Classroom of the Elite Volume 9 Chapter 6 Part 8
ED: Graze, Regular Days, and PuffyPyjamas
PR: Graze, Regular Days, PuffyPyjamas, and Catalystic
After that, a few days passed in the blink of an eye.
During that period, the ever-controversial Ichinose continued her string of absences, failing to show up to school even a single time.
However, that changed on February 24th, one day before the end-of-year exam.
Ichinose had finally come to school again. While I personally didn’t see her, Ichinose had been absent for more than a week and many people were keeping their eyes on her. The news reached me almost immediately.
That being said, her presence was only truly important for Class B. For Class C, the upcoming end-of-year exam on the 25th was far more important.
“Very good. Ayanokōji. Akito. Haruka. Airi. You’ve all done excellent.”
During our lunch break, the Ayanokōji Group had gathered around Keisei’s desk before class.
We had taken a mock exam that Keisei had made us, and the time had come to hear the results.
It was a voluntary exam that he had us take the night before, all for the sake of testing our true abilities.
“Wow~! Kiyopon you got a 90! Totally awesome!”
In the middle of eating her sandwich, Haruka spoke up, surprised by my result.
“Well, the tests Keisei made were flawless. Didn’t you manage to score about the same?”
While there was some variance in the scores, the three of them had managed to get around an 80.
“If you guys are able to get through both the provisional exam and this mock exam I made, the exam tomorrow won’t be a problem for you at all.”
“If Keisei’s saying something like that, this exam will be a piece of cake.”
Akito rolled his stiff shoulders a few times. He seemed to be pretty fired up.
“Thank you so much Keisei-kun. I’ve been… anxious every time I take an exam…”
“Don’t mention it. This much is the least I can do for all of you.”
A little embarrassed from Sakura and Akito’s words, Keisei lightly scratched the bridge of his nose.
“But are you really sure that we don’t need to do anything else today?”
“You’ve all spent a lot of time studying this past week. Since today is the last day before the real thing, I’d prefer it if all of you took a break. You’ve all studied diligently up to this point, and I don’t think you’ll easily forget anything you’ve learned. Furthermore, it’d be dangerous if you push yourselves to the point where you end up getting sick or for you to doze off during the exam. It’d be a shame if you did worse because of a few careless mistakes.”
“Roger that. I’ll follow your instructions, Yukimū.”
As Haruka responded to Keisei with a weird salute, the others nodded along, agreeing with her words.
Suddenly, a loud noise resounded throughout the classroom as the door was violently flung open from the other side.
“Oh my god! Everyone!”
Just as we were about to enjoy the rest of our lunch…
“Ugh. This is the worst…”
Haruka had dropped her sandwich onto the floor, startled by the sudden noise. She spoke up.
“Hey! What’s wrong with you!”
Without attempting to hide her displeasure, Haruka glared at Ike.
“Something’s going down! A bunch of students from Class A marched into Class B just now!”
Ike spoke, full of momentum.
“With Ichinose-san returning to class, Sakayanagi-san is making her move…”
Mumbling that, Horikita, who was also having lunch in the classroom, stood up in a hurry. Without saying a word to me, she rushed out of the room. Seeing her leave, Sudō, Hirata, and a few others followed after her.
Tomorrow was the end-of-year exam.
If Sakayanagi wanted to make a move, she would have no choice but to make that move today.
To make a direct attack in order to bring down Ichinose after she’s come back to school.
“What are you going to do, Akito…?”
“It looks like I don’t have any other choice. If it turns into the same type of thing that happened a few days ago, somebody will have to be there to stop it.”
“Well, that is right.”
“However… Haruka, Airi. The two of you should stay here. There’s no reason for more people to get involved than necessary.”
“Yeah yeah, I get it. We’ll take our time and finish lunch.”
“What are you going to do Kiyotaka-kun?”
Keisei stood up along with Akito. In this kind of situation, it was hard for me to say that I would stay behind as well.
“I’ll come along just in case. Though, I don’t think that I’ll be much help.”
The three of us left the classroom, heading toward Class B.
The commotion had already spread into the hallway, as people were gathering together.
“What are you doing here, Sakayanagi!?”
As we entered Class B’s classroom, we witnessed Shibata approach Sakayanagi.
“What am I doing here, you ask? Why, I’ve come to rescue everybody in Class B, you know?”
Sakayanagi was accompanied by Kamuro and Hashimoto. There was no sign of Kitō or anyone else from Class A. It wouldn’t have been surprising to run into problems if they had come with a larger group, so they probably decided to make their move with a smaller one.
