The day of the preliminary test arrived. The morning in which all of the classes had to gather together for the test respectively.
The classroom was filled with chattering students who weren’t in full studying mode. Having said that, I couldn’t hear a single voice about preparing for the lesson – only discussions unrelated to the test.
“It’s really noisy.”
“As expected, isn’t it? Unexpected rumors have spread this morning.”
“Unexpected rumors? Is it about Ichinose?”
“No. New rumors that caused disorder inside C Class.”
“New rumors… Huh.”
Looking at the restless classroom, it was clear that wasn’t the only thing.
“Btw, it’s not unrelated to you, Ayanokouji-kun.” Horikita said, turning the cell phone screen towards me. 4 rumors were written on a memo pad.
“This again —–”
- Ayanokouji Kiyotaka has feelings for Karuizawa Kei.
- Hondou Ryotaro is only interested in fat girls.
- Shinohara Satsuki did prostitution in junior high school.
- Satou Maya hates Onodera Kayano.
The contents of the rumors were similar, but the names of four people, including myself, were being directly revealed.
“Where did these rumors come from?”
“I wonder if you know about the existence of bulletin boards that were provided by the school for all classes?”
“So, it could be from someone inside the application.”
There were bulletin boards students could freely use by logging into the app our school made when, for example, making a balance inquiry. However, 99% of the time we didn’t use this app since there were various chat applications on the phone that were easier to use.
“You noticed well. Who was the first to discover it?”
“When I came to the classroom, it had already been spread. I wonder if someone accidentally happened to be inside the application. It will be understood with the renewal of bulletin boards.”
There were many bulletin boards not only for classes, but also for general chatting. Since everyone can access them, there was enough of possibility that other classes saw these rumors.
“Are you worried that the criminal is different from the previous one?”
“Whether is the same or different person, there are countless ways of spreading the rumors. There is no point in thinking about different criminals. Since the rumors were spread in this way, it is not something that can be covered.”
Horikita approached me.
“I’m asking just to be sure. Is it true?”
“It’s not true.”
I denied immediately.
“Few people know that me and Karuizawa are talking as such in the first place.”
“Can you think of any occasion?”
I briefly explained the time I encountered Hashimoto yesterday.
“If the high chances are that Hashimoto spread the rumors about Ichinose, it wouldn’t be strange if he spreads about Karuizawa and you too.”
“But, what about other people. The ways of confirming that are limited.”
If there was only a student who could directly confirm the veracity of the rumors…
“Oi, Shinohara, you did prostitution?”
Yamauchi screamed and laughed, not being able to sense the mood.
“N-not at all!”
Shinohara denied with all her strength as panic overwhelmed her. You could perceive shame and anger looking at her face.
“Then show me the proof.”
“Proof… By what means should I prove that to you!?”
Those interested in rumors spread them to other students who came to the classroom. Well, it was only a matter of time.
“If you’re saying it is a lie, then everything written here is a lie written without much thought?”
I concluded watching the conversation between Yamauchi and Shinohara.
“Then, could it be… The only thing we can do is, like Yamauchi did, confirm them with the individuals targeted by the rumours.”
However, an ordinary person cannot dig out the wounds that one wants to be hidden.
“Don’t be foolish, we are talking about spreading rumors we don’t even know who wrote them.”
No wonder Shinohara was denying things and showing anger towards Yamauchi. It would be surprising to see a person who can stay calm after such things had been written.
“But, the things written here are kinda true?”
“ Shut up, Haruki.”
Coming here, Ike grabbed Yamauchi’s shoulder and forcefully stopped his merciless investigation.
“Wha-what. Isn’t this a chance to take revenge on Shinohara who’s always acting so high and mighty?”
“Revenge… With such a lie!”
“Don’t you understand? Such an ugly woman could totally do such an unexpectedly bad thing!”
Said Yamauchi foolishly, without even thinking about Ike’s feelings.
“Ah, really. Ike, you really like Shinohara. You just don’t want to adm-”
Ike grabbed Yamauchi’s chest.
“Stop you two!”
Finding it unpleasant to watch, Sudou separated the two with all his strength. Hirata, who came to the classroom right after, sensed the atmosphere and approached. He heard about the situation from one girl and came to confirm the rumors.
At once, Yamauchi changed his target from Shinohara, who kept on denying.
“So, Hondou – Is it true you’re attracted to chubbier girls?”
Yamauchi aimed his attack to Hondou.
“W-wrong! It’s wrong! This rumor is a lie! You too Ayanokouji, it’s impossible you like Karuizawa!”
Naturally, Hondou also denied the rumors, coming after my help as if trying to escape.
I started looking around, but luckily Kei’s group still didn’t arrive to school.
As I nodded, Hondou gasped in amazement and returned to Yamauchi.
“What the hell, are these all lies, after all?”
Our classmates felt somewhat relaxed that three people denied the rumors.
“But… Satou-san doesn’t really like Onodera-san, right?”
Maezono murmured thoughtlessly, probably because Onodera still hadn’t arrived.
“S-stop it, Maezono-san!” Satou frantically, tried to stop Maezono’s words, but it was already late.
“Hasn’t anyone seen Satou and Onodera hanging around together?”
The situation was now completely changing where it might not be cleared up if rumors were lies. In the middle of it, Sudou realized that Ike and Yamauchi let each other go and walked towards Horikita and me.
