Chapter 3 – Fourth Examination 1 ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ ▼ (Part 2)
About walking for 20 minutes.
The group circumvented the lake and entered the woodlands.
And for another several minutes, they advanced through animal trails. While walking, Junpei asked.
「Ara, what is it?」
To Junpei’s question, Judy replied with a bewitching gesture.
「You, you also have a lot of free time huh?」
「What do you mean by that?」
「You’re planning on watching us for 5 days right?」
“KusuKusu”, Judy started to laugh.
「Ara? When everyone scattered in the forest……I’m planning to leave though?」
「What do you mean? Your intention is to appreciate our pandemonium right?」
To that question, Judy started to emphasize her snicker.
「Ara, how impolite?」
「By impolite, you mean?」
「If I’m around, everyone would hold back right?」
「There are not many good chances to kill people other than wars after all, so when your rationality would work and make a limiter in your hearts. Even though I prepared so much……telling you guys murder will not be punished, that you are only going to get disqualified」
「I am, offering a place with pure violence and desires running wild. An observer would be a hindrance there. You now, I am satisfied enough, just seeing grotesque hunting grounds with blood and love juices scattered after five days」
「……bastard, you really have a bad taste」
「I want……to see everyone’s true feelings. That’s all」
As to gesture that their conversation is over, Judy clapped her hands loudly.
「When the preparations are finished, I’ll release a smoke flare……that will be the signal for the start of the examinationーーwell then, I’ll look forward to the horrible scenes」
And just like that, Judy left the place with jogging.
「Anyways, a free time for a short time huh」
The examinees started to sit on their places.
Ones who checks their equipments and baggage.
Ones taking their nutrition supply.
Or maybe, ones who started to sleep placing their back on the tree.
While each of them used their time effectively, Ami complained while inflating her cheeks.
「That examiner, she easily says such absurd things……if it’s like this, those who are used to the exams, or those who are friendly with them would be at a huge advantage……ne〜, Junpei? Have you noticed that?」
“Yeah”, Junpei nodded.
「In the form of actual battle, and one can use any means. Within that, many against one is included」
「Just like you said, they probably had fighting with a party in mind since the beginning. And so, some of the guys here……they probably made a party」
「Yes. I’m also……I am a thief……but, I was careless, unable to get this level of information」
「Well, too bad for you」
「No, but, I’m lucky」
「After all, I was able to meet you during the exam right? It’s what they call as a silver lining」
To Ami who said that casually, Junpei dropped his jaws.
He murmured like “yareyare”.
「Can you not……make faces that we’re really comrades?」
However, making a smile, Ami tapped Junpei’s shoulder.
「Well, well, do not be so stiff」
「……in this event, I’ll say this, I do not have obligations to help you, and don’t have any merits as well」
Furthermore, Junpei said coldly.
「Acting friendly ends right now. Can you stop being around me more than this?」
To those words, “I can’t understand……”, Ami whispered, and placed a hand on Junpei’s shoulder.
「Why do you dislike it that much? It’s not like when you pair up with me……well, there might be no merits, but there’s also no demerits right?」
「I hate it」
Together with those words, Junpei slapped away Ami’s hand that was placed in his shoulder.
「Flocking around……I hate it. I lived in this world by myself, and I’m also planning on living alone from now on」
「Well, that’s, why?」
Towards Ami who asked while tilting her head, Junpei replied annoyingly.
「……well, who knows?」
“Actually, why is it really”, Junpei thought.
When he was youngーーhe was always with Noriko, no, when Noriko followed behind him without permission, he was bright, and was doing sports too, and his personality……he was a child with aggressiveness. He hated crooked things, and there was also times when he argued with upper classmen or teachers if he was not convinced.
At that time, he always had people around him.
In old worlds, he was like the big boss of the kids……he was such an existence.
However, one day, Junpei started to reject connections with people.
As a result, he became a person who cannot communicate properly, and that led to being bullied.
Rejecting people’s connections. When did that start, he thought.
Was it when his grades dropped, unable to follow the studies when he entered middle school, although he was taking a perfect score before that?
Or maybe, when he who was great at sports, gradually started to lose to those guys who started to go on clubs?
Or is it, when his parents divorced?
Is it when he could not have enough time to study and to club activities and started to become a failure, because of taking care of his grandmother?
「I don’t know. There’s so many things, that I really don’t know」
Junpei made a wry laugh while smiling deprecatingly.
「You……you don’t understand yourself?」
To that question, Junpei noticed something. There are many reasons, but the direct reason for refusing Ami……misanthropy is just one of them.
The face of Noriko when he got pushed into the labyrinth, the faces of the bastards that he met inside and outside the labyrinth passed through his mind.
「I might just hate……getting hurt from being betrayed. Humans, when they get connected deeply……I feel that they would become weaker. That’s why I want to remain solitary」
And then, suddenly, Ami started to laugh with a very bright smile.
She had an expression that could be described like a smile with innocence, or laughing from the bottom of her heart.
And finally, she started to laugh while holding her stomach.
