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Price of Victory – part 1

When I came to the classroom, I noticed right away that the air was different from before the special exam as expected.

First, several students turned their eyes towards me.

Many of them were students that I didn’t usually have much relation to, but it was nothing to be surprised about.

If you think about how distantly and quietly I carried myself until now, the actions I showed were quite intrusive.

Many of them can’t swallow my relationship with Kushida and the attitude that she had been showing until now.

Even if it weighs on their mind, there’s not many students who would directly come to me to talk about it.

“Good morning Ayanokouji-kun.”

In the midst of that, Matsushita spotted and approached me happily.

“Good morning.”

The gazes of both genders shifted to surprise at this unexpected interaction.

Though Matsushita has waved at me from afar, this might be the first time she called out and approached me just as I entered the school.

Was she anxious about what’s been happening for the past few days, or did she have another goal?

This Matsushita has a high opinion of my ability. From the scuffle I had trying to have Kushida expelled, it’s possible that instead of lowering her opinion of me got higher. Even with Airi’s expulsion, Matsushita was one of the students who expressed her agreement, saying that it couldn’t be helped.

“Are we finally gonna move up to A-Class?”

“I wonder.”

When I sidestepped her light jab, she withdrew right away as if she thought that there was no need to say more than that. Then she faced to the side.

“I guess there are a lot of things happening for now, but I think you shouldn’t mind them.”

After saying that, she added.

“Though you probably aren’t, since it’s you, Ayanokouji-kun.”

She hit me with her actual thoughts.

“The important thing is not Ayanokouji-kun or Horikita-san. Right?”

How was I dealing with these results? It seemed that more than Horikita, Matsushita understood… no, interpreted my feelings accurately.

The problems were with Shinohara, Haruka, Mii-chan and Kushida.

The names I just mentioned are those of the students who had especially suffered damage in the unanimity special exam.

Shinohara’s painful gaze sometimes looked towards me.

She wasn’t looking at me, but at Matsushita. Though Matsushita herself seemed unbothered.

“This weekend, you see, I had all these arrangements but they got canceled.”

She murmured in a quiet voice, perhaps noticing Shinohara’s eyes on her.

“At times like this, girls usually drag it on.”

“Must be tough.”

“Well I’m the one at fault.”

Kei, Matsushita and the others made fun of Shinohara and Ike’s coupling at first. They made fun of her appearance behind her back, so it’s natural for Shinohara to be mad.

“This is just another day for me. We’ve been in tougher binds.”

Men, who only quarrel on the outside, cannot understand the nature of female relationships.

I want to but I don’t want to understand.

From there, no other student really called out to me and time passed.

Horikita also arrived later, but Kushida was nowhere to be found.

Sudou and some other students tried to call out to her, but since she barely made it in time, the chime rang out and everyone returned to their seats.

Kushida didn’t show herself in front of Horikita all weekend and it seemed that she intended to continue her absence.

With her empty seat standing out, homeroom started.

Even the advisor Chabashira-sensei seemed to stare at the several seats that were already vacant.

“Kushida, Hasebe, and Wang are absent huh. That’s something you don’t see everyday.”

We didn’t know the details behind their absences, but Chabashira-sensei was different.

“Hasebe and Wang have sent notice that they’re not feeling well so their absence will be accepted as normal. Kushida hasn’t contacted me, so I will call her after this. We will see right away if she simply overslept or if she’s so unwell that she cannot wake up.”

She exaggerated a bit, but she was probably implying that nine times out of ten, she’s not sick.

Someone being absent is nothing rare after this much time in school.

But it’s the first time in the past one and a half years that three people rested at once. No matter how many were absent until now, Chabashira-sensei didn’t say anything. She’s different from before, where it seemed like she wasn’t interested in dealing with us. If this were a normal school, using rest as an excuse would always come back to you.

If you skipped school for a week your grades would be affected, and you may also have to go to school for classwork.

But in this school, one person’s responsibility is everyone’s responsibility.

