Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai! Volume 4 Chapter 6

I did say a couple of months, but even I didn’t think that it would take this long…

Should take me 3-4 months

Should have it done by November

Should have it done by Christmas

Should have it done by the end of the year

Should have it done by January

Should have it done by February

Especially since it’s so long, there probably are tense/spelling errors present, so please comment if you pick up on any. Please also comment if there’s anything that reads awkwardly.

The next part is shorter, but no promises on when that’s out.


Chapter 6: The Unveiling of All Our Abilities SHOW!!!

And so, after school – we waited for Rikka to arrive at the clubroom alone.

Meaning, we had taken used all sorts of measures to trick Rikka.

Because we more or less had club activities daily (the people around us probably wonder what the heck our club activities are. And to be honest, I wondered that too. However, according to Hideri-senpai, our club activities are “to do something that’s special!”), it was only a matter of time before Rikka showed up to the clubroom. We only had up until that time to come up with and refine a strategy that Rikka would not catch wind of until she arrived.

And so, the strategy we had decided on was the “The Unveiling of All Our Abilities SHOW!!!”.

The strategy was very simple and straightforward: each person was to unveil their newly acquired power one by one, hopefully inspiring Rikka to regain her abilities. It could be said that this was the method of regaining her powers was not only one of the simplest methods but also one of the methods that would make Rikka the happiest.

While there was also the plan to show off everyone’s abilities all at once, as there existed that one person who had no links to common sense and was as hard to manage as a runaway train, that plan was ruled out by Shichimiya.

And since the person in question was also very eager, stating, “We’re the best at bringing things to an end, so leave it to us!”, us showing off our abilities all at once was probably out of the question. Still, I did have some unease over how reckless and nonsensical the person going first was – her being selected to go first raised some question marks in my mind. However, since our order was decided using Rock Papper Scissors, there wasn’t much I could do about it.

I couldn’t say that our strategy was flawless, but –

“Oi. As long as we’re here, the strategy flawless, isn’t it! That opinion is not normal!”

The heck? For Hideri-senpai to say that: it was like she had read my mind.

“It’s thanks to the effects of the special ability we’ve received from the Super Dark Flame Master, ‘Seventh Seven’, right? Because we’re now special even among the special – we know all.”

“……”

No, but I haven’t given you anything…

I reminisced about what had happened.

“Now then, I shall confer you all powers – by my command, Amaniji Hideri –”

“Ah, ack, i-it’s, it’s here!!! Super Dark Flame Master…!!!”

“No, I’ve still yet to –”

“Huff, huff…. So this is our special power – ‘Seventh Seven’. Heh heh heh, as soon as it came into our possession, we understood everything about this power.”

“……”

“This power, it’s – it’s a one-of-a-kind unpredecently special superhuman power. In other words, it’s an ability that’s rare even among the rare ability. Ahaha, there could not be a more ideal exceptionally special ability for us!!!”

“…Um. What kind of ability is it?”

Contrary with what was meant to happen, I was the one enquiring about her ability.

No, I had no intention of giving her an ability like this. This ability that she had was something she had made up of her own accord after getting excited.

“…This isn’t good. It’s only by a little, but we seem to have surpassed the Super Dark Flame Master!!! This surely must be the result of our distinctiveness being set free – heh heh heh, even our hair is shining in the seven prismatic colours!!! We’re literally a human whose hair’s peculiarly coloured!!!”

Hideri-senpai replied conceitedly as she responded to my query.

However, she didn’t answer my question at all. Not even one bit. Furthermore, her hair had always been rainbow coloured. Don’t phase it as if your hair had suddenly changed colours, Hideri-senpai.

If you really had an ability like changing the colour of your hair, it’d be nice if you could share that ability with me as soon as possible.

“Ha, hahahahaha! So this is our special power!!! If it’s this, then we can rescue DevTru Rikka-chan!!! Just hold on, we’re coming to help!!!”

…Was this really okay?

Well, the person in question seemed to be enjoying herself, so I guess it’s fine.

“…Our ability, would you like to see it?”

“…I’m good.”

I declined her offer.

After all, she’d be revealing her ability soon anyway. Then again, I didn’t really mind if I didn’t know what her ability was.

End of reminiscence.

Sigh.

Regardless, for now I’ll send Hideri-senpai my support.

“…Good luck, I’m counting on you.”

“Heh heh. Just leave it to us! Well then, be on special standby!”

After having said all that, Hideri-senpai moved from the waiting room to the clubroom (principal’s office).

The four of us who remained – Shichimiya, Dekomori, Kumin-senpai (currently asleep), and I – remained on standby in the waiting room adjacent to the principal’s office in the form of watching the monitor that was in the room.

A form remaining on standby that made free use of the power of the Dekomori Corporation.

In a blink of an eye, Dekomori’s bodyguards installed everyone necessary for surveilence, such as surveilence cameras and a monitoring device.

Normal’s amazing!

Wait no, this isn’t normal!

“So, is there anything that we should be doing here to help-death?”

Dekomori directed that question at me. Come to think of it, what were we doing waiting here?

Since the plan came entirely from Shichimiya this time, I shifted my gaze to Shichimiya. Noticing that I was looking at her, Shichimiya gave a swift reply. A big difference from a certain someone.

“No, see, there’s a reason why we’re going in one at a time. We still have very little information on why Rikka-chan lost her abilities in the first place. And so, we need to collect more information. And the best way for us to do that is for us to observe her. Just as Hero did this morning, where he got made fun of for having his eye on Rikka-chan the entire time.”

“How did you –!?”

Although it was a joint class, didn’t Shichimiya choose to do ‘creative dance’ for PE? She shouldn’t have been present!

She was making fun of me over what I had done this morning – even though she shouldn’t have seen it happen.

“Nyahaha, it’s because I understand how Hero will likely act. The Hero and the Demon Duchess have an unbreakable connection with one another because there is an inseparable relationship between the two. That’s why, I know how you’ll act thanks to my ability – Demon Duchess × Hero(Resonance Belzethia)☆.”

“An ability with a name that doesn’t sound very Shichimiya-ish!?”

“Nyahaha, it’s because I thought that this sort of name for the ability would be to Hero’s taste. Since it’s a very Rikka-chan like name.”

“No… What the ability is called is something I don’t really have any strong opinions about…”

Was this something that she cared about…? Still, I did quite like Shichimiya’s rather simple ability names.

“Hm, understood-death. So the relationship between the two you is like the relationship between two people who are having an affair-death?”

“How did you end up interpreting it like that!”

I got angry. Unusually angry.

It really set me off, what Dekomori had said. Things like having an affair and infidelity, I absolutely will not tolerate. That in general, men are creatures who cheat on their partners? The hell, who would feel like doing something like that. I would never have an affair! Having an affair is something that a human should never do.

“Dark Flame Master… Dekomori’s never seen you so fired up before-death. Don’t tell Dekomori you cheated because you could not forgive Master for cheating on you with Dekomori-death?”

“No, I have never cheated on Rikka, and moreover, Rikka would never do something like cheat on me…”

“Then, you’re saying that the relationship between Dekomori and Master is one where she just played around with me-death!?”

“What a misleading way of phrasing it! Just say the two of you are friends!”

“Um, you two, I’m sorry to interrupt while the two of you are in the midst of having so much fun, but Rikka-chan’s here.”

At Shichimiya’s prompting, Dekomori and I hurriedly shifted our gaze towards the monitor.

Rikka had just entered the clubroom.

As for Hideri-senpai – she was sitting with on the principal’s desk, looking all self-important with her legs crossed. And for some reason, she had made it dark in the clubroom.

Her hair was rainbow coloured.

Well.

Show me what you have planned, Hideri-senpai.

With the monitor on the desk that Dekomori’s bodyguards had prepared for us, the three of us observed Hideri-senpai and Rikka.

Since Dekomori’s bodyguards were only able to prepare one monitor (it seemed that they were ill-prepared for this. Don’t get me wrong through, it was amazing that they were able to get this much arranged for us, so there’s no complaints from me), the three of us had to squeeze tightly together for us to all see the screen.

