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Hyouka - Volume 3 - Chapter 2.2

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2-2 Quiz Trial[edit]

013 - ♣04

The Quiz Trial held by the Kamiyama High School Quiz Study Club... That's like the biggest quiz tournament in Kamiyama City!

This is because I've yet to hear of any other quiz tournament being held elsewhere in this city.

To me, this Quiz Trial would be the highlight for Day 1. There's nothing bigger than this, no one else's database is more real than mine!

But I'm still surprised by this, as I never expected this many people to turn up;there's like 200 people here. While I could see quite a few outsiders amongst the participants, the majority were still Kami High students. So that's nearly 20% of the student body! Man, I'm envious, if only the Handicraft Club and Classics Club could each summon 100 people like that, we could have sold the anthology in no time.

In one corner of the school ground before the podium, I could hear all sorts of mutterings.

’’...If it's over how about we go see the Brass Band?...’’

’’...What about the Movie Study Club? You don't need to be a movie buff in order to watch their show, but...’’

’’...Really? Hahaha, now that's kind of mean...’’

’’...But don't you think it sounds kind of ridiculous...?’’

To begin with, while I had already imagined a lot of people participating, not even I, who had been looking forward to this since last night, could envision 200 people coming. Such was the effect of their publicity campaign.

It was just past 12:30 when the school PA broadcast went on air. It was the Broadcasting Club's pseudo radio broadcast. With relaxing pop music being played in the background, the broadcast was used to relay the latest hot topics during the Kamiyama High School Cultural Festival to the listeners. About 15 minutes had passed when the broadcast went to interview the president of the Quiz Club, which went as follows:

’’This year will be our 7th tournament. As usual we are offering very interesting prizes, but this time we've prepared questions that not just people who are good at quiz shows could answer. Naturally speaking, members of the Quiz Club are forbidden from participating, so we believe this is a golden opportunity for these people. So we welcome all to participate... Basically, we'll be holding a true and false questions preliminary involving participants running between circles with each answer on the school grounds. It'll be some great exercise after lunch, no?’’

He sure knows how to stir up the event. By advertising via a radio broadcast, I thought they could achieve a moderate success, but I was mistaken. Not counting the audience, there were already 200 participants. (This was just a guesstimate amount of course, as I have no idea exactly how many there were. Still, it was definitely more than a hundred people.)

And I must also mention that the Quiz Club had also gotten themselves mentioned by the Wall Newspaper Club. During the Cultural Festival, the Wall Newspaper Club publishes a Special Edition every two hours. And within the Day 1 12pm edition it was mentioned that the Quiz Club activity today sounds interesting. By pasting these Special Edition copies around the school's notice board, even a fool would be aware of their activity.

It seems the Classics Club would need the assistance of both the Broadcasting Club and Wall Newspaper Club if it is to achieve its objective. I must inform Chitanda-san of this later.

Anyway, that's for me to worry about after the Trial. For now, I must focus on this Quiz Trial, as it's crucial for me to get as high a ranking as possible, since I'm not participating in my favourite event in a personal capacity, but on behalf of the Classics Club. No offense to the others, but the only one in the club capable of winning this would be me. So this would not be an easy task.

The Quiz Club president walked up to the podium. It wasn't someone I knew. If it was a Kamiyama High School student that I knew, then he or she would have to be someone really special or eccentric. In his hand he carried a mic. A short static noise ensued as he tapped the mic and proceeded to speak.

’’Welcome to the Quiz Trial. To be honest, we're surprised by the number of participants we have today. This year will be our 7th Quiz Trial, and it is the largest ever held so far...’’ Blah, blah, blah, followed by, ’’Now let the tournament begin. First we will have the true and false questions preliminaries. On your left is the true box with a circle, while on your right is the false box with a cross. One of our members will hold up a placard with a question, and you must figure out whether it is true or false, and only those who answer correctly will advance. The preliminaries will continue until only five contestants remain. You have 15 seconds for each question. Now then, may the 7th Quiz Trial begin!’’

