Chapter #72 – Ep
Raising the Curtain
August 7th . At last, our never-ending short life on the uninhabited island was reaching its end . Was our minimal salvation lying in the fact that we spent our time having modest fun in this cruel survival?
There was still no sight of Mr Mashima and others when noon arrived . It was time to end .
“I’ll announce a tally of the trial’s result . Please wait for a moment . Due to the trial being already over, we’re kindly asking people wanting to use toilets or drink to use the rest spot . ”
With this announcement, the students went to gather in the rest spot in unison . Among others, there were tables and chairs prepared under the temporary tent and it seemed as if you could take plenty of rest . There was no sign that Kouenji, Horikita or retired students were waiting on the cruise ship . Sudou who was always with Ike and the others was standing still, looking up at the cruise ship .
“Ayanokouji . You’re close with Horikita, right . … How close, actually?”
Rather than getting mad or making a fuss, Sudou seriously wanted to know .
“There’s nothing between us . We’re just friends . Not more, not less . ”
“…Even that makes me jealous . I’m still treated as a friend . ”
Sudou seemed a little disappointed, maybe because he was irritated he couldn’t find the girl .
“But even Horikita noticed you for a moment on this occasion?”
Without causing troubles, I took the initiative and acted in the name of the class while having Horikita in mind . A huge step-up .
“I hope so . After all, she couldn’t call me by my first name . ”
“Good job, both of you . Thank you for everything this week . You really saved us . ”
Having said words of gratitude, Hirata appeared . He handed me one of the two paper cups he had . A cold sensation crossed my palm when I grabbed it with my hand . He handed Sudou the other one .
“It’s me who should be thankful . You followed me, a classroom’s outsider . Moreover, you covered up the fact that Horikita retired or when I got late for roll calls . ”
“I couldn’t condemn you when I heard the reason . Besides, Horikita-san gave us a big information . ”
“Do you believe what she said?”
“She isn’t a type that would say irresponsible stuff . That’s why you got close, didn’t you?”
This guy would protect a colleague even if he had to gamble his pure reputation .
“I’d be lying if I said there’s no risk, but I have to act for Horikita . ”
“That’s my friend,” said Hirata softly . His profile was like that of a phantom . As if there was a non-comprehensive part in our dialogue, Sudou tilted his head .
“Information? What’s that about?”
“I think you’ll figure it out pretty soon . Even so, C class is strange… On a whole other level . ”
Due to most of C class’ students retiring during the roll call of the second day, there was no one left in this spot . I couldn’t find Ibuki anywhere on the sandy beach as if she had also retired . Only the bizarre sight of Ryuuen was ahead us .
“Why is he… Why only Ryuuen hasn’t retired?”
When Hirata and I peeped from a distance, he turned his head in our direction as if being aware of our gazes . He then slowly moved closer as if thinking something . Tension arose in the air .
“Oi, stalkers . What happened to Suzune?”
Ignoring Hirata’s presence, Ryuuen came closer with a paper cup in his hand . Hearing “Suzune” coming from Ryuuen’s mouth, I became aware of Sudou’s head vein pulsing due to his glare .
“It’d be a problem if you hear it from us . ”
“I know you chased around Suzune’s ass . We were together before that . ”
Having drained its content, Ryuuen lightly crushed the paper cup and threw it at my feet .
“Throw that thing for me . ”
Sudou, after ignoring it with all his strength, kicked the paper cup covered with sand back .
“What a childish thing to say . Pick up your garbage . ”
“Picking up garbage suits well with defectives . ”
Unlike Sudou who was radiating intimidation, Ryuuen didn’t show signs of caring about anything .
“Calm down, Sudou-kun . I’ll throw the garbage away . ”
When Hirata hurriedly picked up the garbage, Sudou clicked his tongue and kicked the sand . Ryuuen tediously moved away his gaze . He had dirt all over his upper body and his pants and jersey were also full of dirt . I didn’t think he had given up on his efforts .
“You didn’t retire, Ryuuen-kun . ”
“Who are you? And where is Suzune? I thought of sweetly grabbing her ass . ”
The second time he said “Suzune”, having associated it with an insult again, Sudou approached Ryuuen while kicking the sandy beach and grasped his collar .
“What are you doing?”
With zero agitation, Ryuuen accepted Sudou’s intense gaze straightforwardly .
“Next time you say a stupid thing, I’ll kill you . ”
“Huh? What is it punk, getting excited all by yourself . ”
With even Hirata slipping away from a fight that was about to start any second, Ryuuen was tearing off Sudou .
“Horikita-san retired yesterday . She’s not here . ”
“… Retired? Suzune? She doesn’t seem like a girl that would retire”
The squeaky sound of the speaker’s switch-on enveloped the beach and Mr Mashima appears . The first years hurried to form a line, but Mr Mashima stopped them with a sign of his hands .
“You may relax, now . The exam has already finished . Now, this part is our summer vacation . It is alright to act more freely . ”
Even so, the students were still naturally tense and their chatter disappeared instantly .
