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There are times when Momoka and Karen just randomly switch between 1st and 3rd person, so don’t mind that.
The roulette with bursting spinal fluid
By the time Guren arrived at his classroom after he finished his entrance exam, the school day had already moved into lunch break.
‘Year 1 Class 7, rank 2704, Saijou Guren. Entry’
Letting the device touch the door lock that looked like it could hold back a horde of zombies, the application gave a response and the digital voice of an AI resounded. The lock was opened and the door slid open. Inside were an equal number of desks and a crowd of people he had never seen before in his life, boys and girls all wearing the same uniform as him—
“Woah…this is just like in those anime and games I’ve seen!”
“What are you doing, being so weirdly moved like that, Onii-sama?”
As Guren sunk into a deep emotional state, someone called out to him from the side.
“What, it’s you, Karen…Were you waiting all this time?”
“Naturally, Onii-sama. The moment she heard your voice, Karen immediately ran over!”
Guren narrowed his eyes at the girl, who still looked like a dog whose tail was shaking furiously as if her owner had just come back. That very sight calmed down Guren’s heart, who was used to all the swindlers he had come across until now.
“You were looking forward to it this much…? Well, leaving that aside Karen, we’ll be classmates from today onwards. Looking forward to it.”
“Yes, of course. Onii-sama, are you aware of which seat is yours?”
“Now that you mention it, I didn’t hear about that…Though I think that this device is probably supposed to show me.”
“Do not worry. Karen will immediately find it out for you. But, please hold off for a moment before you make your way to your seat.”
“Why is that?”
“Ah, well, it’s nothing much. No need to worry, it will be over soon.”
With a grin, Karen averted her gaze, and compared the screen of the application with the layout of the classroom. Shown on the student identification application was the seat number, lit up in a strong red. Thinking that this was supposed to be his seat, Guren made his way there—
Over there, an irregularity was occurring. A tense atmosphere that was difficult to put into words filled the entire place. In the corner of the classroom, where Guren’s seat was located, several, what seemed to be classmates, gathered, creating a crowd and the people standing around the outside realized Guren’s appearance and looked over at him—
The rest of the gazes were focussed at the centre of the crowd.
“…Now then, I wonder what will happen.”
“Seems like this’ll be pretty interesting, don’t you think? …Ku ku ku.”
“That poor Momoka-san.”
That passing whispering was very familiar to Guren. At places with a crucial competition, where one person bet something important, it was the voices of the uncaring—the voices of the gallery of people who enjoyed witnessing another’s trauma, or worse.
Clink clatter, a metallic sound rang out.
With the crowd of people around them, two girls were standing in the centre. One of them, with a panicked state, had the source of the metallic sound in her hand, she was wheezing and her pink hair was sticking to her forehead with sweat.
“Ara, what happened? —Time is limited, you know? You have to use it very carefully and thoughtfully.”
And the other one had blonde hair, harsh and relentless words were thrown at the aforementioned pink-haired girl. Her extravagant blonde hair was curled. Unlike a normal Japanese person, her cheeks were pure white. From her gestures and behaviour, she gave off a very graceful vibe and her mouth, hidden behind the fan in her hand, undoubtedly was forming a smile. Although her body was wrapped in the school’s uniform, the length of her legs were easily visible, as well as her narrow waist and bulging chest.
Standing there, with crossed arms,
“This is the game you have asked for. Do, or don’t. But hurry up and decide, will you?”
She’s looking down.
She’s being looked down upon.
“A-A bit more…Wait just a bit more, please!”
“I’d prefer if you decided on it right here and now. I can’t have myself miss out on eating lunch.”
In front of the blonde-haired girl that spoke with a yawn, the rattling and clanking of metal grew more intense while the other girl fiddled with the metal object in her hands.
“The hell? Karen, what are they doing?”
Even from a distance, Guren could perfectly grasp the identity of the metallic object. Hence, Guren asked without thinking. Karen, who had arrived next to him, answered as if it was a daily occurrence.
“It’s a game of course. A simple game of Russian roulette, that is.”
Guren’s eyes opened wide as he unconsciously doubted her unrealistic explanation. However, the scenery in front of him brought forth the cold truth. Inside the shaking hand of the girl standing across the blondie was without a doubt a revolver-type handgun. With a type and size he had never seen before, one would think it might be some sort of toy, but the black abyss of the barrel could only be asking to be called real.
