Classroom of the Elite Volume 11 Epilogue Part 2
TL: Graze/Hina/Heero (Not really Heero tbh, he did like 2 lines)
The confrontation between the two was broadcast on the large monitor.
Hashimoto was constantly on the offensive during the opening of the match, but Horikita handled it calmly.
She kept her composure, avoiding situations where one would reflexively try to sacrifice a piece in order to defend themselves.
And as the game steadily progressed, she had gained the upper hand.
They were just about to reach the mid-game, but Horikita’s victory was gradually beginning to take shape.
Yes, Horikita held the advantage. It was a display of skill that far surpassed what she had shown during our training sessions.
“It’s an interesting game. I’d love to see it through until the end.”
Sakayanagi spoke as an observer, without so much as a hint of urgency in her voice.
“I agree. Let’s just see it through until the end then.”
“Fufu, although I’d like to allow it… I sadly cannot let that happen. It’s not that I don’t have faith in Hashimoto-kun, but Horikita-san just seems rather composed. Those verbal skills he specializes in don’t seem to be having much of an effect on her.”
The time had come. A notification popped up on my screen informing me that Sakayanagi had opted to intervene in the match.
She must’ve come to the conclusion that Hashimoto would lose if she waited any longer.
Having to intervene so early in the match was also probably an unexpected situation for her.
Regardless, her decision to intervene was the right one.
If she had postponed it for even a few more minutes, Hashimoto would’ve been put in a position where the match would’ve already been decided.
That was just how terrifyingly strong Horikita was right now.
I felt tempted to sit and watch how things would play out for a little longer. I wanted to see just how much she had grown.
I was curious to see what kind of moves Horikita would make in a match against Sakayanagi.
“Aren’t you going to enter the match, Ayanokōji-kun?”
“We would probably have a higher chance of winning if I left it to Horikita instead of letting me mess things up.”
“I see. Then, I suppose it’s fine if I turn the tides in our favor?”
With that, she typed something with her keyboard. And then, Hashimoto, who had been stuck in consideration, sprung back to life like a fish that had found water.
The commander’s 30-minute countdown timer would pause from the moment they pressed enter. Apparently, the time lag between transmissions was also taken into account. Then, from the moment the opponent makes their next move, the countdown would begin once again.
Horikita versus Sakayanagi. I was earnestly hoping that the two of them were evenly matched.
If they were, Horikita may be able to hold onto her advantage until the very end. But, I didn’t think it would turn out that way. Sakayanagi had entered the match with absolute confidence. Based on the recent flow of events, it was clear that the exceptionally skilled move that Sakayanagi had given Hashimoto had left Horikita anxious.
So, she had to think. She had to consider how she would fight when her opponent had changed to someone much stronger than her.
And, she had to be resolute. She had to make use of the time she had saved during the opening of the match and make her move.
“Maybe I didn’t give her enough of a handicap.”
Each time Horikita made a move, it always took Sakayanagi less than five seconds to respond.
She would immediately respond with calculated moves that honed in on Horikita’s weak points.
The opportunity Horikita had made for herself had vanished in the blink of an eye.
At this point, she was left with only the tiniest advantage. Horikita’s hand stopped.
Though she was just a beginner, she probably felt the despair that came with being matched against an opponent whose power was far beyond her reach.
She was being closed in on, driven into a corner with no place to go.
Two, three minutes passed. There was simply nothing Horikita could do anymore.
This was the line. The dividing line that separated the winner from the loser.
Horikita couldn’t deal with the pressure, so I chose to pick up the baton and signaled that I’d begin with my intervention.
Through the power of text to speech, this signal was sent to Horikita through her headset.
For a moment, Horikita looked up at the camera. She nodded, entrusting the rest of the thinking to me.
This wouldn’t be a battle between Horikita and Sakayanagi anymore.
Instead, it was a one-on-one fight between Sakayanagi and myself.
“At long last… our match can truly begin.”
“I guess so.”
Even though I only had 30 minutes, that was more than enough to see this through to the end.
Sakayanagi and I continued our conversation while our hands tirelessly moved upon our keyboards.
Each move we made took anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds. And each time I pressed the enter key to send our instructions, the countdown timer would stop decreasing.
Having watched how the match had progressed so far, I could glean a rough idea of how it was going to play out.
Without pause, our pieces ran free upon the surface of the chessboard.