The monitor displayed a bird’s eye view of Rikka and Hideri-senpai in the clubroom.

“Huh? Is it just Arc-san? Where’s everyone else?”

Even if it’s not always a full house when we gather, there is always that one sleeping person present. On top of that, by now, someone else should have arrived at the clubroom. It seemed that Rikka felt that something was out of place: her eyes kept darting around the clubroom restlessly.

“There no Siesta-senpai…!  She’s not here sleeping…! Impossible…!”

“Indeed. Right now, it’s a special time for just the two of us, DevTru Rikka-chan.”

I had no idea why she did so, but Hideri-senpai grinned as she began to talk. Somehow, it felt like there was some sort of shadow attached to her words.

I wonder if this was her ability… A first-rate ability in creating a mood of melancholy… It pains me to say it, but I did find it kind of cool.

Well, it’s not like there’s any point asking this person about what her intent was.

It may very well be the case that there was no meaning behind it. In fact, I’m almost 100% certain that there was no meaning behind it.

It seemed that Rikka too seemed cautious of such a Hideri-senpai: there was no sign of Rikka wanting to close the door of the clubroom at all. Or maybe Rikka just forgot to do it.

Either way.

Great, she had a good sense of danger.

She’s ready to flee at a moment’s notice from this dangerous upperclassman.

“DevTru Rikka-chan, please hear us out. It seems that we have finally awakened. Awakened to our ability!!!”

Rikka reacted to those words with a jolt.

Awakened. Ability.

Although she may have lost her powers, Rikka was still an ability user. It appeared that she couldn’t help but react to those words. Such was the fate – or rather, curse – of an ability user.

It’s quite a real possibility for Hideri-senpai to restore Rikka back to her former self all by herself – as I thought that, a little both of both hope and sorrow swelled up within me. I – that was just how I felt about it.

“Congratulations! What kind of ability did you awaken to?”

“…We will tell you specially. Our special power – ‘Seventh Seven. Or, 7th VII(Seventh Seven)!!!”

“7th VII(Seventh Seven)…!”

Rikka was visibly stunned.

I had absolutely no idea why Rikka was stunned. Dekomori didn’t seem to have any idea either: when I turned to look at her, she had a “?” sort of look on her face. Shichimiya, on the other hand, said, “Ho. 7th VII(Seventh Seven),” as if she understood what Seventh Seven was.

Hmm, I wonder if this was due to our differing schools of thoughts regarding abilities.

Rikka and Shichimiya belong to the all-rounder faction.

Surprisingly, Dekomori and I seem to be of the same faction.

But back to the monitor. On the screen, Rikka drew back.

I’d like to believe that Rikka was getting ready to run away.

“Seventh Seven is the ability to govern special: meaning, we can see through the reasons behind abnormal situations – and DevTru Rikka-chan’s current unusual state – quite easily. ‘I have no abilities right now: I’m at a disadvantage. Should I escape?’ is what you’re thinking right now, correct?”

“Ugh…!”

With the scenario that Hideri-senpai crafted, anyone could have guessed that Rikka wanted to flee. And yet, when she was told that by Hideri-senpai, Rikka froze.

Was this another one of ill effects of losing the Devilish Truth Stare…?

“And there’s more!!! DevTru Rikka-chan’s special thoughts – we know all about it!!!”

“M-my special thoughts?”

“We’ll go with this for starters. No, maybe we’ll go with this? ‘Everyone in the club has a really good figure, don’t they? Ugh, I’ve grown fatter recently, haven’t I… Yuuta’s fried rice is just too delicious –’”

“Ah, AHH! Stop, STOP!”

It was Rikka’s rarely heard raised voice.

And, along with raising her voice, Rikka vigorously closed the door of the clubroom that she previously had shown no intention of closing. I guess she didn’t want anyone else to hear what Hideri-senpai was saying. How cute.

“As expected of your ability! Um… Don’t tell anyone please…!”

“It’s because we won’t tell anyone that the special thoughts are special!!!”

…That sure is a great thing to say, but it’s complete nonsense: we can hear everything the two of you are saying!

Nevertheless… So that was what you were thinking, Rikka…

There was no need for you to worry, however: I could love even 100 kilos of Rikka. And, the reason behind the healthy meals I’ve been making for you recently is because I’m worried about your health.

“No, Dark Flame Master. Dekomori was wondering what had happened-death: turns out it was Dark Flame Master’s fault after all-death. Dekmori does not want a chubby Master, so Dekomori would like for you to put Master on a proper diet-death.”

With a sullen look on her face, Dekomori blamed me.

Hmm… Even if you say that…

“Or rather… it’s not just me: you’re quite harsh on your Master as well…”

“You’re wrong: Dekomori wants Master to be on a proper diet precisely because Dekomori respects Master-death. After all, it’s only natural for a person to want their target of respect to constantly be beautiful-death. Dekomori wouldn’t care if Dark Flame Master became Chubby Flame Master-death.”

“Hm. I see. You do have a point. I’ll see what I can do.”

“…The two of you are actually quite close with each other, aren’t you? I’m a little jealous.”

“No, that’s not the case at all.” “No, that’s not the case at all-death.”

Dekomori and I unintentionally spoke in sync.

“Nyahaha, see,” said Shichimiya with a bitter smile.

No, seriously, it’s not like that at all. Well, it is true that Dekomori’s easy for me to talk to. However, she only feels like an important underclassman to me.

“But if I had to be honest, you’re the person who I’m the closest to, Shichimiya.”

Rikka is the person who’s special to me. But.

Compared to Dekomori, I trust Shichimiya so much that it’s not even comparable. If someone asked me who my best friend was, I would answer that it was Shichimiya in a heartbeat.

“Nya!? H-Hero, what’s with all this all of a sudden!?”

“What do you mean, I’m just telling you that you are unmistakably the person who’s closest to –”

“Ah, is this an affair-death? Dekomori’s telling Master-death!”

“Quit it!”

Grr.

Something like that wasn’t the case at all.

Either way, we shouldn’t be having this conversation right now. We should be paying attention to the monitor.

“Ah, Hideri-senpai seems to be moving for some reason.”

In response to my words, Shichimiya and Dekomori brought their attention back to the monitor.

“With this special power of ours, we also know plenty of other special thoughts that you had, DevTru Rikka-chan. Heh heh – naturally, we have information on all the other club members too. Would you like to hear their special thoughts?”

“I-I’m good…”

Rikka answered with a trembling voice.

Rikka seemed to be frightened of – no, to be honest, that ability scared me too. Dekomori, who was beside me, had a similar reaction: she turned pale and let out an “Eep-death”. As for Shichimiya… she appeared fine. As expected of Shichimiya.

“U-um… this, is this a punishment for being late to club activities…? I was late today because of a little cleaning –”

“No way, no way. We would never subject you to a punishment or anything. We want you to experience special. When someone is late, it’s because there was some special reason, because something irregular had happened – it’s something that’s outside one’s control, right?”

“Uh… Ah, right.”

“The world is brimming over with special!!!”

Hideri-senpai put force behind that assertion.

That everyone and everything is special – it came across to me that she just wanted to say something along those lines. I mean, it was a cool line.

Still, it doesn’t feel convincing at all when it’s said by a rainbow-haired upperclassman.

“Now then, let’s move on to the main topic of this conversation.”

“The… main topic? It’s not about the unveiling of your power?”

“It is about the disappearance of DevTru Rikka-chan’s powers.”

“Eh? Me?”

“That’s right,” said Hideri-senpai as she finally got up from the desk.

Her movements felt bizarre – is this another one of Seventh Seven’s powers? Even though the movement in question was just Hideri-senpai moving up to Rikka’s face slowly. Even though I was viewing it through a screen, I still felt imitidated…?

Rikka too appeared to be pressured by that bizarreness: Rikka was frozen stiff. It looked like Rikka was standing at attention, confronting Hideri-senpai face-to-face.

“As for why we awakened to this special power of ours, and why it awakened only now – Seventh Seven has specially informed us. This power – for the use of restoring DevTru Rikka-chan’s specialness, this power was born.”

“My… specialness.”

