Love in Bloom
Disclaimer: I do not own Saki sadly
PS: I included a sneak preview for the next chapter, Thanks for all the reviews! keep em' coming cause it's making me really happy~3
Seven o'clock in the morning, a girl was preparing everything she needed for today's training camp. This girl did not witness yesterday's events for she had classes and was not allowed to escort her friend to another prefecture. Her name is Nodoka Haramura and right now she was as excited as anyone participating for the joint venture.
"My comb, deodorants, change of clothes, perfume, hmm… what else could have I forgotten." Nodoka placed her thumb on her temple as she asked herself what else she would need.
In their training camp before, she only brought enough for she was with her friends. However today she will be with other people but she was especially worried about a certain someone's relative. She wanted to look her best every minute in the camp if possible.
"You're seriously thinking this much for a simple training camp?" Her father who was always against taking mahjong seriously asked her with an indifferent look on his face as he intruded her room.
"I love mahjong father, and it's not only for mahjong it's also for my friends." Nodoka replied. She remembered her promise with them that she will be there to defend their title next year.
"Your friends? Tell me exactly why you need to put your clothes under a microscope for your friends?" Her father had a scrutinizing weird look on his face as he said this.
"W-What? I- I mean-…." Nodoka realized then that she made the wrong impression with her choice of words as the silhouette of a certain someone appeared in her mind.
"You know what? Never mind."
Her father placed his hand on his forehead like he had a splitting headache. For some reason he felt disappointed that he could tell who Nodoka was trying to impress with her choice of clothes. The expression he had was similar to the last dinosaur's expression knowing that his genes is about to be extinct.
"But let me tell you this, you haven't packed enough." All of a sudden, the father was looking at his daughter with sharp eyes.
"E-Eh?" Nodoka was confused. Whatever did her father mean?
"Remember our deal? I told you that if you manage to win the team competition in the nationals then I will allow you to spend your life the way you want with your friends. However, I cannot stay in this town for much longer because of my job." The man in his forties had a stern look on his face.
"What? But we had a deal!" Nodoka felt betrayed that her father was telling her this now.
"You didn't let me finish! Anyway, as I said, there is no way for me to remain in this prefecture however you still have an option. You claim that mahjong has given you true friends, if you can convince one of your friends to take you in then I will let you stay in this prefecture." The father explained.
Nodoka's eyes were left wide open in shock. She honestly couldn't decide whether what she just heard was a favor or was a form of abandonment.
"But that means…" Nodoka had her hands on her mouth.
"Yes, it means that this training camp marks the point in your life you have sought for so long. After the training camp you can either meet me in the train station or go back with one of your friends and live with them." Nodoka still had a shocked look while her father enumerated to her the options.
"Are you by any chance making me choose between you and my friends?" Nodoka felt hurt with her own interpretation of her father's words. If it was true then it was a cruel move for she would be forced to move out and leave her friends.
"I am a person of law Nodoka. I do not do such a thing. What I'm making you choose is between two principles. You have sacrificed good high school education for mahjong and your friends and the way things are going I foresee that you're willing to sacrifice college level education as well. If you choose to remain here with your friends, I will take care of your tuition fee and some other essentials but that's all." The father looked almost sympathetic as he said this.
"But can't I just live in a hotel? Or maybe we can buy a small condominium and…"
"No." Nodoka's father cut her off even before she could finish.
"You exchanged everything I offered you for what you currently have. If what you have cannot even get you a good shelter then I suppose I will oppose your decision to stay."
"No!" Nodoka uncontrollably erupted. She was determined to stay in Nagano.
"Then you have three days in your training camp to ask your friends. But looking at you, I say you already have someone in mind."
"N-Not exactly." Nodoka tried to hide the pink shade on her cheeks but her father was already on to her.
"Anyway, whatever happens this is the last time you and I will be stepping in this house. Make sure you pack everything you need and want." The father went out of the room for a bit and returned with a huge empty box. It was a box that can fit a twenty-one inch flat screen T.V. filled with Styrofoam and bubble-wraps.
"Father I can't bring that with me to the camp!" Nodoka protested.
"Why not? It will be easier to explain your situation like this." Her father replied and explained.
"I can't just go there with a box of all my stuff!" Nodoka continued to protest.
"Fine… I suppose I can save gas if you just take what you can right now and just have your things delivered to you when you make your choice."
The father sighed and gave in.
"You have your mobile phone so email me if you made your choice." These were the last words the father gave before leaving the room. Nodoka was left wondering what to do. She certainly had someone in mind but can she do it? Can she actually tell that someone and request to allow her to move in?
Eight o'clock am in a hotel the members of three teams are also busy preparing. They were late in waking up because of all the partying they did last night.
"You guys are having a training camp?! This is perfect! We're joining you!" The usually timid Akado was quick to receive the invitation that was never given.
"Ah… actually…" Hisa wanted to explain how the training camp was supposed to be only for the two teams to strengthen the bond and to mend everything between the two sisters but….
"I'll call my pro-teammate in Nara and tell her to fetch my other members. Where are we gathering again?" Akado looked at Hisa with such hopeful eyes that it was impossible for Hisa to wave her head.
"I'll email you the place and directions…" Hisa replied.
"Alright! With this and our practice with Senriyama next week Achiga is sure to get better!" Akado felt proud and excited for her team.
Hisa and Sumire exchanged looks. The two engineers of the plan sighed. Now that the Achiga coach has called her members there's no turning her down. Although the plan will be a little altered because now they have to pay for more rooms for the newcomers but that's not much of an issue because of the team's combined nearly unlimited budget.
"Is everybody already awake?" Sumire asked her partner in crime.
"Toyone and her mentor are already eating, Saki is still asleep but I'm going to wake her up. How about Teru?" Hisa asked. She was a little worried for the Shiraitodai ace who was acting really weird yesterday after taking a glass of alcohol.
"See for yourself…" Sumire pointed behind her. A girl sitting on a couch for guests and customers in the lobby had a face towel on her face as she slouched and leaned backwards.
"My headaches… what happened yesterday? I don't remember anything…" Teru groaned in pain.
"A hangover? From just one glass?!" Hisa was surprised. It seems there are more to the Miyanaga family than just mahjong abilities.
"And Teru…" Sumire went over and leaned towards to Teru to explain the events that occurred last night.
Teru's face blushed bright red as she placed her hand on lips.
"I- I did that?!" Teru gasped.
"Yes. It's a history of the Shiraitodai Ace that must never be told." Sumire nodded as if they came to an agreement.
"I did such a thing… and I don't even remember it?!" Teru shouted with a look of utmost despair and disappointment combined.
"Yes… that's wh… wait what?" Sumire was about to nod again before she realized what it was that Teru was worried about.
"Sumire! Do you have any picture or anything that can make me remember?" Teru looked at Sumire innocently as if this was the most natural thing to ask.
"You…" Sumire tried to control herself as she closed her fist and started trembling as she said this in a stern voice.
"None? How about videos or maybe some recordings and… ah!" Teru was punched to the floor before she could enumerate more.
"Can you stop destroying our image of you!?" Sumire roared as she stepped on her president's back continuously trying to bring some sense into her.
"But as my acting secretary don't you have the duty to record every club activity!" Teru protested as she received the blows from underneath Sumire. She had her hands curled over her head to protect her cranium from the harsh stomps of the angry sergeant.
"Ahaha what a lively bunch you are."
Hisa laughed. She was reminded of her own team which can be rowdy at times too especially the combination of Mako, Yuki and Suga.
"I should wake Saki up." Hisa noticed the time and decided that they have to leave soon but as soon as she turned to the direction of Saki's room she was stopped.
"I'll do it!" Teru volunteered with a determined face as if it was an enormous task. She even had her fist raised above her chest.
"You don't have to I can-…." Hisa didn't want to trouble Teru but the older sister was already gone when she turned.
The hall Saki's room was located was on the third floor. The way there was paved with red carpet as if it was a government politician using the place. The director made sure that his stars had the best rooms and only Teru was unable to take that privilege because she was too drunk to go into her own room.
Teru was pretty excited since it has been years since she witnessed Saki's morning face. She had some questions in her mind that pushed her more like 'does she still drool when she sleeps?' or 'does she still moan sometimes?' or even 'does she still talk in her sleep?'. When she reached the room's door she first checked if the knob was locked and found that it isn't.
"She doesn't lock the door like always."
