Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi no Kyoushitsu e V2-C1
The abrupt beginning of turbulent times
It was the worst timing possible.
While looking for places to take a selfie, I stumbled upon an incident. It was a tense state of affairs. The whole thing started a few seconds ago, when a trivial accusation provoked the other party and turned into a fist fight pretty quickly. No, saying fist “fight” is more accurate. Three male students were on the floor, covered in injuries. A red-haired boy was standing over them, looking down. It was a pretty one-sided fight.
I saw blood streaks on his right fist from the wounds of the other boys. It was my first time seeing a real fist fight. In elementary school, I saw boys pulling at each other’s clothes and pinching each other, but this was different. I could feel the weight of the tense situation.
Even though I was afraid, I unconsciously took pictures of the scene. The shutter went off silently. I thought to myself, “What am I doing?”, but in my panic, I couldn’t think very clearly.
I tried to leave the area as fast as I possibly could. But my brain wasn’t functioning normally, and my legs wouldn’t do what I told them to. Feeling paralyzed, I couldn’t move at all.
“Hehe, do you think… things will be over with this, Sudou?”
The boy who was barely able to move his upper body desperately tried to resist despite his fear.
“Are you trying to make me laugh? You three are in a sad state. Do you want to go at me again? I won’t hold back next time.”
Grabbing the collar of the student who had lost his fighting spirit midway, Sudou brought the other boy’s face a few centimeters away from his own. Looking as if he’d devour them at any moment, the defeated boys looked away.
“Are you shocked? Did you think you could win if you had more people?”
Laughing through his nose, Sudou-kun dropped him on the ground and picked up his bag.
As if he already lost interest in the three boys, Sudou-kun turned around and started walking away.
That instant, my heart rate shot up. Well, it’s natural. Sudou-kun started walking in the direction of my hiding spot, after all. My routes off the rooftop are limited. The theory is to go down the staircase that I used to get up here. Losing the right timing to escape, my body isn’t able to move as I want it to. When someone gets into an accident, I heard that their body tenses up and feels paralyzed, and that was the exact situation I was in right now.
“That was pointless. Making me tired after practice, give me a break.”
The distance shortened. He was only a few meters away.
“…The one that’ll regret this later is you, Sudou.”
One of the boys called out to Sudou in a strained voice.
My paralysis slowly faded away, as if a curse was being lifted.
“There’s nothing as shameful as the whining of a loser. No matter how many times you try, you won’t win against me.”
He clearly wasn’t bluffing; it was obvious that he had the confidence to back it up. After all, Sudou-kun was able to come out unscathed from a fight where he was at an overwhelming disadvantage.
Tomorrow was the first day of July; it was starting to look like summer.
Still not moving from my hiding spot, sweat started forming on the back of my neck.
Without panicking, I decided to leave from my spot quietly.
I just have to avoid being seen and getting involved in the situation.
If I get involved, only a dark future awaits my calm and tranquil school life.
Carefully but quickly, I moved away and left the place behind me.
“Is someone there…?”
Unconsciously wanting to escape, the air slightly changed. Feeling the change in atmosphere, Sudou peered into the location where I was hiding just moments ago. However, I was able to escape by a hair’s breadth.
If I was late by one or two seconds, he would’ve probably seen my retreating figure.
The morning was always lively in class D. It was because most of the students were far from being serious.
But, today was louder than usual. The reason goes without saying. It was because we would most likely get some points ever since our entrance ceremony.
The school I go to, “Koudo Ikusei High School”, uses a novel system called the S system. I’ll explain a bit about it.
Taking out the mobile phone given to us by the school, I opened the preinstalled school app, and logged in using my school ID and password. I then clicked on the item that said “Remaining Funds”.
A lot of things can be done from this page. You can check your own points and the class’ points. Also, you are able to give other students points from your own account.
There are two types of points listed; the one at the end is listed as “cl”. It stands for “class”, and it lists how many points the class has. It isn’t what everyone individually has, but rather, the points the class itself has. Next to our class, class D, it showed that we had “0 cl” since June. In other words, we don’t have any points. Another type is “pr”. It stands for “private”, and it shows our individual points.
On the first day of every month, cl times 100 number of points is deposited into our private account.
These private points are for us to buy necessities, meals, electrical devices, or any other good; they serve the role of money and are very important.
Because real money can’t be used on campus, if we don’t have any private points, we are forced to live day by day without any pocket money to use.
Since class D’s points are 0, we inevitably don’t get any private points, and therefore have to make do without any money.
However, at the start of the year, our class points were at a thousand.
