…I saw a canopy for the first time in my life.
I was gazing at the canopy when memories started flooding back. I lift up the soft blanket and look at my left chest.
The hole is gone, and I guess they changed my clothes because I can’t see any sign of the damage.
Impressed by the recovery magic, I try to sit up, but my head feels heavy. Must be anemia. I’ll eat some liver or spinach or fried pan later to take care of it.
I try to get out of the super fluffy bed… Oh no! This bed is a magic trap! I can’t get out! Why is it so fluffy! So fluffy! And it’s so warm because of my body heat!
However, I can’t stay in bed forever. I struggle to get out, but it’s difficult. As I’m fighting with myself, the door opens hesitantly, and President… Oh.
“Maito-san, how are you feeling?”
“I’m fine, just stuck in this fluffy bed, but I’m okay. But, President, what happened to your face?”
The left side of President’s face is red and swollen. And he looks a bit weak. What happened?
“I was slapped by Itoigawa-senpai.”
“Why did you get slapped again?”
As I tried to get out of the bed, President pushed my head and gently forced me back into the blankets. How annoying! I was just about to escape the fluffy trap!
“I put you in a life-or-death situation, that’s why.”
“Well, that’s… completely unreasonable, isn’t it?”
I mean, it was my fault that I got hit by the stray bullet, so it’s my responsibility, right? After all, they did tell me to run if anything happened.
“I’m a combatant. Yet I brought a non-combatant with me, and this is the result.”
“Wait, did someone die?”
“No one died. Among the people at the venue, you were the most severely injured, Maito-san.”
Oh, I see. Well, that’s a relief.
“While it’s ideal for no one to die, it might have been better to kill Fukuyama rather than letting you almost die.”
“But in that situation, killing him would have caused a huge commotion with the nobles, right?”
… I wonder what happened to Fukuyama after that, but let’s put that aside for now.
“Yes, that’s true. …Although it’s just a theoretical discussion since you couldn’t bring yourself to kill him in the first place.”
“Well, even if I tried to kill him, I wonder if I could have done it.”
… Well, President lacked the decisive intent, didn’t he?
“And besides, it’s all just a hypothetical discussion since you couldn’t bring yourself to do it.”
“So you think that’s fine? People are resources, and it’s not rational to die, right? Currently, everyone hasn’t reached that point yet.”
It was the same during the battle with the temple.
So far, the only one who tried to kill someone… was me. Like with Minehara-san. But even then, I used a poison that would probably not be fatal.
“…Maito-san, do you know about the Trolley Problem?”
“Are you underestimating me?”
You mean that one?
“A trolley is running out of control. If it continues on its current path, it will hit five people working on the tracks. However, if you pull a lever, the trolley’s course will change, and only one person will die instead.”
Now, will you pull the lever or not?
“The Trolley Problem ultimately becomes a question of whether utilitarianism is correct or not. If you quantify the value of human lives, the conclusion would be that it’s better for one person to die. But is that really the right answer?… For me, the value of human lives is not equal. If the five people were Fukuyama and the one person was a member of the chemistry club, I wouldn’t pull the lever.”
Yeah, I think I’d do the same.
“That’s because the value of life for me is based on those kinds of standards. So, if in the future one of my comrades is about to die, I wouldn’t hesitate to kill someone.”
“…The Trolley Problem has a continuation. You know that, right?”
“…’The trolley is still out of control. If it continues, five people will die. But if you push the one person in front of you onto the tracks, the trolley will stop, and the five people will be saved.'”
“In the previous lever question, many people tend to pull the lever, but not many would push someone.”
From a utilitarian perspective, it’s the same scenario. It’s a matter of numbers between one and five.
“True, there’s also the question of whether pushing one person onto the tracks would actually stop the trolley, but more than that, it’s about people having resistance to killing others. And that… I think that’s something important for humans.”
I agreed. Even if we don’t delve deeper into why people have such resistance, it’s a fact that murder becomes a significant stressor.