“No problem at all. It moves. It’s not foul play. It’s fine. It’s fine, right. Yeah, it’s fine…!”
The pink-haired girl checked the movement of the gun countless times with her hand, her face showed that she was close to tears. Her twin tails looking as fluffy as cotton candy and she had lovable facial features. Her crying appearance could easily be mistaken for that of a tiny animals in the midst of being tormented. Comparing her to the blonde-haired girl, her stature was smaller, around a head shorter even—but her chest was considerably more developed. No doubt, if her face wasn’t distorted in fear and terror, her smile would be quite the sight to behold.
“…Hey, is this really something you could laugh at, Karen? That gun isn’t the real deal, right?”
“A no brand gun…you could call it, but it’s specifically made for Russian roulette games at Shishiou Academy. Naturally, they can shoot bullets.”
“Ahh, I see. Just when I thought that I didn’t recognize that model…Still, guns made for Russian roulette games, what is this rotten school thinking? And the same for goes those two, betting their lives on such nonsense.”
Being amazed and at the same time shocked from the bottom of his heart, Guren said so and Karen tilted her head in response.
“Karen doesn’t think that they’d be happy to hear that from Onii-sama of all people.”
“I’m saying it because it’s a fact. Betting your life for something like this, that is.”
“They do so because they have their own set of circumstances. No matter how idiotic it may be.”
With those words, Karen took the device that Guren was holding in her hands, and operated it. She accessed the academy’s internal social network and displayed the profiles of the two girls.
“The girl with the twin tails is Momogai Momoka-san. Her profile is completely displayed it seems. She probably sold the rights to her profile.”
“…What’s that about?”
Shown on the social network screen was the face of the girl. Not her shivering, terrified expression, but a grin that flashed her teeth, the complete opposite of her current appearance. Her name, Momogai Momoka, left-handed, she came from a certain prefecture in the north-east, her family the wealthy landlords of the area. Her three sizes, her past romantic relationships and the different colours of underwear in her possession—
“….I see how it is.”
That’s what Karen was referencing with regards to the ‘rights to her profile’, and that she sold them. Comparing it to Guren’s profile, it clearly doesn’t have the same setting. Those settings were probably decided on by the winning or losing of games as well, judged Guren.
“The students can use their specific rights as poker chips. Usually, GP is used as a wager during ‘games’, but these special rights exist in case the GP isn’t enough.”
“What a sick way of doing things—And from the looks of it, this Momogai girl or whatever has been going on quite the losing streak.”
“Yes. Momoka-san has already lost the greater half of her GP by this point. Though she seemed to have denied any support from her family, she must be nearing her limit.”
“Is that so? So she ended up an easy mark for that blondie drill girl over there?”
“That’s Onii-sama for you. You saw through their relationship in a matter of seconds.”
“Everyone would be able to see that. That blondie-drills is clearly the type to push her prey into a corner if it means she’d gain an advantage.”
Just looking at Momoka’s profile started to hurt Guren, hence he minimized it and looked up the other party. The name of the blondie-drills was shown.
“Kusunoki Kaede…Hey, there’s only her name, nothing more. I thought that putting all this information in was an obligation.”
“It’s the reversed situation, Onii-sama. She used her GP and bought the rights to hide her profile. On a side note, the girl is C-Rank, her ranking currently being the 239th—the highest within the first-years, so that must’ve been an easy buy with the amount of GP she must have.”
With a blank facial expression, Guren compared the two profiles in front of him.
“Momogai is F-Rank, ranked as the 2703rd? Ha, she’s only one rank above me.”
“Onii-sama…So you really just played around at the exam?”
“I told you, didn’t I? That I won’t participate in any games. I’m the last-ranked small fry and that’s perfectly fine.”
“My word, even though Onii-sama should actually be number one,” Karen said, as she gave a displeased pout.
Although he enjoyed that cute look of hers, Guren’s gaze quickly returned to the two girls, still facing each other.
“Well, I feel like I got the gist of it.”
On one side, the eyes of the one looking down, overflowing with confidence.
On the other side, the eyes of the weak, scowling at the strong.
Kusunoki Kaede and Momogai Momoka, one was the predator and one the prey.
“With her profile leaking to this extent, she definitely wants to change her current situation. With nothing to bet upon anymore, she probably wants to do an all or nothing to turn her situation around.”
