Chapter 146 The Morning of the Decisive Battle - Part 2

「Well, I guess we'll go later. There's probably a meeting or something」
 With a nod at Riko's words, Chihiro stood up with Hana.
 They were both dressed in their school uniforms. For the competition, they would wear their training wear, but this was a matter of mood and formality.
 Riko hands them their bags as they walk through the hallway to the front door.
 Thinking that this was a strange and great thing to do, Chihiro took the bag.
「Chihiro-kun, go out with your best!」
 Aika came out from behind Riko.
 Normally she would have told Chihiro to take it easy, but this time her words were a little different.
 Perhaps it was because of the promise about Maria that he had made to Kaito.
「Even if you get hurt, I will heal you later」
「Thank you, Aika」
 She smiles at him and he smiles back.
「Also, I'm sure I'll be a nuisance to you during the competition, but...」
「Don't worry about it. In fact, if anything, if you can help us, we'd like to see you do more of it」
「Of course, so are we」
 Suzu and Maria also arrive.
 It's just a school event――not that this changes anything, just a normal event――so they all see Chihiro off to end the day.
 Maria announces calmly.
「It is perhaps fortunate in that sense that Aika and I were excluded. This way Chihiro-sama can use the abilities without hesitation」
「Go all out, Master」
「Yeah. I won't let them beat me」
 Chihiro nodded in agreement with everyone's thoughts, and answered.
(Nii-san, of course I will do my best)
(Hmm. I'm counting on Chisato, too)
 Hana, who had finished putting on her shoes before Chihiro, hurried Chihiro along.
「Come on, Izumi-kun, let's go」
 Chihiro replied with a wry smile, maintaining his own pace, or rather, his own balance.
「Well, I'm off then」
「Have a good day」
「Have a good day, Chihiro-sama」
 And so, Hana and Chihiro left the apartment and took the road to the school.
 It would have been better to go in separate ways to avoid being seen, but since it was Sunday, they decided that it was safe to go like this.
 Even if someone sees them, it is not unnatural for Chihiro to be with Hana before the competition.
「...By the way, Izumi-kun...」
 While waiting at a traffic light, Hana calls out to him and he turns around.
 She did not look at Chihiro, but kept looking forward.
「Thank you very much. For believing me yesterday. And for deciding to fight with all your might」
「...what is it?」
 So that's what this is about, huh?
 Chihiro let out a relieved breath and was instantly met with a glare.
「Why are you doing that when I'm being so serious?」
「Sorry, sorry. But I didn't mean it in a bad way」
「Thank you, Hana, for saying that right then and there」
 Chihiro couldn't have made a decision like that.
 As a Master, he was in a position to protect everyone, so he couldn't take it lightly.
「It's obvious that I believe in you. Because Hana is one of my important friends」
「...friends, huh?」
 The girl's nose twitched.
「How can you say that after doing that to me and forcing me to do what you want... my Master?」
 Chihiro almost couldn't believe his ears.
 He could not believe that Hana would call him her master in front of him.
 But then, Hana looked away from Chihiro who gulped.
「What is it? I won't say it even if you ask me to say it again」
 As she declared, she did not come back to the serious conversation.
 When they arrived at the school gate, a female student was standing there. She was Yotsuba, a girl who was wearing a school uniform but still looked somewhat mature.
「Good morning. Izumi-kun, Mishuku-san」
「Good morning, Kurohane-senpai」
 Yotsuba turned on her heel and made a sign to accompany them.
 Hana tilted her head curiously.
「Are you waiting for us?」
「Yes. The other three are already here. Although it was only a few minutes ago. I stayed here to greet Izumi-kun and the others」
 She says this and giggles.
 Chihiro could somehow read her intention from her expression.
 Once everyone is here, there is a flurry of meetings and preparations. She probably wanted to see Chihiro and the others before that.
 Even if they could not talk to each other as master and slave.
 As one of the people who were there yesterday, Yotsuba must have felt the same way.
「Now I feel bad that I can't appear...」
「Don't worry. We'll take care of it, I promise」
「Yes. We won't let anyone else have her」
 Winning and Maria.
 In the student council room, the other representatives - Lucille, Marika, and Kamishiro - had already arrived, just as Yotsuba had said.
 Lucille is sitting in her usual vice-president's seat, spreading out snacks, while Marika is reading at her own pace. Kamishiro was standing at the edge of the room, smiling from there.
「Ah, Chihiro and Hana. It seems we are all here now」
『Good morning, you two』
「Hello. Let's work hard today」
 And it wasn't just the three of them in the room.
「If Fukami-san had been here, the student council would be all together」
 On the opposite side of Kamishiro, Ayase was still in the corner of the room.
 However, she was dressed in an unusual and unfamiliar outfit.
「Um... Why are you wearing a nurse's uniform?」
 A pure white outfit with a skirt extending below the knees.
 A nurse's cap is also included. The fabric and sewing seem to indicate that this is not a cosplay item, but something actually used by nurses.
 The adult-like outfit suits Ayase, who is of a certain height.
 When Ayase moves, the skirt of her nurse's uniform flutters.
「I just thought I would heal you when you are tired... mentally」
『The so-called [Placebo Effect]』
 No, well, I'm sure Ayase will make people feel better.
(This was unexpected...)
 Chihiro agreed with what Chisato muttered.
 Hana was also open-mouthed next to him, and Lucille blurted out a laugh when she saw the two of them like that.
「This is one of the strategies to win. Aoi's ability requires a costume」
 As it turns out, there are two large sports bags at Ayase's feet. One of them is slightly open, and Chihiro can see that it is stuffed with fabric.
 Probably, there are various kinds of clothes besides the nurse's uniform.
「My ability is [Pretending]. It's an effect that maximizes the performance appropriate for the clothes I'm wearing」
「As I recall, you said it was a universal type like Lucille-senpai...」
「Yes. For example, if I wear a dress, I am confident that O will look more ladylike than Kurohane-senpai」
 What is extracted is only Ayase's own characteristics.
 It does not mean that "she" can obtain knowledge that "she" doesn't has, nor does it mean that "her" physical ability will be greatly improved. It is more like self-suggestion than supernatural power, but it is a fact that one's behavior is greatly influenced by one's mind.
 In a sense, if "she" can do "her" best just by changing the clothes, it can be said to be an exceptional cost performance.
「So, senpai, you cross-dress because of your ability?」
「Yes. Actually, it is partly due to my ability. That's why I'm a little jealous of Chisato-chan, who won the first prize at the beauty contest」
 Unexpectedly, "she" brings up Chihiro's black history (?) and "she" also looks at Kamishiro, who is also the first runner-up of the Miss Contest.
 Kamishiro shrugs his shoulders and just smiles at Chihiro.
「You traitor!」
「Wait, wait a minute. Why would I betray you?」
『Kamishiro-kun betrayed』
「Yes, you betrayed」
 For some reason, Kamishiro responded to the accusation with an unexpectedly positive reaction. Marika and Yotsuba were smiling and laughing at him.
 Perhaps judging those protests are futile in a place where the majority of women are present, Kamishiro's shoulders slumped in disappointment.
 Lucille blurts out again and clears her throat.
「Well, let's start the meeting then. We'll have a detailed strategy meeting later anyway, but it will be brief」
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