“That’s right. And now, we will get that specialness back. We will show you how.”

As she said that.

Hideri-senpai embraced Rikka strongly – and kissed her.

“Huh!?” “Wha–death!?”

“No, Hero and Deko-chan… I can’t see…”

The instant we saw that scene, Dekomori and I both leaned forward and stared at the monitor intensely.

We paid no attention to Shichimiya.

“Nonono, this rainbow-haired upperclassman – just what are you doing!!!”

“Death-death!!! She must be stopped now-death!!! Oi!!! Get a move on, Dark Flame Master!!!”

“Right!!!”

The two of us tried to storm the clubroom. However, we were stopped by Shichimiya.

“Hey hey, you guys. Have the two of you forgotten what our purpose is? That we’re trying to help Rikka-chan regain her powers? Are the two of you trying to interrupt something that’s being done for the sake of helping Rikka-chan regain her powers? She hasn’t crossed the line with her actions yet, has she?”

“No, well…” “No, well-death…”

…That certainly was true.

Hideri-senpai, in her own Hideri-senpai way of thinking, must have done what she did for Rikka’s sake, so stopping her would be a violation of the rules we had set. Even if what she did made it seem as if she had rainbow for brains, her kissing Rikka must have been what Hideri-senpai thought was best to do.

With our heads hung in shame, Dekomori and I headed back to our places in front of the monitor.

As expected, the kiss scene was over.

“So? Has your power returned?” asked Hideri-senpai triumphantly. She seemed to have also dropped the shadow from her words.

In a daze from what seemed to be shock, Rikka,

“…I was kissed. It felt soft.”

answered like so.

She simply gave a status report – a personal recount of what had just happened.

“Ah, um… My power… has not returned. Sorry.”

“Hm. Guess this was beyond us. Maybe we weren’t the right person for this. Well, since we were able to do something unusual with DevTru Rikka-chan, it was still a good outcome. By the way, in terms of the people who have kissed you, what number are we?”

“E-err… Number four?”

Rikka’s face reddened in embarrassment as she gave that answer.

Hey hey, to be so frank about something like that is – number four!?

It goes without saying who one of those people were. And I just watched Hideri-senpai kiss her. And so, the remaining two – who!?

“Yep, it’s Dekomori-death.”

“You!!!”

“The fact that Dark Flame Master has done it when Dekomori hasn’t was unfair-death. And because Master normally refuses, Dekomori used the pretext of a punishment game to do it-death. Well, it was over cling wrap-death. Gehehe, Dekomori’s the only one to have kissed her like that-death!!!”

“……”

It was pathetic enough that Rikka had rejected her request to kiss her, but for it to be over cling wrap as well is just – was something that, as expected, I could not say.

However, the mental image of Dekomori kissing Rikka through cling wrap made a certain thought rise to the forefront of my mind.

Turn Dekomori kissing Rikka through cling wrap into a bromide[1], please. And please make said bromide available for purchase at a convenience stores.

Well, I’m not that much of a brute. It’s only one kiss: I guess things like this occasionally happens. And it was with cling wrap as well, as I guess you could say that it doesn’t really count.

However, that still leaves one person unexplained. Could it possibly be Kazari-chan? She’s always saying things like “Oh my, Rikka-chan’s so cute, right?” to me. Which I wholeheartedly agreed with.

If it was Kazari-chan, I can rest easy. That’s why, Kazari-chan – anything more than that, I won’t say.

Please let it be Kazari-chan!!!

“Hero… Your thoughts are leaking…”

“Ah. Sorry about that… How embarrassing…”

“Nyahaha, it’s not me, so it could possibly be Kazai-chan. Are you jealous of the fact that Rikka-chan’s kissed a lot of people? Do you want to kiss me to even it up, Hero?”

With an extremely calm expression on her face, Shichimiya said all that as if it were no big deal.

Since she doesn’t usually make those types of jokes, I felt a bit uncomfortable – or more accurately, I was quite taken aback – by what Shichimiya said.

“Nyahaha, it was a joke, a joke. Revenge for before. I know that Hero’s not the kind of Hero who would do something like that★!”

“No, I mean, that’s true, but…”

“Dekomori doesn’t mind-death, you can do it here. Dekomori will simply make sure to report to Master that you are having an affair-death! Isn’t that right, Dark Affair Master!”

“Certainly, if you really stretch it, you could link flame with affair, but who are you calling an affair master? Don’t give me such a destestable name.”

Just how set are you on making me an adulterous character?

I would never do such a thing. I’d rather die than be unfaithful.

As we carried out such an exchange, there had been movement on the monitor.

We had only taken our eyes off the monitor for a short while. In that time, however, Hideri-senpai’s figure had disappeared. There was only the lone figure of Rikka sitting in the clubroom on the screen.

Huh… Where on earth did that person go?

“Behind you guys.”

“Argh!?” “Argh!?” “Argh!?”

The three of us all got surprised at the same time. Before we knew it, Hideri-senpai was right behind us.

Seriously, I had no idea when she got there.

“It’s Seventh Seven’s power – is what we wish we could say, but the three of you were chatting away so happily that we came in normally. Ah, no, that was a lie, we came in feeling abnormally!”

Hideri-senpai glossed over that strange thing she had said.

For Hideri-senpai to make a gaffe and say that she came in “normally”: we must have been chatting up quite the storm. That is something to reflect on.

But more importantly.

“Or rather, what the heck were you doing, Hideri-senpai!? Oi, don’t go laying your hands on someone’s girlfriend!”

“Death-death! Only her servants have the privilege of kissing Master-death!”

How rare. Dekomori was backing me up for once.

Since she had only done it through cling wrap, I’m guessing that she must have been angry that Hideri-senpai had kissed Rikka directly on her lips before her.

In the face of our voices of criticism, Hideri-senpai, in a devil-may-care attitude,

“No, see, we thought that maybe, chuunibyou was a disease that was related to kissing. And so, we had no choice but to kiss her, right?”

answered like so with a grin.

“That’s a lie!!! This was a premediated crime!!!”

“A premediated crime? We’re calling the language misuse police! Hey, language misuse police~!”

“Grr, misusing language-death! To say that it was an intentional crime-death!”

“What’s with this turn of events!?”

All of a sudden, I’m the one at fault!

It wasn’t the case that Dekomori was, for some strange reason, on my side! It was a trap!

We got completely swept up by Hideri-senpai’s pace, didn’t we?

“And so that’s why we had mistakenly made kissing DevTru Rikka-chan our task. Sorry, we boasted that it would end with us, and yet…”

As she said all that, she sat languidly not next to us (granted, there wasn’t much space to sit near us) but on the sofa that Kumin-senpai was sleeping on (although there was enough space for one more person to sit opposite to where she had chosen to sit, for some reason she still chose to sit there).

It appears that she had no intention of observing the person going next with us.

As for the matter of Hideri-senpai kissing Rikka – there’s nothing I can do about it now. It’s already happened.

Guess I have no choice but to leave things at that.

“This was the first time we used our power, so we’re tired.”

“So even Hideri-senpai gets tired…”

“Of course we get tired: it is us after all. Besides, schemes are naturally tiring. Especially since we went to all that trouble to add a shadow to our words – it wore us out.”

“Then why did you even bother…”

“Hmph, because that is our raison d’être! Well, it wasn’t as tiring as setting our hair like this.”

“That certainly is true!”

It is coloured like the rainbow after all. This is a bit late, but I wonder how she dyed her hair to get it like that?

Still, what was the point behind putting in all that effort in her hair for…

Well, there likely wasn’t a point. It was a simple rationale like “to do something a little special!” for sure. But, for her to have really done it – I felt exhausted even thinking about it.

In that regard, I strongly feel that Hideri-senpai’s not normal – that she’s not ordinary.

To be honest, that part of her charms me.

And although it ashamed me to admit it.

I was, quite franky, in awe of that part of her.

“We’re exhausted – that’s why we’re passing on the baton! Best of luck, Kumin.”

As Hideri-senpai told the sleeping Kumin-senpai that, Kumin-senpai forced herself up.

