Summary: Shindou Hikaru never publicly made himself known to the Go world, preferring to stay in the shadows of NetGo. But even he knows he can't stay hidden forever, not when Sai disappears. It's time to fulfill the Go master's last wish.
Note: This chapter consists entirely of Sai-Hikaru dialogue except for the ending.
Miles Across the Universe
I. Fujiwara no Sai
Can you see it?
Who are you?
Can you hear my voice? You can, can't you?
Yes, I can.
You can, you can! Almighty God, I thank you. I will now return … to the living world!
So what's your story? Who are you?
I am Fujiwara no Sai, a former Go tutor to the emperor in the Heian capital.
Heian capital? Go?
Yes. I loved Go. I played it every day, and I was very happy. At that time, there was a second tutor to the emperor, who commented that there was no need for two tutors. We would play a game, and the winner would remain.
Who won? That other guy sounds like bad news.
We played the game evenly. With everyone watching, it seemed a coincidence that only I saw it…
A white stone had been mixed into the black stones in his container. It is a rare case, but usually has no effect on the match since the opponent will give it back after the game. But he waited for the right moment, and added the stone to his captured stones.
He cheated! That sleaze-ball!
When I started to speak up about it, he shouted loudly that he saw me cheat and add a stone to my captured stones. I tried to defend myself, but the emperor told us to continue the game.
Why that sonofa -
With my mind still in shock from the accusation, I could not concentrate. I lost. I was branded a cheater and driven out of the capital. Deprived of my way of life, I no longer wished to live, and drowned myself two days later.
Err… so, uh, what happened after that?
I wanted to play more Go. I wanted to attain the Hand of God. My spirit could not rest, for my desire was overpowering. I attached myself to a goban, hoping that someone would come along and find me. One day I heard a voice in the darkness, a child's voice that asked why he was the only one who could see the "stains that look so much like tears" on the board. I was able to play more go through him. His name was Torajiro. Later, he took on the name of "Honinbo Shuusaku."
If you possessed someone else, how did you get back into the goban?
Torajiro died young because of disease. I was forced back into the goban.
Must be his blood I saw on the goban, then…
Yes. I waited and waited for a long time, but no one heard me.
Then I came.
What is the Hand of God you're talking about?
In Go, it is the ultimate move. The perfect move in a perfect game.
Sounds weird. Are you still looking for it?
Yes. If you will allow me to find it, I will be very happy.
Your story is pretty sad. I have no personal interest in Go, but since you'll be stuck with me I guess I could…
Y-you will? Oh, thank you!
It would probably also benefit you to teach me along the way, since I'll probably have no clue what you're doing.
I will, I will!
Great, now that's settled. Fujiwara no Sai, eh? My name is Shindou Hikaru. Let's find the Hand of God together.
Wow, you're a really strong player. You completely trashed me!
I'm sorry, I'm just very happy to play go again.
I can tell you love the game. Heck, you died for it!
Yes. Playing go creates a warm feeling in my chest, and I feel a rush of excitement. Every game is different. Even if my opponents are the same, they try different tactics, new moves, and it is a thrill to come out on top.
The way you describe your experience makes me excited too. I think I'm starting to like go, Sai.
You are? Yay! If you keep playing, you'll become a very strong player, Hikaru.
Thanks, Sai. Maybe one day I'll be as good as you…
This is called a computer. You can play go on it.
By creating an account, you can play go with other players who have accounts.
Are the other people inside these boxes?
No, Sai. Other people have computers that they use to play go.
Let's try it, Hikaru! I want to see how it works!
Okay, okay. Let's see, for our username…
s - a - i.
You're amazing, Sai! You haven't lost a single game since you possessed me.
Thank you, Hikaru. You have improved a lot since our last game.
You think so? I still can't beat you.
You have been only playing me. Why don't you play with someone else?
I guess it's worth a try. We can go visit a go salon later, okay?
Yay! Thank you, Hikaruuuu!
Ack, get off me! Sai!
Sai… these guys aren't even a challenge! Am I really that strong already?
