(I don't own Prince of Tennis!)
Chapter 1 – Return to School
"I can't believe our break's finally over."
"Yeah, I think time sped away too fast."
Many chatters and murmurs sounded off in the prestigious school Hyotei Gakuen's campus. Female students flooded the campus with the latest of gossips, some of the male students strode in like arrogant brats that they are and many of the others were doing things like throwing around stories of their vacation times. All of a sudden, they heard a car pull up and everyone fell into a deep silence. Watching the doors stiffly open, the students were definitely sure who the person was. "Atobe-sama's here!"
A purple haired student stepped out of the car with an arrogant smirk. "Ore-sama is glad to see Hyotei again. The place hasn't changed nah, Kabaji?"
The big underclassman brought out Atobe's things with his. "Usu," –he continued to walk behind Atobe.
Students cleared the pathway just for this boy and most female students swooned over him. The male students were whispering about all his achievements and Atobe was just absorbing it all in. "Arn~, ore-sama is glad that he managed to keep his popularity. Somehow, there's only one thing that is missing that's making this school, incomplete…"
He didn't know his wish would come true the very moment he took ten steps forward. The whole school fell into a deep silence and this time, the boys were going wild. "Look, it's them!"
Turning around, Atobe saw the people who had taken his popularity instantly. A group of girls walked in with prideful auras surrounding them which demanded respect and honor from the other students. Boys swooned instantly while some girls were glaring at them.
"The Hyotei girls have arrived!"
Some even managed to yell. "The Queens of Tennis are finally here!"
"The Hyotei Girls' Tennis team, they're here!" One alerted the other students who began crowding behind him.
"I wish the captain would look at me." One of the boys sighed dreamily.
Another one whistled at the sight. "Yeah, the captain's a goddess and the vice captain's a beaut too."
"The genius is a knock out in the looks department. I wish she would give me chocolates." Another one had his jaw gaping at her.
Atobe rubbed his temple when he watched the female tennis team strut their stuff going towards Hyotei. Kabaji tapped on Atobe's shoulder. "Kurenai-san… is Ohtori's classmate?"
"Yes. I forgot about her," the king of Hyotei snorted while turning away, "she's also vice president of the student council. Very revered by the students in every grade and how she manages to do that is a wonder. Some of the regulars are even third years and they follow her without questioning her. Quite impressive but ore-sama is not fond of her personality. She's too much of a doormat."
The female Hyotei tennis team was the most phenomenal team in the entire Kantou region. They were known for their aggressive style of play and honourable code of play as well. They were composed of five third years, two second years and two first years. The third years were: Uchiha Isane, Shimohi Rin, Hikifumi Haruka, Sanada Momo and Yamaguchi Hitomi. Most people would believe that one of these people would believe that a third year was leading them but it wasn't that way in Hyotei because in the team, they were led by the lower grades: Second Year students Nagisaki Mai and Kurenai Shizuru and the first year students Kobayagi Ayane and Getsugan Kiyone.
Uchiha Isane, towering shy third year student from Hyotei Gakuen, she is a recent singles player but formerly used to play alongside the other seniors. Her only problem is that she often gets the butterflies when she is down to the match point in a very important set which is why it is advisable for her to play aggressively. She is an excellent baseliner and often makes her opponent run for her. Isane has silver blue hair which is short like a boy's but with a fringe leaning to the left and covering her one of her emerald eyes.
Shimohi Rin, a medium height energetic and cheerful doubles player for Hyotei. Though she may sometimes seem naive, she is very analytical using her serve and volley style and though at times, her insight is not powerful enough. Her doubles partner is Hikifumi Haruka, the one who has the largest amount of stamina among the Hyotei players. Rin has long jet black hair which is pony tailed thrice to keep it in one place and a pair of intimidating auburn eyes. She is also part of the debate team in Hyotei and has won many competitions.
Hikifumi Haruka, the lanky, serious and somewhat hot tempered player of the Hyotei girls is also the girl with the most amount of stamina. She is also quite the mimicker and also very formidable with her counter puncher style. She has a very good amount of control over the ball and often does this to confuse her opponent. Some say that her control over the ball rivals to that of Kaidoh Kaoru of Seishun Gakuen. Haruka has pale pink hair tied in a ribbon while she has her light chocolate eyes.
Sanada Momo, the quiet, traditional and the all-rounded player for the girls' team, she is also the cousin of Rikkai Daigaku Fuzoku Chuu's Sanada Genichirou and moved to Hyotei to stay away from prejudice. Because of often being compared to her much more talented cousin, Momo moved to Hyotei to make herself a good name and master what she calls the Anti-FuuRinKaZan technique which she names the Elemental Slayer. Tying her hair up with a ribbon, Momo makes sure her violet coloured hair stays away from her face.
Yamaguchi Hitomi, a reserved player in both ways. She rarely plays because she is also the manager of the team and makes sure she manages the diet correctly. She is also a data player like Inui and Yanagi from Seigaku and Rikkai Dai respectively. The only thing she doesn't do is make weird juices because she nearly got expelled for that if not for her captain's intervention. Originally, she was just a weird girl from the chemist club until the captain saw her love for tennis and recruited her as manager and reserved regular player. Despite her huge glasses, Hitomi makes sure her blonde hair compliments her look so she doesn't look geeky.
However, the third years are not the ones most of the schools are worried about.
Hopping unto Ayane's shoulders, the sandy haired smaller girl punched the air. "Yay, we're gonna win our first Nationals Title, right Yane-chan?"
Getsugan Kiyone, the shortest member on the team and one of the best doubles player. Though she is the shortest, the fact that she has the best amount of control over the ball even exceeding the control prowess over Haruka is good enough for her opponent to think twice. Because of her amazing accuracy, she is a fine doubles player due also for the fact that she doesn't have physical strength to send shots from the base line. She and her partner, Vice Captain Kobayagi Ayane are known as Hyotei's Hearts and Clovers Pair or in the girls' district: the Golden Pair of Hyotei. Her other title is known as "Queen of Clovers".
