Hellping

3 Minutes Boy Meets Girl – Chapter 2/19: The ills of the filling-in education and the girl at a corner of the classroom

3minutes017
Author: Akira (Author of Sasami-san @ Ganbaranai)
Illustrator: Sadoru Chiba

There was a somewhat old cuckoo clock hanging right on top of the teaching podium, indicating the time of ’11:45’.

I was seated at the second seat from the window in an extremely ordinary classroom. On a side note, I was assigned in the last row.

In this steaming hot environment, the boys and girls dressed in middle school uniforms were scribbling with their mechanical pencils in front of me. In other words, my classmates were struggling against the test papers.


“Second Year First End-of-Semester Examination—World History.”


The blackboard in front of me had these words written on them.

“Erm…”

Flabbergasted, I could not help but let out a soft shout.

The other people, who were concentrating on this exam, threw at me with impatient glances, but I did not have the time to care about this.

What is this place?

Who am I?

There was nothing I could remember.

“Is there anything the matter?”

A man, probably a teacher and barely entering the old age, was invigilating around the classroom as he looked over here with suspicion as he asked this question.

I can’t let him suspect anything here.

My instincts were telling me to prevent, and thus, I softly answered to prevent this, “Ah, it’s nothing.”  I then started to press the mechanical pencil cartridge and pushed it back in.

I must not make too much noise, and I must not stand up here.

This is because I was having an exam.

I sat on the chair and observed my surroundings.

There was a pencil case filled with a few writing supplies, a “World History” question booklet and an answer booklet, all placed neatly on this very ordinary, albeit slightly scratched classroom. My

optical answer sheet was 60% filled, and about 40% of the questions were blank.


What was written on the name column was — “Class 2-C  若井数波”

Is this my real name?

I have no idea at all…speaking of which, how do I pronounce this name?

I looked at the question paper, and for some reason, the answers to these questions appeared

in my mind immediately. Thinking that this was an opportunity I could not miss, I started to fill in the optical answer sheet.

I filled in the correct answer to the questions.

Therefore, I had to break through this test with the maximum score possible.

I started to fill in the answer sheet instinctively, as if I was driven by someone.

After working hard for a while—I suddenly realized something.

There were a few handwritten words on the huge blank area in the question sheet, meant for students to write their notes.

Those were messy scribbled words.


“‘My memory will reset every 3 minutes.”

“This is because I studied so hard during this test, all because I wanted to get a high score.”

“I crammed all the correct answers in the test in order to memorize them, causing my brain to be overly fully—and it resulted into my daily memories and recollections being squeezed out like Tokoroten.”

“This might be really unbelievable, but please trust me.”

“And please try to find a way to deal with it—the test has not ended yet.”


Once I finished reading these words, my mind is naturally thinking “What is that…am I an idiot?” but what if the lines stated here are the truth?

In that case, everything could be explained.

At the same time, I felt a sense of anxiousness inside me. My memory will reset every 3 minutes, and whenever I feel doubtful and lost, it will end immediately.

I worked so hard on my studies that I even forced out my memories, and the exam ends before I can fulfill my abilities—this outcome would be a little too hilarious, would it not?

As I was thinking about this, I hurriedly filled in the answer sheet.

Suddenly, something hit me on the head. Kok.

Kok, kok, kok.

It seemed that those were shredded rubber scraps.

They flew over at me from the left side—the seat located right beside the window.

I glanced over there, and saw ‘her’ at a corner of the classroom.

The slightly old cuckoo clock hanging above the classroom was now indicating ’11:46’.

I looked at her, and at the same time, I felt the shock of being grabbed by the heart.

She, like the people around us, is wearing a middle school uniform.

Her long pitch-black hair was absorbing the sunlight radiating in from the window, and was heated to an extremely hot temperature. She had an extremely cold expression, and looked like an unhappy wild cat.

We were having an examination now, and yet she had the mechanical pencil left on the table, staring at me without looking away, not doing anything.

“What?”

I could not help but increase my volume. However, the teacher has already walked here before she can reply.