If we kept our points, we would be getting 100,000 yen every month. However, our class points fluctuate from day to day. Things like getting bad grades or whispering during class contribute greatly to the deduction of points. As a result, class D has no points by the time the first of May came around. It’s sad, but that has continued until today, July 1st.
In addition to our monthly allowance, the class points also determine our class’ merit. In descending order of points, the classes are ordered from class A to class D.
So, if class D got more points than class C, class D would probably become class C for the next month. And eventually, if we make it to class A, our dreams for high education and job opportunities would be fulfilled.
When I first heard of this system, I thought it was important to keep our class points as high as possible. Saving private points wouldn’t help at all.
But my thoughts changed once we bought a point on the midterm.
On the previous test, I was able to buy a point for Sudou, who had regrettably missed the cutoff by a point. When I saw the school readily agree to sell the point, I understood that Chiyabashira-sensei wasn’t joking when she said those words.
“At this school, there’s nothing you can’t buy with points.”
That is, holding private points means that you can make a situation more advantageous.
If that’s the case, it’s probably possible to get more than just test points.”
“Good morning. Everyone looks more restless than usual today.”
As the bell rang for homeroom, Chiyabashira-sensei walked in the classroom.
“Sae-chan-sensei! Do we have 0 points this month too!? When I checked this morning, I didn’t even have a single point!”
“Oh, so is that why you guys were restless?”
“This month, we worked our asses off! We got past the midterms… so isn’t it cruel to still be at 0!? We weren’t late to class, weren’t absent, and didn’t whisper!”
“Don’t go off deciding things on your own. Let me talk first. Ike, you clearly worked harder than I’ve ever seen you try. We recognize that. Naturally, the school understands how you feel too.”
After being admonished, Ike closed his mouth and sat back down.
“Well then, these are this month’s point totals.”
The point results were listed starting from class A on the paper she put up on the board.
Other than class D, all the classes were pretty close in points, and everyone had been awarded about 100 points.
Class A was at 1004 points, slightly above the amount of points everyone started with.
“…Not a very pleasing development. Have they already figured out how to reliably increase points?”
My seat neighbor, Horikita Suzune, seemed to be concerned only about the other class’ points, but Ike, along with most of the class, didn’t care about the other classes. To them, is it only important that we have points?
Written next to class D was—87 points.
“Huh? Is that, 87… did we actually increase our points!? Woohoo!”
After seeing the points, Ike jumped up and down in excitement.
“Don’t be so excited already. All the other classes increased their points about the same amount you guys did. The gap didn’t get any closer. This looks like a reward for just passing the midterm. Everyone was paid about 100 points.”
“I see. I thought it was strange that we were awarded points so quickly.”
Horikita, who was aiming for class A, looked like she wasn’t happy with the points we got, and wasn’t smiling.
“Are you disappointed, Horikita? Because the gap has slightly widened.”
“It’s nothing like that. I got something out of it this time, after all.”
“What do you mean, you got something out of it?”
Ike stood up and asked Horikita. Attracting the attention of the other classmates, Horikita sunk back into silence. Hirata Yousuke, after watching the situation unfold, stood up and answered for her.
“The deductions we got during April and May… in other words, along with whispering and being late to class, there were no other deductions, is what I believe Horikita-san was saying.”
The quick-witted Hirata answered without any problems. That’s impressive. Right on the mark, too.
“Ah, is that so. If there were a lot of deductions, our 100 points would’ve been 0.”
After having understood the easy explanation, Ike raised his arms in celebration.
“Huh? Then why didn’t we get any points?”
Returning back to the original question, Ike looked at Chiyabashira-sensei.
If we didn’t get 8700 points, it would be strange.
“This time, there’s a bit of trouble. The points for the first-years were delayed. Sorry, but you’ll have to wait for a bit longer.”
“Eh~, seriously? Because the school is having trouble, shouldn’t we get some kind of freebie?”
All the students grumbled in discontent. As soon as they understood that they got points, their attitudes completely changed. Having 87 points and no points is a world of difference.
“Don’t blame it on that. The school decided it, not me. Once the trouble is resolved, you’ll get your points. If there are any points left, that is.”
Chiyabashira-sensei’s words hung in the air.
Once it was lunchtime, everyone went off on their own to get food.
Lately, however, I’ve been thinking that going out with friends during this time is the hardest thing about school life. Take Kushida Kikyou, for example. She’s friends with a lot of girls and boys, and is immensely popular, so while she obviously gets invited in person, she also gets invited over email and phone all the time. Even though she has to refuse people at times, it looks like she has a life, going out to eat with a lot of friends.
