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Chapter 155 Third Event - Word Seeking, Part Two - 1


『Red, blue, then orange? And there's a lot of "B"』
『Is it a word, or is it a character used more than once in a sentence?』
 
 Lucille blurts out Chihiro's report, and Hana makes a guess.
 Marika's [Telepathy] makes it convenient to have a conversation while continuing the search. With a smartphone, it would take a lot of time and effort to talk with one hand occupied or something.
 "Hmm," Chihiro groaned as he looked at the desks one by one.
 
『I wonder if the colors represent the order or what』
『Maybe it's more likely to be a different set for each color, or something』
 
 Marika mentioned another possibility.
 
『Well, that's possible, isn't it? I was thinking that it would be hard for four teams to collect balls if there is only one set of balls』
 
 Indeed.
 If there are no duplicate balls, each team will only have about a quarter of the correct answers.
 This means that each team has to either answer by guessing, or negotiate or compete with the other team.
 
**a
『...but it's also hard to have three sets of answers』
 
 Kamishiro blurts out in a rather dark voice.
 If Marika's guess is correct, they may have to collect many red balls for red and many blue balls for blue in order to reach the correct answer.
 In addition, it is not certain if all the balls are in the hidden places.
 
『It's going to take a while, maybe?』
『Yes. I'm well aware of that now』
 
 Chihiro agreed.
 Even though Shibahou's classrooms are rather small and there are only a few desks, it would take a lot of time and effort to check the desks dozens of times in each classroom.
 As just now, Chihiro encountered a female student from Shibaryuu, this labor would be even more laborious if there is a possibility that she would have to check the same place again where other teams have checked.
 
『Hana, you are allowed to use your answer right up to twice. If you think another school will beat you to it, just answer something anyway』
『Okay. By the way, the answer has to be in English, right?』
『Is it? Isn't it possible that it's a trick?』
 
 It's a rather annoying trick.
 After all, it was Principal Ootori who presented the rough rules, but it was the staff members who decided the answers and prepared the balls for the competition.
 It is also difficult to read the trends and countermeasures from the character of the participants.
 Since each school is allowed to answer up to three times, it is not possible to keep on answering incorrectly, but it may lead to defeat if players do not answer the questions.
 
(At any rate, we should keep the ball we have taken out of sight of others)
(Right)
 
 Chihiro recall that he used to tie Kaname up when he tried to store the ball in the pocket of the apron. Fortunately, there is a small pocket in the training wear for a locker key or something, so he put the ball in that pocket.
 
 Anyway, for now, he checked the inside of the desk, the back of the chair, the cleaning kit box, and the chalk box on the blackboard, et cetera.
 He checked everywhere he could think of, even behind lights that he couldn't reach from different angles, but he couldn't find any other balls in the first empty classroom.
 
「Next is...」
 
 He kept his original intention to search from the end of the room.
 And while fearing the possibility that the girl from earlier might be looking for the ball, he checks the next and subsequent classrooms. Although repeating the same thing over and over again makes him tired, at the same time it makes the process more efficient as it becomes more routine.
 For now, he obtains the result of 「nothing」 more quickly than in the first classroom.
 Similarly, the third classroom is empty.
 As he exhales and leave the classroom, his eyes meet those of a female student who comes out of the next classroom.
 
 *Smile*
 
 She smiled at Chihiro and ran into the next classroom.
 
「Whoa!」
 
 He think for a moment about following her, then decide not to. If he tried to find her in the same classroom, both of them might have a rough time, and they might fall down together.
 Rather, he wonders if he should think of a place where the previous female student might have left something behind.
 For a while, Chisato and he rack his brains, and then he calls out to his friends.
 
**b
『Are there any unexpected places where the ball was found? For example, on the outside wall of the school building』
『That's a great point. I found one on the ceiling of the corridor, for starters. It was stuck to the ceiling with cellophane tape』
 
 So, people would have to jump on a stepladder to reach the ceiling.
 Anyway. It's still a competition between Lost Item training schools. It seems that there are cases where just searching is not enough.
 Then, just in case... He opens a window and look around the walls.
 
「Ah...」
 
 There it is.
 Near the classroom one floor above. A small blue ball placed at the border between this floor and the floor above. It is impossible to see the letters from a distance because the ball is attached with duct tape.
 
(Chisato, can you see the letters through the duct tape?)
(I'm sorry. I can't see it, and it is quite difficult for me to float in the air)
 
 It seems that it doesn't work so well.
 Still, now that he found it, he'd like to give it a try. Since none of the members of Shibahou has telekinesis or levitation, it doesn't make much difference who can do it.
 
 Returning to the classroom, Chihiro looks out the window again.
 It is much closer than before. It seems to be the easiest to take it from this classroom, after all.
 He pulls a desk to the window and takes out a broom and a dustpan from the cleaning toolbox. It would be relatively safe to peel off the duct tape with the broom handle and catch it with the dustpan.
 
(I found it on the outside wall and try to catch it. If it falls down to the bottom, I hope Mishuku-san will help me to collect it)
(Okay, but please don't fall. At that height, you may be injured)
(Understood)
 
 Well, he won't be killed instantly because of the [Stimulus Sharing].
 Of course, he doesn't intend to hurt himself recklessly. So, he put two desks of the same height together, secure a firm foothold, and look over the top.
 Then he extends the broom handle toward the ball.
 
(...This would be very bad if someone pushes me now...)
(Hahaha. Don't worry, Nii-san. There was no one in the classroom... Huh!?)
 
 Chihiro mutters half-jokingly, and Chisato replies with a laugh.
 Both of them feel an indescribable chill and shift their body's center of gravity back. At the same time, an invisible hand pushed Chihiro's body.
 
「What!?」
 
 He instantly removes the broom from his hand and grabs the window ledge.
 He feels his heart beating rapidly, and as he dives back into the classroom, he hears a click of the tongue and sees a figure.
 
「Ah~, we screwed up. I told you not to do that」
 
 Ibusuki Kaname and Shirahama Saki.
 Saki is standing a little far from Chihiro. It was probably Kaname, who was closer to Chihiro, who made the direct move.
 The contradiction is that there is a person in a place where no one is supposed to be.
 If he had not known about Saki's ability to become invisible and Suzu's [Cognitive Obstruction], he might have fallen out of the window and been knocked down to the ground.
 
 ――But why is Kaname here, who is supposed to be tied in an empty classroom next door?
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