Teru sighed. It was a rule in their house not to lock doors if they didn't have to. However it's an utmost importance to lock doors when they're in hotels, resorts or other places for safety reasons. Teru knocked three times on the door and unlike her film character, 'Seiko', she didn't kick it down.
"Saki, wake up." Teru called from outside however nobody answered. Using her wise judgment that stems from her desire to see her sister's morning face she allowed herself in. In doing so her cheerful smile quickly turned to a gasp as she saw something couldn't take.
Her sister wasn't alone on the bed for she shared it with another girl. Seeing someone else share the same bed with her sister was bad enough but the position they were in ticked her off the most. This Kiyosumi ace and the Achiga ace were lying in complete opposite direction where their heads were nearly touching each other's private places. To make matters they were facing each other and even with their eyes closed they still had rosy cheeks that made it look like they were flustered. Their outfit didn't help either since they were lent by the hotel some really expensive and sexy two piece sleeping-wear
"Time passes so fast, I can already smell the spring flowers…" Shizuno moaned in her sleep as she pushed her face closer to that forbidden place.
"K-Kyahh o-oneechan you're drunk again?!" Saki yelped. It seems that she's having dreams about her drunken sister last night thanks to Shizuno. To Teru's dismay Saki used Shizuno's left leg like a soft hotdog pillow. Then like what she usually does with a hotdog pillow she tried to wrap her leg around it which inevitably allowed Shizuno more access.
Teru paused standing on the spot where she opened the door with her face covered by the shade of her hair. She had a couple of choices on what to do with the girl lying beside Saki and all of them required Shizuno's lower half to be liberated from her upper half. The floors were corrupted by her rage that the green carpets inside the room that started to turn red as if they were merging with the red carpets outside.
As if it was Shizuno's personal defense mechanism, her eyes began to twitch as she started to wake up. The first thing she saw with her blurry eyes were the clean whites Saki had on her. At first she was tempted to take a bite on it for it looked like an upside down triangle onigiri until she realized the silky patterns embroidered on its side.
"Eh? T-This is."
The smell radiating from what's in front of her reminded her of a similar scent that from the previous training camp she had. Her eyes widened as she jolted up and backed away almost falling down from the bed.
"M-Miyanaga-san!" Shizuno yelped. She finally remembered where she was and the situation she was in. However, the girl in front of her didn't budge for it turns out that girl was an even heavier sleeper than her.
"Did you call me or my sister that you just violated?" A voice filled with murderous intent replied to her call from behind her.
Shizuno was shocked to see what looked like a pink haired older version of the girl on the bed who was cracking her knuckles as if she was going to smash someone to a pulp. Shizuno could only say 'eep!' and back away to the backboard of the bed. The pink-haired demon continued to approach the poor fear struck girl who was pinned on the backboard of the bed.
"Oneechan?" The girl in the middle of all this misunderstanding finally woke up. The first blurry thing she saw was the image of two girls.
"Saki you're awake!" Teru was distracted from her rage towards Shizuno by Saki.
"K-Kyah! P-Pervert!" Saki squealed.
"Yes Saki I'm just about to deal with the pervert right here." Teru replied and went back to Shizuno who was yelping and jerking as her hand was pinned on the board by the Shiraitodai Ace.
"You're the pervert Oneechan! What are you doing to my friend?!" Saki asked with a judgmental look at her sister.
"E-Eh? I think you're getting this all wrong. I'm here to beat up the pervert." Teru flashed a worried smile.
"B-But it was oneechan that t-touched me yesterday." Saki said this stuttering and almost in tears as she accused her old sister for last night's little mishap.
"O-Oh that!? Saki I was drunk I'm sorry. I didn't mean to… well actually I would mean too if I wasn't sober." Teru tried to calm her little sister who was already in the verge of crying.
"Because of oneechan I probably won't get married anymore!" Saki blurted out. This statement received blushes from the two other girls in the room which included Shizuno. It's apparent that Saki was one of those girls who subscribed to the belief that if you get touched by anyone then you would be unfit for marriage.
"I- I see… I understand… I'm sorry."
Teru closed her eyes and turned to Saki and approached her.
"Don't worry my sister. This is my fault so I will take responsibili-…!" Before Teru could complete her statement a blunt blow to the back of the head sent her to the bed.
"Don't suddenly blurt out serious things you idiot!" It was Sumire who stopped Teru from saying something that could've caused a massive social storm.
"What's happening here?"
Another person entered the room. It was Akado who came to wake up Shizuno too.
"Oh don't tell me it happened again?" The coach of Achiga had a concerned yet teasing look on her face.
"Again?" Teru was suddenly up on her feet upon hearing this from Akado.
"C-Coach stop making it worse for me already!" Shizuno begged. She was already in enough trouble and didn't want to have her coach compound on everything.
"Yeah, on our last training camp with Kiyosumi Shizuno shared rooms with Saki too and we saw them in a really erotic position the day after." Akado explained this with a cheerful and happy go lucky face without knowing how much danger she just placed her member into.
"S-Sensei!" Shizuno cried.
"So… you did not only violate my sister once…" An extremely angry Teru slowly turned her head towards Shizuno.
"Oneechan!" Teru felt a pair of small arms wrap around her chest from behind her. It was her sister who was leaning on her back like a koala to a tree.
"S-Saki!" Teru was surprised to have her sister hugging her from behind.
"Sorry oneechan, it's just that this is the first time I've waken up to see you." Saki said this with sincere and extreme cheerfulness as if everything that happened last night was but a dream.
"Oh Saki!" With tears in her eyes she turned to return the hug of her little sister and held her close to her chest.
"Uuu…" Shizuno had a pout on her face that she hid from everybody.
"What's wrong? Don't tell me you're jealous!" Akado teased her student in a whisper after she noticed the change in her member's facial expression.
"S-Shut up!" Shizuno retaliated with a flustered face. She hasn't forgiven her coach for almost killing her by saying something completely unnecessary in front of Miyanaga Teru.
"Oh come on, you need to start getting friendly with everybody since we're joining their training camp today." Akado insisted.
Shizuno looked surprise that they suddenly had an agenda today. Akado explained to her that they will be meeting the other Achiga members who will be fetched by Akado's professional teammate. Usually Shizuno would be extremely excited but with a third-year from Shiraitodai out for her blood she was not sure if she will enjoy this three way camp.
"Teru we have to go and fetch our own members." Sumire tried to break-off the two sisters who were still in the middle of hugging. After all, Shiraitodai isn't just some small school with few members, there are other members who even though are not a part of the playing team are still coming in the camp. They have more members than the largest mahjong playing school in Nara named Kazekoshi.
"Okay." Teru ended the hug for a while to give Sumire a couple of a thousand yen.
"What's this?" Sumire looked at the money inside her hand.
"For the fair going to West Tokyo of course. You're going to fetch them right?" Teru replied. This act of the team ace caused twitches and trembles on Sumire's face.
Five minutes later outside of the hotel's building.
"See you later oneechan!" Saki waved to her elder sister who was being dragged by her collar forcibly by a very angry teammate.
"I won't be gone long!" Teru waved back and shouted in reply. She had a huge lump on her head which was given to her by the person dragging her.
"I'm glad everything's going well for these two idiots. But if you keep acting this way, I'm not sure if both our teams will make it to the tournament before a scandal erupts." Sumire thought to herself. In one hand she feels good that their plan to reconcile the sisters worked but on the other hand she couldn't have Shiraitodai's reputation be tarnished because of it.
"Geez Sumire let me go my sister needs me!" Teru protested once again.
"You have three whole days to bond now shut up already! And we're not going back to West Tokyo that's too far! We're just going to Tochigi to meet up with everyone!" Sumire replied. They disappeared in a cab that was called for them by one of the film crew men which will take them to the train station to West Tokyo.
"Saki!" The president of the Kiyosumi mahjong club called out to her member with her mobile phone in her hand.
"Eh?" Saki turned to the president with a curious look. She just finished waving goodbye to the cab that had its windows down because somebody kept waving from inside.
"Here, it's Nodoka, she said she wanted to talk to you." Hisa replied as she tossed Saki her phone who almost failed to catch it.
"O-Okay… hello Haramura-san?" Saki wondered what it was that Nodoka wanted to ask her that couldn't wait until the training camp.
"Saki… umm…" Nodoka was stuttering nervously from the other end of the line.