[Oioi! What kinda otherworldly play style are you guys using here…!?]
Through the large monitor, I could hear the sound of Hashimoto’s voice calling out as he followed an instruction he had just been sent.
[Our match sure seems pathetic in comparison…]
[…You can say that again.]
Their shock was understandable. It was the difference between them and us, the difference between amateur and professional. To them, it may not even be clear which side had the advantage by looking at the board.
No… It went even further than that… It was something I was forced to understand when I first started playing the game.
Sakayanagi’s skills were so profound that I couldn’t help but want to show my respect.
I wouldn’t even be remotely surprised if she were to make a name for herself in the world of chess in the future.
As a child, I learned how to play chess in the White Room.
I had played against a great number of so-called professional instructors, but she was better than all of them.
“So what do you think, Ayanokōji-kun? Have my moves managed to reach your heart?”
“Yeah. Painfully so.”
Even after the match went past the halfway point, instead of opening the gap between us and spreading my tiny lead, it took the full extent of my ability to prevent her from closing in on me.
If I made even one single mistake, she would probably break through all at once.
“No need to worry. After all, Ayanokōji-kun would never make a careless mistake.”
“If that’s the case, I wouldn’t mind if you gave up.”
“That’s a rather unreasonable proposal. If you don’t make a mistake, I’ll just have to use my strength to surpass you and break through from the front.”
At some point, Horikita and Hashimoto had been left speechless. They were nothing more than the medium for our hands to move the pieces on the board.
Eventually, during the second half of the match, Sakayanagi’s hand stopped.
Under more normal circumstances, I already knew what move Sakayanagi would make next.
But─ she mysteriously became lost in thought instead.
Because our battle had been so fast-paced up until this point, Hashimoto was clearly shaken by what was happening.
Although he didn’t say anything, he may have sensed that she was in trouble.
After a few minutes of silence, she made her move, and the move she came up with was a powerful one.
I hadn’t made a mistake, and I also wasn’t going to give her the opportunity to take the advantage away from me.
My hand was the one that stopped this time.
“Ah, what a delightful match this has been! I don’t care about the spectators anymore. Right now, I just want this to be one that I’ll remember for the rest of my life!”
I didn’t know how familiar with chess Hoshinomiya-sensei and Sakagami-sensei were.
That being said, the two of them were probably able to sense just how extraordinary this battle truly was.
One, two minutes passed. Time flew by without stopping.
All of the time I had saved up was slowly ticking itself away.
[What… What are you doing, Ayanokōji-kun?]
Through the large monitor, I could hear Horikita’s uncertain voice as she sat and waited for my instructions.
[You’ve only got around five minutes left…!]
Of course, I was well aware of how much time I had.
This was a complex chess game, an amalgamation of the thoughts of four different people all on one chessboard.
There was no doubt that we, the once-dominant side, were now on completely even ground.
My next move would mean the difference between life and death.
No matter how much time I took reading into what move to make, it would still be worth it.
“You’re not somebody who’d let something on this level stop you, right Ayanokōji-kun? Please show me what you’ve got.”
Instead of winning, Sakayanagi was only interested in drawing out the full extent of my potential.
For her, if it meant that she could enjoy herself, it didn’t matter who won the exam.
There were less than three minutes left. I was forced to wipe my slate clean, to completely give up on the path to the end of the game that I had initially envisioned.
And then, I had to build a new path. One that would lead me to victory.
Just before the two-minute mark, I typed something into my keyboard and sent my instruction to Horikita.
As if she had been waiting for this moment, Horikita started moving one again.
The piece flew across the surface of the board, and for the second time, Hashimoto grew anxious.
Contrary to how the match had been progressing earlier, Sakayanagi’s moves began to take longer.
Her first response took 30 seconds, as did the next. And the move after that took her a full minute.
I, on the other hand, was responding to her moves within one or two seconds each.
The two of us were now walking down a path that would lead to my victory.
The endgame was approaching. The outcome would be decided soon.
With my next move, checkmate would be all but certain.
She still had moves she could make to escape it, but those were few in number.
If she messed up, she would lose her last way out.
Sakayanagi spoke words of praise.
A minute passed, then two, then three. For the second time, Sakayanagi was lost in thought.
Her time was running out. Every precious second was slowly being stripped away.
Sakayanagi had been talking to me not too long ago, but now she had gone quiet.
