Y2 Vol 7 English Chap 2

Chapter Two: The Smoke of Rebellion

On monday 8 november, we were surprised by Ryūen and his friends’ entry into the concept café. We had to deal with various issues, but the tasks to be done alongside our friends, who are determined to fight, remains the same.

In response to the bet proposed by Ryūen, Horikita offered a one-million- private-point match with the agreement of the classes. The agreement was that the class with more sales from the festival would receive that number of points from the other class.

Don’t mess around, fight head-on and win.

The fact that many of my classmates had such a positive attitude would be a big advantage.

After school, when Chabashira-sensei left the classroom, I took out my mobile phone.

“I have some time. Head to the designated place.” Apparently, they are open to meeting now.

Did the preface I gave the other day about the future help? “Hey, Kiyotaka. Come home with me.”

“Sorry, I’ve got plans later today.”

“Oh, really? I see Well then, Maya-chan, go home with me!”

After a quick switchover, Kei turned to Satō, who was still in the classroom. “You’re not going with Ayanokōji-kun?”

“Come on, come on, don’t say that. See?”

Satō rushed in, but didn’t show any disapproval at all, but rather accepted Kei’s proposal with a smile. She then invited a few other girls to join her and happily left the classroom.

Among them is Shinohara, who not so long ago had a rough relationship with Kei.

After getting closer to Satō, Kei seemed to have grown even more mature than before.

Anyway, I was grateful she was there to accompany Kei.

I decided to leave the classroom and head to the special wing to meet Kanzaki, who had called me over.

Because this time it couldn’t be by phone, chat, or in public.

On the way there, I saw the teacher in charge of 2nd year Class A, Mashima- sensei, and teachers for the other grades, standing around in the corridor talking.

The unusual sight attracted my gaze, but I didn’t stop walking.

“Chabashira-sensei has changed recently.”

As I passed by, such talk could be heard from teachers’ conversations. “She’s become more chirpy, or rather, she seems to be laughing more often.” “Mashima-sensei, you and Chabashira-sensei were schoolmates, weren’t

you? Well, I’d like to ask you a few questions…”

Apparently the topic of conversation was Chabashira-sensei.

I thought they could stand around and talk in the staff room as much as they wanted, but if the topic is about a particular teacher, much less a teacher of the opposite sex, it might be a no-brainer to go somewhere quiet. It goes without saying that the change in Chabashira-sensei the teachers were talking about had been triggered by the unanimous voting special exam.

No doubt they had the impression that she had come out of her shell, not only as a homeroom teacher but also as a school teacher.

Mashima-sensei then noticed my presence and interrupted the conversation.

I believe this is because they decided that it would be unwise to allow pupils to hear needless remarks.

“Ayanokōji, what are you doing here in the special building?”

This is a natural question, as students rarely pass through this corridor after school for no reason.

“I have a short meeting. There are some things I want to talk about that I don’t want to be accidentally overheard.”

When I replied, the teachers, with the exception of Mashima-sensei, looked somewhat dismayed and walked away, perhaps deciding to disperse.

I could have walked away immediately, but I also had a bit of time before the rendezvous.

“Mashima-sensei, just in time. I would like to ask you a few questions.”

The presence of Mashima-sensei, who stayed until the end, must have meant something.

“Me? What do you want to ask me?”

“This is in respect of rules that are not explicitly stated in the festival”

Although he looked slightly skeptical, Mashima-sensei immediately faced me head-on as a teacher.

The school is built on a special set of rules that are very different from those of ordinary high schools.

You’re well aware that each student may have a different point of view. However, this will inevitably lead to some concerns.

“I don’t know what you want to ask, but shouldn’t you first check with your homeroom teacher, Chabashira-sensei?”

He didn’t hesitate to ask for an answer to ensure that the underlying

assumption is correct.

Indeed, it would normally make sense to ask your homeroom teacher to explain the rules.

“Sometimes, depending on the occasion, it is more expedient not to approach Chabashira-sensei.”

“Teachers are supposed to be fair to all pupils. But still, when it comes to other classes in the same grade, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be any problems at all. I hope you realise that.”

He reminded me that some things are better late than never once you’ve heard them.

“I judge that Mashima-sensei isn’t the kind of person who would fail a student.”

