That was a wide screen roughly about 24 inches, and on it could clearly be seen the upper half of Tomoe, only her attire was that ever familiar high-collared school uniform.
While there were no particularly distinctive features about it, Shinichi could tell that it was his. When he pointed that out, Tomoe looked blankly at him for a moment before looking down at herself and blushing.
『──────Hiyaaaa!?!? Y-You perv! Don’t look at me!!!』
“Again, that’s my line since those are my clothes you’re wearing, but yeah, whatever.”
Flushed completely red, Tomoe panicked, and the video shown on the screen spun around. Evidently, she’d dropped her foster in her panic and couldn’t even be bothered to pick it back up. Judging from the barely visible scene, it could be inferred that she was in a room in the hotel. She could be seen moving meaninglessly around the room in embarrassment as she took off the uniform jacket and threw it away.
『I was seen, I was seen, I was seen!!』
As though nothing could be more shameful, Tomoe’s screams resounded throughout the room. She herself couldn’t be seen on the screen, but it was all too easy to imagine her crouched somewhere in the room, red as a tomato.
『Stupid, stupid, stupid! Why oh why did I have to wear it! And why did I have to show up in front of him while wearing it!?』
From the direction of the voice, it seemed she might have escaped to the bathroom, but Shinichi didn’t say anything and just quietly waited. He knew that it would be counterproductive for him to call out to her now. 10 seconds later, there was a scream, and she came back with heavy footsteps before ripping the foster back up.
『This is all your servant’s fault!』
“I see. That excuse is actually very persuasive, so on her behalf, I apologize.”
Her embarrassment appeared to have come full circle, and she threw the blame at his servant. Shinichi knew Youko better than anyone else, so he could easily imagine what mi have happened, and as such, apologized in her stead.
“She said something about sniffing and putting it on too, didn’t she?” Myuhi muttered.
Just remembering that annoying fox put Myuhi in a bad mood, but the way Tomoe got caught red-handed doing exactly what that perverted fox told her to do made her cheeks slacken. That was just so much like her. Really, Tomoe might not be honest with her words, but everything else about her was really honest. That’s why seeing her act like that put a smile on her.
However, everyone else was too focused on Tomoe to notice the strange expression on Myuhi. The Sister had her hands to her mouth in shock, while Monica tilted her head with a quizzical look on her.
“The uniform was one thing, but that one is actually quite embarrassing.”
It was curious if Shinichi had noticed that or not, but regardless, Shinichi just scratched his cheeks, embarrassed upon seeing Tomoe’s appearance.
Tomoe wore a plain T-shirt underneath her school uniform. She was lightly dressed, but it was nothing for her or Shinichi to be embarrassed about. The problem was that thing hanging from her neck. Yes, a turquoise magatama was there quietly making its existence known.
“Though I really am glad to see you wearing it.”
Tomoe, in response to his genuine words of joy, blushed again and bubbled up with a smile.
『W-Well, it would be rude after all not to wear something you went out of your way to give me, right?”』
However, she desperately tried to keep her embarrassment and redness at bay, as though she couldn’t afford to put on that shameful display she showed just a moment ago.
Alas, the way she acted spoke volumes of what was happening here. And even those that were not in the know were able to tell that that must’ve been a gift from Shinichi.
“You don’t have to mind it so much. It’s nothing expensive anyway. It might not even be enough to show you my gratitude for that time.”
It was curious if that was just modesty on his part, or if he was worried that she would force herself to wear it, but regardless, Tomoe’s expression suddenly changed.
『So this is just some cheap insufficient object, is it?』
Was it frustration or displeasure or both that tinged her face? But regardless, she bore down at him, and Shinichi could not help but take a slight step back.
“Tomoe, you look really scary right now, you know.”
『This is agate from Izumo, isn’t it? You went out of your way to use stone from a place of power, and there are even traces of someone imbuing even more power into it.』
Tomoe seemed to interrogate Shinichi as she listed those facts one by one, while Shinichi awkwardly avoided meeting her gaze. It was such an honest and clumsy answer on his part, but it was also proof that he trusted her that much. In the end, Tomoe didn’t know whether to be happy or frustrated about that.
“I-I just figured that if I was going to give you a gift, I might as well give you something decent.”
『Don’t just randomly give something so precious to girls! Do you have any idea how happy it— I mean, do you have any idea how shocked I was when I realized how precious this thing was!?』
“How precious is it?”
『I thought you stole a national treasure from somewhere, seriously!』
“D-Don’t worry, as you guessed, I made it myself. I haven’t done anything shady.”
That was actually true. He made the magatama himself, and he didn’t do anything that would break the law or any ethical standard in the process of crafting it or in the procuring of the materials.
He earnestly stated that there shouldn’t be any issues, but veins just pulsated on Tomoe.
『That’s besides the point! What I’m saying is that the work I did and the reward I got doesn’t match! All I did was help beat up some villains, and you basically handed me a magatama that’s one grade away from becoming a divine artifact!』
If not for their age and the context, this exchange sounded just like a mother scolding her child.
In response, Shinichi made a thoughtful “hmm” before uttering an “ah” as if it was only now that he was realizing that.
Tomoe blankly looked up at the sky.
『Goodness, seriously… Anyway, what business did you have with me?』
Despite sighing in exasperation at how scatterbrained Shinichi was, she knew that reminding him once was more than enough, and she voluntarily steered the conversation back to the initial topic, not realizing that that in itself was proof of how much she trusted him.
“I was hoping to borrow your sword for a bit… Oh, it’s nothing like what you’re thinking.”
There was a sharpness to Tomoe’s eyes as Shinichi explained, so he had to quickly explain that he wasn’t in an urgent situation.
For a moment, Tomoe had worn the face of an exorcist, but she quickly went back to normal and readily agreed.
『Well, alright then. Did you really need to contact me just to say that? It’s already recognized you, so just summon it whenever you need it.”』
She’d basically given him free use of her precious weapon, causing Shinichi to become perplexed. It wasn’t alright for him to just use it whenever he felt like it, though, so he shook his head.
“No, it’s your katana, and it’s precious to you. I can’t just take it out whenever I want just because you’re okay with it.”
He had a point, but Tomoe just found it amusing how unusually rigid he was in certain matters. A faint smile surfaced on her, not in mockery but in commendation. That was so much like him, she thought. Particularly, the way he separated ownership and how she felt about it.
『You’re really stiff when it comes to certain matters, aren’t you? But really, it’s fine. I’ve given you my permission already, so just call it when you need it. I doubt you’ll need it for long anyway from how you’re speaking.』
“Yeah, I won’t keep it for long. I’ll give it back to you before the day is over.”
『When are you coming back?』
“At the latest, Hina and I will be back the morning the day after tomorrow. Don’t worry, we’re not doing anything bad.”
『You didn’t have to explain yourself, but okay. I’ll let the teacher know.』
“Don’t forget your training, okay?” Shinichi added.
『I-I won’t! No really, I haven’t forgotten! The stutter was a joke, so stop looking so scary!”』
Shinichi eyed her suspiciously, and Tomoe panicked. She hastily and desperately explained that she would take her training seriously, then she cut the call as though she were running from something.