With a feeling of enmity remaining inside the class, the preliminary test had started.
The most important time that was hinting the end of the school year.
Comparing the content of the preliminary test to the tests that were up until now, the level of difficulty was high. Very high.
But surely, it was a theme that the students who steadily completed the previous tests so far could solve without panic. On the contrary, for the students who were only procrastinating it was important that they should have studied extra hard.
I got invited to a study meeting from the Ayanokouji group, but since I was meeting Horikita today I contacted them to start the meeting ahead.
Kanzaki seemed to dislike being conspicuous and we decided to meet at the Keyaki mall after finishing the preliminary test.
Obeying Horikita’s instructions, I followed her to the place where Kanzaki was waiting, near the east exit of the Keyaki mall. This was the place farthest from the school where students didn’t stop by.
I wasn’t interested in class’ quarrels, but as a friend, I was worried. It wasn’t a bad thing to hear the information, after all. Also, Hashimoto’s attention for me had been continuing recently.
If I came into contact with B Class, the shadow of A Class would approach me even closer. And that was for me the desirable progress.
In fact, Hashimoto had been following me up to this point while taking an appropriate distance from me.
“2 consecutive days off. Couldn’t you get in touch with Ichinose?”
“Just because the response is being late, it doesn’t mean there won’t be any. I’ve got the information that she caught a cold and is in poor health.”
It seemed that Kanzaki was constantly in a state of tension, unable to relax. Ichinose had reminded him repeatedly not to worry, but he couldn’t stay put.
One of the reasons could be her poor health, but Ichinose was now negative towards facing other students. She hated being referred to in rumors.
“What did your homeroom teacher say?”
“Something similar. She won’t answer anything except that she’s resting due to catching cold.”
I wondered if the class teacher got the announcement from Ichinose in the same manner.
Kanzaki’s expression was gloomy because he was doubting that the real reason Ichinose is being absent was her cold.
Ichinose was recently in the whirlpool of rumors. He was debating if that was the cause.
“What if we go visit? It will be cleared up if we see her with our own eyes.”
“The girls from my class have visited her, but she isn’t letting her face to be seen.”
Horikita said, sinking in thoughts.
“If there is any relief, she is academically an excellent student. This situation probably won’t be a hindrance even if she doesn’t take the preliminary test.”
Students in poor health like Ichinose could get questions a few days later with a possibility of even getting answers from the other students.
“We’re not worried about that. We are worried about Ichinose’s mental state.”
While Horikira and Kanzaki were thinking about taking measures, several silhouettes were approaching. Hashimoto somehow had passed already the information about this secret meeting.
“Ichinose-san is being absent from school even today. The end-of-the-year exam is at the end of next week. If she’s gonna be absent for a long period until that day… She might be in trouble.”
Rather than appearing in front of us, Sakayanagi stood in front of B Class’ Kanzaki. Kamuro and Hashimoto were right behind him. A male student named Kitou was accompanying them. Were these the main members of Sakayanagi’s clique?
“What were you talking about with C Class?”
“It has nothing to do with you.”
“It looks like we aren’t welcomed.”
“If you want to be welcomed, then stop spreading around weird rumors. Before it cannot be undone.”
Sakayanagi looked up her classmate and started laughing frantically.
“What on earth are you saying?”
“Regardless of how many rumors you have made, the B Class unity will not be shaken.”
“I don’t know what situation you are in, but I am looking forward to it.”
They only came to check the situation directly, but it had an immediate effect.
“Don’t let her get to you Kanzaki-kun. These are all Sakayanagi’s strategy.”
There was a dilemma Kanzaki was suffering, just because of caring for those around him and his modest personality.