Classroom of the Elite Volume 11 Chapter 4 Introduction
Chapter 4: “What the Class Lacks”
The day after the class matchups were decided…
Class C had arranged to hold another class-wide discussion once school was out for the day, so we were free to do what we wanted during the lunch break.
As a result, the Ayanokōji Group gathered to eat lunch together, just like usual.
We all met up at the back of the classroom once lunch started and headed off to the cafeteria.
“How did yesterday’s discussion go?”
Wasting no time, I asked my friends about what the class had discussed the day before.
It had taken about an hour for the commanders to determine the class matchups and go over everything, so by the time I had gotten back to the classroom, everybody had already gone back home for the day.
“You didn’t hear about it from Horikita-san? …I guess that might make sense.”
Airi responded with a vague answer, but after faltering for a moment, she spoke up again.
“There was an event manual, right? Ultimately, everyone was having a hard time understanding the rules…”
“There wasn’t even a discussion in the first place. It was a complete waste of time.”
Keisei let out an exasperated sigh.
Apparently, our discussion during yesterday’s lunch break hadn’t been enough for everyone to get a grasp of the rules. From the looks of it, the discussion after school yesterday ended once everybody had gotten on the same page. If that’s what had happened, it would’ve been fairly typical of Class C.
“Besides, the problem isn’t just our class.”
“What’s that mean, Yukimuu?”
“There are only so many places on campus where a bunch of students can meet up, right?”
“Well, it’s definitely impossible for forty people to meet up at karaoke or some place at the mall. What of it?”
“I was the first person to leave the classroom after the discussion finished yesterday… When I walked into the hallway, there were some Class A students lingering just outside the door.”
Haruka and Airi exchanged confused glances with each other.
At first, Akito didn’t seem to understand what Keisei was getting at either, but after a moment, he realized it.
“…You’re saying they were spying on us?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying. During this exam, important information will be spoken verbally, right? Even if they were only listening in on our discussion, it’s more than likely that they picked up on something.”
Information like which types of events might get chosen, or who was good at what.
Without a doubt, it would be beneficial to obtain information like that, even if only a little.
In other words, the battle had already begun.
“Looking at it from that point of view, Class C has already fallen behind.”
“Scary! Sakayanagi-san’s already made her move.”
Trembling in fear, Haruka began to rub the back of her arms.
“Then, shouldn’t we start to gather information about Class A? Kinda like that one guy said, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
Quickly changing her tone, Haruka then proposed we fight back against Class A.
However, there was no way Keisei would agree so easily.
“If it were that simple, it wouldn’t be a problem in the first place.”
“I’m probably not the only one who thinks this either. Even Horikita should understand that there’s no point in doing that. Do you really think Class A is going to gather up in a classroom and hold a forty-person discussion?”
Class C struggled with its lack of unity and cooperation, and these attributes were the first thing we needed to focus on.
This was completely different from Class A, where top students like Sakayanagi decided on everything.
Who the commander is. Who comes up with the events. Who’s in charge of collecting information.
They had already decided on everything the moment the exam began.
Besides, even if they were to hold a classwide discussion, they would probably have two or three people stand guard to prevent us from eavesdropping.
“But, like, wouldn’t it be fine to at least try? We might even be able to catch them off guard at some point. Who knows, maybe they’ll meet up in their classroom to talk about the exam.”
“If that happens, I’d be afraid instead. I’d suspect any information we’d manage to get our hands on.”
If the information we overheard ended up being fake, we would’ve just been wasting our time. Keisei’s concerns were spot on. Information should be hidden when possible; anything that isn’t should be heavily suspected.
“However, an information war is absolutely inevitable. The crucial part is figuring out what kind of method to use…”
“Do… we even stand a chance?”
Airi spoke, surrendering to her feelings of anxiety.
“At this point, it’d probably be better to think of it as though they’re just a step or two ahead of us.”
Since Class C still hadn’t even decided on anything yet, we had no reason to think we were in the lead in the first place.
“Still, who’d have thought we’d have to go against Class A.”
“Sorry. It’s my fault for losing the lottery.”
In reality, I would’ve chosen Class A even if I had won, but I’d at least act apologetic about it like this.
“Ah, no, I wasn’t implying that! That’s totally my bad! I wasn’t blaming you at all, Kiyopon!”
Haruka seemed to take my apology more seriously than I had expected, as she hurriedly spoke up to correct herself.
“Expecting him to win a lotto with only a one in four chance of winning is kinda harsh, Haruka.”
As Akito spoke, Haruka shrunk back even further.
“T-that’s why I said that’s not what I meant…”
At this point she brought something else up, probably wanting to change the topic.
“I think it’d be nice if Class A’d go a little easy on us. They’ve got it easy going up against Class C. Dontcha think so too, Miyatchi?”