See, Hikaru? You improved a lot!
Yeah, I guess. Maybe I should become a pro… naw, I think I'm good like this.
What about an insei? Zelda from the magic box said insei are professionals-in-training.
Well, I don't want the world to know about me yet… not until I'm really strong.
You are strong, Hikaru. You should go.
No. Not yet, Sai. I don't want to go yet.
Sai, what do you think? About that boy we met today, Touya Akira?
He is very strong for a player his age. I think he's stronger than you are, Hikaru.
He must have been exposed to go for longer than I have, then. I only started like a year and a half ago!
I think he will become your rival in the future, Hikaru.
Really? Guess I have some training to do then. Let's go, Sai! Nigiri!
Sai, I think we went a little overboard with the NetGo thing…
Why do you say that, Hikaru?
Every time we log on, we're bombarded with a bajillion requests for games! I know you love go, Sai, but this is crazy! Man, I'm tempted to lay low for a while. What do you think, Sai? Should we stick to the traditional goban?
If the magic box is as stressful as you say, then let's keep to the traditional goban. A real board is better to play on! Although I would have liked to play all those people.
They're mostly amateurs, Sai. None of them can match up to you.
You never know, Hikaru. There's something to be learned in every game.
Really? Well, they're still a bunch of weaklings, anyway…
Hikaru, that's rude!
What? You know I'm right, Sai!
Still, that's not nice to say. These people try their hardest to win!
Trying to win against you is like trying to cut down a stone wall with a butter knife.
You never know…
You think someone out there is a match for you?
Possibly. We have not met such an opponent yet, but I feel that a great match will be upon very soon.
Sai, you seem to be restless lately…
Well, Hikaru… I want to play the professionals. Especially the man who you said is considered the best player right now, Touya Meijin. Akira's father, if I'm not mistaken.
Oh. You're aiming higher now? I can try to arrange a game with him, if that's what you want.
You mean it, Hikaru? Yes! Yes! Thank you! I will play to the fullest of my ability. Perhaps I will touch the Hand of God in a game with that man.
Alright, Sai. I'll talk to Touya when we have time.
That was the most beautiful game I have ever seen you play, Sai. You're a genius!
Yes, it was an amazing game. I would like to play that man again someday. But Hikaru…
You were brilliant as well.
Wha - me? How?
You saw the move that neither of us caught that would have led to my loss.
O-oh. That. But I still can't beat you, you know.
I know. Hikaru?
Will you play a game with me?
SAI! Don't go! Sai!
I'm sorry, Hikaru. I won't be able to reach the Hand of God with you.
Why? Why now? Why are you disappearing? Sai! Sai!
I think my real mission on this Earth was to guide you. And when you saw the path to victory that neither Touya Meijin nor I saw, my mission was completed.
But I don't want you to leave. Stay with me!
I'm so sorry, Hikaru. It was fun -
No! No, no, no, no, no! Sai! Sai! SAIIIII!
Hikaru was left in his room with his hand stretched out to where Sai had last been, tears trailing down his cheeks. "Sai…" he sobbed, dropping to the ground. "Why did you leave me? You promised! You promised we would find the Hand of God together! Why… why…"
He stayed in that position for a while. His tears eventually stopped trickling down his face. No matter how much he tried to deny it, he knew that it was true.
Sai was gone…
But Hikaru knew he would not be able to give up go. Sai would not have wanted that. Hikaru sat up, gears turning in his head about what he was going to do now without his mentor to guide him. He had to become a professional. For Sai. He had to obtain the Hand of God. For Sai. He had to strive to be the best, because it was what Sai would have wanted. Hikaru then vowed, there on the floor, that he would do it.
He would reach the Hand of God.
A multi-chapter fic. I've started one again. WHAT HAS THE WORLD COME TO? Yet another Hikaru no Go fic, because I am completely obsessed with this series. This chapter wrote itself, I swear.
Updates? Err... anyone who has read my multi-chaps before should know that my update speed is crap. Seriously.