"That's a tall order for someone small but," The lanky red haired girl messed up the smaller girl's hair. "It never hurts to dream."
"Hey, I'm just a late bloomer is all," Kiyone puffed up her cheeks.
Second year student Nagisaki Mai is the lanky tensai of the team. She is very graceful and flexible seeing that she can play both doubles and singles. Usually, her doubles partner is either her captain or someone like Momo but when she plays singles, she knows how to humiliate her opponent. She has a unique style of play which is called Jazz Tennis which infuses her grace as a dancer into her style making her more unpredictable than she already is. She often plays Singles Two or Doubles Two when she has the chance or when her captain is in no mood to play singles. Her nickname is known as the "Queen of Spades."
"Jesus Christ, don't those fan girls have anything better to do," This time, a medium height tangerine haired first year flipped her hair. "Yeah but we're gonna have to blow the competition away. We gotta show 'em why we're in the First Roster!"
Kobayagi Ayane, a first year student and also the other half of the Hearts and Clovers pair. Unlike her doubles pair however, she has a heavy amount of strength but she is the worst in playing at the net. She often cannot control her strength and often makes shots go out if playing by the net. Thus her captain found a solution: by pairing her up with Kiyone, their captain saw that they become the best doubles players in the Kantou district among the females. Being the vice captain of the team, Ayane often worries over her teammates and places their safety as top priority. Her title because of this and her strength is known as the "Queen of Hearts".
"Now, we shouldn't get overconfident. I know we were ranked the best in Kantou district doesn't mean we have the right to get cocky," A tall brunette strode next to them with a faint smile on her face.
Next to the vice captain was the captain of the Hyotei girls' team, Kurenai Shizuru. She is a very powerful player despite her weak façade and yet the only problem is that she is flat footed. This causes her stamina to deplete almost twice as fast as normal and she had a former knee injury when she played a different sport thus limiting her capability. However, that doesn't mean that she is limited. Her style of play is an all rounder and she can easily adapt to doubles play. She is often in singles one and her games usually end with a six games to love. The only time it had ever reached seven was when she decided to give the opponent five extra games. Her rank was none other than the Queen of Diamonds.
"But buchou, even then we've held the title for two years," Ayane shot a glance at her ever calm buchou.
Shizuru could only sigh at her teammates' overconfidence. "Just remember to always watch out for mistakes you might make."
"Oi, Kurenai-chan," A voice called out from behind her.
The captain turned around to see two boys coming up to her, bowing with a soft smile. "Shishido-senpai, Ohtori-kun, it's pleasant to see you both again. How have you been?"
Shishido threw his hands at the back of his head. "I told you to stop being so damn polite, it's almost scary! Geez, you and Ohtori have the same problem. Now I know why you're classmates. Anyway, I'm fine. Atobe's just being Atobe again. Being flashy and all."
A soft laugh escaped from Shizuru. "I guess but that's what makes him Atobe. Am I right?"
Ayane rolled her eyes in annoyance at the mere mention of his name. "He pretty much makes Mean Girls look like muscular body builders! How much of an attention whore is he? Sheesh, what a jerk. Even my own classmates are all "awws" and "oohs". He's nothing special!"
Shishido smirked. "I'm surprised. Most girls swoon over him. I think this is your first time meeting him right?"
"Nope but if there's anything that ticks me off - it's spoiled brats," Ayane sent a scathing look with an annoyed snort. "And attention whores."
"Arn, now what did ore-sama ever do to you, Kobayagi?" A deep voice called from behind her.
Ayane unlike other girls didn't swoon at him and hissed with sarcasm. "Well I dunno, why don't you take a hint and start looking around?"
She really didn't like the guy; no matter what happened, she would find at least an hour to insult him or even just a few minutes. Otherwise, her day wouldn't be complete.
"Arn~, ore-sama would really like to see how long you can stay angry at him. Besides," Atobe had this deep drawl in his voice. "What's there not to like about ore-sama?
Before Ayane could spout off again, Shizuru dropped her hand on the vice captain's shoulder with the "stop-making-a-scene" smile. "I'm afraid we're going to be late for morning practice. Vice Captain Kobayagi, I believe we should be heading towards the courts now."
Seeing that smile, the tangerine haired vice captain cooled down immediately. "Yeah, we'll continue this later, Atobe."
The vice captain stomped off while Shizuru bowed politely. "I'm sorry for whatever she said, Atobe-senpai. Kobayagi-san tends to be like that when she's woken up very harshly."
Atobe dismissed it frigidly. "Ore-sama doesn't mind. You just head off to your practice, Kurenai-san."
Shizuru smiled and walked away while the male regulars could see that Atobe was irritated by her.
"Can't stand her being better than you now can you?" Oshitari folded his arms with a smirk.
Atobe stalked off. "Kabaji, let's go."
The bigger kohai followed after him while Oshitari continued to watch Shizuru's fleeting figure. "Are you going to keep tabs again this year?"
The blue haired kansai prodigy looked at his acrobatic doubles partner. "I've lost count since Shishido beat up a lot of guys but then again, it's sad that she can't tell whether or not they're good. She has this weird tendency to believe that everyone's good. Then again, that's why there are a lot of fan boys."
Gakuto poked Oshitari. "Well, if no one's decent enough then you get her. I mean - who wouldn't want one of the salutatorians to be their girlfriend?"
Oshitari followed his doubles partner and Shishido while Ohtori waited for Hiyoshi to arrive.
000000000000000 000000000000000 00
"I may have patience but that mole diva, ergh," Ayane fired another powerful backhand towards her doubles partner, Kiyone during morning practice.
The smaller girl dodged it. "Eep! Yane-Yane, don't hit the ball so hard! You could kill someone you know!"
"Tennis is not a tool which you can use to vent your anger on, you know." Mai hit another forehand towards Momo. "Besides, you've been saying this ever since we met in summer camp. The mere mention of his name makes your blood boil. What the heck did he do to you anyway?"
