Classroom of the Elite Volume 14 Epilogue Part 1
The pouring rain began to get stronger.
Having taken the time to cool her head and come to terms with her own feelings, Nanase spoke with a heavy tone.
“It’s my loss… Ayanokōji-senpai.”
“Can I take that to mean you’re finally convinced?”
“Yes. It seems that, despite my best efforts, it truly isn’t possible for me to beat you Senpai.”
Having been seen through to her very core, she seemed resigned, as if all the spite and malice from earlier had been drained away.
Making her stand down without laying a finger on her had, in a way, been successful.
“If possible, how about you explain everything in detail? Why were you targeting me? If we don’t clear this up, there will be several issues later.”
“That’s fair. You have a right to know─ No, I want you to know, Senpai.”
She sat down as she spoke, having lost the strength to stay standing any longer.
While her movements hadn’t been those of an ordinary person, it still didn’t seem like she was the White Room student.
Her strength was definitely praiseworthy. So much so that she probably wouldn’t lose out against an opponent like Horikita or Ibuki.
Compared to someone who hails from the White Room, however, she was far too rough around the edges.
Moreover, it would be strange for the White Room student to bring up Matsuo’s name, of all things.
So, in order to find out the truth, I patiently waited for her answer.
“I… I enrolled in this school because I wanted to avenge my childhood friend.”
“Your childhood friend? You mean─”
“Yes. Matsuo Eiichiro.”
I felt all but certain that she was referring to the son of the very butler who had taken care of me in the past.
“I hadn’t truly realized it before enrolling here, but since this school is completely isolated from the outside world, there’s no way you could’ve known what happened, is there?”
To her credit, Nanase wasn’t exactly wrong for thinking this. However, in this case, I happened to know at least a little bit about what had happened to the Matsuo family. After all, ‘that man’ had mentioned it back when he had shown up to take me back to the White Room.
At this point, Nanase calmly began to tell me everything.
How Eiichiro had been forcibly expelled from the high school he had worked so hard to get into due to my father’s relentless scheming.
How, no matter which school he tried to apply for afterward, he ended up suffering the exact same fate, eventually leading to him giving up on pursuing higher education altogether.
How, upon finding out about this, his father had committed suicide, burning himself to death.
And how, after his father’s death, he was left to do what he could to make ends meet by working a part-time job.
Even though ‘that man’ had already told me all of this, I simply chose to hold my tongue and listen.
“From kindergarten up until the day he graduated from middle school, I was always together with Eiichiro-kun. He was a year above me and better than me at just about anything, from studies to the games we played together… He was my inspiration, my role model.”
Nanase’s calm voice gradually began to grow heavier.
“Even after he was kicked out of his home, Eiichiro-kun said he wouldn’t give up until the very end, and that’s when he started working. While we weren’t able to see each other as often, I didn’t think the relationship between us would change.”
She continued without pause, speaking as though she was reliving the past.
“Even though he had given up on his education… Even though he had lost his father… He told me that he wouldn’t give up… That he’d look toward the future and try his best… He even smiled… And yet…”
Nanase’s voice began to shake, her fists clenched.
“Earlier this year, on the evening of February 14th, I paid a visit to Eiichiro-kun’s apartment. He was trying so hard, so I was hoping to at least make him feel a little bit better, but─”
Even without hearing the end of it, I could tell exactly where she was going with this:
That, despite all his hard work, Matsuo Eiichiro had ultimately chosen to give up on his own life.
“‘If you can never meet again, then you’ll never be able to tell them how you feel.’ You said it yourself.”
I was reminded of what she said back when she was consoling Ike on the second day of the exam.
In her case, she had been far too late for regrets. Heartfelt words would indeed be meaningless when said to a corpse.
“I didn’t know very much about you or your father at the time. In fact, I had only just sent out my application to another high school when… that person appeared before me.”
“You mean Tsukishiro?”
“Yes. Back then, Acting Director Tsukishiro told me why Eiichiro-kun’s life had been thrown into turmoil. He said that the root cause of all of it had been that someone named Ayanokōji Kiyotaka had escaped from an establishment called ‘The White Room’ by enrolling at a school named ‘Advanced Nurturing High School’, and that he had made arrangements for me to enroll there myself.”
And so, she had taken him up on the offer in order to seek vengeance for the death of her childhood friend.
“If I could successfully get you expelled, he promised to let me meet your father, Senpai. Truth be told, I was going to ask your father to bow his head and apologize to Eiichiro-kun, but…”
Even if she somehow managed to get me expelled, there was simply no way ‘that man’ would ever choose to bow his head.
Her words would’ve never managed to get through to him. Of that, I was certain.
I was able to see the bigger picture at this point, but there were still several things that I didn’t understand.
