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Chapter 117 Festival Act, An Unexpected Visitor - Part 2


 After exchanging a few words with her, Chihiro hung up the phone and headed for the entrance.
 He changed his shoes at the shoe box and walked through the stalls and crowds to the school gate.
 Then, he walked up to the entrance gate which several committee members had made with their own hands, and found the person he was looking for.
 
 Mannish short hair.
 She is a woman in her twenties wearing a simple, neatly designed, casual style pantsuit. She is not wearing a tie, and she carries a small bag on her shoulder.
 She is only one or two centimeters taller than Chihiro. But then, Chihiro should have grown a little since he entered high school, but still, he is not taller than her.
 
 Perhaps she had noticed him while he was approaching her, but she stares at him with a piercing gaze. Chihiro could not look her in the eyes, perhaps because of his unconsciousness.
 
**a
「Sorry to keep you waiting」
「Oh. No, I haven't waited as long as I thought I would. Is everything all right with your class?」
「I'm not on shift right now, so it's fine」
「I see」
 
 Hearing his reply, she suddenly relaxed her expression. Her expression, which tends to look stiff when she is in her normal state, turns into a relaxed one when she smiles.
 
「Then, let's go」
 
 She says this and starts to walk away without waiting for a reply. Her walking speed is considerate enough for Chihiro to catch up with her.
 So, he catches up with her at a trot, and takes a position next to her and half a step behind her.
 When he looks up at her, he sees that she is looking around with the same smile on her face as before.
 
「Why, suddenly?」
 
 She replies without looking back.
 
「Do I need a reason to come to see my alma mater's school festival?」
「Yes, but...」
 
 Before long, they come to a dense area of stalls.
 His sister visits to the nearest stalls one after another and buys food from them. Naturally, Chihiro had to follow her.
 At the first stall, the clerk asked Chihiro to show his student ID cards when he saw him standing next to his sister.
 His sister, who seemed to feel something, looked back at Chihiro every time paying the bill in the following stores. Well, there is no particular reason to hesitate to show the card, since it gives a discount, especially since the student ID card has been in vain since this morning.
 
「You know, I'm busy, but I thought I'd take a day off for this」
「Well, okay」
 
 Continuing the conversation in between shopping, Chihiro nodded his head quite readily.
 
「But there's definitely another reason」
「What's that?」
「Well, I wanted to say hello to the teachers and ask for a little advice. And of course, I came to see Chihiro's face」
「......」
 
 When he heard the reason added at the end, Chihiro was at a loss for words.
 
「I don't think you're at an age where you miss your family」
「Family is still family, no matter how many years old you are」
 
 She said this without any hesitation.
 She also stands tall and stately, with a sense of solidity and dignity.
 Well, having trained at Shibahou Academy for three years and beyond, she is indeed a talented young woman of whom one can be proud.
 
「... Then, I guess it's time to go」
 
 By the time his sister muttered this, Chihiro's hands were full of paper plates and plastic packets. Despite the fact that Chihiro is her younger brother, he was willing to help his sister with her stuff, but it still too much.
 
「Where are we going?」
「To the teacher's room」
 
 The layout of the school should be almost the same as it was when his sister was a student.
 So, Chihiro followed her without hesitation into the staff room.
 While the school is in full swing for the annual school festival, things are not so different from usual here. So, the teachers seem a little more relaxed.
 
「Excuse me」
 
 When his sister raised her voice near the entrance, a number of teachers inside turned around.
 Although Chihiro was horrified by their fearless attitude, the teachers' reactions were extremely friendly.
 
「Kaede-san?」
「Kaede? Ah, Izumi Kaede?」
 
 More than one person recognized her just by looking at her face.
 They invite her to their desks, and even Chihiro, a baggage handler, accompanies her.
 It has been a few years since Kaede graduated from the school, but it seems that there are still some teachers who have been working there since then.
 In the midst of the lively atmosphere, Chihiro felt like he was out of the mosquito net, even though he was nearby.
 
「You've become beautiful」
「Thank you very much」
「What's your rank now?」
「A. I don't think I'll be able to get an S rank, so I guess that's the end of it」
 
 With this conversation, he's reminded once again of his sister's popularity and recognition.
 
**b
「Who's the boy over there?」
「That's my brother. He's in his first year here」
「Heh. I didn't know your brother was enrolled」
「What is your rank?」
 
 Chihiro did his best to answer the topics that kept popping up.
 In between conversations, Kaede took the food she had bought from Chihiro's arm and offered it to the teachers. The amount of food they had bought for this purpose was quickly consumed, probably more than they could eat.
 In the end, the two left the teacher's office about fifteen minutes later.
 It has been less than an hour since he met his sister again, but he is already very tired.
 
「Sister (Nee-san), I have to go back to class soon...」
「...Oh, yeah」
 
 He needs help closing up.
 In addition, he needs to meet the executive committee and the student council after that, but before he could say anything, Kaede reached out her left hand to her.
 
「Then, give me the key to the dormitory while you're at it」
「...Why?」
「Because I'm planning to stay here today」
 
 Kaede tilts her head as she looks at him lightly.
 
「Is there something wrong?」
「...No」
 
 He shakes his head, goes through his pockets, and holds out the key to his dormitory.
 
 Well, he wanted to tell her to get a hotel room, but it was easy to imagine that even if he did, she would reject the offer because of the cost.
 Besides, it would be a bit awkward to turn away a family who had come to see him.
 
 And fortunately, he had kept the key with him, even though he had not used it for a long time.
 So, when he returned to the classroom after leaving Kaede who said that she was going to the principal's office, the last guest was just leaving.
 Maisaka, whose face he seems to see for the first time today, shouts to the last staff and his classmates who have come back.
 
「Phew~. Just in case, we have a few more minutes until the store closes, so don't make any big movements until then. However, please start cleaning up the kitchen and other areas that can be cleaned up」
 
 "Oh", the group, mostly boys, started to move.
 Chihiro thought about helping them, but then he saw a number of people rushing into the kitchen and decided to stand by. Then Riko, who has changed from a maid to a uniform, quietly approaches him.
 
「Hey. Do you want to continue "that" on the night?」
「Uh...sorry. I don't think I can do it today. I've got something I can't miss」
「What is it?」
 
 Riko tilted her head curiously at Chihiro's answer.
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