Name: Shinguuji Ryou
Strength: AAA (MAX)
Stamina: AA to AA+
Mind: A+ to AA-
Resistance: AAA+ (MAX)
Name: Tomoe Safina
Stamina: C+ to B-
Mind: AA+ (MAX)
Resistance: C- to C
Agility: C to C+
Projected was the status of the two students. From it could be seen that several attributes had increased.
When Youko saw that, she looked at her master with an ‘oh no’ face, but Shinichi chose to ignore her.
“Our status hasn’t budged since entering this school. We’ve been training here for an entire year already, and yet we have no results to show for it. Despite that, just one day with you was able to improve us this much,” Ryou said.
“Don’t try to worm your way out this saying it’s just a coincidence because when I asked the students of the other three classes, the same thing has more or less happened to them. So many people struggling to make progress were able to make progress under your tutelage. Given that, don’t you think it’s only normal for us to ask you to instruct us?”
Although Shinichi could understand where they were coming from, on the surface, he made a suspicious face, and acted as though he wasn’t convinced while he took his last potato.
“…But even then, you’re plenty strong at your age already. All you really need is time and to accumulate experience,” Shinichi said.
“But that’s too slow!!” Ryou said.
Shinichi intended that to be a sincere warning, but Ryou wouldn’t have any of it.
He stood up with a jolt, and slammed the table as he yelled.
Of course, he was holding back since the table would’ve broken if he were serious, but regardless, his conduct was proof that he was irritated by Shinichi’s response. Evidently, he didn’t have much time.
“Even then… I loathe those who tried to overcome that bottleneck irresponsibly,” Shinichi said.
That’s why Shinichi too showed his disgust openly.
The two of them knew to some extent that he could fight, so he didn’t bother hiding that and told them honestly what the problem was.
“From a long term perspective, what I did was akin to crossing a dangerous bridge. The little growth shown by those struggling is still fine. You could see it as the first step down that dangerous bridge, but take that road any further, and a price would have to be paid. I’m not taking responsibility for that.”
Shinichi knew that they wouldn’t stop just because of this, but he still wanted to give them his advice as someone who knew what it was like to seek power and fail.
“What kind of price? My body breaking down? A reduction in lifespan?” Ryou said.
Even the way they didn’t mind paying a price on that level was nostalgic.
When Shinichi thought of how he didn’t mind that degree of payment himself, a smile surfaced on him.
“Fu fu… In the worst case, it’ll make you want to kill.”
Yourself, that is.
But he didn’t say that word out loud, choosing ot hide it behind a wicked smile that could send demons fleeing.
And when the two students felt the dark emotions entwined behind that, they trembled.
When he saw their reaction, Shinichi chuckled and released the pressure, and then he tried to persuade them in a gentle voice.
“Well, I can at least advise you on the direction you should take. Let me off with that. It doesn’t really suit me to teach people,” Shinichi said as he cut up his burger and ate the pieces one after another.
The innocent face had returned once more. It was almost as though that wicked smile from earlier was nothing but an illusion.
Those who desired power too much would eventually come into contact with something that humans shouldn’t touch.
That was especially true for these two since they possessed spiritual power.
That’s why Shinichi was willing to give them advice, but not the full training.
He didn’t want them to make the same mistake he did.
“…But in that case, won’t it be problematic for you?”
“Amu, what was that?”
For a moment, Tomoe was swallowed by Shinichi’s attitude and response, but she bit back.
Shinichi thought for sure that Ryou would be the one to bite at him, so he was rather confused when he saw Tomoe take the lead.
“I didn’t think you’d obediently agree to train us either. There’s no merit in it for you, and it looks like you’ve been hiding your abilities too, so I had to prepare material that would convince you.”
Her blue eyes were brimming with resolve as they stared at Shinichi, but her taut lips showed how tense she was.
“A material that would be troubling for me if released, huh. So in other words, you’re saying that you’ve grasped my weakness, right?”
Once again that innocent face smiled transformed into that wicked smile.
No matter what kind of material she had with her, even if it were indeed something fatal, in negotiations, an intimidating aura was necessary.
Even if that aura was nothing more than a bluff, it wasn’t meaningless to make the other side think that he had the initiative.
They did not have an advantage because they managed to grab onto his weakness, rather it was only because they able to grasp his weakness that they could finally sit on the table of negotiation.
It was imperative that they understood that.
But of course, half of it was because he enjoyed scaring them.
“I-I don’t know if it’s your weakness or anything, but your situation is really delicate, so I’ve brought information that you ought to know. If you find out about it too late, it’ll be really troublesome for you,” Tomoe said.
Despite faltering before Shinichi’s intimidating attitude, Tomoe put on a brave front and spoke firmly.
Meanwhile, Ryou looked at her anxiously.
That did not mean that only Tomoe was gutsy enough to do this, rather that she was the only one confident enough.
“Really? So what is this troublesome thing of yours? Surely, you’ll at least give me an idea what it is, right?”
“Of course, it’s for a trade, after all, so I’ll give you that much. But before that, allow me to thank you once again,” Tomoe said.
When Shinichi asked what her material was, Tomoe’s blue eyes looked at him earnestly.
None of that usual strength could be found in her eyes, just a pure and earnest gratitude.
“I felt like I needed to thank you properly, so thank you for saving me… If not for you, I would have been killed. If you hadn’t stop the Ootsu family, countless innocent would have also been killed. As an exorcist who’s inherited the same blood and duty, I apologize for not being able to do anything, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help.”
As she bowed her head, she both thanked and apologized to him.
The boy could tell that her feelings were real, but there was no way he could nod.
“What are you talking about?”
Confusion surfaced on Shinichi’s face, but deep inside, alarms were blaring.
After all, directing such words to him was both right and wrong.
“Hey, Tomoe. What are you saying?” Ryou said.
“It’s exactly as I said, I’m thanking him for saving me,” Tomoe said.
The script was wrong, so Ryou raised up his head to question her, but Tomoe shot him down and insisted that she wasn’t mistaken. When Ryou tried to process her words again, he froze.
“Well, yeah, but the way you’re saying it, it’s almost as if…”
Midway through his words, he looked at the boy sitting in front of them with confusion.
The way she was saying it, it was almost as though this boy was that mask.
But it was precisely that impossible conclusion that Tomoe confirmed with a smile.
“Exactly. This guy is none other than the mysterious mask that saved us, the person responsible for protecting the people living in Kutoria. Isn’t that right?”
Ryou raised his voice in disbelief, but Tomoe ignored him, and just looked at Shinichi with a gaze brimming with conviction.
“Sorry, but I can’t keep up with this conversation at all,” Shinichi said.
“…Oh, that’s a surprise. I thought your face would be more emotional, but it turns out you have quite the poker face there, huh.”
Shinichi’s face didn’t even waver for a moment.
“It’s because I don’t understand what you’re saying at all.”
With how Ryou was continuing to look at Tome with confusion, evidently, she hadn’t told him anything.
As for Tomoe, Shinichi’s response was within her expectations, so she just calmly pointed out one evidence.
“Really? But your neighbor’s face is quite honest, though.”
Shinichi turned to his servant, and on her face was clearly written the word, ‘How!?’
Shinichi reflexively dropped his knuckles on her head.
“Don’t make such a misleading expression!”