Chapter 3: Absurdity Introduction A certain day prior to the onset of our winter vacation. A massive typhoon fell upon Class D. It happened right after Chabashira-sensei gave the signal that class was over. The doors to our classroom opened and Class C students, including Ryuuen, showed up at Class D. The class was in uproar over this unexpected visit. Chabashira-sensei glanced at them briefly but then immediately left the classroom. It would be a different story if a brawl were about to break out but there’s nothing wrong with students from a different class paying a visit. Having kept an eye on Class D through utilizing such roundabout measures, and still without having obtained the answers they sought, Ryuuen and the others have finally shown themselves. Or perhaps a strategy beyond my comprehension is in effect behind the scenes? Regardless, there’s no denying the fact that they’ve opted to go with a frontal attack strategy. Horikita, who was about to leave, stopped and glanced at the Class C students. The ones who showed up were Ryuuen, Ishizaki and Yamada Albert. Also Komiya and Kondou. It’s understandable that the class would be tense with all these fighters gathering. “What the hell? This is Class D”. The first one to react to Ryuuen was Sudou. His tendency to pick fights may have been a factor but it may also be a purely self-defensive reaction to avoid being played like before. And most importantly, he has to protect Horikita. Those feelings may have taken precedence. Sudou immediately stood up and approached Ryuuen. Seeing that, Hirata panicked and got between them as though fearing conflict. “Do you have some business with our class, Ryuuen-kun?” As Hirata, unable to understand the situation, asked him that, Ryuuen replied extravagantly. “Is there a reason why I shouldn’t drop by a colleague’s class? It’s something that happens in every school, right? Going to a class that’s not your own to visit a friend. Why are you all so afraid?” The first words he spoke sounded so much like a provocation but Hirata calmly replied to that high-pressure attitude. “Normally speaking, yes. But don’t you think the circumstances in this school are somewhat different? At the very least, you’ve never visited Class D before.” Hirata tried to smooth things over by treating this as an emergency at most. “We’ve just been estranged until now. I thought now’s as good a time as any to act more aggressively.” He placed a hand on the desk of a nearby girl and grinned, showing off his white teeth. “You guys sure did well during the Paper Shuffle exam. Thanks to that, Class C lost. The outcome hasn’t been decided yet, of course, but you guys may become Class C starting from the third semester. Quite impressive.” “Heh. That just means you’re an incompetent ape of a boss, right? Fall down to Class D”. Hirata panickedly restrains Sudou when he took a potshot from the side. “We put in effort to make steady progress.” “Effort, huh? Sudou, who seems completely unfamiliar with the concept, still seems to be around so that’s puzzling. I thought he’d be the first to drop out.” “So you’ve finally remembered my name?” They met eyes and glared at one another. Several of our classmates who were about to head back also froze up at this situation. “Could you tell us what you’re really after?” From Hirata’s perspective, he wants to figure this out as quickly as possible so he’d want to avoid being continuously caught up in Ryuuen’s pace. However, it’s better to assume he’s deliberately acting that way. “I’m giving you Class D guys a thorough warning right now.” “Warning? What do you mean?” “I have no intention of explaining it to someone who doesn’t get it. Or are you merely pretending to not understand?” At first glance, that seems like a taunt meant for Hirata but that’s not really what it is. Ryuuen was barely looking at Hirata, he had been looking around at the whole class. If those words weren’t meant for Hirata then perhaps they’re meant for either Keisei or me, or perhaps Akito and the others. But he was mostly just lightly looking around. Ultimately, it was an unexpected person who caught Ryuuen’s attention. That person did not even realize he was being stared at, or more like, he did not care in the least and made preparations to leave. And then he moved to leave the classroom. Even when no one else could move in the presence of Ryuuen, he acted like it was just another average day. Laughing faintly, Ryuuen looked back at his men slightly behind him and gave them the signal as they left the classroom immediately. Apparently that student is their target. As Ryuuen and the others closed the door behind them, the tense atmosphere dissipated and our classmates once again went into an uproar. “Hey, hey, that Ryuuen guy looked like he was about to do something unbelievable! It’s like I can’t believe it, right!?” “More like, they’re probably going to do something to Kouenji, aren’t they!?” That’s right. The one Ryuuen was after is Kouenji