Youkoso V9C7 Part 1

Classroom of the Elite Volume 9 Chapter 7 Part 1

TL: Graze
ED: Regular_Days and Puffypyjamas
PR: Josh-kun and Catalystic


Chapter 7: “How It All Works”

It all began on Friday, February 11th, the day when the letters declaring that Ichinose was a criminal were discovered.

It was after Ichinose had seen the letters, and Kamuro had come to my room to tell me about her past with shoplifting.

I decided to make a move of my own against Sakayanagi’s strategy. In order to carry it out, that evening, I called a particular schoolgirl and asked her to come and meet up with me in my room.

And then, the appointed time came. Instead of the sound of the doorbell, a light knocking echoed throughout the room.

As the door was already unlocked, I just opened it up right away.

The faint scent of flowers tickled my nose as cold air came flowing in from the hallway.

“Good evening, Ayanokōji-kun.”

Because it was around midnight, Kushida’s voice was a bit softer than usual.

“Sorry for calling you at such a bad time. If you don’t mind, please come in.”

“Are you sure?”

“It would be cold if we stayed by the front door.”

“Yeah. Thank you then.”

For a girl to enter a boy’s room in the dead of night.

Furthermore, to be completely alone with him. Generally speaking, it would be entirely understandable for her to turn down such an offer.

Despite all of that, Kushida came in without hesitation.

“Ayanokōji-kun. It’s a little early, but this is for you.”

From the inside pocket of her coat, she took out a box of chocolates that had been tied up with a pink ribbon.

“Are you sure?”

“I’ll have quite a lot to give out on the 14th, so I’ve been giving them out early when I have the chance.”

Since that was the case, I accepted it gratefully. There wasn’t any reason to refuse.

“So what did you want to talk about? It’s unusual for you to ask me to come by this late at night.”

If it was something casual, it would’ve been fine to talk in the morning or during the day. It was only natural for her to be suspicious.

“There’s something I’d like to discuss with you.”

“Really…?”

A bit surprised, Kushida continued.

“I thought you hated me and didn’t want to discuss things with me anymore.”

“It’s not that I hate you. I just thought that you’d rather avoid interacting with me.”

“Ahahaha! I see! Well, that is true.”

She responded, laughing not as the Kushida she showed to the public, nor the Kushida she kept hidden within, but from somewhere in between.

“But don’t you have Horikita-san? Isn’t she far more reliable than someone like me?”

“I can’t rely on anyone else, you’re the only one I can ask for this.”

“While I don’t know if I’ll be able to help, I can definitely hear you out. Though, what do you mean by ‘I’m the only one you can ask’?”

She tilted her head, seeming to not have the faintest clue as to why I would want to talk to her.

“I want some personal information about various first-year students. Information they’d be embarrassed about if it became public. In other words, I want you to tell me their secrets.”

“…What do you mean?”

The smiling expression on her face didn’t fade, but the smile in her eyes vanished.

“You’ve said it before. That you already have enough information to cause the class to collapse. This doesn’t just include Class C, but students from the other classes as well.”

Kushida, who constantly plays the role of a popular person with a good personality, would often have others consult with her to talk about their issues.

She should have a noteworthy amount of information about the students from the other classes, even if it still dwarves in comparison to what she has on the students in Class C.

“And why does Ayanokōji-kun want to know such a thing?”

“Are you aware that Ichinose is suffering because of the rumors right now?”

“Yes. Like how today there were those terrible letters…”

“It’s all for the sake of putting a stop to those rumors.”

“Hmm, well, I don’t really get it. Is that your intention, Ayanokōji-kun? Or is it-”

“This has nothing to do with Horikita.”

“Hmmmm? You’re quite compassionate. You did help Sudō-kun back then, after all.”

Of course, Kushida knew about the actions I had taken to prevent Sudō’s expulsion shortly after we had enrolled here.

“However, are you saying that learning someone else’s personal information is related to stopping the rumors?”

“Yeah.”

“I still don’t get it. If you spread rumors that hurt a lot of people, won’t the situation become much more volatile than it is right now? Or is it fine as long as the rumors aren’t focused on Ichinose-san?”

Saving one person at the cost of many. She might have thought of it as that sort of strategy.

