Me: Hey guys, long time no see! Sorry for the extremely late update! I've been busy with work so I haven't been able to get inspired as quickly as I usually do. But now I have some inspiration to work on! I don't own Prince of Tennis! I only own the OCs!
Chapter 72 - Wrath of the River Nile
Shiraishi lay unmoving on the bed as Kiyone sat quietly next to him. Her hands clenched tightly into a fist. Egypt's Rahotep brothers didn't need to clobber Shiraishi that hard. She had expected more that Kikumaru would have taken that blow, considering in the entire formation he was the attacker.
The small girl turned around to see Kenya standing by the door. "Kenya-kun?"
Kenya looked at his unconscious captain before exhaling sharply. "Those guys were monsters. Weren't they?"
Kiyone looked away with a sad smile. "Yeah..."
Kenya stared sadly at the small girl before taking a seat next to her. He remembered the time he had stepped up his game against Shiraishi for Kiyone. Hopefully she doesn't know, Kenya prayed mentally to himself. He glanced at the unconscious Shitenhouji captain before glancing towards the screen.
"When are the girls' fighting," Kenya watched the next players take their positions on the court. "I hear United States and the Czech Republic have good players this year."
"Yeah," Kiyone's voice trailed away sadly as she looked at the bandaged Shiraishi. "I hope it didn't his head too hard..."
The Naniwa Speed Star remained silent while looking distantly at the Queen of Clovers. He gripped his shirt tightly with his hand over his chest. He exhaled sharply before clasping his hands together as the images of the match vividly flashed in his mind. Osiris and Set's soulless stare and how Osiris suddenly unleashed his wrath when Set slowed down. Or was it Set? Whoever it was, Kenya refused to face a weird pair like them. It was amazing as is for Shiraishi and Kikumaru to hold their end of the bargain.
"Don't worry, Kiyone," Kenya smiled determinedly, clenching his fists tightly. "We'll get them. Egypt messed with the wrong set of boys."
Oh if only he knew how right he was.
Tezuka continued to glare darkly at Awi Jahi. Although he looked like he maintained his usual cold demeanour, something in him just snapped. Kikumaru stared sadly at the ground as another set of players stood up.
"Ore-sama knew that Egypt was terrifying," Atobe smirked as he leaned back confidently. "But this whole match is getting ore-sama's blood boiling."
Tezuka remained silent.
"Ore-sama knows you feel it too," Atone folded his arms while glancing at the Seigaku captain. "Ore-sama knows."
Atobe wasn't sure how Tezuka would look like if he was having fun. But then, he wasn't even sure if Tezuka knew that he had murderous intent dripping from his sides. Whether or not the Seigaku captain knew, Atobe wondered how Tezuka would look when he would feel some sort of pleasure. Pleasure of having a legal method of pulverizing a target. His long time rival had been stoic most of the time but even then, the King didn't need his Insight to tell how murderous Tezuka was.
"Singles Three, enter the court!"
Ryuuzaki-sensei pat Kirihara on the shoulder. "It's go time."
The black haired sophomore grinned before energetically pushing himself put of his seat and headed towards the courts. Coach Amunet glanced at one of her other members as a small grin curved up her lips. If anything, she knew that their sent-in roster was the best. Osiris and Set had set up the plate and now, the next match was going to even be a bigger mess than intended. She knew who exactly this Kirihara Akaya was.
"Rikkai Dai's devil," she chuckled slyly before nodding at her Singles Three player. "Sobek, you know what to do."
Sobek chuckled darkly while revealing a pair of fangs. "Of coursssse..."
As Sobek walked past, Awi Jahi shivered slightly. "Geh, I never liked that guy."
"Gihihihi, what's the problem, Awi," one of the males dropped his hood with a devilish grin. "Ya about to piss in yer pants or something?"
The Morning Star rolled his eyes with an arrogant snort. "I do not associate myself with the mongrels like you, Apophis. I," - he glanced at the crowd with a smirk, eyeing the red-eyed brunette. "have a much more beautiful jewel to claim. Someone has stole from my treasury and death must be his punishment."
Apophis shrugged uncaringly, pouting like a small child. "Meh, I just wanna destroy those Japanese bastards. Thinkin' they're so cool and all."
Awi Jahi remained silent as he opened his iPad, scrolling through the gallery. A small smile curved up his lips as he opened a folder specifically dedicated to the brunette. He had seen pictures of her in the Wimbledon Daily. He saw her also in Candy Magazine that his sister bought. The gentle sweetness in her eyes made him crave for her. He also knew what she looked for in a guy. Candy magazine had interviewed her in what she liked in a guy.
But no, there was something behind those gentle eyes.
A raw power yet in a sea of calm.
What he was looking at was the surface.
He had seen her dark style of play. The way her eyes narrowed in deadly slits and revealed a dangerous style of play. He had heard about the other girls.
"There's Fuuka the Strong or what people had known as Muscular Fuuka - she had been known to cracked through a 20 cm thick pillar with a tennis ball," Awi carelessly slid through the pictures in his iPad. "Windwalker Florence, the queen of speed, ran the fastest and had the quickest reaction time that she left after-images behind before they had diagnosed her with Alpha 1 Anti-trypsin. Natsuki the Basilisk - her flexibility and zooming unpredictability made people freeze in their tracks as her attacks slid right under. And then there was that bubbly blue head..."
Awi scrunched his nose up a bit. Despite her childish demeanour, he could feel how strong her latent abilities were. He had seen her performance and being a clone of Yukimura Seiichi was a statement enough as to why she was so fearsome.
"Children like that are easy to break but," Awi smirked as he slid to the next page and had a close-up shot of Shizuru's serious and deadly expression. "But this queen - her asset is very much more valuable than the others. My beautiful Nefertiti - Shizuru the Shikabanehime. My beloved Isis..."
Meanwhile, Kirihara stepped on the court while stretching a bit. Sobek raised an eyebrow at the messy black haired male. He shrugged nonchalantly before standing at the net, rolling his eyes.
"Are you going to take long sssoaking up the applausssse," Sobek scowled in annoyance. "If sssso, you sshhhhould forfeit while you can."
Kirihara snapped his head towards Sobek. "Yeah right, you fat-ass! I'm gonna waste ya even before you can scratch your nose and pick your ass!"
"Isn't that inverted," Sobek frowned at his opponent; was his opponent that stupid? "You have got to be kidding me right?"
Kirihara snorted and jabbed his finger angrily. "I'm not stupid! Are you saying that I am?"
"I didn't even have to say anything," Sobek sniggered in amusement. "You're assss ssstupid assss they ssssay you are."
Kirihara flushed bright red and spun his racquet. "Well, good thing this match is a no brainer! I'm gonna kick your ass!"