On the other hand, people who are unpopular with girls like Ike and Yamauchi seem to always eat with a close group of boys. Sudou and Hondou are part of that group.
What I want to say is that I don’t have anywhere that I belong.
I’m friends with Kushida, and also friends with Ike and Yamauchi. Even though I would eat with them, it wasn’t very frequent. Generally, it was a relationship where the other party would approach me and ask, “Wanna eat lunch” or “Are you free after school?”.
I didn’t mind it at the start of the school year. Since it was before I made friends, it was only natural that I would be alone since there was no one else that I kenw.
But now, it was a strange phenomenon of “being alone even though I have friends”.
This phenomenon… is a really uncomfortable experience. If there was a day where we decided on groups for a school trip and I was absent, it would be really likely that I wouldn’t be invited by anyone. Do they think that I’m a low ranking friend, or is it that only I think of them as friends? I might be having a wild misunderstanding about our relationship.
Feeling restless, I looked towards Ike’s group. I’m over here, it’s fine to invite me. It was a gaze of selfishness and faint anticipation.
And then feeling bad about myself, I reminded myself that it was bad to not know when to give up and averted my gaze.
These miserable events repeat every day.
“You’re still not used to it, I see. As usual, you’re pitiful, Ayanokouji-kun.”
My neighbor looked at me with a cold gaze.
“…You look like you’re completely used to being alone.”
“I’m fine, thank you.”
It was meant to be sarcastic, but she responded frankly.
Most of my classmates had already formed groups, but the number of people like her who were eating alone weren’t few by any means, so I felt relieved.
Koenji also spent most of the time by himself. At first, he was surprisingly spending a lot of time in the cafeteria with girls from other class and other grades, but since his points were running low, he started spending more time in the classroom.
The only heir of the Koenji Conglomerate, one of the biggest companies in Japan, didn’t prefer being alone, but rather, was a person that liked himself and held little concern for others.
I felt respect for him because he didn’t feel any anguish from loneliness.
As usual, he checked his face with a hand mirror, and it looked like he found no faults with his own appearance.
Other than him, though, there was a quiet girl wearing glasses. At one point, Ike was interested in her because he was going off about breasts, but since she was plain and didn’t particularly stand out, no one had any interest in her afterwards. She was always alone, and she never talked.
Like every other day, she was eating her bento alone with her back hunched. She was one of the few that made her own bentos.
And then, my neighbor took out a bento from her bag and started opening it.
Lately, Horikita hasn’t been going to the cafeteria, and instead, brought homemade bentos.
“Don’t you need a lot of time and effort to make your own bento?”
Although it’s not a luxurious thing to do, but there are relief measures in the cafeteria for students who have used up all their points. Since it takes time and costs some points to make your own bento, the free meal seems like the better option.
“I don’t know. The supermarket also has free ingredients, you know.”
“You made this with free ingredients?”
Without denying it, Horikita opened her bento. It didn’t have a lot of meat or fried foods, but it looked pretty good.
“Are you good at cooking as well? It doesn’t really fit with your character.”
“Anyone can cook after reading books or looking things up on the internet. All the dorms have the necessary tools as well.”
Without bragging about her skills, she took out her chopsticks. I guess she replied like that because she thought it was obvious.
“But why’d you decide to make your own bento?”
“The cafeteria’s loud. It’s a lot calmer to eat in here, right?”
A lot of students went to go buy bread or other meals at the cafeteria at the beginning of the year, but now that many students no longer had points, an overwhelming amount of students went to go eat the free meal. If you paid attention, only a few people would be left over in the classroom.
Is this what Horikita prefers? At any rate, Ike and the others were no longer in the room.
“Did I already miss the big wave…?”
“You always gaze at the ocean, but you don’t even have a surfboard nor the resolution to ride the wave. Even then, saying that you couldn’t get ride the wave… you talk like some big shot.”
I wish I could argue, but she wasn’t wrong.
Unlike lunchtime, after school feels more comfortable since there’s no need to be worried about personal relationships.
Also, I don’t really stand out if I try to go back to the dorms right after school since there are quite a few people who do the same.
There’s some merit in being able to disappear into the crowd like a ninja. If I stick to the back of a group of friends, I can pretend to be a part of their group.
I was satisfied with myself for skillfully pretending that I had friends, but in the first place, there isn’t anyone in this school that cares about who I hang out with.
“Sudou. I have something to tell you. Come to the staff room.”
Sudou, who was trying to quickly leave the classroom, was stopped by Chiyabashira-sensei.
“Hah? What business do you have with me? I have basketball practice now.”
