I let out a deep breath overlooking Horikita who had lost her consciousness completely. It’s been a while since I had such a stubborn opponent. Maybe if her physical condition had been good, it wouldn’t have been a ridiculous situation regardless of the winner. She was that strong.
I continued what I was doing shortly afterwards and dug up the flashlight and transceiver wrapped in vinyl. Although I would have rather gotten by without using those if I could.
Right after I took out the two items buried in the ground, I was caught by a mysterious sensation. I didn’t know the cause of it. It’s just that for some reason I had a feeling they were different compared to the last time I had buried them.
“Could it be… due to rain?”
Concluding it must have been only my overthinking, I got my hands on the transceiver. Then I reported my current location to him who was waiting to be contacted from somewhere and sat down to rest.
30 minutes must have passed since then. A flashlight flashed its light in front of me. Two times. Three times. It was well-regulated like the Morse code. I did the same and sent a signal using the flashlight near my feet. In order to resonate with each other, his guiding light went stronger. With his irritating face I didn’t want to see, Ryuuen showed up.
“Oi. Thank you for your hard work, Ibuki, it was a good performance.”
“… That was justified, right?”
“Justified? You knew you had to do it without making a mess or you wouldn’t have taken a risk coming here”
“There was no other way, right. I didn’t think the digital camera would break.”
That’s right. If only the digital camera hadn’t wrecked, I would have taken a photo of the keycard and everything would have ended there. I’d have a certain proof in my hands. I wouldn’t even have called Ryuuen using the transceiver. But as a result, I went into a big risk carrying the card that led to Horikita finding out my true colors.
“So, where’s the card?”
I took the card from my pocket and handed it over to Ryuuen. Ryuuen illuminated the card with the flashlight, confirming the name carved on it was that of Horikita Suzune.
“You, come here to confirm it as well. You demanded it from the start. Be at ease. No one is supposed to be here in this weather and darkness. It’s good to take precautions but don’t waste your time.”
A class’ Katsuragi appeared from his hiding place. He was the calm and steady type of guy. Completely opposite of our leader. I pretended to be calm, but my mind couldn’t help but be once again aware of Ryuuen’s awfulness. Right after this trial started, Ryuuen said he’ll coax A class against me and he really did carry that out. But how the hell…
Taking Horikita’s card from Ryuuen, Katsuragi observed it with his own eyes. It couldn’t have been forged in this uninhabited island.
“Looks like the real thing.”
“Do you agree with this?”
Although it exhibited a certain proof, Katsuragi didn’t change his stern expression. I’ve heard he’s a cautious guy, but being this careful is kind of a disease.
“You managed to infiltrate into D class well. Weren’t you suspected?”
“Under normal circumstances I would have been. But, how I managed to do it – that’s a secret to be traded.”
I unconsciously rubbed my cheek. When the espionage operation was launched on D class, Ryuuen hit me to make my leave less fake. But the pain and the hatred behind it was all real. Naturally, I misunderstood that students in class D were beaten and kicked out as well. Maybe if I hadn’t been injured, I wouldn’t have gotten in so smoothly.
“Don’t ponder about it forever. It’s a black-and-white situation. Besides, you’ve already done half a thing for us. Don’t be stupid and withdraw here.”
Although he replied this, it looked like they didn’t reach consent. Perceiving this, Ryuuen smiled as if ready to attack his prey. Rather than getting annoyed, he whispered:
“What would you do if this is not a meritorious deed? Did you know that Sakayanagi’s faction has now overtaken yours and has the majority ever since the rumors spread about you failing to enter the student council after presenting yourself as a candidate? Here’s your chance, right?”
“Son of a bitch… Why are you telling me this?”
“A class holds its firm place by forming alliances. If that’s the case, even those who have betrayed you will come under your umbrella. Or will I turn to an enemy? What will happen if that’s true…”
It’s not like Katsuragi signed a contract with the devil. He was just negotiating. But that thought was naïve. Once you discuss with the devil, it will lead to a mandatory blood contract.
“Sakayanagi is now absent. It’s impossible that someone who can’t make decisions here rules A class.”
“…We’ve concluded the negotiation as promised. I’ll accept your proposal.”
Having said this, Katsuragi stretched his arm to Ryuuen. Without an answer, Ryuuen boldly smiled.
“That’s good. You’ve made a right judgement.”
“But what’s the negotiation about? Would you explain to me in detail?”
I didn’t care whatever they did, but I had the right to know details. After aiming for A class, I had to decide if being connected with Ryuuen had been the right thing to do.
“To unite with A class.”
“Let me return. I don’t want to arouse suspicion staying here longer than normal”
Katsuragi returned the card to me. Then he disappeared in the darkness.
“So, what about negotiation? What are the details? What’s the compensation?”
Thunder came roaring from the sea right after thunderstorms filled the sky with shining white light. Without even being surprised, Ryuuen, with an eerie smile, told me the details of the contract. Those details weren’t simple, but complicated. However, even with ordinary methods piling up troubles, and achievements that were surely difficult, there was the prosime of a big reward.
Before the beginning of the trial where the majority of students was about to retire and fully enjoy holiday on a boat, a situation no one imagined had happened and just about everything moved according to Ryuuen’s aim. I hated this guy’s guts to the point I wanted him dead, but he was extremely close to A class after all. I confirmed this again.
“But… Is there a guarantee Katsuragi will continue keeping the promise? Even on a wastepaper.”
“Naturally, there’s a cover for it. He has no choice but to keep it.”
I walked up to Horikita and grasped the keycard with her hand after wiping off my fingertips. There was nothing this girl could have done. She could have only stayed silent and endure knowing C class had found out about her leadership until the end of the trial.
I was sure about it after observing D class for a week. This girl didn’t trust anyone. Even after knowing the keycard was stolen she didn’t inform her classmates. It looked like she had opened her heart to Ayanokouji only to isolate from that guy again.
In addition, if we added up her incompetence, she would be harmless.
Besides, if she had the keycard, the fact her leadership was found out due to her mistake might have not been leaked to D class. I understood this girl’s nature to a certain extent. Patient and stubborn. The type of person that doesn’t listen to others’ opinions. In other words, no matter how painful it is she will endure it for the remaining time.
“Use your smart head and protect yourself.”
In the darkness, we disappeared in the woods quietly.