As he finished, one of the female Quiz Club members stepped up onto the podium and received the mic from the president who stepped down. I was a bit relieved, as this president's words were rather unintelligible to the ears.

The girl took the mic and looked at the cue card in one of her hands and said clearly, ’’Question 1! If 'diamond'in Japanese is 'kongouseki'(diamond stone), then 'emerald'would be 'ryokuchuugyoku'(green pillar jade). True or false?’’

Hmm, now how should I answer this?

Of course it's true. (Since unlike beryl, the chemical composition of emerald does not contain aquamarine, or it would be called 'ryokuchuuseki'(green pillar stone) instead!)

014 - ♦03

Now that I think about it, this place is quite deserted.

The reason I felt that way was because I knew what a real doujinshi festival was like. This was not a doujinshi festival, but a school cultural festival. We're not going to get people interested in manga and anime flocking here. This reminds me of coming here last year before with Fuku-chan back when we were in junior high... and I certainly don't recall that many people coming then either. When I discovered that treasure, I hardly noticed any people around me.

But it's true that there were many club members here with too much time to spare. So free they were that the atmosphere felt a bit strained... As a result, I have yet to request them to sell our anthologies.

As the current batch of customers left, the room went quiet, and we could hear a speaker blaring out loud from afar. As this room is situated in the General Block while the central courtyard was adjacent to the Special Block, it was hard to hear what was going on over there.

’’Mayaka, what's up?’’ the girl sitting next to me asked.

’’Nothing, just wondering what's going on in the courtyard.’’

’’Oh, that's probably the Quiz Club.’’

It was then that I remembered there was a radio broadcast mentioning about it. A quiz tournament, huh? If that's the case, then Fuku-chan would definitely join in. Listening intently, I could make out the question being asked via the speakers.

’’...Next question! The Japanese word ’’darui’’ is derived from the English word ’’dull.’’ True or false?’’

Eh?

I didn't even have time to think. Stop asking such silly questions! But if it's true or false questions, then it's probably used to filter out a large number of contestants. So while I was a bit depressed that I didn't know the answer to that question, I guess I was also relieved at not having to answer.

The girl next to me also listened in.

She smiled and asked me, ’’So, what do you think?’’

’’Hmm,’’

I know ’’saboru’’ came from ’’sabotage,’’ so ’’darui’’ is probably the same, as it didn't feel strange to me.

So I said softly, ’’True, I guess?’’

015 - ♣05

As the 15 second time limit passed, a rope was raised surrounding the contestants choosing the ’’True’’ and ’’False’’ circles. Looking around me, five had chosen ’’True’’ while four chose ’’False.’’ As a preliminary, this would probably be the final round.

’’The answer is............’’

The announcer held back her voice in order to raise the suspense.

’’............’’

You're overdoing this already.

’’......FALSE! This ends the preliminaries!’’

YES! (Actually, I did not really know what the etymology of the word ’’darui’’ was, but I do know that if it can be written in kanji 怠い then it's most likely not a foreign loan-word.) The announcer, who upped her tempo of suspense for every question answered, now waved her arms as though dancing and pointed towards us.

’’Congratulations to the four who have chosen 'False'for passing the preliminaries! Please proceed toward the podium for the finals.’’

Aha, here comes my chance to appeal to the crowd. That's what I'm here for. As I walked toward the podium, someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind.

’’Yo, Fukube, so you're through as well, huh?

The person who said that was...

...Just hang on a minute, I'm trying to remember his name. I know this guy, honest. For the moment being I'll try replying.

’’Of course.’’

’’You don't remember who I am, do you?’’

’’Haha, guess I was too focused on the quizzes.’’

Who was he? I know he's a classmate though.

He wasn't from the General Committee nor the Handicraft Club, so he could only be from my class. The only person I could think of who could stand out from my class was Juumonji-san.

No, wait, I remember. I'm sure of it. I've not completely forsaken my ability to remember names.

