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Published at 1st of August 2017 07:11:34 AM
Chapter 3.2

Youkoso v2c3 part 2



4

It was hot and humid after school . I made my way towards the club building where the incident happened a few days ago . The area didn’t look any different; after all, it wasn’t like it had to be taped off because there was a murder case . Now that classes were over, I couldn’t see anyone around since the home economics and the audiovisual rooms were rarely used in the first place . This would be one of the most ideal places in the school to call out Sudou .

“Man, it’s hot…”

This weather is pretty abnormal . I guess this is how summer should usually feel, but I didn’t think it’d be this hot and humid inside the building . Well, this is the effect of getting used to air conditioning every day . It felt even hotter because I was so used to the cold air of the A/C .

The air conditioning was probably on during classes, but I couldn’t tell from how hot it was .

“Sorry for bringing you over here . ”

Horikita, who was standing next to me, didn’t look like she was feeling the heat as she looked down the hallway .

“How strange of you to stick out your own neck for this case . Since we’ve already found the witness, there’s nothing that can be done anymore . What more are you trying to do?”

“Sudou’s the first friend I made . I want to help him out a bit . ”

“Do you think there’s a way to prove he’s innocent then?”

“Hmm, I don’t know . I can’t really say anything yet . I’m just acting by myself because I’m not very good at interacting with a larger group of people . It seemed like some responsibilities would be pushed onto me if I stayed, so I ran instead . After all, I like to avoid trouble . ”

“Yeah, clearly . But even then, it’s contradictory for you to say that you want to help because he’s a friend . ”

“Well, human beings are mutually interdependent creatures . ”

I’ve talked about this subject to Horikita before, but she seems pretty open-minded about my way of thinking .

Horikita usually acts by herself, so as long as it doesn’t affect her negatively, she’s fine with it .

“Well, your way of thinking doesn’t really matter to me, so you’re free to do whatever you want . Also, I think it’s fine to avoid those two . ”

“I mean, that’s just because you hate them . ”

“Having common enemies leads to cooperation after all . ”

“No, just because I’m bad at dealing with them doesn’t mean I hate them . I’m not like you . ”

By all means, I do want to get closer to Kushida and Hirata .

But Horikita has a broad interpretation of my thoughts and is trying to say that we are similar .

I walked down the hallway, scanning the corner between the wall and the ceiling .

Horikita suddenly noticed something and started looking around .

“Hmm, there aren’t any here . That’s too bad . ”

“Huh? What isn’t here?”

“Cameras like the ones in the classroom . We would have solid evidence if those cameras were in the hallways, but there aren’t any . ”

“Oh, right . Those cameras . The case would be solved instantly if they were here . ”

There were outlets near the ceiling, but weren’t being used .

The hallway doesn’t have any obstacles, so if there was a camera, it would’ve been able to record the whole incident .

“In the first place, does the school usually have cameras in the hallways?”

The other buildings probably don’t have cameras in the hallways as well .

“I mean, they probably wouldn’t be in the bathrooms or the changing rooms, right?”

“Yeah, probably not . ”

“…It’s not something to be sad about now though . If there were cameras, the school would’ve checked them first and this wouldn’t be a problem . ”

I shook my head, feeling ashamed that I got my hopes up for a split second .

For a short while, we wandered around aimlessly without getting anything done .

“Did you think of a plan to save Sudou-kun?”

“Of course not . It’s your job to come up with a plan . I won’t ask you to save Sudou, but it would be nice if you could put us in the right direction . ”

Horikita shrugged her shoulders in exasperation . She’s probably trying to find a way to respond to that . However, she found the witness, so at least she’s considering helping out .

“You want me to help? Right now?”

“The witness doesn’t really help the situation because she’s in class D . I think it’s better to go look for something else . ”

Horikita probably told the others even though it wouldn’t help much . If she didn’t want to tell them at all, she probably wouldn’t have listened nor replied to their request .

However, she was calmly wandering around as if she didn’t have a care in the world .

“There are a lot of unpleasant things about Sudou . However, I want him to take less responsibility for the incident . Having a few points left over is the best possible outcome, even though it’s a loss if the impression of class D gets worse . ”

I think she’s saying her honest feelings, even though she’s not usually upfront .

