Classroom of the Elite Volume 12 Chapter 6 Part 1
TL: Graze and Hina
ED: Silent Death, o-montoya, PuffyPyjamas
“By the way… The meeting’s at 9, right? Aren’t we way too early?”
There was still about half an hour until the promised time.
“It’s fine. I want to get there early.”
Sudō couldn’t quite understand Horikita’s reasoning, but he kept his mouth shut and followed along.
Perhaps she wanted to be on the lookout for some sort of foul play, or maybe she just wanted some time to compose herself.
Either way, Sudō only thought of our opponent as a first-year student, whereas Horikita didn’t seem to be lowering her guard in the slightest.
It might even seem like she was being excessively cautious, but since our opponent was Hōsen himself, there was no such thing as being too careful.
After receiving a slip of paper with the room number and the receipt from an employee, the three of us headed off to our designated Karaoke room.
“Could you let Nanase-san know we’re here for me?”
I sent a message to Nanase, telling her that we had already arrived, along with our room number.
She replied not long after, saying that they should be here by the scheduled time.
“Let’s go ahead and order our own drinks first then.”
“Shouldn’t we wait for them?”
After we each picked out a drink from the drink menu, she directed our attention to the food menu.
“You can order something if you want. What would you like?”
“Then I’d like me some fries. That alright?”
“That’s fine with me.”
With that, Horikita went to the landline telephone that came furnished in every Karaoke room and placed the order.
Feeling somewhat relieved by the fact that food was on the way, Sudō went and nervously picked up the microphone from the table.
“Ehm, well, we’ve got some spare time and all so how ‘bout singing a song or two? Eh Suzune?”
“I’m not interested.”
Horikita made the three of us arrive early, and then asked us if we’d like to order food and drinks.
For Sudō, singing a couple of songs probably felt like the next logical step, and had it been someone else, they most likely would’ve agreed.
The feeling of disappointment was written all over his face, probably because he wanted to hear Horikita’s singing voice.
“Sudō-kun. Just to remind you again, absolutely do not say anything unnecessary, okay?”
“I-I understand, but like, shouldn’t you be tellin’ Ayanokōji that too?”
“He’s not the type of person to talk when it isn’t needed. Rather, he doesn’t even talk when he ought to.”
Instead of praising me, Horikita took this opportunity to vent her complaints.
Sudō pouted his lip, seemingly displeased with Horikita’s answer.
After a while, once the appointed time arrived, Nanase showed up at the room’s entrance.
“Sorry to keep you all waiting.”
“Outta the way Nanase.”
A voice rang out from behind her, forcing her a step further inside as Hōsen Kazuomi finally made his appearance.
“So you came on time. I was nearly certain that you’d be late.”
Horikita was saying that she wouldn’t have been surprised if Hōsen had arrived late on purpose just to irritate her, much like how Miyamoto Musashi had arrived late for his duel against Sasaki Kojirō on Ganryūjima.
“I’mma punctual guy when I wanna be. I don’t like chumps who try’n make shit difficult just cuz you’re a little late. That aside, seems to me like you got here mighty early… Were ya really that afraid of keepin’ me waitin’ for ya? Don’t be such a pussy.”
“What a selfish interpretation. We were just taking advantage of this rare opportunity to enjoy ourselves.”
With that, Horikita motioned for Hōsen to take a look at the state of the room.
There were several drinks, some empty, on the table along with some half-eaten food.
All of it set up to look as though we had been enjoying a Karaoke session only moments earlier.
“Looks like it.”
Albeit informally, the battle between the two of them had already begun.
“Well whatever. We’ll find out whether yer lyin’ or not soon enough.”
Hōsen slouched down on one of the sofas and spread out his legs, taking up about three peoples’ worth of space all for himself.
He sat in a way that one would expect from a bigshot, making it difficult to imagine that the man in front of us was actually a first-year student.
“So? From what Nanase’s told me, sounds like you lot want my class to help ya out.”
From the sound of it, he seemed to think that Class 1-D was already completely under his control, his property.
It had only been about two weeks since he came to this school, and yet he spoke without even the slightest hint of uncertainty in his voice.
“It’s slightly different from that. We’re looking to have our two classes collaborate with each other. There would be no difference in status between us, a relationship of equality so to speak.”
