Hana Awase 「姫空木編」 ~ Common Route ~

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The second game in the tetralogy of Hana Awase. It is set in another universe (likely following the events after Iroha’s route in Mizuchi-hen). Much like the first game, the common route is going to cover up to when Mikoto has to make her choice between the men. I will try to include as many scenes as possible but, by nature of the exploration system, there will be a section at the end with missed scenes.

(I’m going to be playing the game as I blog so this time my comments won’t have any foreshadowing to them. EDIT: I can start my NG+ right from the proposal at Day 20, so I won’t be including any extra scenes because I’m skipping them, oops).

(Full view pictures at 850 x 595).

The game starts with the sound of something being cranked or winded up.

???:おまたせ、少し時間かかっちゃった。 (Thanks for waiting. I was caught up in some things.)
???:誰もいない。・・・ここへは、誰も来ない。 (No one is here… No one will come here.)
???:さあ、儀式を始めよう。 (Well, let’s start the ceremony.)
???:・・・みんな、集まっているね。 (… Everyone is gathered here, huh.)
???:ミズチ。 (Mizuchi.)
???:ひめ。 (Hime.)
???:くれなゐ。 (Kurenai.)
???:うつつ。 (Utsutsu.)
???:そして・・・みこと。 (And… Mikoto.)
???:君は、みこと・・・だね? (You are… Mikoto, right?)
???:・・・誰? (… Who?)
???:みこと・・・ようやく会えた。ずっと、この日を待っていた。 (Mikoto… we finally meet. I’ve been waiting forever for this day.)
Mikoto: Who are… you?
???:僕を覚えてないの? (You don’t remember me?)
Mikoto: Eh? Sorry. Will you tell me your name?
???:僕は・・・。 (I am…)
???:ンなモンどうでもいいだろが。いーから、さっさとはじめる。くれないゐさまは気が短けんだ。 (Who cares about that. Come on, hurry up and start. I, Kurenai-sama, am impatient.)
???:待ちなよ、くれなゐくん。彼がまだ話をしているじゃないか。(Wait, Kurenai-kun. He is still in the middle of talking, isn’t he?)
???:うるせえよミズチ。てめえは黙ってる。クソ優等生。 (You’re so noisy, Mizuchi. You shut up, bastard. Goddamn honors student.)
???:な・・・っ、口をつつしみたまえ!だいたい君は・・・。 (Wha–… have more self-control with your words! In the first place, you…)
???:・・・かぜが、ないてる。 (… The wind… is crying).
Mikoto: Wind?
???:ごうごう、ごうごう・・・おばけがちかづいてる。あれは、おひめさまをさらうおばけ。 (Rumbling… rumbling… the monsters are coming. A monster who will kidnap the princess.)
???:みこと、ぼくが、おばけからまもってあげる。だって、つぎはぼくのばん。 (Mikoto, I will protect you from the monsters. After all, next is my turn.)
Mikoto: Your…
???:そうだね。ぼくの儀式は終わったから、次はひめくんだ。 (That’s right. My ceremony is done and so next is Hime-kun.)
???:フン。どいつもこいつも早く終わっちまえ。その次は俺だからな! (Hmph. Everyone should just hurry up and finish, because next is me!)
???:・・・・・・。
Mikoto: (What is the ceremony? That boy looks to be finished though.)

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS FOR A SECOND. THE REASON WHY I TRANSCRIBED EVERYTHING IS BECAUSE THEY LITERALLY KEEP ALL THE NAMES AS ??? SO WE CAN’T TELL WHO IS WHO OTHER THAN THE WAY THEY TALK AND WHEN THEY REFER TO EACH OTHER. IT LOOKS LIKE EVERYONE KNOWS EACH OTHER AS CHILDHOOD FRIENDS.

I BELIEVE THE FIRST PERSON WHO IS STARTING THE CEREMONY/GREETING EVERYONE IS HALF MOON (OR IROHA). THE ONE TALKING ABOUT MONSTERS IS DEFINITELY HIME (I ALSO THINK HE TALKS ABOUT THE WIND). KURENAI AND MIZUCHI ARE OBVIOUS. NO IDEA IF UTSUTSU SPEAKS OR IF HE’S THAT SILENT KID AT THE END. UGH MYSTERIES ALREADY.

Suddenly everything disappears. Mikoto looks around in confusion. Where is she? Where did everyone go? A bell rings and then her surroundings become filled with multi-colored lights. Mikoto can hear someone’s voice telling her that the ceremony is going to start. She asks who it is. The voice answers that he is the Half Moon. He goes on to say that they are meeting like this but they will soon be separated. And that is why he wants her to use the power of the moon that she has to meet once more. Mikoto asks him about her power.

But the Half Moon just states that the reunion of the full moon requires more than a thousand, close to ten thousands, of miracles. Even so, if the two are to meet, then tens of millions of miracles will become one and fate (Mikoto) will be born. He warns her that this place is hell and her body will wither if she continues to stay. She needs to return to her original world.

Mikoto echoes his words about her original world. But the Half Moon continues on and asks her to close her eyes and to grasp the hand in front of her when she next awakens. That person will be the one to guide her. Mikoto closes her eyes and asks him if she is doing it right. The Half Moon confirms it and tells her to hold onto the hand tightly just like that, but she needs to reach out more to the light… as if she were to grab it…

A crescent moon flashes in front of her and she gasps. The Half Moon remarks on how she’s found it and then wishes her farewell; its precious and other Half Moon.

THE OPENING PLAYS HERE AND NO THERE ISN’T ANY SPOKEN LINE TROLLING LIKE THEY DID IN MIZUCHI-HEN. I DON’T KNOW WHETHER TO BE THANKFUL OR SAD.

Mikoto wakes up and blinks her eyes blearily. Did she just have a dream? Eh? Where is she? She looks around at how she’s on a train, but then she realizes in dismay that she must have fallen asleep. What is the next stop…? Someone tilts over onto her though and she looks to her side in alarm. Who is this person?! And when did they get so close?! I’M CRYING ALREADY. IROHA IS ONCE AGAIN THE FIRST ONE BESIDE HER.

She takes a closer look and is awed at how handsome he is though with his silky hair and glowing skin. She’s also fascinated by how separate and transient he seems. But then Mikoto realizes that now isn’t the time to appreciate his looks. Why are they even in this position?! She orders herself to remember and recalls that today… she was celebrating Ai and Shou’s success in passing high school. They went to an amusement park and rode on the attractions.

But then… why is she on a train? She also realizes that there’s something… different about this place. The train suddenly comes to a crashing halt and Mikoto shrieks in surprise. Was there an accident?! She startles when she sees black shadows gathering at the other end of the train though. The shadows form into a black shape that starts to groan and shriek unintelligibly. Mikoto is horrified and wonders out loud what is going on.

The black shape wavers before yelling out that it’s found her! She’s here! She’s here she’s here she’s here!! Mikoto is alarmed when she realizes that it’s coming over. She needs to run! But her legs are frozen and she can’t move. The black shape laughs maniacally as it approaches her and Mikoto screams. Someone yells out that it’s dangerous and yanks her back behind them. They also give her a quick smile and greeting.

She looks at them in shock but they just continue on to ask her to wait here for a moment. Mikoto protests and tries to ask for information but then a second person orders her to move. She turns to see that the person who spoke was the one who had been sleeping on her. Anyway, her savior remarks casually on how they have quite a bit of customers. What shall they do? The other person narrows his eyes and orders for an elimination.

Her savior inclines their head in acknowledgment and then shouts out that they’ll be starting. Mikoto is shocked to see water spring up from the ground. Her savior comments on how it’s been a while since they last linked up and their sword arm is singing. The other person orders for protection and Mikoto’s savior obeys exasperatedly. A field seems to appear around them and then he calls out in a cold voice 「フィールドを生成。亥の血を刈る。」(Field creation. Reap the lives).

HOLD ON. WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IROHA’S FIELD CREATION NONSENSE. LOOK AT THE MEANING OF . YEP, SOMETHING ABOUT THE CHINESE TWELFTH ZODIAC (THE BOAR) OR OCTOBER. BLOOD OF THE PIG? BLOOD OF OCTOBER? BUT THE SENTENCE READS “I NO CHI” = “INOCHI ()” WHICH CAN MEAN “LIFE” OR… BE READ AS MIKOTO AND MEAN “FATE” LIKE THEY DID IN THE BEGINNING. ALSO刈る CAN CARRY THE MEANING OF MOWING GRASS, HARVESTING, REAPING, ETC. NOT EVEN 5 MINUTES IN AND WE HAVE GARDENING REFERENCES.

IN ADDITION, MY FRIEND REMINDED ME THAT ONE OF IROHA’S POEMS IN THE AUGUST ISSUE OF B’S LOG REFERENCES BOARS AS WELL. IT’S A CHANT USED IN THE INOKO MATSURI (BOAR FESTIVAL) TO DRIVE OUT HOSTILE SPIRITS OR ENCOURAGE PROSPERITY.

Mikoto looks around with wide eyes. Where is she? Meanwhile, her savior asks the other person how long he thinks it’ll take them to defeat these. He answers with one minute. Her savior huffs at how he’s the same as usual. Mikoto watches with wide eyes as they eliminate the shadows one after another. Cards are dancing in front of her eyes. Realization starts to dawn on her as she notices the uniforms these two are wearing… and combined with these cards… Could it be?!

Her savior starts to count down from three as they eliminate the last of the shadows. Two. One. Zero! Cleaning is complete and everything is sparkling. It took them precisely one minute, which is as expected of someone like Irohan. He says nothing in reply. Mikoto’s savior rotates their arm and tells Iroha to take it easier next time because accompanying him was quite difficult. Iroha says nothing.

The train starts up at that moment and her savior notes that it looks restored. That’s a relief. Mikoto stares at the two of them in shock, which makes her savior tilt their head and ask Mikoto what is wrong. She blurts out that the fight just now… Her savior gives her a confused look. Mikoto continues on to stutter out that the cards and water just now… are they… could they be…

But her savior is shocked to find out that she was able to see the Hana Awase field. Mikoto wonders what Hana Awase is. But Iroha replies without surprise that it’s obvious; she was chosen by the onifuda and so can see the fields and utsurohi. Her savior yelps out in shock but Iroha ignores them to present Mikoto something. He tells her that the contract is over already and the card will guide her.

Mikoto is confused upon hearing the word contract but then her savior looks her over and remarks on how she’s the aforementioned young lady that the onifuda chose, huh. She’s quite the beauty. The more one looks at her the more one feels decisive. She’s Momo’s type and they’re looking forward to it. Mikoto interrupts them politely and asks if she can ask them a few questions.

The cards they used are cards for Kasen, right? And the battle a few minutes ago was Hana Utsushi, right? The water from the ground… is a technique that minamo can perform– Her savior interrupts and is impressed with how much she knows about Kasen. Mikoto explains that she used to practice it in the past… but she’s never seen such a beautiful Hana Utsushi! Iroha stiffens as he notices something.

But Mikoto continues on weakly to ask the two of them if they are… if they are from Kaen… Everyone is shocked when she collapses to the ground. Mikoto can feel her body shaking and become cold. What’s going on? She feels awful… Iroha declares that she’s been tainted. She looks up at him dazedly and echoes his words. Iroha explains that this can occur when someone sees utsurohi. She needs to wash it away.

Mikoto repeats his words again in confusion. But Iroha suddenly narrows his eyes and states that something is coming. She tries to ask him what is coming but she only has time to gasp when a large splash occurs.

Scene skip! The television is displaying a reporter who talks about how the special feature on Kasen has finally come to its last corner. Bringing the program to its conclusion is topic’s prodigy, a young man known as Iroha! She calls for Iroha to come out. The camera switch over to Iroha’s expressionless face.

Meanwhile in Mikoto’s home, Ai asks Mikoto where the eggs are. Mikoto replies that the eggs are in the supermarket bag… and then she sneezes loudly.

The reporter greets Iroha. She sighs at how he’s always beautiful when she sees him and he’s like a model, no, something beyond that! She giggle and admits that just being near him makes her heart pound. Iroha says nothing. The reporter continues on to say that Iroha is the highest authority in Kasen and a third year high school student in Kasen National Academy, situated in the central district and popularly known as Kaen.

Shou asks if he can put in the shungiku. Mikoto nods and tells him to place them in whenever… she sneezes again. She’s cut additional portions of it and so he can go ahead and cook them. She sneezes again.

The reporter explains that Kaen is an elite school that trains the players, known as Kaei, in Hana Utsushi which is this country’s traditional event. The title of Kaei is only given to those who graduate with exemplary grades but Iroha, while still being enrolled in school, was able to achieve this after his first year! Iroha says nothing. The reporter presses on how amazing this and how it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call him a heaven-sent child. Iroha says nothing. L O L THE REPORTER IS SWEATING AT HIS LACK OF RESPONSE. She starts to look uncomfortable and blurts out that they’re going to show a commercial before the special corner.

Mikoto comes out of the kitchen and apologizes for keeping them waiting. She’s chopped the chinese cabbage and they can now ea– She’s interrupted by Ai who snaps at Shou not to put green onions inside. Shou points out that she’s just been eating meat and hasn’t ate any green onions, shiitake, or vegetables. Ai sings out that she hates vegetables. Shou tells her that this is why she’s always going to be a shorty.

Ai shoots back that she’s different from him who grew up huge. She’s delicate unlike someone who asks for more after having three servings of rice. Shou claims that those are two different things and she’s already eaten five eggs, which is too much. She’ll become a chicken. Her mouth drops open in outrage before she snaps out that, in his case, he eats too much rice and he’ll turn into an onigiri. Onigiri-man!

Shou splutters before asking what is wrong with onigiris. Mikoto pleads with them to stop fighting but then she falls into a sneezing fit. Shou and Ai turn to look at her in concern. Ai finally asks Mikoto if she is okay. Mikoto sniffs weakly before telling them that she’ll be careful not to infect them. Ai shakes her head and then tells Mikoto to just take the mask off or else she won’t be able to eat the sukiyaki.

Ai then presents Mikoto a cup and asks her to toast with them again. She orders Shou to pour in some juice, which he surprisingly does without complaint, and then Ai leads the toast in how the three of them, with their undesirable but inseparable relationship from elementary school, accomplished their goal of being admitted without incidence into the same high school. She cheers happily.

But Shou gives her a flat look and asks if that is even a toast. Ai shrugs and says that it doesn’t matter too much, and then she chugs the juice before complimenting how sweet the juice is and how delicious the meat and eggs are. Mikoto comments on how she’s in high spirits. Ai tells her that it’s obvious she is because she’s admitted into the same school as Mikoto, which makes her happy.

It also looks like the only person to get scholarships is Mikoto and Ai knows how hard she worked for that; her efforts were rewarded, huh. Mikoto laughs humbly. Ai continues on to say that it would be impossible for her to take care of all the school expenses herself like Mikoto. Mikoto answers that it was because she had Ai and Shou supporting her and it would have been impossible by herself, so she’s thankful to them.

Shou is taken aback by how unusually modest she is and reminds her that they’re just protecting the promise they made to her parents. Ai agrees and recalls how they promised that they’ll be by Mikoto and so her parents can go to heaven in ease. Mikoto smiles brightly at the both of them. Shou averts his eyes and orders her to eat the meat. Mikoto gapes at the amount he’s putting in her bowl and tells him that it’s too much!

He points out that her cold will be cured quicker with nourishment, but at least the color in her skin seems to be better. He inquires about her fever. Mikoto finishes chewing before replying that she doesn’t have one and just has a small cold with sneezes. Ai sighs and wonders why this happened though… this and everything else.

The reporter on television comes back and thanks everyone for waiting. They will now show a special project only from Jinja TV; a zoom-in on Iroha’s private time. The camera switches to an amusement park and the reporter talks about how Iroha seems to come to this amusement park in the south district to relax from his Kasen studies. The favorite of this park is the train shooter, which is a train-like water slide, and is currently a hot topic.

At the last moment a huge splash happens and the riders will be completely drenched in water. It is a popular attraction that has a wait time of 2 hours every day. Mikoto recognizes this place briefly… but the reporter announces that Iroha has come out and she calls out to him, only to scream. Mikoto gapes at the screen. The reporter is stuttering as she asks Iroha why he looks like that.

He replies calmly that he was wet and so he stripped. She’s not sure how to respond to that other than to take his words at face value. And then she blushes and admits that she’s troubled on where to avert her eyes. But then she notices that there is a girl behind him. Mikoto is silent. The reporter notes that the girl is also drenched wet. Ai yells out Mikoto’s name in shock when she realizes that the girl on the television is her! The reporter squeals at how cute this is and asks Iroha if he is together with this girl.

Iroha informs her that she’s mistaken. The reporter is surprised at the immediate answer but then turns to the camera and tells Iroha’s fans in the entire country to be at ease. Shou slams a hand on the table and snarls out that he can’t be at ease! No, moreover, he questions Mikoto as to who that is. She echoes his question but doesn’t have anything further to say.

Shou growls lowly and asks her if this guy is the reason for her cold. Mikoto gives him a startled look and tells him that he’s misunderstanding! This person… Ai interrupts and claims that this is actually a date, right? She realizes that she can’t underestimate Mikoto when she was with such an excellently handsome man. Mikoto splutters out that she’s mistaken and that she told them before how she got drenched on the day they went to the amusement park.

Ai recalls how Mikoto went on the ride one more time after they did it together. Mikoto shakes her head and reminds them how, after the three of them got into the attraction, they disappeared and she was attacked by these shadows before being saved by that man with Hana Utsushi. Shou and Ai don’t know how to respond to that. Mikoto tries to say more but Ai asks her how many times she’s said that? On the day they all went they returned home normally.

Mikoto winces and falls silent. Ai comments on how she’s completely detached from reality and delusions. Mikoto lowers her eyes as Shou declares that, if such a weird person had been there, he would have torn Mikoto away from him immediately. He also wants to talk about the guy some more later and then grumbles under his breath at how the moment he looks away from her she’s caught up in strange events.

Ai raises an eyebrow and asks slyly if this is the customary “Shou’s man block” and how he’ll block any man who approaches Mikoto? Shou protests heavily to that and says she’s mistaken. It’s just that Mikoto is helpless when he’s not watching over her so… Ai only hums skeptically. Shou snaps at her to stop smirking and then tries to claim that she… Mikoto realizes that no matter how many times she talks to them the two of them don’t accept what happened on that day. They disappeared when she stepped out of the attraction.

She knows there was no way that they contacted each other, went on rides together, and then went home just like that. She glances back at the television where a naked Iroha is and notices that she can’t see Ai or Shou in it. Maybe, she really was mistaken? But she doesn’t have any memories of going to the amusement park twice. The people who saved her also disappeared immediately after the news covering. She hadn’t even thanked them yet…

The television camera zooms out to show how that was just a clip and the reporter states again that one can only see Kaen’s number one player, Iroha’s, private time here on Jinja TV. Iroha says nothing. Mikoto notes how he really is a student at Kaen. She had thought she had seen that uniform somewhere before. He really is a beautiful man. She recalls that the other person also looked good. Is everyone in Kaen like that?

But… how did she meet this person? She is certain that it was during the attraction… before he leaned on her she… can’t recall a thing. Her mind gradually becomes foggy whenever she tries to remember as if her thoughts are being forcefully locked out. *LOOKS INTO A CAMERA LIKE I’M ON “THE OFFICE”*

Ai calls Mikoto out on her vacant staring. She recalls how Mikoto has always been like that even in the past and whenever they asked her what she was doing, she would reply that she was playing Hana Utsushi. Ai really thought she was crazy. Mikoto gasps and tells Ai that she’s going too far. Ai shrugs and continues eating before calling Mikoto a real Hana Utsushi nerd. Mikoto denies that and says that she only dabbled in it because she liked it, but there are others more impressive than her.

Shou asks if Hana Utsushi is that thing when card-wielding men hold it above their heads and ZA! stuff comes out through some strange magic. Mikoto corrects him enthusiastically on how it’s not magic and it’s a game. Kasen is where players take energy from minamo and give concrete form to the power within the cards in competitions. Minamo are women who are paired with players and they need to have special training.

She tries to go on but Ai stops her there because she doesn’t understand a thing at all. They saw some Hana Utsushi on the television earlier but all it looked like was a very flashy magic show. Mikoto protests and tells them that Hana Utsushi isn’t magic… Shou sighs before noting that Mikoto hasn’t given up, has she? At her confused look, Shou points out that the guy on television is from Kaen, right? She doesn’t want to go to the same high school as them, does she? She actually wants to go to Kaen…?

Mikoto shakes her head with a soft smile and tells him he’s mistaken. She’s liked Kasen since she was a child but only to the extent of it being a hobby. Besides, Kasen’s school fees are expensive and it’s impossible for her. Ai also recalls that Kaen is where nobility and people with money go, isn’t it? She hates people who put on airs. Shou smirks and says that it would be impossible for Ai before that. She glares at him which causes Mikoto to ask them not to fight.

Suddenly, the television reporter calls out for the people facing the television to stop fighting right there. Mikoto, Shou, and Ai turn around with wide eyes. The reporter continues on to say that there’s no meaning in their fighting. Because… th-th-they… WILL BE EATEN BY HER. Mikoto hears the sound of something being cranked. This sound…!

The light from the TV starts to flicker wildly and the reporter screeches out that HERE SHE IS!! A black shape emerges from the TV and Mikoto recognizes the similarities from last time. OH MY GOD. THIS IS LIKE THE RING. Mikoto immediately calls out for Shou and Ai but… they’re not here?! They’re not anywhere in the house. Why!? The reporter giggles brokenly at how she’s found her and she’ll take her along now. She’s found the senki!

Mikoto closes her eyes and screams in terror and for someone to come. Her window suddenly breaks and a someone orders the shadow not to touch her. Mikoto opens her eyes in surprise to see a blond man who glances over at her and confirms that she isn’t hurt. He tells her to come behind him and not to let go. She hurriedly obeys and he smiles before praising her on being a good girl.

He blinks in surprise though before scrutinizing her closer because he can feel power in her. Is she… a minamo? She repeats his words blankly only to gasp when he encroaches on her space. WHAT THE HELL HIME. He claims that it’s right here and he’s not mistaken; he can feel her water. He asks if he can borrow some of her water. Mikoto is completely bewildered by this turn of events but hesitantly gives him permission. He thanks her and immediately places a kiss on her chest, which makes her yelp.

But then they’re both startled when a light appears. Mikoto watches in surprise as the onifuda that she was given rises up. The man is also in shock. Could this be…? She looks over at him in confusion but he shakes his head and adds 「・・・ううん、なんでもない。ご馳走さま。」(… No, it’s nothing. Thank you for the treat). He gives her another quick kiss and tells her that their opponent is tough so it’ll take some time if he were to do it alone.

He wants her to use her powers as a minamo. Does she understand Hana Utsushi? THE CHOICES DON’T MATTER HERE AND ARE JUST A REFRESHER ON HOW TO CARD GAME.

IF YOU CHOOSE TO TRY AND REMEMBER. The game takes you through the basics of the card game and how you’re dealt 6 cards at the beginning. You use these cards to damage your opponent. An action bar fills up to let you know when you’re in the card phase; when you’re in this phase you can choose to keep or throw away cards. The game automatically tells you what kind of combination or sets you can use and even suggestions on a set that may appear soon. If you do have a combination set then you can use it to deal damage to your opponent, or chain it into a combo called “koi-koi”. Be warned though, if you don’t have another combo on hand or do not draw one (because for every card that is discarded you are dealt another one from your deck) you will fail your entire attack.

IF YOU CHOOSE THAT YOU KNOW. Mikoto answers that she does… a little. He explains that they won’t be using Hana Utsushi in this fight but knowing the sensation should be more than enough. He knows they can do it with the water she’s given him and she just needs to listen to him.

Mikoto is stunned to hear that she’ll be doing Hana Utsushi. He smiles reassuringly and tells her not to be afraid because he’ll protect her. Mikoto nods with determination. And then he turns back to their opponent and declares 「我が姫空木の名において、フィールドを生成する。脆き魂たち、君の罪を聞かせて。僕が・・・赦してあげる。」(Under my name, Himeutsugi, I create the field. You brittle souls, let me hear your sins. I shall… grant you forgiveness).

A field springs up around them and Mikoto recognizes it in shock. Himeutsugi flashes her another smile and notes that this is her first time, right? He tells her to relax and as long as she calmly does her moves then they’ll win. He explains that the shadows coiled around the girl in front of them are negative emotions given form, and which they call utsurohi. She can think of them as monsters of feelings.

Anyway, the heart of the girl has been possessed and lost to them. If they can win with Hana Awase then they can erase the utsurohi. However, if her endurance runs out then they will lose. He wants her to keep an eye on that while they fight, okay? Now, they’re going to start… Hana Awase! They win against the utsurohi and she disappears with a screech of pain.

Mikoto is shocked to see her disappear just like the last time. It’s exactly like the last time… She wavers the moment she relaxes and Himeutsugi tells her to lean her body on him. She accepts his offer with an apology but he apologizes for pushing her too hard. But it’s thanks to her that they won. Mikoto denies that with wide eyes. It was an amazing battle though and she’s still feeling dazed.

Moreover, this person didn’t say Hana Utsushi… he said Hana Awase. Himeutsugi starts to frown and Mikoto notices him staring intently at her. This person… is a man, right? L M F A O I’M SO SORRY HIME. He’s elegant and graceful… and appears as if he came out of a storybook like… Himeutsugi murmurs 「・・・お姫様。」(… princess). NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. WE WENT OVER THIS IN YOUR ROUTE ON MIZUCHI-HEN.

Mikoto is startled to hear him say that. He continues on to ask if she could be…? Suddenly, the door opens and someone calls for Himeutsugi. He turns around in surprise and greets Momotose. She tells him that all the utsurohi outside are defeated but then she notices the situation. She immediately greets Mikoto with surprise and enthusiasm. Mikoto stares at her blankly as Momotose comes closer and gushes about how lovely she is… just as she imagined… no, even more!

Momotose sighs and declares that it’s a sweet impact, as if an angel pierced her heart with an arrow. Her heart is beating fast and she invites Mikoto to touch her chest. Mikoto yelps when her hand is taken and pressed to the other girl’s chest. Momotose continues on to say that she’s always wanted to meet her and it’s like Adam and Eve meeting again, after being torn apart by a cruel fate… this is a miracle from God!

Mikoto stutters in embarrassment and Himeutsugi tells Momotose that she’s shocked. Momotose apologizes for forgetting herself in her joy. Suddenly, Iroha comes in from the window and reports that the rest of the utsurohi have been cleaned up. Mikoto’s savior from the train also appears and sighs at how unbearably tired they are… there were too many enemies today. They pause when they notice everyone else in the house and then gasp upon seeing the girl of the onifuda!

Meanwhile, Mikoto gasps upon seeing her savior before wondering why all of these people are here. Himeutsugi asks if they know this girl. They smile hesitantly and answer that it was a fated meeting… let’s say? Momotose claims that she was the first to have a fated meeting. Himeutsugi echoes the word “fate” blankly. Momotose nods at that and giggles.

Iroha asks Himeutsugi where the source of the utsurohi is. Himeutsugi becomes serious immediately and reports that he thinks the television is where the taint is strongest. The television shows a reporter claiming that the special feature has ended and her heart was pounding all throughout it! Next time, they will be reporting at the national convention for Hana Utsushi. Until next time~!

Mikoto is startled to see that it returned back to normal. What is the meaning of this!? Iroha proposes that the residual thought of utsurohi from that day had followed Mikoto here. Himeutsugi tells them that the utsurohi possessed the girl in the television and so he thinks the utsurohi were summoned by her and drawn out. Momotose shudders at such a frightening thing but it looks like the hint from the fortune-telling cards was right… that they should hurry and welcome Mikoto.

Her savior from the train realizes that this is why Iroha and Momotose went out of their way to come here. They had wondered. Momotose apologizes to the both of them because she hadn’t intended to deceive them. Himeutsugi reassures her that it is fine because they were able to protect Mikoto thanks to that, right? Mikoto is taken aback by being addressed but answers quickly with acknowledgment and gratitude.

Iroha watches the two of them silently. Mikoto turns to him as well and thanks him for before. Iroha only grunts. She continues on to thank him for this second time too. Iroha replies coolly that he didn’t save her and was just following the guide of the cards. *LOOKS INTO CAMERA* He goes on to say that the onifuda has chosen her and the moon is born. She can no longer run away.

Mikoto doesn’t understand any of this of course. Momotose interrupts and scolds Iroha for scaring her and tells him that he needs to explain it step-by-step. Iroha replies that she’s already been found by the utsurohi and at this rate she’ll become a victim. Momotose sighs heavily and tries to explain her point but then she pauses and calls for Iroha’s attention.

Iroha declares that they will take the girl of the onifuda to a secure location. Mikoto tries to follow the ongoing conversation but she finds her body becoming cold and her consciousness is drifting… Momotose calls her name out in concern. Iroha points out that she’s suffered the taint twice now and her endurance is being consumed. They should hurry, should they not? Mikoto can hear the sound of something being cranked. This sound again…!

Is it a… cogwheel? It gently creaks… and she feels like she’s heard it somewhere before. She can’t… remember… Her awareness disappears. Himeutsugi can be heard calling out to her with worry. But his voice is fading away. She doesn’t have any strength anymore…

Scene skip! Momotose is gritting her teeth and Iroha asks her without emotion if she is angry. She snaps out that she is angry because she didn’t think he would use that karakuri (device) there. She’s become very fed up with him. She tells him to listen carefully about how violent and forceful he is and how he isn’t allowed to touch a maiden’s heart. And then after that he just left her alone after she collapsed. If Himeutsugi hadn’t been there, what did he think would have happened?!

Iroha calmly states that she would have recovered from that degree of taint just by sleeping. Momotose snaps out that this isn’t the issue! She thinks it’s awful for poor Mikoto who was taken here without any preparation. Iroha tells her that he will carry the luggage around her to the dormitories. Momotose roars out that there are things more necessary than luggage! She finally sighs before stating that she feels uneasy having an insensitive person like him carry around that karakuri. She wants him to return it to the chairmen.

