After about 10 minutes, Horikita came back and felt the uneasy air of the campsite . It was because of the dark smoke that could be seen from the back of the temporary toilet .
It was too early to make a fire . She also noticed that the place where this was coming from was very strange .
“What’s that smoke? What on earth happened?”
As I joined Horikita, I caught Ike’s tension nearby and asked him about the situation .
“This is serious . It’s a fire! Fire! Something is burning behind the toilet!”
All the girls who were lined up in front of the shower room are gone . As soon as they heard that a fire broke out, they must have left in a hurry .
“I can’t see Ibuki . The fire might have been her work . Where is she?”
“As soon as she noticed the fire, she just walked there . ”
I hurried to the back of the temporary toilet, there were Hirata and the others .
Ibuki was also there .
Horikita was ready to call out Ibuki, however the moment she saw her profile, she hesitated . Because Ibuki’s expression was so genuine . She couldn’t hide her confusion about the fire . That’s the face she was making .
“Does that mean… She didn’t do this?”
Such doubts attacked Horikita, causing her confusion .
If it was for the key card to be stolen, it had to be Ibuki . If there was a fire, only Ibuki could have caused it . Nevertheless, Ibuki was still on the scene and acted surprised by the fire .
When I looked into the origin of the fire, there was something left after the east side of the papers got burnt . But since most of it had been already turned into soot, I couldn’t tell exactly what it was, as I saw it just for a moment .
However, some parts that had not burned completely looked familiar, so the moment I saw them, I realised .
“Did the manual get burnt?”
Horikita also noticed the same thing, so she raised the question .
“Yup . Apparently, it looks like that . Who would do this?…”
“… It’s one after another… . ”
Horikita gave a small cough and looked down regretfully .
“I am responsible for this . The manual was kept in my bag . We kept them all piled up in front of the tent and I didn’t expect mine to be stolen by someone during daytime . But first I have to digest properly what happened . ”
Rather that searching for the culprit, Hirata headed towards the river as he preferred to extinguish the fire first .
While scooping water in an empty plastic bottle, Hirata coughed with a gloomy expression on his face .
“Why… Who would have done something like this… Why can’t we all come along…”
Spontaneously, with all his might, he squashed the plastic bottle in his hands .
Where did his usual refreshing expression go? There was a terrible atmosphere hanging in the air .
Hirata’s body and mind, as he constantly worked as the leader to consolidate our class, continued to bear a heavy burden .
“I don’t think you have to overburden yourself . ”
I said words that couldn’t be considered comforting to Hirata, however, he stood up muffling a thank you .
“This incident… We have to discuss it, properly . ”
“That’s right . Most of D class has witnessed the fire . I am sure they would like to find out the truth . ”
With a depressed expression, Hirata returned to the site of the fire, holding the scooped water in his hands .
“Hey, who did this? Does that mean there is a traitor in our class?”
When we went back, we found Karuizawa at the head of a confrontation between boys and girls .
“Why are you suspecting us? Isn’t this a whole different matter from the one with the underwear?”
“You think we don’t get it? Did you not burn it, so that you can mislead us?”
“Don’t speak nonsense, as if we could do something like this . ”
“Wait a moment, everyone! Let’s calm down and discuss altogether . ”
I received a request from Hirata to pass the water . Instead of him, I overtook the mission to extinguish the remnants of the fire . At once Hirata went to the center of the circle and intervened to mediate and convince them not to quarrel .
It may have been due to yesterday’s theft of underwear incident, but both sides have now heated up and showed no sign of settling down . It seemed that the members of D class couldn’t help starting a hunt for the culprit here .
“For the time being, there’s no fear for the flames to spread out . ”
Shaking the overturned empty plastic bottle a few times . There should have been no more contents left inside, but one by one a few drops of water trickled down the fire .
I looked up at the sky .
Drops of water were falling and dripping onto my cheeks . The clouds were getting darker than before . This was proof that heavy rain would come soon .
Originally, all of us agreed to unite and overcome the last pinch .
But now, boys and girls were strongly opposed to each other, and they remained unmoved as if they were having a real war with each other .
“I can’t do this, anymore . Seriously, this is the worst . Having arsonists and underwear thieves in this class, this is the lowest of the low . ”
“That’s why we’ve been telling you that it wasn’t us! How long are you going to keep suspecting us?”
A quarrel that could keep going forever .
Hirata was supposed to stop this soon as usual, but he was standing still, looking dumbfounded for some reason . Was he thinking about who could be the culprit?
“Kanji, I can’t see Ibuki…?”
Yamauchi noticed that Ibuki, who was nearby some time ago, wasn’t here anymore . And I noticed that the bag that should have been left here was also gone .
“Perhaps, the culprit of this fire… . ”
“You’re also doubtful, I see . If she was to start a fire, well, as expected… . . ”
Men’s suspicions began to turn towards Ikuki, and the girls also begun to doubt Ibuki little by little . However, before the resolution, the rain began to fall gradually stronger and stronger .
“Crap . Let’s postpone the discussion for the time being . It’s terrible if we’re going to get drenched . ”
Ike and others, in hot haste, began to put into the tent the food and packages taken out .
“Hirata, give us instructions . ”
Ike called out to Hirata but, he still stood motionless in the same place . Hirata was staring at the empty space and didn’t move the whole time . In the meantime, the sound of the falling rain was gradually getting stronger . I was getting anxious for this situation, so I approached Hirata but I didn’t get any sign of recognition .
“Why……… . . Why is this happening…… . . It’s the same as that time… . . ”
He coughed out lightly . I couldn’t understand the meaning but it’s certain that it’s not a trivial matter .
This is not like Hirata at all . Hirata, who is always calm and composed .
“Because of me, up until now…… . ”
“Hey Hirata, what are you doing! !”
A voice called Hirata from a distance . Still Hirata made no move, whether he had heard it or not . I gently placed my hand on his shoulder and he slowly turned over and looked back to me, surprised and astonished .
“Ike is calling . ”
“……… . eh . ”
Hirata’s expression completely lost life — he was turning pale . The second time that Ike called Hirata, he slowly regained back his sanity . So in that moment, he finally noticed it was raining .
“Rain…… . . ”
“It’d be better for you to help Ike and the others . We have to keep the clothes dry . ”
“Well, I have to settle everything quickly . ”
“Ayanokoji . Is that fellow, Hirata, okay?”
“As expected, it looked like a shock . Probably because many accidents happened in succession . ”
“In middle school, there was a young master and an honor student, and I guess he carried a lot of heavy responsibilities? Due to the fact that he took too many of them upon himself, he ended up exploding . From there, for a short time his class became a mess . ”
“Do you feel there’s this sign in Hirata too?”
“Well, still it’s an exaggeration to say he’ll explode . In some respects, it’s too much of a danger though . ”
I wonder if it’ll be like Sudo’s wild intuition . But he seems to strike the point unexpectedly . Since the start of this special exam, Hirata has been burdened with various things . It would be strange to compare these difficulties with the common trouble of school life . For sure, the environment surrounding Hirata was starting to change .
The issue of Karuizawa’s underwear, the mud, and the uproar of the fire . His heart was stormy like this sky .
“Well, for now, let’s do something to take care of the baggage . ”
We joined to help the students who had already begun putting them in order . Thankfully, it was all completed in about 1 minute .
“Ok… . All the preparations are over . ”
I supposed that Ibuki was going to disappear but at the same time Horikita did too . I read this as a fifty-fifty possibility but rather, she probably proceeded voluntarily towards a favourable direction . As soon as I focused on the road leading to the beach, I slowly stepped forward towards it .