Feeling listless, he opened his bag, grabbed his uniform and showed it to Sensei.
“I already talked to your advisors. You don’t have to come, but you’ll face the consequences later.”
Sudou was on guard after Chiyabashira-sensei threatened him.
“What the hell… Is this going to end quickly?”
“That depends on you. Just by staying here, we’re wasting more time.”
With those words, it looked like he had no choice but to follow.
After clicking his tongue, Sudou walked behind Chiyabashira-sensei and walked out of the classroom.
“I thought he changed, but I guess that Sudou is the same as ever. Wouldn’t it have been better if he dropped out?”
I don’t know who it was, but I could hear someone in the class mumbling to themselves.
After the last test, I thought that the class had become more united as a group. Somehow, that seems to have been my imagination; guess it was a lie.
“Do you think so too? That it would’ve been better if Sudou-kun was expelled.”
While talking to me, Horikita was putting her textbook in her bag in order to return to the dorms. There probably aren’t many students that take their textbooks back and forth to review and prepare for the lessons. It’s a sad thought.
“Eh, not really. How about you, Horikita? As the only person who helped out Sudou.”
“Hmm… Well, we still don’t know how many positive points we’ll get.”
My neighbor, Horikita, replied with an uninterested voice.
When Sudou was on the brink of being expelled, she purposely lowered her own grades, and spent her points to buy a point on the test for him. I didn’t expect that kind of behavior from her.
At the same time, we both got up from our seats out walked out of the classroom together. I don’t know when, but we started going back to the dorms together. Since we don’t eat together, nor hang out, it’s strange that it became this way. The only thing we had in common was that we were walking back on the same exact path. That’s probably why we ended up walking together.
“I feel a bit worried. About what Sensei said this morning.”
“About how our points were being delayed?”
“Yea. It looks like there was trouble, but is that trouble on the school’s part or from our part? If it’s the latter…”
“You’re overthinking it. Lately, we haven’t been making trouble. She said so herself. I doubt class D would’ve been the only class to not get any points. Simply speaking, it’s the school’s issue.”
If there was strong concern for worry, all first-years would’ve been delayed, so the probability that class D is involved is rather low. …Probably.
“I wish that was the case. After all, trouble directly affects our points.”
Everyday, Horikita always thinks about how we can increase our points. She doesn’t think about her private points, but rather, the class points so that she can reach class A. Of course, it’s not impossible, but even then, it’s pretty far from our grasp.
However, there’s still hope. If Horikita is able to find a reliable way of increasing our points, it’ll become a great advantage for class D. Furthermore, our classmates will trust Horikita more and she’ll be able to make more friends. A win-win situation.
“Oh, right, you should join the chat. You’re the only one who hasn’t participated.”
Taking out my phone, I opened the group chat application.
After the test, we invited Horikita to the group chat. Kushida thought that Horikita, who hated interacting with other people, would be able to participate if it was a group chat. However, her efforts were in vain, and Horikita hadn’t participated at all.
“I have absolutely no interest. I also keep my notifications off.”
“Is that so?”
Well, it seems like she had no intention to participate in the first place. She probably didn’t delete the app because it’ll send notify the rest of the group.
Whether or not she participates is up to her, so I didn’t pursue the subject. I don’t really have the right to do so either.
“Ayanokouji-kun, you’re also more talkative lately.”
“Really? I thought I was always that way though.”
“It’s only a slight difference, but you’ve definitely changed.”
Although I didn’t mean to change, I must’ve changed without having noticed myself. I must’ve gotten used to it.
Especially, I feel like I get along with Horikita—wait, no, we definitely don’t get along, but strangely, I don’t feel awkward around her. If it were some other girl, I wouldn’t be able to converse normally, and would probably be flustered.
That’s why I only talk to people close to me.
More than anything, I’m grateful that being silent doesn’t make the mood worse.
“Is there anything that made you change?”
“I wonder… If I had to come up with a reason, it would be that I simply got used to school life and made a few friends. Also, Kushida was probably a big factor as well.”
If it’s only a group of boys, then no one really says much and there’s a lot of silence in the conversation.
If Kushida’s there, though, someone’s always talking at a given time, and the atmosphere feels more lively.
“You seem to be getting along with Kushida-san. Aren’t you concerned, especially knowing about her other side?”
“I was surprised when she said that she hated you. But it’s natural that you’ll like and hate some people. It’s no use to get concerned over such small things. Even when she’s said it explicitly, why do you pretend to get along with her?”
“I see. Well, I also hate Ayanokouji-kun, but we still talk normally. I don’t really mind it.”