“Ayanokouji. Do you really like Karuizawa?”
Even Sudou felt the need to ask me this.
“No, I don’t.”
“Hmm. It’s okay even if you tell me the truth. Hey, Suzune.”
“What is it, Sudou-kun.”
“Let me hear the conversation you guys had right now. If you would like, I can help you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m insensitive. Is it okay if I ask around straightforwardly to confirm, like Haruki?”
The original premise was that Sudou might be using this matter as an asset. If he heard the conversation, he should have also heard that I denied having feelings for Kei.
“Don’t look down on the others. In your case, the others don’t value you highly. Now it’s time to strive even for a bit to increase your reputation. It looks like Yamauchi-kun has greatly decreased his position in the class with careless words…”
There was a feeling that Sudou, who was originally the most hated in the class, was pulled out at once. Ike, who was the closest with Yamauchi, showed him his anger.
“It could be, but… I want to be helpful.”
Sudou looked at me for a moment, but soon turned away. It could be because he was guessing that Horikita and I discussed a lot of things since our seats were simply close to each other which made talking easier.
“Therefore, be prepared to have your eyes open in order for Yamauchi-kun to not do any reckless things. If there was even one good rumor, the story would be different, but if all are personally true, then they are only troublesome. Even Hondou-kun should spiritually be hurt so, I would like to request to look after him, too. Can you do this?”
“I think so…”
Sudou obediently obeyed the instructions, looking somewhat regretful.
After making sure Sudou was gone, Horikita returned to the matter at hand.
“This is most likely Sakayanagi-san’s single-handed deed. Ichinose-san alone wasn’t enough, and C Class got tricked by the same hand. And even multiple persons at once. I think it’s a shake-up which targets the end of school year test… What will we do?”
“Is there a way to confront these rumors? The more we completely deny the rumors, the more will the others get the impressions that they are true. Moreover, if we admit them, everyone will continue to whisper them, behind our backs, as if they are true. The rumors about me, aren’t important, but if the rumors about the others start to be treated like the truth, then that could cause a lot of damage..”
“… True. It could be.”
As if putting herself in their shoes, Horikita nodded with sympathy while looking at Shinohara and Hondou.
“But in a way it’s a foul technique. Isn’t there any way to fight back such things?”
“I wonder if there is.”
“Are you going to stay quiet even though you’re angered?”
“I’m not angered. But, Karuizawa, will most certainly be.”
“In other words, you’re calm?”
“Yes, I’m calm.”
She might have wanted to see somehow that I was panicking. I managed to see Horikita’s unusual expression of disappointment.
“Even so, fortunately it wasn’t the opposite.”
The opposite. What if it were the opposite, if the rumors were that Kei was the one who likes me? Right after she broke up with Hirata, rumors spread that she likes another guy. If this happened, various speculations would also fly around.
Even if something is not true, some people would still recognize it as true. Many times fiction is treated like reality.
“But….I can’t just stand still and watch all this happening, like you”
Even if we were to leave it alone, it is clear that such a fuss would spread, anyway.
Yamauchi tried to talk to Shinohara and Satou again, but Hirata stopped him.
“Yamauchi-kun. It was written on the bulletin board, so it’s not necessarily true. At the very least hurting our fellow classmates is a mistake”
“But, just like with Ichinose’s rumors, doesn’t everyone know already? So it doesn’t make a difference if we remain silent, right?”
“That’s not the case. At least, now we don’t know what’s going on. That’s why I think what I can do now is to act without being confused by these rumors on the bulletin boards.”
Hirata’s words were met with strong voices of approval from both the boys and the girls. Of course, it was no permanent solution, but it was enough to successfully handle the situation for now.
That exact time a message arrived on Horikita’s cell phone.
By saying this, she looked at the message
“It seems that Ichinose-san is taking a break today as well”
On the day of the preliminary test. Even if she were to feel a little unwell, she would like to test and check her abilities. Also, Ichinose is the leader of B Class and she is responsible for leading her colleagues Well, judging from her condition, it is only natural that she could not be completely well since yesterday.
“There’s one more thing… It seems like there were rumors posted on Class B’s bulletin as well”
“It looks like that”
Horikita urgently logged into the app and confirmed the B Class bulletin board. There were four names and similar rumors like the ones about C Class. The same was also happening on the D Class bulletin board.
“Conveniently, no rumors were posted for A Class. Do you have time after school today? I’d like to hear the details about Ichinose from Kanzaki, and I’d also like to discuss how to deal with these bulletin boards”
I agreed to Horikita’s request
“For now, let’s just focus on the preliminary test. It is a valuable opportunity to check the difficulties of the end of the year test and understand the situation of our class ”
However, unlike Horikita who was not affected by the rumors, this would not be so easy for the people who were targeted.
When Kei and her girlfriends finally came to class, they gathered around her and started whispering. Then, I could clearly see them glancing towards me with a look of disgust in their eyes. I really did not have to hear the words directly. It was perfectly clear what they were saying to each other. Something like….
“Do you think that Ayanokouji-kun has a crush on Karuizawa-san?”
“What do you think? Hey, Karuizawa san”
That kind of conversation was going on. And I was sure in my mind that Kei used words like ‘disgusting’ and ‘horrible’
“You said you didn’t care, right?”
“…. It is still fairly hard”
I decided not to look further, because I could hear such words directly.
The real problem would be the other people named rather than me.