“Tsukishiro told me that he had sent in a student from the White Room. Was that just a bluff?”
“Uhm, what do you mean by that, Senpai? I don’t really know much about this ‘White Room’ thing to begin with.”
It didn’t seem like she was lying when she said this, so with that being the case, there were only two possible explanations I could come up with.
The first was that the enforcer he had sent wasn’t Nanase, but someone entirely different, be they from the White Room or not.
While the other was that the very ‘enforcer’ he had mentioned really was Nanase, and he had just wanted me to think that she was from the White Room.
If it was the latter, then there wouldn’t be anyone else targeting me anymore.
However, that felt pretty hard to imagine.
When compared to the general public, Nanase was exceptionally talented, but her abilities fell short for an enforcer tasked with forcing my expulsion. Even Tsukishiro should’ve realized that it would end up like this.
“I knew that you weren’t the one at fault, Ayanokōji-senpai, but… I wanted… no, needed someone to take it out on… all my pent-up anger and frustration…”
Upon hearing this, all sorts of things started to make sense. Her behavior ever since she first came here.
Throughout all her attempts to have me expelled, there had also been several occasions where she had stepped in to help me.
Contradictory behavior that had come about because Nanase herself didn’t truly believe that she was doing the right thing.
And today, convinced that she had Matsuo Eiichiro’s dying will at heart, she unleashed it all.
We were high up on the mountain and the falling rain had cooled down the ground beneath our feet, causing a thick fog to enshroud the area.
“I… I don’t know how I can face you anymore, Senpai… I’m so, so sorry…”
Ashamed of herself and what she had done, Nanase covered her face with her hands, unable to look at me.
Without saying a word, I waited patiently until she had calmed down.
“You don’t need to apologize. The anger you feel is perfectly justified.”
The fact of the matter was that ‘that man’ had committed such a grave crime just to bring me back.
A cold-hearted, calculating being who doesn’t even see others as human.
But, ironically enough, that was also a projection of myself.
“I’ve failed to carry out the Acting Director’s orders. There’s no point in me staying here anymore.”
“Will you drop out?”
“It’s the least I can do to atone for my actions.”
‘That man’ and I had always been similar.
As long as we could protect ourselves, our own existence, it didn’t matter what happened to others.
And neither of us believed in casually revealing our true nature to outsiders.
However, despite our similarities, there was still a key difference.
It all came down to whether or not we’d choose to discard the ignorant who stand in our way.
That is, whether or not we were even capable of extending our hands.
Extending his hand to an ignorant person was something ‘that man’ would absolutely never do, and that was the decisive difference between us.
I slowly reached out, extending my hand to Nanase.
“If you’re really sorry, then please take back what you said just now.”
“What… do you mean…?”
“You have nothing to feel ashamed of. You simply tried your best to avenge your friend. But there’s a reason I can’t lose to you, since I believe that staying here at this school is the only way I have of going against ‘that man’, my father.”
While still unwilling to meet my gaze head-on, she lifted her head just enough to stare at my outstretched palm.
“If I could be a bit selfish here, I’d rather not hear about you leaving the school. Instead, I’d like you to cooperate with me. Even now, Tsukishiro is probably scheming to use this special exam to expel me and present me as a gift to my father. If that were to happen, all the painstaking efforts Matsuo Eiichiro went through to get me into this school would be for nothing.”
“Are you saying that… I should’ve been doing the opposite this entire time?”
“Can you lend me your hand?”
Her delicate, smooth hand took hold of my own.
“─It’s a promise.”
Though her hand was cold due to the rain, there was still a hint of warmth contained within.
Nanase, whose head had been down for a while now, finally looked me in the eyes.
This had nothing to do with whether she’d actually be able to help me or not.
I just needed to make good use of her so that she could, even if I ended up only using her once and throwing her away.
“You’ll catch a cold if you stay in the rain for too long, so let’s get going.”
Sorry for the delay here. I had a multi-release though to wrap up the volume. The afterword will be posted shortly after this is up and the volume will be done. (I suggest re-reading the prologue for this volume since it should make a hell of a lot more sense now)
Thank you to Hina for cleaning, redrawing, and typesetting the illustrations and the maps.
No I do not know when the Epub/pdf is made. I don’t make those I just add them when I have someone give them to me.
Yes I will be starting Y2V4 immediately. I’ll make a bigger front-page post about my plans moving forward soon. Probably later today. Maybe. Idk.
Anyways the volume is finished and it’s at a quality level I can be proud of, so I hope you’ve enjoyed the read. Thanks to everyone for the unending support and the positivity throughout all of this. It really means a lot to me. Have a good rest of your days and look forward to Y2V4 prologue soon.
Thanks for reading.