Unavoidable Path – part 2
Sure enough, the three absences didn’t change the next day.
Of course, the chaotic classroom still hasn’t shown any signs of settling down.
For a solution to happen, the three must fundamentally return to school first.
“Yo. Wanna go to the toilet together?”
As I tinkered with my phone on my desk while waiting for the next class, Sudou called to me.
A rare invitation. He said toilet, but his expression was serious.
Beyond the front of wanting to ask for a favor, he had a goal.
Like Kei and Yousuke, he wanted to consult with me and do something.
Since I didn’t have any reason to refuse, I stood from my seat. We went out of the classroom and into the toilet without attracting any attention.
At times like this, I am always saved by the convenience of my seat.
But a student followed us right away.
“Sudou-kun. I want to speak with you. Is that okay?”
She seemed to have been waiting for us to enter the hallways as she had something to do with Sudou.
“What is it, Onodera?”
Onodera noticed me standing beside him and dodged the question.
“Ah-… you’re with Ayanokouji-kun. Okay, I was talking about something.”
At another glance, it seemed that having me here was inconvenient for her.
But since Sudou was the one who invited me in our break time I had no choice.
“We’re going to the toilet. Are you in a hurry?”
“Um, I wonder.”
It seemed that she didn’t want me to hear. She was hesitating a little bit.
“Can I wait here? I want to tell you as soon as possible.”
Onodera judged that if we were just going to the toilet then we would return right away.
But hearing that, Sudou seemed uncomfortable.
After all, if he had something to consult me about, it probably wouldn’t end in one or two minutes.
“Then I’ll listen now. Ayanokouji can wait.”
Right as she was expecting to talk to him later, Sudou’s reply baffled her.
Onodera seemed a little resistant, but she scratched her head lightly and broke the ice.
“Aren’t the individual prizes for this sports festival separated between boys and girls? I think you’re obviously gonna aim for first place among the men, is that right?”
“Of course. This sports festival is my biggest chance to shine after all.”
You didn’t even need to ask him. He replied with confidence.
Onodera nodded in satisfaction at that vigorous reply.
“The thing is, I’m also aiming for something this sports festival. If I take first place among the girls then it’ll be a step closer to A-Class. There’s not many chances to compete in my strong point.”
Her ability in swimming is guaranteed. She also showed her potential as a sprinter in the sports festival last year.
There’s nothing to criticize in her physical ability in the OAA, either. She was a student who held extraordinary ability for sports as a whole.
Onodera is expected to have the ability to win if she adapts to various competitions.
“You might be able to take first place. I’ll really be cheering for you.”
“Thanks. But there’s no guarantee that we can get first place even if we win the individual competitions somewhat, is there?”
“Why not? If we keep getting first place-“
Sudou isn’t wrong in thinking that all he needs to do is get first place, but in reality he might lose due to unforeseen circumstances.
“Because the points you get from the team competitions are high, right?”
I added. Onodera showed a hard expression again before she nodded in agreement.
It seemed that Onodera held something like distrust for me.
In the unanimity special exam the other day, I cut off and threw away a friend from her group.
It’s no wonder that there are students who show this sort of reaction.
“Well that’s true. Maybe it’d be crazy if there was someone who kept getting first place in the team contests. But still, it’s not easy to form teams, is it? Like what Suzune said, even if you tie five or six people together it might backfire. And you know, aside from that, I don’t know about making five or six-man teams for the team contests.”
If they were all at his level then Sudou would be able to agree.
But there will be students who will drag him down. As a result, we may very well lose the competitions because of that. That was how team competitions worked.
“Yes. I can’t think of a lot of people either. But – what if it’s two-person competitions we can definitely win in? There are events you can participate in with just girl-boy pairs.”
Here Sudou began to guess what Onodera wanted as she came to talk to him.
“Nothing will be hard if Sudou-kun and I cooperate with each other. If I had to link up then I’d want the best partner, wouldn’t I?”
It would help the class’ points, and it wouldn’t backfire on their goal of first place.
“So me… well, that might be true.”
“That’s right. Of course, this is assuming that you agree. Besides, right now, isn’t there a bad mood going on in our class? Sakura-san got expelled, Hasebe-san and Wang-chan are absent.”