’’So, how's the Go Club, Tani-kun?’’

Tani Koreyuki, besides being a member of the Go Club, he was also unique in having a hard to spell name. We would occasionally have small chats like these in class, though I wasn't particularly that close to him, so he could be counted as one of my ’’acquaintances.’’ Now that I see his face again, he had quite a firm jaw and a rather round nose. But as he didn't leave much of an impression on me besides those, it means his actions until now were nothing out of the ordinary.

I have more interest in people who surprise me. Chitanda-san interests me somewhat, and Houtarou has been surprising me a lot ever since we entered Kami High. As for people who aren't surprising, unless they have interesting features of club activities, I would barely struggle to remember their names.

Yet here was Tani-kun passing the Quiz Trial preliminaries. And those weren't easy questions either. I see now, Tani-kun, my impression of you as a normal person may not be correct. He was here due to possessing either a great amount of knowledge or luck.

Tani-kun showed no attempt to hide his elation.

’’The Go Club? I do have something interesting to tell you, wanna hear?’’

Something interesting, huh? If it's something that's changed my impression of Tani-kun, it would be that he's never told me something interesting before, as it did not appeal to me.

’’Please step forward to the podium!’’

The announcer repeated. Oh yes, my chance at making an appeal. I waved the palm of my hand to gesture to Tani-kun to move to the podium.

On the podium were three guys and one girl. I took a quick glance at them;besides Tani-kun, I didn't know any of them. Had they been the ’’Empress’’ Irisu Fuyumi-sempai, President Tanabe Jirou-sempai of the General Committee, or the ’’New Master of the Library’’ Juumonji Kaho-san, then I would have to hold my hands up in resignation. While I'm confident that my knowledge is as good as theirs, I just can't feel like beating them. That said, I don't think my database would accept such a fact.

The announcer had interviewed and asked the names for three of the contestants already, including Tani-kun. And now it was my turn. The announcer held up her mic and smiled.

’’Okay, our fourth finalist! May we have your class and name please?’’

I cleared my throat in order to address the 200 participants as well as the hundreds more listening via the speakers,

’’I'm Fukube Satoshi of the Classics Club.’’

’’Huh?’’

’’The Classics Club, as in classical literature.’’

The announcer looked confused for a moment. She didn't look the type to know how to deal with unexpected events.

She soon nodded deeply and said, ’’I see! I never knew we had such a club. Guess we have all sorts of strange clubs, right?’’

So far so good. I paid attention not to rush myself and allowed the words to come out naturally. Even without being requested to, I was generally good at saying what I wanted to say.

’’Though we call ourselves the Classics Club, we don't exactly cover classic literature like 'Tsurezuregusa[1].'To be honest, not even I knew what it is that we do exactly, so it's kind of strange. After all, this was a club that came back from the jaws of abolition as it didn't have any members prior to us joining. You could say we're a club that publishes anthologies. So we've published one, you see. And it's an amazing anthology, since we put a lot of effort into it...’’

016 - ♠05

’’...we put a lot of effort into it...’’

Yeah, sure we have.

In terms of quantity.

[185 COPIES REMAINING]

017 - ♣06

’’At any rate, we've managed to solve a great mystery concerning the Kanya Festival.’’

’’Oh, really? And that is?’’

Her interest didn't seem to be faked. This was to be expected, as it would be easy to hook them in if I tell them ’’there's knowledge not even the Quiz Club is aware of.’’ (No, I wasn't intending to make fun of the Quiz Club here. Since I myself am a natural candidate as a Quiz Club member myself, but I just ended up using them as an example.) Feeling confident, I raised my voice.

’’And it's none other than the origin of the name of the Kanya Festival. I'll say it here, it is NOT an abbreviation of the 'Kamiyama High School Cultural Festival.'The Classics Club have discovered the real answer to that.’’

’’Really? And that is?’’

’’Well...’’

I teased a bit.