Ayane didn't respond but continued to pile drive her poor partner who was no good in power play. Shizuru began playing against Isane while watching her teammates. "As far as I'm concerned, Atobe-senpai never did anything to you. But then again – I have no reason to pry into your life."
Kiyone smirked while sending a top spin. "For all we know, you could be in love with narcisstic jerk. I can imagine it now: Atobe Keigo and Kobayagi Ayane, in bold red letters. Don't forget to invite me to your wedding, m'kay?"
"What, say that again, Getsugan Kiyone?" Ayane fired a heavy forehand towards Kiyone which made the latter run for cover.
"Eep, help me, buchou!"
Shizuru pinched the bridge of her nose. "Kobayagi, Getsugan," –she felt a migraine coming on, "fifty laps around the courts, now."
Ayane stared agape, pointing accusingly at Kiyone. "But she started it!"
"Buchou, she wanted to kill me!" Kiyone whined.
Shizuru's glare became more frigid. "Sixty laps, then."
"But…!" The two tried to protest.
Mai laughed at the sight of the two. "You two better go before she makes you guys run more laps."
Watching the two sigh in defeat and run laps, Isane smiled while she sent another shot. "Wow, you sure know how to punish them. They're the best doubles pair yet they fight each other like anything. Besides about that topic, there are other guys here. Do you have anyone in mind, Kurenai-chan?"
Shizuru sent a top spin drop shot across the net perfectly. "Not really, please call me Shizuru-chan by the way. It's weird for a senpai to call me by my last name, Uchiha-senpai."
Mai danced towards the net while sending an awkward angular shot towards her opponent. "Ne, Shizuru - why do you believe everyone's good?"
Shizuru returned Isane's high speed serve. "That's because they all are. We are created to be good in nature after all."
"You've been studying too much Theology. I mean - some of your fan boys may have something else." The female prodigy laughed while another shot came from her side.
Hitomi played a volley against Haruka while she watched Haruka and Rin play. "Haruka-san, there's a ninety percent chance of it going in if you shorten your form by a mere two inches."
Haruka smirked. "Show me what you got, Rin!"
Rin somersaulted backwards. "Kuwee~, here I come," with this, she fired another shot going to the base line.
Hearing the bell ring, Shizuru knew class was going to start in the next thirty minutes. "Everyone, get changed and head to class. We'll resume training in the afternoon."
With a harmonious "yes" coming from the girls, Shizuru packed her stuff to head towards her classroom.
000000000000000 000000000000000 000
Shizuru entered the classroom while drinking from her water jug. Training had to be stricter and harsher now since the prefectural games were coming up and she had to keep up her game. "How was training, Shizuru-chan?"
The brunette found a towering kohai waving with a smile. "Oh, hi Ohtori-kun, was I late?"
"Wow, you sure are diligent." Ohtori laughed sheepishly. "Shizuru-chan, you just came in and not many people are here yet. You're barely late."
Shizuru began turning her history book open. "Alright, so, there is no quiz today right?"
Ohtori couldn't believe how diligent his classmate was. "Shizuru-chan, there's no quiz. You don't need to study."
Shizuru let out sigh. "I just want to make sure. Anyway – how's your practice going, Ohtori-kun?"
"It's nothing much really. I haven't really improved much lately but I intend to make my Scud Serve better." Ohtori scratched his head sheepishly.
Shizuru laughed softly as classes began to start and Ohtori took a seat next to her. "Say, Shizuru-chan, do you have any worthwhile rivals in tennis?"
The brunette looked at a notebook which contained some of her old strategies and math notes. "Yes but none of them are within the Kantou Region really. Yukimura's sister seems to be very good but she's anything but like her brother from what I hear. Seigaku's girl team has new entries but I'm not quite sure how they are. I'm just playing it by ear for now though it's best not to underestimate them. They could have a few tricks up in their sleeve too."
Ohtori shrugged. "I guess." Then he remembered that the girls' had a district game today. "Hey, Shizuru-chan, don't you have the district games today?"
Shizuru couldn't believe that she had forgotten all about that. "Oh yeah but, wasn't that tomorrow afternoon?"
"They moved it to today, didn't Atobe-senpai tell you?" Ohtori now was clearly confused.
Shizuru sighed. "I guess I'll be hearing some yelling today then."
Ohtori didn't know where that came from. "Huh? Who's yelling at each other?"
"Trust me, once Kobayagi gets a wind of this, she will not let Atobe-senpai escape." Shizuru waited for the bell to ring while she continued to take notes.
000000000000000 000000000000000 0000000000
Mai on the other hand sat next to Hiyoshi who was staring at the board. The tensai had no idea how to deal with the silent boy but she just chose to take down notes. "Hiyoshi-san, please hand me my eraser will you? It's near your left foot."
Grunting, Hiyoshi just kicked it over. "Pick it up yourself."
Mai rolled her eyes. "I'm sorry for asking you to pick it up, Mushroom Head."
Glaring at her, Hiyoshi looked away while letting out a snort. "You're worse than I thought, you cherry head."
Mai didn't like being called a "cherry head". "Well excuse me because at least you're calling me a cherry head just because my hair is red! Your hair is in the shape of a mushroom cap!"
The ace of Hyotei turned away while Mai shifted uncomfortably in her chair. "He's such a stupid idiot."
All of a sudden, the bell rang and the genius let out a sigh of relief. "Finally, I don't need to listen to the mushroom head anymore."
"ARGH THAT SELF-ABSORBED ARROGANT GIT!" A loud voice screamed from outside her classroom.
Mai knew who that was instantly. "Ayane-chan, you didn't have to broadcast it you know. There are some who are his fan girls."
"Ya-ah, screw them! I can call him any insult I want," –she rolled her eyes with a sarcastic snort, plopping herself on one of the chairs. "Because apparently, His Greatness managed to forget to tell us where the tournament for the district matches is gonna be! We might end up forfeiting due to his damn greatness!"
The prodigy of the girls' team didn't know how to respond how to Ayane's comments. "Ayane-chan, relax. Buchou might have forgotten all about it too."