“Yes. The rules of Russian roulette are very simple. The cylinder has the capacity to be filled with six bullets, but you load it with a single bullet, point it at your own head and pull the trigger. That’s just it.”
“What about the turns of the cylinder?”
“You turn it every time when it’s your turn.”
“I see. So, it’s not a higher chance of getting shot the longer the game is played, but the chances are always one out of six, huh.”
“Indeed. It’s a game that’s completely reliant on luck. As her low rank already shows, she’s not good at racking her head in faster-paced games, as well as games that favour intelligence. Hence—”
“She betted on a luck-based game.”
“That’s it, yes.”
—At that moment in time, she already lost.
“—The moment you thought like that, you were already destined to be the loser!”
Without knowing it, his thoughts overlapped with someone else’s — Kaede’s words, as she spoke from the centre of the crowd, like a queen to her followers, as she puffed out her well-endowed chest.
“Did you think that you could best me with a game of pure luck? Without with knowledge or courage, you continued to challenge me with countless fruitless attempts and continued to be defeated by me, Momoka-san. And now—”
Folding her fan, the girl gave a sarcastic giggle.
“—You think that you can at least best me once?”
“I…It’s going to be fine! This time for sure, Momoka will win. Because…because…!”
On the verge of tears, Momoka refused to give in.
“Momoka lost all this time. She couldn’t win against Kusunoki-san. That’s why, now it should be…”
“Your turn to win, you say?”
In response to Momoka’s words, which she seemingly struggled to bring to her lips,
“Laughable. I had been on my toes, anticipating that you would at least employ some semblance of wit into our very last contest when you declared it, but—”
A ridiculing snort left her mouth.
“—Are you not familiar with this rule? The goddess of victory won’t shine down on worthless losers like you. The ones that don’t have anything, don’t receive a turn in the line.”
“Y-You’ll never know if you don’t try!”
“It’s exactly because you don’t know that you keep on losing. Well, I might as well teach you something.”
With an expression that made her look bored to death, Kaede took back the gun from the teary-faced Momoka and gave it a check with the fluent hands of a skilled worker. With her right and then her left hand, she turned the magazine.
“No small tricks to be found. How comforting. It seems like you didn’t lose your bourgeoise pride.”
“…This time for sure…with my everything, I will win…!”
With those words, Momoka’s twin tails shook.
“D-Don’t stand behind Momoka. Step back a bit.”
As if to reject the bystanders, she waved her hand at them. In response, Kaede giggled.
“Ara ara. Did you think that they would listen to your orders?”
“……Just this one contest, Momoka can’t allow herself to lose…!”
“Yes. Very well then. Everyone, would you please step back a bit? I don’t want to be held responsible for anything.”
Kade waved her fan at the crowd, a smile flashing over her lips. While the students looked each other in the eye, they obeyed her instructions and took a step back.
“This should be fine. Now then, let us start the game, shall we?”
The widened crowd of people was akin to something like an ancient arena.
“The gun was prepared by Momoka-san. The spectators are far off, no chances of fraud. The winner gets decided by luck.”
As Karen muttered that to herself, Guren ran his fingers through his hair.
“Decided by luck? Don’t be ridiculous, Karen. At this rate, that twintails girl will die.”
While Karen’s eyes opened wide, the game moved on. Kaede held the grip of the gun with her right hand, while letting the magazine slide with her left hand.
Rattle —— Clunk.
The sound of the turning magazine stopped and Kaede put the barrel of the gun against her temple.
“Then, I’ll be starting.”
Without ever so much as a slight twitch, she pulled the trigger.
Silence. Proof that the chamber was empty for this shot.
“Fu…Fufufu…Ohohohohohoho! That’s one win for me. Next is Momoka-san, yes?”
Opening her fan again, Kaede hid her mouth as she laughed. In response, Momoka’s face went as white as paper.
“……! My turn…!”
Momoka accepted the gun, held the gun with her left hand and turned the magazine with her right hand.
Rattle—the moment the magazine started rotating, Gurren stepped forward and called out to her.
“Hey, you pink-haired girl!”
Being called out by Guren, Momoka gave a small jump as her body twitched.
“W-W-What is it?! U-Uhm, I’m in the middle of a game right now if you can’t see?! My life depends on it, so what are you thinking?!”