“If that’s what you think, then let’s not go any further into the wild.” His tone portrayed more of a do what you want if you’re going to trust,

rather than a trusting response.

“So what is it that you want to know regarding unstated rules?”

I asked Mashima-sensei, who gave his permission here, for advice on a particular case.

He didn’t seem surprised to hear this at all, but rightly so.

Schools also have unstated backroom rules to accommodate various wishes from students.

That’s why I don’t wonder about the existence of students who think like me. “Surely you’re right. It isn’t impossible to exercise it, if necessary.”

“I knew it.”

This is in no way outlandish.

Cases will emerge where the class is in such a situation, or where it is sought in the event of a major inconvenience.

“However, it begs the question if it is efficient. As you know, if it were between pupils, no problems would arise. No, it would be precisely to have their own discussions so that they don’t arise. You know what I mean, don’t you?”

“Yes. I thought it was something that didn’t need to be specified in the rules and could be done independently.”

“Yes. Of course the risks will be different for each, but for whatever reason we will look at that option.”

“I suppose it’s only natural to be prepared for contingencies.” When I replied, Mashima-sensei nodded his head thoughtfully.

“Whether you exercise it or not - or…? Well, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to understand.”

Although Mashima-sensei didn’t mention it, he may have had a vague idea

of the sales strategy based on what I said.

“It was good to get confirmation. Thank you.” “It’s no problem.”

This’s one less thing to check for the festival. It would be an unexpected benefit.

After exiting the conversation, I tried to leave, but was stopped by Mashima- sensei.

“Ayanokōji, you heard a little of what Chabashira-sensei said… What happened at the unanimous special exam?”

“You haven’t heard? Not from Chabashira-sensei?”

The results were naturally known to Mashima-sensei, but there seemed to be a lack of understanding about Chabashira-sensei’s change of heart.

“With or without the expulsions, she started to look forward and smile. In other words, there was an influential event in that special exam that changed her mind, right?”

As I recall, Mashima-sensei and Chabashira-sensei were originally from the same year when they attended Advanced Nurturing High School.

He was knowledgeable about various aspects of the past and was understandably surprised.

“That wasn’t the right thing to ask a pupil. Please forget I asked such a thing.”

“I understand. Excuse me.”

After briefly nodding to Mashima-sensei, I decided to go to the special building where we were to meet.

1

The festival was gradually approaching, but there was another issue that needed to be dealt with in parallel. That is to change Ichinose’s class.

The countdown to their collapse was progressing faster than I expected. Necessary measures had to be taken to avoid this.

This time, the leader, Ichinose, wasn’t contacted.

What was needed now, I thought, was to create a difference to the classmates who were unified under her.

However, this procedure should be done with caution.

Who else would naturally be competent enough to take on that role but that

man?

“I’m sorry to call you out here like this.”

After school, I went to the designated place as I had been informed, and Kanzaki was already there waiting for me.

His face was grim, and he certainly wasn’t in the mood for a light-hearted conversation.

“What do you want from me?”

I had known Kanzaki, from another class, shortly after I entered the school, but we weren’t particularly close. Recently, he had been distrustful of my presence, and if anything, I thought he hated me. Well, no, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he wouldn’t answer the call because he disliked me.

It was because he was wary of me that he wanted to talk to me.

This is more likely to be the case if the rendezvous is located where people do not want to be seen.

“It’s time to talk about the future.”

“About the future?’ What on earth… Well, that’s fine. I’ll let you talk first.” Kanzaki corrected his posture before we spoke about our business.

While a little surprised at the unexpected first move, I first listened to what Kanzaki had to say.

“I’ve been struggling for a while now. I haven’t spoken with anyone about it.

I was just struggling on my own.”

After putting it into words, he corrected himself and reiterated that that was not the case.

“No, to say I was struggling would be an exaggeration, but I was thinking every day about what I was going to do with myself.”

The words were filled with emotions not typical of the calm and collected Kanzaki.

I decided to be a listener until the other side asked for an answer.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of my school life…”

He may not have stumbled over friendships or dating issues and had his head in the sand.

There’s only one goal that students at this school should be most concerned about: promotion to Class A.

