This is a fanfiction by Doughnut Gunso.
“So, Hinagiku-san accepted ‘Katsura’ as her surname after the duel?” asked Hayate, as he could not understand what Hinagiku was thinking about. “What happened?”
“She didn’t say, but my guess is that it was some embarrassing family moments, so Hina did not want to tell me,” said Miki.
“What happened next?” asked Hayate.
“Believe it or not, but Hina began to grow into the girl as she is today. She became much more cheerful and friendly, and she began making friends,” she paused and smiled. “Nobody knew what made her change so much.”
“It is very obvious, actually…” whispered Nagi, but her voice was so small that nobody heard her.
“Hina left the tutorial school in December, after she had passed all her first year exams, but I kept inviting her to my home for her manner lessons, until I thought I had nothing else to teach her,” said Miki. “She still has her forceful personality and a dislike for dresses, though. Well, she is a little boy inside, that’s why.”
“That’s not entirely correct, Hanabishi-san,” said Hayate with a smile. “I always see Hinagiku-san wearing dresses when she was living in our apartment. When I do the laundry -”
“Hayate, shut up on that nonsense, will you?” demanded Nagi.
“I am very sorry, milady,” answered Hayate with a bow, even though he didn’t understand what “nonsense” Nagi was referring to.
Nagi snorted. She had a look at her watch and said, “It is time to go. I am almost late for Kayura.”
They departed with Miki, Risa and Izumi, and headed home. Neither of them spoke, as both were absorbed in their own thoughts: Nagi thought about her hunting strategies, while Hayate considered what Miki had just told them.
“I couldn’t have believed it, but Fukada-san had a fight with Hinagiku-san!” said Hayate suddenly. “I mean, when they met this morning, it didn’t look like they had had a grudge with each other.”
“Well, both of them were kids when they fought each other, and it has been 9 years since then,” said Nagi wisely, but she found it a bit strange imagining Hinagiku younger than her. “Either they both grew out of it, or that something else happened which turned them from enemies to friends.”
“Is that so?” said Hayate, as he considered Nagi’s words.
“Come on, Hayate, stop thinking about it,” said Nagi, impatiently. “It has nothing to do with – ”
She stopped talking as she noticed that three big men – in black – were heading straight at them.
“Who are these people? They look suspicious!” hissed Nagi.
“It seems that once you get the inheritance right back, kidnappers also return, milady,” said Hayate, as he held Nagi in his arms. “Please be careful, milady! We have to be quick!”
And he began running in the opposite direction. Right behind them, the men in black also started running after them. Whoever they were, they meant no good to Hayate and Nagi.
Hinagiku was on the way to the Kendo Club for practice. The Autumn Kendo Tournament would start in October, and it was time for some intensive practice. She was the defending champion, but she was also the only one at Hakuou who could make it to Top 64. “Our members are lacking in skills and determination, and it is my responsibility to raise their standards. We are just no doing well as a club,” she sighed as she thought about the club’s performance.
“Well, it would be good if we could have some new blood at our club – some skilled swordsmen who really love Kendo. But then, if new blood comes this easily, then I wouldn’t have to worry about anything, right?”
She opened the club house door and found that there were at least 6 new faces, who were already practicing with some of the older members. She blinked. Kendo Club was not a popular club at the school. The Seniors had told her that if there were 3 new members in one year, that would be an achievement worthy of a celebration. Now she had 6 new members! It was just so wonderful that she couldn’t really believe her eyes.
She spent a few more moments watching their moves. They might not be as good as she was, but they were good enough to make into Top 32 – no, Top 16! This was going to be the best Tournament Hakuou ever had.
“Good afternoon, everyone,” she greeted her club as Club Captain. “The Autumn Tournament would start in one month’s time, and I really hope that we could do better this year. Practices would be tough, but remember that our efforts pay off through our performance.”
She paused as she cleared her throat. “I am glad to see that we have 6 new members, and that they are already practicing. Could you all please take off your masks, and introduce yourselves to the club?” Only one of them obeyed, and to Hinagiku’s surprise, it was – “Fukada-kun! It’s you?”
“There is no need to look so surprised, Kazami. I do Kendo, remember?” said Fukada Kyosuke.
