Classroom of the Elite Volume 9 Chapter 3 Part 4
After that, I leisurely relaxed in my room until the appointed time.
When the clock showed five minutes until seven, I left, headed toward Horikita’s room.
At almost the same time as I got off the elevator, Ichinose arrived in the elevator beside me.
“Ah! Good evening Ayanokouji-kun.”
I lightly raised my hand in response to her greeting.
“I’m sorry to intrude.”
“Ahaha. But I’m also the one who’s intruding upon you here, so it’s fine.”
After saying so, Ichinose took the lead as we went to Horikita’s room and rang the doorbell. We immediately heard the lock on the door turning from the inside.
“Please come in.”
The plan was to meet at seven. Because of that, there wasn’t anything particularly suspicious about us both arriving at the same time, so Horikita invited us into the room without saying much.
I sat down properly on the floor.
I’ve visited Horikita’s room before, but it doesn’t seem to have changed very much since then. Her room was very similar to my own, very monotonous and simple.
“I’m sorry for asking to meet with you on a weekday night, Ichinose-san.”
“But aren’t you doing this out of consideration for me in the first place? You don’t need to apologize.”
The feeling I got from meeting Ichinose face-to-face so far was that she’s the same as she’s always been.
“Though… If this goes on too late, it’ll start to affect things tomorrow, so I hope you’re not looking to chat for too long… To start things off, there have been various worrisome rumors going around about me recently.”
“Yes. Do you know who has been spreading those rumors?”
Without beating around the bush, Horikita directly asked Ichinose.
I was curious to see whether or not Ichinose would answer the question honestly.
“I absolutely can’t speak with certainty here, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s Sakayanagi-san.”
Surpassing my expectations, she gave a clear response to the question.
If she was any less than half certain about it, she wouldn’t have said any name in specific. She isn’t the type of person who would speak ill of others without any sort of reason to do so.
I was also able to come to a conclusion based on her response.
That is, at the very least, Ichinose has been able to see that someone, in particular, has been spreading the rumors about her.
“Sakayanagi-san… What makes you think it might be her?”
“To put it simply, I guess it’s because she declared war on Class B. Do I need to give you any other reason for it?”
Horikita should know that Sakayanagi has an aggressive, warlike personality.
Considering the fact that she took the initiative to deepen the conflict in her own class in order to defeat Katsuragi, it’s easy to imagine that in order to defeat Class B, she would focus her assault on Ichinose, their leader.
“No. That reason alone is more than enough.”
Because Horikita thinks the same way I do, she didn’t see any reason to pry any deeper into that matter.
“So she’s circulating these absolutely baseless rumors, forcing you to have to bear responsibility for the damage?”
“Uhm… How do I put it…”
“Are you not going to deny the rumors?”
“Sorry, Horikita-san. I’m not able to tell you anything about that. Horikita-san and Ayanokouji-kun are friends, but you’re still students from another class. We may be in a cooperative relationship with each other right now, but sooner or later, we’re destined to fight against each other.”
Ichinose seemed like she was willing to answer anything Horikita asked, but she ended up refusing to answer this time.
But I guess that was the natural choice to make.
“I don’t mean to force you to say anything here, but you do know that silence can be interpreted as though you’re saying the rumors are true, right?”
“That’s at the liberty of Horikita-san and everyone else to decide after hearing the rumors for themselves. However, I have absolutely no intention of giving this matter any excessive amount of energy. Sakayanagi-san’s strategy is to stir up Class B, I think the correct solution for dealing with it is to simply stay silent.”
Ichinose showed us a smile, her conduct as natural as always.
The harassment going on here wasn’t anything special. It was a typical type of bullying that happens everywhere, and there was no perfect solution to it. You can aggressively deny the rumors, or you can simply stay silent, but in the end, the peanut gallery will make a fuss anyway, relying on speculation to fill in the gaps as they see fit. Due to this, Ichinose made the choice to simply not say anything and wait for time to pass.
“I had thought to meet with Horikita-san today and tell you this so that you’d avoid carelessly getting involved. If I continue to stay silent, yet the people around me start attracting more attention to it, the situation will take longer to settle down. Most importantly, there’s just no need for Class C to get involved with Sakayanagi-san in order to help me out. I’ll be fine.”
Ichinose nodded firmly, her smile entirely unchanged.
“…I understand that your will is strong. Anyone who gets caught up in such despicable rumors would undoubtedly take damage from them, regardless of whether they’re true or not. Nevertheless, you’re not just thinking of yourself, but everyone around you as well.”
“I am not that noble a person.”
Looking a little embarrassed, Ichinose continued.
“So, Horikita-san and the rest of Class C can continue doing things as usual. I will clean up my own mess.”
After saying this, Ichinose stood up.
It seems that she chose to come over today just to let Horikita know not to interfere any further.
“Do you know about what’s been going on with Kanzaki and the others?”
Despite thinking it might be unnecessary, I decided to interfere a little bit.
“A few days ago, he confronted Hashimoto from Class A and earnestly asked him to stop spreading the rumors around. No, it may have gone past simply asking earnestly.”
“I see… Kanzaki-kun is very gentle. I told him I was alright. I didn’t think I needed to say anything more to him.”
“It’s probably not just Kanzaki-kun. A number of your classmates are probably struggling to find some way to help you, for your sake.”
Even though this should’ve been the first time Horikita had heard of the situation with Kanzaki, her speculation should be accurate.
“Then I’ll just have to go speak with my classmates again. If you don’t mind, could we stop our conversation here?”
“Are you really okay with this?”
Just to be sure, Horikita asked Ichinose a final time.
Ichinose answered without hesitation.
“Thank you for your concern. And to Ayanokouji-kun as well, thank you for coming out for my sake so late at night.”