That’s not a bad thing . However, most people are weak to loneliness . That’s why some people hypocritically act to stick together . That isn’t the case for Horikita, though .

And unlike Kushida and the others, she definitely gave up on trying to prove Sudou’s innocence .

“Like I said earlier, unless a perfect witness shows up, it will be impossible to prove that Sudou-kun is innocent . Well, it might happen if class C admits that they lied . Do you think that’ll happen?”

“Definitely not . Class C won’t do that . ”

Since the other class also doesn’t have any evidence, the lie won’t go anywhere .

We also don’t have anything to believe other than Sudou’s words . The whole situation is in the dark .

“There’s no one here after school . ”

“Obviously, since this building isn’t used for anything other than clubs . ”

One party called out the other to the roof . Afterwards, as if by fate, the two quarreling parties fought . In the end, Sudou injured the other party, and they complained about it .

I wouldn’t bother coming to this hot place unless someone else called me out here .

The humidity is oppressing . I feel like I’m going insane in this heat .

“Is it not hot for you, Horikita?”

As my body was suffering from the heat, Horikita was looking around with a cool expression .

“I’m pretty good against the heat and the cold . You look… not so good . ”

I was out of it from the heat and moved towards the window in search of some cool air . I opened the window to save myself from the heat… but I immediately shut the window right after .

“…That was dangerous . ”

As soon as I opened the window, the hot wind burst into the room . It would be an even bigger disaster if I kept the window open .

When I think about the fact that it’ll get even hotter until August, I feel depressed .

However, there were results from coming here today . It’s not impossible—

“What are you thinking about right now?”

“No, nothing much . Just that it’s hot… I’ve reached my limit already . ”

It looked like nothing more could be done right now, so the two of us started heading back .

“Ah . ”

“Oops . ”

As I turned the corner of the hallway, I accidentally bumped into another student .

“My bad, are you okay?”

It wasn’t that strong of an impact, so neither of us fell over .

“Yes . Sorry, I was careless . ”

“Me too . Oh wait, are you Sakura?”

As the girl apologized, I recognized who she was .

“…Ah, um…?”

From her flustered response, it seems like she doesn’t know who I am .

After she looked at my face for a few seconds, she recognized that I was one of her classmates . Then again, it’s kind of pointless if you can only recognize someone by looking at them carefully .

Sakura was holding her phone tightly in her hand .

“Ah, um . My hobby is taking pictures…”

She showed me the screen of her phone . I wasn’t really planning on asking in the first place .

After all, it’s not unnatural to use a phone while walking .

Sakura was probably wondering why we were in this building .

“What pictures were you taking?”

“Things like the hallway… and the view out the window .



As she finished her explanation, she saw Horikita nearby and cast down her eyes .

“Ah, um…”

“I have something I want to ask you, Sakura-san . ”

Sakura looked uncomfortable, but Horikita took a step forward .

She stepped back in fright . I held back Horikita lightly, gesturing for her to back off .

“G-Goodbye . ”

“Sakura . ”

I quickly called out to Sakura, who was already running away .

“You don’t have to push yourself . ”

I didn’t really have to call out to her, but I did .

Sakura stopped walking but didn’t look back .

“You don’t have to come out as the witness . There’s no meaning to forcing a testimony out of you . However, if there’s someone scary trying to threaten you, you can talk to us . I don’t know how much I can help, but I will help the best I can . ”

“Are you talking about me?”

Let’s just ignore the possibility that a scary person exists and let her go .

“I didn’t see anything . I’m the wrong person…”

She kept insisting that she wasn’t the witness . After all, we are only working off Horikita’s insight, and nothing else . There is a possibility that the actual witness may be someone else .

“Then that’s fine . If someone else tries to press you, though, tell me . ”

Sakura gave a small reply and headed down the stairs .

“That was a once in a lifetime chance right now, you know? She probably walked away because she knew something was going to happen . ”

“Since she denies it herself, there’s nothing more we can do . Also, you know that a witness from class D is pretty weak . ”

“Well, I guess . ”

She’ll act based on her thoughts . Then again, I don’t know what she’s thinking .

That’s why we’re not really investigating right now .