Though they weren’t speaking, even Chabashira-sensei must have understood that they were thinking about something.

“Don’t look so nervous. Resting for one or two days won’t affect your class points. It’s not unheard of for three people to feel unwell at the same time.”

She declared that there would be no effect on the class.

My classmates must have been relieved at her clear words.

“Although if they rest for long then that might not be the case. Not to mention that if they’re pretending to be sick, problems will surface little by little.”

She looked at the seat of Kushida, who hadn’t contacted her, and added.

“Well, pretending might be a bit of an exaggeration, but if no illness is identified then there will be a limit even if they claim to feel unwell. Let’s hope that they’ll recover quickly.”

Whether on purpose or not, the gazes of my classmates gathered on Horikita. In the unanimity special exam, she prioritized her own thoughts and declared that Kushida would stay. It’s no wonder that the spear would be pointed at Horikita.

That spear… though their gazes focused on her, Horikita did not even flinch.

Even if they didn’t know how she felt, a bit of trembling would’ve been natural.

After staring, Chabashira-sensei cleared her throat and forced the students’ attention away from Horikita.

“The absentees are concerning, but they don’t need to be the only ones you concern yourselves with. The unanimity special exam is over. You must face the next battle.”

She lightly placed her palm on the monitor behind her and activated the monitor.

“I would like to explain the details of the sports festival and the special rules for this year. Listen well.”

The sports festival waiting for us will be just the same as last year and every year. There were students who thought that way.

“Special rule… you mean this sports festival will be different from last year’s, Sensei?”

Chabashira nodded towards the question raised by Sudou, who was more excited for the sports festival than anyone else.

“The new modus operandi proposed by the student council has been applied in the uninhabited island and other tests. It attempts to further emphasize individual prowess, and that is realized in this sports festival.”

In the uninhabited island test, Kouenji, who possessed high academic ability and physical ability far off the charts, was very proactive. He gained not only class points but a private point that would act as a shield.

It was the exact embodiment of a school for the elite. Though on the other hand it also exposed students with no ability to the danger of being expelled. The sports festival would place similar emphasis on individual prowess. Just from those words, it seemed likely that this would be a tough test for students such as Keisei who specialized in academics but held insecurity towards their physical ability.

“Not a few students are worried, but this sports festival has been adjusted so that those who lack ability will not be expelled, nor will losses be restricted to individuals. After all, no one can be perfect in both studies and physical activity.”

Perhaps to avoid a little panic, Chabashira-sensei explained gently.

Her way of speaking had softened compared to last week. Some students glanced at each other, surprised.

She did not need to narrate the fact that the outline and rules of the sports festival were displayed on the monitor.

Sports Festival Overview and Rules

A sports festival consisting of many items involving all school years
Time period ・ 9am to 4pm (12 noon to 1pm will be used for break time)

Students participate in events of their own choosing and gain points. Classes are credited and compete with their total points.

・ Every student is given 5 points at the start.
・ Students participating in the festival are required to participate in 5 distinct events
・ All events have a participation award of 1 point
・ Winners will be given an additional number of points corresponding to the content of the event
・ For the 6th event onwards, it is possible to participate after paying 1 point (it is impossible to receive the participation award of 1 point)
・ Each person can participate in a maximum of 10 events
・ In the event that a student has participated in less than 5 competitions by the end of the sports festival, all of their points will be forfeited
・ Students who are absent or fail to participate in competitions in which they have entered will lose 2 points barring valid reasons
・ Students who have finished their competitions will be able to cheer from a few designated areas

The text above was displayed on the monitor.

After reading over this outline and these rules just once, you can see that this is completely different from last year.

“This is the rough outline and rules for this year’s sports festival. The whole student body will not spectate a single competition at a time. Instead, various competitions will happen concurrently in different places.”

“I-It kinda looks hectic.”

Sudou conjured a rough image of the day itself in his head and was baffled.

