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Lost in Thoughts

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“Well, well, well. How the mighty have fallen.”

Mouri Jusaburou stood before the grave of his now deceased kouhai, glaring down at the freshly engraved name within the stone. A sense of smugness brimmed from within him knowing that the boy he had hated the most had now been rendered into nothing but dust and bones.

When the sudden passing of Yukimura was made public knowledge at school, Mouri couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He refused to believe that the arrogant kouhai was dead and was especially angry that he no longer had the chance to humble him. When he had received an invitation to attend the funeral service, he didn’t go. Mouri used Yukimura’s death as an excuse to skip classes and his committee duties, pretending that he was grieving over the sudden passing. This had angered many people, including the tennis club, who had caught wind of his behaviour. 

“Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” He knelt down to study the grave more closely. “It’s funny how I’m standing here right now, staring at your grave when it really should’ve been the other way around.” His fingers grazed Yukimura’s engraved name, tracing the strokes of the characters. “Not like much can be done now. The dead don’t speak, Yukimura Seiichi.”

Mouri and Yukimura never had a good relationship with each other. They were always at odds about their views on tennis, which further drove them apart. Prior to Yukimura entering Rikkai, Mouri was set to become the captain of the tennis team in his second year. He was the one of the only regulars on the tennis team that was not graduating and was given the captaincy due to nepotism. Despite being given such an important role, Mouri never attended practice at all. He would leave a majority of his club responsibilities to his vice captain and student manager and disappear elsewhere. Though many people harboured resentment towards him for his behaviour, none dared to call him out on his behaviour, since he could still defeat everyone in the club single-handedly. The team needed Mouri in order to stand any chance at winning the regional qualifiers, so many of the regulars swallowed their pride and bore the brunt of the stress.

Mouri’s plans and captaincy were thrown off course with the appearance of the elusive, yet feared Child of God.

It had only been a few days after the freshmen tryouts for the team. Mouri was hastily trying to leave his classroom after the last bell had rung, but was stopped by his vice captain at the doorway.

“Mouri, we need to discuss the regulars for this season. Right now. I’m not taking no for an answer.”

“Whoa whoa whoa, Mr. Vice Captain, slow down there,” Mouri replied nonchalantly. “What’s the rush with picking the regulars? We have time. We haven’t even had tryouts yet!”

“No, we , as in the rest of the team, held tryouts over the weekend. You ,” he poked Mouri’s chest harshly, “were slacking. Again.

“Alright, so I missed tryouts. Big deal. It was only the first years trying out anyway. What’s the harm in missing that? None of them are good, I would imagine.” 

“No, you’re wrong. The first years were good this year. Extremely good. These three specifically,” his vice captain handed him a small stack of papers with data on Yukimura, Sanada and Yanagi, “are going to help us win the Nationals this year. I can feel it.”

Mouri only glanced at the sheets briefly before tossing them up into the air. “Alright, then make them regulars.” He stuck his hands into his pockets and walked past his vice captain with a cheeky smile on his face.

“Oi! That’s only three of the eight we need to decide on!”

“I’ll leave the rest to you, Mr. Vice Captain.” He waved as he continued to walk out of the school. 

As he reached the train station, Mouri leaned on one of the support pillars. His eyes moved around as he surveyed the platform before they focused on a group of freshmen, each carrying a large tennis bag on their shoulders. He couldn’t help but let the smile grow on his face.

“Yukimura Seiichi, huh? This year might actually be interesting.”

“You’re the last person I would have expected to be here, Mouri-senpai.”

Mouri turned in the direction of the voice, only to be confronted by Yanagi Renji.

“Nice of you to show up to the funeral last week, senpai,” Yanagi remarked with a hint of sarcasm in his tone. “I hear you’ve been skipping school due to your ‘excessive grief’.”

“Being in your last year of high school keeps you busy, y’know. The stress can catch up with you, especially when your lovely kouhai passes away suddenly,” Mouri retorted with an equal amount of malice.

“Have you come here to pay respects to the dead or are you just here because you’re running away from your other duties?”

“Hey,” Mouri got close to Yanagi’s face, “watch your mouth and language when you address your senpai.”

“As if I would ever address you with any more respect than I already give you.”

Mouri took a step back. “I expect nothing less from my kouhai.”

Yanagi had fished out a small, purple envelope with Mouri’s name written on it and held it out for him to accept. “It’s for you.”

