A hundred points. A hundred points out of a hundred points—That was the score I received on the math finals exam. Oikura came in second place, with a test score of ninety-nine. (On that note, Oikura received the highest score on the exam among those who participated in the study session) Although Naoetsu High School’s curriculum left me in the dust and gasping for breath, mathematics was the one exception. I would like to boast it as my specialty, but, well, it just didn’t require much thought, which made it much more straightforward than other subjects. Even so, I think the full score might have been a bit too much. Maybe that was why I was started to waver when I accepted the answer sheet. Rather than joy, I had felt a foreboding premonition, and that intuition struck home splendidly.
Daaaaamn. I really did pull the short end of the stick. Although I stepped onto the lectern, what I really wanted to do was cower behind it. So this was the kind of perspective teachers (or Oikura) had of the class. Ugh, all these gazes are killing me. I was actually thankful to the students like Kijikiri and Senjougahara, who lacked interest and faced the other way.
“Well then, why don’t we start making some progress, Araragi? Go ahead and prove our innocence.”
Oikura said, full of her usual menace and sarcasm. Regardless of the fact that she sat in the very back of the classroom, the distance of five seats between us had no effect on the intensity of the pressure she exerted…though I think I might have mentioned this before, but the reason why she despised me was because of my high performance in math. She was extremely convinced that the reason she couldn’t get others to start calling her “Euler” was my fault because I managed to surpass her test scores. She vented that anger at me in the form of resentment. Seeing the disapproval in her eyes, I had (quite recklessly) retorted “Isn’t it fine? I mean, my grades can’t even compare to yours in any of the other subjects.” Which just gave her another reason to despise me. It was like a monkey writing a masterpiece that could rival Shakespearean plays in front of an ambitious writer. It was an insensitive thing to say.
Even so, to me, who lagged far behind Naoetsu High School’s curriculum, it wasn’t like I could just drop my grades in the only subject I had any hope in… She wanted to somehow overtake me with her own abilities, but I still received a full score. There was nothing better than that.
“After all, only Araragi received a full score, so logically, it’s impossible not to consider him as a possible suspect of stealing the answer key, riiiiight?”
Oikura said menacingly. Hey you have no right to talk. You’re the one who nominated me as chairman. Was it not fate for me to refute this comment as the chairman?
“I don’t think that’s the case.”
The girl who sat right in front of Oikura said in my stead. Class 3-1, student number 1—Keiri Ashine. I was student number 2, and because our student numbers were consecutive, we were more or less on friendly terms. Well, I say “friendly terms” but in reality, we’ve only exchanged words on several occasions. Perhaps that trivial bond caused him to stick up for me. He was, like Mebe, one of the few individuals who were on good terms with Oikura. However, in his case, not only did his friendly relations extend to Oikura, but he also held a certain amount of influence over almost all the girls in our class. After all, his nickname was “Handsome Man”. Simply put, he was good looking. On top of that, he indiscriminately came into contact with an unpleasant existence like me, proving that his personality was just as wonderful as he looked. An ikemen (TN: just means “Handsome dude”) and at the same time a “Nice Guy”. I felt as if he was flawless. And that perfect character continued his perfect remark.
“I mean, Araragi-kun wasn’t even aware that there was study group, right? Also, he doesn’t have the contact information of anyone who did participate in the study group. In that case, Araragi-kun couldn’t possibly been involved with the test average of the participants. To begin with, isn’t the reason Oikura-san nominated Araragi-kun as the chairman because he couldn’t care less about anyone else?”
“We—well, that is correct…”
For once Oikura stammered. It seems like even a calculating woman like her was weak to good looking men. It was the disappointing truth. No, I’m talking about the fact that he assumed “Araragi-kun couldn’t care less about anyone else.” He did stick up for me, but then immediately struck me down again.
Well, it was true. Whenever there was some kind of social interaction, no matter if we made groups of two, or made groups of three, or made groups of four, Araragi-kun was constantly left out. Perhaps, that inability to socialize has already prepared me for an independent job like this.
What a stressful job though…
“Then, uh… First, let’s have all the participants of the study session raise their hands.”
I said. I thought of making an order in a haughty tone, but, well, I’d rather not stir up any unnecessary discord. I’m in an unfavorable situation here, so let’s proceed in a practical fashion. To be honest though, I doubt we’ll even uncover the culprit in this discussion… Even then, I’ll silently do what I have to. The class hastily did as told when Oikura stood here, but this time, they sluggishly raised their hands—as if they were questioning my competence.
“Please keep your hands up for a moment. I’m going to write your names on the blackboard.”
“Ah, then, I can help with that.”
With that, Gekizaka stood up. It seemed like she was willing to volunteer for the job. She had a ladylike assertiveness. However, she was holding her hand up until now, which means she was also one of the many suspects… nah, I guess I can at least entrust the job of recording names to her. Before I could even reply in consent, Gekizaka had already weaved her way to the front of the classroom. She wrote her own name first. It seemed like there were students among those raising their hands who viewed her as a traitor. Perhaps they thought her actions seemed suspicious. Well, Nageki Gekizaka had an unguarded personality from the start, and was an easy target for suspicion in the first place. It was kind of like she didn’t understand the tension between males and females, and sought physical contact regardless of gender. That was a source of trouble itself… Well, basically this was the kind of girl that often led others to ponder at whether she had fallen for them or not… Even now, from the moment she volunteered to record names, I have some wavering suspicions that I’d rather not have. This might be why guys are constantly called stupid by the opposite gender… Her nickname, “Throwkiss (投げキッス)” was not only a reference from her name. While I thought of this, Gekizaka had finished writing the names of all the students raising their hands including herself, and returned to her seat, which was two seats in front of Senjougahara’s.
(TN: Nageki(なげき)→ Nagekiss(投げキッス) – which I have translated to Throwkiss. Yeah, spare me the thoughts on the stupid nicknames, but if u have a better idea, I’d be glad to hear it.)
The result was a neatly written list. Those who took part in the study session are the nineteen people mentioned below. It was actually a very neat, on and off list of student numbers followed by the respective surnames, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ve listed their full names in alphabetical order.
- Keiri Ashine
- Michisada Igami
- Sodachi Oikura
- Enji Kikigoe
- Hoka Kijikiri
- Aizu Kube
- Nageki Gekizaka
- Sousho Koudou
- Tsuuma Shuui
- Juudo Shuzawa
- Kokuchi Suuchi
- Kiichigo Daino
- Chouka Nagagutsu
- Roka Haga
- Sekirou Higuma
- Jouro Hishigata
- Shijima Fudou
- Kabe Madomura
- Shoukei Yoki