"I don't think so because buchou sent in the roster a week earlier," The vice captain slammed her fists on the table causing people to jump. "Besides as pres, doesn't he have a tracking for these things?"
Kiyone trailed behind Ayane. "So, do we head for the courts now, Nagisaki-senpai?"
Mai shook her head. "Lemme find Shizuru first. For all you know – she probably is waiting for us at the place itself or outside school."
000000000000000 000000000000000 000000
It took them at least an hour to get to the place and they were lucky that they were five minutes early. Shizuru had already found a court to practice in before their matches started. "Alright, we might have to shock ourselves into the game today but take it slow – I don't want you guys throwing your health away for a game. Tell me if your body cannot handle it and I will switch you out. Yamaguchi-senpai," –turning towards her bespectacled upperclassman, Shizuru did a rundown, "is everything and everybody in top shape?"
Hitomi adjusted her glasses. "According to my calculations, as long as Mai-chan, Ayane-chan, Kiyone-chan and you win your matches, we can simply slack on the first two."
Shizuru looked at them. "Alright, but that doesn't mean that I will allow you to hold back your potentials. Play with everything you have. Our first match is against Yugetsu Chuu and I'm not planning to have our team get wasted by some unnamed school, is that clear? Show them what a Nationals calibre player really is."
Ayane cracked her knuckles with a huge grin on her face. "Hehe, they're not gonna know what hit 'em!"
"No problem, Yane-Yane's gonna crush their heads like lemons," Kiyone gave her a toothy grin.
Mai flipped her hair back. "Heh, this better be good."
"Shizuru-chan," a voice called out and there, Shizuru saw Ohtori waving and Gakuto bouncing towards her. "Good luck in your game, but I don't think you need it though! You're already so good!"
Oshitari smirked. "You'd probably make us look bad if you were guys. Then again – at least I get to watch you play." The kansai prodigy's eyes shot a glare at one of the fan boys who were oggling at the girls' legs.
Shizuru bowed. "Thank you for the compliments but flattery is something I highly discourage. The good luck, I'll take though."
"Arn~, show them that they are not worth playing against." Atobe knew that Shizuru was no ordinary player.
Ayane was ready to scream at the male captain for not saying anything about the change of schedule but Shizuru held her back once again.
"You bet on it, Atobe-san!" Rin flashed a huge grin.
"For once," Shishido looked at another group of girls, "I'd say that Seigaku really sucks."
Hiyoshi saw the Seigaku girls' team enter. "Well, compared to Shizuru that is. Mai is completely useless in the team."
The prodigy fumed at the Hyotei ace. "Well, that's completely out of line for someone who doesn't play Singles often enough."
"But that's because that's not their real roster."
They all swivelled their heads towards their captain as the brunette folded her arms, scanning them carefully. "I don't see Souma-san anywhere. She defeated the former captain of Hyotei a year ago."
Kiyone gasped while watching Seigaku girls' walk in with a couple of more guys with them. "Buchou, the one walking there," –she pointed out, "isn't that Seigaku's Echizen Ryoma?"
"Seigaku's freshman prodigy Echizen Ryoma," Hitomi flipped through her notebook, "he's an all-rounder and a very powerful tennis player. He's a freshman, his birthday is on December 24 and he loves his dear cat, Karupin. His special moves are the Twist Serve, Drive A, Drive B and Split Step."
Shaking her head, Haruka let out a sigh. "When will you ever stop stalking people, Hitomi-chan?"
Rin looked at her captain with a grin. "So, let's go kick some butt, kuwee~!"
Walking towards the courts, the girls faced Yugetsu Chuu and their first match was Doubles Two played by Yugetsu Chuu's Schleiden Mayumi and Toumanari Yuna against Hyotei Gakuen's Hikifumi Haruka and Shimohi Rin. "Doubles Two players, please proceed to the court."
Rin stretched her legs. "Let's begin and show these guys how it's done, yeah!"
Haruka stretched her arms with a smirk. "We're going to show them that we're no ordinary doubles pair either."
Momo watched the match with disdain. "Such stupidity, I can't believe that they have a foreigner to play for them."
"Technically, she's not a foreigner," Isane watched the game proceed, "she's half Jap and so, she can't be foreign now can she?"
The match then started. "For the first game, doubles two: Yugetsu Chuu's Schleiden-Toumanari pair versus Hyotei Gakuen's Hikifumi-Shimohi pair! Game start, Hikifumi to serve!"
Yuna extended her hand. "Let's have a good game."
"Yeah, we should." Haruka also shook hands.
Rin extended her hand. "Kuwee~, let's have fun!"
Mayumi swat her hand away. "Hmph, you should go play in Whimsy land, you loser."
Rin stuck out her tongue while watching Mayumi walk away. "You're a meanie!"
Haruka spun her racquet. "Your call, choose a side."
However, it landed on rough while the doubles pair retreated towards their places.
Haruka bounced the ball a few times. "Are you ready to beat them?"
"Yeah, let's do this, kuwee~!" Rin lowered her stance to start their formation.
"They're using the Australian formation already?" Momo glanced at Shizuru.
The brunette watched silently at the two as Haruka fired the ball with great accuracy. Heading down the corner of the service line, the two people of Yugetsu Chuu had no idea what to do. "Mayumi, go hit the ball!"
"I'm on it!" Mayumi jumped to catch it which flew over the net.
Twisting her body, Rin hit the ball in an awkward angle to the point even Yuna didn't know how to return the shot. "Well, this is gonna be fun~! You call that acrobatic play? I'll show you acrobatics!"
Yuna slammed the shot towards Haruka who returned it with much ease. "Is this all you are capable of?"
"Don't be so sure!" Yuna fired another heavy shot.
Rin threw her entire body forward. "You should not assume so fast, Toumanari-san~!"
Returning the shot, Rin made the ball land exactly on the doubles line corner near the baseline. "15-love!"
Yuna clucked her tongue. "Not bad, for someone who's a net player."
"I'm not as weak as you look, kuwee~!" Rin flashed out a grin.
Haruka smirked. "This is where the game begins." Firing another serve, she knew that she wanted to end this game early. "Let's do this, Rin!"
