Hikaru arrived at the Japanese Go Institute on the day of the preliminary exams. He had told Sai that he would come have lunch with him. The pro exited the elevator and looked around expecting Sai to be waiting for him already. As the former Go tutor of the Emperor in the Heian Era, he should have won fifteen minutes into the game maximum.
However, the violet-haired is no where in sight. Hikaru peeked into the room, thinking perhaps Sai might be checking out the games of other candidates. To his surprise, Sai was still playing his game! He looked really happy as he placed the stones on the board. Hikaru knew right away Sai was not playing seriously. Finally, the lunch bell rang and everyone started to get up for lunch.
"Hikaru!" Sai walked toward him with beaming eyes while his opponent, a young insei was still in his seat, staring at the game confused.
"What's taking you so long? I thought you'd be done in fifteen minutes!"
"It was so fun! It's been so long. I didn't want to end the game so soon. My opponent has some potential, so I decided to play Tutoring-Go with him," Sai said as-a-matter-of-factly.
"You are playing Tutoring-Go at the prelims of the Pro Exams?" The 5-dan shook his head but then decided that he should've known Sai would be doing something like that. He'd probably be playing Tutoring Go even at the finals. "Alright, let's grab some ramen. Then, you go end the game right away after lunch, because we got some apartments to check out in the afternoon."
"Awww, do I really have to end the game that soon?" Sai sounded disappointed.
"Well, in a few months, you'll be a pro. So we should start looking at a place to rent. Then in a year or two, you should be earning your titles. By then, we'll look for a house to buy," Hikaru seems like he already had the whole plan thought out.
"Titles? That means I'll get to play the best of this time!" Sai daydreamed enthusiastically, not noticing he'll be paying most of the bills according to the plan.
After lunch, Sai placed a few stones on the board to end the game. "Thank you for the game," Sai bowed. His opponent was shocked on the sudden change of speed as he remotely bowed in return.
"Ex-Excuse me," the boy uttered just as Sai was about to get up. "Who are you?"
"Fujiwara no Sai!" he smiled genuinely at the kid. "Yourself?"
"I'm Otsu Kenro," the insei replied. "Umm...Fujiwara-san, have you heard of the legendary Sai who used to play online?" Kenro was not stupid. He knew it was Tutoring-Go Sai was playing before lunch. During the break, he remembered the stories of the unbeatable Sai who even beat the former Meijin, Touya Koyo.
The former ghost blurted out without even thinking, "I used to play online! It was fun! But it's more fun playing with real stones! Anyway, nice meeting you, Otsu-kun!" He headed out the room to meet up with Hikaru, leaving Kenro in awe. He definitely did not expect such a straight-forward response.
"That took you long! Have you lost your touch?" Hikaru complained, pressing for the elevator.
"Of course not! That kid was asking if I have heard of the Sai that used to play online. I mean, the 'legendary' Sai, as he put it," Sai said happily. "I'm legendary, Hikaru. Hehe."
However, the 5-dan did not look as amused. "And you said?"
"I said I used to play online!" Sai kept smiling as they walked out the elevator. Hikaru put his hand on his forehead as if he had a headache. "Man, the word's out, Sai."
"What do you mean, Hikaru?" The girl is still oblivious of what was going on.
"Soon, everyone will know you are back and is taking the Pro Exam to enter the Go World," Hikaru was somewhat anxious on the reactions of the Go World. "This could be interesting - everyone will want to play you."
"Isn't that a good thing?" His eyes turned into two dots - a confused look appeared on Sai's face.
"Until it becomes overwhelming. Remember Ogata-Meijin?" The blonde boy smirked as the pro candidate froze with his month forming an oval shape once he realized what could happen.
Hikaru finally bursted out his laughter staring at the girl's horrified face. "No worries. No worries...ahahah. Let's go check out some apartments, aiight?"
Finally, they decided on an apartment around 700 squared feet with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a closed kitchen, a living area, and a dining area. "Ne, Hikaru, this is so smaaaaaallllllllll," Sai pouted, poking his head into every room.
"We aren't rich like Touya, so there!" Hikaru replied. "Plus, it's close to the Go Institution and the subway."
"But...I've never lived in an apartment before," Sai continued whining.
"I know you are used to living in the huge palace. But there aren't as much land in the 21st century now, understand?" The pro said it in a tone which indicates that this is the final decision.
"Sai!" Koyo exclaimed, stretching the Go Weekly wide open. A special article on the front page has reported a Fujiwara Sai attempting to enter the Go World. It reads:
Fujiwara Sai, 23, has been unbeatable since the first preliminary match in this year's Pro Exams. Many of her opponents has reported that she has been playing Tutoring Go with them in a relaxed manner. Some were furious at her arrogance while some were impressed by her skills. Many also wonder if she is linked to the legendary Sai that disappeared three years ago after the mysterious yet amazing battle against the former Meijin, Touya Koyo. One of her first opponents, Otsu Kenro confirmed, "Fujiwara-san admitted that she had fun playing online when I asked her of Sai."
Sai is entering the Go World. She has finally come out to the public. Koyo was extremely excited about the thought that he could see himself shaking. Although many questions emerged regarding why she has decided to finally come out now, the former Meijin decided he could care less as long as he can play her one more time.
Meanwhile, at Hikaru's new apartment was a mix of excitement and worry.
"I don't want Go paparazzi bothering us! I don't want old men like Ogata-Sensei and Touya-Sensei trying to kidnap us!" the blonde pro complained after reading the article. "See what you did, Sai? You let one little insei know, the entire Go World knows!"
On the other hand, Sai was intrigued by the thought of being able to finally play all these top players. He was in front of the Goban, knees bent in the traditional Japanese sitting style. "Then let them come," he said in a serious yet excited tone.
A/N: Even though I almost gave up on writing fan fictions, I still keep getting reviews urging me to continue this story occasionally. I actually had this chapter almost done a long time ago, I just never got to finish it. But I hope you enjoyed this chapter.