Classroom of the Elite Volume 12 Chapter 4 Part 1
TL: Graze and D3nj4l
I left the dorms and started making my way to school.
Soon enough, I spotted two first-year girls chatting with each other as they walked.
Their names were Kurihara Kasuga and Konishi Tetsuko. Both of them from Class 1-A.
Unfortunately, both of them were academically excellent students who had found partners on the first day of the exam. Asking one of them to be my partner wasn’t a viable option.
Well, the fact that they had already decided on their partners wasn’t that much of a problem.
In fact, you could even say they were the best choice available for me to collaborate with. It’s just, how do I put this, it was kinda hard to call out to them…
Even though we had no choice but to find partners due to the special exam, what would a second-year boy approaching two girls look like from an outsider’s perspective? I found myself getting caught up thinking about that.
I didn’t have the courage to just call out and wish them good morning like Yōsuke would, but having said that, confidently asking them to introduce me to someone who’d pair up with me was out of the question as well.
Be that as it may, I had to at least try. Giving in now wouldn’t get me anywhere. I hardened my resolve to reach out to them, but I found myself wondering what I should do about the timing. Instead of interrupting them while they were happily chatting with each other, I felt like I should patiently wait for a lapse in their conversation.
“Good morning to you, Ayanokōji-senpai.”
As I was watching them, a voice called out to me from behind.
The third first-year student I ran into today was Nanase Tsubasa, the girl who had been together with Hōsen just a few days ago.
She looked at me with a carefree smile on her face.
“Ah, good morning.”
I certainly hadn’t expected anyone to call out to me, so there was an awkward pause between the two of us for a moment.
“Do you need something from those two? Would you like me to call out to them for you?”
Despite Nanase’s proposition, as a first-year student herself, the conversation the two girls were having would most likely turn into a conversation between the three of them. That would only serve to increase the burden for me.
“No, it’s alright.”
“Oh, is that so?”
Nanase pondered out loud, walking along at about the same pace as me.
An unexpected conversation with Nanase had begun while I was thinking about when to reach out to the girls. I was quite thankful that she had spared me the trouble of being the one to reach out to somebody, but…
There was no way that a first-year student had called out to me by coincidence. It was quite possible that she had been waiting for me to go to school and timed her approach accordingly. This wasn’t just restricted to Nanase either. This should be the baseline assumption for any and all students who take the initiative to talk to me. Just like Amasawa yesterday, this wasn’t someone I approached, but someone who approached me.
“I do apologise for Hōsen-kun’s rudeness the other day.”
“No, I wasn’t directly affected by it, so you don’t need to apologise to me.”
“But there is no doubting that we caused a nuisance. While I had come along with Hōsen-kun to stop him from acting out like that, I’m now fully aware of just how powerless I truly was.”
Compared to Hōsen’s rough, violent nature, Nanase spoke with a very sociable, polite tone, which gave off a very good impression. And with her B Academic Ability rating, she was essentially the ideal partner. It wouldn’t be strange if somebody other than me had scouted her already either, but as of now, on the third day, she still hadn’t partnered up with anybody yet.
However, that was probably due to Class 1-D’s plan.
In addition to Academic Ability, her ratings were all high and well rounded, as her Physical Ability, Adaptability, and Social Contribution ratings were all at a C+ or better. At a glance, I couldn’t find any problems with her at all. For that reason, I found myself wondering why Nanase Tsubasa had been placed in Class D. At a fundamental level, there was a strong tendency for the students assigned to Class D to have something wrong with them. For example, on the surface, people like Yōsuke and Kushida didn’t seem to have a single flaw. However, once I actually found out more about them, I came to understand that that wasn’t the case.
In other words, I couldn’t reject the possibility that Nanase had some sort of latent problem like that. Then again, as of now, there was no guarantee that this year’s Class 1-D would fall under this same tendency.
In my opinion, I’m perfectly fine with someone having a few problems with their personality or sense of values. Even if I asked her to partner up with me or asked her to collaborate with me, the only thing that mattered was whether or not Nanase Tsubasa was on Tsukishiro’s side. Back when she was together with Hōsen during our first meeting, she had looked at me with eyes that worried me a little, but… Now, those eyes were nowhere to be seen; Her gaze completely natural.
“Have you decided on your partner for this special exam yet?”
I decided to pick up the conversation in order to learn more about this person known as Nanase.
“Me? No, I haven’t decided on anyone yet.”
“Then, have people been reaching out to you?”
“Indeed. So far, I have been approached by upperclassmen from Class 2-A and Class 2-C.”
As expected for someone with a B in Academic Ability. It seems people have been reaching out to her after all.
“Why haven’t you agreed to anyone yet?”
I decided to dig further into it. I honestly didn’t know if she would say it had to do with academic performance or points.
“My apologies, but I’m unable to answer that.”
With that, Nanase bowed her head in apology.
“You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to; It’s not something you need to apologize for.”
At this point, it didn’t seem like I’d be able to find out if this was her personal problem or a problem of Class 1-D as a whole.
That being the case, let’s try attacking from a slightly different angle.
“If it’s okay with you, how about we have our fellow D Classes work together to find suitable partners for each other?”
I offered her a proposal, one that included myself. Horikita thought that Class 1-D was important, and Hōsen seemed to have some sort of feelings for Class 2-D too. It certainly wasn’t a bad proposal.
“Cooperation between classes…?”
“Yeah. Many students are trying to pair up with the academically stronger students for the sake of their own ratings. But, as a consequence, the academically weaker students won’t be chosen and would therefore be left out. If the academically weaker students were to pair up together, students of both school years, yours and mine, would be exposing themselves to the danger of expulsion.”
“Yes. I understand that. If possible, I wish to avoid that as well.”
