Chapter 4-1: The Zodiac Special Exam

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Sora's POV

I clicked on my phone's screen once more and reread the mail from the school once again, just to be sure.

It was definitely room 204, 18:00. There could be no doubt. I'd already read this same sentence five times.

This wasn't like me at all. I've always been confident in my memory, so why had I suddenly lost confidence in myself?

–Oh, that's right—

Out of habit, I reached down to clasp Shiro's hand in mine, however nothing but empty air slipped through my fingers. Shiro wasn't here.

I took a deep breath as I arrived at my destination five minutes before the scheduled time – room 204.

I was here, alone, in the world outside the safety of that room, without Shiro by my side. Alone in the world filled with strangers.

Alone in the world I'd rejected.

Students in the corridor were all shuffling into their respectively assigned rooms. I could not identify each and every one of them, but students passed by me back and forth and went into their assigned rooms.

S-so, there are other students with the same meeting time as me but different rooms, huh? That could only mean... what could it mean?

I gritted my teeth in anger. It was humiliating that I'd been reduced to such a pathetic state.

I can't even make such a trivial deduction on my own? Without Shiro, am I just another drop in the ocean? Yeah, that's right. There's nothing special about me at all. So much for being in a 'genius' class.

No. That's not it.

I can coherently come to a conclusion based off of this observation. I'd done it countless times before in the past. I have the ability to make such simple deductions.

I shouldn't NEED Shiro to exercise that ability.

My hand trembled ever so slightly as I focused my thoughts.

Other classes' students are here at the same time as me going to different rooms. The fact that I had different times from my other classmates implies that we'll all be separate, but there are other students from the same class going to the same rooms right now...

With that, I came to a simple hypothesis. First, the students were all split into different 20-minute time blocks. And then after that, students from separate classes were split into different rooms.

The reason why I didn't share a time nor room with any other Class D student should be simple, then – it's because there's only one of us per grouping. In other words, there are at least seven different groups, probably more.

Feeling satisfied with my sub-par deduction, I clenched my shaking fist and resolved myself, as I headed towards room 204. I raised my hand and knocked timidly against the door, and received a quick reply. "Enter."

Having been given permission to enter, I stepped into the room. There I saw the homeroom teacher for Class A, Mashima-sensei, sitting on a chair. There was nobody else in the room.

"Have a seat."

I took my time moving over to the only available seat in the room, and sat down as I cowered under Mashima-sensei's gaze.

He narrowed his eyes, presumably puzzled by my behaviour.

Well, it's not like I'd expected him to understand my situation, anyway.

After a brief silence, Mashima-sensei's firm voice reverberated in my ears.

"Sora. I will now explain the contents of the special exam."

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