’’Obviously, that's a secret. However, we'll be in trouble if no one buys our anthology. So for only 200 yen, which is a great bargain, you can discover the 33-year-old secret of the Kamiyama High School Cultural Festival! It's all recorded in our essay anthology 'Hyouka'! Now on sale at the Geology Room on the fourth floor of the Special Block with rave reviews!’’

I glared at the crowd while pumping my right fist in the air.

I wonder if I overdid this? For a moment, an uneasiness crept through me...

A roar of applause thundered across the court. Just like how I felt in the Opening Ceremony, everyone was particularly receptive to the festive atmosphere. My gamble had worked, the appeal was a success!

Remaining in my victory pose, I felt like crying.

It no longer mattered whether I won this quiz tournament anymore.

018 - ♥04

’’Now on sale at the Geology Room on the fourth floor of the Special Block with rave reviews!’’

Ehh? We're getting rave reviews already?

I-I didn't even know.

This is fantastic. I have hope for the future.

A roar of excitement could be heard from the direction of the courtyard. Thanks to Fukube-san's smooth-speaking, the crowd seems to have been moved somewhat by his words. Though it sounded like he could have gone on further, before long, the quiz tournament had begun as I heard a loud voice announcing its commencement. I pray for your success, Fukube-san.

I must do my best as well.

Come to think of it, it does seem effective to entrust someone else to sell our anthologies on our behalf. However, just placing copies of ’’Hyouka’’ at other people's stalls alone will not increase its appeal. So while it's important to seek new venues to sell our anthology, isn't it also important to raise the appeal of ’’Hyouka’’ as well?

I went through this thoroughly as I had my lunch. Take my family business for example, we would normally have decided which market to sell our rice to. Though we would like to expand our market, if our quality is below the standards required by the government, nobody is going to buy our rice.

This is because rice isn't a really sensational product, much like our anthology right now, which wasn't exactly a necessary commodity. So the situation the Classics Club is facing is quite similar to this.

In order for rice to be sold in large quantities, it has to be of ’’very good quality.’’ This ’’quality’’ may be based on its ’’tastiness,’’ its ’’safety,’’ or its ’’affordability.’’

However, ’’Hyouka’’ was already a finished product. Though we were extremely diligent in ensuring its quality, there was no way we could further enhance it anymore than it is. The only variable left that we could manipulate would be its ’’affordability,’’ but we would prefer not to adjust the price so much that it falls below our break-even point.

In order to improve the quality of ’’Hyouka,’’ I decided to consider it from the standpoint of the public's awareness of it.

And so, my eyes fell on the Special Edition of the wall newspaper, the Kami High Monthly. Upon reading some of its details, it seems to be published once every two hours. If ’’Hyouka’’ gets a mention on here, then everyone would become aware of it. Fortunately, I am acquainted with the president of the Wall Newspaper Club. Even I at least know that having connections can take you a long way.

Anyway, as lunch time had already been over for some time, I was busy looking for the Wall Newspaper Club president...

’’Hey, Chitanda-san, wanna go see that?’’

’’Ehh? I'm sorry, but I'm in a hurry.’’

’’All right ladies and gentlemen, the second Magic Club performance will begin in five minutes!’’

...Oh, yes, I was heading to the Wall Newspaper Club. I heard someone chatting behind me.

’’Have you seen the movie made by Class 2-F yet?’’

’’Yeah, I have. Pretty interesting, wasn't it?’’

Ugh.

All these decorations and all this liveliness is just too captivating. It was at this moment that I envied Oreki-san's ability to not get excited by anything.

Before long, I'd come before the Biology Room on the third floor of the Special Block, where the Wall Newspaper Club room was located. Though right now, their members were in the adjacent Preparation Room instead of the Lecture Room, where they had their pens, scissors, glues and instant cameras laying around. Surrounding a table normally used for school experiments were four members, who didn't seem rather busy as they chatted leisurely. One of them, Toogaito Masashi-san, with whom I was acquainted, noticed my presence and stood up.

