Love in Bloom
Disclaimer: I don't own saki or any of the characters that stars on saki
AN : Hi ho! my 2nd story ever published, hope you guys will like this 3 and don't forget to R&R okay!
It has been a fruitful year for a girl named Miyanaga Saki. This year, she regained her love for the game she cherished and won the championships in both the individual and in the team competitions. Her name now rings loud in the world of mahjong and every time she would utter the simple syllable 'rin' her opponents would tremble in fear while the audience lean on the edge of their seats for they know that the next syllables would be '-shan kaihou'. Saki showed that in her hands these words 'rinshan kaihou' are synonymous to victory itself.
However, despite the victories she still had that sad frown on her face that she kept to herself. Her main motivation that pushed her to join the competitions has not been fulfilled. After dethroning Shiraitodai the ceremonies that came to follow her victory prevented her from talking with her sister. The last time she saw Teru Miyanaga was when she was holding the trophy for her team. Teru had an emotionless look on her face with her arms folded on her chest. Saki couldn't tell if her sister was happy for her or if she was still angry. When she was about to chase after her older sister it was already too late for the previous champion had already departed along with her team back to their school.
In the individuals, Teru did not join the competition so Saki did not have that opportunity. Despite that, Saki managed to motivate herself to destroy the competition mercilessly even against her own teammate Nodoka Haramura.
It's currently 1:00 past noon and Saki is once again in the field outside her school.
"Saki!" A familiar voice called out to Saki who was sitting on the grass under the shade of a big sakura tree.
"Hmm? Kyou-chan." Saki turned to see a blonde boy hurriedly rushing to her side. She remembered that this was how they met when she first saw Nodoka.
"Why didn't you attend the thanks giving party the school prepared for the mahjong club?" The boy asked. There was supposed to be a party that the whole school prepared in their honor but Saki apparently purposely missed the event. Instead, she's outside while reading a new book that she borrowed from the library.
"A- Ah well- I…" Saki struggled to come up with a better excuse than 'I didn't want to'. She scratched the back of her head frantically as she dropped her book to give Kyoutarou a good reply.
Suga looked at Saki with a skeptical look. As a longtime friend he knew that in this state interrogating Saki more would be just a waste of time.
"Don't worry about it already, the president already gave them a good excuse. She said that you had to rest because of the consecutive competitions." Kyoutarou Suga relieved the panicked Saki. It was a good excuse for it was only Saki who was forced to play for three whole months non-stop because of the two competitions. The individuals forced her to play a whole week without rest compared to Nodoka who dropped out on the seventh day after her hopes were crushed by Saki herself who eliminated her with a direct hit thirteen orphans.
Saki sighed in relief.
"I have to thank her later then." She smiled as she placed her hands near her chest happy that she didn't have to face the crowd of students and teachers. It's not that she doesn't enjoy being in the spotlight but because she had other things to think about right now. Most important among those things is 'how to talk to Teru'.
"Whenever I see you like this I still wonder how a useless girl like you can be a champ." Suga shrugged and sighed as he criticized Saki's bad habit of easily panicking.
"Don't call me useless!" Saki pouted. She didn't appreciate being teased that way but she's never one to be irritated easily.
"Well, I'm going. I was just ordered by the president to tell you to come to the club later. Apparently we'll have visitors today and she said that you must come." Said Suga before running off to the cafeteria.
"Visitors?" Saki asked herself silently as she sat back under the tree with her book in her hands. Recently, many visitors have been coming in the club. Just two weeks ago before the individuals some people from Kazekoshi visited them for a training match. She can still remember the shock on Kana's and Mihoko's face when she unconsciously scored +-0 against them for four consecutive times. It was not until her fifth game with them that she steam rolled them with consecutive high scoring yakus that led to their utter defeat.
Ding Dong Ding Dong
The school bell that signaled the end of their lunch break finally broke the serenity of the campus. Saki lazily sat up and slowly made her way to her class. People looked her way as she walked in the halls of the school. She could hear them talk about her about things that made her blush a bit.
"I-Isn't that Miyanaga Saki the individual champion and overall MVP in the Mahjong Nationals?" One random boy in the same year as Saki asked a companion of his in a soft whisper.
"Y-yeah, she even defeated her own teammate the middle school individual champion Haramura Nodoka." A girl student replied to that question while looking at the current champ with awe and sincere admiration.
"Isn't she kinda cute?" Another male student asked a friend of his.
"K-Keh!" Upon hearing the word 'cute' used to describe her, Saki gasped a bit as her face flustered deep red. She hurried to her classroom in futile attempt to hide her blushing face. She was still pinkish when she opened the sliding door of her classroom where she was met by yet another unexpected turn of events.
"Welcome back Miyanaga San!" Said the whole class while popping up some confetti horns and blowing on whistles.
"E-Eh? What's this?" Saki was surprised. Since this morning everyone in her class was quiet that she thought they didn't know or rather, didn't care much about her accomplishments which she didn't mind much.