What the hell, why say it to my face…
“That’s what I’m saying. If someone else says that they hate another person, it’s fine, but if someone says that they hate you, don’t you feel bad?”
“…Were you testing me?”
While saying “I don’t know, was I?”, she started coming her hair. Completely forced.
“I don’t intend to bother her, but Kushida-san and I are like oil and water. I think there’s no need to fight with her.”
In other words, it probably means that she won’t join a group chat with Kushida in it.
“In the first place, why does she hate you?”
Ever since the start of school, there wasn’t much contact between the two. Since when did she start hating Horikita?
Kushida did say that it was her goal to get along with everyone.
“I don’t know. She probably doesn’t know much about me either.”
Even if that’s the case, it looks like there’s something in between Horikita and Kushida.
“Are you that curious? Go ask her yourself.”
Kushida Kikyou is normally an angelic and perfect girl, but she inadvertently showed me a different side of her.
It’s impossible to tell from her kind smile and her tone of voice, but I still remember her remarks from back then. I don’t think Horikita knows either.
“No need for that. I’m fine with Kushida as she is now.”
“That’s just disgusting, you know?”
Even though those words came from my mouth, it sounded disgusting to me too.
After I finished my dinner, I returned to the dorms. Taking out my phone, I checked my balance. I had 8320 pr remaining. It hasn’t changed since the morning.
Considering that we got 100,000 points at the beginning at the year, it’s a really small amount.
I spent a lot of points to buy Sudou’s point.
“It would be huge if we got our 87 points.”
In yen, that’s 8700 yen. Although it’s not enough, it’s still relatively big money.
“Save me, Ayanokouji!”
While I was playing with my phone on the bed, the door suddenly opened. It was a flushed Sudou.
“…Why are you in such a rush? Or should I say, how’d you even get in?”
I remember locking the door when I returned to my room. I don’t think I forgot to do it because I do it out of habit now. Did he kick his way through the door or something?
Just to make sure, I checked the door, but it wasn’t broken.
“This is the room where our room meets, so we held a discussion and decided to make a duplicate key. Didn’t you know? It’s not just me, everyone else has a key too.”
He was spinning the key in his hand.
“I learned this important fact just now…”
Somehow, it looks like my room is no longer safe against invaders.
“Anyway, that stuff doesn’t matter. I’m in a really dangerous spot right now! Help me out.”
“It definitely matters. Give me the key.”
“Hah? Why should I? I bought this with my own points. It’s mine.”
What kind of faulty reasoning is that? If you’ve committed a crime, it’s still a crime, no matter what you say.
Even if we’re friends, it doesn’t mean that I’ll allow anything.
“If you’re worried about something, how about asking Ike or Yamauchi?”
“Those two are no good. They’re stupid.”
As he was talking, Sudou sat down on the floor.
“Buy some carpet. My butt hurts.”
I don’t have enough to spend money on the interior.
In the first place, even though my room was designated the meeting place, we’ve never met in here ever since the party. Even if I bought carpet, only I would be sitting on it. The very thought of it feels surreal.
When I got up to get some tea, the doorbell rang.
The person who poked her head through the entrance was Kushida, the Madonna of class D. She’s cute whenever I see her. She saw Sudou, who was still sitting on the floor.
“Oh, Sudou-kun’s here.”
“I’m just asking, but do you also have a duplicate key?”
“Uh, yea? Isn’t it so that we could meet up… by any chance, did you not know, Ayanokouji-kun?”
She took out a key from her bag and showed it to me. It looks exactly the same as my key. Apparently, Kushida thought it was done with my permission.
“Um, this… should I return it?”
She apologetically gave me the key.
“It’s fine. There’s no point if you’re the only one that returns it. It doesn’t seem like Sudou wants to return the key.”
Is it really alright for Kushida to have the key? No, well, in my delusions, you could say that it feels like I have a girlfriend if she keeps the key. Men are calculating creatures.
“Since Kushida has also come, can we move to the real topic?”
“It can’t be helped… well then, what’s the issue?”
After they came to my room, it’s not like I can bluntly refuse them.
With a meek look on his face, he slowly started talking.
“You know how I was called out by the teacher today? Then, uh… actually… I might be suspended from school. And for a while, too.”
That’s unexpected. Compared to the beginning of the year, Sudou has been pretty well-behaved. He hasn’t been talking or dozing off during class, and is doing well in his club activities.
“By any chance, did you insult or slander Sensei?”
When Chiyabashira-sensei stopped Sudou from going to his club today, he looked unhappy.
He probably got mad and said some reckless remarks once again.
“I won’t say.”
“Then did you grab her by her collar and threaten to kill her or something?”