He tells her that it’s used up. Momotose gapes at him and says that there should still be a number of times left. Where did he use it?! Iroha merely answers by repeating her question rhetorically and with a shrug. Momotose glares at him and snaps out that this isn’t a quiz! That dangerous thing isn’t something he should use without reservation. Iroha tells her that eventually it would have broke.

More importantly, they need to prepare for the ceremony. He is certain the students are gathering in the auditorium and the chairmen are waiting. Momotose huffs angrily and stomps away. Iroha – who was left behind – only sighs. He looks up into the night sky 「・・・いずれにせよ、彼女が来た。学園に来ることを望まなくても・・・すでに札を選んだ。私がしなければならなかった。」(… In any event, she came. Even if she did not wish to come to this school… the card already chose. I had to).

And then he states 「儀式で誰を選ぶかは、彼女の命(ミコト)が決めること。」(Who the ceremony will choose… is decided by her fate). EXCEPT HE SAYS THE FATE WORD WITH “MIKOTO”. He adds in a whisper 「私はただ・・・ツキであるだけ。・・・見たくなかった、だけ。」(I exist simply… as the moon… I just did not want to see it). *STARES INTO THE VOID*

「ふるべ・・・ゆらゆらと、ふる・・・。」(Furube… yurayura to, furu…) – Iroha
LESSON TIME AGAIN. FIRST, THERE IS A JAPANESE BELIEF CALLED “KOTODAMA” WHICH IS THE POWER OF WORDS/SOUNDS. IROHA IS CHANTING THE END OF THE “HIFUMI NO HARAEKOTOBA” WHICH IS AN ANCIENT SHINTO PURIFICATION RITE. APPARENTLY IT CAN ALSO BRING THE DEAD TO LIFE IF USED WITH THE TOKUSA NO KANDAKARA (TEN SACRED TREASURES), LISTED UNDER ARTIFACTS AT THE ISONOKAMI SHRINE.

Someone is humming in thought. They get called out by someone who uses their name, Kintoki. He startles before noticing that it is just Awa. He scolds the other and asks him not to surprise him like that. Awa points out that the ceremony of the onifuda will start before long, so what is he doing here? Kintoki smirks and thanks him for asking. Awa looks at what he is shown and asks him what this is.

Kintoki informs him that it is a karakuri to return to one’s memories. If one uses this camera and takes a picture, that person’s past memories will… Awa sighs heavily. Kintoki frowns and asks him what that look is. Awa only asks Kintoki if he bought rubbish again. Kintoki chokes before declaring that this is definitely not rubbish! It is an item from a well-known karakuri artisan and based on a scientific foundation.

Awa coolly asks Kintoki if he intends to destroy this school with his hobbies? He is certain he told him to stop wasting money. Kintoki tells him that he got it on a Goto-gai “discount” and it was just 100 million. Awa tells him to shut up and recalls that he lent his rubbish to Iroha too. Kintoki informs him that it’s already broken. He had told Iroha that there was a limit on the number of times it could be used but Iroha used it idiotically. He had told Iroha he could use it but not that he could use it all up.

At any rate, Awa tells him that it was his fault and he is not allowed to buy anymore rubbish. Even though they have spending money it won’t last. Kintoki calls Awa greedy and tells him to loosen up some; his butterfly, Ruri, agrees too. But the moment he says this his butterfly flutters away, making Awa smirk and point out that it doesn’t seem to agree. Kintoki pouts.

Anyway, Awa tells him that their idle gossip stops here and Kintoki needs to prepare. All the students are waiting in the auditorium and they even have a television covering this event today. Kintoki groans and says that he doesn’t want to go. He complains about how the television staff called Ruri and Beni monstrous butterflies and that they couldn’t enter the auditorium. He won’t forgive them! He should have fed them to Beni.

Awa tells him to leave it and that Beni will become sick if it eats such distasteful humans. He also tells Kintoki that if he continues to delay then he is going to be dragged along by his hair. What will he do? Kintoki protests the use of force. Awa sighs and remarks on how he’s told Kintoki to be more like a chairman; he has not even a shard of dignity and the moment he lets himself go he reverts back to a child.

Kintoki states that he will be proper in front of the students! Awa thinks this would be nice if it applied to more than just his mouth. Just in case, he wants Kintoki to take the speech that he’s prepared. Kintoki smirks and says that it is “perfect” so to speak. Anyway, they are off to the meeting of the senki candidate that they have waited and waited for. He’s excited because the girl of the onifuda has big breasts according to the rumors. As they head off, Awa says flatly that if Kintoki says that during the ceremony he will pinch his butt.

Scene skip! Mikoto opens her eyes slowly and wonders where she is. This room… Suddenly, someone knocks on her door and enters hesitantly. Mikoto wonders who she is because this is an unknown girl. The girl smiles tremulously and greets Mikoto with a stutter. Mikoto replies the same. The girl opens and closes her mouth a couple of times, making Mikoto encourage her to go on. But then the girl blurts out that she can’t say this well and asks Mikoto to wait.

Mikoto blinks in surprise as she sees the other girl take out a memo pad. The girl reads out that she’s glad that Mikoto is awake. Her name is Yoshino and she’s a first year in the Gekkougumi. She welcomes Mikoto and looks forward to getting to know her. She ends in silence and looks at Mikoto. Mikoto looks back at her in silence. The silence continues.

Suddenly, Yoshino screams in despair because she wrote it wrong! Mikoto’s mouth drops open when Yoshino strikes her head against the wall and apologizes in a scream for being clumsy, trash, and dumb. Mikoto tries to soothe her but Yoshino just continues to strike her head against the wall. Mikoto yelps out that if she continues to hit her head then… someone opens the door and shouts out that they’re being noisy. What are they doing!?

Yoshino screams out the dormitory leader’s title. Mikoto is puzzled upon hearing the title. Meanwhile, the dorm leader is unfazed by what is going on when she realizes it is Yoshino. She just tells her to quit it in the morning. Yoshino sobs out an apology. The dorm leader sighs and tells her to do it later but just go on ahead; also, she needs to wipe her nose. Yoshino obeys and leaves after blowing her nose hard. Mikoto continues to stare at the scene in shocked silence.

Anyway, the dormitory leader tells her to leave Yoshino alone since she’s always like that. More importantly, she needs to prepare. Mikoto echoes her words blankly. The dorm leader nods and tells her to get into uniform since Momotose had it custom-made and so she should use it preciously. Mikoto repeats the word “uniform” in confusion but the dorm leader shouts at her to hurry up. They have no time!

Mikoto obeys in a trance though she’s wondering where the heck she is. It… doesn’t seem like a dream and it looks like reality…? Just a while ago she was eating with Ai and Shou and then was attacked by a black shadow… Why is she in an unfamiliar room? Just like that girl a while ago her uniform is… Could it be…!? The dorm leader asks her loudly if she’s done yet, to which Mikoto replies instantly that she’s changing right now!

She flinches at how short the uniform skirt is but it looks like the dorm leader will be angry if she doesn’t wear it. It can’t be helped… she’ll ask her about everything later. She changes and opens the door to tell the dorm leader that she’s done. The dorm leader nods and asks her to come. Mikoto asks her where they’re going, to which the dorm leader answers that they’re obviously going to Kaen. From today on she will be commuting from here.

Mikoto pauses before asking in a screech what she means by commuting to Kaen?! The dorm leader shouts back that it is forbidden to use loud voices inside the dorm. Mikoto flinches back and apologizes. Anyway, the two of them start to walk to Kaen and Mikoto explains that she doesn’t know what is going on. The dorm leader replies that she doesn’t know either and was just told that by Momotose.

Of course Mikoto repeats the name “Momotose” in confusion, and so the dormitory leader explains that she is the great lady at the top of all minamo. Mikoto asks her if she’s talking about those minamos? The dorm leader gives her a blank look and reminds her that this is Kaen so of course she means those minamos. She orders Mikoto to take a look at Kasen National Academy where they specialize in studying Hana Utsushi and both minamo and players aim to be Kaei.

Mikoto gasps in delight and at how large the building is. It is much bigger than it seems on TV. She can’t even see deep inside but it looks like a large residence… no, more like a town. The dormitory leader explains that they were just in the dormitories of Kasen and only women from respectable families can enter into this boarding school. Mikoto realizes that by respectable families she probably means those who have a lot of money. As Mikoto thought, it’s a completely different world than from her high school.

The dormitory leader comments on how, from the look on her face, it appears that this is really her first time seeing Kaen. She didn’t think it was possible when Hime first carried her to the dormitories. Mikoto is still gaping in awe at Kaen, which makes the dorm leader scold her for having her mouth open. It’s disgusting! She needs to properly close her mouth and stop looking around restlessly like that.

Mikoto flinches and apologizes immediately. The dormitory leader sighs at how her common background has been exposed. Is this person really the legendary senki candidate? Mikoto tilts her head questioningly at those words. Suddenly, the dorm leader shouts out that it’s already this time! They’re going to be late for the ceremony and they need to hurry! Mikoto tries to ask for an explanation but she yelps when she’s dragged along. Just what is going to happen?!

They run through the hallways until the dorm leader stops and pants out that it seems like they made it in time. If she continues past this greenhouse then she will enter the auditorium where the ceremony is. Mikoto, who is also panting, asks her what the ceremony is. The dorm leader shrugs and tells her that a ceremony is a ceremony and she already said that she didn’t know more than that. She tells Mikoto to see it for herself and then says her goodbyes.

Mikoto gapes at her and asks her if she’s leaving. The dormitory leader explains that she was only asked to do this much; originally Momotose was supposed to take her along. But a message was suddenly sent to her and the vice-dorm leader Yoshino about Momotose having to deal with the television staff. Mikoto asks what the television has to do with all this. The dorm leader snaps out that she’s said countless times that she doesn’t know! She grumbles about how it’d be quicker for Mikoto to see it than hear her explain.

The dormitory leader informs her that she is going to enter from the back. She reminds Mikoto to keep her mouth closed when she enters and to be dignified. Mikoto tries to stop her because she still has things to ask but her words are cut off when she’s suddenly pushed into the greenhouse. In the end, all the things she wanted to know about weren’t asked. It looks like this place is unmistakably Kaen though…

She still doesn’t understand how exactly she came here… it also appears strange but it looks like she has no choice but to go on. She’s awed at how there’s such a large structure as this in the school. It’s like a botanical garden. She was told that if she just went through the greenhouse she would arrive at the auditorium but… what should she do? Should she continue on from here?

Mikoto’s eyes are suddenly caught by the sight of two butterflies. She’s in awe at how beautiful their alternating dance is as they flicker red and blue. They’re like jewels. They flutter away and she wonders where they went. Suddenly, someone asks her if she is here skipping? She looks down from the sky to see a man, who yawns and comments on how a hangover is painful. W-Who is this?!

He goes on about how he was driven out of the auditorium and his head hurts… he needs some water. Oh! Mikoto looks on in shock as he starts drinking water out of a hose. He gulps it down and then sighs at how he’s been restored to life. He then continues on to complain about how someone said that he would dirty the name of Kaen if he were to appear on the television, which he certainly would when compared with the stiff colleagues of his.

Mikoto thinks there’s no comeback to that because he certainly carries a different atmosphere than the school… with his stained clothes and unkempt hair. Suddenly, the man notices Mikoto and comments on how he’s never seen her around before. Which group does she belong to? Mikoto answers hesitantly that she’s not in one. She yelps when he comes closer to her and sniffs at her. He reeks of sake and she wonders how much he drank.

The man narrows his eyes speculatively before pointing out that she has a strange scent. Mikoto gasps at that. He concludes that the scent of her water is dangerous. Besides… he gestures at her to take a look. She gasps when she notices the two butterflies that she had been admiring earlier. He explains that they are drawn to and captivated by her scent. For Ruri and Beni, who dislike humans, to be drawn like this… it amuses him. That water… means she’s the senki candidate, huh.

Mikoto repeats the unfamiliar term. Once again, someone has said it. What is it? She tries to ask him a question but he just eyes her speculatively and then says 「今度は、うまくやれるといいな。」(It would be nice if you could do well this time) before leaving. Mikoto is left staring at his back in confusion. “This time”… what did he mean? Before she can finish her sentence though someone screams.

The man turns around and notes that it came from the auditorium. He orders Mikoto to come with him. Mikoto follows him in confusion but when he tries the door he’s puzzled by how it won’t open. Could it be a barrier? But it’s not affixed to a person, which means… Mikoto tries to understand what is happening. But then someone calls out at them to stop. The man with Mikoto turns around and identifies the newcomer as Mizuchi.

Mizuchi informs them that the auditorium is tainted and orders them to step aside. The man repeats the word “taint” and asks if it could be that… Mizuchi confirms that the auditorium is full of utsurohi. Mizuchi tells him that Hime, who is inside, contacted him and it seems like the utsurohi have possessed a male student and is spreading taint. The man comments on how this is bad. Inside, of the 5 Brights, there is only Iroha and Hime? In a case like this, they have no choice but to do a purge with Hana Awase–

But Mizuchi interrupts and states that they do not have their minamos. One of the television staff members collapsed from a sudden illness and Momotose, Kagami, Aoi, and he escorted them to the hospital. Mizuchi decided to come back first. Presently, Iroha and Hime are protecting the chairmen and minamo in the auditorium from being tainted but there are a large number of possessed players. At this rate, all of the students may dry up and die.

The man clucks his tongue angrily; an unusual situation has occurred. Mikoto is trying to follow along their conversation. What happened?! Utsurohi… do they mean the black shadows from before? Are people being attacked like that time? What are they going to do?!

Mizuchi suddenly notices her and asks her who she is. Mikoto stutters as she searches for something to say, but then she realizes that he’s staring intently at her. He exhales sharply. Mikoto is taken aback by his height and how sharp his eye is… He’s kind of scary. And it’s only emphasized by the eyepatch he has…

The man beside her suddenly scolds Mizuchi and tells him not to glare at a woman. Mizuchi answers that he wasn’t glaring at her. CRYING OF LAUGHTER. POOR MIZUCHI AND HIS SCARY FACE. The man sighs at how Mizuchi never changes… but then he realizes something. Mizuchi makes a questioning noise upon noticing his distraction. Mikoto looks at the man, who is staring at her, in confusion. But the man just nods before grinning widely.

He suddenly tells Mizuchi to Hana Awase with Mikoto. Mizuchi chokes in surprise. Mikoto repeats the word “Hana Awase” questioningly. Mizuchi explains that it is a battle that involves their life but, furthermore, it is reckless. Only minamo with hours and hours of training can do it and, moreover, which group does she belong in? Properly, players can only link with minamo from their same group. He can’t change the law…

The man interrupts and asks if it is the fashion of Koukokugumi to bring up the law during this kind of situation? Mizuchi clamps his mouth shut. The man informs him that this girl doesn’t belong in any group anyway, because she’s the legendary senki candidate. Mikoto stares at the man with wide eyes while Mizuchi turns to her in shock. She’s the senki candidate? The man tells Mizuchi to try smelling her because he hasn’t smelt this water before, huh.

Mikoto yelps when she’s suddenly pushed into Mizuchi’s arms, who gasps. He immediately glares at the other man and tells him that he’s being rude to a lady. The other man shrugs and says that he could care less; anyway, he’s ordering Mizuchi as a teacher to take her vast amount of water and hurry up and defeat the utsurohi. Mizuchi averts his eyes with a conflicted expression before sighing at how their teacher never changes.

The teacher just smirks and says that the Kasen teacher of the Kasen National Academy, Onosada Kurou, is this kind of man. Mikoto can’t believe this guy is a teacher. Anyway, Onosada address Mizuchi, of the 5 Brights, and says that he’ll be looking at his and the senki candidate’s skill. Mizuchi closes his eyes and sighs again before stating that it can’t be helped since they are in an emergency.

Mikoto tries to get a word in but Mizuchi comments on how she must not have done Hana Awase before, right? In that case, all she needs to do is support herself with overtaxing herself. He, Mizuchi, will protect her, the minamo. Mikoto is taken aback by the strength in his gaze. She can feel that this person has a strange power… the same as the person who saved her before…

She feels as if they are telling her that they’ll protect her and not to be scared. Mikoto gathers up her determination and thinks that she can do it. Like the same as before, she’ll just keep calm. She looks straight at him as she thanks him and tells him that she’ll do her best. Mizuchi inclines his head in approval and thanks her. Onosada interrupts them and asks them if they are prepared?

It looks like the barrier on the door was placed there by a low-level adabana… but it’s shitty. First, he will break this crappy barrier and then, until Momotose returns, he wants them to defeat as many utsurohi as possible. Mizuchi acknowledges the order. Onosada warns them that he’s going to begin. He breaks the barrier in a flash of light and orders them to go! They enter and Mikoto flinches back at the amount of shadows.

Mizuchi steps forward 「我が名は蛟。これより華アワセのフィールド生成を行う!穢れし者へ須弥山への引導を渡さん!いざ、尋常に・・・勝負!」(My name is Mizuchi. From here, I will carry out the field creation! I will give you tainted beings your last rites to Mt. Sumeru! Now, commonly known as… a match!). Mikoto notices that a field has been created the same as last time! I… BUTCHERED MIZUCHI’S FIELD CREATION. IT’S BASICALLY FILLED WITH BUDDHISM SYMBOLISM.

They manage to defeat the utsurohi one after another and make them disappear. Mizuchi warns her not to drop her guard because they haven’t been completely erased. They only withered and dried up the utsurohi around the door but this place is still full of taint. He orders her not to separate from him because minamo like her are weak to taint. Mikoto acknowledges his words. Mizuchi suddenly notices something.

Mikoto can see that the room is dim but the air feels like sludge and is disgusting. Is this the taint? Her body is chilled and she feels heavy… Mikoto steels her spine and reminds herself to try her best so that she doesn’t become a hindrance to Mizuchi even though she doesn’t really understand the situation. Mizuchi hums low in his throat before asking to confirm if this is her first time doing Hana Awase? Because he wouldn’t have thought it.

She answers that she has before actually… they are interrupted by Himeutsugi calling out Mizuchi’s name in surprise. Mizuchi addresses Hime and asks him about everyone else’s safety. Hime reports that things are fine and the chairmen are safe. They managed to hold back the taint on the minamo to a minimum, as for the tainted players… Iroha is dealing with them. Mizuchi bows his head at those words.

But then Hime notices Mikoto and blinks at her in surprise. Mizuchi asks if they know each other. Hime smiles and answers that he does, a little. Mizuchi explains that they were doing Hana Awase together moments before and it appears that she’s the senki candidate. Hime compliments her for being able to do it with Mizuchi. Mikoto is panting as she shakes her head and denies that.

Suddenly, Iroha appears and slices down a shadowed form before coolly stating that the purge is complete. Mikoto tries to understand what he means. Mizuchi is relieved to see that Iroha is unharmed. Iroha informs Mizuchi that it looks like Aoi and the others have returned; he will leave the disposal to him. Mizuchi acknowledges the order and then walks off, leaving Mikoto to stare at him in confusion. Disposal…? Eh? She notices that the person who collapsed is…

She’s shocked when the black fog lifts but then notices that the ground is… red…? This is… She turns horrified eyes onto Himeutsugi and asks if this is…! Hime apologizes quietly. She looks at him in confusion but then is struck hard in the stomach. THAT’S NOT HOW YOU SAFELY RENDER SOMEONE UNCONSCIOUS! It hurts… she collapses.

Scene skip! What… was that? Was it blood dyeing the floor…? There were a lot of people collapsed… That person said it… the words “purge”. No, she doesn’t think that could possibly happen. That person saved her. But… faintly on his cheek… was that blood from his victims? She doesn’t know but… her body is becoming cold again. It’s cold… Mikoto blearily opens her eyes.

Awa informs Kintoki that the senki candidate is cold. Kintoki muses on how they can’t let that happen and they need to warm her up. Here’s a hot water bottle. Mikoto can feel something hot on her stomach. Kintoki asks Awa about her temperature. He tells Kintoki that she still looks cold… perhaps she is drying up? And if she’s drying up then a hot water bottle won’t do and she’ll need to have close skin-to-skin contact.

Kintoki praises Awa and points out that, in other words, he means sleeping together with her, right? He acknowledges that and he’ll strip this girl of her clothes then to make it more affective. Mikoto blankly hears the word “strip”… and then shoots up when she feels someone touch her. She asks them in shock what they’re doing!? Awa smirks and points out to Kintoki that she’s awake. Kintoki agrees.

Mikoto looks between the both of them. These children have the same… face!? One of them tells her that she’s being rude. They aren’t children. At Mikoto’s shocked look, the one in the red clothes tells her that he can see through to what she’s thinking. More importantly, just like the rumors said this girl has large breasts. He touches her and she shrieks at him not to poke her please before slapping him. He yelps at the pain.

The one in the blue clothes orders him to be silent because he’s at fault. The red one claims that he was just playing around and he’s the one who is perverted for thinking that. Mikoto doesn’t understand what is with these two. And then the red one notes that she has quite the nerve to hit his cheek. But then he continues on to note that she has great looks and, more importantly, she is releasing sweet water.

Back to the blue one, he smirks and agrees with Kintoki. It is faint but the scent is there and if this is before she even awakens then, even without the onifuda choosing her, it will drive everyone mad. Kintoki’s lips curl with amused interest. And then he tells Awa that he will be calling the others now. Awa asks if he means to do it at this time of night. Kintoki points out that their ceremony was interrupted by the utsurohi and they need to do it over again. Besides, this girl shines with the moon.

Mikoto stares at them in silence because she can’t follow the conversation at all. Awa understands and they can’t relax their guard. Anyway, Kintoki gives her something from Momotose and informs Mikoto that she needs to wear these suitable clothes. Basically, she does need to strip. Mikoto gapes at them before yelping in shock when Kintoki grabs her.

Scene skip! Momotose thanks the 5 Brights for waiting so long. Is everyone ready? She takes a look around the room at Iroha, Mizuchi, Hime, and… It looks like they’re missing one person. She can’t believe it when this is an important time. It can’t be helped though and they will start without him. She asks them all to enter inside. Tonight, the moon is especially beautiful.

The two chairmen welcomes them and calls for them to enter. One of them introduces himself as the chairman of Kaen, Kintokihana. The other one introduces himself as Awahana. Kintoki informs them that he will introduce them to their partner, the senki candidate. Awa introduces her simply as… Mikoto. Kintoki comments on how, if the ceremony hadn’t been interrupted, they would have introduced her in the auditorium. But this is also guided by the moon, Awa.

Awa agrees with Kintoki and then notes that the 5 Brights have already met her, whether it was because her water seduced them or because she desired a flower, who knows. Kintoki informs them that, at any rate, only one person can be chosen to be the senki candidate’s partner… the one chosen by the onifuda. Now, who will it be? Awa presents Momotose the card, which she takes with a smile.

She also introduces herself to Mikoto as a third year student and minamo in the Chisengumi. She adds that the clothes are very fitting on Mikoto and she looks as if she will return to the moon as the sweet princess. She explains that the hidden onifuda has the power to change anything and is also known as the sake cup and chrysanthemum. Mikoto was invited to Kaen by this card. Mikoto echoes the word “invited” in confusion.

Momotose nods before saying that the card went to her and gave birth to the moon. Mikoto holds the fate of becoming the legendary senki. Mikoto repeats the word “senki” questioningly, and so Momotose explains that the senki is the strongest of all minamo in Kasen; one who can pour power into players like a spring. The senki has the power to change the world if they join with a flower but, due to tradition, no one has really born witness to a senki. At any rate, Mikoto holds the power to become a senki.

Mikoto stares at her in shock and then protests that she was just given the card. She’s not even a minamo and so to be what she just said… Kintoki interrupts 「鬼札は持ち主の者のところに向かうもの。札を所有するいろはが渡したことで、契約は成立した。」(The onifuda faces towards its owner. The contract was complete when the card’s owner, Iroha, handed it over).

Awa informs her that, from here on, she is admitted into Kaen and is ordered to partner with one of the 5 Brights and awaken as a senki. Mikoto gapes at them before protesting because she’s going to another high school and it’s impossible to be admitted here! Kintoki tells her that the admission papers have already been completed. She stares at them with wide eyes. Awa smirks and says that they’ve finally found the legendary senki candidate. They won’t let her refuse.

Mikoto continues to stare at them in shock. Kintoki declares that the ceremony will decide what she will do here at this school. First, they must introduce her partner from one of the 5 Brights. Awa introduces them: Iroha of the Chisengumi, Mizuchi of the Koukokugumi, Himeutsugi of the Gekkougumi, and Oukagumi’s… He blinks in surprise and then asks why that person isn’t here.

Iroha answers that they called for him but he didn’t reply. Momotose narrows her eye as she thinks he must be playing with his night amusements. What a troublesome person. Kintoki sighs heavily but waves his hand because this is also fate. At any rate, he explains that these men are the highest authority and hold the most power in Kaen. They are players known as the 5 Brights and he thinks it best that Mikoto become acquainted with them.

He goes on to say that these men are the only ones in Kaen who hold the title Kaei. They are also the ones who will be chosen to be the partner of the senki candidate. Awa states that they will ask the onifuda. Which one of the 5 Brights does she wish for? He orders her to touch the card now and wish. Mikoto blinks in confusion but obeys them and holds up the card to touch it.

A bright light flashes but she can still see the card. This is… Iroha squints his eyes at the light. Mizuchi rears back in surprise while Himeutsugi narrows his eyes thoughtfully. The light disappears before long. Kintoki murmurs lowly that the onifuda hasn’t chosen anyone… what does he make of this, Awa? Awa shrugs and thinks that they are lacking too many things: the place, the people, and the moon. Kintoki realizes that they will have to play by the book.

Kintoki declares that the ceremony will be postponed and they will have to wait to see who the senki candidate’s partner is. Momotose frowns and asks how they will put Mikoto in a group. Awa informs her that she will join the group of whoever her partner is, when decided. Right now he could care less. Himeutsugi volunteers his group to take her in then. Mizuchi is surprised to hear that.

Himeutsugi just says 「僕が、次の儀式まで彼女を・・・お姫様を大切に守ります。」(Until the next ceremony, I will protect the girl– the princess with great care). Momotose is delighted because she can feel relieved in leaving it to Himeutsugi; she asks Iroha for his opinion. Iroha replies that he doesn’t care. Kintoki acknowledges them and states that, until the date of the next ceremony is decided, Mikoto will join Himeutsugi’s group, the Gekkougumi, as a first year minamo.

Awa addresses Mikoto and advises her that it would be best if she agreed clearly to becoming the senki candidate before the ceremony. The chairmen walk off before Mikoto can say anything and Iroha disappears just as quickly. Momotose smiles at her gently and suggests that they change. Mikoto nods hesitantly before admitting that she doesn’t know what just happened or what she should do…

Momotose apologizes for how sudden everything is and how, even though they’re protecting her, they must be making her feel disoriented. She thinks there are things that Mikoto may be confused or uneasy about but she wants Mikoto to know that she’ll always be her ally, and that she can come and speak to her without reservation. Mikoto murmurs her name gratefully. And then Himeutsugi addresses her with a smile and gives her his regard.

At her bewildered look, his smile becomes strained 「大丈夫。君を困らせるようなことはしない。僕も・・・お姫様だからね。」(Don’t worry. I won’t do anything to trouble you, because I… am also a princess). YOU’RE JUST DIGGING YOUR OWN GRAVE. STOP IT. Mikoto repeats the word “princess” in confusion, which makes Momotose laugh before explaining that all the minamo in Gekkougumi call him that. She’ll understand when she’s together with them.

Mizuchi interrupts at this moment to suggest that they excuse themselves. Hime glances over and nods before wishing Mikoto a good night. He smiles widely at her again and she gives him a small smile back before wishing the same. The two men head out and close the doors after them.

Scene skip! In the hallway, Mizuchi exhales loudly. Himeutsugi asks him what the matter is. Mizuchi shakes his head and states that it’s nothing, but Himeutsugi presses him and asks him if it was unexpected? Mizuchi tells him that, in the current situations, he thinks that was what should have been done; it was good judgment. Himeutsugi smiles and thanks him, as expected of a close friend to understand him.

He muses on how she, without knowing anything, was attacked by the utsurohi, taken to Kaen suddenly, and then told to become the senki candidate. It’s painful for fate to have determined something when one hasn’t wished for anything. He asks Mizuchi if he saw it? Her terrible unease… that fragility. She trembled when she was attacked by the utsurohi and when she saw the dead boy of the player that Iroha purged. Himeutsugi continues on to say that she’s miserable and someone needs to protect her. *WARNING BELLS*

Mizuchi states that he didn’t see that. Himeutsugi looks at him curiously and so Mizuchi claims that, when he performed Hana Awase under Onosada’s instruction, she stood firm and dealt with it even though it was unfamiliar. He thinks that she has the groundings in becoming the senki. Himeutsugi slowly asks if it could be that Mizuchi… Mizuchi averts his eyes and closes his mouth tightly before excusing himself curtly. Himeutsugi watches him walk away slowly and exhales softly.

「み空行く 月の光に ただ一目
相見し人の 夢にし見ゆる」 – Himeutsugi
(ONCE– only once,
I saw him in the light
Of the sky-wandering moon;
Now I see him in my dreams.) – Ato Tobira, A Young Woman (Book 4, #710).

Himeutsugi amusedly thinks on how it looks like Mizuchi has seen through him, as expected of a close friend. He’s sharp. He thinks on how he’s right that, as a princess, he wouldn’t raise his hand. As everyone’s princess, he can’t treasure any one over the others. He needs to treat everyone equally, but… on that day, like in one of those books he’s read long ago, like a prince, he gave her a kiss of vow. And then, in the moonlight… he found her.

He says 「みことちゃん。少しだけ、僕のおとぎ話につきあって。かりそめの関係が終わるまで・・・僕に、夢をさせて。」(Mikoto-chan. Just for a little bit, follow along with my fairy tale. Until our transient relationship ends… let me dream).

The next day, Mikoto wakes up but she has barely gotten any sleep since her mind is full of confusion. If what the chairmen said was true, then from now on she will be attending Kaen. Before she knew it, all her clothes and belongings from her house have been carried here… it’s as if it has already been decided that she will be here. What will she do? She hasn’t even prepared her resolve.