“Go easy…? Does Sakayanagi really seem like that type of person to you?”
“…Not at all. She completely crushed Yamauchi-kun, and she could prolly flatten the rest of us too.”
Disheartened, Haruka looked up and began to stare at the ceiling.
“Anyways, it just keeps going wrong for you, doesn’t it Kiyotaka? What with being commander under these circumstances.”
Keisei patted me on the shoulder as if to console me for the trouble I was going through.
“Well, I do have that protection point though. I didn’t really have any other choice this time. I don’t want to lose or anything, but I’m pretty thankful that nobody has to worry about getting expelled.”
For now, this was the only thing I could say to them.
Whatever the reason, I was the one selfishly leading us into the confrontation with Class A.
“Our opponent is Class A. It wouldn’t be your fault if we lose.”
“Plus, their commander is Sakayanagi-san.”
In this situation, ninety-nine percent of people probably think Sakayanagi will win. In which case, my position in the class wouldn’t change even if I were to lose. On the other hand, if I end up winning, the victory would be credited to Horikita’s excellent leadership and the elaborate strategy she comes up with.
“Yeah… Winning this is probably going to be difficult.”
Keisei crossed his arms and let out a defeated sigh.
At this point, however, Akito said something nobody was expecting.
“Just because we’re up against Class A doesn’t mean it’ll be impossible to win.”
“…Really? Well, it’s not like I actually wanna lose, but…”
“This isn’t some secret plan or strategy, Haruka. Think about it carefully. There’s a way to snatch victory away from Class A, isn’t there?”
With that, Akito began his explanation.
“Back when Chabashira announced the exam, I thought it was unreasonable to ask us to go up against the upper classes. But something Ike happened to say made me think of a way we could make it happen.”
“Something Ike-kun said? Wait, are you talking about when he brought up rock-paper-scissors?”
Reminded of something, Haruka spoke up, causing Akito to nod in agreement.
“At first, I thought it was kind-of a stupid suggestion for an event. But, then I realized that, if we pick an event that revolves around luck, we’d always have around a fifty-percent chance of winning, no matter who we’re up against. I don’t think it’d be a bad idea to come up with five events like Old Maid or Daifugo that rely on luck for the day of the exam.”
Having heard Akito’s explanation, Haruka’s eyes lit up.
“With a strat like that, we’d be on totally equal footing with anyone!”
“Yeah! I don’t think it’s a bad idea either!”
“No… It wouldn’t be that simple.”
While the three of them were getting caught up in their excitement, Keisei calmly criticised the idea.
“I won’t know for sure without actually doing the calculations, but the chances of us winning with that strategy are something like 5 to 10%.”
“What? That’s it? I’m not saying our chances would be like, exactly 50% or anything, but it should be like at least 20 or 30%, right? How hard could it really be for our five events to get chosen and for us to win four of em?”
“We’d have to be incredibly lucky for everything to play out that way, Haruka.”
All five of Class C’s events would have to end up getting selected, and we’d have to get lucky enough to win at least four of them. If our odds of winning were an even 50% for each of those five events, our overall probability of winning the exam was…
I took a moment to run the calculations in my head.
There was an 8.33% chance of all five of our events being chosen, and at a 50% win rate, the probability of winning four times would be 18.75%.
Considering that we’d have to make it past both of those conditions, we’d be left with a mere 1.56% chance of coming out on top.
In other words, it wasn’t even close to 5%. It’s hard to say that relying on luck to win would be a good idea.
That being said, this was only considering everything from a simple, standardized viewpoint where luck was the only thing supporting my calculations.
In reality, various other factors would affect our true chances of winning, but ultimately it’s far too detrimental to call this an effective strategy.
This meant we should choose events based on what we’re good at, even if it bears somewhat more of a risk.
The fewer events that revolve around luck, the better.
“It’s that bad? It was just a thought I had, is all.”
Having realized how naive his suggestion was, Akito scratched at his cheek.
At this point, I noticed Airi was looking at me with concern, and her expression became all the more worried once I turned to face her.
“Kiyotaka-kun… Uhm, are you alright? Being the commander…”
It seemed like Airi had been getting more and more concerned as the difficulty of beating Class A became more and more apparent.
“Yeah Kiyopon. You don’t need to push yourself just cuz you got a Protection Point.”
Haruka spoke up, finishing Airi’s sentence before she could come up with the words.
“Haruka’s right. At the very least, none of us thought there was something going on between you and Sakayanagi. Right guys?”
Everyone nodded. It didn’t feel bad being trusted like this.
“Like, some of our classmates seemed to be kinda suspicious of you still, but Horikita-san’s explanation seemed like it convinced pretty much everyone. I mean, at first I totally thought having a Protection Point would be great, but now it seems like it’d be troublesome to have one, ya know?”
