Classroom of the Elite Volume 15 Chapter 5 Part 5
“Excuse me, Tsubaki-san?”
“I don’t know exactly what cards you might have up your sleeve, but I think you could’ve been better prepared for the current situation if you had given more elaborate instructions to the five groups you sent out. It wouldn’t have been that difficult for them to mobilize before being surrounded by the second-years, no?”
Tsubaki was in charge of five first-year groups in total, and even if someone had set their eyes on all five of them from the beginning, it would still be quite difficult to catch and surround them given the sheer size of the island. Therefore, Yagami was saying that it had been a strategic mistake for all of them to get caught so easily.
“You could’ve prepared any number of excuses to explain why your groups slipped past the second-years, such as being afraid to get entangled in conflicts with the upperclassmen. At the very least I wish you would’ve discussed it with me earlier…”
“So you’re sayin’ things ended up this way ‘cause I was negligent?”
“To put it bluntly, yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”
After a momentary glance at Yagami’s dissatisfied expression, Tsubaki responded.
“Well, I might as well tell you now that it’s all over… you’ve actually got it backward.”
“They didn’t catch us. Rather, we’re the ones who caught them.”
“Erm… Sorry, but I’m having a little trouble following along with your reasoning here.”
“Let’s say that the five groups I sent out to expel Ayanokōji-senpai managed to close the distance and corner him. He’d most likely give them all the slip due to there being such a large difference in physical ability, no? Rumor has it that he may even be on or above the level of Hōsen-kun in that regard. I had no intention of having our groups contend with him in the first place.”
Hearing this, Yagami cocked his head.
“If I’m hearing you correctly, it’s like you’re saying the five groups you sent out never even had any chance of beating Ayanokōji-senpai. There wasn’t any point to this strategy of yours in the first place.”
“There are two points to it, actually. The first was to try and figure out what Ayanokōji-senpai is thinking. What he likes, what he’s after, that kind of stuff.”
As Tsubaki spoke, she began to tap away at her tablet.
“He prioritizes avoiding any direct confrontation with the first-years over reaching his designated areas. He also stayed away from any Tasks or meetings with any second-years or third-years. From all that, we can assume that he hates bringing any attention to himself and that he’s even willing to face penalties to avoid it.”
“Even so, if your goal was to discern patterns in his behavior, that’s no reason to allow your groups to get caught.”
“This leads us to the second purpose, the more important one at that. By purposely getting caught, we’ve successfully lured in the groups meant to protect Ayanokōji-senpai.”
With that, Yagami’s eyes widened.
“We should be avoiding a situation where someone comes along and sticks in their nose just as we’re about to eliminate Ayanokōji-senpai. Hōsen-kun is the only person other than Utomiya-kun with the strength to take him down.”
Having finally understood Tsubaki’s objective, Yagami started a GPS Search to try and locate Hōsen’s position. However, his GPS signal was nowhere to be found.
“Not everything is as it seems on the surface… so that’s what you meant.”
With the conversation finished, Tsubaki cleared her mind of all unnecessary thoughts.
“There’s one final thing I’d like to ask. If Hōsen-kun had decided not to participate in this matter, would this strategy have failed then?”
“Mmm, not quite. It’s more accurate to say I went forward with this strategy because I was certain Hōsen-kun would participate in it. He was prolly hell-bent on fighting solo anyway. If for whatever reason he had said he wasn’t willing to take part, I would’ve just sent in Utomiya-kun instead. Either way, I simply created the perfect backdrop for a one-on-one fight between the two of ‘em. All that’s left is to sit back and wait for them to go at each other and everything else will work itself out.”
And as someone who was operating all on his own, Ayanokōji would have no other choice but to retire from the exam.