I turned to face Red Shirt and informed him that I hadn't told anyone yet but intended to exchange words with Yama Arashi. This seemed to trouble him greatly, and he cautioned me against doing anything outrageous. "I don't recall saying anything directly that concerns Hotta. If you start trouble with him here it will be a tremendous embarrassment to me. You didn't come to this school to act as troublemaker, did you?" Since he posed this preposterous question, I answered with, "Of course not! What school would tolerate a chronic troublemaker on its payroll?" Red Shirt then advised me to keep the previous day's discussion private for now. He was sweating, and his counsel bordered on a plea, so I reluctantly agreed to desist for his sake. "Are you sure you're okay?" he pressed again. He must be effeminate to the core. If all scholars are like this then they really are a sorry lot. He makes unreasonable requests with complete indifference and then has the gall to doubt my sincerity. I can humbly declare myself a man. A man doesn't give his word and then run into the shadows and break it.
The occupants of the desks on either side of us had arrived, so Red Shirt hastily retreated to his own seat. He was even haughty in the way he walked. When moving about the room, he placed the soles of his shoes gently to avoid making any sound. This was my first encounter with one who prided himself in walking silently. Assuming he's not a burglar in training, there's no reason for him not to walk naturally. Finally, the bugle sounded to signal the start of classes. Yama Arashi had not arrived after all, so I set the coins on my desk and headed for the classroom.