[Oi oi oi!]
Hashimoto began shouting. Her remaining time ran down to two minutes, and then finally fell below my own.
If she ran out of time, she would have no choice but to entrust the rest of the match to Hashimoto, which would essentially ensure her defeat.
[Sakayanagi! Are we really gonna lose like this!?]
Hashimoto probably wouldn’t be able to come up with a way to escape.
Sakayanagi only had less than a minute left now.
“Truly, truly splendid, Ayanokōji-kun. You’ve given me more than I could’ve ever asked for.”
As her time dwindled away, Sakayanagi sang me praises once again.
“Thanks to you, I’ve experienced firsthand what it’s really like to break out in a cold sweat. You were quite the formidable opponent.”
Just as she finished talking, Sakayanagi then added a few more words.
“─This is the end.”
Sakayanagi muttered these words of defeat, but of course, Hashimoto wasn’t able to hear her.
The commander did not have the authority to end the game.
When our time was up, it would be up to the player at the chessboard to admit their defeat.
Alternatively, Hashimoto could also continue playing until the final checkmate.
Either way, the match was over from the moment Sakayanagi expressed her willingness to admit defeat.
“It was a fun match. It really is quite regrettable that it has to end.”
She had less than 40 seconds. Her voice was calm, and as she spoke, I could hear the sound of her typing something into her keyboard.
Instead of acknowledging her surrender, her words were instead meant to highlight the confidence she had in the ferocious move she had come up with.
[…Atta girl, princess!]
It was a comeback from the brink of death by Hashimoto, or rather… by Sakayanagi, the one who was standing behind him.
Upon seeing the move she had responded with, I was struck by the sensation of shivers flowing down my spine.
She had brought the black side back from the dead, alive and breathing once again.
Over the course of the next two to three moves, it felt as though the match had deviated from my path.
And then─ before I knew it, I found that I had been cornered.
I had been lured into walking down her own path without even realizing it.
Throughout the merciless back and forth of advantages, the time came for me to fall into silence once again.
Now, with less than a minute and a half to go on my own timer, I found myself facing my biggest hurdle yet.
As the one moving the pieces, Horikita must’ve sensed this as well.
Class A’s defeat. Class C’s victory. For her, these dreams must’ve seemed as though they were within her grasp only a few moments ago.
And now, Horikita probably felt as though these dreams had slipped through her fingers. I had less than one minute left.
Without looking up at the camera, Horikita spoke my name.
[I don’t want to lose.]
And then, she gave voice to her feelings.
She gave voice to the words she needed to say.
[I… I don’t want to admit defeat… I want to win…]
It was a cry from the bottom of her heart.
[Even now, I’m still thinking, racking my brain over and over, trying to come up with the move I need to make in order to win.]
An emotional plea, completely uncharacteristic of her.
[But, I can’t come up with anything that would work against Sakayanagi-san… You’re the only one who can do something like that!]
I closed my eyes.
I only had a few dozen seconds left.
This was the end to end all ends.
Considering that the match would have to continue after this, our defeat would probably be decided within the next 30 seconds.
There were no safe routes anymore. I had to place my bet on the last chance I had at winning this battle.
I quickly began typing on my keyboard, writing out the move that I had come up with.
And then I hit enter, and the countdown of my timer stopped.
However, Horikita just sat there, silently waiting for my message to arrive, almost as if she was praying for it.
Around 30 seconds after I sent her my instruction, Horikita’s eyes widened.
The long-awaited signal had apparently reached her through the headset.
I glanced at Sakagami-sensei and Hoshinomiya-sensei.
Their eyes were both glued to the large monitor, eagerly watching to see the outcome of the chess match.
[So you’ve still got some fight left in you… Ayanokōji.]
Hashimoto looked up at the camera with a complicated expression on his face. He was smiling, and yet not smiling at the same time.
Horikita made her move, and Sakayanagi’s timer began counting down once again.
“Splendidly done, Ayanokōji-kun.”
Upon seeing what move I had made, Sakayanagi praised me for the third time.
“I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a match against such a complex, powerful opponent before. You’ve managed to answer my each and every move with an equal, or sometimes far greater move of your own.”
She spoke, assessing what had happened. With my move, she had probably seen the end of the match.
“The move you made just now was certainly a perfect one. There’s no doubting that you’re at a level that an ordinary person could only dream of reaching.”
