The day after they talked at the Konoe family house, Satsuki felt like her heart was being crushed when Sakuya called out to her like usual.
She really wanted to reply right now. She wanted to run up to her, hug her, and comfort her. But she couldn’t do that. Like they’d discussed yesterday, she couldn’t do things like that in front of other people. Sakuya apologised softly to Satsuki, who said nothing and avoided her gaze.
Satsuki’s heart ached. She was about to cry. If she was suffering this much pain… she wanted to run up to Sakuya no matter what they talked about. Even so, Satsuki restrained herself and prepared for the fact that Sakuya might not forgive her even after the matter was resolved.
Even she felt that much pain. How much pain was Sakuya, who was being put through this, felt? Even if this was all to resolve the situation… Sakuya probably wouldn’t forgive them, who were betraying her.
She had finally understood the true meaning of Oogimachisanjou Kaya’s preparation. Oogimachisanjou Kaya, who liked Sakuya that much, had brought up the fact that she was prepared to be hated by Sakuya. She wouldn’t use excuses like that this was all for Sakuya’s sake to resolve the matter.
Even if it was all for Sakuya… they were committing an unforgivable crime.
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“About the article on that wall newspaper… step forward in front of everyone and say that it was a picture of you guys bullying Nishigori Yanagi.”
Azami cornered the boys. The boys just looked troubled and made eye contact with each other.
“Say it! You’re boys, right!?”
They shrunk back as a numb Azami was yelling at them. Tokudaiji Azami was a member of the Five Norths Association and part of a Seven Shining family. She had a strong influence amongst the girls. Even though they might not have been able to stand against several boys in terms of strength, the boys couldn’t help but shrink back at Azami’s force.
“Well, well, Tokudaiji-san, if you yell at them so much, the boys won’t respond. Yes?”
Then, another of the leaders among the six girls surrounding the boys, Saionji Satsuki, laughed as she cut into Azami and the boys talking. But the boys understood that it wasn’t to save them.
“We will not intimidate you. We merely think that this is a good opportunity to confess the truth.”
Satsuki walked around as she said logical words. Her voice was reassuring; it first sounded like this was all for the boys.
“Almost everyone in the class saw your crimes. Which punishment do you think is lighter: being hung from such testimonies and evidence, or recognising your own crime and confessing to it? Have you ever seen a trial? We do not really mind. We can gather proof and condemn you, or you can confess to your own crimes on our own volition… okay?”
Saionji Satsuki, who was also a member of the Five Norths Association and part of the Seven Shining, also said that, and the boys promised to confess to their own sins.
What took more leverage than the boys was convincing Hagiwara Shion. Hagiwara Shion and Sakuya’s discussion was conducted in secret. That was why there was no evidence if there were no witnesses. In the first place, Hagiwara Shion didn’t realise that she herself did something bad.
From the various things written in the newspaper, she decided that “I was actually right and Kujou Sakuya was wrong”.
“I was a victim threatened by Kujou Sakuya!”
The six of them exhaled as they weren’t able to hold a proper conversation. If they brought in the Konoe family, this conversation would probably go a lot easier. She did this much because she was scared of being hated by the Konoe family and being kicked out of the monryuu.
But Azami and the others couldn’t say that now. They didn’t know where information would leak from, so they were prevented from interacting with Sakuya and had to pretend that the enemies’ plan was working. They couldn’t simply reveal that they had a connection to the Konoe family.
“Girls, what are you doing?”
There… Oogimachisaniou Kaya appeared. That was when Hagiwara Shion was surrounded by the six of them. What would that look like? What would the people watching think of that? Hagiwara Shion arrived at that answer immediately and clung to Oogimachisanjou Kaya in tears.
“Please save me, Oogimachisanjou-sama! These people are bullying me!”
“Well… being surrounded by six people… the Hagiwara family is under our Konoe monryuu. If that happens to the Hagiwara family… are you aware of what would happen if you build animosity against the Konoe monryuu?”
