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I’d forgotten to mention this, but in Pair Shogi, there is a five-minute break time. While partners are prohibited from discussing with each other during play, some time is separately allocated to analyze the current situation, decide on the future direction of play and plan out strategies with one’s partner. As such, Pair Shogi holds quite a strong position as an intellectual game.
Suzumiya-san did not agree with his words at first, but in the end, she relented.
“……Well, fine. We’re sure to win anyway. By the way, Mikuru-chan.”
“Yes?! W-What is it……”
“Don’t you think that there’s a style befitting of victory?”
“No no no I do not think so I wouldn’t think so I don’t think so, so please don’t do something horrible to me~!”
Suzumiya-san pounced onto the teary-eyed Asahina-san and began to rapidly strip off her clothes. It seemed that she had thought of a more efficient way of using the five-minute period, rather than waste it on planning.
Seizing the opportunity, we dashed out of the club room as fast as humanly possible and successfully started the strategy meeting, in the corridor that had gusts of cold air blowing through it.
“……What’s going on?”
He frowned as he asked Nagato, who had followed us out without a sound.
He should have already figured it out from her short responses earlier.
“The Shogi that I understand is different from the game that you are playing. I think that what you are playing is something that has been altered, and has thus become completely new.”
In return, Nagato-san spoke slower than usual and used more words than normal in her response. I occasionally feel some envy upon witnessing the relationship between him and Nagato-san.
“That game is mixed with concepts that have not existed on Earth up till now.”
“Wait a minute. I don’t remember coming into contact with such rare concepts. In any case, Koizumi and I have always been playing by those rules.”
“Your memories have been modified as such. Suzumiya Haruhi does not like to change the rules arbitrarily. Therefore, she has caused the minimum influence in the range that she can accept.”
As Nagato-san spoke indifferently, he kept shaking his head. Of course, not because he couldn’t understand, but because his sense of reason did not want to accept the idea that he instinctively understood.
“I see, so that is what happened.”
If that is the case, then I shall act as his sense of reason.
“You keep quiet, Koizumi.”
“I would like to do that, but it has gotten to the point where we can’t just sit and watch.”
“It’s just a game, isn’t it? I don’t understand. Wait, I don’t want to.”
I gave a light smile to the unpleasant look directed at me. His “keep quiet” had three different meanings, and this time, he meant “Hurry up and say it”.
“This is about Suzumiya-san being the key to auto-evolution, I believe. She possesses the power to manipulate information in the environment around her.”
In the organization I belong to, there is a group that places a huge expectation onto Suzumiya-san, that she will guide us humans to the new stage of evolution.
There is probably no need to explain Darwin’s theory of evolution. At the end of extensive gene selection and overwhelming natural elimination, the current human race, which was created twenty thousand years ago, is on the verge of yet another evolution.
Originating in ancient India, it spread to the East and West of Earth’s largest landmass, then continued evolving through a period of less than two thousand years, until it reached its final form – Shogi.
And in this land of the Far East, it can be said that another door has been inevitably opened.
“There is still hope if the evolutions of the game remain on the board. The thing that I am most afraid of is that those altercations exert some influence outside the board.”
“Don’t explain it with a know-it-all look.”
He looked away with a scowl.
And was lost for words.
“You’ve just noticed it, haven’t you?”
I followed his gaze to get a view of the other side of the hallway.
There was nothing there. No doors, windows, or stairs.
Nothing but a hallway which extended endlessly and reflected infinitely.
“We already have no choice but to play this strange game that is similar to Shogi. What Suzumiya-san desires is unclear, but the inane plan of folding our arms idly will not work against the abrupt evolution before our eyes. In essence, we need to end this game as soon as possible, while the pieces haven’t gained any absurd methods of motion.”
“The room is diverging from the world.”
Nagato-san muttered, as if to substantiate my conjecture.
“A fatal error will occur if you do not conclude the game.”
Her forelocks slightly fluttered in the agitated wind.
We had no idea where this Winter wind came from and where it would go, but it stole the warmth from our skins and went on its way.
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