He was startled by the voice in his head.
（That's right. Are you okay? Are you all right now?）
Nothing to be concerned about, nothing to be concerned about in the first place...
Chihiro was about to say that, but then he understood.
What was he trying to say earlier?
「I... will never be one of you」
Shaking his head, Chihiro answered Kaito again.
He looked him straight in the eye.
Chihiro's consciousness was pulled back.
Without that voice, Chihiro would have been manipulated by Kaito.
（I am glad that Nii-san is safe. I seemed to be able to stop Nii-san, because I was not affected beyond a certain point）
He thought [Ruler] was an ability that worked better on women than on men, but it seems not entirely accurate.
Probably, it is the power of [Domination], just like in the case of Kaname. It is a good thing that Chihiro made a contract with Chisato during this period.
Or, it may be the influence of Chisato's presence in Chihiro.
Since one body has two personalities, even if Chihiro in the open is affected by the [Ruler], Chisato in the inside is only indirectly affected. In addition, when the time comes, Chisato acts as a recovery factor and stops Chihiro.
He put his finger to his chin and made a thoughtful face.
「Izumi Chihiro's slaves do have the means to significantly block out the influence of my [Ruler]. However, their masters are not affected... I was told that a double dose of my own power and Kaname's [Terminal] would ensure that」
「Master, I would never lie」
「I know, Kaname, but I have to punish a useless tool, don't I?」
Kaito told Kaname, whose face had gone pale, in no uncertain terms.
Immediately after that, the girl screamed.
Kaname crouches down with her head in her hands.
Perhaps she is afraid of being punished, or perhaps she has completely abandoned her confident and charming appearance as an idol, her body trembling and her eyes closed tightly.
Then, she stares at Chihiro with wide-open eyes.
「If you, if you don't stand up to Master...!」
「Such a thing――」
Chihiro doesn't want to be told what to do.
He was puzzled and shook his head. After all, they are the ones who have been attacked by Kaito. It is natural to resist.
However, he felt sympathy for Kaname when he saw how disturbed Kaname was now.
But he doesn't think that Kaito would agree to Chihiro's request to "forgive her".
「You don't like it so much? Then, I'll cancel the slavery contract with Kaname. Then you won't have to sell your charms to the bigwigs of the entertainment world. It might be better for Kaname」
「No, don't? Please, Master? I'll do anything. I'll do anything, please don't throw me away!」
An idol who should have a large number of fans all over the country was shamelessly screaming to win the favor of a single man.
Her eyes are wet with tears, and she is willing to let spit fly from her mouth.
Shifting from the crouching position to a kneeling position, Kaname simply begs for Kaito's forgiveness.
The sight of Kaname's body makes hot blood rush to Chihiro's brain.
Kaname is the enemy.
She once put him in a tight spot. Fortunately, nothing happened at that time, but that doesn't mean that the incident is over.
Still, Chihiro can't allow a girl to do this.
Chihiro shouted at Kaito, without any calculation or chance of winning.
He gets up from his cushion, stomps on the table, and tries to grab him.
But he was blocked by Saki's hand.
「Don't you dare touch Master!」
A hostile look came into her eyes.
It was a quick response.
The reason why she was able to move so quickly must have been because she had been alerted in advance.
Perhaps Saki was there for that purpose from the beginning. The first appearance of the entanglement must have been her ability by process of elimination.
Seemingly expecting Chihiro to stop, Kaito said without even changing his expression.
「Negotiations have broken down. Then, Chihiro-kun, let's make another deal」
Chihiro asked as he pulled himself away from Saki.
He sat back down on the cushions, and Hana and Yotsuba shook his hands from both sides in concern. It was a relief that they had calmed down.
「It's easy. If your Shibahou Academy wins the inter-school competition tomorrow, you win. From now on, you and I swear to be inseparable and coexist. In exchange, if Shibatsuru Academy wins, you return Maria」
「She's a good woman, even if she is my sister. And now she's sworn her allegiance to you, hasn't she? It feels good to own a woman who belongs to someone else... doesn't it?」
He looked at Yotsuba instead of Chihiro.
Yotsuba bit her lip and glared at Kaito.
「Whatever. So, what's your response?」
Chihiro was at a loss for words.
If he wins, he keeps the status quo; if he loses, he loses something important. Although not having to be afraid of the threat of [Absolute] is a good payback.
「I can't make that kind of promise without Maria. Maria is not a thing」
「It's a thing. It's your slave, isn't it?」
That's true in the sense of "property".
But that does not mean that Maria's personality is ignored. After all, there is a definite difference between Kaito's and Chihiro's way of thinking.
It is not a good idea to follow him. Chihiro thinks so, and tries to ask for another condition.
Hana's voice interrupted him.
Chihiro startled, but when she turned around and looked back at Chihiro with determined eyes, she is not under Kaito's control.
He knew immediately that she had made the earlier comment of her own volition.
「Don't worry. Even Maria-chan has already prepared for this. Besides, it is all right if we win. It's just me, Izumi kun, and everyone else」
Her sincerity comes through.
It is also clear that they should win.
If they don't lose, they don't have to think about what happens when they lose. Chihiro nodded deeply.
Then he turns and looks at Kaito.
As usual, he is unreadable.
「In exchange for your offer, I have a condition. An official reply must be made only after Maria agrees to it. If you accept, you must agree to one more condition in addition to the one you just agreed to」
「If she says something is impossible, I'll ask you to change it to something else, though」
「...okay. That's good」
Kaito nodded in satisfaction.
「We have a deal. My girls will do their best here. You can come as fast as you can」
With these words, he ordered Kaname and Saki to get dressed.
He acted as if a deal had already been made. Well, in fact, Maria agreed to it when she heard about it later.
Although the restaurant is now empty of other customers, Chihiro and the others are not ready to continue eating.
And before Kaito left, Chihiro and his friends received a discarded address from Kaito and left the place.
「Ah, yes. Please give my best regards to Maria. I can go see her in person, but I'm sure she won't like it」
Chihiro responded to this request with a slight nod.