Rokusuke, the maverick of Class D. And with Ike and Yamauchi at the center of it all, various theories began playing out. But these days, Kushida’s really keeping a low profile. I know it stems from her defeat against Horikita in their confrontation but she’s stopped taking an active role. Of course, it’s not like she just went entirely silent. Even now, she’s talking about Ryuuen with the other girls but she did not get herself involved one bit. And Horikita is Horikita, she didn’t say a thing about Kushida to me. “Isn’t this bad? What happened just now.” Horikita asked me that while I thought about something unrelated to Ryuuen. Even for Horikita, who wishes to avoid any involvement with Class C to the utmost of her ability, it appears to be an urgent matter. “Maybe.” It looked like Ryuuen had business with Kouenji but that’s also puzzling. Kouenji does give off a mysterious vibe. However, even from the outside, it shouldn’t look like Kouenji’s making a move inside Class D. There’s probably a reason behind why he’s blatantly going after Kouenji while keeping an eye on a great many people. “Kiyotaka, why don’t we go check the situation out?” Akito’s the one who said that. “That just now was way too many people. Maybe they’re planning on doing something.” “Suppose so…even though there are people around that’s still not an absolute guarantee.” If, on the off-chance that Kouenji got assaulted, Class D may end up shouldering the responsibility for not having prevented it. And getting penalized by the school isn’t the only problem. You’d end up regretting not being there to help. When I stepped out into the corridor with Akito, Keisei also tagged along. “I’ll go too. The fewer people, the more dangerous it is.” After a slight delay, Horikita also followed and Sudou also tagged along in pursuit. Hirata also came out of the classroom wearing a worried expression. Apparently today’s going to be a stormy day. I asked Keisei and Akito to wait then spoke to Hirata. “Hirata, shouldn’t you stay back? If more energetic students like Ike and Yamauchi end up following us, it may end up causing a bigger ruckus.” “…you’re right. But, I wonder if Kouenji-kun will be fine……” “Horikita’s heading there too. Keisei and Akito are with me too. Worst case scenario, if violence is about to break out, I’ll contact you.” “Keisei-kun? Alright, I got it. Please do make sure not to go overboard.” Hirata felt puzzled at the name ‘Keisei’ but did not pursue the matter. Hirata immediately went back into the restless classroom of Class D. “That was the right call, Kiyotaka. The more people, the more troublesome it’ll be. Besides, in Hirata’s case, he’s more suited towards calming the class down.” Keisei nodded as though he’s sure of it, perhaps he’s the type of person to go against the flow. Now the problem is where Kouenji went off to. Inside the school building, even Ryuuen and his men can’t act carelessly. If they’re going to attack, it’ll be after he goes outdoors but I can’t imagine where Kouenji would go. “What does Kouenji usually do after school?” “…not a clue.” “I don’t know either.” Both Akito and Keisei tilted their heads as though they haven’t the faintest clue. “Is there no one familiar with Kouenji’s behavioral patterns?” None of our classmates have spoken to him at length. “He mostly heads straight back to the dorm.” “How can you tell?” “I spot him heading back quite often. Either way, it’ll be problematic if he leaves the school building. First of all, we should head to the entrance.” Saying that, we headed towards the entrance. If his shoes are still there then it would mean he’s still inside the school building, and in that case we’ll be able to buy time. To not fall behind, we kept up our pace. “Something serious like actual conflict might break out.” Sudou said that to Horikita while clenching his fist. “Quit your joking. Mass violence between Class D and Class C is no laughing matter. More importantly, why did you follow me?” “Isn’t it obvious? Because I’m worried about Suzune. I’ve heard rumors that Ryuuen will attack even women.” “I’m not so fragile so as to need your protection.” “Don’t say that.” Horikita did not change her bullish stance of being able to protect herself. Since she’s proficient at martial arts, she doesn’t need a man. Sudou’s show of masculinity is also in vain. But Sudou is Sudou after all so he probably doesn’t even entertain the idea of Horikita being strong one bit. “Besides, this may be unnecessary but there’s one more thing I have to add. How about focusing those worries on your club activities?” “It’s fine I’m telling you. There’s still time left until practice. Let’s look for Kouenji already.” Even as she tried to drive him away, Sudou still stuck to Horikita. “Good grief…it’s tough having to move around while carrying the seeds of trouble.” She gave him a stealth insult. If Horikita were to get hurt while she’s alone, Sudou will definitely snap. If that happens, it’ll turn into a huge uproar that