|Love in Bloom
Author: Yashi-Sama PM
Take place after Saki's championship victory. Toyone, infatuated by Saki decided to move to kiyosumi high. And a dismayed Teru who starts noticing Saki. And let's add bits of Nodoka's jealousy. Poor Saki... Rated T for now, Rating subjects to change. For those who are wondering where the mahjong battles are, there will be lots for chapter 5Rated: Fiction T - English - Saki M. - Chapters: 7 - Words: 87,646 - Reviews: 78 - Favs: 41 - Follows: 54 - Updated: 03-12-13 - Published: 09-03-12 - id: 8492593
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Love in Bloom
Disclaimer: If i do own Saki (which I don't) she'll have her own unlimited kan works =p
PS: ANDDDDD here comes the updateeeeee
Three O'clock P.M., just as everything was going good a girl wearing a maid outfit appeared before the two sisters wielding a small shotgun. Despite the seriousness of the situation both Saki and Teru could not feel the fear they're supposed to feel while they were looking at the skimpy outfit the girl in front of them was wearing.
"A battle maid? No, no, those things only happen in mangas." Saki was trying to put bits and pieces of her experiences to find out how they should act in this situation. The maid in front of them had green twintails and was as tall as Teru. She looked slender and not the type who would suddenly burst out from places holding firearms.
"Who are you two and what are you doing here?" Asked the maid. Her voice sounded stern yet it was somehow high pitched. She didn't look like a high school student either.
"W-We're just students we're sorry! We just got stranded in the rain and we found this place we don't mean any harm!" Saki tried to explain their situation. Usually she would hide behind someone like Nodoka but for some reason she felt exceptionally confident this time.
"If you really don't mean any harm… then why is that person behind you carrying a rusted knife and looking at me like she wants to perform sev*nteen dissections like that guy from t*uk*hime?"
"Eh? O-Oneechan!" Saki was surprised to see her sister in a launching stance while holding a knife she found on the ground beside some other rusted kitchen utensils. Saki immediately hugged her sister's waist before she performed something both of them would regret.
"Sorry I was just nervous." After some struggle, Teru finally let go of the knife and bowed with Saki in apology.
The maid finally lowered her guard and sighed. It seems that even though she had a gun and looked brave she too was frightened with the situation they were.
"I- I understand. It's my fault too, I should've asked first but around here I learned to aim first before I ask questions."
The maid replied as Saki took a big sigh. The shotgun was finally down and that killing intent that filled the room was finally gone.
"Both of you are soaking wet, and you're probably hungry, why don't both of you come in?" The maid offered. As so it happened they took refuge in a storage house at the back of a café. Immediately as they stepped in from the backdoor they were met with three other people who appeared to be the caretakers and employees of the place. Other than the maid, there were two cooks and two other people dressed up as maids as well. There was only one man and he was one of the cooks.
"Oh so these two are the intruders?" The boy cook asked them. He was fairly young for someone who was working as a cook. To both of the sisters they placed him to be in the twenties.
"Oniisan don't scare them they were stranded in the rain." The maid who escorted them inside vouched for them.
"Fine, I'm sorry. First and foremost you better change your clothes. Even that jacket is soaked." The cook suggested.
"Actually I-…." Teru was about to say that she had some spare clothes in her bag for both her and her sister but she paused when she saw the maid bring in the outfits.
"Unfortunately we only have these maid costumes here. We don't live here you see." The girl in the maid outfit explained.
Teru gave the clothes a long hard look before turning to Saki.
"Thank you very much we accept your offer." She bowed down politely.
"Eh?" Saki wondered what that look her sister gave her a second ago meant.
Both of them were given two different maid costumes but both sported the same animeish theme. It appears that to hook in customers this café went with cute attires like those found in Akihabara.
"Come I'll help you dress up!" Teru dragged Saki to the employee's only comfort room where every worker there dressed up.
"W-Wait oneechan I think I can dress up alone!" She tried to protest but before she knew it she was already absorbed inside the room then it was locked.
"Okay let's start!"
"O-Oneechan I- I don't think that goes there….. kyahh!"
"Don't be silly I know what I'm doing."
"D-Don't rub that place…. nyahh!"
"Wait it's not deep enough. Loosen up will you? It's too tight!"
Meanwhile, outside the room, everyone who was lucky enough to hear it had their faces flustered while their imaginations ran wild.
"They did say they were sisters right?" The cook asked the maid.
"Y-Yes…" The maid nodded while doing her best not to mind the cute sounds coming from the comfort room.
Saki's maid outfit was a sleeveless shirt that had flowers over the two pieces of thin fabrics that hanged over her shoulders. Every side of the shirt had frilly design and the prevailing color that covered its sides, back and a few inches on the front was blue the middle part was left pure white which was the same color of its frills. The skirt was a miniskirt. It stretched up to five inches above her knee and that is an inch shorter than her usual miniskirt that she wore in school. Like the shirt it had frilly design and was blue dominated with some white. She wore long socks that covered the entire bottom part of her leg while her feet were covered with cute little brown shoes.
Miyanaga Teru was wearing a short sleeved shirt with a maid's apron above it that stretched to the edge of her miniskirt which was also five inches above her knee. The design of this maid outfit looked simpler as it lacked the frilly designs Saki had on hers, but it was still decorated with colorful embroideries. On her collar was a pink ribbon and her neck was closed tightly without revealing any skin. Unlike Saki, the socks she wore only extended a few inches past her feet and she wore black boots that fit her quite closely.
"H-How come oneechan's outfit is less revealing than mine?" Saki complained. While Teru's top revealed almost no skin, Saki's shoulders and the upper part of her chest can be seen.
"You look cute in it!" Teru sincerely praised her little sister.
"Saki come here." Teru beckoned for her sister as she took her wallet out of her pocket and as the obedient little sister, the younger Miyanaga nodded and approached her big sister.
Inside Teru's hands were two rubber bands which she handed to Saki. The younger sister was lost at first before she looked closer and realized something familiar.
"These are my old hair-rubber-bands!" Saki looked both mystified and overjoyed to see the two bands. She thought that she lost them forever when she misplaced them in her mom's home.
"I kept them safe for you this past three years. You'll have to wear these. You don't want the people in here to know who you are."
Teru said this with a big smile.
"When I said those cruel words in the interview I was never able to sleep peacefully again. Saki believe me when I say that there was not a dream where you were not in it. But I was scared. Scared that after all this time, you've given up on me." Teru embraced her little sister from behind after making sure the eye patch was completely intact.
"O-Oneechan…" Saki just blushed and smiled gently. She was happy to know that even when they were apart, her sister still thought about her. She sincerely thought Teru abandoned her already.
Teru placed the rubber-bands on her sister and even styled her hair properly that she resembled her old look when she was younger. Twin-tails were Saki's style then and now that she looks at herself in the mirror in that hairstyle with her sister she couldn't help but feel both happy and sentimental.
"You look better with a longer hair why did you cut them?" Teru wondered. She found it challenging to style Saki's hair to what it was before.
"Without my hair-rubber-bands I had to let it grow out and on the first day of high school a kid on the street stuck a piece of gum on them. It was harder to remove so I just had my hair cut." Saki explained. She remembered how a stubborn brat passing by played that trick on her while she was taking a nap under a tree.
Teru twisted her lips a bit. She felt like she wanted to find that child and make him feel pain that escalates every minute. But she can't deny that she liked Saki's looks with a short hair too so she let it go.
"Anyway Saki if we're going through such lengths to disguise ourselves we might as well use aliases don't you think?" Teru suggested as she finished styling her sister's hair. For her own disguise she took out a pair of big round glasses from her bag and wore them.