Sakayanagi’s words were filled with emotion and her voice trembled a little.
Sakayanagi’s voice quietly echoed throughout the room.
“With this, my victory is all but set in stone.”
With that, she typed her instructions into her keyboard, which Hashimoto immediately carried out.
I responded with instructions of my own, prompting for the beginning of a flurry of movements between the two of us. The end of the match was drawing near.
There was no conversation, only the sound of pieces moving across the chessboard.
There were 5 moves left… and then 4… 3… Before finally…
Sakayanagi forced the checkmate via queen sacrifice.
It was a play that could even be called the ultimate trump card, where you sacrificed the queen, the strongest piece.
It’s an exceptional play when it works, but the risks that come with it are high. If it fails, defeat would come shortly after. It was the plan I had decided on during the eleventh hour with my back up against the wall.
Horikita’s hand stopped.
She held onto a faint hope that my words would once again come flowing through the headset, but that was only for a moment.
She had probably realized it herself by now too. That, at this point, there was no way to prevent the checkmate anymore.
The outcome had been decided.
But even so, there was something about it that Horikita just couldn’t give up.
[Answer me, Ayanokōji-kun… Is there really nothing I can do anymore…?]
I took my hands off the keyboard.
Horikita had wanted to beat Class A more than anyone else.
She had entrusted me with everything, thinking that I’d be able to handle it, or maybe even win it.
This was the finale, the seventh event. I wanted to commend her for gaining the upper hand against a tough opponent like Hashimoto.
This loss wasn’t her fault in the slightest.
The opponent had simply played a better move than the one she had been instructed to make.
The countdown timer for commander intervention stopped at 0 and the connection between us was cut off.
[…It was my loss.]
Horikita lowered her head to Hashimoto, moreso out of shame than courtesy.
[Thank you for the match.]
Hashimoto bowed in response.
“─And that’s everything.”
With that, Sakagami-sensei, who had been quietly spectating throughout the match, announced the conclusion of the seventh event.
“Class A has won the seventh event. Therefore, the winner of this special exam, with 4 wins and 3 losses, is Class A. Class C’s performance was also quite remarkable.”
The last event was over. For the time being, I would have to come up with an excuse. After all, I had intervened as the commander, and yet I still lost the chess match. Some people would inevitably be dissatisfied, wondering why I didn’t just leave everything to Horikita.
“That was a great match… right? Either way, Class C did a super great job.”
Hoshinomiya-sensei attempted to console me with the same stuff as always.
“You’re free to cry into my chest if it’ll make you feel better.”
As she messed around with me, Sakagami-sensei sternly called out her name.
“I-it was just a joke. A joke!”
She jumped back a little and hurriedly bowed her head to Sakagami-sensei.
“But, Ayanokōji-kun. You seem to be like, way more amazing than I thought. You got that awful tenth question correct during flash mental arithmetic, and you even fought on equal footing with Sakayanagi-san in chess. Plus, you also got the hard questions correct during the written test events. Oh! What’s more, you can also run really fast if I’m remembering correctly…”
After saying all of that, Hoshinomiya-sensei pondered for a moment.
“The heck? Does this mean you’ve been hiding your abilities until now?”
“It just happened to work out well for me this time.”
“I see, so it was just a coincidence, huh? Those kinda things totally do happen sometimes~… As if…! Yep, I think I understand the reason why Sae-chan has her eyes on you, Ayanokōji-kun. It’s sooo not fair~.”
No matter how much I tried to hide it, there was no getting around the fact that some things simply had to be shown in front of the teachers.
“Don’t worry~. I won’t go around telling other students about what I’ve seen or heard here~”
As she spoke, she patted my shoulder gently. And then, she brought her mouth close to my ear and said:
“Sensei doesn’t dislike kids like you, Ayanokōji-kun, but, if you become an enemy, Sensei might just end up hating you the most.”
The smile on her face had vanished. Hoshinomiya-sensei left me with that and walked away.
From the look of it, I had inadvertently caused her to recognize me as a potential enemy of Class B.
“The exam is over. Students, please leave the room as soon as possible.”
“Sakagami-sensei, should we return to our classrooms first?”
“No, you’re done for today. You’re free to go straight home if you want.”
Apparently, there was no need for the classes to reassemble today. I was grateful for that.
“The students are so lucky, aren’t they? Getting to go back home and all.”
