Nakajima's solar plexus again. The pain felt almost as if his heart was being torn out, and Nakajimatried to cry out. But with the wind knocked out out of him, he could neither inhale nor exhale, and allthat left his injured lips was a pathetic little moan.Nakajima had always been something of an independent maverick, not wanting to hurt anyone or gethurt himself, so he had never been beaten like this before. And to think that it was over some stupidreason like rejecting a girl! The combined sensations of pain, anger, and humiliation overwhelmedNakajima, and the wound in his psyche started to bleed a drop at a time. Seeing him like this, Kyokowatched Nakajima with a look of pure ecstasy in her eyes, and laughed out loud. The sound of herhigh-pitched laugh reverberating throughout the classroom pierced Nakajima's eardrums and echoed inhis skull, awakening an emotion he had never experienced before deep within him.Damn you...I'll get you...you won't get away with this...Nakajima's eyes lit up with a fierce, violent look he had never shown before."What's with that look?"Kondo was taken aback for a second by Nakajima's expression, and as if mad at himself for faltering,he punched Nakajima hard in the face. As the crunch of Nakajima's tooth cracking sounded, Kyokosaid "Hey, don't you think that's enough?" as if she had lost interest in the whole thing. It was the voiceof a dirty, cowardly woman, worried only about protecting herself; if Nakajima was beaten any harder,there would be a real danger of her being held responsible."Hey, lucky you! Looks like you've gotten a reprieve. I've gotta say I'm surprised at what a weak littlerunt you are. Beating you up was just a waste of energy." Twisting his mouth into a smile, Kondounceremoniously dumped Nakajima's body on the floor like a rag doll.An hour later, after finally being able to move, Nakajima reached the Chuo-sen Kunitachi train station,supported by Takai Ken'ichi."Why don't we sit down?" While propping up Nakajima, Takai cocked his head in the direction of twoopen seats next to each other nearby."Eh?...Oh, sure."Nakajima collapsed onto the seat and stared forward resolutely, all the while regretting he had everapplied to his school.Jusho Private High was a famous and prestigious school, and every year more than twenty of itsstudents were admitted to Tokyo University. However, anyone that was familiar with the way theschool worked would have to acknowledge the extreme stratification amongst the students. The schoolwas divided into two classes; the general class, and the "gifted" class, which received better facilities, abetter curriculum, better teaching materials, and in general were favored much more highly. The"gifted" class, which comprised only about twenty percent of the student body, was always the target of constant jealousy and disgruntlement from the general class. With such a gulf between the classes, theviolent incidents that came about from this jealousy were to an extent unavoidable.Both Nakajima and Takai were part of the gifted class. With his slender frame and delicate looks, if Nakajima swapped his uniform for a girl's sailor suit, he might very well be able to pass for a beautifulteenage girl. Takai's appearance on the other hand was almost the polar opposite. He had a rugged bodyand thick fingers built up from judo practice, which he had started in junior high. But his personalitywas not as tough as his exterior, and when he put on his dark green-rimmed glasses, he looked almostlike a child."That Kondo, he seemed even worse than usual today." Takai spoke almost as if making excuses; hefelt a little guilty for not stepping in to help Nakajima.Nakajima raised an eyebrow and responded half-heartedly. "His energy doubles whenever he's near awoman.""What the heck is someone like Kyoko doing in the gifted class anyway? Besides, you'd never come onto her in the first place.""Actually...it was the other way around."