He took the letter, examined it and then tossed it to the ground. “If the contents of the letter were so important for me to know, Yukimura would have told them to me when he was alive.” He crushed it between his hand before throwing it on the ground and stepping on it. Mouri leaned in towards Yanagi’s ear. “Those who live should not speak on behalf of the dead. He should just remain as a figment of the past and nothing more.” Mouri straightened his back before heading towards the exit.

Yanagi balled up his fists in anger, as if ready to punch Mouri for his transgressions. He stopped himself, knowing that the place he stood was a holy site and deserved respect. He continued on towards Yukimura’s grave, leaving the letter on the ground behind him.

Bothered by the events that happened that afternoon, Mouri returned to the graveyard to pick up the letter he had thrown on the ground earlier. The sun was starting to set, which made navigating the graveyard difficult. He was surprised to find that the letter was unravelled and resting on the grave, as if it were waiting for Mouri to come back for it. He gingerly picked it up and held onto it as he walked towards the exit to head back home.

After he had arrived home, Mouri took a quick shower before flinging his body onto his bed. The dirtied letter laid on his pillow, which he grabbed and hastily opened.

‘It’s been a while since we last spoke, Mouri Jusaburou. I would have told you everything I wanted to say in this letter to your face, but you never visited me once in the hospital.’

He scoffed to himself. “As if I would ever stoop that low.”

‘Despite everything that’s happened between us, I can’t find it in me to hate you. It’s quite the opposite, really. I have nothing but admiration for you. You were a genius in your own right. Despite never coming to practice, you were still able to keep up and produce results when it mattered. I guess that’s why you never really changed. As long as you kept on winning, what’s the point in practicing? But your arrogance led to your own downfall as the captain of Rikkai and eventually served as a means to your own end.’

It had only been a few months since the regulars were decided and practice was in full swing. Mouri had continued to skip on his duties to the club as its captain, which caused the seeds of resentment to grow within the team. Yukimura and Yanagi took notice of this sudden shift in mood and decided that they had to take matters into their own hands.

“Mouri-buchou skipped practice yet again,” Yukimura remarked. “Renji, do you know where he could be?”

Yanagi shook his head. “He skips so often that I have no data on him.”

“So we effectively have no captain, our vice captain is on the brink of a mental breakdown and the rest of the second and third years are also demoralized and ready to quit? And this is all happening the week before the Qualifiers?”

“Precisely, though I don’t see how we can do anything to change the situation, Seiichi.”

“Is that so?” A sly smile formed on Yukimura’s face, which caused Yanagi to shiver. 

Within a week, the vice captain had quit the team abruptly after falling into a hysteria from the amount of stress he was under. Not wanting to play on a team with no functioning captain, the rest of the regulars, save Yukimura, Sanada and Yanagi, also quit the team. These resignations effectively halved the Rikkai tennis team. With no captain present to control the restlessness of the other members, what was left of the club began to fight with each other. The very small group of third years left started to boss around all of the first and second years, which caused the infighting to get worse. Just as the tension reached a crescendo, Yukimura calmly stepped onto the courts. A certain aura of power and influence surrounded the frail boy as the rest of the club grew quiet and stared.

“As the new captain of this club, let it be known that there is no place in this club for violence,” Yukimura began. “I expect everyone here to work diligently, as we are aiming to win the qualifiers and get into the Kanto Regionals.”

One of the disgruntled third years ran up and grabbed Yukimura by the neck. “Who the fuck do you think you are, pipsqueak? You think you can boss ME around?!”

“I would suggest you let me down gently unless you want to face the consequences, senpai.” There was an iciness to Yukimura’s voice as his eyes stared deep into his senpai’s soul.

The aggression within him had disappeared and been replaced by terror. The boy set down Yukimura before falling to his knees and trembled. His senses had disappeared and he felt like he was trapped in a void with no end in sight. Yukimura looked down at his senpai as an arrogant smirk formed on his face. He turned his attention towards the rest of the club, who all had a similar look of terror in their eyes.

“Now, I’ll ask this again. Who here does not believe I should be the captain of this team?”

Yukimura was met with silence, as everyone’s gazes shifted towards the ground.

“Now, clean up this mess you all created and then it’s 30 laps around the courts for causing a disturbance. Sanada, Yanagi, I want to speak with the both of you.”