would make the previous one look like a joke. If the same people are to get into a fight again then neither the school nor the student council would show any mercy. In that sense, having Sudou tag along should be seen as the best option. Part 1 Leaving the school, I headed down the tree-lined path that leads back to the dorm. Since school just ended not too long ago, there are barely any students in sight. However, there were several boys from Class C in sight. I didn’t spot her back in the classroom but it looks like Class C’s Ibuki is also with them. On top of that, I could see Kouenji’s back from afar as he headed back to the dorm alone. Apparently they’re serious about attacking Kouenji. As Ryuuen closed the distance, he gave orders to Ishizaki and had him block Kouenji’s way forward. “Looks like they’re here, just like Suzune thought they’d be. Let’s go stop them.” Spotting them, Sudou asked Horikita to issue her order. “Let’s wait and see. We still don’t know what Ryuuen-kun’s after.” Just like Ryuuen himself said earlier, there’s no rule forbidding students from interacting with other classes and it’s common to do so. There’s nothing we stand to gain from interrupting them at this stage. While approaching them, we observed the situation. “Hey, hold it right there, Kouenji. Humor us a bit.” “What is it with you lot? I don’t recall doing anything to make you hinder me like this.” Since Ishizaki’s in the way, I can’t see Kouenji’s face but the tone of his voice is as its always been. “You don’t get to decide that.” “Hmph. You’re certainly not the one to do so.” Kouenji looked around at Ryuuen’s Class C entourage. There isn’t a single trace of anxiety or panic reflected in his eyes. “You remember me, don’t you?” With both his hands in his pocket, Ryuuen moved to stand in front of Kouenji. “Of course I remember you. You’re Class C’s Delinquent-kun, aren’t you?” “I’ve turned a blind eye to you back then but today you’re coming with me, you freak.” “Apologies but I was quite busy that day.” He apologized while brushing his hair back. Didn’t look like much of an apology. “But I can’t pretend I didn’t hear that. By ‘freak’, are you perhaps referring to me?” “Who else is that supposed to refer to?” “That certainly is an incomprehensible statement to make but that’s all water under the bridge. Because I happen to be a tolerant person, you see. But I have a date after this so let’s wrap this up quickly, shall we?” “That’s a shame. But you’re going to have to reschedule that.” “So you won’t withdraw?” “What’ll you do if we don’t?” Kouenji crossed his arms for a bit as though thinking it over but then immediately split them back up. “Then we’ll have to finish our business over there.” Kouenji pointed towards a rest area a slight distance away, perhaps having determined that there’s no escape from this or perhaps not wanting to block the way for others. “I couldn’t care less where it is.” “Then you may follow me.” And with Kouenji leading them, they went over to the rest area by the side of the road. It’d be a different story if they were in the middle of a highway but if they’ve gone to an isolated area like that it’ll be difficult to keep an eye on them. “Looks like we should head over there too.” After hearing that, Sudou tried to charge over there but Horikita stopped him. “Avoid acting violent carelessly. You understand?”
“Y-Yeah.” Sudou, having been warned anew, took the lead alongside Horikita and headed over to Ryuuen and his entourage. And a little after that, we also caught up to them. Horikita immediately started speaking to Ryuuen. “What are you planning on doing here, Ryuuen-kun? It’ll turn into a huge problem if this gets out of hand.” “Kuku. So you got baited into coming here, huh?” He then laughed as though he knew someone would follow them from the very beginning. Then he slowly looked at each and every one of us. It’s true that he was targeting Kouenji but in all likelihood, this is also a trap meant to narrow down the number of people to find the one he’s looking for. If that isn’t so then there’s no reason for him to march into Class C with his lackeys in tow. His aim is akin to smoking his target out. “Ayanokouji and Miyake, plus Yukimura, huh? Well, for safety I suppose.” “I’m also here, Ryuuen.” Ryuuen ignored Sudou, who’s smashing his knuckles together. “What happened to Hirata?” “No idea. You aren’t interested in him, right?” “Oh please, that guy’s overflowing with justice so it wouldn’t even be strange for him to be here.” “What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t assume everything will go the way you predict.” “Well, that’s fine. For now, that is.” With Ryuuen’s signal, Ishizaki and the others surround Kouenji. Seeing that play out, Akito muttered without even attempting to hide his disgust. “It’s almost like he’s playing emperor. To order around his classmates with a signal like that.” “Sorry, Miyake. But I grew up like this.” Sticking his hands into his pockets, Ryuuen