"What is it Nodoka?" Saki asked. She could sense hesitation in Nodoka's voice and felt worried about it.
"I was just wondering, but you said before that you live alone right?" Nodoka asked. She remembered a conversation with Saki before when Saki said that her father had to go abroad due to work related reasons.
"Yes. I live alone right now." Saki replied. It was a rather curious question and Saki wondered why Nodoka asked that. Was she worried that Saki was alone? But she has been alone for a few months now.
"I was just… umm… never mind I'll see you in the camp." Nodoka decided that she couldn't tell Saki her plight in the phone as her face flustered like a tomato. She hang up and left Saki hanging on the other end.
"Well what was it about?" Hisa asked Saki.
"I don't know… she just asked me if I lived alone." Saki waved her head left to right in a gesture of confusion before giving her president's phone back.
"That's odd." Hisa replied. She placed her finger under her chin in a thinking pose.
"She said that she'll meet us in the meeting place." Saki added.
"If that's all she said then we should eat now so we can prepare and leave early." Hisa insisted.
"We'll leave as soon as my members arrive." Akado nodded and escorted everyone to the hotel's dining room.
"Eh? Shizuno-san you're joining us! We can play again." Saki was happy to find out that her new friend from Achiga was joining them.
"Yes Saki-chan!" Shizuno nodded. Almost like she forgot what awaits her when Shiraitodai comes she was just looking forward to playing with strong players again especially Saki.
"Talking using each other's first names already. You two sure gotten close." Akado looked impressed.
Meanwhile looking from behind everybody was a girl who has been left behind since yesterday's events. She was the tallest person in there but currently the most unnoticed.
"Even Takakamo-san has managed to get to that level where she can call Miyanaga-san with only her first name." She bit her lip in slight jealousy.
"I'll be living my Toyone in your capable hands then." Toshi Kumakura the mentor and former coach of the girl who calls herself Toyone passed the responsibility to Hisa and the other members of both clubs of Kiyosumi and Achiga.
"You're not joining us sensei?" Toyone asked. She felt sad that her mentor won't join them for this important training camp.
"Aww… coach…" Akado who knew the old woman well was also disappointed to hear that she wouldn't have her former coach with her on this training camp. She hoped that her members would get to train with more than one pro (her).
"I'm sorry everyone but I have important things planned. Believe me that I would cancel them if I could but it's really impossible." Kumakura replied with regret in her voice. It seemed that the old woman had many things planned throughout the week. This is understandable since she will be an official for the upcoming selection tournament and she also had her own professional team to work with.
"Toyone's safe with us." Hisa assured the safety of Kumakura's student. She didn't want the old lady to worry about anyone while they were in the training camp.
"I'm sure she is." Kumakura had full confidence in Hisa and her leadership. After all it was Hisa who led Kiyosumi into the championship and won the trophy. Most of all, it was Hisa who guided Saki into this height where not one person not even professionals can hope to touch.
"I will make sure that I advance my relationship with Miyanaga-san in this training camp as well." A very determined Toyone had a confident and determined smile on her face. She was determined to use this training camp as a booster to get close with her idol, friend and teammate.
Meanwhile in a different prefecture, some girls were just informed that they will be joining a training camp out of the blue. Achiga's Kuro and Yuu Matsumi and Ako Atarashi were surprised that they were being fetched by a girl who claims to be a professional teammate of Harue Akado.
"Here's your coach's text message. We need to be there soon." The pro reported.
"A training camp with both Kiyosumi and Shiraitodai?! T-This is a whole new level! Are we supposed to fight off Saki and Teru Miyanaga?" Kuro felt scared. She has now experienced fighting both of the two Miyanaga demons and she can't imagine having to fight them in the same board.
"So are we going to tell her that we're not coming?" The professional had a 'sarcastic' tone in her voice almost mocking Kuro's indecision.
"N-No! We're going!" Kuro replied with seemingly full confidence. However it was clear by looking at her face that she was more scared than excited.
"We'll be training with Senriyama next week too. This is some hellish training camp the coach got us into." Ako laughed. In one way she shared Shizuno Takakamo's tenacity towards playing mahjong but she's a hybrid who was a bit hesitant and willing.
"It's for the tournament!" In a rare act of confidence it was Yuu Matsumi who now stepped forward to encourage her two teammates.
"O-Oneesan…" Kuro was impressed and awed at the courage her sister was now showing her.
The three members who were left in Achiga held hands and shouted "Let's do this!" in a burst of confidence and excitement.
"That's great! I have the coordinates right here. We'll be going in the hotel where they stayed yesterday then go with them to the training camp's location. Hurry up and pack we can't afford to be anymore later than this." The professional insisted. Without asking or saying anything more the girls hurried to pack their stuff.
"But I wonder how the coach managed to set such a camp." Ako wondered. She knew that her coach had contacts but Shiraitodai should be out of her reach. In fact if it wasn't for Nodoka Kiyosumi should also be out of her coach's network.
"Also, I wonder where she, Arata-chan and Shizuno-chan went. They never came home since yesterday." Kuro added. It appears that Harue never mentioned yesterday's events in her emails.
"I don't know but that friend of mine can really surprise you like this." The professional player who was close to Harue Akado let out a laugh. It took them less than thirty minutes to fully prepare before leaving for Shiga prefecture where Harue Akado and some other people who were involved in the camp waiting.
Eight thirty P.M. in West Tokyo. Inside the prestigious school of Shiraitodai there was a cult which was formed out of pure admiration for the ace who was said to have reached the peak of high school mahjong. Majority of the club members are girls who are also a part of the mahjong club but there are of course non-mahjong club members. Right now everybody in that club which amounts to about forty members are in a meeting just before the mahjong club leaves for the training camp. They were wearing blue robes with matching blue pointy hoods that covered most of their heads where they can only see through two tiny holes. On the forehead of their hoods was the letter T carved with yellow ink, what it stands for who fucking cares but it's probably Teru or something else.
"Is everybody accounted for?" Said one of the club members who was standing in front of everybody. She's the cult's leader and without spoiling anything, she's also one of the two people who plotted to shame Saki in front of the camera a few days ago in the film set.
"Yes leader!" The person who stood as their secretary saluted in military fashion. She was holding a notebook in her hands where everybody's attendance was noted.
"Okay, we gather here today to discuss our 'Bust Saki Miyanaga for the Phony That She Is' operation." The leader said.
"Ah… leader… are we really going to go through with this? You remember the last time that-…!" One of the members raised her hand in protest. This member was the other girl who was with their leader before.
"Of course we are! And forget what happened the last time. We won't fail this time! This is all for the integrity of our dear own Teru-sama!" The leader said this passionately as if she was talking to a kind landlady while showering her with plentiful rice and corn as tribute.
"But I heard that Miyanaga Saki is actually-…!"
"Forget what you heard! Didn't Teru-sama declare in front of everyone that she had no such a thing as a sister?!" Once again the leader said this with full conviction that defied normal commonsense.
"If you dare say something like that again then we'll consider you a blasphemer!" Everybody in the room started looking at the poor girl whose pointed hood was beginning to droop in fear.
"Y-yes." The girl nodded as she tried to pull up her drooping hood.
"So what is the plan great leader?!" One of the members asked with full vigor.
"Unlike puny Kiyosumi we're many. When they're playing later some of us will keep our eyes on that Saki and watch her every move. Each of us will be wearing this!"
The leader flashed a small camera which was designed to be camouflaged as a necktie-pin.
"When we see anything suspicious later we'll catch her in action then expose her dirty tricks!" The leader was very excited to the point that she was shaking as she was saying this.
"But leader, in all of the tournaments, do you think it was possible for Miyanaga Saki to get away with using a 'trick'?" It was the same girl who was against the whole operation who once again raised her hand to ask a question.
"Tsk, tsk, just because she's good at hiding her tricks doesn't mean she's innocent." The leader was adamant to prove her theory. It was already apparent that she already closed her mind to the any possibility that the enemy's luck was a part of a masterfully done trick that had everybody baffled.
"There's no other possible explanation. Nobody in the history of humanity has ever and I mean ever scored with a Rinshan Kaihou by that much. In fact it's already a big rarity to see such a hand in a tournament." The leader continued to defend her theory.
"I agree but… don't we have people in our own school that had something similar of the sort? I mean Sumire-san has her archery mahjong skill which guarantees her a direct hit to anyone on the board, Shibuya-san talks about something called 'harvest' and even Teru-san has-…!"