“Hey you guys, what are you doing here?”

Both of us turned around, not having expected someone to call out to us . A strawberry-blonde haired girl was looking towards us .

I’ve seen her face before . She’s Ichinose from class B, but I’ve never talked to her before . Also, I’ve heard that she’s an amazing student from the rumors floating around .

“Sorry to call you out so suddenly . Do you have some time? Oh, but if you’re here on a date, please get out quickly . ”

“It’s nothing like that . ”

Horikita immediately denied it . It’s only times like these when she’s fast to respond .

“Ahaha, I see . This place is too hot to be a date spot anyway . ”

Ichinose and I have never talked before . I’m saying this without any proof, but she probably doesn’t know my name . After all, I’m only one of the many students she sees every day .

Is she Horikita’s acquaintance or friend? …Nah .

If they suddenly went, “Hey, long time no see~ How are you doing~?” “I’m doing well~!”, I’m sure I would collapse while foaming at the mouth .

“Do you have some business with us?”

Of course it probably wasn’t something like that, but Horikita became immediately wary of Ichinose, who had just appeared . She probably thinks that this isn’t coincidence .

“Business… well, something like ‘what are you doing here?’”

“Nothing much . We’re somewhat wandering around . ”

It would’ve been fine to answer honestly, but the pressure from Horikita’s gaze made me answer differently .

“Somewhat, huh? You two are in class D, right?”

“…You know us?”

“I’ve met you two times before, even though we haven’t talked . Also, I remember seeing him in the library before . ”

Somehow, it seems that she remembered my figure (guess I look pretty cool) .

“I have a good memory, after all . ”

Are you trying to say that you wouldn’t have remembered me if your memory wasn’t good?

I was a bit happy, but my good mood disappeared from that jab .

“I thought that there would be something here that would be related to the fight . When I wasn’t at school yesterday, it seems like some information about the witness had reached class B . I only heard later that the students of class D were trying to prove him innocent . ”

“If we’re doing investigating here because of the incident, then how does that affect you?”

“Hmm, how does it affect me? …well, it doesn’t . But, I had a few doubts when I heard about the story, and so I decided to come here to check things out . If it’s fine with you, would you tell me about the circumstances?”

Is it fine to chalk it up as “curiosity” then?

After a few moments of silence, Ichinose spoke apologetically .

“Does that mean no? If other classes were interested…”

“No, it’s nothing like that, but…”

“I can only think there’s something else to this . ”

I tried to go about things peacefully, but Horikita immediately shot down that plan .

Ichinose tilted her neck and smiled, interpreting the meaning behind Horikita’s words .

“Something else? Do you feel like we’re going to make a secret move to interfere with class C and D?”

She looked like she wanted to say, “Oh, that’s disappointing” .

“I don’t think you have to be that wary, though . I’m really just curious . ”

“I don’t want to answer someone who’s ‘just curious’ . Just do as you please . ”

Horikita answered, trying to get her to back off, and looked out the window .

“Please tell me something . All I heard from my friends and the teachers were that there was a fight . ”

Although I hesitated for a bit, I knew that there wasn’t much information out there and decided to explain how the three class C students called out Sudou, got beat up, turned it around on him, and how two versions of the story were reported to the school . Ichinose listened to the whole store seriously .

“I see, so that’s what happened . That news hasn’t come to class B yet . I see, I see… Hey, isn’t this a huge problem? It doesn’t matter who lied, since it’s a case of violence anyway . Shouldn’t you discover the truth?”

“That’s why we’re here in the first place, but we haven’t discovered much . ”

It’s not a murder scene, so I didn’t think there were any hints left over, but we did get some results, contrary to our expectations .

“So, you’re believing Sudou-kun because he’s your friend and your classmate . And therefore this case has become a case of false accusation to class D . ”

It would be hard for Ichinose, a third party, to understand that it wasn’t because he was our friend or because he was our classmate . But I’m not going to explain that much .

“What would you do if Sudou-kun was the one lying? For example, what if there was evidence that clearly proved he was guilty?”

“I would honestly report it . After all, such a lie would only bite us in the back later . ”

“Yea, I agree . ”

It’s not like Ichinose would be affected anyway .