"As your classmates we already had a feeling that you'd skip the party held by the staff in the gym so we had our own planned." One of her classmates grinned.
"B-But this is-…" Saki was taken aback as she tearfully sighed. As much as she appreciated the thought, she felt awkward dodging one party only to be caught in another one.
3:00 and not too far away from the prefecture of Nagano two people were on their way to Kiyosumi High. They were in a white van, one of them was an old lady driving the van and the other was a tall first year.
"Are we there yet?" Asked the first year who had long black hair to match her white eyes.
"Oh my Toyone, please sit down. Yes we're almost there, only about half an hour more."
Replied the old lady.
The old lady was silent for awhile. It was as if she was lost in thought for that moment. Toyone noticed the change in her mentor's atmosphere and paused to listen.
"I'm sorry that you have to come with me and change schools." The old woman apologized. From her voice one could sense hesitation for she, even with all her wisdom, didn't know how Toyone would react to her apology.
Toyone was surprised that her mentor was still thinking about that. It's true, she indeed felt lonely when she had to say goodbye to Sae Usuzawa and the rest of her team.
"It can't be helped if sensei has to transfer to Nagano because of her job right?"
Toyone smiled. She didn't want to worry her mentor any longer.
"Besides, Usuzawa and the others are still my friends. I will be able to meet with them as long as I play mahjong. I know it."
Toyone had hopeful eyes as she said this with a fist in her hand. Toshi Kumakura could not help but smile on how much her prodigy has grown.
"Besides I want to meet with Miyanaga Saki. I've fought her twice but I never got the chance to speak with her." The tall girl remembered her matches with the monster of Kiyosumi. The first match was in the captain battle of the team competition while the second match was in the semi-finals of the individuals.
"Oh? You suddenly got interested in Miyanaga? You've been talking about nothing except her the past week. Wasn't Jindai your favorite player?" The old lady had a smile on her face as she said this to Toyone.
"No! W-Well I… I mean Jindai-san is amazing but Miyanaga-san is… I-It's not like I…" Toyone gasped heavily as her face swelled pink.
The old lady laughed as Toyone dropped her hat on the floor while stuttering.
"Just relax we're almost there." Said the old lady and calmed the frantic Toyone.
Thirty minutes from then, inside the Mahjong Clubroom of Kiyosumi High, the members of the club have finally gathered inside. The first one to arrive was Yuki Kataoka who squealed 'I'm first inside!' the moment she steps foot inside.
"Geez, so energetic after everything that happened, what exactly are you?" Mako who came inside together along with Hisa had a weird look on her face as she observed their vanguard pranced around the room before going outside the window and unto the terrace that served as the club's balcony. There she laid on a beach chair and acted as if she was sun bathing with her clothes on and a glass of lemonade beside her.
"After that party I don't think it's wise to do anything today." Hisa said this after a groan. She had her hand on forehead with a pained look on her face.
"They do say that rest is also a part of training." Kyoutarou Suga, the only boy in the mahjong club entered the room after overhearing the conversation.
"Yes but we'll have a visitor today, we shouldn't let them see us slacking off." Mako replied to Suga.
"No, Suga-kun is right. It's worse if they see us training ourselves in such a state. Instead we should just talk to them casually." Hisa took Kyoutarou's idea over Mako's but the green haired glasses girl did not seem to mind it.
"Okay, by the way, who are the visitors anyway? Kazekoshi again?" Mako adjusted her glasses to make that 'aha' look.
"Nope, we will be having a transferee here. A friend of mine called and asked me to welcome the newcomer. She'll be joining our club." Hisa explained.
"Oh! Our first new member since Saki?" Mako clapped her hands once to show her excitement.
"We'll have a new member?" A new voice joined the conversation as a pink haired girl entered the premises. This girl had a gifted and well nurtured front compared to the girls that came before her.
"Yes and my friend specifically said that this new member wants to meet Saki. A big fan maybe?" Hisa shrugged before slumping down on the bed she usually slept on when not holding club meetings or games.
"Ah, so that's why you wanted me to tell Saki." Suga remembered the mission he was given that he accomplished two hours ago.
"Yep, is she coming?" Hisa asked.
"She did say that she was." Suga replied and then nodded. Just as he said that, a girl came in rushing through the door and slammed it shut immediately.
"Hwoah Saki calm down." Mako shrieked after seeing Saki almost teleport herself there.
"I'm sorry. I had to make some detours." She apologized while trying to catch her breath. She looked really exhausted and sweaty.
"I guess it's not that easy being popular Saki-chan." Mako snickered.
"Yeah, I've heard they've even made a fan club for you." Nodoka interrupted. She had this serene look on her face but she sounded rather teasingly.
"It can't be helped. To be the overall MVP of the team competition and the individual champion? That's like being the champion of two weight divisions in boxing." Suga replied. He had a smirk on his face.
