Earh 13 1

Chapter 13 Shattered Pride – Nishizaki Riko, Part One

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 ”Riko, you’re in a good mood today”

 ”Is that so? I’m the same as usual, though”

 On Thursday lunchtime, Nishizaki Riko got an unexpected comment from her friend

 Although she had a homemade rice ball wrapped in plastic wrap, which was in a bad shape, there is nothing wrong with eating it by herself. Indeed, when she thought about it, she realized that she might indeed be a little cheerful

 The reason?

 It’s because Izumi Chihiro is absent, she knew without even thinking this time

 ”It’s nice and peaceful without that face”

 She mutters to no one in particular

 Then her friends, who love to gossip, especially bad-mouthing others, all joined in the conversation

 ”Oh, so it’s about Izumi”

 ”Yes. Although I’m used to it by now, I have to be careful not to make eye contact with him”

 ”Especially Riko, you don’t like Izumi, right?”

 ”No, not really. He’s just disgusting”

 ”That’s called dislike, isn’t it?”

 No, she wanted to, but she didn’t say it

 Riko’s feelings for Chihiro are not something that can be solved by mere likes and dislikes. No one would understand her if she said it

 Izumi Chihiro

 Perhaps the fact that he’s resting is the result of the thorough beating he suffered yesterday

 Well, it turned out to be a bit lenient due to Fukami Maria’s interruption in the middle of the session, but still, if he took the day off for either treatment or fear, it was a great success

 Riko hopes that Chihiro will continue to come to school less and less often and quit the school

 After all, he’s just an eyesore and a pain in the ass for her

 ”By the way, Fukami-san is also absent, isn’t she?”

 ”I wonder what’s wrong. A cold?”

 ”Eh, Fukami-san catches a cold?”

 Before Riko knew it, the conversation among her friends had shifted to Fukami Maria

 Apparently, people don’t know that Riko and Maria were together yesterday

 …But Riko thought, “I’ll have to revenge on her soon”

 After all, yesterday at the training ground, Maria used force to stop Riko from hurting Chihiro. She hit her stomach with all her might and then her shoulders and neck

 Although she was much better thanks to Takatsuki Aika’s meddlesome treatment, there was still some pain

 Also, Maria said to her

 [If you do this anymore, I’ll kill you]

 She didn’t have any words to say back. Because when she saw her, she thought..

 ――This girl is bad. This girl is serious

 Cold and steely eyes. There was hatred in it, but what was greater was contempt. It was a look of lowliness, of inferiority

 Still, to be looked at like that

 She would never forgive her

 She gave up the fight because she thought it was dangerous, but she didn’t lose

 It’s not a loss because she didn’t give in wholeheartedly

 And so, on the next time, she’ll pay her back

 It’ll be hard to harm her directly considering her ability, so she’ll use a trick. Give her a scare with an illusion and tie her up with a rope or something so she can’t move. After that, she can make her crawl like a bug, or take a picture of her naked body

 But first, she must know what she doesn’t like

 And so, Riko laughed secretly as she threw in the last bite of her rice ball

 Nishizaki Riko’s obsession with Izumi Chihiro began during a field training session right after they entered Shibahou Academy

 On that day, Riko had played against Yuuki Kamishiro before

 Kamishiro was extraordinary even then. In addition to his abilities as a [Lost Item], his physical abilities were also outstanding in terms of balance and perfection – to be honest, Riko was not even a match for him

 But, Riko still had a certain amount of confidence in her ability to create illusions

 After all, in the middle school, she had used her abilities to trick and tease many people, and had learned that her abilities could be useful in battle if used properly

 However, it did not work at all against Kamishiro

 No matter how scary it was, no matter how many bugs and snakes she showed to him that made him want to run away, Kamishiro was not intimidated. Also, despite her physical strength, which she thought was better than that of girls of her generation, she was no match for Kamishiro

 And so, she felt as if she had been shown just how weak and small she was

 Riko’s family had always been poor

 Her father was poorly paid and had a bad drinking habit. Her mother patiently followed her father, but one day, when he was hospitalized for liver failure, she changed her mind

 Her mother quit the part-time job she had been working and started working as a prostitute

 She paid for her father’s medical expenses out of her salary, and did not spend a single penny of the money she earned from her job as a prostitute on Riko. She did the bare minimum to visit him and take care of him, but her eyes were completely cold. Probably her father noticed it too

 Not long after, her father died from stress, and Riko’s condition worsened

 Her mother began to dye her hair and wear thick makeup. Although Riko still went to school, but her life became different because her mother called her boyfriend or something else at home

 [Riko. Even if you’re poor, even if you have nothing inside, a woman can do anything if she dresses up and makes herself look good. You’ll understand someday, remember that]

 She doesn’t know when it was that her mother told her that

 But those words were the greatest lesson and curse for Riko

 With what little money she had, she bought cute clothes and went out with older boys frequently. And whenever a guy confessed his love to her, she said yes without hesitation, raised her likeability by smiling falsely and kissing him, which she did not want to do

 But when the boy became unwilling to spend money on her, she switched her partner without hesitation, and so she learned various techniques to make her partner feel more in control. In the process, she began to hang out with a flashy group of girls, dyed her hair, and improved her makeup

 Her ability, which allowed her to mug people and fool the cops on patrol, was also useful

 …and soon, she found herself doing the same things as her mother, even though she was very young

 But she had no regrets. Dressing up and deceiving others gave her confidence. She was able to cover up her poor, weak and young self

 She thought that if she believed in a lie, it would become true

 Until she joined Shibahou Academy, she stopped looking for men in order to find a good career. She thought that she would be able to do well even if she did that

 But then..

 Riko’s pretense was destroyed by Kamishiro

 Anxiety came to her, pushing away her confidence. Even so, she tried not to show it on her face. But Chihiro read Riko’s inner thoughts directly

 It was unforgivable

 Kamishiro is okay. After all, it’s not right for someone who doesn’t have something to be jealous of someone who is really strong, someone who has something. But Chihiro was clearly not a strong man

 ”Why should I be threatened by a weak man like him?”, she thought

 So, she couldn’t forgive herself for feeling threatened by him, even for a moment, and she felt sick to the core of her being that even in the face of someone who could see through her true feelings, she could only maintain herself by pretending

 So, Riko hurts Chihiro

 Over and over again. Not only with violence, but also with stares and swear words and everything. She put him down, made him look bad. And at the same time, Riko increased her efforts within the class and succeeded in establishing a certain status for herself

 It was fun for her to watch Chihiro stagnate and be marginalized

 But at the same time, she was afraid of him coming to school

 So, she continued to torment Chihiro

 Until he disappeared. Yes, until he disappeared from Riko’s sight


 But, now, on the way to home after school, a few steps after she parted from her friends, someone called out to her

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