Though Momoka lashed out at Guren, he didn’t show any signs of caring. The crowd around them had gotten noisy. Their eyes gathered on the intruding Guren and they all narrowed their gazes.
“Who the hell are you? You’re in here, so you must be a classmate, but…”
“Gotta check his profile…You’re Saijou Guren, huh…Saijou…?”
“Wha—! Saijou…you say?!”
So this is the so called profile checking, huh.
Sparing him the time of having to do a self-introduction was a good thing, hence Guren let out a wretched smile. That moment, a soft feeling clung to his back.
“Onii-sama…interrupting other people’s games is bad manners, you know?”
“Don’t say that while clinging to me, Karen. We’re at school now, this is inappropriate even if we’re siblings.”
“My, are you getting flustered? Karen is happy about that~”
Like a cheerful cat, she rubbed her cheek against Guren’s back. Naturally, the people around them didn’t miss that.
“S…Saijou…so that’s Saijou Karen’s…older brother? Why is he at this school?!”
“Look at Saijou Karen’s profile. There’s a new line! ‘Saijou Guren’s little sister here~’, it says!”
“She’s revealing personal information on her own accord?”
“………Maybe she thinks that she can relax with her B-rank. Saijou Karen, you keep sinking lower…!”
Voices filled with bloodlust. Guren on his part just narrowed his eyes.
“Hey, Karen. I forgot to ask you, but what rank are you?”
“Karen is B-rank, ranked as the 98th. She’s very embarrassed to report that there are 97 people in front of her.”
“You’re still on the stronger side, right? You really changed in the time that I haven’t seen you…”
“No no no, comparing herself to Onii-sama’s skill, Karen is still nothing but a newborn.”
“Please, don’t get any stronger in games than this.”
“Can Karen take that as a ‘I will support you’ declaration? My, Onii-sama~”
“Will you two give it a rest already, Karen-san? And, Guren-san…was it?”
The fan snapped together.
Holding the folded fan in the palm of her hand, Kaede glared at Guren with a gaze full of bloodlust.
“We are in the middle of sacred game. Although you might be a transfer student that doesn’t quite know the rules yet, interrupting isn’t something I can over—”
“Well, it makes sense, in your case.”
“…What are you implying?”
Her voice was laced with wariness. But, Guren ignored that and instead made his way towards the centre of the crowd.
“Momogai, was it. Is it fine for you to not investigate the gun?”
“Eh? Momoka checked it three times just now…and this is the one that she prepared herself, so it’s totally fine!”
“Ahhh, well, it’s true that you worked hard for this. But rather than that, you should—”
“I-Isn’t it fine already! Just leave us be!”
Cutting through Guren’s sentence, Momoka acted like a dog that got his tail stepped on.
“Hey hey hey…”
Being pushed, Guren took a few steps backwards. Taking a deep breath, Momoka pressed the barrel against her temple as well.
“Don’t barge in again, okay…Now it’s Momoka’s turn!”
Putting strength into the hand that was holding the gun, she firmly shut her eyes. Her slender fingers were shaking furiously as she put them on the trigger.
Clank—the moment she was about to press the trigger.
Haaa…Can’t help it then, I swear.
Guren lightly moved his leg like a pendulum, hitting the back of Momoka’s knees.
In response, Momoka’s body reflexively sunk down.
Not even a second later, the sound of a gunshot rang out. Because the holder of the gun was out of balance, the barrel was lifted upwards towards the sky and that’s where the gun was shot at. An explosive sound ran through the classroom. The moment that sound rang out, something red dripped down from the ceiling.
After taking a good gaze at it, Guren was baffled.
“Ink…? No, ketchup. Bringing out such an exaggerated gun and this is the bullet?”
Wiping away the red fluid that fell on his chest with his finger and licking it, Guren said so, clearly exasperated.
Momoka sank down onto the floor and a metallic clang rang out as the gun was fell to the floor. Just staring at the gunpowder smoke that escaped from the barrel, escaping towards the sky as thin as a thread, her body started to shiver furiously out of fear. Her skirt was wrinkled up, offering a peek of what was beneath that, but before Guren could get a chance to see, a pair of hands appeared from behind his back and covered his sight. Naturally, he didn’t even have to ask on who they belonged to.
“Hey, Karen. Didn’t you say that the gun was the real deal?”
