Chapter 147 Opening - Part 1

 The meeting was, as Lucille declared, a simple one.
「You know that the representatives of each school have already been announced, right? Then we will discuss it and we will make Shibatsuru Academy our rival」
 The representatives were informed and approved by the school principal before the competition.
 After that, the principal of each school has prepared a list of representatives and sent it to the other participating schools. In other words, at this point, representatives of the other schools know their names, grades, and male or female names.
 However, even if their names are known, it is difficult to know the details of their abilities.
「As for Ibusuki Kaname of Shibatsuru Academy, according to Yotsuba's information, her ability is already known. To be honest, it's rather troublesome」
 [Terminal]――An ability that enables one to possess the abilities of others without taking away or competing with their abilities.
 At the time of the school festival, she used Kaito's ability, and probably she can use other people's abilities as well. Depending on how she uses it, her ability might be more powerful than Hana's [Looting].
「I don't know the other members either. None of the members who participated last year are here」
 Arima Shizuru, third-year student, student council president.
 Shirosaki Madoka, second-year student.
 Iwaki Tsukasa, second-year student.
 Ibusuki Kaname, first-year student.
 Shirahama Saki, first-year student.
 ――Five students. All girls.
「Excuse me, is Shibatsuru Academy a girls' school?」
「No, it's not」
 Hana answered Kamishiro's simple question.
 The reason why Shibatsuru Academy was an all-girls, even though it was a co-ed school, was a little difficult to explain here.
 So, sensing Chihiro and Hana's subtle expression, Yotsuba moved on with the conversation.
「Yesterday, I had a chance to meet Shirahama Saki by chance. According to what I saw at that time, her ability seems to be the ability to hide herself, others, and objects」
「I see. That's more trouble than I thought. So, I'm going to mark the schools that seem to be in trouble as far as I know. Any objections?」
 No one said anything.
 Chihiro, Hana, and Yotsuba are fine, and Marika seems to have her own thoughts on Kaname's name. And Kamishiro is not the brains of the team to begin with.
「It's settled. Then, we'll know more after the opening ceremony when we meet each other and the events are announced. Anyway, let's move on first」
 Lucille interrupts the conversation.
 But then Yotsuba opened her mouth.
「I'd like to ask everyone to do something before leave」
 She asked the five of them, except Ayase, to show their palms, saying it was a way to win the game. One by one, she drew "八" on the palm of their hand.
 It might be a clover symbol.
 Well, Chihiro have seen this action before, as a kind of magic spell.
「May you all have good luck」
 She said with a mischievous smile as she drew "八" on Chihiro's hand.
 [Luck Sharing]
 It's an ability to distribute Yotsuba's [Luck] to Chihiro and the others.
 The rules of the competition state that "from the opening ceremony to the end of the competition, participants are not allowed to receive any support for their abilities from anyone other than the same participant".
 Since it is not forbidden to receive the support before the opening ceremony, this is the last chance to do so.
 About ten minutes later.
 The group moved to the gymnasium, leaving Ayase behind.
 In a conspicuous position in the empty gymnasium, there stood Principal Ootori. Around him, several staff members were working on something.
 Looking at the stage, a sign indicating the "Four Schools Joint Competition" was hung on the stage.
 As they approached the principal, who was dressed in a suit, and bowed to him, the principal spoke to them.
「It looks like everyone is here. Are there any physical problems?」
「No. We are all in good health」
 Yotsuba answered with a smile on behalf of all the participants.
 ...It seems strange that Principal Ootori uses honorifics, but this is rather normal in a public setting. In fact, Lucille and the others, with whom no personal contact has been made, accept the greeting quite unconcernedly.
 Since the other schools did not seem to have arrived yet, they waited in line at a somewhat secluded position.
 A few minutes later, students from other schools start to gather one after another.
 The first group was led by a nervous-looking boy with glasses.
 There were five of them, including the boy in the front, all boys. Their uniforms, with their stiff collars, are the symbol of Shibakkou Academy in Kyushu, which is the only boys' school among the four.
 When they line up in front of Chihiro and the others, they bow without a word from either side.
 As representatives, Yotsuba exchanged a few words with the boy with the glasses.
「Hello... I'm looking forward to working with you today」
「Me too, I'm looking forward to working with you. By the way, is that all of you?」
 Yotsuba answered with a smile and glanced backward.
 There are four of them.
 If the boy with glasses who seems to be the student council president is included in the representatives, the number fits, but if he is not, they are one person short.
 And as a matter of fact, the name of the president of the student council is not on the list of representatives.
「Well, actually, there is one more person...」
「He said he was going to the convenience store but he hasn't come back yet...」
 The president of the student council scrunched up his face, and someone behind him muttered in confusion.
 Judging by the somewhat "it can't be helped" atmosphere, it seems that the person is a repeat offender. Hopefully he is not lost in an unfamiliar place.
 After a while, Yotsuba just nodded her head.
「I see. As long as everyone is here by the time the competition starts, there is no problem. Isn't that right, Principal?」
 Principal Ootori nodded his head in agreement.
 In the meantime, Shibaryuu Academy from Osaka arrived.
 The female teacher led a group of five students, three boys and two girls. This is an unusually well-balanced composition of boys and girls.
(No, Nii-san, our school is also two to three, so it's normal)
(Oh, that's right)
 It seems that Ayase was unintentionally included in the number.
 No, rather, it is three to three if Ayase is included.
 The same greetings are exchanged with Shibaryuu Academy.
 Finally, Sapporo, Shibatsuru Academy came in.
 There were a total of six clacks of shoes on the floor. The five students, excluding the teachers, are the representatives.
 In contrast to Shibakkou Academy, all of them, including the teachers, are female.
 Moreover, each of them has a certain level of good appearance, which is enough to be described as a beautiful girl.
 The students of Shibakkou Academy exhaled when they looked back at the group of beautiful girls.
 Perhaps they could have heard their mutterings, but the girls did not change their steps.
(...they are here)
 Ibusuki Kaname and Shirahama Saki are also in the group.
 Just after the Shibatsuru Academy group stopped and the four schools formed a cross formation, Kaname glanced at Chihiro.
 It was a look of hostility.
 She glared at him, and Chihiro could see the dark circles in her eyes.
 ――Don't tell me that she's not getting enough sleep because of the punishment?
 That was the first concern that came to Chihiro's mind. He wonders what she's going to do in case it interferes with the competition.
 No, such a thing is "unlikely" to happen.
 If Kaname does not do what Kaito wants, he will cut her off without mercy.
 Therefore, Kaname has no choice but to fight as hard as she can, or harder than she can, even if she is not feeling well.
 While Chihiro thinking this, Principal Ootori stepped forward and raised his voice.
「Since all schools are here... we will now begin the school competition among the four schools」
 All the participants applauded.
 At the same time, the air around the venue became tense little by little.
 At first, it seemed that the opening of the competition was a little too much for the participants to understand.
 Indeed, for a joint event of the four schools, the place was a little bit deserted.
 However, all the students present here are [Lost Item] who are trained for combat on a daily basis. And what's about to begin is a serious competition using their abilities.
 There is no need for decorum.
 The battle has already begun from the opening ceremony and the announcement of the events that await everyone.
 The venue may be changed according to the events.
 Although students of each school are free to watch the games, time is taken for strategy meetings and order decisions again after the announcement of the events.
 If the spectators participate from the opening ceremony, they will be exhausted.
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