“Oh really? So you aren’t gonna bring up the fact that you’re one grade up on us, eh? Ain’t lettin’ yer seniority get to yer head. Smart move.”
As Hōsen spoke, Nanase quietly observed without expressing any of her own thoughts on the matter.
Given that she had taken up the crucial role of a mediator and that she was the only person that Hōsen had brought with him to the discussion, it was probably safe to assume that Nanase was someone that Hōsen acknowledged.
I found myself wondering if he was impressed with her courageous ability to state that she wouldn’t yield to his threats of violence or if it was something else entirely. Either way, there was still a way to force her hand and pull Nanase over to our side.
“I’m well aware that a certain number of first-year students don’t care very much about their classmates being in trouble. However, if you take a look at us, at our class, I’m sure you’ll understand that sooner or later there will come a time when you’ll need the assistance of your peers.”
“So, yer sayin’ we should work together and avoid havin’ anyone flunk out? That right?”
“If you really do possess so much authority over your class that you’ve come to see your classmates as your own property, then that only makes this whole process that much more convenient. All it should take is one command and you’d have most of your classmates ready to follow, right?”
Instead of answering, Hōsen thrust his left pinky finger into his ear and started twisting it around for a bit.
And then, once he was done, he held it up and blew on it in Horikita’s direction.
Sudō’s expression hardened immediately, but he kept in line with Horikita’s warning and did his best to put up with it.
His clenched fists were shaking, pressed up against his thighs.
However, Horikita simply accepted Hōsen’s blatantly vulgar conduct head-on.
“Would you stop?”
“In the first place…”
It wasn’t clear if Hōsen completely ignored Horikita’s question or not, as he began to speak with what seemed like a different topic in mind.
“You’re the leader of Class 2-D, yeah?”
He finally got down to business, verifying that Horikita was somebody worth speaking with.
“You could say that.”
“I don’t think there’s anything out of place about Horikita-senpai being the leader, given her abilities.”
For the first time since they arrived, Nanase opened her mouth and directly addressed Hōsen.
“Then I’ll give this ‘leader’ here a warning. I ain’t got any intention of cooperating with this retarded ‘equality’ shit of yours.”
It didn’t seem like he was going to make this easy for us after all.
It was inevitable that there would be some sort of contrast between us, who wanted to protect our classmates at any cost, and Hōsen, who didn’t particularly care about his.
Not to mention, between expulsion and three months without private points, there was far too much of a difference in our respective penalties for failing the exam.
“Is that right? Well I suppose that is the type of person you are.”
“If you can figure out that much, then why don’tcha stop being so fuckin’ stingy then? I’m all ears.”
“All ears? What are you expecting? Do you really think we’ll pay you in order to get you to help us?”
Despite the fact that we were in a less than favorable position, Horikita didn’t back down, refusing to concede an inch.
“You’ll pay. I’m sure you will. There ain’t jack shit you can do without spendin’ at this point. Nanase. Water.”
Hōsen voiced his demands to Nanase as he skimmed over the Karaoke menu.
To this, Nanase nodded and placed an order for some water over the phone.
“I know that I’m repeating myself here, but our proposal for you is based on equality. It has nothing to do with either of us handing over points, goods, or any other form of compensation.”
“If you’re gonna keep spoutin’ off that shit, then I guess I don’t gotta stick around waitin’ for the water to get here.”
There wasn’t a shred of hesitation on his face as he began making a show of brushing nonexistent dust off his thighs, implying that he would soon stand up and leave.
“Please hold on a moment, Hōsen-kun. I think you should wait for Horikita-senpai to finish first.”
Nanase, who had been quietly listening off to the side, prompted him to stop.
“Let her finish? That shit ain’t necessary.”
“No, it is. If we continue as things are now, our class will never be able to come together.”
Horikita stoically observed as the two first-years made their exchange.
“Who gives a fuck? Disobedient trash should be left to rot. It ain’t much of a problem if we lose some nobodies anyway.”
“That’s not right.”
“Nanase, are you an idiot?”
Hōsen exhaled loudly, seemingly more so out of exasperation than anger.
“I don’t get anythin’ from accepting their conditions like some little bitch. What’s in it for me?”
