“Tomorrow, on the 15th, we will conduct a preliminary test of all subjects as scheduled, but as I told you earlier, it has nothing to do with your grades. This test is for the sole reason of testing your current abilities. It’s more of a preparation for the year-end test. While, it will not include the exact same questions, this provisional test will be similar to the content of the end-of-year test. So, you’d better not neglect this, just because you’ve been promoted to Class C”
Chabashira’s much appreciated explaining ended, marking the end of today’s lessons as well.
I decided to say a word to my neighbor who had already begun preparing to go home.
“What is happening with Kushida, lately?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m asking you about how well it works”
“I wonder if I’m working really hard to improve our relationship. Are you going to cooperate with me?”
“I was just asking”
“Kushida san. Well, she is changing little by little.”
“What do you mean, that she is changing?”
“Today, after we are done here, we will meet to drink tea at the Keyaki Mall. The usual Kushida would turn down without hesitation something like this.”
Apparently, it seemed that there was only a superficial progress, contrary to what I believed.
“Do you want me to meet your expectations or something?”
“If we talk to each other we might reach a mutual understanding”
“Glad to hear it. Well, see you around”
I gave a short answer to Horikita and stood up to leave.
“What was that for… “
She looked at me with a cold gaze for a moment before averting her eyes.
Shortly after, Horikita stood up from her seat as well.
“Ah.. Suzune.. uh.. When it would be a good time to help me with my studies?”
“That’s quite proactive of you Sudou-kun”
“Well….You see, I don’t want to be expelled or something”
Sudou said this, while emitting an uncomfortable vibe.
His true aim, of course, was to receive Valentine’s chocolates from Horikita.
“Anytime is good for me, how about today?”
“Your club activities are not on a break yet, right? We’ll have plenty of time to study after the preliminary test”
And just like that, Sudou’s prospects dissappeared in an instant.
I left the classroom.
There was an invitation by the Ayanokouji group, but i decided to decline.
There were other issues that needed my attention at that moment.
Resounding in the corridor behind me, a voice calling my name. However, in a modest volume.
“What is it, Airi?”
“Is it true thay you won’t come to the group meeting, today? ”
“That was exactly my intention”
“Y..You can still come even if you’ll be late”
“I see… Maybe, sometime after 6 o’clock, then?
“Sure. I think that everyone will still be together by that time.”
“Understood. Then is it okay to contact you, again?”
Just a few words and Airi’s stiff expression turned into a smile.
I said goodbye to Airi and moved forward to my destination.
When I arrived at Class B, the classroom was strangely quiet.
There are a few students from Class B that i could talk to, Kanzaki is my best option. Sumida and Moriyama with whom I was together with during the training camp would also be fine.
But to make matters worse, all three of them were not in the classroom.
I was hoping that i would catch one of them but it seemed that it would not happen.
So, i decided to go back.
On my way out, i overheard the conversation between two girls who were coming out of Class B behind me.
“Hey…that could be the reason Honami-chan is taking a break, today…”
“I don’t think that’s the case”
Such a brief, short conversation
So, Ichinose is on a break, today.
Could that be related to what happened the other day?
I was thinking about it, as i was moving away from Class B.
How did Sakayanagi find out about Ichinose’s secret in the first place?
There are certainly techniques to bring out the secrets of the other party, such as hot and cold reading, but i don’t think that Ichinose would allow to let slip the slightest about her shoplifting past. The solid proof for that is that she kept denying it, even after all that happened.
I wonder, how much will she say because she has been provoked by her biggest enemy of Class A.
If it were Ike or Yamauchi things would be different, but Ichinose is too clever.
“Has she fallen in the trap that Sakayanagi set up for her?”
Or maybe, there is someone else that knows about Ichinose’s secret.
However, it seemed that not even Kanzaki, who is her most trusted person in Class B doesn’t know.
After witnessing the reaction of her close friends, i realised that they know nothing, either.
Could it be… Someone else from the student council that Ichinose is a member of, or anyone else from the teaching staff?…
“If Nagumo had abandoned Ichinose for Sakayanagi, that would be entirely possible”
Some of these hypotheses could be correct.
But, in the first place, there is no solid proof other than what Kamuro had told me.
Only Ichinose Honami herself could overturn this major premise.
Although the school is a large site, it is just a confined community compared to the rest of the world.
That’s why when you meet face-to-face with someone, you must be very careful not to be seen.
Early morning or late night. Usually it will be during that time.
I didn’t know the room number of Ichinose Honami, but it would be easy to clear that problem. Just call the dormitory’s management room and ask directly.
From the school side, there is no reason to keep the students’ room numbers secret. If you say that there is a fundamental need to get in touch with someone, you will be granted permission.
I confirmed the room number as soon as I called while keep moving without any further difficulties.
Behind me, from a distance i felt the presence of Hashimoto but i ignored him.
Recently, Hashimoto’s tailing was always happening both during the day time and the evening.
Hashimoto’s sense of distance was not bad at all. It seemed that he was familiar with tailing expetiences.
At first, I did not seem to see the advantages of visiting Ichinose while being followed. But it was actually the opposite. It was worth visiting her exactly because I was being watched.
I decided to go back to the dormitory as soon as possible to check Ichinose’s situation and headed to the floor where Ichinose was.
Unfortunately, there were several girls in front of Ichinose’s room.
A group of girls who were especially good friends with Ichinose.
I turned around and got into the elevator.
I had to give up, right there, for today.