Moreover, she was attending the same school as Ai and Shou…! She realizes that she needs to contact them because they’re probably worried. She looks around frantically for her cellphone and slumps with relief when she finds it. But the phone keeps on ringing after she dials their number. Maybe she’s a bit early? Finally, Ai picks up and answers the phone with a large yawn. Mikoto calls out Ai’s name in relief but Ai just asks her what time it is; Mikoto knows that she isn’t a morning person.

Mikoto tries to explain frantically what happened but Ai interrupts and asks her slyly if she’s already homesick or if she’s being teased by Kaen’s elites. Mikoto pauses and then asks her how Ai knows that she’s here at Kaen. Ai yawns again before saying that she doesn’t know anything and it was obvious since Mikoto sent in all her admissions before. Mikoto stares at her phone in confusion.

Ai continues on to complain about how Shou has been in a bad temper since knowing that she’s going to Kaen. It is a great hardship to be soothing him. Anyway, Ai tells her that she didn’t want Mikoto to go since they’ll rarely see each other when she’s at school and in the dormitories. But once Mikoto has decided on something she won’t yield. Shou also knows that and so he gave up; she thinks he’s always known vaguely that this would happen.

Mikoto continues to stare at her phone in alarm. Ai advises Mikoto to get a grip on herself since she’s going to the school that she wanted to go to… but if it ever becomes impossible to brace herself and stand strong then she can always return. She’ll make sure to comfort Mikoto! Anyway, she really doesn’t want to be called in the mornings anymore and she is going to get some more sleep. She tells Mikoto goodbye and hangs up before Mikoto can stop her.

She… came to the school that she wished for? Mikoto knows that didn’t happen because she never met the two of them after the day they ate sukiyaki and she has no memories of telling them about Kaen. Their stories are clashing. What happened when she was out of it?! Suddenly, someone knocks on her door and then Momotose enters with a smile and greeting. Mikoto’s eyes widen as she recognizes the other girl.

Momotose remarks on how, from her apperance, it looks like she didn’t get much rest. Mikoto’s expression crumbles and so Momotose asks her what the matter is. Mikoto hesitates before telling her the situation with her friends and what they said. What is going on? She doesn’t understand… Momotose closes her eyes and growls angrily. Mikoto looks at her with alarm and calls out her name cautiously.

But then Momotose suddenly explodes and curses “that person”! She orders Mikoto to come with her and to hurry up and get changed. Mikoto is alarmed by the sudden action and wonders what happened. Mikoto is dragged out of the dormitories by Momotose and she asks her, while running, where they are going to… Momotose ends up dragging her to Iroha, who greets Momotose calmly.

Momotose coolly tells him that they will dispense with the greetings and that he needs to explain what he did to Mikoto’s friends. Iroha answers that he doesn’t see the conversation. Momotose snaps out that he knows what he did! He used the karakuri and changed the fate of Mikoto’s friends. Iroha asks her what about that. Momotose orders him to explain just what he changed.

Iroha exhales slowly before answering that he made it so the senki candidate decided to admit herself to Kaen on her own volition. Momotose is glaring at him as she realizes that, at that time, Iroha didn’t just use the karakuri to change everyone’s fates and move them to Kaen. Mikoto looks between the two with wide eyes and asks Momotose what she means by changing fates.

Momotose hands her an item and explains that this is called a karakuri. At a look, it appears to just be an antique toy. But with the power of its users, it can change various things. This item is one of those and it’s called the “fate device”. Mikoto notes that they pronounce it like her name. Momotose explains that once the sound is heard, and the user wishes, the fate of the people around can be changed.

Mikoto realizes immediately that this was used then and…! Iroha informs her that her friends are hindrances to the senki candidate. BUDDY… Mikoto stares hard at Iroha as he continues on to say that, if left alone, her friends would likely come to Kaen to take her back. And so it was quicker to change their fates. It was a logical decision. Momotose reprimands him and says that he can’t selfishly change their fates without talking to Mikoto.

Iroha replies flatly that even if he didn’t fate was already changed. Momotose states exasperatedly that he’s missing the point. Mikoto confirms with Iroha that he made her friends think that she wanted to be admitted and go to Kaen, right? Iroha nods. She finally understands that this is why her conversation in the morning with Ai wasn’t meshing. Iroha goes on to say that the senki candidate needs to awaken and so any harmful influences must be eliminated. He states that she is not allowed to go outside the Kaen.

Mikoto gasps but he explains that she’s already been attacked by the utsurohi twice. Someone has an eye on her. Once again, the utsurohi that invaded Kaen have a connection with her. Until now Kaen, with its barrier, hasn’t been invaded before by the utsurohi. Someone is attacking her for some reason. Until they stop the source she is not allowed to go out. He has authorization from the chairmen.

She’s alarmed at how she can’t exit the school for the sake of her protection. Is it dangerous if she’s not here…? Everything is being done for her sake but… the fate of her friends was changed without them knowing and actions have been decided upon. What about her feelings? Momotose tells Iroha that he’s speaking as one of the finest 5 Brights and the school’s top of the top, but he’s missing something important. Iroha does not respond.

Momotose continues on to say that, in the first place, he… but then she says his name in confusion. Iroha has been staring at Mikoto intently and then he murmurs 「君に言った。もう、逃げられないと。私は、君を・・・逃がさない。」(I told you… that you can no longer run. I… won’t let you run). Mikoto gasps but they are interrupted by Himeutsugi who comes up to them commenting lightly on how dangerous it is this morning, Iroha.

He was just coming back from his morning practice when he saw the princess’ sad face and so he accidentally eavesdropped. He addresses Iroha and says that it’s about the thing from before, but he has a request. Iroha glances over at him. Hime continues to request for Mikoto’s return to her house because she needs to sort her feelings. He points out that she needs to be here of her own will. No one likes to pushed into their fate, right? *STARES AT THE CAMERA*

Mikoto’s mouth drops open in surprise at Himeutsugi’s words but Iroha instantly refuses it. Hime gives a strained smile but he thought Iroha would say that; he has one more request then. He demands an apology from Iroha to Mikoto. Mikoto’s eyes widen. He wants an apology for Iroha changing other people’s fates without notice and for forcing her into things. Iroha replies coolly that this conversation doesn’t concern Himeutsugi.

Himeutsugi replies coolly that it does because Iroha said harsh things to a minamo from the Gekkougumi. Mikoto is one of his girls. Iroha states that there is no need for an apology and then excuses himself to Momotose. Himeutsugi calls out for him to wait because their conversation isn’t over. Iroha doesn’t not respond and just walks away. Himeutsugi grits his teeth and then shouts out that he told him to stop. HOLY SHIT. HOLY… CRAP. I’M TERRIFIED RIGHT NOW.

Mikoto is startled to see a flash of white. Himeutsugi gives Iroha a tight smile and tells him that he just threw a white glove. He knows what this means, right? I CAN’T BELIEVE HE DID THAT LMAO. THROW DOWN THE GAUNTLET. Hime declares that he, Himeutsugi of the 5 Brights, entrusted with the Gekkougumi, challenges Iroha to Katou for the sake of Mikoto’s dignity. Iroha turns around and narrows his eyes before asking him if Hime intends to fight him.

Himeutsugi confirms that he is and if he wins then Iroha will apologize to Mikoto and allow her to return home. If he loses, then he will throw away the title of being a Kaei and one of the 5 Brights and leave this school. Momotose tries to protest those extreme terms while Mikoto is stunned at these events. Iroha continues to stare silently at Himeutsugi, who stiffens his back and returns the look.

Mikoto can see that Iroha and Himeutsugi are glaring at each other… like they are about to duel. Finally Iroha says that even if Hime makes an entry to Katou, he will not accept it. Suddenly, another person speaks up and states that he can’t do that. Mikoto is surprised to see her savior from the train. They address Hime and compliment him for his sharp words; they will re-evaluate him. Himeutsugi is surprised to see his senior here and comments on how early they are.

The person shakes their head and says that they’ve been up all night. The disturbance from yesterday’s utsurohi called them out and they haven’t even had the chance to eat. Ah, they’re tired. More importantly, they won’t let Iroha run! He has to properly see the Katou match. Iroha replies that he can see the winner already. The other person huffs at how he is like that as usual; is this the confidence of being the school’s Rank 1?

Momotose scolds the newcomer and tells them not to spur the men on. She also wants Himeutsugi not to propose his reckless terms. Himeutsugi replies that he won’t know if it is reckless until he does it. Hime’s senior nods and tells Momo that once men have decided on something, anything that comes out of a woman’s mouth is nonsense. Momotose narrows her eyes. Anyway, they will put both entries in to Kurou and in a week’s time Hime and Iroha will fight!

Regarding the minamo partners, Iroha will have Momo while Hime will have the senki candidate! Mikoto gapes at them while Momotose protests because Himeutsugi’s original partner is… Hime’s senior replies that they don’t mind, right Hime? Hime hesitantly answers that if they say so then… The newcomer grins in delight and restates the terms: if Hime wins then Iroha apologizes, and if Iroha wins then Hime drops out. In addition, the winner should also get a hot kiss from Mikoto. How about it?

Mikoto splutters at that, turns red, and then asks the person to wait a minute. They can’t just forcefully… The other person tilts their head and points out that it’s just a kiss and that a reward should be that much! Mikoto shouts out that it’s impossible! Iroha states that he understands and he will see them again in a week’s time. Mikoto is stunned that Iroha agreed and calls out for him to wait and not to leave, but he disappears. What will she do… are they really going to battle?!

Himeutsugi apologizes to Mikoto for surprising her. Mikoto shakes her head though because it was her fault that it became like this. Hime gives a small smile and tells her that it’s fine. Besides, she went through a painful thing, didn’t she? Mikoto admits that she was surprised at first but Iroha thought of all this for her sake, right? He’s protecting her from danger. But she does want to go home and properly explain things to Ai and Shou.

She knows that she needs to take some time to think over everything and decide for herself whether she will stay here or return. She thanks him for putting it that way since she understands. Himeutsugi murmurs her name quietly. And then, Hime’s senior apologizes for interrupting their mood but they have a bit of a problem. Momo and Iroha are Kaen’s strongest player and minamo. Meanwhile, Mikoto is just a first year minamo. Do they understand this meaning?

Even though Hime is one of the 5 Brights, if Mikoto is a burden then they will lose immediately. Mikoto is horrified to hear this. Momotose doesn’t think that Hime’s senior is someone who adds fuel to a fire so there’s something else going on, right? Said person praises Momotose on their expert eye. It’s a love battle between the prodigious young man, Iroha, who is the talk of the public and Kaen’s most beautiful man, Himeutsugi, for the beautiful young senki candidate!

There will be battles, smiles, tears, and a kiss at the very end! It is a document that will completely keep the young crowd glued! With this, the ratings will surely go up by 50%! Well? Momotose, Himeutsugi, and Mikoto have… nothing to say. Hime’s senior rolls their eyes at everyone’s bad mood. Momotose asks them if they are planning to broadcast this? They compliment Momotose on her sharp intuition.

They can only put this on Jinja TV and they will broadcast it over the entire web! Mikoto asks them to explain what they mean by that! Said person just shrugs and says that it means exactly what it means and, from now on, she’ll have a camera following her. Good luck! Their phone starts to ring and they note that it’s time to go to the film location! They give a quick farewell and dash off.

Mikoto is taken aback upon hearing “TV location”… just who is that person…? Himeutsugi introduces that person as a third year minamo, Kagami. She is also the daughter of a TV company president and his minamo. TA DAH! YES KAGAMI LOOKS VERY MANLY. PERFECT FOR PRINCESS HIME, RIGHT? Mikoto repeats her name before blinking in surprise. That person was a girl?! Was that just her imagination…? That she heard Hime say Kagami was a young woman and his… minamo. Himeutsugi only smiles at her.

Momotose confirms that Kagami is a girl. Mikoto yelps at that because from Kagami’s looks… and voice… Himeutsugi tells Mikoto that Kagami acts perfectly as a male and so he thinks it’s fine to treat her as a man. Mikoto shakes her head and replies that she can’t do that…! Momotose informs her that Kagami would be pleased, especially if Mikoto were to call her a “prince”. Mikoto repeats the word “prince” in confusion.

Himeutsugi smiles wryly and explains that the girls in Gekkougumi call him the princess and Kagami the prince. Mikoto thinks the opposite should hold… Momotose changes the subject to how Kagami is going to try and get television cameras into Kaen again, even though it is forbidden from the start. Himeutsugi explains that Kagami just wants more people to know about Kasen and right now the only channel that shows Kasen mainly is Jinja TV.

Mikoto recognizes that name and asks if Jinja TV is the local television station. Momotose confirms that before adding that Kagami is the heiress to Jinja and, with the chairmen’s permission, she is allowed to help out at filming locations. Mikoto is impressed by Kagami. Momotose sighs and goes back to how worried she is over the Katou without Kagami, especially when Mikoto just arrived at Kaen. It is unfair. And even if she cooperates with them, Iroha is…

Himeutsugi interrupts and states that he has a request regarding that, actually. He doesn’t want her to take it easy on them at all. Kagami said that she will pass down her partner status for Hime and Mikoto to Katou; in other words, she has conceded her princely status. He knows that he has always been the princess but… this time, he wants to fight as the prince. He won’t lose no matter who his opponent is.

Momotose is taken aback by the ferocity in his words… but then she smiles and tells him that she understands and she will go at them with her full strength. Himeutsugi thanks her with a serious expression. Momotose then turns to Mikoto and tells her that while, in some time, she will become her enemy she is still always Mikoto’s ally. She would like Mikoto to come to her for any consultation. And then she gives her farewells before departing.

Mikoto turns to Himeutsugi worriedly, but he reassures her with a smile and tells her to leave it to him. He acknowledges that the Katou is important but, even more than that, she should familiarize herself with life at Kaen, okay? Mikoto gives a small nod.

Scene skip! Momotose steps forward and comments on how he must have heard. Has he reflected on his actions? Iroha asks her without emotion what she is going on about. She asks him if he really intends to make Himeutsugi drop out. He replies that he will if that is the result. Momotose growls in annoyance and tries to scold him some more, but he interrupts her and asks her to look at something. Aren’t the building’s colors different? Momotose looks at it before replying that Kaen looks the same as always to her. Iroha hums in thought. He walks away, leaving Momotose to stare after him in confusion.

Scene skip! Mikoto is walking down the hallway and thinking on how she needs to know more about this school and Hana Utsushi. First, she’ll take a walk around the inside of the school and go up these… stairs… But before she can, Mizuchi appears and informs her that these are the classrooms for the second years. She is a first year, yes? Even if she is the senki candidate, she cannot come into the higher-leveled floors unless she has permission.

Mikoto apologizes and tells him that she’ll go back. She hurriedly turns around and starts to leave but Mizuchi calls out for her to wait and then asks if she has received a guide around the school yet. She answers that she hasn’t and that’s why she thought to go around. He averts his eyes in thought before telling her that walking around randomly isn’t very effective and, if it would please her, he proposes to be her guide. She smiles at him and requests that. He orders her to follow him.

As he talks her around the school Mizuchi explains that this school is for minamo like her to study Kasen, or Hana Utsushi. Above Hana Utsushi is Hana Awase, which can be done after an accumulation of training, but which came out during their battle. However, he thinks she should learn the fundamentals. He takes her to the Kasen lecture room, where candidates are instructed by Onosada and received special training on Hana Utsushi. YOU MEAN MY FAVORITE ROOM? YEAH!

Next is the library which, compared with other general libraries, has a collection of books related to Kasen. He is sure that she will be able to study a lot here. And then he takes her to the rooms of the 5 Brights. The chairmen gave them each their own living areas inside the school. It is a place where outsiders are not allowed to enter without permission but she is the senki candidate and, before long, he thinks she may visit here.

They pass through the greenhouse to reach the auditorium. Mizuchi informs her that this is the auditorium-slash-Katou battleground. It is used to hold important ceremonies or Katou. He falls silent for a moment before explaining that Katou is a duel between students and in seven days Iroha and Hime will be facing each other here. Mikoto’s eyes widen at that as she takes another look around this place.

Mizuchi informs her that he heard from Hime about how he will be doing a Katou against Iroha and Momotose, Kaen’s strongest player and minamo. There is no doubt that it will be a hard match. Mikoto looks away from him and he sighs before concluding the tour. If there is anything she is uncertain about then she should head to Momotose’s room. He tells Mikoto that Momotose is worried about her.

And, along with being the strongest minamo in Kaen, Momotose is also the most knowledgeable about anything inside the school. He is sure that she can be of great support to Mikoto. He averts his eyes and exhales heavily before informing her that when they performed Hana Awase in the greenhouse, he could feel the hidden water inside of her. He is sure that she can become stronger after much training.

He reminds her that the battle will take place in seven days and, no matter the result, he wants her to be diligent every day so that she does not have any regrets. Mikoto thanks him before promising to become Himeutsugi’s strength. Mizuchi also suggests that she walk freely around the school when she has time because networking is also one kind of study, and there are various kinds of encounters. He excuses himself politely.

DAY 1. Mikoto confirms that she’s finished her preparations. Her Kaen uniform… she really is in Kaen. Hana Utsushi is something she liked as a child and was taught by her grandfather and Kaen is the place she has always wanted to go to. If it hadn’t happened like this then… Kagami suddenly enters her room with a bright smile. Mikoto greets her warily, but Kagami continues to grin and explains that she came to welcome her and that they should get along since they’re both in Gekkougumi.

Mikoto smiles more genuinely at that and answers that she’s looking forward to it. Kagami notices Mikoto looking at her and asks if there’s something on her face? Mikoto shakes her head briefly before admitting that she was just thinking on how this was the girl’s dormitory and for Kagami to be here means… she really is a girl. Kagami laughs at that and tells Mikoto that she is correct and that she is a genuine girl. Momo is definitely much more girl-like but she isn’t going to force herself.

Kagami points out that it’d be a joke if she was in a short skirt like Mikoto, right? Mikoto denies that. But then Kagami comes closer to her and notes that her proportions are really nice and things are sticking out that should be sticking out, unlike her who is flat-chested. Look, she’s like a board! Mikoto returns the compliments and says that Kagami looks cool being all slender and slim. Kagami thanks her and admits that many people say that. They share a laugh.

Anyway, Kagami knows that they just met and all but she wants Mikoto to talk to her or the other girls in Gekkougumi if she is unhappy. Everyone is nice. She can also count on Momo who has been talking nonstop about Mikoto ever since they met; it appears that she likes her considerably. She is an extreme lady and sometimes does outrageous things but ultimately she has a lot of patience. Kagami encourages Mikoto to talk to Momotose.

Mikoto thanks her for the suggestion and realizes that Kagami is concerned about her feeling unhappy. She doesn’t know if she’ll continue to be here but she needs to make sure that she faces things properly while she’s here. She’ll do what she can as a minamo and, for Himeutsugi who defended her, she needs to familiarize herself with Kaen.

Anyway, she heads out into Kaen and hears a horde of screaming girls. Mikoto looks over to see Gekkougumi girls greeting Himeutsugi, with the title “princess”. He greets them back cheerily. One of them presents him a tennis racket, uniform, and towel for him to use during his club activities. All of it came from Italy and are haute couture. Another one presents him with stationary made in France to use here in Japan.

They also present him a menu for today’s lunch; fresh blowfish from Shimonoseki and this course was made by the chef there. Hime continues to smile as he accepts these and says he will look forward to eating it. One of the girls points out that the gardener has spread water here and it is muddy; they direct Hime to another path. He tells them to be careful not to dirty their own shoes. They obey happily.

And then another minamo presents Himeutsugi with letters from them for today. He thanks them and promises to read them carefully. They squeal at how Hime is just like a princess and is just as beautiful and lovely today. Hime chuckles before telling them that they are cute as well and he loves everyone. They go wild at that and cheer at their princess. Mikoto is struck by how large the crowd is around him.

Suddenly, the dormitory leader appears and orders Mikoto to stop spacing out in the morning. Mikoto startles before apologizing. The dorm leader goes on to tell her how minamo are beings held in tension and beacause she knows Mikoto is still a novice she would like her to get a grip. Mikoto lowers her head in agreement. And then the dorm leader asks Mikoto if it is okay not to go over there?

At her look of confusion the dorm leader points out the crowd around Himeutsugi. She reminds Mikoto that even though it is temporary she has become a minamo of the Gekkougumi, right? What kind of royal maid is she? At Mikoto’s blank look, she sighs and remarks on how Mikoto really knows nothing. She goes on to explain that the minamo around Himeutsugi who help him with everything are called as “royal maids”. They are girls who love Himeutsugi like a real princess and would do anything for him.

And because Himeutsugi is kind he accepts their feelings. He leaves everything around him to be done by them. Mikoto realizes that explains the sight from before. The dormitory leader nods and explains that they have a shift system for their duties. Hime hates conflict and so Gekkougumi minamo never fight. She has heard that the number one law is to be friendly to each other. Mikoto repeats that rule thoughtfully.

The dorm leader agrees that it would be troubling if people were too open and noisy but, even as much as they adore Hime, she thinks it would be better for them to observe the rules some more. Mikoto asks her what group she is in. She answers that she is part of Mizuchi’s Koukokugumi; Mizuchi is a man who protects the rules and has high pride. Mizuchi’s minamos do not come close to him unlike Hime’s minamos.

She starts blushing as she confesses that she prefers that and his quietness and rationality makes her feel like there is nowhere else she’d rather be. Ah, Mizuchi! She pauses before scolding herself for what she was saying. Mikoto apologizes. At any rate, Mizuchi and Hime are eminent players, and one of the 5 Brights. She advises Mikoto that even though she may be the legendary senki who is the partner of the one of the 5 Brights but she’ll be eaten by the other minamo if she doesn’t have comparable powers. Mikoto should study very hard.

Mikoto watches the dorm leader leave with those words. She thinks on how Himeutsugi and Mizuchi are amazing people. Hime is very gentle and has a soft demeanor, making him definitely seem more like a princess than a prince. She knows for certain that the Gekkougumi will be devastated if Hime loses the Katou and is forced to withdraw from this school. She knows the dorm leader spoke the truth and she’ll need to get a grip.

She starts to take a walk around Kaen and comments on how large it is; the dormitory and school premises just keep on continuing. Even if she makes a round trip she doesn’t think she’ll end up outside. It really does feel like she’s enclosed in here. She had thought about Kaen being like another world but right now the outside world does seem far away… she wonders what Ai and Shou are up to.

Iroha suddenly asks her what she’s doing. Mikoto yelps in fright. He explains without emotion that, due to the recent utsurohi incidences, the barrier around the school has been strengthened. No one is allowed to go around by themselves without security. He orders her to return. She lowers her head and nods before wondering when he was there. It looks like she can’t go outside until the Katou is over.

Evening falls and before she knows it, one day is already over. She decides to read up on Kasen lessons from a book that Momotose gave her. But when she starts flipping through it she realizes that it’s very difficult. She doesn’t understand what is written in there at all. She’ll try to remember it from the beginning though…

DAY 2. Himeutsugi asks Mikoto if she’s become used to Kaen. She startles upon hearing him but answers hesitantly that she is… slowly. She tells him determinedly that she’s in the middle of studying too and she won’t be a trouble to him in the upcoming Katou! He chuckles at how much fighting spirit she has, but then he tells her to relax because all she needs to do is be by his side on that day.

She stares at him in surprise. Just… be by his side? She points out that the books say in Hana Utsushi that the player and minamo’s powers must be joined. She tells him that she can’t just do nothing since it was her fault that he was dragged into this. She doesn’t know how much help she will be but she wants to be his strength! He smiles warmly again and thanks her before saying that he feels like he can win just from those feelings. He also adds that he’s the prince this time and he’ll need to work hard to protect the precious princess.

He leaves after those words and Mikoto stares after him with wide eyes. Onosada remarks on how he’s a team by himself then. Mikoto spins around in surprise upon hearing him but Onosada just levels her a serious look and asks her if she understands that, from the start, she isn’t being counted. At her level, she can’t even be a partner for any player much less against Iroha and Momotose who are Kaen’s number one. They aren’t actors or actresses.

Onosada tells her not unkindly that, at present, she can only be Hime’s decorated doll. Mikoto retorts loudly that she doesn’t want that! She doesn’t want to be a decoration. She knows that she has no ability right now to be a minamo but she wants to be Hime’s strength when he’s gone up to this point for her. She wants to be of help… even just a little. Onosada huffs and calls her an arrogant woman.

At her startled look, he goes on to say that this is at her own convenience, no? She wants to be of help even though she has no ability? Does she intend to force Himeutsugi until she is self-satisfied? She denies that vehemently but he tells her that there’s no difference. He points out that she herself said she has no ability as a minamo. Does she still believe in miracles at her current age?

He hums in thought as he comments out loud that she doesn’t know or care about why she’s here in Kaen, right? In that case, she can run away in the future even if they lose, right? Mikoto averts her eyes as Onosada calls her an arrogant princess who wants things at her own convenience. He feels sympathy towards Himeutsugi for betting his place here at school in order to protect her. He then yawns with boredom and leaves.

Mikoto has no response to his words. Suddenly, a girl tells her to not be concerned with those words; Onosada is always like that. Mikoto looks over at this unfamiliar girl and asks her who she is, but she just approaches Mikoto and offers her a handkerchief. Mikoto realizes that she’s crying. She thanks her and takes the handkerchief but admits in a tearful voice that Onosada was right because she’s useless but she’s trying to look good at her own convenience. It’s embarrassing.

The unknown girl stares at her calmly before explaining that minamo exhibit their powers when offering their own water… and feelings for their player’s sake. Mikoto latches onto her words about feelings. The girl nods and tells her that, depending on the strength of their feelings, minamo are able to pour an unlimited amount of power into their partner. She goes on to explain how players are like the flower ornaments of Kasen while minamo are like shadows. But the beautiful blooms of the players on the front stage depends on them, the minamos. Is that not wonderful? She tells Mikoto that she loves minamo. What about her?

Mikoto has no answer. The girl recalls that Mikoto wants to be Himeutsugi’s power, right? Mikoto answers affirmatively and says that she can’t not be… but then she shakes her head and corrects herself. She will become his power. She is a minamo. The girl laughs softly and praises her attitude. Mikoto is startled when she realizes what the other girl just did.

The girl only continues smiling pleasantly before telling her to treasure those feelings. And, while Onosada’s mouth is terrible, his skill at Kasen is undeniable. She is sure he can strengthen Mikoto. She advises Mikoto to head over to the Kasen lecture room and to convey her current feelings to Onosada, honestly. Mikoto thanks her and then heads off to her classes with a determined smile.

Her classes end but Mikoto, who has been receiving lessons with the other Gekkougumi members, has no idea what the teacher was talking about. They had a small quiz today and she has a failing mark. Everything is completely different from what she remembered about Hana Utsushi as a child. Even as she studies from textbooks and the teachers, the reality is harsh. She reminds herself that she can’t become discouraged. She needs to properly remember this!

Another girl hesitantly calls for Mikoto’s attention and Mikoto looks over to see that this is the girl she met at the dormitories, Yoshino. Yoshino tries to stutter out a sentence but then sighs at how it’s useless. And so all she does is shove something at Mikoto (after stuttering) and run off immediately. Mikoto shouts at her to wait because she’s running straight into a wall– Yoshino collides into it with a large smack and then falls to the ground. Mikoto asks her worriedly if she’s okay.

But Yoshino just screams out a farewell and dashes off again. WHY IS THIS SCHOOL SO FULL OF CRAZIES LMFAO. Mikoto stares at her disappearing back in confusion. She wonders if Yoshino will be okay after hitting the wall at full speed. She looks down to see what she was given and realizes that it’s notes about Kasen! It’s very detailed and with thorough explanations that make understanding it easy. It must have been made for her sake. She reminds herself to thank Yoshino later.

And then she makes her way to Onosada’s lecture room and enters after knocking on the door and introducing herself. Onosada looks at her in amusement and asks what the senki candidate is doing here. Mikoto averts her eyes before telling him that she came here as a minamo, not as a senki candidate. She wants to become strong! She wants to become strong for the sake of Himeutsugi winning, and she would like him to teach her how.

Onosada sighs before telling her that it’s hopeless because her opponents are… She retorts that this has nothing to do with their opponents. She wants to know techniques for becoming strong just for the sake of becoming strong. He snorts and calls her an arrogant woman again. But this time Mikoto smirks and confirms that she is one. He looks at her speculatively as she bows and requests him to teach her again.

He grins at the great look in her eyes and then warns her that he won’t go easy on her, so she should prepare herself. She answers strongly that she is. Onosada continues on to say that, just to clarify, what they will learn here is Hana Utsushi. He wants her only to focus only on becoming a Hana Utsushi warrior. But he does recall that she just entered the school and there are probably things she doesn’t know. He is a teacher though and so he offers to explain some things to her. ANOTHER REFRESHER ON CARD GAME RANKINGS.

IF YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE HIM TEACH YOU. Onosada explains that there is a computer dedicated solely to use for Hana Utsushi. She can practice however much she wants with Hana Utsushi by using it. If she chooses the “Hana Utsushi Ranking” then she’ll be shown opponents around her level. It’s a very convenient age now. First, one chooses their opponent and then chooses their partner. She can partner with anyone of lower rank than her. She can use the board to search for partners upon the people she won. Also, he tells her to be at ease because she won’t lose anything if she loses.

IF YOU CHOOSE TO JUST DO IT ANYWAY. He doesn’t think that she doesn’t know anything about Hana Utsushi rules but there is an explanation book on the computer that she can bring out whenever she wants to look at them. She can use the computer whenever this room is open. He’s looking forward to seeing her true nature. She thanks him gratefully. YOU CAN ONLY GO UP TO RANK 170 AT FIRST. I SUGGEST GRINDING HERE SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO WASTE A TURN LATER ON.

After her lessons with Onosada, Mikoto makes her way to Momotose’s room. Momotose prepared her school materials and uniform, which she still hasn’t been thanked for properly. Mikoto knocks on the door to check if Momotose is around. Momotose welcomes her and calls her an angel. At Mikoto’s surprised look, Momotose giggles and explains that Mikoto is her angel. She invites Mikoto in for a cup of tea, which Mikoto accepts happily.