"Singles 3 will now begin! Japan's Kirihara Akaya versus Egypt's Sobek Suvat! Game start, Kirihara to serve!"
The black haired sophomore squished the ball on his hand tightly, feeling the rush of adrenaline fill in his body. "I'm gonna waste you here and now!"
As the ball flew from Kirihara's racquet, Sobek quickly swerved and sliced the ball as it smacked the top of the net. The Devil Ace darted towards the net and slightly lobbed the ball with Sobek looming above him with a reptilian grin.
"Waste me? Hah, why don't you go fuck yourself," Sobek smashed the ball straight at Kirihara. "Eh?"
Much to his surprise, Kirihara had been quick enough to move his head out of the way and block it with his racquet as the ball flew all the way back.
"Heh, you're gonna need to do better than that! Niou-senpai's tricks are way better than yours," Kirihara grinned impishly while moving back to receive the next shot.
"Not bad," Sobek hissed in amusement, twirling his racquet and slashing it from reverse. "Let'sss sssee if you can get thisss!"
Kirhara's eyes widened as the ball zoomed straight at him, forcing him to backtrack and hit the ball awkwardly. "Shit!"
Watching the sophomore play, Niou wanted to face-palm as to what was happening. How could the sophomore be so stupid? He wanted to yank his hair out or maybe throw something at him. Anything to get his brain to work normally! Niou however knew that Kirihara could easily succeed in sports or anything that was food related. But anything else, everyone could only face-palm. Who the hell gets 0/100 in English?
"I'm amazed that the brat is still on the team despite everything," Niou raked his fingers through his hair. "Even I never had that shit of a problem in English."
Yagyuu rolled his eyes. "You grew up with an Australian household before you came to Japan."
"Yeah before that stupid shit started getting women here and there," Niou snorted before bitterly smiling. "I see now where I got being a shitty bastard."
If there was anything that Rikkai's Gentleman knew about the Trickster, it was that Niou was anything but a martyr. He always had the confidence on his skills as a prankster, a mathematical genius and, a tennis player. But he had slowly begun to change. Yukimura had noticed it as well. He no longer looked bored when he dealt with things. He had more drive and he looked far more dangerous than he usually was. Isane did major changes whether she notices it or not, Yagyuu mused darkly while looking at the distant look in the Trickster's eyes when he looked at Isane who had sat on the seats lower next to Akutsu.
"So, you're here now," Miaka leaned back against the chair. "Whaddya gonna do about it now?"
Niou bit his lower lip; for the first time, he was jumping in without a plan. "Nothing."
"Yeah wait what," Miaka gawked at him stupidly. "Didja just say that you weren't gonna do anything? What kind of fucked up universe are you from?!"
Niou rolled his eyes with a sarcastic snort. "It's more like I am biding my time. I need time to talk to her when there isn't anyone. I just want to come clean to her."
Miaka shrugged nonchalantly. "Well better that than nothing."
"Heh, I'm not the only one with problems," Niou smirked cryptically with an all-knowing look. "How about you and your boy toy?"
"He's not my boy toy," Miaka flushed angrily, glaring daggers at the Trickster.
"Well, you are older than him and you were held back a year because you transferred from another school. It didn't help that you got that other teacher," Niou narrowed his eyes before clasping his hands tightly. "You weren't this vicious before. I know the real story."
Miaka sniggered with a bitter smile. "Who would believe the cries of a beaten mongrel?"
"Ohtori has listened to you and even willingly became your partner," Niou chuckled lightly. "He's a good boy, that kid. I can see where Hyotei's Shikabanehime learned her capacity for empathy."
Miaka remained silent as her hand touched her skin. She shivered in disgust whike shaking her head. School was never the same after that one time. That one time that she innocently asked for help in English and Math class. Her parents would never believe her; they immediately just labelled her as feral. She hugged her body tightly before biting back majority of her tears.
"You should let him in, Miaka. He doesn't look like the type to take advantage of you," Niou saw the tears slowly brimming at her eyes. "Ohtori is definitely not an asshole. Not like me anyway..."
Miaka chuckled lightly, shaking her head to throw away her tears. "Good that you know that you're an asshole. So what now?"
Niou sighed deeply, raking his fingers through his hair. "If God did exist, I'd ask him to give me one chance to come clean to Isane..."
Miaka chuckled before her eyes widened. "Uhm, you might wanna check where she's sitting..."
Niou stared at the Wild Dog quizzically before finding her gone from her chair while Akutsu still sat there. "She probably went to the bathroom if Akutsu's confident to leave her."
Miaka gawked at him in admonishment, slapping the backside of his head. "Are you stupid or something?! There's your chance!"
Niou's eyes widened and he quickly jumped out of his seat, running towards the stadium doors. Why didn't he see it sooner?! The Trickster quietly mouthed a thank you before glancing at Miaka.
"You should tell him too," Niou smiled at the Wild Dog. "For all you know, that's all he's waiting for."
On the other hand, Kirihara then served a fast shot with Sobek quickly sending a forehand towards him. Rikkai's Ace narrowed his eyes darkly at his opponent while trying to push his body to move more quickly. He could feel his calves tightening in pain as he forced himself to bend in different angles.
"Sobek," Coach Amunet smiled lightly before watching Kirihara struggle against him. "Your ability to control your opponent is unparallel. That is why, people in Egypt have known you as..."
Awi sniggered while watching Kirihara play against Sobek. "Sobek the Snake Charmer... Heh, his name would have to be changed soon. He should be known as the "Devil Charmer". Yes, that should suit him more when he trumps over this brat."
"What in the world is happening to him, nyah," Kikumaru stared in confusion. "I've never seen anyone bend in that many directions before!"
Atobe winced at every direction Kirhara had been forced to contort into. "Ore-sama had never seen this kind of playing style even while he was in England."
Fuji watched the match carefully as Sobek's eyes remained completely focused on Kirihara. "He's targeting Kirihara's blind spots and memorizing his mannerisms."
Everyone swivelled their head towards Fuji.
"The body can only do so much and he knows that Kirihara is extremely impulsive," the tensai's gleaming cerulean blue eyes watched the match carefully. "He is using that to his advantage and the sudden shift in his grips makes him more horrifying."
"Is it like ochibi's Nitouryuu," Kikumaru blinked in amazement, watching Kirihara keep up despite him struggling.
"I would not say for sure," Fuji watched Kirihara send a backhand all the way to the deep end of the court, seeing Sobek immediately jump for it. "If I am guessing right, he is making Kirihara make unforced errors. It's a triple whammy for him. Kirihara would have to think - where is the ball going to go? What am I going to do? He also has to watch where the ball goes. Third, he has to coordinate his body as to where the ball goes. It becomes worse when all three happen and he has to compensate for his blind spots."