“I probably don’t need to tell you now, but our class can’t win.” What can you not win against?

Is it the cultural festival or a special end-of-year exam a little further down the line?

No, it doesn’t end with such a small story.

The reality is that it isn’t possible for Ichinose’s class to move up to Class A. That was a cry from Kanzaki, who came to that realization.

“We’re not far behind other classes in academic, athletic and leadership skills. In fact, I feel that we have some aspects in which we excel. But I have learned that this doesn’t always lead to victory.”

He started thinking for himself, understanding for himself and worrying for himself. As one can imagine, it all started with Kanzaki.

“I see your point. So what do you want from me, Kanzaki?” Anyone could simply listen and convey understanding.

“I need your advice on… Ichinose.” Why must it be me?

The names of the few people who might’ve been able to find common ground immediately came to mind.

“No, that’s not all. I want your opinion on what our class should do in the future too.”

“That’s a big deal, isn’t it? And you want that from me, who’s not even a classmate?”

“…Indeed.”

It was easy to read the psychology in Kanzaki’s pained expression.

This man wasn’t the type of person who would seek help from others with an easy heart.

It was precisely because he was driven to this point that Kanzaki had no choice but to do so.

No, even that help initially wasn’t a consideration.

If you were left on your own, you could have had such a future. “She never really listens to me. No, it’s the same for everyone.” “I recognised Ichinose as a student who would listen to anyone.”

“That’s only when you’re on the same side as Ichinose. I don’t need to explain it to you now.”

I dared to test him, but I guess that’s no longer necessary.

To put it plainly, if you ask for help to save someone, Ichinose will not take any risks, won’t betray you, and will stay with you to the end and lend a hand.

However, if you ask for help to trap someone in a senseless way, Ichinose will never lend a hand.

Righting wrongs and doing right can also describe her.

It would remain unchanged even if money or other rewards were offered in return in an attempt to convince her.

“I’m not saying she’s heading in the wrong direction. But idealism is idealism.”

“There are many occasions when that idealism is necessary.”

“Yes, I know. I’m prepared to go through the trouble when things are going

well.”

In fact, Kanzaki and his classmates have followed Ichinose’s lead up to this

point and shared her struggles.

“How about now? We kept following Ichinose’s policy and lost class points.

We’re at the bottom of a pit and haven’t a clue how to get out.”

“You’re sharing a lot. Are you sure I’m not going to let you disclose too much about the inner workings of your class?”

“It’s a fool’s errand.”

He mumbled to himself, as if to laugh himself blind, as if to spit it out.

“But a plan is a plan, even if it’s a fool’s errand. Right now, I have no choice but to rely on you.”

He took his somewhat resigned gaze away from me and stared at the empty corridor floor.

“In the unanimous special exam, I argued that we should get class points even if we had to expel our classmates. I voted yes and tried to get my foot in the door, but that didn’t work either.”

I didn’t know anything about the inner workings of their class, but even so, I could easily imagine how that would play out.

Kanzaki voted in favour of expelling the students in order to improve the class and make them understand the reality of the situation. He continued to vote in favour and tried to change the mindset of the class, but none of his classmates, including Ichinose, agreed with his opinion. However, they didn’t blame Kanzaki, who started the rebellion, but admonished him to work hard together with them.

Even if he had been removed, something similar would have happened. “…That’s funny, isn’t it?”

When I didn’t answer, Kanzaki muttered to break the silence.

“What’s the point of telling this kind of thing to anyone, friend or foe?” He understood on his own that there was no way I could give any advice.

It was truly a bloodless act, and now he looked like he wanted to humiliate himself.

“Ichinose is devoted to you. The only thing that could change Ichinose’s policy is unique existence, such as you. She could only see it clearly coming from you.”

“I see.”

The only way to salvage the class is to change the thoughts and values of Ichinose, the leader.

The class as a whole is perfectly capable, and that will certainly help them see the light.

“It seems that your desire to change the flow and break out of this stagnant

situation is true.”

Kanzaki nodded deeply, as there was no need to mend things now.

However, he had to think carefully about whether that would really be for the good of the class.

Something that Kanzaki, feeling frustrated, did not see.

The foresight that the class would be saved if Ichinose changes is only a

trick.