approached Kouenji. “Wait.” “Wait? Wait for what? As you can see, we aren’t doing anything.” For now, they have yet to lay a finger on Kouenji. “I don’t mind you messing around but in that case, my presence is not required, am I wrong?” Kouenji pointed that out to Ryuuen who not only got in his way but is now talking to someone else. Ryuuen ignored Horikita’s warning and turned to face Kouenji. “Speaking of which, you get the leading role today, Kouenji. You owe me one after all.” “Owe you one? I recall no such thing.” “I missed out on some points no thanks to your actions in clearing the zodiac exam.” He’s well informed. I wonder where exactly he heard that one. “Ahh, you mean that liar game. I do apologize if I’ve gotten in your way.” Despite apologizing, Kouenji doesn’t appear to feel the least bit apologetic. He boldly took out a handheld mirror. It’s probably an incomprehensible action for the Class C folks. When Class C looked at him suspiciously, Kouenji politely told them. “It’s a bit windy out here today. I’m merely making sure my nice, cool style is not disrupted.” He turned his face left and right several times over to check his own appearance. “Hmm…it’s slightly out of order and rather lacking in grace. Apologies but would you mind holding the mirror for a while?” Saying that, Kouenji presented the man standing in front of him, Ryuuen, with the handheld mirror. Ryuuen accepted the mirror with a smile on his face. “You may point that mirror towards me.” Kouenji said so and retrieved a compact-sized hard wax kit from his bag before rubbing some of it on his fingers and using both his hands to style his hair. Taken back at this absurd sight, Class C couldn’t even interject. However, an intense sound reverberated the very next instant. It was Ryuuen who threw the handheld mirror he received from Kouenji to the ground. And with the usual smile on his face, he grabbed hold of Kouenji’s arm. “That freak act, I wonder how long you can keep it up.” While still styling his hair with both his hands, Kouenji let out a sigh. “You sure act like quite the delinquent. That handheld mirror is rather expensive, you know?” “My bad, hands slipped.” “Fufu. Then it can’t be helped. In that case, let go of my arm. I can’t style my hair properly like this. Of course, I’m a man who’d be just fine even with his hair out of order though.” In that tense situation, Ryuuen slowly let go of Kouenji’s arm. This is a place where acting conspicuously carries far too much risk. But this is Ryuuen’s usual modus operandi of hunting his enemies to his utmost limits. “Stop it already, Ryuuen-kun.” “Shut it, Suzune. Kouenji’s my playmate right now.” “Aren’t you just onesidedly attacking him? He wants no part of this.” While picking up the shards of the handheld mirror, Horikita glared at Ryuuen. “I’ll do it. Your hands might get hurt.” “I don’t really mind. It would be more problematic if you get hurt since you have your club activities.” Saying that, Horikita turned down Sudou’s offer. “Don’t be stupid. I can’t just let a girl get hurt.” Forcibly pushing Horikita aside, Sudou began to pick up the shards. “I won’t treat you even if you get hurt.” Despite Horikita pointing that out, Sudou continued to pick up the shards without paying it any heed. “I was wondering what this ruckus is all about but this really is quite an interesting lineup.” And this incident didn’t end with just Class D and Class C. As though drawn to the conflict, Class A’s Sakayanagi and her entourage showed up. I spotted Kamuro Masumi among them but I don’t know the names of the remaining two boys, only their faces. “Sakayanagi, eh?…it’s almost as if she timed it just right.” She stopped, and lightly tapped her cane on the ground. We’ve certainly become quite the crowd. Including Kouenji, there are six of us from Class D and five from Class C. And four from Class A. A total of fifteen people in the crowd. “My presence here is purely coincidental.” “Don’t make me laugh.” It’s obvious, even to Ryuuen, that this is anything but a coincidence. “Still, to think Class C’s leading members and students of Class D would be here. Are you perhaps holding a discussion regarding your Christmas party?” “Back off, I don’t have any business with you yet.”