She glanced at me for just an instant before turning back to Sudou.
“That’s why we have to pull our class along.”
Sudou wasn’t offended about her invitation since she was acknowledging his ability, but he wasn’t making himself very clear either.
“Am I not strong enough?”
“Of course you are. Do I need to complain about your strength?”
Though he placed absolute trust in her physical ability, it seemed that something aside from that weighed on his mind.
“You don’t want to pair up with anyone but Horikita-san?”
“Eh? N-No, I mean…”
Bull’s-eye, Sudou. He showed an awkward expression at Onodera’s words.
Pair up with someone you like. Indeed, aside from ability, that might be a very important factor for Sudou. Though there probably wouldn’t be a big difference whether he paired up with Horikita or Onodera since he couldn’t participate in swimming competitions.
“There’s Kouenji. I don’t want to say it but he’s better than me.”
“Indeed, he does have the ability. But I can’t trust Kouenji-kun. More than anything, I hate him.”
Onodera clearly denied Kouenji.
Her appeal towards Sudou was the real thing. How would Sudou respond?
“If I refuse… what would you do?”
“If there were someone else in the class who’s strong and who I could count on… well, maybe Hirata-kun, but inviting him to pair up is a bit, you know. I don’t want to give any strange misunderstandings.”
If she paired up with Yousuke who boasted enormous popularity with women, it wouldn’t just be one or two people jealous of her.
“So if Sudou-kun refuses, I’d just do what I can do alone?”
She stated the facts disinterestedly and non-threateningly.
Though it’s doubtful that she’d be able to take first place in the year, I can easily imagine her saving up points slowly and steadily.
Sudou trembled at Horikita’s name, but seeing Onodera like that, he stiffened his face right away.
It seemed he realized that he was about to refuse Onodera’s offer because of a worthless reason.
“…Okay Onodera. Let’s form a pair.”
“Yeah. Let’s prop this class up with our strength.”
Saying that, he extended his arm directly forward and waited for Onodera to shake it.
After staring at his hand, Onodera answered with a strong handshake.
“Best regards, Sudou-kun. Let’s make sure to take first place for the boys and the girls.”
She seemed satisfied with that promise. She returned to the classroom.
“I didn’t really imagine this, but it’s good, isn’t it?”
“I think so. You probably wanted to pair with Horikita, but it’s better to pair with Onodera and show 100% of your power than to entertain such thoughts.”
There were only five minutes left, but we headed to the toilet as we were supposed to in the first place.
“So. This is what I had to say… it’s about Kanji and Shinohara, somewhere around those two.”
“It has to do with Kushida’s exposure?”
“Honestly, their relationship has gotten awkward. I don’t think it’s good.”
“Wouldn’t it be more interesting for the two of them to break-up? From your perspective.”
“I know I said that as a joke. But I want them to work out. Really.”
I tried asking, but it seemed like he worried for them from the bottom of his heart.
“I’m sorry to tell you, but my relationships with those students are shallow. There’s nothing I can really do.”
“Could you at least give me advice?”
“I can’t come up with a solution without talking with them. Setting aside whether or not Kushida’s words were true, there might be a need for them to lay each others’ hearts bare for a moment.”
“Isn’t that risky? It might become even more dangerous than anything we’ve had until now.”
“That’s true. That’s why you need someone who can control it. Have someone related to the two lend an ear, and if the talk seems like it’s getting out of hand, they must calm them down.”
“I-I can’t do that you know?”
“Then you have no choice but to ask someone who can.”
Here, Sudou thought for a moment instead of replying.
“Really, Kushida would’ve done something like this, wouldn’t she…?”
“Yeah. But you can’t count on her right now. If you can’t, then you have to find another student.”
Something like this is so easy that it isn’t even a problem.
As expected, even Sudou thought of him right away.
Sudou doesn’t get along with Yousuke, but this isn’t the time to say something like that.
“Tsh. I’ll have to lower my head when I ask him.”
Sudou and Yousuke have distance between them, but that might change with this.
“I haven’t done anything. You just thought of it and got an answer yourself.”
That’s how our class works.