Sengoku swallowed hard. "Ergh, if that happens then - won't he get tired?"
"I guess we can also probably assume that Sobek doesn't have the stamina now does he?"
They all swivelled their head towards Oshitari who had a sly smirk curve up his lips.
"His play style involves thinking that is true. But his strategy could also mean that he himself doesn't have the capacity to play a full 7-6 game," the kansai prodigy adjusted his spectacles, watching Kirihara jump smash the next shot. "But the question is - does Kirihara have enough intuition to deduce that?"
Upon overhearing them, Sanada wanted to say "yes" but knew that was a blatant lie. Kirihara had never been perceptive with things. If anything, he was actually the densest in the team that someone had to shake and slap him when a girl confessed to him the first time. The Rikkai Dai Vice Captain sighed to himself deeply while watching Kirihara take on Sobek.
"Things are going to get ugly here," Sanada bit his lower lip with a dark stare.
"Game: Suvat! One game to love!"
Kirihara panted heavily while gasping for air, looking at Sobek who had a smirk on his face. He could feel his shoulder getting cramps and he could imagine his legs kicking him for the abuse he had put them through during the match. He never sunk that low to the floor to the point his cheek was only an inch away. His body wobbled and his head began to throb considerably from all the jerky movements.
"I knew I couldn't dance but I wish I could now," Kirihara groaned while trying to get the feeling back in his legs. "At least my arms are still working..."
Sobek chuckled in amusement as he looked at Kirihara staggered around with a wobbly stance. He could see how sore Kirihara's legs were and remembered all the jerky movements Kirihara had been forced to do. A slow sly smile curved up his lips as he spun around his racquet in contentment.
Let's see how far you can go!
Sobek bounced the ball and narrowed his eyes at Kirihara. He could see Kirihara staggering around and doing his best to stand straight. How far with that bravado bring you, Sobek mused darkly while watching Kirihara breathe heavily while positioning himself at the baseline.
"Heh, dance again," Sobek slamned the ball straight at Kirihara.
The ball cracked right in the middle as it spun away towards the other side. Kirihara had already started making his way down the right side. The ace's eyes widened with horror as he skidded and began running towards the ball. He barely managed to reach it as he fell on the ground. Sobek smirked and saw the ball brush slightly against the top of the net before dropping the shot. However, he didn't expect Kirihara to lunge after the ball and crash land right in front of the net.
"Tch, that desperate aren't we," Sobek chuckled before dropping the shot on the other side. "Let's see how far that desperation can take you!"
Coach Amunet watched from the sidelines as she folded her arms in amusement. Most players would have been exhausted by the first game. But seeing Kirihara push himself was a completely different story. She continued to follow the pathway of the ball as Kirihara sent a knuckle-laced shot towards Sobek.
"Well, it seems like he still had the strength," she chuckled in amusement. "Come in, Sobek. Don't give him a chance to recover."
Isane began walking around and stretching her legs. She exhaled in relief; the stadium had been so cramped inside that she barely found any bit of space to breathe. She kicked around a pebble while humming happily to herself.
"Because you're amazing... Just the way you," she suddenly stopped. "Are."
Isane remembered the first time she had heard the song. The way Niou had played it on the piano and how his voice matched the song perfectly. Her chest tightened considerably as she began walking aimlessly, not realizing she bumped into someone.
"Oh I am terribly sorry," Isane quickly apologized until she realized who she bumped into.
The man grinned toothily at her with a malicious grin. "Well if isn't the little princess of the Uchiha family..."
Isane swallowed hard before staggering back. "Ah... Ah..."
"Aww, you don't remember me," the man advanced towards her, cornering her into an alley. "You're the little sweet pea that was supposed to make millions for me."
She shook her head violently. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
He chuckled darkly while continuing to advance, blocking her in all ways to escape. "Well, it's a good thing I didn't get you back then. Look at the fine piece you are now."
Isane thought that the hard work she and Akutsu had done would have done something for her. But now, she could her ego dwindling down into nothing. Her body shivered violently as his arms blocked her any chances of escape.
"Hehe, too bad your brothers and your dad ain't here to save you," he grinned maliciously. "And I think your mom is a tad too busy spreading her legs for her next break."
Suddenly, something in Isane snapped. "What did you say?"
"What? Your mom's a tad busy spreadin' her legs. Maybe I can swindle the money out of her," he sniggered darkly.
"Or you can shut your fucking trap and step the hell away."
Isane looked aside and past the man's shoulder to see a glint of silver hair. "Aku...!"
She stopped midway when she found a pair of electric blue eyes burning with rage.
It was Niou.
On the other hand, Niou had expected Isane to simply go to the bathroom and go back. He didn't expect a piece of crap like this guy to suddenly harass her. Normally, he'd be laid back with a foxy sly smirk. However, hearing Isane's yelp and snarl made something in his mind snap. Everything in his mind went blank. His usual Trickster expression had vanished and instead all his cunningness became something more bloodthirsty. Niou clenched his fists tightly until his knuckles turned white.
"Step away from Uchiha Isane," Niou coldly glared and stepped forward.
The man howled in laughter. "What kind of brat do you think you are?"
"The kind of brat who is going to hand your ass to you if you don't move," the Trickster remained unmoving as his blue eyes flickered with rage.
Isane had never seen Niou angry but now, she had a front row seat. Niou calmly strode forward with his hand in his pocket. She looked at Niou, hoping he had some sort of plan. But his eyes remained unreadable; they reflected a sea of calm but she felt more than the calm inside him. His eyes betrayed the intent dripping from his body as Niou continued walking towards him.
"S-Stay back," the man began to shiver as he clenched Isane's throat. "Move closer and I'll snap her beck like a toothpick!"
Niou then stopped a few metres away from them as a small smirk curved up his lips.
Without any warning, Isane saw nothing but a blur as Niou threw out a whole set of cards. Her eyes widened as from behind the cards, something flew and pierced the man straight in the face. Isane gasped as blood trickled from the man's forehead as she saw a dart stuck to his forehead.
"Tch and to think I always wanted to have a good game of darts with friends. Not use it to kill people," Niou rubbed the back of his neck in annoyance before looking up in concern. "Isane... I mean - Uchiha..."
Isane nodded weakly. "H-how?"
"Hm," Niou raised an eyebrow.
"How did you find me," Isane forced back her whimper, trying to stand tall. "I..."
"I understand you wouldn't want help from a two-timing shit hole like me," Niou bit his lower lip. "But I just want to make things right..."
The rifle-specialist blinked several times on disbelief, watching Niou's former cold stare change into something more forlorn.
"Kujikawa was a girl I went on a blind date with under Marui's request," Niou slowly began explaining, feeling all the word vomit come out. "I didn't like her and well, she didn't take it well. She began stalking me and figured out that I began liking you. So, she made her advances. And honestly, she was a good date. She'd bang if I asked her to."
