Kei Karuizawa gives a monologue reflecting on how nothing has changed since she entered the school. From the beginning, she had no intention of changing anything, as she simply understands herself more than anyone else, both in strengths and weaknesses. Even when no one likes her she still doesn't want to change, because she had wanted this. Looking at herself in the mirror after getting out of the bathroom, she suddenly feels dizzy and throws up. She keeps asking herself on the reason for her sufferings, without being able to change anything from the past. Her personality was destroyed, along with losing her youth, her friends and herself. As such, she will do anything to protect herself, to ensure that will never happen again. She declares herself a 'parasite', a weak creature incapable of surviving on its own.
Chapter 1 Edit
It has been three days after the Deserted Island Special Test and the students are enjoying themselves on the luxurious cruise ship.
Kiyotaka wonders if the environment around him has changed. He has chosen this school because of the "Contact with the outside until graduation is forbidden" rule. Sae Chabashira has informed him that his father is going after him, and furthermore she's used it to blackmail him to help her take the class to Class A or he will be forced to drop out. As he lacks the power to refuse and has no way to ascertain the truth of her claims, he has to go along with it, but believes that he will not be blackmailed forever.
Yōsuke Hirata calls out to him and asks whether Kiyotaka has been in his room, with Kiyotaka replying he has no reason to go out since he doesn't have anyone to spend time with. Hirata points out there's still Ken Sudō and Suzune Horikita, and suggests that Kiyotaka could make more friends if he was more aggressive.
Hirata then tells Kiyotaka about his plan on having lunch with Karuizawa (and three other girls) and invites him to tag along. Kiyotaka denies, stating he would probably not get along with Karuizawa's group. Hirata insists on inviting him and asks whether it would be fine if there's only two of them. Kiyotaka says Karuizawa may not be happy with it as an attempt to decline, but Hirata reassures him, saying that he has limited opportunities to eat together with him while he can eat with Karuizawa whenever he wants.
Hirata then thanks Kiyotaka for his cooperation in the island test, while Kiyotaka gives the credit to Suzune. They talk about the underwear theft incident. After getting to the restaurant, Hirata asks Kiyotaka to be the bridge between him and Suzune, stating that she is indispensable for the class and he wants to work together with her. Kiyotaka notes that it won't be easy as Suzune is that type of person, who sees it as an unnecessary interference. Hirata acknowledges that and says Kiyotaka is his last resort as he has no confidence in convincing her. Kiyotaka asks if it is too premature, and Hirata agrees, saying he'll rethink his approach.
Hirata asks Kiyotaka on how he managed to get along with Suzune, pointing out that she seems to only get along well with him. Kiyotaka claims they didn't and she doesn't seem to recognise him as a friend. He tells Hirata that the first semester has just finished so he should be patient, and that Suzune is not the type who makes friends easily.
Karuizawa approaches them and calls out to Hirata. While Hirata tries telling her about their cancelled lunch, Karuizawa and her friends join in and quickly push Kiyotaka out of the group. Kiyotaka picks up his food and quietly leaves.
While returning back to his room, Kiyotaka notices wet stains on the corridor. He follows them and notices Rokusuke Kōenji walking gracefully in the corridor, wearing nothing but his swimming pants. The staff tries to stop him while carrying a towel. Kōenji states he never wipes his body down as a principle, then asks for a notebook and a pen. He signs his name on the staff's notepad and hands it back to him, stating that it is a present and will have tremendous value in the future, as he claims that he is the man who will carry Japan on his back. Kiyotaka notes that his classmates have been avoiding Kōenji due to his personality. Kōenji notices Kiyotaka walking past and calls out to him. Kiyotaka asks if there's any business but Kōenji replies he only calls out to him as a classmate, who also happens to be his roommate. Kiyotaka says it's a coincidence for them to meet there, then opts to another way instead of returning to his room to avoid another awkward encounter.
Kiyotaka receives a mail from Airi Sakura and goes to meet her. Airi is worried about being together with her roommates: Shinohara, Ichihashi and Maezono. Kiyotaka notes that Shinohara is Karuizawa's close friend and a headstrong girl who frequently quarrels with the boys, Ichihashi is more mature but still has a headstrong attitude at times, while Maezono has a somewhat bad attitude. Kiyotaka wonders why Airi ask him for help and she replies that he might be able to give her some advice. She apologises to Kiyotaka for depending on him while Kiyotaka has doubts he can help her. Kikyō Kushida spots the two of them while coming to the guest lounge and greets them, saying she is on her way to meet her friends so she won't disturb them. Airi quickly excuses herself and runs back to her room.
Kushida tries to apologise for Airi's sudden leave. Kiyotaka thinks she doesn't need to since Airi is naturally bad at socialising. Kushida says she's going out with Class C and jokingly invites Kiyotaka to come along with her. Just when she's about to leave, both her phone and Kiyotaka's ring at the same time. There is also an announcement from the school through the speakers, telling the students to check the mail they have just received and follow the instructions closely.
A special examination is announced to be starting soon. The students are told to gather at a designated time at their designated rooms included in the mail. Students who are more than 10 minutes late for the meeting will receive a penalty. Kiyotaka and Kushida note that their gathering rooms and time are different. Kiyotaka is at room 204 with the time being 18:00 (6:00 PM), while Kushida is two rooms down and the time is 20:40 (8:40 PM).
Kiyotaka sends a message to Suzune about the exam and gets a reply almost instantly. Suzune's meeting time is 20:40, the same as Kushida. Suzune wants to discuss further but since Kiyotaka's meeting time is coming soon, she tells him to report back to her later. Kiyotaka briefly thinks whether he should tell Kushida, who is staring at him, about Suzune having the same meeting time as her, but decides not to and wait to see how things will play out.