Though I'm quite tall for a girl, even I had to look up when looking at Toogaito-san. His father was well-acquainted with mine, which was how I knew him. Though it wasn't until this July that we spoke for the first time.

With a smile, Toogaito-san greeted me.

’’Hello there,’’

I bowed my head. Careful not to make the same mistake I made with Tanabe-san, I chose my words carefully.

’’Good afternoon, Toogaito-san. Can the Wall Newspaper Club please write a story about the Classics Club?’’

However, even Toogaito-san's eyes went wide after what I said. I wonder what it was that I said wrong? Frantically recalling what I had just said, I couldn't find anything disrespectful about it.

Oh no... I just realized, did I forget to explain my situation properly again?

Toogaito-san turned to glance at the other club members before turning back to me and said in a lowered voice, ’’...What's with this all of a sudden? It's not really possible.’’

’’Oh, I'm sorry. Would it have been better if I had made an appointment first?’’

’’No, that's not what I meant,’’

Toogaito-san rubbed his forehead and said, ’’I'm no longer with the Wall Newspaper Club.’’

’’Eh?’’

’’I'm a third year, so I'm retired already.’’

Oh.

H-how did I not notice that before? This would of course be natural. It's completely obvious.

’’I-I'm sorry.’’

’’No, you don't really have to apologize...’’

For a moment, I felt like I was of no help, and was feeling a bit depressed. But soon a fine idea came to my head. If Toogaito-san had retired, then this could work.

’’Then, could you introduce me to one of your juniors so that I may make my request to him instead?’’

However, Toogaito-san looked even more troubled than before.

’’Well, I can introduce you, but I don't think it'll make much of a difference.’’

’’Not much of a difference?’’

’’Our Special Edition goes up every two hours, so we have to get everything prepared before then. So to ask us to write something about the Classics Club now would be a bit too much, you see.’’

I see. Indeed, while I thought of the possibility of getting mentioned in a Special Edition every two hours, I totally did not consider the fact that they would need to prepare a draft edition beforehand.

So I said in resignation, ’’So it's impossible?’’

I could hear myself sounding depressed.

’’Well, I didn't exactly say it's impossible. As we should still have two more days of news to report, it can be done. However,’’ Toogaito-san said with a tense expression, ’’We won't publish a story just because we've been asked to. There are over 50 clubs being represented in the Kanya Festival;there's no way we could introduce every one of them, so we have to give priority to those whose activities really stand out. That being said, if you could show us that the Classics Club is engaged in activities that stand out, then we'll write something about it.’’

It was a strict statement concerning the conditions on having a story written.

’’T-then, what about the contents of the activities?’’

’’The club activities that we cover are all serious in their contents, so if we find a story request that is worthy of our interest like an ad-balloon, then we'll publish it.’’

But we haven't got any ad-balloons.

A while ago, Fukube-san had clearly emphasized about the origin of the term ’’Kanya Festival.’’ Yet Toogaito-san said he only covers serious club activities. Yet besides its name, there wasn't really much in its contents which ’’Hyouka’’ could really be called attractive...

I'm sorry, Oreki-san and Fukube-san, I also do not know how to face Mayaka-san as well. Once again, I found myself unable to be of much help.

’’...I see. Sorry for taking your time...’’

As though trying to cheer me up, Toogaito-san said, ’’You can come back if you can find anything interesting, I'll see what I can do to help.’’

I think I nodded, but I wasn't even sure if I had the strength to move.

As things were not making any progress, it seemed my body had also lost its strength. But it would not be nice to trudge just because of that, so I tried my best to walk as I normally would. Though I wonder if my discouragement would still show on my face. Walking along the decorated corridor, not knowing where to go next, I heard someone calling out to me.

’’What's wrong, Eru? You look quite depressed.’’

Looking up, I saw a small tent set up on top of the staircase. To be more precise, it looked more like a Native American teepee. The voice came from inside the teepee. The inside of the teepee could be seen from the outside.

’’You were drooping your shoulders and looking disappointed. Did something happen?’’