“Being rational is not everything.”
“Human beings are a bundle of irrationality. And you’re human. It’s inevitable, this is how it is.”
I thought the Trolley Problem was a wicked question. In the first place, if the trolley wasn’t out of control, none of this would happen. And why didn’t the people working on the tracks notice the trolley? There are many factors to consider. In this case, it could be Fukuyama’s rampage or the fact that I didn’t escape – changing either one would have avoided this forced binary choice.
“Yes, you’re right. Having a narrow perspective is the worst. The problem isn’t just between 0 and 1. I understand that. It’s okay now. I also think about scenarios where I pull the lever halfway to derail the trolley… I’m fine now.”
I don’t possess the ability to choose between 0 and 1. However, President and the others have the ability to make that choice. That’s probably why they struggle with choosing between 0 and 1.
President took a deep breath and stared at me intently. What is it? Aren’t we already comrades? Huh? It’s not like he’s looking at me as if he wants to become comrades, is it?
“…You’re too kind, Maito-san. It would be easier if you blamed me instead.”
…I can’t really agree with that. Rather than being too kind, I’m more of a coward or a cowardly person.
“From my perspective, you all are too kind, though.”
This is an eternal cycle of pushing responsibility back and forth. Probably.
“Thank you for allowing me to be too kind.”
“That’s my line.”
See, you see?
“Now, let’s finish the reflection meeting here. Maito-san, do you have an appetite?”
“I want to eat liver or spinach.”
Or a frying pan. Made of iron. I’d go crunch on it.
“Is it anemia? It’s not surprising. You lost quite a bit of blood. Frankly, it’s impressive that you managed to ‘transfer’ back on your own in that state.”
Oh, so I managed to make it back on my own. That’s good to know.
Overall, President seems to have thanked me for being kind while I thanked him for letting me be kind. It’s an endless cycle of gratitude and modesty.
“After arriving here, I immediately went to Kariya for recovery… And I got scolded by Itoigawa-senpai like crazy. No, she actually cried.”
Uh, uh-oh… Th-that’s, well, I’m sorry.
“I also got scolded by the other club members along with Hariu. That’s why I have this.”
President rolled up his sleeve and showed me a familiar bracelet.
“…Is it okay to have that?”
The cause. The cause. It’s repeating in my head; he’s wearing the cause!
I see, so this is why he looks worn out.
“It’s not okay, but it’s necessary, and it serves as a punishment as well.”
Ah, President’s switch is back. Good, that’s the face I know.
“Yes. Most likely, this will be the key in the battle against Fukuyama.”
…I’m getting excited.
After listening to President’s explanation and giving him a round of applause, I left the room for breakfast… Or lunch, for the others.
And as expected, Hariu, with half of his face in a maple leaf shape, looked exhausted. …And it seems he’s also equipped with the cause.
“Are you really okay?”
“Yeah, thanks to you.”
“That’s good to hear. Can you eat?”
“That’s why I came out here.”
I have to eat a lot to replenish my blood. I’ll eat plenty!
“By the way, Itoigawa-senpai is…”
“She’s on official duties. Being a queen is tough, huh.”
Ah, official duties, huh… Must be tough.
I wanted to apologize for ruining the dress and express my thanks for worrying about me, but I guess I’ll do it later.
“What about the others?”
President and Hariu went into the adjacent room, which turned out to be Itoigawa-senpai’s dedicated kitchen.
…I heard later that Senpai wanted to have a fluffily jiggling pudding, so she created her own kitchen with a skill, but she gave up in the end.
…She can’t cook, that senpai. I remember going through hell during the training camp because of that…
“Maito-san, are you really okay? Please don’t push yourself too much.”
“Yeah. Sorry for making you do the housework.”
In the kitchen, Kariya was bustling around, preparing something. Katori and Kadomi-kun were helping him, while the others were all sitting at the table, engaged in some conversation. …I guess they belong to the group that can’t cook.
“Can I help?”