Kiyotaka arrives at room 204, 5 minutes before the meeting time, and steps in after being given permission. There is Mashima, Class A's homeroom teacher, along with two of his classmates, Hideo Sotomura and Teruhiko Yukimura, and two empty seats. Mashima tells Kiyotaka to take a seat and wait for the last person to arrive. At 18:00, Karuizawa enters and sits down. She wonders why her classmates are also there but gets reprimanded by Mashima for being late.
Mashima then explains the contents of the new special exam. All first year students will be divided up into groups based on their zodiac signs and the entirety of the examination will be conducted in those groups of students. The purpose of the test is to assess their 'thinking ability'. The four of them will also be in the same group and they may be joined in by some other students, who are also receiving the same explanations in other rooms. Karuizawa berates that she has to be in the same room as the three boys and prefers to be with Hirata. Yukimura loses his patience and starts arguing with her, but Kiyotaka quickly intervenes. Mashima briefly scolds them and tells them to get along, but Karuizawa refuses and expresses her disgust. Karuizawa then asks Mashima on why only the four of them are getting this explanation, with Mashima explaining that there's a risk of confusing the students if the exam itself is not explained like this in advance, since there isn't just one class being divided but 3 to 5 people from each class being divided into groups.
Mashima then gives a list of members assigned to the Rabbit group and tell them to memorise it as they will have to return it once they leave the room. The list includes 14 students as follow:
- Class A: Shigeru Takemoto, Kōji Machida, Takuro Morishige
- Class B: Honami Ichinose, Tetsuya Hamaguchi, Ryōta Beppu
- Class C: Mio Ibuki, Shiho Manabe, Nanami Yabu, Saki Yamashita
- Class D: Kiyotaka Ayanokōji, Kei Karuizawa, Hideo Sotomura, Teruhiko Yukimura
Mashima continues to explain that they will now belong to the group, rather than Class D and they will have to ignore the class differences to work together.
Mashima then gives a paper explaining the special exam and asks them to memorise it. A "target" (VIP) student will be chosen from each group and there are four possible outcomes by the end of the exam.
- At 8:00 AM on the first day, the students will receive a message that the VIP student in their group has been chosen.
- The exam itself will mostly take place from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM, starting from the next day (students will be free to act as they wish during the day) and ends at 9:00 PM on the fourth day.
- Each group should gather twice during the day for one hour to talk. Content of the talk will be left up to the discretion of each group.
- At the end of the exam, each group must identify the VIP student of other groups. This will be done between 9:30 and 10:00 PM. Only one answer can be submitted by each group.
- The answers must be sent through a certain address provided by the school.
- The 12 VIP students cannot be the ones to send the answers.
- Students can only submit the answer to the identity of the VIP student of the group that they're assigned to.
- Details of the results of the exam will be mailed to students by 11:00 PM on the same day.
The possible outcomes:
- Outcome 1: If the answers of the VIP student as well as the other group members are all correct, they will all receive private points (the VIP student receives 1,000,000 points while other students in the group receive 500,000 points).
- Outcome 2: If there are incorrect answers or unanswered questions by people other than the VIP student, only the VIP student will receive 500,000 private points.
- Outcome 3: In the case that someone other than the VIP answers the question before waiting for the allocated time and answers correctly, the class the answerer belongs to will receive 50 points each and the answerer themselves will receive 500,000 points for themselves. On the other hand, classes whose VIP have been identified will receive a penalty of -50 points for their whole class. Once this has been achieved, the test will be over for the group. However, if a member that belongs to the class of the VIP answers correctly, the previous result will be made invalid and the examination for that group will continue.
- Outcome 4: In the case that someone other than the VIP answers the question before waiting for the allocated time and answers incorrectly, the class the answerer belongs to will receive a penalty of -50 points each but the VIP will still receive 50,000 private points. At the same time, the class which the VIP belongs also obtains 50 class points. If the answer is given incorrectly, the group's exam will end. However, if a member belonging to the class of the VIP is the one who answered incorrectly, the answer will be considered invalid and will not be accepted.
After explaining the first two outcomes, Mashima compares the exam to the Werewolf (人狼, Jinrō) game, before telling them to check the back of the paper for the latter two outcomes. He adds that the identity of the VIP students and the traitors will not be disclosed by the school after the exam ends. Prohibited actions and items are also listed. For instance, stealing the mobiles of other students and use of intimidation to coerce the reveal of information such as the identity of the VIP students are forbidden, while using another student's mobile without permission to mail the answers to the faculty will result in expulsion. Furthermore, in the case any suspicious activity is uncovered, a thorough investigation into the matter will be launched by the school to ensure no violations of the rules occur. Mashima tells them their meeting time for tomorrow is 1:00 PM and 8:00 PM at a designated room for their group for discussions, and that they will not be able to leave until the required time has passed.
The group of four are then told to leave but Yukimura suggests staying and having a chat as they're now in the same group for the exam. Karuizawa ignores his words and starts walking away while calling Hirata. Yukimura pleads the other two to stay as he wants to discuss the plans for tomorrow, but Sotomura says he has to go back and watch his favourite anime, leaving Yukimura dejected. Kiyotaka thinks about reporting back to Suzune and sending her the details in their chat if necessary, before forming a strategy once receiving more information from her.
Kiyotaka and Hirata talk about the new exam while going to Hirata's meeting location, as he has been told about the exam through Yukimura, who is also a roommate. At the meeting place, they see Kōhei Katsuragi talking with Suzune, both of whom being in the same 20:40 group, with Katsuragi stating he has now become more cautious of Class D after the island test. Ryūji Kanzaki from Class B and Kakeru Ryūen from Class C also appear. Kushida then arrives and greets Hirata and Kiyotaka, confirming that she is also in the same group. Kiyotaka expresses his concern for Hirata, but Hirata reassures him and says that he will just do his best, while Kushida sees this as a chance to befriend Katsuragi and Ryūen. Suzune shakes her head and goes ahead as it is almost time for their meeting. Kiyotaka thinks he shouldn't have bothered worrying about her, before wishing Hirata luck and leaving the scene.