“I’m not saying anything.”
Without any hesitation, Sudou refused to speak. Is that really not it?”
“It’s probably worse than what you’re thinking…”
I thought that my first two guesses were pretty bad, but to say that it’s even worse…
“Oh, this is how things happened, Ayanokouji-kun. I beat up and assaulted Sensei and then spit on her!”
“That’s cruel. …or should I say, your wild ideas are way too cruel…!”
“Ahaha, it’s a joke. Of course, I wouldn’t go that far. Sudou-kun as well.”
Even though I thought Sudou would immediately deny it, he jolted in surprise from Kushida’s joke.
I guess it shows how rattled he is.
“Actually, I beat up some kids from class C yesterday. And earlier, Sensei said that I would be suspended… This is probably punishment for that.”
Surprised from Sudou’s words, Kushida unintentionally looked towards me. I couldn’t swallow the situation at first. That Sudou had been involved in trouble again. Were my worries spot on?
“Beat them up… that, uh, why’d you do it?”
“For your information, I wasn’t at fault, ok? Those class C brats were in the wrong. I just responded when they tried to provoke me. And then they went and told on me. They were being untruthful, too.”
Somehow, it seems like Sudou also hasn’t been able to gather his thoughts. I understood what he was trying to say, but I still didn’t know why the fight started nor the details of the fight.
“Wait a second, Sudou-kun. Can you say it once more, but slower?”
Kushida encouraged him to calm down and tried to get him to tell us how the fight started.
“Sorry, I must’ve left out too many parts…”
Taking a few deep breaths, Sudou started from the beginning once again.
“The club advisor and I were talking about being able to be a regular for the summer tournaments.”
I heard that he was good, but I didn’t expect talks about becoming a regular so soon.
“Isn’t that super good, Sudou-kun!? Congratulations!”
“Nothing’s decided yet. It’s just that the possibility exists.”
“Even that’s great. We just entered high school, after all.”
“Well, yea. Actually, I was the only first year to be nominated for becoming a regular. And even then, it’s not like I’m definitely becoming a regular. On the way home, those guys… Komiya and Kondo, who are also in the basketball club, called me out to a special building. They said they had something to talk about or something. I could’ve ignored them, but I’ve argued with them quite a few times during club activities, so I thought I would settle this. Of course, I went to meet them, you know? And then this Ishizaki guy was there, waiting for me. Komiya and Kondo were this guy’s friends, and said how they couldn’t stand that a class D student like me was being considered as a regular. He then told me to either quit or face a painful experience. I refused and beat them up, but then all of this happened.”
It was a hurried explanation, but I got the general gist of things. It looks like Sudou’s satisfied with his explanation.
“And then you were portrayed as the bad guy, huh.”
With an exasperated look, he nodded. Those class C students started the whole thing, and when Sudou refused to quit, they resorted to the use of force… that is, violence. However, Sudou, who was experienced in fighting, turned the tables and beat them up. Naturally, they were injured. But, there was no evidence, so they lied to the school that Sudou beat them up for no reason.
“Sudou-kun’s not the problem if the situation was started by class C.”
“Right? I seriously don’t get it. I don’t believe that teacher either.”
“We should tell Chiyabashira-sensei tomorrow about what happened. How Sudou-kun isn’t at fault.”
Things aren’t that simple. Sudou must’ve told the school what he just told us now. But since there’s no evidence to back up his claim, the school decided to punish him.”
“When you told tbr /br /he school, what did they say?”
“They said they would give me time until next Tuesday to prove it. If I’m not able to, I’m suspended until the summer. On top of that, the whole class will be deducted points as well.”
It seems like the school has decided to wait. But, it seems like Sudou is more worried about not being able to become a regular, rather than getting our points deducted or being suspended. I guess he couldn’t stand the thought of his chances being ruined.
“What should I do?”
“Sudou-kun, you tried to tell the teachers truthfully, right? It’s strange, since they didn’t believe your story, even if you did nothing wrong. Right?”
Kushida was looking for a positive response from me, but sadly, I couldn’t give an affirmative reply.
“Well, I wonder… I don’t think this is that simple.”
“What do you mean by ‘I wonder’? Are you doubting me?”
“At the very least, the school doesn’t trust you, right? For example, it wouldn’t be strange if Kushida was agreeing with you just so that our points wouldn’t decrease.”
“That… that may be true.”
This time, the trouble won’t be solved by proving who started the fight.
The three of them might be suspended for a week, for example.
There are three people that say that they were beaten. Without sound proof, Sudou will most definitely be punished. And that means only one thing.