Isane remained silent while hearing Niou's story.
"But the thing is - I want a woman," Niou smiled bitterly. "I don't want a little girl. You're the first woman I literally went crazy for. I may want to have a good time but I'd rather play tricks on the woman I care for and get whacked by that sane woman is because at the end of the day, I know she can see past me."
Isane wanted to gawk; that was new! Even coming from him!
"If your brothers want me dead or wanna beat my daylights out, name the time and place," Niou chuckled sombrely. "Just give me a 2 days' notice for me to write down my will so that the brat doesn't get a hand on my things."
Upon hearing that, Isane burst out giggling. "Now that's being dramatic, Niou."
Niou shook his head before bowing his head. "I'm serious."
Her eyes widened as she looked how he completely submitted to her. He couldn't look at her straight in the eyes as she could see his fists trembling. She looked deep into his blue eyes as the Trickster quietly hung his head.
"Niou, I-I don't know. I guess it was also my fault for assuming that we were something," Isane bit her lower lip anxiously. "I don't even know what we are..."
The Trickster chuckled lightly before scratching the back of his head sheepishly. "I guess we should really make that clear..."
Niou blinked several times. "Huh?"
"I don't know but you made it clear to me that night that I was just a drag along," Isane shook her head, feeling her tears brim at her eyes. "I was just a pity case. Guys wouldn't even date a girl taller than them."
Niou frowned. "Jesus Christ, Isane - you and Yamaguchi are relatively the same height. Look at Ohtori - he's towering over both of you. You're what? 5'10? Big deal! I don't care! I'm only 5'8 and I'm still bloody 14! I'll probably outgrow you!"
Isane hung her head shamefacedly before Niou suddenly just grabbed her shoulders and kissed her. The silver haired Sniper stared in astonishment as she collapsed onto the wall behind her. Niou on the other hand used his right hand to keep her head comfortable and from hitting the brick wall. He ran his fingers through her hair as his arm snaked around her waist and pulled her close. He never kissed that passionately before but now he could literally feel his kiss begging for her forgiveness.
I'm sorry. Isane... I'm sorry...
Isane on the other hand had no idea how to react. Her brain completely froze when Niou had just grabbed her and kissed her. Everything had happened in a blur. However, she then shoved him away and sent him staggering back.
"I-Isane," he tried to reach for her.
Isane looked up and found Shishido standing by the alleyway. However, the capped specialist found the guy who had been harassing Isane on the ground and now, Niou had her completely cornered. His eyebrows knitted together as he slowly advanced towards them.
"Niou, goddamn so you first make plans to help get her back and then you backstab," he hissed darkly. "You son of a bitch..."
Niou raised his hands in surrender; he couldn't believe what he was doing. "Dude, it wasn't my plan I swear!"
"A Trickster never tells the truth," Shishido growled darkly while cracking his knuckles, rolling up his sleeves after. "I'm gonna freakin' waste you!"
Shishido rushed towards Niou with his fist drawn back. Niou immediately pushed Isane aside as Shishido's fist slammed straight into his stomach. Niou slammed against the wall and winced in pain, coughing out a gasp of air. Isane gasped and waited for Niou to start attacking. Her eyes widened though when she saw how one-sided the fight became. Niou simply raised his arms to brace himself for the punches. Punches flew and kicks hit his side as Niou staggered.
Now the Trickster himself didn't know what he was doing.
He could feel his whole body aching in agony from Shishido's blow. But he bit back a lot of the pain. He couldn't understand why his body didn't want to respond to him but his chest felt a lot lighter.
"You freakin' bastard, breaking her heart wasn't enough for you," Shshido growled before drawing his fist back. "I'm going to fucking waste you!"
Niou waited for the blow, shutting his eyes.
But nothing hit him.
When he opened his eyes, Isane had caught Shishido's fist before smiling bitterly. "Let him go."
Shishido's eyes widened in surprise. "What?"
"Let him go," Isane gently tugged Shishido back. "I'll deal with this."
The dash specialist blinked as he saw a bruised and dirtied Niou on the ground. He exhaled sharply before turning away with a scowl. At least he had bashed Niou for whatever he did to Isane. He had been wanting to hand the Trickster's ass to him ever since!
"Tch, just be back before the matches finish," Shishido shoved his hands into his pocket and stalked off.
Isane smiled kindly before turning a more concerned look towards Niou. The Trickster barely managed to push himself off the ground as the Sniper bent down and helped him up.
"Wh-why did you," Isane shook her head before noticing cuts on his face and blood dripping from his lip. "You're bleeding!"
Niou chuckled with a nonchalant shrug. "A bleeding body doesn't measure up to a broken heart."
Isane's eyes widened before she hung her head. "I... I never asked you to..."
"Some people are worth suffering for," Niou smiled weakly before brushing his hand against her cheek.
Jesus Christ, what am I saying...?
Niou couldn't believe what was rolling out of his mouth. But every word meant what he wanted to say. He leaned against the wall with an exasperated sigh as Isane began wiping the blood and dirt off his face. He glanced at the guy he had knocked out with the dart before raising an eyebrow.
"So, what did this shit head want with you," Niou pointed towards the fallen man.
Isane bit her lower lip, murmuring. "He was my mother's ex-manager."
"Ex-manager for what? A company," Niou shuddered before rolling his eyes with an annoyed snort. "That's why I never liked the corporate world."
Isane sat beside him, hugging her legs. "Do you know Elsa Shishou?"
"Yeah, she's a Grammy award winning actress in countless movies and also an Oscar nominee as best directress," Niou recalled a bit. "Come to think of it, you do look a bit like her..."
Isane smiled bitterly. "That's because she's my mom."
Niou snapped his head in astonishment. "What?"
Isane laughed softly. "Yeah, she changed her name because she didn't want to be known to marry a no-namer like my dad. But her real name is Yuri Nobusetsu-Uchiha. She wanted a glamorous career and that meant no strings attached since my dad at that time was just a regular cadet."
Niou raised his eyebrow. "But now your dad is one of the top ops of the SDF and the police in Tokyo. What the heck is your mom whining about?"
"Dad agreed though since as he started rising through the ranks it became dangerous," Isane smiled weakly. "And it didn't help that I had to keep changing school..."
"So you never made any lasting friends," Niou bit his lower lip.
"Mom was never home and when she was, she would just criticize the way I look," Isane hugged her legs with a melancholy laugh. "She was slim, curvaceous while I was lanky and boyish looking. She liked nail polish and glamour, I liked bullets and guns."
Niou nodded slowly as he gently pressed his forehead against hers. "You know what? I don't care."
Isane had been taken aback as her cheeks turned bright pink.