Chapter 2 Edit
Kiyotaka and Suzune meet at a cafe on the deck in the morning. Suzune hands him a slip of paper that reads the names of the members in her group, Dragon:
- Class A: Kōhei Katsuragi, Ryōko Nishikawa, Shinji Matoba, Koharu Yano
- Class B: Sayo Andō, Ryūji Kanzaki, Hitomi Tsukabe
- Class C: Takumi Oda, Hidetoshi Suzuki, Masashi Sonoda, Kakeru Ryūen
- Class D: Kikyō Kushida, Yōsuke Hirata, Suzune Horikita
Kiyotaka notes that the group includes the big names representing each class, but Ichinose is in his group instead of this one. Suzune thinks Ichinose can be just the face of her class and not the leader. They think about the groups being divided based on grades, but there are also flaws in it.
At 8:00 AM, both Kiyotaka and Suzune receive a mail from the school. They have not been chosen as the VIP in their group. The exam will begin from 1:00 PM and will be held in three days. They are also required to come to the meeting room of their groups immediately. After discussing the mail's contents, Suzune asks Kiyotaka on who he suspects the most in her group. Kiyotaka replies with "Ryūen", as he is the most suspicious one in the group.
Ryūen and Ibuki approaches them while they are talking. Ryūen asks if Suzune is the VIP, with Suzune refusing to answer and says Ryūen would do the same. Ryūen then sits down on a vacant seat nearby and asks Suzune on how Class D achieved the result in the island test. Suzune says she has nothing to tell him. She also provokes that she was just saving her strength due to a fever, prompting Ibuki to declare a rematch but stops after Suzune says she will report to the school if there's violence.
Ryūen points out that Class D's leader in the island test was changed and that they were the one pulling the strings, but Suzune only replies vaguely. Suzune wonders why Ryūen is obsessed over her as there are other students he should be worried about like Ichinose from Class B, Katsuragi and the rumoured Sakayanagi from Class A. Ryūen replies that he has more or less known about their abilities and they're not capable enough to be his enemies, so he could crush any of them whenever he wants. He then stands up and leaves, along with Ibuki.
Kiyotaka meets Yukimura and Sotomura and they start going to their group's meeting room. The exam is announced to be starting but no one in the room is willing to speak up. Ichinose takes the initiative by leading the group and introducing herself. After the self introductions are done, Ichinose suggests the group to cooperate and clear the exam through the first outcome. Other students, including Kiyotaka, agree but Machida from Class A rejects the offer and instead proposes a strategy Katsuragi has come up with: to not talk at all until the exam is finished, so that there won't be a traitor among the group and allow the points to be equally distributed among the classes. Ichinose argues the strategy is benefiting Class A the most since it would cause the position of the classes to be unchanged and help them keep the lead. Machida eventually says that he and his classmates will continue staying silent and not take part in the group discussions.
Manabe from Class C calls out to Karuizawa, asking about her encounter with Rika Morifuji, another Class C student. Manabe claims that Karuizawa has pushed Rika out of the line at a cafe, then asks Karuizawa to go and apologise to Rika. Karuizawa denies and claims she doesn't know anything, but retorts when Manabe tries to take a picture of her to confirm with Rika. As Manabe becomes more suspicious, Karuizawa turns to Machida for help, who tells Manabe to stop forcibly taking photos of Karuizawa and that it would be better to talk with Rika to confirm the story. Manabe eventually withdraws while Kiyotaka notes that the conflict can be a problem going forward.
One hour passes and the students are allowed to leave, with the Class A students going first. Karuizawa, while hastily trying to leave, accidentally steps on Manabe's feet. Manabe gets angry while Karuizawa makes a quick apology and leaves. After leaving the room, Kiyotaka asks Yukimura if he notices Karuizawa was acting strange. He then receives a message from Airi asking to meet him if he has time. Airi asks him to meet at the ship's bow as the place she is at is getting crowded.
Airi is seemingly practicing on asking Kiyotaka out, and gets startled when Kiyotaka calls her when he arrives. Airi, already flustered, frantically asks Kiyotaka if he's been hearing, and relieves when he doesn't know what it is about. Airi then tells him that she's been anxious about the exam and gives him the list of students in her group (Cow):
- Class A: Yasumi Sawada, Naoki Shimizu, Haruka Nishi, Kenta Yoshida
- Class B: Yume Kobashi, Yui Ninomiya, Norihito Watanabe
- Class C: Hiroya Tokitō, Yūji Nomura, Mariko Yajima
- Class D: Kanji Ike, Airi Sakura, Ken Sudō, Chiaki Matsushita
Kiyotaka apologises as he can't seem to help her, then asks whether Haruki Yamauchi has contacted her since after their group meeting period. Kiyotaka has promised to give Yamauchi her address in order to manipulate him back in the island test, though he doesn't intend to give it without her consent. Airi says Yamauchi hasn't and asks if there's something wrong. Kiyotaka then tells her to contact him if she has trouble with something. Airi appreciates his offer while Kiyotaka just says that's the least he can do for her.
Kiyotaka then encounters Yamauchi, who is angered that he hasn't got Airi's address. Kiyotaka convinces Yamauchi to do his best in this exam so he can get a chance to be close to her.
