She wasn’t as irritated as Ryou, though, and she didn’t mind working as an assistant under Shinichi. In the first place, Ryou was mostly irritated because he was scared.
Besides, even if it wasn’t on her own volition, she had still attacked someone.
So if she had to work to atone for that, then so be it.
In fact, working under the person she attacked was perfectly logical as far as she was concerned.
One of the reasons why she was so irritated was because of how pathetic she was.
Not only did she end up repeating her mistake, she had even acted so aggressively to the person that saved her.
The former issue was something that she’s been aware of for some time now, but her personality made it hard for her to fix.
It was still fine if she were just unyielding and confident, but she was too aggressive too.
In a sense, her former mistake is a result of her overly aggressive personality.
Not enough effort, not enough training, poor character, no talent…
She could still understand it if her problems were on that level, but her ability and personality being poorly matched was just too pathetic of a reason for her shortcomings.
The second reason why she was so irritated was the man who carried her as though it was perfectly natural.
There was a script to follow when it came to her aggressive personality.
The person she was being aggressive to would either become aggressive as well, become uncomfortable, scorn her, or cower.
But he didn’t follow that script. He wasn’t like the others, but if one asked her how exactly he was different, she’d find it difficult to answer. For some reason, though, there was a loving warmth in the way he looked at her.
She couldn’t understand that and it irritated her.
To be more precise, it confused her.
But even that lasted only
For it was in that moment that Tomoe understood the phrase ‘to doubt one’s eyes’.
That man who saw through her spiritual technique with a single glance and suppressed her easily…
That man who held an exam while threatening the students and ordered them to become his assistants…
That man who enjoyed himself by purposely carrying her in that manner…
Bowed his head and apologized to her.
Moreover, while sitting in the seiza position on the naked ground.
He had brought her here where a raybeast-repelling barrier was erected, enjoying her embarrassment and clamor on the way, but as soon as he rested her under the shade of a tree, his expression became humble, and he prostrated himself before her.
But Tomoe couldn’t understand what exactly it was he was apologizing for.
“I take back all the bad things I said about you and your parents, and I apologize.”
He didn’t raise his head even as he gave the reason behind his apology,
Tomoe was leaning onto a tree, so she heard him loud and clear, but she was too shocked to respond. From the sound of his voice and the way he was acting, though, he was seriously apologizing.
“…Huh, I think this might be my first time seeing someone perform a dogeza…”
But despite knowing that he was being sincere, the first thing that came out of her mouth was that.
“…I know I’m the one apologizing, but I’m not sure what to think of that being the first thing you say after my apology.”
His head remained firm on the ground, but there was some bitterness in his voice, as though wondering where all her anger went.
It’s probably because of that that Tomoe wryly smiled a little.
“I’m sure I’d get mad if you told me the same thing again, but I’ve never been the type to drag out those feelings.”
For better or for worse, while her temper might catch fire easily, it didn’t burn for long.
She remembered the events last night, but those memories couldn’t reignite her anger, so she was able to remain calm.
Then as if remembering something, Shinichi raised his head and made a sullen face.
“…Ahh, now that I think about it, that’s right. I thought you were scared, but you just kept making jokes.” Shinichi said monotonously as he remembered last night.
Tomoe replied cheerfully. “I mean you did cut down a beam with a katana. There were a lot of other stuff too, but at that time, I was really shocked.”
To her it was a sight so shocking that whatever fear she felt was just blown away.
Whether it was him using Kamunagi, cutting an otherworldly attack with it, or her being protected… Every one of them was a shocking event to her.
That’s why she’s been keeping those feelings within her all this time.
Though she needed an entire night before understanding his behavior.
“O-Of course! Since you saved me and all, I’m, uh… R-R-Really grateful… Yeah!”
She wasn’t honest enough to be able to say thank you, though, so she just tried to talk her way out while blushing beet red.
“No, there’s no need for you to be grateful.”
Normally, Shinichi would have teased her again, but this time around, he rejected her gratitude because he believed he was completely in the wrong.
Seeing him like that, Tomoe’s flushed face quickly cooled and she asked him suspiciously.
