Silence ensued on the table of the two girls.
They straightened their backs and pretended that they didn't hear anything. Chess didn't probe any further.
If he asked it twice, it would look suspicious. But if he go now, it'll also be suspicious. That's why, he just flashed them his smile before scratching his nape.
"I'm sorry, I don't really have friends to talk to so I don't know what's happening around." He looked embarrassed while saying those words.
That very act of him is effective. It always work, especially with girls.
At the sight of his cute smile, the two girls on the table glanced at each other, suppressing the urge to pinch his cheeks. They conversed with only their eyes and came up with the decision to just continue talking to Chess.
The girl with the short hair was the first one to talk again. She leaned sideways and whispered on Chess's ears.
"This is a rumor that can ruin the university's image, so we can't talk about it freely. Even if you have friends, knowing that your class is a bunch of geeks, it's impossible that this rumor even reached you. So, let us just tell you." She said.
The other girl followed and also leaned forward.
"But keep this a secret, okay?" she added.
Chess immediately nodded his head, looking so obedient. The girls found him trustworthy. He looked like someone who doesn't talk much and someone who can keep secrets. So, they thought, maybe it's okay to tell him.
And true to their expectations, Chess could definitely keep a secret. He's even so good at it.
"This rumor just started on Wednesday. I was on my way to the class when I saw some of my girl friends talking in a corner." The short haired girl started. She resumed eating her food while motioning Chess to start eating too.
Chess didn't have his tray of food when he approached them, so the girls shared theirs with him. He thanked them and timidly ate while listening to the story.
"Of course, I approached them to say hi. They looked enthusiastic when I reached them, so I asked why. Then my friend told me that they saw a very handsome man."
Hmm… a handsome man. By where the direction of the story is going, it's possible that the rumor was started by that man.
But handsome men are normal in this school, so Chess can't really use that as a basis of finding that person. He needs more data. Something more specific.
"She said that the guy introduced himself as a student of Section 0. He also said that they should keep quiet about meeting him, or the university wouldn't like it. That's when they came up with the idea that Section 0 is a hidden section." The girl even nodded her head while saying those words.
The other girl supported her statement with another story.
"Hmn, I also asked the others earlier, and they said the same thing. That they met a very handsome man who introduced himself as a student of Section 0."
'Isn't that suspicious?' Chess thought.
Who would run around claiming that they are from a secret section while telling the others to keep it a secret? If you want to keep it a secret, then why tell in the first place?
It's obvious that the person is up to something.
But what is he up to? And why?
"Well, even if he said to keep it a secret, you couldn't expect the others to keep it to themselves. That's why the rumors started to spread. By now, I think, the university higher-ups already heard about it. That's why don't talk about it so freely. If they heard us, then what? I don't want to be expelled."
That's right… Chess remembered that it was in the university's rule book.
'Any talks, exchange of ideas or gossips made inside the university grounds that could threaten the university's reputation would be deemed a violation of the university rule. Any violation would result in expulsion and, at most, severe punishment by the law.'
When you think about it, aren't they exaggerating a bit too much? But then again, this is the top university of the country, a provider of high-quality professionals all over the world. It's normal for them to protect their reputation this much.
They even built a section for the sole purpose of cleaning the university's dirt, as well as for keeping their own hands clean.
With the Pawns around, no one can bring them down from the top.
"That's why, you should refrain from talking about that section. Do you understand?"
Chess came back to himself upon hearing that question from one of the girls. For a moment, he drifted away with his thoughts. It was unusual of him.
He turned to give the girl a smile before nodding his head.
"Of course… and thank you so much for the help."
Chess stayed with them for a little while longer before preparing to leave. He bid them a goodbye and thanked them once again.
The girls also smiled and bid him goodbyes while reassuring him that they would look for the person who took the photo. With that, Chess walked away looking contented.
He was a step closer to the truth behind the gossip. The first lead was the handsome man who they talked about.
He only felt the backlash of being in a school full of handsome people now. How can he find that person if handsome men are normal for this university? It's such a hassle…
"Well, isn't that nice? Making friends with the Class C's now?"
Chess halted at the sound of that voice.
He tilted his head to the side and was able to catch sight of Angela.
She was sitting in a table with untouched food on her tray. Hans was sitting across her, but the difference is, he's eating so joyfully.
Angela threw him a glare which made Hans stop. He cleared his throat before placing his utensils down and looking at Chess. His expression immediately shifted, as if matching that of Angela.
"That's right. How dare you?" Hans sounded like a disappointed step mother when he said those words.
Angela bit her lips in annoyance before once again glaring at Hans. Hans looked at her in confusion, parting his lips to quietly say 'What?'. Angela rolled her eyes in response before ignoring him completely.
She fixed all of her attention on Chess, raising her brows as if she was waiting for an explanation.
Chess didn't know what to do.
Why is Angela acting this way? What did he do? He had no idea.
When Angela realized that Chess had no intentions of speaking, she grabbed the tray of food in her table and bolted up from her seat. She started walking away, passing through Chess without even giving him a single glance.
Chess was left alone with Hans.
In confusion, he turned to look at Hans to ask for clarification. Hans, in return, just shrugged. He went back to eating while his face turned casually serious.
"Just let her be."
The day ended with Chess not seeing Angela.
Normally, Angela would come and send him off together with Hans, but today was different.
Maybe, he really did something to upset her, Chess thought. Maybe he'll talk about it with her tomorrow.
For now, he needs to go to his supplementary class. The star of the rumors these days. The Section 0.
Chess waited for the crowd to dissipate before sneaking into the back of the university. He swiftly entered the forest while making sure no one was following behind.
But for the first time in his whole stay here, no one welcomed him at the entrance of the forest. No one jumped down from a tree and started running his mouth off. No Jill showed up.
For some reason, he felt uncomfortable.
It's unusual for Jill to leave his spot empty. Is he perhaps absent?
But that doesn't seem to be the case when he reached their classroom.
Jill was around. And here he is, grabbing Chess by the collar.
Chess just stared at him silently, not moving an inch. He watched as Jill glared at him with his dark eyes. He looked so angry that veins started appearing on his temple.
What's happening? What is with this situation?
"I always thought you were strange… But, f*ck! I never thought you'd be this despicable!"
What did he do? Why is Jill so angry?
Chess can't comprehend the situation.
Kane stepped forward and grabbed Jill away from him. Chess quietly fixed his collar while observing each and every one of them.
They all looked at him like he did something terrible. Even Aoi was looking at him with hateful eyes. And for some reason, he didn't like that look.
Only Cale and Syn remained indifferent, but you can feel the displeasure in their eyes.
Only when Prof came did he know of the reason why they were acting that way.
Prof entered the room with a serious look. He looked unusually cold today, which made Chess even confused.
Prof motioned for him to follow, so he did. They came to a stop in front of the table. Prof pulled his phone out of his pocket. And there, he tilted the screen to Chess's direction.
"Did you do it? Were you the one who exposed us?"