“…Is there something?”

The teacher was staring right at me, probably because he has been keeping an eye on my suspicious actions.

I panicked, but for some reason, “that girl threw rubber at me” did not say it as I remain silent.

This teacher is probably not too strict as he coldly chuckles and said, “Don’t cheat”, before turning back to invigilate.

I heave a sigh of relief and turned to the girl—

The girl flips the question paper.

The word ‘idiot’ was written in large font on that huge space.

It was infuriating, but we could talk by writing on the paper. In that case, the teacher will not catch our conversation. Once I realized this, I quickly turned the question paper to the other side and scribbled quickly.

“Who are you?”

After seeing this question, she sighed, and then used the rubber to scrub the back of the answer sheet. The girl’s small and round handwriting was really hard to identify.

“My name is Minakawa Sui.”

This part alone looked like it was erased a lot of times.

“I understand your current situation. Your memory will reset every 3 minutes, right? I may know how to help you, and I will help you regain your memories. Also, you need to tell me yourtest answers.”

She wanted me to help her cheat.

“My exam results are a little on the borderline—but I want to get high marks if possible. My life depends on this exam…”

…What is going on?

I cannot help but feel a little puzzled.

“I understand your situation, and I accept your proposal. Losing my memories like this is not fun—I will hand my answer sheet to you, then you’ll make a note of the answers somewhere else, then hand it over to me, okay? This time is optical answer, so copying answers here should be easily.”

“Okay, you are really helping me out this time by understanding what I mean immediately. Our previous negotiations ended when the time limit was up…”

The girl who calls herself Minakawa Sui looked very impatient as she received the answer sheet from me. She hands me a piece of paper torn from the question paper—what was written on it was probably written beforehand.

The words written on it are,

“You crammed your knowledge into your head in order to attain high scores in the exams, and lost your memories. In other words, if you spit out those knowledge—or in other words, keep answering questions, the excessive knowledge suppressing your memories will vanish, and you should be able to get back your memories.”

I personally thought that this was really ridiculous, but I took back the answer from Minakawa Sui, who seemed to have finished cheating, and quickly flipped the answer sheet. Ohh, the questions are solved immediately. It feels good.

Those years in history, the names of the historical figures and the incidents continued to surge out from my mind—

Unbelievably, a small portion of my memory returned to my mind.

It was a normal apartment, washiki-styled, and there were tatamis on the floor.

A kitten was curled up below the roof on the other side of the sliding door, and the wind chime was dangling.

She—Minakawa Sui, had long black hair and a savage-looking look. In my memories, she was naturally not wearing a uniform, but a light piece of clothing with revealed shoulders. She was using the cushion to fan her face.

It seemed that Minakawa Sui and I were preparing for our examinations.

“Say, ●●-kun.”

In my memories, she was smiling.

“If you ●● during the next examination, ●●-kun, I’ll ●● “

My memories were full of blanks, causing me to be really confused.

However, the me in my memories was immediately motivated after hearing these words—this was definitely why I worked so hard to study, and crammed so many things about world history that I ended up losing my memories.

“Ah, it’s going to be reset again.”

Back to reality, in the classroom—Minakawa Sui sended me a message with my twisted memories.

“You have it good. You can meet up with me with a fresh feeling over and over again. You really have it good there. A boy meets girl every single time? I find it harder to accept than you whenever your memories are wiped clean.”

She turns her face away.

Then…goodbye.”

She gently waves her hand like a dancing butterfly.



The slightly old and broken cuckoo clock hanging above the podium points towards ’11.54am’.

Everything was proceeding as planned.

Whenever I went through a reset, I would read the ‘recap up till now’ I deliberately wrote down.

“My memory will reset every 3 minutes.”

There is also this line after the first words I discovered.

“I am now working with the girl sitting beside me, Minakawa Sui.”

“She understands my situation. I handed the answer sheet over to her (to let her cheat), and she told me the way to recover my memory.”

“The way is to answer the questions and extract the knowledge from my mind to recover the memories that were forced out. Through this action, I found out this method to be the most effective, so I have to keep answering.”

