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Chapter 144 The Ruler's Visit - Part 1


 Saturday.
 Before anyone knew it, the inter-school competition was coming up the next day.
 Chihiro and the other representatives of Shibahou Academy have a brief meeting, confirm the meeting place and time for the next day, and then disperse.
 
「Kurohane-senpai, would you like to have lunch with us?」
「Yes, that would be nice. Then, please do so」
 
 Chihiro and Hana, acting somewhat bland, decide to go home with Yotsuba.
 They leave Kamishiro, who says he will stay behind to train, and Marika, who says she will stop by the student council office before going home.
 As they were about to go through the school gate.
 
**a
「Nice to meet you, Izumi Chihiro-kun」
 
 ――A man's voice came.
 
 Although the view is somewhat obstructed by the school gate, the place is reasonably open.
 Naturally, there was no one nearby.
 
 But suddenly a man's voice was heard.
 It was not a whisper, but it was not loud either. And yet, it reached Chihiro's ears strangely clearly, without seeming to interfere with the sound of the wind or the rustling of the trees.
 It was like, yes.
 It was as if the person had the power to attract all eyes, ears, and interests to himself.
 
 And then, Chihiro stops and looks back.
 There he is.
 
 The man looks to be in his late twenties.
 Dark hair, dark eyes.
 His face is handsome, but there is nothing special about him except for his color. According to a theory Chihiro has heard, the ultimate beauty or good looks is a form that has lost its features and has been averaged out.
 His slender figure is exactly what one should call a kind of perfection.
 Basically slender. But he is not unreliable, and he maintains a certain amount of fleshiness. He is considerably taller than Chihiro, in the mid-170cm range.
 
 Needless to say, Chihiro recognized him.
 He must be "that person".
 
「Fukami, Kaito」
 
 Hana muttered beside Chihiro.
 She stood frozen, staring aghast at the man standing a few meters away.
 
「...Izumi-kun」
 
 Yotsuba, who had guessed the situation from Hana's muttering, steps forward to protect Chihiro.
 Kaito, the man, smiled.
 
「Yes. I am Fukami Kaito, Maria's brother and a rank S [Lost Item]. And the leader of [Absolute]」
 
 It was a smile that reassured those who saw it, a smile that would be attractive enough to a young woman.
 
「It's okay. I'm not going to hurt you. So, please don't worry」
「...Do you think I can believe you?」
 
 Yotsuba's voice was faintly trembling as she responded.
 
(Nii-san, this man is dangerous)
 
 Suddenly, Chisato whispers in Chihiro's brain.
 
(How can I say this? I almost trust him just by talking to him. Just like that girl said the other day)
 
 Just the mere recognition of his presence, voice or figure is irresistible.
 More effective on women than on men, those affected eventually become his slaves, even their personalities distorted. Such an unreasonable ability.
 When it was used by Kaname's [Terminal], it did not make any sense, but apparently, when it is used by the person himself, it is much different.
 If even Chisato in Chihiro is affected, then Yotsuba and Hana must be affected.
 
「Mishuku-san, Kurohane-senpai. Please leave here now」
「Izumi-kun?」
「He's supposed to be here for me. There is no need for the two of you to be here」
 
 Above all, Chihiro doesn't want to see these girls dominated by others.
 And the girls must have sensed Chihiro's thoughts behind his words. However, Hana and Yotsuba remained silent, hesitating.
 
「But...」
「Under the circumstances, we can't leave you here」
 
 Their eyes told Chihiro it was dangerous.
 It's Saturday, lunchtime, in front of the school gate.
 Most of the students have already gone home. So, at this moment, there is no one but Chihiro and the others, and if Hana and the others leave, Chihiro will be left alone.
 However, Chihiro does not want to change his opinion.
 It would be easier to reduce the damage if he alone confronts Kaito, who is relatively easy to resist Kaito's ability.
 However.
 
**b
「There’s no need to talk. You can't escape anyway」
 
 」Huh, there's a voices behind me, too!?」 Chihiro thought.
 Of course, there was no one there either.
 But when, Chihiro turn around again, and there are two girls standing there.
 
 It seems that the voice belongs to one of the girl, whom he has never seen before.
 She has short hair in a rough style and is wearing a traditional sailor uniform, the uniform of Shibatsuru Academy.
 Judging from the fact that the uniform is thin and short-sleeved, she is probably wearing a summer uniform.
 
「You didn't even notice we were here, huh?」
 
 She smiles at Chihiro, and there is another person beside her.
 This is a girl he knows, dressed in a winter sailor suit.
 This is Ibusuki Kaname, a self-proclaimed idol of the bizarre and brutal type.
 
「It's been a while, Izumi-kun. Did you wash your neck and wait for me?」
 
 She says, and smiles fiercely, showing her teeth.
 Kaname's eyes were not smiling, but glistening with murderous intent toward Chihiro.
 It was natural, after all Chihiro had done to her, but it seemed that she had a lot of grudges against him.
 
 Anyway.
 Three people suddenly appeared where no one was supposed to be.
 If it had been only Kaito, it could have been carelessness on the part of Chihiro and the others.
 But if they missed three people, it is natural to assume that there was some kind of power at work.
 
 The opponent is Fukami Kaito, the ruler of [Absolute].
 And two students belong to Shibatsuru Academy.
 Then, the cause of the miss is probably...
 
「...the ability to make people unaware of their surroundings」
「Not exactly. Although the recognition direction is correct」
 
 The voice came from Kaito.
 He shrugged his shoulders lightly as he looked back at Chihiro and the others again.
 
「You don't have to look so scared, do you? I'm the one who came all the way here to say hello to you」
「Do you think we can trust you?」
 
 Hana repeated what Yotsuba had just said.
 As if finally freed from the spell, she quickly got behind Chihiro. Their backs touch each other through their uniforms.
 Squeeze!
 Her slender fingers intertwine with Chihiro's left hand and hold it.
 
「Hmm. You're really into this guy, aren't you?」
「Yeah, it seems so. Hana-chan, you have such bad taste, don't you?」
 
 Kaname answered to the girl.
 Both of their voices are strangely cheerful, which is frightening.
 Just as the other day Kaname ordered Maria and the others to rape Chihiro - It's likely that these girls can hurt people with a smile if Kaito orders them to do so.
 
「Don't do it, Kaname, Saki」
「Yes, Master」
 
 When Kaito gave the order, the girls obeyed and kept their mouths shut.
 And they did not hesitate to say "Master" in this public place.
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