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Chapter 158 Fourth Event - Paintball, Part Two - 2


 With this announcement playing on the edge of his consciousness, Chihiro readied his gun and kicked the ground sideways with the momentum of turning around.
 It was an obvious plan. As long as the other party is Minamoto, he will sense his plan immediately and respond.
 ――If it's normal.
 
「What!?」
 
 However, in front of Minamoto, a girl who looks exactly like Chihiro, wearing camouflage clothes and goggles, is approaching.
 Minamoto reflexively pulls the trigger when he sees his enemy in the vicinity where she should not be, and is astonished to find that the paint bullet passed through Chisato.
 But this time is more than enough time for this duel.
 
 Bang!
 
 The bullet fired from Chihiro's marker easily lands on Minamoto's right arm.
 At the same time, Chisato's body - the phantom - dissolves into the air.
 
**a
(Thank you, Chisato)
(Hmm. My body never gets tired, so you can ask me for more)
 
『Shibakkou Academy, Minamoto Katsuya, down!』
 
 The news that the Shibakkou ace had been eliminated was mixed in with the successive reports that Marika had been hit.
 
「Wha... you!」
 
 Minamoto looks at Chihiro with wide eyes.
 He then looks down at his body and sees paint marks on his camouflage uniform. With a snap, he moves his mouth.
 
「Hey, that wasn't fair」
「Even if you say so. You were planning to [Accelerate] if push came to shove, weren't you?」
「That's true, but...」
 
 Minamoto stood up, babbling something slightly unconvincing.
 
「Anyway, you and I are going to fight in the match. But this time I lose to you」
「Ahaha.. T-thank you?」
 
 Chihiro watches Minamoto leave the scene.
 After making sure that he does not do anything more to me, he leaves too.
 
(Nii-san. Let's go to Hana-san's place)
(Okay. Let's go)
 
 Since Marika has dropped out, [Telepathy] cannot be used during the competition anymore.
 Chihiro also received the information that Hana had failed in the surprise attack and was fighting with Shizuru. Since then, there has been no news of either of them dropping out.
 The number of names heard in the earlier dropout rush was five for Shibaryuu Academy and three for Shibatsuru Academy.
 Perhaps the Shibatsuru side had some kind of a plan, Shibaryuu Academy was wiped out in one fell swoop. On the other hand, Shibatsuru Academy now has only one member on their base, which is Shizuru.
 
 ――Now, the remaining members of Shibatsuru Academy will also make their moves.
 
 Now that there is only one left, Shizuru cannot leave her position.
 It is highly likely that Shibahou will be targeted first by Shibakkou, but if Shibatsuru Academy takes the initiative in dealing with Shibahou, Shibatsuru Academy may take advantage of the situation.
 Now, he can only hope that Lucille, who is near Shibahou's position, will buy some time for them, and that Kamishiro will deal with the enemies who have reached Shibahou's position.
 
 On the field where there was almost no chance of running into other players, Chihiro ran.
 
 He ran forward at full speed, avoiding obstacles, and soon he was in Shibatsuru Academy's position.
 A moment later, a paint shot passed by Chihiro's side.
 An intercept?
 No, it was a stray bullet.
 Two groups are frequently exchanging bullets near Shibatsuru Academy's position.
 One is Arima Shizuru, who moves with light steps around her flag and pulls the trigger of her marker with a relaxed expression on her face.
 On the other side is Hana, who is covered in dust and breathing heavily in a situation where she should have a one-sided advantage due to [Cognitive Obstruction].
 But neither of them has noticed Chihiro yet.
 So, he quickly hides in the shadows to see what is going on.
 
(Nii-san. Does Arima-san see Hana-san?)
(No, I don't think so)
 
 Shizuru's bullets are fired roughly in the direction where Hana is, but many of them miss the target. She shoots only at the point where she has a rough idea of the area.
 It is not difficult to do so if one keeps one's ear to the ground in this area where there is no noise.
 Hana doesn't seem to have the time to be so stealthy any more.
 
「Damn...」
 
 Hana kicks the ground to move.
 Immediately afterward, she trips over a bump on the ground - a rise of less than an inch - and falls. Shizuru hears a sound, points her gun at her, and a bullet grazes her just in time to land.
 Hana tries to raise herself up to fire a paint shot, but her sweaty fingers slip and she misses.
 Looking at Hana, she has taken off one of her shoes. Her shoe is lying on the ground, its laces broken and useless.
 
「What's going on here?」
 
 Chihiro knew immediately that something was wrong.
 Now, just by looking at her for a moment, Hana has suffered a total of three accidents. It seems that the combination of these incidents has caused the surprise attack to fail, and the battle is still going on.
 In fact, if it were not for the [Cognitive Obstruction], Hana might have lost immediately.
 
**b
 ――And why Hana, who should have been doing well due to the effect of [Domination], has been defeated so easily?
 
 Is it coincidence?
 No matter how good Hana is, she is subjected to an accident that is convenient for Shizuru. As a result, Shizuru wins without much effort.
 Perhaps Shizuru's ability is like that.
 It's the opposite of Yotsuba, who has the luck to "help herself directly" to win the lottery, or to receive reinforcements at the right time. And yet they have similar abilities.
 
 This is not good.
 
 One-on-one is not good enough, but two-on-one is.
 Chihiro thought and jumped out of the shadows, pointing his gun at Shizuru.
 Knock!
 His shoe kicks a pebble on the ground, which catches Shizuru's eye.
 Just in time, she avoids Chihiro's bullet.
 
「Ah, welcome Izumi-kun」
 
 Shizuru smiles and pulls the trigger.
 To dodge, Chihiro had no choice but to throw himself forward as hard as he could.
 
「Izumi-kun!」
 
 Hana shouts, points her marker at Shizuru, and pulls the trigger to her dismay.
 No bullets. She's out of ammunition.
 
「At a time like this!?」
 
 It's not surprising if she had been shooting constantly since the war started, but the timing is too bad. Chihiro and the others must have also received Yotsuba's [Luck], but with only a sixth of each, so the best it could do was "Chihiro managed to get there in time".
 
「It might have been different if the student council president of your school had been there...」
 
 Shizuru said then gave Hana a warning shot.
 Hana shudders and moves her body reflexively, and although she is not hit by the bullet, she falls.
 Chihiro, resisting the urge to help her up, hid in the shadows while the two sides engaged.
 
(Chisato, at the same time from the left)
(Yes, Nii-san, from the right)
 
 With a "Ready," Chihiro jumps out of the way.
 Shizuru looks back and her eyes widen in surprise, but she smiles after half a second or so.
 
「Oh, one of them is [Illusion]?」
 
 Chisato ignored the incoming bullet, and Chihiro dodged it by flying to the right.
 
「I guess that one is the real one」
 
 Chisato kept running and dodged the pursuit.
 However, it was about time for Hana to get up――
 
「It's fine to aim for coordination, but I don't think it's a good idea to look at her」
 
 Now the muzzle of the gun is toward Hana.
 The paint bullet hits Hana directly in the chest.
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