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Chapter 2: The flowing passage of time 

April, where all kinds of dazzling things happened, finally came to an end, and it has already been almost two weeks since the start of May. 
The student sent in by the white room still didn’t seem to have any plans for me. It seemed to be out of Tsukishiro’s control, but what exactly were they thinking? But as long as I can live in peace, I won’t complain. 
On that mid-May morning, Horikita and I had arranged to meet up at the lobby. 
The conspicuous situation that had occurred due to the results of the test had slowly subsided. The students brushing past wouldn’t cast any special glances at me anymore. 
Of course, there were definitely still students who had their private thoughts about it, but the situation can be considered temporarily over at this stage. 
While I was waiting for Horikita, I once again opened up the OAA which had just updated it’s values. 
The OAA was a system that reflected the grades of the students every month, and from there, it could acquire the new update for the 2nd year. 
I got a perfect score in math, but my total score in the five subjects was 386. As a result, my academic evaluation was changed to an A-. My overall evaluation seemed to be higher than expected. The other evaluations had not changed much from last year. 
2-D Ayanokouji Kiyotaka 
2nd-year evaluation
Academics: A- (81)
Physical Ability: B- (61)
Adaptability: D+ (40)
Social Contribution: B (68)
Overall: B- (62) 
Students who got an A in academics last year, like Horikita and Mii-chan, maintained their As. Maybe those who had scored more than 400 points in the exams would be given an A or higher in academics. 
The OAA app clearly showed how the grades had improved for everyone, but as said before, the one with the most significant increase was Sudou. 
2-D Sudou Ken
2nd-year evaluation
Academics: C (54)
Physical Ability: A+ (96)
Adaptability: C- (42)
Social Contribution: C+ (60)
Overall: B- (63) 
Considering the fact that in his first year, his overall evaluation was only a C with 47 points, it was amazing growth, to say the least. 
His outstanding physical abilities also boosted his evaluation. 
It was just a score the OAA gave, but his overall ability was even higher than Keisei and Akito. 
If he could improve his academics and social contribution in the future, he might even be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with Yosuke and Kushida. This was the good points of being one of the outstanding students. 
However, although the student evaluations were reset, relating to the adaptability and social contribution this year… Basically, I should assume parts of last year was used as data for the school to decide those evaluations. After all, the relationship with your friends and communication skills wouldn’t change instantly as we moved up a year. Having said that, a month later, if Sudo lived a serious life for the past six months, his social contribution number would rise at the very least. 
Leaving beside Sudo, the overall strength of the other students had also improved from the first year. They were mostly students who had a comparatively lower evaluation for adaptability or social contribution, or both. So in other words, they’ve all improved by leap and bounds in that area. 
“Sorry to keep you waiting.” 
Horikita came down from upstairs a little earlier than the appointed time. 
“I didn’t wait very long.” 
Since there was no need to stay in the lobby to talk, we walked straight to school. 
It was easier to talk outside. 
“Thanks again. Because of your quick-witted speech, I didn’t need to be baptized under the attentive eyes of my classmates for this to end. It left a similar impression in the other classes as well.” 
There was almost no direct effect on the other classes, other than making them a bit more alert. 
Class A’s Sakayanagi knew about me from before, and Ryuuen had the experience of being beaten down by me, so he would naturally know that I wasn’t only good at math. Ichinose’s words also showed that she felt that I wasn’t ordinary. 
“It’s nothing; I just thought that it would be good for the class in the future. If I said that you were the one who took the liberty of holding back, you’d be disliked, wouldn’t you? By the way, what would you have done if I hadn’t been there at the time?” 
“Who knows what I would have done.” 
I feigned ignorance, but the result had to be similar. 
Saying that it was just another one of Horikita’s strategies to stall, and then waiting for another day to bring a similar topic up. That way, even without explicitly using words to explain it, Horikita should be able to notice it. 
“I’m lending it to you as a favour.” 
“I’ll obediently take it, then.” 
Horikita cast a glance at my left hand. 
“Is your left hand alright now?” 
“It’s slowly recovering. It’s going to take a while, but it’s not that big of a deal since it’s not my dominant hand.” 
“That’s good… By the way, have you been in contact with Housen after that?” 
“Not at all. I passed by Housen and Nanase once, but I didn’t say anything.” 
Although our eyes were on each other, neither of them greeted me. 
“They hadn’t come to offer an apology, but at least they’re aware that they’ve done something bad.” 
“Who knows, it doesn’t feel like they did.” 
“Both of them?” 
Having the courage to make a massive move, not wavering in the slightest. The first years this time were very brave. 
“That, if someone gets you expelled, they get 20 million points, is that true?” 
“I don’t have any proof at the moment. But, if there wasn’t a reward for it, nobody would do something like that.” 