She understands my current situation. I’ll hand my answer sheet to her (for her to cheat), and she’ll tell me the way to regain my memory.”

The way is to keep solving the questions and extract the knowledge from my mind to regain the memory that was squeezed. Actual results proved that this method seems to be effective, so I have to keep solving the questions.

I promised this Minakawa Sui, so once I am done with a few parts, I have to show her.”

I followed these words obediently and continued to try and solve the questions.

I filled up approximately 90% of the answer marksheet; in other words, most of it was filled up.

Alright, now for the final push—I focused all my efforts in racing my pencil.

The ‘World History’ exam seems it will finish at noon. Today’s schedule and timetable was written on the top of the question paper.

It is 11.54am now, another 6 minutes left.

I have not finished my questions, maybe because the memory reset just now that caused me to be confused, or maybe because of my interaction with Minakawa Sui.

I want to check a little, but there is no time left at all.

I am very anxious, but Minakawa Sui has been throwing rubber scraps at me to prompt me. Just when I am fidgeting around, wary of the stares around us, and preparing to slip the answer sheet to her.

“Teacher! These two are cheating!”

On my right—the neighboring seat in the opposite direction of Minakawa Sui, a certain person raised a hand to call out. I was shocked, withdrew my answer sheet, and turned around.

A petite girl sat there.

This girl is the complete opposite of the cat-like Minakawa Sui. She resembles a dog, and looks really generation. The middle school uniform is worn on her loosely, her lightly dyed hair is slightly short like fur, and she has a large watch on her wrist.

Who is she?

Speaking of which—this is bad. It is a fact that we are cheating; we are doomed if she reports us!

“Ahh?” The teacher gave this mystified look and looked over at us.

This is bad, this is bad. I panic; what do we do now?

I had written suspicious words on the blanks on the question paper and the back as my conversation to Minakawa Sui.

The teacher will be suspicious if he sees it.

We can still bluff through since the teacher did not witness the exact moment we cheated, but it will be difficult for me to exchange a conversation with Minakawa Sui.

In the worst case, I might end up deemed as an accomplice helping someone else, and lose my right to take the exam—is it worth losing my memory to fill the OTAS sheet?

I look over at the short haired girl begrudgingly, but she shows me an annoying look that declares my defeat. She definitely did it while knowing the consequences.

While the teacher approaches us—what do I do? I am wavering.

“That’s not it!”

A clear voice rang.

On my left, Minakawa Sui elegantly sways her pitch black silky hair, and stands up as she says loudly.

“I may look suspicious…for fidgeting around like this, but, actually, I…”

She blushes, and shouts with all her might,

“I need to poop!”

A girl actually said that.

“That’s why I’m looking suspicious now! We’re not chestin!”

Minakawa Sui gives a glance to the short-haired girl. For some reason, the latter shows a surprised look, and then looks down, seemingly shocked as she gives a pale expression.

Leaving aside that, the teacher shows an annoyed look as he looks around the classroom that is in an uproar because of Minakawa Sui’s declaration. He claps his hands,

“Quiet, all of you! We’re having an exam now!”

And then, the teacher pointed his chin at the corridor, prompting Minakawa Sui to head to the toilet.

Minakawa Sui nods, sways her black hair around elegantly, and leaves the classroom.

She is heading to the toilet, but looks like a queen on a triumphant return.

The teacher says to the short-haired girl, who is watching Minakawa Sui leave with a blank look,

“Focus on the test, Minakawa.”

The teacher finishes, and starts to look around the classroom again.

—Mina, kawa?

The slightly old and broken cuckoo clock hanging above the podium points towards ’11.56am’.

I hurriedly try to solve the remaining questions.

There is not much time left.

I hurriedly fill in all the blanks and start to check through them.

But Minakawa Sui has not returned, and I cannot hand my answer sheet over for her to cheat. The teacher is suspicious too; it will be dangerous to continue cheating.

And there is something I am concerned about.

The short-haired girl called Minakawa who is obviously trying to get in our way.

