TL: Sponsored Chapter, thank you for donating on my Ko-fi page. Chapter 48 will have a 1 day delay.
He headed to school with Hinagi Suzurikawa.
Even though his sister went to the same school, he never walked to school with his sister, who hated him.
In the morning, his mother, Ouka, would want to say something, but she just hung there and didn’t say anything. Yukito Kokonoe didn’t want to hear it either.
When he passed through the school gate and reached the shoe box, he noticed something strange.
“Where are my shoes?” (Yukito)
“What’s wrong, Yu-chan?” (Hinagi)
He looked into the eyes of Hinagi Suzurikawa, who put on her jacket and came over to his first.
“I think they’ve been hidden.” (Yukito)
“Eh! Wawawa, what should we do Yu-chan!” (Hinagi)
She flapped her twin-tails and wiggled them, her whole body in a panic. Hinagi Suzurikawa called out to him with concern.
His shoes were missing from the shoe box with his name sticker on it. There was nothing in the empty space that should have been there.
He doesn’t think they are missing. They must have been hidden. It happens all the time at school. If he lost it, he’ll have to get another one. he didn’t want to cause that kind of trouble for his mother.
It was one of his classmates who did it. The harassment was all too obvious. Once this kind of thing starts, there is no end in sight. The person doing the harassment may be doing it for fun, but the person being harassed will feel an endless hatred. And every day, he has to go to school in fear of what they might do to him. It’s hell.
But Yukito Kokonoe felt comfortable.
Because he knew. Rejections and denials were the norm.
That’s the way it should be, that’s the way it is.
Always, always but that’s how everyone hits him with their malicious intent.
So what he does is always the same.
If he doesn’t see an end in sight, just end it himself.
All he has to do is cut off everything and everyone.
In this annoying world, everything…
He wondered when he had closed his eyes, but when he realized it, he saw the face of Hinagi Suzurikawa right in front of him. Her eyes were sad and tearful as she stared at him.
Not knowing why, Yukito Kokonoe just muttered her name.
“You’re not going away, are you, Yu-chan?” (Hinagi)
“I can’t go with you……” (Yukito)
“I don’t know what this feeling is, but I don’t want you to go away!” (Hinagi)
It’s not as if Hinagi understood what that feeling was. Even so, she squeezed his hand tightly as if following her instincts.
“Let’s find out together.” (Hinagi)
She held his hand as if to make sure he was there, to make sure he didn’t go anywhere, to make sure he didn’t disappear, to make sure her childhood friend didn’t disappear.
How could she be so–
Why won’t she let him disappear?
Something was screaming in his mind.
It was trying to appeal to something.
But Yukito Kokonoe didn’t know what it was. His compulsive thoughts covered up his emotions as if they were a haze. How long has this been going on? The link between his thoughts and emotions was still broken and unrecovered.
And yet, why is he so drawn to her words?
“It’s okay, Hi-chan. My mental health is as strong as Red’s in Sunday morning superhero time.” (Yukito)
“Yu-chan, that’s great!” (Hinagi)
Her big, round eyes widened in surprise as he looked at Hinagi.
Abandoning the emotions trapped in the prison of his thoughts, Yukito Kokonoe let out a single sigh.
“Don’t look for it. I’ll have the guy who hid it bring it back.” (Yukito)
“How will you do that?” (Hinagi)
He can’t walk on his socks, so he went and get the guest slippers.
“It’ll all be over soon.” (Yukito)
He told his childhood friend the same words he had told his mother last night, and headed for the classroom.
When he arrived at the classroom, he immediately found something strange there as well.
There was graffiti on the desk. There were words like “droolers” and “criminals” written all over the desks. When he took out his textbook from the drawer, he found that it was also tattered with graffiti. It was mid-May. It had only been a couple of months since we got new textbooks, but they were nowhere near new now.
“Do you know who did it?” (Yuki)
He asked Akari Kazahaya , who was sitting next to him.
Perhaps because we were seated next to each other, Akari Kazahaya was a girl who was always willing to talk to him, and when she had a question in class, he frequently taught it to her.