“That’s true…” 
It was inconceivable that someone would risk injury and expulsion in doing something meaningless. 
The only one who would do it would be the student from the White Room. 
“It’ll be clear soon enough if it’s true or not.” 
“But that’s- that’s not a good development. Although the exam was unreasonable, if it’s a special exam, all four classes should know about it, right?” 
“Nanase said so too. In order to make us alert of all the other classes.” 
In that case, there would be at least three people in three of the remaining classes that would know about it. 
“Class A’s Amasawa-san… Although we’re indebted to her since she teamed up with Sudo, she definitely joined Housen-kun, right?” 
I nodded slightly. Class 1-A’s Amasawa Ichika was almost certainty someone who knew about the 20 million point special exam. The 1-B and 1-C students were left, and I had no idea who among them knew about the exam. 
“So there’s only three people who want you expelled that have taken action so far?” 
“That’s as far as I’ve noticed.” 
“That’s a bit weird… Even if I’m trying to be polite here, Housen-kun shouldn’t be that popular in the first year. Could they really ignore him while he confidently snatches those points away?” 
That was the part which I cared about. However, it was extremely difficult to narrow it down. 
Was it because they didn’t think Housen and Nanase were enough to get me expelled… 
Or was it that they didn’t plan on joining the special exam from the beginning. 
Or maybe, they just didn’t believe the exam as authentic at all. 
Horikita, who was walking by my side, couldn’t answer it as well. 
So I tried to change the subject of my thinking a bit. 
“What do you think is the reason why the first years don’t share information between them?” 
Since the topic was going to come up anyway, I planned to ask Horikita’s opinion. 
“Yes… If the entire grade was told about the special exam of getting you expelled, there is a high probability that the 2nd and 3rd years will hear about it in a matter of time, not only just the 1st years. Hearing about this unreasonable special exam, our class would surely do everything we could do to fight back. So they did it in a way to prevent us from knowing about it, right?” 
There was no doubt that Horikita had the right answer. But there was something deeper in that response that was more concerning. 
“Did the school really approve of such an unreasonable special exam…” 
“Yes. Although I tried to confirm it with Chabashira-sensei tactfully, she didn’t show signs she knew about it. 
Although it wasn’t fully confirmed, it was certain that Chabashira was not informed about it. 
“When you think about it like this, there’s only two possibilities. One of them is that what Housen and Nanase said was a scam, and that there’s no special exam to get me expelled. However, as I said earlier, it’s inconceivable to do something like this without any kind of reward. Therefore, eliminate this possibility due to that point. 
“The other possibility is that it wasn’t really a special exam. In other words, someone offered to pay 20 million private points in order to get me expelled, and thus inciting the first years to go and do it.” 
“I see. It would make sense if an individual set the bounty on you.” 
While what had been done was in a grey area, it’s true that it hadn’t violated any school rules. And so as she sorted out the situation, Horikita worked her mind and gradually approached the truth. 
“In other words, there’s someone in the same or a higher grade that had prepared that many points?” 
Horikita didn’t know about the individual actions that Tsukishiro might take, so her options were bound to be limited. 
“Although we can’t rule out the chance that this was a game set up by a first year, I don’t think they have the trust or the capital to make a deal under those conditions because they’ve just entered school, so the probability for that is low.” 
“Someone who can pay 20 million points, and is also trusted by the first years.” 
Under her course of reasoning, a certain person came to Horikita’s mind. 
“–The student council president.” 
The words that escaped her mutter shocked her. 
“Could it be that President Nagumo might have something to do with this?” 
“How would that work? It’s true that he doesn’t like me, but using such a large amount of points as 20 million all to get me expelled? I have many doubts about that. And using 1st-year students of unknown ability in itself is extremely strange.” 
If you really wanted to get me expelled by someone else’s hand, it would be more reasonable to use a 3rd year, who was under his control. 
“But, there might be a chance that it has nothing to do with him.” 
No evidence could deny the connection that existed. 
Having the title of student council president, that would remove any doubts from the first years. 
“Without realizing it, maybe you aroused Nagumo’s jealousy. President Nagumo had always been interested in brother’s affairs, because he had always been only interested in your affairs. Even if he has complicated feelings like me, it’s not strange.” 
If there were, it would be along those lines. 
“Although it’s a bit late, this is the topic of today’s conversation with you. I’m preparing after school to go to the student council, and ask President Nagumo about joining it.” 
“I see.” 
It’s been a few twists and turns, but it’s an excellent way to make progress on the issue of Nagumo that Manabu was worried about. 
“But if I can’t get Nagumo’s approval, it’s not my responsibility.” 
“As I told you before, the president won’t reject anyone who comes to him.” 
“…You did say that.” 