Who is she?

Speaking of which, is her name ‘Minakawa’?

What relationship does ‘Minakawa Sui’ and ‘Minakawa’ have?

Similar family names, or are they twins?

I was confused, but as I have finished the test—I regain a portion of my memory again.

It is a clearer memory than before.

It is the same Japanese-styled room without any tatamis laid out.

‘Minakawa Sui’ and I were studying at a rectangular table that looks like it would be used as a kotatsu during winter, with textbooks and notebooks laid out. Or rather, it seemed I was teaching ‘Minakawa Sui’ while she had trouble learning. She really was a stupid kid, this ‘Minakawa Sui’; she got anxious over the complicated calculations, and finally threw a fit and pushed me down.

At that moment, ‘Minakawa’ appeared.

She forcefully opened the shoji, showing a radiant look as she charges in.

Upon seeing us looking all affectionate on this sweltering day, sweat dripping all over, her face is as red as a thermometer.

“●●●●!!●●●●●●!!”

She shouted something agitatedly.

I can only remember these vaguely.

I, ‘Minakawa Sui’, and ‘Minakawa’ made a ‘bet’ then.

A very important ‘bet’ I cannot ignore.

I worked so hard to study so as to win this ‘bet’.

I pulled all the stops, lost my memory.

But I cannot remember what I bet on.

This definitely is something important.

The slightly old and broken cuckoo clock hanging above the podium points towards ’11.57am’.

The last ‘reset’ occurred during the ‘World History’ exam’.

I manage to understand the current sitauton through the ‘summary up till now’ written on the question paper—but in fact, I still do not know anything.

What is the relation between ‘Minakawa Sui’ and ‘Minakawa’? Who exactly are they?

What did we bet on?

I ponder hard over this, but still check through the answer sheet in a robotic manner, thinking that it is perfect, and give myself an approval. I am very confident I answered everything correctly; as long as I do not make a careless mistake, it will not be a mere wish to get full marks.

However, ‘Minakawa Sui’ still has not returned.

I am unable to fulfill my promise with her.

And so, I ponder for a while, before doing ‘something’ to my own answer script.

I instinctively realize this is for the best.

The slightly old and broken cuckoo clock hanging above the podium points towards ’11.59am’.

And so, the test ends for real.

My memory will ‘reset’ a minute later, and at the same time, the ‘World History’ test will end. To me, this end of semester exam where I bet on something important will end immediately.

What will happen after that—

Do I have to live on with this life of memories full of holes and ‘reset’?

But I actually do not fill regret.

I did what I can do; I am very satisfied. I definitely will not have any regrets.

There is around 10 seconds left till the end of the test—

I suddenly feel a chill that does not feel like summer, and look to the side.

‘She’ is standing there.

She hides her own presence, and not let the other students, who are taking the test, not realize when she returned from the toilet (?). She sneaks in quickly from the back door of the classroom without any sound.

“…”

She smirks.

She stands beside that short-haired girl—‘Minakawa’, just like a ghost

And then,

“…U, hm?”

This ‘Minakawa’, who finally realized ‘Minakawa Sui’ presence, let out a shout.

No, her eyes were fixed on the test answer sheet placed in front of her.

This ‘Minakawa Sui’ revealed an eroded eraser, torn many times before, in her hand like a magician.

‘Minakawa’s answer vanishes at an astonishing speed.

“Ahhh! What are you doing!?”

‘Minakawa’ cries out, but ‘Minakawa Sui’ takes away her answer sheet without mercy, and quickly returns to her seat before continuing to erase the answer sheet with her rubber.

“What are you doing? Return me my answer sheet!”

‘Minakawa’ finally catches up, and takes back her answer sheet from ‘Minakawa Sui’.

“Ahh, ahhh!?”

It is a devastating scene; the worksheet that should have answers filled on it is just left with ugly eraser marks.

“What…what have you done!?”

“Oi, over there, what are you outcrying over!?”

The teacher really cannot take this anymore, and asks this question. ‘Minakawa’ looks to be on the verge of tears, but returns to her seat and tries to revert the answer sheet as how it was.