Inside of the teepee was a regular classroom desk, and seated on the chair was a person I was familiar with.

I smiled at her and said, ’’Well, a lot has happened...’’

’’Hmm?’’

She tilted her head and smiled as she caressed an elegant looking crystal ball lying on top of a silk cloth on her des

’’Then, how about having your fortune told?’’

This person is Juumonji Kaho. Within Kamiyama City is a large and rather old shrine called Arekusu Shrine, and Kaho-san is the daughter of its head priest. While the Chitanda family's annual spring and autumn festival ceremonies aren't held at Arekusu Shrine, as I often meet her a lot, we ended up being well acquainted with each other. She was quite an attractive person, with her silky hair and small glasses. I liked the unique way Kaho-san often looked mature and polite.

Kaho-san had liked visiting the library ever since she was little, and so she was very knowledgeable in many things which I was unaware of. So I was quite surprised when I learned which club she had joined. Since Kaho-san wasn't quite good with hanging out with other people.

’’Having my fortune told? That means...’’

’’Yes, this is the Fortune Telling Association stall.’’

’’Where are the other members?’’

Upon hearing that, Kaho-san made a rather cynical smile.

’’Oh, it's just me at the moment.’’

’’Eh, that's unexpected. But isn't it supposed to be popular?’’

’’That would be the Charms Association. They're the more popular club.’’

Speaking of which, I do recall seeing such a club being mentioned in the notice board.

’’Well, how about it?’’

As she spoke, Kaho-san began lining up objects on her table.

’’If the crystal ball isn't to your fancy, then how about bamboo stick or card divination? Though these are just imitations. There's also coffee grounds divination and of course, the standard Tarot cards...’’

As she rummaged through the items in a paper bag beside her feet, she suddenly stopped.

’’Oh, we can't do Tarot cards today.’’

’’Eh? Why's that?’’

Hearing Kaho-san sound troubled for once piqued my interest. This was due to the Classics Club having once discussed Tarot cards back in the summer holidays, so I was thinking maybe we could have our fortunes told with Tarot cards.

Kaho-san saw my expression and understood right away.

’’...Of course, you've always liked stuff like this. Here, have a look at this.’’

She took out a greeting card from her paper bag. Taking a glance at the card she showed me, I saw everything that was written on it, as it was in a rather large font, which read:

The Fortune Telling Association has lost its Wheel of Fortune.

Juumoji

’’What's this...?’’

’’It's quite a quick job if this is the work of one person. I only just left for a bit, and when I came back, someone had taken the 'Wheel of Fortune'card from my Tarot deck and left this.’’

So it was stolen? But the signature at the end of the card...

’’It says 'Juumonji'.’’

’’Indeed, I wonder if it's supposed to be addressed to me?’’

The Juumonji family has two children, but right now, only Kaho-san is attending Kami High, and I've not heard of any other person called Juumonji in this city besides them. So Kaho-san is the only Juumonji in Kamiyama High. It would be incredible for a thief to use Kaho-san's name to steal her things.

It's all very strange. I decided to ask her something which I had meant to ask just now.

’’Have you found the card yet?’’

Kaho-san smiled bitterly.

’’I wouldn't have said we couldn't use Tarot cards today if I had found it.’’

Oh, yes, of course.

’’That's very worrying.’’

’’Yes, though it's cheap, it's still a fortune-telling tool. I really wouldn't want to have to go through the trouble of acquiring another set as a result.’’

While saying that, instead of rummaging through her paper bag, Kaho-san took out a small memo paper from her pocket.

’’But I wouldn't worry too much about that. I do wonder what the thief is up to, as this was also left behind,’’

It was a memo paper torn from a notebook, on which was scribbled, ’’It will be returned after the Cultural Festival.’’ ...This was indeed a strange thing for a thief to do. I do find it very odd. Looking at my expression, Kaho-san smiled.

’’You seem to have cheered up a bit.’’

’’Really?’’