“The first priority is to aim for the winner’s prizes for the competitions, but there needs to be a detailed schedule. If you wish to perform in many competitions and win then it will be a busy sports festival. Competitions are divided roughly into two parts. First are the basic competitions. These are competitions that can be entered individually. Fundamentally, they are uniform in that the first place will get five points, the second three points, the third one point, and all participants one point. The others are called special competitions involving groups. They can be entered with two or more people and are set to offer better rewards which are evenly distributed among the participating team. The rewards are appealing, but coordination is necessary. Participating for too long is also one of the pitfalls that have been prepared.”

Individual contests and team contests are clearly separated with team contests giving more points, huh.

The students who lack physically must be grateful for their consideration to not give any penalty towards those who get the least numbers of points.

“Since the rewards for each of the team contests are different, be sure to check every one of them.”

They’re simple rules once you understand them, but there are unexpectedly many things that need to be done.

The five points given in the beginning and the five points given for participating combined make ten points total which will be given regardless of the results as long as you participate and finish your competitions. And if by some accident, a student is not able to complete the minimum requirements, their ten points will be lost.

Putting together the points assuming that everyone can participate, Ichinose’s class will get 400 points with 40 people while this class will get 380 points, missing two people. Which means we will be fighting with a handicap of 20 points from the start.

The clear reward for taking first place in an individual contest is five points. We would want at least four people to take first place. It doesn’t feel like a lot, but each person is limited to participating in 10 events.

Which means that working Sudou to the full in 15 or 20 events for easy points will be impossible. This weighs unexpectedly heavily.

“Paying out of your points to participate in six or more events is a choice that’s left up to the individual and the class. You are given freedom there. Then the rankings for each class per school year will be decided based on the total points gathered by the time the sports festival ends.”

The monitor changed to display the rewards per school year.

Ranks and Rewards per Class
1st Place
150 Class Points

2nd Place
50 Class Points

3rd Place
0 Class Points

4th Place
Minus 150 Class Points

The class point transactions are a little too big for a usual exam. It probably has something to do with how the sports festival is a special exam involving all school years and how the current class point transactions for the cultural festival are relatively lax.

“The class rewards are listed above. The individual rewards will now be displayed.”

The monitor is enough to display the class rewards on their own, but it won’t stop there.

This was supposedly a sports festival that would challenge individual ability, so it was obvious for individual rewards to also be prepared.

Sudou leaned forward holding saliva in his mouth and waited for the monitor to shift. It’s the event where he gets to shine in the most every year, and he knew that more than anyone.

Individual Contest Rewards (Separated by year and gender)

1st Place
2,000,000 private points or a class transfer ticket (limited)

2nd Place
1,000,000 private points

3rd Place
500,000,000 private points

Sudou fist pumped at the high amounts of private points being offered as rewards.

To add to that, a phrase that I had not seen before was written.

“C-Class transfer ticket-!?”

Never having seen this before, the class was shocked and became noisy.

“Even the school has been showing a careful stance towards the introduction of this new system. The introduction of the protection point was unparalleled, and it hasn’t even been a long time since that happened. But it’s natural for individuals who show ability to be given the right to ascend.”

The winners of this school are only the students who are able to graduate in A-Class.

If someone was able to get number one in the sports festival, an exam where physical ability was in high demand, it’s no wonder that the school judged that they should be bestowed with the right to change classes.

Relatively speaking, after all, the sports festival didn’t seem to fall under the category of any other special exam. But what struck my curiosity was how 2,000,000 private points and the ticket to transfer classes was treated with the same value. The amount of private points to transfer classes is 20,000,000. It’s a digit off. Still, the right to transfer classes is given. The answer to that incongruence was probably in the limitedness of the class transfer ticket.

“Limited… like if you transfer you can’t come back?”

“No, I don’t think so? That wouldn’t matter.”

Sudou was shaken. He holds a conversation with Ike about the word limited although they’re separated.

“You are given the right to change classes. But, it’s also true that not everything is certain at this point in time. Thus, the limit refers to the time period in which it can be used. It can only be used within two school terms. That is to say, if it is not used by the time the third term starts then it will become ineffective.”