“Hoshinomiya-sensei, let’s get ready to clean up.”
Sakagami and Hoshinomiya began preparing to take down the event equipment from the multipurpose room. The atmosphere of the room was so relaxed that it was hard to believe that such a tense battle had just been fought. Shortly thereafter, Sakayanagi leisurely emerged from the other side of the computer.
She had probably been waiting for the teachers to distance themselves from the two of us.
“Many thanks for today, Ayanokōji-kun.”
“Yeah. You too.”
After the seventh event, the first thing we did was exchange pleasantries with each other.
It had only taken 30 minutes, but she had been going full throttle the entire time. Her fatigue was probably considerable.
“It takes endurance to play chess. There was Horikita-san’s marvelous response to Hashimoto during the opening, and then your own extraordinary fighting style that was even better than that. It truly was wonderful.”
Sakayanagi had a satisfied look on her face. It seemed like she had brought out her very best.
“Honestly, you were far stronger than I had imagined. You blew through Horikita’s advantage and I lost. There’s no doubt about it.”
“That’s not the case. It was a very good match. It could’ve gone either way until the very end. Though, you wouldn’t disagree that the one move I made toward the end was what made all the difference, yes?”
“Your queen sacrifice was brilliant.”
It all came down to what had taken place on the other side of the large monitor.
My instructions had interlaced with hers, and the result of that was that hers were superior.
Miracles, second chances, there was no room for any of that.
Victory and defeat were judged, determined, and decided at the school’s discretion.
Even though we had put up a good fight, Class C had still lost to Class A, losing 30 class points in the process.
By itself, this only seemed like a minor injury, but we still had yet to see what happened in the other classes…
“Is there something you still want from me?”
“Something I want, is it? Not particularly.”
With a gentle smile, Sakayanagi nodded her head in satisfaction.
“I was simply looking forward to facing off against you. And now, that wish has come true. I’m satisfied.”
In which case, I guess I was just glad that I was able to give her what she wanted.
It would be troublesome if Sakagami-sensei got mad at us for talking like this for too long, so I got up out of my seat as well.
Just as I was about to reach for the door handle and leave, Acting Director Tsukishiro showed up in the multipurpose room.
“Well, the two of you have really gone and shown me something worth seeing.”
“Why hello there, Acting Director Tsukishiro. Did you watch the special exam?”
“Yes. After all, those of us from the school have the obligation of making sure there has been no injustice. I was in the other room, keeping an eye on the two of you as you made use of commander intervention and watching as your match developed.”
With that, he clapped his hands as he praised the two of us.
“Neither one of you would give an inch. It was truly the definition of an evenly matched fight. Those of us from the school managed to collect some exceptionally good data from it too. I’m confident that this contest will serve as a great asset to the school for many years to come.”
When I looked into the Acting Director’s eyes, he stared straight back into my own with a delighted expression on his face.
And with that, I understood everything without even having to talk to him.
“I’m quite glad you enjoyed the show, Acting Director Tsukishiro.”
Sakayanagi bowed her head. Above all else, she felt a supreme sense of fulfillment that our competition had finally reached its conclusion.
“Come to think of it, has the dust settled between Class B and Class D?”
“Yes. They finished about an hour ago.”
A considerably fast resolution.
“Which class won?”
It seemed as though Sakayanagi was also interested in hearing the results.
“Class D won with five wins and two losses. It was a big upset.”
So Ryūen defeated Ichinose. This meant that they had gained 190 class points.
Class D, or rather, Class C, had come back to life.
And, this also meant that we would have to start all over again from Class D.
“This must be quite the painful defeat for Ichinose-san. Well, I suppose it’s understandable.”
If it hadn’t been for Ryūen, Class B definitely would’ve won the exam.
I found myself wondering: Had he taken action for himself, or for the sake of his class?
Whatever the reason, this meant that something within that guy had started to change.
And at the same time, this also meant that a looming threat had returned for Ichinose.
“Alright everyone, let’s leave the room. The special exam is over. Teachers, I ask that you please take your leave as well.”
The Acting Director prompted for both Sakagami-sensei and Hoshinomiya-sensei to leave.
“But, we still need to take care of─”
“We will take care of that on our end.”
At the Acting Director’s signal, several workers flooded into the room all at once.
“Who are all of these people? They’re not school personnel, are they?”
Sakagami-sensei asked, his voice full of doubt.