"Don't you dare compare anyone in our prestigious mahjong club to that tramp!"
The leader flared up. Hearing her precious 'Teru-sama's' name used with Saki's ticked her off.
"Fine, you want evidence? Secretary give us your findings of the last few tournaments." The leader looked at her secretary who was sitting on a seat beside here while taking notes with a pen and a small notebook which was the very same notebook used for attendance.
"After the team competition, it's said that the committee increased their security by fifty percent. And at that time, strangely the amount of wins Miyanaga Saki achieved after a Kan also decreased significantly." The secretary explained.
"See. What can you say about that?" The leader felt confident that she had a good case building up for her argument.
"I don't know… maybe the enemies were too easy?"
"No! It means that she couldn't use her trick because of the increased security!" The leader flared up once again.
"That's just jumping to conclusions…"
"No! It's the only logical conclusion! Why do you keep defending her anyway? Are you her fan?!" The leader accused her member? All of a sudden every girl in robe had red glowing eye holes on their hoods as they closed in on the poor isolated member.
"N-No t-this is a-… ah!" Before she could explain a mass of members carried her before slamming her on the ground again and dog-piled on her.
"Death to the blasphemer!" Shouted some members while a pile of smoke erupted as they continued kicking and stomping on the poor defendant.
The leader finally calmed everyone down after a few seconds.
"I require all the members to wear these camera pins."
Pi pi pi
Her phone rang. The girl immediately took out her mobile phone and answered to check who it was on the other end.
"Hello." She answered.
"Yuuko-chan please call your friends, we got the call from the captain and Sumire it's time to go." Said the girl in the other end of the phone.
"Y-Yes." Apparently the leader's name is Yuuko. Like a meek little lamb she's forced to obey her sempai's orders.
"What is it?" Asked one of the members to their leader.
"All members of the mahjong club in this room we have to go. The bus is near, we're asked to prepare! Just remember your duties everyone!" One final encouragement came from Yuuko before the group finally dispersed out of the room.
"Yuuko, do you remember what happened on our last attempt?" The single member who was against this plan stepped up and approached Yuuko.
"Shoko we were careless with that last plan. We won't fail this time." Yuuko revealed a confident look as both of them removed their TTT outfits.
"No, I don't mean that. Don't you remember how much the Vice President defended Saki Miyanaga? She explicitly told us not to get anywhere near that girl." Shoko remembered the look of firm anger on Sumire's face that day.
"Sumire-sempai is a good person and I admire her but she doesn't understand our feelings for Teru-sama!" Despite Shoko's warning Yuuko looked as determined as ever.
"Listen Shoko. Teru-sama is absolutely the perfect senior. She's the perfect mahjong player. For her to be dethroned for someone who cheats like that Saki Miyanaga is unacceptable." The look of admiration on this girl's face knew no equal. To her, Teru is the messiah of mahjong who cannot be defeated.
"You can't say that… the two of them had never fought." Shoko tried to recall if there was a time when the two Miyanagas were given the chance to face each other. In the team tournament Saki Miyanaga played as General while Teru played as Vanguard. In the individuals Teru didn't participate for Academic reasons. It was as if fate made it so that they won't cross paths.
"Well today, they will! It may not be official but we will see Teru-sama in all her glory as she gives that harlot a beat-down!" Yuuko looked and sounded excited. Shoko could only sigh in disbelief and disappointment as she failed to discourage her friend from her hopeless crusade.
Ten o'clock A.M. and the members of Kiyosumi in Shiga prefecture were only about to go.
"I'm sorry Akado-san, but I'm worried that some of my members already arrived there. I can't leave them alone." Hisa bowed as she gathered her stuff to prepare their departure.
"It's okay; I already have the map here." Akado replied with a huge smile on her face. She was particularly very happy to be able to work with the two top schools in the country.
"Toyone can you please call Saki. We need to leave." Hisa requested to the tall girl.
"Okay!" Toyone felt happy to oblige. She wanted to talk to Saki anyway.
Toyone walked up the hotel's stairs to fetch Saki who was still in her room. Her legs where somewhat shaky as she imagined what it is she wanted to talk about with Saki. She knocked three times on the door.
"Miyanaga-san we need to go." Toyone called.
"H-Haii Anetai-san!" Saki sounded like she was still doing something inside that kept her busy.
When Saki opened the door, Toyone found the girl holding a big bag. Inside the bag were the clothes lent to her by the mahjong café staff from yesterday's events.
"Are you ready Miyanaga-san?" Toyone wondered if Saki was really finished with her preparations. She was worried that she rushed the girl from what she was doing.
"Yes! Thank you for fetching me up here Anetai-san!"
"I- It's no problem at all." Toyone blushed after seeing Saki in her pajamas. She didn't have the time to change much so she only put on a jacket and changed to a more usable pair of shorts.
"Let's go then?"
Saki walked past Toyone hurriedly to avoid making the president wait some more. However before she could move more forward a pair of strong yet slender arms imprisoned her from behind.
"Eh? Anetai-san?" Saki wanted to look behind her but she couldn't turn because Toyone's body was blocking her.
"Sorry Miyanaga-san but… May I ask you a favor?" Toyone sounded hesitant as she said this. She was also perspiring because she was never someone who could say something like this initially.
"Of course Anetai-san what would it be?" Instead of trying to turn and face Toyone, Saki decided to lean back to hear her clearer.
"Can we…?" Toyone paused. The atmosphere surrounding them is comparable to the atmosphere of two people where one is about to confess his feelings to the other.
"Hmm?" Saki thought she didn't hear the rest of Toyone's request and didn't realize that Toyone paused.
"W-Would it be alright if we start calling each other by each other's nicknames?!" Toyone said this hurriedly for she just wanted to get over with it.
Saki too paused for a while.
Saki nodded. She tried to turn once again to face Toyone but the tall girl prevented her from doing so because she was too ashamed to show Saki her blushing face.
"W-What's wrong Toyone-san?" Saki wondered why Toyone was holding her shoulders so firmly.
"N-Nothing but can you please drop the honorifics? I would like it better that way." Honorifics are signs of respect but at the same time also signs of unfamiliarity. Basically the more formal the honorific the farther two people are.
"Okay… Toyone…" Saki said this slowly as she just processed what this transition meant. This time she was also pinkish on the cheeks but it's not for the same reason Toyone had but because she was jubilant for having another close friend.
"T-Thank you Saki." This tall girl felt extremely happy and didn't even notice that she was already hugging Saki from behind.
"Eh? It's a good thing Shizuno is downstairs and Teru already left the building or this could be troublesome." A voice interrupted them.
"Hoeh!? P-President!" Toyone was surprised to see the president in front of the stairs when she turned.
"I was wondering what happened to you too and here I find you being romantically entwined." Hisa both smirked and sighed.
"It's not what you think we were just-…!"
"We were just strengthening our FRIENDSHIP! We're now close FRIENDS!" Saki happily replied for her new intimate friend while unconsciously placing stress on every time she utters the word 'friend'.
"Ghk…" Toyone grasped her chest as each 'friend' word pierced through her like sharp scalpels.
"Oh! Is that so? Well sorry to disturb you FRIENDS but we have to go." The president emphasized on the word as well but it's not known if she was doing it on purpose while she had a playful smirk flashed at Toyone who felt like groveling on the ground in pain.
"I- I guess I have to take it step by step." Toyone sighed. After every heartbeat that she missed it was pretty disheartening to hear the reality that for now they're nothing but close friends. However at the same time at least she managed to take a step forward in this social war.
"Oh by the way Toyone, and president. Have you seen my socks? The pair I used yesterday? I can't seem to find them." Saki turned to the two girls as she made her way to the stairs.
"Eh? Sorry, but I haven't." Hisa waved her head together with Toyone who too was not aware about Saki's missing socks.
Ten O'clock in Gunma some members of the Kiyosumi club have already arrived. First on the scene was Yuki. This girl woke up rather early, but not because she was excited about the training, but rather because she's looking forward to Gunma style Tacos.
"We're here!" Yuki cheered. With her was a boy who was already practically her man-servant. This boy cooked her Tacos every time she needed them and he did this especially tasty when it's for a match in a tournament.
"Can you slow down you're making a scene…" Kyoutarou tried to scold the overly energetic petite girl with him. He can see people looking at them with smiles on their faces. One of them even said 'look at the young couple' in a whisper.