Even if Ichinose were to change with one word from me, could it really be

called growth?

Could an Ichinose, who sometimes makes ruthless decisions, really chase after the other classes?

In order to erase the disadvantages, I would be erasing the advantages that are unique to Ichinose.

Once you turn the wheel in that direction, there is no guarantee that you will be able to turn back.

“I agree that we need to turn the tide. But I disagree with you on the method.”

“We have no other choice; Ayanokōji is the only one who can move Ichinose.”

“I don’t know. I don’t know, but I think there is someone more qualified. “I can’t think of anyone.”

Kanzaki, who had no idea what I was talking about, raised an eyebrow. “Actually, there’s another student I called here today after I approached

you.”

“Who?”

“It’s one of your classmates who Kanzaki knows very well.” “Don’t tell me you called Ichinose?”

In a sense, she’s the last person I’d want to see here.

“Unfortunately, it’s not Ichinose. She’s a student who has the potential to

turn the tide.”

“I hate to interrupt, but there’s no one in our class who can argue with Ichinose except for me. I’ve seen it firsthand, and I understand it.”

“Isn’t that exactly the kind of narrow-mindedness you’re talking about, Kanzaki?”

“What?”

“Ichinose’s class seems monolithic, but it isn’t truly. There are many students who have no choice but to go along with their surroundings since they’re all seemingly joined together.”

That was my answer, but it didn’t seem to ring a bell with Kanzaki.

Is that understandable?

He would never show his classmates the appearance of being easily made to feel insecure.

“Why is it that Ichinose’s class dropped in the rankings and is now facing a major crisis?”

If we follow the error chain, where does it ultimately lead us? That is what we need to make Kanzaki and his class understand. “Huh? Why is Kanzaki-kun here too?”

Himeno looked somewhat amused, as if she assumed I would be the only one here.

She was a little earlier than promised, but on the contrary, it was good timing. “Himeno, did you have a connection with Ayanokōji?”

“Sort of, yeah.”

It’s safe to say she’s someone I’ve never been involved with.

Not only Kanzaki, but most of the students must have had the same impression.

“I find it hard to believe that Himeno is the right person for the job you’re talking about.”

I can almost imagine the image that Kanzaki must’ve had of Himeno in his school life so far. She would be no different than any other classmate, just one of the girls.

“I’m going to prove that from now on.”

“Wait a minute. It seems like you’re talking about me, what is it?”

It was understandable for Himeno to be perplexed when she was summoned. “That’s… No, wait.”

Just as he was about to explain, Kanzaki noticed a discrepancy. “What do you mean, Ayanokōuji?”

“What?”

“You called me out, but what on earth were you going to talk about? It seems that Himeno called you beforehand, but this is just like…”

Kanzaki almost opened his mouth, but then closed it and stared back and forth between Himeno and me.

“What, what is it?”

“I anticipated talking with you about your class today … Did you think you yourself should bring change to your class?”

“No, I don’t understand what it means to think or carry out such a thing.”

I called Kanzaki here and then he gave me the inside scoop on the class before I could start talking.

It became unnatural for Himeno to show up at this time, and then to pass on

the story.

“How far do you see…?”

By starting the conversation with Kanzaki, I learned about my calculations in a surprising way.

As a result, it seemed to have had enough of an effect to surprise Kanzaki. “Let’s cut to the chase. Let me tell you why I called you here today. There is

no need for Ichinose to change by my hand. What needs to change is the class consciousness. By changing the consciousness of the class, you can bring about change in Ichinose.”

“…It’s futile. I’ve seen it firsthand.”

“If it was just one person, yes. But if two or three people — all but Ichinose

— changed their minds, the results of the unanimous special exam would’ve been different.”

“It’s a pipe dream that everyone’s consciousness would change. And even if they had, would it have changed the results of the special exam?”

“I certainly don’t think that Ichinose, who cares about the class, would’ve agreed to expel the students, but whether that would have caused the special exam to fail and penalize you is another matter.”

“Wait a minute; Ichinose-san will protect her classmates even if it costs a heavy penalty.”

At this point, Himeno, who was closer to the sidelines, interjected.

“I wonder if Ichinose really could remain stubborn to the end with 39 people opposing her.”