“Karen didn’t say that the bullet was as well, Onii-sama. No matter how much games are everything in this academy, games that directly target the life of the students aren’t allowed.”
When Karen responded with that, still obstructing his vision,
“Then say so from the start. Now I did something unnecessary, ugh…”
The bullet that burst on the ceiling. With his face drenched in the splattered bullet, Guren let out an exasperated sigh, as he said,
“Sorry for bothering you like this, you two. You can do what you want now.”
“Wait a second, Saijou Guren. I’d like an explanation.”
Unlike the flustered Momoka, Kaede was completely calm amd not trying to hide her displeased expression as she stood in front of Guren to stop him, slightly pressing the folded fan below Guren’s chin.
“You’ve disturbed my sacred game twice now. Do you think that I would just forgive you like that?”
“It’s my first day after transferring and I thought that someone would be killed off in front of my eyes, so of course I’d stop that. Taking classes in the same seat that a person died in a few minutes ago, would you do that?”
Taking out her own electrical student identification device, she checked the application. Though the location the game happened at had been open until now, the application showed that it was now the possession of none other than Guren.
“I see, I understand your reason. But it’s a fact that you disturbed our game. If I report that to the school, you’ll receive a penalty, you know?”
“Do what you want. I’m satisfied that I didn’t have to watch anybody die today.”
“Why did you do it at that timing? You didn’t disrupt the game when it was my turn.”
Ah ha…so she caught on already…
—Or so Guren thought, as he was openly glared at by Kaede.
If he’d known that it was just a fake bullet, there would’ve been no need for him to step in. Though she might’ve gotten hurt from the impact, she certainly wouldn’t have died.
“I was definitely sure that she’d die, so I jumped in.”
Though Guren had planned to end the conversation there, Kaede’s expression was the exact opposite of satisfaction. It probably upset her stomach that she didn’t get to finish the game.
“‘Definitely’, is it…? That, I cannot ignore. This was nothing more than a game and the conditions were fair and square for both sides. You never know the results until the very end, don’t you?”
“Fair and square, huh. Well, it’s easy for you to say that.”
Packing all his confidence into his voice, Guren continued.
“—The thought of leaving something up to luck is the exact way of thinking a future loser has. The goddess of victory doesn’t smile upon the loser, huh.”
With these words from Guren, Kaede’s poker face started to show cracks.
“If you want to say something, how about you go ahead?”
“You sure about that? ‘Explaining’ everything?”
Even though it wasn’t even meant as a threat and without packing any definite meaning into it, Kaede had tightly shut her mouth like a kid that got scolded by an adult, in this case Guren.
“Very well. It is your first day after transferring, so I will overlook it this once…Momoka-san?”
As if she wanted to run away, she averted her eyes from Guren and gave a heartfelt glare towards the person that she had technically just defeated.
Being called out, Momoka, who was sitting on floor between two seats, jumped slightly. After frantically looking between the gun, whose gunpowder smoke had already faded, and Kaede’s face…
“P-Please hold on, Kusunoki-san! This contest just now doesn’t cou—”
“I will not count it as invalid. The contest was completed.”
“N-No way! B-But, we got interrupted, so…that’s just weird!”
“It did feel lousy, but I won’t accept any excuses. When it was your turn, the bullet was shot. In that regard, the AI will surely declare me the winner.”
The spectators started to get noisy again. At the feet of Kaede, who was confident of her victory, Momoka looked around at the gallery of people, her gaze begging for help.
“E-Everyone…! Please…those GP were…my last…!”
Seeing the girl’s vulnerability and despair written all over her face, would make anyone’s heart ache. However, the classmates didn’t reach out with their hands, not one of their eyebrows even twitched.
Everyone just went silently, returning to their seats, ignoring the girl like she was an abandoned puppy. They had lost all interest, in contrast to their enthusiasm during the game just now, seeing this constituted as nothing more than part of their ‘Daily Life’—
And then, the girl was alone.
“How unsightly, Momoka-san—Having bet everything, and still losing.”
“Cry as much as you want. But, the ‘payment’ will not be forgotten.”
A mechanical voice resounded from both of their electronic student IDs.
‘—The conclusion of the game has been confirmed. Approved.’
‘Loser, F-Rank, rank 2703, Momogai Momoka-san. Deduction of 1000GP’
‘Winner, C-Rank, rank 239, Kusunoki Kaede-san. Acquisition of 1000GP’
‘Momogai Momoka-san’s GP balance reached zero, hence she is stripped of her rights as a player and position in the rankings.