"I- I don't really think it's that much of a big deal…" Saki was blushing again because of all her teammate's complements but tries to shrug it off humbly.
"Were you able to talk to your sister Saki?" Nodoka asked. After everything, they've become close enough to call each other's names without using honorifics.
Saki waved her head in a 'no' gesture.
"All the commotion in the award ceremonies prevented me from doing that. But I plan on visiting her in the near future."
Saki shared to her friend her plan.
"How about you Nodoka? Was your father…?" Saki paused. She remembered that Nodoka was a little sensitive about topics regarding her father's attitude towards mahjong and Nodoka's actions.
Nodoka smiled upon hearing the topic.
"Thanks to you Saki, father finally acknowledged my hobby and now I don't have to go with him every time he has to transfer." Nodoka replied with a big uplifting smile on her face.
"Good for you." Mako interrupted with a happy remark.
"Hurray we can be with Nodoka more!" Kataoka Yuki who jumped inside from the window rushed to Nodoka and Saki and started giving them hugs.
"You're too giddy…" Nodoka criticized Yuki's over playful demeanor while returning her embrace as Saki did.
"It's all because of Saki-chan and Nodoka-chan!" Replied Yuki who continued to cling on Saki who tolerated it and just giggled with her.
"Nope, you're always giddy." Kyoutarou added teasingly.
Everybody laughed after Kyoutarou's comment except Yuki who stepped on the poor boy's foot. Suga winced painfully as he hopped on one foot while clutching the other which Kataoka crushed. Their fun was interrupted when a knock on the door broke through their conversation.
"Ah, that must be them." Hisa fixed her red ribbon as she approached to open the door. The others eagerly waited to see who it was while pretending to be calm except for Yuki who was pretty vocal with her excitement.
Upon opening the door they were immediately met by an old lady with a monocle. She was smiling gently at Hisa as she said 'hello' and introduced herself.
"Hello, my name is Toshi Kamakura." The old lady bowed.
"A- Ah! My name is Takei Hisa, I'm very pleased to meet you. Please come in." Hisa bowed deeper as common courtesy in Japanese culture.
"Oh!? A-Aren't you a professional player?" Mako gasped after she remembered the old lady's pictures in some magazines that she distributed to the diners and the mahjong players in her shop.
"The very same." Kamakura replied humbly with a smile.
"Then that means the transferee is…" Hisa placed a finger above her lips wondering who it was. She heard that it was a first year, incoming second year this coming year.
"Please come in." The old lady looked at the door where a tall girl appeared meekly looking at everyone. The room froze as she entered with everyone's mouth dropping open.
"You are…" Saki, who was very familiar with the face placed a hand on her mouth as if to muffle her gasps.
"I- I'm Toyone Anetai, I'll be in your care from now on if you'll have me." The girl was blushing brightly as she bowed in front of the club.
"E-Eh?! Iwatei's Toyone?!" Yuki who was especially surprised screamed out loud.
"Because of my job I had to transfer here in Nagano and this child had to come with me because of some unfortunate reasons. She specifically chose Kiyosumi." Toshi explained their situation to the club president who merely nodded politely.
"I understand. But why Kiyosumi? With Toyone-san's skills she can easily make the ranks in Kazekoshi." Asked Hisa. Kazekoshi is indeed the best university if you're a mahjong player. There, they're well-funded and has a long history of great players that have dominated the interhigh and the nationals.
"Well it's because-…" before the old lady could explain why. Toyone suddenly ran up to a certain short-brown-haired girl and held her hand.
"M-Miyanaga Saki-san I- I'm very pleased to finally meet you like this!" The girl said with a very nervous voice as her hands trembled around Saki's small hands.
"I-I feel the same, it's nice to meet you too Anetai-san." Saki's forehead was dripping with cold sweat as she felt awkward about this.
"Ah… I see…" Hisa shrugged as she was able to answer her own question as she pieced together everything.
"I- I watched your match against Jindai-san from Eisui, Nelly-san from Rinkai and Toki-san from Senriyama. It was really amazing!" Toyone praised the champion in high spirit as she continued to grip Saki's hands tighter.
"T-Thank you very much. The championship was great but I enjoyed our match as well." Saki replied with a roundabout praise for Toyone.
"Really? But I couldn't give Miyanaga-san much of a challenge. Both in the team competition and in the individuals." Toyone remembered on how Saki easily bypassed her fortune abilities. Playing against this fragile little girl was like having her powers stripped from her and made her look normal.
"That's not true because in the individuals I was more worried about Toyone-san than Hatsumi Usuzumi and Izumi Nijou-san." Saki remembered that match. That match was anything but a close match but it was also anything but easy. It was there that Saki truly demonstrated her ability to crush other's abilities when she destroyed the miko's demon gates and silenced Toyone's rokuyou. In the end, Saki led a safe distance of a hundred thousand points next to the second place, Toyone, and crushed their dreams on the spot.
