It has been two and a half years since the Athena saga concluded – I know better than many of you because my blog was born right after the Athena saga concluded – but in-story reference to the saga has been painfully rare. The closest things we have are Hinagiku’s reflection that “a lot happened then” (Ch. 284), and Hayate’s thoughts for the King’s Jewel and Athena (Ch. 299). While there is no mention of the saga in the movie and the new anime (so far), it is becoming more and more of a surprise that it would be mentioned at all. And here we are.
Let’s go back to Ch. 265. After the
so-called final farewell and break up with Athena, Hayate returns to Nagi, with the monologue “Will it ever happen again? Will another day come when I will turly be able to say I love someone?” As Nagi stands in front of him when he had such a thought, it was automatically assumed that the “someone” would be Nagi. In this chapter Hayate recalls that monologue, but we could see that he is standing quite alone. While it is equally stupid to automatically assume that the “someone” would not be Nagi, it could be argued that there is more than one way to interpret the scene in Ch. 265 after all.
By the way, I thought it was in Athens, not Mykonos? (Sure, they returned to Mykonos in Ch. 266, but Ch. 265…?)
So Hayate and co. are still discussing whether the cottage in the forest is really the Rainbow Village. All of a sudden, Isumi enters a state of self-doubting as she starts suggesting that this might not be the Rainbow Village after all. Honestly, if it is not Isumi, or if she is not speaking like she means it, I might see the sarcasm behind her words: if you doubt my judgement, then name another Rainbow Village, will you?
Chiharu suggests Ayumu – she calls her “Nishizawa-san” instead of “Ayumu” here – to look for the real Rainbow Village with her, and she rejects Hayate’s offer to do this for them. Instead, she wants Hayate to take a rest with Ruka, as both of them have been working hard. We all know that Chiharu is playing match-maker here, don’t we?
Following Chiharu’s suggestion, Hayate changes into casual wear (Where does it come from?), but he feels uneasy. Ruka praises his casual look, and both of their hearts skip a beat. As they are together as neither butler nor idol, this somehow looks like a date…
Things become a lot worse as Hayate rests by the stream – the very same stream Ruka stayed by in the previous chapter. Just like Ruka, Hayate cannot really relax; unlike Ruka, he is anxious rather than bored. This happens rather often to people who are dedicated to their jobs. They have become so used to working, that their jobs become an important part of their lives. Not working, even for a while, means taking a part of their lives away. This is serious.
This is why Hayate has no way to understand why Nagi – or many of us, to be honest – can laze around all day. He thinks that it needs a “heart of steel” to achieve this, but of course he is wrong: Nagi would think that it needs a “heart of steel” to work as hard as Hayate. That is probably something that Hayate (a gust of wind) and Nagi (windless) will never understand about each other. It is something that is deep inside them, the part of their lives which will never be changed, communicated or understood. Such a contrast in such an important part of their lives could be an obstacle to build up a relationship that is closer than lady-butler. Still, some would say that complete understanding is not necessary in a relationship. Well…
But now, in front of Hayate, there is someone who is very similar to him in that part. In fact, Ruka knows it too well, and she wants to make a deal with it – a panty shot surely makes her a little more persuasive. With “you rest, I rest” comes “you don’t rest, I don’t rest”. Indeed, as they both suffer from relaxing, why don’t the both of them do things the easy way, where Hayate keeps working as a butler, and Ruka keeps working on her manga?
Of course, this is not an option, for if there is still one job for Hayate by this stream, it is to stop Ruka from building up stress through working. So, Hayate must take a rest, as he must persuade Ruka to take a rest (God, this is exhausting). So, he starts praising the environment: the stream, the forest… the rain. Yeah, it starts to rain all of a sudden.
With no time to figure out what God is trying to tell them – my understanding of Christianity tells me that God doesn’t have a message to send through the rain – Hayate and Ruka retreat to the
Rainbow Village cottage for shelter. Naturally, Hayate has to offer Ruka a towel to dry herself because otherwise she might catch a cold. Never worry about Hayate – or any boys for that matter.
And then something happens. As Ruka’s presumably white clothes get all wet, Hayate could see clearly her underwear. He is embarrassed. Ruka is even more embarrassed. This awkward situation makes Hayate realize something: Ruka is a girl after all. One never knows what he has been thinking of her…
So, at the beginning of the chapter, we are reminded of Hayate’s monologue. At the end of the chapter, he realizes that Ruka is a girl. The margin line suggests that Hayate and Ruka will get much closer in the next chapter… so, do these all come together to mean that Hayate would (finally) find the one he really loves in Ruka? Or would it, again, be too stupid to
automatically come to any conclusion right now? We’ll see in the next chapter!
… wait a second. Wouldn’t Chiharu, Ayumu and Isumi need to come back to the cottage as well?