Classroom of the Elite Y2V6 Chapter 5 Part 3
After the midday break, it was time for the second half of the Sports Festival. More than half the students had already completed the minimum number of five competitions that they were required to participate in, and students who were confident in their athletic abilities were moving on to their sixth and seventh events. Up against Horikita and Ichinose, who were assessing the status and participants of competitions minute-by-minute, Class A’s Matoba and Shimizu continued to struggle in the absence of their leader.
“There’s doubles table tennis in the gym next. I just heard from Satonaka, and it doesn’t look like there are any strong opponents. There are two spaces left, and there’s a good chance we can make it in time.”
“We’ve gotta build up wins and make sure we at least don’t end up at the bottom of the standings.”
Sakayanagi’s absence had cast a dark shadow over Class 2-A, and many students were losing morale. However, no small number of them were motivated by it instead.
When they heard that the doubles table tennis—which would be closing entries in 10 minutes—wasn’t well defended, they abandoned the penalty shootout that they had initially planned on taking part in and started for it in a hurry. Just at that moment, Ishizaki, walking in from the direction they were headed, had his head cast downwards slightly and wasn’t looking ahead. Shimizu moved to his right to avoid Ishizaki as he approached, but Ishizaki also moved to his left at almost the same time.
Shimizu tried, but failed, to avoid running into him, and their shoulders bumped into each other. The impact of their collision was twice as strong as expected, and could not have happened by accident. Judging that he had been forcibly hit on the shoulder, Shimizu tried to raise his voice, but—
“Fuck, that hurt…! Watch where you’re walking, asshole!”
Even before Shimizu could do anything, Ishizaki was shouting an accusation for all to hear.
“You’re the one who wasn’t watching where you were going, I could’ve gotten hurt!”
Class A’s Shimizu and Class D’s Ishizaki started glaring at each other.
“You’re the one who wasn’t facing forward!”
“Huh?! You playing victim or what? …You didn’t bump into me on purpose, did you?”
“No, what? No matter how you look at it, you deliberately bumped into me. Right?”
Looking for help, Shimizu asked for Matoba to cover for him.
“Yeah. You weren’t properly looking where you were going.”
“Yeah I was. The two of you are making shit up. Real dirty, aintcha.”
“What’s dirty? No matter how you look at it, you’re in the wrong.”
“Huuh?! Me?! You lot were lost in talking to each other and weren’t paying attention!”
The blame-game continued with Ishizaki not even ready to apologize, and time just kept flying by. Despite believing that they were in the right, Matoba urged Shimizu to calm down since they were in a hurry.
“Just leave it. Arguing with a guy like this…”
“I can’t accept this, though.”
“I get how you feel. I’m the same, but we’ve got more important things to do right now.”
Although he empathized with Shimizu, he reminded him that they had a competition to win. Shimizu was reluctant, but nodded and glared at Ishizaki before walking away.
“Next time, be careful.”
Ishizaki muttered, suddenly holding his left shoulder as they tried to pass him.
“I was so worked up I didn’t even notice, but… I reckon I might’ve gotten hurt just now.”
For a moment, the two of them didn’t understand what he was saying, but then they soon caught on. It was a cheap trap set up by Ishizaki after all. They looked at each other and laughed through their noses. However, things took a sharp turn immediately after.
“It’s getting real lively over here. What’s going on, Ishizaki?”
“Ryuuen-san! Please listen to me! This lot is trying to mess with me!”
Ryuuen showed up to the place where they’d almost gotten to blows.
“Ryuuen…now this fucking pain in the ass has got involved… To think you’d use such an obvious tactic.”
“Oh? What are you talking about? I only came by ’cause I heard a disturbance, you know?”
“Stop with the jokes. You lot have already been caught doing the same shit before.”
“Same shit? Oh, that. Sure, we might’ve done something similar in the past.”
“So you already know.”
“But you know? Even if we’ve got a record, whether or not we’re doing anything now is completely unrelated. It’d be a big problem if my cute underling was done in and injured by some underhanded Class A schemes.”
“Cute underling, what? You’re behind this, aren’t you? Enough of this, I’m gonna call a teacher over…!”
“Kuku. You’re right, if there’s trouble, we’ll just have to rely on the teachers. That’d be just great! We’re the victims here. We’ll go through it thoroughly, so rest assured. Ain’t that right, Ishizaki?”
“Right! I’m the victim!”
“How are you the victim? You lot aren’t even taking this sports festival seriously… you’re really okay with us calling for a teacher?”
Matoba decided that it was unavoidable, whispered in Shimizu’s ear, and then Shimizu ran off to somewhere else. But soon after going to call a teacher over, he returned with a depressed expression.
“What’s up? Where’s the teacher?”
Shimizu brought back not a teacher, but his classmate, Hashimoto Masayoshi.
“I saw Shimizu running angrily, so I asked him what was going on. If you carelessly call a teacher, you’ll only make this a bigger problem. If they have to decide who’s right and who’s wrong, you might not be able to participate in the competition.”
“I know. But right now, Ryuuen is aiming to make a scene. Don’t play into his hands.”
Hashimoto put his hand on Shimizu’s shoulder and asked him to draw back.
“I’ll try talking to him for now.”
“… Alright. Please take care of this quickly.”
Matoba had no choice but to leave it to Hashimoto to settle the situation, and so he, too, watched from a short distance.
“Let’s keep it civil, Ryuuen.”
Hashimoto heard about what happened and calmly walked into the commotion.
“Huh? Your lot started it. They came looking for a fight, and I obliged. That’s all.”
