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Part 6 
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. 
“Good morning.” 
“G’ morning.” 
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. 
“Hey, Shinohara.” 
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.” 
“Probably, huh~.” 
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.” 
“I guess.” 
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. 

“Well, I guess I can consider it, but… You sure want to be in the same group as me?” 
“Ah, hey, don’t get me wrong. You see, you’re one of those people at risk of being expelled right? Which is why I’m being nice here and offering to make some sacrifices to protect you!” 
Unable to speak honestly, Ike blurted out words that he would surely regret saying later on. 
“Huh!? Sacrifice what? I didn’t ask for that!” 
Of course, after being told something like that, there was no way Shinohara would willingly ask to join the group. 
The mood between them was starting to change. 
“Ah, good morning, Ike-kun, are you free right now?” 
Just as the atmosphere was at its heaviest, Kushida came up from behind and called out to Ike. 
As she did, Ike looked away from Shinohara and waved his hand excitedly. 
“What, what is it!? I’m super free right now!” 
With that, Ike left Shinohara and ran over to Kushida’s side. 
Shinohara simply watched it happen with a somewhat cold look in her eyes. 
“Actually, Kobashi-san from Class C said she wants to invite you to her group, Ike-kun. She seems to be at school already. Could you go discuss it with her?” 
“Seriously? Let’s go, let’s go! I’ll go right now!” 
Upon learning that he was being invited by a girl, Ike became extremely excited. 
“Ah, but just now you seemed to be talking to Shinohara-san about that… Is it alright?” 
Kushida looked to Shinohara to confirm that she would be fine with it. 
“No, it’s alright, he’s been bothering me since he first called out to me. Take him.” 
“You’re the one who’s been bothering me!” 
They were at each other’s throats. Despite the fact that he was mainly at fault here, Ike left together with Kushida with a spring in his step. 
Shinohara stopped walking, with a somewhat lonely look on her face as she watched them leave. 
Before too long, I caught up to where Shinohara was standing and passed her by. 
After all, Ike is the type of person who gets carried away all too easily. 
It seems like he was so excited about receiving an invitation from a girl that he ended up overlooking something important. 
Suddenly, I heard a student call Shinohara’s name from behind. I couldn’t help but look back, wondering who it was. 
“Ah, Komiya-kun… Good morning.” 
The student was none other than Class 2-B’s Komiya Kyogo. 
“What’s wrong? Are you crying?” 
“Eh? W-why do you ask?” 
“Well, because your eyes are red.” 
“Ah, you got me, huh? Something got in my eyes just now… Oww.” 
She was putting up a front, not just to deceive Komiya, but also herself. 
“By the way, I heard from Sudo-kun that you’re gonna be a regular on the basketball team?” 
“Yeah, it’s been a long time coming.” 
“Yeah you always practice until late at night, so I’d be lying if I said you didn’t deserve it.” 
As Shinohara had stopped walking, I gradually pulled further and further away from the two of them, until eventually, I couldn’t hear them anymore.


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