“This past week, We, the teachers were able to keep an eye on your efforts in the special examination . There were students who took this exam directly up front and those who used their scheming abilities into this exam . Various things happened, but I think that the test results were splendid, overall . We appreciate your hard work . ”
The students felt kind of relieved hearing the praise from Mr Mashima . Finally, we were starting to feel like we had finished this one week exam .
“Well, then, without further ado, I would like to announce the final result of the special exam . ”
Perhaps no one, including our homeroom teacher, had seen through the results of this test .
“We will not accept any questions or inquiries about the test results . You should accept the outcome of the exam and then we would like you to analyze them and use them to help you for the next exam . ”
“It is what it is . Do not lose your temper . Accept the reality, properly, alright?”
“It is you guys from Class C that should be worried, you used all your points, right? Ridiculous!”
Sudou made fun of the well-known recklessness of Class C .
“We are left with 125 points, including the bonus points that we accumulated . I think that we are going to be fine . ”
Hirata may have felt a little irritated by Ryuuen’s unreasonable provocation . So he answered with a sense of pride . Ryuuen on the other way, acted disgusted towards Hirata’s immature words and made a gesture like vomiting .
“Oh! I envy the nerve of the small fry, when they are satisfied with such a small amount of points . ”
“It does not matter what you say, Class C still gets 0 points . ”
“Oh ho ho . You are not to decide on your own . Certainly, we have used up all our 300 points . However, have you forgotten the additional rules of this exam?”
“… You are saying that you are going to expose our class leader, that’s what it is . ”
“That’s right . I wrote it on the paper, didn’t I? The name of the leader of your Class D!”
Me and also Hirata tried not to show any emotion on our faces, but Sudou felt the shock of these words in his face .
“And I did the same thing to our colleagues from Class A and Class B . Do you understand what that means?”
“Wait a minute . What do you mean? Hey!? If this is true…”
“Your false assumption against Class D, along with your other wrong guesses will result in a penalty and you will lose 100 points in total . ”
That moment, I heard Mr Mashima’s voice from the loudspeaker .
“Well, now we will announce the ranking of the special exam . The lowest is Class C with 0 points . ”
“Bwahahaha . . Look! I told you! No points at all! Laughable!”
As soon as he heard the results, Sudou laughed heartily holding his belly, ridiculing Ryuuen .
Ryuuen didn’t seem to understand the situation, he was rather in shock . Mr Mashima continued with the announcement of the results without hesitation .
“Subsequently, in the 3rd place is Class A with 120 points . Second place is Class B with 140 points . ”
A commotion broke out . They were rankings and points that no one had expected .
I wondered if it was because they couldn’t hide their embarrassment about their mistake on the numbers they calculated .
“And Class D…”
Instantly, Mr Mashima’s movements stiffened . However, his speech soon resumed .
“… . Got first place with 225 points . This concludes the announcement of the test results . ”
The students of Class D, except for Hirata, were the most confused by this situation . Even Hirata, just smiled excitedly, not being able to believe it either, even if he was the only person who was aware of the situation, beforehand .
“What is the meaning of this, Katsuragi?”
From the other side of the rest area, voices echoed, as the students of Class A encircled Katsuragi .
“Something is wrong… What do they mean with these results?”
“Yahoooooooo! We did it! This serves you right!”
Along with Sudou’s screams, all students of Class D gathered together, at once .
“Hey . . Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?! . . Hey!”
Ike was full with excitement along with confusion, so he leaned towards Hirata, asking for an explanation .
“I will explain everything, over there . Well, then, Ryuuen, we will excuse ourselves from here . ”
Leaving these suggestive words behind, Hirata set out on his way to the boat along with Ike and Sudou . Sudou held up his middle finger while sticking out his tongue . Ryuuen had no choice but to watch in silence .
The exam was over and the first year students scattered around . Two hours later, when the ship seemed ready to depart, we still played in the sea . We took our time to get on board feeling relaxed . I also began to walk, boarding the ship .
“Yo! Ladies and gentlemen . How was your week on the deserted island?”
On the deck of the ship, with a drink in one hand, Kouenji greeted Class D .
“Kouenji, you jerk! Because of you, we lost 30 points, you know what am I talking about, right?
“Calm down, Ike boy . I was sick in bed, in bad condition . I had no other choice, right?
Shiny and glossy, I could tell that he tanned his skin spending the whole week on the ship . Also, saying these things while looking perfectly fine, gave you not even a fragment of persuasive power .
A little later than the moment when Kouenji was blamed all at once by the boys, Horikita showed up . She was still pale as if she hadn’t been in good shape yet . The students who noticed the presence of Horikita gathered naturally around her .
“Su . . Suzune, are you feeling better, now?”
Sudou spoke hesitantly, but approached Horikita anyway, by calling her by her first name .
“Not too bad . I can’t say that I am in perfect condition, yet . Above all, retiring was my big failure . ”
“Don’t worry about it . ”
It seemed like Horikita accepted to be called by her first name, so naturally . That was unexpected .