Momotose asks whether Mikoto would like the royal milk tea, or if she would prefer another brand. Mikoto reassures Momotose that anything is fine with her and she doesn’t need to be fussed over. She takes a look around the room and is awed at how spacious it is; she would not have thought that this was part of the dormitories. Momotose returns with the tea and provides baked financier.

Mikoto compliments the smell and then takes a bite, only to gasp at how delicious it is. Momotose is pleased and informs her that Tane and Kasu, her servants, are quite skilled at this. Tane and Kasu, who have been standing off to the side, agree affirmatively. Mikoto goes on to praise the outside for being slightly hard but the inside is moist. It is baked just right with the perfect amount of sugar added in, and she can also detect some orange peels. I’M… SO HUNGRY…

Momotose is impressed at how much her angel knows about pastries. Mikoto answers that she used to bake some for her friends in school. Momotose is delighted by that and expresses how she also wants to eat the pastries that her angel makes; she would treat them like treasures. Mikoto is taken aback by her words. Momotose only smiles gently and then admits that she is beyond happy at being able to have tea with her angel like this and that her angel came to this school. She is willing to talk about anything and so invites Mikoto to consult her.

Mikoto is touched by her words. But then Momotose asks her which person, out of the 5 Brights, is she closest to? Mikoto chokes on her tea at those words and splutters. Momotose explains that the senki candidate is able to release her powers by being connected with her partner, and so she needs to be very intimate with them. Mikoto gapes at her. Momotose states that they have to be intimate to a certain extent though, as minamos are principally virgins. They are not allowed to be joined through their bodies with gentlemen.

She thinks Mikoto’s love candidate could be Himeutsugi; he is gentle and used to girls, and his kisses and caresses must be skilled. I JUST CHOKED. Mikoto drops her teacup and splutters at Momotose, who continues on. She ponders on Mizuchi since he is faithful but fastidious; he also doesn’t approach girls and may not raise a hand to them, which could be troubling. Iroha is also one but there are too many problems with that; however, if Mikoto chooses him, then Momotose will cheer her on. The heart cannot be denied!

Mikoto feels as if the conversation is running wild. She asks Momotose to stop because she has no intentions…?! But then Momotose exclaims that Mikoto’s face is bright red! That’s no good! She orders Tane and Kasu to immediately call for an ambulance. They acknowledge the order. Mikoto tries to protest but chokes when Tane checks her temperature. He exclaims that she has a fever. Mikoto splutters at a sudden cold, but it’s just Kasu trying to wipe her down with a wet towel. Momotose orders them to bring a futon and a dozen intravenous drips.

But Mikoto continues to protest and tells Momotose that she’s mistaken! Momotose advises Mikoto not to do anything rash and that she’ll be beside her! Mikoto can’t believe how much this escalated, although she feels as if the conversation from before is even more problematic. What does she mean by lover!? Being a senki candidate might be more preposterous than she thought.

DAY 3. A group of Koukokugumi minamo greet Mizuchi. Mikoto turns around at the familiar voice and hears Mizuchi greet them. She’s taken aback by how his minamo are all lined up in a row before the gates. Everyone has their head bowed down at the right angle too… almost like an army. The unknown girl who gave her advice from before approaches Mizuchi and gives him the letters of the day from his minamo.

Mizuchi accepts them and replies that he’ll read them later on. The girl suggests they get going then and thanks all the minamo for their hard work. The minamo cry out their farewell in a chorus to both Mizuchi and the girl. Mikoto watches as the two of them head into the school building in front of the rest of the minamo. Yoshino suddenly appears and tells Mikoto that this is the greeting custom of the Koukokugumi. Mikoto screams in surprise upon seeing Yoshino and asks her when she was here?!

Yoshino answers that she wanted to go to school with Mikoto and so walked behind her. Mikoto just gives her a look before asking what the rule of greeting is. Yoshino explains that Mizuchi normally doesn’t talk to minamo but everyone wants to talk to Mizuchi and become closer to him. And so Mizuchi’s partner, Aoi, created this rule for people to greet Mizuchi. Those on greeting duty select an amount of people from each year in the Koukokugumi and then let them greet Mizuchi like that. Mizuchi is very quiet and doesn’t speak often and so it is a precious event when he does… that’s what the dormitory leader said.

Mikoto is impressed by that, but she recalls from the time he gave her a tour that they were able to hold a conversation so… Yoshino adds that there is also a rule about how the only minamo who can talk to Mizuchi is Aoi. A minamo who breaks that suffers through horrible things… *WAR FLASHBACKS TO THE FIRST GAME* but those are just rumors and the minamo who talk to Mizuchi are limited. Mikoto makes a mental note to be careful.

Then Mikoto asks Yoshino if the person who was with Mizuchi was… Aoi? Yoshino confirms it and also states that they are cousins. Mikoto makes another mental note to thank Aoi the next time they talk.

Scene skip! Mikoto sees Mizuchi and Himeutsugi in the courtyard together. Hime addresses Mikoto and tells her that he heard from Mizuchi about how he guided her around the school. Mikoto confirms it and thanks Mizuchi again. He doesn’t respond. Hime informs her that it is unusual for Mizuchi to talk to a girl. She tilts her head at that and asks if it is true. Mizuchi interrupts and tells Hime that he’s told him countless times that he only did that because Mikoto didn’t know the rules of the school–

Himeutsugi interrupts laughing about how he understands and it is because Mikoto isn’t a Koukokugumi minamo, right? A strained expression passes Mizuchi’s face before he excuses himself. Mikoto watches him walk away with wide eyes. Himeutsugi tells her not to worry because Mizuchi is just embarrassed. At her confused look, he elaborates and says that Mizuchi is interested in her.

Since she continues to look confused, Himeutsugi explains that the ceremony isn’t over yet. She may still be the person who will become Mizuchi’s partner and so there’s no way he can remain uninterested. Moreover, she’s cute. Mikoto startles and calls him out loudly. He smiles gently and asks her why she’s angry because he only spoke the truth. He also admits that he likes girls like her.

Mikoto doesn’t know how to respond to that and realizes that Himeutsugi is a very straight person; there’s no deeper meaning to his words though. He’s contrasted greatly with the quiet Mizuchi. Suddenly, Hime asks Mikoto to come to his room today. She splutters at that and he laughs at how she’s acting too surprised. He points out that there must be many things about Kasen that she still doesn’t understand, right? He’ll teach her.

She brightens up at that and asks him if he really will!? Himeutsugi chuckles again and chidingly tells her that she’s too happy. He’s her temporary partner and so he’ll do all that he can. She thanks him and he decides that they should meet after their classes then. He laughs softly and admits that he’s happy to be alone together with her. She smiles at him and returns the same feeling before asking him to take care of her. Himeutsugi stares back at her silently with wide eyes. She looks at him in confusion, but he just shakes his head before telling her that he’ll see her later. I’M REALLY SCARED…

Scene skip! Mikoto is walking through the hallways and thinking about Hime teaching her Kasen. She’s glad because he had told her before that all she needed to do was be by his side. She hopes that she can be a little bit of strength to him. She needs to respond to his expectations! She steels her resolve and then starts to look for Himeutsugi’s room. But just as she prepares to knock, she overhears Himeutsugi talking about how cute she is and asking Mizuchi for his opinion.

Mizuchi asks him if he’s bringing that up again. Mikoto realizes that the both of them are talking in the room. Himeutsugi wonders out loud if she has a boyfriend; the fact that she came here to Kaen means that she hasn’t had sex yet, but she must have been kissed before, right? He wonders how much experience she has. He recalls that she responded innocently when he invited her to his room and he has the feeling that she didn’t understand, but there are girls that answer like that even while understanding. He wonders which one she is. Mizuchi responds only with a strained silence. OH MY GOD. HIME BEAST.

Himeutsugi continues on about how large her chest is and how it looks nice to touch. He wonders how soft it is if he rubs it. OH MY GOD. He asks Mizuchi if he knows that the skirt is too short and so Mikoto is always pulling on the hem. He finds her restlessness irresistible. Mizuchi sighs loudly and then scolds Hime sternly about how ladies are not things to be stared at like that, and he’s always told him that! Hime points out that it’s fine because as a player he has to be intimate with minamo in order to draw out power. It’s natural to have an interest in their bodies, and he’s a guy.

Mizuchi falls into a stiff silence. Himeutsugi informs Mizuchi that he is going to study alone together with her after this and isn’t that nice? They’ll be very… friendly. ARE YOU POSSESSED BY KARAKURENAI?! Mizuchi tells Hime flatly not to bring in something unrelated to studying. He should teach her with the responsibility of making her a good minamo. Mizuchi exits the room immediately after but bumps into Mikoto, who yelps in surprise. Mizuchi averts his eyes and excuses himself before leaving hurriedly.

Himeutsugi welcomes her with a composed smile. Mikoto can only stare at him with wide eyes. He asks her what the matter is, since she has an interesting expression. She hesitantly tells him that it’s nothing and she came to study. He nods and invites her inside. Mikoto accepts weakly and thinks on how unexpected it is to hear Himeutsugi talk like that to Mizuchi. She’s going to make sure they study properly.

DAY 4. Mikoto is dozing in her bed until she shoots straight up and realizes that she’ll be late! She leaps out of bed and gets changed while hopping around her room and banging into things. And then she bursts out her door, startling the dormitory leader, who she then stops to apologize to before warning that she’ll be late too! The dorm leader just sighs before telling Mikoto that today is a holiday… as well as tomorrow. Mikoto freezes before apologizing again and then asking the dorm leader if she needed anything from her?

The dorm leader informs her that she heard a loud noise and so came to see what it was. She reminds Mikoto that this place is a living area and she needs to keep to the rules. Mikoto apologizes again and promises to be careful. The dorm leader is satisfied as long as she knows. She then tells Mikoto that there is a building open for students who still wish to study.

Mikoto is happy to hear that. The dorm leader explains that the library is operates on the same time as it does in the weekdays and she thinks that Onosada might open the Kasen lecture room if she requests it. She smiles as she knows that Mikoto is trying hard not to be a hindrance to Himeutsugi, in which case she should get going right now. Mikoto thanks her and then head off immediately! CHOICES CHOICES… HMM…

She decides to go to Momotose’s room. Momotose greets Mikoto cheerily and states that she’s been waiting. Kagami is also here and wants to join in; she’s willing to tell the cute lady anything as an older sister. She thinks that Mikoto has things she wants to know.

Mikoto asks about Kaen. Momotose explains that this is the Kasen National Academy. It is where people study “Kasen” the country’s traditional game and it is a school that has an integrated escalator of middle school, high school, and university. Kagami continues on to say that, fundamentally, it’s a place where those with qualities for Kasen gather… but it’s practically attended by rich young men and young ladies. There are also people attending who have donated generously.

Momotose scolds Kagami lightly for saying it that way, though it is true to an extent… but she would like Mikoto not to misunderstand and think that it applies to everyone here. She adds that Kaen is dedicated generally to the education of Kasen. Like an ordinary high school, they have Kasen lessons included in. Kagami interrupts to say that Kasen is their main education though, of course, in a world where they use it often.

Also, there are plenty of people who are smart and so the tests are hard and the truth is there are some hopeless people. But, because of that, those who graduate can go anywhere they want easily and will be well-equipped to deal with anything. Momotose explains that the career choices of graduates from Kaen usually go into corporations or management of Kasen in the country and, from the start, the children here all belong to the rich and the elite.

Kagami goes on to say that the top of the elite can work for the emperor and be a priest but that is rare; it is impossible for those who are not strong in Kasen. In fact, only the 5 Brights can really do it.

Mikoto asks about the 5 Brights. Kagami tells her that they are the top 5 strongest people selected from Kaen. Basically, the top group! Every year. the entire school goes through a very difficult selection process to see who the winners are. Those who become one of the 5 Brights are the only people in the school who hold the title of Kaei, which is an amazing thing. Momotose explains that the 5 Brights right now are: Iroha, Mizuchi, Himeutsugi, and Karakurenai. They are bestowed their respective cards; Chisen; Koukoku; Gekkou; Ouka; and Houou, and entrusted with the group that holds that name.

The students belong to the groups of the 5 Brights that they admire. For the students, the 5 Brights are their pride and a goal for them to aim for. Kagami praises Mikoto on being sharp to notice that there is an extra card. Utsutsu, who is the leader of the Houougumi, is missing and the whereabouts of his followers are unknown. It’s a dangerous thing to talk about. Momotose tells her how Utsutsu disappeared at the same time he was made one of the 5 Brights. It’s a bit of a problem but… she decides to end the conversation here.

Mikoto asks about minamo. Momotose explains that minamo are women who have the ability to amplify the powers of a player who is their partner. They release their powers like waves in water, which is why they were given that name. MINAMO TRANSLATES LITERALLY TO WATER SISTERS. Kagami jokes about how the books describe them as untainted shrine maidens who can give form to the cards and flowers but she thinks they’re more related to watering cans that give water to flowers.

Momotose chides Kagami and asks her to say it in a more romantic way, especially since she’s also a minamo. Kagami points out that she’s merely explaining how someone like her can be one too. She goes on to inform Mikoto about how minamo are unmarried women too… moreover, it’s useless if they aren’t virgins. Momotose admits that it’s not a guaranteed thing but minamo are like shrine maidens and will lose their ability when they are intimate with a man, or their powers will decrease. Momotose advises Mikoto to be careful because at Kaen a minamo will be expelled if she is deflowered.

Kagami shrugs and points out that everything else is fine so long as sex isn’t had and there are plenty of mischievous minamo. She laughs as she claims that there are minamo in Ouka and Gekkou who do borderline obscene things with their 5 Brights. OH MY GOD… GEKKOU…

Mikoto asks about the minamo of the 5 Brights. Momotose explains that there are few minamo who can serve the 5 Brights. She is Iroha’s, Mizuchi has Aoi, Himeutsugi has Kagami, and Karakurenai… Kagami states that Kaa-kun doesn’t have a particular minamo and claims that all of his members belong to him; he has many romantic interests. Momotose tells Kagami sternly that Karakurenai treasures his entire group.

At any rate, the minamos that the 5 Brights use have a comparable amount of power and are able to meet that kind of strength with their water. Kagami agrees and recalls the few times she linked with Iroha and how tiring that was. It seems like only Momo can control that kind of person, as expected of Momo the one that all minamo aspire to. Momotose rolls her eyes in good-nature and notes that this might be troubling to her angel who just became a minamo but she wishes her luck in working hard.

Mikoto asks about the senki. Momotose explains that the senki is, among the minamos, a legendary existence that has a very high ability. It is said that they can move even heaven and earth… Kagami adds that, apparently, they can also draw out the very limits of a Kaei but she can’t imagine that. They also seem to be born once every hundreds or thousands of years. Momotose nods before saying that legend states that the senki will be guided by the onifuda. It is the card that her angel holds. Kagami muses on how Mikoto is quite an amazing person then. Can she take a souvenir photograph?

There’s nothing more to ask for today and Momotose notices that much time has passed. It was all like a dream. She invites Mikoto to come again. Kagami grins and also says she had a lot of fun. Come again!

Mikoto decides to go to the greenhouse and is surprise to see Iroha standing there. What is he doing? She approaches him and calls out his name. He doesn’t respond. She comes even closer and says his name again questioningly. No response. W-What happened? He won’t respond. Suddenly, Momotose appears and shouts at Iroha to quit it and wake up! Mikoto ponders the oddity of those words.

Iroha abruptly asks Momotose what business she has. Mikoto startles upon hearing him. Momotose tells him that she doesn’t have any business but scolds him for confusing her angel; she told him countless of times to stop sleeping with his eyes open. Mikoto can’t believe he was sleeping. Iroha replies flatly that, whether his eyes are open or closed, it doesn’t change the fact that he was sleeping. Mikoto smiles awkwardly at that and thinks on how amazing he is. She couldn’t even see that he was sleeping.

Mikoto decides to go to the library next, but runs into Himeutsugi out in the courtyard. She greets him and he returns the greeting before inquiring as to where she is going. She answers that they are going to have a test soon and so she thought to search for materials in the library. Himeutsugi thinks it’s great to be studious but she also needs to take a break every now and then. He informs her that everyone in Gekkou is about to head out and invites her along.

Apparently, a new cafe opened in Goto-gai and they have famous pancakes. Everyone wants her to come. Mikoto smiles awkwardly and replies that she has a test so she’ll pass. She isn’t as good as the rest of the minamo yet since she just came here and so she’d like to try and catch up. Himeutsugi nods in understanding and says he’ll invite her again in the future, though it’s a shame. She smiles and agrees.

In the library, Mikoto tries to solve one of her problems but she can’t grasp this theory. It’s very difficult… Suddenly, Himeutsugi comments on how she’s been here studying all day. No one is even in here. She startles upon hearing him but then realizes that he’s right. He approaches her and asks her if she didn’t notice. She smiles sheepishly and replies that she was too engrossed in her studying.

He returns her smile and thinks that is characteristic of her. And then he asks if she’s hungry. She hesitates in answering but then her stomach growls loudly, making her turn red in embarrassment. He laughs upon hearing that and comments on how her body is honest. And then he hands her some pancakes that he brought back. She stares at it with wide eyes. Hime tells her that it came from one of the girls in Gekkou, and they customized her toppings. He urges her to open it.

Mikoto points out that it’s forbidden to eat in the library. Himeutsugi lowers his voice and tells her that no one is looking, so she should hurry. Mikoto hurries to do that and then reads out the writing on her pancakes, which is a message welcoming her to Kaen from the entire Gekkougumi minamo. Himeutsugi tells her that it is everyone’s feelings. Mikoto abruptly realizes that today’s outing was for her sake… and she apologizes for saying the things she did before.

He reassures her and tells her that everyone understands; they all just want to be friendly with her. He advises her to just be as she is and take it easy. She thanks him sincerely but he stares at her with a slight frown before informing her that, honestly, her guard is a bit stiff. He thinks she should loosen up some more. For example, he scoops up a piece of the pancake and urges her to open her mouth.

Mikoto splutters out that she can’t do that!! He laughs loudly at how flustered she is and tells her that he knows. But, one day, he’s going to have her sit on his lap and feed her, so she should be prepared. OH MY GOD… Mikoto has no reply to that other than turning red.

DAY 5. Mikoto decides to go to Momotose’s room. Momotose is ecstatic upon seeing her angel visiting them again. Kagami wonders what she came to ask about this time and claims they, as older sisters, will teach her secretly.

Mikoto decides to ask about Kasen. Kagami explains that it is the way hanafuda, or Japanese playing cards, is used as entertainment; the world knows it as Hana Utsushi. She goes onto an enthusiastic description about how players go ZA! and minamo go WA! and give them water and… she doesn’t understand? Momotose explains that players and minamo can draw and manifest the power held in the cards. It is a unique power, and of great strength, that the cards hold.

Kagami tells Mikoto that she can think of it as a special battle with minamo and players, and it’s a complete thrill when they can pull off a great move and turn the tables. Fundamentally, the rules are almost the same as in hanafuda but there are special arrangements. She tells Mikoto to check the computer in the Kasen lecture room for further details.

Mikoto asks about Kaei. Momotose explains that males who can do Hana Awase are given the title of Kaei. Hana Awase is different from Hana Utsushi in that lives are put on the line in battle and so the country only recognizes and permits those with a high ability for Kasen to do it. In Kaen, only the 5 Brights hold the title of Kaei and while the other students are given the Kaei exam when they graduate… most of them fail. Momotose goes on to say that Hana Awase is that difficult and the 5 Brights are an existence that is joined with both honor and death.

Mikoto asks more about Hana Utsushi and Hana Awase. Momotose explains that Hana Utsushi is an official sport for people’s entertainment and matches or public tournaments can create friendship cross-nationally. In comparison, Hana Awase… Kagami picks the conversation up and states that one mistake and they will die. Hana Awase is a death game and if the general public is allowed to do such a dangerous thing then it’d be a big incident, right? And that is why only the Kaei, who have permission from the country, can do it.

Momotose explains that the 5 Brights are only allowed to carry out Hana Awase under the jurisdiction of the chairmen, who have permission from the country. They use it in emergency appearances of utsurohi and to suppress adabana. Kagami tells Mikoto not to have such an uneasy expression because Hana Awase is only used on rare occasions, yeah?

Mikoto asks about utsurohi. Momotose explains that utsurohi are a type of evil spirit born from people’s thoughts and they are drawn out by tenacious hatred. They are dirty things, in other words a “taint”. Kagami admits that it’s hard to explain what utsurohi are since they have no shape… and are just kind of like black sludge. They kind of possess people and make them crazy.

Momotose adds onto that and says that they drive the heart mad, players become adabana, and minamo spread the taint. Minamo are especially weak to the taint and that is why they need the backup of their player. Kagami warns Mikoto that only players and minamo with training in Kasen can see utsurohi, and so if she sees them in town and makes a fuss then she’ll be thought of as a strange person… so she needs to be careful.

Mikoto has nothing else to ask for today and Momotose notes that time has passed in a blink when talking to her angel. She would like Mikoto to come again and will wait for her next visit.

And so Mikoto heads to the greenhouse next but her body feels sluggish and her head is all hot. She can’t stop shuddering. Did she catch a cold? Iroha suddenly appears and calls out to her by her title, the senki candidate. She looks over at him in surprise. He asks her if her health is deteriorating. Her eyes widen at that and she asks him how he knows. He explains that the water being released from her body is hot. OH WOW THAT’S HANDY.

She repeats his words in confusion and so he explains that players can understand the flow of the water in a minamo. He then chides her and tells her that managing her health is one of the senki candidate’s responsibilities. She apologizes immediately and tells him that she’ll drink some cold medicine and recover! He stops her and tells her that’s not necessary. She looks at him in confusion. He orders her to close her eyes and approaches her.

Mikoto obeys him and then feels something press against her forehead. Could it be… She opens her eyes and startles at how close Iroha is. She stutters out his name and starts to turn red, but he just reminds her that he told her to close her eyes and to concentrate. She asks him if he’s taking her temperature in case of a fever…? He denies that and tells her that he’s cycling her water. She echoes his words in confusion.

Iroha explains without emotion that he’s replacing her hot water with his own water. She amazed that he can do that… only to realize that if he’s replacing her water then he is taking in her heated water… He tells her to be quiet. She obeys hesitantly and watches him stare intently at her. And then he asks her why her eyes are open because he told her to close them. She hurriedly apologizes and closes them.

Mikoto is surprised to have her body suddenly feel refreshed. It feels nice… Her body also feels light and it’s like her fever is gone. But she wonders if Iroha will be okay. She’s a bit curious… so she’ll just open her eyes a little. She yelps out his name when she sees his face very close to her, but there is no change to his expression as he tells her that the water cycling is complete and she has no fever now. She confirms it with her eyes still wide.

Iroha goes on to state that the water in minamo is weak to chemicals and she should do her best not to use medicine next time. He orders her to come to him the next time she feels like she has a fever. She thanks him with a stutter and a red face. He walks off before she can ask him anything else though. Mikoto thinks on how, at the moment she opened her eyes, it seemed like Iroha’s lips touched her. But she shakes her head and thinks that couldn’t have happened; this is just her thinking… she was really surprised though.

Mikoto heads to the courtyard next and is greeted by Himeutsugi. She turns around to see that he and Mizuchi are together. Hime asks her if she has become accustomed to Kaen yet? Is anything troubling her? If he can do anything for her then he will do it since they are partners. Mizuchi averts his eyes and says nothing. Mikoto takes a moment to think before blurting out that she has questions for them regarding Kasen next time and they need to put it in writing.

Himeutsugi and Mizuchi are taken aback by her words. She hurriedly reassures them that it won’t be too much and she just needs them to fill out two pages of paper for a report. Himeutsugi still looks startled as he agrees hesitantly and tells her to leave it to them. Mikoto thanks them brightly and then excuses herself. Himeutsugi… has no idea how to respond to that, but Mizuchi has a smirk playing on his lips. UGH WHAT A CUTIE. Hime narrows his eyes and accuses Mizuchi of laughing just now. Mizuchi is still smiling as he denies it; he also states that he’ll properly fill out the form. He walks off and leaves Himeutsugi there to sigh at what a difficult child Mikoto is.

DAY 6. Mikoto decides to go to Momotose’s room. She excuses herself as she enters but Momotose greets her with a large smile and comments on how they meet again and it is as if they are joined by fate. Kagami welcomes her cheerily and starts to ask what Mikoto intends to talk to her older sisters about… but pauses with interest. She thinks she knows what today’s topic is going to be about from the look on Mikoto’s face… it is going to be a discussion on love!

Mikoto smiles sheepishly and denies that but… asks about Iroha. Momotose explains that he is a third year student in the Chisengumi and a Kaei, as well as one of the 5 Brights. His flower, technique, and everything excel and he is the top of the top. He is someone that every student in this school strives to be. Momotose continues on to say that Chisen is where all the students who aspire to be Iroha gather and they determine their place by being selected daily. Because of that, there is an air of tension.

Kagami goes on to talk about how Iroha has ridiculously good looks and it’s too good to be true that it gives her shivers. In addition he also has “eyes of the moon”. Momotose inclines her head at that and goes on to explain that he is one of the holders of the valuable “eyes of the moon” and in the world of Kasen the moon is an immensely good omen; even the emperor acknowledges the superiority of those who have this. THAT’S MY DARLING– *BRICKED* Kagami adds that those eyes are dangerous. Any person who looks at them will feel drawn to them, as if by the moon’s gravity, and become strange; the bearer themselves will have no idea that this is happening.

Momotose tells Mikoto that Iroha doesn’t care for anything apart from Kasen and there are times where she has no idea what he is thinking. Kagami agrees and then claims that the only person who can control that particular animal is Momo.

Mikoto asks about Mizuchi. Momotose explains that he is a second year student in the Koukokugumi and a Kaei. He and Himeutsugi, upon going into their second year, completed the Kaei ceremony and are the quickest to becoming one of the 5 Brights. Both of them have an outstanding ability and are uncommon, especially Mizuchi who has experience with Kasen from his family at a young age.

Kagami goes on to say that Mizuchi is a son from the ancient and honorable MIZUCHI family. She has heard that their grandfather is extremely strict and Aoi, his cousin, will tremble upon hearing just his name. Momotose claims that he is strict and has a lot of pride… Mizuchi, who has the blood of a family that has a deep trust with the emperor, acts naturally with sincerity and earnestness. Kagami points out that the Koukokugumi have assumed Micchi’s characteristics and are very serious as well as strict on themselves and others. They are bound by a number of rules and Micchi’s words are absolute… they’re like soldiers. I’M TRYING TO KEEP KAGAMI’S NICKNAMES ‘CAUSE THEY’RE SO CUTE.

Momotose comments on how Mizuchi doesn’t talk very much to his minamo and she wishes he was a bit more loose. Kagami adds that he is an unusually traditional person who hasn’t even held a girl’s hand, but it seems like he has some interest in Mikoto which is unusual for that straight-laced person.

Mikoto asks about Himeutsugi. Momotose explains that he is a second year Kaei in the Gekkougumi. He was recommended and admitted from high school to them as a scholarship student. During his advance into second year, he became one of the 5 Brights. He is kind and gentle. Kagami tells them that this is what a person would say upon seeing him but there are surprising parts too. At the core he is a handsome man and even a playboy, but men like him as well.

Momotose agrees and then goes on to say that he treasures peace in his surroundings. But he knows when to draw attention when needed and is modest. It is also apparent that he has great trust in Mizuchi. Kagami adds that Hime priorities other people over himself and the minamo of Gekkou study that and are all good kids. Momotose adds that the Gekkou are like Himeutsugi in his kindness and deep consideration of others. They all have pure hearts like him. UH HUH…

Kagami agrees and then talks about how the Gekkou are like a royal palace at school and call Hime a princess. They’re also all in such high spirits that it’s hard not to join in sometimes. Momotose is grinning as she says that Himeutsugi will do anything to please those girls and she suggests Mikoto, who is used to talking with girls, should try spoiling him.

Mikoto asks about Karakurenai. Momotose explains that he is a third year Kaei in the Oukagumi. He was admitted into this school in his second year and, upon advancing into third year, became one of the 5 Brights. He also seems to be a distant relative to the chairmen. Kagami explains that Kaa-kun is an unprecedented young noble and it’s interesting how he won’t forgive anything that he isn’t first place in. He’s also a genius Kaei.

Momotose laughs before going on to say that Karakurenai’s ability in Kasen is one of the highest and second only to Iroha. But he has pride in his true abilities as well… Kagami goes on to say that he won’t fight anyone he doesn’t feel like it and so he isn’t first place in the Katou rankings. She thinks that he would be stronger than Iroha if he was serious. Momotose adds that, because of his abilities, he is very picky about his battles. He is also very possessive in the way he attends to the minamo in Oukagumi.

Kagami explains that he’s the type to treat all the women in love with him equally and without rejection. Because of that, all the minamo in Oukagumi are deeply in love with him. Momotose thinks he goes too far sometimes though… he has never caused a minamo to lose her qualities but Momotose warns Mikoto to be careful.

There are no more questions to ask and Momotose notes the time that has passed. She reminds Mikoto to come whenever she likes and that they’ll be waiting. Kagami grins and tells her that if she’s good then they’ll even talk about themselves~!

Mikoto decides to visit the greenhouse and tries to recall where her next lesson is. Suddenly, she hears a girl giggling and refusing something. A male responds that it is fine and tells her to come closer. Mikoto looks around in confusion and notes that the voices seem to be coming from outside a window…? She startles in surprise when she sees a couple intertwined. Onosada appears beside her and comments on what a nice hobby she has… being a peeping tom. Mikoto rears back with an actual yelp.

Onosada only continues to grin and comments on how energetic the couple is and goes for a closer look. He notes that it is a minamo from Oukagumi and a player from Gekkougumi. That’s bad. At Mikoto’s confused look, he explains that the opponent for Ouka is terrible and it’ll be a bloodbath. Mikoto asks him why. He merely shrugs coyly and then comments on how secret affairs should be kept moderate… the same goes for her.

Mikoto turns red and snaps out that she won’t do that! He leaves without another word though and she thinks on his words about it being a bloodbath… that sounds dangerous. This reminds her that she hasn’t seen the Bright of the Oukagumi. What kind of person is he?