"Show me the Gunma Tacos! I came here to invade them and have them as my vassals!" The little high-school girl cheered.
"First of all you're not a lord so you cannot elect vassals. Second Tacos are food not people." Suga criticized Yuki's weirdness. He's already used to that girl's selfishness but despite that it's still quite the inconvenience to have everyone in the street staring at them.
"You're no fun!" Yuki frowned and punched the poor boy on the chest like she usually does.
"Ow! Let's just wait in the hotel the president chose for the joint training camp." Suga stumbled a bit but recovered immediately to check his mobile. On that mobile was the complete address of the hotel they agreed on.
Together they took a cab and showed the driver the address on the mobile phone.
"Karuizawa Hotel 1130? That's a very beautiful place to elope to." Said the taxi driver.
"We're not like that!" Suga was the first to deny the allegation.
"Don't be silly dear…" Almost like to ride the driver's cue Yuki hugged Suga's arm as a girlfriend does.
"Ah! Stop it you squirt! You know about the hotel mister?" Suga asked.
"Do I know about the hotel?!
The taxi driver returned his question as if it was the most ridiculous thing to ask.
"Of course! Everybody knows it. It's the best four star hotel in Gunma. Before we get there we'll pass a forest because the whole place is surrounded by forest." The driver was very cheerful as he told Suga and Yuki about the hotel.
"Surrounded by forest? Wow this is one extravagant place the president chose." Suga and Yuki looked at each other.
Ever since they started winning tournaments their president's choices have become successively more extravagant. From her choice of cars to her choice of uniforms and now even to her choice of hotels. However it's not something out of the boundaries of their budget. Not only is the school sponsoring their every activity but they're also capable of funding themselves to an extent because of tournament cash prizes, and some of the payments they received from commercials, interviews and other media related activity.
"What else is there?" Suga asked. Hopefully this driver can tell them more.
"Well, they have a ski resort there which is maintained so that it's still usable even if it's not winter."
"I don't know how to ski…" Yuki frowned.
"Well there are a lot of other features the place offers. Karaoke bars, tennis courts, bars ooh they sell the best Tacos there."
"Tacos?!" Without realizing it, the driver managed to peak Yuki's interest. Upon hearing the word 'Tacos' her ears waggled like an excited puppy.
"Oh yes. I was asked to stay there once as a service to one rich family and I was treated to some of them delicious Tacos." The driver continued.
"Really?! Please get us there fast!" Yuki leaned on the back of the driver's seat to persuade the driver to drive faster.
"Now you've done it mister…" Suga sighed. He knew that nobody can snap Yuki out of this Taco trance once she gets into it.
"Don't worry, I am the fastest driver in Gunma!" The driver flashed a thumbs-up behind him before stepping on the gas. True enough they arrived in the hotel in record time. Before they arrived there they were treated to some beautiful forest greenery like no other.
"How much will the fare be mister?" Suga took out his wallet. As the club's acting care taker he had lots of money that came from the club's budget.
"Well that will be… two thousand and seven hundred yen." The good driver looked at his meter and honestly told the students his price.
"Here you go please keep the change." Suga felt that the man deserved some reward for getting them there safe. He gave him three thousand yen.
First impression of the place was that it was breathtaking. The hotel's façade could already be seen even from far away hidden by the forest thick bushes and tall trees. Up close its colossal structure is a marvel of engineering. In front of the hotel there was a small fountain and a stone monument to greet guests.
"Hwoah!" Suga felt astounded simply by the size of everything.
"Let's go in!" Yuki happily led the way inside. They were greeted by bellboys and hotel clerks.
"Good morning ma'am and sir how may I help you?" The desk clerk greeted them as they approached the lobby.
"We have a reservation here for use for the next three days." Suga replied.
"On whose name sir?" The desk clerk asked.
"It was a reservation made by our president Takei Hisa."
"One moment please."
The woman checked her computer for records of the reservation.
"Ah, here it is. Wow you people rented so many rooms. An initial count of twenty-six rooms and a change made earlier today for a request adding another two rooms. What are you people having?" The clerk look rather surprised. Even company and firms that go there for filming or as a venue do not reserve that many rooms.
"We will be having our joint training camp here." Suga chuckled. He wondered how much the president spent for all of these.
"Six deluxe rooms for two people each, usually called our romantic suite, seventeen rooms with twin queen sized beds good for four people each and one room good for one. There's a note here saying that it's absolutely a must that one of the rooms good for two is given to a certain pair of Miyanaga Saki and Miyanaga Teru." The desk clerk read that out in front of Suga.
"Eh? Why would the president put that in special notice." Suga wondered.
"I don't know sir. But that's what written here. Anyway all the rooms are good for use already. Here's your room." The clerk replied while handing Suga his own key.
"Oh thank you."
"Your room is the room good for one."
"E-Eh?!" Suga gasped aloud with a disappointed tone. He knew and saw this coming but he can't help but feel disappointed by this every time. It's the big price of being the only man in a girl dominated mahjong club.
"Ne, neh miss where's your Taco bar?!" The petite and energetic girl rushed to the desk with hopeful eyes set on the desk clerk.
"T-Taco bar? Ah, I know there's one in the main buffet and dining area." The desk clerk was surprised for a while.
"Let's go there now doggy!" She called to Suga as she would call to a pet dog.
"I'm not your dog you little squirt!" Suga retaliated as he followed the little girl to that area.
The dining and buffet area was not near the lobby as it was located further inside the hotel complex. On the way there, these two students saw expensive features that everybody was sure to make use of later. Examples of these are: indoor swimming pools, outdoor swimming pools, an onsen, karaoke bars, vending machines, computer shops, and souvenir and gift shops. There surely were more but the route they took was not truly the scenic route.
"Ne, Yuki…" Kyoutarou called unto the excited girl in front of him.
"Hmm? I'm not treating you to some Tacos!" Yuki crossed her arms on her chest with a selfish look on her face.
"You can keep your Tacos… why do you think the president specifically chose Saki and Teru to be paired in one room?" Suga asked. He was rather curious. Saki is his close friend but she never really told him anything about her family so he didn't know the relationship between the two girls.
"Isn't it because they're both aces?" Yuki stopped to match Suga's speed in order to walk side by side with him so they can talk about this rather interesting topic.
"That's rather a convenient reason but I've been wondering… do you think it's just a coincidence that Saki and Teru have the same last name?" Suga asked. It has been bothering him much until now.
"Well… I have not really thought about it but I heard rumors about that too. Nodoka-chan would know let's ask her later." Yuki suggested. Unfortunately she wasn't with the group when this rather sensitive topic was raised. The only people that truly heard this were: Yumi and Momoko from Tsuruga; Mihoko from Kazekoshi; Touka and Koromo from Ryuumonbochi; Nodoka and Hisa from Kiyosumi.
"Speaking of which we have an email from Nodoka." Suga took out his mobile phone which vibrated inside his right pocket. It's to his bliss that he has the numbers of many beautiful girls even if it's only because of club activities.
"Eh? What did she write?" Yuki leaned close to Suga to see what her best friend wrote.
"She's asking where we should meet. I guess we'll tell her to come to the dining area of the hotel." Suga imagined that the best place to meet was the place he and Yuki were going to. They're fortunate enough that there was nothing special with the date so nobody was using the hotel which means they're not going to have a hard time finding each other.
"Yeah! I'm going to buy her some Tacos!" Yuki felt generous to share with her friend her beloved Tacos. There are very few people she wants to share with and that's with either with Saki or Nodoka.
"Hey aren't you that little squirt?!" Someone said this aloud from behind them as they neared the dining area.
"Eh? Bean pole you're here too?!" Yuki was surprised to see a green haired tomboy behind them.
The girl who called out to them was Jun Inoue, the vanguard of Ryuumonbochi High. It was not only Jun who was there but also the petite Hajime Kunihiro who was wearing yet another set of highly seductive clothes, the girl named Tomoki Sawamura who was wearing glasses, Touka Ryuumonbochi the president of the group and of course the ace Amae Koromo.
"Be more respectful of your elders! If you're here then that means the entire of Kiyosumi is also here?"
Jun wondered. She looked around her but it was only the two of them there.
"No? W-Wait don't tell me that two of you eloped?!" Jun gasped
"I keep telling people no but why is it that they keep saying that…" Suga was in the verge of giving up as he gave a sigh of despair.