"So when will Anetai-san start to attend class?" Hisa asked Kamakura as she left the two to bond together.
"I already have all the necessary documents. She'll be attending regularly starting tomorrow."
The old lady replied.
"If it's alright… I've been interested in Miyanaga-san's abilities lately as well. Would it be fine if we played mahjong for awhile?" The old lady looked at Toyone and Saki as she asked Hisa the favor.
"I'm fine with it, Saki is that all right?" Hisa turned to Saki who nodded almost obediently.
"M-May I play too?!" Toyone was very nervous as she asked her mentor.
"Of course, Mahjong is placed by four players isn't it?"
Toshi Kamakura replied with a smile.
"Who will be our fourth?" Toshi asked the club and all were very eager to reply but someone stood out more than the others. A brave pink-haired girl eagerly raised her hand and volunteered to fight in the monster battle.
"I would like to play if that's alright." Haramura Nodoka who had a slight frown on her face volunteered. She felt rather annoyed to see someone get close to Saki like that for reasons that she herself could not understand.
"Haramura Nodoka? I've also wanted to play against you for so long." The old lady clapped her hands once as a gesture of her appreciation.
"Nodoka! Don't forget this." Hisa got a penguin stuffed toy which was on the table and flung it to Nodoka who caught it with both arms.
"Etopen!" Haramura was almost jubilant when she hugged the penguin and sat beside the mahjong table where the three other players waited.
"Let's play then." Said the old lady who sat in the position of East and therefore is the dealer.
Everybody decided on a double hanchan which was the usual rule for the team competitions. Saki sat directly in front of the old lady in the west while Toyone sat excitedly beside her at north. Nodoka settled for the South. Their game started with Toshi discarding the character of west wind.
"Pon!" Toyone said aloud while setting aside the set of three west winds that she gathered thanks to the old lady's discard.
"A three of a kind, this early in the hand?" Nodoka Haramura who was in South drew the six of characters, now she had a full suit and it was easy to tell what she needed to discard. After taking a couple of seconds to think she tossed out the north of winds.
"Pon!" Toyone called out again. It was her second set of winds that she has now beside her.
"Toyone began using her abilities."
The old woman smiled for she was very familiar with Toyone's ability to make a hand fast by calling on discards. It was one of her rokuyou.
"In Toyone's next turn, she'd probably get the last set of whatever she need and win the hand, probably even a Yakuman. What will you do Kiyosumi's captain?" The old lady secretly glanced at Saki to try and figure out what the captain was thinking. To her surprise the girl was smiling when she expected a troubled look to cloud that cute face.
"Here!" Saki threw out the south of winds. Toyone's face brightened as she saw the tile drop in front of her.
"Pon!" Shouted Toyone. She only needed a pair of anything now to win the hand, and a Yakuman at that. She excitedly threw her unpaired one of circles.
"Ron!" A voice stopped Toyone from celebrating.
"Chooren-pooto (Nine Lanterns)."
Saki said this with a humble smile on her face as she revealed her hand. All circles, two one of circles, three nine of circles, one of each other kind of circle in between one and nine, combine that with the one of circle Toyone just discarded was one of the highest yakus.
"That will be thirty-two thousand." She finished her statement.
"U-Unbelievable!" Toyone stood up as if a bolt of lightning just jolted her insides. Her own power was just used against her. Her Yakuman was just countered by another Yakuman. Furthermore, it was as if Saki knew that she would discard the one of circle.
"Well I guess that does it for this match, let's try to last longer next time." The old lady teased Toyone a bit who was still giddy from that experience.
"Ngghh p-please one more time!" Toyone bowed down in front of Saki.
"H-Hai!" Saki nodded her head as a drop of sweat streaked down her cheek.
The group restarted the match and this time Saki was given the privilege of being in East. She opened the match by discarding a five of characters. Toyone who was hailing from the South discarded another five of characters which she considered to be a 'safe tile' considering that it was the same tile Saki discarded. Toshi in the west threw away her one of circles while Nodoka discarded a seven of sticks after a few seconds of pause.
After a three rounds of discards it was Nodoka who broke the stalemate by declaring a ten-thousand points counter riichi. She had a confident look on her face that says 'I have a good wait'. Saki almost instantly discarded her five of sticks.
"Riichi!" Declared Toyone. It was one of her special abilities, the ability to pursue the riichi of another and declare her own riichi.
"Should I let these children battle it out in this hand?" Toshi Kumakura decided to bail out by breaking her three closed sequences and discarding a safe five of sticks.
"This girl always calls a riichi after someone calls a riichi. I do not believe in such superstition." Nodoka decided to play normally. She discarded the tile she drew immediately as being in riichi did not allow her to change her hand.
"Pon!" Saki said loudly before putting aside a trio of the four of circles which included Nodoka's discard. This move effectively disrupted the drawing order which was fatal for Toyone who had to draw the tile which came before her winning tile that Toshi drew.
