“Do you have a student named Kokonoe!? I’m sorry, but I need him right now!” (Tojo)
He ran into the principal’s office with a desperate look on his face. He was in such a hurry that even I could see it.
“To, Tojo-sensei? How can I help you?” (Principal)
“That student! His name is Kokonoe. I contacted you the other day about him. What is he doing right now!? (Tojo)
I was shocked by the sudden visit, but I had to deal with it. The principal, Yoshinaga, was in charge of this school. The desperate visitor was an alumnus of the school and a member of the prefectural assembly. Hideomi Tojo is known for his enthusiasm for education. He was not a person who would tolerate careless attitudes..
“He’s currently under house arrest.” (Principal)
“Lift his house arrest and get him here right now!” (Tojo)
“What is the meaning of this? It was under Tojo-sensei’s orders—–” (Principle)
“I never gave any orders! I was simply asked why there were students like this!” (Tojo)
It was a politician’s way of defending himself, leaving at least a way out so that he would not be held accountable. But in spite of that, his appearance was something else. What in the world happened to this man?
“If I don’t do something, I’m very, very screwed.” (Tojo)
“Erika, Erika Tojo, we need to talk!” (Keido)
The voice of the student council president echoed through class 3-D. It was the time when the afternoon classes were about to start, but that didn’t matter in this situation. As her classmates were taken aback, a puzzled Erika Tojo stepped forward.
“What’s the matter, Mutsuki?” (Erika)
“Erika, you were the one who started the rumor about Yukito Kokonoe right?” (Keido)
“—-! I know nothing.” (Erika)
“Don’t lie to me! I can’t think of anyone who’d do this other than you. Why did you do that!” (Keido)
As she glared back at Keido, who was closing in on her, Erika Tojo raised her voice.
“What’s wrong with you, Mutsuki? You’re still held by the clutches of that man, aren’t you? Don’t worry. I’m sure I can save you!” (Erika)
A dry slapping sound echoed through the classroom. Keido slapped Tojo’s face.
“Don’t be ridiculous! He didn’t do any of that! Why are you trying to hurt him!” (Keido)
“You’re the one who’s crazy, Mutsuki! You were never that kind of woman!” (Erika)
“Don’t tell me who I am! I’m the one who made him—-” (Keido)
“What the—-!” (Erika)
This is the first time Tojo has seen Keido so distraught. Something is obviously wrong. Her anger swelled at the man, Yukito Kokonoe, for turning Keido into this. Just then, a visitor arrives again. This time—
“Erika Tojo, your father is in the principal’s office! Hurry up and come with me!” (Sensei)
“Fujishiro sensei? Why is my father here?” (Erika)
“We’ll talk later. On the side note. Keido, you’re coming too!” (Sensei)
As the three of them ran off, their classmates could do nothing but stare at them.
[Hideomi Tojo PoV]
Hideomi Tojo has been a prefectural councilor for three terms of 12 years. He had been thinking of moving into national politics. One day, his daughter came to him with a rare request. Hidetomi was very fond of his only daughter, Erika. When he heard about Erika’s story, Hideomi was furious. He could not bear the thought of such a vile student attending the same high school as his daughter.
Besides, Shoyo High School was his alumnus as well. What the man was doing was undoubtedly a crime. It was more than just unbecoming of his alumnus. Hideomi picked up the phone. If he had spent even a small amount of effort to verify Erika’s story at that time, things might have been different. But it was too late.
A few days later, Hideomi received a phone call from an executive of the prefectural federation. The news was something he had never heard before. The party’s official recognition was cancelled. It was an impossible situation. Hideomi had been approved by the ruling party. He was one of the ruling party members who held a majority in the prefectural assembly. The revocation of the party’s official recognition means that he’d no longer be able to obtain the cooperation of the organization in future elections. It meant that he would be working as an independent. Naturally, any attempts to switch to national politics would go nowhere.
There was no way he could accept it! There must be some sort of mistake! Hideomi was furious, but a curt reply came back. It was an order from Rishu Himiyama, he said. Rishu Himiyama. It was the name of a big-name politician who had served eight terms as a member of the National Assembly, and had also served as Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Vice Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, and Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare. He has already retired from national politics, but his hidden influence has not waned in the slightest.
I don’t understand. It is no wonder that, for Hidetomi, who is aiming to become a national politician, Rishu Himiyama is a figure above the clouds. He had never had a conversation with him or even met him before, so there was no way he could have known him. Why would he ask me to revoke my official recognition?
However, there was one thing I knew. If Rishu Himiyama took notice of me, it would help my political career tremendously. On the other hand, if Rishu Himyama disliked him, then there was no future for him.
To his dismay, Hideomi received another phone call. It was Haruhiko Himiyama. He is a career bureaucrat working for the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Haruhiko tells him in a cold voice. When Hideomi learned what had happened, he turned completely pale. No, no, no!
It was no longer a matter of moving into national politics. This was no time to be dreaming. On the contrary, if I didn’t solve this problem right now, there would be no future for me. If I don’t solve this now, I’m doomed!
Hideomi instructed his secretary to cancel all his plans and hurried to his old school. It was foolish. It was stupid. He thought the problem was insignificant… He neglected to check the facts. That meant that Hideomi Tojo lacked the qualities of a politician. It was an inexcusable blunder.