For some reason, when Hideri-senpai tells Kumin-senpai to wake up, Kumin-senpai responds instantly. In contrast, when the rest of us try to get Kumin-senpai to wake up, Kumin-senpai responds sluggishly.

Such was Kumin-senpai.

Still drowsy, Kumin-senpai let out a “Kumi~n” as she stretched her body. On the topic of things Kumin-senpai says when stretching her body, Kumin-senpai can also let out a “Yaw~n” when she stretches. In fact, there was a multitude of things that she could say. Personally, I prefer her letting out a “Kumi~n” the most as it doubles as a self-introduction.

“I see, so Hideri-chan had been defeated. However, there’s no need to panic. Hideri-chan was the weakest among us –”

“Ge heh heh… It’s not that easy to defeat Master-death!”

Kumin-senpai, who was up by now, started to say a line like that out of nowhere. However, Dekomori interpreted Kumin-senpai by suddenly taking, for some reason, Rikka’s side.

“Nyahaha, well, I am the Demon Duchess☆.”

Shichimiya too was on board with what Kumin-senpai had abruptly said.

It was a strong self-assertion of her strength.

Hideri-senpai was – for some reason, Hideri-senpai had her eyes listlessly shut, looking very fatigued.

There are too many things for me to retort!

I guess for the time being, I’ll focus my efforts on retorting Dekomori.

The existence of underclassmen was quite the convenient thing.

“No, Dekomori-san, just whose side are you on? Isn’t returning Rikka back to her former self your top priority?”

“What is it now-death? Naturally, Dekomori’s top priority right now is to restore Master back to her former self, but Dekomori’s been on Master’s side from the very beginning-death. While the present Master is unladylike-death, Master is still not one who would lose easily-death!”

Nodding twice in agreement, Kumin-senpai then exaggerated what Dekomori had said – was what it may have appeared like, with how over the top Kumin-senpai was.

“That’s right. It’s next to impossible to win against Rikka-chan – I’ll need ter do me Mae West ter not die![2]

“…Can you stop using the Kansai dialect just for the sake of playing the funny man?”

Well, we are in Osaka.

Still, I’ve never met anyone ‘oo spoke in Kansai dialect before. But, then again, when talking about baseball, Kumin-senpai does sometimes says “nah way” for some reason…

Well, she is from the Kansai region after all. Maybe she just couldn’t help it.

“No no, it’s because I’m still half-asleep that it slipped out.  Well, this time anyway. Therefore –”

“Eh? Was that pun[3] just now on purpose!?”

“Of course. We are in Osaka after all.”

What a strong love for her hometown!

Even if there’s no chance of her being invited to perform the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day, she may still have her services requested by a tourism ambassador!

“Now, because it’s more or less expected of me by the situation to do so, I’m up~.  I will assist Rikka-chan with the ability given to me by Yuu-chan, ‘Godlike Radiance’!”

As she said all that, Kumin-senpai stood up and let out a “hmph!” to raise her own spirits.

‘Godlike Radiance’ – the ability that I had actually given to Kumin-senpai.

I once again reminisced about what had happened.

“Please make it baseball related, Super Dark Flame Master-san. I’ll be in your care.”

To ensure that her power was baseball related, Kumin-senpai kept pleading for me to make it baseball related again and again.

Even if you ask for me to make it baseball related, as I wasn’t too familiar with baseball (although, perhaps I should study a bit about baseball, seeing that Rikka is interested in it too), I wasn’t sure if I could. Even if I did outright state that the ability is baseball related, I had no idea if it would be seen as such.

Be that as it may, with the way she’s being bringing it up until now, I’m not sure if she’ll accept anything but a baseball related ability.

I’ll have to rack my brains over this.

Baseball… baseball…

After much thinking, I finally remembered a certain pet phrase that Kumin-senpai loved saying. If I made that into an abilty – seems like that’ll be the way to go.

Creation of a baseball related ability complete.

These thoughts of mine – they were very chuunibyou-ish, if I do say so myself.

“Understood.”

To meet Kumin-senpai’s expectations – that was my response.

“To Kumin-senpai, I will grant this power – its name is ‘Godlike Radiance’. Its power is –”

“Ah, ‘godlike!’”

“…Death.”

Thanks to Kumin-senpai mentioning that just now, I ended up replying in a very Dekomori-like way. That I needed to explain what that ability was after this blunder was quite embarrassing…

What should I do?

“I understand. I have the power of ‘Godlike Radiance’. This ability, yes – it is the perfect ability for me!!! It suits me perfectly! And its name sounds great too!”

“……”

The exact same reaction as Hideri-senpai…

She came up with her own interpretation of her ability.

As expected of Hideri-senpai’s only friend. They both think in the exact same way. Although, unlike Hideri-senpai, Kumin-senpai did seem to have a lot of other friends.

“…I’m sorry. It’s only by a little, but I seem to have surpassed the Super Dark Flame Master… because I’m godlike. I’m God-Kumin now. I wonder if I’m the goddess of victory… Even now, my team is still undefeated when I watch their games in person at the stadium. Yep – I decide which team gets the walk-off home run.”

With her chest puffed out, Kumin-senpai had a smug look on her face.

It was a very unworshipable face.

“You’re copying Hideri-senpai on purpose now, aren’t you!?”

I couldn’t help but retort.

Surprisingly, Kumin-senpai got carried away by the mood too.

I had not forgotten about this cliché development.

This wasn’t a drill that you had to do or something, I thought to myself.

And with that, my reminiscence came to an end.

Kumin-senpai had left the room during my reminiscence. She displayed a level of footwork that you not have guessed that she was capable of from from the way she usually presents herself. Surprisingly, Kumin-senpai was the athletic type.

And so, we were back to looking at the monitor.

Kumin-senpai headed over to where Rikka had seated herself.

“Ah, Siesta-senpai.”

“Non non: right now, I am God-Kumin. Rikka-chan.”

Kumin-senpai – sorry, God-Kumin – made the same mysterious posed look that she had just made before.

Seeing such a God-Kumin, Rikka was flabbergasted.

“W-what’s happened?” questioned Rikka. “Everyone… Aren’t you all being a bit different from usual?”

“The one different from usual – is that not Rikka-chan?”

As Kumin-senpai said that, she sat down so that she was face-to-face with Rikka.

That’s right, isn’t it? The one who was most different was Rikka.

The person who was most different didn’t seem to notice just how different she herself was.

“I am the same as Hideri-chan. From that person – I received the power to help Rikka-chan.”

“Huh… That person?”

Rikka tilted her head.

Apparently, she didn’t seem to be aware that I was the person pulling the strings. Then again, it was true that just a few hours ago, I was the same as Rikka: a person who had lost their powers. Perhaps the possibility that I was pulling the strings never crossed her mind.

I wonder if Dekomori and Shichimiya were her prime suspects.

“Now, without delay, the mighty God-Kumin shall use the power of, um, what was it again, ah, ‘Godlike Radiance’ that she had received from Yuu– that person. I think.”

“Oooh…! Siesta-senpai has an ability not involving sleep!”

What surprises Rikka was a mystery to me.

It was mysterious to the point where I retorted to myself “That’s what surprises you!” in front of the others. However, neither Dekomori nor Shichimiya gave me a response.

Eh, what’s this? This sense of isolation…

“Hah… Dark Flame Master thinks that everything needs a retort-death.”

“That’s right. That’s not a good way to think at all, is it?”

Both of them had the same exasperated expression on their face!

And this feeling of déjà vu! I feel like someone’s said the exact same thing to me before…

“What’s with the two of you being so causal with each other all of a sudden!?”

“See, you did it again just now-death. And it’s because the flow of things worsens when you retort-death.”

“Right? Hero, you’re banned from retorting for a bit. Demon Duchess Secret Technique – Chanting Lattice Seal of Silence.”

“…Can’t speak!”

My only weapon had suddenly been taken away from me! However, I didn’t want to be looked like that at by those cold eyes again, so I was fine for things to keep moving along. I think, anyway.

Pay attention to the screen!

“Godlike Radiance activate – this here is the autographed uniform that the mighty God-Kumin had won in a giveaway. I truly am godlike. Rikka-chan, if your ability comes back, the mighty God-Kumin shall gift this to you.”