While that way of thinking was correct, she was mistaken.

She continued speaking.

“I’m on good terms with Ichinose-san as well. If there’s anything I can do for her, I’d want to do that. Sure, maybe I’ve heard a couple more secrets than the average person. But, that’s also why I’m not able to say them easily. After all, they’re secrets that I’ve been confided with under the premise that I won’t go around sharing them with others.”

Of course, her response was completely natural.

Hardly anyone would be happy to find out that someone had shared their personal secrets with the rest of the world.

That being the case, one might think that it’s better not to share anything personal with anyone, but human beings aren’t that simple.

They choose to share their secrets with family, close friends, and lovers. After all, everybody wants to share their feelings with someone.

“I can’t just betray my friends. Besides, even if I cooperate with you for Ichinose-san’s sake, wouldn’t they find out that I’m the one who leaked the rumors?”

“Of course. In order to avoid that, it’s necessary that we’re selective with the rumors we end up using.”

Heavy secrets, like those that had only been shared with Kushida, couldn’t be used.

On the other hand, if the rumors are simple enough that all of their friends know about them, then they wouldn’t hold any weight. The important point was that some, but not many, already know the secrets. We’d have to balance it perfectly.

“Do you think that I would betray my friends and cooperate with a strategy I don’t even understand?”

“It won’t be easy.”

If I didn’t know anything about the dark side of Kushida, there would be no room for negotiations.

After all, it was highly unlikely that Kushida, who always plays the role of an angel, would want to assist with a scheme to trap others.

However, because I knew about Kushida’s dark side, there was some leeway.

“If you can provide me with the information I want, I’ll be willing to do something for you as compensation.”

“Compensation?”

“I intend to answer your desires to the best of my ability.”

“Are you saying that you’ll get me what I want?”

“Put bluntly, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

“There’s no guarantee that you’ll keep to your word. You’re allied with Horikita-san, after all.”

“Then you should consider this conversation we’re having right now as insurance.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t need to spell it out for you, you know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you?”

I briefly directed my gaze toward the pocket of Kushida’s outfit.

“Hmmmm?”

She continued to pretend that she didn’t understand, so I pushed the matter a step further.

“Even if I don’t say anything, you should probably understand. A cell phone… Voice recorder… Maybe even both?”

There was no way that she wouldn’t try to take advantage of this conversation.

“So you already knew? That I’ve been recording?”

“After I considered who I was dealing with, I figured that you would at least do that much.”

“But you were sure of it, weren’t you?”

She attempted to change tracks, thinking that I was trying to bait her with a trick question.

“If you had to cut out the parts that are inconvenient to you, it would lower the authenticity of the recording. Ideally, you would want to keep the data intact as much as possible. And for that to work, it would be necessary for you to curb your own behavior.”

Kushida had been carefully choosing her words to be as polite as possible ever since she arrived at my room.

That way there wouldn’t be any fault with her behavior, even in the off chance that something went wrong later on.

“For you to determine it with just that… Not bad.”

Kushida took out her cell phone, letting me see the screen as she stopped the recording.

“Well, the recording is over. Ahhh, how uncomfortable.”

With that, Kushida completely did away with the gentle atmosphere that had been filling the room.

“I was vaguely aware of this already, but you helped Horikita-san back then, didn’t you?”

“I’ll admit that I gave Horikita some ideas.”

“Well, let’s just put that aside for now. I’ll always be able to hear about it when we’re done with this.”

She said, taking us back to the topic at hand.

“So, how do you intend to use another person’s personal information to stop the rumors about Ichinose-san?”

Getting to the point, Kushida switched gears and adopted a listening posture.

“That is- by getting the ever-watchful school involved.”

“Involving the school…?”

“Currently, Ichinose has been keeping silent about the rumors, refusing to take action against them. So naturally, the school hasn’t done anything in response.”

“Is it okay to make that assumption? It’s possible that the school will still do something to stop the rumors, isn’t it?”

“Sorta. Even if her homeroom teacher knows about her situation, the fact that the school still hasn’t taken action is because Ichinose herself hasn’t been asking for it in the first place. So, we should just escalate the issue to the point where they can no longer quietly sit back and watch. If we do, the school should definitely start to take the situation more seriously.”