At Oogimachisanjou Kaya’s words; Hagiwara Shion neared Kaya and hid behind her as if she understood. The opponent had two members of the Seven Shining and the Five Norths Association, so the sixth-grader Oogimachisanjou Kaya who was part of the same Five Norths Association had a ig her position. Shion, who was only good at flattering people, happily used Kaya as a shield.
“Then… how did something like this happen?”
“Huh? Oh… that is…”
Hagiwara Shion recognised that she was wrong, so she got flustered when Kaya started asking her. But among the six people who’d surrounded her, Tokudaiji Azami and Saionji Satsuki had disclosed what had happened at the sports festival. Hagiwara Shion thought that it’d be bad for her to stay silent and let them say everything. That was why she cut it and told Oogimachisanjou Kaya almost everything in the end.
Thinking that this was really bad, she curled in on herself. Hagiwara Shion also thought that she was in the wrong on the inside. That was why she strongly refused to tell the truth…
“Well! So that’s how it is. That is amazing.”
But, contrary to Hagiwara Shion’s expectations, Oogimachisanjou Kaya sung her praises.
“It is amazing that you’d go that far for the Konoe family. Since you have done that, you must tell Konoe-sama. I have planned a meeting for you to tell Konoe-sama of your splendid actions directly. Please tell him from your own lips. Don’t worry. Due to your actions, the Hagiwara family will not be implicated with the Nishigori family. Okay?”
“Y-Yes! I understand! I will tell Konoe-sama everything”
For someone of the Oogimachisanjou family, who was quite a high-ranked family within the Konoe monryuu, to say that made Hagiwara Shion ecstatic. She started to have the delusion that she’d done something good for the Konoe family. She’d be going with the Oogimachisanjou family to tell the Konoe family that. And she’d gotten confirmation from the Oogimachisanjou family that the Hagiwaras, who were the head family, wouldn’t get implicated with the sins of their branch family, the Nishigoris.
Azami, Satsuki, and the others made eye contact and shrugged their shoulders. Hagiwara Shion, seeing that, was confident that she had won.
One week had passed, and the preparations had been made. With pressure from the Konoe family, they were able to quickly gather all the guardians and hold a whole-school assembly. Mrs. Konoe stood on the stage and the curtain opened. Mrs. Konoe introduced herself, and Kaya, Azami, Satsuki and the others went on stage.
“Then, from here on out, it’s time to show your achievements.”
They exchanged words with Mrs. Konoe, went up on stage, gave a simple introduction, and explained all the details on what had happened. The first to appear was Nishigori Yanagi.
“Uh, uhm~… I-I’m…”
“*sigh*… please calm down.”
Kaya hit Nishigori, trembling on the stage from nervousness, to calm him down. If the only people around were Azami and the others, she’d have probably hit him on the head, but she couldn’t do that in front of this many poeple.
“Agh… I-I am Nishigori Yanagi. It was I who fell at the mixed-gender relay in the sports festival… And…”
In front of the students and large crowd of parents, Nishigori Yanagi told everything. On the screen behind him, it displayed the newspaper articles that Kaya, Azami, and the rest had already explained. A related party, Nishigori, was now explaining that particular article.
Unlike the other witnesses—the boys and Hagiwara Shion—it was easy to secure Nishigori Yanagi’s cooperation. After just a short explanation, he immediately agreed. Nishigori Yanagi felt responsibility for something bad happening because of him. If Sakuya was suffering because of that, he’d happily cooperate.
Nishigori Yanagi’s explanation was simple and persuasive. Nishigori Yanagi, who was friends with Konoe Ibuki, had decided that he wanted to win against Ibuki in the relay. In the process, he ended up facing off against Kujou Sakuya when deciding the relay order and lost. Nishigori, having been completely defeated in the race, left the second runner position to Sakuya and decided to fulfill his own role as the first runner.
But Nishigori Yanagi fell during the crucial relay race… the words Kujou Sakuya said to him weren’t reprimanding him for falling or for making the team lose, but instead a loud pep talk to encourage Nishigori, who’d given up after he fell. That was what he said.
The students and the guardians talking to each other could be heard. It was hard for the people who didn’t know much about this matter to decide. However, this confession was made by Kujou Sakuya’s side. Even though the person who’d fallen over, Nishigori Yanagi, had testified, it was possible that he was ordered or forced into testifying so that he wouldn’t disadvantage Kujou Sakuya.