“Then we’re good, right? Since you got what you wanted . ”

She spoke quickly, as if she wanted to turn her away as fast as possible .

“Mmm . Hey, is it fine if I help? I can help look for the witness . It’s faster if there’s more people, right?”

Obviously, the more people the better . That’s true . But it’s not like we’re saying, “Please listen to our story, it’s a disaster!” .

“I wonder why a class B student is offering to help . ”

“Are class B and class D completely unrelated? We don’t know when and where these kind of cases will pop up . Since the classes are competing against each other, there’s always of a risk that these troubles appear . This time was just the first such case . It’ll also be a huge issue if the party that lied wins . Also, I personally can’t overlook this after hearing what happened . ”

I couldn’t tell if she was being serious or if she was joking .

“If class B helps in finding a witness, don’t you guys have more credibility? Well, it’s possible that class D is the one that suffers damage after the truth is revealed…”

If Sudou’s words are proven to be a lie, that means class C’s claim is the correct one . Sudou would be suspended, and class D would take some heavy damage, perhaps fatal .

“What do you think? I think it’s a pretty good proposal . ”

I looked over at Horikita . However, she was still facing out the window with her back turned to me . I wonder what she thinks about her proposal .

Naturally, we were most worried about our merit . If the students of class D tried to prove Sudou’s innocence by ourselves, the credibility of our proof would be low unless the evidence completely solved the case .

If an unrelated class B student got involved, the situation would be completely different .

“You may think I’m being a hypocrite, but I also don’t intend to carry such a heavy responsibility . ”



I weighed the positives and the negatives of her proposal . Obviously, we still couldn’t trust Ichinose yet . After all, she’s a student from class B, and there’s no clear benefit for her in choosing to help . If helping other people repeatedly was related to the class and private points, then her actions are understandable . She probably won’t give up such valuable information so easily… but there’s no other way but to ask .

“Let’s accept the help, Ayanokouji-kun . ”

Horikita must have determined that the merits were greater than the risks .

I was thankful that she came to a decision quickly .

In the first place, I didn’t really have any power to decide; it was all up to Horikita .

Ichinose smiled, showing her white teeth .

“Then it’s decided . Um…”

“Horikita . ”

Horikita readily gave her name; it looks like she approves of this cooperative relationship .

“Nice to meet you, Horikita-san . And Ayanokouji-kun as well . ”

By an unexpected turn of events, we became acquainted with Ichinose and formed a cooperative relationship, but it’s still up to chance whether or not this is a good thing . Either way, it’ll bring change .

“We already found the witness, but sadly, they’re in class D . ”

Ichinose let out a sigh, facepalming .

“Well, that means a witness isn’t in any other class, right? At least, the probability would be low . ”

A very low chance, but a chance is a chance .

“Even then, your friend is being considered as a regular, right? That’s awesome! Even if he’s holding you guys back right now, he’ll be a great asset later on . If he goes out and does great, he’ll get points and so will the class . Wait… did you not know? Did your teacher not tell you?”

We were only told that our private points were affected .

“It’s my first time hearing that it affects our class points… I’ll have to bring up a complaint with Chiyabashira-sensei later on . ”

Horikita mumbled in dissatisfaction .

Either way, Sensei omitted something once again . I wonder if it was their teacher that told class B about the class points…

As usual, Sensei doesn’t even try to pretend that we’re all equal . I’m feeling the extreme discrimination .

“There’s something strange about your homeroom teacher . ”

“In the first place, she just doesn’t have any motivation to tell us and is apathetic to the students . There are those kind of teachers . ”

I didn’t think it was something to be surprised about, but Ichinose took a step back .

“Did you know that the homeroom teachers are evaluated when their class graduates?”

“No, first time hearing it . Are you sure?”

I wasn’t interested; rather, I had to be interested . An important distinction to make .

“My homeroom teacher, Hoshinomiya-sensei, says it like it’s her favorite phrase . She always says that she has to do her best because the teacher in charge of class A will get a bonus at the end . It seems like it’s different for you guys . ”

“I’m envious of your homeroom teacher and your class . ”

It feels like our homeroom teacher has no sense of ambition and no desire for money .

Rather, it feels like she would say, “You guys are failing—great!” .