"Because you're amazing. Just the way you are," Niou remembered the first time he sang the song to her, dropping his voice into a hushed whisper. "Honestly, I was supposed to sing something during that karaoke night but that peacock batchmate of yours stole my idea."
Isane saw a different look in his eyes. Niou chuckled weakly before leaning closer but this time, it wasn't to kiss her. Whether or not he was weakened by the blows, Isane could feel his hands weakly holding hers. She nodded firmly to herself and then slung his arm onto her shoulder.
Niou blinked several times as he felt himself being lifted up.
"If you want a relationship to work," Isane smiled in determination. "There has to be two people."
Niou chuckled and couldn't help but beam with pride as he helped himself up. He slung his arm around her shoulder and hopped along. She did need the confidence boost and she was already cute as the unconfident tall girl. But now she stood tall and beamed with pride. He couldn't help but admire that as well.
"So, does this mean we're together," Niou asked hopefully.
"Yes and no. There's something you have to do," Isane stopped her tracks.
The Trickster blinked several times.
Isane stared at him firmly. "Prove it to me."
The Trickster blinked several times again.
"Prove to me that you really do care," Isane repeated slowly. "That this whole bravado wasn't just for show."
Niou chuckled lightly and bowed his head with a challenge-accepted glint in his eyes. "I wouldn't be a man if I didn't."
And if there was one thing Niou knew.
Rikkai hated losing
But this wasn't about Rikkai anymore.
This was his fight.
And he was going to do whatever it takes to win.
Meanwhile, inside the stadium - the shots exploded as Kirihara struggled to keep on playing. He wobbled around with his legs swelling and his arms swinging pointlessly. He weakly looked up and narrowed his eyes.
"Tch, how did he manage to do that," Kirihara staggered around. "My whole place feels like jello."
Ryuuzaki bit her lower lip as the PA sounded off.
"The next battle: Women's division - Britain versus Japan! Match will begin 15 minutes! All members of both teams - please report to Court 3!"
Ryuuzaki's eyes widened as Sakaki nodded and stood up, gesturing to Shizuru. "Let's go."
Shizuru nodded and headed off, glancing at the other girls. "Ayane, call Kiyone. Mai, Momo - let's go."
Mai smirked and flipped back her long red hair. "Heh, it's show time!"
Momo nodded firmly. "Mm."
As the girls walked away, Kirihara smirked as he watched his opponent carefully. Sobek stood in front of him, lazily picking his ear. Kirihara scowled; he picked himself up from the ground before narrowing his eyes.
"I'm gonna waste ya," Kirihara growled darkly as his eyes became bloodshot.
Coach Amunet chuckled in amusement. So this is what power the little brat has, Amunet elegantly folded her legs. She knew Japan's leading players but she didn't know what this one was made of. The doubles pair awhile ago had one of their best players.
"Shiraishi Kuranosuke," she chuckled lightly before looking at Osiris and Set. "I have to admit; any longer and the two would have secured the game."
But her attention had been dragged away by two of the other members.
"But the ones I am more afraid of," her eyes centred on the other two captains. "Are those two."
"There's no reason to fear them, coach."
Coach Amunet looked up and raised an eyebrow. "Awi, what do you propose...?"
"That Atobe kid has nothing. But that four eyed peasant is mine," Awi confidently sat on the chair with a sly smirk, leaning back comfortably. "He made a mistake of going after my darling treasure."
"Who happens to not be there at the moment," Apophis chuckled.
"What," Awi snapped his heads towards the stands and gawked. "What?!"
Fair enough, Shizuru no longer stood at the stands. Awi gaped and twitched; where in the world did she go?
Awi crouched at his dark little corner with a sad sigh. "Where did Nefertiti go...?"
Apophis rolled his eyes with an annoyed snort, continuing to watch the game. "Yeah you're an idiot. Some Morning Star you are."
Kirirhara panted heavily while running across the court, sending a fast forehand. He watched Sobek send it towards the other end of the court as he struggled to run, suddenly tangling up his legs.
"Agh," the ace nearly fell over but recovered immediately as he reached for the ball.
Sobek chuckled inwardly as he backhanded the ball. Despite everything, you're still fighting. Interesting...
Kirihara exhaled sharply and slammed the next shot, cross court. "Hah!"
"Hehe go ahead," Sobek smirked as he gently floated the ball. "Burn yourself out..."
"Britain versus Japan! Girls' teams, step forward!"
Fuuka stepped forward with all the girls lining up. Florence's eyes widened in surprise as she saw the person standing in front of her.
"Jade," Florence beamed brightly. "I barely hear from yoh nowadays! How have you been?"
Jade smiled lightly. "I've never been better. Hope your condition didn't make you age."
"As far as I'm concerned, I don't have any wrinkles on my face," Florence laughed dryly and extended her hand. "I don't intend to drop dead just yet."
"I do hope so," Jade drawled with her thick British accent, nodding firmly. "It'd be terrible if my former partner dropped dead on the court."
Fuuka on the other hand sniggered and folded her arms. "Hah, . Britain's Aquarius - Natasha Cumberpatch. Never thought I'd square off with a primma donna like you."
Natasha smirked with a fold of her arms. "Primma Donna is far better than being a gorilla. Brute force is always followed by brute stupidity."
Fuuka growled deeply. "You're gonna get fucked, you little whore."
Natasha shrugged nonchalantly. "If you intend to shoot your mouth off then, do control what comes out of it. If you have nothing substantial to say then, I suggest: shut up."
Mai on the other hand gushed with astonishment. "Oh. My. God. L-Lyra Henstridge?! Y- you're playing?!"
"Surprised? Prepare to bask yourself in my brilliance," Lyra sweetly smiled with a curtsy. "I do hope you have some standard as a tennis player."
Mai grinned confidently, curtsying. "Ha! A Nagisaki never puts a mediocre show!"
Shizuru smiled kindly and bowed humbly. "Thank you in advance!"
"Aww you're a polite darling," the girl in front of her smile, bowing as well. "An honour. Nerissa Beaufort. And you are?"
"Kurenai Shizuru," the brunette smiled but suddenly winced as something hit her. "Huh?"
Nerissa stared quizzically at her. "Is there something wrong?"
Shizuru laughed sheepishly. "Ahahaha, I'm fine. I think the lights are just bothering me."
Nerissa laughed wistfully. "A little photosensitive are we?"
"Perhaps," Shizuru smiled bashfully, playing with her fingers.
What was that?
The brunette winced as she could suddenly feel her head throbbing. She began looking around and shaking her head. It can't possibly be the light, Shizuru pondered while looking around again.
"Where did that come from," Shizuru winced as another psychic disturbance hit her. "Ah!"
"Buchou, are you okay," Momo glanced at her. "Do you want to sit it out...?"