The rest of the club just silently obeyed Yukimura and began to pick up all of the balls and rackets that were thrown around. Yanagi and Sanada both approached Yukimura, but were unfazed by the actions that transpired.

Yukimura smiled sheepishly. “Shall we get this club back into shape for the Qualifiers now? I could really use the both of you to help me achieve that goal.”

“Yukimura, how are we supposed to participate in the Qualifiers if we don’t have an eight man roster to submit?” Sanada asked. “There’s only three of us left.”

Yukimura shook his head. “There’s four of us left, actually.”

“Yukimura! Don’t tell me you still plan on keeping that useless senpai on the roster,” Sanada protested.

“Relax, Sanada. Mouri Jusaburou is still a good player. Even if he doesn’t attend team practices, he can still keep up with a majority of the schools we’ll be competing against. I intend to keep him on reserve until we need him.” Yukimura turned around to see that the rest of the club had moved on from cleaning to running the assigned laps around the court. “But, now that I am the captain, I will need some help to run this club.”

“What do you have in mind, Seiichi?”

“Renji, I shall leave you to pick out the other four players we need to have a full roster. Sanada, as the new vice captain, I expect you to train everyone until we become unbeatable.”

Following the sudden shift in power, Yanagi began to analyze the remaining club members until he identified four exceptional first years that were a cut above the rest. Those first years ended up being Marui Bunta, Niou Masaharu and Jackal Kuwahara. Sanada spared no time making sure everyone was performing at their peak. Though they only had a week to polish themselves for the Qualifiers, the new regulars were surprisingly adept and managed to win with a few losses from time to time during the bracket. Once they had qualified for the Kanto Regionals, training got more strict. Each of the regulars wore heavy wrist and ankle weights that they swore to never take off until they graduate and quit the team. 

When it came time for the Regionals, Mouri decided to show up to the first round match-up between Rikkai and another school located in Yokohama. He was shocked to see that he was not going to be playing that round and was put on the reserves. He became enraged when he saw that the seven players on the roster were all unfamiliar names. Fuming, he stormed into the courts to look for his teammates. Yukimura was sitting at the coach's bench with a stern look on his face.

He plopped himself beside Yukimura on the bench. “I don’t remember making you the vice captain. Where is he?”

“He resigned. Sanada is now the vice-captain,” Yukimura replied calmly.

“Really? Mr. Resting Bitch Face is now my vice captain?” Mouri looked around at the rest of the team, who had now been completely replaced by first years. “And what happened with the others?”

“Also resigned. They didn’t want to play without the former vice captain and a missing captain.”

“Well,” Mouri stood up, “tell them to come back and play. Their captain has returned.”

“I don’t think you understand, Mouri Jusaburou,” Yukimura began. “The moment you abandoned the club was the moment you gave up your captaincy.”

“‘Abandoned’? I did no such thing. Hey, you!” he called out to one of the second years as he walked up towards him. “Let’s teach these arrogant first years a lesson. What do you say?” 

The boy ignored Mouri as he stood there silently and stoically. 

“Not much of a talker, are you?” Mouri violently grabbed the collar of his shirt. “Or are you just deaf?”

“Please refrain from causing a disturbance during a match, Mouri Jusaburou,” Yukimura interjected. “It’s no use trying to convince anyone else to join your side.”

“Oh, is that so? Everyone here is willing to turn against their captain? How bold.”

“You are mistaken. You are no longer the captain of this team.” Yukimura stood up from his seat and walked towards the exit of the court. Everyone else followed suit.

“Oi! Where do you all think you’re going?!” Mouri shouted as he ran towards them. Niou stuck out his foot and tripped him, causing him to fall face down into the ground. 

Yukimura stood over him and looked down with a pitiful look in his eyes. "If you refuse to obey me, then you have no place in this club, Mouri Jusaburou. My will is absolute."

‘Do you know why you lost captaincy to me in the first place? It’s because you were never there. I know deep underneath your carefree exterior, it really bothered you that a mere first year managed to usurp you in both talent and position. That’s why you always treated myself, Sanada and Yanagi with such malice. You were embarrassed that you could no longer be the top player at Rikkai. You were no longer absolute now that I was the captain.’

“Even in death, your arrogance knows no bounds. Why did I even pick this up?”

‘Despite all of that, I still can’t find it in me to hate you after what you’ve done for me. You were my Sports Drink Fairy when I was first going through rehabilitation, weren’t you? You never hated me as much as you thought you did. You were genuinely worried about me. That’s why you started leaving me cold bottles of various sports drinks by my hospital bedside in secret.’