“I think it would be great to meet up and discuss things sometime . ”

“I wasn’t expecting to be helped by the enemy . ”

“I mean, it feels like this is a problem before we can compete . After all, we’re not on even playing ground . ”

We were being pitied, even by the other classes .

It shows the lack of enthusiasm Chiyabashira-sensei has for her students .

“I wish we could switch teachers . ”

“No, I think there are a other problems with that . ”

I thought back on the time I met Hoshinomiya-sensei . She seems like a whole different set of troubles .

“Ah, it’s so hot here . ”

Ichinose took out a handkerchief with a cute panda on it and wiped the sweat from her forehead . Our thick uniforms trap the heat well .

“A school that turns on the air conditioning 24/7 even when the whole building is empty is bad for the environment and is detestable . ”

“Ahahaha, I guess . You’re an interesting one . ”

Ichinose laughed even though the line wasn’t meant to be funny .

“I don’t think there was anything to laugh at…”

“How about we exchange contact addresses to make sure things go smoothly in the future?”

Horikita sent me a look of, “I don’t want to, so you give her yours” .

“If you’re fine with mine . I’ll reply when you contact me . ”

“Okay, I got it . ”

I only realized after we exchanged addresses, but wow, I have a lot of girls’ contact addresses .

Granted, I only have seven addresses (three of which are girls’), even though it’s the beginning of July .

Somehow… I may have been enjoying my youth without even knowing it .

This is unrelated, but Ichinose’s first name is Honami .

5

According to her mail, Ichinose seems to be planning a strategy so that we would come to trust her . She decided to ask for permission every time she would do something, but I didn’t think it was necessary for her to restrict herself that much . After having returned to the dorms, I thought that Horikita would go her own way, but she followed me to my room .

“Sorry for intruding . ”

She said politely, even though there was no one else in my room .

I wonder why I feel nervous even though it’s only Horikita in the room with me .

“Oh, by the way, do you also have a key?”

“To this room? Ike-kun asked me if I wanted one, but I refused . ”

As expected of Horikita . It seems like she’s the only one with common sense around here .

“After all, it’s rare for me to go to your room . Going to your room is like a shame, a disgrace . You understand, right?”

That reply was also within my expectations . I’m totally not hurt .

I totally didn’t think, “It’s harsher than I expected” .

“Why are you tracing out characters on the wall with your finger?”

“To hide the unrest in my heart, or something like that . ”

The most terrifying part is that she doesn’t have any ill intentions .

If I brought it up to her, she’d probably go, “I only said the truth” .

“I want to hear what you think about Sudou-kun’s case again . Also, I think Kushida-san’s actions are a bit troubling . ”

“Wouldn’t it have been better to have participated from the beginning if you’re worried about the situation?”

“That wasn’t possible . I couldn’t accept the person in the beginning . I’m only helping for the class right now—frankly speaking, I still think it’s better to abandon him . ”

“Even if you pitched in and helped Sudou during the midterms?”

“That’s a separate matter . Even if we manage to miraculously prove him as innocent, do you think he’ll be helpful later? I think that it’s quite likely that our help will backfire . ”

Her eyes said, “Do you know what I’m trying to say?” .

“Is it for Sudou’s sake that you’re giving up on proving him innocent and letting him take the punishment?”

Horikita had a discontented expression, but then looked like she understood something .

“You already knew from the beginning that it would be very difficult to prove Sudou-kun innocent considering his personality, right? It makes it easy to think that it would be better for him to get punished . Especially for those who hate him . ”

It looked like she wanted to say, “You’re thinking the same way, right?”

I feel like I’ve been cornered, unable to get away . If I try to force my way out by denying it, she’ll just deliver the final blow .

“Well, isn’t that obvious to anyone with a bit of thinking?”

“Probably . It’s not like Kushida-san’s group hasn’t noticed . It’s just that they believe Sudou-kun and working with the class to try and disprove the lie . They don’t understand why this incident happened and the urgency of the situation at all . ”

Her remarks concerning her classmates were considerably harsh .

“At least Kushida is trying to help after understanding the situation already . ”

“After understanding the situation? Is that something she realized by herself?”