"We will be having our training camp here! Why are you guys here?" Yuki returned the question.
"We're on a vacation. After all the tournaments we had I think it's only right to take a break right?" Jun replied.
"Yuki!" Amae who was already pretty close to all Kiyosumi members dashed to the Taco eating Capybara.
"I don't think children are allowed to run in these corridors." Yuki looked almost serious when she said this.
"Are Nonoka and Saki coming?" She asked very excitedly. Koromo is very close to Saki and Nodoka since they were the two people that really understood her outside her circle.
"Yes! And a bunch of other people too!" Yuki nodded.
"Isn't it a bit rude to call your teammates as 'other' people?" Hajime approached and joined in on the conversation.
"No, I wasn't talking about the president and Mako-sempai I was talking about our partner school for this training camp." Yuki waved her head and explained.
"Partner school? Might it be Tsuruga?" Touka asked. It's understandable that she thought it was Tsuruga because there were only three schools in Nagano that Kiyosumi is heavily affiliated with: Tsuruga, Kazekoshi and Ryuumonbochi.
"Nope, we already trained with them a few weeks ago. I don't think it'd be right to call and bother them." Suga replied.
"Kazekoshi?" This time it was Tomoki who took her chance to guess.
"Nope. This time we're having a team outside Nagano to train with us." Yuki waved her head again. She was enjoying making them guess.
"Ah, then it's that school from Nara. Achiga isn't it?" Hajime took a shot. She remembered that Achiga and Kiyosumi had one member that bounds them together and that's Haramura Nodoka.
"Nope!" Yuki replied and waved her head again. Although this is an outdated information because just this morning Achiga entered the training camp without her knowledge.
"We're out of guesses. Spill it out already!" Jun started shaking the younger girl by her shoulders to force her to confess.
"It's with Shiraitodai! S-Stop shaking me!" Yuki finally confessed as she started swaying dizzily.
"W-What?! Shiraitodai?!" Touka's eyes widened as she heard the name of that famous school that monopolized the championships of many tournaments the past two years.
"Yes. I'm not sure how the president got in touch with them but that's how it is." Suga interrupted.
"W-Why… why…" Touka started trembling on her feet.
"T-Touka?" Hajime approached Touka worriedly and placed one hand around the trembling girl's arm.
"W-Why wasn't Ryuumonbochi invited to such a gathering!?" Touka shouted. She looked really pissed as she imagined Nodoka playing with other powerful members of Shiraitodai.
"I get it! This is another plot by Haramura to stand out more than me! I won't let it happen!" Touka snapped her fingers and in an instant a man in a suit appeared beside her.
"Yes?" Said the butler who bowed his head beside Touka.
"I want you to extend our stay here. We will be participating in this merry venture!" Touka commanded.
"As you wish my lady!" The butler disappeared as fast as he appeared.
"Eh? You can't just. Hey that's my mobile phone!" Suga noticed that his phone was already inside Touka's hand before he could protest. With it, she called the first number on Suga's history.
"Hello, this is Kiyosumi's president am I right?" Touka asked.
"Yes, wait this is Suga's phone who are you?" The mobile phone speakers were set rather loudly so some others could hear the girl from the other end of the line speak.
"This is Ryuumonbochi Touka, were joining your training camp."
A smack was heard from the other end of the line. It sounded like someone hitting her own forehead with her palm.
"I should've known you'd be somewhere like that place." The girl replied rather comically.
"So is there a problem with our entry on your training camp?" Touka asked again.
"No, I guess its okay. Since another school decided to join in before you anyway. Might as well make it an even four no?" The girl replied.
"Great. Would you need us to do anything?" Touka asked. She didn't want to feel as if she just forced her way in so she wanted to help.
"Well it would do us great if you already had your own rooms."
"That's already taken care of. Anything else?"
"Hmm… well there is something else." The girl on the phone sounded like she was ready to take advantage of Touka's offer.
"Just ask. Anything at all." Touka replied and encouraged the other girl not to be shy asking.
"I'll take you up on that offer but it's something rather sensitive for a chat on the phone. Let's talk when we get there." The president of Kiyosumi replied.
"I see, Touka nodded as if she was in front of the girl she's talking to." Just like that the conversation is over and Suga got his mobile phone back.
"I guess there will be three of us then." Suga narrowed his eyes on the president of Ryuumonbochi. It's turning out to become similar to their previous training camp before the nationals even began.
"No, your president said there will be another. So that makes four." Touka replied.
"Well it's really going to be merry tonight." Suga felt happy at first but then he remembered that he will probably get singled out again later.
"Since we're already in on this why don't you allow us to treat you to something nice?" Touka asked with a gentle smile to the two Kiyosumi Mahjong Club Members.
"Treat me to the Tacos here!" Yuki was quick to jump on the offer.
"Don't you ever eat anything else other than Tacos?" June criticized. She remembered how they first met in the match and how bad that first meeting was.
"Shut up bean pole you still owe me!" Yuki remembered too.
Meanwhile in Shiga prefecture some people just arrived to meet with their coach Harue Akado. The full team of Achiga was very happy to meet with their coach, Shizuno and Arata who stayed in that hotel last night. However they didn't take their time to get off the van they were on for the three outside were already packed and seemed like they were in a hurry.
"Coach! Shizuno! Arata-chan! Where have you been?!" Ako Atarashi asked. She was the most worried amongst them all.
"Things led to things." Harue replied vaguely.
"Yes… Shizuno was the cause of it all." Arata pointed at the girl who insisted with joining the search yesterday.
"Eh? I couldn't help it!" Shizuno quickly defended herself from that allegation.
"Couldn't help it?" Arata showed one of her rare smiles as if she just trapped Shizuno.
"Y-You anyway at least I know for one that you enjoyed sleeping with Akado-san last night!" Shizuno retaliated.
"Calm down, calm down. The training camp will begin soon; in fact we're already late so we should hurry. Saki and Hisa left twenty minutes ago." Akado encouraged the team to hurry up so without further delay the three joined the others in the van.
Inside the van where they could talk freely the girls started chatting again while Akado greeted and thanked her professional friend for taking her members there.
"So Shizu what happened?" Ako asked. She wondered what was so important that they were caught up and unable to return to Achiga.
"We visited Akado-san's former coach." Shizuno replied happily.
"The kind old lady?" Kuro interrupted. She too was familiar of that woman.
"Hey, calling someone old isn't actually polite." Akado who was very close with her former coach gently scolded Kuro.
"Also, Shizuno learned that her crush was selected as a star for an upcoming short film and decided to take the detour to watch." Arata interrupted with an indifferent look on her face.
"A-Arata!" Shizuno shouted in protest.
"Eh? Miyanaga-san is starring in a film?! T-That is a big break for mahjong players everywhere!" Ako felt rather proud that someone who is a mahjong player is climbing to the top of another field.
"Y-Yes too bad we didn't get to watch the filming." Shizuno sighed.
"Eh? What did you go there for?" Kuro was surprised to learn that they failed to watch what they came for.
Shizuno and Arata explained what happened. They did their best to describe everything in a series of events but omitted the part where Teru got drunk because they felt that it would be a very sensitive topic to tackle, especially since they will be meeting that girl again today.
"Sensei, how did you suddenly get in touch with Shiraitodai?" Ako asked Harue who was sitting beside the driver in the passenger's seat.
"It was originally a training camp for Shiraitodai and Kiyosumi but they were kind enough to let us in…" Akado replied happily.
"More like you forced yourself in." Arata said this to herself. She knew her coach slash most admired person really well.
"But really that was a rather eventful night. It's not every day that you learn that the two best high-school mahjong players are actually sisters." Akado said this happy-go-luckily.
"S-Sisters?!" The four people, including the driver, gasped. Even the usually silent Yuu Matsumi looked really shocked and almost raised her voice.
"That's why we tried to omit that part in our explanation…" Arata sighed. She and Shizuno agreed not to talk about it but they forgot how careless Harue can be.
"Well I guess their surnames are similar for a reason." Ako was still surprised but she already suspected as much from the beginning.
"So that answers the question how Kiyosumi and Shiraitodai managed to get in hold of each other." Kuro at first didn't think it was normal for the two rival schools like Kiyosumi and Shiraitodai to create such a joint venture. If you, a king, gets dethroned, you won't suddenly ask the person who took over your position to help you get better.