"I- I'm not sure I can think of good a good name." Saki scratched her cheek guilty of the fact that she sucked in making fictional names other than the ones she read in books.
"Why don't we just use our film's character's names?" Teru snapped her fingers.
"Naomi and Seiko?" Saki gasped. She thought that it was also a good idea.
"Yes with that we can hide our names and practice getting into our character as a practice for the filming." Teru nodded while she had her point finger up.
"A-Ah! About the filming what are we going to do? We're not only late, we're now extremely late!" Saki panicked. The director must be fuming by now. After the many times she worked with that man before (with commercials and such) she didn't want to disappoint him.
"We can't do anything about it. It's still raining hard. We can't search for the place in this condition." Teru replied. She looked like she also regretted the fact that they were late but if they weren't late then they wouldn't have had the chance they had to make up. In huge way she was glad they got lost.
After some finishing touches on their looks they finally took their first step outside the room. Teru was holding Saki's hand behind her to guide her out since the later was too shy. Outside the room, the café's staff was awed with how much their outfits fit the two sisters.
"Hoeh those clothes really fit you two!" The maid who held the shotgun before had her hands in a prayer gesture close to her chest as she tried to control herself.
"Thank you very much for your hospitality." Teru politely bowed before flashing her media smile.
"My name is Erica. I'm sorry again for before." The maid bowed back and apologized for that mishap awhile ago.
"Not at all, we were the one trespassing. It's nice to meet you."
"May I know your names?" Erica asked.
"I'm Seiko Mi-… Miyamoto." Teru did her best not to choke after she almost forgot not to say 'Miyanaga'.
"And I'm Naomi Miyamoto." Saki followed her sister's lead as she hesitantly pulled herself out of the comfort room.
"Y-You two, w-we're understaffed today and I know you're a guest and all b-but since you're not doing anything and…" The maid was struggling to speak her mind as she mumbled, stuttered and flinched in front of the two sisters.
Teru looked at Saki. She herself doesn't mind and in fact she had done such works before to promote their team when she was in first year. However, she wanted to know how Saki felt about it. Saki who knew what her sister's gaze meant nodded.
"I was asked to help once in a similar café so I'm okay… I think." Saki replied. The outfit she wore back then was extremely cute but this is more revealing and looked like something that came off an eroge.
"T-Thank you very much! We'll pay you once we're done we promise!"
The maid looked jubilant after receiving the 'okay' from the two sisters.
"Let me show you around!" Erica took Teru and Saki to the lobby and dining hall where they serve the customers their food.
To Teru's and Saki's surprise, that café was also a mahjong café. On the left side of the café were a long dining table and some six seaters where people could eat. On the right side of the café which was considerably bigger than the left were ten mahjong tables complete with four seats each. Besides those tables there was one table which was placed on top of a stage. Seven of the ten mahjong tables were occupied while the special table was empty.
"We play mahjong with our customers if they're lacking players. Do you two know how to play?" Erica asked excitedly.
Teru and Saki exchanged looks for a moment.
"Not that much." Teru replied humbly.
"M-Me too, I know how to play but I'm no good at it at all." Saki added. Hopefully all that acting they did in the previous sessions of filming paid off and the maid would believe them.
"That's fine. As long as the customers have someone to play with." The maid didn't seem to mind as long as the two sisters knew the yakus and the rules. Actually she thought that some customers might love that better since most of them want to play to relax and although many claim mahjong is fun, losing is not relaxing at all.
"What do we do oneechan?" Saki turned to her sister for answers. If she didn't want to stand out she certainly can't beat her opponent's to negative hell. They had to come up with a plan as they whispered closely to each other.
"Can you still play plus minus zero?" Teru asked her sister. Personally she disliked watching Saki take it easy on her opponents but this isn't exactly serious games. At this point, unless a pro comes in the café she won't hurt anyone's feelings using that condescending technique.
Saki nodded in response.
"How about you oneechan?" Saki can't remember a time when her sister demonstrated the same skill of scoring plus minus zero. She wondered what Teru would do in this situation.
"I'll hold back. I can do it. I've done it before for charity tournaments." Teru remembered the times when Shiraitodai would be asked to play in certain tournaments where the proceeds would go for a certain group of people in poverty.
At first when there were no empty slots to fill the two were praised by the customers as they delivered orders to the tables. Teru was very comfortable with the job and her 'media face' really fit the situation. Since she started taking orders three people have already tried to hit on her who she successfully fended away gently. Saki on the other hand wasn't too confident. When she served in Mako's café she mainly played with the customers and with someone she refers to as 'Katsudon-san' so she's still basically a newbie with service.
"H-Here's your order. P-Please enjoy." Saki said this as she placed an order of spicy risotto. The food looked very delicious but the three men sitting on the table for six had their attention Saki.
"Hwoah you're a new girl right? You're really very cute!" One of the men who looked like he was twenty-one years old sitting on that table looked mesmerized as she looked up at the shaking girl.
"I-I…" Saki's legs were about to cross together before Erica came to her aid. The cringing champion went behind the green haired maid like a chick to a mother hen.
"Please forgive this girl, she's new." Erica apologized then winked at the boy as she rubbed Saki's hair to comfort her.
"It's okay she's cute that way." The man smirked.
"Calm down Naomi-chan just smile at them and ask them for what they want. If they compliment you just say thank you. Your big sis is doing great look." Erica gave the girl some tips that she hoped the girl would follow and pointed at Teru who looked like she was having fun serving customers.
"H-Hnn…!" Saki nodded. She was still very unsure of what to do but seeing her sister perform encouraged her to do well.
A few seconds after that three customers came in and sat on a table. They were lacking one person for a legitimate four player mahjong match.
"Erica we need a player can you play with us for awhile?" The customer seemed to be a regular in the café.
Unfortunately Erica and the two other regular maids were busy with orders. Erica had three customers to serve while the other two had to go to replenish the stock.
"Sorry my hands are currently full but-…."
Erica noticed Saki who was only waiting for more orders.
"Naomi-chan do you think you can play with them?" Erica asked her temporary helper a favor.
Saki walked to the table and bowed to her new customers.
"L-Let's have fun playing." She said this politely before taking her seat.
"Oh you're a young one aren't you?" The men who came in were quite aged. They looked like they were already in their forties except for one who looked like he was in his mid twenties. Saki just faked a laugh to respond to the man's comment.
"You look a bit familiar, were you in the prefectural? Or maybe the nationals?" The man who looked youngest asked. Saki let out a little yelp after hearing this.
"N-No, I'm not good enough to be in one of those." Saki lied. Teru was looking behind her worriedly and hoped that her twin-tails hair style was enough to hide her identity.
"Should I have given her glasses too?" Teru wondered.
Four o'clock P.M. and it's still raining hard. At this point the film crew knew that they will have to move the filming. However what's extremely important right now is that they find the two stars of their show. They've joined together with the stars' friends and the reporter that claimed to know the neighborhood more than anyone.
"So this is where you say you were last with her?" Junko asked the tall girl behind her. The place was a few corners away from the meeting place. The tall girl was holding an umbrella for the both of them. There were many other people behind them. They were Shizuno, Arata, Akado, Toshi, Hisa, Sumire and three men who director sent to help them.
Toyone replied with a somewhat apologetic and sad face.
"I focused too much on getting there on time that I lost her. I'm sorry it's my fault!" Toyone still feels really guilty about this whole mess.
"It's not your fault Toyone. Saki's really just like that and we failed to tell you." Hisa comforted her member and rubbed her shoulder. Deep inside she wished that in between her rendezvous with Sumire she could've explained everything to Toyone knowing that she was to accompany Saki.