“You don’t have to go that far, do you? If it’s a party you’re planning then the more the merrier, wouldn’t you say? So perhaps you’ll let me join?” But Ryuuen showed no sign of playing along with Sakayanagi’s provocation. “If you’re staying then don’t get in my way.” “Of course, I won’t do anything to embarrass the party’s organizer.” Sakayanagi then took her distance and sat down on a bench placed at the rest area. And the three students from Class A surrounded her on all sides as though protecting her. Well, I suppose violence is unlikely to erupt in this situation but…there are no surveillance cameras in this area. Still, if you look around you’ll see students on their way back. There’s no telling when how many people will pass by this place. It’s hard to imagine a fistfight will break out here. The person at the center of all this who had been smiling fearlessly so far, Kouenji Rokusuke, opened his mouth. “I don’t mind the crowd but shall we wrap this up already? If you don’t plan on doing so then I’ll be taking my leave.” “Wait a minute, Kouenji. Ryuuen-san just said he won’t let you go this time.” “My bad, things got in our way and our little talk stalled. Let’s get down to business.” Kouenji smiled faintly. “I conclude from this situation that—you are obsessed with defeating either a person who is causing trouble for Class C or a person who has formed an alliance with another class. Am I wrong?” “Let’s see, any eyesore I don’t like is an enemy to defeat.” “And a person from within Class D has appeared to hinder you. So you’re attempting to unravel this person’s identity.” Kouenji seems to understand the gist of it without even requiring an explanation from Ryuuen. Rather unexpected from the man who possesses zero awareness of anything he’s not personally interested in. “That’s exactly right.” “Then I’m sorry to disappoint but I have absolutely no interest in either the future of Class D or the future of any other class. I haven’t done anything noteworthy in the exams leading up to this point and I have no intention of doing so in the future either. Is it really fun to waste time on a person like that?” “That’s funny, care to explain the zodiac exam then? Rumors have been spreading, you know?” “Well, well, you’re quite the knowledgeable one.” During the zodiac exam, Kouenji had managed to brilliantly identify the VIP of the ‘Monkey’ group he was assigned to. But even if one realizes that Class D won from the results alone, it’s difficult to pinpoint the student. He sure did his homework. Or perhaps he’s merely guessing at Kouenji having been assigned to the ‘Monkey’ group. He may have become certain of that after Kouenji did not deny his claim. “That’s just my own way of killing time. I couldn’t bring myself to attend all those boring meetings so I decided that ending it all would be the shortcut to freedom. That is all.” Kouenji took out his phone and switched it to camera mode so he could have a look at himself. Apparently he’s intending on using it as a makeshift handheld mirror. “Then that means we can’t rule out the possibility that you’ve played a role in the other exams too. In other words, there’s no guarantee that you aren’t the mastermind of Class D. Right?” “That is correct but if that’s the conclusion you’ve drawn that it would simply mean you’re just a moron whose brains only amount to this much.” Ishizaki tried to initiate violence but Ryuuen laughed and stopped him. However, that brilliant comeback is admirable. If you keep insisting that an unrelated person is the mastermind then that makes you nothing but a moron. “Kuku, sure enough. If you are telling the truth then that’d mean you’re a completely harmless existence.” “Yes. I like how you catch onto things quickly, Dragon Boy.” Sakayanagi broke into laughter at the mention of Dragon Boy. But Ryuuen ignored it and changed the topic entirely. “Then what’ll you do if I told these guys to lynch you right here? As payback for the zodiac exam, for no reason at all. What’ll you do if I try to subdue you through meaningless violence?” Horikita tried to react to this disturbing situation but before she could do so, Kouenji laughed. “Now that’s a nonsensical question. You won’t choose that option here. Not much to be gained from using violence in a public place like this, right?” “Unfortunately, I don’t particularly mind going on a rampage even in an inconvenient place like this. Benefits of such an act aside.” “I see. Then allow me to give my answer. If you happen to choose that option, I will knock out all those who come at me in order to protect my own pride.” “You’re saying you can do that on your own?” “It’s harder for me to imagine why I can’t.” Having overheard that interesting back-and-forth, Sakayanagi smiled from afar. “Looks like we missed our mark. Doesn’t seem like Kouenji’s X. He’s insane in his own way. Seems like that’s all there is to him.” “The most important thing is that we’ve cleared up this misunderstanding.” “Let me ask you something though, Kouenji. Class D’s points are steadily going up. There’s definitely someone sharp behind all this. If that’s not you then who the hell is it? Is it someone from this rabble who followed us here like a bunch of morons?” For the first time, Kouenji turned to look at us just once. But he sneered, shrugged his shoulders and immediately lost interest. “I don’t mind answering that question but—” “A word, if I may?” Sakayanagi spoke while still seated on the bench as though to cut Kouenji off. “That’s an interesting topic you’re talking about. Something about a Class D student getting in Class C’s way? I’ve heard rumors that Dragon Boy-san is looking for that person but it would appear the rumors are true then?” “I