Chapter 10: Special Training, Very Special training

"Alright! All clean, Ichika!"

If someone saw me now, they'd probably say my face looks like a giant tomato attach to a human body. When I saw Charlotte was my partner for the tournament, in all honesty I was happy. We had great team work the last time we paired up, but…Right now, I don't know how to put how I feel in words. The things I have to do for the sake of training. To think this all started with wanting to win the tournament…

Flash back

"Hey Char, let's train really hard for this. I want to win this time."

Indeed, this time I wanted to get stronger and make the people around me proud for once. Despite being the brother of a former Mondo Grosso champion, I've never stood out enough. I want to make Chifuyu-nee proud. That's why this time I'll do anything I can do win.

"The key to victory will be team work! Just like last time."

That's right. In this pair tournament, I'm sure the team with the best team work will come out on top.

"Let's work on that then! I'll do anything!"

At that moment, I felt a chill surge through my body. It's been quite warm…That sure is strange.

"Really? Anything?"

I feel a little uneasy at that expression, Char. You look so sweet and happy but…what's with that dark aura around you? Am I tired enough to be hallucinating. Maybe I haven't taken care of my health well enough these days…

"Well, yes. Anything that will help."

"This will be very, very effective."

End flashback

The giggle that I heard from her that day will forever be engraved in my head now – the laugh from the angel of death. As a result of my bad choice of words, as the past three weeks we've been living how people would describe as "newly weds".

According to Char, all this…well…you know, is apparently to increase our "synchronization" with each other. During her long speech trying to convince me (more like pressure me) into cooperation she stressed that to perform more complex and sophisticated team work we would have to be PERFECTLY in sync. Apparently, that means spending every second of my life with her…even in the bath. Oh, dear God, please don't take this as a sin. I have no intention or ulterior motive here! I just wanted to win the tournament!

After our bath we soon head to my room to sleep. Rest is truly important to both training and our health; it is vital to get enough of it yet I find myself unable to. Sleeping next to Char keeps me on edge, stopping me from relaxing and thus unable to sleep enough. My heart is beating way too fast… It's not that I hate her or that I don't want to be near her, I just feel having our own space is proper.

Her breathing is calm and steady; she must've already fallen asleep. I suppose I should take this time to think about the tournament. Inevitably Houki's team will be the biggest obstacle. Being paired with the Student Council President's sister will boost her already scary abilities. I shouldn't forget Cecilia and Rin either. Alto bothers me too…His IS is so powerful. If he can control it properly, what is there to stop him from crushing everybody singlehandedly? His speed and power are unmatched, the only thing that…OH GOD.

Breaking my musings is the feeling of very supple, bouncy flesh on my back and a slender arm wrapping around me. The sleeping Char pulls me closer, driving her chest closer to my back. What are you doing Char?! There's less than 10cm of space between us…no, wait, there is less than 5 now! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! MY NOSE MIGHT START BLEEDING AT THIS RATE!

"Cha…cha…char…Char. You're awake aren't you?"

…No response? Really?

I attempt to move but a thought crosses my mind that if I do so, I could wake her up. Despite my beliefs regarding space, I wouldn't want disturb Char. She's been training hard too. In all honesty, I truly appreciate her efforts to help me achieve my goal of winning. If this would really boost our chances of winning, and perhaps if this is making her happy, I suppose I should learn to get more used to this. Maybe, just maybe, I actually like how we are right now…

Back at the arena

"Come on! Is that all you've got?!"

Taunted by the demonic voice, Laura couldn't help but stiffen slightly. Alto floated calmly in the air laughing to himself, letting out quiet yet sinister chuckles. Without a moment's notice, he vanished and darted behind Laura. Picking up his signal at the last moment, Laura was able to spin deftly to begin blocking a hellish barrage of slashes. Unlike Alto's original style of a small number of accurate critical hits, the pilot had evolved to a seemingly crazy barrage of unrelenting strikes that would destroy the opponent should they connect. With brute strength, Alto broke through her guard and landed the final blow sending her shield energy to zero with a single strike.

Gazing upon this from a distance was the smiling form of Orimura Chifuyu.

"He's ready."