the damage done by the [Retaliation].
Judging from the way they're swollen, they've already taken a few hits.
In less than a second of analysis, the two of them make their next move.
Aika tries to grab Maria, and Maria lets out a short breath and raises her right hand.
Before either of their moves could reach the other, Chihiro stepped in between them.
「Wait. Calm down, both of you!」
He was prepared to be attacked, but fortunately, both of them stopped their moves.
They must have not expected Chihiro to come back at this moment. They looked at Chihiro with a blank expression.
「...Izumi-kun. Welcome back」
Aika's excitement hadn't waned. Maria, on the other hand, quickly changed her expression and greeted Chihiro.
Riko, who had closed the bedroom door tightly, turned around and said in a dumbfounded voice.
「Well, this isn't a welcome home. Why are you even messing with each other, both of you?」
Aika glared at Maria.
The emotion in her glare seemed to go beyond frustration and anger to loathing and hatred.
Maria accepts it with a cold attitude and mutters.
「It's nothing. It's no big deal, Izumi-kun, don't worry about it」
Chihiro looked at Aika again.
When she looked at him, she had an annoyed, apologetic look on her face, but at the same time, she couldn't let it go.
He then turns his head back.
「It doesn't work that way. At least, it doesn't look like it's a big deal」
If it's just a simple quarrel, maybe he doesn't need to intervene.
After all, personal, female-on-female conflicts often don't go well when others interfere. But not this time.
It happened just as he sensed something wrong with Maria.
And she's even started to hurt other. So, he can't just turn a blind eye to the fact that his precious girls are fighting each other.
「...You're taking Takatsuki-san's side」
「It's nothing. Let's go back to the living room. We can't talk calmly in here」
When he asked her what she meant, Maria shook her head and turned herself around. He wanted to stop her and question her, but he had to deal with the fight first.
（...I wonder if it's safe to leave this room）
When he looked back at Riko, she raised her eyebrows, but nodded back.
「I guess it can't be helped. It's still better to have a table between us than to sit on the bed」
He gently hugged Aika's shoulders and urged her to sit down, and she did so with her head down.
The four of them left the bedroom and went to the corridor.
As they approached the living room, they heard a noise coming from the front door.
The door is unlocked and Hana, a small literary girl, peeks out. She looked back at the four of them and raised her voice suspiciously.
「I came here because I was curious about Izumi-kun's story, but... what's the situation?」
「...Ah, it's too much. It's too much trouble, let's just talk about it in the living room」
Riko's suggestion with a sigh is not rejected by anyone.