’’Are you curious about this?’’

I tilted my head

’’...Yes, a bit.’’

’’A bit, huh? Then let me show you one more thing.’’

From her paper bag, she took out something which I also had, the ’’Kanya Festival Guide,’’ the official pamphlet for the Kamiyama High School Cultural Festival.

Looking at it placed beside the crystal ball, I asked, ’’What's special about it?’’

Kaho-san opened the pamphlet.

’’The contents are exactly the same as any other. Though when I found it, it was open with the card placed on the last page of the club comments.’’

The participating club comments were printed on the last page of the pamphlet. As its name suggests, it displayed a single line of comment from each participating club mentioned by the pamphlet.

Apart from that, there was nothing strange or special written on the page.

’’...I wonder what it all means?’’

Kaho-san smiled gently and shrugged her shoulders.

’’I wonder. It's the Cultural Festival, someone's bound to come up with some strange ideas, so it's nothing out of the ordinary. Personally, I couldn't care less as long as the 'Wheel of Fortune'is returned safely.’’

019 - ♣07

The finals consist of contestants racing each other in pushing the answer button, first to win seven points wins the race.

Though I did say it no longer mattered whether I won this quiz tournament anymore, this is an arena where I can put my database to good use. So it's a waste to just throw it away like that.

The Quiz Club president did mention on the radio broadcast that they'd ’’prepared questions that not just people who are good at quiz shows could answer,’’ and now I see why he said that. Besides the usual quiz-show like questions involving show business, sports, social matters and trendy stuff, they've also included local topics as well as high school education related questions. I am of course well-versed in local topics, though the academic questions were a bit... okay, I know what you're thinking. For questions involving mathematical formulas, I was so pathetically hopeless with them that I could not even move my fingers towards the answer button. How on earth did I manage to weather through all these maths tests all these years?

Of the four contestants, three had taken six points, including me, Tani-kun and another girl. (While Tani-kun couldn't answer the strange questions, he was rather fast in answering the more generic ones.) The remaining person had five points. This was quite a fascinating battle;the contestants were all rather capable. For the Quiz Club this was no doubt a successful tournament.

But now it's time to end this. I'll be taking this last point!

’’...Now for the next question. Please name the president of Kamiyama...’’

A local question, huh? Concentrate...

’’...High School's Student Council...’’

I know the answer to this question, but I can't push the button just yet. For she may be asking us to name the president's favourite colour or something like that instead.

’’...And give his full name please.’’

Now! At an instant, a light lit up.

’’Yes, Shimizu-san?’’

What? It's not me?

Shimizu-san, the girl beside me, answered in a calm voice, ’’Kugayama Muneyoshi.’’

’’......’’

Miss Announcer, you don't need to gasp, she's correct.

After a brief pause, the announcer lifted the girl's right arm and declared, ’’Correct! And the winner of Quiz Trial 7 is Shimizu Noriko-san of Class 3-E!’’

Haha. Oh well, too bad.

Only the winner gets to receive the prizes. And as Shimizu Noriko-san (who didn't even bat an eyelid when answering the more odd questions. She's an interesting person, I must try and remember her name) received hers wrapped in paper, I had no idea what it was. Oh well, I didn't feel bad about losing, and I wasn't interested in the prizes anyway.

As the trophy presentation was finished, the Quiz Club president gave his greetings and wrapped up the Quiz Trial tournament. The crowd then began to disperse to all directions of the school campus. It sure was fun, not only did I raise the Classics Club's appeal, I also managed to have some fun as well. Now, I wonder where I should go next. As I was prepared to return with a smile, someone called out to me.

’’Hey, Fukube.’’

It was Tani-kun. Smiling, I raised my arm to greet him.

’’Hey, too bad we didn't win.’’

’’Indeed. Guess it's a draw.’’

A draw, huh? It's not like I'm competing with Tani-kun... Oh well, whatever.

’’Guess so,’’ I replied.

’’Well, you need something?’’