“It’s disgusting that you steal people’s stuff! I hope you die. Please don’t steal my stuff.” (Akari)
She spat at him with obvious disgust and contempt in her eyes. In the midst of the giggling and ridicule, words like “idiot,” “thief,” and “what should I do, my stuff will be stolen” were thrown from her to him.
Yukito Kokonoe sat down without saying a word.
Perhaps feeling better about it, the agitated voices increased in volume and density.
After a while, when the homeroom teacher, Ryoka Sanjoji, and the education intern, Misaki Himiyama, arrived in the classroom, the slanderous voices stopped and became quiet as if nothing had happened. At the morning assembly, without waiting for Ryoka to speak, Yukito Kokonoe called out to her.
“What’s wrong, Kokonoe-kun?” (Himiyama)
Yukito Kokonoe felt that her eyes looked annoyed, as if she was looking at someone who was in the way. Misaki Himiyama gave him the same look.
“My shoes were missing today.” (Yuki)
Then, for the first time, she looked down. Yukito Kokonoe was wearing slippers. Seeing this, Ryoka Sanjoji and Misaki Himiyama frowned. They intuitively knew that they had just acted rashly and started the bullying. It was too late to regret it. They should have been a little more considerate. But it was all in hindsight.
Sanjoji Ryoka’s expression sharpened and she looked around the classroom.
“Who hid Kokonoe’s shoes?” (Himiyama)
The sound of giggling and mocking laughter echoed.
“I don’t know. I think he was robbed because he’s a thief.” (Classmate)
“Isn’t that a lie, since thieves are liars?” (Classmate)
“Stop it!” (Sanjoji)
Ryoka Sanjoji tried to stop them but the malice that started flowing like a collapsed dam, like a broken river, swallowed the place like a flood.
Who’s talking, or is it all of them?
Malicious intent that is amplified and spread.
This person is someone you can bully.
You can hurt him, you can make fun of him.
Such a common understanding was spreading.
Misaki Himiyama’s face turned pale.
Ryoka Sanjoji also had a bitter expression on her face.
Bullying is an inevitable part of being a teacher. It is a problem that everyone has to face. In fact, if teachers avoid such problems, they are not qualified to be teachers. Is it possible to be a great teacher if they spend their time safely pretending not to see it? Is that the kind of educator they can be proud of?
As an educator themself, Ryoka Sanjoji, and Misaki Himiyama, who is aiming to become a teacher, cannot overlook the problems that are happening right now. That was the common understanding of both of them.
Sanjoji Ryoka started to speak up to calm down the commotion, but it was none other than Yukito Kokonoe who stopped her.
“I’ll wait until lunchtime. If you have hidden my shoes, please bring them to me. Those who scribbled on the desks and textbooks should come and apologize. If you know who did it, please let me know. I’ll say it again. Lunchtime is the time limit.”
He tells all his classmates, but the ridicule gets even stronger when they heard it.
“If we don’t find it by lunchtime, we’ll have a death sentence.” (Kosuke)
Kosuke Takayama mockingly encourages them. A group of mischievous kids, led by Takayama, took advantage of the momentum and started yelling wildly. The boys and girls were laughing as if they had found a funny toy.
Of course, not all of them were tainted with malice. However, such individual resistance was powerless in front of the atmosphere prevailing in the class at this moment. Violence in the name of peer pressure. And those who pretend that they have nothing to do with this situation are also in the classroom.
In the midst of all this, Yukito Kokonoe looked at him with eyes that showed no emotion and simply declared.
“We are all enemies, jointly and severally.” (Yuki)
I wondered what was so funny, and even louder laughter echoed through the classroom.
The first period was for self-study.
Yukito Kokonoe was called by Ryoka Sanjoji to an empty classroom. Misaki Himiyama is with her.
“Are you alright, Kokonoe?” (Sanjoji)
“What’s wrong?” (Yuki)
“What do you mean……?” (Sanjoji)
She hesitated, wondering how she could talk to him. He may look fine, but there was no way he wasn’t suffering. The fact that they had thoughtlessly blamed him in front of the students had triggered the bullying. Ryoka Sanjoji and Misaki Himiyama felt the responsibility keenly.