At any rate, Mikoto decides to go to the library next. She walks through the hallways and sighs at how her test scores aren’t rising… ignoring her general lessons, her Kasen ones are failing marks. At this rate she is going to be expelled before they even have the official ceremony! She needs to study harder! She recalls that the library has Kasen problems and heads there immediately.

She’s amazed once again at how Kaen has such a large library… but she realizes it should be expected. Moreover, everyone here is studying in silence… they’re all so serious. She recalls how Kaen’s standard scores are high and that she heard being admitted is hard. It really is a school for the elite. She shakes her head at her distracted thoughts and reminds herself to study! She heads over to what she thinks is the corner for Kasen problems.

Mikoto wonders where they keep the beginner books here. She startles when she suddenly notices Mizuchi here. He doesn’t say anything. She looks at him questioningly and then starts to feel nervous at how he’s glaring at her. NO SWEETIE THAT’S JUST HIS NORMAL FACE LMAO. He exhales slowly and Mikoto starts to feel scared. What should she do? Did she somehow make him angry?!

She can’t help but notice how tall he is when he approaches and the look in his eyes is a bit… Mizuchi starts to look a bit strained, but Mikoto is so scared she can’t move! Kagami suddenly appears and halts Mizuchi where he is. Mikoto greets Kagami in surprise. Kagami hands her something before saying that this is what Mizuchi wanted to give her. Mikoto takes a look and notices that it’s a collection of problems.

Kagami explains that it’s an introduction to minamo. It even has illustrations and so should be easy to understand. She teases Mizuchi by saying that he searched for this to give to Mikoto, right? Mizuchi freezes as Mikoto smiles brightly at him and thanks him. Mizuchi starts to automatically deny this but then cuts himself off and falls silent. He finally blurts out that whispering in the library is forbidden and excuses himself.

They watch him leave before Kagami sighs at how that stiff person hasn’t changed. She can’t believe that a person like that is so popular. She comments on how being glared at by a snake must be scary, right? OH MY GOD YOU COULD READ THIS AS A “LARGE SERPENT” TOO… REMEMBER WHAT ELSE IS A LARGE SERPENT… THE MIZUCHI DRAGON. She advises Mikoto to be patient because Mizuchi isn’t used to talking to girls. She adds teasingly that Mikoto is also slightly different. Mikoto echoes her words curiously but Kagami only smiles coyly and shrugs. Mikoto wonders what that smile is about.

At night, Mizuchi asks Himeutsugi for some time. Himeutsugi comments on how unusual it is for Mizuchi to talk to him at this time. He inquires if this is about the time he asked Mikoto over to his room? He reassures Mizuchi and tells him nothing happened, they just studied properly. Mizuchi tells him that he’s mistaken. He points out that tomorrow is the Katou with Iroha and asks about Hime’s chance of success.

Himeutsugi is silent… before admitting that he has none because he knows his senior’s strength. Mizuchi asks him why he placed his expulsion from this school on the line then? He points out that Himeutsugi came to this school under the special recommendation of an admissions board. Do they know about this? Himeutsugi smiles calmly and replies that he knows and that is why he is fighting. Mizuchi nods curtly in understanding.

A silence falls between them before Hime asks Mizuchi if he believes in love at first sight? Mizuchi is surprised at this topic change but answers in the negative and starts to dismiss that kind of thing… but then he pauses and asks Hime with wide eyes if he possibly… Himeutsugi’s smile only widens before he exclaims that he needs to sleep. He says his good nights to Mizuchi and thanks him for his worry.

He closes the door on Mizuchi and then drops the smile on his face. His phone rings immediately after and he answers it with just his name. His voice is calm as he answers in the affirmative to something and that he understands. He ends the call and whispers that he’ll do it… reliably.

DAY 7. Kagami is in the greenhouse and ordering the cameramen to come closer; she announces herself as the reporter and talks about how the day has finally come! She introduces today as the battle that everyone – including students – have been talking about, and one that only Jinja TV will be broadcasting. She thanks all the students and watchers who have gathered here to watch this battle. Already, team Iroha and Momotose are in the venue and they are going against sexy guy, Himeutsugi, and the lovably cute young lady!

She wonders out loud if the latter can win against the unrivaled combination of Iroha and Momotose. Let us have a look at their skill! Kagami opens the doors into the auditorium only to freeze and stare in confusion. W-What? What is the meaning of this?!

Scene skip! Mikoto wonders what to do because she’s nervous at how today is the Katou. She studied all that she could but, in the end, she… Himeutsugi smiles gently at her and asks for her hand. She extends her hand to him in confusion but then turns red when he kisses it. Hime continues to smile and tells her that this is a kiss of courage and, if he wins, she will give him a kiss of victory, right?

She can only stare at him in surprise. His smile widens though as he calls her a princess and asks for her hand again to escort her. She takes his hand and they both enter the auditorium but Mikoto notices immediately that the appearance is… odd. An unknown person greets Hime by calling him a “shitty princess” and that he’s been waiting. GUESS WHO?! He comments on how bold they were in keeping this quiet from the great Kurenai-sama.

Mikoto startles upon seeing him and wonders who he is. He catches her looking at him and muses out loud on how she’s the senki candidate, huh? She looks like she’d writhe and cry out well. Mikoto’s eyes widen in worry and fear. Kurenai demands Hime to hand her over because she belongs to him. Mikoto can only stare at him in shock and wonder who this person is again.

Himeutsugi is completely calm as he informs Kurenai that these are holy grounds and he would like him to move. Kurenai narrows his eyes and replies that he could care less and it’s not related to this. He also accuses Hime of putting on airs and then demands loudly for him to hand the girl over. He suddenly calls out to some others and orders them to carry the girl over to him. HE HAS LACKEYS? L M F A O.

Mikoto yelps as she’s forcefully marched over to Kurenai, who immediately drags her into a kiss. He murmurs thoughtfully against her lips that she isn’t so bad… and she’s his type. Himeutsugi shouts out her name in shock but Kurenai tells him not to come any closer and then orders his lackeys to restrain Hime. The male students, who are in Oukagumi, apologize to Himeutsugi but explain that Kurenai’s orders are absolute.

Himeutsugi shouts at them to release him and struggles even harder upon seeing Mikoto kissed again. Karakurenai tells them all that he heard how, when he had left Kaen just for a little bit, the chairmen held a pseudo-ceremony without waiting for him. He also heard about how she was left to Hime and then somehow it became a talk about a Katou against Iroha with this woman as a bet. He cusses them all out and at how they’re having this struggle over this girl without him even knowing about it.

Kurenai kisses her again before recalling out loud how the senki candidate forms a contract with their partner by kissing them. He laughs cruelly and claims that he could care less about the onifuda. With this, the ceremony is complete. He informs everyone loudly to listen up and that from today this girl belongs to him, the Bright of the Oukagumi. Mikoto is stunned that this person is one of the 5 Brights… this violent person. Really!?

He continues on to say that she belongs, of course, to Oukagumi. Now that she’s become his woman, no one else is allowed to lay even one finger on her. He kisses Mikoto again, which makes her shove at him and try to protest. But Kurenai is only amused at her attempts and yanks her back in to press his lips against hers. He wants to show Hime this and calls him a snob without any balls.

Mikoto struggles even more while Himeutsugi glares. Karakurenai is only amused and asks what that look is for. Does he have a problem? Kurenai explains that he properly did the Katou match, by the way. He destroyed Iroha in place of Hime and so this girl is his just reward. OMFG SO KURENAI /IS/ STRONGER THAN IROHA. Mikoto can’t believe it. He beat Iroha!? She realizes just now that she can’t see Momotose or the others. Why!?

Himeutsugi breathes in shakily. Karakurenai tilts his head and asks him if he’s feeling frustrated, because he’s willing to Katou again. Of course the winner is going to be him though. He laughs upon saying that. Hime starts to growl lowly and Mikoto is startled to feel a shock in the back of her mind. There’s some heavy and black pressing down. A… black shadow appears. Utsurohi!? Karakurenai is just as startled as she is when a large amount of black shadows start to surge up from the ground.

Female and male students start to scream and Mikoto does as well when the black shadow enlarges, but she’s suddenly grabbed by Himeutsugi who shouts out a warning. He warns her not to touch the utsurohi or her body will become tainted. Mikoto repeats his words faintly. Meanwhile, Karakurenai smirks at this great timing; he can’t resist this party. He tells Hime that they’ll have to postpone their match because he’s going to destroy these utsurohi.

Mikoto is stunned when Karakurena just runs into the black shadows. She turns upon hearing a male student scream though and is shocked when she sees the shadows cover them up. The shadows take on the shape of the human and starts to cackle while asking where the senki candidate is. Mikoto is terrified to see that the student is like another person now. Himeutsugi explains that the student turned into an adabana.

Onosada appears beside them and elaborates, upon seeing Mikoto’s confusion at the word, that an adabana is a player who is stained with darkness from being possessed by the utsurohi. Once they are like that, there is nothing they can do but defeat them and make them wither. Onosada can’t believe that the moment he looks away for a second this happens. It’s impossible for the auditorium to surge with utsurohi a second time.

He asks Himeutsugi if this is the work of an adabana. Hime explains that they came naturally as utsurohi and it is the possessed students who have become adabana. Onosada narrows his eyes and wonders what is going on with the chairmens’ barrier if such a large amount of low level utsurohi were called. Hime requests Onosada to evacuate the students who have not been tainted yet in the auditorium.

Hime also reports that Karakurenai went in alone to wither the utsurohi and, although there is quite a large amount, he is confident that Karakurenai will defeat them all. Onosada realizes that Himeutsugi intends to eliminate the adabana. Himeutsugi nods curtly. Mikoto points out that, to eliminate adabana, they will have to do Hana Awase, right? Onosada warns her that this is different from before and this time the enemy is an adabana. They will be killing their opponent… with their own hands.

At Mikoto’s horrified expression, Onosada explains that this is the true form of Hana Awase: a struggle for life, a battle that bets life and death. They will be using Hana Awase to kill the thing that has become a possessed adabana. Mikoto protests because this a student of their school! She can’t kill them! Onosada only raises an eyebrow and asks her if she is just going to stand and watch the untainted people die then?

Himeutsugi tells her quietly that adabana do not have human hearts. They are without mercy and will indiscriminately kill all the students here. They have to do this in order to protect the other students. Mikoto tries to protest again but Onosada interrupts and tells her flatly that she can return home like this if she’s scared. She wanted to go home, right? In exchange, her partner Himeutsugi will be battling this adabana alone. But that should be okay since she was only half of a minamo.

Mikoto is torn about what to do, but Himeutsugi only smiles calmly at her and tells her that he fights for her sake. She stares at him stunned before taking a moment to steel her resolve and declare that she had spoke about wanting to be by his side, and so she will be by his side. She will stay by his side and give him water! Himeutsugi nods and his smile widens as he tells her that they’re going to Hana Awase. Upon her nod, he sets up the field and does his field call.

They defeat the adabana and Mikoto watches as it disappears with a fading scream. Onosada quietly says 「枯れた花は、このまま空気に溶けてなくなる。・・・新たな花として生まれ変わるんだ。穢れも罪も全て溶けて、な。」(A dead plant dissolves like this into the air… and will be reborn as a new flower; its taint and sins… everything dissolves).

Mikoto repeats his words about dissolving and tries to ask a question, but she collapses before she can and is startled to feel her body shake and become cold. What? It’s even more cold now than it was last time… she’s scared. She turns to look at Himeutsugi and calls out his name, only to be startled when he suddenly embraces her. He thanks her quietly for fighting together with him.

She’s startled before smiling at him and saying that it was because he spoke to her and gave her the courage to fight. And that’s why she’s thankful that he let her be beside him. His voice lowers even more as he tells her that he couldn’t protect her though. Not just from Karakurenai but from this and the adabana… which are his fault. It was because he was weak… He notes that she was scared… right?

Mikoto hurriedly denies it and stutters out that she… she… she starts to cry and confesses through her sobs that she was terrified. He gives a small nod and, as she cries louder, he tells her that it’s okay now. He’s here. And he’s… sorry for hurting her. Mikoto can feel a sadness radiating from his body; he’s apologizing to her with his entire body. Even though it wasn’t his fault, he is suffering because of her. She can feel the coldness disappearing slowly. Himeutsugi’s warmth is making the water in her body slowly return.

It’s a strange… and warm water. Is this the exchange between a minamo and their partner? The flower and water exhibit their powers through the joining of their feelings. In that case… what she can do is… I KEEP WAITING FOR KARAKURENAI TO INTERRUPT THEM OMG. Mikoto wishes to return this warmth that he gave her… to him who thinks of others before himself…

「我が心 焼くも我れなり はしきやし
君に恋ふるも 我が心から」 – Himeutsugi
(It is I that burn my heart out,
My heart
That yearns for him!) – Anonymous (Book 13, #3271).
THIS POEM IS ABOUT THE POET FEELING BURNING JEALOUSY BUT ALSO A YEARNING LOVE FOR THEIR BELOVED; BOTH ARE ACTS FROM THEIR HEART.

Himeutsugi sighs in disappoint at himself and how awful he looked then. He should be disqualified from being a prince. He made her go through a terrifying experience and made her cry, even though he intended on it to go much smoother than that. Yes, it should have gone well but Karakurenai stole everything. The victory… and her lips. He snorts derisively and thinks on how it was best that she not know what was going through the mind of the man who was gently hugging and comforting her. If she knew, she would surely scorn him.

After all, he is a reliable prince to her… and that’s why… he… Himeutsugi draws in a sharp breath and notes that his body is heavy. This is…!? Ah, he understands now… as expected of his senior. He exhales slowly, almost as if in pain, and reassures himself. He is still fine and he will do what he must. Himeutsugi addresses Mikoto in his thoughts and how he wants to be her prince. He wants to keep her as she is, pure and beautiful. And that’s why he won’t show her… his true self yet.

Someone says her name and confirms that she is Mikoto, right? Mikoto wonders if this is a dream but answers that she is Mikoto. The voice is overjoyed at how she can hear him. He’s glad. How long has he been waiting for this day? Then he asks her if she remembers him. She takes a moment to think about it but apologizes because she doesn’t really… but she does feel as if she has heard him before somewhere. Whenever she tries to remember, her mind just spaces out. She apologizes.

He introduces himself as the Half Moon. She repeats his name curiously and then asks if she can only hear his voice, because she wants to see him. He refuses because it’s embarrassing and so he won’t show her. IS IT BECAUSE IROHA IS A SLOB– I MEAN… She gapes before repeating his words. Embarrassing!?

The Half Moon replies that he lied and the truth is that he can’t move. He elaborates 「体が重くて、何かに引っ張られているみたい。変なものが、全身に張り付いてて。」(My body is heavy, as if I’m being pulled by something. Something strange is stuck around my entire body). She asks him if he is alright. He doesn’t know but when she is here he feels relieved. She asks him if there is anything she can do, because maybe she can be of help?

He asks 「・・・じゃあ、僕の手を握ってくれる?・・・手なら、大丈夫。」(… Then, can you hold my hand?… as long as it’s the hand, it should be fine). Mikoto is startled when the light suddenly brightens, meanwhile the Half Moon is tearfully happy at the sensation of her hand. He wishes that he can meet her here again. The light becomes blinding and then Mikoto feels herself waking up.

DAY 8. The dream just now… But then she realizes that she isn’t in her room. A white wall and a white bed…? Could this place be…? Mikoto startles when she realizes Iroha is beside her and sleeping on the bed. He’s… holding her hand? Why?! I AM FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW. REMEMBER THE BEGINNING OF MIZUCHI-HEN? HALF-MOON…!! JFC. Momotose suddenly appears and tells her that Iroha gripped her hand while she was waiting here and fell asleep.

Mikoto yelps out Momotose’s name, but she only tells Mikoto to please leave her hand like that for a while longer. Mikoto agrees and recalls inwardly how, after the incident in the auditorium, she went to the hospital with Himeutsugi to see how Iroha and the others were. She remembers relieving Momotose but somehow she fell asleep… crap.

Momotose apologizes since she knows there’s a big fuss with the utsurohi outbreak but Mikoto came here. Mikoto hurriedly denies it and inquires about Iroha. Momotose explains that he’s been like that since he collapsed from the Katou, and then she recalls that she hasn’t explained properly what happened in the auditorium. Before Himeutsugi and Mikoto arrived, Karakurenai applied for a Katou because he was worked up at how they did a ceremony without him. No one could stop him.

In the middle of the fight, Iroha suddenly collapsed. The doctor said that the symptoms were very close to anemia. It might be that he was dried up (or exhausted). I SWEAR… THESE FLOWER REFERENCES. Mikoto repeats the word “dried up” questioningly and so Momotose explains that, when they are using Kasen, they fight by using the water circulating in their bodies. This water acts the same as blood. When this water becomes extremely low then drying up happens and its symptoms resemble anemia.

Primarily, drying up is particular to minamo only. In other words, because minamo are constantly giving water to them, players should not be able to dry up. Momotose frowns and explains that, as a matter of fact, Iroha is not receiving any of her water… or more like, even when she gives it to him, it disappears immediately. Mikoto’s eyes widen as Momotose muses on how it’s like a hole had opened up inside of him and, in a blink, all the water in his body disappeared.

When they were battling Karakureni, Iroha was not able to be given water and so was defeated. Even if he is the top of the top, he is not able to draw out power if he does not have water… nor is he able to rise from the bed. This is the first time she’s seen such a thing. Mikoto can’t understand why Iroha is dried up. They are interrupted by a knock on the door before Mizuchi enters and explains that he brought a change of clothes for Iroha.

Momotose thanks him and then asks him about Himeutsugi. Mizuchi informs her that he is at a shop inside the hospital buying daily necessities. Mizuchi halts for a second when he notices Mikoto before he thanks her for staying beside Iroha from dawn until now. He even uses her name instead of calling her the senki candidate. She’s startled to be addressed but accepts his thanks and remembers that he also accompanied them to the hospital.

Wait, but doesn’t that mean Mizuchi also saw her sleeping face?! She feels embarrassed and hurriedly says that she’ll go to help Himeutsugi before asking where the shop is. Mizuchi averts his eyes from her and acknowledges her words but points out that her hair right now is… Mikoto yells out that she’ll be leaving now and runs out. Momotose smiles behind her hand and comments on how she just went out with bed hair, huh.

Mizuchi states stiffly that he didn’t notice. Momotose points out with a small smile that he nearly mentioned it right now, no? He’s not being honest. But then she sighs and recalls how surprised she was to hear about what occurred while they weren’t there… she can’t believe that Karakurenai would do such a thing to her angel! Mizuchi tells her that he heard the chairmen disciplined Karakurenai, but his senior’s tyranny will not be forgiven. Of all things… to do that to the senki candidate in front of the public…! He thinks Kurenai should have received a heavier punishment.

Momotose is surprised at how uncharacteristic this is of Mizuchi. Mizuchi stiffens at that remark before apologizing. Her expression becomes strained as she thinks on how hard this must be on Himeutsugi, when he had been given Mikoto as a minamo. It would be good if he wasn’t tormenting himself over it. Mizuchi only narrows his eyes at a distant spot.

Meanwhile, Mikoto is wandering through the hospital wondering where Himeutsugi went. She didn’t find him in the shop and so she wonders if he may be in the lobby. Ah, there he is! She hesitates for a moment when she notices that he’s looking at the ground with a tight frown, but the moment he hears her approach he pastes on a gentle smile and greets her before asking how she is feeling. She reassures him that she is doing fine and apologizes for dozing off.

Himeutsugi confirms with a chuckle that she was sleeping soundly… and she has quite the bed hair. It’s sticking straight up from her head. Mikoto stares at him in shock before asking loudly where that is on her head. But he only steps closer to her and points out that she also has drool on her face. Mikoto turns bright red and yelps in embarrassment. Himeutsugi laughs loudly before telling her that he lied about the drool. He fixes her hair for her and then tells her that he, her servant, has fixed it. Is it to his princess’ liking? NO. STOP.

Mikoto frowns since he gave a pat to her head, like she was a child. His lighthearted expression fades though and she looks at him briefly with worry before smiling and thanking him. She also asks if she can sit beside him? As she takes a seat, she notes out loud that he’s been moving constantly after what happened and she hopes he got some rest. Hime informs her that he slept and soundly too, like her. She points out that his pallor isn’t so good.

He smiles sheepishly and explains that he’s pale. The girls in Gekkougumi often make the same comment, but he doesn’t tan in the sun; he only turns red before returning back to being pale. Mikoto continues to frown with worry. Hime asks if she’s hungry because they can buy something to eat at the shop; they have sandwiches. But the moment he stands up he winces and wavers, causing her to call out his name with worry and ask what’s wrong. He’s completely white in the face!

Himeutsugi continues to smile, though strained, and tells her not to concern herself. He’s startled when Mikoto states sternly that she’s not going to do that. She asks him to let her worry over him. She hurries off to a vending machine and comes back with a warm towel. She positions him so that his head is on her thighs and places the towel over his eyes before explaining that this should make him feel refreshed. They just need to stay like this for a moment.

He thanks her but explains that his body only feels a bit heavy. She can release him now though since he’s fine. He explains that it’s just something about his health, so she doesn’t need to worry… but he does admit that it was quite painful this time. It’s easier now though thanks to her. Mikoto is relieved before chiding him about overworking himself and needing to take care of himself more.

Hime laughs before commenting on how this is a nice side benefit though; he was given her lap and is being nursed by her. It makes him want to be sick. Mikoto has no response to that and the smile disappears from Hime’s face as he murmurs that he went too far with his joke. He sighs before saying that he gives up. He must not look cool at all. Mikoto doesn’t think that is true at all, which makes him smile softly before calling her kind.

He becomes serious as he asks her if she really is fine. She makes a questioning noise and so he points out that she stiffened. She explains that she doesn’t do this very much and so she’s just nervous. He admits that he was worried that she had remembered what happened in the auditorium and what he would do if she started drying up here.

Himeutsugi explains that minamo, when they touch people and sense taint, will lose their water. Their body becomes cold and they start to shake. In extreme cases they will lose consciousness and their lives may be in danger. At that time, when she was touched by Karakurenai, she dried up. And so he was afraid that she would be tainted by his touch since he is also a male.

Mikoto protests loudly that she doesn’t think of his touch as being dirty at all! Moreover, he is… Himeutsugi finishes her sentence by calling himself a princess. NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. WE WENT THROUGH THIS IN MIZUCHI-HEN. Mikoto falls silent in confusion and so Hime removes the towel from his face and states that she doesn’t see him as a man, because he is a princess. And this is why she isn’t scared when he touches her, right?

She shakes her head and answers that she isn’t scared of him because he is her partner. He points out that he’s a fake one because an official partner hasn’t been decided yet. Moreover, he wasn’t able to protect her and, in the end, he’s in this sorry state. He laughs bitterly before exclaiming that he should be eliminated as her partner. Mikoto protests to that but Himeutsugi only breathes in shakily before confessing that he’s frustrated… extremely.

He had intended to be the one who would receive… the victory kiss. Mikoto gapes at him before asking if he was really going to go through with that?! His expression becomes strained as he admits that of course he was. She stutters as she tells him that would have been impossible… doing that. She falls completely silent. It dawns upon Himeutsugi that she might not have ever kissed before.

Mikoto flinches before asking him to stop, but he only comments on how unexpected that is. He had thought that she would have already with someone… could that have been her first kiss? She yelps at him to stop talking right now! But Hime only sighs in disappointed before admitting that he’s even more irritated now. He couldn’t protect her first kiss. She tries to tell him that it wasn’t like that at all…

But Hime only draws in a shaky breath before murmuring 「僕が、本当の王子様だったら、ちゃんとできたのに。やっぱりニセモノのお姫様じゃ、おとぎ話みたいにはいかないか。」(If I had been a real prince I would have been able to do it. As I thought, a fake princess can never be like someone in a fairy tale). She questions him about this fairy tale he’s talking about.

Himeutsugi explains that he read one a long time ago. Mikoto stiffens when he reaches up and tugs her head down close to him, but he shushes her and says that they have to maintain this distance because he doesn’t want anyone else to hear. In her mind she panics at keeping this distance because his face is so close it’s embarrassing! They could almost touch at any time!

He tells her that, one day, a prince saved a woman from an evil monster attacking her. It turned out that the woman was a princess that just came from the moon. The princess was extremely beautiful and pure… so much that the prince fell in love with her at first sight. And so he sealed a vow to love her forever by kissing her on the chest. However, the prince was cursed. It was a terribly sad curse that made it so he would never be able to bring happiness to the princess. To be continued. WAIT. WHAT??

Mikoto is shocked at that and asks him desperately what happened next. He smiles playfully at her and asks if she wants to know? She admits that she’s curious now. He promises to tell her the rest if the onifuda chooses him. She pouts at that and he laughs before saying to remember that and… this will be a substitute bookmark until then. Mikoto splutters when she feels him give her a quick kiss. D-Did he just…!?

Himeutsugi points out that the victory kiss isn’t this and one day he’ll have one properly. He’s feeling much better now too thanks to her and he sits up before changing the subject to how Mizuchi must be worrying by now. He needs to go and he’ll drop sandwiches off in the room. Mikoto is left behind with a red face as he walks away. He just… kissed her right now, didn’t he? What should she do? She’s really embarrassed right now. Because Himeutsugi just… she shakes her head. It’s impossible to think of it! Her face feels extremely hot and so she decides to wash it.

Scene skip. In the evening, Kintoki says that he understands Onosada’s point. At the time of the Katou, Karakurenai challenged and fought Iroha as he pleased and then, after that, assaulted the senki candidate as he pleased. Then utsurohi appeared as they pleased and attacked the students as they pleased. Doing as one pleases is surprisingly effective, isn’t it? Kintoki directs this to his butterfly, Beni.

Onosada lowers his head and apologizes sincerely to the chairmen. Awa scolds Kintoki for bullying him. He then turns to Onosada and explains that heard everything from another teacher and how, on the day of the match, Onosada was not at the auditorium but was in the dormitories drinking sake and left Kagami to watch over the match. Kagami winces and makes a joke about feeling awkward at having this conversation turned onto her by the chairmen.

It’s true that Onosada asked her to watch over the match but this has always been done from time to time. Kintoki raises an eyebrow and asks Onosada in a dangerous voice if he lets students watch over the holy matches. Kagami flinches even more at her wrongly chosen words and asks for forgiveness since she was the one who selfishly asked for the television broadcasting to be used and so there was an area opened for them.

Awa interrupts and points out that there are things even Kagami ought to have said. Kaen is under the emperor’s rule; the interior is not permitted to be open to the public, and so for permission to have been granted for the television shoot was because Kagami’s family donated a large amount of money. Awa warns Kagami that they are shutting down the permission due to the situation this time and that Kagami should not become a woman sponging off of her parents. She is also to stop using any special measures that she has been doing up to now.

Kagami lowers her head and apologizes deeply. Kintoki inquires as to what happened to Karakurenai, because he was called here. Onosada answers that he won’t leave his room. Awa sighs and wonders if he’s sulking from how severely they scolded him; it’s been a long time since they spanked him on the butt. Onosada and Kagami gape at the chairmen. Awa smirks and asks him why he looks so surprised. Children are spanked on the butt as a punishment for doing something bad, no? Kagami knows that but… finds it hard to imagine. SAME.

Kintoki points out to Awa that for the 5 Brights to act out like this must mean that the madness from the moon has started. The surge of utsurohi may also be a part of that. Awa agrees and thinks that they may need to urgently decide on an official partner for the senki candidate. Kintoki remarks on how leisurely that girl has been acting though and how she does not even have a fragment of self-awareness as the senki candidate.

Awa notes that even the Katou match between Iroha and Himeutsugi was to allow her to return home as a condition of victory. The onifuda would be crying. Does she even have any intention of deciding on a partner…? Kagami muses on how it’s like Mikoto is a lost princess searching for a husband… husband…! She bounces up and down and exclaims that she has a great idea! Kintoki repeats her words with skepticism.

Kagami explains that they can have the 5 Brights seduce Mikoto. If the 5 Brights, which are filled with beautiful men, attack her intensely like that then she will fall in love with someone and the onifuda will also make a choice! In the end, everything will be okay! Kintoki rolls his eyes at how worthless that suggestion is. As if the onifuda would guide them like that, right Awa? Awa is smiling though and thinks that this might be good. If she has compatibility then the moons will also meet. A courtship between the 5 Brights and the senki candidate guided by the moon… he thinks it’ll be interesting.

Will it be the man she is interested in or will the onifuda guide her to another man… only the moon knows. If a partner is still not decided from this then they will just expel everyone. Onosada’s jaw drops before he protests loudly. Expulsion?! Isn’t that going too far? Even for an instant, these men are the 5 Brights. Kintoki points out that it would be ridiculous for one of the 5 Brights to be unable to capture that young girl’s “heart”. They have to at least contend for that much. As men, they should fall for someone they can properly fall for. Kintoki declares that it’s been decided. One week after the day that Iroha returns to the school is when they will start Operation Propose with Mikoto and the 5 Brights.

DAY 9. Mikoto is in her room thinking about how ridiculous things have become. She can’t believe the chairmen talked about her being proposed to. She admits that it’s her fault she isn’t conscious of herself as the senki candidate, but she only just became used to this school. Mikoto was told that this would all happen once Iroha returned, which makes her realize that they’ve already decided to do it. She thinks everything that is happening was because she wasn’t clear enough.

She takes out the onifuda and blinks in surprise. Isn’t it different from the last time she looked at it? Was it this bright? And why does she feel like she’s seen this before? Her phone suddenly starts to ring and she answers it to hear Shou ask her if she is available right now? She yelps out his name in surprise, making him ask her why she’s so surprised. He asks her how she is doing and if she’s used to the school yet.

Mikoto recalls that Shou also thinks she came here of her own volition. She pastes on a smile and answers that she has before changing the subject and asking how he and Ai are doing. Shou tells her that they’re the same as usual, with Ai being annoying and loud about how she wants to eat Mikoto’s cooking. Mikoto giggles but points out that Ai always used to eat dinner at her place.