In the 2nd group meeting, Class A students still don't want to participate in the discussion. Ichinose once again takes the initiative as their meeting time is limited. Yukimura agrees that it is necessary to find out the VIP student, but Karuizawa has doubt whether they can find out by just talking. Machida says the VIP would keep themselves hidden so they can gain points and that it could even be someone from Class B. Ichinose thinks the same could be said for him but Machida tells her that Class A students wouldn't be interested in the point reward as they have 100,000 points allocated to them monthly.
Kiyotaka focuses on Karuizawa, who is fiddling with her phone, and realises that she has been acting differently than usual. After 1 hour has passed, Class A students immediately leave the room. Ichinose calls out and asks Kiyotaka about his thoughts on the exam as he hasn't given his opinions, with Kiyotaka replying he's just the type to sit back and relax in an exam like this. He has been observing Ichinose but cannot ascertain her real aims yet.
Kiyotaka then chases after Manabe and her friends in Class C. He calls out to them when they reach the elevator and mentions Karuizawa. This grabs their attention and Kiyotaka lies that he saw Karuizawa pushed over their friend at the cafe and wants to give them a heads up.
Kiyotaka gets back to his room near midnight and wants to go to sleep but notices Hirata and Yukimura. Kiyotaka wants to ask Hirata about Class A's Sakayanagi but decides to let him talk first, while Kōenji is doing push-ups and isn't interested in their discussion. Hirata tells Kiyotaka and Yukimura that 2 of their classmates have been assigned as the VIP. Kiyotaka tells him to show their identity through his phone to be safe. The VIP students are Kushida in Dragon group and Minami in Horse group. Yukimura thinks there can be another VIP student from Class D in the Rabbit group, with Hirata agrees and thinks they may have consulted someone else instead of him.
Meanwhile, Kōenji starts humming from across the room, making Yukimura lose his patience and start arguing with him. Yukimura tells him not to drop out of the exam suddenly like in the island test. Kōenji thinks it is troublesome that the exam continues for 2 more days, while Yukimura accuses him of not taking this exam seriously. Kōenji says the exam is just a simple quiz to find the liar, then takes out his phone and fiddles with it. Suddenly, the others' phones ring as they receive a mail from the school: Kōenji group (Monkey)'s test has ended. Kōenji simply says he now has his freedom back and throw away his cellphone before disappearing into the bathroom, leaving Hirata, Yukimura and Kiyotaka in shock.
Kiyotaka notes that Kōenji is extremely perceptive and has remarkable observing ability, so he may excel at this exam if it's simply just "find the liar". Hirata's phone is flooded with messages from the students who are surprised with the news. Yukimura is irritated with Kōenji's actions, while Kiyotaka quietly leaves the room.
Kiyotaka goes to the ship's deck and notices a girl standing alone. He approaches her and realises it's Kushida, who is surprised to see him. Kushida says she can't sleep and is happy that they're both alone there. Kiyotaka feels his heart rate increasing by being alone with Kushida in a place full of couples and tells her he is leaving. However, as he starts walking away, Kushida screams at him to wait and jumps into his chest. Kiyotaka becomes panic and asks Kushida on her sudden action. She whispers that she feels lonely by herself and keeps bury her face in his chest for a few more seconds. Then she releases him, apologises and runs away. Kiyotaka feels he won't be able to sleep more and cannot return to his room like this, so he decides to walk around the ship for a while.
Kiyotaka heads for the vending machines on the first floor as he feels thirsty. When getting there, he finds Chabashira, Mashima and Hoshinomiya, Class B's homeroom teacher. The three teachers are relaxing on the sofa and Kiyotaka quietly approaches them while hiding himself as a chance to get information. It is customary to place the class representatives to the Dragon group. Hoshinomiya determined that Ichinose needs a challenge so she is placed in the Rabbit group instead. Chabashira tells Hoshinomiya not to base her judgment on personal grudges. Hoshinomiya wonders if Chabashira is talking about what happened 10 years ago and replies that she genuinely thought Ichinose needs to learn a lesson. Hoshinomiya also notices Chabashira has been focusing on Kiyotaka. Mashima tells her not to spy on other colleagues' classes, while Hoshinomiya continues that another student from Class C should've been placed in Dragon group instead of Ryūen. Kiyotaka decides to go back to avoid further trouble, as he already knows Ichinose has been sent to spy on him and that he seems to be under heavy scrutiny.
Chapter 3 Edit
Suzune asks Kiyotaka on why he didn't stop Kōenji's act as it is his responsibility as a roommate. Kiyotaka says it's no use and tells Suzune to concentrate on their own groups. Suzune is determined not to fall behind her opponents in her group.
Kiyotaka wants to ask Suzune about Karuizawa. Suzune says she has no interest in her and he should ask Hirata instead, but Kiyotaka wants to avoid that as he has already passed on his chance of having lunch with her before the test. Suzune asks if he thinks she is the VIP and Kiyotaka says he is more worried about her behaviour. Suzune thinks it's a waste of time but Kiyotaka tells her on how there's a difference between a person's outer and inner selves. Suzune is still not entirely convinced and asks about Karuizawa's good points. Kiyotaka says she has the ability to assume control and take the initiative. Suzune wonders if Kiyotaka wants to make her an ally, to which Kiyotaka responds he has to think about that.
Ryūen approaches them and asks Suzune whether she has decided on how to find the VIP. Suzune says she has no intention of telling him. Ryūen smirks and tells her he has started to discover the VIP's identity but Suzune doesn't believe it, stating he has no support like Katsuragi and Ichinose to get information. Ryūen says that making friends and gathering information are two different matters. He has already got the fundamentals of this exam and Class C will win overwhelmingly depends on how things go.