At the time when Manabu-senpai had graduated, Horikita was pretty emotional, but she still seemed to remember what was said. Although Nagumo had said that all newcomers were welcome, of course it wouldn’t be only that. The sister of Horikita Manabu that would follow him wherever he went. He wouldn’t ignore such a precious existence. 
“The reason why you wanted me to join the student council… It was so I could spy on President Nagumo, but actually, that’s not the only reason, right?” 
Horikita was asking me what she should do after joining. 
“I think you already slightly noticed. What your brother thinks is completely different from what Nagumo thinks. It’s because he values tradition that he thinks Nagumo’s reforms are wrong. He said it to me right before he left. The class is a community that should share the same fate. He didn’t want the framework to be changed.” 
“What the student council is doing now, that’s certainly the complete opposite.” 
“But I’m not going to judge who’s right and who’s wrong. Now, I just want to see Nagumo’s reforms.” 
That’s right; there was nothing wrong with Horikita-senpai’s or Nagumo’s way of thinking. 

“So that’s why you won’t give me specific instructions?” 
“Then why do you need me to join, if the only thing you want is to see Nagumo’s reforms? There’s no need for me to monitor the student council at all, then!” 
“If Nagumo is going in the wrong direction, there’s a need to stop him.” 
And then, it shouldn’t be me who would do that, but rather, Horikita Manabu’s sister, Horikita Suzune. 
Of course, in order to get her to do it unilaterally since it was an unreasonable task I pushed on her, I proposed an exam to see who won. 
“There’s still some things I’m not satisfied with, but I’ll put it as convenient.” 
This should be related to the part about the bounty that Horikita had mentioned. 
By entering the student council, the possibility of gaining information about that should go up. 
“I don’t think it’s good for me to ask anything of you since I lost the match, but will you come with me?” 
“Come with you?” 
“Well, I’d like to show you using the meeting with Nagumo as evidence.” 
To prevent the situation if the student council rejected her to show that she didn’t lie. 
“If President Nagumo has something to do with that bounty, we might also see some kind of reaction.” 
Indeed, we might get a lead on the 20 million point bounty. 
“I see. After school, then?” 
Having made that appointment with Horikita, our day began. 
Part 1 
“So what did you want to talk to me about? You didn’t come just to talk, right?” 
Although Nagumo’s gesture was to welcome us, it also allowed Horikita to cut straight to the chase. 
“I know that your time is valuable, president, so I’ll get straight into it. I want to join the student council.” 
Horikita’s clear voice echoed in the student council office. 
Hearing that, the two members of the student council reacted in a similar manner. 
Neither welcoming nor rejecting, they were both surprised. 
“You want to join the student council?” 
Hearing what Horikita had said, Nagumo’s expression slightly changed from surprise to anticipation. 
“Well, what a turn of events! I don’t really want to obediently say yes.” 
“So I’m not welcome to join you?” 
“Not really, I’m basically one of those people who can’t refuse. As long as there’s space in the student council, I’ll allow people to join. I won’t even care about your reason for joining the council. It doesn’t matter if it’s for the OAA, or wanting to assume a post in the future, or maybe you just have a sense of righteousness. I don’t really care.” 
Unlike Manabu, opening the door to anyone was how Nagumo operated. 
“But then again, you’re special, Horikita Suzune. Let me at least mention one condition for your membership.” 
“What condition?” 
“Why do you choose to join the student council at this time? Would you please tell me that?” 
Did he feel threatened by me, who accompanied Horikita? 
 No, in a good way, Nagumo was not the type of person who cared about minor things. 
He simply just wanted to know why Manabu’s sister wanted to join the student council. 
Of course, Horikita wouldn’t say that she was joining because she lost to me. 
Although entering the student council was still possible, that would probably be the end of it. 
Horikita would never be able to gain Nagumo’s trust. 
“I had an argument with my brother in the past, and so I chose to enter this school to settle them. But my relationship with my brother hasn’t changed since I’ve entered this school.” 
Although she spoke slowly, Nagumo listened clearly to what Horikita said. 
“My brother couldn’t possibly approve of me who hadn’t grown in the slightest. As a result, I hadn’t spoken to him properly this year, at least up until his graduation. 
Now, Horikita seemed to be selectively expressing those truths from the past. 
“And then? Have you reconciled?” 
“Yes. At the very last second, I’ve reconciled with him. And then, for the first time, I became interested in the student council that my brother devoted his school life to. Although I’ve taken a long detour, I also want to walk the same path my brother has.” 
From the start, Horikita didn’t want to join the student council 
In other words, if you asked her if her response was from her heart, part of the response would be ‘no’. 
But covering up with several truths could blur Nagumo’s eyes that were able to differentiate between truth and lies. 
“The road brother took, it really is a nice story.” 
It looks like Nagumo’s blurred vision put him on alert 
“In other words, can I assume that you have the intention to become the student council president?” 