Shizuru waved her hand dismissively, smiling sheepishly. "Ah don't worry. I think it's just the excitement getting to me."
However deep in her mind, Shizuru had already began rolling her eyes and tweaking up her ears to pick up sounds. The brunette looked around once more before slowly following her teammates back to the seats.
"I could have sworn I felt something," Shizuru narrowed her eyes before concentrating on the match. "Never mind, I'll figure it out."
What she didn't know was that someone had been watching her from afar.
A black haired man stood in the crowd, standing next to a coffee blonde man. He glanced at the girls' division with a fold of his arms. He stood at the bleachers as he saw the Japanese flag and the British flag flash on screen.
"I'm glad she got this far," he smiled wistfully as the picture flashed of Shizuru on the screen. "I guess she's better off not knowing."
"You'll be handing the awards later considering this is Mishima owned," the coffee blonde male folded his arms. "Jin, she is your daughter after all. You can't hide from her forever."
Jin exhaled sharply. "She has a kind heart. I don't want her becoming part of that world of hatred, Lars."
Lars raised his eyebrows. "We basically all have a common enemy and that would be the old fart. He's been looking for the Devil Gene since Kazuya went bonkers with it."
Jin chuckled humourlessly. "Ah. I guess so."
"Besides, she won't be as long as we all protect her from it," Lars shrugged in approval. "Shizuru has friends to count on and someone's courting her."
Jin's eyes flashed. "What?!"
"Haha overprotective daddy vibe right there," Lars smirked as Jin punched his shoulder. "What? You know I'm right."
Jin couldn't help but let a helpless chuckle bubble from his throat. "Years ago, we were at each others' necks. Now..."
"Naoto did a lot to you, Jin," Lars smiled fondly at the memory. "She made your Devil Gene look like a pussy compared to what she could do."
Jin smirked lightly, running his fingers through his hair. "Yeah. Kazuya didn't even know how it happened. She just pounded Heihachi's ass like he was her bitch."
"I'm not sure but I think as long as we don't trigger anything traumatic," Lars shrugged nonchalantly, shoving his hands into his pockets. "The Devil Gene won't react."
Jin smiled while nodding. "To live and die as a human... That was all I wanted her to do. To forget the life of the Mishima. To eliminate its bloodline."
"And you already did to some extent. Shizuru is proof of that," Lars smiled with a wry chuckle. "If Shizuru were a Mishima, she'd be out trying to kick your ass instead of enjoying herself down there."
Jin nodded slowly before smiling.
Live, Shizuru. Because you're the only proof that a Mishima is capable of loving.
Downstairs, Shizuru looked around, noticing people walk away. I wonder who they are...
"Shizuru," Mai dropped her hand on the brunette's shoulder. "Are you okay?"
"A-ah," Shizuru stared at the crowd for a moment before walking away.
I could have sworn I heard something.
On the other hand, Fuuka and the others went back to the bleachers. The red haired captain glared at Natasha Cumberpatch before impishly sticking her tongue out
"Really, Fuuka? That's your master plan," Momo raised her eyebrows and folded her arms. "That's how you're going to piss her off?"
Fuuka crossed her arms childishly while sticking out her tongue. "Hey, it's a start!"
Momo wanted to face palm. God, what team did I just end up in?
"Game, Kirihara - 4 games to 5!"
Japan howled with loud cheers as Sobek lay flat on the ground. He gawked in admonishment as Kirihara had a huge smirk on his face.
"H-How," Sobek hissed angrily, slamming his fist on the court. "How are you still able to stand?!"
Kirihara shrugged nonchalantly with a cocky grin. "I dunno. I just know that I'm gonna waste ya and do whatever it takes to win!"
Ryuuzaki-sensei smirked; Kirihara began jumping around and moving faster. The moment he got used to it, Kirihara began twisting his body with ease and sending shots in awkward angles. Sobek gawked in astonishment as Kirihara shot another fast shot towards the deep end of the court.
"You," Sobek growled before backhanding another shot. "I'll desstroy you!"
Kirihara grinned cockily. "Heh, let's see ya try - punk!"
Sobek slammed another shot with a forehand, darting towards him. His eyes narrowed at Kirihara while he kicked off with a volkey. Kirihara grinned and deflected another shot with a drive volley before jumping in the air and smashing down the forced lob.
"Tch," Sobek jumped for the ball, crashing onto the ground.
"Aww yeah," Kirihara smashed another shot.
"Game: Kirihara! 5 games to 5!"
Japan cheered loudly with the other schools whooping in delight.
"He's come a long way, hasn't he," Jackal folded his arms with a huge smile on his face. "Who knew Kirihara could quickly adjust to the situation like that?"
"That perhaps may be Kirihara-kun's forte. Aside for his brute strength," Yagyuu chuckled lightly and adjusted his glasses. "His resiliency has considerably improved."
"Can't have Bakaya have all the glory now can I?"
Yagyuu and Jackal looked up and found Marui grinning from the stairs.
"Did someone call for Rikkai's Genius," Marui grinned proudly while raking his fingers through his hair. "Everybody ready to be awed by my genius?"
"Marui," Haruka beamed happily. "You're here!"
Kajimoto chuckled and gave him a high five. "Welcome back."
Marui shrugged and jumped down to stand next to the other players. "So, what's the tide now?"
"The tide's in Kirihara's favour. He completely adjusted to the play style of the guy," Jackal grinned proudly while looking at Rikkai's ace. "If Kirihara gets this, we tie up with Egypt."
Marui nodded while looking at the junior fight while clenching his fists in determination. He glanced at Atobe before moving down to the seats. The Magician took his seat next to him, folding his arms. He could see Kirihara pushing Sobek to the ends of his ropes as the points rained in Kirihara's favour.
"You could have won."
Marui snapped his head at Atobe. "Huh?"
"For that one moment, ore-sama could feel that he already had lost," Atobe glanced at Marui with a sigh. "Yet, why didn't you push through?"
Yeah, why didn't you?
Marui brushed his sub-consciousness aside. "I felt that if I had confessed to Ayane, it would be all doomed to fail. I'd be a rebound and we wouldn't be able to get our friendship back..."
The king raised an eyebrow. "So you backed down due to mere assumption?"
"I guess that would be the difference of a king and a magician," Marui chuckled sombrely while watching Kirihara play. "I wanted Ayane to choose for herself who she was willing to place her heart in. I simply just gave her more objective view of the situation. Everything else just happened..."
Atobe saw the melancholy look in Marui's eyes. "Ore-sama should have lost."
"Yet you didn't," Marui sighed with a bittersweet smile. "Well, what you guys do is none of my business. But I'm going to be here for one reason - I'm here to play for Japan and give her the support she needs."
Atobe smirked before turning away. "She's in court 3."
"Huh," Marui raised an eyebrow at him.
