CHAPTER 1: PART 8(A)
When the wristwatch turned 5 o’clock Kushida and her group returned. Hirata, too, was mobilised with Kushida’s group. As this was somehow the return of the leader, the students were starting to gather close around. It seems that they were searching for food supplies and they looked like they were carrying food. Looking from a distance, it seemed to me that they were carrying some kind of small red fruits, something like strawberries, or even small tomatoes and also there were things that had the shape of grapes and kiwis.
“Can we really…. eat all these?, they do look like some kind of fruits, but still..”
Since there is no self-confidence the students looked at each other waiting for someone to do or at least say something. But who has got the courage to eat a fruit that has never been seen by them before?
“Nevertheless, my throat is thirsty…. and my stomach is empty”
“Me too, my throat feels a bit dry”
Evening may come and still the students will have the same conversation without actually doing something. I feel like after all, I am all alone in this.
But, as the time for dinner came closer the problem of adequate food and water became distinct.
“Hey! Isn’t this bog bilberry?” Did you find a Chinese bell-flower, too?” “That’s cool!”
Catching up the uproar, Ike, who was sitting close to the bonfire, came closer. Grasping one of the fruits, he spoke.
“Kanji, do you understand what is this?”
“Ah, this is the fruit of a bog bilberry. I ate this when I went for camping at Otoyama. In appearance as well in taste it looks like a blueberry. This one is Akebia Canada (chocolate vine). It is tasty and sweet. Well, it certainly brings back memories”
Oddly, he was not trying to look elsewhere. Having found these berries that brought back memories from the past, he was smiling like a kid, but everyone else just stood there, watching at Ike and no one said a word of admiration or encouragement.
Shinohara may have decided to attack Ike with her question, however, she got an upfront reply.
“Huh?… Somehow, I feel that they have a much better taste than I remember”
As the cause of the disturbance is now obscure, the class is mostly gathered around this matter. Being able to get food, even in such small amounts is still a factor that can determine our win.
“At least you could do one thing. Thank you for the bonfire, Ayanokouji”
“It wasn’t me, thank Ike, instead”
The fire kept burning steadily, but the smoke was making strange shapes. It was almost like reminding the others who were responsible for this duty. But, as soon as I said Ike’s name, he came to us.
“If we get lost in the woods, just by looking at the smoke, we can locate the place of the camp and come back, right?”
“That is the reason we came back so quickly, it is thanks to you, Kanji!”
They can’t understand that this way it is inevitable that our camp may be found easily by the other classes, too?
It is not just Kushida, the other students too nodded in agreement to Ike’s words of admiration. The unexpected attention and the look of honor I thought it would turn him into a Tengu or something, but Ike was not looking at Kushida, he was facing Shinohara.
“Hey… Shinohara. I was thinking about it all day, my behavior, I mean. On an isolated island, when there is no toilet, it must be hard for the students. In order to protect the points that we need I exaggerated. So, I apologise”
“Huh? Why are you apologising, so suddenly?”
“It’s because of my memories. I remembered the first time I went camping. That time it was hard, thinking what to do about a toilet among other things, of course with bugs crawling around and getting dirty. That is why I hated going to the toilet. So, when I came back, I complained to my parents. I reminded myself, how difficult it was, not to mention that this is way more difficult for the girls…”
Ike explained his situation while keeping his cool composure. Being able to do this, he was truly an outstanding guy. He was able to stand out as an excellent individual, and excel himself to a great deal compared to me. Of course the fact that he had to share this story it took a lot of courage. However, this courage for apologising seems to be infectious. Before long Shinohara began explaining her situation.
“Me too… I apologise for earlier. For denying to drink the water from the river, saying that it is not good enough. I overstep the boundaries think I got too emotional. I believe we all have to try and do things so we can preserve our points and win.”
Even though both of them could not see each other straight in the eyes, it seemed like they reconciled.
Whatever happens unexpectedly, well it happens. It seems that D class may actually manage to save points. This premonition, this omen might have been felt by the other students, too. That’s why Hirata would not leave this chance pass him by. He raised his hands getting everyone’s attention.
“Everyone, no matter what, we all have one goal. It is our first time that we face such a special exam, but we understand why we might have these perplexed feelings, also, each person has a different system of values so it is natural to create misunderstandings. However, without panic, without disturbances, until the end, I want to put trust in each other and move forward.”
He said this with a clear tone in his voice. He composed himself to catch up and he continued talking with comprehension.
“After all, even if we are left with only one point, it is still good, alright? That’s because everyone has their own sense of reality. But, in order to make an estimation we have to derive the appropriate numbers. This will only happen at the end of the exam. We might be left with 120 points or less. This is the feeling for which D class should be fighting for”
“So, are you planning to use 180 points? That is a naive perception of our situation ”
If we end up using more than a half… Having made already the calculation, Yukimura, shoot a sharp look, not wanting to let this go.
Hirata could sense what was happening around him, so he left the manual on the ground and he began to explain how he reached that conclusion.
“Firstly, I want you to listen to me until I conclude what I have to say. We have to cover the points for our meals, it is our number 1 expenses and I thought that our sources are scarce. Our need for nutritious food and mineral water should become a set.”
Food and drinking water for class credit we have for 1 meal, 6 points each. If we do it as a set we have 1 meal for 10 points. If we have 2 meals per day, that’s 20 points. If we start from today until the day we finish the exam, the total amount is 12 meals. 120 points in total. If we omit the final day and try to tolerate our hunger, then we might finish with 110 points. Our temporary toilet cost us 20 points, the use of the 2 tents of the boys, adds another 20 points. All that in total is 150 points. We are left with 30 points and we have, almost a week to live here, that totals 180 points. Hirata’s plan had a basis of truth and left everyone else at a loss for words.