If no ‘contract’ is created within one week, she will be unconditionally expelled from this school—’
The system announced lightly and the icon of the application on Momoka’s student ID changed its colour. The design of the Shishiou Academy school emblem didn’t change, but the colour changed from a soothing blue, to a menacing red.
Watching that, Kaede showed a merciless grin.
“Congratulations on dropping out soon, Momoka-san.”
Big, round tears started running down Momoka’s cheek, while she was being looked down upon by Kaede.
“So the only thing you do is cry—I’m disappointed in you. Try your best in finding someone that would buy your body.”
Leaving only these words behind, Kaede didn’t spare Momoka another glance as she walked towards her own seat. In the same classroom. Just a few steps apart. In the exact same atmosphere, they still existed as winner and loser. One was breaking down in tears, while the other was bursting with another win on their shoulders.
—The scenery could make you feel sick. That’s exactly why Guren started hating all of this.
“Hey, can you stand?”
Pressing down the feeling of guilt in his chest, he held out a hand towards Momoka.
“Hey, stop it, will you? Cry at your own seat…Is it here? Karen, don’t just watch and help me.”
“Onii-sama, are you stretching out a helping hand towards her because she’s cute? …Uhm…though my chest might be a bit lacking compared to hers, I’ll definitely make them bigger somehow…!”
“What are you talking about…?”
Since Guren couldn’t expect any assistance from Karen, he carried Momoka to her seat after identifying it with the help of his student ID application.
Arriving there, Momoka just slumped her body onto the table, she was silent now and just the shaking of her back could be seen. Guren knew that he was overstepping his bounds, but he still called out once.
“The result wouldn’t have changed even if I didn’t jump in…But, I did make you end up in this grovelling manner. Sorry, for meddling like that.”
“Alright, I’ll be going now.”
Still collapsed on the table, her back shook ever so slightly. Guren took that as a response and feeling better that he freed himself from his guilt, he trotted back to his seat. Still, for the first day of his new life, he certainly didn’t expect things to go so absurdly.
Sitting down in his chair, Guren shook his head to clear his thoughts. The bright, soothing student life he’d always imagined was far away here, and the first day couldn’t have been worse. Unable to do anything against it whatsoever, he rested his chin on one hand as he let out a sigh.
“What, Karen? —Ah, your seat is next to me?”
“Yes, it is now after a trade~ Karen still has quite a few favours she can call in from the people of this class.”
Guren showed no intention of questioning his little sister on her method of acquiring this seat. He guessed that it probably was something similar to the incident from a few minutes ago. The eyes of their classmates gathered on them were coloured with blatant wariness.
“By the way, Onii-sama, how did you know that Momoka-san’s chamber had a bullet in it?”
“I didn’t. I just guessed, that’s it.”
“Stop teasing and teach Karen. Onii-sama isn’t the kind of person to act on intuition. If you won’t teach her, Karen will continue to ask. Is that fine with you?”
“Stop, will you? Just imagining that is giving me a headache.”
Seeing Karen’s eyes, sparkling with curiosity Guren let out a sigh. Checking the surroundings with a quick glance, he made sure that their classmates wouldn’t be able to hear him. Luckily, the other students seemed to have grown wary, so they didn’t come any closer and they would be unable to listen in.
—This should be fine, I guess.
“—That gun had a trick to it.”
“My~ But, it was the one that Momoka-san prepared, you know? Not to mention that she thoroughly checked it before the game.”
“She prepared it, but it’s still one that belongs to the school, right?”
“Ahhh, now that you say it.”
“I don’t really know how things work here, but I’m guessing that she got it from someone in charge of the game equipment. Just like a library has a librarian, they should have someone here for the games too.”
“Yes, that should be the case.”
“Then it’s simple. All the deals here are decided with GP. Just like how you got your current seat next to me, the students should be able to make ‘Requests’ with their GP.”
“Now that you say it…the GP system doesn’t only apply to the students, but the teachers as well. Granting students specific requests, they receive GP in return—And the more GP they own, the higher their reputation and evaluation.”
Speaking this far, Karen cut into her monologue with a “But”…
“Assuming that Kusunoki-san did something like that…how did she know that Momoka-san would be choosing the Russian roulette game?”