“!!”

Rikka’s eyes lit up with desire. It was super effective.

Or rather: God-Kumin has mistaken that autographed uniform as an ability.

However, since I no longer had the ability to – or to be more accurate, even though it felt like the opportunity to was being dangled right in front of me – I did not raise a retort. And so, continuing on.

“W-woah! Wow! But it’s no good… My ability isn’t…!”

“That’s okay.  I will just give it to you as a gift when your ability comes back. Why, you ask? Because I am a god.”

“Eh! Thank you so very much! Siesta-senpai! Ah, I mean, God-Kumin! Wow!”

“In exchange, let’s go to a live baseball game together again. Well then, that’s it from me.”

As she said that, the beaming God-Kumin waved goodbye as she disappeared from the clubroom.

The only thing left on screen was the Rikka, who looked delighted.

…You, just what did you even go there to do – was something I could not say. It’s painful not being able to say the things that you want to say.

Nonetheless, the attempt just now to restore Rikka’s abilities felt the closest so far to succeeding.

As expected of God-Kumin – I wonder if I would be allowed to say that?

This insane pent-up feeling… Such is the world where I can’t say the things I wanted to say…!

“I’m back~. No, even God-Kumin wasn’t able to bring Rikka-chan back; sorry about that. Ah, now I’m Tired-Kumin. Sleeping-Kumin.”

“……”

Kumin-senpai should not have been such a character!

Attaching Kumin to the end of everything!

Was God-Kumin such a character? Although I was the one who conferred to her her ability, the answer to that question was just beyond the scope of my knowledge…

“Ge heh heh, it’s just like Dekomori said-death. It’s not so easy to win against Master-death.”

“Just three people left…”

As if she was complaining, Shichimiya took a short pause before continuing with her words.

“Guess it can’t be helped. Up next is the final battle – a three-man assault☆.”

Staff Officer Shichimiya once again made it clear that she originally wanted for everyone to challenge Rikka together.

It was a “that way, Rikka-chan’s competitive spirit would flare up too, and thus her abilities would make a return” sort of plan.

However, even that staff officer was still only just one person – and because she didn’t believe that she could read the actions of the unprecedentedly unprecedented uniquely distinctive superhuman existence known as Hideri-senpai, she gave up on that plan.

Considering what had happened, that hunch of hers had been right on the mark. That her hunch had been right seemingly relieved our staff officer.

Back when it was Kumin-senpai turn to go, it seemed that Shichimiya also contemplated proposing an all member offensive. However, because she thought that it was vital for us to observe Rikka for at least a little bit, she had decided against it. Now that we had observed Rikka, it appeared that Shichimiya thought that the time for an all member offensive was now.

When it was first proposed for us to make a three-man assault, I thought that Dekomori would object with “Dekomori will assist Master by herself-death!” or something, but Dekomori surprisingly accepted said proposal without any resistance.

When I asked Dekomori why she accepted said proposal, it seemed that it was because she had a similar opinion to Shichimiya on the matter.

“Dekomori’s already said it many times before-death: it would be impossible for just Dekomori alone to win against Master-death. Even if she could not use her powers, Master is still an existence that could instantly defeat Dekomori-death. As such, although Dekomori is reluctant, Dekomori will borrow the power the person who even Master has recognised as her rival, Sofia-senpai-death – eh, there’s no particular need for Dark Flame Master’s power, is there-death?”

Was what she said.

For the time being, it seems that Dekomori recognises Shichimiya’s strength in her own Dekomori-like way.

I do wish that she would stop looking down on me sometime soon though.

And then.

When Dekomori was out of earshot, Shichimiya whispered to me that the Super Dark Flame Master was basically the key to reviving Rikka’s powers.

“It’s because you are her contractee. She’ll resonate with you. When Hero gets a boost to his power, Rikka-chan’s seal will be lifted too, won’t it? And so, I’m counting on you☆.”

Or so she says.

Well, it did come from the staff officer. There’s no way it could be wrong.

And so, the three of us stepped onto the field of the decisive battle.

To the place where Rikka was.

The three of us entered the clubroom together – was what I thought we were doing, but Dekomori had split off from the rest of us to charge headfirst into battle. It seemed that Dekomori lost all self-control when she saw Rikka.

“Masteeer!!! Return to your former self-deaaaaaath!!!”

Certain Kill – Manipulative Tears!

In a one-person suicide attack, Dekomori clung onto Rikka in tears. She grinded her face against Rikka’s waist.

“Ah, er… D-don’t cry, Sanae-chan…”

Seeing Dekomori in a state like that, Rikka looked troubled as she gently stroked Dekomori’s head.

However, “Sanae-chan”.

Usually, Rikka addresses Dekomori by something like “my servant” or “Dekomori”. Did the way Rikka addressed Dekomori change because of the loss of the Devilish Truth Stare? If that was the case, I could sort of understand why Dekomori felt like crying.

Sure enough, calling Dekomori Sanae-chan made things worse. Dekomori started to wail even louder.

Just like Dekomori predicted earlier, she had “instantly defeated Dekomori-death”.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! Don’t call me Sanae-chan-deaaaaaaaaaaaath!!! Call me Servant-deaaaaath!!! Call me Servant-deaaaaaaath!!!”

“Se-servant…”

“Waaaaaaaah!!! Wrong-death, it’s servant-deaaaaath!!!”

Dekomori continued to cry.

She was crying so much to the point where, like seen in manga, her tears were coming out like a waterfall.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! Masteeer!!! Masteeer!!!”

Afterwards, Dekomori continued to cry out loud for another 5 minutes before she managed to reduce it to a sniffle. Her eyes looked tired from crying. There were still tears coming out of her eyes though.

What was she, a child?

I mean, well, the Rikka that she respected and admired did address her rather distantly with that “Sanae-chan”: it made sense that she couldn’t stop crying.

In order to comfort Dekomori – who on laying on the ground in a tearful state – Rikka caressed Dekomori’s head while saying “there, there”.

Listen up!

She’s super kind, my girlfriend!

However, it felt like the timing for Shichimiya and I to come out had been completely lost.

Properly speaking, our strategy had failed. However, it seemed that Rikka had yet to notice that Shichimiya and I were here.

In that case, there was still the option of withdrawing and replanning the strategy –

“No, we are not withdrawing. Within this predicament lies our opportunity. While I will take responsibility for failing to predict that Deko-chan would run off by herself and act rashly, the groundwork that had been laid is still fine. If you think about it, it’s been an all member offensive since Hideri-san. And now, I’ll try set the perfect stage for your entrance, Hero☆.”

Shichimiya spoke as if she had foreseen what I had wanted to say.

“M-my entrance?”

“Nyahaha, just wait there a bit, Hero! Just enter when the timing feels right!”

It was now Shichimiya’s turn to ride forth by herself into the battlefield known as the clubroom.

As instructed, I hid outside the classroom and watched over the situation attentively.

“Nyahahaha. It seems that Deko-chan too has been defeated.”

After entering inconspicuously, Shichimiya leaned against the wall of the clubroom and said her line.

Shichiya had a very strong entertainer mindset – like a director. I probably should have noticed earlier, but perhaps both Hideri-senpai’s and Kumin-senpai’s entrances from earlier (in the case of the latter, I decided without any real basis that it definitely was) were also the brainchild of Shichimiya.

“S-sofia?”

“Nyahaha! Yes! That is correct! My dark scarf is charged with magic power, glistering with the destructive energy of the Demon Duchess! As planned, Magical Demon Duchess Sofia is here!”

It was the usual exchange that she had with Rikka, with the usual imposing stance (standing completely upright, with her hands on her hips) that she assumed – it seemed that she didn’t feel satisfied unless she did these two things.

She truly was like a director.

More importantly, Shichimiya was still Sofia to Rikka. On that note, the way Rikka addressed Hideri-senpai and Kumin-senpai didn’t change either. That made me a little curious as to where Rikka drew the line regarding nicknames. Did her servant contract with Dekomori expire or something?