"This is dangerous but, does everybody here know how to go back to the meeting place? Because from here I think it's best to split apart to look for her because from what I see she could've chosen from routes." Junko turned to the people behind her.
"I'll go with these two." Akado volunteered and took Shizuno and Arata with her.
"Toyone and I will go." Toshi decided to take her prodigy with her for the search.
"We have a feeling that the two of our aces are not too far away so we'll go together." Hisa took Sumire's hand and volunteered for the two of them.
"Just tell us where to go!" The three crewmen grouped up.
"I will go with my friend here then. Anyway what we have to remember is that the time between Saki's disappearance and this torrential downpour isn't too long."
"Ah! So that means she could still be near and taking shelter from one of the buildings near here." Arata more or less figured what the journalist was trying to say.
Junko pointed at the camera man she always takes with er. She took out a map of that region of Shiga prefecture. Then she encircled key points where she believed Saki could be and even traced walking routes that the champion could've taken.
"Everyone if you will please take each other's mobile number! That way we can update each other and also get in touch if anyone of us needs help. Now please take a route you want to investigate, then after an hour let's meet here." Junko raised her hand phone after finishing her explanation. It took them about five minutes to get everyone's numbers and before they started.
Akado's group was the first one to take a route and start. This was mainly because of the hyperactive Shizuno who was bent on finding Saki.
"Shizu it's better to carefully look for her slowly rather than rushing like that." Harue Akado and Arata could barely keep up with the girl in jersey. It was a good thing that each of them had an umbrella or that energetic girl would be soaking wet by now.
"But Miyanaga-san might be in trouble somewhere!" Shizuno turned to her coach and teammate. She had this sad frown while her legs jogged in place.
"Even if that's true rushing will only decrease our chances of finding her." Akado replied
"You don't understand! Miyanaga-san gets sick easily because of the fatigue of all the work she's doing! We need to find her fast!" Shizu replied while trashing her arms about in rush.
"Shizuno… calm down…" said Arata.
"How can I calm down when Miyanaga-san could be dying of fever somewhere?!" Shizu shouted for the first time at her teammate.
"I- I'm sorry." Takakamo realized what she just did. She didn't mean to take her frustration on Arata but something inside her is pushing her to panic.
"This girl… she's more terrified right now than the night before the championships. Shizuno…"
Their coach approached the girl in jersey and stood beside her.
"We'll find her I promise!" Akado winked and clenched her hand in a fist like how she would every time they started a round in the tournament.
"Y-Yes!" Shizuno shouted with full spirit and nodded.
"Okay so which shop will we check first? I bet she's here in this noodle shop."
Four thirty in the afternoon Saki is still playing mahjong with the three men. This is the third game since they started. The first games scores were plus twenty-three for the old man in green shirt, plus two for the old man wearing a brown jacket, minus twenty-five for the man in his mid twenties and plus minus zero for Saki. The second game's scores were plus thirty-one for the old man in green, minus twelve for the guy in jacket, minus nineteen for the guy in his twenties and plus minus zero for Saki.
"I- I guess this is Tsumo for me. One thousand all." Saki revealed a small hand that ended the third game right there.
"Yes I'm first place again!" The old man in green cheered.
"Y-You're really amazing sir." Saki scored plus and minus zero again.
Meanwhile Teru was also playing her share of games in a different table. However, unlike Saki she allowed herself to win some games without completely dominating her opponents.
"Ron." Teru declared as she took the one of circles for the win scoring a dealer baiman. The final score of that game was plus thirty four for Teru while the second place was at plus five.
"You've won three out of five games Seiko-san! You're quite good." One of the men playing with Teru looked amazed.
"I guess I'm lucky today!" Teru replied with full cheerfulness.
Saki felt weird watching her sister act like this.
"Everything's going well unless a professional player comes in we're safe." Saki had an optimistic smile on her face. The three men she was playing with decided to have a few minutes break.
"I didn't know there was a mahjong café here!" The door swung open before four other people simultaneously entered the room. A woman with red eyes and purple hair led them as they entered.
"Awawawa!" Saki shrieked after seeing the face of the person that destroyed her and Nodoka back when she was still a fledging before the nationals.
"Hoeh! T-That's Yasuko Fujita!" Erica squealed. She squirmed behind Saki hesitating whether she should ask the pro to sign her mahjong magazine or not.
"Y-You know her Erica-san?" Saki wondered if the pro was a frequent visitor in this café as much as she was in Mako's café.
"Not personally of course! But she's one of my idols! D-Did you know that her nickname is the 'reversal queen'? It's because she turn things around in the last hand that's why she's usually placed as the team captain!" Erica replied excitedly.
"S-She must be the best then."
"No. There's one more player who's better! The player I'm talking about can turn a low two thousand point hand into a twenty-two thousand point hand in one turn!"
"Eh?" Saki's finger was on her lips. She wondered what kind of monster can do such a thing.
"Order please!" Fujita called for a waiter. It was Erica who excitedly responded to the pro's call.
"W-What would you want to order?" The maid gave the pro a five paged list of their specialties.
"Hmm…" The pro skimmed through the list for what looked appetizing.
"I'll have some beef wellington." A girl who looks to be as shy as Saki was said. She had long bluish purple hair and had a hairstyle that doesn't cover her forehead too much.
"You'll get fat Kokaji-pro." A girl who's known as Kouko Fukuyo interrupted.
"E-Eh?! T-Then I'll just have fried catfish and some fries." The professional player immediately changed her order after taking to account her friend's advice and her cheeks were as red as fried lobster.
"I'll have some beef wellington then." Fukuyo finalized her order.
"Wait didn't you just discouraged me from ordering that?!" Kokaji protested after hearing her friend order the same thing she wanted to order seconds ago.
"It's fine for me because I exercise a lot." The announcer said this with confidence.
"I- I exercise a lot too! I'll have beef wellington too please!" The mahjong player reverted her order to what it was.
"Those two are the announcers that commentated on my individual matches." Saki gulped down a large portion of her own saliva as she remembered the two taking over the announcer spots when she watched her own games replayed.
"This place is nice and cozy we should stay here until the rain stops!" A girl with short golden hair looked satisfied with the place as she sat down and examined the menu the maid has given them.
"I'll have tempura with pumpkin shrimp fried rice, a spicy salmon roll oh and two pieces of Hamachi Nigiri." A girl with light brown hair happily ordered her choice of gourmet food. This girl was the sole girl wearing a kimono which was weirdly dry after going through all that rain.
"That's too much Uta." The golden haired girl tried to convince her friend to change her order.
"Aww Eri, are you worried about your partner getting fat?" Uta Mihirogi teased her friend Eri Hariu and remained steadfast with what she wanted.
"Suit yourself, as for me I'll just have fried lobsters with garlic rice." Eri gave up. She knew that when Uta is like this there's no challenging her decisions.
"Those two are announcers as well. What are we going to do oneechan?" Saki felt the pressure rise as more people who knew her sat on that single dining table for six.
After a few more minutes of nitpicking, that group finally finished deciding on what they wanted and Erica gladly took their orders to the kitchen. Saki now proceeded to taking other tables' orders since the customers she was playing with were still eating. Teru still had her hands full with more customers challenging her in her table. Saki only wished that they didn't catch the attention of the announcers and the professionals.
"Oh look there are some empty tables! Let's play some mahjong!" Fujita looked to be in high spirits as she sat on a mahjong table.
"Shall we play together then?!" The hyperactive professional player named Uta Mihirogi joined Fujita and sat on the opposite side of the other pro.