“By the way, Sudou . Do not call me Suzune without my permission, got it?”
“Oops… Understood . ”
Apparently, she didn’t accept it . Sudou had no other choice but to bow in agreement .
“But what is the meaning of this? How did Class D get the 1st place?”
They had gained evidence of who was our leader, so I made Horikita retire . If I let this happen, in terms of calculation, I guess we would have been close to 0 points .
“That’s right . How did this happen Hirata! I do not get it, at all!”
Hirata is asked to give an appropriate answer, but there seemed to be something that needed to be solved before that .
“Well… Karuizawa . First of all, I think you have something to tell to Horikita, right?”
Having said that, he called out to Karuizawa who was hiding behind Shinohara . Karuizawa after being called, approached Horikita, slowly .
“… Horikita, can I talk to you for a second, please?”
“Yes . There is something that you should talk about with me . Isn’t that right?”
Horikita closed her eyes as soon as she saw Karuizawa making a small nod in agreement . Karuizawa answered about things like the underwear theft incident and about using our points selfishly and acknowledged that since the identity of our leader became known, Horikita had to retire .
In other words we had to accept her words, no matter what she had said before . That’s what her facial expression was telling us .
“I’m sorry . ”
Karuizawa apologized, just a little bluntly but with a regretful expression on her face .
“It was Ibuki the one who stole my underwear . I heard it all about it from Ayanokouji . ”
Horikita, who was prepared to be abused, was puzzled by an apology she did not expect about actions she did not remember .
“Horikita, you realized that Ibuki was the thief, and you questioned her, so she tried to escape, didn’t she? I was told that this is the reason why you ended up sick . ”
Horikita turned to me, startled by Karuizawa’s unexpected words .
Somehow I felt awkward and averted my gaze .
“And I heard it from Hirata first . He said that you, Horikita had seen through the leaders of Class A and Class C . That’s why this time, our points were this high, so… I’m sorry for all the things I said . ”
Having said this, Karuizawa returned immediately close to the other girls .
“Wait a minute . I… found out about the other leaders, you say . But I retired . ”
“You do not have to be humble, Horikita . I am sure we had this result because your answers about the leaders were absolutely correct . ”
I felt the doubts rising up in Horikita’s head . About this enigmatic result on the test, I think it made sense to everyone but her, at least for the time being .
“Wait, Ayanokouji…What are you…”
Horikita tried to talk to me in the midst of the confusion and joy of many students .
However, Horikita, being the leader of this victorious test, was surrounded by our classmates at once .
“Horikita, you are really awesome! A true genius, right?!”
“When I heard that you retired, I was concerned about what would going to happen, but everything turned out to be okay . ”
“Just, hold on a second!?”
As she was bombarded with questions from girls and boys, alike, I clasped my hands in prayer for the successful result and then I retreated .
Well, I was glad that it ended good . Our Class took first place and Horikita became popular . I guess, she could make it through, just fine . Meanwhile, I woule try not to get caught up by somebody else and rest in my room . Just when I thought so, I ended up meeting a death god, instead .
“Can I have a few words with you?”
“It is really a bad time for invitations . Ms Chabashira . May I refuse?”
“If you don’t want to, then I guess I’ll just start talking here . Is it okay with you if we attract attention?
“Because it’s hot, be brief please . ”
I walked to the opposite side of the ship so that Ms Chabashira could take the lead . People were completely out of sight here . When there was silence I broached out the topic .
“Is it okay for me to think that you are satisfied with this for the time being?”
“Yeah . Firstly, let me say that it was admirable . Honestly, I was impressed . ”
“Then tell me now, is it true that «that man» demanded that I drop out of school?”
Ms Chabashira leaned her back on the palisade and and looked up at the sky .
“… . . Is there an actual basis that make you say that this story is true?”
“I know a lot more than you think about you . Don’t you think that’s enough basis? Other faculty members and teaching staff don’t know about your true abilities . But I have no doubt about them . ”
Something else was in doubt . It was true that I did something that made me stand out for the entrance examination’s question, but none of the teaching staff should have known about my insider knowledge . This time, the order of things will be amusing . Ms Chabashira said she had been in contact with that man recently . As expected, this person was hiding something .
“You’ve probably heard about the famous myth of the wings of Icarus . ”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Icarus flew away from the tower he occupied to gain freedom . But that didn’t happen because of his own power as a person . It happened because his father Daedalus designed and constructed the wings and made them fly . He didn’t fly because of his own intention or purpose . Don’t you think this is the spitting image of you right now?”
“I don’t understand . ”
“That man…… . no, your father said this . Kiyotaka will choose the way and the road that, in the end, will make him drop out on his own . It means that your ending will be like Icarus’ . The same Icarus who burned his wings flying too close to the sun . The same Icarus who fell into the ocean and died . ”
So that’s what Icarus’ wings is about .
“So what are you going to do now?”
“You should know, Ms . Icarus will continue not to follow Daedalus’ advice . ”
Despite the burned wings, Icarus will continue to fly as much as he can . Seeking freedom .