told you to shut up, Sakayanagi. And also, if you call me that again I’ll kill you, get it?” “Fufu. Do you not like it? I think it’s a wonderful name though. My apologies though, it simply appeared as though something I cannot quite comprehend was happening.” A faint laughter followed. And Sakayanagi continued speaking without paying any heed to that. “Isn’t it just that your plan was torn apart by someone from Class D? This is one of the cornerstones of the conflict between classes at this school. Getting in the way of other classes isn’t strange either, is it? As a matter of fact, both you and I have fought exactly like that several times already. I don’t know who this person is but don’t you think hiding one’s identity while putting one’s strategies into motion is a brilliant way of fighting? Should you really be going out of your way to interrogate an unrelated student like this? To be honest, from my point of view this is just pathetic.” “I’ll admit my plan was torn apart by X but that’s not the problem here. I’m just doing this to draw out that person sneaking around behind the scenes. That’s the sort of game this is.” “I see. So is committing acts of extortion like this also part of your plan?” “That’s right, I won’t shy away from violence if need be either. I enjoy my own way of doing things.” “In that case, you’ll not only be acting pathetic but also revealing the extent of your incompetence though? I’ve heard quite a bit from Masumi-san and Hashimoto-kun. About your strategy on the uninhabited island how it was demolished. If you had properly done your research, you clearly should’ve known he’s an unrelated party. First things first, the one behind the events of the uninhabited island is Horikita Suzune-san I hear. I wonder whether or not this mystery person you’re searching for really even exists?” Sakayanagi’s sharp eyes and words attacked Ryuuen. “…you sure this isn’t just an excuse for why your plan failed…?” As though trying to follow up on Sakayanagi’s words, one of the students from Class A muttered that in a low voice. “That’s going too far, Kitou. Surely even Ryuuen isn’t that stupid.” The one who followed up for Ryuuen like that’s Hashimoto, I believe his name was. But Ryuuen showed no sign of being agitated at Sakayanagi and her entourage’s provocations. Because that’s something Ryuuen understands best. “Joke’s on you, Sakayanagi. I manipulated Katsuragi into signing a contract.” Rather than refute that statement, he instead changed the topic. It’s almost as if he wants to say that it’s his turn to attack now. “Contract, you say? Yes, if I recall, it said ‘in exchange for Class C’s aid on the island, private points shall be paid as compensation’. To be more specific, there was the clause ‘20,000 points every month until graduation’, I believe.” Sakayanagi also responded without any hesitation to that. “Huh? What’s that mean? What have you guys been doing behind the scenes? Are you fine with that!?” Sudou barked out his complaints. “There’s no problem rulewise. It’s something both our classes agreed on. We would receive the class points that would’ve been Class C’s and in exchange we compensate them…in other words, we’re just paying Class C back with private points.” I knew Class A and Class C had allied during the island exam but I didn’t know what deal was struck between them. This certainly is a deal worth making. Using up all their points and leaving Class A with all 270 points that could be used on the island (minus the 30 points due to Sakayanagi’s absence) while demanding 20,000 private points in exchange. At first glance, it may seem like Class C won out but what’s important is the lead in class points at the end of the exam. Because what determines class ranking is, after all, your class points. You can almost say private points are allocated to you as a bonus. As a result, Katsuragi may have lost points but if he hadn’t, the outcome may have been the same if not far worse for Class A. What I mean by this is that the difference between class points is just that important. If they had gone about the island exam the normal way, then they would barely have any class points left over and the difference between them and Class B would have shrunk proportionately. But why are they revealing all this at a time like this when they’ve kept it secret the whole time? It’s probably something akin to Sakayanagi bullying Ryuuen. First Ryuuen mocked Sakayanagi and now this is Sakayanagi returning the favor, is probably how I should interpret this. “I’m not the one who’ll get in trouble after revealing this, it’s you guys. Other classes will know that we’ve been taking 20,000 points from you every month without exception.” “It’ll spread soon enough if you ever felt like doing so. No point in worrying about it. In the first place, the one who conceived of the idea for a contract was Katsuragi-kun.” Since she wasn’t there on the island and therefore an unrelated party, Sakayanagi need not worry about