“It seems that the government would like to get its hands on the data from this exam as soon as possible. That’s why they’ve dispatched all of these people, so please rest assured.”
Since the Acting Director was the one who said it, as a teacher, Sakagami-sensei had no choice but to pull back and listen to his instructions.
The two teachers promptly rushed to complete their final tasks and left the multipurpose room together with Sakayanagi and me.
Then, the teachers walked away, headed off in the direction of the staff room without paying any further attention to either of us.
Sakayanagi, on the other hand, cast a glance at the workers with a dubious look on her face.
However, before we could watch for too much longer, the door to the multipurpose room was shut and we could hear the sound of someone locking it from inside.
“Is something bothering you?”
Acting Director Tsukishiro, who did not stay inside the multipurpose room, asked Sakayanagi.
“No. It’s nothing.”
“Is that so?”
At this point, I felt that I should head back home as well. When I checked my phone, I found that I had received a message from Horikita.
[Thank you for your hard work.]
It was a short message. I’d certainly be hearing complaints and grumbling from her later.
“See you later Sakayanagi.”
I attempted to leave her with a few light words and head back home, but…
“─Could you please wait a moment, Ayanokōji-kun?”
“What is it?”
Sakayanagi called out and stopped me as I began walking down the hallway.
She should’ve still been relishing the sweet taste of victory, but her expression had instead begun to cloud over.
“…Did you really think that move you made at the end was the best choice you had available?”
She seemed to question the conclusion I had reached after a lengthy period of consideration toward the very end of the match.
“You’re the one who won. What more could there be to it?”
“No… I’m sorry. It looks like I’ve gone and imagined something silly.”
“Aren’t you happy that you beat me?”
“It’s nothing like that. It’s just, maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind, I was actually hoping that I’d lose to you.”
Once again, I felt that she had an unusual way of thinking.
“I’ll say this now: I didn’t go easy on you.”
“Yes, I know that.”
But even so, Sakayanagi still didn’t seem convinced for some reason.
Maybe in her eyes, I was simply that much greater than I really was.
“You’re such a cruel man, Ayanokōji-kun.”
With these words, Acting Director Tsukishiro, who was still standing in front of the door to the multipurpose room, casually intruded in on our conversation.
Sakayanagi turned and looked behind her. And, albeit reluctantly, I had no choice but to turn and look back as well.
The Acting Director came and walked over to us with a gentle smile on his face before once again repeating himself.
“You’re a cruel man.”
“What do you mean by that, Acting Director Tsukishiro?”
It was not me, but Sakayanagi who asked that.
“How about you give her the answer, Ayanokōji-kun?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You should’ve just told her honestly.”
The Acting Director clearly had some time to spare after finishing with his ‘business’ in the multipurpose room.
“Properly speaking, the winner of that chess match should’ve been Ayanokōji-kun.”
As soon as he spat out these inexcusable words, there was no way that Sakayanagi wouldn’t get caught up in it.
But, why would this man go out of his way to put himself at risk by saying it?
“What are you talking about? At the end of the day, I lost.”
“Yes, I suppose you’re right. You did indeed lose.”
The Acting Director was speaking in a way that really highlighted his true character.
“But, your input was different… wouldn’t you say?”
Sakayanagi, who had been listening to us in silence, began to understand the current situation. And then, it dawned on her.
“How stupid… You’re saying that the school forcibly intervened in our exam?”
Her reaction was undoubtedly fueled by anger. It went beyond regret or disappointment; Indignation was the better term for it.
“You’re the one at fault, Sakayanagi-san. Not only did you refuse to follow my orders, but you even gave a protection point of all things to Ayanokōji-kun. I had no choice but to be a little bit forceful in order to take that away from him, wouldn’t you agree? This is still a school, right?”
I see. So he was exposing all of this just to get back at Sakayanagi.
“Good grief. If everything had gone as planned, we would’ve been able to force Ayanokouji-kun out of school this time. But, there seem to be quite a few overzealous teachers here at this school who are making my job rather difficult.”
During the match, there was an instruction I had sent to Horikita after a lengthy period of consideration.
But, it took around 30 seconds for the instruction to make it from my keyboard to Horikita’s headset.
Up until that point, the time lag for each instruction I sent had been closer to 10 seconds.
The reason for this discrepancy is that the instruction had been fabricated before being played out over the headset.