“I wonder what you mean by that, Sakayanagi-san.”
Ichinose spoke up from deeper within the classroom, surrounded by several of her classmates.
“Wait, Ichinose. You don’t need to get involved with this.”
“Yeah! Don’t do this Honami-chan!”
They surrounded her tightly, trying their best to prevent Ichinose from getting in contact with Sakayanagi.
“To start things out, congratulations on your recovery. In fact, I wanted to reach out to you earlier, but I’ve been quite busy studying for the exam. Nevertheless, I’m quite happy for you. You’re just in time for the end-of-year exam tomorrow.”
“Yes. Thank you.”
The two of them spoke to each other from a distance.
It was perfectly clear that every single student from Class B was looking at Sakayanagi with hostility.
After all, even though it was lunch break, every student from Class B was present.
It was highly likely that the entire class had banded together with the goal of protecting Ichinose.
However, Sakayanagi didn’t seem shaken by their unity at all. Rather, she seemed to be enjoying the feeling of being in enemy territory.
She had anticipated Ichinose’s movements. Given that Ichinose was currently in the middle of a maelstrom of rumors, she had foreseen that Ichinose wouldn’t make use of the cafeteria or other facilities on campus during the lunch break.
“You said you were here to ‘rescue’ us, Sakayanagi?”
Responding to Kanzaki’s question, Sakayanagi nodded and let show a bright smile.
“Does that mean… you admit to spreading the rumors?”
‘If you came here to apologize, I guess I kind of get what you mean by ‘rescue’.’ Kanzaki mumbled.
“I’m not the one who spread the rumors.”
“…If that’s the case, then what are you getting at?”
“In the past, there were rumors saying that Ichinose-san was maintaining a large sum of points, remember? At the time, the school announced that there was no foul play going on, so those rumors subsided almost immediately.”
“What about it?”
In order to prevent Ichinose from saying anything, Kanzaki responded without missing a beat.
“This may be nothing but my own imagination, but… there are very few methods available for someone to get their hands on such a large sum of points without breaking any rules. For example, one could periodically collect private points from all of their classmates, gathering them together under a single person. In short, they would be playing the role of a bank, and I’ve determined that Ichinose-san is carrying this very responsibility for Class B.”
“That’s not something I can say.”
Kanzaki’s response was only natural. After all, it was directly related to Class B’s internal affairs.
“Indeed. I didn’t come here looking for a response to that in the first place. It’s just that… If, for instance, Ichinose-san truly does play the role of a bank like I’ve surmised… I think that may be a very dangerous situation for all of you.”
As she spoke, Sakayanagi directed her gaze toward Ichinose, who was intently staring back at her.
Ichinose did not respond. Instead, she simply continued to return Sakayanagi’s gaze.
“Am I mistaken? Ichinose Honami-san?”
Sakayanagi’s question was truly cruel. It had certainly managed to force Ichinose into desperation.
Unable to do anything but respond with silence, Ichinose had finally been cornered, driven to the very brink of a sheer cliff.
With a single push, she’d be sent plummeting to the bottom.
That was the sort of situation that Sakayanagi had created for her.
However, this plan of hers wasn’t going to work.
“Could you give me a little space? Chihiro-chan. Mako-chan.”
“It’s okay. You don’t need to be worried about me. I’ll be alright.”
With a gentle smile, Ichinose calmly moved forward and closed the distance with Sakayanagi.
Ultimately, Ichinose faced not toward Sakayanagi, but to all of her classmates throughout the classroom.
“…Everyone, I’m sorry!”
Standing before the teacher’s podium, Ichinose bowed her head in apology to the students of Class B.
“W-what are you apologizing for Ichinose? There’s no reason for you to be apologizing, right?”
Shaken from her words, Shibata attempted to interrupt Ichinose’s apology.
“Please don’t try to stop her, Shibata-kun. She was just about to confess.”
Sakayanagi smiled happily.
“This past year… The secret I’ve been hiding all along…”
“Hold on Ichinose. You don’t have to say anything else right now.”
Feeling unsettled, Kanzaki attempted to stop Ichinose from continuing any further once again, but she didn’t back down.
“There have been many strange rumors going around about me these past few weeks, and one of them isn’t just a baseless rumor. Just as it was written in that letter… I am a criminal.”
As Ichinose spoke these words, Sakayanagi showed a satisfied smile.
“Is that true?”
The noisy classroom fell into silence as her words sunk in.
“It seems like these foolishly good-natured classmates of yours have been caught completely unaware, so please, do give them all the details, Ichinose-san. What kind of crime did you commit?”