"B-But didn't Teru Miyanaga specifically said that she had no sister awhile back?" Yuu Matsumi interrupted. She remembered watching a press interview of the previous champion.
"Yes… I remember that but… maybe something happened in the past that…"
Everybody was surprised to hear Shizuno suddenly shout. They all turned to her to see her serious and determined face.
"Let's not talk about that." Shizuno said this firmly as she turned a rather stern face to everybody.
"S-Shizu, we're sorry…" Ako immediately realized that they trended on thin ice. She knew that Shizuno was right. It wasn't proper to make speculations about others behind their backs.
Beside the driver's seat Akado could only smile as she stole glances of her members using the rear-view mirror. She was glad to see that they growing properly both in mahjong and in how they lived. In a way she was proud of Shizuno for stepping forward like that to stop her own teammates. Shizuno herself looked like she was deep in thought. Was she thinking about the training camp? Or did the topic just now gave her something to ponder about?
Eleven o'clock near afternoon the other main participant of the training camp are nearing their destination. In small bus were the non-regular members of the mahjong club while the playing members were in a van.
"I'm glad that you're fine after all that Teru-sempai." Awaii Oohoshi said this after listening to Sumire on what happened the day before.
"You should always bring a map with you and write important details down. Geez you're our president you need to be more careful." Sumire started to scold her friend.
"Uh… Sumire…" A girl with short hair whose name was Seiko Matano tapped Sumire by her shoulder as she continued.
"You're not only our president but you're also our ace. You're the face of our school so you shouldn't be caught doing such irresponsible stuff." Sumire continued while ignoring Seiko's taps.
"Uh… Sumire…" Seiko continued to tap her senior's shoulder.
"What?!" Sumire finally gave in to Seiko's nudges and turned to the girl.
"Look…" Seiko pointed to a pink haired girl who's currently hugging a pair of socks mindlessly as if she didn't hear anything Sumire said.
"What are you doing you idiot?!" Sumire shouted. She was shocked and annoyed to find her captain in such a pitiful state.
"Sumire look I manage to keep one pair." Teru turned to Sumire with a face filled with bliss as she showed Sumire the pair of used socks she was holding in each of her hands.
"Y-You! I won't even ask how or whose that is but can you please keep that?!" Sumire shouted.
"Eh? Isn't that Saki-san's socks?" Oohoshi Awaii recognized the pair of socks in Teru's possession.
"Eh?! How did you know?!" Sumire was surprised to hear that from Oohoshi.
"Me and Saki-chan have been best friends since we were little kids."
Awaii replied as she approached Teru.
"May I touch them too Teru-sempai?!" Awaii asked this almost beggingly.
"No!" Teru kept the items close to her chest and turned away like a little girl.
"E-Eh?! Don't be selfish!" Awaii chased Teru who moved to another seat.
"Saki… how scary you can be. You're destroying our team without even picking up a damn tile." Sumire groaned. She felt like a mother having to babysit obsessive little girls in one room.
"Vice President, I have some report you might want to hear." The lieutenant of their team whose name was Takami Shibuya approached Sumire with a notebook in hand.
"I see… come with me…"
Sumire dragged Takami to the back of the van while carefully dodging Teru's attention… not like she needed to since that girl was busy with the socks in her hand that she was treating like the best Christmas gift ever. Awaii too didn't notice them since she was busy playing tag with Teru for the socks and even Seiko was busy trying to calm them down.
"I assume that this is about what I asked you?" Sumire asked.
"Yes, and I've confirmed it. They're planning something." Takami nodded in reply.
"Do you know what is it they plan?" Sumire continued to ask. Knowing that the people they had on surveillance had something in plan wasn't enough.
"Right now all we know that each member of their group has a little camera on her dress. Some placed their camera on their ribbon, some in front of their chest pockets and even some around their belts." Takami explained.
"I see… from that arrangement I think I have an idea on their plans but I can't be sure yet." Sumire had her hand on her chin as she deducted an idea from what Takami gave her.
"I have already planted a spy inside their group. I will meet with her later when we arrive in the meeting place." Takami replied and tried to assure Sumire that everything is under control.
"We need to handle everything carefully. We don't want those idiots to cause irreparable damage." Sumire clicked her tongue. In one way she felt guilty that she wasn't able to guide their members properly that they were doing something like this.
"If that's all about this, I want to ask about the activities planned for the camp that the other president suggested."
"Yes what about it?" Sumire wondered what Takami noticed that she suddenly wants to talk about.
"Day one: a game of 'Kings Game' between the regulars of the two schools."
"Pfft! Krkh!" Sumire coughed. She remembered what the training camp was for and the activities that both she and Hisa planned. All of a sudden the activities don't seem appropriate since the two sisters have reconciled already.
"Day two: test of courage in the forest around the hotel." Takami continued.
"…" At this point Sumire's face was completely covered by her own shadow of despair. If this training camp was done three days before, that would be a perfect activity but now that Teru's like this it's like pushing the two teams in a black hole of scandal.
"Day three: a game of twister between-…."
"E-Enough!" Sumire said this aloud. She knew then that she had to talk to the other person, who planned this together with her.
Sumire took out her phone and immediately looked for Hisa's number. She couldn't handle this alone and felt that she was about to break down.
"Hello… Touka is this you again?" A girl answered from the other side of the line. It was Hisa but to Sumire's surprise the girl uttered another person's name who she was not very familiar off.
"No this is Sumire!" Sumire almost shouted. She was already frustrated.
"Sumire? Eh? Do you miss me already?" The girl jokingly asked then chuckled.
"Don't joke with me now you idiot! I think we have to change our activities!" Sumire suggested. She was getting annoyed on how Hisa kept treating her from time to time.
"I understand your point even before you explain but with Achiga and Ryuumonbochi joining in I don't think it's still an option to change." The girl on the other line replied.
"What?! Ryuumonbochi is joining in?" Sumire held her forehead as if she was suffering from a strong migraine. With that an entire change of activities would be impossible because planning everything again would be an enormous task.
"Sorry Sumire, apparently their team is having a vacation there; we can't turn them down now."
"I guess… as long as there are no people from the press coming I guess we can handle this." Sumire tried to calm herself down and told herself that everything will be alright.
"Hey just one sniff sempai!" Awaii was now leaning over Teru as she tries her best to reach the socks in Teru's hands who was raising them while leaning away to keep them out of Awaii's reach.
"No go smell Sumire's socks or something!" Teru shouted.
"No! Besides that would smell like old woman smell or…" Before the two could continue they felt the atmosphere changed drastically dreadful as they felt sharp chills get sent to their spines. The two of them slowly and hesitantly turned to look at the source of that killer intent as they paused.
"I'm going to kill you two…"
The voices of two maidens erupted from inside the van as the tendrils of despair burst out of the van's windows.
Twelve o'clock in the afternoon Kyoutarou Suga received another call while he served as Yuki's guardian who was enjoying the free Tacos Touka bought for her.
"Hello," Suga answered his phone without checking whose name it was.
"Suga-kun we're in front of the place. Can you fetch me and my father?" It was Nodoka on the other end of the line. She finally arrived in the place after getting lost a couple of times because her father did not know the way to the place initially.
"O-Oh? Sure!" Suga felt a little happiness that Nodoka was counting on him. It was also a little blissful that he was going to meet Nodoka's father. He found the thought that she was introducing him to her father rather fascinating and somewhat arousing.
"Who is it this time?" Yuki turned to Suga before finishing another Taco.
"It's Nodoka. She's here. She asked me to fetch her." He replied.
"Haramura Nodoka? I'm coming with you. I want to see what she's planning!" Touka who felt that Nodoka is doing something to stand out more than she did decided for herself to come with Kyoutarou in meeting Nodoka in the lobby. Only Hajime went with Touka as her guardian while the other members of Ryuumonbochi stayed with Yuki in the dining area.
When the three of them arrived there they saw Nodoka with her father. Both of them had unexplainable worried looks as if they ran into some sort of trouble. Nodoka was hugging her precious Etopen, a penguin shaped stuff toy, loosely as she approached the group.
"Suga-kun is Saki already here?" This was Nodoka's first words after meeting with Suga. She looked both excited and yet nervous.
"No, she's with the president and Anetai-san. They're on their way here. They'll probably be here in an hour." Suga replied. He remembered how long it has been since he got in touch with Hisa.