"Ore-sama believes that she should at least know what you feel," Atobe continued to stare off at a distance. "Support her. There are times that she will need you more than she'll need me."
Marui nodded before running off to Court 3. Hearing Marui's footsteps fade into the deafening cheers, Atobe smirked wryly to himself. He sighed deeply before closing his eyes tightly. He gripped his shirt while looking forward
"Ore-sama knows it's true. Marui, you are indispensable to Ayane," Atobe smiled bitterly. "Ore-sama is still working on things but you were there for her when she needed someone the most. Ore-sama knows how lucky he is to have Ayane give him a second chance."
"Game Kirihara: six games to five!"
"Yeah," Kikumaru punched the air enthusiastically. "Go Kirihara-kun!"
"Oh yeah," Kirihara grinned and looked at the crowd with a proud grin.
Sobek panted heavily while looking at Rikkai's Devil. He saw Kirihara goofily as he could feel his blood boiling. He clenched his hand tightly into a fist until his nails cut into his palm.
"You dare laugh at the god of Reptiles? I am Sobek," Sobek hissed as his skin slowly turned red. "I'll turn you red the same way Moses turned the river Nile red!"
Kirihara blinked several times. "Uh... Sure. Um guys?"
All his teammates looked at him as Kirihara asked.
"Who the heck is Moses?"
All members from Rikkai Dai face-palmed as Sanada turned around. "I do not know that boy."
"He did take catechism in elementary right," Jackal blinked several times in disbelief, looking at Yagyuu.
"Did you think with his attention span he'd remember all that information," Yagyuu sighed deeply, raising an eyebrow at Jackal. "Let alone retain it for at least 2 minutes?"
The Brazilian-Japanese player groaned.
"Thought so," Yagyuu chuckled humourlessly.
"Singles Three players - get ready! 10 minutes!"
Natsuki chuckled in amusement while spinning her racquet on her wrist. "Ahm purdy damn sure that this game's gonna be a shoo in!"
"I wouldn't be too overconfident if I were you," Florence glanced at the other players from Britain. "It seems to me that they are very armed to kill this time."
"Ooh ooh, do we get to toy around with them this time," Ai bounced up and down enthusiastically.
"Heh, we might as well crush 'em before they have the chance," Fuuka grinned in determination, clenching her fists tightly. "Go get 'em, Natsuki!"
Natsuki stood at the baseline while looking at her opponent. "Well well, whadoo we have here?"
A girl with dark brown hair with lavender coloured eyes curtsied. "Jennifer Twilight. You are?"
Natsuki spun her racquet proudly. "Amakusa Natsuki - Osaka's Basilisk!"
Jennifer chuckled in amusement. "Well then, we are going to have quite a fight - aren't we, Miss Amakusa?"
"Ya can bet yer ass on it," Natsuki smirked and pointed her racquet at her. "Time ta show ya what a real showdown's like here at home!"
"Singles Three will now begin! Japan's Amakusa Natsuki versus Britain's Jennifer Twilight! Game start, Twilight to serve!"
Jennifer smiled while bouncing the ball several times. "Well then, let's begin!"
The ball blasted from Jennifer's racquet as Natsuki chased it down. Jennifer darted to volley it over while Natsuki jumped out to catch it and send it far back. The blonde girl clicked her tongue in annoyance as she backhanded the ball down the line. Natsuki leapt for it and volleyed it right across the net with Jennifer countering it with her own drive volley.
"Yer gettin' a little too cocky now aren't we," Natsuki narrowed her eyes with a confident smirk, running after the ball. "Time ta show ya why ya shouldn't!"
Jennifer chuckled in amusement and ran to the front of the net. "Come then!"
Natsuki spun in the air before slamming the ball down with her full body weight. "Yahoo!"
Erika who had been watching on the side whooped with joy. "That's the Twinkle Spin!"
"The what," Fuuka gawked in admonishment. "What kind of shitty name is that?"
Natsuki smirked as she kicked down to land before springing up for another attack. "Yeehaw, time to nip it in the bud right here!"
Jennifer narrowed her eyes and shot a volley towards Natsuki. "Hn, we shall see about that!"
The girls' watched the exchange as Natsuki leapt for the ball, slamming the shot on the other side.
"Love - Fifteen!"
Jennifer clucked her tongue as she served again. Natsuki smirked before jumping for the ball again, swinging with full speed. Jennifer stumbled over and ran for the next the shot. Natasha watched the ball fly between the two as she folded her legs elegantly while sitting down.
"Natsuki the Basilisk," Natasha twirled her brown hair in amusement. "Hmph, interesting. I never knew Japan had their own monsters. She has some finesse; I'll give her that."
Lyra shrugged nonchalantly. "You'd think with pretty chinky eyed faces like theirs, they wouldn't be able to see the ball."
Jade snorted. "That's racist and you know it."
"Hey, isn't that what most people assume," Lyra raised her hands in defense. "You'd say the same!"
Jade rolled her eyes. "I've met Florence's parents and they weren't that chinky eyed."
"That's because she's bloody half-Brit," Lyra protested. "If Florence weren't a Brit, she'd have lines for eyes!"
Natasha waved her hand dismissively. "Now now, Lyra. Let's not be racist. We are here as representatives of Britain. If the monarch hears of this, we might as well stop playing altogether."
"Mm," one of the other girls nodded quietly.
Lyra raised an eyebrow at the other girl, whispering to Jade. "Although I wonder, why is she playing again?"
Jade glanced at her and narrowed her eyes. "She may not look like much but she has enough power to take on the top 3 of Britain."
Natasha chuckled in amusement. "Let's see if she can match up to Japan's favourite rookie."
The British Team then glanced at the bleachers as Jade's eyes widened.
"She isn't there," Jade blinked several times, looking around.
"Stupid brat, where did she go," Lyra snorted in annoyance. "You know people are regarding punctuality!"
Natasha shook her head. "She is probably with one of the other Japanese players. I heard about the incident with Egypt's Soul Eaters."
Jade shivered violently at the thought. "Osiris and Set Rahotep - are those two even human?"
"We're not even sure," Natasha shook her head. "But there is a pair in Japan that's like that as well. The Soul Link pair - Jushinhi René and Tachiwara Miho."
"Speaking of which, why aren't they there," Lyra raised an eyebrow and glared darkly. "Is Japan even taking us seriously?!"
"Oh yes," Natasha nodded slowly, looking at the faces. "I recognize many of the faces that are in that roster."
"Game, Amakusa: 1 game to Love!"
Crowds cheered as Natsuki smirked at Jennifer. "If that's all ya got, this game's gonna be a real shoo in!"
"I dare say," Jennifer gasped in horror before narrowing her eyes dangerously at Natsuki. "That's absolutely the most impossible thing I have ever heard! And if that is the case, I shall prove that I am much better than you country folk!"