“Of all people, for the wielder of the Devilish Truth Stare, to lose their powers – was what I had thought, but it played out as I had expected. Hideri-san, Kumin-san, and Deko-chan had all been defeated. In spite of such strength – I didn’t ask this morning, Rikka-chan, but why do you think that the Devilish Truth Stare has lost its power?”

“I-I’m not sure… If I did, I’d…”

“…I see. So that’s how it is. As expected, it looks like Rikka-chan is losing her powers.

“Eh…?”

“Nyahaha. Do you find it troubling when your rival makes light of you?”

Shichimiya, whilst still maintaining a straight posture, shrugged as she said that.

“That is why I will not take you lightly. Even if there is ‘something’ that has caused your ability to disappear – Rikka-chan and I, we are equally matched in strength.”

“That’s… The me right now is… Sofia’s–”

“No, Rikka-chan’s actually above me in strength. It’s vexing to admit it, but it’s true.”

Shichimiya cut Rikka off, strongly refuting her words.

In response, Rikka became silent. It seemed that she felt as if she had no choice but to stay silent after hearing that admission.

As for me, I thought that it was obvious that Shichimiya was stronger given Rikka’s present state (regardless of whether it was mental or physical, the current Rikka was quite poor at everything). However, it seemed that the person herself had a completely different view of things.

I wonder what Shichimiya’s judgement of strength was based on.

“That is why I will not fight alone. Everyone facing you and falling to you earlier – its purpose was so I could use everyone’s power! I offer the souls of three people as sacrifices! A tribute summoning!”

Shichimiya then shifted from her usual imposing stance to form the “Shichimiya-style secret technique – The Sacred Imperial Zenith Seven” (with both hands curled a fist, extend both arms out to the front before slowly moving the right arm so that it forms a seven!) pose.

After making the pose, Shichimiya began chanting.

“The hero who is clad in jet black power – now is the time for you to appear before me once again!”

It was a signal from Shichimiya.

An easy-to-understand signal telling me to make my entrance as flashy as possible. In other words, to make a very Shichimiya-like entrance.

And so, I.

“Mwahaha! I am the one who governs the darkness of this world – the being who is also known as the Super Dark Flame Master!”

And.

Gently opening the door, I entered the clubroom quietly.

Sigh.

Entrances don’t seem to be my strong point.

If it were Hideri-senpai, she definitely would have made some flashy entrance like smashing the door open to enter or appearing without warning from the ceiling. It would be nice if I were the sort of person capable of doing such a thing, but unfortunately those sorts of things were impossible for someone like me.

The only thing I could make flashy about that shabby entrance of mine was the dialogue.

In reponse to my entrance, Rikka –

“S-super Dark Flame Master!? Yuuta, what happened to you!? Amazing! Cool! There’s nothing not cool about you!”

– praised me to the point where it felt insincere.

My entrance… went over well!? In that case, it’s time to go on the offensive!

As that thought crossed my mind,

“Hey hey, just wait a minute, Hero! You’ve got to make your entrance even more grand. After all, it is your long-awaited resurrection.”

As expected, Shichimiya called for a retake.

“Good grief” was the sort of impression I got as Shichimiya shrugged her shoulders again.

“E-eh…? But I’m not sure how to make it feel grander… I’m drawing a bit of a blank here…”

“Jeez, just look☆.”

As she said that, Shichimiya pointed at Rikka firmly.

“Rikka-chan has lost her powers –”

“Eh, eh, me…!?”

Rikka was shocked that she was made the topic of conversation out of the blue.

It seemed that she could not keep up with how fast this mysterious situation was developing.

“I – no, we will restore Rikka-chan’s powers! The newly reborn Demon Duchess and Hero! Hey, Hero, this way!”

Prompted by Shichimiya, I positioned myself so that I was back-to-back with Shichimiya.

Then, when I received an instruction from Shichimiya to turn my face in Rikka’s direction –

“As for my name – Great Sofia! And now you, Hero!”

“Hmph, Super Dark Flame Master. Mwahahahaha!”

– the two of us tried to look cool as we delivered our lines.

There was a large explosion behind us. I do not mean this metaphorically: there actually was an explosion. Being surprised, I turned my head to look back – was what I initially wanted to do, but since I quickly figured out what the true form of that explosion was, I decided against it. As for how I figured the true form of the explosion out: it was because a large amount of confetti fell right before my eyes.

It seemed that a large party cracker was set off behind us.

How grand – Shichimiya… you planned for this to happen, didn’t you?

I’m guessing that it was Dekomori’s bodyguards that prepared the party cracker for her.

“Woah…! Amazing!”

Unlike me, who was surprised by the explosion, Rikka seemed to be enthralled by it.

Huh? Does this mean that things are going smoothly?

“W-well? Do you feel your powers returning via resonance?”

I tried checking if it worked or not with Rikka.

After opening her hands and comparing her palms (I had no idea what the meaning behind that action was), Rikka –

“Hmm? It hasn’t returned, I think?”

– answered like so while tilting her head many times over.

“So cute!” was not what had crossed my mind.

So, it didn’t work…

No, it’s not over yet! I can raise my chuunibyou power even higher! And when I raise my chuunibyou power higher, there’s a chance that Rikka will resonate with me, restoring her powers!

“Mwahahaha. That too was part of my calculations. Super Dark Flame Master is super after all! I still have much more to show you!

“Dark Flame Sword! Charge up!

“Haaah! Return, abilitiessss!!!

“Tch… no good…”

“Don’t say such feeble things, Hero! A hero must never lose heart!

“I’ll show my powers off too☆. Take a good look! This is the power of a Demon Duchess!

“Great Sofia Perfect Mode! Rikka-chan’s powers – returrrrn!

“I… couldn’t restore them either!?”

The two of us kept on doing things that Rikka liked.

In response to each of our actions, Rikka let out a confused “Eh? Eh? Ah, ah…” and shook her head to let us know that her powers did not return.

After, Shichimiya and I tried a whole bunch of other things. In the end, however, nothing we tried worked.

In conclusion, our strategy had failed.

“U-um… I’m sorry… Even though you did all this for me, I…”

Rikka apologised like never before.

The way she kept lowering her head was quite cute, however.

“No no, it’s not your fault at all, Rikka.”

“Nyaha. That’s right, Rikka-chan’s not at fault at all. It’s just that the Devilish Truth Stare is in a poor condition, right?

“Eh, ah, right…”

Rikka hanged her head dejectedly.

I wished that Rikka would cheer up somehow. However, given how nothing Shichimiya and I tried had worked, I don’t blame her for finding it hard to be in high spirits. What could I do to cheer her up?

Seeing my troubled face, Shichimiya made her usual fearless smile.

“Nyahaha, well, with what just happened, it is only inevitable to feel worried. This strategy had failed. But that’s fine, isn’t it? There are still many things that haven’t trialled yet. For example, waiting until tomorrow – it’s quite possible that today is just a day where the Devilish Truth Stare doesn’t appear, right?”

“Ah, that is indeed possible.”

I nodded in agreement.

It was a possibility that I had completely overlooked. This was indeed only the first day of the Devilish Truth Stare’s disappearance. And although I had panicked and raised a commotion about it, it was indeed possible that the Devilish Truth Stare would simply make its reappearance tomorrow.

Even if we didn’t know what caused Rikka’s powers to disappear, observing how things developed with Rikka in the coming days was indeed a tool we could use to assist Rikka in restoring her powers.

“Y-yeah… Maybe… My powers could come back tomorrow… Or maybe not… I’m still not quite sure myself… Sorry…”

Rikka was apologetic.

Urgh. Seeing how pained Rikka felt made me feel remorseful as well.

That being said, as we couldn’t come up with any better strategies, and since Dekomori and our two upperclassmen were down for the count (with one of the upperclassmen confirmed to be asleep), there was nothing left for us to do but to clean the clubroom up.

“So that’s how things are. I don’t think it’s a bad plan, for us to be entrusting our hopes on tomorrow.”

After saying such a chuuni-ish line, “Given that there’s nothing else that we could do for now, let’s break up for today” was what I was going to suggest – but.

“Right? Tomorrow’s special thing will happen tomorrow, won’t it?”