“When I hear that there are only 120 points left, I get the feeling that we are going to spend them, quickly, too. However, it is only transient and I want to remind you that you are too conscious of the 300 points. For this reason we have to see the result of the midterm test or the end of the term test, in order to find out more easily. For the written exams before our summer vacation, we received a change to our points, but even if it wasn’t for A class’ superiority, we could not reach these 100 points. When I see the situation, I understand that 120 points is a small amount, available. However, adding one thing to another, when we reach the end of the examination, the ability of holding exclusive possessions, may give us bonus points. So, in reality after all, there are plenty of points left”
“Well, that was me thinking about the lower limit of our points, if, we can find the food and water for just one day we can save 20 points, then we may make it through. If we are not troubled with potable water for one week, then we can win more than 50 points and that might help us change the game”
With the sound of the streaming river close by, Hirata keeps talking and then the importance of the river hit us like a blow.
“So.. this is how it goes, if we can try and show self-control, just a little, we might be able to change our standing…”
Even while talking about similar matter, his tone and protocol gave a different impression. Hirata’s progression of words was almost perfect. After letting them know the lower limits, he finally told about the possibility of saving nearly 200 points. By doing so, he reasonably succeeded in setting high goals on his classmates. If we do our best, not only we can save a lot of points, but we’ll be at ease thinking that the points will increase steadily with some effort.
“That’s okay, isn’t it Hirata? We can earn at least 120 points. If we do it, we can earn points by only adding our performance, right? Let’s try it!” Ike, who was thought to be the most confronting, agreed in a burst and raised his voice. Sudou and Yamauchi also agreed as if there’s no other option. Yukimura still seemed a little reluctant, but gave up after seeing his fellow Ike siding with Hirata.
“Aah, that’s right, Hirata, I have something to check—“ Since Yamauchi forgot to report about Ibuki, I had no other choice but to call it out myself. However, class continued the discussion with a lot of energy without a chance of cutting in.
“It’s fate of popular person I guess… Should I do it later?”
I approached Ibuki, who was watching the situation from a distance, and gently called out:
“Sorry, could you wait a bit more, I’m trying to consult about your situation.”
“Don’t force yourself particularly. I don’t want to get in the way.” As if she has feelings of self-hatred, Ibuki grasped the grass tightly and pulled it out strongly.
“After all, I’ll soon be expelled from here, right?”
“I don’t know. Hirata is exceptionally softhearted.“ I couldn’t imagine him kicking her out when he finds out about Ibuki’s circumstances.
“I didn’t introduce myself before. I’m Ayanokouji.”
“Should I do it one more time as well?”
“No, that’s fine. You’re Ibuki from C class. I remember well.”
We faced each other after I’d finished introducing again, but Ibuki didn’t make an eye contact after all.
“For reference, those thinking that it’s okay to drink river water please raise your hands.” Overlooking at Ibuki and D class, Ike tried to change the topic of discussion. This time, it wasn’t in an enforcement but to ask for opinions. Of course, he took the initiative and raised his hand. Closely half of the boys raised their hands in agreement. Shinohara seemed to be a little puzzled, but Ike gently told her to loosen it up.
“I-I want to agree… But I’m a bit scared.”
“I think what Sudou said earlier about boiling isn’t bad. If you’re scared of drinking it directly, why don’t you try drinking it boiled first?”
A few students agreed with this. With a different timing, a once refused matter was accepted smoothly. Shinohara also raised her hand, albeit angrily.
“I don’t know if we can drink it, but… Let’s try.”
“I also agree. If the first person can drink it, then it’s okay for sure.” With other students easily agreeing, Kushida raised her hand following Shinohara. Was the influence of collective psychology on work? Everybody raising their hands except for Horikita and me was an unexpected development. Since the focus came to us, we who didn’t bother raising hands before lightly raised ours as well. However, it was difficult for everyone to suddenly drink the water. Therefore, we decided to purchase the water not only to secure it, but with the proposal of effectively using pet bottles.
“I have a request for you, Ike-kun. I want you to help me with your abilities from now. It looks like you’re the only one in the class with proper camping experience… Could you help me?”
“Well, well, if you’re saying it by all means I might cooperate.”
As if Ike’s curt response was a pleasant one, Hirata jumped with joy. Neither Shinohara, who seemed to complain the most, didn’t cut in. He started seeking for opinions on food immediately.
“It’s getting dark soon so we can only order for the time being. But please, let me think for a while from tomorrow. It seems there’s various food close to us so I will check that out tomorrow.”
“What do you mean close to us? Is it a different place from where Kushida and others found fruits?”
“Uh-huh, there’s this river. It’s a good place to catch and eat fish. It seemed there’s quite of freshwater fish by checking it only at a glimpse. I think we’ll be able to suppress point expenditure to some point. It would be absolutely delicious to catch a fish and eat it grilled on bonfire.”
“Even if it tastes good, how are you planning to catch a fish?”
“Well, I’ll dive like this? I haven’t done it before.” Ike made a swimming gesture, but it’s probably not easy to catch a fish by doing skin dive.
“Even if it seems unreasonable to catch it with bare hands, capturing a fish is perfectly realistic.”
Said Hirata, pointing at an entry mentioned in the manual. There was a character of fishing rod, and it looked like several kinds are being lent separately as well.
“1 point for fishing rods using baits, 2 points for those with lures.”
That is to say, it didn’t seem surprisingly hard to recover a cost.
Depending on the situation, it could become the most spectacular victory to secure an amount of food for 1 to 2 days with only one point. Even in a situation where we wouldn’t be able to catch any, it’s hardly a serious blow due to minimal expenditure.
Without hearing any objections, Ike said happily: “It’s a deal, then. Let’s get a fishing rod and lure them in. Of course, with the cheaper one.“
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