Due to the OTAS, she can fill in based on the blurred marks, and can fill in the answers in a more accurate manner.

However, it is impossible for a complete recovery. There is not enough time.

‘Minakawa’ can mutter and complain that her answer sheet was ruined by ‘Minakawa Sui’, reporting her in the process, but she does not for some reason.

And so, the test ends without relent.


The slightly old and broken cuckoo clock hanging above the podium points towards ’12 noon’.

The cuckoo flies out from the clock, letting out an energetic and relaxing chime ‘yololeihoo~♪’.

My memory is not ‘reset’.

The test ended, and there is no need to remember—the things like the years in ‘World History’ and so on seep out from my mind, and I regain my repressed original memory.

I have ample space in my brain capacity, and my long-term memory become a possible; the sealed memories that are deemed to be useless for the test starts to regain again.

And so, I understand everything.

“So what will be the outcome?”

Beside me, ‘Minakawa Sui’ plays with her black long hair as she comments,

No, she is—

“Do you remember? My name’s not ‘Minakawa Sui’.”

“I know.”

I clearly declare.

“That’s my name.”

I had a bet with ‘Minakawa Sui’ and ‘Minakawa’.”

‘Minakawa Sui’ and I often played together when we were young, as our houses are close to each other, and we have been on good terms since that time. However, ‘Minakawa’ is jealous of our relationship.

She is the teammate of ‘Minakawa Sui’ in the town volleyball team they belong to, really respects the stern yet beautifully elegant ‘Minakawa’, to the point where she calls the other party ‘onee-sama’.

And ‘Minakawa’ is very unhappy that her beloved ‘onee-sama’ actually has some relationship with a vile existence called a man (how biased!). To separate us, she proposed a match.

In the memory I recalled, the blank line that she said was “No! Onee-sama! belongs only to me, onee-sama!!”

Nobody would want to recall such a line.

The match itself is simple.

On the ‘World History’ test on the last day of the end-of-semester exams, the three of us will compete to see who has the highest score.

If ‘Minakawa Sui’ or I win, I can continue to go out with her.

But if ‘Minakawa’ wins, I will have to break up, and not go out with ‘Minakawa Sui’.

I was wondering what kind of joke this was, what kind of benefit does this competition have for us, but ‘Minakawa Sui’ actually got interested and accepted the proposal.

Normally, the one who would win would be the smart genius student ‘Minakawa’, but both of us would be challenging her. It seemed she thought this would be a fair match.

But ‘Minakawa Sui’s response concerned me…

‘Minakawa Sui’ is not a smart person, so I have to win this contest. This is why I worked so hard to study, to win the bet, because I did not want to break up with ‘Minakawa Sui’.

But an unexpected thing happened—something abnormal happened to me.

That would be the 3 minute memory ‘reset’.

“I panicked back then.”

‘Minakawa Sui’ whispers to me in the classroom that is noisy after the liberation of the test.

“I thought you were acting little weird, and tried talking to you with paper and pen, but you actually looked bizarre…are you an idiot? You even lost your memory just because you wanted to win so much.”

Looking at the contest, it seemed it will be our victory if either ‘Minakawa Sui’ or I win.

Thus, we had an initial plan, where I will be in charge of getting the high score, while ‘Minakawa Sui’ will be in charge of attacking ‘Minakawa’ with rubber scraps to interfere with her.

But because of my accidental mishap, ‘Minakawa Sui’ got confused and supported me instead.

“The troubling thing is that the enemy too realized something strange happened to you.”

‘Minakawa Sui’ points her chin at the ‘Minakawa’ she calls an enemy.

“Like me, the enemy’s writing to you, acting like she’s trying to help you, and managed to know your problem from there. Then, she wants to use your abnormal condition—to sabotage you.”

Our enemy ‘Minakawa’ obviously would tell me anything that is disadvantageous to me.

“She told you the wrong name.”

At that time, I had a name I had never seen before on my answer sheet.