That was what that person said. That upperclassman.

She was sitting gracefully on the principal’s desk, with her legs crossed.

“People have days where they’re not normal – having said that, as DevTru Rikka-chan is, by nature, an extraordinary human being, she would be having days where she’s normal, right? Oh, but we don’t have those sorts of days. We’re always a deviant.”

“Don’t say that about yourself!”

Wait no, the truth is that you really are a deviant!

More importantly, when did you arrive here? It’s not normal!

Since she has such an overwhelming presense, I should have noticed her the instant she entered the clubroom. And yet, I honestly had no idea how long she had been here. I hadn’t noticed her at all. I checked with Shichimiya via eye contact if she had noticed Hideri-senpai: “I didn’t notice her either” was the reply I got from her eyes. Rikka didn’t seem to have noticed Hideri-senpai as well, as she was shaking her head when I turned to look at her.

“Um…”

“We understand. How long have we been here, you ask? Since the very start! From when the giant cracker went off!”

“……”

The fact that I didn’t find it strange for her to have been there was troubling.

Wait no, finding it not strange for her to be there was an absolutely dangerous thing to think. She should not have been there at all… I’m not going to go any deeper with this. It’d scare me if she actually was there.

“Now now. As the president of this club, we’ll be marking now as the end of today’s club activities, okay? It is getting quite late. We did specially extend today’s club activities by quite a while after all.”

In response to Hideri-senpai’s words, I checked the clock – our school had closed for the day more than an hour ago.

If anyone asked why I had stayed behind at school so late, I could probably give off a good impression by spinning it as being passionate for club activities. It is a pity, however, that I wouldn’t be able to tell them what our club activities entailed. The things we did for club activities weren’t exactly things that I could comfortably share with others.

Well, but our club activities were fun.

“Besides.”

Hideri-senpai, as if to give herself an air of importance, took a short pause before continuing with a grin.

“It wouldn’t be good if DevTru Rikka-chan returned to her former self during this comic relief moment, would it?”

Have some tact!

Although it was our clubroom, as it would not have been great to leave the principal’s office in a mess, the four of us tidied the clubroom in a way that left Rikka ignorant of the surveillance cameras (as Dekomori had fallen into a deep sleep,  her bodyguards took her home first. The plan was for them to collect the equipment left behind on a later date. And it went without saying that God-Kumin was still asleep). We then made our respective ways home.

On the way back home.

“Yuuta – no, Super Dark Flame Master – sorry about today. However, the fact that you were so concerned about me makes me happy. Thank you.”

Rikka, who was walking right next to me, suddenly straightened her posture and told me that.

Although she was smiling, there was a sense of gloominess coming from her. It was like she was saying “I’m so terribly sorry” many times over.

I do not want Rikka to feel gloomy like that.

I have to cheer her up somehow.

“No, there’s no need for you to apologise as you’re not at fault, Rikka. In fact, you should set your mind at ease. I, the Super Dark Flame Master, am here, and so everything will work out fine. I will without a doubt return you to your former self.”

“Ahaha. Yuuta, you’re so cool!”

There was no trace of gloominess in Rikka’s present smile.

She seemed to have regained a bit of her energy.

By the way, I was still in Super Dark Flame Master mode. Although it would not have been troublesome for me to change out of it, I had hoped that wearing this outfit would coax Rikka into speaking freely about her thoughts.

It was very embarrassing to wear, however.

Everyone who passed us by stared at me.

They all looked at me as if they had seen something strange. I couldn’t help but be conscious of my appearance.

“Still, what happened? Didn’t you tell me yesterday that the Dark Flame Master was sealed?”

“Right. That’s why I – why I am a hero. Helping Rikka. For that purpose, I have broken the seal that I had placed on myself.”

“Ehh, is that so? Yep, Yuuta is my hero. Thank you.”

Rikka replied to my embarrassing chuuni-ish line with a smile.

Just hearing those words from her made breaking the seal worth it. At first, I was a little worried I had been hoodwinked by Shichimiya, but now I’m grateful to her.

Nothing Shichimiya says is ever wrong!

“Ooh. Just leave it to me – that being said, I haven’t managed to help you yet. But I will for sure. Because I’m a hero.”

“…Yes. That’s right, isn’t it?”

Rikka answered somewhat evasively.

It made me a little worried.

Or more accurately, it made me wonder what Rikka thought of the current situation.

As it happened without warning, since this morning I had been in a state of panic. I hadn’t been able to think things through properly either.

Rikka was the one who had lost the Devilish Truth Stare. And although I could sense that she felt troubled by it, I had yet to ask her what she wanted.

I had decided on my own that Rikka wanted the Devilish Truth Stare to come back.

Well, since I was the type of person who tended to worry a lot, it wasn’t wrong of me to have done all sorts of things for Rikka’s sake. However.

It was possible that my conjecture was incorrect.

It was possible that Rikka had a different take on the current situation.

And so, I asked.

“Rikka, about the Devilish Truth Stare – do you want it to return?”

“Umm, I’m not actually too sure myself.”

Rikka answered without hesitation. It was as if she had prepared the answer beforehand.

And, it was an answer that I did not expect.

“Ah, umm, you see, I do want for it to come back. It is my ability after all. However, I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and, well, if it doesn’t come back, there’s not much I can do about it, is there… or something. To be honest, I don’t know. Because this is the first time something like this has happened to me.”

“…That’s true.”

“But! The silver lining in me losing my ability was that it made way for Yuuta’s resurrection. Although it wasn’t like anything unfortunate had happened to me.”

“……”

No, I’d say that losing the Devilish Truth Stare was something that was quite unfortunate.

Also, my resurrection was mostly a terrible roleplay of the mental image I had of myself in the past.

“Moreover, when you appeared before me as the Super Dark Flame Master, I could feel my heart racing. It was only by a small amount, but I felt like my powers were returning.”

“Eh, seriously!?”

“Yep. Really. That is why I don’t think that the Devilish Truth Stare has completely disappeared. Yes, the Devilish Truth Stare has, without a doubt, not disappeared.”

“I see.”

I replied to Rikka’s sincere words with a small nod.

I too believed that the Devilish Truth Stare had not disappeared. As for why – it was probably because it was the same as me.

I wasn’t sure what exactly Rikka meant when she said that it had not disappeared, but – mine too, it had not disappeared.

Although I keep saying that I’ve moved on from it – my chuunibyou has yet to vanish.

There were times where I wanted it to vanish, yes.

But not anymore.

I was able to accept everything about it now. That’s why, in a sense, my Dark Flame Master persona will never disappear.

…In fact, it’s become even more audacious than before.

Like most people, the past me would have never went home in such a gaudy costume. He would have been afraid of being misunderstood by society. I’ve continued to “evolve” since then…!

Huh… Now that I think about it, something similar happened to the me back then, didn’t it…?

“It happened to me as well. A time where my powers refused to emerge.”

A little story from my past.

Back when I first met Rikka, I stubbornly refused to disclose anything about my past to her.  Now, however, I was fine with telling her all about my past. As long as it would be of use to her, I was fine with her knowing everything.

“It happened to Yuuta as well?”

“Yeah. That’s why I wonder if it could happen to anyone. In my case, when the person I idolised suddenly disappeared, I stopped being able to use my powers well. Perhaps my inability to use my powers well was due to me being worried about a variety of different things. And perhaps I had then abandoned my powers due to my powers growing dull. Or something. Either way, it could have been due to a lot of things, right?”

“……”

“Perhaps things would have been different, however, if they had said something to me before disappearing – something like ‘I shalt aim for a coequal higher ideal. Anon!’”

“Yuuta idolised someone with such an old-fashioned way of talking…”

“Eh? Ah, no, even though I wish they did, they didn’t talk like that at all. The me back then always thought that to become the strongest, one would need to be under the tutelage of a senior monk-sort of person!”

Ideally, they would be someone whose body would be restored to its prime when their power is raised.

On top of that, if they hid their face with a mask or something… That would be the sort of person I’d admire the most!

“Either way, back when I was troubled about what was the best thing for me to do when my powers weren’t coming out – my conclusion was that I should train. I believed that things would work out if I became a more amazing person or something.”

