The next morning, after getting ready for school, I turned on my phone.
The school had sent me a notice through my personal email, informing me that I had been given the “Trial” card.
“Never thought I’d get a special card…”
Just when I thought I had finally gotten past all the strange looks I had been getting due to my perfect score in the math test, I ended up getting this card. That being said, it was a double-edged sword, as the strong effect of this “Trial” card meant that there was a possibility that I could attract attention again. While it would be safe, and desirable, to trade the card with a student who needed it, the uncertain strength it provided meant that there would be consequences for doing so if I’m not careful about who I traded it to. I would probably be the one held responsible if the group I traded it to ended up taking first place.
It’s possible that Tsukishiro had given me the card in order to help force my expulsion, but given that the card can be transferred, that was far too weak of a strategy to pressure me. It would be more natural to interpret it as nothing more than the luck of the draw. The two remaining special cards, “More People” and “Nullify”, went to Class C’s Asakura Mako and Class A’s Yano Koharu respectively. It was probably fortunate that they were separated like this, at least to a certain extent.
I proceeded to leave the dormitory earlier than usual, thinking about what I should do from now on.
Then, I bumped into Shinohara in the elevator.
Despite being in the same class, we didn’t know each other very well, so neither of us said anything else; Just a simple greeting as we took the elevator to the lobby.
The ride in the elevator didn’t last for very long. When we reached the first floor, I pressed the door button to let Shinohara get off the elevator first.
Ike, who usually came to school relatively late, was waiting in the lobby as we arrived. He looked towards us nervously.
I thought he was simply waiting for Sudo, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
At first, he simply greeted Shinohara and watched her as she made her way out of the lobby, but after a moment, he immediately followed her.
I intentionally slowed down my pace, maintaining just enough distance to ensure that I wouldn’t get in their way.
Once outside the lobby, I could hear their conversation from behind, albeit only faintly.
“Uh, it’s gotta do with that. Ya know, the groups for this new uninhabited island exam… Have you talked to anyone about grouping up yet?”
“No, not yet… Why do you ask?”
“Nothing. Just askin’ is all.”
“Oh, really? What about you? You’re gonna be with Sudo-kun and Hondo-kun either way, right?”
“Sorry. It’d probably be a blast to be with them.”
Shinohara laughed, almost as if she was making fun of him, but Ike didn’t seem to care.
Ike seemed to have something he wanted to say, but was struggling to find the right words.
“But, well, those guys can get by on their own, ya know… plus, like, Ken’s pretty strong, so I think they’ve got more than enough manpower with just him in the group.”
Although Shinohara’s reaction was a bit indifferent, she didn’t seem to hate talking with Ike.
“How do I say this. I should be able to help you where you need it… So, if you’re feeling troubled… uh, I can form a group with you, yeah?”
“The heck? Look at you acting all high and mighty.”
“You saw it last year, right? I’m a boy scout, so I’d like to think I’m pretty useful in an exam like this.”
He was trying his best to sell Shinohara on the idea that she could capitalize on his survival skills.
Essentially, it seemed like he just wanted a reason to group up with her.