Ryūen says he only need to find which class the VIP belongs to, then analyse their group. He also reveals that he is using a brute-force method by checking his classmates' emails to make sure they can't lie to him. Suzune argues that it's against the rules and he would be expelled, but Ryūen says that's not a problem. Suzune thinks he hasn't got the answer yet as he would've already sent a mail to the school. She also asks his thoughts on the Monkey group's test that ended the day before, but he says he doesn't care about it and leaves.
After Ryūen has left, Kiyotaka and Suzune finds a phone set to record audio under the chair. They then start talking in a way to not leave any suspicion, with Suzune telling Kiyotaka to find the VIP in his group and Kiyotaka saying he will try his best. Suzune then leaves while Kiyotaka heads back to his room.
Kiyotaka finds Yukimura alone in the room, who seems to be frustrated. He bemoans that they are stuck with Karuizawa and Sotomura in the group and the Dragon group has the most excellent students assigned to it. Yukimura then asks Kiyotaka whether he's the VIP. Kiyotaka replies he isn't and asks Yukimura the same. Yukimura confirms he's also not the VIP, and neither is Sotomura. Yukimura also asked Karuizawa who denied being the VIP, but he is inclined to have doubt about her words.
In the afternoon, Kiyotaka goes to the Rabbit group's room, 10 minutes early. Karuizawa arrives right after him and starts fiddling her phone. After calling a friend, she speaks to Kiyotaka and asks if he is the VIP student. Kiyotaka denies but then surprised when she doesn't double check and easily trusts his words. However he brushes it off as his goal in this test is to ascertain whether she is useful to him or not.
As all the members have shown up, Class A take their distance as usual. Karuizawa stands up and joins them, sitting next to Machida, who then assures to help her if anything happens.
Ichinose brings out a deck of cards and invite the group to play cards together. The other Class B students and Sotomura agree to participate, with Kiyotaka also decides to join as they have nothing else to do at the moment. Kiyotaka notes that Ichinose is using this to observe the group's behaviour, including his. They keep playing cards for the rest of the meeting time.
The hour passes and the group meeting ends. Ichinose says that she'll be going to confront Katsuragi on Class A's strategy. Kiyotaka takes the chance and asks to come along with her, as Suzune is in the same group as Katsuragi.
Ichinose and Kiyotaka arrives at Dragon group's room and waits for 10 minutes until the door finally opens. Katsuragi notices Ichinose, who wants to have a talk with him. Ichinose asks Katsuragi to reconsider his strategy, but Katsuragi refuses, stating that his strategy is made to protect his class. Ichinose tries to convince him to no avail. Katsuragi tells her that she can't change his mind and she would do the same if she's in Class A. Ichinose accepts his response, and Katsuragi leaves.
Kiyotaka asks Ichinose if she's going to wait for Kanzaki. Ichinose tells him that she also wants to ask Suzune something so they can wait together. After nearly 30 minutes, some other students in the group come out, including Kushida. Kushida is surprised to see Kiyotaka and Ichinose and tell them that Kanzaki and Suzune are still talking with Ryūen inside. She then opens the door and lets them in.
Ryūen greets Ichinose and gives her a proposal to crush Class A. He claims that he's already known all the VIP students in Class C and wants the 3 classes to share information on all the VIPs so they can go after Class A. Suzune rejects the idea in fear of betrayal, specifically from Class C. Ichinose also disagrees as she feels there's too much risk. Ryūen says that he and Ichinose can make it work, as he rules his class while Ichinose is very popular within her class. Ichinose still refuses to ally with him as her classmates were hurt by his actions in the past. Ryūen, not disapppointed, gets up and leaves the room. Kushida also follows as her friends are calling her.
Ichinose, Kanzaki, Suzune and Kiyotaka then talk about Ryūen, their alliance and Katsuragi's strategy. Suzune leaves after that, while Ichinose asks Kiyotaka to accompany her. Ichinose asks Kiyotaka for cooperation between the two classes. She wants to figure out the non-VIP students to narrow down the list, therefore telling him that she is not the VIP. Kiyotaka is surprised she is honest about it, with Ichinose replying that she likes to be honest as much as possible and wants her class to win fair and square. Kiyotaka then tells her that he and Yukimura are not the VIP but he doesn't know about Sotomura and Karuizawa, as he still can't be certain that they aren't. Ichinose calls her classmate Hamaguchi over and fills him in on the situation. Hamaguchi reveals that he is also not the VIP.
The next group meeting, before the discussion time starts, the Class C girls ask Machida to come play with them after the meeting. Karuizawa then arrives and tells them to give back her seat. Manabe provokes Karuizawa by saying she is talking to Machida and tell him to choose. Karuizawa grabs Machida's hand and tells him that she won't go out with him if he chooses Manabe. Kiyotaka is surprised that she can say that while being Hirata's girlfriend. Machida then asks Manabe to move, leaving her annoyed. Kiyotaka notes that Karuizawa has been attaching herself to Hirata and Machida, so that she can gain control and influence within her class and the group. Kiyotaka wonders about the reason for her actions, whether it is for a sense of superiority, self-satisfaction or the spotlight.
Ichinose proposes to play cards again and they start playing until the meeting time is over, similar to the last time. Karuizawa, after exchanging contact information with Machida, exits the room. The Class C girls, Manabe and her two friends, then make their way out. Yukimura points out a weird vibe from the three. While Sotomura can't notice anything, Kiyotaka thinks he is correct. Yukimura and Kiyotaka see them following Karuizawa, who is now alone by herself, and quietly chase after them.
Kiyotaka hears a sound of the door leading to the emergency stairs slamming shut. He quietly opens it and hears the three girls confronting Karuizawa. Karuizawa still feigns ignorance when being asked about their friend, Rika. However, she quickly tells them that she accidentally bumped into Rika when the girls try to call her, but refuses to apologise and says that their friend is in the wrong.