“Momogai was on a losing streak, hence unable to think rationally anymore. That’s why it makes sense that she’d fall back on a luck-based game.”
“Ahh, that explains it.”
“A game where she bet everything. A game she chose, that gave her peace of mind, but opened cracks for the enemy to exploit. Kusunoki probably prepared similar tricks for all games that rely on luck like that. Whatever the challenge, win, no matter the costs—because she developed that mindset, she emerged victorious here. That’s all there is to it.”
“You see these sorts of people all the time at the ‘Black Vote’, Karen—This is just one of the many templates.”
—Employed the strong, clever, and self-confident elite.
“Types like her don’t ever relax in order to win. If it’s a game of luck, then they’ll find some sort of loophole that nobody can accuse as cheating.”
“This time, the trick was on the gun. Then, what kind of con do you think Kusunoki-san has used? Momoka-san checked the gun countless times, without finding anything.”
“There’s no way someone that doesn’t know their way around guns would realize that irregularity. Not to mention that this one was made by order for this ridiculous school. Thinking like that, expecting to see the irregularity that easily is idiotic.”
Stopping his words there, Guren put up the index finger of his right hand, and spun it.
“Normally, the magazines of revolvers only turn left or right. Depending on the maker, they can also turn in both directions, but that can be unexpectedly idiotic in games like these.”
The magazine of the revolver is something akin to a tube, with six holes, which normally doesn’t come with a cover.
“—Looking at the sides, you’ll see if there’s a bullet in the next hole or not. If you keep turning the magazine, even a monkey would figure out when the bullet would be next. But, in the case of the special made revolver for Shishiou Academy, the turning of the magazine isn’t fixed and you can’t see inside it.”
“Yes, it’s a gun specifically made for Russian roulette after all.”
“Being able to be turned left and right—There’s the crux of the problem.”
As Karen blinked blankly at Guren, he continued in a low voice.
“Kusunoki-san held the gun in her right hand and turned with her left. Momoka did the exact opposite. She held the gun with her left hand, and turned with her right.”
A right-handed person would hold the gun with her right hand, and turn the magazine with her left. The exact opposite can be said for a left-handed person.
“The moment I saw that confident face, I was certain. Kusunoki definitely used some trick here. Well, generally speaking—
If a right-handed person turns the magazine with their left hand, the bullet won’t be shot.
If a left-handed person turns the magazine with their right hand, the bullet will definitely be shot.
—That’s about it, I guess.”
(tln: the author doesn’t elaborate anymore on why the bullet won’t be shot here)
A prejudice towards the tool she prepared herself. Guiding the conversation with the help of the crowd and weakening her perceptibility, to finish the trick—
“A boring fraud.”
“You deduced all of it in that one moment, Onii-sama?”
“What if your deductions were off…?”
“It’s not about being right or wrong, there’s just one truth.”
“Intuition, or something akin to that.”
Towards his little sister’s doubt, Guren just scratched his head as he showed a bitter smile.
“I can see it. The path they took, their thoughts. The process in which they built up the solution that would lead them to victory. Everything, like a blueprint, just starts floating into my mind clearly. And in these five years, I’ve never been off once.”
Watching her older brother whilst listening to Guren’s nonchalant explanation, Karen’s white throat vibrated as she gulped.
“…Onii-sama really is extraordinary.”
“Worthless, that’s what this is. This power that can only be of use in this sullied world, that’s got no value at all. Rather than that, I would’ve preferred good communication skills that would enable me to make friends faster, a solid curricular history that would allow me to work at a normal company, these things are much more important. Really…Karen, don’t go spreading any weird rumours, okay?”
Guren pleaded, and received Karen’s smile in return.
“Very well~ it’ll be a secret between Onii-sama and Karen. She’ll make sure to treasure this.”
Gazing at the lovable expression of his little sister, Guren let out a sigh internally.
Things turned into something bothersome on the first day, huh.
He got to see a game right in front of his eyes and even ended up interrupting it for no reason.
Please, just calm down already
The scent of blood, the taste of grief, considering the position of the pray, the monsters sleeping deep inside the back of Guren’s heart slowly started to awaken.
Shit. As if I’d get consumed by that again. I’ll never go through something like that a second time. That’s what I decided
The bell rang.
Pushing down on his chest, to prevent the muddy darkness inside him from overflowing, Guren looked forward to the now starting class.