Classroom of the Elite Volume 12 Chapter 2 Introduction
Chapter 2: A New Stage
After a long and yet somehow short spring break had come to an end, the day of the opening ceremony finally arrived. We moved out of our old, familiar first-year classroom and relocated to a new one for second-years. At a glance, the desk and chairs seemed to be the same, but for whatever reason, the room gave off a different feeling. The first thing that awaited us as we arrived in this new classroom was a message ‘displayed’ on the blackboard.
[Sit down in the same seat you used last year and wait for further instructions.]
Last year, the blackboard was one that the teachers would write on with chalk.
However, the blackboard before me was a blackboard, yet not at the same time.
Put simply, it had been replaced by a large monitor.
The school had probably chosen to install it this year, judging from the fact that it was shining with a radiance that made it seem like it had just come out of the box.
The students who arrived in the classroom after me also seemed rather surprised when they saw the monitor. Either way, I made my way to where I sat last year, the window seat in the very back of the room, and sat down as instructed.
Later on after this, the opening ceremony would be held in the gymnasium.
After that, the homeroom teachers would spend the next two hours or so briefing us on this year’s schedule and other important details before dismissing us sometime before noon.
The students still seemed to be a little out of it since spring break had only just ended. Friends who hadn’t met up with each other over the break began excitedly talking about all sorts of things like what they had been doing over the holidays.
I was leisurely surfing the internet on my phone when I heard a voice call out to me.
It was my classmate Miyake Akito, a member of a small group I had become good friends with.
“I’ve been a little worried about you cuz you didn’t really hang out with the group all that much over spring break.”
What Akito said was true. I hadn’t interacted with the Ayanokōji group over the break almost at all.
Or rather, I had been so occupied with other matters that I ended up neglecting them.
“Don’t get me wrong, there’s no rule stating you’ve gotta hang out with us, but even Haruka was kinda worried, and on top of that, Airi really seemed like she was thinking about you a lot.”
Akito was essentially advising me to keep the feelings of the girls in our group in mind.
“My bad. I’ll hang out with you guys more often moving forward.”
“That sounds good to me. I was feeling pretty lonely without you too, you know.”
I felt sorta uneasy hearing a friend tell me something like that, but it wasn’t exactly a bad feeling.
It didn’t seem like Akito planned on staying for very long, as he casually raised his hand and went back to his own seat.
As he did, I found myself thinking about how I had found myself a truly good friend.
After all, he had gone out of his way to give me some good-natured advice like that.
Once he was back at his seat, I didn’t feel like playing around on my phone anymore, so I decided to listen in on what some of my classmates were talking about.
The topic had shifted from what people had done during spring break to the newly enrolled students.
Tomorrow was the school’s entrance ceremony where the incoming first-year students would enter the school.
Last year, our Class D had taken the school’s good treatment for granted and had the rug pulled out from under us shortly after enrollment, but that was the natural consequence for our actions at the time.
We had been given 1000 class points when we first came here. In other words, we had been given the equivalent of 100,000 yen every month. Spirits were high as students burnt up their points, recklessly buying whatever they wanted under the impression that they’d receive the same amount at the start of every month. Meanwhile, being tardy or not even showing up to class happened more and more, and a fair number of students had fallen into the habit of talking with their friends or dozing off during lectures.
On the other hand, the diligent students were so focused on themselves that they didn’t pay any attention to the behavior of those around them.
These diligent students probably had several reasons for why they didn’t speak up about it, but the main reason was probably the fact that the school let the problem children do whatever they pleased. After all, if the teachers weren’t doing anything about it, why should they?
However, you could say that all of this had been nothing more than the first ‘special exam’ the school had in store for us.
The school was seeing whether or not we would realize that this was different from the compulsory education we went through during elementary and middle school.
Testing us as high school students, trying to find out whether or not we were capable of doing what we needed to be doing without being told.
And our superb Class D was presented with the lowest possible assessment the special exam could’ve given us.
The following month, on the first of May, our class points dropped down to zero, sending our monthly allowance of private points plummeting down to a wonderful zero as well.
For the rest of the year, Class D went through one trial after the next, but after falling to the very bottom once, our class slowly began piecing itself back together, maturing and growing closer in the process. At one point, we had even managed to rise up to Class C, but after the results of the end-of-term exam, we were unfortunately relegated back down to Class D. That being said, we still managed to recover an overall total of 275 class points over the course of the year. There’s still a huge gap between our class and Class A, but in order to reach the top, it comes down to just how much we’re able to close that gap over the course of this next year.