Losing their patience, the three girls begin to use physical threats on Karuizawa. Yukimura tries to open the door but Kiyotaka stops him. As Karuizawa starts having trouble breathing and holding her head, Manabe then grabs her hair and yanks her head up, threatening to cut up her face. Karuizawa is trembled and becomes unable to move.
Yukimura is unable to hold it and opens the door to intervene. Kiyotaka also steps in and tells the girls that a teacher has just passed by so they should better leave. The Class C girls then threaten Karuizawa for the last time before leaving.
Yukimura asks Karuizawa if she is okay, but she slaps his hand away and tells him to leave her alone. She then angrily leaves the place, slamming the door shut. Yukimura is overwhelmed and leaves after seemingly exhausted. Kiyotaka believes that there is another reason for Karuizawa's terrified appearance, other than being threatened.
During midnight, Kiyotaka meets Chabashira at the pool for a consultation. Kiyotaka asks if there are exceptions that cannot be bought with points. Chabashira confirms and says that he can't request to buy the life of a student or teacher as an example. Their conversation gets interrupted as Hoshinomiya appears. Kiyotaka thinks it's no coincidence and Hoshinomiya has probably followed Chabashira to their place. Hoshinomiya greets Chabashira and Kiyotaka, then approaches him and starts teasing him while Chabashira says she is in the way and drags her off. Hoshinomiya asks Chabashira about their meeting. Chabashira responds that she is simply consulting her student and tells Hoshinomiya that she'll head back soon.
Kiyotaka then continues and asks Chabashira on the most expensive thing to be bought with points in the past. Chabashira says that it was when someone wanted to change the school rules. It also needs to be realistic, for example changing the class time in order to avoid being late. Chabashira asks if he's dissatisfied with her answer, but Kiyotaka says that he can understand the school system and how to use points better with that. Chabashira mentions that he could have sent a mail to her for that question without having to meet, but Kiyotaka says that he doesn't want to leave a record and will ask her for a favour soon.
At 2:00 AM in the midnight, after noticing Hirata has woken up and is going to leave the room, Kiyotaka follows and meets him in the hallway. Kiyotaka says he thought Hirata would leave during the night, as Karuizawa has contacted him. Hirata asks if he knows something, and Kiyotaka simply says he's in the same group with Karuizawa so he understands the situation. He also mentions that Suzune asked him to report on anything happens in the Rabbit group and keep an eye on Hirata. Kiyotaka then asks Hirata to tell him everything about Karuizawa. Hirata doesn't know what to tell him as he has to consider Karuizawa's feelings, then warns Kiyotaka that the information he's about to tell him is extremely sensitive, and that Karuizawa might refuse to talk.
The meeting is at a lounge area near the second floor. Karuizawa is surprised and angered that Kiyotaka is there, but Hirata tells her that he brings him along since he seems to understand the situation. Hirata then talks about Karuizawa's encounter with the Class C girls, with Kiyotaka confirming that he also saw it. Karuizawa has asked Hirata to take revenge on the girls, but Hirata refuses and wants to resolve things with them peacefully. Karuizawa insists that it's not possible, but Hirata replies that he can't just hurt someone else to help her. Karuizawa shouts that he's a liar since he said he would protect her. Hirata stands up and says that he's told her from the start, that they are not actually boyfriend and girlfriend and he won't fight a war for her.
Hirata tells her that he intends to speak with Manabe and her friends in the morning and will tell them that Karuizawa will apologise. Karuizawa still refuses and Hirata says he can't help her if that's the case. Hirata then asks Kiyotaka for ideas, but Karuizawa angrily declares that she doesn't need help and their relationship is over, before abandons them and leaves.
Kiyotaka mentions that Hirata is everyone's ally, not just a bridge to connect people. Hirata says that his priority changes depends on the situation and Kiyotaka is far more capable than what everyone thinks. Kiyotaka asks about Hirata's fake relationship with Karuizawa, pointing out that they've been dating for almost 4 months but their relationship hadn't progressed much. Kiyotaka notes that Karuizawa's popularity had soared after going out with Hirata, and he was playing the boyfriend role to help raising her status.
Kiyotaka thinks that there's still more to it, as Hirata had easily accepted her request and she couldn't simply just use Machida to increase her influence. He then comes to the conclusion that she wanted to protect herself.
Hirata confirms and tells Kiyotaka that he is like a totally different person than before. Kiyotaka says that he is only following Suzune's advices. Hirata then reveals that Karuizawa was viciously bullied in elementary and junior high years and that she was just desperately trying to act tough and not showing her real personality.
Kiyotaka asks for his reason to accept her request. Hirata then tells about his past, where he was still a nobody that didn't stand out much. He had a childhood friend named Sugimura, who was also his neighbour and classmate throughout his elementary years. At junior high school, they were put in separate classes. At first, they still walked to school together, but it gradually became less. While Hirata started to hang out with his new friends in his class, Sugimura was getting bullied. He had sent SOS many times to Hirata, but as he cared more about his new friends, Hirata didn't take them seriously and didn't think too much about it. By 2nd year, they reunited, but Sugimura's spirit had shattered. Hirata was afraid he would become the next target and his new school life would be destroyed, so he didn't do anything to stop the bullying. He thought that the bullying would just stop someday or someone else would help Sugimura. One day, after returning from soccer practice, Hirata saw Sugimura in the classroom. Sugimura then jumped out of the window and was declared brain dead afterwards. Hirata realised that his selfishness had helped driving a close friend to his death. He wanted to atone by saving others. At the very least, he wants to save the people close to him.