"Aren't you playing with them Kokaji-pro?" Fukuyo asked her professional friend who was given her appetizer, salad, if she wanted to play with the two other professionals.
"I want to finish this first." Kokaji replied. She looked like she was really enjoying her appetizer and she wants to savor it.
"Then we need two more." Fujita looked around for some possible players.
Erica who just came back from the kitchen approached the table with her hands together below her waist. She looked like a little girl who was just about to meet Santa Claus in one of those stores where fraud fat men dressed up in red to attract children on their lap and listen to their wishes.
"I- I can be your third player if it's okay." Erica said this hesitantly. She was scared that the pro would say no and that would embarrass her.
"Sure why not! Now we only need a fourth." Fujita looked ready to wait for a fourth even if it took hours.
Erica ran beside Saki and clung around her left hand. At this point Saki's face was covered with dark shade of despair as everything she hoped was crushed in an instant.
"P-Please play with us Naomi-chan this is my chance to play with Fujita-san and even with Mihirogi-san!" Erica looked at Saki with begging eyes that says 'pleaseeee'.
Saki turned to Teru for directions. Teru who was on her final game with her customers nodded in response.
"Okay." Finally she allowed Erica to drag her to the table where she sat down.
"Let's play!" Cheered Mihirogi.
The first game saw Saki playing east. Fujita took the south position, Erica was at west and Mihirogi was at north. As rules go, it was Saki's turn to start the match.
The four of bamboos, that was her first discard. She observed the three players in front of her. Erica looked nervous and both the two pros looked serious even though it's only a casual match. She deduced that it's probably because the two pros were playing against each other that's why they're serious.
Fujita threw out the one of bamboos before throwing a grin at the girl opposite of her. At that point Saki felt her intuition to be correct, that the two were going to go serious against each other.
Erica drew her tile and Saki noticed that the girl was shaking. She thought that a café as large as this the staff should be used to be dealing with pros already but apparently she was wrong. Even when she discarded her tile she couldn't place that discarded tile neatly in front of her and she had to apologize for putting it in such an unsightly manner.
After Mihirogi drew she placed the tile near her lips while sheepishly looking at Fujita. Saki remembered how this girl commentated and she can truly see this happening.
"Riichi!" Declared the pro as she discarded the two of bamboos and placed it on the discard pile horizontally.
"Riichi on the first turn? Amazing, a little more and she could've scored an Earthly Hand yakuman." Saki felt amazed to see someone acquire tempai in their first draw. It's not like she hadn't done this before herself but to see a pro achieving it in a match, even if it's not an official match, is something different. She drew a tile this turn and threw the six of circles.
"Turn one tempai? No wonder you're vanguard." Fujita grinned once again. The girl in front of her is known for scoring golden hands in professional world competitions. She valued Mihirogi's hand to be somewhere between a baiman and a yakuman (sanbaiman is between those two limit hands). To escape an embarrassing second turn defeat, Fujita decided to back out and threw away the safe four of bamboos.
"I-Is this pro-style mahjong? I-I can't keep up at all." Erica was feeling the tension coming from the horizontal tile Mihirogi placed on the discard pile. After drawing, she placed the tile she drew on the pile, it was the also the wrong tile to discard.
Mihirogi shocked Erica as she revealed her hand. The poor maid yelped in surprise.
"Ippatsu, Riichi, Pinfu, iki tsuu Kan, Chiinitsu and one Dora! That's a Sanbaiman! That will be twenty-four thousand!"
"Eep!" Erica was devastated. This is not a team tournament so she only had twenty-five thousand points and just now twenty-four thousand was taken from her instantly. She shook in her shoes and almost felt like she was going to pee after that attack.
"I can't blame Erica-san. This is only turn two and there were not much information to deal with. She couldn't have known what to discard." Saki was glad that it wasn't her that got hit. She might be purposely losing to them but she still didn't want to be in that situation.
Fujita was the next person to hold the position of east. She drew and threw the nine of circles. She looked more serious now because her friend just showed her up. She felt as if Mihirogi was taunting her with that last big hand. As the reversal queen she can, no, she has to be able to reverse the situation. However the blow that was dealt to Erica was not only felt by one player but by all the players on the table. Now, no one except Mihirogi can afford to play Tsumo that's larger than one thousand or the game ends there.
The still shocked Erica threw the eight of circles. She thought that since it was so close to the nine of circles that was free then it was safe. Though that's true, this way of thinking when it's still very early in the hand meant that the last blow really traumatized her.
For Mihirogi's turn, the pro who was now miles ahead of everyone else drew a tile and once again looked at Fujita sheepishly.
"Riichi!" Once again the professional discarded a tile in horizontal position but to her surprise that tile disappeared from her sight.
"Pon." Saki said this calmly as she claimed the red dragon in her three of a kind.
"Another tempai this early in the round?" Fujita gritted her teeth. She felt horrible that they were being dominated by the all japan Vanguard.
Because of Saki's pon the drawing order was changed and it was now Fujita's turn to draw. She discarded green dragon which was quickly claimed by Saki.
"Pon!" Saki has now two sets of dragons on the board. That pon forced the two other players to skip their turns and it's now Fujita's turn again.
Now that there are two sets of dragons on the board everybody except Erica and Saki were on the edge of their seats. Saki because she couldn't care less about winning this game and Erica because she was still devastated about that twenty-four thousand punishment she took from Mihirogi.
Fujita discarded a nine of circles and ended her turn. She knew that a white dragon is something she cannot afford to discard if she had it.
Erica drew the five of sticks and almost immediately, with her shaking hand she discarded the one of circles and declared riichi.
"R-Riichi!" She hesitantly declared.
When Mihirogi's turn came she was forced to discard the one of bamboo because her riichi could not allow her to change her wait. That one of bamboo was a fatal discard.
Erica revealed her hands and everybody was astonished except Saki.
"Riichi, Ii pei kou, Chiinitsu and Ippatsu. T-That's a Baiman and that will be sixteen thousand please." She felt relieved that she got back some of what she lost earlier and felt happy that she scored against a professional.
"Ow, ouchy…" Mihirogi weirdly pretended to hurt after that hit.
"That baiman was impressive but… what is this I feel? It feels as if it was orchestrated by someone else." Fujita narrowed her eyes on the girl with twin-tails beside her.
After that, the game continued but with Erica now feeling more confident. The next hand was ended in the third turn by Saki who scored a non-dealer baiman tsumo worth twelve thousand and forced each of the other players to pay four thousand points.
After the hanchan the scores were Mihirogi plus thirty four, Fujita plus seven, Saki plus minus zero and Erica who was at negative fourteen. Fujita managed to come back in the match thanks to a non-dealer sanbaiman after a couple of loses from Mihirogi but even with that she had to settle for second place.
"Let's rest for fifteen minutes before we play again kay?" Mihirogi cheerfully asked the other players in front of her. It was a good choice because the food they ordered just arrived.
"I- I'm going to the comfort room." Saki felt rather pressured and decided that she had to go for a bit.
In the washroom she met Erica who was washing her face.
"Naomi-san how do you do it?" Erica asked before Saki could enter the toilet.
"Hmm?" Saki wondered what Erica meant.
"How do you play so calmly against them?" The maid wondered. All throughout the match she didn't see Saki flinch or bat an eyelash at the professional's dominating attacks.
"W-Well, it's because there's nothing at risk right?" Saki lied. In truth it's because she's already used to the pressure players of similar level emit while they play. Although she does feel some pressure, it's not from the players themselves but from the fact that she needed to keep her identity.
"I wonder if that girl felt the same pressure fighting against these kinds of people."
Erica had a distant look on her face. She imagined the face of her most admired player playing against such strong monsters.