No matter what kind of answer she gave in this place, there was no way she could convince Nagumo. 
In this case, a simple lie would give a bad impression. 
“That’s right. Just like the road my brother walked, I also want to become student council president.” 
But Horikita herself stubbornly chose to challenge that high wall. 
There was no hint of a lie in her words as well. 
Since she had chosen to join the student council, it was as if she had the awareness to pursue Manabu. 
“I see. But Honami has been working hard behind the scenes for a year as a member of the student council. You’re already a year behind her in your quest in becoming the student council president. You can understand that, right?” 
“I don’t think it’s a distance that can’t be recovered.” 
That was a stronger answer than before. 
“She doesn’t look that similar to him, but she really is Horikita-senpai’s little sister!” 
Vice President Kiriyama, who had remained silent up until now, spoke to Nagumo. 
“I’m kind of comfortable calling you Horikita. I may have referred to you with that already but I’ll call you Suzune from now on, okay?” 
“Do as you wish.” 
“I was troubled since the only member in the student council from the 2nd year was just Honami.” 
Through his direct questions, Nagumo came to understand Horikita’s true thoughts, and agreed to let her join the student council. 
Then Nagumo left his seat and walked towards the standing Horikita, stretching out his left hand. 
Horikita gripped Nagumo’s hand head-on. 
“Welcome to the student council. From today onward, I want you to work for me as a member of the council without any worries, Suzune.” 
“Of course.” 
“As a congratulations for joining, I’ll tell you something interesting. The past presidents of the student council have always graduated in Class A. Remember that and work towards a higher goal.” 
Nagumo said to Horikita, who was currently in Class D, as if to motivate her. 
“Don’t worry. I don’t plan to graduate outside of Class A.” 
“Then show me that isn’t just all talk.” 
The handshake that had been maintained for long finally ended as the conversation also ended. 
“I’m Kiriyama, the Vice President.” 
“It’s a pleasure.” 
After shaking hands with Kiriyama, Horikita became an official member of the student council. 
From now on, Horikita would use her own eyes to observe Nagumo’s actions. 
A meritocratic school system. 
This system had completely deviated from what Manabu once defended, so how would she take it? 
I guess that the area where I could interrupt them had already passed. Especially since I can’t even get info on the bounty, I’ll try to find an opening to leave… 
As I was thinking about how I could escape. 
“Are you going to join the student council by the way? Ayanokouji.” 
“What are you thinking, Nagumo? You would even invite him into the council?” 
It was because Nagumo’s proposal was so rare that Kiriyama on the other side said in surprise.  
“It’s nothing strange. He had the attention of Horikita-senpai after all. I don’t have a reason to refuse him. And in the special test the other day he was the only one who got a perfect score in a subject.” 
Saying that, it was like Nagumo just noticed me. 
It seems like he already knew all the information that was made public to the 1st and 2nd years. 
“I’ll pass, my personality isn’t suited to being on the council.” 
“I knew you would say that.” 
He quickly eliminated me from consideration as if his offer was just to be polite. 
I didn’t know what he was thinking, but he turned his attention back to me once more. 
After calling my name out, Nagumo and I stared at each other in silence. 
“There’s a lot more work in the student council than I thought , but everything has started to calm down now, so when summer starts, I’ll spend my time with my kouhais.” 
What meaning did that have? 
Before I could ask him, he spoke again. 
“I’ll play with you, so look forward to it.” 
This doesn’t reach the level of a declaration of war. 
It was an order from the strong to the weak. 
“Sakayanagi, Ichinose, Ryuuen. Those people would probably cry from the joy.” 
After that, Nagumo completely ignored me. 
“By the way, Kiriyama, why did you get involved with this today?” 
“…What do you mean?” 
“When the 1st and 2nd years requested to enter the student council you had no intention to attend. But this time when Horikita Suzune said she wanted to meet me, you showed up. It’s weird isn’t it?” 
 Nagumo said those words towards the end of the conversation. 
It was like those words were for me, who was preparing to go back, to hear. At the last second, the unexpected statement suddenly broke the flow. Of course, I wouldn’t know why Kiriyama was here, but he seemed to be shaken. 
“I just was interested in Horikita-senpai’s little sister, anything wrong with that?” 
Although Kiriyama calmly answered Nagumo’s question, his voice was a bit sharp from his nervousness. 
Nagumo happily laughed out loud, apparently that was interesting. 
“It’s nothing, nothing. Don’t mind it.” 
After seeing that reaction, as if it were enough, Nagumo didn’t pursue the matter any further. 
“Then, Suzune, I want to introduce you to the student council members outside of Kiriyama. You stay right here.” 
“I understand.” 
There was no reason for me to stay here anymore, as I refused to join the student council. 
I left Horikita and Nagumo behind, leaving the scene.


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