Shou talks about how it couldn’t be helped and so he made curry for her but she said she was going to die since he added carrots in there. As if anyone has ever died from that! He scoffs. Mikoto is smiling as she reminds him that Ai hates vegetables and, in that case, he needs to grate the vegetables before putting them in so she doesn’t know. Shou complains and asks why he needs to go that far and that is something only Mikoto would do, since she indulges in Ai’s selfish requests. Thanks to Mikoto this has been foisted onto him.

Mikoto points out slyly that even though he’s saying all of this he still made curry for her, right? Shou reminds her that curry is her specialty and he only made it because he thought it would quiet Ai for a bit. It doesn’t look like it worked well though. Mikoto has nothing to say to that. Shou continues on to say that Ai goes to her house every day to clean. Mikoto is shocked by that and Shou agrees since Ai doesn’t even clean her own room well enough.

But it’s not like Ai is going to listen to whatever he says so he’s just going to let her continue, even though she’s someone who doesn’t stick to doing anything. He quotes what Ai said about how they both vowed to Mikoto’s parents to protect the house that Mikoto is in. That’s why… and also… he thinks she wouldn’t like it if that house became vacant. Because her parents are dead, they used to frequently stay over at her place.

He admits that it feels like her house is the best place to relax in and so it’s a bit lonely for that house to have no one in it. The same doesn’t need to be said about the people… when he isn’t able to see her face at least once a day then he feels terrible… Shou splutters before taking back those words and ordering her not to read anything deeper into it, okay?! Mikoto hurriedly makes an acknowledging noise but Shou pauses when he realizes that she’s crying.

She apologizes, to which he quickly tells her not to do that. He calls himself an idiot because making her cry is the worst feeling. He suddenly asks her quietly to come home for a change and to let Ai eat so much curry that she won’t want to ever look at it again. Mikoto summons up a shaky smile and tells him that she will before she hangs up on him.

Just as she finishes her phone call, Momotose knocks on her door and asks to come in. Mikoto invites her in only for Momotose to freeze and ask if she’s mistaken the room. Somehow, it’s become more beautiful since the last time she saw it?! Mikoto explains that she cleaned the place up and redecorated whatever she could. It looks more spacious. Momotose nods excitedly and agrees with how large it seems. Before, the room reminded her of the room her pet turtle had but now it looks like a room for a squirrel.

Mikoto takes a moment to understand the other girl’s words. Squirrel?? Momotose steps further into the room though and sits down on her bed, marveling at how plump it is. Did she buy a replacement? Mikoto shakes her head before saying she aired it out and then plumped up the inside by striking it. Momotose giggles and comments on how it seems like a spell. Mikoto is like a magician. Mikoto repeats her words in confusion but then yelps when Momotose pulls her into a hug.

Momotose sighs before saying that her angel’s body is softer than the bed and it’s relaxing to hold her. Up to now, she’s had to steel herself… Mikoto realizes that Momotose has been at the hospital all this time. Momotose reports that Iroha has regained consciousness and is able to accept her water now. He’ll return to the school at the beginning of the week. Mikoto is relieved that he’s able to return.

But then Momotose’s expression softens as she asks quietly if Mikoto hates him. He semi-forcibly took her to this school without taking her will into account, changed the feelings of her friends, and forbid her from going outside. Mikoto’s eyes widen before she replies that she doesn’t… she was surprised at first but she knows that he’s doing it for her. Besides, she wants to be at this school. She wants to study more about minamo at this school.

She admits that she still doesn’t understand the battle that bets lives, Hana Awase, but she wants to do whatever she can in the limits of her own power. She wouldn’t know any of this if she wasn’t at this school and so she has Iroha to thank for letting her be here. Momotose’s expression becomes more genuine before she thanks Mikoto and asks her to say these words to Iroha himself one day. He’ll surely be pleased.

Momotose also has a verbal message from Iroha, in which he states that he lost the match and so he grants the senki candidate permission to go outside. He also apologized to Himeutsugi who came by to see him and asked Himeutsugi to take care of her as her partner outside. Mikoto is completely stunned by these words. Momotose only smiles sadly and calls him an awkward person. Momotose separates herself from Mikoto and informs her that she can return to her home this weekend. She also asks Mikoto to pass on her regards to her friends. Mikoto smiles happily and agrees.

Anyway, she attends her daily lectures. She is checking her schedule for her next lesson when a Gekkougumi minamo approaches her and informs her that Hime and Mizuchi have asked for her. Mikoto blinks in surprise and turns to the door to see Himeutsugi comment on how it’s been a long time since they’ve come to a first year class. Mizuchi only grunts. Mikoto asks the two of them if something happened.

Himeutsugi smiles and answers that they came to see the face of the person they’re going to propose to. Her eyes widen at that but Hime continues on to remark on what interesting things the chairmen come up with. Mizuchi answers sternly that it’s not something to laugh about. By nature, it is the onifuda that chooses the partner and it has nothing to do with their will. It must be troubling for her to be caught in this as well.

Mikoto jumps upon being addressed and quickly denies being troubled. Mizuchi only tells her that he came to inform her about how he is not going to participate in this, apart from the extent of being ordered to by the chairmen, and in the current absence of Iroha he is going to search for the source of the recent utsurohi incidences at school. That is all he came to tell her and he excuses himself immediately afterward.

Himeutsugi explains to Mikoto that Mizuchi is angry after he heard about the current situation from the chairmen. Mikoto is surprised to hear that. Hime explains that, although Mizuchi wanted to tell her immediately that he was not going to participate, his group’s rules forbid people from going to a different year’s floor. And so he’s blaming Hime. Mikoto is confused about the part with Mizuchi’s group’s rules.

But Himeutsugi only laughs at how unusually emotional he is. It looks like Mizuchi didn’t want any misunderstandings. Mikoto realizes that she’s done something awful to Mizuchi and now everyone’s feelings are going to be ignored. Hime tells her that she’s a bit mistaken. Upon her look of confusion, he explains that Mizuchi doesn’t want to treat any feelings towards her as a game, even if it is an order from the chairmen.

Mikoto asks him what he means by that. Himeutsugi only hums in thought before deciding that if he told her it would be helping his opponent, and the game has already started. MIKOTO PLEASE DON’T BE DENSE. BORROWING KURENAI’S FAMOUS WORDS “THEY ALL WANNA FUCK YOU”. Himeutsugi states that he is different from Mizuchi and he wants to be liked by her by whatever means possible. He wants to open the bookmark she has here… soon. Mikoto is startled to feel his finger on her lips.

And then Himeutsugi grins and tells her to remember that before departing! Mikoto watches him leave and then overhears a Gekkougumi minamo sighing with delight at that lip touch Hime just did. A second minamo squeals at how soft of a touch it was. How wonderful! The first minamo asks Mikoto what kind of maid she is. At Mikoto’s confused look, the minamo explains that these are rewards that a maid gets.

A maid belonging to the letters group gets a kiss on the hand. Handkerchief maids get a kiss on the forehead. Greeting maids get pulled into a hug with a hand on their waist. Mikoto gapes at them but then the second minamo tells her that she wants to have her lips touched too, and so she wants to know what kind of maid Mikoto is! Mikoto answers truthfully that she isn’t officially in any maid group yet.

The first minamo exclaims that she didn’t know there was a group for maids without a place to belong. The second minamo calls for everyone to come with her to ask Hime about it so that they can belong there as well. The group of them squeal and run out of the room to go request it from him. Meanwhile Mikoto is left stunned at hearing that Hime gives kisses as rewards…

DAY 10. Mikoto decides to visit Momotose’s room. She knocks on the door and enters to Kagami’s enthusiastic greeting. Momotose frowns however and asks her what kind of greeting that was because it was rude. She then apologizes to her angel, Mikoto, before telling her that they’ve been waiting. She wonders what they’ll talk about today.

The topic is Kaen’s chairmen. Momotose explains that Kintokihana and Awahana are the chairmen and symbol of this school; they are very knowledgeable about Kasen. Kagami remarks on how they’re the spitting image of each other and she can never tell them apart. She’s also heard that they enjoy switching clothes and tricking people. Momotose continues on to talk about how they were born into nobility and have noble blood in them. They are very close to the emperor. Their age is… a secret, although she knows they are a great deal older than the students. Kagami explains how they come off as friendly old men with how they talk to students and let their butterflies run free in the greenhouse.

Mikoto asks about Onosada. Momotose explains that he is in charge of Kasen. It is apparent that he has skill with Kasen though his speech and conduct are lacking. He isn’t very popular with the other teachers. Kagami has seen him get scolded a lot and, although he is untidy most of the time, he is very strict with regards to Kasen. If there is any mention of him being soft then thunder will fall. Momotose notes that he’s popular amongst the students and he cares about them back. She would just like him to stop sleeping wherever around the school grounds.

Next topic is Momotose. Kagami explains that Momotose belongs to the Chisengumi and is the minamo for Iroha. Out of all the minamo amongst the 5 Brights she is also the most reliable, and even though she has a lovely face she is strong like a demon and terrifying when angry. Momotose protests to that because her angel is going to misunderstand! Kagami only winks and says that Momotose is only graceful like this in front of the young lady. This is her first time seeing Momo so sweet and soft and it’s refreshing. She means it all with affection.

Lastly, Mikoto asks about Kagami. Momotose explains that Kagami is Himeutsugi’s minamo from the Gekkougumi. She is also the young daughter of the president for Jinja TV. And yes, she is a genuine female. Kagami pouts and asks if that is it. She wants to be praised more! Momotose laughs and reminds her that she’s a shy person who is bad with compliments though, no? She continues on to say that Kagami is very attentive towards others and is famous for being more gentlemanly than males. She is even popular among the females.

Mikoto has nothing else to ask and Kagami notes that it’s this time already. Momotose is saddened by how the time she spends with her angel, Mikoto, feels like only a moment… her heart is always– Kagami interrupts and tells her that she’s said enough. Kagami tells her not to be discouraged to come again! The two of them see her off with a smile.

Anyway, Mikoto decides to visit the courtyard. She notices that it’s quite noisy. Minamo are squealing over each other and one of them presents Hime with today’s lunch. Himeutsugi accepts it with gratitude and comments on how delicious it looks. One minamo explains that they were able to obtain fresh Japanese sea bass and so their chef roasted it while it was wrapped in a pie. It is covered in choron sauce.

Hime compliments how well it was baked and how it has a nice smell. The minamo confirms that she had it brought here fresh from the oven. She invites him to take his time in eating it. Mikoto gapes at all the food on top of the table and how everything seems so high class… She’s kind of curious about what a baked Japanese sea bass is like… Suddenly, Himeutsugi asks her what she’s doing over there.

Mikoto startles at being spotted but Himeutsugi invites her to come over. He explains that he’s eating alone since Mizuchi isn’t here today. Mikoto’s eyes widen at him eating this entire amount alone. Himeutsugi nods and then tells her that these girls were maids from the lunch group and so they all returned home without eating with him. He gives her a strained smile and admits that he’s uncomfortable with rules and stiff formalities like this.

But the royal maids are managed by a head maid and he doesn’t want to thoughtlessly say anything. Mikoto remarks on how complicated it sounds… the whole maid concept. Himeutsugi feels saved by the fact that she isn’t a maid. He offers her a bit and she’s surprised by how it’s still warm. But is it really okay? He points out that this is better than throwing it away, right? Mikoto looks at him with horror upon hearing that. He can’t throw it away! And in that case she’ll eat without reservation.

Mikoto takes a bite and moans in pleasure. It’s delicious and the duration of baking is superb. She wonders how this was made. She eats another bite and identifies some kind of herb in it… She thinks it was strained… and the seasoning is… Himeutsugi chuckles before pointing out that she’s completely absorbed by it. Mikoto turns red and apologizes. It was just so delicious… Himeutsugi waves away her apology. He likes her pleased expression and he feels full just from seeing that look.

She looks at him in confusion but he only continues to chuckle. He’s just… staring at her face and it’s making it difficult for her to eat. At any rate, the royal maids are amazing. They really are devoted to Himeutsugi and she’s kind of moved.

Mikoto heads to the library next and it’s evening by the time she decides that she’s done with the library. She can’t believe it’s already this time! But since the library is so quiet she ended up concentrating so hard she forgot about the time. She remembers that she needs to return the books she borrowed. As she heads towards the shelves though she notices someone. It’s Mizuchi! He’s so tall she can recognize him anywhere even though he’s sitting down. He’s silently reading a book and she wonders what he’s reading.

He glances at her, which makes her greet him quietly with a smile. He asks if she is also self-studying. In this library there are a number of books, but the majority of them are concerned with Kasen. He is sure that those would be helpful to her. Mikoto nods and tells him that she finds all the books she reads interesting. She realizes in embarrassment that it’s probably weird to call them interesting.

The books are difficult but every time she turns a page she sees something new and gets absorbed in reading it. Katou is a very deep subject. Mizuchi gives her a small smile and comments on how much she seemed to enjoy reading. She blinks at his wording and he quickly corrects himself to tell her stiffly that enjoying studying is a shortcut to improvement. It would be best if she can continue studying with that feeling.

Mikoto smiles and agrees before inquiring as to what kind of book he’s reading. He tells her that it is a classic book on Kasen. Mikoto takes a look at the book and is startled to find out that she can’t read the writing at all. Is this in Ancient Japanese? Mizuchi explains that it hasn’t been translated into modern language yet and he doesn’t understand it either at first glance. He’s slowly reading through it though.

She’s impressed that he can read this at all. Mizuchi has heard that there is a legend concerning the senki written in here. If he has that knowledge then, as a partner, it might be helpful. Mikoto’s eyes widen and she asks him if he means her when he’s talking about the partner. Mizuchi hesitates for a second before stating that, even in these circumstances, she is facing forward and conducting herself sincerely in Kasen. He himself isn’t participating in the proposal but he would like to be able to help her even a little.

Mikoto thanks him deeply and gratefully. His eyes widen and he’s at a loss for words before he averts his eyes and shakes his head. He just… They are interrupted by Aoi calling out to Mizuchi. She comes up to him and points out that it’s the end of the school day and so she came to find him. There are people waiting to greet him. AOI NATURALLY LOOKS SINISTER IT’S KIND OF CREEPY.

Mizuchi acknowledges her words. Aoi goes on to say that when she asked Himeutsugi he guessed that Mizuchi would be in the library and he was correct. As expected of a close friend. Mikoto greets Aoi and Aoi returns her greeting before asking if Mizuchi said anything strict to her. Mikoto hurriedly shakes her head and says not at all. But Aoi still reminds Mizuchi that Mikoto is not part of the Koukokugumi and so he needs to treat her gently. Mizuchi only exhales softly before walking off. Aoi departs with a farewell.

But before she does Mikoto stops her and thanks her for her words from before, which made her decide to work hard on becoming a minamo. Aoi’s eyes widen before she giggles elegantly and tells her that it was her pleasure, especially since they’re both minamo. They need to help each other out. Mikoto agrees with a bright smile. This just makes Aoi tell Himeutsugi that his minamo is earnestly working so hard and when they’re beside each other like this they really suit each other and look like partners.

Himeutsugi returns her smile and agrees. Aoi tells Mikoto to treat this preciously. Mikoto looks at her curiously, but then Aoi turns towards Hime and tells him that his cute minamo is just like her and he needs to treasure her, playboy. Mikoto is enchanted by how graceful Aoi’s departing figure is. And then Himeutsugi tells her that Aoi is the only minamo who talks to Mizuchi and she doesn’t often involve herself with other girls.

And that’s why she looked so surprised to be spoken to like that by Mikoto. He thinks out loud on how she knows that Mizuchi refused the entire proposal thing though… moreover… Mikoto tilts her head and asks him what else. But Himeutsugi only smiles and tells her that it’s a secret. She’s taken aback by his mysterious smile.

DAY 11. Today is the day that Mikoto is allowed to return home. Days had passed in the blink of an eye although, when she thinks back on those days, it feels like everything happened just yesterday. In truth though, quite a couple of days have passed. She wonders what she should say to Ai and Shou. Himeutsugi appears and apologizes for making her wait. Mikoto greets him and then apologizes for making him accompany her on a holiday.

He waves it off and says that he would do anything that could help her. Now, they should go. Mikoto smiles and they head out into the city. It’s been a long time since she went to the central district in Goto-gai. Hime suggests that they ride on this station. She agrees but then is distracted when her vision wavers. Hime asks her if something is wrong since she stopped. She notices that the air in the city seems clouded… like there’s a dark sludge in it and it’s causing her body to feel cold.

Realization appears on Himeutsugi’s face as he recalls that she hadn’t left the school grounds so she wouldn’t know. At her look of confusion, he explains that she’s reacting to the taint that is hanging in the air. The water in minamos react to this sort of thing. He recalls that it’s particularly bad here in Goto-gai, which is the center of the taint. He tells her to hold onto his arm but Mikoto splutters in protest.

He explains that he’ll be able to circulate her water when he touches her, or is it that she doesn’t want to be mistaken as a couple? She hurriedly tells him that’s not it… and so she has no choice but to accept. He smiles widely at that and offers his arm to his princess. Mikoto is startled because they really do seem like a couple when she’s holding his arm like this. Somehow, she feels like people are staring… She’s pretty sure that it’s because Himeutsugi is so beautiful he stands out… she wants to hurry up and get out of here.

Anyway, they get onto the station and head to their destination. Mikoto tells him that they can walk from here and thanks him for his help, but she’s much better now. He tells her that he’s fine with staying like this all the way to her house though. She inwardly sighs in exasperation. Why does it seem like she’s the only one getting flustered? It’s embarrassing! Anyway, she does end up releasing Himeutsugi’s arm.

As they walk to her house, Hime recalls the day that he went to her house. She was attacked by the utsurohi and saved by him. He still remembers the surprised look she had when she gave him water. Her eyes widen as she also recalls that moment. He chuckles at how adorable she was then and how, inadvertently, he was given a lot of water. Mikoto turns red as she remembers that he kissed her on the chest then. Huh, chest?

Mikoto recalls out loud that he had told her a fairy tale a while back… Himeutsugi didn’t quite catch her words and asks her if she said something, to which Mikoto just shakes her head and tells him that it’s nothing. She’s certain that, in the story, the prince gave the princess a kiss on the chest as well… was that a coincidence? She doesn’t think so, but she also doesn’t think there’s any deeper meaning to it.

They finally arrive at her house and she points it out. Hime tells her that he’ll leave her here then. Her eyes widen at that and she quickly invites him inside. He points out that today is for her private time as well as her friends. He only came here to protect her as his partner. She tries to protest, but he smiles wryly and tells her that if she is together with an unknown man then they might be mistaken as a couple.

She chokes upon hearing that and realizes he has a point. Ai and Shou would be surprised to see Himeutsugi. Anyway, Himeutsugi tells her to contact him when she wants to return to the school and gives her his phone number and email address. She tries to ask him to wait but he’s already left. She enters his information into her phone before entering the house.

Some time later. Ai enters the house with a loud yell of Mikoto’s name and how she wanted to see her before leaping into her arms for a hug. Mikoto smiles softly and states that she’s home. Ai welcomes her back heartily and asks her if she’s been eating well? She seems to be healthy but is her stomach okay? Her stomach hasn’t been beaten, has it? There are some who go for the body rather than the face. Mikoto laughs awkwardly and tells Ai that she reads too much manga.

Ai checks on her stomach and sighs in relief at it being well. Mikoto yelps and asks her not to tear her clothes. Shou walks in on this scene and asks them what they’re doing. He orders Ai to take off her shoes and help out. Ai takes a step back only to snort in laughter at Shou’s appearance. She tells him that he looks lame because a full apron doesn’t suit him. He splutters before explaining that there was nothing else in Mikoto’s house but this!

Mikoto grins and reassures Shou that it suits him. Shou yells out that he’ll still be troubled even if it suits him! Mikoto giggles at that. But then Ai sniffs at him and asks him in delight if this smell is curry. Mikoto nods and reveals that it’s Ai’s favorite curry with eggs. Ai cheers loudly. But then Shou informs her that she’s on salad duty and she needs to cut the leaves. Ai refuses though because she hates vegetables.

And so Mikoto hands her something else. Ai takes a look at the grapes in confusion. Mikoto explains that she bought these since they were cheap and Ai can place them in the mixer to create some fresh juice. Ai immediately agrees since she’s talented at work like this. Shou reminds her not to put the skins in there. Ai stutters out that she knew that! It’s obvious. Mikoto just smiles at their interaction and continues on with the cooking.

Some time later, Mikoto wonders if the preparations are almost done. She hands Shou a small plate and asks him to test the taste. Shou hesitates and asks if it’s okay to use the same plate. Mikoto blinks and asks him if he would prefer another one? Shou shakes his head and affectionately calls her an idiot for not knowing anything still, as usual. Mikoto looks at him in confusion, but then Ai interrupts and asks if there are more grapes. She answers that there’s more in the refrigerator but she wants Ai to wait a moment.

She hands Ai some ice and explains that it’ll make it more delicious since it’ll be frozen. Ai is excited at that and can already hear her stomach grumbling. Mikoto decides that everything is finished now and so they can set the table. They settle down at the table and Ai compliments the curry on being delicious. Mikoto points out that the topping has a boiled egg and she can use however much she wants. The salad is lettuce with crunchy bacon as well as potato chips and croutons for the crunchiness. It’s paired with Caesar dressing.

Ai is surprised by how tasty it is. Mikoto recalls that Ai likes potato chips and these ones are consomme flavored (creamy chicken). Ai smiles brightly and praises Mikoto for being the best; whenever Shou makes salad it’s just leaves and she can’t eat that. Shou glares at her and asks why he should go that far for her!? Mikoto hurriedly soothes the two of them and asks for a toast with their frozen grape juice.

They toast and Ai makes a speech on how the three of them, who have had an inseparable relationship since elementary school, weren’t able to go to the same high school, but they safely had a reunion! Mikoto praises Ai on how delicious the juice is. Meanwhile, Shou is eating the salad and praising that. It’s even more delicious when it’s all mixed together. Ai almost wants to cry from how delicious the curry is. This is how it’s supposed to taste! Whenever Shou makes curry it’s so bad she feels like she’s going to die.

Shou glares at her again and tells her to stop being noisy. He learned from Mikoto today and so, in the future, he’ll be better. Ai is surprised to hear that and so Mikoto explains that Ai will have to endure Shou’s curry when she’s not around. Shou flinches upon hearing those words and asks if she should say such a thing. Mikoto bursts into laughter and Ai joins her before agreeing that it can’t be helped and so she’ll endure.

Mikoto suddenly recalls something and separates a small portion of the meal to place in front of her parents’ shrine. In her head she greets her father, mother, and grandfather before asking them to eat this curry she created with Ai and Shou. Ai muses out loud on how her parents and grandfather must also be surprised at how Mikoto is attending Kaen. Mikoto nods with a soft smile.

Ai recalls that Mikoto’s mother and grandfather graduated from Kaen. That’s amazing and Mikoto could actually be considered a celebrity, huh. Mikoto hurriedly denies that and says that her house and her grandfather’s house was normal! Her mother also never spoke to her about Kasen and Mikoto always thought of her as a normal housewife. She learned Kasen from her grandfather when she was small but when they moved she couldn’t see him often, which was why she was surprised to hear about his death. Ai notes that she was her grandfather’s girl and although she doesn’t know him, apart from photos, he looked nice. Mikoto agrees that he was very kind.

Anyway, Ai then asks about how Kaen is. It’s nice that she is studying at the same famous school that her parents were in but their high school, the school she tested into, is also good. Ai tells Mikoto that they can ask the principal to transfer her back to their school whenever she wants, if she wants to return. Mikoto is touched by her words. Shou adds that, although she said she wanted to go to Kaen, it’s full of rich kids, right? There’s no need for her to force herself to stay in a place where people have a different set of values from her.

Shou wants to know her current feelings. Mikoto hesitates because she knows that they’re both under the impression that she wanted to go to Kaen in the first place. This was the different “fate” that Iroha created. And that’s why she can say her real feelings… and talk about their fate right now. Mikoto confesses that she had always wanted to study Kasen when she was young and become a minamo. But, at some point, it all became a dream.

However, now that she’s gone to Kaen and started studying about minamos, she realizes the world is completely different from how she thought of it. The feelings and attitude of the players and minamo who do Kasen… She only had the yearning to go and try, which made her realize that she, who did nothing, was lacking in things that they had. It’s embarrassing but she didn’t work hard and thought it was impossible for her.

But now she finally has the feeling of wanting to face this and overcome it; herself and Kasen. When she was young, her grandfather used to tell her something whenever they did Hana Utsushi. 「――逃げるな、全てから。逃げたその時、お前から全てのツキが逃げる。ツキを決めるのはお前」(– Do not run from everything. The moment you run, all the moons will escape you. The one who decides on the moon is you). She believes that she’s always ran away from her problems and so she won’t run away anymore.

She thanks the two of them for their feelings but she’ll work hard in Kaen. She’ll return home after she properly becomes a minamo. Ai sucks in a breath before demanding another cup of frozen grape juice. Mikoto is taken aback by the abrupt subject change, but then Ai yells out that she already knew this. She knew that Mikoto was extremely stubborn and stupidly serious. She knows that once Mikoto decides on something she won’t change her mind.

Ai sniffs back her tears and blurts out that it’s okay for Mikoto not to be great. She can return home at any time. Shou jokes about how Ai will have to put up with his curry until then. Ai calls him an idiot and yells at him to shut up and not to break the mood. He growls and calls her a bastard. Mikoto smiles at the two of them.

Time passes until it’s night. Shou is at the bus station and comments on how Ai has finally gone home, and that she’s a handful. Mikoto thanks him seriously and tells him that if he didn’t call her then she would have continued to hurt Ai, and she’s glad to tell her feelings properly to them. His eyes widen and he murmurs her name before he smiles softly and tells her that he doesn’t know anything about Kaen, so he can’t say anything good. But if this is her decision then he’s fine with it. He wants her to stay the way she is and he’ll protect her even when they’re apart.

Mikoto smiles brightly at him and nods. He stares, stunned. And then he comments about how she’s changed. It feels like she’s matured and the air around her is clear like water. She echoes his words about water. But then Shou sighs and says that he’s even more worried now; he won’t be able to block any guys from approaching her like he used to. She repeats his word “block” in confusion.

Shou quickly tells her that it’s nothing and they’ll be coming over tomorrow too, so she should sleep soon! Good night! He runs off and leaves Mikoto staring after him in confusion. Anyway, she decides she should head home too since it’s cold outside. She returns home and then remembers that she should contact Himeutsugi. She sends him a message thanking him for today and that she was able to meet her friends.

Not even a second passes before her phone chimes with a message. His message says that he’s glad and that it’s cold outside, so she should sleep. Mikoto thinks on how kind he is only to pause. Something about this message is strange… how does he know it’s cold outside? And it’s like… Mikoto startles when the onifuda starts to glow and sees that the light is guiding her to the garden.

She opens the door and sees Himeutsugi, who greets her tiredly. BRUH??? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE. Mikoto calls out his name in surprise and asks what he’s doing here. Could it be that he… she realizes that his body is completely frozen and has he been here all this time!? He is silent for a beat before commenting on how it was bad of him to be found out, and he didn’t think she’d realize.

At any rate, Mikoto isn’t going to let him stay like this and tells him to come inside because he’s going to catch a cold like that. Himeutsugi shakes his head and tells her that he’s fine. At her look of confusion he explains that he’s a person on “this side” so he won’t enter into the house where they are. She doesn’t understand what he means about not entering. Hime loses the smile on his face and instead asks her why she’s here. This place is cold… a place for him.

He murmurs 「君はこの窓の中、家の中の人間だ。僕はそっちにはいけない。」(You are a person who belongs inside a house, behind a window. I can’t go over there). Mikoto is surprised when he takes her hand and then comments, in a sigh, on how warm she is. Why is her hand so warm? She asks him if something is wrong because he’s different from usual.

Hime nods and admits that he’s different, probably because he saw them. He looked upon their warm gathering outside of the window, from between the curtains. H I M E IS SO SCARY. He reminds himself that he can’t go to such a place and then cuts off in pain. He grits his teeth and manages to spit out, in a strangled voice, that he can’t breathe and that it hurts. Mikoto screams and asks him to hold on; she’ll call someone. No, she’ll take him to a hospital! Call an ambulance!

He tells her to wait and that she’s misunderstanding him. He’ll release it right now so… She repeats his words in confusion. Release? And then she startles when a light starts to shine from him. The particles of the light look like dew… is this water!? Hime pants as he explains that he just held more power than what was normal for him. If he releases some like this then he’ll return to the usual Himeutsugi so… he doesn’t want her to call anyone.

Mikoto murmurs his name; he laughs sardonically at how even though he tries to do well he always fails. He never succeeds at critical moments. Even now he wanted to protect her from the outside with a calm expression but instead he’s shaken and showing her this unsightly side of him. He laughs weakly and calls himself pathetic. Mikoto is silent before she disagrees, and then she embraces him.

He says her name in shock. She tells him that, long ago, her grandfather used to do this often. When one is sad or lonely then they should feel another person’s warmth. So, if she does this to him, he should feel warm. Mikoto confesses to him that, during the Katou, he gave her his warmth and she was relieved. All her nervousness and anxiety melted and she felt at ease. This time she wants to do this for him. She doesn’t know what’s going on in his body but she wants him to accept her, even just a little.

Hime is silent before he sighs and murmurs that he’s being un-cool right now, and that this isn’t him. He needs to be more like everyone’s princess and he can’t cling onto her and relax. Mikoto doesn’t say anything. He continues on 「僕は・・・もう、何ももらっちゃいけないんだ。何も求めてはいけない。ずっと、誰かのために・・・生きるだけの・・・」(I… can no longer receive anything. I can’t desire anything. I must live only… for another’s sake…).

Mikoto doesn’t say anything. Himeutsugi begs for a response. She doesn’t say anything. He asks her to reply and tell him that his words aren’t true; that’s what he wishes she would say. She is silent. BITCH IF YOU JUST FELL ASLEEP… He clicks his tongue and realizes that he’s acting up. She nods. He tells her to act more surprised. Isn’t he strange? She agrees and he half-sighs and half-laughs before calling her weird.

She startles and asks him if that’s true? He doesn’t reply and instead decides that just for now this should be okay then. He will be himself here. She can warm him up, not as a prince or princess. Mikoto nods. He sighs again and decides to make this a dream because everything can be forgiven in a dream. He wants to sleep like this… and when he wakes he’ll return as everyone’s princess.