“She’ll go through with it, Ichinose-san. I think so, right, Kanzaki-kun?” “I think so too, but… I’m also sure she’ll be met with inner turmoil.” Ichinose leads the fight for her classmates.

However, if she received backlash from all of those classmates, I wonder if she’d be able to keep doing so.

Whether she could continue to pitch in against them to the end, even after being made aware that she was doing something wrong, is another matter.

Even if she did go through with it, what awaits her afterwards is Ichinose’s own self-loathing.

The only thing remaining would be the fact that she was responsible for the substantial loss of their class points.

“Whether Ichinose, driven by remorse, would’ve been able to fulfill her duties as a leader is another matter.”

“That wouldn’t have resulted in a worse outcome than the present.”

“Oh, would it not? It would’ve ended worse than what we have now. What do you think actually would’ve happened then, Kanzaki?”

“What if all my classmates had the same idea as I did, to accept that there would be expulsion?”

I understood that this wasn’t realistic, but I simulated it.

“If 39 people continue to cast their votes in favour of the proposal, even though time is running out, eventually Ichinose would break herself and come around to the side of the proposal. And she would have volunteered herself to expel herself…”

The answer that came out of the jam.

The class succeeded in expelling Ichinose and in gaining class points. However, they also would’ve lost Ichinose’s unifying abilities.

“It’s impossible,” he said. “The disadvantages would be too great in the unlikely event of such a development.”

Ichinose leaving the Ichinose class.

It would be a development he had never considered, but for Kanzaki, it was a departure.

“Of course, I’m not trying to say that Ichinose should be expelled. But if there’s a change in the classmates, the class will change. I don’t want to change Ichinose, I want to change the mindset of the class. And the first ones to do that will be Kanzaki and Himeno.”

“Me?”

“You don’t agree with everything Ichinose is doing. Unlike your deluded classmates, you question her just as much as Kanzaki. Isn’t that right? What did you think when Kanzaki showed resistance in the unanimous special examination?”

“…”

Himeno was silent and turned over.

“Let me ask you. I want to know what you were thinking too.”

“I thought it was impossible. Classes don’t change easily. I’d rather not see others besides myself get hurt, and they’re all just saying pretty things.”

She began to talk about what she was feeling.

“I felt that Kanzaki-kun’s resistance was simply a waste of time. So I said so

…That I wanted that painful time to end quickly and that I wanted it to be over for good.”

Kanzaki closed his eyes and gave a small nod, as if recalling the moment. “I’m sure you heard Himeno say that and took it as the consensus for the rest

of your classmates, that it was not acceptable to go against Ichinose and abandon your friends.”

Without denying it, Kanzaki nodded deeply.

“But in fact, it was different. Himeno herself is questioning the state of the

class.”

“Then why didn’t you say it? You could’ve said it as many times as you wanted, even if it wasn’t during the unanimous special exam.”

The conversation which I, not knowing the reality of the class, can’t interfere with began.

It isn’t my place to discuss it.

I’m an outsider. There’s usually no benefit to me listening to it. But now the situation had reversed.

Because I’m present, I can get a statement out of Himeno.

In other words, if I miss my chance now, I’ll be back to the same old Ichinose class routine.

“Huh…”

Himeno’s eyes don’t show the color of diverse emotions, unlike Kanzaki’s. “Don’t make it sound so easy.”

In the same manner as an exhaled sigh, she also let her gaze escape, as if to

flee.

“You don’t have to answer, but you know what I mean. There’s only strong

peer pressure in our class. Even if I think it’s white, if many say it’s black, it’s

black. It doesn’t matter if I’m right or wrong. In such a class, there’s no point in a minority speaking up. It’s just painful to be surrounded by people who go out of their way to say what they think is black until they’re persuaded to say it’s white. That’s why I’ve never said anything and I never will.”

“But if you don’t speak, white will forever remain black.”

“That’s fine. I accept the black claims that others concluded on their own.

But still, the color I think of in my mind will remain white because it is.”

Himeno’s attitude was without any high spirits, as if to express that this is the reality of the class now.

“Even Kanzaki-kun would have cracked from your forced insistence, wouldn’t he? That’s because you believed something was white, but was forcibly dyed black and overwritten. That’s a hard thing to bear, isn’t it?”