The limit was that the class transfer ticket came with an expiration date, as it were.

In that case, I can agree to it having the same value as 2,000,000 points in some sense.

If it stayed until graduation then it would literally be a ticket to A-Class, but because of the time limit, it’s necessary to see through which class will remain, or which class will rise to the top in the end.

If someone transferred to another class from their current class, but in the end, their current class graduates as A-Class, the ticket would have been a honeytrap, and they would regret it for a long time.

Even if you don’t suffer that worst case scenario, you’d need quite some courage to use it.

Because leaving your class which you’ve grown accustomed to over the past year and a half is no simple matter.

Hypothetically, even if Sudou gains that right and thinks objectively about leaving Horikita and his friends to transfer to A-Class, I still can’t imagine him transfering classes so easily.

Though the sports festival will attract a lot of attention, it’s not as if you get a guarantee for A-Class from a single activity.

It seems that it will be necessary to remember that.

Though that was only limited to the 2nd years. The value would once again change depending on the year.

The 1st years still haven’t gotten that close with their current classes. There may be people who would throw them away and transfer to A-Class or the class they feel will be A-Class in the future.

On the other hand, the 3rd year students would be able to transfer to Nagumo’s class, which could be called the greatest right.

Because it would practically be the same as graduating in A-Class. Regardless of the school year, the right to transfer classes opens up more possibilities.

It will be important to see the effects this will have in the future.

The school will likely also be watching. Then they will decide whether or not to give a similar ticket again.

Looking at it holistically, it seems like a curious reward with an interesting balance.

“The students who gain first place among the boys and girls will be able to pick their reward. Sudou, if you intend to aim for the top with individual contests, then you should think about this carefully.”

I could see Sudou’s back stiffen.

Don’t jump to getting the 2,000,000 points because of your blind trust in your friends. Look at the future.

Stay in Horikita’s current class, or transfer to Sakayanagi’s class which is in the lead.

He has a right to face his future and consider it carefully.

“Well then, let’s start with more detailed explanations. There are two types of competitions: those that will be disclosed before the day itself and those that will not be disclosed until the day itself. Which means that some events that have to be challenged impromptu will be prepared.

Apart from basic competitions like the 100-meter dash or the obstacle course, several different, interesting events were shown. PK, Basket Shoot Showdown, Tennis Singles or mixed gender doubles. It was packed with events that wouldn’t be seen in any normal school festival.

“Because of the limit of participants and time constraints, you will not necessarily be able to participate in all of the events you wish to participate in. If you force an unreasonable time schedule then you may not make it in time to participate, and you will be treated as an absentee. Don’t forget the risk of losing points.”

Students who excel physically in relation to the whole student body must be put to many events where they can gain points efficiently. That necessitates thinking. Luck will be needed for whoever participates in whatever event. The ability to predict will possibly be needed.

Though if the sports festival is held at this rate then the students will most likely panic.

On the day itself, if certain events barge in on the students then it wouldn’t be much of a competition.

Though of course, the school must understand that.

“As for participation in the disclosed events, reservations will open tonight at 10pm on the exclusive app. First come first serve across all the school years. Cancellations will be accepted until one week before the sports festival, but you can only cancel three times. Reservations close two days before the event. If you haven’t registered in at least five events by that time, then you will automatically be assigned to events with vacant slots.”

After she said that, a schedule that would probably be displayed in the app was shown.

“Let’s try registering in the 100-meter dash.”

The screen changed. 『100 meter dash ・ Maximum of seven people per school year and gender. Total of four races. It is possible to volunteer for any race. If there are any vacancies then it is also possible to register on the day itself. Contestants must arrive five minutes before the competition begins. It is not necessary to wait until the competition ends. First race starting time ・ 10:15am』

From here, if you combine the male and female participants then a maximum of 56 people can participate in the 100-meter dash (per school level.) Regardless of which race you’re participating in, the competition starts at 10:15, so you must be there up to five minutes before that time. Looking at how you’re not required to wait until the end of the competition, if you participate in the first race then you will be able to go and participate in your next competition after a short time. On the other hand, if you participate in the fourth race then you will be stuck for a long amount of time. It’s the same competition with the same reward, but some harm is done to your time.