"This is Toyone's winning tile isn't it?" Toshi looked at the one of characters in her hand. She was correct for Toyone was waiting on it to win with a 'seven pairs, yaku augmented by 'all terminals'. The old lady kept the tile.
To Nodoka's dismay, she failed to draw her winning tile yet again. She didn't allow this to faze her for it was normal for people not to draw their winning tile after a couple of draws or even not to draw them at all. Little did she know that her wait ended there for the girl that came after her was about to release some fireworks.
"Kan!" Shouted Saki who drew again yet another four of circles that completed her set.
"A promoted kan?" Nodoka have seen Saki do this before but it was still a rare occurrence. Saki would usually just burst with normal Kans and win the hand.
Time slowed down as Saki reached out for the dead wall and even slower as she drew, raised and pulled it closer to her. Then as if somebody just pressed the fast forward button, Saki slammed the eight of circles that completed her pair and manifested her hand.
"Tsumo, Tanyao, Chiinitsu, Toitoi, San Ankou and Rinshan Kaihou."
Saki said this with sparks almost visible in her eye. Winning with a draw, no terminal tile, one suit for all, no sequences, three hidden triplets and a win by drawing from the dead wall; these are the yakus that Saki just created in her hand. The above are worth the following, 1 fan, 1 fan, 5 fans, 2 fans, 2 fans and another fan for winning after declaring a quad. If you total these, they are worth a total of 12 fans, just a fan away from a Yakuman. She's also currently the dealer so she will receive more points from her opponents.
"That will be 24000 please." Said Saki with an almost innocent smile on her face.
"A Sanbaiman?!" Kyoutarou Suga who seemed to lose his grip every time Saki would pull off a win with Rinshan Kaihou.
"Oi-oi, I know our little girl here has improved since but this is just ridiculous."
Mako adjusted her glasses again with a slight twitch on her lips.
"To push back a pro, Nodoka and Toyone like this it should be beyond her." Mako remembered the time when Saki and Nodoka were utterly crushed by Fujita. She almost cannot recognize the same frail girl that trembled in front of the katsudon loving pro.
"No… I saw it after she destroyed her opponents in the individuals. This is the sword that she so properly polished to face her sister."
Hisa smiled before turning to Mako.
"With this, I think I'll be able to leave the club happily knowing that we will retain the trophy next year." She grinned at the glasses girl.
"Oi, don't go saying such sad things." Mako frowned and chastised her president.
Back in the game, a girl is beginning to unfurl her wings. Saki smiled as she saw Nodoka's face turn red because of her feverish way of concentrating too much in a game. Saki could see Nodoka's angel wings spread as they begin to flap. Everyone virtually felt the strong wind that raced across the table.
"So intense." Saki commented on how Nodoka's mahjong battle aura was affecting everyone. The pink haired girl's movements started to flow faster as she barely even looks at her own tile when she keeps or discard them.
"Amazing so this is Haramura-san." It was Toyone's first time to experience playing with Nodoka. She marveled at Nodoka's digital style play and her ultrafast decision making. It was completely different from Saki's flow control.
"She's completely dictating the pace of the game now."
The old lady noticed how everyone was carried with Nodoka's
"I can't let these youngsters have their way now can I?" Said the old lady as she drew the four of dots that placed her on tempai. She had to decide now whether she will call riichi or hide her tempai. To scare off Nodoka she decided to take a ten thousand point riichi stick and throw it on the table as she stated her riichi.
"Tsumo! San shoku dou jun and one dora. That will be 2900 please." Saki confidently revealed her hand as she once again broke everyone's flow including Nodoka's.
"A closed Haneman…" Said Nodoka as she gathered herself taking into account the possibilities in the next hand.
The next hand everybody found themselves waiting as they watched Saki throw a riichi stick on the board. The very presence of that stick caused ripples among the players as her hand's value will increase if she manages to win this round, and she certainly have showed them that she's very capable of doing just that.
"Miyanaga-san is beginning to run away with everything again I won't lose easily this time!" Toyone began to fire up with her hands tight fisted. Her hand right now is only a red dragon away from achieving a non-dealer mangan. What she had were three nine of dots, two one of bamboos, two five of bamboos, two six of bamboos, two seven of bamboos and two red dragons. One dragon more and she completes her hand.
Saki said this aloud as her turn came. She revealed her hand as she slammed the three of characters to drop. What she had were the three of characters, two four of characters, four fives of characters, two sixes of characters, two seven of characters, two eight of characters and the other three of characters that she just drew from the wall.
"Riichi, Tsumo, Pinfu, Chin itsu and Ryan pei kou. That will be twenty-four thousand please." Just like that Saki's lead continued to sky rocket as everyone was forced to pay eight thousand each.
The old lady removed her monocle to see Saki with her bare eyes. To her surprise, behind Saki, she could see the slight silhouette of a girl who was only known by the name Teru merge together with the current champion.
