This is a fanfiction by Doughnut Gunso.
Kyosuke stared at Shirosakura. The cunning grin on his face suddenly disappeared, and Hinagiku was sure that he looked worried.
“Are you serious, Kazami?” he asked. “Are you going to fight me with that sword?”
“Well, no,” said Hinagiku. “Sorry if I misled you.”
“So why do you…” began Kyosuke, but he stopped as Hinagiku did a surprising move by throwing Shirosakura at her parents. The sword landed right in front of Mr. Kazami, missing him by merely an inch.
“What are you doing, Kazami?” demanded Kyosuke. He couldn’t believe that Hinagiku would attack her own parents.
“I am protecting my parents while we are dueling,” said Hinagiku with a smile.
“What are you talking about?” asked Kyosuke, confused.
“You may try to reach Shirosakura or my parents, said Hinagiku. “But be warned: do it nice and easy.”
Kyosuke walked slowly towards Shirosakura. He remembered that the last time he wanted to touch the sword, it repelled his hand sharply. This time, he reached his hand out very slowly, but as he came within an inch of Shirosakura, he felt his hand tingling, and he was unable to go any further. He then tried to touch Mr. Kazami, but the same thing happened.
“As you can see, Shirosakura would create an invisible barrier around it when it stands on the ground,” said Hinagiku. “Athena told me that Shirosakura protected her while she was… hibernating, after she had left the Royal Garden.”
“So?” asked Kyosuke, hardly noticing that it was Hinagiku who was leading the current negotiation. In fact, he had lost the high ground once Hinagiku successfully secured her parents with Shirosakura.
“If you can defeat me, you can have my parents again, and I will open the path to the Royal Garden for Director Sanzen’in.” She paused. “I must say in advance, however, that I have no idea how to do it.” She glared at Mikado, but he did not respond. “Well, at least he heard me,” Hinagiku thought to herself.
“If I defeat you, however,” she continued, turning back to Kyosuke, “I leave with my parents and Shirosakura, and you two must not come back to us for any more trouble.” She paused. “I think it is a fair proposal, and I suggest you to accept it,” she added.
“But…” began Kyosuke, but he did not know how to finish it. He wasn’t sure if he should accept her challenge, as he wasn’t sure if he could defeat her. He had wanted to make sure he could get Shirosakura, so he wasn’t willing to accept an offer which he was not sure about. But then, he did not know how to turn Hinagiku down, as he simply could not say he refused to fight because he wasn’t sure he could win.
He had no idea how to respond to Hinagiku at the moment, as everything seemed to have gone wrong for him. His original plan was to capture Hinagiku as soon as she went out of the elevator, but he failed to foresee Hinagiku coming from the balcony. He then tried to make an offer to Hinagiku which involved the hostages, but he failed to foresee Hinagiku securing the hostages with the power of Shirosakura. Before entering the Clock Tower, he was confident that he could force Hinagiku to accept his proposal, but at the moment he found himself being forced by Hinagiku to accept her proposal.
“But…” he repeated, looking desperately for a way out of this duel. “I don’t even have a weapon, Kazami! How am I supposed to fight you when I have no weapon?” Just as his line was finished, a dark and long object flew towards him. He reacted in time to fetch it, and he could see that the object was actually a shinai.
“I am the Kendo Club captain, Fukada-kun,” he heard Hinagiku speaking. “My office isn’t short of shinai.” As he looked up at her, he saw that she was also holding a shinai. He simply had no idea where these shinai came from. Kyosuke smiled weakly. He had lost another excuse to reject the duel. He would need to find another way to get rid of this fight he didn’t want…
“You are afraid of me, aren’t you?” asked Hinagiku suddenly.
“What?” asked Kyosuke, irritated.
“I see. You don’t want to fight against strong people, Fukada-kun. You are a coward!” demanded Hinagiku.
“What?” repeated Kyosuke, this time stunned. Hinagiku was using the exact wordings he provoked her 10 years ago, this time to provoke him. “Is this your revenge on me, after 10 years? I thought you got over it already!”