「塵泥の 数にもあらぬ 我れゆゑに
思ひわぶらむ 妹がかなしさ」 – Himeutsugi
(My heart breaks for you, my beloved,
who would be worried about me
who am as worthless as dust or mud.) – Nakatomi Yakamori (Book 15, #3727).

Princesses and princes are beautiful, kind, and full of elegance which everyone looks up to. That includes her, right? Doesn’t she want that from him? The beautiful him that belongs to everyone. If she doesn’t then he’ll be troubled. Why did she accept him. Why did she embrace him. Why did she… find him.

「かりそめなら、まだ耐えられるんだ。運命に逆らわない、ささやかな遊びであれば・・・傷は、浅い。背中から絶望が忍び寄ってきている。みことちゃん。いつか来る終わりなら、今・・・終わらせよう。」(If it was transient then I could still endure it. If it didn’t defy fate and was just a small game then… the wounds would be shallow. Despair is creeping up from behind. Mikoto-chan. If the end will come one day, then let us… end it now).

DAY 12. Mikoto is in her house and checks to make sure she hasn’t forgotten anything. She confirms that she hasn’t and then goes to close the door to her house, smiling sadly and saying out loud that she’s going to head out now. By the time night falls she has returned back to her dormitory in Kaen. In her room, she announces that she’s home but acknowledges, in her mind, that it sounds strange. She laughs quietly.

DAY 13. In her dreams Mikoto wonders where she is. It’s completely dark and she can’t see anything. Is this… a dream? Suddenly, someone calls her name. Just as she wonders who the voice was, it tells her that it’s him. She realizes that he’s… the Half Moon? He confirms it and thanks her for remembering. He is silent for a beat before telling her cryptically that the bell is going to ring soon.

He tells her that the beginning that is sprouting inside of her is ringing; it is the bell of fate. And it holds the key to everything. This moon is different from the ones before it. He can feel it… That day is approaching… the long ago day that she was found. She repeats his words in confusion. That day? What is he saying? She doesn’t understand and she wants him to tell her!

Iroha’s face surfaces in her dream but he is silent. Mikoto is stunned. And then he murmurs 「ひと、ふた、み、よ・・・。いつ、む、なな、や、ここの、たり・・・。ふるべ、ゆらゆらと、ふるべ・・・ふる・・・。」(One, two, three, four… Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten… Furube, yurayura to, furube… furu…). Mikoto is dumbfounded and can only call out his name. But then he disappears and she wakes up. UH, THIS IS THE FULL VERSION OF THE HIFUMI NO HARAEKOTOBA. ON A SIDE NOTE, I FOUND AN INTERESTING POST ABOUT THESE NUMBERS IN ANOTHER SHINTO PURIFICATION RITE CALLED “AME NO KAZU UTA” AND CONNECTS EACH NUMBER TO ELEMENTS.

It’s morning. She mumbles the words that Iroha had been reciting in her dream, but then Yoshino knocks on her door and asks if she can come in. She sees that Mikoto hasn’t changed yet and apologizes; she thought that they could walk to school together but it looks like she’ll come by again. Mikoto hurriedly tells her that it’s fine and asks her to wait for her to change right away.

Yoshino nods but hides in a corner with her back turned. Mikoto tells her that it’s okay for her to look. But then Yoshino blabs out something about how, as a servant, she isn’t allowed to look at the princess’ skin. Mikoto just blinks at her in confusion. Yoshino continues on to say that if Mikoto insists though then she will… take a peek! SO IT’S HARD TO GET ACROSS IN ENGLISH BUT YOSHINO ADDS HILARIOUS ENDINGS TO HER SENTENCES AND SHE CALLS HERSELF WEIRD THINGS. LIKE RIGHT NOW SHE USED A PRONOUN THAT SAMURAI DID. SO HUMBLE, MALE, AND ARCHAIC.

Mikoto apologizes but she’s already done changing. Yoshino screams in embarrassment and yells out that it wasn’t that she wanted to see Mikoto in the middle of changing. It wasn’t like she wanted to confirm if Mikoto had larger breasts than her either!! She starts to slam her head against the wall and Mikoto quickly shouts at her to stop before the wall breaks.

When they finally start walking to school, Mikoto asks Yoshino if her head is okay. Yoshino just blurts out that, from the start, her head is strange. Mikoto shakes her head and points out that her head is bleeding. Yoshino realizes that she’s right but reassures Mikoto that she’s fine because Mikoto treated her already. Mikoto asks her to show her forehead though. She notes that the swelling has gone done but she should cool it because it’s still hot. She gives Yoshino a damp handkerchief.

Yoshino stares at her before asking if Mikoto isn’t surprised by her actions. She doesn’t think she’s gross? She doesn’t want to pull away? Mikoto tells her that she won’t. Yoshino stares at her in surprise. Mikoto continues on to say that Yoshino is just someone who is honest about her feelings; she should stay like that. Yoshino is touched and sobs out that this is the first time someone said that to her– no, there was one more. The dormitory leader said this to her too!

Mikoto wheezes when Yoshino clutches at her neck and shouts out that she’ll serve her for the rest of her life! Mikoto repeats her words in confusion before hurriedly asking Yoshino to loosen her strength because it hurts. Suddenly, Himeutsugi appears and asks them if they’re professionally wrestling in the morning? The two of them seem close. Mikoto blurts out his name in surprise. Yoshino screams out his name in shock and then adds that her heart is filled! And then she dashes off, much to Mikoto’s surprise.

Himeutsugi just chuckles and comments on how energetic she is to sprint at full speed in the morning. She’d be a good tennis player with those legs. In her mind, Mikoto thinks Yoshino’s nervousness would be more of a problem. Anyway, Hime greets her. She returns the greeting and then implies that it’s unusual to see him at this time. Doesn’t he have a club today? He tells her that he’s taking a break today and he was waiting here to meet her; he feels bad for what happened during the weekend.

He was really strange at that time and so he became uneasy as to what she thought of him. He wondered if she hated him. Mikoto blinks in surprise and then reassures him that she doesn’t hate him! More importantly, she’s concerned about whether he’s still chilled. He was in that garden for so long that his clothes were wet too. He tells her that he’s fine because she brought him a blanket and held him until the morning. Her body was warm.

Mikoto averts her eyes with a blush and mumbles that it’s a bit embarrassing, remembering that. Hime tells her that he’s happy though. She sneaks a look at him to see that he’s staring directly at her. Himeutsugi stares at her in silence for a beat before asking why she’s kind to him. She could have returned back to her house, instead she spent a considerable amount of time accompanying him to the morning, and she even became wet herself. Was that kindness on her part? Or calculation?

Her eyes widen before she blurts out that it was neither! Hime hesitates before asking what it was then. She replies that she just wasn’t able to leave him alone in that place and, most importantly, she was concerned when she saw his hand. He repeats her words in surprise. What about his hand? Mikoto looks away and tells him that it looked like he was stretching his hand out to her, as if… In her mind, she thinks about how it was like he was shouting for someone to save him.

Himeutsugi smiles as he realizes that she took his hand there. And then he murmurs to himself that he’s troubled though. Is she really his “princess”? Mikoto catches the word princess though and repeats it in confusion. Hime breathes in sharply before he tells her flatly that they should stop. Any more than this and it’ll be dangerous to the both of them. They can still turn back right now.

He apologizes. Because he tested her. Because he dreamed of a fairy tale. Hime suggests to her that they leave some distance between them. She blinks at him. He continues on to say that he’ll also pull out of the proposal event. Iroha has also come back so the date for the proposal has been decided. One week later, she should choose between Iroha or Karakurenai. REAAAAALLY? DON’T GO CRAZY WHEN I CHOOSE IROHA THEN–.

Mikoto protests, but Himeutsugi tells her that he’s ending their relationship as temporary partners too. She also won’t be a minamo of the Gekkougumi anymore. This is for the best. She tries to ask him what he means but he just walks away. What happened!? First Mizuchi and now Himeutsugi won’t participate in the proposal. Then, the words he said at the hospital… what is the continuation of that fairy tale!? No, that’s not it. That’s not what she’s concerned about. Mikoto is confused because her feelings are… strange. It hurts? What’s wrong with her?

Scene skip. Mikoto knocks on a door and Awa greets her before ordering her to line up over there. Mikoto is startled to see all the men here as well; Iroha, Mizuchi, Himeutsugi, and Karakurenai. Kintoki sighs before snapping out that he heard everything from Onosada. Just what do they think his orders are!? A week from the day Iroha returned to school, the 5 Brights would propose to the senki candidate. However, Mizuchi and Himeutsugi have stepped down from this task.

He reminds them that this will get them expelled! Geez, it’s a chance for them to become the senki candidate’s partner too. Mizuchi is silent. Himeutsugi too. Karakurenai snickers and says that it’s more convenient for him; hindrances have decreased, that’s all. He also tells Iroha that he’ll lose immediately to him, and if Iroha tries to seduce her then Kurenai will send him back to the hospital. Iroha says nothing.

Awa reminds him that he’s not the one who decides, it’s the senki candidate. Karakurenai just raises an eyebrow with a dangerous smirk. And then he greets her and tells her that it’s been a while, senki candidate. Mikoto stiffens. Kurenai continues on to say that no one is going to listen to that shitty chairman. She’s not the one who is going to choose a partner, he’s the one who’s going to choose. Kintoki calls his name warningly.

Karakurenai just leers at her though and asks if she understands. Her body, her heart, and her everything is to be given to him. Even the strands of her hair. Mikoto flinches when he touches her and murmurs that it feels quite pleasant. Next time he’ll make her feel even better. He could even show her right now back at his place. Kurenai laughs loudly and Mikoto screams before asking him to release her.

Iroha knocks Karakurenai’s hand away and tells him flatly not to touch her. MY HERO!! Karakurenai turns to glare at him. But Iroha just states that – until the fixed date – the senki candidate belongs to no one. If he doesn’t obey this rule then Iroha will kill him. Kurenai repeats his words mockingly before noting that he has some guts. He then snarls at Iroha to say that again.

But they’re interrupted by Onosada who calls for the two of them to stop. Where do they think this place is? Karakurenai just sneers before exiting the room. Onosada apologizes to the chairmen. Awa dismisses his words though and says that it’s fine because if he didn’t have that strong spirit then he wouldn’t be able to obtain his desires. And then he tells Mizuchi and Himeutsugi that, compared to them who stepped down before a decided match, Karakurenai is better. Mizuchi grits his teeth. Himeutsugi is quiet.

Kintoki goes on to say that the proposal will happen in front of the entire student base. And surely the onifuda will respond to courting and one who has poured their heart in. Mikoto’s attention catches on the word onifuda and recalls how, back at her house, the onifuda was shining when she found Himeutsugi. Could that be…? Himeutsugi tells the chairmen that he and Mizuchi will excuse themselves now. Mizuchi says nothing but follows him.

Mikoto notices that Himeutsugi didn’t meet her eyes as they left. Meanwhile, Iroha asks the chairmen if there will be a camera crew on the day of the ceremony again. Awa thinks on that and notes out loud that the previous ceremony program was interrupted by utsurohi. He thinks that might be an omen and isn’t pleased, so he thinks they’ll refrain this time. Iroha inclines his head in acknowledgment and then excuses himself.

And then Awa tells Mikoto that she should boost her awareness of herself as the senki candidate during this week. Even if she has the training she is, in the end, just a “candidate” and if the onifuda doesn’t guide her then she’ll be expelled too. Mikoto’s eyes widen at those words and then she tells them determinedly that she’ll work hard.

DAY 14. Mikoto wakes up and decides on where she should go. She decides to visit Momotose’s room and heads over there to knock on her door. Momotose invites her in with a bright greeting, calling her an angel. She’s happy to converse with her. Momotose orders Tane and Kasu to prepare some tea; today is orange pekoe with marron glacé pastries. Mikoto hurriedly tells her that she doesn’t mind anything.

She has something she wants to discuss with Momotose, preferably alone. Momotose is intrigued and willing to discuss anything with her. What shall they talk about? Mikoto tries to find her words but Momotose notices the worried look on her face and guesses if the talk is going to be about love!? Mikoto splutters at the word love but Momotose has already ordered Tane and Kasu to go outside and barricade the door; they are not allow a single person or animal through. Mikoto repeats the word barricade in alarm.

Tane and Kasu acknowledge her orders though and head out to start building the barricade. YOU CAN HEAR HAMMERING LMFAO. Mikoto realizes that she is in deeper than she wanted. Anyway, Momotose invites her to the chair beside her so that they can talk while sitting beside each other. Mikoto smiles awkwardly and points out that they’re a little close… Momotose points out that this distance is perfect for confidential talk. Now, she’ll lend her ear.

Mikoto tells her everything that has happened up to now and how Himeutsugi told her that he is stepping down. She was surprised by how sudden it was and she’s worried that she made him uncomfortable. Momotose exhales and agrees that this isn’t like the usual Himeutsugi. Mikoto wonders if he hates her now. Momotose stares at her intently before asking if she thinks that? Mikoto doesn’t know.

Whenever she thinks about asking him directly she remembers that brooding look he had and asking becomes hard. But she doesn’t know the answer and she keeps on thinking about this. And then it becomes morning. What is wrong with her. Momotose smiles gently and asks if she’s ever been in love. Mikoto blinks in surprise at the change in subject but answers that she hasn’t. She’s been told by friends that she’s late for her age too.

It’s not that she doesn’t understand since she’s been engrossed in Hana Utsushi ever since she was young. And then when she entered middle school her family died and so she had to take care of her life. Besides she doesn’t really understand love. It’s not liking someone, right? She feels like it’s much more different than that. Momotose asks gently if she thinks she’s fallen in love with Himeutsugi?

Mikoto’s eyes widen before she answers hesitantly that she doesn’t know. Himeutsugi is a lovely man and he is equally kind and gentle to everyone. From time to time, he’s almost so kind that it’s easy to misunderstand it. It gets her thinking that he’s only this kind to her, when she knows that isn’t the case. But she’s not just curious about his kindness but also the other parts of him. Like the parts of him that make him not like Himeutsugi.

In the end she apologizes for not being able to talk about it well. She also doesn’t know if this is love or not. Momotose laughs softly and then tells her that she really loves her angel; her personality and her cute actions, to the point where she always wants to be by her side watching her. And that’s why she can tell that Mikoto has changed right now; she is surely entering an unknown world.

Momotose tells her 「花ならば、芽生え程のこと。ここから咲かせるには、水を・・・そう、お心の中にある水を注ぎましょう。」(If it is a flower then it will sprout. From here, it needs water to bloom… yes, pour the water from your heart). Mikoto echoes the word water in confusion. But Momotose just smiles and says that this seedling is the same as Himeutsugi. Actually, this might be Himeutsugi’s first experience as well and, despite being a playboy, it’s quite clumsy of him to make a lady anxious.

At any rate, she doesn’t know what this seedling will become but the one thing she can say is… the act of proposing isn’t limited to just gentlemen. Mikoto gapes at her. Momotose continues to smile and tells her that her angel should continue to follow her heart. She will support Mikoto with whoever she chooses. Mikoto smiles in gratitude. Suddenly, Momotose sniffs the air in surprise and then asks if Mikoto is wearing perfume.

Mikoto answers that she isn’t. Momotose wonders what this sweet scent coming from her angel is; it is sweet and gentle… and coming from her chest? Mikoto yelps and tells Momotose that she tickles. Momotose giggles and apologizes; it just felt so comfortable. This scent is irresistible and it’ll be a problem if the gentlemen know about it. In her mind Mikoto is shocked that she smells that much.

But on the topic of the seedling within her… is that love? No, she still doesn’t know. What exactly these feelings are… she wants to think about it some more. Anyway, she takes her leave from Momotose and decides to walk through the corridors of the school.

In the hallway, a Gekkougumi male student is calling for Yoshino to wait. Mikoto sees this and pauses to watch. The male confesses to Yoshino that he’s always loved her and wants her to go out with him. Mikoto is surprised to stumble into a confession scene! Yoshino doesn’t respond though for a long time… until she suddenly screams out a no. She rams into the male and then dashes away.

Mikoto just gapes at the scene she just witnessed. What just happened? Suddenly, the dormitory leader appears and sighs at how this has happened again with Yoshino; she explains how Yoshino looks cute on the outside, homely and gentle, so men fall in love with her. But Yoshino actually has a crippling phobia of men to the point where she breaks out in hives if a man comes too close. Mikoto’s mouth drops open.

The dormitory leader continues on to say that when a man continues to approach her without giving up, then her limiter breaks and this happens. Mikoto points out that Yoshino is okay with Himeutsugi though? The dorm leader replies that Yoshino doesn’t see him as a male; he is androgynous and called a “princess”. OUCH OUCH. Mikoto is surprised to hear this. On the other hand, apparently Kagami is no good. She looks just like a man and, just a while ago, Yoshino met Kagami in the dormitory baths and knocked her out with a punch.

Mikoto continues to gape. The dormitory leader complains about how she wanted to faint too after having to follow up with that accident, and then she sighs loudly at how Yoshino is a troublesome girl. She walks away after that, leaving Mikoto to think on how Yoshino and the dormitory leader seem to have big problems too.

DAY 15. It’s another day and Mikoto decides to head to the courtyard. She reads up on Kasen and how the water of the minamo can perform many roles, such as pouring power into their player or healing their player or… Mikoto becomes distracted when she hears a strange noise. Could it be a bird? She starts to brush aside a thicket only to have someone pop out, chirping. Mikoto startles and asks who she is.

The girl only pouts about how she’s been found. Hiyoko is an idiot!! Mikoto stares at her in confusion. The girl tells her that she, Hiyoko, was told by Karakurenai to stand guard for her. Mikoto is shocked to hear that. The girl continues on to say that she can’t do a stakeout like the police but, because Karakurenai told her to do this, she’s watched over Mikoto with all her efforts.

Mikoto asks why she’s even being guarded. The girl tells her that she’s here to make sure Mikoto doesn’t have any bad bugs around her. Mikoto repeats her words in confusion. Bad bugs? The girl points out that she’s Karakurenai’s girl, right? In that case, she can’t have any bugs. Mikoto finally realizes that this girl must be from Oukagumi. The girl nods excitedly and introduces herself as Hiyoko, a first year Oukagumi.

She notes that Mikoto has been reading that book for a while now, is it interesting? Mikoto nods and asks if she wants to try reading? Hiyoko shakes her head because she hates reading! And then she tells Mikoto that she’s really tired so can she be done here? Bad bugs won’t come onto her, right? Mikoto answers hesitantly that she doesn’t think so. Hiyoko cheers and then tells her that she’s going to report to Karakurenai then! Mikoto is left thinking on how cheerful she is. But Karakurenai… putting a guard on her… what does that mean?

Mikoto decides to walk through the corridors next and then bumps into Kagami, whose eyes widen upon seeing her and asks for her time. Mikoto asks her suspiciously what is going on and what that microphone is for. Kagami replies that she’s here for an interview on the topic of the senki candidate! Mikoto splutters at that but Kagami was told by the newspaper club that they wanted a feature on Mikoto, so Kagami wants her cooperation.

First, is there anyone she’s interested in? Mikoto finds the question sudden but takes some time to think about it. Ah, she’s curious about her good friends, Ai and Shou! Are they healthy and are they eating well? Kagami stumbles and complains that her answer is a general “interest” but she wanted one about romance! Haa, oh well, she’ll change the question.

What’s Mikoto’s type? Mikoto ponders on that before answering that she likes a man like her grandfather. Her grandfather was strong in Kasen and she couldn’t beat him in Hana Utsushi no matter how many times she tried. Kagami… has nothing to say to that. Mikoto continues on with a bright smile that she wants to be like her grandfather one day! There are so many things she needs to study that her grandfather taught her and…

Kagami stops her there because that’s her dream for the future! She mumbles to herself that Mikoto is dangerous and worries her. She might also need Hime to do some drastic measures… Mikoto repeats her words in confusion. Drastic measures? Kagami shakes her head violently because that’s also no good! She’s sure Hime will overdo it and she doesn’t want Mikoto become obsessed with thoughts of sex. She tells Mikoto to forget what she just said.

Mikoto watches as Kagami leaves and then wonders if that had been the interview. Obsessed with thoughts of sex… just how does Kagami normally see Himeutsugi? ALL THESE MENTIONS OF HIME BEING A BEAST AND PLAYBOY SCARES ME LMAO.

Anyway, Mikoto heads back to the courtyard only to hear Momotose yell at Karakurenai to stop. Kurenai snarls at her to shut up because he doesn’t listen to anyone’s orders. Her dog is Iroha and if she wants someone to wag their tail then she should go to him. Mikoto recognizes these voices and then sees Karakurenai, which causes her stutter out his name. He asks her what that look in her eyes is because it’s impertinent. Mikoto blurts out that she didn’t do anything!

He snorts though and notes that she’s been won over by Momotose too and has become rash. Don’t touch the senki candidate? Ha, he doesn’t know what they’re talking about. He doesn’t know what kind of big shot she is but peel everything away and she’s no different from a woman. Or is it that the senki candidate has something different stuffing her “here”. Mikoto screams when he squeezes her breasts.

Karakurenai laughs and then tells her not to be so on edge in front of a man… she’ll get herself hurt. He then leaves. Mikoto can’t believe he just grabbed her breasts like that. Momotose then appears and apologizes before asking her if she’s okay. Mikoto looks away and nods. Momotose explains that she tried to ask Karakurenai not to be violent towards her but it looks like she poured oil on the fire.

He sees her angel as property but her angel is part of the Gekkougumi and belongs to no one. But he didn’t listen to her when she told him that… Momotose advises Mikoto that Karakurenai is very possessive and she needs to hold onto herself strongly. Mikoto finds Karakurenai of the Oukagumi to be scary. Whenever she’s looked at by him she cringes with fear. But she can’t be timid! She needs to be strong like what Momotose said!

DAY 16. The next day Mikoto decides to head to the courtyard and hears Kagami telling people that the equipment is over here. An unknown man asks Kagami where she means by over here and stumbles into Mikoto, nearly dropping his equipment. She apologizes. Another man appears and tells the first man, Tama, that he’s not steady on his feet. Tama snaps back that it wasn’t his fault and it was this amateur getting in his way.

Kagami slaps him on the head and tells him that Mikoto isn’t an amateur and that he needs to properly apologize. Tama dutifully does so. Mikoto apologizes as well again. But then Kagami shakes her head and says that her crew have poor manners; they’re only used to directing sets so their tempers are short. And then she yells at them to hurry up and set the scene. Both men acknowledge that and move away.

Mikoto asks who they are. Kagami explains that those two are staff members of her TV crew. The program this time will be “The Heart Throbbing 5 Brights! The Battle for the Lady!” and they’re rehearsing. This special program is going to be broadcast live on Jinja TV. Mikoto’s mouth drops open before she quickly asks Kagami to wait because isn’t she turning this into a big thing!?

Kagami simply replies that they need to sink their teeth into delicious details and there have been sponsors already. The ratings are good, they have sponsors, and they have a location to film it. This benefits all three sides! Mikoto is utterly silent. Kagami sheepishly asks if she doesn’t know this saying form regional merchants. KAGAMI IS TALKING ABOUT THE OMI SHONIN HERE.

Mikoto hasn’t heard of them. Kagami explains that the saying basically means everyone will be happy, and she should remember this! Also, she’ll be finding her true partner too so this could be said to benefit all four of them! Mikoto realizes that Kagami has a very good handle on things… which probably should have been expected. But she finds it embarrassing to have her own proposal broadcasted. If Ai or Shou sees this then they’ll kick up a fuss.

Anyway, she decides to go to the greenhouse but no one is there. UH I HAVE NO MORE RED CARDS SO IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE YOU GO. Mikoto decides to head to the Kasen lecture room to train some more. Onosada has a hangover but shows her the new challengers. I GOT TO RANK 20 BEFORE THINGS STARTED GETTING SUPER HARD.

DAY 17. Mikoto heads to the library and finds an open spot to study. She heads to visit Momotose next but Tane and Kasu inform her that Momotose is currently out; they ask if she would like some tea. Mikoto thanks them but declines. They say farewell to her and welcome her back at another time. She goes to attend the rest of her classes and then, after they end, thinks on how she hasn’t seen Himeutsugi this week. It looks like he really is avoiding her.

Momotose said that everything depended on her heart but she’s not sure what she wants to do… with Himeutsugi. Suddenly, she hears excited voices on the other side. She looks out a window to see that Himeutsugi is having a tennis match. It looks like a long rally has been going on and his opponent is Mizuchi. The two of them won’t let up a single step and she’s amazed at their pressure.

Himeutsugi hits the ball and notes in a pant that it’s a deuce again. He asks Mizuchi to just give up. Mizuchi tells him not to be absurd because he doesn’t know how to give up. Mikoto notices that even though they’ve always been friendly to each other right now they’re glaring at each other and it’s a serious match. Himeutsugi, although he’s always been kind, can also make this kind of expression, huh. He’s glaring and gritting his teeth.

As the ball goes back and forth she can see his expression change. He really does love tennis. His figure is alluring and her eyes keep following him. In her mind, she cheers for him loudly but then Himeutsugi startles and Mikoto sees the ball bounce. Mizuchi seizes the opportunity. The referee shouts out that the game is set and the winner is Mizuchi.

Hime breathes heavily as he comments on his complete defeat and praises Mizuchi for being strong. He thinks it’s a shame that Mizuchi isn’t in any clubs and asks him to come play tennis together with him. And then– Mizuchi interrupts and asks who Himeutsugi is fighting; “Hime” or an illusion? REMEMBER HIME MEANS PRINCESS TOO. Himeutsugi is rendered speechless. Mizuchi tells Hime that his mind isn’t here and because of that he couldn’t get control of the court. He then excuses himself and leaves. Hime is silent.

Mikoto watches Mizuchi leave and wonders what the two of them talked about. And then she notices that Himeutsugi is coming her way! Himeutsugi blinks in surprise upon seeing her. She says his name as a greeting. He hesitates before smiling and asking if she saw how he lost. It wasn’t very cool. She shakes her head and tells him that he was amazing. He raises an eyebrow but thanks her and then excuses himself.

Before he can though Mikoto stops him and opens her bag to take out a towel for him to use; he’s covered in sweat. Himeutsugi is surprised because he didn’t notice that at all. He laughs weakly because usually the Gekkougumi girls give him towels but he was in such a hurry that he left them behind. He cuts off though when Mikoto starts patting at his hair because it’s completely damp as well.

Mikoto tells him to hurry and wipe himself off before his body catches a chill. It won’t work if he just dries himself off lightly. Himeutsugi exhales before murmuring about how kind she is. Mikoto averts her eyes and denies it. In her mind, she thinks about how she isn’t kind because she’s doing this for selfish reasons; she wants to do this to him. Hime apologizes and thanks her before getting her to stop because she’s done enough.

He tells her that she shouldn’t be even doing this much for him because he’s withdrawn from the proposal contest. She should be doing this to her real partner. Mikoto’s eyes widen and she tries to protest but he interrupts and tells her that he’ll get a towel from a Gekkougumi girl, and then excuses himself. Mikoto watches him leave with a hurt expression.

Suddenly, Karakurenai appears and chuckles before commenting on how interesting this is. OH SHIT OH SHIT. Mikoto spins around and asks if he saw that, to which he answers that he did see that shitty princess’ pathetic face. But, idiot, he’s clearly a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Karakurenai doesn’t care though since hindrances have disappeared, which is fine with him. He’s also totally fine with Hime feeling regret.

Mikoto is offended at his words but then Karakurenai asks her, more importantly, why she was using a seductive look. He snatches her hand, causing her to yelp, and asks her what she did to that shitty Hime. The only person she should touch is him, Kurenai-sama! She yells at him to release her but Karakurenai just tells her to listen up because he doesn’t allow his women to talk, look, or touch other men. All of the girls in Ouka live only for his sake.

Her mouth drops open at that. Kurenai goes on to ask if she understands the meaning of the kiss he gave her? It was a contract that makes her his belonging for her entire life. If she doesn’t listen to his words then he can teach it to her body. Once she knows womanly pleasures then even she’ll change, heh. The fantasies of a virgin are extremely tiresome, so he’s willing to do one round with her to quiet her up. How about it?

Mikoto struggles and asks him to stop. Suddenly, Kagami shows up and reminds Kaa-kun that the chairmen told him to stop that; they sigh a lot about his lack of integrity. Momotose appears too to back up Kagami’s words. She scolds his actions for being one of a man without sense and orders him to leave. Karakurenai clicks his tongue and complains about how annoying they are gabbing to him like that. Oh well, he’ll come by another time to love her. He stalks away.

Momotose asks Mikoto if she’s okay when she sees Mikoto slump. Mikoto replies that she’s fine but she just feels disgusted. Kagami realizes that she’s drying up and scolds Karakurenai again for being a blockhead. He knew that Mikoto didn’t like that but yet he did it anyway. Why is he being reckless? Momotose agrees because, putting aside the fact that Mikoto may one day be his partner, he doesn’t do these kind of things to girls who aren’t his.

Kagami ponders out loud on this and then asks if Mikoto isn’t releasing pheromones that seduce men? Mikoto stiffens. Momotose chides Kagami and points out that Mikoto is uncomfortable right now and she shouldn’t make those kind of jokes. Kagami apologizes deeply and then says that this is a misfortune that only befalls beautiful women so she shouldn’t worry about it. UHH??

Mikoto doesn’t respond but, in her mind, she’s thinking about how this might be her… seductive water. Karakurenai was scary. It’s like he sees her as an object. What will she do if she becomes his partner?

Evening falls and Mikoto is in the courtyard thinking on how, because she was resting in the infirmary, her classes have ended. She needs to catch up. Tomorrow is a holiday but she needs to self-study and catch up on the things she missed. She bolsters her resolve out loud only for someone to ask her what she’s doing. She squeaks in surprise before turning to greet Awahana.

