CHAPTER 4: INTRODUCTION
THE SILENT WARFARE
On the 4th day on the uninhabited island, changes started to occur little by little and we reached a turning point. I went deaf to the complaints yelled around but then, at some point, I realized that non-stop laughter filled the place. We added some Indian corn we found to the fishes Ike and others caught. Every resistance against drinking the river’s water disappeared too. Some things, like the fruits that my classmates found, helped us in saving more points than we planned to get us through the trial.
Currently, the points used amounted to about 100 points, including setbacks like retirement. If we continued smoothly, we’d probably be able to finish the trial with a lot of points remaining. If we looked at D Class’s situation before the start of the trial, then this number was a perfectly satisfactory numeric value. Even Yukimura, who was the most hostile and opposing party, wouldn’t complain. Yes, not even one student was unsatisfied with this result.
I suddenly got a tingling feeling in my head and it hurt.
I secretly borrowed a ballpoint pen and put it in my pocket together with the folded paper. Then I left the base camp. I got started trying to know the situation of the island which I still couldn’t grasp.
This might only be my personal guess but, when we break down this special trial, we’d see that 80% of it was a defensive test that has to confirm whether there was a cooperative relationship within the class. And the remaining 20% suggests that it’s a test of scouting against other classes and attacking them to interfere with their information-gathering ability.
However, this 8:2 proportion is not directly reflected in the trial’s results. Or rather, I think it’s only that 20% that greatly influenced the results.
We’d already grasped the plan of each class. On this topic, we decided what to do. Simply attack the other classes.
So, I’d start moving to the A class area. As D class moved around the riverside, A class’s center of activity was probably the cave area.
Katsuragi made no sense though. It’s not like he’d been the first one to occupy the cave. The true attraction of the cave was not just that it’s protected from natural elements. The place itself had a special meaning.
When I was wandering for a while through the forest, I could hear faintly the sound of waves. My pace got a little faster and I directly pushed through the trees to finally find myself on the coast.
I applied a sudden brake in my steps and came to a stop. All because there was no foothold here and it was actually a cliff.
“I saw it from the ship, for sure……. it was under here.”
Not far from the cave, very close to it actually, a multi-facility peeked out. Somehow, whether there was an alternative route or not and walking along the cliff, I noticed there was a ladder close to it, made in a blind spot where it was probable to miss it at first glance. I tried grasping the ladder in my hand with all my power, but it seemed so sturdy and strongly built that, in fact, I bumped into it.
Using the ladder from the bottom of the cliff.
If a person discovered it before landing on the island, he’d have to find his way to that place as soon as he landed.
Soon, I discovered a small hut. At the ingress of the hut, there was a device which was the clear evidence that this was a spot. Looking through the window, I could see some tools that were usually used for fishing. In other words, by taking control of this place, people could catch fish without any help from the school or without spending points for food.
And checking to see if there was a right of possession……….. yeah, you could read the characters of A class here. Time left was about 4 hours.
There was no doubt that Katsuragi and others arrived here, after holding down the cave, and then they started taking possession.
This was a classic spot you didn’t know it existed unless you discovered it while being on board the ship.
Because this hut was directly below the cliff, you could see every moment of the occupation from the surroundings. You didn’t even have to worry about anything.
There was no trace of indoor tools being touched. Dust was accumulating. I couldn’t see any signs which indicated that this place was now occupied as a spot. I took out a map from my pocket and wrote down the location of the hut. Of course, it was only an approximate position. It would take a huge amount of time to measure it accurately.
When I finished marking, I folded the paper again and put it in my pocket.
Since there seemed to be nothing besides the hut, I used the ladder again to return to my original road.
“When we were turning around the island, I saw a tower over there…….”
Relying on my memory, while I looked out over the area farther, I eyed the ground where I thought people had walked on. Then, as if to follow them, I proceeded towards the forest.
Eventually, I reached a place on higher ground, on a hill. Was this a spot too? If I climbed on the installed ladder, it seemed possible to overlook the shore but I thought that it wasn’t all that much use as a facility. I wondered if there were things left that were not very useful in this spot too.
I got closer to find out that the equipment had been installed on the facility wall. Unlike the one before, the communication device here wasn’t taken into possession by anyone and it was free. The fact that this kind of facility existed, was huge by itself. It was easy to find by a comparatively high number of students even though it was in the hinterland.