“Of course. For that, an appropriate amount of balance is needed. Although we have to give up on taking one of the top spots, we must find partners who will ensure that nobody fails.”
We’re Class D students. That is, we’re overwhelmingly inferior in the eyes of those around us.
And that is why Class 1-D, placed just the same as us in the social hierarchy, would be likely to accept this proposal.
“So how about it?”
“I am in agreement. As much as possible, I would like to cooperate with you, Ayanokōji-senpai. It’s just…”
“I don’t know how willing my classmates will be to lend a hand. Furthermore, some of the more academically confident students are already on the verge of secretly deciding on a partner.”
Many of the students who had the potential to be the mainstays of this exam were aiming for the top spots after having decided on a solid partner. This was certainly the case for the two Class 1-A girls walking in front of us as well.
The reason why Class 1-D hadn’t finalized their partners was probably because of a completely different issue, such as points.
The most important part of the test is the large point reward given the top 30% of partners. By helping out the academically weaker students, it meant giving up on that reward.
“We don’t need everyone to cooperate. With the right amount of coordination, we should be able to get through the special exam without enlisting the help of too many people.”
As long as we managed to get a portion of the class onboard, it wouldn’t be too much of a problem.
“That’s true. However, it’s not like there aren’t other issues that come with that.”
Nanase expressed her approval for the proposal itself, but her facial expression made her seem hesitant.
I understood the cause for that without even needing to think about it.
“Hōsen… wasn’t it? It seems like that guy’s got a lot of influence over Class 1-D, huh?”
I stuck my nose even further into the internal affairs of Class 1-D.
I brought up a tidbit of information that I was fairly certain of from our discussion with Shiratori the other day.
“Yes. Many of the boys and girls of the class have already started obediently following Hōsen-kun’s orders.”
My feelings of speculation turned into confidence.
Sure enough, Hōsen had already seized control of the class and had apparently made it his own.
Hōsen might have also been the one behind the strategy that made it harder for the class to decide on their partners.
If that was really the case, then Hōsen was not only a student who brandishes his physical prowess, but one who possesses the insight, observational skill, and composure to take an extensive view of his surroundings.
“Are you in a bit of a unique position, Nanase? You didn’t seem to be afraid of Hōsen back then.”
“That’s because I will never yield to violence.”
She responded with an intensity that I couldn’t even imagine given her appearance.
Her words weren’t said casually. Rather, there was something else, something hidden, backing them up.
I felt like I could see that confidence, or something similar to it, peeking out from within the pure color of her eyes.
“Senpai… what do you think of violence?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Are you for it? Or are you against it?”
If she was looking to find out how I felt about Hōsen’s way of doing things, then there was only one answer I could give her.
“If I had to choose from between the two, I guess I’d say I’m for it.”
I spoke definitively.
I was expecting her to give some sort of reaction immediately, but I was met with silence instead. When I turned and looked toward Nanase to gauge her facial expression, her docile visage from earlier had all but disappeared.
Her eyes were the same as they were when she had looked at me just before she left last time we met.
A few moments passed as I waited for her response…
“If I had to choose, I would be for it too.”
Her answer, which could be taken as the truth or a lie, came without so much as a trace of emotion.
Had Hōsen acknowledged her intense desire to not yield to violence and kept her beside him because of it?
No… It wasn’t just that.
Back then, Hōsen had shown a strong reaction when Nanase brought up the term ‘that’.
There wasn’t even a shred of evidence saying that Hōsen had a stronger character than Nanase.
Although that was weighing on my mind, it probably wasn’t something I could ask her about here and now.
After all, I didn’t see her as someone who would unnecessarily talk about something that shouldn’t be said.
I shouldn’t do anything foolish that would raise her guard just yet.
At this point, I wondered if I should just pull back for the time being. After all, there would probably be another chance to try again later with Horikita.
“In any case, if Hōsen’s the one deciding the course of action for your class, going about implementing this might be difficult.”
Giving up, I began thinking about making contact with the other classes while maintaining a good relationship with Nanase, but…
“Uhm, if you’re okay with it… Would you like for me to try setting something up for you?”
She responded with that, perhaps because she thought that my proposal for a cooperative relationship was a good idea.
“I appreciate your offer, but are you sure?”
“Yes. However, I don’t know how many students will be willing to cooperate, so I cannot make any promises. In the worst case, it might just be me. Would that be alright with you?”
Nanase put that forward, interested to hear my response.
For the sake of our classmates, it was important for Horikita and me to take every opportunity available to us to develop a connection with Class 1-D.
“Of course. I’m sure Horikita will be pleased as well.”
“Is Horikita-senpai the leader of Class 2-D?”
“Yeah. She’s the one holding the class together right now.”
I decided that I’d need to inform Horikita that it’d be better to set up a discussion with Class 1-D with Nanase’s help. Though, if I were to tell Horikita this face to face in the classroom, the subject matter would make me stand out a little bit, so I found myself wondering what exactly I should do.
“Ah… I may not be able to get back to you about this immediately. Is that still alright?”
“I understand. I’ll also try to set things up on my end as soon as possible.”
I then exchanged contact information with Nanase and we agreed to get in touch later.
Hello. I get that this is like 7 hours into the new day. I had this done but someone wanted to go over it first so I delayed it and ended up falling asleep last night on accident before posting it. Sorry about that. It’s essentially the same timing anyway though so whatever.
I edited this part a bit less than I normally would. There are a fair number of lines I’m not exactly happy with. I chose to leave it like this to see if my perceived drop in English quality is noticeable to you all as readers. Do let me know.
Anyways, part 2 should be posted either later today or tomorrow. It seems to be a bit shorter than this part, and this is one of the longer parts of Chapter 4 as a whole. Look forward to it then and thanks for reading.