"Remember when I told you that I think there's someone better?" Erica looked excited once again.
"Y-Yes." Saki remembered her short talk with Erica a couple of minutes ago when the professional players arrived.
"The person I'm talking about is a person a lot more exciting to watch. Every time she says the word 'kan' I get the tingles!"
Erica shook her body as if someone was showering her with ice and cold water.
"I call her the Rinshan Princess and she's the reason I find mahjong so much exciting nowadays." Erica looked like someone who just ate the tastiest thing in her life.
"R-Rinshan Princess?" Saki was in wonder who would have such a beautiful title. She imagined it to be a pro of Fujita's or Mihirogi's caliber or even greater.
"Yes! Because that's her trademark move! And her name is…" Erica paused for a bit as if to put emphasis.
"Is?" Saki could not wait to know who this person was.
"Is Miyanaga Saki!" Erica said this with sweet and proud intonation.
"Oh… It's mi… M- Me!?" Saki was shocked to find out that she was Erica's most admired player. She felt tensed and she could swear that she felt Goosebumps after hearing that.
"What do you mean you Naomi-chan? I said Miyanaga Saki." Erica thought that Saki was silly for saying that.
"Ahaha I- I meant m-me too." Saki lied. On one hand she felt happy to know that someone really admires her but on the other hand she felt disappointed that a fan could not recognize her with her hair in twin-tails.
Meanwhile in the dining room one player felt disturbed. She did end up in second place and while it's an achievement for playing against the All Japan Vanguard she couldn't help but wonder that someone placed her there. That someone allowed her to get there.
"Mihirogi, did you notice something about that girl?" Fujita turned to the girl beside her who was taking in a lot of the tempura she ordered.
"What? Erica-chan? She's good, she did score that baiman, even though that's the only hand she won." Mihirogi replied. She tried t remember if there were other amazing moments that Erica played but she couldn't find any.
"No, not her, I mean the other one." Fujita replied and pointed at the twin-tailed maid who just got out of the comfort room.
"Eh? What do you mean?" Mihirogi was now beginning to talk with her mouth full.
"Eat everything first!" Eri chastised her professional partner who was beginning to choke on her food.
"Hmm… come to think of it she looks familiar." She stared at the sleeveless maid until that girl got pulled to the back of the kitchen by another maid who hand pink hair and was wearing big glasses.
In the back of the kitchen Teru pulled Saki where nobody could see or hear them.
"Do you think they noticed?" Teru asked Saki with a serious look.
Saki waved her head in a 'no' gesture.
"I've met with katsudon-san for a few times and if she recognized me she'd tell me immediately." Saki replied. She never got to calling Fujita with her real name and kept calling the professional 'katsudon-san' since she ordered consecutive portions of katsudon from Mako's café.
After eating the two professionals decided that they wanted to resume the game. Saki and Erica promptly responded to the two and took their seats. However this time another professional went to them.
"We're going to play too." Kokaji and the two announcers decided to play with each other to have some fun and to pass time.
"We need one more player do you think there's someone free to be our fourth?" This was asked by Kouko Fukuyo and the question was directed at Erica.
Erica immediately stood up and looked around for someone free. Near the kitchen she saw Teru who just finished playing with her customers who had enough for the day and decided to go home.
"Seiko-san can you play with our customers here for awhile?" Erica requested. She hoped that Teru would give her a nod or a yes because she really didn't want to disappoint any of the pros.
"Ah… Sure!" Teru flashed her smile and acted cheerful as she took her seat. Coincidentally the seat she took was directly behind Saki's seat. The two sisters are now sitting back to back each other. Erica was happy that all the seats were filled in.
"F-Fujita-san… m-may I ask why you're in Shiga prefecture?" Erica hesitated to ask at first but she really wanted to know the reason.
"Ah, well that's because I was elected as an official for the coming tournament in two months. I had to take care of some documents." Fujita replied.
"I'm going to be an announcer." Mihirogi interrupted and said this cheerfully while using both her point fingers to point at herself.
"Isn't that the tournament to select people to join in the World Team Competition?" Erica wondered. She heard news about it but she never heard anything official. She would be glad to hear it directly from a professional who would officiate the event.
"Exactly." Fujita nodded.
"W-Will Miyanaga Saki play?" Erica asked in a way that she said Saki's name so fast because of her excitement.
On the mention of her name Saki almost choked. She could only hope that this won't bring attention towards her.
"No because as the individual champion she's already seeded for the world competition." Fujita replied.
"Aww that's too bad." Erica felt sad that she wouldn't be able to see her idol play and lowered her head.
"Is Miyanaga Saki your favorite?" An announcer from the opposite table asked the maid. It was no other than Kokaji's friend Fukuyo.
Erica turned to that table and nodded.
"Yes! I think she's the most amazing player in the world!" Erica replied.
"What about Miyanaga Teru?" The announcer Eri asked. It's not like her to pry but she wanted to know the opinion of the common folk about these matters rather than just them who watch the game from the announcer's room.
Teru's heart almost skipped a bit on the mention of her name. Unlike Saki her disguise relied on her glasses and a little change of hairstyle. She hoped that this topic wouldn't bust her because that would suck a lot.
"I think Teru-san is great too but I find Saki-san the most exciting of all! Every time she says kan me and my friends stand and cheer even before she declares her win by Rinshan Kaihou." Erica continued to tell her opinion of the two great high school players while the disguised Saki was already blushing bright red.
"They're great in mahjong and all but don't you think they're too flat?" This question was made by a careless announcer who calls herself Kouko Fukuyo. This caused the hands of two people to tighten into fists.
"K-Kouko-chan that's not something you should say!" Kokaji tried to chastise her friend. She was blushing embarrassed about the actions of her partner.
"I- I don't look at such physical features!" Erica at this point was also blushing. The topic was something so random that she wasn't prepared to say anything.
"Yeah but I just can't help it, I mean Miyanaga Saki is good but compared to Nodoka Haramura she's like a chopping board. I thought the public would like a champion plumper." Kouko added to the careless words she threw before. The face of the pink haired girl in front of her was already lowered and covered in the shade of anger as she heard the name of her sister used with disrespect.
"It's not the first time. Miyanaga Teru the past years barely had anything on her either. In fact I think she's just as flat today as she was the first time she claimed the championships." Another hyperactive announcer shared her thoughts. This time it was the girl beside her whose face began to shroud in darkness.
"Does it matter? I don't believe that being flat as a road overrun by a million trucks should matter. People will like you if you play good and exciting. That's showmanship." Fujita decided to join in the conversation without knowing that her words were the final trigger to awaken two sleeping monsters.
At the instant Fujita finished her sentence everybody in the room including normal diners felt an extremely powerful killing intent emanating from the mahjong tables the professionals were. The two sisters who were sitting back to back in different tables were virtually shrouded with dark and menacing auras.
"T-This feeling!" Fujita gasped, stood up and moved back as she was surprised by the sudden burst of intimidation coming from the girl beside her.
"K-Kyahh!" The announcer Fukuyo who was sitting directly in front of the angered older sister almost fell off her seat as she felt a whirlwind of animosity pass through her.
"Oneechan…" Saki said this in a whisper to her sister who was sitting and leaning behind her.
"Yes… no mercy." Teru said this almost in a command. She would not forgive anyone who insults her cute sister in the same way that Saki would not allow mockeries aimed to her cool oneechan.
"E- Ehe… I think we're in trouble." Mihirogi who was arguably the second most experienced professional in the room (the first being Kokaji) had her lips twitching as she imagined funeral flowers to bloom around her.
