January 27, 2005
7 through 13
Hayate learns that Momoka is being stalked by a terrifying presence -- Inugami Isuzu, a fellow tanshin who appears bent on partnering with her. But Momoka has her heart set on someone else: her childhood friend Takarada Riona. Momoka and Riona had made a promise to become shinyuus, but by the time Momoka, one year younger, came to Tenchi, she found Riona already paired with someone else -- Kiriya Ouka, who is physically and verbally abusive toward her. Momoka is determined to save Riona from her.
To this purpose, she arranges an official one-on-one duel versus Ouka, against the warnings of Isuzu, who insists something terrible will happen if it goes through. The duel is refereed by Miyamoto Shizuku in the presence of President Amachi. Though she lands the first hit, Momoka is hit hard by Ouka's counterattack, leaving her bloodied. She battles through it, landing four strikes in a single final rush to take the match, and, as she believes, free Riona. But Riona is unwilling to leave her shinyuu. She explains that she believes Ouka's abuse of her has great value as physical comedy, and reveals her true ambition, which is to form a comedic duo with her. Ouka is no more thrilled to hear about this than Momoka, who, her hard-fought win completely in vain, collapses in frustration.
Momoka starts anew after this, cutting her hair and partnering with Isuzu. She also restyles her new shinyuu's hair, which makes her appearance less threatening, but not her aura.
Meanwhile at Smiley Finance LLC., the proprietor, a woman named Izumi, is formulating a plan to lay claim to Dandelion Garden's property, by preventing Hayate from repaying its loan. Her daughter, a Tenchi swordbearer named Asakura Mizuchi, bears a grudge against Hayate's shinyuu Ayana and is happy to help out. Hayate herself is enjoying time she spends with her new friend, a second-year named Takami Sou of the same diminutive stature as she. Ayana grows suspicious of this new friend, however, when the "energy drinks" she is giving to Hayate seem instead to be putting her to sleep.
As it turns out, Sou is Mizuchi's shinyuu, helping to enact her plan. Mizuchi confronts Ayana, and is greatly displeased to learn that Ayana not only has no recollection of the cause for her grudge, but has no idea at all who Mizuchi is.
The conflict culminates at the athletics festival, where the two pairs face off in a Hoshitori duel. Mizuchi's final gambit is to use Hayate's friendship with Sou against her: Sou's family owes money to Smiley Finance, and is in danger of being evicted if she cannot keep winning stars. Since Hayate knows this, she is unwilling to attack Sou. Ayana finds a way to delay the duel, and explains to Hayate her obligations as a shinyuu. Persuaded not to simply give up her star, Hayate easily wins the fight on her first strike.
Out of: 8 chapters, 199 pages.
Out of: 15 chapters, 384 pages.
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