“Huh? No, that’s…”

“You told her, right?”

It felt like I was being interrogated . Scary .

“Getting old test questions, buying points on a test… I’m not surprised because you seem to be quite cunning but even then… I’m discontent . ”

I guess she’s learned that I’m a cunning person .

“Don’t overestimate me . ”

She laughed—that’s not what I meant to do . However, she immediately stopped .

“Honestly speaking, you’re a mystery . You’re the hardest person to predict in the class . Tactful yet idles often, and is never constant . It’s like you’re in a separate category of ‘cannot be categorized’ . ”

“All of those are questionable descriptions . Not what you’d say when you praise someone…”

I mean, there are better ways to put it, right? However, Horikita looked at me with distrustful eyes

“In other words, you’re hiding your true ability . You make me feel the most disgusted . ”

…I see . I wonder if it’s normal to not know what those five words mean together .

Somehow, I fell straight into Horikita’s trap . A slight blunder on my part .

“At any rate, saying that I make you the most disgusted is too much . Koenji is somewhat similar too . ”

That is, without a doubt, a seasonal good . Anything along those lines would make me feel hurt .

“He’s surprisingly easy to understand—after all, he’s smart and athletic . His behavior is the only problem, which is explained by the two words ‘self-conceited’ . ”

Actually, it’s fairly easy to understand . Certainily, Koenji’s way of life is pretty simple .

“I think you’d be a good teacher . ”

If I became a teacher… I feel like I’d be just like Chiyabashira-sensei .

6

On this campus, there are four dorms . Three of them are for the students; the students stay in the same dorm they were assigned to in their first year for all of high school . In other words, this dorm was used by last year’s third-years . The last dorm is for the teachers, and for all the live-in employees that work at the shopping mall .

In other words, since all the first years were in the same building, it was inevitable that people from different classes would get to meet .

I locked eyes with a person who had been a complete stranger until now .

“Thank you very much . ”

The girl who said her thanks to the dorm manager noticed me and called out to me .

“Yaho, Ayanokouji-kun . Good morning . You’re early . ”

Long, wavy hair and wide eyes . Chest straining the second button of her blazer . Her posture matches her personality, and what charms me is how cool she is, rather than her looks . It was class 1-B’s Ichinose Honami .

“I woke up earlier than I expected . What were you talking about with the manager?”

“A few people from my class wanted to make a request to the dorm . So, I gathered all the opinions and relayed it to the manager . Things like water usage and noise . ”

“You did?”

Usually, complaints or issues about the rooms were handled individually . I wonder why Ichinose collected their opinions .

“Good morning class rep~”

Ichinose replied to the two girls who walked out of the elevator .

“Class rep? Why class rep?”

I’ve never heard of that before . There are no positions like that here .

It doesn’t look like they call her ‘class rep’ because she studies too much .

“I’m the class rep for my class . ”

“Class rep… do all the other classes have one?”

Normally I’d be surprised, but our homeroom teacher would’ve probably decided to leave that out .

“No, we just made it on our own . I think it’s good to assign a few roles . ”

I understood what she was saying, but it’s not like we were going to assign a class rep anyway .

“By any chance, do you have any positions other than class rep?”

“Pretty much . Whether or not they’re useful is a different question, but we do have other roles like vice class rep and secretary . It’ll be useful whenever we have some kind of festival . It would be fine to decide things on the spot, but that might become troublesome . ”

I remembered that Ichinose was studying with a group of boys and girls at the library some time ago .

She was probably fulfilling her role as class rep back then as well .

Usually, most people wouldn’t want to be part of a class committee . They’re forced to do troublesome things and have to participate in discussions from time to time .

However, with Ichinose taking the initiative, things probably went a lot smoother .

“I guess you’re like the leader of class B then . ”

My honest feelings leaked out .

“Are you thinking of something strange? Everyone’s doing this for fun . Also, there are a surprising amount of people who cause trouble . There are a lot of issues . ”

As she said “There are a lot of issues”, she laughed in delight . Taking advantage of the current situation, we were walking to school together .

“Do you usually leave later? I never see you at this time .

Ichinose asked a harmless question, as if she was following a template .

I felt somewhat accomplished when I heard those words . My relationship with Ichinose will surely grow with small talk like this .