“I understand what you’re saying, Hōsen-kun, I do. It’s certainly true that Horikita-senpai and the other second-year students are more desperate to protect their classmates than we are. In fact, there’s even a reason as to why they have no choice but to protect them. If we don’t lend them a hand, their classmates run the risk of being expelled. Even if they’re pretending to be tough right now, at some point they’ll have to concede, and that’s exactly what you’re waiting for, isn’t it?”
Based on her words, it seemed like Nanase had chosen to speak because she knew exactly what Hōsen was trying to do.
“I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with your strategy, Hōsen-kun. While the other classes were scrambling to search for partners, you stayed firm, intentionally foregoing the early stages of inter-class negotiations. All of it done for the sake of securing yourself the upper hand later on.”
As the deadline inched closer and closer, the remaining second-year students who hadn’t found partners would begin to feel more and more impatient.
And as a result, even students who weren’t originally worth spending any points on would suddenly find themselves going for a decent rate.
“Since you’re so clear on it already, how ‘bout you try’n tell me why I should throw this Horikita chick a bone then?”
“A relationship of mutual trust.”
Nanase turned and looked toward Horikita for a moment, to which Horikita nodded in response.
“Don’t make me laugh. Mutual trust? That’s some good-for-nothin’ shit right there. Fuckin’ useless.”
“Are you sure about that?”
Nanase took Hōsen head-on, challenging him as she proceeded to speak once again.
“It’s true that we may not need to give up very much for this special exam. However, the same might not be true for future exams, right? If you end up making enemies out of all of the second-years now, then it’s possible that you might not be able to find yourself a partner later, regardless of how many points you offer them. While you’d be fine if you just had to deal with taking the 5% penalty, what do you think would happen if the person you end up together with intentionally flunks the exam? You wouldn’t be able to avoid being expelled. That’s what.”
“Ha! You really think some chump has the balls to sacrifice themself like that?”
“I’ll have you know that I’ve heard that this school has something known as protection points.”
At that, Nanase shifted her gaze away from Hōsen and locked eyes with Horikita for the first time.
Protection points. The very thing that I had mentioned at the end of our conversation in the library on Friday.
Although Horikita was slightly surprised to hear Nanase talk about them, she immediately grasped what Nanase was going for and nodded along in agreement.
“Nanase-san is correct. They are a special type of point that can waive one single instance of an expulsion penalty.”
From the look on Hōsen’s face, there was no doubting that this was also the first time he had heard of them.
“It’s understandable that you’ve never heard of them before, given that you only just enrolled here. That’s why you should keep them in mind. If there happens to be some sort of similar exam to this one in the future, if the person you partner with is in possession of a protection point, then… well, depending on the situation, you might end up being forcibly expelled all by yourself.”
If you’re one to make enemies with others, the more you make, the more likely you are to receive the shorter end of the stick.
It follows that, the more someone hated Hōsen, the more likely they’d be to use whatever means necessary to get him expelled.
“That’s why it’s important to start building up trust with others, wouldn’t you agree?”
“I see. So you two retards had a few stupid tricks up your sleeves to try’n deal with me, eh?”
“I am a first-year student, so naturally my top priority is Class 1-D. Plus, Hōsen-kun, I believe that you’re vital for the wellbeing of our class, so I don’t want you to make the mistake of being shortsighted.”
Horikita had put in the effort to understand Hōsen before turning her focus over to Nanase.
She had managed to get Nanase to cooperate with her, and together, they delivered the final blow.
The tides had started to turn ever so slightly.
All that remained was to wait and see if Hōsen would accept our proposal once he fully understood everything.
To see if he’d still ask for some sort of compensation, resolved to face the disadvantages that would come later.
“I get that the two of ya went through the trouble of comin’ up with all this, but─ I ain’t gonna cooperate on equal footing.”
Horikita and Nanase had gone through the effort laying out all of the groundwork to get him to agree.
And yet, Hōsen turned the two of them down without even pretending to think about it.
“Oi Hōsen. You seriously sure you’re prepared to make an enemy out of us second-ye─”
Sudō’s temper began to flare, but Horikita held him back before he could finish.
“Stop. He still hasn’t left the negotiating table just yet.”
“The girl’s right. Don’t go jumpin’ to conclusions.”
Hōsen was still slouched back on the couch, showing no signs of leaving any time soon, his attitude as bullish and arrogant as ever.
“Then what’s next? We have no intention of forming a non-equal relationship.”
“No shit. You’ve made that fuckin’ clear already. You’ve got guts, I’ll tell ya that.”