"Y-Yeah… w-we talked too much." Kokaji who was the most accomplished professional there, though innocent, could see a ripper riding a whirlwind emanating from the glasses girl beside her.
Five thirty in the afternoon the groups working hard searching for the two sisters have still yet to get lucky. Right now Shizuno, the coach and Arata are inside a bowling alley checking for leads that might help them find Saki.
"I don't think she went in here." Arata looked around and found no trace of a mahjong player there.
"But this is the last place in this area we haven't checked. She has to be here." Shizuno was insistent despite the obvious clues that Saki wasn't there.
"Excuse me sir have you seen a girl here with short brown hair and probably wearing a white uniform." Akado approached the guy in the counter. She described Saki as Toyone told her from when before they started the search.
"Those were very detailed descriptions ma'am, but after working here I've seen many short haired girls come and go. Do you have a picture or something?" The guy asked.
"Here! This is her!" Shizuno found a 'Mahjong Weekly' magazine sitting on a glass table where people wait and relax. On the cover of the magazine was Saki holding the one of bamboos while posing a peace sign and smiling at the camera.
"Ah! Y-You're looking for Miyanaga Saki? Impossible, I wouldn't miss her if she came here. I'm a big fan! Is she in town?"
The guy looked excited. No wonder all the magazines in that corner were filled with so many mahjong magazines.
"Come to think of it you two look familiar…"
The man took his time thinking where he saw the two high schoolers before. Then he gasped 'ah' and pointed at the girl in jersey.
"You're one of the finalists who faced Miyanaga Saki in the championships and you're that girl who fought Nodoka Haramura!" The man looked happy to remember.
"Y-Yes… sorry sir where currently in a hurry our friend is missing. Do you have any idea where she could've gone?" Shizuno didn't have time to chat to a possible fan and immediately went back to her business.
"Well… there's a mahjong café not too far from here. Have you tried there?" The man replied.
"Mahjong café? We didn't come across one on the way here." The three girls looked at each other asking themselves if they saw something that looked like a café.
"Well do you have a map? I can locate you there." The man asked and Harue Akado gladly handed him a map. The man encircled the location of the mahjong café.
"This place isn't in any of the routes Junko-san laid for us. It's worth a look but we better meet up with the others first." Harue took out her phone and started emailing everyone included in the search.
Six o'clock P.M. in the café the first game of both groups has reached its seventh turn and some players have reached tempai. Saki was in the south position in her group and so was Teru.
It was Fujita's turn to draw. After drawing her tile she looked at her opponent sitting beside her. The threatening aura was no longer there but she swore that she felt that she felt a glimpse of that before. She threw away the one of circles.
"What's your name again? Naomi?" Fujita asked. The girl slowly turned her head like one of those dolls in horror movies.
"Yes." Saki answered with her eyes wide open.
"I think she's mad."
Sweat rolled down Fujita's cheek as the girl turned away from her and concentrated back on her game.
"Anyway this is weird. Me, Mihirogi and that other maid have tempai for four turns now. And yet none of us have scored a hand. It feels as if there's a big wall hindering us. Is this similar to Koromo's ability?" The only comparison she could make was with Amae Koromo who had the ability to control the flow into such a state that nobody except her can get into tempai. This was different, they were all in tempai except that girl and yet why do they feel that they will lose this hand?
"Naomi-chan are you mad?" Erica noticed the change in Saki's behavior.
"No I'm not." Saki smiled with such an angelic face at Erica before waving her head in a no gesture.
"So she's only angry at me?!" Fujita twitched on her seat.
Erica threw away the nine of bamboos. She was also in riichi so she couldn't change her wait.
Now was Mihirogi's turn. She drew her tile and threw it away immediately for she too was in riichi. She now regrets that move and felt that she was being choked by somebody who was orchestrating her every move.
"I see what Fujita meant now. These girls' pons are changing the order of the draws to her desire. Now that the three of us are in riichi we're sitting ducks." For the first time today Mihirogi frowned.
It was now Saki's turn. Upon taking the tile, she didn't even look at it before slamming it on the bottom side of the board.
"Tsumo, san shoku Toitoi! That's seventy Fu and four Han! That will be four thousand once and two thousand twice." Saki surprised everyone by exploding in the first game.
Meanwhile in Teru's table Kokaji pro could not help but steal glances over the next table where Saki just scored.
"That girl is doing good."
"But it's not just her. I don't know why but I feel something from this maid beside me." Kokaji watched Teru draw her tile.
Like Saki, Teru slammed her tile on the board as she declared her win.
"Only Tanyao, that will be five hundred once and three hundred twice." Teru's hand was a small hand even if they only had twenty-five thousand points.
Back to Saki's table Saki was in east position and a few turns have already passed. It was already Mihirogi's turn and this time she wasn't stuck with riichi. Instead she was in hidden tempai where she didn't want the people in the game to know that she was already one tile away from winning. In her dismay she drew the north wind tile which wasn't the tile she needed. She discarded it immediately after deeming the tile safe.
Everybody gasped as the girl claimed the north wind in her set of four. Then that girl grabbed a tile from the dead wall and to their surprise:
The girl declared her second kan in a row and it was a set of the two of bamboos for apparently she drew the tile she needed to complete that second quad. This time the girl everyone knew to be Naomi drew the four of circles but once again she didn't even look at it and slammed it on the board.
"Tsumo! Toitoi, San'ankou and with Rinshan Kaihou makes it a mangan. With the rule 'the one responsible pays' that will be twelve thousand Mihirogi-san." Normally a mangan won't be as high as twelve thousand but with Saki as the dealer it stretched to that much.
"Rinshan Kaihou?" Fujita had a weird grin on her face. The yaku the girl, Naomi, used was a rare Yaku that only one person has specialized in and to see it happen there brings doubt to her mind.
"I-It's just like Miyanaga Saki's!" Erica's smile was so wide to see someone use Rinshan Kaihou.
Saki scratched the back of her head to act clueless.
"I was lucky." She said this to Erica and covered her identity.
On the other table, two hands have already passed since Teru's 'Tanyao' win and since then she's won two more hands. The hand she won directly after her first win scored a tsumo worth four twice and eight hundred once and her next hand scored two thousand once and one thousand twice. And on this hand…
She declared right after Eri discarded the three of characters. Eri gasped and even caused her chair to slide back in surprise.
"Chii toi tsu and two doras!" She revealed her seven pairs. The value of the hand was six thousand and four hundred.
"N-Not again, you just keep on winning Seiko-san." Eri was astonished that Kokaji wasn't the person dominating the match. Instead some megane maid is slowly dismantling them and amongst everybody, Eri was the most in danger after that direct hit.
Back on Saki's table another kan erupted from Saki.
"Tsumo! Toitoi, San'ankou, San'katsu, four doras, Rinshan Kaihou. Eight thousand all please!" Saki scored with a sanbaiman.
The score in that table right now is: Saki at seventy-two thousand (counting the three one thousand point riichi sticks the other three placed in the first game), Mihirogi at exactly zero (four thousand plus twelve thousand plus eight thousand plus the one thousand point riichi stick she threw in the first game), Fujita and Erica at Fourteen thousand. The game now has come to a point where the other competitors cannot declare tsumo.
"Ahaha I'm in a pinch!" Mihirogi laughed while flailing her hands in her kimono.
"You're still happy being in zero?!" Fujita tried to criticize her fellow professional.
"I can't help it! This never happened to me before even in world events!" Mihirogi turned to her peer while still casually flailing.
"Y-You're amazing Naomi-san!" Erica was ecstatic to see the trademark moves of her idol used in front of her. At first she felt a little insulted that someone else was using Saki's moves but for some reason she can't help but feel delighted to see Naomi use it.