“Another important point is that any students who have club activities or have had club activities that pertain to the event in question even once, then they cannot participate in it. For Hirata, soccer, or for Sudou, registration towards basketball-related events will not be acknowledged.”

Students who participate in clubs are not simply advantaged. Instead they are held back.

Indeed, there are no students who can win against people like Yousuke or Sudou in their own games. Confrontations with those who have club experience should be avoided.

If Sudou did soccer and Yousuke did basketball, other students would have enough of a chance to win.

Those who devoted themselves to their club in middle school but weren’t able to choose it in highschool. Though not many, there are students like that. They could have some advantage.

“This is like, movie house reservations.”

The words Sudou muttered as he diligently listened to the explanation hit the nail on the head.

“Indeed, you can say that the system is similar. It’s built to reflect who participates in what event and when they do so in real time.”

“Which means that there will be people who cancel because they don’t wanna fight me?”

Sudou exhaled through his nose, linked his arms and muttered pridefully.

“That’s right. But then those students will hit the wall on their third cancellation sooner or later.”

The people who will participate in a competition depend on time constraints. In order to make a schedule, people will want to pin down the competitions that they would be good at as soon as possible. But if they pin them down quickly, they risk going against a strong foe. But if they can only run for a set number of times, they will hesitate on even making the reservation in the first place. There will also be competition in searching and containing oneself.

It’s something like a confrontation on the internet before the sports festival begins.

“If students are tied for the individual rewards, the private points will be split between them and they will no longer be able to get a class transfer ticket.”

On the off chance that students conspire with each other so that they both get the most amount of points in the hopes that they will both get a large amount of private points, the system will crumble. This is probably to prevent that.

Anyway, if you work hard and get all the rewards for yourself in the form of class points or a class exchange ticket.

Rewards that are exactly fitting for your ability.

Even if you don’t intend to transfer classes, 2,000,000 private points can be used in many ways. One could even save it until 20,000,000 points, the guaranteed ticket to A-Class.

On the other hand, students who aren’t confident in their physical abilities should be forced to only five events as much as possible. If they participate in a sixth event or more without winning then they lose a point. That will be a big disadvantage compared to other classes. But that also depends on the way you fight. Chabashira-sensei finished her explanation and left this place. The classroom was thrown into disarray right away like boiling water.

“Alright Suzune, let’s have a meeting ASAP!”

First was Sudou, who said with a loud voice. After listening to the rules his eagerness abruptly spiked.

Naturally, Yousuke also stood up and started going to Horikita. This was the same as always.

But Suzune was being looked at coldly by some students.

Was it okay to leave it to Horikita? Should we let Horikita be the center? Such doubts swirled.

“Firstly, before we discuss the sports festival, I have one thing I should declare.”

She moved before others could, standing from her seat and turning around so that everyone could see her face.

“In the special exam last week, I scrapped the promise I made with everyone and forced us to not expel Kushida-san. I would first like to apologize for that.”

Horikita said and bowed her head. But when she raised it again, strong will was contained in her eyes.

“But I believe that I made the right choice in effect. She can add to the power of the class.”

“I don’t think so.”

The first one to deny Horikita’s words was Shinohara. One of the people who was hurt from Kushida’s exposure.

“Now that we know what kind of person Kushida-san is, nobody trusts her. Right now, nobody has talked about Kushida-san to the other classes, but isn’t that just a matter of time?”

Whether she liked or disliked Kushida, Shinohara put that aside for now and cut straight into an important element that must be considered.

Do not change Kushida’s status as a classmate. If we were to proceed with that premise then the inconvenient 『truth』 should not be leaked.