He slowly clapped his hands in applause, seemingly praising Horikita for her strenuous efforts.
“That said, this shitty relationship idea of yours ain’t even ‘equal’ in the first place.”
“So you’re saying that if we can prove that our offer is equal, you’ll cooperate with us?”
“Eh, you could say that.”
“Well now I’m confused. Why don’t you think it’d be equal? We’d both be under the same conditions.”
“You’ve got some nerve to try’n play up this trusting relationship crap, but that shit’s gotta go both ways. And that ain’t enough for me, either. It’s real nice of ya to tell us about how we might end up in a similar situation at some point. Brings fuckin’ tears to my eyes. But that’s just you comin’ up with shit, nothin’ you can say for sure, isn’t it?”
Hōsen certainly had a point here.
At a fundamental level, Horikita’s proposal was based on the premise that our classes would support one another. However, we were the ones who really needed the help right now. The deal would only truly become equal once Class 1-D needed our help at some point in the future.
It was an insurance policy, so to speak, and there was a good chance they wouldn’t be able to make use of it.
“So I see. Well, since you’re at it, how about you tell us what exactly it is you want then? Just as a reference.”
“Fork over a million private points as collateral. If we ever come cryin’ to you guys for help, I’ll gladly pay ya back in full.”
The amount was quite reasonable compared to how much it would cost us to strike a deal with the other classes.
However, if they never ended up making use of the insurance policy, they’d essentially just be getting a million points for free.
In short, every last point would end up directly in Hōsen’s pocket.
“If this trusting relationship shit of yours is really all that important, then what’s the big deal?”
If they really ended up needing our help later on down the line, then the deposit would definitely find its way back to us at some point.
“If yer worried, how ‘bout I put it in writing?”
While a written contract would be recognized and enforced by the school, that was based on the premise that Hōsen actually asked for our help in the first place.
There was a chance that he might resort to using it if he found himself at risk of expulsion, but it didn’t seem very likely that he’d give up so many points just to help his classmates.
In other words, it would be far more dangerous than simply handing over some points and signing a contract.
Hōsen wasn’t just some cocksure musclehead. He had made his move with the utmost skill and precision.
A calculating, formidable opponent, just like Ryūen.
“It’s true that what you’re saying isn’t completely unreasonable. That said, I still cannot agree to your terms.”
“That so? What a pity. I went through the effort of showin’ you a way outta this, and yet here you are makin’ shit difficult still.”
It didn’t seem like Horikita intended to compromise if it meant letting Hōsen line his own pockets. But with the way things were headed, it seemed like we might end up having to let our partners be decided at random. In which case, we’d have no choice but to have our classmates with low Academic Ability ratings flee to the other classes, even if it meant burning the necessary funds to do so.
After forcing out a short laugh, Hōsen leaned forward from his slouched position on the couch for the first time since he sat down.
And then, he reached out at Horikita and grabbed the collar of her shirt.
The first one to react to this was Sudō, who had been attentively keeping watch from right beside her.
With a seething glare in his eyes, he grabbed the brawny first-year student’s arm.
“Oi, bastard… Don’t raise your hand against a girl.”
“Oho, so the biggest retard here’s finally taken center stage?”
“Cool it Sudō-kun.”
“No buts. Negotiations aren’t over yet.”
While it seemed as though negotiations had broken down, Hōsen hadn’t yet explicitly stated so himself.
“You’ve got eyes fulla confidence there. You really think I won’t beat the shit outta a girl? Or maybe you’re try’nna abuse the fact that yer a lowly bitch so you can beat me?”
“What an inappropriate thing to say in this day and age. How about dialing back on the misogyny to avoid turning the women of the world against you?”
“Well then how ‘bout I give you a better option. If you can beat me in a fight, I’ll agree to yer little proposal. How’s that?”
At that, Hōsen presented us with a rather childish offer.
“How ‘bout I take you up on that then? Got a problem with that?”
“It can be you, that dull-lookin’ Ayanokōji guy over there, or even this bitch. Fuck it, why not all three of you at once?”
Hōsen spoke brazenly.
“It’s fine, right Suzune? If I win, we’ll be done with all this crap. Besides, I’m really, really fuckin’ fed up with this bastard already.”
Sudō was reaching the limits of his patience with Hōsen, whose hand was still clutched onto Horikita’s collar.