"I see, so you're truly her sister after all." Toshi-sensei said this very silently but not silent enough to be ignored by some people in the game.
"Eh?" Saki asked in wonder after she heard the old woman's whisper. She was sure she muttered something about her but she didn't exactly hear the details.
"Nothing, it's just that you remind me so much of someone else."
Said the old lady with a smile while having the picture of the previous champion flash in her mind.
"Miyanaga Teru, you can deny it all you want. But from where I sit, I can see you in this girl. No, maybe only a part of you. It's almost as if it was a prototype that dominated the team competition two years ago and the finished product is now in front of me in the form of this girl." The old lady thought to herself as she imagined Teru to be a celestial being slowly being encroached and eclipsed by this younger celestial being.
It wasn't long and a few hands later everybody including the professional player were bankrupt and found themselves below the threshold, zero. One player reaching negative meant the end of the game but in this case, three players reaching the negative meant total domination.
"This is unbelievable." Yuki Kataoka who was usually giddy was trembling after watching Saki dominate three strong players without using her trademark move to its fullest.
The three players that witnessed their limits just now are now staring at the ceiling narrow-eyed. Even Nodoka who was always sure of herself even in defeat is now in shambles as it was her first time to be completely decimated outside of team competition, to hell with that this is also her first time to be completely destroyed in a match.
Toshi Kumakura easily saw the limits of her abilities. In Saki she saw that this generation has finally caught up to her and the others that call themselves 'professional mahjong players'. How long has it been since she lost? How long has it been since she was utterly defeated? After years, she felt again like an amateur struggling to reach the top.
Toyone was paralyzed not with fear or despair but with awe. Even against Kumakura who she looked up to she was never so brutally defeated. The calmness she saw in Saki as she went through their strategies was something so overwhelmingly beautiful that she could not help but picture her as a goddess in mortal flesh. Unlike Komaki Jindai, Miyanaga was conscious and sincere when she faced them which counted for more than just a vessel of god spirits.
"I guess that's all I can do for today." Toshi Kumakura sighed as she stood up but not before flashing everyone a kind and gentle elderly smile.
"T-thank you for the game." Saki who was always shy when it came to her superiors stood up and bowed before the professional mahjong player.
"No. Thank you. Because of you I've learned more. You showed this old lady something that she hasn't seen for decades." The old lady bowed too, though not as deep as Saki did.
"Thank you for the game too." Nodoka who just managed to recover from that stood up as well and bowed before the elderly.
"I- I enjoyed the game today with Miyanaga-san!" Toyone nervously went beside her mentor and bowed even deeper than Saki did.
"I really enjoyed the game too." Saki replied humbly.
"I-If it's okay maybe M-Miyanaga-san and I can be friends?" It took Toyone all her confidence to ask this to her new found idol.
Saki was rather surprised and taken aback on how Toyone approached her. It was only for a second though until she replied to Toyone with a smile and nodded.
"I'll be happy to be good friends with Anetai-san." Saki said this while extending her hand to Toyone who accepted it ever so gratefully.
Toyone's face exploded into a big smile after hearing this. Then to everyone's surprise she suddenly burst into tears just as she did the first time she was accepted into Iwate's mahjong club.
"Uwahhh!" the tall girl cried.
"A-Anetai-san!" Saki gasped to see the girl who was just smiling so wide a second ago cry.
"I- I'm sorry it's just that I'm so happy right now!" Anetai wiped the tears off her eyes before replacing them with a smile.
"Then we'll be seeing you in the club tomorrow then?" Hisa felt the need to ask the newcomer.
Toyone nodded before putting her hat back on.
"I'll be in your care starting tomorrow. Please take care of me!" She said this happily before bowing one last time to her new club-mates.
"Then we'll be going now." The old woman bowed as well as she took Toyone with her outside the door.
"A-Actually I have to go as well. Me and my dad are planning something today." Saki checked the clock on the wall before taking her bag.
"Okay. See you tomorrow!" Yuki was the first to wave Saki goodbye as she disappeared along with the other two outside the room.
4:00pm, in the West Tokyo prefecture, another Mahjong Club of beautiful girls are having their daily exercise routines and practices. Unlike Kiyosumi, this club had more than fifty members, and had more than hundreds of faithful admirers. Each girl inside aspires to be equal if not greater than their seniors that have already achieved the zenith of high school mahjong. They work tirelessly to grow better each day while studying the styles of every player they have come across. Today is nothing short of similar as those days.
Sumire Hirose, the girl who served as their team's sergeant in this previous competition is in charge of feeding todays attendees training and information.
"Okay, we're going to start today by analyzing our opponents' games. Let's see who we have for today's agenda."
Sumire flipped the pages from her binder which had details of every enemy they faced in the nationals. She matched the dates written on the lower left corner of the pages which signified the specified date they agreed to study on the corresponding individual.