“Oh, no. It’s fine. Please go over there instead. They seem to want to ask for information from you.”
Oh, right. I completely forgot that I haven’t shared any of the information I gathered yet. Let’s go.
“Are you awake? Sorry to disturb you so soon, but can you give us all the information you found?”
Suzumoto, who was writing various things on paper, stopped and pushed up his bangs before facing me. Yeah, he gets straight to the point, which is really helpful.
“Alright, I’m ready to ‘Share.'”
…Yeah, you’re right. The process of putting into words everything you’ve seen and heard is such a time-consuming task. I understand.
After that, we repeated the process of headbutting and MP recovery about seven times, getting all the information from the noble party.
By the time we were done, the food was ready, and we started our strategy meeting while eating.
…By the way, for the meal, it was rice, sautéed meat and vegetables, and miso soup. As for me, I had rice porridge. I don’t think it’s necessary to have easily digestible food, but well, it had spinach in it, and it was delicious.
“First, we should report to Itoigawa-senpai about the nobles who have switched sides or any new ones who have joined. And also, do some background work around that area.”
This country has a monarchy, but it also has something like a House of Nobles. So, the quickest way to turn this underwater city around is to bribe the majority of the nobles, just as Fukuyama-kun suggested.
That’s what Itoigawa-senpai said too.
“Then, we need to be prepared if Fukuyama comes to Itoigawa-senpai’s place… Will he really come in such a situation? What do you think, President?”
“Well, who knows? If he had a sound mind after that, I might understand, but… who knows. Depending on the situation, we might need to push him a bit. But the nobles won’t stop moving now, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”
…Now then. If I had killed Fukuyama-kun, it would undoubtedly have caused problems. But the fact that I was almost killed by him might not be such a big deal.
The reason being that many nobles present at that event had already invested in Fukuyama-kun, as I learned from the poison-loving noble… I mean, the eccentric noble acquaintances of President.
So, they wouldn’t back down now; in fact, it might be more profitable for them to proceed with the plan, regardless of Fukuyama-kun’s involvement. If they could gain control of this country, Fukuyama-kun would become irrelevant.
In that case, it’s unlikely they would just cut ties with him for the sake of one person’s death.
Because once we instigate him, we can control him without cost, and he becomes a force to rival the foreign queen. In fact, now that they know his weaknesses, they might find him even easier to manipulate than before.
…Rumors are probably already circulating that the foreign queen is gathering foreigners, and she would undoubtedly want as much power as possible.
And if they plan to defeat the queen, and moreover, if Fukuyama-kun’s story is to be believed, they are attempting to do it through force.
…There is a high possibility that the nobles in the capital and Deichemoore have access to “foreign slaves.”
That’s why we want this plan to be carried out until the final stage.
And during that time, we will ride along, only to strike at the very end.
…We know Fukuyama-kun’s hand.
Since he’s leading this plan, we can roughly imagine the tactics he might use.
So we need to set up traps in response to that.
“For now, we’re still in the mid-stage of the plan, as we cross-reference the information from Maito and what Itoigawa-senpai told us about the current state of the nobles. It’s unlikely that things will start moving tomorrow or the day after.”
“And until then, we need to get used to the ’cause,’ right? It’s troublesome not knowing the deadline.”
If we’re going to fight against the students, the “cause” will undoubtedly be our trump card.
Because having just one “cause” renders the foreign students almost powerless.
It seems that both President and Hariu have improved quite a bit from their exhausted state. When they first equipped the “cause,” they couldn’t even stand up.
But now, in just half a day, they can walk on their own. It’s truly miraculous.
…Well, I, on the other hand, slept for over half a day. So, that means…
…Where did Itoigawa-senpai sleep?
I think that room was her bedroom… but now that I think about it, I’m feeling a bit anemic, and my body temperature shouldn’t be that high. Yet, the bed was quite warm…
…Let’s not dwell on that.
Yeah, it’s not like anything troublesome happened just because I slept together with senpai. I’ll just put that thought aside.