In brief, I didn’t know who was keeping an eye on us, observing us wherever. Despite knowing that some spots had been discovered almost at the same time, the fact that tower was not occupied implied “the difference in the probability of being discovered by the enemy”.
Katsuragi was a cautious man, a person who only used solid strategies. A man who never carelessly approached the closest sweet bait.
Suddenly, I realized that some bushes nearby were swaying despite the fact that there was no wind.
“I wonder if the reason for not occupying is not only a prudent one.”
“What are you doing here? This is the place that we A class use.”
Two boys showed up from the bushes as if they were waiting for their prey to fall into their trap. I was surrounded while I was leaving the place where the communication device was kept. Another one immediately went to check the state of the device.
“You… You are a face I haven’t seen around here.”
As a self-proclaimed pill bug that hid behind stones, like a social outcast as a member of D class, well, he might not know who I was.
The guy in front of me was holding a tree branch in my throat, as if he was seizing a weapon. Like he was threatening me, giving me a warning.
“I am Ayanokouji of D class.”
Of course, I gave my name frankly, as I surrendered to the threat immediately.
“Search him in case he is carrying anything suspicious.”
As if I was a suspect surrounded by policemen, they checked my pockets. They even checked if I had hidden something around my ankles or in my shoes.
“This is not an act of violence, you do get it, right?”
In times like this, there must be only one response. Just nod. As they searched my body, I was thinking that they could have found my pen and the piece of paper with the handwritten map. Both, in fact, were eventually discovered.
“Why do you have a pen?…. And a handwritten map?”
The rough map of the island that I had sketched along with the teams and occupation of places, everything that led to this place.
“Give it back.”
I reached out to take it, but they won’t hand it back obediently, so instead, I grasped the air.
“What are you aiming at? Do you act alone?
They were hitting me with questions, but I stayed silent. 3 seconds…. 4 seconds… I made a sound with my throat just to break the silence.
“…. I can’t tell you this.”
“I see. That thing you cannot say, is it that there is someone pulling the threads behind? You people in D class, have you plotted a plan as a whole? Or is it a plan of a bunch of students from there?”
As if the police was interrogating a suspect, there was a rapid succession of quick questions.
“I cannot say. If I tell you then… I will not be able to return to my class.”
“It is hard to be an underling, Ayanokouji. Oh well. I do not know what you were asked to do, but do not do any unnecessary actions. I want you to just sit quietly in base camp.”
They threw the pen at my feet, while they kept the piece of paper with the map. These fellows might not have the right to order around, but their attitude was very oppressive.
“There is just one more thing that I would like to ask you. We are ready to deliver a generous reward if you speak of who is the leader that holds the keycard. A total sum of about 100,000… 200,000.”
“Sell my class for money?”
“You are free to interpret our word however you wish. I will propose the same thing to other people, too. I am telling you that this deal is first-come-first-served so you’d better hurry to decide.”
The strategy of A class had no risks basically. A simple method that could be materialised if there was abundant money. Although the probability was low, the possibility that some students would sell their friends, because they had their eyes set on money, couldn’t be excluded.
“Thank you, but this is unbelievable for some reason. How and when will you hand the money? You do not even have a cell phone here.”
“Certainly, it’s impossible right now. We may sign a legal agreement if necessary.”
In other words, first, we’d sign a contract and then they intended to transfer the money after the end of the exam.
“So, a written agreement? Let me ask you something, just for reference… Could you tell me how many points would I earn from this?”
“To a degree that is up to your ability.”
“Could the person who is in charge, here, explain it to me? Katsuragi for example, or maybe Sa…”
The moment I spoke the name, the expression of one of the boys changed drastically.
“Why are you bringing up the name of Katsuragi?”
“I heard some rumours that the representative of A class is Katsuragi.”
“Do not make me laugh. The leader of A class is Sakayanagi, not Katsuragi. You may go already.”
The students of A class opened the way as there wasn’t anything to do with me anymore and then disappeared. Apparently, these two were Katsuragi’s enemies. Then, were these guys working under Sakayanagi’s orders? Was Sakayanagi really the one who gave instructions around here?
This was something that I had to make clear.
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