“Next, we will hear from the boys who have surrounded Nishigori Yanagi in a certain picture.”
“Umm… that picture is…”
“It is completely different than what was written in the article…”
“We… blamed the fact that we couldn’t win all on Nishigori-kun, then…”
“Kujou-san warned us.”
“The whole class was watching, so there is no doubt about it… the contents of this article are a lie…”
The noise of people talking got louder. All the articles on the newspaper were getting denied, and the people involved in them were telling in detail what actually happened at that time. In addition, several other classmates testified that Kujou Sakuya defended Nishigori Yanagi when the boys were blaming him.
Of course, there was the possibility that this was all set up by the Kujou family. But with this many testimonials and this much evidence, was it really all set up? In the first place, no source was written for the information in the article. They just had pictures, shocking headlines and instigation. There was no proof that the images actually depicted what the articles wrote.
Gradually… the majority of people who didn’t know aout the situation and just heard of it began to have doubts. It was definitely overproduced. If that had really happened, there’d be more of a fuss. In the first place, who took this many pictures, when, and how did they take them? Those doubts slowly grew bigger and bigger.
“Then… there is also Hagiwara Shion’s testimony, who was said to be threatened by Konoe Ibuki-sama to sabotage Class One.”
“I! I purposefully tripped Nishigori Yanagi so I could protect Konoe-sama, since he said that he’d win against Konoe-sama in the relay despite being part of the Konoe monryuu! With that, the Hagiwara main family prevented the Nishigori branch family from rebelling, and that achievement was recognised by Konoe-sama!”
Everyone was puzzled by the extremely tense girl who just appeared. They didn’t really understand what she was talking about, but thanks to Oogimachisanjou Kaya, who controlled the situation well while explaining the story, they knew everything.
Basically, Hagiwara Shion had purposefully made Nishigori Yanagi fall over. She did that because Nishigori, who boasted about winning against Konoe Ibuki in the relay, was unsuitable for the Konoe monryuu… The person herself had happily said that she was extremely worried about getting scolded by the Konoe monryuu or, at worst, getting kicked out if he did win the relay.
Then, she proudly stated that the picture of her and Kujou Sakuya was taken when Kujou Sakuya was questioning her on why she’d purposefully made NIshigori fall.
They didn’t know why Hagiwara Shion was saying this so happily or why she was answering so proudly. The only thing they knew was the true series of events at the sports festival. Knowing that was enough.
If these announcements and testimonies were true… then the whole story they’d been telling was turned upside down. For those who didn’t know the details, hearing the story from not one but two sides at least gave rise to suspicion.
*bzzt bzzt*… *click*…
“Do you not understand? Then, let me ask you. Why did you… send flying… during the relay…?”
“Are you okay… your own family… announcing this in a public space…?”
Voices suddenly started playing from the speakers. Kaya and the others tried to talk, but their mics got turned off. It seemed that the voice playing from the speakers was Kujou Sakuya’s.
“Topple Konoe-sama… the Konoe monryuu’s… Hagiwara family… if that happens, the Konoe family will…because the Hagiwara family will be destroyed!… uwaaaah!”
Then, Hagiwara Shion began to cry.
“You… are sabotaging the race… you, in the Konoe monryuu… do you not understand?”
The voices were choppy and the contents of the discussion weren’t very clear. But, listening to this conversation, you could understand that Kujou Sakuya was threatening Hagiwara Shion so she would interfere with the relay, just like the article said.
In this evidence, Kujou Sakuya was scolding Hagiwara Shion for not sabotaging the relay despite Kujou Sakuya coercing her. That was the only way it could be interpreted.
When that broadcast played… it accelerated the students’ and guardians’ confusion. Who was right? Some people said that Kujou Sakuya was at fault. Some people said that something was off. You couldn’t clearly say that one side was right; you couldn’t clearly decide this situation.
Kaya, Azami, and the others’ efforts to clear Sakuya’s name from the false accusations all got thrown into chaos from the current broadcast.