Ichinose stopped and gulped nervously.
“I’ve kept this from all of you… but I’ll confess it all right now.”
Declaring such, Ichinose finally began to speak about the past that she had kept buried within.
“I… was a shoplifter…”
The shoplifting honor student, Ichinose Honami.
In light of her unexpected revelation, the surprise was great enough that it managed to impact spectators outside of Class B, such as Keisei and Akito.
After all, Ichinose really didn’t come across as the type of student who would do such a thing.
“Honami-chan… a shoplifter…? R-really?”
“Yes. I’m sorry Mako-chan.”
While apologizing, Ichinose began to recount her experience with shoplifting.
“I came from a fatherless family, living with my mother and my sister two years younger than me. While we weren’t very well-off, we were never unhappy. My mother had it hard, working full-time as she raised two children all by herself. That’s why, ever since elementary school, I planned to get a job after finishing middle school. After all, it would cost a lot of money to go to high school, so I wanted to find a job to help my mother support my younger sister instead. But, my mother was against it. I think that, just as I, an older sister, sincerely wished for my younger sister’s happiness, my mother wished for the happiness of both of her daughters.”
Ichinose opened up about her past.
“I understood that, even without money, if I studied as hard as possible, I’d be able to make use of the student scholarship system. So, I studied hard. I developed my skills as I managed to reach the top of the school. But… just like that, during the summer of my third year of middle school… my mother pushed herself too hard and collapsed.”
It seemed that, in order to support her family’s livelihood, Ichinose’s mother had overworked herself.
She had given up her own body, all for the sake of raising her children.
“It was almost my younger sister’s birthday. For as long as I could remember, she had never asked for anything from either of us. She was still in her first year of middle school, so it would’ve been acceptable for her to act a little spoiled sometimes, yet she always managed to hold herself back. Instead of getting the clothes she wanted, or accompanying her friends as they played or went shopping together, she just put up with all of it and held herself back from asking for anything. And then, that selfless little sister of mine… expressed that she wanted something for the very first time. A fashionable hair clip that her favorite celebrity wore back then. My mother undoubtedly overloaded her schedule in order to buy my sister that hair clip.”
However- Due to her sudden hospitalization, she was no longer able to get her daughter that birthday present.
“I can still remember everything. My mother, sobbing as she apologized from her bed in the hospital. The face of my sister as she showered our mother with all the ridicule and blame she could produce. The face of my sister as she cried and screamed about the hair clip she was looking forward to getting. Even then, I still wasn’t able to blame her. The only gift she had ever asked for…”
Sakayanagi listened to Ichinose’s confession with an unwavering smile on her face.
“As the elder sister… I thought that I had to find a way to return my sister’s smile. So, after school on the day of her birthday, I went to the department store.”
By now, you could tell that she was just as anxious as she was back then.
“My feelings back then were surely shrouded in darkness. I told myself that it was okay… That it wasn’t a big deal to do something sinful, just once, for the sake of my younger sister. After all, there were so many people in the world constantly doing bad things. The feelings I was holding inside… That there was no reason for my family, who had always held back, to be blamed for my actions. I told myself that it would be acceptable, that it would be forgiven… Back then, that was my selfish, egotistical interpretation of reality. The hair clip that would normally cost over 10,000 yen… The hair clip that my sister wanted so desperately… I stole it for her.”
Ichinose spoke as though she was revealing something heavy.
“Even though it was a decision that I knew would make everyone unhappy, I still wanted to do something for my sister.”
That desire of hers was the cause for all of this.
“…But, that’s still no excuse, is it?”
Ichinose mumbled quietly.
“In the end, a crime is a crime. No matter what you do to repent, your sin will never go away.”
She expressed her thoughts in a disconnected manner.
“Are you saying you got caught?”
In response to Hashimoto’s question, Ichinose simply shook her head.
“I just left the department store with the hair clip. It was the first time I ever shoplifted, the first time I ever committed a crime. Nobody found out. Immediately afterward, I went home and presented the hair clip to my sulking little sister. But, because it had just been stolen, it hadn’t been wrapped yet, so it was a really sloppy present. Still, she was so happy. When I saw her smiling face, for an instant, the guilt of what I had just done faded a bit. But, that didn’t last very long. The pounding guilt in my heart just continued to grow.”
Ichinose’s smile was full of self-ridicule.