“There’s no need to leave so early, so I usually stay in my room for 20 minutes . ”

“Then I guess you get there just on time . ”

As we got closer to the school, the number of students multiplied .

Oddly enough, a number of girls turned towards us with jealous looks . Is this my popularity phase that’s rumored to come three times in a lifetime? Since it’s never happened to me, I feel like this is just about the right time for it to come .

“Good morning, Ichinose!”

“Good morning, Ichinose-san!”

Ichinose monopolized all of the gazes of the girls .

“Wow, you’re popular . ”

“Since I’m the class rep, I just stand out more . That’s all . ”

Instead of being humble, it seems like that’s what she truly believed .

It seems like she naturally attracts the attention of nearby people .

“Oh, right . Did you hear about summer break?”

“Summer break? No… isn’t summer break just summer break?”

“There are rumors that our vacation will be on a tropical island . ”

Speaking of which, something else crossed my mind .

I forget when, but Chiyabashira-sensei said something about a vacation .

“I can’t really believe it, but do we really have a vacation?”

It probably isn’t just a trip… Look around and seriously think about .

It isn’t an exaggeration to say that this school goes all out . Going to a tropical island during summer vacation and an onsen during the winter .

…It’s very suspicious . I don’t think the school is that nice . There’s definitely something else lurking around . I wonder what Ichinose thinks .

Without having to ask, I could tell from the bitter smile on her face .

“It’s suspicious . I think that’s one of the turning points . ”

“In other words, this might cause a huge change in the class points?”

“Yea, yea . This might have more influence than the midterms and the finals . Otherwise, the only difference between the classes would be these test scores . This trip is so that the school could separate us . ”

It wouldn’t be strange for a big event to happen soon…

“What is the gap between class A and B?”

“We have about 660 points, so around 350 . ”

It was a given that the number would’ve dropped since the beginning of the year, but it’s amazing how many points they held on to .

“There haven’t been any other methods of getting class points other than the midterms, so it was unavoidable that we lost some points . After all, class A also lost a few points in the beginning . ”

However, class A was able to gain a net positive with the recent midterm .

“You don’t seem very worried about your class points . ”

“I do care about it, but there I think that we have a chance of making a comeback . I’m only going to gather my thoughts in preparation . ”

I think that the first part that statement is correct .

However, that’s only possible because they have a solid foundation .

We’ve only got 87 points . We’re not close to even competing with the other classes .

“I wonder how much this event will change things . ”

It probably won’t be a measly 10 or 20 points .

However, it’s also difficult to imagine that the totals would change by 500 or 1000 points .

“We’re also in a pinch . If the gap widens, we might not be able to catch up anymore . ”

“I guess we both have to work hard . ”

Actually, it’s Horikita, Hirata, and Kushida that have to work hard .

“At any rate, it doesn’t look like the situation will get much worse . ”

I don’t want to start complaining already, but it seems like a troublesome event will happen soon .

“But if it’s actually a vacation on a tropical island, that would be super amazing!”

“I wonder…”

“Huh, not looking forward to it?”

Only people who have friends and interact with others can enjoy their break .

There’s nothing that feels as uncomfortable as traveling without people you’re close to .

Even more so if traveling with a group . Just thinking about it makes me feel sick .

“Do you hate traveling by any chance?”

“I don’t hate traveling . I think, at least… . ”

While talking about this and that, I imagined what it would feel like . After all, I’ve never traveled with a friend .

Speaking of travel, I’ve been to New York with my parents when I was very young . None of it was fun . I felt weary by the bitter flashback I had .

“What’s wrong?”

“I just recalled a certain traumatic memory . ”

My dry laughter echoed along the hot road .

No, no . If I spread my negative aura, then Ichinose would be troubled as well .

However, my worries were for naught, and Ichinose continued to talk, looking like she didn’t mind .

“Can I ask you some questions?”

Ichinose was a dazzling existence, though different from Kushida .

It seems like she’s acting sincerely for her own satisfaction .

Even when she’s talking to me, it seems like she’s giving it her all .