“Even if the other party is the one at fault, Sudou might still take some of the blame.”
“Hah? Why? It was legitimate self-defence. Right!?”
Sudou, unable to understand, hit the table with his fist. Kushida jumped in surprise.
“My bad, I got slightly upset.”
Seeing Kushida’s frightened face, Sudou apologized.
“Hey… Why will Sudou-kun still take some of the blame?”
“Sudou hit them, but they didn’t hit Sudou. That’s a big reason why, I think. It’s a more difficult problem than just saying ‘self-defence’. If they came at you with a knife and a metal bat, things would be different. Normally, if they were going to pick a fight, they would probably prepare for it. ‘Self-defence’ is when you have to defend yourself against sudden, dangerous attacks. In other words, I don’t think this is exactly ‘self-defence’.”
This is the best I can think of, given the circumstances.
“I-I don’t understand. There were three people, three. I think it’s sufficiently dangerous.”
I think the number of people has to be taken into account, but this case is a delicate one. If the school thinks that the number of people than I think, then Sudou might be declared innocent.
But it’s dangerous to think optimistically.
“I think the school gave a few days because they also found it difficult to come to a decision.”
The proof we have right now… the only possible key we have is the injuries of the other three.
“Then… they’re planning on heavily punishing Sudou-kun, huh.”
“Whoever brought it up first has the upper hand. The victim’s testimony works as evidence.”
“I still don’t get it. I’m the victim! This isn’t a joke. If I get punished, I won’t be able to become a regular for this tournament!”
Those class C boys purposely lost to Sudou to crush his chances. They’re trying to stop him from becoming a regular, while bringing down the rest of class D as well. That kind of plan seems likely.
“Let’s ask the three class C students to speak honestly. If they feel like what they did is wrong, they’ll definitely have feelings of guilt, right?”
“Those guys aren’t idiots. They won’t speak honestly. Dammit… I won’t ever forgive them, those bastards…!”
Picking up the ballpoint pen that was on the table, he snapped it into two. It’s not like I don’t understand where he’s coming from, but that’s my ballpoint pen…
“If trying to explain it didn’t work, then we’ll have to find some actual proof.”
“Yea… It would be great if there was evidence that proved that Sudou-kun wasn’t at fault…”
If things were that simple, this wouldn’t be so difficult. Even then, Sudou couldn’t deny it, and started thinking about the situation.
“There might be something. It might just be my misunderstanding, but… When I was fighting with those guys, I felt a strange presence around the area, as if someone was watching.”
Even though he wasn’t too confident about it, Sudou threw the idea out there.
“So you’re saying that there might be an eyewitness?”
“Well, that’s what I thought. There’s no definite proof.”
An eyewitness, huh. If they saw the whole thing, it would be good. But in some cases, it might drive Sudou further into the corner. For example, if they only saw the situation after Sudou started fighting, it might be the final blow for Sudou.
“…What should I do…”
Sudou held his head in his hands. Kushida talked, breaking the heavy silence.
“There are two ways to prove your innocence. The first is to go get the class C boys to admit their lies. Since Sudou-kun wasn’t in the wrong, it is probably best to get them to acknowledge it.”
That’s definitely idealistic.
“Like I said earlier, that’s impossible. They won’t admit that they lied.”
Like he said, they probably won’t admit it. If they confessed to the school that they liked about someone else to get them into trouble, they would definitely get suspended.
“And then the other method is find that eyewitness. If someone saw you guys fight, we might be able to look for more evidence for the truth.”
Well, this is about the only realistic plan we have.
“How do you plan to look for that eyewitness?”
“Asking people one by one? Or asking each class works too.”
“It would be great if someone came forward, but…”
I thought that our discussion had been going for pretty long, so I went to the cupboard. I took out the instant coffee and tea packs that I bought at the convenience store right after school started. Well, Sudou’s not very good with coffee, though. After preparing a pot of hot water, I put everything on the table.
“This might be a shameless request, but… can you keep this a secret?”
Taking the cup from the table and blowing on it, Sudou asked us apologetically.
“Eh… a secret…?”
“If rumor of this spreads, it’ll make its way to the basketball club. I don’t want that to happen. You understand, right?”
“Sudou, even then—”
“Please understand, Ayanokouji. If I can’t play basketball, I have nothing left.”
He grabbed both of my shoulders and pleaded. Things won’t blow over even if the rumors don’t spread. If word spreads that he used violence, the basketball club might not let him stay anymore.
“Won’t the class C students spread the rumors themselves? It would be convenient for them.”
