Chapter 4.5-4: Limits of the Ordinary

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Suzaku's POV

The wind blew gently today, occasionally sweeping through my hair.

I was heading to my usual spot, the school's gym, equipped with a plethora of state-of-the-art equipment.

As far as I know, it's common for universities to have their own gyms, and high schools too, except high school gyms were always low-budget and, well, mediocre at best.

Thanks to this school's government funding, though, the gym here far outclassed even big gyms in Tokyo. It was perfect for keeping up with the honing of my body.

I arrived with only a water bottle in hand, and entered the expansive gym room.

I expected it to be empty since it was early morning on the first day of our proper summer vacation, but there was one person already here.

A shirtless boy with a large, chiselled muscles covering his upper body, mid-length blond hair, and an arrogant smirk on his face.

It was Kōenji Rokusuke, from Class E.

My classmates have said many times that this boy was a massive enigma, appearing to possess incredible mental and physical abilities, but no will to actually put them to use.

I felt panic rise in me as I realised what he was doing.

He was doing a bench-press routine. This was extremely dangerous to do on your own, especially since it looked like he was lifting a massive amount of weight.

"K-Kōenji?! What are you doing?!"

I shouted at him automatically.

In response, he merely looked over, as if he was only just noticing my presence.

"Kururugi-boy. I don't blame you for exclaiming impulsively at the sight of such a perfect existence, but is there something you specifically want?"

He spoke calmly while casually continuing his reps.

"Why don't you have a spotter?! You could get seriously hurt." I responded, rushing over to position myself behind him.

"You can be at ease, Spotter-boy. Somebody as great as I would never be harmed by such a trivial exercise."

"You can stroke your ego all you want, I still won't let you endanger yourself."

Kōenji let out a haughty laugh. "I suppose if it would please you that much, I'll do some charity work and allow you to help."

I'd never properly spoken to Kōenji before, but even after this super short interaction, I already knew what everyone meant now. This boy was extra.

He did around ten more lifts, before appearing to finish and offering the sweat-covered bar to me.

I grabbed it, but it immediately fell as I did so, and would've fallen directly onto Kōenji's chest if he didn't catch it himself.

It was so heavy, I wasn't expecting it, and wasn't in the proper form to lift.

"Now you see, no?" Kōenji asked as he placed the weight back himself and stood up. "I work at a higher level than anybody else, so nobody can assist me."

"You were in bench press while I was standing normally. Obviously, it's easier for you to lift." I argued.

The sweat covered Kōenji motioned toward the bench. "In that case, be my guest."

"Without warming up?"

"Naturally. There's barely anything on there."

"Do you do that without a warmup?"

"You're misunderstanding, Kururugi-boy. That was my warmup."

Warmup exercises consisted of motions that simply worked to get your muscles in gear, not super heavy lifting like this!

I couldn't tell if he was being serious, or just messing around with me. I chose to believe the latter.

Nevertheless, I decided to take Kōenji up on his challenge, and started my warmup exercises.

Once I was finished, I laid down on the bench, and gripped the weighted bar in my hands. Kōenji moved to position himself behind me.

"I wouldn't have thought you the type." I remarked.

"I simply don't want to be held accountable, since you'll probably fail."

Kōenji was pretty sure of my failure. Little did he know, however, that I wouldn't have any troubles completing his challenge.

I lifted the bar off of its resting place, and began pumping the bar. Up and down. Up and down. One, two, three, four, five. Ten, Twenty, Thirty.

At thirty, I started to feel it in my arms, and my sweaty palms had difficulty maintaining a firm grip on the metal, so I calmly returned the bar to its hold.

As I got up, I looked over to Kōenji, who wore an expression of genuine surprise.

"I must say, Spotter-boy, that was impressive, even by my own perfect standards."

Then, it was my turn to be surprised. I definitely wasn't expecting an actual compliment from Kōenji.

"Thanks, I guess..?"

Uncertainty laced the tone of my reply.

"Say, Kururugi-boy, how about you come with me?"

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