Two years had passed and Mouri had entered the high school division of Rikkai. He easily landed a spot on the high school tennis team, again due to nepotism more than anything. His behaviour did not change, as he continued to skip practice and do things on his own. He was still able to beat his opponents and Rikkai breezed through the qualifiers yet again. 

As the Kanto Regional matchup between Rikkai and Hyoutei was approaching, Mouri was hanging out in the shopping district of Yokohama alongside his two friends, Nojima and Nishiki, instead of attending practice.

“Mouri, are you sure you don’t have to go to practice? You’ve got the Kanto Regional coming up, don’t you?” Nojima, asked with a concerned look in his eyes.

“Practice isn’t something you do because you’re told to,” Mouri responded. “You do it when you feel like it.”

“Man, I wish I had such a carefree attitude like you! My captain would kill me if I didn’t show up to team practice,” Nishiki exclaimed.

“That’s where you and I differ, my friend. Basketball is inherently a team sport. Tennis is a sport where individuals shine bright on their own.”

“Speaking of tennis, I heard the middle school team’s third consecutive championship is in danger,” Nojima mentioned.

“Those three monsters are among the juniors, so they should be fine, right? There’s no need to worry,” Nishiki responded nonchalantly.

“No, actually,” Mouri interjected, “One of them has an incurable disease and has been hospitalized. It seems like he won’t be able to play tennis anymore.”

“That so? Poor guy…” Nishiki’s voice trailed off.

Later during the tournament, Mouri was overwhelmingly defeated at the hands of Hyoutei’s Ochi Tsukimitsu. He did not escape the match unharmed, as his knee was injured during the match. Rikkai ended up losing the match in close sets, which had not soured the team chemistry and made the club resentful towards Mouri’s conduct. After the match, Mouri overheard a conversation between two players from another school in the practice courts.

“Did you hear?! That Mouri guy lost his first match! Not that it’s a surprise. He’s supposedly some genius, so they gave him special treatment and let him skip practice. Of course this would end up happening!” the first voice mocked.

The second voice was howling in laughter. “Serves him right!”

Angered, Mouri promptly left the venue and headed towards the hospital to get his injury assessed. The specialist at the hospital carefully examined the joint, noting that it was swelling, but nothing was broken.

“Did you get this injury during your match today, Mouri-kun?”

“Yes. Tough game. I think I landed on it wrong.”

“I see.” The doctor scribbled some notes onto her clipboard. “Don’t worry. Rest for three weeks and you can play tennis again.”

“It’s not broken? That’s a relief,” Mouri sighed. He stood up and bowed at the doctor before leaving the examination room. “Hm, maybe I should just quit tennis,” he said to himself.

As he walked past the rehabilitation room, he glanced inside and saw his kouhai, Yukimura Seiichi, struggle to stand up and walk along the supported walkway. The determination and desperation in the frail boy’s eyes captivated him. He couldn’t take his eyes off of the sight and the sound of his scream haunted him greatly.

“Even after being told he would never be able to play again, he’s still clinging on to that small amount of hope...”

Mouri’s feet carried him to the vending machine down the hall, where he bought a bottle of a popular sports drink. As he picked it up, he couldn’t help but notice how cold the drink was. Something within him had awoken. He continued to walk towards the reception area and headed towards the nurses station.

“Excuse me, but do you know which room Yukimura Seiichi is currently staying in?”

Mouri made it a habit to leave a cold bottle of the same sports drink on Yukimura’s bedside table whenever Yukimura had left for his rehab. Yukimura was perplexed by the sudden appearance of the drink the first time, but brushed it off as one of his teammates leaving it behind for him. He started to get suspicious of the drink appearing every time he returned from rehab and found it strange how no one knew who was responsible for leaving it there. One day, when the rest of the Rikkai regulars were visiting, Yukimura decided to bring up the strange occurrences with them.

“I think I’m being visited by the Sports Drink Fairy,” Yukimura chuckled. “Which one of you is it?”

His teammates gave him a strange look. Yagyuu shot a nasty glare at Niou.

“I’m sorry, Seiichi. Could you repeat that?” Yanagi asked, extremely confused.

“A fairy that leaves sports drinks?” Marui added, equally as confused.

“Every time I return to my room after rehab, There’s a cold sports drink waiting for me.”