"Here we are! Oh this is…" Sumire paused after seeing the face of the person they were to study on for today. That person had short brown hair and had a naïve look on her face. She resembled someone they knew very well.
"This is the current Champion Miyanaga Saki right?" One of the first year students asked her seat mate who did nothing but nodded in reply
"She kind of looks like our president don't you think?" Another member asked but was immediately silenced by another girl who was her senior.
"Shh…" Said the older girl. The first year immediately closed her mouth shut with her hands knowing that she just stepped on a sensitive topic.
Sumire having overheard that little conversation looked over to Teru who was sitting on her table since the start of the club session. To her surprise she saw the former champion looking away, as if trying to avoid the gaze of everyone in the room.
"Everyone! We'll pause our studies for awhile please play your own games for now. I'll be back in a few minutes."
Sumire took with her the file and walked to Teru who did not even notice her sergeant near her.
"You've been quieter than ever since the competition. I'm not sure if you're depressed about losing or because of something else." Sumire said this rather coldly before tossing the file in front of Teru on the desk.
Teru turned to look at the file then looked at Sumire. She had this cold yet emotionless look on her face. She picked up the file and stared at the picture smiling at her for a few seconds.
"What are you…?" Teru was about to ask Sumire about her intentions but her sergeant just slammed the file on the table before she could finish her question.
"This is about your sister isn't it?" Sumire asked while giving Teru a sharp stare.
"I thought I told you before that I had no-…!"
"Bullshit!" To Teru's surprise, Sumire cut her off again with an angry face and tone. She sounded impatient yet people could see the concern in her eyes for their ace and captain.
Miyanaga who knew she could not say what she used to say any longer closed her eyes before letting out a deep sigh. She stayed silent for awhile before she took the file and looked at the face on it. Her eyes seemed to narrow on that cute face.
"What exactly happened between the two of you?" Sumire asked. She had a determined look as she interrogated her captain.
"This is neither the time nor the place Sumire." For the first time in a long time, there were emotions in the captain's voice. It was filled with sorrow and Sumire was sure that she felt the faint but distinct feel of longing in it. At this point Teru already had her bag and started heading for the door. As a third year, after the competition finished, nothing really binds her anymore from attending the club as she's prohibited from joining the same competition for next year.
"She's still your sister no matter what happened!" Sumire chased after Teru who was close to leaving the place.
"… Please Sumire… Don't get the order reversed. She… abandoned me first." There were tears in Teru's eyes as she turned to her sergeant as she said this. She quickly wiped it with a finger and hurried out.
Sumire tried to chase after her captain but stopped halfway. She knew that anything she does now would be unhealthy. It was then that she decided that if she would help mend their relationship she'd need to ask the other end instead.
She approached another regular who played as their lieutenant.
"Please check our schedules. Make sure to make room for this weekend for we'll be having a joint training camp with Kiyosumi." Ordered Sumire.
"Eh? But that's-…"
Takami was puzzled with what Sumire just asked of her just now but just a glance at Sumire's face she understood the importance of that decision.
"Okay, but will Kiyosumi agree?" Takami asked. After all, to have two schools train together, the consent from both schools must be there.
"I will talk to their president. I have a friend who seems to know how to get in contact with that girl." Sumire replied with an expression on her face that says 'leave it to me'.
Outside the school's premises. One of the girls who were in the center of the argument was aimlessly walking beside shops located everywhere in the West Tokyo Prefecture. It was almost like she was window shopping but it was quite noticeable that she wasn't interested in whatever she was coming across with. Instead she had a distant look on her face as she passed everyone who looked at her.
"Oh that's Miyanaga Teru!" One of the students in her school who was not in their club noticed the famous face cross their path.
"The famous monster of High School Mahjong?!" A female student who seemed to be a friend of the first student asked.
"Yes, she was the champion but recently they were dethroned by a no name school." The male student replied.
"I heard the over all MVP looks almost identical with Miyanaga Teru, the only difference was hair color and hair length." The female student said this as if she was trying to recall bits and pieces of information from the gossips she heard.
"Yeah… but if you ask me the new champion is lame. She just get weird draws out of quads. There's no skill in that. Just pure lu-…!"
The male student was stopped after seeing the scared look on his friend's face. The girl with him was looking behind him sweating and wide eyed.
"What? Is there something-…?!" He stepped back to see a pink haired senior standing there with a sharp stare.
"I'm sorry but I couldn't help but overhear your conversation."
Teru had a cold look on her face as she confronted the two. She had both of her hands in fists as if she was ready to punch them.
"Please don't spread such nonsense. That girl's skill is genuine. I will not have you people step on her accomplishments like that." Teru was prepared to continue on but that alone was enough to send the two students nodding in apology before frantically running the other direction.