That was what I was thinking about. It wouldn’t be strange for them to spread the rumors themselves. As if he was saying “Seriously!?”, Sudou held his head in his hands once again.
“What if rumor got out already…?”
“No, for today, the news of the incident probably hasn’t spread.”
“Why do you think that?”
“If those class C kids spread the rumor already, it would’ve probably reached us long ago.”
The school called in Sudou after school.
Also, there wasn’t any word about it during the day.
At least, it hasn’t spread widely yet.
“So we’re safe for now?”
But how long will that last? Even if you put a gag order on it, it’ll become a rumor sooner or later. Before long, it’ll be known to the public. Right now, the only thing that’s certain is—
“Sudou-kun, you should probably try to stay away from this case.”
Kushida, also understanding this, advised Sudou.
“Yea, it’ll be bad if the related party tries to do anything.”
I replied, agreeing with Kushida’s words.
“But, pushing the whole thing onto you guys is—”
“I don’t feel like this is being pushed onto us. We just want to help Sudou-kun. I don’t know how far we can get, but we’ll do our best. Ok?”
“…Alright. I know this is a bother, but I will leave it to you guys.”
It seems like he understood that things would get more complicated if he tried to get involved himself.
“Well then, we’ll return to our rooms. Sorry for intruding so suddenly.”
“Don’t worry about it, other than the fact that you made duplicate keys.”
Saying “I won’t return it”, Sudou put his key in his pocket. I should lock the door with a chain from now on…
“Kushida, see you tomorrow.”
She saw Sudou off, who looked kind of sad. It’s only a few rooms over, though.
“Well then. Kushida, are you not going back?”
“I just wanted to ask a few more things about what happened today. You don’t seem like you’re very enthusiastic to help Sudou-kun.”
Kushida looked at me with wavering eyes. I got the sudden urge to hold her hand. I stretched my back and shook off my bad thoughts.
“It’s not like that, but there’s not much I can do. I can only respond to Sudou’s story. If it was Horikita or hirata, they might be able to give some better advice.”
“That’s probably true, but Sudou-kun came to rely on you. Even more than Horikita-san, Hirata-kun, or even Ike-kun, he entrusted his story to you.”
“I don’t know if I should be happy or not.”
I was confused Kushida’s eyes turned cold for a split second.
Speaking of which, Kushida once told me that she hated me directly to my face. She always has a gentle smile, so I forget from time to time, but I might get burned once again if it happens one too many times.
“It might better if Ayanokouji-kun makes a bigger effort to blend in with the class.”
“Well, I’m more or less trying. It’s just that not much has come out of it. This time, I don’t have the courage to say that I will help Sudou.”
I guess she doesn’t think that I worry about not being able to eat lunch with anyone.
I may think that way, but Kushida probably knows that I have trouble.
“Kushida, you’re going to help Sudou, right?”
“Of course. We’re friends. Ayanokouji-kun, you’ll—what are you doing?”
“As I said earlier, talking to either Horikita or Hirata is better, right? Well, Sudou hates Hirata, so Horikita is the obvious choice.”
But I don’t think that Horikita would have a good idea to solve this problem.
“Will Horikita-san even help?”
“I don’t know. We’ll have to ask. But she won’t idly watch as class D collapses… probably.”
I was feeling a bit hesitant. After all, it’s Horikita.
“I know you’re trying to avoid the question, but Ayanokouji-kun, you’ll help too, right?”
She steered the conversation back even though I was trying to change the subject.
“…Is it fine if I’m no help? I’ll probably be useless, you know?”
“It won’t be like that. You’ll be useful somehow.”
She didn’t say how I would be useful, though.
“What should we starting tomorrow? Sudou-kun said that it would be useless, but I still think that it’s a good idea to go talk to the three people he fought. Actually, I’m friends with Komiya-kun and his group. So, we might be able to persuade them. Hmm, is it dangerous…?”
It seemed like Kushida couldn’t throw away the option of talking to them.
“The risk is high. Not considering who started the fight, it’s the three of them that first brought it up to the school. They have the upper hand in this situation. Also, it wouldn’t work. Since it was them, not Sudou, that picked a fight.”
There’s no easy way to prove to the school that they lied. But if the school knows that they fabricated a lie and told them, class C would get a massive penalty.”
“Then, I guess looking for the witness is the way to go.”
Even that’s pretty difficult. Without any details, it’ll be impossible to find an eyewitness. Asking “Did you see something?” is an extraordinary waste of time and effort.
I won’t reach a conclusion now, no matter how much I think about this right now.
If any change occurs in the situation, the flow of events might change a bit. I won’t reach a conclusion now, no matter how much I think about this right now.
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