Although the end result was that it became my dark history.

I screwed up quite badly, didn’t I?

Simply remembering what I did was enough to make me writhe in pain.

See, right when I started my second year of middle school, I did things like using a shovel to dig a hole at the edge of the school’s sport ground. I did gain physical strength. It was just that physical strength was the only thing I gained.

There was a lot more that happened back then, but I’ll omit the rest for now.

Because of all the things I did, I never wanted to walk through the front gates of my middle school ever again.

I would be way too embarrassed.

Well, but it was because of all the things that I did in the past that I’m the person I am today. Still, my embarrassment about it hasn’t changed.

“I see. Training.”

“Mm. Well, that was my story. That is why I think that something similar to what I experienced is happening to you as well, and why I believe that something might change for you tomorrow.”

“Yeah. Thank you for sharing that with me. I too believe that something might change for me tomorrow. There’s a lot for me to think about, isn’t there?”

Rikka had a bright smile on her face. It seemed that my story had been of some small use.

If it was necessary, I would not have minded telling her more stories from my past. Unfortunately, however, we were almost out of time.

We had already arrived at the front of Rikka’s apartment.

In other words, it was time for us to say our goodbyes to one another.

“No, I will never break up with Rikka, ever!” was the sort of thing I thought every time we needed to part. Because of that, I hope that time where we needed to say a farewell to each other like that never comes.

“U-um, Yuuta. Do you remember what you said to me during our break time…?”

Suddenly.

Rikka, who, with her bright red cheeks, looked quite embarrassed, asked that of me.

Cute.

“Er… That you perhaps didn’t have enough magic – was that it?”

“Yeah yeah! That’s it!”

Rikka shook her head cutely many times.

Because her face was quite red, seeing her shake her head like that reminded me of an akabeko[4].

“I’m sorry for back then. Getting told something like that so suddenly threw me into a state of panic…”

“No no, back then I just said whatever crossed my mind. I definitely should have considered the time and place before I said what I said…”

“Y-yeah. And, well, ever since you brought that up, it’s been on my mind, and after a lot of thinking, well, I believe that we should give it – that is, replenishing my magic as it may need replenishing after all – a try… or something.”

“Oh. In that case, I’ll replenish your magic with all my strength. But…”

“R-right! Then, right now – ah, the Demon King isn’t here today.”

The explaination to that enigmatic statement.

The Demon King isn’t here? In other words, that it was safe.

I thought that Rikka would have lost that sort of detection ability with the disappearance of her Devilish Truth Stare. Regardless, I’ll put my faith in what Rikka says.

That being said, as it would still likely be a problem if we hugged on the street (I was currently still in my Super Dark Flame Master state. If I hugged her right here and now, it would, from a bystander’s point of view, look like that a pervert was trying to assault a cute high school girl), like before I guided Rikka to the door of her apartment.

“Ah, um… It might be better to do it inside the apartment than out here.”

“Eh, ah, is that so…?”

This time, Rikka guided me by pulling on the sleeves of my clothes. She brought me to the entranceway of her apartment.

To be honest, it has been a long time since I had last visited Rikka’s apartment.

Nowadays, if we were to hang out, Rikka almost always comes over to my house. And, because Rikka’s older sister had cautioned her by saying, “When a guy readily heads over to the place of a girl that lives alone – what does that say about him?”, I did refrain a little from visiting.

Although Rikka herself stated “I don’t care” – if I were to grow older and become a father, I think I would likely say something similar to my hypothetical daughter, and so I heeded Rikka’s sister’s concerns seriously.

I am a gentleman, after all.

It appeared that the number of possessions Rikka had increased during my long absence from her apartment (I had a limited view of the inside of her apartment due to the narrow entranceway). However, her apartment still felt neat and tidy. Previously, her apartment used to feel a bit barren; it now has a more lived-in feel.

“Well then, um…”

I would have liked it if we could stand at the entranceway and continue talking with each other. However, given how late we were in returning back to Rikka’s apartment, it was probably for the best that I headed home as soon as possible.

Even though the person cautious of me wasn’t present.

I fixed my gaze on Rikka as I spoke.

“My magic power – take all of it.”

As I said that, I embraced Rikka firmly.

When I embraced her, I heard Rikka let out a cute squeal. This too was me putting what I’ve learnt in the past to good use.

It wasn’t a “squeeze” but a “squeeeeze”! A strong, strong hug.

“H-how is it? Your magic power, does it feel replenished?”

In response to my awkwardly phrased question (I still wasn’t used to saying something like that yet), Rikka –

“Ehehe, yep, I can feel my magic power being replenished. I feel so happy.”

gently placed her hand on my back as she responded as such.

“I-I see. That’s good.”

“Er, but, well – um, just a little more… I think?”

“A little more?”

“Y-yeah! Or rather, that it’s still not enough. W-well, look, the Devilish Truth Stare is an amazing power, and so…”

“I see. So you’re saying that the recently revived Super Dark Flame Master’s power is not up to the task of replenishing the necessary magic power to power the Devilish Truth Stare. It seems that more training is needed again.”

“Ahaha, maybe. Yep, thank you.”

As she said that, as if prompting me to release her from the magic replenishment, Rikka pulled her hand away from my back.

Following her lead, I freed Rikka from my embrace.

“It seems like it didn’t return today. Sorry.”

“No, no, I too am sorry for my lack of power.”

“Nuh-uh. That’s not true. The stand in for my magic meter, my happiness gauge, is full. And so, I was wondering if we could do this again tomorrow?”

What Rikka had just said was so cute.

To such a cute Rikka, I wanted to meet to her expectations no matter what.

“Oh! Of course! In fact, I’ll be happy to do anything you want!”

“A-anything!?”

Rikka latched on way too hard on the word “anything”.

It wasn’t how wide her eyes were open (which was obviously different from usual as she lacked her eyepatch) that got me so astonished, no.

Rather, I was astonished that Rikka had such a reaction in the first place. I had always prided myself as someone who was willing to do anything for Rikka.

“O-okay! Then as thanks, I’ll also do anything that you want! Even asking for something now from me would be fine!”

“N-now? Hmm, nothing comes to mind right now… Coming up with something will be my homework. I’ll keep pondering about it.”

“I-is that so… okay! Then I’ll be waiting to hear back from you!”

“Well, in that case, because it’s getting late now, I need to head back home soon. Er, um, so about the exchange diary –”

“Ah… would you mind if I handed the exchange diary a little later this time? I want to write a lot about the things that happened today, so…”

“Is that so? Sure, no problem.”

I accepted Rikka’s proposal without resistance.

Although I’ve never been told to wait for the exchange diary (Sunday’s portion was probably already written) until now, I wanted to respect Rikka’s desire to write a lot about today.

Also, this way, I might be able to gain a greater understanding of the things that were happening to Rikka.

“I think I’ll be able to hand you the exchange diary tomorrow.”

“Roger. I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

“Yep, see you tomorrow.”

Rikka’s smile never left her face as she saw me off. She waved at me until I was out of sight.

For my trip back home, I was alone.

Although I was stared at when I was walking with Rikka, when I was walking by myself the people who passed by me pretended as if they didn’t see me – and so, like that, while obtaining intel that didn’t matter, I walked home feeling miserable.

 

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[1] In Japan, a bromide refers to a category of commercial photographic portraits of celebrities.

[2] Here, Kumin speaks in the Kansai dialect. To properly convey this (and Yuuta’s thoughts a little later on), lines spoken in the Kansai dialect have been written in Cockney English.

[3] An untranslatable pun. Previously, Yuuta had asked Kumin to not use the Kansai dialect simply for the sake of playing the funny man (ボケ, boke). Kumin then responds by stating that it wasn’t her intention to let her dialect slip: rather, it was because she was still half-asleep (寝ボケる,nebokeru) that she spoke in Kansai dialect.

[4] A traditional Japanese toy that resembles a red cow. Based off a legend from the Aizu region of Japan, the toy is typically made out of two pieces of papier-mâché-covered wood. When the toy moves, the head bobs around.

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