“It wasn’t me!” Kirihara shouted, which caused everyone to glare at him with suspicion.

“Me neither!” Jackal also blurted out.

“I don’t know who’s doing it, but it feels like they’re pushing me forward, telling me to keep trying,” Yukimura continued.

“Sounds like we’ve got ourselves a mystery,” Niou pointed out.

“I thought it was one of your tricks, Niou-kun,” Yagyuu added.

Yukimura looked up at the sunny, blue sky and smiled. “I hope I can meet that fairy someday.”

Later that day, as Yukimura returned to his room from another rehab session, there were some security staff and a nurse standing around in his room. All of them had stern looks on their faces.

“Is something wrong?” Yukimura asked.

“Oh, Yukimura-kun!” The nurse approached him to help him into his room. Yukimura refused the gesture and walked towards his bed. “Do you know of a person with crimson red hair and about 200 cm in height? They were in your room earlier when you weren’t here and ran out rather quickly.”

“Crimson red hair? Can’t say I know anyone who looks like that.”

The security staff murmured to each other and one of them began scribbling down some notes onto the notepad before tipping their hats and leaving the room. Yukimura turned to look at his bedside table, where a ring of water from a cold drink was there, but the drink itself was missing. That was the last time the elusive Sports Drink Fairy had paid him a visit. It wasn’t much longer until Yukimura was discharged from the hospital and returned to training for the Nationals.

‘I should have known you were my Sports Drink Fairy based off of the description the nurse gave me and your aversiveness to run into me by doing it behind my back. Your small gesture gave me hope. It gave me the morale boost I needed to get myself through rehab quickly so I could get back to being on the courts. I cannot find words to express my gratitude for your kind gesture, though I suppose the gesture was in vain now that I’m dead.’

Mouri smiled sadly as he recalled that distant memory. Though he would vehemently deny it, he deeply worried and cared about the kouhais that he never got along with. 

‘If there’s one thing I want from you, it’s for you to lend your strength to the team one last time. If you do grant me this wish, please mention the letter to them. They will understand. My will is absolute.’

Mouri was intrigued. “Is that a threat or a challenge, my lovely kouhai?”

‘I have no more words left. Whether or not you even get to this part will be a miracle all on its own. I’m thankful that I got to meet you in my short life, Fairy-senpai. Perhaps in our next life, we can actually get along with each other. - Yukimura Seiichi’

Mouri tossed the letter onto his desk. He laid on his back and stared at the ceiling of his room. He stretched out his arms and put his hand behind his head. He tried to think about the contents of the letter and how he felt after reading it, but couldn’t decipher the nagging, complicated feelings that were plaguing him. Part of him felt hollow, as if something was missing. All of the anger, resentment and frustrations that built up within him over the past five years had suddenly become meaningless and he now had no motivation to move forward with his life. Within that emptiness, his guilt grew. Guilt that he couldn't shake off and forget about.

“Lend you my strength, huh…”

The next morning, Mouri showed up at the tennis courts, dressed and ready to practice. Yanagi, Marui, Niou, Jackal and Yagyuu were shocked to see their estranged senpai standing before them.

“Nice of you to all show up this morning,” Mouri greeted them nonchalantly.

“What are you doing here, Mouri-senpai? These courts are for club members only,” Yagyuu inquired.

“Yeah, about that,” he set his tennis bag down on the ground, “how about you let me back on the team? Just like the good old days. I’ll even attend practices this time.” 

“Why should we let you back on the team, Mouri-senpai?!” Marui shouted angrily. “Is this some kind of sick joke? Our captain just died and you think you can just waltz in and take his spot?”

Mouri reached into his bag and grabbed the worn, purple envelope between his two fingers. He showed the five boys the letter and they fell silent. “I was told that you would all know what this is.” He put the letter back into his bag. “'Lend me your strength.' This was his wish from me. Who am I to deny him now?”

A sudden thought came into Niou’s head. “Didn’t Yukimura’s letter say if the Sports Drink Fairy asked to join the team, we should let them?”

“Hah? Wasn’t the fairy you, Niou?” Marui exclaimed.

“No! How many times do I have to deny it?”

“Niou-kun speaks the truth,” Yagyuu confirmed.

Jackal’s eyes widened. “Then-”

“-could you really be-” Marui continued.

“-the Sports Drink Fairy?!” all of them shouted in surprise.