“The whole grade is separated into four classes, right? I wonder if that’s actually by ability . ”

“I know that the results of the entrance exam don’t directly correspond to the results . There are people that deserve to be in the top class based on test scores, so I figured about that much . ”

Horikita, Koenji, and Yukimura would definitely rank highly in the grade .

“Isn’t it something like ‘overall ability’?”

I gave a vague reply . I’ve also thought about it many times, but couldn’t come up with an answer .

“But I always wondered . People might be good at studying and bad at sports, or vice versa . But if the students are ranked by overall ability, doesn’t that mean that the lower classes are at a severe disadvantage?”

“Isn’t that how societal competition works? I don’t think it’s strange . ”

Ichinose crossed her arms and paused . It looked like she didn’t understand .

“If it was an individual match, then maybe . But this is a class competition . If you put all the good people in class A, isn’t there absolutely no chance of winning?”

I mean, that’s pretty much the current state of the class points .

However, it seemed like Ichinose’s thoughts were different .

“There’s definitely a difference between class A and D, but I think that’s because they’re trying to hide something by using something so trivial . ”

“Your reasoning?”

“Ahahaha, nothing much . It just came to me for some reason . If that wasn’t true, it would be accurate to call this situation harsh . I think that there are people who can study and do well in sports in class D for a reason . ”

Is that different than the usual system?

If the classes were separated using only our academic ability, there would be no way to beat the other classes, no matter how hard we tried .

An important factor to this system is being an expert in many fields .

“…Shouldn’t you keep quiet about this?”

I advised Ichinose, feeling slightly worried .

“Hmm? About what?”

“About your thoughts right now . Horikita said it early, but you’re helping out the enemy . ”

I might get some new ideas and try to do something with it .

“I don’t think that’s true . It’s important that a lot of ideas are circulated . Also, since we’re in a cooperative relationship, it’s completely fine . ”

It wasn’t the complacency of being in class B… but rather, it was a characteristic of Ichinose . Somehow, I could understand what she was thinking . Anyway, she’s actually a good person—and doesn’t have two sides to her . ”

“My brain isn’t good enough to exchange ideas and such . I can only say ‘I’m sorry’ to that . ”

“It’s fine even it’s just me talking . If you think it’s useful information, you can use it . ”

Ichinose seemed to remember something and stopped in her tracks .

As I wondered what it was about, I turned my head and saw her serious expression .

“You know… I wanted to ask you something . Is that okay?”

I could hardly imagine the cheerful Ichinose from a few seconds ago . My body stiffened up .

“I’ll answer to the best of my ability . ”

There’s nothing I can answer with my brain that has the knowledge of a hundred million books (a big lie) .

“Have you ever been confessed to by a girl?”

Um… That wasn’t in the millions of books I read…

“Do I look like a person who hasn’t been confessed to before…?”

Is this when she calls me disgusting, a virgin, or makes fun of me? I’ll cry, you know?

I’m only a first-year high school student! It’s way too early for that . Hey, hey . Don’t you think so too?

I’m pretty sure that the proportion of people who have confessed to those who haven’t is very small . I have no proof to back it up, however .

The number of people who die in solitude, hidden away from the rest of humanity, cannot be counted .

“No, no . Sorry, it’s nothing . ”

That’s not a face that says “it’s nothing” . However, it looks like she’s more worried than anything else .

“Did someone confess to you?”

“Huh? Oh, yea . Something like that . ”

Somehow, it seems like a lot of people are trying to become a couple just like Hirata and Karuizawa .

“If you have time after school, I want to talk to you about confessions . I know you’re busy and all about the current issue, but if you have time…”

“It’s fine . I don’t really have much to do . ”

“Don’t have much to do?”

“I don’t think there’s any use to find evidence or look for a witness . It’d be troublesome to waste my time doing something like that . ”

“But you went to the scene of the incident yesterday, right?”

“That was for something else . Anyway, it’s fine . ”

“Thanks . ”

But I wonder what this has to do with me .

Is this the pattern where she makes up a lie and says “This is my boyfriend”? However, I immediately pushed that thought away since it would be better to use a more reliable ikemen instead .

“After school… I’ll be waiting at the entrance . ”

“A-Alright . ”

It’s the natural that I felt somewhat excited, even though I knew nothing was going to happen .



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