It was the second day of the field trip of Garesto Academy.
They had their breakfast at a hotel in Tokyo, then from the Tokyo International Airport flew to the Osaka International Airport.
From there, they rode large buses to enter Nara Prefecture.
In one of the buses of the normal class was a girl yawning in her seat.
Her friend, who was seated beside her, looked at her with dismay.
“Wow, your mouth is so big… You know, Tomoe, you should at least cover your mouth when you yawn.”
“Ah, uu, sorry, Youko, I couldn’t keep myself.”
Tomoe hastily covered her mouth, but it was a little too late. Fortunately, most of the people were busy studying about their next destination or talking with their friends.
However, the members of her Sports Chanbara club saw her and laughed.
“Kuu, those girls!”
“It’s your fault for letting your guard down… Did you stay up late last night after that?”
“I went to bed on time, but that guy!”
“Huh, ah, erm… What I meant to say is that I saw a weird dream and was woken up. I couldn’t go back to sleep, so… I went jogging! Yeah!”
“…And that’s why you’re so sleepy right now?”
Tomoe sounded like she was just coming up with an excuse, but Youko just went along with it.
She had heard from Tomoe’s roommate that she wasn’t there when she woke up, but she figured that she must’ve been training on her own because she played the whole day yesterday. After all, Tomoe has always been a hard worker and was someone who’s always been concerned about the qualities she lacked in.
Though mistaken, Youko was surprisingly close to the truth.
“Then How about sleeping until we arrive? I’ll lend you my shoulders.”
“Okay, but… It feels like you’re being really considerate of me.”
As she leaned onto her a little and closed her eyes, she quietly muttered to herself about what she had to go through.
Early this morning, Shinichi somehow managed to knock on her door and wake her up without alerting anyone else.
Ryou suffered a similar fate. After which, they were both made to practice kumite with Shinichi at the same time until they ran out of time.
『There’s no harm in learning to fight with people.』
『You already know plenty in terms of theory, so all that’s left is to teach your body.』
Under such pretense, they were made to toil early morning until they were exhausted.
Tomoe had a simple exoskeleton equipped because of her low stamina, but she was still thrown around, tripped, pulled, armlocked, while Ryou was thoroughly beaten.
Shinichi didn’t use any special techniques or strength, yet he still defeated them with just pure martial arts. It was truly a wondrous thing.
『There are still those the fail to realize it because of the early part of the cultural exchange, but when the playing field is equal, techniques will be the deciding factor.』
『If you feel you’ve reached your limit with your Status, then consider training in that aspect.』
Techniques that utilized one’s bare hands, techniques that utilized the body, and techniques that predicted and suppressed the movement of one’s opponent by relying on one’s understanding of the human body.
The martial arts that Earthlings have developed from all over the world since time immemorial, and the history and experience that came with those, Shinichi was saying that they should consider re-examining them, but…
『If you’re that out of breath with just this much, then that only goes to show how wasteful your movements are.』
『No matter the rank, that’s a fatal mistake against any opponent that’s your equal or your superior.』
『I’m an exception among exceptions, so I’m not exactly a good representation, but in my case, I’m not getting tired even with a Stamina rank of D.』
Shinichi didn’t appear the slightest bit tired despite performing kumite for several hours with them.
He was especially attentive to Tomoe when he reminded them not to be wasteful with their stamina. And since she has indeed failed many times in that regard, she had no words to rebut with.
『Don’t consider Status to be representative of your abilities. Instead, consider it to be the specs of the weapon you have. Handle it well, and you will already be a step or two above others.』
That summed up the lessons they were taught this morning: to understand the abilities of the weapons they possessed and master it.
『Shinguuji, you keep getting thrown around because yours is too high-spec’d, but by moving your body in this way, your can gradually learn how to handle your specs. You can worry about spiritual power later, but I do hope you can at least think of an answer to the assignment I gave you.』
『Tomoe, your situation is the opposite. You’re decisive, but you don’t have any confidence in your movements. That’s why you can’t make the most out of your specs. You have the basics down, so if you’ve decided to make a move, then do it. Stop hesitating to use your justus too.』
Losing was one thing, but death meant losing everything.
Ryou panted despite his high Stamina but he seriously listened to every one of Shinichi’s words.
Tomoe had her issues with Shinichi, but she knew they weren’t mistaken in asking him to be their master.
After all, even Ryou was either brazenly yawning in another bus right about now or sleeping.
Tomoe was glad that she didn’t have to see that, though, because she’d surely end up irrationally punching him.
『Hey, why are you looking like we’re done already? 』
After all, her session with Shinichi continued even after that.
Shinichi hadn’t been expecting this field trip, so there was a certain matter that ended up being delayed.
A bad premonition rose up from within Tomoe, while a huge smile surfaced on Shinichi.
『I told you’d we’d be having an oral exam about the Ootsu family’s documents, right?』
Not only did he make her move her body until she was dead tired, immediately after, he even told her that with a smile. Tomoe screamed.
But of course, Shinichi wasn’t the slightest bit bothered and even felt that she should be grateful since he delayed the exam by a night.
Tomoe was flabbergasted, but she couldn’t go against him, so she had no choice but to take the difficult exam.
It was so difficult that Shinichi didn’t sound at all like someone who had just learned of the existence of the exorcist clans recently.
Perhaps due to his personality, most of the questions were trick questions, but Tomoe still managed to pass thanks to her foundations. Alas, Shinichi did not seem amused.
Evidently, this was meant to be payback for last night. Tomoe earnestly believed that to be the case as Shinichi only let her go after exhausting her both physically and mentally.
──What a mean
The relationship between people was truly a mysterious thing, but he seemed to be the older brother of her friend sitting beside her.
As for the age difference, she just shelved that matter for later and shook her head with a wry smile.
The blood relationship between them was made clearer from the way they acted. From the way he was weak when praised, and from the way he was considerate after their training early this morning.
Tomoe thought fondly of that as she nodded off.
『…There are a lot of exorcist families in Nara and Kyoto. Are you going to be alright?』
Right before reaching slumber land, however, those words he asked her after training came to mind. She just told him then she’d be fine, but as sleep took hold of her, she ended up muttering those words she did not say out loud.
‘I’ll be fine, as long as you’re with me.’