That Kushida’s heart was black, and that she held harmful feelings. To go around talking about this to other classes would be equivalent to tightening the noose around our own necks.

It would be straightforward and beneficial to keep quiet, but actually doing that will be more difficult than expected.

In particular, Shinohara currently has pain in her eyes towards Kushida as she protests.

It would be no wonder if she blew up already, but it seemed that she was keeping it in right now.

She didn’t seem to understand the benefits. In that case, it would be natural for a smart person who does understand like Yousuke to encourage her to keep her mouth shut.

But it’s unclear how long this will last.

When the doubts and unease concerning Kushida reach their limit, it will all burst.

“Hey Horikita-san. Are you really saying that it was right to set Kushida-san aside? Answer me.”

Horikita was listening to Shinohara with only her face turned. Someone got impatient and hurried her up.

“That’s not to answer at this moment. That applies to me, Shinohara-san, and all our classmates. She must show her presence in our remaining time at school.”

“What’s with that? I want an answer now. No matter how you think about it, Kushida-san will be a hindrance for our class.”

“I certainly don’t know if the unanimity special exam has hurt you. I don’t know if it hurt Wang-san or Hasebe-san who is absent right now. But there’s no erasing the fact that Kushida-san has contributed to this class for the past year and a half. Or are you confident that you could have left better results than she did?”

Even if a big problem sprung up, that doesn’t erase the achievements made in the past.

She brought the class together, cared for their emotions, and raised the standard for our academic and physical ability. Those are her contributions.

At the very least, it’s true that Shinohara hasn’t left better results than she has.

“There’s no helping that you don’t look favorably on what I did, or on how Kushida-san kept insisting on having someone expelled. But even if we had her expelled like that, can you tell me that it was the right choice? Would you be unaffected when the class average drops and we lose our special exams?”

“I mean… we wouldn’t know unless we try.”

“That’s right. Then you won’t understand what I’m trying to do until we try.”

The thing they had in common was that either choice lead to an uncertain future.

It wasn’t easy for Shinohara to talk Horikita down with her ability.

“Can I have a word?”

While Horikita and Shinohara were glaring at each other, Yousuke raised his hand and stood up.

“Something’s been on my mind. If we’re to maximize Kushida-san’s skill, then we have to keep her secret within the class. So I want to ask everyone in the class to keep quiet.”

“That’s true. If no one had given those instructions behind the scenes, it should have been leaked by now.”

It seemed that Horikita held her doubts about how rumors about Kushida weren’t circulating even now, on monday.

“But you didn’t ask for us to keep quiet. Why not?”

“It’s because any sort of gag order on those who want to bring her down is meaningless. It’s just a matter of time.”

This is where the students decide what to do. Give themselves to their emotions and let everyone know about Kushida to get revenge or keep it a secret for the sake of the class.

“I wouldn’t have talked about it even if Hirata-kun hadn’t asked me. We had an opportunity to gather during the weekend. Like, we talked about how nothing good would happen even if we leaked this. But of course if I were to say that I think nothing of Kushida-san right now I would be lying.”

As expected of Matsushita. She’s sharp. Though she was one of the ones affected by Kushida’s exposure, she looked past herself and understood the demerits.

If she exposed me then I would expose her back. The only thing you would gain from that is a second of satisfaction.

“I’ll definitely bring her back. If I cannot do that… I will accept any responsibility.”

Take responsibility. Even the students who bared their fangs with those strong words sounded their throats and gulped.

Even Shinohara.

“…Will you really take responsibility?”

“I intended to ever since I chose to set Kushida-san aside. If it comes to it, you can all judge me.”

Akito and Keisei stared at her silently.

It wasn’t hard to imagine how they felt as they listened to her.

Anyway, Horikita was finished with her willful piece and free time came.

Horikita’s eyes looked not at me but at a certain someone. That person stared back at her, and Horikita finally left the room. At that time, Kouenji stood up from his seat which was side-by-side to a vacant chair and left the classroom in the same manner.