Kiyotaka says he can't save both Karuizawa and Manabe. Hirata understands that and says it's probably the reason why Kiyotaka is also there with him at the moment. Hirata asks Kiyotaka and Suzune to keep this story confidential. Kiyotaka then asks Hirata for a favour and hands him a piece of paper. Hirata accepts his request and tells Kiyotaka that he knows the identity of the last VIP student from Class D.
The next day, Kiyotaka goes to meet Airi who called for him. The Cow group's test has also ended and Airi says that she's not the VIP but she doesn't know about the others. Kiyotaka asks her about Class A students' actions in her group and Airi confirms that they have not talked at all. Kiyotaka tells Airi to let him know if there's anything else and they part ways.
Kiyotaka then proceeds down to the lowest level on the ship, to an area prohibited from students but isn't locked, where generally no one appears and phones have almost no reception. After observing, Kiyotaka then returns to the upper deck and make a call to Hirata. He then receives a message from Hirata, saying he's promised to meet Karuizawa at 4:00 PM and sends Kiyotaka information about Manabe. Kiyotaka then starts messaging anonymously to Manabe. He tells her that he is a classmate who also hates Karuizawa and wants to work together to get a revenge on her. Manabe is initially suspicious but eventually follows and asks about the plan. Kiyotaka sends her the map of the ship's lowest level and says that he will call Karuizawa there so Manabe can settle things with her. Kiyotaka also has another plan prepared in case he failed to convince Manabe through chat, by blackmailing her with the pictures he took when she and her friends confronted Karuizawa at the emergency stairwell, but the risks were high and he wanted to avoid drawing attention as much as possible.
Karuizawa arrives early at the meeting point where she is supposed to meet Hirata. At 4 o'clock, Manabe and her friends also comes to the place, including Rika. Karuizawa notices them and starts trembling. Manabe tells Karuizawa to meet Rika and apologise to her. Karuizawa still insists that she didn't do anything wrong, but Manabe threatens her and tells her that she knew about Karuizawa being bullied (Kiyotaka has told Manabe in the chat that Karuizawa was bullied since childhood). Karuizawa weakly denies and tries to escape, but Manabe grabs her hair and slams her to the wall. Manabe then starts beating Karuizawa up, even pressing Rika to join in, while Karuizawa keeps pleading them to stop and collapses in fear. Kiyotaka quietly leaves the scene and closes the door.
After Manabe and her friends have left, Kiyotaka enters and calls Karuizawa, who is still cowering on the ground. As she didn't expected to be there, Karuizawa becomes panicked. After a while, Kiyotaka asks if she's calmed down. Karuizawa wipes her tears and asks about Hirata. Kiyotaka says he's there in his place, since a teacher called Hirata away and Kiyotaka just happened to be with him in that time. Karuizawa says that Manabe and her friends caused the scene and warns him not to tell anyone about it. She also suggests him to get back at them since they're girls. Kiyotaka refuses as it would only escalate the situation further. Karuizawa mutters that Manabe and her friends would continue doing awful things to her. Kiyotaka tells her he understands that she wants to prevent it, since it would be terrible if things went back like in the old days.
Karuizawa asks what he is talking about. Kiyotaka pins her against the wall and mentions how Manabe and her friends beat her up and the fact that she was a victim of bullying. Karuizawa asks if he heard it from Hirata, and Kiyotaka replies that he isn't of any use to her in a situation like this.
Kiyotaka then threatens to expose her if she doesn't do as he says. Karuizawa screams and asks if he's after her body. Kiyotaka runs his fingertips across her thighs. Karuizawa tries to escape but Kiyotaka threatens her not to run or he'll tell everyone in the school about her. Kiyotaka then tells her to spread her legs and pretends to play with his belt buckle. He is interested in how far she would go instead of her body and concludes that she has become a perfect tool for him.
Karuizawa vents her anger and mentions it's not the first time she's succumbed to forces. She gives a thin smile and stares at Kiyotaka, saying she couldn't do anything else and could only take all the bullying. As she lifts her skirt, Kiyotaka grabs her wrists and asks what happened to her. Karuizawa tells him about her punishments that happened countless times, with any kind of bullying one can imagine. Kiyotaka thinks she is still hiding something and presses on. Noticing her gaze at her left waist, he grabs her uniform and pulls it up, which reveals a deep scar caused by a sharp blade.
Kiyotaka sees the darkness in her eyes that overlaps with his and decides that he needs to release her from the shackles of her past. He promises to protect her from bullying from now on, claiming he is much more reliable than Hirata or Machida. He then shows her his phone that has a photo of her being assaulted by Manabe and her group, saying he can stop them with it. He wants her to cooperate and assist him in the future, doing whatever he needs. As Class D lacks unity, if she can control the girls, the situation will improve and they can be able to overtake Class A. He then tells her they first need to guide their group to victory in this exam. As Karuizawa wonders how, Kiyotaka says that she can help since she is the VIP student.
Final day of the exam comes, with Ichinose once again suggested playing cards. As Kiyotaka has sent the photos to Manabe, she and her friends stop approaching Karuizawa, who is also acting normal. Yukimura asks if it's fine to end the exam like this as he thought Ichinose would lead the group through it. Ichinose retorts that he should rely on himself rather than someone else if he wants to win.
Kiyotaka meets Suzune, who is confident that she will win. Kiyotaka tells her he now has Hirata's support and believes they can build a cooperative relationship in the future. He also wants to introduce to her another person who will be useful to them at the end of the exam. Suzune is dissatisfied but agrees to see them.
Kiyotaka comes to the last group meeting 30 minutes early. He spots Ichinose who has arrived even sooner and is sleeping on the floor. He attempts to approach and take her phone but gives up on the idea.