"I- I see…" Nodoka's face turned sour upon hearing this.
"Haramura Nodoka! I won't let you standout alone on this training camp! Ryuumonbochi is joining in and I will finally show you who the real idol is!" Touka proudly challenged Nodoka as she usually always did before.
"… I'll be waiting here then…" Almost as if Nodoka didn't see Touka she sighed and sat on the couch in front of the lobby. The other people in front of her were puzzled with her reaction.
"Nodoka what's wrong?" Suga tried to ask his club mate.
"…" Like masters of the old era, Nodoka ignored the boy as her consciousness travelled somewhere else.
"N-Nodoka do you hear me?! I will beat you today! I swear it in the name of Ryuumonbochi!" Touka felt insulted that her challenge was ignored.
"Saki…" Nodoka muttered this name softly before letting out a soft and gentle sigh.
At this point Touka and Suga's face turned dark as they noticed a pinkish aura hover around Haramura Nodoka. They can see virtual manifestations of hearts float above her.
"W-What's this sensation?! What is this dangerous feeling?!" Touka muttered to herself with ever so much dread as she watched her rival.
"You must be friends of my daughter." Nodoka's father approached the three. Because he never participated in events Nodoka was in, this is the first time he will meet the three. The only people he really knew in Nodoka's circle were Yuki and Saki.
"M-My name is Touka Ryuumonbochi. I- I am Nodoka's rival in mahjong." Touka introduced herself to Nodoka's father. For some reason she felt unusually nervous when she would usually proudly present to herself to anybody.
"It's nice to meet you Nodoka's father." Hajime looked more composed than her master. She bowed politely.
"It's nice to meet you all too. Take care of my daughter for me." The father did not bother returning the bow and went back in the car. He looked like he was in a hurry.
"H-Have a safe trip home m-mister Haramura." Touka stuttered. She was acting like she was talking to the most important person in the planet.
"What's wrong Touka?" Hajime noticed Touka's unusual demeanor.
"N-Nothing." Touka lied.
The three of them were waving to Nodoka's father while the daughter herself was still slouching on the lobby couch.
"Nodoka-chan let's go to where Yuki is, she's waiting." Suga invited Nodoka to go to the dining area where Yuki is with some of the Ryuumonbochi members.
"I want to wait for Saki here. Please go on ahead." Nodoka replied weakly. She looked extremely troubled. Suga only looked at her for a moment and decided that he couldn't do anything for her. He nodded and walked away. Hajime was about to follow Suga but noticed that Touka wasn't moving an inch.
"Haramura Nodoka, you don't seem like yourself today." Touka tried to create a conversation with the looming Vice Captain.
"It's nothing… it's just that…"
"So you do have a problem. If it's something you can't tell me I can understand but I can't allow my rival to be this pathetic!"
Touka tried to encourage Nodoka. For some reason she felt annoyed seeing Nodoka in such a pitiful manner.
"Is it love problems?"
"It's not!" Nodoka replied ever so sharply at that comment. She had her hands in a fist on her chest as if she was in some sort of defensive stance
"Okay… okay you don't have to deny it that strongly."
Touka backed away a bit from the leaning Nodoka.
"If it's not love problems then is it financial problems? Although I don't expect a family of such prestige to have that kind of dilemma." Touka tried to guess some more on what's bothering her rival.
"No. Well actually something like that but my family is well-off. But…"
"But? Nodoka we're not teammates but don't think that I, Touka Ryuumonbochi, will leave her rival like this." Touka proudly offered to council Nodoka.
"I'm not your rival…"
Nodoka narrowed her eyes on Touka for a moment. Even though Touka looks at Nodoka as 'the person to beat' Nodoka never really shared that same feeling.
"But if you must know I guess it's something I can't hide forever. So…" It's true. One way or another after this training camp her life will completely change. It's not something she can keep to herself without anybody noticing. She explained her situation to the Ryuumonbochi heir and club president.
"E-Eh!?" Touka shouted.
"I would prefer it if you didn't shout like that." Nodoka narrowed her eyes on her so called rival. She feels doubtful if she did the right thing by telling Touka this problem.
"D-Do you already have someone in mind?" Touka asked. Even though her parents usually leave her and Koromo at least she has her own place to stay in. She can only imagine how Nodoka felt.
Nodoka avoided Touka's gaze as if she wanted to dodge the question.
"Saki is currently living alone so…" Nodoka hesitated to reply. It's not like her to be like this but for some reason she found the topic to be a little sensitive for her usual frankness.
"G-Gah!" Touka gasped. It's not what she wanted to hear at all.
"But… I don't know how to tell Saki. I- I don't want to be a burden…" Nodoka explained. Normally one would think that they're being helpful by staying with someone who's living alone but Nodoka is in a different situation. While Saki earns most of her living expenses by winning tournaments and participating in commercials and interviews Nodoka doesn't really have a source of income. Furthermore Saki seems quite fine living alone so the pink haired girl can't tell if joining her would be a minus or a plus.
"Then why don't you stay with me and work as my maid?!" Touka couldn't help herself and finally asked her rival.
"E-Eh?" Nodoka gasped. Touka has mentioned this before in the nationals that if she loses she is to work in the Ryuumonbochi mansion as a maid. That was a joke of course but Touka's current offer isn't.
"T-Touka! Y-You can't just say something like that!" Hajime protested. She's quite proud to be Touka's personal maid so this bothers her greatly.
"Why not? Koromo needs more playmates!" Touka faked a smirk at Hajime while using her step sister as an excuse.
"B-But Toukaaa!" Hajime stubbornly flailed her arms in protest hoping that Touka will take back her offer.
"So what do you say?" Touka ignored Hajime's protests and continued to persuade the big breasted vice-captain.
Nodoka paused and hugged her stuffed toy closer. She thought about the advantages of transferring into the Ryuumonbochi mansion. It's not too far from Kiyosumi and best of all she can earn her money by working as a maid.
"I'll think about it…" Nodoka replied rather weakly. Even with all the advantages serving as Touka's maid will give her she still can't put the other option aside.
"What's there to think about? It's the offer of a life time!" Touka felt impatient. This Ryuumonbochi president would always have dreams of having Haramura as her maid. In fact every time she gets the chance to stare at those wonderfully developed breasts she drools as she imagines them inside her chosen maid outfits.
"I'm sorry but-…." Nodoka understood that Touka just wanted to help. But she didn't want to make a sudden decision without talking to the person she cared the most.
For a moment Touka paused to look at Nodoka's hesitant and indecisive face. She knew then that more prodding might only lose her the chance of landing this big fish in her mansion.
"If you need time to think then I'll give you my number." Touka took out her phone to take Nodoka's mobile phone number.
"Thank you for your patience." Nodoka took out her own mobile phone and agreed to exchange emails with Touka.
"There, just email me when you decide."
" I will." Nodoka nodded. She did not know if she would ever use the number but she was glad that she had more options now. Whatever happens she was not going to go with her father to another prefecture.
In this training camp there were only two real options: to share her high-school life with Saki or to enjoy being a maid. She wanted to have both to some extent since she loved wearing maid costumes especially the mature looking ones.
Next Chapter Preview:
"C-can someone explain the rules to me again?" Saki who was not familiar with this game asked her president nervously.
"The papers are numbered from one to twenty and the twenty-first paper has the word 'king' on it. Whoever held the king's paper can choose any number or multiple numbers to do his bidding." Hisa explained proudly with one point finger raised up as if she was imitating a teacher.
"The orders of the kings are absolute. The only defense everybody has against the king is that he or she won't know their number and has to choose numbers in random. That way kings can't pick a favorite." Sumire took over and explained the remaining rule.
"W-Wait does that include any erotic stuff?" A certain pink-haired sister asked.
"… Yeah… even erotic stuff…" Sumire couldn't help but twitch in her captain's question.
"Uwoh!" Everybody shouted spiritedly.
"One, two, three who's the king?!" Everybody chanted as they drew folded pieces of paper from a basket in front of them.
"Alright! I'm the king!"
"No! Damn it!"
"Number seven, I order you to-…!"
Everybody gasped and blushed after hearing the order of the king. The victim of this order is more flustered than anyone. She wanted to beg off and run away but the king's guards are behind her to make sure that king's decree is given heed.
"The order of the king is absolute!" Demanded some people in the room.
"E-Eh?!" A loud shriek echoed that can be heard even outside the complex.