Even if the school’s isolated from the rest of the world, the age of being able to cover everything up has come to an end.

If there were constant reports of slander amongst the school’s student body, causing dropouts, or potentially even rumors of suicide, the school would see its social status and honor disappear almost immediately.

Schools would never be able to ignore a problem that may turn into a case of bullying.

Naturally, Sakayanagi’s attacks were just barely toeing the line of what was acceptable.

In which case, I would just have to go behind the scenes and push it over that very line.

And as a result, the whole situation with the rumors would start to die down. That was the plan.

“Not everyone will be able to keep silent like Ichinose-san, so you’re saying that you’ll have other students go and cry to the school instead?”

“Exactly. Plus, even if nobody else reaches out to the school, the end-of-year exams are right around the corner. The rumors should help create an extremely tense, irritated atmosphere. Small fights or quarrels may end up taking place as well.”

“And as a result, the school won’t be able to sit back and watch anymore… is what you’re getting at?”

Select a few people from each class and spread an intricate mix of truths and lies about them.

It’s possible that over half of the students targeted by the rumors will speak out and deny them.

It’s even possible that nobody would end up admitting to the rumors at all.

But, that would only go to show that there may be some truth hidden within the rumors in the first place.

“We would also have another advantage. Given the current situation, Class A would be the first suspect if new rumors show up.”

Because the Sakayanagi camp had spread rumors in order to entrap Ichinose, they would immediately notice the influence of an outside party.

However, even if they notice it, there wasn’t anything they could do about it.

Even if they devoted all of their energy toward denying these new rumors, they still wouldn’t be able to deny that they had spread rumors in the past. Due to that, they wouldn’t be able to avoid shouldering most of the suspicion.

With this in mind, Kushida appeared to have understood where I was going with all of this.

“But, how do you plan to spread so many rumors? It’s not easy.”

“How will I spread the rumors? With the school forums.”

“By forums, are you referring to the ones in the school’s app? You do know that nobody uses those, right? Besides, if the school is forced into action, won’t they punish the people responsible for spreading the rumors? Even though you can post to the forums anonymously, won’t the school immediately be able to tell who posted the rumors?”

Kushida asked me one question after another.

“Those risks have all been taken into consideration.”

“In other words… In the worst case scenario, you’re prepared to take on the blame for spreading the rumors?”

“Yeah. And should that happen, I wouldn’t say anything about your involvement at all.”

Of course, I had already thought of countermeasures just in case it came out that I was involved, but it wasn’t certain whether or not it would get to that point yet.

In the first place, I never intended to post anything on the forums that could be traced back to me.

“There are still risks in this for me.”

“That’s true. If it’s traced back to me, the fact that I know so much about the internal affairs of other students would seem unnatural. It’s possible that some students will think that I got my information from someone else.”

The one thing I had to be careful of at this point was to avoid conducting myself too perfectly in front of Kushida.

It was important for her to think that I was overlooking a few things here and there.

“In order to make things more acceptable for you, we’ll have to carefully select which rumors we end up using.”

“…Yeah. Ayanokōji-kun’s goal is clear to me at this point. I’ll consider it. My cooperation will depend on our conversation moving forward.”

Her words were another way of saying that she still hadn’t been convinced just yet.

“It depends on whether or not I come to accept your conditions? Is that what you’re saying?”

“Exactly.”

It would be difficult to carry out this operation without Kushida.

While it would be possible to just make up a bunch of lies, that wouldn’t be enough to cause discomfort within everyone’s hearts.

By weaving a countless number of truths into the mix, it would be enough to make people anxious of their surroundings.

And that anxiety would be the source of the fire that would spread shortly after.

“Then, what are your conditions?”

Of course, if the conditions she put forward were unacceptable, then negotiations would break down.

“Horikita Suzune’s withdrawal from school.”

“Unacceptable.”

“It is, isn’t it?”

Kushida’s greatest desire.

She knew it wouldn’t happen, but she mentioned it just in case.

“Having you dropout would be the same, right?”

“That would be even more unacceptable than having Horikita dropout.”

“Ahaha.”

Kushida laughed, finding my response just a little amusing.

“But there’s nothing else I want.”

“In which case, how about I make a suggestion?”

I decided to offer her some conditions myself.

