Classroom of the Elite Volume 12 Chapter 5 Part 7
TL: Graze and Hina
ED: PuffyPyjamas/o-montoya/Silent Death
Naturally, the Keyaki Mall on a Saturday evening was practically overflowing with students.
Students who had already decided on their partners for the special exam, in particular. Since they didn’t need to worry about finding a partner for themselves, they were free to devote their attention to studying for next week’s exam together with their friends or simply hang out and relax.
I hadn’t personally made contact with every first-year student yet, but even so, I felt like if there was anybody from the White Room in the area, I would’ve encountered them by now. However, I didn’t get that kind of special impression from anybody I had seen so far.
If I had to give an example of the impression I was looking for, the time when I talked to Nanase in the library was the first thing that came to mind. I suspected that Tsukishiro or someone with close ties to him had taught the White Room enforcer how to behave like a ‘student’. Though, the problem didn’t have anything to do with whether they had a certain personality or not.
The problem was that they were thoroughly hiding any traces of their true identity.
It was somewhat similar to how I was back when I first came to this school one year ago.
There were certain disadvantages and drawbacks to growing up without knowing anything about the real world.
One such disadvantage was that I didn’t know what it meant to be a ‘student’.
Such a thing had never been taught to us back in the White Room, as they never intended for us to attend school in the first place.
That was why, in the beginning, I arbitrarily decided to create a character and use it to put on an act.
I tried all sorts of things, like changing the tone of my voice or being more talkative than I normally was.
I took on the role of a slightly impertinent student who looked at the world a little bit differently.
Though… in the end, the acting began to feel tedious and unsustainable, so I eventually reverted back to my true self.
I had come to realize that, even if I didn’t hide my true self, I could still live on as a student. However, the person who had been sent to infiltrate the school was different.
They were putting on the appearance of a normal student for the sole purpose of keeping their identity a secret from me. I had no way of knowing if those I met were just ordinary students, or were just acting like one. Either way, they probably wouldn’t make their presence known to me very easily.
Anybody capable of surviving in that world absolutely cannot be underestimated, no matter their gender.
Even though I was confident that I would come out on top in terms of individual skill, I was still in an overwhelmingly disadvantageous position since I was being forced to stay on the defensive. My opponent could use any means at their disposal to force my expulsion, while the only thing I could do to protect myself was try and see through their strategy.
On my way back from a quick stop at Hamming, I happened to run into Sakayanagi.
“It seems you’ve been quite proactive about interacting with the first-year students recently, Ayanokōji-kun.”
“That’s because the students with low ratings have no choice but to fight for their lives. I’ve just been helping Horikita find partners for Sudō and Ike.”
“I see. Indeed, if one of those two were to draw the short end of the stick and match with a bad partner, I can say with certainty that they’d be faced with expulsion.”
Although Sakayanagi seemed at least somewhat convinced with my excuse, she didn’t stop there.
“However, is that really all there is to it, Ayanokōji-kun?”
“What do you mean?”
“In order to get you expelled, I would imagine that the White Room might send somebody… an enforcer of sorts to infiltrate the first-year students. Even if you got a perfect score, if your partner gets a zero, the both of you would be expelled from the school. That’s why I’ve been thinking that this exam might be particularly troublesome for you.”
I tried to feign ignorance, but given what she had said, it seemed as though this was something she had been aware of since the very beginning instead of something that she had just thought up out of the blue.
“There’s no way you can maintain a peaceful school life indefinitely, you know? If your opponent feels like it, they may even be willing to expose your true abilities to everyone. Nevertheless, if you’re still able to maintain an enjoyable school life despite that, then I suppose my fears are unfounded.”
“Well, you don’t need to worry about that.”
“And could I get you to tell me your rationale for that?”
“I’ve decided to abandon my old way of thinking. I don’t plan on hiding anything from now on.”
For me, right now, continuing with my school life was my top priority.
If I kept being fixated on the wrong things, there was a chance that I might have the rug pulled out from under me.
“So that’s how it is. You’ve already revealed some of your abilities to certain individuals such as Mashima-sensei, so it’d probably be more convenient to just disclose everything altogether, huh?”
Sakayanagi replied, having gladly lent her ear to my explanation.
“Back to the issue at hand; If you still haven’t found a partner yet, how about I help you out and save you some time? There aren’t many left, but I’m familiar with some first-years that don’t have partners yet. They’re not the types to cause you any trouble.”
Thanks to her own investigative efforts, it seemed that Sakayanagi had gone out of her way to leave behind a couple of safe students for me.
“That’s quite generous of you, but I’m afraid I must decline.”
“Is it that you don’t trust my judgment?”
She had already seen through me since long ago, knowing full well that I needed to make my decision soon.
“I acknowledge your abilities, but I’ll decide my own fate for myself.”
If I met a tragic end after entrusting my fate to somebody else, I would probably be filled with regret.
“Besides, I think I’ve already figured out what I need to do.”
“Is that so? Well in that case, I won’t say anything more. I’ll be watching to see what you do from afar, Ayanokōji-kun. I look forward to the day when we can have our rematch.”
With that, Sakayanagi bowed her head and walked away. She had never even entertained the idea that I might get expelled. In a sense, you could say that she had placed a great deal of trust in me.
Part 8 is like halfway finished at this point in time. I’ll strive to muster the strength to get it all done by sometime tomorrow. The part looks pretty interesting so I’m fairly motivated to work on it. Look forward to that in 1-2 days. Then just Part 9 and we’ve finished Chapter 5.
There is a Chapter 6. It will take me a good bit to get through, but the volume REALLY picks up pace in C6, so my motivation should be relatively solid. Let’s look forward to it.