Hinagiku smiled. “Of course I do. You beat up a girl with your so-called Kendo, remember?”
“Yes, but you agreed to the fight, so you could not complain, remember?”
“But I won over you in the Tournament 3 years later, fair and square, remember?”
“So I challenged you again, remember?”
“But you couldn’t settle on calling me Katsura or Kazami, remember?”
“So you told me to call you…”
“Stop! That is a secret, remember?”
The other members – all boys – turned their heads between Kyosuke and Hinagiku as if following a tennis game. They were all shocked that their Club Captain had known this new-comer already, and it seemed they were old friends. Some of the members began cursing in whispers.
“First Ayasaki, then this Fukada… Katsura-san surely is popular!”
“So this is the type for Katsura-san?”
“Damn it, does it mean I have no chance at all?”
Hinagiku had no idea what the boys were thinking, but finally she realized that she spent too much time talking to 1 out of 6 new members. She blushed slightly, cleared her throat, and turned to the other 5 members. They were still wearing masks.
Hinagiku frowned. “Like I said, take off your masks please. This is proper manner for Kendo practitioners. Now, come on!”
But none of them took off their masks. Instead, they all walked towards Hinagiku, and slowly raised their shinai.
Hinagiku, who started to think that something was wrong, took one step backward and asked, “What is going on here?” She readied her shinai. “Explain yourselves!!” she demanded, and as she received no reply, she moved into a defensive stance. She was ready to defend herself – and her club members.
The other members, however, did not think that defense was the best strategy here. They all held up their shinai, and as they charged forward to attack, they were all roaring:
“Get away from Katsura-san, you bastards!”
“If I can beat these guys, surely Katsura-san would fancy me!”
“She’ll fancy me!”
Hinagiku did not really understand the not-so-pure motives of her members, but she knew that they were no match for the masked people. “No, everyone, don’t go! STOP!!” she cried, but it was too late: in merely 10 seconds, all the Kendo Club members were down on the floor, moaning in pain.
“Boys!” Hinagiku screamed, but she knew that she had no time worrying about the others, as the 5 masked people had just turned to her, and were in stances to attack her. They didn’t move forward, however.
Hinagiku scanned around the club house. There were only 7 people still standing: the 5 masked people, herself, and…
“Fukada-kun, stay back!” said Hinagiku. “I will take care of them!”
“What are you talking about, Kazami?” exclaimed Kyosuke. “I can’t just stand here watching a girl fighting 5 men!”
“It is my responsibility to protect my club members!” said Hinagiku. “I don’t want them to hurt you!” She used the words “members” and “you” in the plural, but as Kyosuke was the only member who wasn’t hurt, every member on the floor thought that she was only referring to “Kyosuke my darling”. Some of the boys moaned “Damn it!” and “Despair! This is an utter despair!!”
Hinagiku merely thought that they were blaming themselves for not being able to help her. “It’s alright, everyone,” she said softly. “Leave this to me.” She raised her shinai and got into stance – still defensive.
The 5 masked people held their stances for some more time, while they were monitoring their breaths. “Charge!!!” one of them roared suddenly, and all 5 men ran at Hinagiku at the same time.
Hayate was still running at top speed with Nagi in his arms. He could still hear footsteps behind him, which meant that he could not shake the kidnappers – something that had not happened too often. Hayate frowned as he understood that they might be in huge trouble this time.
One of the kidnappers suddenly took out a rope and threw it at Hayate. Hayate had no hands to push the rope away, so he could only jump to dodge it. However, a second rope arrived at that moment and got Hayate’s right leg. His balance lost, Hayate fell and dropped Nagi onto the ground.
“Hayate!” Nagi was not hurt from the fall, but she had no time checking herself, as she was worried about her butler.
“Milady!” cried Hayate as he struggled to get up. “RUN!!!”
“No, Hayate! I am not going anywhere!”
“Please leave, mi – LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!!!”
Nagi turned her head and saw a fourth man in black running at her. Nagi was rooted to the ground – she could not outpace this man anyway. She stared at the man as she waited for the anticipated kidnapping.
To her greatest surprise, the man completely ignored her. Nagi turned her head and found that the man was heading for Hayate with a knife in his hand. Nagi suddenly realized something.
“Hayate, watch out! They are coming after you!”