“I get it. But if you don’t pull back, we’ll be in trouble too. Our big earners for this sports festival are here, so you’re holding back our main force. I feel bad for saying it, but Ishizaki’s scores are only so-so, right?”
It would be clear to any observer that Ryuuen’s side was picking a fight. Hashimoto tried to focus on that point to hold Ryuuen from pushing strongly.
“Don’t underestimate him so much. Ishizaki has been working hard constantly, pouring in his blood, sweat and tears for this day. All so that he could compete with those big earners you were talking about. Right?”
Hashimoto had seen Ishizaki playing around so many times in the days leading up to the sports festival that he couldn’t help but be stunned.
“Jeez. You’re really gonna take every chance you get, eh?” Hashimoto knew he couldn’t compete in an honest discussion, but he scratched his head, unable to let it go. “But now it’s clear. You seriously intend to crush us in this sports festival. You’re making the elites from the first year dog us so unpleasantly, right?”
He noticed early on that physically gifted first-year students were following the more capable students from Class 2-A and joining any competitions they were participating in. However, they couldn’t withdraw from the competition after they noticed, and so they had been underperforming so far.
“Since the princess is absent today, we’re getting pretty desperate to avoid last place. If we make an enemy of you too, we won’t have any chance of winning. Let’s not make a fuss and just call it a draw.”
Ryuuen had been relatively amiable until that point, but then he suddenly changed completely and his smile vanished.
“I don’t give a shit about what’s going on in Class A. We’re Class D. I’m using everything I’ve got to crawl up from the bottom. If you think you can interfere with that and easily strike a deal, you’re dead wrong.”
Hashimoto had been wearing a thin smile, but he froze at the vigor with which Ryuuen had pounced.
“Then what do you want? Us to give you a unilateral apology?”
“So you know after all. It’s not like we’re trying to get you to pay up. We just want a heartfelt apology. Right, Ishizaki?”
“Mhm. The pain in my arm has gone away a bit, so that’s enough for me.”
What would hurt more than anything was for them to lose any more time. Upon confirming that they wouldn’t demand monetary compensation or the like, Hashimoto decided to accept the proposal.
“I’ll try and persuade them, so gimme a sec.”
“Be quick about it. We’ve got another competition coming up too.”
Over five minutes had already passed since the altercation began.
They might just about be able to make it in time if they apologized immediately and ran to the gymnasium—though it would go right down to the wire.
“You heard him. I know it’s hard to accept, but I think you should take it on the chin and apologize.”
“Are you kidding me? I kept quiet and listened ’cause you said you’d do something about it. And now you’re telling me to do whatever they want and unilaterally apologize? There’s no fucking way.”
“Then you’re fine with us not winning? If you stubbornly hold strong here, you might be able to protect your pride. But when we lose by 5 or 10 points, will you be alright with that?”
“What matters right now is that our class wins, right? It’s just that we happened to step in some dog shit and ended up feeling like crap.”
If they just gave a word of apology, they could head straight back to the competition, so he urged.
“Shit…! Why do I have to…?”
Shimizu made a grand display of his irritation, but he then calmed himself and—despite being reluctant—agreed to it. He stepped forward to apologize to Ishizaki.
“Hold on, Shimizu. Matoba over there is just as guilty. He said I wasn’t paying attention.”
“Alright, I get it…”
Left with no other choice, the two of them stood side by side and bowed their heads to Ishizaki, albeit only slightly.
“Our bad… That’s enough, right?”
They quickly raised their lowered heads and tried to leave, but Ishizaki stopped them immediately.
“Ryuuen-san… it doesn’t make sense to me, what even was that?”
“Well, that’s obvious. They grudgingly bowed their heads a little bit, but inside, they’re swearing at you. There’s no way you’d consider that a genuine apology. It isn’t sincere enough.”
“Are you out of your mind, Ryuuen? I can’t hold them back any more than this.”
Hashimoto judged that this was the most he could hold Matoba and Shimizu back. He ran to get a teacher, realizing that there was no way other than for them to intervene. About a minute later, he returned with one.
“What on earth is going on?”
“The truth is—”
“I accept your apology.”
Ishizaki declared, just before Hashimoto was about to tell the teacher what had transpired.
“I’m sorry, Ryuuen-san. You gave me all sorts of advice, but maybe I wasn’t mature enough to just let it go when he gave me a little shoulder bump… so I think I’ll forgive them since the two of them apologized to me earlier. Is that okay?”
“Isn’t that nice? If you’re gonna accept it, then—since I’m an unrelated party—it’s not my place to butt in.”
After seeing Ryuuen try to end the discussion there, the teacher tried to figure out what the situation was. Hashimoto—who had brought the teacher with him because he thought it was a necessary sacrifice to get out of this situation—was also left bewildered, unable to follow what was going on.
The teacher reached a conclusion based only on what he had seen so far.
“So the two of you apologized to Ishizaki for bumping into him. And he accepted. Am I understanding this correctly?”
Shimizu tried to speak up when he saw the teacher consider the problem solved, but Hashimoto stopped him.
“That seems to be the case. It has been resolved.”
“That’s alright then. In any case, please try to avoid any scuffles during the sports festival, okay?”
Seeing the duo about to explode in anger, Hashimoto waved them away to get them to promptly leave the scene.
“Hurry up and get going while the teacher is watching. Yeah?”
The two of them turned around and glared at Ishizaki and Ryuuen a few times, but they were eventually lost among the crowd heading towards the gymnasium. When Hashimoto was left alone, he let out a deep sigh.
“Doing this kinda thing when there’s people watching, jeez… he’s really not someone you want to make an enemy of.”
Hashimoto was chilled to the bone, but laughed happily to himself even as he said so.