「Haha! Hahahaha!! Solitary?……you, are you an idiot?」
*BashiBashi*, Ami slapped Junpei’s back while he got dumbfounded.
She could not stop laughing that she started convulsing, and opened her mouth with difficulty.
「Haha! Hahahaha! Well well, that was so funny〜……hey, you? In what kind of world……are you a Chuuni-patient」
「No, no, no, no……「I might hate getting hurt」, something like that, didn’t you say that with a serious face」
Ami continued to laugh while wiping her tears.
And, there, Junpei noticed something.
Because of Ami’s loud laughter, they gathered the attention of the examinees around.
「Hey, you? Shut up for a bit. There’s nothing good at standing out……don’t you have the ability to balance loss and profit?」
「n? Right now……you said something about loss and profit?」
And then, Ami started to talk silently with a lower tone.
「……if so, it’s you who should move with loss and profits okay? Hey, I’ll say this once again, but the examination right now, having numbers is an advantage right?」
「Yeah, that’s probably right? And then?」
「I’ll say this once again, if so, it’s reasonable that we’d pair up right? The fact that we’re somewhat friendly……leaving aside the truth, it’s how it looks right? And here, if you, or I go near other examinees, what do you think would happen?」
“I see……”, Junpei thought.
It looks like Ami has also escaped difficulties since she got teleported here from Japan. It seems that her head works quickly.
「A spy……they’ll immediately think that you’re a spy. And then……if we had a breakdown of negotiations here after making loud noises, it would be to your advantage, and a disadvantage for me huh」
“Hyuu”, Ami whistled.
「As you guessed, in the case when our negotiations break, I’m planning on giving you a huge slap in the face. And the prerequisite for that is making a loud noise」
“Well……”, Junpei opens his mouth.
「It the end, they’ll doubt that you’re a spy……but even so, the impression that we parted because of a fight will remain. I see now. However, why are you fixating to me that much? There were many timing that you could give up on me right?」
And then, Ami shrugged her shoulders to show resignation.
「I’ll say it honestly. I mean……I think that you have already noticed though?」
「Say it honestly? What are you saying so suddenly」
「Since the second examination ended, I was aiming for you 」
Junpei felt a cold sweat running on his back, and had goosebumps.
After losing his words for a while. Finally, Junpei said while carefully choosing his words.
「I’ll ask this, to be sure……by aiming for me, you mean?」
Ami nodded with a smile.
「I was thinking of becoming your mistress」
“This girl’s heavy……”, Junpei thought.
Of course, he thought that Ami is beautiful if described as beautiful, and cute if described as cute. However, even so, being told by something like that in this kind of place……Junpei was troubled.
Towards Junpei who had a confused expression, Ami casually continued her words.
「And the reason for that is, because I know about your strength, I thought that I would have good things in it」
Junpei got petrified, and could only make a dumbfounded expression.
Junpei could only lose his words, and Ami was just smiling pleasantly.
20 seconds. Finally, Junpei shook his head, and opened his mouth as if to squeeze out his words.
「No, you……aren’t you too honest?」
Ami with a smile, replied casually after all.
「Yes. I said it honestly you know? In fact, I was moving with balancing loss and profits」
Together with a deep sigh, Junpei said to Ami.
「……what a terrible confession of love」
“But……this kind of person, I don’t hate it”, Junpei thought.
He thought, that at least, not like Noriko……no, not like the guys that he met in this world……when compared to those bastards who have kind faces in the surface, then stab you in the back when there is a chance, it is far better than that.
Knowing what she wants from the beginning, is in some meaning, sincere.
「Well, I’m not someone who’s good at psychological acts too. And alsoーー」
「Yesterday……when you told me I’m beautiful……uncharacteristic of me, it made my heart pounding」
Once again, Junpei got petrified.
「……n? Isn’t this terrible confession of love, purely out of balancing loss and profits?」
「There’s also balancing loss and profits, I won’t deny that. But, before that, you saved me without asking anything for return you know? Your looks isn’t bad too……well, of course, isn’t it normal to have good impressions? On top of that, that line yesterday right? Beautiful……being told something like that, it’s impossible not to be conscious of you」
Towards Ami who said that while hiding her embarrassment, Junpei got silent……unable to think of how to react.
And finally, he let out a sigh, and shook his head to resignation.
「E〜to, Sakaguchi Ami……right?」
「You, can you cook?」
「Well, yes……as long as there’s ingredients, I can, decently」
「They say that the five days of the fourth examination will be a long time after all. I’ll leave all the kitchen work to you alright?」
And then, Ami asked Junpei with a smile as if a flower has bloomed.
「You’re a Thief right? If so, use your skills for meーーI’ll let you follow me」
“Un”, Ami nodded.
「Also, I haven’t heard your name “here” though」
Thinking for a while, Junpei answered like this.
「Let me see……just call me JP for convenience」
And just exactly that time, a dry sound echoed from afar, and a purple smoke started to rise from the east sky.
ーーit’s the signal for the start of the fourth examination.