‘Wakai Sunami’—I supposed that would be how it was read. (Note: Wakai Sunami -若井数波, Minakawa Sui -皆川睡)

It was simply an anagram of ‘Minakawa Sui’, a simple word play, but she did not realize it…

“She told you a name that did not belong to anyone in this classroom. If you write down the wrong name, your marks will be zero. No matter how high your scores are, the teacher will not think that person is you.”

‘MInakawa’ wanted to beat me using this method.

‘Minakawa Sui’, who saw all of this, came up with a plan in her mind.

She could have told me my real name exactly, and can also insist that ‘MInakawa’ is lying—but she considered that I will feel confused, and would not have known who to believe.

She made this decision, and called herself ‘Minakawa Sui’ after my memory reset.

That was my real name.

When the teacher said, “Focus on the test, Minakawa”, it was directed at me, and not the short-haired girl.

Either way, to save me from my predicament, she decided to use the moment when ‘Minakawa’ tried to report us for cheating to leave the classroom.

She already knew that I will feel pity for ‘Minakawa Sui’ and do something to my paper.

Right, I erased someone else’s name that was on my answer sheet, and wrote ‘Minakawa Sui’. That was because I felt it was pitiful that she had to leave her seat on the way, and I wanted to let the teacher accept my answer sheet as hers when I should be able to get a high score.

Up till this point, it has been just as what ‘Minakawa Sui’ expected.

‘Minakawa Sui’ cunningly obtained the correct answers from me, and deliberately filled some wrong answers on her own answer sheet.

Why must she do this?

She is not a smart person, but is full of cunning ideas inside.

“During that commotion when I came back from the toilet, I swapped my marksheet—with the enemy’s”

After such a ridiculous situation where her answer got wrecked by the eraser, ‘Minakawa’ panicked and did not realize ‘Minakawa Sui’ swapped the answers.

‘Minakawa’ hurriedly tried to revert her answers, but the marks left on it are the wrong answers ‘Minakawa Sui’ switched over while cheating.

‘Minakawa  Sui’ left ‘Minakawa’ aside, erased the name off the answer sheet that could give a high score, and writes her name on it.

This test uses the OTAS, and handwriting is indistinguishable, so even if the answers are swapped., everyone, including the teachers, will not find it ‘weird’.

And ‘Minakawa could not say anything about her most beloved ‘Minakawa Sui’.

Because she did not want to be hated.

In summary,

What I submitted was the answer sheet with my real name, ‘Minakawa Sui’, filled with correct answers, and should hopefully have full marks.

What ‘Minakawa Sui’ submitted was ‘Minakawa’s answer sheet, which should have a pretty high score, with ‘Minakawa Sui’s real name.

And our enemy ‘Minakawa Sui’ submitted ‘Minakawa Sui’s answer sheet, full of mistakes, with her own name on it.

“Goodness—we finally passed through this.”

The girl who called herself ‘Minakawa Sui’ is grinning like a Cheshire cat.

“You really are an idiot. You even lost your memory; did you really want to win that much? So desperate…you’re an embarrassing idiot.”

I look over at her while remaining at a corner of the classroom, who seem happy for some reason, and tilt my head.

“But my memory’s still a little fuzzy—beside the contest that girl proposed against us, I think I had a bet with you…that’s why I was so desperate to win—”

“Oh, so you haven’t remembered the things beneficial to you.”

She fingers her long black hair, showing a bright smile on her face.

“It’s simple.”

Her smile is astonishingly beautiful.

“If you get 100 marks in the test…you and I will—”

She mutters till this point, and turns her face away,

“It’s embarrassing to say this after all.”

Her tone is extremely forceful, just like a queen.

“Anyway, you should be able to get full marks, right? That’s to be expected after all. You worked so hard till your memory’s all fuzzy—you really are an idiot.”

She looks really happy.

“Anyway, now that that idiot who calls me ‘onee-sama’ out of the way… I just want a step up in our relationship. You understand what I’m saying?”

In a corner of the classroom, she shows a smile.

“Well, when you remember my name—I’ll tell you what it is.”

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