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Part 8 
On that same day, around two hours after Sakayanagi and Kumuro had finished up their discussion, Ry?en met up with Ishizaki and Ibuki in a Karaoke Room. 
“It seems that Class 1-B student we were after for 200,000 asked to put the offer on hold, Ry?en-san.” 
After receiving an update on his phone, Ishizaki reported the information to Ry?en. Despite that, Ibuki was the one to respond. 
“The hell? Is 200,000 not enough somehow?” 
“No, it seems like Sakanyagi went and said Class A would offer the same amount as us…” 
“Sounds like they really don’t wanna lose to us. Can we even keep going on like this? It’ll be tough.” 
“Class A has a considerable number of private points, right? I’m thinking we’re in pretty hot water here too…” 
Despite Ishizaki and Ibuki’s ensuing commentary and the new information, Ry?en simply sat there messing around with his phone, completely unfazed. 
“Chillax. I already know what they’re up to.” 
Ry?en sent a glance over to his empty glass, and within seconds, Ishizaki was refilling it with water. 
“Tell ‘em we’ll pay 100,000 up front and 200,000 after the exam.” 
“S-seriously? That much?” 
300,000 in total. The number of points in play had grown even larger. 
“Most of the first-years won’t make a decision either way. They’ll all be waiting for Sakayanagi to counter.” 
“Wouldn’t we just end up screwin’ ourselves over waiting around for that?” 
If they were short on funds, they wouldn’t be able to do anything. 
“Seems it’s impossible to compete with Sakayanagi after all… How’s about we look to aim for second place instead…?” 
“I agree with Ishizaki. If we offer the same amount, we’d lose out cuz of Class A’s rep.” 
Ry?en simply laughed after hearing Ishizaki and Ibuki’s analysis. 

“Ha! That little girl’s probably got a triumphant look on her face right about now.” 
“She’s just seen through your way of doing things. Even if we can put up a good fight with private points, they’ve just got a better rep than us.” 
“Class A’s reputation is nothin’ more than a petty decoration right now. Given how much those guys value their rep, the trust they’ll lose when it all comes tumbling down’ll be immeasurable.” 
“Even if that’s true, what’re we gonna do about points? It ain’t the end of the world if the offer goes up to 300,000 or 400,000, but we couldn’t possibly pay that much to everyone!” 
“There’s no need to pay. I don’t plan on working with shameless brats who keep asking for points without knowing the limit.” 
“I’m not lookin’ to try and do somethin’ like that this time. I’m in the process of learnin’ about this new batch of first-years; Findin’ out what kinda people they are. They say money is the key that opens all doors, but a chump who’s down to cooperate for a whole buncha points is the type of chump we can get onto our side whenever we want. All we gotta do is fork over some points when we really need ‘em to help and that’s that. I’m lookin’ for the guys who intuitively understand the bigger picture here.” 
“Sorry but, I’ve got no clue what you’re on about…” 
“That little girl prolly thinks I’m out here with my sights set on first place, but I never had any intention of goin’ after such a measly number of class points. If we’re gonna fuck over Class A, we’ve just gotta wait for a chance when the class points are gonna fluctuate even more than this.” 
“So, you just set this all up to figure out which of the first-years are complete pushovers?” 
“It was obvious that we might just keep jacking up our offer from the very beginning, and yet some students chose to partner up with our class already. Why do you think they chose to do that?” 
“Eh…? Come to think of it, why did they do that?” 
At first, Class C had offered 50,000 points up front and another 50,000 after the exam. 
Although this amount wasn’t insanely high or anything, several students had already been willing to join forces with Class C. 
“You… Before closing out a deal with somebody, you always went to meet with ‘em one-on-one… Did you threaten ‘em or something?” 
“Well, maybe a little, but you’ve got the right idea.” 
They would be lured in with offers of 300,000 or 400,000 points, only to yield after a personal interview with Ry?en. 
In the end, the amount settled on was always far lower than what it had appeared to be on the surface. 
“I’m just takin’ a look at the first-years, seein’ if they smart enough to understand that I’m far better than Sakayanagi.” 
He was cherry picking the students who could instinctively notice the winning class without  being caught up with things like points or reputation. 
Those were the students Ry?en Kakeru was truly searching for in this special exam. 
His real goal for this year was set far in the future, where he would drag down Sakayanagi, taking the rest of Class A down along with her. 


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