“After all, doesn’t it seem impossible for a mother to fail to notice when her daughter’s done something sinful? Even though I had told my sister to keep the present a secret, she wore it the next time we went to visit our mother in the hospital. And why wouldn’t she? There was no way my sister would’ve thought that I had stolen it for her. That time… That time was the first time in my life where I had ever seen my mother seriously angry. She slapped me and took the hair clip from my sister. I don’t even think my sobbing little sister understood why. Despite the fact that she had to stay hospitalized, my mother forcibly dragged me back to the store. I prostrated myself, begging for forgiveness. That was the first time I truly understood just what I had done. How heavy of a crime I had committed. No matter how many excuses I make, nothing would ever be able to make up for it.”
This was Ichinose’s past. The past that she had been hiding.
“In the end, the store didn’t hand me over to the police. But, in the blink of an eye, the commotion still spread, so I closed myself off. For almost half of my third year of middle school, I just shut myself up in my room and stayed there… Eventually, I started to think about moving forward once again. It was all because my homeroom teacher told me about this school. The cost of admission and tuition are waived for you, and if you graduate, you can find a job anywhere you want. I wanted to start over. To start over with a blank slate.”
Finished, Ichinose once again bowed her head to her classmates.
“I’m sorry everyone. I’m such a pathetic, useless leader…”
“That’s not true Ichinose.”
Listening from nearby, Shibata spoke up.
“After listening to everything you’ve had to say, I’m sure of it. You’re still a good person.”
“Yeah! Sure, Honami-chan may have done something bad, but-”
The loud, distinct sound of a cane striking the floor echoed throughout the room.
“I will have to interject. Could you all stop being so ridiculous?”
Ichinose’s support was casually brushed aside.
“Really, what a trivial, boorish farce. Are you trying to gain sympathy by bringing up all these needless details about your past? No matter the circumstances, shoplifting is still shoplifting. There’s no place for sympathy. Your theft came from a place of self-interest.”
As Sakayanagi spoke, Kamuro, standing right beside her, momentarily showed a stiff expression.
“Yes, I agree with that. The circumstances of my past have nothing to do with it.”
“The fact remains: you’ve committed a crime. So, when it comes to the large amount of private points you’ve been entrusted with, isn’t it possible that you’ll steal those as well when graduation comes along?”
“……I’d never do something like that, Sakayanagi-san. Disregarding my classmate’s intentions in order to get into Class A would be an act of betrayal. I don’t think the school would ever allow it.”
“I agree. You’re a clever one, after all. You’d never use an obvious tactic like that. On the other hand, what if you do this little sympathy-seeking performance again in order to get everyone’s permission to go to Class A?”
Sakayanagi was relentless.
“You’re right… Maybe… Maybe all my hard work will seem hypocritical, no matter how hard I try. The sin I committed will never disappear.”
Her criminal past would always follow her.
After all, the suspicion that she may betray the class someday would always be there.
“Does everyone understand now? This, is the real Ichinose Honami-san. As long as you have this sort of person leading you, Class B doesn’t stand a chance.”
Sakayanagi thoroughly exposed the reality of the situation.
“Take this opportunity to return the private points to your classmates and step down as the leader of Class B. You should at least do that much. If you don’t, the slander about you will not disappear, will it?”
Ichinose calmly closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
“What are you going to do, Ichinose?”
Kanzaki spoke as the representative for the rest of Class B, posing the question to her.
The question of whether or not she would continue to lead the class.
A decision that Ichinose would have to make herself.
If this was her first experience with having her spirit crushed, Ichinose may not have been able to endure. She might have decided to give in.
But, Ichinose had already had her spirit broken once before.
Rather, I was the one who had broken it.
But now, she had recovered completely.
That broken part of her spirit was now stronger than ever.
“I’ll wrap up my confession with this…”
As she spoke, she turned to face Sakayanagi with a smile.
“I am certainly a shoplifter, and as Sakayanagi-san said, I don’t think there’s any room for sympathy. After all, a crime is a crime, and I have no intention of running away. However, I’ve never been persecuted for it. In other words, there’s effectively no reason for me to atone for my sin now.”
“You have a lot of nerve to say that despite being so shameless just a moment ago. This defiant attitude of yours is quite a big change from what one would expect from a corrupt thief who honestly regrets their mistakes.”
“Maybe so, but I refuse to keep looking back. I won’t let my past control me anymore.”
Turning her smiling face toward her classmates, Ichinose continued.
“Despite being so shameless… everyone, will you follow me until the very end?”
She asked this, and it was followed by a moment of silence.
By no means had her request come from a place of optimism.
She was ashamed of her past and on the verge of bursting into tears. She simply wanted to run away from all of it.