“And I thought you grew out of your old self,” said Hinagiku coldly. “I thought you have become a better boy!”
In fact, Hinagiku had got over her defeat against Kyosuke soon after she began learning Kendo herself. She held nothing against Kyosuke anymore after she defeated him at the age of 9. She picked up his old words only to irritate him, so that he would agree to the duel.
Kyosuke felt his inside burning with fury. He could control himself no more. “Very well,” he said through gritting teeth. “Let’s fight, Kazami. Let me show you that you are still the loser 10 years ago!” He had absolutely no idea that he had completely fallen into Hinagiku’s trap.
“No, I am not,” said Hinagiku with a smile, as she got into position. “I am still the one who defeated you in the Tournament 7 years ago.”
Both of them went into stance for the third fight between them. Each of them had won a previous fight, and this time – the third and perhaps final time – they would find out who really was the better swordsman.
“Damn!” Machina swore as his attempts to hack into the locking device kept failing.
“Relax, Machina,” said Athena simply, “and hurry.”
“Yes, Athena,” replied Machina. He was too loyal to Athena to retort to the apparent paradox between “relax” and “hurry”. “This device is more complicated than anything I have seen before. I need more time.”
Athena did not respond. In the past 15 minutes, she witnessed the guards in the building taking actions against them. The elevator was deactivated, and the stairs were concealed. The guards hoped to prevent Athena and Machina making an escape, so to buy time for their young master to return. They did not call the police, as there was a strict order from their master to never call the police.
Athena did not care about the guards. With the powers of herself and Machina, they could leave at any moment they wanted. However, she had promised Hinagiku to find the other prisoners, and any evidence against the Fukadas. She did not allow herself to fail her quest, so she kept staying here. As long as the locking device to the jail area was not deactivated, Athena was practically locked in the basement.
“At this rate I am not getting out of here any time soon,” Athena thought to herself. “I am sorry, Hinagiku, but I don’t think I can come to help you save your parents. You have to do it yourself.”
The birthday party at the Sanzen’in Mansion went on, but Miki, the birthday girl, was getting more and more upset. She had already stopped dancing, and was sitting very quietly at a corner. The others could see that something was wrong with her. They all stopped dancing and approached her.
“Are you alright, Miki-chan?” asked Izumi, very worried. “Are you feeling unwell?”
Miki shook her head.
“Is there anything which upset you?” asked Risa. “Is it because Hayata-kun has not danced with you yet?
“Wait a second, why is it my – OUCH!!” Hayate opened his mouth to protest, but he shut his mouth once Risa stepped on his foot.
“It is not Hayata-kun!” said Miki, shaking her head.
“Who is it, then?” asked Izumi.
Miki shook her head once again. “I am her best friend,” she whispered. “I am her first ever friend, I would say, but she isn’t spending time on my birthday party! My birthday party!” Even though she did not name the person, everybody knew that she was referring to Hinagiku.
“It’s not like that, Hanabishi-san!” said Hayate. “Hinagiku-san really wants to celebrate your birthday with you! It is just that… she has something very important to do!”
“What is so important about anything?” demanded Miki. “She promised me to sing on my birthday party, and this is important to me! Where is she now, doing other ‘important things’, while abandoning me here?” She was so upset that by the end of her words, she actually started crying.
Hayate considered for a moment, and then he remembered. “Please come with me, Hanabishi-san!” he said, and took Miki by her hand.
“Where are we going?” asked Miki defensively. Unlike Hinagiku, she did not really enjoy being held by Hayate, and she wanted to get rid of his hand immediately. However, Hayate applied enough force so that she could not let go his hand.
“Please follow me, Hanabishi-san,” said Hayate, ignoring her struggles, “to the TV Room!”
Miki had no way to get rid of him as he began dragging her towards the TV Room. Miki, Risa, Yukiji and Maria all followed them.