“No. I simply tagged along.”
Horikita didn’t stop her from leaving this time.
Ichinose wished us a good night and left the room.
“I wonder if there’s truly nothing we need to do.”
“Well, it’s hard to say.”
Based off Ichinose’s behavior, it doesn’t look like she’s any different than usual.
Instead of trying to stay strong, it’s more accurate to say that she’s trying not to think about it. That’s the impression I got from her.
“What do you think I should do?”
“Are you asking for my opinion?”
“Yes. I want your genuine opinion.”
Horikita spoke without hesitation.
“In that case, you shouldn’t do anything.”
“For what reason?”
“If Sakayanagi is the source of the rumors like Ichinose says she is, getting involved in this situation may prompt her to set her sights on Class C.”
“That makes sense, but what if Ichinose-san is defeated by Sakayanagi-san? Won’t she then turn her attention to Class C, anyway?”
What she’s getting at is that Sakayanagi will ultimately end up targeting Class C regardless of whether we help Ichinose or not. An inevitable conclusion.
“It is possible that, sooner or later, our class will end up being targeted. But when that time comes, the troublesome leader of Class B will have also been dealt with. That’s something to be thankful for in its own way.”
“…So you’re saying it doesn’t matter what happens to Ichinose-san? You’re being quite cold-hearted.”
“Cold-hearted? Isn’t that a good term to describe how you acted when you first enrolled here? It’s different when it comes to helping out a classmate, but Ichinose is a student from another class. She’s an opponent who we’ll eventually have to fight and defeat. If she’s defeated by someone else, as long as there’s an upside to it for us, we don’t have any reason to be worried about it.”
“We have a beneficial relationship with her. Until Sakayanagi-san and the others fall from Class A, getting into a one-on-one conflict with Class B-”
“Aren’t you just being idealistic?”
For our cooperative relationship to cause Class A to conveniently fall down to Class C, allowing our classes to climb to the positions of Class A and B before finally facing off with one another. Such a fantastic story is nothing more than a pipe dream.
I don’t know if it has to do with external circumstances, but Ichinose herself is turning away anyone attempting to help.
If this conversation had happened with the Horikita from earlier this year, she would have probably stopped pushing the issue any further when Ichinose tried to leave the first time.
How, and why, did she get to the point where she can think something like this?
Well, she’s been aiming to improve her relationship with Kushida for the better, so I can make a good guess.
“You should leave it alone.”
“That… makes sense…”
Horikita should also understand that this is the right thing to do.
That’s exactly the reason why she didn’t make any strong objections to it.
This time, we did our part as partners of the alliance by showing our concern for Ichinose and offering her our assistance. That should be sufficient enough. Class C can quietly catch up to the other classes, so long as we don’t do anything to stand out. Slowly drawing closer while those at the top take each other down is a wise strategy to take here.
However, at this point, the important thing is that I don’t offer any assistance with that.
I only told her this because she asked me for my opinion. Horikita is the one who ultimately decides what our class will do from here.
That said, in all probability, Horikita will decide against becoming any further involved with Class B.
After all, she doesn’t have the ability to be able to change Ichinose’s situation for the better until Ichinose herself decides to change strategies.
“I’ll head home as well. A lone boy can’t be staying in a girl’s room this late at night.”
It was getting close to 8:00 PM. Things would get troublesome if I was seen here this late.
Horikita, lost in thought, responded to me without paying me much attention.
Horikita has begun to change little by little.
However, the changes are still too extreme right now. Her tendency to lose sight of herself and get unnecessarily influenced by her surroundings is becoming more and more prevalent.
For the time being, Horikita will have to work hard to get along together with others.
Beyond that, I wonder if she’ll be able to reach her true self?
That’s what’s important.
After I left the room, I could see the figure of Ichinose standing before the elevator.
While wondering if she had been waiting for me to come out, she waved me down with a smiling face.
She called out to me in a low voice, and as I approached I was essentially dragged into the elevator along with her.
Ichinose pressed the button for the first floor and we started to descend to the lobby.
“Can you keep me company for a little bit?”
“I don’t mind but… where are we going?”
“Hmm. Let’s go outside for a bit, okay?”
We disembarked at the lobby. Since there was nobody around, we went straight outside.
The sun had already set completely. In the dark, Ichinose and I walked to one of the rest areas on the way to the school buildings.
“I understand that it’s cold but… I don’t want to attract any attention.”
“I know. Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. Ah… well, how do I say this… I truly am sorry.”
As soon as she got her words in order, the first thing out of her mouth was an apology.
“Why are you apologizing?”
“I guess it’s because I’ve troubled Horikita-san and Ayanokouji-kun, as well as everyone else from Class C. These rumors have caused everyone so much unnecessary worry. Anyhow, please forget about it.”
“Isn’t this what you said to Kanzaki and everyone else as well?”
“This is simply the very best option available to me. This is the stance I will take until the rumors have subsided.”
Upon saying that, she looked at me, eyes blazing with determination. When she puts it like this, I can see why Kanzaki and the other students from Class B who have been supporting Ichinose would have no choice but to listen to her.
“Actually, that’s everything I wanted to say… It’s cold, isn’t it? Let’s go back.”
We only chatted for a short time.
Ichinose urged me to head back first so we didn’t arrive together, so I ended up returning to the dormitory ahead of her.
Part 4 is done! I actually rather liked this part. Part 5 is pretty short or something. If I get motivated or something I’ll get it finished in a day or two. I may end up taking a break to focus on the next part of ID first, in which case the ETA would be more like 6 days or something like that. I dunno what exactly I’ll do, but this chapter is almost wrapped up regardless. Thanks for reading!
Please let me know in the comments if you see any spelling, grammar, translation, or comprehension errors!