"Ehe..." Saki just laughed and turned her gaze away.
Turning her gaze allowed Erica to view her temporary helper side ways where the other twin-tail was hidden. Then she noticed something peculiar. She saw a magazine beside Saki which was on top of a side table which displayed Miyanaga Saki's picture sideways.
"N-Naomi-san and Miyanaga-san look alike. Wait… can it be?" The maid slowly reached the band tying one side of Saki's hair. Then while the girl wasn't looking, she undid it carefully yet swiftly.
"U-Uwah!" Saki gasped as one band fell from her head. Then as she turned, she felt a hand pass the other side of her head and felt her other band fall off.
Erica stood up and moved back as the absence of the bands revealed the identity of the girl who has been playing with her for some games now. She raised her hands and covered her mouth as droplets of tears formed around her eyes.
"I knew it! There's no other person who can play such sweet music on the board." Fujita grinned as her suspicions were finally answered.
Seven o'clock pm, the rain has receded and this made looking for Saki easier for the search party. They've already met up where they started and now they're making they're way to the mahjong café encircled on the map.
"I know that café, it's quite popular around here but sometimes they're understaffed." Junko started talking about the café. She felt easier now that they didn't have to hold umbrellas.
"That's our last lead. I hope she's there." Harue Akado sighed. It has been hours now and to be frank, she's becoming frustrated with this and it doesn't help that she's now hungry.
"She has to be!" Toyone and Shizuno said this at the same time. Toyone whose guilt pushed her to work further and Shizuno who can't help but be worried looked anxious.
"For some reason I have a feeling that will find the other one there too." Hisa had a distant smile on her face.
"Now that's just being too optimistic." Sumire wanted to think that way but she can't help but think that it won't be that easy.
It didn't take long before the group started to jog instead of walk. They kept on going until they noticed that the crowd walking around them was becoming thicker. It was as if people were going to the same place they were.
"Hey did you hear?! Two maids in the café are playing equally with some pros!" One bystander excitedly asked an acquaintance near him.
"You mean Erica and that Asami? I can't believe they're already that good." That acquaintance replied with a skeptical face.
"No man I'm talking about the maids Naomi and Seiko."
"Ha? No really?"
"I'm telling you they're nuts man!"
After listening to the conversation of the two friends, two other people are stunned. Hisa and Sumire stopped running for awhile and caught the attention of their group.
"What's wrong you too?" Harue Akado noticed Hisa and Sumire.
"We've got them! We're now sure that they're there!" Hisa energetically pumped her fist and began running again.
"Eh? What makes you so sure now?" Harue wondered.
"It's because Naomi and Seiko are the film character names for Saki and Teru." Sumire replied for Hisa.
"E-Eh?! In that case let's hurry!" Shizuno felt fired up after hearing that information. More than that, if Saki and Teru are playing mahjong that means they're alright and that's something she wanted to confirm for herself.
"Naomi and Seiko feel like they came out from a game or something…" Arata felt that she had to criticize the director's originality for coming up with those names.
"It's a horror movie I think it fits well." Toshi replied. Although she was elderly, she was also running to keep up with the young ones.
"Still… I think they should've gone for something more original." Arata replied.
They only needed to follow the stream of people to get to the said café. It was not hard to believe that the place as almost full when they got there. The dining tables were empty but the mahjong area was clearly crowded. Because of the absence of a giant screen monitor, the two tables where the pros played were surrounded by bystanders.
Toyone who was the tallest of all managed to take a peek at the players and the first person she saw made her feel relieved and delighted.
"It's Miyanaga-san!" Cheered Toyone after she saw the short brown haired girl.
"Alright!" Shizuno was jubilant as well. She pushed against the people already in the area to get a peek at what's happening. The first thing she saw was the score board. Under the name 'Naomi' which was crossed out and replaced by the name 'Miyanaga Saki' was an amazing reality. For twelve games in a row, she dominated everybody and in every game she was ahead by more than plus fifty points.
"Ah I see Teru as well." Sumire who stood on one of the dining tables (to the staff's dismay) saw a pink haired girl who discarded her glasses and fixed her hair properly. The score board beside Teru was amazing as well. It was complete dominance. Arguably Kokaji-pro was the best professional player around but with the other less competent players on the board, the full time announcers, Teru was able to use her abilities to the fullest. It was complete dominance and Teru was always plus forty points ahead of the second placer Kokaji.
Back in the two tables the audience continues to squeal in awe as the two sisters began to grandstand.
The two sisters declared quads at the same time. Saki had four nines while Teru had four red dragons. Everybody was frozen in both awe and terror as the two monsters of the mahjong world reached out for the dead wall. Almost as if in synch, two tiles echoed at the same time as the two players slammed their winning tiles on the board.
"Tsumo! Chanta, San'shoku, San'ankou, five Doras, Rinshan Kaihou! That will be thirty-two thousand please!"
"Tsumo! Daisangen and Suu'ankou plus Rinshan Kaihou. Original point value, ninety six thousand, but with the limit rule that will be thirty-two thousand please."
Everybody roared and cheered as the two sisters declared their win at the same time. That was the eighth victory for the two. Everyone in the table rolled back their chairs, which had wheels below the legs, and it was the sign for end their games. Saki and Teru stood up and turned to each other.
"We won!" Saki cheered. It wasn't a part of any tournament but it felt like they've achieved something as much.
"You did well Saki. I'm proud of you." She stretched her hand and invited Saki to come over to her. The little sister happily obliged herself to jump into her sister's arm where she was well met with a warm embrace.
"Oneechan!" She said this aloud but she was muffled by her sister's embrace. She felt ecstatic because she always wanted to hear her sister praise her. All the praises she heard combined since then are nothing to this one single compliment from her sister.
"You mastered Rinshan Kaihou this much already but you still have much to bloom." Teru reminded her little sister of that flower that grows abundantly and beautifully on top of the mountains.
"Y-Yes!" Saki nodded as they ended their embrace. She took it as a loving command from her sister and she promised herself that she'll be a lot better in the future.
Teru was just smiling as she looked at her sister but her smile quickly turned to a gasp as she noticed someone behind Saki.
"S-Sumire! What are you doing here?!" Teru was shocked to see the person she knew well in the café. She was about to freak out and asked herself if they saw what she and Saki just did.
"…" Sumire was silent as she took out her wallet, took out ten thousand yen from it, and handed it to Hisa.
"Eh?" Hisa wondered as she accepted the money.
"I should've known better than to go against your bad waits." Sumire kept her wallet again.
"Miyanaga-san!" Shizuno rushed in and went beside the mahjong player in maid costume.
"T-Takakamo-san you're here too?" Saki recognized Toyone, Toshi, Junko and her camera man and some of the crew members but she was surprised to see some of the people in Achiga's team.
"We were so worried when we heard you were missing!" Shizuno looked happy but she was also in tears as she said this.
"Miyanaga-san I'm so sorry that I lost you!" Toyone was the second one to approach her. She was crying and she looked like she did back when she wailed after losing in the team competition.
"No Anetai-san I was the one who made the wrong turn it wasn't your fault." Saki felt bad that Toyone was blaming herself for what happened.
"I'm so glad that you're okay!" Toyone gave Saki a big hug that almost squeezed the life out of her.
"E-Excuse me, this is so happy and all but do you think we can meet with the director? I bet he's already worried sick for the two of you." One of the crewmen asked the two mahjong stars. Both of them nodded in approval. They have to send the director their apologies for missing the filming.