Unnecessary hardship. To avoid this, Himeno chose to be swept away. No, this isn’t only true for Himeno.

It’s a story that seems to be shared among the rest of Ichinose’s class.

“I wish you would stop expecting me to be like your friend here. I’m sorry, but I can’t be as passionate as Kanzaki-kun.”

Himeno took a step back, as if to keep away from Kanzaki, who was approaching Himeno as if he were trying to speak up.

“Are you okay with the class as it is?”

At first, Kanzaki had assumed that Himeno was a classmate, just like any

other.

But then I noticed that he was desperately trying to draw out a conversation

with her without my involvement.

“Whether good or bad, it’s more important for me to protect myself. I can’t be best friends with anyone, but I can’t be nasty with anyone either. Sometimes they ask me out, sometimes they don’t. I don’t want to destroy that level of distance and atmosphere.”

Himeno’s insistence that it would be best if things could be kept quiet wasn’t a bad thing.

But that would never move the class forward.

“If Kanzaki-kun’s argument gains momentum and exceeds the majority of the class, I will join your side, too. That’s fine, right?”

Himeno asserted that she has no intention of standing in the minority under any circumstances.

“Damn it!”

The words conveyed her true intentions and unwillingness. If she and Kanzaki rebel, what awaits her is an attack from the majority in the name of pocket change.

It will be repeated endlessly until she abandons her own ideas.

“Can I go now? I won’t tell anyone about this. It will only get me into trouble if I do.”

What will Kanzaki do to Himeno as she tries to leave?

If she continues to walk away, she will not bring about a change in the class after all.

“…Wait.”

“I don’t want to stay.”

“I wasn’t going to tell anyone, but I’m about to make a big decision.” “What’s that?”

“I’m not going to sink with the current class and Ichinose forever.” Kanzaki put into words the thoughts he had never spoken of before and let

Himeno hear them.

“Does that mean you’re betraying the… class?”

“I won’t deny it. There is no point in staying in a class that can’t win.” If Kanzaki is absent, they won’t be able to mount a counterattack.

This is because Kanzaki was probably the only student who can lead Ichinose’s class in the current environment.

“I’m not trying to threaten you. But I will tell you that much.”

Even if Kanzaki were to leave the class by some means, it would not affect Himeno personally.

But she would at least know that the class would lose a chance to improve.

Himeno became upset. Obviously, her reaction is different from her previous scoffing attitude.

“So you’re okay with that, Himeno?” “That’s not fair. That’s a threat.” “That’s one way to look at it.”

A sign of betrayal that may be overheard by Ichinose and his classmates from Himeno.

Aside from Ichinose, his classmates may try to block Kanzaki’s movements so as not to give him the right to move to another class, a risky exposure.

This was Kanzaki’s gamble. Whether he was serious or bluffing is irrelevant. “───Do you really intend to change classes?”

“It may not be pleasant, but Ayanokōji is right. I want to believe that changing Ichinose with our own hands is the only way to save the class.”

“But I am…”

Biting her lower lip, Himeno closes her eyes tightly.

If she sides with the isolated Kanzaki, it is inevitable that Himeno will be looked at with white eyes.

Kanzaki knew that this wasn’t what she wanted. Still, someone had to do it.

“Even… I’d like to… win if I could.”

She had not given up the possibility of changing classes and winning in no small measure.

However, the key is still removed.

“Then we have to act now. Am I wrong?”

If Himeno didn’t move even here, there would really be no more moves for Kanzaki to make.

Even if he didn’t want to choose, he would have no choice but to change his policy to win by transferring to another class.

On the other hand, Himeno, who cannot say black is black without a majority, will be decidedly defeated.

“I understand what you’re saying… But still…”

“You’re not going to say that there is still a possibility of winning with Ichinose’s policy, are you?”

The words from Kanzaki, who had gone ahead of her, stung Himeno strongly.

His lips closed heavily as he didn’t continue with the words he was in the middle of saying.

“Don’t you want to graduate from Class A, Himeno?”

The words pierced Himeno’s heart like a spear. Painful and bleeding. “If I could graduate from Class A, I would too!”

A loud, taut voice echoed through the hallway.