Mouri smiled. “So it seems my lovely kouhai has already told all of you.” He got onto his knees and bowed deeply. “I know I cannot live up to Yukimura Seiichi’s legacy, but please allow me to help you all win the Nationals this year!”

The five boys stared down at their senpai, who was begging them to give him a chance. They all exchanged glances with each other, unsure of what to do.

Yanagi sighed. “Please get off the ground, Mouri-senpai.”

Mouri stood up and faced Yanagi eye to eye.

“I cannot deny Seiichi’s request. If he’s entrusting the position to you, then we have no choice but to comply.”

“Yanagi!” Marui yelled.

“Shut it, Marui,” Niou cursed. “Yukimura’s will is absolute, remember?”

The rest of them stood in silence as those words echoed deep within them.

Mouri felt a smirk grow on his face. “His will is absolute, huh?” He turned around to look at the courts before him. “I have no intentions of ordering any of you around. My lovely kouhai made it clear that you would all follow Sanada’s lead and I intend to do the same.” He turned around to face his kouhais once again, not realizing that he was crying. “I am lending my strength to help you all grant his final wish.”

Yanagi, Marui, Niou, Jackal and Yagyuu silently stared at Mouri in shock as the tears trickled down his face. All of them were under the impression that Mouri had hated Yukimura for stealing the team from him and for disrespecting him. It was surprising to see their resentful senpai mourn the loss of their beloved captain and teammate. The five of them felt a small sense of guilt, as the resentment they harboured for Mouri Jusaburou meant nothing, now that he was showing them how he truly felt about them.

From that point onwards, the six of them had resolved to win the Nationals. It would end up being the last time they all played tennis together, as university entrance exams would prevent them from continuing on as a team.

After morning practice finished and the rest of the club was cleaning up the courts, Kirihara had come to the courts to look for Sanada. Niou approached him and smacked him in the back of the head.

“Ow! Niou-senpai, what the hell was that for?!” Kirihara shouted.

“What business do you have here, Kirihara?”

“I’m looking for Sanada-fukubuchou.”

“Niou-kun, please refrain from hitting people,” Yagyuu sighed. “I’m afraid Sanada-kun isn’t here right now, Kirihara-kun.”

“Sanada-fukubuchou didn’t show up for practice? Really?” Kirihara could not believe what he was hearing. He was certain Yagyuu and Niou were playing tricks on him.

“Look who’s come crawling back,” Marui said as he butted into the conversation. “What brings you back to the courts, Kirihara?”

“Marui-senpai, is it true that Sanada-fukubuchou didn’t show up for practice today?”

Marui thought about it for a second before responding. “Now that you mention it, I don’t remember seeing or hearing him at all.”

“Oi, Yanagi,” Niou called out, “any word about Sanada’s whereabouts?”

Yanagi shook his head. “I haven’t seen him since the funeral last week.” He walked over to greet Kirihara. “Do you want to rejoin the team, Akaya? Is that why you came to see Genichirou?”

“Have you finally come to your senses, Kirihara?” Marui taunted. 

“No! I still believe in esports, but,” Kirihara looked to the ground and began to mumble, “I can’t quit right now, knowing Yukimura-buchou wanted us to win the Nationals this year.”


“I don’t plan on staying in the club after we win. Don’t be mistaken. I just want to win for Yukimura-buchou’s sake.” Kirihara looked up towards the morning sky. “Then I can quit tennis with no regrets.”

Niou put his hand on Kirihara’s head and ruffled his hair. “That’s the spirit, Seaweed Head.”

“Cut that out, Niou-senpai!” Akaya said as he batted away Niou’s hand. “If Sanada-fukubuchou isn’t here, then where is he?”

“At home,” came the response from Mouri, who had just gotten out of the club room from changing into his regular school uniform. “He shows up to classes and still does his committee duties, but he heads home right afterwards.”

“Sanada‘s avoiding practice? Now that is unusual,” Jackal pointed out.

Yanagi began to boil with rage. He quietly slipped away from the others as he went to go find Sanada.

Meanwhile, in a random street court in the middle of downtown Tokyo, a familiar match was playing out between Tezuka Kunimitsu and an old demon of his from the past.

“You’ve improved, Echizen.”

“Have I? I’m just getting started, buchou.” Echizen Ryoma pointed his racket at the bespectacled teen. “Show me what you’re hiding. This can’t be everything Germany has taught you.”