“I’m a little jealous of everyone who got Protection Points, but after seeing the situation Kiyotaka-kun’s in, I feel like I’d just end up losing it right away if I had gotten one…”
At the end of the day, only one person was safe. Everyone else was left to fend for themselves. It wouldn’t be easy to maintain safety like that without fully resolving yourself.
In contrast with Airi’s timid self-evaluation, Keisei crossed his arms and disagreed.
“For me, I wouldn’t give up my Protection Point no matter what anybody says.”
“Even if you end being resented or hated because of it? Because of their jealousy?”
“You’re missing the point here. I wouldn’t want to give in to stuff like that just because of something that I rightfully won. Instead, Kiyotaka should’ve done what he could to keep it to protect himself.”
As if he had become the victim here, Keisei indignantly kept his arms crossed.
Akito, who had been silent until now, looked at me and spoke.
“The truth is, fighting against Class A is gonna be tough, so it’s probably better that Kiyotaka agreed to take the risk. If it had been anybody else, we might be seeing our second expulsion here soon, right? Or are you saying that you could’ve been the commander, Keisei?”
“That… Well, I don’t really think so.”
Though, it’s not like I didn’t understand Keisei’s frustration. He had probably just wanted to emphasize that we’d have an easier time winning with a more capable student as the commander.
“It’s unfortunate that we have to avoid expulsion during this exam too, but I wonder who would’ve been the best fit as commander without it…? Horikita-san?”
Airi tilted her head as she carefully thought about all of the options.
“Huh, Horikita-san seems about right to me? Or maybe someone like Hirata-kun or Kushida-san? Yukimuu might’ve done pretty good too.”
She listed off a bunch of students who’d have probably gotten consistent results as the class’s commander.
“Hirata, huh… I wonder what his deal is.”
At this point, Akito seemed to think that continuing to talk about going against Class A would only dampen the mood, so he changed the subject.
“Hey Keisei, how do you see the Class D versus Class B matchup playing out?”
In particular, he brought up the other teams that’d be waging war during this special exam.
“Chances are Class B’s gonna win. Their teamwork is on another level, and overall, they’re a strong class to have to match up against.”
“Yeah! Plus, their commander is Kaneda-kun, not Ryūen-kun.”
They probably thought that there was no need to be afraid of Class D without Ryūen.
However, Ishizaki and the rest of Class D had been looking to fight Class B from the very start. While it’s unexpected, it isn’t something to make light of. If I were in charge of Class D, I would’ve chosen to fight Class B as well. Class A is led by Sakayanagi, and has a number of tough opponents like Katsuragi and Hashimoto. What’s more, their class as a whole has the best academic abilities out of our entire school year. When it comes to Class C, they probably don’t like the idea of going against me. Of course, one could also argue that they’d expect me to keep my presence hidden, but either way, Class D’s specialty is their physical ability, not their academics. In order to make the most out of their strong points, I’d still probably choose Class B. Though, this wouldn’t give them the upper hand or flat-out win the exam for them. It was just their best choice to avoid defeat.
Whether or not Class D can actually win would depend on their decisions moving forward, along with a little bit of luck.
It was nothing more than a small glimmer of hope at this point.
“Hey guys, look at that.”
Haruka whispered to us, notioning over to the entrance of the cafeteria where Hirata had just walked in.
At a glance, his steps were aimless and heavy, kind of like a zombie or somebody possessed by a ghost.
His eyes lacked ambition. The difference between the person we were looking at and his bright, usual self was striking.
“He’s like… seriously ill or something.”
Haruka muttered a few words, but there was simply nothing more to say. Hirata was somebody who had done more for our class than anybody else. The class had gotten through this past year without losing anyone, and Hirata’s actions had undeniably played an important part in that.
“Hirata’s pretty much useless in this special exam. Going up against Class A was already hard enough, but now we’ve also gotta deal with such a large handicap right from the start.”
Keisei’s words sounded a little cold.
“There… There’s nothing we can do, is there?”
Other students have already attempted to approach him plenty of times.
So far, it didn’t seem like anybody had managed to get through to him. Nothing they did seemed to have an effect.
Instead, the situation seemed to be getting even worse because of everyone’s excessive prodding.
Nobody in the Ayanokōji Group was particularly close with Hirata either, so it’s only natural that our voices wouldn’t be able to reach him.
For that very reason, none of us saw the need to overreact to what Keisei was implying. It was somebody else’s problem.
Thanks for reading. This part was longer than most parts of the volume so far, and it was also really busy week for me. That being said, I managed to finish this part within 6-7 days, which really indicates to me how helpful your comments have been at keeping me motivated. The next part is shorter than this, so it should be out sooner. Please look forward to it.