Kanzaki was taken aback and rendered speechless by the volume of Himeno’s voice, which must have been several times louder than expected.

“But if we don’t do it now, there’s no way we will be able to, no matter how we think about it! It can’t be done!”

Himeno shouted, exploding with emotion. “Even Kanzaki-kun knows that!”

“I know that! I know that, and that’s why we have to do it now! I don’t want to lose to the other classes!”

Although his voice wasn’t as loud as Himeno’s, Himeno was also alarmed by Kanzaki’s loud voice. Seeing Himeno’s and frightened appearance made me even more convinced.

For the first time, Himeno showed her true self. I knew that there were probably more than a few students in Ichinose’s class who were only socializing with her on the surface.

A person and person dancing Description automatically generated with low confidence

After a year and a half, many of the students in Horikita’s class have had their weaknesses exposed.

Those who put themselves first as honor students and are unconcernedwith others being expelled.

Those who are unable to study or discuss issues and immediately resort to violence.

Those who parasitize off of powerful individuals in order to get to the top of the hierarchy.

Those who plot to expel their peers in order to erase their past.

Those weak-minded students have fallen to the ground, and then climbed up.

Some of them are now showing incredible growth.

“…So Kanzaki-kun is like that. I was surprised because you’re always so calm.”

“…I’m with you. I didn’t know you had those kinds of feelings.”

Ichinose’s class wouldn’t have had the obvious hardships of Horikita’s class.

The students would find grazes from a fall, and they would be cared for and protected from both sides so that they would not fall again. They would repeatedly take the place of the student who had hurt their hand.

Eventually, the students understood. They must be careful because they worry about them.

Why did they fall? Why did they hurt their hand?

The truth is, there is more pain, but they hold on to it in silence so as not to cause worry.

The result is Ichinose’s class, which is made up of only superficial relationships.

It’s time for them to truly become friends.

After a period of silence, I said to the two of them, “But what should you

do?

“But what do we do? How can we move forward? Even if Himeno changes

her mentality, it would be meaningless if it does not lead to the next step.”

“There is no need to rush for an answer. The two of you are going to search for it now.”

“Search… for what?”

“A student who, like you, keeps their true feelings inside.”

Even if you can’t find it alone, your perspective will expand many times over if you both talk about it together.

The addition of one’s point of view will lead to any number of new discoveries.

“If you found…another person, what would you do?”

“It’s simple. Then you’ll find three. And then make it four. Just keep on going.”

Before long, a small spark will turn into a big flame. And Ichinose was aware of it.

The class was about to change.

“It’s not too late. Be strong. And defeat the class led by Horikita in the final exam.”

If they do that, they will still have a sliver of hope to ascend to Class A when they move on to third year.

“…What are you going to do, Kanzaki-kun?”

“You have to be prepared to work harder than you can imagine. But…I’s not a story that can’t be done.”

Having seen the real-life example, Himeno, he could never again claim that he is alone in the class.

On the other hand, Himeno would have been able to confirm Kanzaki’s strong will up close.

“We have the same desire to graduate from Class A. Until now, I couldn’t tell anyone, but…”

Whatever the circumstances, Himeno’s thoughts were conveyed to Kanzaki. “Yes, yes. I guess our goals haven’t changed at all since the beginning.” From this point on, the two of them took a childlike step forward.

“You know… After listening to Ayanokōji-kun’s story, there’s a girl I’m a little curious about. Would you like to go see her after this?”

Kanzaki nodded vigorously at Himeno’s suggestion. I’m a third party, so this isn’t my area of expertise.

“Ayanokōji, I’ll pay you back for this debt in the final exam.”

Winning and earning the right to challenge for Class A is how you repay the favor you owe today.

“Horikita’s class is tough, Kanzaki.”

“Yeah, I guess so. Sorry… but I’m leaving, I don’t want to waste a single minute. No, not even a second.”

Himeno nodded, then took out her cell phone, turned away from Kanzaki and started walking away.

There was a side of me that was worried about whether or not those two could change, but it looks like they may be more successful than expected.

They may really beat Horikita’s class in the end-of-year exam.

Either way, it doesn’t hurt my plans, but it’s one more thing to look forward

to.

Tuesday, november 9.

Written on July 1, 2022