"You got it!" Rin jumped high in the air and smashed it down.
Mayumi cut the shot right under. "Hmph, don't be so sure, kiddie."
Haruka flicked it over the net followed by Yuna's pile driver and then Rin followed up the attack with a hard back hand. However, Rin greatly underestimated Yuna's strength and the racquet was blasted off from her hand causing the girl to falter in her shot. "15 all!"
"Wow, she sure knows how to make me look bad." Rin sheepishly scratched her head.
Haruka looked at the mark on the court. "She knows Rin can't return big shots like that without risking an injury. I don't have many ideas right now but the only thing I can think of is that we watch their strategy first."
"What's the matter?"
The two Hyotei girls looked at the Yugetsu doubles pair. "You're taking forever," yawned Mayumi while flicking her blonde hair, "stop talking to yourself and dance a little!"
Brushing her pale pink strand away from her eyes, Haruka prepared another serve. "Alright, don't be so hasty about it!" Sadly, it didn't go over the net.
Rin turned back to her partner whom she noticed was getting very anxious. "I can't let her keep guarding me. I got to find a way somehow."
The serve hit the net again. "15-30!"
Haruka shivered at what was going on. She was too busy thinking about what strategy they should use now. "Where should I serve now? I can't let Yuna fire another shot again."
She saw Rin with a thumbs up. "I'm okay. I just need to clarify a few things. Just leave it to me, okay?"
Haruka knew it was a big risk. "Can you handle her shots?"
Rin positioned herself at the net. "You betcha, go on and fire. One more thing though..."
Her partner gave her an awkward look. "Serving with accuracy is cool and all but - I think it takes too much time. Sure, it gives you points easy but what happens if the opponent knows what to do after a shot like that?"
Seeing her point, Haruka knew that this was Rin's way of calming her down. "Thanks, Rin. Don't fall back, alright?"
"You bet!" Rin shifted from left to right while eyeing their eyes.
Mayumi twirled her racquet. "Hurry up! You're taking too much time over there!"
Resuming a serious face, Haruka let the ball crack off her racquet. "Like they always say, haste makes waste!"
Mayumi sliced the ball right under. "Think a power serve's gonna stop me?"
Skidding across the court for a volley, Rin managed to jump after it. "Gotcha!"
Yuna gave her a pile driving forehand. "I wonder if you can return this!"
"Another power shot," Haruka went behind the base line and sent it back. "I've noticed something though, is doing a forehand all she knows?"
Deciding to test her theory, Haruka glanced at Rin who immediately got the message. "You got it!"
Mayumi ran towards the left to block a volley only to have Rin fire a backhand shot. However, something went wrong because Yuna's backhand was actually more powerful than her forehand. Exploding off from her racquet, Yuna fired a shot towards Rin who tried to stall it but fell backwards instead. "15-40!"
Rin's eyes widened while getting up. "I see stars~..."
"You can't take hard shots like that, can you? Did you think that my backhand was my weak point? If you can't master backhand but only master forehand, then you're only half a player." Yuna smirked while setting down her racquet near her. "Is this all Hyotei Gakuen has to offer?"
Rin stuck out her tongue. "I'm just getting warmed up, don't bother!"
Seeing how many times Rin flew back, Isane turned to Hitomi. "How did her shots get that hard?"
"By prolonging the presence of the ball on her racquet, she managed to increase its strength though she only has a split second to do this." Hitomi adjusted her lenses. "Her strings also is put at a certain tension somewhere around sixty maybe. She also has a thicker string for her racquet around 15 if I'm seeing correctly. Rin is a control player; her racquet uses an seventeen because she's not a power type."
"But isn't seventeen...?" Isane looked at Yuna's racquet. "Her racquet is right down the middle, how can she do that!"
"The second to the thinnest string and the more loose it is, the longer it will stay on the racquet but because it's also leaning to the stiff side the more speed and power it will gain," Hitomi continued to gather data. "There's a ninety percent chance however that Rin will be flying towards the wall more often. But, there's a ninety percent chance that Hikifumi and Shimohi will win the match, six-four."
Isane stared at her as if she grew another head. "How can you say that if Rin won't be able to return shots from Yuna!"
"Who said that she had to keep firing at Yuna then?"
Isane stopped for a moment and watched the game continue. Another power shot came from Yuna causing Rin to stumble back again. However, Haruka this time managed to back her up. "Rin, don't hit shots that you can't return!"
Mayumi smirked while slicing. "You're nowhere near Yuna-senpai's strength. She's gonna make you fly a lot more, Shi-mo-hi~."
Rin returned the ball with a forehand. "How sure are you? She's nowhere near the net!"
Smiling maliciously, Mayumi dodged the shot and Yuna drove it down the line and even with Rin's acrobatics, she couldn't send it over. "Game, Schleiden-Toumanari pair, 1-0!"
Rin spat out the dust she had in her mouth. "Yeesh, I can't send it over. She's like a golem, kuwee~!"
Haruka looked at the marks on the court. "She's so petite yet she can fire shots like that. Rin's going to have no chance against her if she's at the net."
The girl turned to her partner. "I'm sorry for not being able to return it."
Haruka shook her head. "It's alright. No harm done, it's just a warm up after all. Just think of this game as a match with Ayane and Kiyone on their worst days."
Rin gaped. "Her strength is at least one-fourth of Ayane-chan's!"
"Which means - there should be an opening. How do you play against Ayane then?"
She hesitated for a moment to think. "I- I don't know. I haven't had much time to pay attention on how to play against her."
"Do you need time?" Haruka knew this was a risk but they had no other choice.
"Yeah, maybe." Rin walked towards the baseline. "I'm not very fond of moving back but I think I might get something from here."
Haruka positioned herself at the net. "Alright, just tell me when you're ready to go for net."
It was Yuna's serve now. "Alright, I'm not going to make you guys able to return this!"
Her serve exploded like a cannon and despite Haruka's efforts in moving back, the ball flew high into the air. "Out! 15-love!"