“Don’t worry, Kokonoe. We will protect you. When we’re done talking, let’s find out together as a class.” (Sanjoji)
“I’ll help you too. Okay?” (Himiyama)
“You don’t have to help me find the culprit” (Yuki)
“That’s not going to happen. You don’t have to be so stubborn. Trust your teachers.” (Sanjoji)
“You don’t trust me, but you expect me to trust you.” (Yuki)
The two of them distorted their faces as if they had been hit by a star.
However, ignoring this, Yukito Kokonoe turned to Misaki Himiyama.
“By the way, Himiyama-sensei, when did your personal belongings go missing?” (Yuki)
Himiyama didn’t expect to be asked that question again here, but she answered in a panicked manner.
“I think it was after school the day before yesterday. What about it?” (Himiyama)
“Are you sure about that?” (Yuki)
“Well, I’m sure I’m not wrong.……” (Himiyama)
She had no idea what she was going to say, so she just answered what he asked.
“It’s funny. That day, I went home right after school to play with Hi-chan …… Hinagi Suzurikawa. So in what world could I have stolen from you?” (Yuki)
“Eh? … I-is that so? I think it was around the end of fifth period—” (Himiyama)
“Didn’t you just say after school? Did you lie to me? Stop talking nonsense.” (Yuki)
“I-I’m not lying!” (Himiyama)
Ryoka Sanjoji, who couldn’t see what was going on, intervened.
“Kokonoe-kun, you’re still saying that! Don’t be stubborn, just admit it and apologize. Your parents must have been angry with you.” (Sanjoji)
“They have no reason to be angry with me.” (Yuki)
“It was wrong of me to blame you for what I said in front of everyone. But you know what? The teachers are the only ones who are here now. Be honest, Kokonoe. Look, if you apologize properly here, it will be over. Then the teachers will be on your side. We’ll scold them for hiding your shoes and graffiti. We will never discriminate against you or abandon you.” (Sanjoji)
So you understand, don’t you?
Sanjoji Ryouka continued as if she was admonishing a child who was not listening.
“Kokonoe, I’m not mad at you, and the teachers are on your side. If you like me, I’m very happy about it. But you can’t steal something from me without telling me, okay?” (Himiyama)
Those gentle words were so horrifying to Yukito
“Awawawawa. I don’t need an ally.” (Yuki)
“Someone hid your shoes because you keep acting like that! Why can’t you understand that!” (Sanjoji)
Ignoring the furious Ryoka Sanjoji, Yukito Kokonoe took out the drawing paper he had brought with him and unfolded it.
“I’ll ask you one more time, Himiyama-sensei. When was it stolen? Please take a look at this. This paper contains everything I did the day before yesterday. If you look at it, you’ll know that I’m not the culprit—-” (Yuki)
“—-THAT’S ENOUGH!” (Sanjoji)
Ryouka Sanjoji’s slap was on his cheek.
The paper in his hand was torn easily.
In a flash, Misaki Himiyama supported the staggering Yukito Kokonoe.
Sanjoji Ryouka came to her senses in an instant. She had reflexively administered corporal punishment.
In the past, it was commonplace, but in today’s educational world, it is not allowed. There was no excuse. It was a fatal blunder that could affect her teaching career if she was sued. She was too emotional. For some reason, when she look at the boy in front of him, Yukito Kokonoe, her heart is in turmoil. she was swallowed up by the momentary atmosphere he has.
“Oh, no. I worked so hard to make this yesterday.” (Yuki)
He picked up the cruelly torn piece of paper, crushed it into a crumpled mess, and threw it away.
“I see. I finally understand now. It was my fault, wasn’t it?” (Yuki)
Finally, he let out a word of apology.
He said that he was sorry for the way he had treated her.
It’s only natural. No matter what the reason, it is never acceptable to use corporal punishment on a student. But now, before thinking about social responsibility or self-preservation, she had to apologize for what she had done, otherwise she could not be called an adult.