“But that’s what’s strange in the first place.”
“Come on, don’t look down on me so much. I know I’m an emotional woman, but even I would calm down after passing the night. The only reason why we didn’t involve anyone else was because you went out of your way and said those things. And now it’s become apparent that you’re not the sort of person to spout rubbish like that. Clearly, you said those things intentionally.”
Moreover, immediately after that, after a short blank in her memory, she was able to regain control of her body; hence, it was only natural to presume that his actions had something to do with that.
“My situation may not be the best right now, but I’ve still been able to remain in the B Class since enrolling. I know it’s looking like I’m about to fall off to C Class, but I’m not stupid.”
Tomoe said with her chest puffed out as though to say, ‘Did I get anything wrong?’
Shinichi didn’t know just how different the entrance exam was and how much effort they had to put just to remain in the higher-ranked classes, so his understanding regarding the intellect of the students here was lacking.
“Besides, if you want to apologize, then don’t you think I have the right to know why you said those things in the first place?”
In the face of this fatal counterattack, Shinichi could only wave the white flag.
With the desire to apologize shaken, he could only explain himself.
“Err… I didn’t think you would attack from there. My bad. I underestimated you. I’ll talk, but the only reason I didn’t want to say it is because it’ll sound like I’m making excuses.”
Shinichi said with a bitter face before explaining how the mind skill worked.
He had intentionally made those rash remarks to anger Tomoe to make her fall under the effects of the skill completely. He told her that he had to provoke her to create an opening so he could stop her.
The skill was having a negative influence on her mind because it wasn’t able to affect her completely, and the reason why she was able to move so precisely and even use her techniques was likely because of that.
As soon as Tomoe heard Shinichi’s explanation, she yelled.
“—So why were you even apologizing in the first place? You didn’t do anything wrong at all!!?”
She yelled so suddenly that Shinichi was taken by surprise again, but Tomoe was just troubled.
Even without Shinichi’s new revelation, she already owed a debt of gratitude to him.
It might not have been that big, but it still wasn’t so small that she could settle it just by thanking him.
“From your story, it’s more like I’m the one who needs to apologize on top of having to thank you too! Uu, at this rate I’ll get scolded by my parents!”
Her parents generously overlooked her aggressive personality since they knew she was just trying to hide her embarrassment, but at the same time, they were strict when it came to her manners.
“But even then, there’s no denying that I spoke ill of your family. I need to apologize for that. The trivial details don’t really matter even if you’re not concerned about it.”
‘This is this and that is that,’ Shinichi said with a serious face.
That attitude made Tomoe blink and look oddly at Shinichi.
If not for how forceful Shinichi was and how much he did things at his own pace, he would strike her as an honest and sincere character.
“Ha, ha ha, you’re really sincere and stubborn when it comes to some strange things, huh,” She teased him.
Shinichi frowned and complained. “I do get told that from time to time. What’s annoying is that they make it sound like it’s so strange.”
Tomoe could sympathize with him, but still couldn’t stop herself from laughing, realizing that Shinichi’s personality was even more troublesome than hers.
“And every time someone points it out they would make a face like the one you’re making right now… Why is that?”
“Ahaha, I can really relate with all of those people.”
Forceful and yet sincere. Serious and yet does things at his own pace.
Aloof and yet stubborn with minor details.
The way Shinichi looked when she pointed that out was somewhat charming.
As for the person himself, he just found her gaze embarrassing and scratched his cheek.
“I’m not as fuzzy about it as you, but I also want people to think well of my parents. My parents raised me to be sincere and earnest. That’s why I want to live up to those expectations when I can. Because when I can’t, it’s really hopeless,” Shinichi laughed in self-deprecation.
“Is that so?” Tomoe said while her cheeks naturally loosened.
She had felt reverence toward him when he showed her his impossible strength, but after seeing this face befitting his age and finding out that he had parents too, all that reservation she had vanished, and she naturally drew closer to him.
There was no confusion left in her eyes. Instead, that same thing that befuddled her until just a while ago tinged her gaze as she watched the boy in front of her.
Unfortunately, those feelings couldn’t even last 10 minutes.