Chapter 4-9: Blue Ocean

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Ayanokōji's POV

On the final day of the Zodiac Exam, which had functionally ended already, all seven members of our class gathered in the main café of the ship.

We'd made sure to arrive early while the cafe was as good as empty so that we'd be able to secure a table with enough seats, and people from various classes had begun trickling in since.

The time was currently 10:49pm, or eleven minutes before the results of the test would be announced.

"This test was so annoying compared to the last one," complained Lelouch in a sulking tone.

"Because there was pretty much no possible way for us to win, being in only seven groups and only having one VIP?" Light asked before taking a sip of his coffee.

"Obviously!"

"This exam, for our class, was more about minimising losses than maximising gains, the complete opposite of the island exam," Sora commented, stroking the hair of the short girl seated in his lap.

"Yeah, and damage control is boring!" Lelouch reiterated.

"It may be boring, but it is something every great leader must do occasionally," Ryuzaki said.

Whether you were a prime minister trying to appease citizens or a company CEO attempting to stifle controversy, you were in essence doing the same thing.

If you are a prominent figure, there will always come a time when you're under attack and can do nothing but minimise the damage done. As a result, it was good that this school provided opportunities for us to practice that skill.

"Oh, if it isn't the lab rats! Don't mind if I join you, right?"

Stepping up to where we were seated, the imposing figure of Ryūen forcefully shoved a nearby table against ours, forming a single giant table, and sat down without waiting for permission.

"I don't recall anybody saying 'Go ahead,'," Lelouch said confrontationally.

"I don't recall caring what you think," Ryūen shot back with a smug expression.

I found myself genuinely impressed. Ryūen had no problems with going alone to intrude on another class' gathering. He certainly acted like he owned the place.

"It's okay, Lelouch. Ryūen probably doesn't have any friends to share the exam results with. Being inclusive is the right thing to do," Sora said with a grin.

Ryūen looked him in the eye. "Don't get haughty with me, Sora. Who's the one pissing himself when it's just me and you, hm?"

Ryūen was obviously referencing the incident that took place between him, Sora, Karuizawa and Manabe yesterday on the emergency stairs.

Of course, since the rest of Class D didn't know about it, they wore confused expressions.

"The pen is mightier than the sword, Ryūen. Who cares if you can throw your weight around when nobody is watching?" Light retorted.

"Everyone who isn't under 24/7 observation should care, since they may end up next on the chopping block. And try bringing a pen to a sword fight, see what happens."

Ryūen, taking no arguments, remained firm in his methodology and shot down every point made against him.

The clacking of multiple pairs of feet against the wooden floor reached my ears, and I turned to look over my shoulder.

My eyes fell upon the three primary figures of Class E: Horikita, Kushida and Hirata.

They all stopped and scanned their eyes over the room, presumably looking for a free table, to no avail.

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