The lively voice of a girl filled the room. Immediately afterward, the female students who were already in the classroom responded one after another, gathering around the girl in question. It was Karuizawa Kei, the leading figure of the girls in the class. The number of girls gathered around her kept increasing, and just like that, they started talking about the same things they had already discussed with each other not too long ago.
It was only just the other day that I began dating Kei.
As of right now, the only other person who knew about that was Kei herself.
As I thought back on what had happened while I listened in on their discussions, a surprised voice more akin to a scream spread throughout the classroom. I looked over to see what was going on and immediately noticed what had caused the commotion.
You could say that it was a reasonable reaction after seeing the appearance of the girl who had quietly entered the classroom.
Without acknowledging the attention she was getting, the female student simply went over to her seat. That is, the seat right next to mine.
Her once long, beautiful black hair was now short, not even reaching down to her shoulders.
She had chosen to cut her hair after reconciling with Horikita Manabu, her older brother, and bidding farewell to her former self.
I personally wasn’t surprised because I had already known about it beforehand, but if this was the first time I had seen it, I would’ve probably reacted just like the people around her.
“S-Suzune…? Wha… What’s up with your hair!?”
The one who shouted this out was none other than Sudō Ken, a male student who had fallen in love with Horikita.
He had broken away from the chat he was having with one of his buddies and rushed over to us.
He was accompanied by one other person, a girl who also seemed bewildered over Horikita’s sudden change in appearance.
“Horikita-san, that is… quite the drastic makeover. I’m surprised.”
Said girl was Kushida Kikyō, one of our classmates who had attended the same middle school as Horikita.
“Is it really so strange that I chose to get a haircut?”
Horikita glared not only at Sudō, but also at the many students who were staring at her.
“N-no, rather than strange, it’s more, surprising, ya know…? It like, makes you seem like a totally different person… Uhm, that’s not to say it makes you look bad or anything. Short hair actually looks really good on you. W-wouldn’t you agree, Kushida?”
Although it gave a strong impression, for Sudō, things like the length of Horikita’s hair were trivial.
In fact, he readily welcomed his crush’s new look, emphasizing that he really approved of it.
On the other hand, the one Sudō had sought agreement from, Kushida, was unable to hide her bewildered expression.
“I think… so? Yeah. I think it really suits you, but… did something happen?”
It didn’t seem like Kushida wanted to share her full thoughts on the topic, as she shifted the conversation toward finding out why Horikita had cut her hair.
“Whattaya mean by ‘did something happen’!?”
Before Horikita could answer, Sudō eagerly butted in with a question of his own.
“Like… maybe she had her heartbroken, or something?”
“If I had to say, I suppose I’d call it my way of showing my resolve.”
Horikita replied in no time at all, dispelling any further speculation that she had done this out of heartache.
“T-that makes sense. There’s no way you’d be dealing with an unrequited love or anything, right? Right?”
Despite saying that, Sudō seemed to be breaking out in a cold sweat.
“This year, as a second-year student, I’ll be fighting to bring Class D to the top. I wanted to do what I could in order to make that happen.”
“Ah, I see. Well… I guess I’ll do the opposite and try growing my hair out.”
Kushida sounded cute and innocent, but somehow, I was able to pick up on the true meaning behind her words.
She felt disgusted that her hair was now the same length as the person she hated. I didn’t think anybody would take what she said seriously, but it was possible that she might actually grow it out. I couldn’t help but imagine the raging emotions hidden inside her words.
“If you’re satisfied, could you both return to your seats?”
Horikita prompted them to leave. After all, she didn’t want to have people gawking over how long or short her hair was.
Although her haircut had made waves with those around her, Horikita seemed somewhat unhappy about all the attention she was getting for it.
She was in a bad mood, but fortunately, the bell rang shortly afterward, bringing an end to the ongoing chatter.
I’ll be off break after this weekend, on the 27th. Meaning there will be faster releases and the whole 9 yards and whatnot, so look forward to that. These last few parts were done pretty casually whenever I had time, which isn’t exactly how things are going to progress for the rest of this volume. I’ve also been doing some pretty casual editing/TLC work over on Y2V2 with TLG translations to help them out, but that’s more of a side thing and this will take my full attention after Sunday is over. Once I post Chapter 2 Part 1, I’ll have a timeline for when future parts are going to be posted, so look forward to that then. Thanks for reading.