I got curious, so I opened the door just a little bit to check on them.

“You acted as if you had something to discuss with me. What could it be?”

“I wanna check on something for the sports festival.”

“Fufu. There is no need for me to cooperate… I am not mistaken in recognizing that, yes?”

“Of course not. I just wanted to see your intentions. Could you tell me that much?”

Should she consider Kouenji’s activities or not. Depending on that, the plan changes.

After being asked, Kouenji grinned broadly and put his hand on Horikita’s shoulder.

Perhaps because it annoyed her, she tried to brush it off, but Kouenji’s hand did not even twitch.

“Looks like you’re a very lucky~ girl.”

Because his hand stayed at her shoulder, she seemed irritated even as she asked what his meaning was.

“Does that mean you’re willing?”

“I was able to save from the uninhabited island exam and the treasure hunt, but I use a relatively large amount of money at this time period. And I don’t have a reason not to participate.”

Kouenji showed overwhelming power at the uninhabited island exam and supposedly never again, but if there is a test where individuals can gain vast amounts of money then it seems like he’ll feel up to it.

For Horikita this was a sudden windfall. If she could save even one more point then there was nothing to complain about. Not to mention that if it were Kouenji, then he would likely gather ten or twenty points easily.

He’s probably just interested in the rewards this time.

Horikita seemed to hesitate on that for a second, but she stepped forward.

“If you get the right to transfer classes… what will you do?”

Kouenji was indubitably a problem child – no, a free man within our year.

If he decides that he wants to do it, he wouldn’t hesitate in leaving this class. Whether he will help the class or not from here on out is a different matter. At the very least, Horikita doesn’t think that having less people in the class will work to our advantage. And there’s the fact that he would take special exams involving a lot of money like the uninhabited island test and the sports festival seriously. If that happens, then we would have a strong enemy standing in our way.

“There’s no~ problem there. Right now I don’t think that other classes are charming enough for me to throw away my promise with you, Horikita-girl.”

“Right now, huh…”

Which meant that depending on the conditions then it was always possible for him to change classes.

“For today you’re in safe~ty.”

I don’t think that will put her at ease whatsoever. Well, whether or not any class would accept Kouenji is dubious. There are merits, but he also comes with his demerits.

“Alright, I’ll accept that. But if you change your mind on a whim I won’t be able to trust you myself. You will get just enough points to rank highly, you don’t mind if I assume that?”

“That’s okay. Though I won’t join hands with anybody.”

Looked like he was going to stick to the individual contests to gain points. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets first place in all his competitions. Which means there’s a high chance to get the maximum of 55 points.

“Are you really not interested in rising to A-Class?”

Kouenji answered that question with a laugh and returned to the classroom.

“Interested in eavesdropping are you?”

It was as if he peeked at me through the slightly open door, or he knew from the start.

I spoke to Kouenji as he stopped in the background.

“If I said that I wasn’t curious about what you’d do in this sports festival I’d be lying.”

“Shall I write it off as such?”

“Can I ask you something, Kouenji?”

“My heart is currently pounding for the sports festival rewards so I’m in a good mood. I will answer.”

“You and Horikita made a promise. But that’s not absolute. Just as she left Kushida behind, resolved to antagonize the whole class, I think it was possible that you’d get cut off. Do you have any thoughts about that?”

Was he scared about whether or not Horikita would keep her promise? I probed.

Because although he did it under the pretext of getting more private points, he agreed to expelling someone with a strong stance.

“It’s all according to my calculations. If, in the end, the list of expulsion candidates was narrowed down to me, I would have voted in opposition before it came to that. My talk about trusting Horikita-girl was also under that premise.”

“I see. So you don’t fully trust Horikita.”

“Of course I wouldn’t entrust myself to other people. You’re the same, aren’t you?”


Though he seemed careless in his freedom, Kouenji had his own calculations when nobody was looking.

And he was protecting his freedom even as he calculated.

No matter how many individual students I analyze and answers I reach, this is the only man I can’t see through.


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