After she managed to free herself from Toyone's embrace she found herself in front of a maid named Erica. Her face flustered red as she approached the young Miyanaga with a canvas in her hand.
"C-Can you please-…." She stretched out her arms and handed Saki the canvas. Saki knew well what that was for.
"Y-Yes." Saki wrote her new autograph on it. She remembered what Erica told her before back when she was disguised and was embarrassed as she wrote on the canvas.
"Thank you so much!"
Erica was overjoyed to receive the canvas.
"Oh a-and this is your…" Erica took out two hair-rubber-bands which she took off from Saki's hair awhile ago.
Saki met Erica's hand in the middle and closed the maid's fingers around the bands.
"Please keep them Erica-san. I can't leave anything much to have you remember me except those." Saki wanted the maid who gave them shelter a remembrance of their meeting.
"R-Really?!" Erica nodded and kept the bands close to her heart.
"Wait before we all go can we have the two Miyanagas pose a bit for me this is a really good chance while both of you are wearing those beautiful outfits."
"I have no problems about it." The two sisters agreed.
For the first time the cover of Mahjong Weekly were the faces of the two best high school players. Both of them looked sincerely happy in the photo where Teru's right arm was over her sister's shoulders while pulling Saki close and both of them had the peace sign raised with a tile in between the fingers they have raised (the tile Saki held was the East Wind while Teru had the West Wind).
After that, they finally said farewell to the café. The two sisters didn't have time to change so they left as they were and promised to return the outfit the next day. Teru wanted to walk with her sister side-by-side as they made their way to the hotel.
"Saki you're coming in the training camp tomorrow right?" Teru asked. She remembered Sumire saying that 'since Saki is seeded she didn't need to come'.
"Of course I am oneechan." Saki nodded, she wondered why Teru asked her that.
Teru had a wide smile on her face. Then she noticed something important missing.
"Saki where are your hair-rubber-bands?" Teru noticed that Saki didn't have them on. She wondered if she had them kept inside her pocket.
"Ah! I gave them to Erica for remembrance." Saki replied.
In that instant Teru stopped moving and it was not until everyone was three meters away when they noticed that the Shiraitodai star was still.
"Oneechan?" Saki looked at her sister to see if something's wrong.
"I- I'm going back!" Teru was about to run back but a hand grabbed her by the back of her collar and pulled her back.
"No! You're not causing us anymore trouble! You're putting the name of Shiraitodai in shame!" It was Sumire who stopped Teru from rushing away.
"No! I cherished those bands for three years! I can't part with them like this!" Teru was flailing and trashing around all the way to the hotel.
When they got in the hotel the first thing they did was find the director so the sisters could apologize. However, the director was only very happy to see his stars fine and in fact he also apologized for not having them fetched and not giving them a complete map of the place. The two sisters didn't mind and now at least they know where to meet on Monday when they continue filming.
"Okay! Let's have a party tonight!" The director said this as they reached the hotel's dining place. It appears that the director rented the whole area for the crew's and the actors' celebration.
"We'll be going I guess." Akado who felt that they have already overstayed their welcome took her members with her.
"Oh please don't go I've already booked VIP rooms for everyone!" The director stopped the coach and the two girls.
"E-Eh? But we can't possibly." Harue felt shy to accept the offer but the director was insistent about it.
"We get to stay in the same place as Miyanaga-san? This is great!" Shizuno cheered. She really wanted to spend time with Saki but thanks to all the ruckus she wasn't able to do this until now.
After everybody decided to take the offer it was finally time for the small party. The tables used were traditional Japanese short tables and everybody had to sit on a pillow on the floor. Gourmet food was served to everyone in the director's expense. Saki was particularly happy about this because the last meal she had was deathly horrible.
"Pfft!" Sumire spew out the drink she was offered.
"I-Is there something wrong miss?" The director wondered if there was a mistake in his order.
"I'm sorry but I'm not very good with rum." Sumire replied.
"Rum? I ordered for coke and they gave us rum?" The director looked pissed.
"I- I'm sorry sir, w-we will have everything fixed at once. It appears we had your orders confused with the customer next door. Please accept our humble apologies and we will add some free dessert to compensate." One hotel employee was in the verge of panicking as he took some of the glass away.
"…" Teru was silent but her face was flustered bright red. In her hand was an empty glass that looked as if it was full a moment ago.
"Wait Teru you didn't drink all that rum did you?" Sumire asked.
"Oneechan drinks rum? I never thought you already drink oneechan." Saki asked. Never in her life until now did she see her sister drink wine or any alcoholic beverages.
"N-No… I don't think she ever has." Sumire added. She too in the three years they had as club mates did she know that Teru could drink alcohol.
"What ish everybody looking at?" Teru began to speak inconsistently. It was obvious that she wasn't used to drinking alcohol.
"Eh? Miyanaga Teru is drunk?" Shizuno gasped. It was her first time to see a high school student get drunk.
"I'm not drunk… I'm jshusht a little disshy thash all." Teru stood up and walked behind Saki.
"O-Oneechan?" Saki was rather scared at how her sister is acting. Having not seen Teru drunk before she too was a stranger to what might happen in the next few minutes.
"Everyboji thish is mah little shishter. Cute ishn't she?" She hugged her sister from behind and started rubbing her hair rigorously.
"O-Oneechan!" Saki felt good that her sister was acknowledging her but something about this was telling her to escape as fast as possible.
"This would be a good scoop if she wasn't drunk… make sure the camera is off." Junko instructed her cameraman who nodded fast in compliance.
"But really Shaki I'm proud! You've become sho good in mahjong." Teru kept hugging her little sister and even placed her entire weight on Saki's frail body that they were almost toppled off balance.
"T-Thank you oneechan." Saki replied. She wondered if her sister could understand her in this condition.
"But shtill… You shtill need more training. Let me show you… hic… how to use Rinshan Kaihou properly."
"E-Eh?" Saki looked back sideways at her sister whose face was breathing closely beside her.
"Now kan!" Everything went lightning fast and in a matter of a split second. Saki felt the inside of her skirt and underwear invaded by someone's hand.
"Pfft!" Everybody who was unfortunate enough to be drinking that time choked on their drink and spew them out.
"T-The camera is already off right?! Make sure it's off!" Junko grabbed her cameraman by the collar. She could not afford her two subjects to be seen like this.
"Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean this is getting out of hand real fast." Even Hisa who was considered to be a 'play girl' to other girls was stunned at what was happening in front of her.
"She jumped up a notch…" Sumire said this. She and Hisa had blank look on their faces while pretending that they're not watching their two aces degrade themselves.
"She did, didn't she?" Hisa turned to Sumire.
"Yeah… she just stabbed her hand in there." Sumire nodded as she turned to respond to Hisa.
"Ugh worse is that everybody saw that." Hisa blushed on this statement.
"This can kill a fan." Sumire looked really troubled but it's not too obvious because she too could not help herself but blush while looking at her ace 'search' for something.
"Do you think so?"
"Fans, who will see this will probably poke their own eyes, set themselves on fire then kill themselves with tridents." Sumire replayed some scenarios in her head that worried her in case there was a hidden camera somewhere.
"I guess we should convince them to lay off the skin ship for now. Or many people will be wanted for murder." Hisa suggested as she takes a turkey leg from the table.
"O-Oneechan you won't find any tile in there!" Saki was tense as she felt her sister's hand search underneath her.
"H-Here it ish… Rinshan Kaihou!" Teru shouted as she clamped her fingers on something she caught inside her sister's underwear.
"Mmmph!" Saki tried to cover her mouth with both of her hands. But even after that, it was the first time for everybody to see Saki squeal and scream in a high pitched manner that people in the other rooms were alarmed.