But despite that, she continued to push forward.
She had gone through thick and thin with her classmates for the past year. It was impossible for them to not understand what she was going through.
“You already have our support, right!?”
Shibata shouted with a smile.
At the same time, every single one of his classmates cheered, showcasing the unity of Class B.
This was the extent of the admiration they had for her.
I could feel the weight behind it.
Keisei and Akito also seemed to be taken in by this display of unity, as both of them had delighted expressions.
With the exception of one class in particular, the students from the other classes were also voicing their support.
“Sakayanagi… What now?”
Sakayanagi’s attack had been negated.
Kamuro appeared to understand this as well, which was why she had spoken up. Her question could be interpreted as a request to withdraw.
Then she laughed again, a little bit longer this time.
“I see. It seems you’ve managed to successfully trick your classmates. However, as you said earlier, a criminal’s past doesn’t just disappear. I’m sure that the rumors about you will continue to spread far into the future.”
“Yeah, but I’m not going to run away.”
“Is that so? Then, let’s thoroughly-”
“Alright, that’s enough everyone.”
As Sakayanagi was in the middle of giving a response, two teachers and an upperclassman entered the classroom.
It was the student council president Nagumo, Class B’s homeroom teacher Hoshinomiya, and Chabashira.
“It seems that a few very important people have shown up, but this is a problem that only concerns the first-year students.”
“You’re correct. This dispute does only involve the first-years. However, as of today, it is against the rules to spread irresponsible rumors.”
“…What does that mean? I’m not satisfied with this gag order on the rumors about Ichinose-san. Regardless of where they came from, if Ichinose-san was troubled by them, shouldn’t she have reported it to the school herself?”
“You have the wrong idea, Sakayanagi. This problem doesn’t just involve Ichinose anymore.”
Nagumo responded to Sakayanagi’s question.
“…What are you saying?”
Just as Nagumo was about to explain, Chabashira intervened instead.
“I won’t go into the details, but we’ve already confirmed that there has been an ongoing exchange of slander amongst the first-year students. There are close to twenty different rumors going around at this point. If this is allowed to continue, it will corrupt the public morals of our school. Rumors are rumors. Regardless of whether or not there’s conclusive evidence backing them up, the school doesn’t want to see rumors that target specific individuals continue to spread. Therefore, I’ll inform all of you right now. Moving forward, anyone found spreading meaningless rumors may be subjected to punishment.”
So far, the school had been tolerating the endless spread of rumors, but now they had taken action.
“…I see, so that’s how it is.”
After hearing Chabashira’s explanation, Sakayanagi seemed to understand everything.
“In other words, the school’s finally taking action.”
Horikita drew closer to me after observing the situation and gave me her thoughts.
“This is only an afterthought, but isn’t this enough to save each class? Because of the school’s intervention, Sakayanagi-san’s faction won’t be able to attack Ichinose-san anymore. This should also silence the rumors about Hondō-kun, Shinohara-san, Satō-san, and you that were posted online as well.”
“Sakayanagi-san went a bit too far. She attempted to frame each class with the same strategy at the same time, but it backfired because it attracted the school’s attention. It seems like with this one belligerent move, she managed to outdo herself.”
With that, Horikita fell silent.
Then, for a moment, she continued.
“No, it’s nothing.”
Horikita didn’t seem to want to say anything further.
“Let’s withdraw here. Now that the school has made their move, our presence is no longer necessary.”
Understanding the situation, Sakayanagi gave the order to withdraw.
At once, the already noisy classroom became even more excited.
Class A had been successfully driven back.
I’m a day later than I intended. I apologize for that, but I got it done. This part is absolutely massive and I’ve been crazily busy finishing up this college semester. Part 9 is the final part of Chapter 6, and it’s about 1/4th as large as this part was, so if my schedule is nice to me, that part will be completed rather soon. To those who are unhappy with my ability to give consistent schedules, I apologize for my lack of availability. College aside, I prefer to translate when I want to translate and when I have the mental energy to do so. If I forced a schedule on myself, I would ultimately drop this pastime altogether and start doing something I enjoy doing more. I’m also not too vocal about it here, but I’m not exactly the largest fan of this series anymore, and I mostly translate this series for all of you rather than for myself.
After college is completed for this semester, my schedule will open up and my speed and consistency of translations will increase notably, so look forward to that. There is still a chapter 7 of this volume for me to translate, so that aside, there isn’t too much left of Volume 9.
Let me know if you see anything or have any questions/corrections for me, and as always thanks for reading.