“I was too emotional. I’m s—-” (Sanjoji)
“So you didn’t care about the truth, did you? If that’s the case, please say so from the beginning. In other words, it’s not good if I’m not the culprit.” (Yuki)
A chilling voice echoed in the empty classroom.
Originally, the student named Yukito Kokonoe was somewhat elusive. It was hard to see his thoughts and emotions, and it was hard to know what he was thinking. On the other hand, he was very good at studying and sports. Ryoka Sanjoji had this perception of him as a mysterious student, and Misaki Himiyama, who had been in contact with the students for a short time, also had a similar perception.
“What are you talking—–” (Sanjoji)
“I feel like an idiot for making this, don’t I? Oh, I see. I was an idiot when I thought I could get through to you.” (Yuki)
She gulped when she saw his eyes.
Deeper and deeper, darker and darker, just how far they fall. Pure, yet murky eyes captured Sanjoji Ryouka and Himiyama Misaki.
“It was easy. It was my fault. I was wrong to think of you as teachers. I’m sorry.” (Yuki)
As if it’s nothing, Yukito Kokonoe blithely announces the apology he had refused for so long.
But his next words—–
“You were my enemies all along.” (Yuki)
It was an unquestionable farewell.
Ryoka Sanjoji tried to stop Yukito Kokonoe from walking out of the empty classroom without a care in the world, but she didn’t know how to say anything to him, and while she was hesitating, he strolled away.
“How did I let this happen ……?” (Himiyama)
Misaki Himiyama was in sinking pain. It was not supposed to be like this. Just a few days ago, she was enjoying her job. She was feeling fulfilled in her profession as a teacher. She felt that it was her calling. The longing she had for such a career, guiding children, had been shattered in the past two days.
Suddenly, Sanjoji saw a piece of paper that Yukito Kokonoe had thrown away. She didn’t even bother to look at it. Himiyama-sensei walked over to it, wondering what it was all about, and picked up the discarded and crumpled up drawing paper and spread it out.
Misaki immediately realized what it meant.
“Sa-Sanjoji-sensei! Take a look at this.” (Himiyama)
“What’s going on?” (Sanjoji)
Ryoka Sanjoji was also mentally exhausted. Even though it was only mid-morning, her fatigue had reached its peak. The mental exertion was greatly draining her strength. The fact that she had administered the physical punishment and the last thing he had said to her was stuck in her brain.
She looked down at the paper that Misaki Himiyama had spread out.
“This is…… from the day before yesterday? Wait, wait! It can’t be!” (Sanjoji)
On the sheet of paper, there was a clear description of what happened the day before yesterday. It was everything that could be called a day in the life of Yukito Kokonoe. Who he came to school with in the morning. Who he was with, who he met, and where he was during the morning SH, classes, breaks, and even after school. It’s so neatly written that you can see it at a glance.
However, Sanjoji wondered if he could remember his actions so clearly. It was so detailed and complete that it could only be a lie. It was incomparable to the lazily written summer vacation schedule.
However, the majority of what was written on it overlapped with the memories of Ryoka Sanjoji and Misaki Himiyama. In other words, there was no doubt about the authenticity of what was written.
Her trembling hand traces the paper.
After school. It was the fifth period of classes that day.
It says there that he left school at 14:45 with a girl named Hinagi Suzurikawa. It was scary that it even included the details of her leaving the school, just to make sure.
“So it wasn’t Kokonoe? Wait a minute. Then who stole it? What I did….what I said to him…” (Himiyama)
“Himiyama-Sensei, please calm down!” (Sanjoji)
She didn’t want to see it. She had to hope not for the worst, that it was a lie. If what was written on this paper was true, he couldn’t steal it no matter what.
“Here! Look at this, Himiyama-sensei.” (Sanjoji)
Ryoka Sanjoji pointed to a point on the paper.
It said that Yukito Kokonoe had met and greeted Takigawa, the janitor, before leaving school.