“Deciding the outcome of this negotiation with a fight is far too absurd. Even if it’s the only card we have left to play, we still shouldn’t agree to it.”
“Why not? The bastard said he was fine with it, I don’t see a problem.”
Ignoring Sudō’s objections, Horikita calmly put her thoughts into words.
“I really thought you’d be a little smarter than this, Hōsen-kun. Not too long ago, back when you first showed up outside of the second-year classrooms, the things you said gave me the impression that you wanted our classes to work together. I felt the same. I felt like it’d be wonderful if we could cooperate as fellow Class D students.”
“Well, I mighta said somethin’ like that.”
“But─ It seems like that was just a misunderstanding on my part. You didn’t actually think that at all.”
Horikita closed her eyes for a moment and calmed herself before continuing.
“This discussion is over.”
In the end, it was not Hōsen who ended up calling off the negotiations, but Horikita herself.
The moment the words crossed her lips, slight traces of anger peeked through Hōsen’s previously untroubled expression.
Then, Hōsen released his grip on Horikita’s shirt, and seeing this, Sudō swallowed his anger, let go of Hōsen’s arm, and began to resituate himself in his seat.
But less than a split second later─
Splash! Droplets of water scattered throughout the Karaoke room.
Hōsen had picked up his cup of water and had splashed it on Horikita’s face.
There was probably no way that Horikita could’ve seen it coming before it happened.
But, before she could make even a single sound, Sudō was already up on the table, moments away from throwing himself at Hōsen.
Sudō had already been doing whatever he could to keep his temper in check before this, but he finally lost all sense of reason due to what had just taken place.
Nobody could blame him for losing his cool, after all, the girl he liked had just been humiliated before his very eyes.
Hōsen, on the other hand, remained as smug and contemptuous as ever.
As Sudō charged at him, bellowing with rage, Horikita called out with a stern voice, drawing him to a stop.
If she had called out even one second later, Sudō’s fist would’ve smashed directly into Hōsen’s cheek.
“Sudō-kun… Don’t fall into his trap so carelessly.”
“I know dammit, but still!”
Horikita locked eyes with Hōsen without even bothering to dry her wet hair.
“If you’re displeased with the fact that negotiations have broken down, then perhaps you should’ve conducted yourself a little better.”
Horikita had wanted to establish a cooperative relationship with Hōsen no matter the cost.
And yet, at this point, even she understood the futility of any further discussion.
After a short staredown between the two of them, Horikita turned and looked away, as if to say she had seen everything she needed to.
Although Sudō was frustrated, he asked Horikita again, just to make sure.
“Are you sure, Hōsen-kun?”
Nanase asked Hōsen the same question at nearly the same time.
“I personally think we should’ve cooperated with Horikita-senpai.”
“Hah! They’re the ones who called it off. You want me to go over there and stop ‘em?”
And so, the discussion ended without Hōsen saying anything further, and just like that the two parties dissolved.
I discreetly cast a sidelong glance over at Horikita. After all, today’s failure would undoubtedly create a lot of problems moving forward.
But from where I stood, Horikita’s expression didn’t seem discouraged at all.
Judging by the look on her face, it didn’t seem like this was over just yet.
Okay I’m going to educate you guys now. Kiyotaka makes a cultural reference about Miyamoto Musashi and his duel on a Japanese island. This happened around 1600, and is, as far as I can tell, something that literally happened. I think this was back in samurai times, but I’m no Japanese historian so I only know what the Wikipedia article tells me. Should you want to understand the story for yourself, I’ll provide you a link here. I can tell you that this isn’t some super-abstract reference and is something most, if not every Japanese person would know about.
Another important note is that the Karaoke employee provided them with the receipt before they went to the room. In Japanese this is very typical. You go in, stay a while, and then when you leave you make your payment. You’ll see this in one of the lines of the next part where they pay before leaving.
That said, Volume 14 released while I was working on this. I plan on having this volume fully completed on November 1st. I’m on track for that I think. Part 2 is one of the longest parts of the volume. This part 1 was long, but part 2 is twice as long. The parts after that are all short and easy, but part 2 will be the challenge for me.
Thanks for reading. Please enjoy this part because I put a hell of a lot of effort into it. I hope my efforts show in the quality and readability of the translation. Thank you.