On the wake of that moment, she felt the people around her stare at her. Each of them was keeping it to themselves but they were murmuring stuff about her, she can tell. To her teammates and other people, she always denied her relationship with Saki but in times like this she always feels the need to stand up for her sister. She did not understand it herself but a switch is always flipped every time she hears someone say something bad about Saki, the girl she disowned and denied. Her actions just then had immediate consequences as some who have heard the rumors of speculations about how they were related. Some bystanders have taken this as a confirmation of the rumors while some whisper that it's mutual respect between rivals.
The pink haired third year walked to a park near her school. Like her sister, she had a hobby of taking out then getting lost in it until the time to do something else arrives. The book she read was about a tale of two sisters separated by distance. The book started with the little sister acting clingy to her older sister while the older sister was being secretly dotting towards her younger sister. It didn't take long until Teru reached a point in the story where the big sister got unreasonably mad at her little sister for not showing up for an important promise. It was at this point that Teru threw the book which landed in a pond not too far from the bench.
"Ugh, what is wrong with me?" Teru sighed as she remembered how much that book cost. She placed her hand on her forehead as she leaned back on the bench with her head raised to the sky. After a long pause she took a wallet from inside her blouse and opened it. In one of the pockets were two hair-rubber bands. These bands were the very same bands someone wore when they were younger to hold their hair in twin tails. The third year gently cupped the bands in her hands before putting them close to her lips almost as if giving them a kiss.
"What are you doing?" A voice surprised Teru into almost dropping the bands. It was Sumire who decided on checking up on Teru after finishing the club.
"Nothing I was just-… just nothing!" Teru could not give her Sergeant an excuse for what she just showed. She almost failed giving a cool cold look that time as her face turned significantly red.
"I just need to tell you that we'll be having a three day training camp with Kiyosumi next two weeks." Sumire said this in a frank tone with a frank face.
"What? I didn't agree about this-...!" Teru was surprised to hear about that.
"Yeah well everyone decided on it." Sumire said while making sure to not give Teru any excuses to cancel the event.
"Don't I get a say in this?" Teru asked with her voice almost frantic.
"Well maybe if the president would stop walking out of sessions..." The sergeants crossed her arms and looked at Teru with criticizing eyes. Teru for the first time today showed her cute side as she puffed up her cheeks looking as if she was just bullied.
About thirty minutes ago in Kiyosumi High School, everybody except Saki who already went home was still in the clubroom.
"I couldn't win a single hand…" Haramura said this with her head down while hugging Etopen tightly.
"Cheer up Nodoka your boobs will get smaller if you squish them so much with Etopen like that." Yuki tried to tease Nodoka to cheer her up but to her surprise Nodoka barely showed a reaction.
"But man, Saki really improved miles. It's unbelievable that she was the girl who could do nothing but score zero before." Kyoutarou said this while eating a piece of chocolate pretzel.
"When you watch her play nowadays you don't even see the slightest bit of hesitation in her eyes. It doesn't matter what special ability her opponents had she immediately finds a way around them." Mako added to their conversation. She was smiling but her glasses hid her unsure eyes. In one side she was proud and happy that her team was sure to grab more championships in the near future. On the other side she felt inferior as an individual. After all not all competitions out there are team competitions.
"By the way the president is still on the phone?" Kyoutarou noticed that Hisa was not talking with them. About two minutes ago, the phone rang and the president answered it. To their surprise Hisa was still busy attending to whoever was on the other side.
"It must be a pretty important person." Mako adjusted her glasses. She too wondered who it was that was taking so much time of the president. It was not until a minute more that Hisa finally finished talking on the phone.
"This will be a long month for us."
Hisa said this as she approached her members.
"Be prepared because that was a member of Shiraitodai High School on the phone. We'll be having a training camp with them next two weeks." Hisa said this before slumping beside the table.
"W-What?! Shiraitodai?!" Kyoutarou and Yuki shouted in unison. It was easily understandable why they would be surprised. To have the school that most considered to be number one invite you into a training camp is a luxurious privilege.
"But we're also having a training camp with Achiga next week? Won't it be too hectic for our new member?" Mako remembered that they already had plans for the month. Adding more might surprise the new member Toyone too much.
"We'll have a meeting about this tomorrow. I'm confident though that Toyone is the kind of person that enjoys these kinds of events." Hisa replied almost lazily.
"But why would Shiraitodai suddenly ask us for a training camp?" Nodoka who just recovered from her despair of losing badly wondered and looked at her president curiously.
Hisa looked at a magazine resting on a wooden table not far from her. On that magazine was Teru's picture on the left holding her hand in a peace sign and a bigger picture of an embarrassed and blushing champion on the right side who looked as if she was forced and dragged into holding up a trophy to pose for the cameras.
"I think I know why. And if I'm correct, it's the most important training camp we'll have yet." Hisa grinned as she shared the excited feeling of waiting for that day to come.
AN: this might be a bit long of a chapter but since this happens in mostly a single time frame i can't really divide it without botching it up :