Chapter 24:

Special Class (3)

Confession Games

You may call it foolish, but I was completely convinced that the one Zakushi arranged would be acting as my foil on purpose, but now I realised I had to make him my foil with my own abilities. I would be worried if it was someone average like me, so naturally I couldn't even explain how much I was panicking now.

'What should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do what should I do?'

However, despite the chaos in my mind, I was able suppress any signs of it from showing. No matter how much I was starting to regret agreeing to this, I could no longer back down. 

Soon after Hiroki left, the bell for class started and our teacher arrived. Unlike usual, I sat up straight, eager for the start of class so that my worries could be replaced by knowledge, but unfortunately the one day I wanted to learn, my teacher didn't want to teach. I wasn't familiar with her so I wouldn't know what she was normally like, but the moment the woman in a lab coat entered the class, all of the second and third years immediately dropped any school equipment that they had and relaxed. Obviously, I was surprised by this and wondered what the teacher would do about it, but she only wrote 'self study' on the board before sitting down and putting her head on the desk, with her pillow and blindfold ready.

Flabbergasted by this scene, I hurriedly turned towards Zakushi, who was still calmly reading, to ask him about it.

"Zakushi, is it normally like this?"

"I told you the experience would depend on the teacher, right? That's Ms. Hokuto. She's a really good science teacher, but never does more work than necessary, so you can always expect this to happen when she's the teacher for these events."

"Then, what should I do?" I asked.

Normally I would cheer for a free session, but I knew that I wouldn't have any fun if I was left alone with my own thoughts.

I put my faith in Zakushi who had never given me bad advice, but unfortunately even he couldn't help me this time.

"Whatever you want. We're supposed to use this time to become more familiar with our fellow schoolmates, but I don't think you're up for that right now. So just relax."

'I wish I could.'

Every time I remembered that I would have to confront Hiroki, who was my senior both in school and popularity, I was beset by fear and anxiety. How could I relax like this?

I couldn't even imagine beating him, and yet the option of retreat had already been thrown away. I didn't regret what I said, but if I had known that we wouldn't be acting then I would have asked Zakushi to arrange a weaker opponent.

'But it wouldn't be as effective.'

'Don't you think I know that? I'm just panicking.'

'Well you can keep panicking, just don't try to place any blame on my senior.'

'Ugh, I know.'

I was so disturbed that I started arguing with myself, therefore it was clear to me that I wouldn't last long like this.

'I have to distract myself somehow.'

I took out my phone and went with the option that allowed me to turn off my brain. I connected my earphones and listened to the music on my phone. Fortunately, with this I was finally able to suppress my worries and think clearly.

'According to Zakushi, I have to beat him with my passion, or whatever. Which means this will be a verbal battle. I'll need to be passionate and yet careful, what an uphill battle.'

I didn't feel much better analysing my situation, but at least I could see things clearly now.

While I steadied my heart with music, it was time for lunch, and since it was a half-day, school was basically over. I didn't know when Hiroki would strike again, and though I knew our confrontation was inevitable, I planned on avoiding him for the rest of the day. As soon as the teacher sent us out, I would head straight home.

After the bell rung, Ms. Hokuto rubbed her eyes and announced with a drawn-out manner, "Okay, it's time for-"

Before she could finish a single sentence, we heard the static of the loudspeaker and then came the comforting voice of a woman.

[Attention all students. If you have enjoyed the day so far then please refrain from going home immediately as a fun event has been prepared for this special class. You may go to the auditorium for more details.]

That message repeated two more times and then a fervour spread throughout the class. As for me, I was going home. Since I remembered the warning that Ms. Aria gave me, there was no way I would let myself get wrapped up in this.

Unfortunately, that decision was out of my hands.

"Akishiro, we need to go to the auditorium."

At first I was surprised that Zakushi would be interested in whatever the school had planned, but when I noticed that he was looking at his phone with knitted brows, that surprise changed into suspicion.

"Did something happen?"

"That guy spread the word that he would call you out during this event. I don't know how or why he came up with this so fast, but you can't afford to run."

I wanted to retreat to fight another day but he was determined on battling me today. With my head lowered and my shoulders slumped, I sighed at my own misfortune.

I didn't have much of an appetite, so after buying a can of soda we headed to the auditorium. On the way, details of the event were also sent to our phones. The event was titled 'Confession of the Summit', but anyone familiar with the headmaster's naming sense knew not to pay it any mind.

The rules were simple. Participants would register through a portal on the school's website and then their names would be saved. Then, once the registration period was finished, participants would be called to the auditorium platform at random. Once selected, participants would be given a chance to select another participant and publicly confess whatever they wanted to them. This would continue until fifty names were selected or time ran out. Though I hadn't experienced this before, it was an event that was in line with the school's policies so I wasn't too surprised. However, I wondered why Hiroki was so sure that he would be called up. Of course it would be better for me if neither of our names were called, but I had a feeling that was a foolish hope.

When registration was finished, and the auditorium was as packed as at general assembly, I looked at the list of participants. As I scrolled, I was initially surprised by the lack of big names, but once I thought about it, it made sense. This event was mainly aimed at the ones trying to confess rather than the ones being confessed to, so of the popular students only those who wanted to confess or be confessed to signed up. Therefore, there was a chance that the one you wanted to confess to wouldn't be on the list. 

I didn't see Arisugawa's name which made me both disappointed and relieved, but there was still a chance that she was watching from the audience so I was nervous.

[Welcome, students! Your favourite announcer is here to guide you through today's event.]

Once the familiar, energetic voice that usually accompanied public confessions said his greetings and briefly explained the event, the first participant was called. It was a skinny girl in glasses and pigtails, and thanks to the super-wide screen above the platform that provided a closer look, I was able to confirm that she wasn't a hidden beauty behind her glasses, just an ordinary girl. She seemed nervous under the gazes of the student body, but was still able to say the name of the one she wanted to call. I wondered which pretty boy or girl she would get rejected by, but surprisingly it was another glasses-wearing boy. 

[What a surprise! To think our first lucky girl would set her four eyes on a fellow pair of glasses. Could this be the first couple formed on this stage today?!]

Like the announcer, I was also convinced that they would get together and that would be that, however, we were fooled by those glasses. In the response to the glasses girl's bashful confession, the glasses boy plainly rejected her and it wasn't even because he was in love with 2D. No, straight to her face and to our ears, he said that the one he loved was her identical twin sister!

[How shocking! To think he would reject a twin for a twin. Is he actually able to tell them apart?! Where can I obtain this power?]

The glasses girl ran away crying while someone who looked just like her ran to the stage and hugged the boy.

...This pissed me off for some reason but regardless, like that, the first round was done.