74 Chapter 74 – Kushida’s Determination

That evening, after Class C's celebration banquet ended, everyone went to their favorite places for entertainment. After all, the school was footing the bill, so the students only needed to worry about having fun.

Yukio, however, was not particularly interested in activities like watching movies or singing. He found himself at the stern of the ship, leaning against the railing, gazing at the moonlit sea shrouded in darkness.

With a mature soul and the upbringing of this lifetime, he sometimes found it challenging to mesh with his peers. The entertainment activities that his peers were enthusiastic about seemed mundane to him.

Rather than singing at a KTV, Yukio preferred activities like getting a foot massage, soaking in a bath, or enjoying a sauna. However, these options were not feasible, as the school did not provide such facilities.

Staring at the colorless ocean, Yukio suddenly remembered that the cruise ship boasted high-end spa facilities. He wondered if they offered foot massages and thought about checking it out the next day. After all, if it's considered high-end, it should offer more than just beauty treatments, right?

"Meeting again, huh, Yukio-kun?" Just as Yukio was contemplating his plans for the next day, a lively and energetic voice came from behind him.

Turning around, he saw Kushida. The last time they had met was also in this secluded area at the stern of the ship.

This somewhat puzzled Yukio. He had thought that since their last encounter, Kushida wouldn't come to the stern again. "Haven't you learned your lesson? I didn't seek you out, but you still come to me on your own initiative?"

"Because Yukio-kun helped me~" Kushida seemed completely unbothered, her face beaming with a cheerful smile, seemingly unconcerned about the previous two times Yukio had played tricks on her that nearly led to her social demise.

"I helped you?" Yukio couldn't help but feel amused. He had never really interacted with Kushida, except for those two mischievous instances. They hadn't had any conversation or collaboration, and he was clueless about what Kushida was referring to. "So, you like that sort of thing?"

"You think I was helping you? How amusing."

Hearing Yukio's dismissive tone, Kushida, no matter how much she tried to maintain her cheerful facade, struggled to keep it up. Recalling those two thrilling and nerve-wracking outdoor adventures they had, fearing they might get caught, she couldn't bring herself to laugh.

Every time she remembered those experiences, she couldn't help but feel a lingering fear and thrill, wishing that such events would never occur again.

So this time, she kept a good distance from Yukio. "Yukio-kun, don't say such things, how could that kind of thing be helping me?"

"It's not what you think. What I meant was, I'm very grateful to Yukio-kun for helping me deal with Horikita's matter."

Upon mentioning this, Kushida's smile, which had been hard to maintain, suddenly became bright as spring, captivating: "Horikita is already disliked by many students, and a lot of people in the class have complaints about her."

"With Yukio-kun dealing with her a few more times, she will definitely have no place in Class D."

Despite her cheerful smile, the words that came out of the girl's mouth were chilling, revealing her single-minded desire to make Horikita disappear from the class and the school.

Yukio already knew from their last encounter that there was likely an irreconcilable conflict between Kushida and Horikita. Kushida was bent on getting Horikita out.

Thus, he was not surprised at this moment, nor did he naively think that he was helping Kushida by dealing with three classes simultaneously.

He wasn't that altruistic. Why not accept the thanks that came his way?

So Yukio's gaze became teasing: "In that case, how would you like to express your gratitude, Kushida?"

That playful look seemed to pierce directly into Kushida's heart, making her shudder involuntarily, as if a sheep on the beach felt the approaching wolf, trembling slightly in fear.

Yet, Kushida suppressed the discomfort in her heart. She had come to the stern of the ship partly just to find a quiet place to be happy by herself, delighted by the thought of Horikita being berated by the whole class today.

On the other hand, she had also thought about the possibility of encountering Yukio here. If she did meet him, she would force herself to accept whatever Yukio did.

The reason was simple. Kushida knew very well that she was no match for the capabilities that Yukio had shown. More importantly, she didn't have much dirt on Class C, but her own secrets were stored in Yukio's phone.

She dared not burn bridges, as doing so would barely affect Yukio, but she might never be able to survive in the Advanced Nurturing High School.

So, rather than opposing him, it was better to cooperate. As long as she complied with Yukio's demands, she could drive away Horikita and keep her own secrets safe! As long as these two objectives were achieved, nothing else mattered!

This was why Kushida dared to come alone after being treated harshly by Yukio last time. She was truly desperate this time.

After all, Kushida was self-aware, knowing how attractive she was to boys. Now, hearing Yukio's playful inquiry, her heartbeat quickened.

Under the moonlight, her blushing cheeks were indiscernible, but she could feel the heat herself: "Any... any kind of gratitude is fine, as long as, as long as it's something Yukio asks, I, I will do it."

Alright, the girl had overestimated her resolve. She thought she could do it, but some words just couldn't be said. She hesitated, revealing only half of what she wanted to say while keeping the other half hidden.

But Yukio understood perfectly. His tone carried an indescribable playfulness: "In that case, come back with me." Saying so, he prepared to turn back.

This made Kushida incredibly nervous, as if her limbs were no longer under her brain's control. Every step felt unreal, and she even wondered if, continuing this way, she might just faint the next second.

However, on their way back, Yukio added another line: "Remember, you said you wanted to show gratitude. After you've shown it, that's it. I won't help you with anything else."

"Ah? What!" Kushida suddenly lifted her head, staring at the broad and towering back of Yukio: "What, what do you mean?"

"Literally what I said." Yukio didn't even turn his head: "You said you wanted to express gratitude. I can't possibly accept your thanks and then help you with extra things without any benefit to myself, right?"

"..." Kushida's face darkened immediately. What did he mean by this? Was he just after the sugar-coating and discarding the actual bullet? If he couldn't help her keep her secrets and drive Horikita away, what was the point of her offering anything?

"What's wrong?" Yukio finally turned around, his eyes twinkling, the intent clear: "Don't want to show gratitude anymore?"

Kushida, her face utterly dark, almost blending into the night, was indistinct: "If it's just about getting Horikita scolded, my gratitude can only be a little something extra."

Her words were clear. If Yukio agreed to drive Horikita away, she would give whatever she could as thanks. If not, and it was just about getting Horikita scolded, then the gratitude would be just that, a mere thanks.

Yukio had anticipated this and suddenly stepped closer to Kushida, making her shiver uncontrollably! It was already the third time he had played such a trick, his skills refined and impeccable, tearing cloth as if cutting through the air, with fabric falling gently: "Then let this be the gratitude for this time."

After saying this, he left without looking back, leaving Kushida standing there stupefied. When she finally came to her senses, she didn't curse Yukio like the last time, nor did she vent her frustration violently against the railing.

Instead, she skillfully gathered the torn fabric, bent over, and hurriedly made her way back, familiar with the route. Perhaps this was now a habit; she wasn't as scared as before but still felt the thrilling excitement.

Only this way could she alleviate the heavy burden of her accumulated secrets. Knowing that this might be the outcome, she hadn't brought an extra coat to deal with this likely third adventure.

***

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