Translated and Edited by: ynlucca.
Cheating was impossible. Suntetsu’s national mock exam was a mix of discursive and objective questions.
The math part of the exam tested your ability to abstract and solve problems. English required an extensive vocabulary, and the ability to casually translate. And the Japanese part of the exams was permeated by archaic excerpts, difficult essays, and even heavily-inflected texts.
Even if you manage to sneak in some kind of cheat sheet, if you didn’t understand the questions, you wouldn’t be able to solve anything by the time the test ended.
Furthermore, the only person that managed a 600/600 score was someone nicknamed ‘Asopasomaso’. He was the sole number one. Even if someone had cheated on that exam, it would definitely not be him.
At any rate, I’ll have to ask him directly about that.
The next day, I stuffed the leaderboard of the mock exam in my bag and went to school.
One thing I’ve noticed is that Kuzuhara-kun doesn’t like to be the center of attention. I’m sure he’d dodge this in front of his classmates, so I have to do it after school. It wouldn’t be hard since he’s in the go-home club.
At the end of our afternoon classes, the teacher clasped her hands together and said–
“So, this is it for homeroom! You are dismissed. Be careful on the way home!”
The atmosphere in class lightened immediately.
“Whew… I’m beat.”
“As always, time passes soooo slowly in this class.”
“Hey, hey, do you guys wanna go to Harajuku have some fun?”
“Great idea! Let’s invite Mococchi and Horacio too!”
“Time for some club activities!”
“Today I’m gonna bench press 100!”
While everyone chatted happily with their friends, Kuzuhara took his bag silently and walked out of class unnoticed, like a shadow in the night.
I hurriedly get out of my seat and follow him, but… He was fast!
He was way too fast.
With legs far stronger than what one would expect from the go-home club, he went through a lot of shortcuts on his way home. There’s something strangely annoying about those refined and quick moves.
“Ah, Shirayuki-san, could you—”
“Sorry Sakura-san, I’m a bit busy at the moment.”
I shook off my friend and kept following Kuzuhara-kun.
Running through the long halls, and quickly changing into my slippers at my locker, I strode out of the main gate. I could see his back in the distance.
“Wait… Wait for me… Kuzuhara-kun!”
I shouted unusually high, which ended up grabbing everyone’s attention.
As I catched my breath, the silhouette in front of me turned around.
“What’s wrong, Shirayuki?”
Kuzuhara-kun had the same languid, indifferent expression on his face as always.
He didn’t have a drop of arrogance in him.
Despite beating the Nagisa Jinguji and achieving the position of number one nationwide, Kuzuhara-kun didn’t boast, nor did he sneer at anyone.
He was just as calm as always, and it’s as if nothing happened.
I was briefly overwhelmed by these things.
“Hey? Shirayuki? If you don’t need me, then I’ll go on my way, okay?”
Pulled back to my senses, I quickly pulled the leaderboard of the mock exams and pointed at the top of the chart.
“This… This is you, right Kuzuhara-kun?”
“… Who’s Asopasomaso?”
He retorted, but that didn’t stop me.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve seen you write that name on your exam sheet.”
“… Ah… I see…”
He scratched his cheek looking visibly anxious. He was definitely Asopasomaso, and his reaction only proved it.
“How have you managed to get first place if you always doze off in class?”
“… I was just lucky…”
“Suntetsu’s national mock test is the most difficult one. Moreover, it’s actually impossible to get number one in this exam by sheer luck, since it had a lot of writing sections!”
“… I mean… Fine. Just don’t tell anyone, okay? I—”
He sighed, giving up on arguing, and told me something completely unbelievable.
“Pho… Photographic memory?”
“Yeah, that’s right. They talk about it sometimes on TV.”
Honestly, that was hard to believe, but… Kuzuhara-kun seems to have a condition that allows him to never forget anything he’s ever seen.
“I guess actions speak louder than words, huh… Could you lend me one of your textbooks real quick? It could be as messy as possible, just flip through it very fast.”
“O-Okay, got it.”
I took out my history textbook and flipped through all the pages extremely quickly, in a way he could see everything.
“Is this alright?”
“Yeah. Now tell me a random page number, and make sure I can’t see the contents of the book.”
“Well then… Page 185.”
“Page 185 reads… ‘In 1867, the fifteenth shogun of the Edo shogunate, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, returned power to the Imperial Court. In the background, while this happened, a movement to overthrow the shogunate began to happen, led by Satcho Sachou—'”
“… No… Way…”
He recited an entire excerpt of the page, word for word, just as if he was reading the thing directly.
“So that’s how it works. If I ever see something, I’ll never forget it. That’s why I managed to ace the mock exam… Just please, don’t tell anyone about this, okay?”
“O-Okay… I understand.”
“Hope it helped… Now see ya.”
Kuzuhara-kun went back to walking home after saying that. I, on the other hand, couldn’t move from my spot for a while.
Kuzuo Kuzuhara is an actual genius with an actual talent.
He stood in the place I’ve always desperately longed for and tried to reach. He was at the very top.
In the student council, Shirayuki’s clear cerulean eyes burned brightly, consumed by the scorching flame of determination.
“In these two remaining years until graduation, I will study you thoroughly and work even harder. I will surpass you by our senior year’s final exam, and I will win against you, a real genius.”
“… You mean that me being in the student council is your first step in beating me?”
“Yes. I look forward to working with you this following year.”
She bowed her head after saying that.
I thought about whether or not I should join the student council, whether or not I should have this relationship with Fuyuka Shirayuki, and after thinking through all the possibilities, what crossed my mind were those words that I heard one day, long ago…
Snow White’s fleeting wish—
“I want to be spoiled.”
With that, I finally decided.
“Okay… I look forward to it as well.”
And so the strange relationship between me and Shirayuki began.
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