it leaking. No, there’s the possibility that she instructed the class beforehand not to do anything unnecessary but considering how the two of them were locked in a struggle back then, perhaps she deliberately left them hanging. As a matter of fact, Katsuragi is now keeping a low profile while Sakayanagi dominates the class. “Fuck, then that means Class C’s got guaranteed monthly allowances.” “Don’t fall for it, Sudou-kun. It’s all class points Class C should have received but chose to forego. It’s not like they gained anything from it.” “Is that really so, Suzune? We may as well have gained 200 class points from that island exam, you know? On top of that, Class A’s footing the bill for it plus it’ll go on forever unless Class A happens to lose its standing.” “You’re wrong. It’s similar but what you’re getting from them are private points. They’re fundamentally different from class points.” If his goal is Class A then he has indeed yet to gain anything. In that regard, you could say Horikita’s remark is correct. But the fact that roughly 800,000 points, money in other words, is flowing from Class A to Class C is a significant one. Even if Class C continues to lose class points and they end up with none, they are guaranteed minimum allowance at the very least. Despite being hounded by the Sakayanagi faction, the Katsuragi faction really gave them a free ride. “Are you quite done talking? You lot seem to like butting heads a lot. I have no intention of denying you that but I’ll have you stop bothering me any more than this. It would be very unpleasant to have any more time be wasted listening to your pointless opinions.” “Hold it right there, Kouenji. You haven’t given me your answer yet.” As though he just remembered it, Kouenji looked up towards the sky for a while. “Something about a sharp person in Class D, was it? To be honest, I haven’t given it any thought at all…either way, it would be best if I don’t answer. You’re hunting after that answer even at risk to yourself. It wouldn’t be right to rob you of that pleasure. I’m simply enjoying my youth here at this school. That’s all. If this school can get me all worked up then that would be a different story but I don’t think I can expect that to happen. In that case, I’ll fall in love with beautiful girls and we’ll aim for greater heights. And I will continue to build upon my own beauty. That is all there is to it.” “So you’re saying you won’t participate in the class conflict?” “I never have and never will. That’s what I’ve been telling you from the start. From my point of view, both Class C and Class A might as well be the same. The people here right now all bore me.” “What the hell did you just say!? Ryuuen-san, this guy’s been mocking us for a while now! Let’s discipline him!” Having been slighted, Ishizaki raises his fist against Kouenji. But the one who acted to correct Kouenji’s words before even Ryuuen could was Sakayanagi, who had done nothing but smile and tease so far. Looks like there’s something about Kouenji’s words she could not ignore. “I cannot pretend I didn’t hear that. Dragon Boy-san is one thing but—” Right after she said those words, Ryuuen swiftly closed the distance between them and launched a kick without holding back. “Woah—!?” Hashimoto panicked and got in between Sakayanagi and Ryuuen and blocked the kick with his left arm. But because of the powerful impact, Hashimoto got blown away to the side and fell onto the concrete. If Hashimoto had not come in between them, it’s very likely that Sakayanagi would actually get her face kicked. Both Hashimoto and that other male student named Kitou put on white gloves and assumed a fighting stance against Ryuuen. “Did I hit a nerve?” “I told you I’d kill you if you called me that again.” “Cut it out already. Your behavior just now is a huge problem.” Having witnessed the assault play out, Horikita gave him a warning but Sakayanagi was the one who stopped her. “Was there a problem just now, Hashimoto-kun?” “No. I just fell over on my own.” While patting the dirt off his clothes, Hashimoto slowly stood back up. “So he says, Horikita-san.” “…you’re insane, both you and Ryuuen-kun.” Class A, under Sakayanagi’s leadership, did not voice a single complaint against this act of violence. On the contrary, they were more than willing to throw down. “I must apologize, Ryuuen-kun. I’ve teased you a bit too much.” After apologizing, she looked towards Kouenji. “Going back to our initial topic, whatever do you mean by all the people here, including me, boring you?” For Sakayanagi, that remark made by Kouenji is more worrisome than Ryuuen who’s in front of her. Ryuuen too, having grown apathetic, took his distance from Sakayanagi. “I swear, this lot…” Horikita’s agitation and exasperation are understandable. These people here all have a few quirks of their own. “Did you really not like what I had to say, Little Girl?” Heading over to the bench where Sakayanagi sat, Kouenji opened his palm and pointed at