Natsuki narrowed her eyes. "Hey, just because ah got mah accent - don' give ya any hoity toity ta go aggervating everybody with yer high and mightiness!"
"Ugh, you uncouth simpleton - I will make short work of you," Jennifer pointed her racquet determinedly at Natsuki.
"Hah! Ah reckon that yer just a bunch a hot air," Natsuki grinned darkly while spinning her racquet around her wrist. "Yer as noisy as mah grand pappy's jalopy on its best day!"
Florence raised an eyebrow while cringing slightly. "Since when did Natsuki even use words like... Jalopy?"
"Well she did grow up in Texas for some time," Fuuka shrugged nonchalantly. "And her kansai accent does somewhat mix into her Texan accent."
Ayane sighed as she saw Kiyone jump over the ledge and land right next to her. "Kiyone!"
The sandy blonde volleyist grinned. "Sorry about that! Who's playing?"
"Natsuki's pissin' off her opponent with her Texan accent," Fuuka chuckled lightly.
Mai laughed and shook her head. "I'm surprised that Jennifer didn't throw her racquet at her yet."
Ayane snickered. "Most people would."
Momo however noticed that Shizuru had been fidgeting in her seat. "You okay?"
"Something's weird," Shizuru glanced around at the crowd. "Like there's someone specifically targeting me..."
The Shinigami shrugged while placing her hands in her pockets. "Well we are in a competition. There should be some scouts."
"No. Somehow, this feels rather different," Shizuru narrowed her eyes slightly, continuing to survey the area. "It feels a bit too ominous yet comforting at the same time..."
Momo raised an eyebrow. "Tense? Dense? Or something creeping over?"
"More like a combination of the 2nd and the 3rd," Shizuru bit her lower lip anxiously. "Or maybe I'm just nervous..."
Momo chuckled lightly. "Yeah. I remember the first time we tried to get you to play in front of people. You just froze."
"Stage fright," Shizuru giggled sheepishly until she heard another crack. "Huh?"
The ball cracked right on Jennifer's side with Natsuki slowly standing straight again.
"Sarah's technique - the Dust Eater," Ai gawked in amazement.
"Actually, that technique originally came from Natsuki," Fuuka smirked triumphantly while folding her legs. "The Dust Eater makes full use of her flexibility and makes opponents confused as to where and when she'll strike."
"Fifteen - love!"
"If we keep this up, we'll reach Czech and Russia in no time," Ai grinned before jumping on the rail cheering. "Go Natsuki go! Go Natsuki go!"
Natsuki smirked while playing with her hair. "Ah reckon yer gonna have ta do much better than that. Ya know that this match is gonna end up like me beatin' ya like a rented mule."
Jennifer smirked slyly. "On the contrary, now I know exactly what you can do now."
"Yer talkin' mighty fer someone who's takin a beatin'. Show me whatcha got," Natsuki challenged.
"I very much intend to," Jennifer gestured to her. "Your serve, peasant."
"Heh, peasant o' not - ah purdy sure that ah got the upper-hand," Natsuki swung over as the ball curved awkwardly.
"The Snake Bite serve," Erika jumped excitedly as Shitenhouji supporters howled in delight.
"Bring her down!"
"You're Shitenhouji's Basilisk!"
"Go go go!"
Natsuki smirked as Jennifer shut her eyes. "Huh?"
As the ball spun around in an awkward curve, Jennifer remained completely unmoving until she suddenly struck fast. Natsuki's eyes widened as she jumped for the serve to return it. Jennifer smirked and started running around as Natsuki's eyes widened.
"Sh-she's playin' with her eyes shut," the charcoal haired Shitenhouji captain gawked. "Are ya kiddin' me!?"
"Your movements are like a hypnosis device," Jennifer smiled triumphantly. "But a snake can't daze when their opponent does not look!"
Fuuka slammed her hands on the rail. "Shit, she can do Closed Eye?!"
"All I know who are capable of that are possibly Fuji Syuusuke," Mai narrowed her eyes as Jennifer began scoring one after the other. "She's relying on her sense of hearing so the sight won't daze her and tire her out."
Natsuki narrowed her eyes as she struggled to catch the ball. She watched Jennifer take the points bit by bit. She staggered a bit while skidding across the court. The Basilisk could feel her body forcibly compensating for her shots.
"Tch, I can't use surprise anymore," Natsuki growled inwardly while tumbling back to position. "Gah...!"
Jennifer chuckled in amusement. "Not so confident now aren't you?"
"Heh," Natsuki smirked while hitting a forehand. "We'll see about that!"
"Game and match, Kirihara: 7 games to 5!"
The crowds cheered as Kirihara balanced his racquet on his hand. "Heh, easy pickings!"
Sobek walked back, bowing. "Forgive me, I did not expect that sudden burst of power."
Awi smirked and waved his hand. "Hmph, it's no big deal. What matters is we crush these fools and get my jewel back."
Sobek nodded silently.
"This should also teach you to not underestimate an opponent just because he has a brain of a pebble," Awi rolled his eyes in annoyance. "That brat's intelligence rivalled that of a 4 year old."
As Sobek nodded stiffly, Apophis scoffed darkly. "Looks like we better force them into a stand-off. Singles One with only be played if there's a tie."
Awi nodded stiffly while looking at the other players in Japan. He had half-expected Kirihara to take a beating from Sobek. Then out of nowhere, his eyes just turn bloodshot and he flips the battle around in a single movement. He curled his fingers tightly until his knuckles turned white.
"Kirihara Akaya," a slow smile curved up his lips as he glanced at his coach. "Who's playing Doubles One?"
Coach Amunet snapped her fingers. "Girgis, Van Biljon – get ready!"
On the other side, the whole team had begun congratulating Kirihara.
"That was great, nyah! You sure showed him," Kikumaru grinned enthusiastically, jumping down from the rail. "But he was really different from those last two."
"Those last two were probably more show stoppers than anything else," Ryuuzaki-sensei stroked her chin, pondering deeply. "But somehow, I felt it was really within her intention to attack Shiraishi."
Atobe raised an eyebrow. "But that wouldn't make sense now would it…?"
"It would if she meant to get us angry enough so we won't think straight," Fuji pondered deeply while looking at the other team. "But if it's one thing I know… it's that she angered the worst group of people…"
Sanada and Tezuka remained silent but Fuji could feel the intent from Tezuka. Ever since Awi had shown up and messed up his chances, he had been silent. Ever since they found out that Egypt had been going to face them, Tezuka may have shown no enthusiasm but Fuji could see the faint flicker in his eyes that spelled death and destruction.
"I hope you all enjoy the show," Fuji murmured softly while looking at Tezuka. "Because I definitely will."