Ichinose wakes up and greets Kiyotaka. She walks over and sits next to him and they start talking about ascending and graduating as Class A. They mention the 20 million points price to change class and how it's impossible to save up that much. Ichinose knows Kiyotaka has seen her phone a while back with a large amounts of points. She says he doesn't have to apologise but she can't give him details about it. Kiyotaka replies that he doesn't plan to tell anyone else anyway and won't pry on it.
The other members of the group arrives for the last meeting. Hamaguchi speaks up and suggests the group to shows their phones so they can aim for the first outcome. He shows his phone with the school's mail in it. While some are concerned about it, others start follow suit and show their mail, including Kiyotaka. However, he has switched his phone before that with someone else. Yukimura still objects the idea and becomes hesitant. After being pressured, he gives in and agrees to show his phone but asks for no betrayal and for everyone to show their phones so he can see them, including the Class A students. They accept and Yukimura admits that he is the VIP student and shows his phone.
As the mail is not fake, the VIP of the group seems to be Yukimura. Kiyotaka believes someone will turn traitor and Class D students, who have switched their phones, will obtain victory in the group. However, Yukimura's phone suddenly rings. The caller is Ichinose, who picks the phone and gives it to Kiyotaka. She explains that Kiyotaka is the VIP and he has switched his phone with Yukimura's. The phone numbers cannot be swapped because they're locked to specific devices, and Ichinose has used that to expose the plan. The group meeting time is up and Ichinose confirms Kiyotaka is the VIP and asks others for cooperation before they leave. Yukimura is upset and says he shouldn't have followed Kiyotaka's plan.
After everyone has left, Kiyotaka is also about to head back to his room but Ichinose stops him and asks for the one that came up with the plan. Kiyotaka says it's Suzune and Ichinose tells him it's a success. Kiyotaka says it's a failure as she has seen through it, but Ichinose tells him she has checked with Hoshinomiya and knows that the SIM cards can be unlocked with enough points, therefore seeing through his plan. The real VIP student is Karuizawa, who had swapped phones with him. Kiyotaka used his points to unlock the SIM and transfer his number to the phone. He then approached Yukimura under the pretense that he's the VIP and swapped Karuizawa's phone with Yukimura's, telling him it was his phone.
Ichinose asks what he would do if the VIP student was not from Class D, and Kiyotaka says he would've done the same. Ichinose then shows him the betrayal message saying Karuizawa is the VIP, but their phones ring and a mail from the school tells them that their group's test has ended.
Ichinose says Karuizawa was acting unusually, like Yukimura, but she couldn't be absolutely certain so she couldn't send that betrayal mail. Kiyotaka wonders why she didn't say anything or expose his lie. Ichinose smiles and tells him it's a win if Class A or C make a mistake, and the traitor is Morishige from Class A, who is not in the Katsuragi faction. Ichinose praises Kiyotaka but he claims he was just following Suzune's instructions. Before they leave, both suddenly receive 4 messages from the school, leaving Ichinose in shock.
Kiyotaka and Karuizawa meet at the cafe and are soon joined by Hirata and Suzune. Sudō is also tagging along with Suzune, which makes her annoyed. They talk about the 4 mails being sent earlier that announced the ending of the test for Rat, Horse, Rooster and Pig groups. Minami in Horse group who is their classmate was discovered, while Yamauchi hesitated for too long and the test ended before he could send his mail. Karuizawa says none of the girls in the class sent any mail. Since the 4 mails were sent at the same time, it's concluded that they're from the same class.
As they are thinking about the one doing it, Ryūen appears and joins their table. He starts teasing Suzune, which provokes Sudō but she tells him to stay quiet. Ryūen says he has known the identity of the VIP student in Dragon group. Suzune counters that the test has ended and no one in the group turned traitor so he couldn't have figured out. Ryūen tells them the VIP is Kushida and he has known about it since the second day of the test, leaving Suzune and Hirata flabbergasted. Suzune says Ryūen is joking as he would've turned traitor. He mocks her for being over-confident about her victory and says he just went along with it. Hirata asks him on how he figured it out and Ryūen simply says it involves Suzune.
A mail comes in at 11:00 PM and they all check the results, except Ryūen:
- Outcome #1 (The group answered correctly): Dragon.
- Outcome #2 (The VIP was not identified): Tiger, Snake, Sheep, Dog.
- Outcome #3 (The traitor answered correctly): Rat, Horse, Monkey, Rooster, Pig.
- Outcome #4 (The traitor answered incorrectly): Cow, Rabbit.
Based on the results, increase and decrease in class points (CL) and private points (PR) are as follows:
- Class A: -200 CL; +2,000,000 PR
- Class B: No change in CL; +2,500,000 PR
- Class C: +150 CL; +5,500,000 PR
- Class D: +50 CL; +3,000,000 PR
Class C came out on top. Ryūen grins and places his phone on the table that shows the list of VIP students from class A in 3 groups. He has only focused on Class A after understanding the root of the test. He also tells Suzune that she is his next target. Kiyotaka notices Class C would've exclusively won this exam if it wasn't for Kōenji betraying his group and secure points for Class D, which also caused stray bullets at other VIPs. Ryūen eventually walks away with satisfaction, saying he's looking forward to the next semester.
Hirata wonders how Ryūen and Dragon group managed to get that result. Kiyotaka exlains that Ryūen could just tell everyone that Kushida is the VIP before the test ended. But he is curious on how Ryūen was able to pull it off since he would've needed to gain everyone's trust. Kiyotaka tells Suzune he is concerned about their future, but Suzune replies there's no guarantee Ryūen can repeat this feat and Kiyotaka's group actually won in the test. Kiyotaka agrees and says he is probably overthinking it.
Kiyotaka can't help but think that this may be the first steps towards despair. But, at the same time, he also begins to feel the emotion of excitement growing inside of him.