“Alright. What is it?”

“I’ll give you half of all of the private points I get moving forward.”

“What? Isn’t that the same deal that Ryūen made…?”

As expected, Kushida knew the details of the agreement that Ryūen had made with Class A.

“Yeah, you can think of it as the same agreement. Of course, if needed, I can show you the log of deposits and withdrawals in my account every month so you can be certain that I’m not scamming you. With this, by the time you graduate, you’ll receive hundreds of thousands to a few million private points. It’s an exceptional price for the information you’d be giving up.”

There was a brief silence as Kushida considered the offer.

“It’s certainly not a bad offer. But, unfortunately, I’m currently not in dire need for more private points. It can never hurt to have more money, but I already have plenty.”

Kushida had obtained a very large sum of points during the special exam on the cruise ship.

It can be inferred that, even if she had used those points extravagantly to some extent, she would still have more than enough left over now.

However, at the end of the day, the easiest and most efficient way to negotiate is with money.

“Even if there’s enough to use leisurely, there’s nothing wrong with holding onto more points in case of an emergency. I believe Chabashira-sensei said it as well. That private points are indispensable when it comes to protecting yourself.”

If you think of them as your own insurance, it would be better to hold onto each and every point you could.

“This proposal of yours… No matter how I look at it, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage, Ayanokōji-kun. If this was an emergency where you were at risk of dropping out of school, I guess I could understand? But, it’s strange that you’re willing to sacrifice half of your own soul for the sake of saving Ichinose-san.”

“I like Ichinose.”

“Jokes like that aren’t necessary.”

I had thought that she would laugh, but Kushida didn’t show any signs of it.

“Then I’ll tell you the truth. It would certainly hurt to lose half of my private points. But, that’s exactly how I’ll be able to protect myself.”

“What are you getting at?”

“I’m one of the people you want to see drop out of school. I don’t know when I’ll be stabbed in the back. In other words, it’s my defense plan.”

“Your point is that if you start to supply me with your private points, your existence will become beneficial to me, is that what you’re getting at?”

“Yeah. Being your enemy is troublesome. I think it’s well worth giving you half.”

It was an arrangement that would be concluded with the provision of private points.

As long as neither of us betrays the other, she would receive a continuous supply of private points.

These conditions were definitely not bad for her.

“…I see.”

After considering it for a bit, Kushida came to a conclusion.

“Alright, I’m on board. The strict condition is that I don’t antagonize Ayanokōji-kun, is that all? Don’t you want to add some kind of guarantee for Horikita-san as well?”

“I’m not that greedy. It would be troublesome if I were to also ask for Horikita’s protection and negotiations were to break down.”

“Those are immensely attractive conditions aren’t they?”

“If you’re worried about making a verbal agreement, would you rather I provide you with something in writing?”

“No, that won’t be necessary.”

Kushida reached into her pocket… and took out a voice recorder.

Two recordings. She had been recording with not only her cell phone, but with a backup recorder as well.

“I have all the evidence I need right here. If you betray me at all… you know what will happen, yes?”

“Yeah.”

If I were to break our agreement, in the worst case, she could bring this conversation to the attention of the school.

It would then be possible for her extort points from me without making the matter public.

“As expected, Ayanokōji-kun is completely different from Horikita-san.”

Give and take.

It was impractical for the other party to believe in you with a relationship built upon emotion alone.

Unlike emotion, invisible to the naked eye, numbers can be seen and verified.

Horikita’s way of doing things was by no means inferior.

There are times when relationships supported by emotion outperform relationships built upon numbers and agreements.

In this case, however, the hurdle for that was extremely high.

The very method of attempting to persuade Kushida to endure her own feelings of malice was a mistake in and of itself.

“But is it really fine for you to give me half?”

“If the amount is too low, it wouldn’t leave an impression on you.”

Of course, continuously handing out so many private points would become a heavy burden for me.

 

However, that problem would be handled soon enough.

 

“We’ve finished our negotiations, so is it alright if you tell me what I want to know now?”

“Sure. What type of stuff are you looking for?”

“Crimes or even embarrassing information about someone’s past, either would be fine. Generally speaking, something that would cause problems if it was made public.”

“Sure. I’ll tell you properly then.”