The instruction had been manipulated from within the computer, so the input and the result had been different things altogether.
“At the time, he was going to make a different move. It was even better than the best move we thought he could make. I had even gone so far as to prepare a large number of personnel and machines to account for his options, but we were still forced into making an extremely difficult decision.”
If they had changed it to a sloppy, unskilled move, it would’ve been painfully obvious that something unnatural had happened.
So, in order to avoid that, Acting Director Tsukishiro was forced to come up with a difficult move that would still give the result he wanted.
“In that sense, Sakayanagi-san did an excellent job of seeing through the weakness of the move we chose.”
That was hardly even a compliment.
“Why didn’t you say anything, Ayanokōji-kun?”
“Even if he had, it wouldn’t have mattered. No, rather, he wouldn’t have been willing to say anything to you in the first place.”
Acting Director Tsukishiro went on to explain.
“It’s simple, really. As a former member of the White Room, and moreover, as someone who forcibly snuck his way into this school, there’s no way he’d want to draw attention to himself.”
If word got out that Tsukishiro had interfered with me, it could give rise to some very troublesome issues later on.
It was frustrating to say the least, but I simply had no other choice but to give up and accept it.
“Even if it’s tragic, a victory is a victory. You should be grateful.”
“…You’re quite skilled at provocations, Acting Director. However─ just know that you’ll be paying dearly for that, alright?”
Upon seeing Sakayanagi’s anger-filled smile, Acting Director Tsukishiro simply applauded once again.
“For a mere child in your first-year of high school, you say some awfully interesting things. Have you gotten an inflated ego just because you’re the princess of the playground?”
Generally speaking, if you were a student standing in the same ring as Sakayanagi, you wouldn’t want to make an enemy out of her.
But to this man, she probably seemed like nothing more than a child talking bigger than they really were.
“You said that I’ll be paying dearly, so by all means, show me what you meant by that. Come on, quickly now.”
A brief silence passed. There was no way that anything would have happened.
“Well, it’s about time for me to go. We adults have plenty of work to do, after all.”
Acting Director Tsukishiro began walking, deliberately pushing his way in between the two of us as he went.
“If possible, please choose to drop out of school voluntarily. That way we won’t have to get any other students tangled up in this.”
Leaving me with those words, Tsukishiro left, headed off down the hallway. After he was gone, Sakayanagi began to slowly walk away as well.
“Well, this has gone and ruined everything. How immensely unsatisfying.”
“You don’t have to apologize, Ayanokōji-kun. I’m just disappointed that an adult felt the need to intrude upon the affairs of children. He took my most precious memory and trampled on it.”
She didn’t seem to care that her victory had been flawed at all.
She simply couldn’t forgive the fact that the integrity of the chess match had been trifled with.
“It’s just─ don’t you think it’s somewhat unreasonable to just ask me to accept it like this?”
Sakayanagi stopped walking and looked up at me.
“Yeah. You’re certainly not wrong.”
I had intended to keep quiet about Acting Director Tsukishiro’s interference, but maybe it wasn’t a bad thing that Sakayanagi had found out about it. Albeit only a little bit, the situation had left me feeling cheated as well.
“So, please play with me again, starting from the move just before the Acting Director interfered!”
I could’ve easily rejected her proposal right then and there.
But, if I did, I felt something inside Sakayanagi would’ve broken. And, something within me as well.
“I have no reason to turn you down I guess. But, where should we go?”
“Did you know that there’s a chessboard in the library?”
“No… that’s the first time I’ve heard of it.”
“I occasionally use it to play chess from time to time. Let’s go there and use that.”
I had no reason to reject her proposal, so the two of us headed over to the library.
There was nobody there today, probably because the special exam was over and all of the courses were finished.
Inside the silent library, I picked up the chessboard.
I then placed the board on a little table, just large enough for two people.
Sakayanagi skillfully arranged the pieces to the state it was in before.
“Here, the same situation as earlier. Please, show me your true move.”
I picked up the piece and placed it where it was meant to be.
Okay. Look. I can explain. Uh. Magic. This part was translated by magic. I swear. Part 3, the final part of Volume 11, will be posted tomorrow. I swear. I swaer. Look forward to it tomorrow? Hahaha?
On another note, this part was pure hell to magically translate. The length of a part like this just feels painful. You can feel the pain of there being an endless number of characters left to magically translate in the part before you’re done. True pain.