Rin saw Haruka trembling. "Haru, are you okay?"
Gripping her wrist, Haruka picked up her racquet. "Even one swing... my wrist would have been done for."
"Do you know why now Yuna-senpai is called an "Amazon"?" Mayumi smirked.
"Her racquet is what gives her the extra power." Haruka eyed Yuna's racquet. "Her strings may be wide but her racquet head is so stiff to the point it gains more strength."
Haruka looked at Mayumi who tousled her hair. "That's only one part of it though. It's basic physics: she only has a split second to prolong her shot and put more power into it. It will take her at least two seconds to make shots like that. Then again, I don't think you guys will even react fast enough."
Rin overheard the conversation and started to get a feel of it. "Her strength is monstrous but I doubt she can keep it like that forever."
The two headed back to the baseline while Yuna chided. "Why did you tell them that?"
Mayumi jeered at them. "I don't think they'll beat your strength, Yuna-senpai. Just give them four aces and then we'll have our second game."
"You underestimate your opponents too much, Mayumi." Yuna prepared for another ace.
Her serve made a soft sound but it disappeared. "Where did it go!"
Haruka began looking around until she felt something touch her foot. "30-love!"
Yuna pointed her racquet at them. "Are you guys done warming up?"
Rin gulped. "Haru-chan..."
"I know." Haruka felt her body tremble from the first shot she received.
Ayane was watching the game. "That girl, Amazon Yuna? She makes Kiyone look like Hercules."
Kiyone glared. "Hey, I'm not that weak!"
Mai continued to watch another ace pass through. "This is the third ace. Hikifumi-senpai's body hasn't adjusted to the level of power yet."
Shizuru saw another ace fly past her doubles pair. "Hikifumi-senpai's just coming up with a plan. Give them a little time."
"Game, Schleiden-Toumanari pair, 2-0! Change Court!"
Rin was breathing heavily. "Haruka, why...? Why can't we return it?"
"I just need a little more time. I'm sorry, Rin." Haruka followed her to the other court.
Mayumi jeered. "They're breaking down. That's a good sign at least their shots are the least of our worries."
Yuna's face remained impassive. "Don't be so sure. We're actually lucky."
"We didn't face Hyotei's Ace Doubles Pair: the two first years over there." Yuna pointed out. "She can match up to my strength despite being a half inch shorter than I am. If she were to play with her partner, we would have lost six games to love. These two are just the sub doubles pair. They're not their trump card yet."
Mayumi ignored that. "Whatever, if the third years are easy to beat, so will the first and second years."
"I now see why you were put in doubles."
Rin was up for service. "Alright, don't keep complaining m'kay?"
Her service was none other than the amazing Twist Serve except less lethal than the Echizens' versions. Spinning and bouncing awkwardly, the ball went towards the doubles line after landing in the service area. "15-0!"
Haruka looked at Rin with worry. "Rin, don't!"
"I'm fine, I can handle it." Rin fired another Twist Serve.
Mayumi this time managed to return it. "Don't speak too soon!"
Yugetsu Chuu was a lot better than they had expected but that didn't mean that Haruka was running out of ideas. "Rin!"
Jumping towards it, Rin hit the ball from in between her legs. "Yahoo!"
Yuna fired another heavy backhand. "Bring it on!"
Haruka's eyes widened. "That's a Jack Knife but how!"
"Don't freeze, Haruka!"
She noticed Rin jump towards the ball and deflect it back. Same thing happened however, the shot was too strong for her. "15 all!"
Mayumi clapped hands with Yuna. "Hmph, you sure showed them. That's only the beginning, brats."
Rin glowered. "Look who's talking, kuwee!"
"It's alright. Let's just play our best." Haruka tried to calm down the two parties.
Yuna glared at Mayumi. "You should watch your actions, Mayumi."
"Ah, whatever Yuna-senpai." Mayumi didn't really bother listening to her again.
Another rally ensued with Yuna smashing a heavy ball. "15-30!"
Rin fired another Twist Serve which Mayumi returned. "That won't work on me, Hyotei brat!"
Haruka watched the games add up. "If we keep playing at this pace, we'll lose six games to love. Yuna's shots are too strong to return and even by simply deflecting it my wrist took a beating. Rin's nowhere near her strength either and her stamina's going down."
Rin's twist serve required a lot of stamina. "No, no, no, I can't stop now. Don't fall...!"
Yuna forced them to do so many errors that the points just came to them naturally. Mayumi sliced the ball with a smirk. "You guys are just all show."
The ball slid past them marking the third game. "Game, Schleiden-Toumanari, 3-0!"
Haruka looked at Rin who was beat. "Haruka, what should do we now?"
"I haven't seen an opening so far." Haruka then glanced at her. "I think it's time I pulled out my move."
"But I thought you were saving that for the Prefectures!" Rin stared aghast.
Haruka eyed her. "Do you have any other plan that can beat them?"
Rin wanted to say yes but quickly stopped herself. "No."
"I know you're worried about me but," Haruka shook her head. "I want to win this game. I'm sorry for sounding so victory hungry."
Rin shook it off immediately. "I got your back then, ai-bou~!"
Haruka smiled. "Thank you."
Mayumi now started with her serve. "Don't expect mercy from me!"
The ball slid a few inches above the net and because she wasn't a power player, this gave Haruka and Rin a fighting chance. "Here I go!"
Standing in a different stance, Haruka eyed the shot carefully. "Dragon's Tail."
The ball spun differently and because of the spin it looked like it was going linear. Yuna planted herself into the ground. "Let's see about tha-huh?"
Without realizing it, the ball had descended even faster than before but it didn't roll on the ground. It bounced away from Yuna which caused her to miss. "0-15!"
Mayumi gaped at the two. "What the hell was that!"
The Hyotei regulars turned to Hitomi. "By attacking the ball differently and causing an abrupt spin on the ball, Haruka change and control where it goes. The reason for its name is because though it looks like a regular linear shot, it actually curves away when it touches the ground."
"Just like a dragon's when it waits." Haruka finished.