“We have to make sure! Let’s hurry up!” (Sanjoji)
They couldn’t stand still. As if they were being strangled with cotton wool, Ryoka Sanjoji and Misaki Himiyama had finally come to the conclusion that they had made a fundamental mistake.
Class is now in self-study. If they didn’t get back to the classroom soon, there might be a commotion again. Still, it was important to ascertain the truth now. That was the first priority, and unless she was sure, she would never be able to stand in front of him again.
Normally, she would be watching out for students running in the hallway, but now she was running in the hallway. Even as she ridiculed herself for doing so, Ryoka Sanjoji sensed that a definite doom was approaching.
“Takigawa-san, is Takigawa-san here!” (Himiyama)
It was the young female teacher who rushed into the janitor’s office. Takigawa was taken aback by her desperate expression. He wondered if something bad had happened.
“What’s the matter, Miss?” (Takigawa)
“Takigawa-san, did you meet a student near the shoe box after school the day before yesterday?” (Sanjoji)
“A student? Well, I’ve met a number of them. ……” (Takigawa)
Takigawa gave a vague answer to Ryoka Sanjoji’s vague question.
“Oh, uh… No, it’s this boy.” (Sanjoji)
Sanjoji Ryoka showed him the class roster with his face on it.
“Oh, him. He was holding hands with the little girl on the way home.” (Takigawa)
“What time was that!?” (Sanjoji)
“I remember it was right after the doorbell rang. I think it was just before 3:00 p.m. He said goodbye and left.” (Takigawa)
“No way… that’s….” (Himiyama)
The verdict was like the scythe of the Grim Reaper. A sharp blade was thrust at her throat.
Misaki Himiyama collapsed and cried in front of the cruel reality. Ryoka Sanjoji felt the same way. But she had enough experience and pride to realize that she was not allowed to do so.
“W-What’s the matter?” (Takigawa)
Takigawa, who didn’t know what was going on, hurriedly helped Misaki up.
Everything, everything had gone wrong.
He had been right all along, and we had been wrong all along.
Why? Why didn’t we try to listen to his side of the story, even just a little? Didn’t we try to consider other possibilities? He flatly denied it. He adamantly refused to admit it. He even went to the trouble of writing down a detailed record of his actions on a piece of paper.
But Sanjoji still didn’t believe it.
So he abandoned and parted ways with us.
Even if she realized and regretted it now, it was too late.
No one had spoken to Yukito Kokonoe since this morning, and now it was time. Naturally, he was still in his slippers and his shoes had not been returned.
The fact that Yukito Kokonoe had specified that it would last until lunchtime created an atmosphere of ignoring him until then. There was a grin on her face, and she looked at him like he was a fool.
Akari Kazehaya, who was sitting next to him, had shifted her desk to create more distance between us. He did not know if he was being harassed or if he simply did not want to get close to him, but it did not matter to him. Because they are all enemies.
“Time’s up. Let’s go.” (Yuki)
Muttering, Yukito Kokonoe headed for the shoe box.
He took out a garbage bag from the cleaning kit.
At this time of day, there are no students who come to the door. One bag was not enough, but it could not be helped. The sight of him walking around with a garbage bag on his shoulder was like Santa Claus out of season.
He arrived at the courtyard. However, it was not that big, and there was not enough space to play to the fullest. Yukito Kokonoe’s goal was the pond.
“Hmmm, I don’t know if I can keep this up. Yeah, let’s pack some rocks.” (Yuki)
He picked up some rocks from the curb and put them in a garbage bag. There was a lot of rocks, so it was quite heavy. He tied the bag tightly and threw it into the pond. The bag was sealed separately from the rest of the trash. The trash bag was not sealed, and the contents were soon soaked in water.
“Wow. Tragic.” (Yuki)
They don’t want to wear shoes that are wet with water. And the slimy feeling is weird. As he thought about that, he didn’t worry at all about how his classmates are going to get home today. He has no interest nor concern.
Because they are not his classmates, they are his enemies.
The boy in the glass copies them.
Malice for malice. That’s all that matters.
“It’s never wrong to have an enemy.” (Yuki)
That was the only correct answer he knew.