her. “Kuku. Little Girl, huh? I think it’s a wonderful name.” As though it were payback for Dragon Boy, Ryuuen sneered. “Kouenji-san, was it? You’re mistaken in your use of English. I am not a little girl.” “Fu. Fu. Fu. I am the one who gets to decide that. Not you. I have not made a mistake according to the rules of use. The usage of the word ‘girl’ is appropriate for your age and physique, which means I’ll be calling you just that.” “That is precisely where you’re wrong. According to the rules of use, ‘little girl’ is what you would use to refer to elementary schoolgirls and no one else. This world doesn’t exist just for the sake of allowing you to do whatever you want in it.” “It’s my policy to not go with common sense.” He brushed his hair back. “…cut it out already, Kouenji.” Kitou took a step forward. He moved to take off his white gloves. At first I thought it was something he wore to protect against the cold but that doesn’t seem to be the case. “What’s with him? Think a demon’s going to pop out if he takes those gloves off?” “What do you mean?” Because Sudou suddenly said the word ‘demon’ I ended up unexpectedly asking him about it. “You don’t know? It’s from a manga that used to be popular back in the day. It’s that manga where they remove a white glove, a demon pops out and they fight against devils.” I’ve never heard of it before but then again, I’ve never read manga before either. “I have no business with Class A. Back off.” “Please at least allow me to fix his tone.” “Fufufu, it’s not exactly bad that you’re all fighting over me but unfortunately when it comes to men and women, I’m only interested in those older than I am.” Kouenji’s toying with the class representatives Sakayanagi and Ryuuen. The very fact that common sense does not apply to him makes him the strongest one, in a certain sense of the word. ‘Insanity’ may also count as a strength alongside violence and lies. “I’m glad I dealt with you today. Get lost already.” Even for Ryuuen, having to deal with Kouenji must be exhausting. Knowing that he won’t get any more information out of him, he urged Kouenji to leave. “Alright then. See You.” Perhaps the typhoon turned out to be Kouenji rather than Ryuuen. The incident came to an end and silence fell upon us. “Apparently sightseeing time is over. Shall we head back?” “You’d better look forward to the third semester, Sakayanagi.” “If you’re sure you’ve taken care of Class D then I’ll be your opponent anytime.” Leaving those words behind, the Class A students left. “Shall we leave too, Horikita?” “Yes…I can’t be bothered to deal with this anymore either.” Sudou picked up most of the shards and for now, we can say things have gone back to normal. “But he seemed less interested in Kouenji than I expected…” Horikita seems to have felt doubt regarding Ryuuen’s actions. On the other hand, that doubt also infected Class C. “…was it alright to just let him go?” “If he were the one I’m looking for, I wouldn’t just let him leave.” “He seemed plenty suspicious to me though. I can’t pin down his thoughts and there’s the possibility that his words are lies too, right?” “Our mindsets don’t match. X thinks the same way I do. I can’t imagine Kouenji pulling the strings behind the scenes. In the first place, does he look like the type to team up with Horikita?” “That is certainly hard to imagine. Then why did you target Kouenji?” “Yo. What do you lot think about Kouenji?” After taking his eyes off of Kouenji, Ryuuen turned to look at us with an eerie smile. “You guys have been muttering for a while now. I don’t follow.” Sudou, unable to understand Ryuuen’s actions, glared at him while threatening him with a fist. “Idiots back off.” “The hell did you just say!?” Horikita stopped Sudou with a glance. “Ryuuen-kun, you’re acting out of line. It is a fact that this is rather hard to digest.” “Then that means I’m doing something right.” Even though he’s being reprimanded, Ryuuen paid it no attention. On the contrary, he seems to be enjoying the situation more and more. “I was able to narrow down the candidates quite a bit today, Suzune. Regarding that existence creeping behind you.” “I have no intention of listening to whatever you have to say. It’s a waste of time just humoring you. More importantly, I’d like you to avoid approaching our classmates in the future.” “I’m free to choose whether to approach or to stay away. I’m not breaking any rule here.” The person who’s first to break the rules uses said rules as his shield. “But this game will end soon. I’m looking forward to the finale.” Wrapping things up with that, Ryuuen looked at Sakayanagi and her entourage and then left. “He finally left. Let’s go back. For now, we should get Hirata-kun up to speed.” “But what’s with that Ryuuen guy? You think he wanted to try something?” “I haven’t a clue. I don’t think there’s anyone capable of understanding what he wants to do.” Looks like preparations are complete on Ryuuen’s end. Keenly aware of that, I saw Ryuuen off.