Yuna didn't seem to be intimidated. "But that abrupt spin puts pressure on your ankle now doesn't it?"
Haruka called her bluff. "No, in fact, my ankle was not really involved in this."
"We'll see about that." Mayumi positioned to serve again.
The serve bounced off normally while Haruka returned it with a forehand" again. Yuna followed it up with a powerful forehand which Rin was forced to lob. Mayumi was high in the air. "Looks like Hyotei were just a bunch of jerks after all."
Her smash exploded on the court but Rin stepped back far enough. "You talk so much!"
Yuna sent a sinker shot back towards them. "Tell me, how will you do your Dragon's Tail now?"
"Thanks though for sending me a sinker shot." Haruka positioned herself again.
Mayumi took a step back. "Alright, show me what you got!"
The dragon's tail came but with a whiplash motion, the ball bounced up into the air smacking Mayumi under her chin. "Hey!"
"Did you think that a dragon's tail moves only in one motion? If you did then, that's your problem." Haruka finished it with a smirk. "0-30!"
Yuna smiled. "Clever, by using my power against her, you did a top spin and you were able to make the ball spin hard enough to bounce high causing a whiplash motion."
Rin's eyes widened. "How did she know that?"
Haruka didn't say anything while Mayumi glowered. "You're dead, Hyotei!"
Another serve sounded off while Rin aimed right at the corner of the court while throwing her entire body forward. "Gotcha!"
Mayumi dived for it but fell instead. "Love-40!"
"Tch," Mayumi wiped her lip while glaring at the two. "That was a lucky shot!"
Rin grinned. "It wasn't luck; it was pure acrobatics!"
Mayumi served it again but this time much faster. In the middle of the serve, it increased speed and power. "Haruka, we have a problem!"
Haruka stood at the receiving end of the serve. "No problem. This serve's a sinker and Rin, you forgot what I'm best at."
"Oh yeah," Rin grinned impishly, "you're the control expert!"
Haruka used another Dragon's Tail shot. "Game, Hikifumi-Shimohi pair, 1-3!"
Yuna saw their sudden improvement. "You were holding back the entire time?"
"No, we're just the type to cruise for a few moments." Haruka gave her a thumbs up.
Mayumi hissed while Yuna put her hand on the girl's shoulder. "It's alright because we'll be taking the next game."
"Jack Knife again?" Mayumi's eyes glinted.
"I might have to."
Mayumi's demeanor changed while she set herself at the net. "Alright, let 'em have it!"
Haruka didn't like the look in Mayumi's eyes. "Rin, get ready."
Rin lowered her body. "You got it."
Haruka bounced the ball lightly. "Hopefully, they won't be using heavy shots again. We were able to get the fourth game from them but I don't know how we're going to keep this up."
The ball cracked off and the rally began. Mayumi sent it towards the edge of the court but Rin sent it right back at her with a volley. Yuna took her position from behind Mayumi with her backhand ready. "I think my Jack Knife should end this."
Her shot sailed across the net and sent Rin flying again even farther than before. "0-15!"
"Rin!" Haruka ran towards her partner. "You okay?"
"Yeah!" Rin flashed a wide grin, jumping up to her feet. "No worries!"
Mayumi jeered. "You're probably too skinny. Maybe that's why your shots stink."
Rin glared. "Wait til you see what happens later, you ninny!"
Yuna put her hand on Mayumi's shoulder while bowing. "I'm sorry for my partner's rudeness. I'd like to continue the match."
"Yeah, we should continue it." Haruka dragged Rin away from Mayumi.
Rin was aghast by Haruka's politeness. "The nerve of that girl saying that my shots stink! I'll show her real acrobatic play later on!"
Haruka couldn't believe that Rin was getting reckless again. "Watch out for your stamina, Rin."
"Don't worry about me. I can last til tie break." Rin bent down at the net while Haruka took her position to serve.
Mayumi faced Rin at the net. "Let's see how long you'll last, brat."
"Look who's talking." Rin glared while she heard Haruka's serve crack off her racquet.
Yuna sent it back heavier than before. "I think it's time I brought out my higher level Jack Knife, don't you think?"
Haruka managed to deflect it but with much effort. "Her shots keep increasing in power, there's no way I can send it back like this all the time!"
Rin volleyed her shot over but Mayumi smashed it right back at her. "Your shots are too high, brat."
The boys' tennis team were also there watching and Atobe glanced at Shizuru. "Kurenai, is this all your doubles two pair can do?"
"Haruka's making a plan, Atobe-senpai. Watch her style of play and you'll see why." Shizuru remained focused on watching.
"0-30!" The Jack Knife once again plastered through their defense.
Haruka knew this wasn't getting anywhere. "There has to be an opening. Forcing her to net play isn't much of an idea since her shots get even stronger there." She served the ball again and Mayumi volleyed the shot on Rin's left side.
However, she underestimated Rin's flexibility when she then jumped towards sent back her volley. "15-30!"
Mayumi spat. "Che that was luck! I'll make sure you don't get past me again!"
"Oh yeah? Don't spout off so much!"
Right after Haruka's serve, Yuna fired another Jack Knife heading straight right in between Haruka's legs. "15-40!"
Haruka this time increased the speed of her serve and Yuna couldn't react on time so Mayumi was forced to do a drop shot right over. Rin dived for the ball and sent it cross court. Despite the distance, Mayumi was able to cover the distance and ran for the ball while doing a pile driver right down the line. "You sure that can stop me, Shi-mo-hi~?"
Rin backhanded her next shot. "Yeah, wait til I have you running all over the place, idiot!"
However, Rin's backhand was all Yuna needed for another shot. "You just gave me the perfect shot." Her Jack Knife exploded onto the court leaving the two frozen in shock. "Game, Schleiden-Toumanari, 4-1! Change court!"
Rin gaped at the score. "This is the biggest loss we've had so far."
Haruka put her hand on Rin's shoulder. "I think we should stop fooling around."
"Yeah. You're right." Rin flipped her racquet around her wrist. "I think we've been playing around too long."