I didn’t think that student had any connection to Himiyama!
He had framed an innocent student. It was not even in his imagination that the student had connections to Himiyama. Regretting his own stupidity in failing to check the facts, Hideomi was in a panic.
About 30 minutes by train, I arrived at my destination. It was during the time when students were going to school, which was natural as I was under house arrest. A strange sense of immorality arose in me… I was a delinquent, going around in plain clothes at this time of the day. I might as well call myself a Yankee. I think it’s more like the Yankee form of Yukito Kokonoe. But I don’t have a nail bat or a wooden sword… Why people buy wooden swords on school trips is an eternal mystery to me.
But the purpose of the trip is not to beat up other schools. It was a journey of self-discovery. It’s one of the mental disorders that conscious young people tend to fall into, but in my case, it’s really a journey of self-discovery, so I don’t want you to equate me with the actually conscious young people. I’m Yukito Kokonoe, a man who doesn’t suddenly go to India and wakes up to a new identity. I have doubts about myself. I need to find out the reason, the cause. If that happens, there is only one place to come.
“General Hospital. The appointment was at 11:30, right?” (Yuki)
So far, nothing has bothered me. I didn’t care about anything. I don’t even get hurt anymore. My mental state is as shock-absorbent as alpha gel. No matter what anyone said or did to me, I won’t get hurt. So it doesn’t matter. I don’t care about myself or others. No one cares about me anyway, just like I don’t care about them. That’s fine. It will all go away. That’s how I’ve always abandoned everything.
But I’ve come to think that maybe that’s not true. Lately, all I’ve been seeing is someone’s crying face. I wondered why they were crying. What makes them so sad? Why? I had reached the point where I could no longer pretend that I didn’t know, or that I didn’t see. I was the sole cause of it. I was the one who made them cry. That’s all I know. I don’t care if they hurt me. But I don’t want to hurt anyone else. I don’t want them to cry. I don’t want to see that kind of face anymore.
I’m sure I can’t go on like this. If something doesn’t change in me, I’ll keep doing the same things over and over again. I’ll keep making someone cry. I don’t know what kind of feeling this is, or what to call it. I really don’t know but maybe I don’t like the way things are right now.
What was the point of my sister kissing me? What was Suzurikawa trying to prove? What did Kamishiro want to do by becoming a manager? I probably know what these feelings, directed at me, are. I just don’t understand them. How long have they been there? Why did it happen? That’s what I need to know.
There was a vague answer that emerged in my mind. But it’s still vague. I’m here now to corroborate it. I’m in a hospital. I should turn off my phone. I turned it off without a second thought and started walking to my destination.
“—–No way… Then what about me!?” (???)
“I can’t get in touch with Yukito! Where is he?” (???)
“Please, find a way to contact him!” (Tojo)
The principal’s office was in chaos. Sayuri Fujishiro, the homeroom teacher, and Yuri were also gathered here. Just a few minutes ago, there had been a call from Haruhiko Himiyama here as well. It was the same kind of thing that Hideomi had received, but the problem had grown exponentially and was no longer contained within the school. It was a conflagration. Even the principal, Yoshinaga, would not be able to escape punishment.
When Erika heard the whole situation from Mutsuki, she broke down in tears. Her father, Hideomi, was also in a lifeless state. Erika, who had tried to trap an innocent person, would also have to be punished… Yukito Kokonoe has been suspended from school and placed under house arrest for no fault of his own. He was only involved in this ridiculous commotion caused by the Tojo family. Depending on what happened, he could be expelled from school at worst.
And once that happened, the person who had the right to control the lives of all of them, including Erika, Hideomi, and the principal, Yoshinaga, was none other than one of the students, Yukito Kokonoe. At the very least, Hideomi Tojo would have no future unless Yukito Kokonoe helped him get to Mount Himiyama. He might even be stripped of his current position right away.
“Erika, what you did is unforgivable. But if it’s for my sake, then I guess I’m just as guilty as you. It’s my fault that I didn’t give any explanation to the people around me because of that sensitive issue. In the worst case scenario, I will leave the school with you. (Keido)
“I’m sorry, Mutsuki! It’s my fault! There is no need for you to leave!” (Erika)
Yuri gives the two of them a cold look. Her anger is growing. Just when she thought things were going in the right direction, this disaster happened. It’s always this kind of thing that comes at her, as if some sick person had plotted everything. And every time it happened, a part of Yukito Kokonoe broke. And he had reached his limit. Just when she thought that her brother had opened his heart to her, even if it was only for a little bit, she couldn’t bear the thought that he would break again, or that he would treat her like a stranger once again.
“I want them both expelled! I don’t want anyone around that boy who wants to hurt him!” (Yuri)
“Yuri… I’m sorry…” (Keido)
The air got tense. There is nothing we can do… The only one who could get this situation under control was not here—-.
“Yo~tsu, how y’all doing?” (Yuki)
The man who holds the right of life and death is in this place, Yukito Kokonoe, appeared by the door with a speech that really didn’t suit him, and with the air of a businessman who just dropped by a pub.
“It’s judgement time~” (Yuki)
With a phrase unlike him…