Amused by the situation, Kushida began to share the secrets she had accumulated over the last year.

She led with things like crushes and who certain people hated, and then went into students’ family circumstances and past acts of delinquency.

She spoke energetically.

Even at this stage, she was unaware of my true intentions.

Saving Ichinose.

Responding to Sakayanagi’s provocation.

Diverting Hashimoto’s attention away from me.

The looming threat of Nagumo.

All of these things were nothing more than one piece of the puzzle.

There was only one thing I truly wanted to ascertain from our interaction here…

 

The quantity and quality of information held by Kushida Kikyō. All for the sake of removing her from the school.

 

Although her removal may sound simple, it would be troublesome if I were to go about it the wrong way.

It was essential for me to gauge how powerful of a bomb she was holding.

To gauge Kushida’s overwhelming network of information.

To gauge the scrutiny of that information.

Who she had heard the rumors from, what kind, and how many people knew about them.

She had a terrifying understanding of the character and personalities of the students around her. It could be that, at least among the first years, there was nobody in the school who could approach Kushida’s mastery of information.

This was the outstanding ability Kushida had cultivated, all for the sake of protecting herself and her image as a noble existence.

“I see…”

“Was that useful?”

Of course, the information she had just shared with me was only the tip of the iceberg.

“For Class C, I want to spread the information about Satō and Hondō.”

“That’s fine I guess. Satou-san’s dislike of Onodera is already relatively well-known.”

She inferred that it was only a matter of time until it reached Onodera’s ears anyway.

“I also have a bad personality, but it’d be good for you to remember that’s just how girls are.”

With that, Kushida took out her cell phone and opened her messaging app. Her sheer number of friends couldn’t even be compared with mine, and the number of group chats she was in was enormous.

“For example, there’s this group chat, we’ll call it group A, which was made by some of the girls from our class. There are six people in it, right? But, as a matter of fact, there’s a second group chat, made by the same girls. Let’s call that one group B. Just so you know, there’s one person who wasn’t included in that second group, a girl named Nene.”

Mori Nene, one of the friends from Kei’s group.

“You’re saying that Mori isn’t liked very much?”

“Exactly. If group A contains the feelings they show on the surface, group B contains the true feelings they’re hiding underneath. Sometimes, they’ll come together just to badmouth Nene. I, of course, never take part in something so careless. There may be a smiling, close relationship on the surface, but deep down, everybody has someone they hate. It’s totally normal for girls to come together just to badmouth somebody. Anyway, when it comes to two-faced groups like this, there aren’t just one or two of them. As far as I know, there are dozens.”

Apparently satisfied with saying something she wouldn’t normally be able to say, Kushida stood up.

“It’s late, I’m going home. I’m looking forward to the outcome of our agreement, Ayanokōji-kun.”

Kushida turned her back to me and began to put her shoes on by the front door.

“Kushida.”

“Hm?”

“You’ve been a great help today.”

“Oh no, it was nothing. Well, good night Ayanokōji-kun. Please treat me well from now on.”

This conversation had been my chance to hear about Kushida’s proximity to Nagumo.

However, I deliberately didn’t ask about that matter.

The fact that Nagumo and Kushida had come into contact with each other was something I had learned coincidentally. There was no reason to not make use of it.

 

Thus, with Kushida’s intelligence as the source, I started preparing the rumors I’d be spreading for each class.


TL Notes:

I did say that my speed would pick up immensely, so here’s a large part to help prove it! My plan is to have Volume 9 finished entirely by the end of the next week. Part 2 of Chapter 7 should be posted tomorrow or Monday, depending on what I end up doing tomorrow. Honestly, it may come out on Tuesday, but parts 3, 4, and 5 will all be posted by the day after that. Then there will only be Part 6 left and the chapter will be completed.

There was no introduction for this chapter. Idk why, go ask the author. I’ve never seen anything like this before either.

Volume 9 is wrapping up. Chapter 7 is already 60% translated with this part being completed. My intention is to finish the volume and do a chapter or two of Instant Death before seriously embarking on the 10th volume. We’ll see how that plays out lol.

Thanks for reading! Your comments and likes give me the strength to continue, so drop one if you can! Please let me know if you see any issues with the translation. Thanks!


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