The two prepared for another shot while Yuna served again. "This time, I think my service should be a lot faster so, you better keep up."
Without any hesitation, Yuna's serve exploded off like a cannon but this time, Haruka fired the shot which sounded off like a bullet. "People have serves and shots like the Scud Serve and the Bullet Serve but Haruka-san's is something people should watch out for," Isane looked at her captain who was watching the match carefully. "
"Hikifumi-senpai has an excellent amount of control and they were just warming up on how to deplete the opposing's strength." Shizuru continued to watch the game while Haruka did another Dragon's Tail.
Mayumi stared in shock while Haruka and Rin got their first point. "How... how could they easily return your shots now!"
"They were toying with us. Waiting for the right moment to strike, like a predator and prey. In this case," Yuna gripped her racquet tightly, "we're the prey."
Haruka tousled her hair back. "You thought we were that pathetic? Now that is sad - believe me, a lot of people do that."
Rin grinned. "If you can't beat us then, you're no match against the Kobayagi-Getsugan pair then!"
Yuna fired another shot. "Let's see you try and return this!"
The ball curved and wobbly bounced off the floor making it bounce very low. "Kiyone-chibi often sends serves like that so, being on the receiving end," Rin bent down and sent it back, "is no problem at all!"
Haruka saw that Rin was not going to stop. "Rising Counter," –she watched the ball fly across the net, "good job."
Rin flipped through the air and smashed the ball down. "Shi-mo-hi Torpedo~!"
Like the description and name, the ball exploded onto the court and bounced high. Mayumi frantically began looking around. "Where the hell did it go?"
Yuna heard something bounce lightly behind them and saw that Rin's shot had landed exactly on that small corner at the baseline. "0-30!"
Mayumi spat out dust. "Shoot, if this keeps up, we're not getting anywhere!"
"Don't give up just yet, we still have a comfortable margin."
Yuna fired another Jack Knife and Haruka danced backwards. "Now, Rin!"
Throwing her body forward, Rin used her whole body weight for a huge shot. "Kukuwee, here I come~!"
Gakuto stared at Rin. "Geez, she knows how to make Kikumaru look good. I'm still better than Kikumaru though."
Rin didn't like the sound of Gakuto's comment. "Get a grip, coconut head! I'm still working on my technique here!"
Haruka positioned herself for another shot while Oshitari smirked. "Dragon's Tail, she's going to do it again."
Atobe watched them progress almost instantly. "They were losing the first four games on purpose. Normally, people would rush to finish."
"They weren't losing on purpose, Atobe." Shizuru's soft voice cut in.
Ayane gulped while she watched Rin and Haruka get their second game. "You do know that Shimohi-senpai just came from a fever right?"
Hitomi pat the vice captain on the head. "We know but, I made sure she took her meds before started playing. It's been almost a week now."
The vice captain's eyes widened. "What if the fever comes back? What if she suddenly just collapses on the court!"
Kiyone knew that her partner was not only hot tempered but quite motherly also despite only being in first year. "Geez, you're going to grow white hair by the time you're third year. I liked it better when you started ranting on how much you hated Atobe."
"Game, Hikifumi-Shimohi, 2-4!"
Rin began her service. "Alright Haruka, we better work on our little dragon thing!"
Haruka lowered her body at the net. "We ought to stop playing around. It's almost annoying. An art is not something that should be rushed but something to be marveled at."
Rin cut the ball when she served thus forcing it to spin unevenly. "What the-?" Yuna's eyes widened.
Mayumi dived for the ball. "That's not going to stop us!"
Haruka sliced it under and it simply just flew off to one side and rolled right there. "Dragon's Retaliation."
Yuna clucked her tongue. "So this is why you're called the Twin Dragons of Hyotei. But there's a catch: you can't play doubles with other people now can you?"
Haruka and Rin exchanged glances and then turned to them. "We can."
Mayumi returned Rin's Twist Serve again. "Time to show you something new, it's an unnamed technique though."
The ball swung around the pole and Haruka sighed. "Get your facts straight, there is a name for this technique."
"There is?" Mayumi stared in horror as Haruka returned it with her famous technique.
Haruka sniggered. "Yeah, it's called the "Boomerang Snake". I've dealt with this attack a lot of times. The Dragon's Tail was created to counter the Boomerang Snake."
"Because there is more spin on the ball, the Dragon's Tail is more lethal though it is a lot stronger when used against a sinker shot." Hitomi continued to collect data. "There's a ninety nine percent chance that the next four matches will be won by Haruka-san and Rin-san."
Kiyone put her hands behind her head. "Boy, I can't wait to play. They should have dished out their techniques before it got this bad."
Shishido grumbled. "I'd rather watch them clobber Seigaku, that's what."
Ohtori looked at Shizuru. "Shizuru-chan, what position are you playing?"
"Singles One." Shizuru sounded quite abash.
Gakuto glomped her. "You don't need to sound so humble! There's a reason why you should be arrogant! I mean - you're the best ladies player in Hyotei!"
Ayane raised an eyebrow. "No thanks, I'd rather not have her sounding like a mole diva," – while referring to Atobe while directing with her head, "over there."
Jirou was now getting excited in watching Rin play. "Go, Rin-chan, go!"
Rin back flipped into the air and sent a linear shot that was almost impossible to do. "Game, Hikifumi-Shimohi, 4 games all!"
Atobe watched the match with a smirk. "That was fast."
Oshitari was too busy looking at something else. "This is better than cable."
"That's because you're looking at their legs, Yuushi!" Gakuto whined while still clinging on to the Second Year captain.
Shizuru smirked. "Now, finish them, Hikifumi-senpai, Shimohi-senpai."
Rin smashed the ball again. "You got it, buchou!"
"Don't worry much because we've gotten the game all sewn up!" Haruka did another Dragon's Tail.
Yuna and Mayumi didn't like the sound of that and before they knew it, they had closed the margin on them.
The umpire declared, "Game and set, Hikifumi-Shimohi pair! Six games to four!"
-This is my first PoT story that involved something like this! I'm not much of a drama romance person. Please review!