’’I did say I had something interesting to tell you before we were interrupted.’’

Come to think of it, he did say something like that, but I must have forgotten. As I wasn't really intent on hearing what he wanted to say then, this must mean it's something Tani-kun wants me to hear. Since it's no big deal, I decided to hear what he had to say.

’’Seems to be so, did something happened with the Go Club?’’

Tani-kun nodded satisfyingly.

’’Yeah, some of our Go stones have been stolen.’’

’’Oh?’’

I wasn't exactly thinking ’’Is that so?’’

’’The stones weren't lost but stolen, you say? But what makes you say that?’’

’’The thief left a note on the Go stone container,’’

Tani-kun smiled as he said, ’’The note read 'The Go Club has lost its Go stones,'it's all really intriguing, as we have no idea whether any stones were stolen at all. As we don't normally use all the stones in the container, so there's no way of knowing if someone were to take away one or two, or even ten stones.’’

’’Why would someone steal the stones?’’

’’Maybe he wants to play Gomoku?[2]’’ Tani-kun said in a rather strange way.

While I didn't find it to be a rather high-class joke, I decided to laugh along with him. If that's the end of this ’’interesting’’ story, then he didn't really need to go out of his way to tell me.

I said bluntly with a smile, ’’Maybe it's a prank by someone from the Go Club?’’

Perhaps not happy that I didn't seem interested with his story, Tani-kun looked a bit depressed.

’’Yeah, maybe.’’

’’Well, I'm off for now.’’

’’No, wait.’’

He called out to me before I could move.

Tani-kun said with a strangely stiff smile, ’’Fukube, will you be participating in other tournaments as well?’’

’’...Yeah.’’

As I nodded, Tani-kun raised his right arm and pointed his finger at me.

’’I won't lose to you next time. It's not over since we only drew this time. We'll settle this!’’

...I was at a loss for words.

Together with the silence, I could only give him my usual smile as a reply.

Tani-kun looked quite satisfied as he said, ’’Good. What will you be participating tomorrow?’’

Without giving it much thought, I replied in a normal manner, ’’...The tournament held by The Cooking Club tomorrow, I guess?’’

’’Okay, then we'll settle this tomorrow! I'm looking forward to this!’’

Tani-kun waved his arms and left looking rather excited.

Phew, that sure was a hard to deal with fellow there.

A score to settle, huh? It never even crossed my mind. I was hardly concerned with how satisfied Tani-kun would be with the outcome anyway.

It's true that I often enjoy myself in many things. Indeed, I would have so much fun that Houtarou would end up staring coldly at me.

But what's most important is for me to experience this personally. I see enjoyment as basically a give-and-take relationship between the provider and receiver of the entertainment. This is why I could never be as fanatical in my interests, be it Sherlock Holmes or herbology, as my best friend (whoa, this is quite embarrassing for me to actually utter it, but his is the first name I could think of) Houtarou or the magnificent Mayaka.

I'm rather naive when it comes to things that I like, find interesting or enjoy. Using a bookshelf as an example, normally a bookshelf would contain reference books or novels used to kill time, but in comparison, my bookshelf is not worth showing to other people. (Though if it's Mayaka, she'd probably want to have a look... But it's unlikely she would ever say it out loud.) Similarly, my relationship with the provider of entertainment is simply to quietly have high expectations and taking it easy as I enjoy myself.

So according to my psuedo-Epicureanism, this talk of ’’settling scores’’...

Well, it's inelegant.

But this is all trivial, as I had no intention of giving it my all. To put it simply, Tani-kun is simply participating in tournaments which I'm participating in out of his own accord.

I meandered to and fro as I left the now rather empty courtyard.

By the way, enjoying oneself and worrying about one's friends are totally different matters altogether.

I wonder how Houtarou's doing now?

And I wonder if Mayaka is doing fine?

Translator's notes and references[edit]

  1. Jump up↑ Wikipedia - Tsurezuregusa
  2. Jump up↑ Wikipedia - Gomoku


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