But he corrects her and tells her that he’s Kintoki. She hurriedly apologizes. He comments on how her expressions look better now. But then he comes closer and sees that she has circles under her eyes. He reminds her that, although it’s nice to see her being zealous in her studies by forgoing sleep and food, she is still the senki candidate. Mikoto shakes her head and tries to tell him that this was caused by something that just happened…

Kintoki goes on to say that it’ll be rough on the 5 Brights to propose to an emaciated girl. Mikoto winces and acknowledges his point… but she’s behind in classes. He calls her fussy and tells her that this is an order from him, as the chairman, to rest in the two days before the proposal day. She is not to self-study. She is to have bouncy skin.

DAY 18. Mikoto decides to go to Momotose’s room and Momotose welcomes her in happily. She’s heard about the chairman’s orders for Mikoto to rest, and she’s looking forward to spending the entire day with her angel. It’s like a dream! She gasps as she realizes that she’s been keeping Mikoto standing there. And so she invites Mikoto in and tells her that she’s prepared a lot of tea and pastries. Mikoto smiles and thanks her. Momotose orders Tane and Kasu to make preparations. Tane and Kasu acknowledge the orders and welcome Mikoto.

DAY 19. Today Mikoto heads to the greenhouse but there’s no one there. She decides to take a look around though and is amazed by it. Ever since she came to this school everything has been in a rush so she hasn’t had the time to go around the greenhouse slowly. Looking around, she realizes that there’s a lot of unknown plants here. What’s planted over there?

DAY 20. Mikoto enters the auditorium and is stunned at how everyone has arrived already. The dormitory leader shows up beside her and comments on how the day has finally arrived, huh. She also talks about how when she received the notification from Onosada she was surprised to hear that the 5 Brights would p-p-propose! It’s absurd! The moment they heard it, hundreds of minamo fainted. Mikoto winces and apologizes.

The dormitory leader reveals that everyone from Mizuchi and Hime’s group are fine though, since those two abstained. The problem is with the Chisen ladies. Iroha was sent to the hospital and then forced into having to propose to the senki candidate… it’s natural she’s made enemies. Mikoto pleads with her not to say scary things! The dorm leader advises Mikoto to choose Karakurenai because in his group everyone is treated like his bride and so it’s peaceful.

In her mind Mikoto absolutely refuses. OH MAN I FEEL BAD NOW FOR ACTUALLY HAVING TO CHOOSE HIM FOR HER… ONE DAY. But she notices that the gazes from everyone around her are frightening. Especially those from the Chisengumi. Is everything going to be okay?

At any rate, Kagami appears and announces to everyone that it has been a long wait! But the idea from Awahana and Kintokihana, the chairmen, called “The Heart Throbbing 5 Brights! The Battle for the Lady!” starts now! Off to the side, Kintoki asks Awa what Kagami is talking about because he did not suggest such a senseless idea. Awa tells Kintoki to hush because the camera is looking at them.

Kagami continues to say that today’s event will be broadcasted live from Jinja TV, and she’s looking forward to working with them. One of her crew members pops in to repeat her words enthusiastically. Anyway, Kagami explains the proposal method. Here, Iroha and Kurenai will say some sweet and lovely words to the senki candidate. YOU WANT… MR. ROBOT TO SEDUCE HER WITH WORDS? LOL.

With this the senki candidate will mellow and then they’ll move onto Kaen’s traditional ceremony for deciding a partner and let the onifuda guide them. Why are they doing things in such a roundabout way? Because a maiden’s heart is complicated and she can’t easily confess as to who she likes! In other words, the onifuda will take her place and convey the feelings of the person who wants to say it but can’t. This method will also make it so that none of the men will hold grudges. WAR FLASHBACK TO MIZUCHI-HEN.

Kintoki angrily asks Awa what that explanation was. The sacred onifuda ceremony has been made into a variety show! Awa tells Kintoki to be quiet because this is a performance for the television and they’re still going to do the same thing. Anyway, Kagami is going to start the long-awaited proposal event and she invites Mikoto over to her. Mikoto startles upon being addressed but the dorm leader shoves her forward.

Mikoto walks up to Kagami, Iroha, and Karakurenai. Iroha is silent. Kurenai exhales loudly. Mikoto thinks on how none of them are smiling and she can’t see this as a proposal at all. But that’s because none of them love her, right? And yet they’re forced to say words of love. Is this really how a senki candidate’s partner is to be decided? This is… painful.

Kagami enthusiastically introduces Iroha’s proposal tactics. Go! Iroha’s breath catches. Mikoto stares at him silently with a distressed look. And then he says… that the “color” is different. Mikoto blinks at him. Iroha continues on to say that this auditorium is no longer what it once was and is under control of someone else; these are the same conditions too. First time, was the amusement park. Second, the senki candidate’s own house. Third and fourth, were the auditorium… and now the fifth too. Each of these instances had the same “thing”.

He brings up the first day of the ceremony and the incident that occurred. From the report he received from Mizuchi, on that day it would have been impossible for outsiders to get into the auditorium. Except for one place. That “thing” is covering the school in a strange “color” and is the foundation of the utsurohi disturbance this time. Karakurenai is smirking as he notes that Iroha’s eyes aren’t that bad, huh. Mikoto is shocked to hear him speak up too.

But Kurenai calls Iroha weak still because he isn’t able to pin down the true form of the “color”. Mikoto asks him what he’s talking about. Kurenai ignores her though and turns to Kagami, calling her a mannish woman, and asking if this handy camera that she had dropped was hers. Kagami is confused but answers in the affirmative.

Kurenai reveals that he had a man in Goto-gai look at this for him and it confirmed his suspicions. The electro-magnetic waves from this camera are causing the utsurohi to act up and the “color” that Iroha is talking about is this electro-magnetic wave! Kagami gapes at him. But what he doesn’t know about is the intermediary; there’s no meaning if there’s no one to assist the electro-magnetic waves. There needs to be a technique or tool that causes the utsurohi to come out from the waves.

There’s nothing in this ancient auditorium to call out these things from such an advanced thing. But the one thing he can say is that… the utsurohi disturbance this time was caused by the mannish woman, Kagami! Kagami’s eyes widen in shock. Her!? She knows nothing about this! She’s just taking pictures for television use. Karakurenai snarls at her to shut up because the camera she had caused the utsurohi to act up. There’s no other evidence than this!

Kagami begs pardon and tries to point out that she wouldn’t gain anything from this– but is interrupted by someone giggling. Mikoto turns around to see one of Kagami’s TV crew wondering out loud if he’s been found out already? That was boring. If they had just swam around some more then he could have snatched the senki candidate away just as planned. Kagami is shocked to hear this from Tamamushi.

He just smirks and decides that since it’s become like this and he has things to do he’ll have to break this all up. Mikoto is shocked to see utsurohi appear. Tamamushi complains in the background that he was used quite a lot by Kagami, that transvestite woman. If he hadn’t been ordered by his older sister than he wouldn’t have been so obedient. Anyway, just as ordered, he’s “fixed” something and struggling is useless.

Male and female students start screaming. Mikoto is horrified to see the utsurohi attack them. Onosada curses and shouts for the players not to get consumed by the utsurohi. They also need to evacuate before the minamo become tainted. Tamamushi giggles and tells him that he’s much too late. He hasn’t just “fixed” this place but other places too… and the entire region of Kaen is under control now. The entire school is under Goto-sama’s control.

Onosada is stunned to hear the name Goto. Tamamushi exclaims gleefully that students who run will just become adabana. Even their precious minamo will become tainted! Ahaha! Kagami tries to ask what he’s doing. Tamamushi asks if she really wants to hear? He introduces himself as, Tamamushi, an adabana who works for Goto. Kagami is shocked to hear that he was an adabana. He mockingly asks if she just noticed now.

No matter how much she acts like a man she’s just a young girl with money. It was easy to use her! Kagami snarls at him but then is kicked and collapses. Mikoto screams out her name, but Tamamushi just keeps kicking Kagami and asks her how it feels. Irresistible, right? Kagami starts to cough and then Himeutsugi appears to shout at him to stop. Mikoto’s eyes widen while Tamamushi asks him who he is.

Himeutsugi states lowly that he won’t forgive him. Tamamushi mockingly repeats his words. What can a man with such delicate features do? He can only put on a cool act in front of the ladies! Listen up, he hates people who put on airs like him! Himeutsugi inhales sharply. Mikoto calls his name worriedly. But then Himeutsugi asks Iroha and Karakurenai to leave this battle to him.

Iroha asks him what he’s going to do about a minamo because there’s no minamo here that is equal to Kagami’s power. Mikoto interrupts here to ask Hime to make her his partner. Hime’s eyes widen. Iroha informs her that their target is her, the senki candidate, so she should run away immediately. She refuses loudly, which surprises Iroha. She pleads with him to let her fight; she might not have the power yet, but she’ll do it! Please let her!

Suddenly Momotose appears and asks Iroha and Karakurenai to come with her because the entire school is filled with utsurohi and they need to save as many students as they can. Kurenai calls her a shitty bitch and asks her not to order him around. But the two of them leave. Onosada comes by to say that the chairmen have created a barrier to exterminate the utsurohi and he and Mizuchi will be supported by Aoi. He wants them to hold the rest back though.

Iroha stares at Mikoto in silence. She says his name pleadingly. He says just one word 「勝て。」(Win). I WILL WIN EVERYTHING FOR YOU DARLING. OH MY GOD. YOU ORDER ME AND I WILL DESTROY THE WORLD. Mikoto is surprised but nods her head firmly. Iroha then turns to tell Himeutsugi to absolutely not let the adabana have the senki candidate.

Himeutsugi acknowledges the order and then turns to Mikoto before he pauses, silent. She calls his name questioningly, but he just smiles and thanks her. He’ll protect her with his life. And then he does his field creation call and they fight.

They win the battle and Tamamushi screams in agony before collapsing. Himeutsugi warns Mikoto not to move though because the adabana hasn’t withered yet. She nods and watches as Tamamushi curses and wonders if this is the power of the 5 Brights. No, wait, that’s wrong? It’s because of this woman… the one Goto desires… the senki candidate. He can’t believe she’s at this level but, no, that’s fine because then it wouldn’t be interesting.

He starts to laugh maniacally and then screams that it’s show time! Mikoto looks down at her feet and then sees sparks in front of her eyes. Tamamushi starts to cackle about how he can see the tainted electro-magnetic waves running through the school. Even their barrier is useless! There’s no way to stop this and the great school, created by the emperor, will collapse in front of their eyes. This is irresistible!

Mikoto screams and Himeutsugi calls out to her and reaches out to her, but she yelps in pain. Her body is electrified and when he touches her… Kagami realizes that it’s a short circuit and explains that, because Mikoto is a minamo, the water in her body is reacting to the electrical current. Mikoto is, much like the other minamo in this school, unable to control her water very well and at this rate she’ll become tainted. Himeutsugi gasps. Mikoto continues to writhe in pain.

Other girls start to scream and Tamamushi delightedly asks if their bodies feel strange? Everyone, go crazy! In her mind, Mikoto realizes her entire body is paralyzed. It’s no use. She collapses and Himeutsugi yells out her name in a panic. Tamamushi laughs and says that it’ll be easy to carry her while she’s on the verge of death. Shall he present the heads of the minamo of this school to his sister as a souvenir too? Hahaha!

Himeutsugi is speechless. And then he snaps. Tamamushi’s laughter is cut off. What’s going on? His body is heavy! Mikoto wakes up and is startled. Kagami shouts out Hime’s name in worry. Himeutsugi murmurs that there’s nothing to do but this now. It is his sin that things have become like this… so he’ll bear everyone’s sin. Tamamushi feels his power draining from him.

Mikoto is shocked to see all the nearby electrical currents gather around Himeutsugi. Hime grits his teeth in pain and murmurs her name before apologizing for not being able to tell her the rest of the fairy tale. But he’s glad to have seen a dream with her… while he was still himself. Mikoto stutters out his name. He whispers a farewell to her. Mikoto screams out his name.

A device is cranked.

Mikoto wonders where this place is. It’s dark. She can’t see anything. But then suddenly she sees Himeutsugi and so she calls out to him in relief because she– but then Himeutsugi points out that the goal was different, right? It’s more than enough now so why is “she” getting hurt. An unknown entity is silent in response. Mikoto realizes that he’s talking to someone else… but who? This voice is a woman’s? The entity is silent.

Himeutsugi replies that he understands and he’s done it properly. He’s done more than enough. The entity is silent. Hime’s eyes widen as he asks weakly if he needs to continue still… He doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want to anymore. He wants to be forgiven. Please, Matsurika.

Suddenly, Mikoto sees something else. Images are flowing through her head! This is a place that appeared in her dreams before! She sees a boy crying. He’s saying no to something. She notices that his face looks familiar… Could this boy be…!? The boy abruptly turns around and asks her who she is. Mikoto freezes before asking him why he’s crying. He answers that he’s lost everything.

She repeats his words in confusion. He tells her that he’s been cursed. He can no longer be a prince because he wasn’t able to save the princess. But he doesn’t want to be himself because he hates himself. The story has been settled though and it’s his fault that the princess died. It’s his fault. Everything about him is bad. That’s why… he… he became a demon. Mikoto’s eyes widen.

A device is cranked.

Mikoto wonders what this noise is. It’s a strange sound like a device is turning. She’s heard this noise before. She’s certain. Mikoto opens her blurry eyes and hears Momotose sigh in relief at how she’s woken up. Mikoto is in a daze as she calls out Momotose and Kagami’s name. Why is she here? And then she shoots up from bed and asks what happened to Himeutsugi. Is everyone safe? And the adabana… Momotose is silent. Same with Kagami. Then Momotose asks her to remain strong. After that battle, Himeutsugi… Mikoto is extremely alarmed!?

Scene skip! Mikoto runs through the greenhouse and comes up to Onosada who notes that all the actors and actresses have shown up. Mikoto desperately asks if Himeutsugi is inside the auditorium. Onosada tells her to calm down. Mikoto ignores him and asks if he’s safe. They need to get inside and save him! Onosada snaps at her to calm down. Mikoto’s mouth clacks shut in surprise.

Mizuchi notes to Onosada that Mikoto hasn’t put the situation in order yet. Onosada sighs heavily and says that he knows. He tells Mikoto that what he is about to reveal might be hard for her to listen to but he doesn’t want her to be shaken; if she rushes into the auditorium then outrageous things will happen. Mikoto nods reluctantly. Onosada explains that the auditorium is filled with an electrical current that is stained in utsurohi. One step inside and a player will become an adabana or a minamo will become tainted. Mikoto’s eyes widen.

Onosada continues on to say that the school grounds are still full of the electrical currents the adabana released. The chairmen have been keeping up a barrier without any sleep to prevent any of the taint from leaking outside the auditorium. Kagami and Momotose are here too and Kagami says quietly that the origin of all of this is because of her TV things. This entire incident won’t be settled just by her saying she didn’t know about it… she’s really sorry.

Momotose reminds her that Kagami was used and so she shouldn’t become depressed. Kagami averts her eyes. Mikoto asks what is happening inside with Himeutsugi and the others. Kagami tells Mikoto that she carried Mikoto out after she collapsed and then the door was sealed, so they can’t see inside. She believes that Hime, the adabana, and some students remain inside. Mikoto stiffens.

Kagami goes on to say that, at that time, Hime used a strange power and the adabana, along with everyone else, had their power absorbed by him. Mikoto repeats her words questioningly, but Kagami isn’t certain. It only looked that way. But anyway, thanks to that, she was able to carry Mikoto out from the middle of the electrical currents. Momotose thinks there is a possibility that Himeutsugi absorbed all the power, including the taint, into his body. It could also be that, because he’s holding it back, the taint has remained within the auditorium.

Mikoto is terrified because what does this mean for Himeutsugi?! And the people inside!? Momotose falls silent. Mizuchi speaks up at this point to say that, according to the laws of Kaen, players who have become adabana and minamo who have fallen must be purged, so that no taint remains. Presently, the people remaining in the auditorium are subject to a purge. It’s a low possibility that anyone who has remained in there hasn’t been tainted.

But this causes Mikoto to ask if they’re really going to kill the people who, in order to protect the school, remained behind? Onosada tells her flatly that the 5 Brights, the Kaei, aren’t decorations. They exist to protect the country from taint at the risk of their lives. Himeutsugi had this resolve. Mikoto thinks that’s cruel! She doesn’t want to make Himeutsugi and the others into sacrifices! They need to save them!

Karakurenai appears at this point and laughs at how interesting Mikoto is. Does she intend to become god? Mikoto’s eyes widen. Onosada explains that, in order for the chairmen to purify the area outside of the auditorium, they managed to suppress the taint with the minimal damage. But the adabana said that he’s put something up and, if he was speaking the truth, the moment the doors of the auditorium open then the taint will spread rampantly. In the state the chairmen are in now they won’t be able to purify it all.

Mikoto is speechless. Kurenai cruelly asks her who is going to do the purification? Is the legendary senki candidate, who couldn’t even choose a partner to satisfy herself, going to do it? Momotose tells him quietly that he’s said too much. He just snorts and snaps out that women who only use their mouths irritate him. Mikoto admits that she was thoughtless. Iroha appears at this point and asks Onosada when the date is to act.

Onosada tells him that, including the days for preparation, it will happen in three days. Iroha acknowledges that and orders Mizuchi to help him. Mizuchi nods. Mikoto is puzzled at what they mean by “acting”. But then Iroha states that, in three days, they will blow this auditorium up and seal it deep within the earth. W H A T. Mikoto’s eyes widen in shock. Iroha notes out loud that the chairmen can’t continue to keep up the barrier like this, so burying the auditorium will be quickest.

Mikoto goes to confirm that by burying they mean that Himeutsugi and the others will– Iroha narrows his eyes and says flatly that they’ll die. Mikoto is stunned. Momotose snaps at Iroha to choose his words a little more. He asks why? Because he just stated the obvious. He then approaches Mikoto and tells her without emotion that this is her fault. The adabana was targeting her and they came to Kaen because she was here. The source of all this is her. Therefore, she must accept this fate. DANG SON.

She just stares at him, pale. Kurenai snickers at how harsh Iroha is. Then he comments how lame Iroha is for relying on something as cheap as an explosion. He’s going to do what he wants. As he stalks off Onosada complains about how Karakurenai is thinking about something. Mizuchi excuses himself as well before walking away. Momotose comments on how it must be hard on him because he needs to kill his best friend, Himeutsugi. Iroha is silent.

At any rate, Onosada reminds everyone that because it is clear Goto and his group are targeting the senki candidate then they cannot allow any more taint and utsurohi invading Kaen. Mikoto latches onto that name, Goto, and asks what that is. Onosada explains that Goto is the leader of those who conflict with the emperor; the adabana and utsurohi are under his control. If she wants to know more details then she can come to the lecture room. He’ll tell her what he knows.

Onosada closes his eyes as he grumbles on how troubling it is for Goto to act as well. He can see how the senki candidate would be useful to the other side. Iroha comments on how, up until now, Goto’s existence hasn’t come to the front. But now because the senki candidate is here he is starting to attack Kaen. They didn’t make any preparations to endure it; them, or the senki candidate. Mikoto flinches.

Momotose yells at Iroha to stop. Mikoto excuses herself though and runs away. Momotose feels sad for Mikoto who is bearing all this guilt despite not being fully aware of herself. Kagami agrees and thinks it’s too harsh; she even seemed to have some feelings for Hime. Momotose disagrees because it wasn’t just that. Mikoto was drawn towards Himeutsugi and was aware of that herself. Moreover, Himeutsugi too… Kagami is surprised. Really!?

Iroha states quickly that this is impossible because the onifuda didn’t choose Himeutsugi. Momotose reminds him that, at that time, there was something missing, right? She isn’t so sure of that conclusion now. Iroha’s breath catches, and then he leaves. Kagami blinks in surprise and then comments on how he seemed kind of strange. Momotose pities him. Kagami asks her why. But Momotose doesn’t respond. STOP KICKING MY BOYYYYYY!

Meanwhile, Mikoto has returned to her room and thinks on how, in three days, the auditorium that Himeutsugi and the others are in will be blown up. Inside, there are people who committed no sins and Himeutsugi, who remained behind to protect them. And yet, she’s supposed to just watch them die? How did it come to this? Iroha and Karakurenai are right; everything is her fault.

If she had found her true partner at that first ceremony… if she properly had resolve… If she wasn’t being targeted by Goto and the adabana…! If she wasn’t at Kaen…! If she didn’t exist…! WOAH SLOW DOWN THERE. Mikoto is startled when the onifuda suddenly starts to shine. It’s like it’s trying to lead her somewhere… Ah! She recalls how she had been holding it on the day she went home… and the words her grandfather told her.

「――逃げるな、全てから。逃げたその時、お前から全てのツキが逃げる。ツキを決めるのはお前」(– Do not run from everything. The moment you run, all the moons will escape you. The one who decides on the moon is you). The one who decides the moon is her. Right, she mustn’t run. She’s not going to let someone else do it, she’s going to do it herself. She tells herself 「このツキを・・・運命を受け入れない。私が決めるんだ。新しい運命を」(I’m not going to accept this moon… this fate. I am going to decide… a new fate).

DAY 21. Mikoto heads to the lecture room, only to find an unknown male. She hasn’t seen him before… and he’s not wearing the school’s uniform. He doesn’t seem like one of the students either. The male doesn’t say anything.

Mikoto asks if Onosada is around. The stranger answers that he isn’t. Mikoto smiles awkwardly and replies that she’ll come by again later then. But then the stranger uses her name and says that she came here about Goto. He’ll talk, so she should sit. Mikoto yelps when he suddenly picks her up, despite his slender frame. There’s also a strange whirring noise that comes from him when he does this action. THIS GUY TALKS LIKE A ROBOT BTW. ALL CHOPPY.

The male informs her that Sadakurou – that is, Onosada – is in the middle of research and so, in his place, Me will talk to her. Mikoto repeats the name “Me” in confusion. He tells her 「みーはみーゆーはゆー。」(Me is me, you are you). And then he kisses her cheek, which causes her to squeak in shock. Me tells her that this is a greeting in the world. She doesn’t know what to say to that.

Also, she thinks on how this man is as beautiful as a doll when she looks at him from this close distance. His eyes are as clear as glass too. But she can see something in his eyes? Me suddenly tells her that Mikoto has eyes of the moon, which is the same as him. She repeats his words in confusion. He gives a robotic laugh and tells her that it’s a secret. She can’t seem to come up with a reply to that face.

Anyway, Me explains choppily that he is Sadakurou’s assistant and Sadakurou’s whereabouts are unknown. He is glad that he finally found Sadakurou here. Mikoto focuses on the fact that his whereabouts are unknown. And then Me tells her that talking about Goto is his duty. A beeping noise happens and then he states that the loading is complete. Mikoto is startled when his voice becomes normal and he states the subject of his talk, which is about the power between the emperor and Goto.

The emperor founded Kasen and so became a symbol of that. Goto was like the veins of that leaf but he fell and became tainted. In other words, Goto was someone who would have succeeded the emperor. Using his own taint, Goto created followers called Suuto, who obey him, and has steadily attacked the emperor as an opposing force. The Suuto are leaders of a gang who have sworn loyalty to Goto and they have divided up Goto-gai, but their forms are rarely seen.

Under Goto’s orders, they are searching for a woman… the senki. Known in the world as an untainted maiden who holds the moon which can change fate. Mikoto stiffens. Me continues on to say that the first ceremony failed, and so next is the second ceremony. He thinks they want to settle this here and have made preparations for that purpose. This time… Mikoto interrupts and points out that the second ceremony was the one yesterday, right?

Me is silent before a beep occurs and then he asks her what she is talking about, because the second ceremony hasn’t been held. She blinks. He is surprised that she doesn’t remember. And then he leans in and asks 「きみのつみはどこへいったの?だれがせおったの?ぎしきでだれをえらんだの?だれをあいしたの?きみしかしんじつはしらないのにきみだけがもっているつきのちからあるのに。」(Where did your sins go? Who bore it? Who did you choose at the ceremony? Who did you love? Even though you’re the only one who knows the truth. Even though you’re the only one with the power of the moon).

Mikoto doesn’t know what to say. SHIT SHIT DON’T DO THIS TO ME AGAIN. WHO BEARS HER SINS? MAYBE THE ONLY GUY WHO’S EVER TALKING ABOUT SINS. IROHAAAA. Suddenly, Onosada appears and shouts at Me to stop and asks what he’s doing. He sighs and complains about how this happened the moment he looked away. He turns to Mikoto and asks if Me didn’t say anything weird, did he?

Me steps away from Mikoto and answers that, regrettably, he only spoke about what was inputted into him. Mikoto echoes his words in confusion. Onosada laughs awkwardly and tells her that Me has lost a screw in his head… or more like it’s loose. Me informs Onosada that he has enough oil and he drank it this morning. Mikoto repeats the word oil questioningly. Onosada explains quickly that Me drinks olive oil for his health, and then he shoos Me away. Me makes some beeping noises and then clanks away.

Even Mikoto notices that the noises he makes while walking is strange! Onosada squints his eyes. Mikoto asks who, or what, that person was. Onosada is silent for a beat before telling her to forget about it. In her mind Mikoto thinks that’s impossible! But Onosada declares that they’re done talking about Me and, if she came here, there must be something she wants to ask? Mikoto tells him that she came to ask about Goto but she was told everything by Me.

Onosada sighs again but believes that the general information has been passed along then. If she wants to hear more details then she can come to him. It’s unmistakable that Goto is aiming for Mikoto. Onosada doesn’t know his goal but he even came to Kaen, which was behind a barrier. Exactly like the rumors, Goto is an outrageous person. And then he tells Mikoto that the chairmen have said that they will expel Mikoto if the auditorium is buried.

Mikoto is stunned speechless. Onosada explains that they underestimated Goto. And if the barrier breaks then they won’t be able to protect her. Even though she is the long-awaited senki candidate, the chairmen cannot allow the school to be destroyed. He tells her not to think badly on them and that she’s still a student here for three days, so she should behave the same. He also advises her to go to the rooms and visit the people she’s interested in, so that she won’t have any regrets. Mikoto nods quietly.

She leaves the room and thinks about how she’ll be expelled in three days, which is right since it was her fault the school became like this. But there should be something she can do. If she can borrow that person’s power then maybe she can save Himeutsugi and the others. She’s going to go and consult with that person. That person should be… in one of the rooms of the 5 Brights.

12 thoughts on “Hana Awase 「姫空木編」 ~ Common Route ~

    Kaory said:
    July 21, 2016 at 10:07

    This Hana Awase series looks really interesting, I might start playing using VNR and your summaries/translations once I finish with Mystic Messenger (dating sim for mobile who I’m so addicted). Thank you for all your work!

      Kaory said:
      July 21, 2016 at 10:13

      Ooh, really sorry for bad english ;; I feel like I said some parts wrong… but I hope it’s understandable

        Ilinox responded:
        July 21, 2016 at 23:04

        Aw, no, don’t apologize! Your English is absolutely fine :)! Also, I’m so jealous of you playing Mystic Messenger right now (I’ve seen my friends playing it and I want to play it so bad too but I have to wait for the IOS version </3). Hana Awase is one of my favorite games so if you're interested then I definitely recommend it! All the games are pretty important imo so you should start with Mizuchi-hen.

        Thank you for commenting and I love seeing other HA fans around!

        Kaory said:
        July 22, 2016 at 07:46

        Let me tell you: the wait is worth, despite all bugs (Cheritz is working really hard to fix) I’m loving the game n_n
        I will definitely play Hana Awase, the beautiful art really interested me and I’m into japanese poetry. Good to know it’s one of your favs~

    Nope is here hello! said:
    July 13, 2016 at 13:03

    OH GOD HERE WE GO.
    Hime will finally get his happy ending, huh?
    …Aaand everyone else won’t, hoo boy.
    I’ve been waiting for this ever since Hime’s route in Mizuchi-hen
    it was bad.
    I cried, i got a headache afterwards and my eyes were all swollen and puffy
    oh god. -buckles seatbelt-
    let’s do this.

      Ilinox responded:
      July 15, 2016 at 19:04

      LMAO yes Hime will get his happy ending but, like you said, at what cost for everyone else. Dammit, why can’t we all get along and just be happy! But I guess it’s time to buckle in on the pain train and get ready to cry for everyone else now :’D

    Misko said:
    July 9, 2016 at 18:43

    I’m super excited about this one too! Finally got the game and I’m playing along and I just got to the part where Hime shows up and…MOTORBOAT!

    LOL I’m dying.

      Ilinox responded:
      July 11, 2016 at 13:47

      Heehee, I hope you enjoy playing the game with me then! I’m making my way through Mizuchi’s route right now and it should be up sometime soon I think. Glad to hear you’re enjoying the beginning! Be prepared for pain though, haha.

        Misko said:
        July 16, 2016 at 17:24

        Yep, I’ll be playing along. I’m super slow though. Still grinding and ranking up in the common route. I love the card game though and get super addicted to it. Also, I’m liking Hime in this one so far. I don’t think I ever finished his route in the first game though, so I’m thinking I might go back and finish it before completing his route in this one. Not sure if it matters?

        Also I think I found a bug or a joke from the programmers or something.

        This rank 77 person must be a super boss! I’m tempted to try the match and see what happens…

        Ilinox responded:
        July 20, 2016 at 16:10

        I feel like Hana Awase is a game that makes all routes matter, aha, so I would definitely recommend going back and finishing his route from Mizuchi-hen. I think his route there revealed a bit about his past and dropped hints that the next game would be his and that they have some kind of knowledge (subconscious or not) about what’s going on.

        LOL I laughed when I saw this person in the rankings too and I’m pretty sure it’s a joke from the programmers because lucky 7 and all that :’D I think this person is stronger than the 5 Brights. IIRC when I was ranking up in Mizuchi-hen, Hime’s stats were a flat 60 or 70 across?

    Rita said:
    June 25, 2016 at 22:45

    SCREAMING ASDJKFASKDJFASDASDFAJS THE COMMON ROUTE IS OUTTTTTTTTTT
    WHIPS OUT HIME-HEN GAME AND ASDFJAKS I’M SO EXCITED TO START PLAYING <33333

    ..Ahem. I need to calm myself lol, but when I got the email notification about this post, I was literally on cloud nine XD It's cause hana awase is my fave otome game and I just.. it's hard to put it in words OTL

    THANK YOU ILI! YOU ARE TOO WONDERFUL (and most importantly, pls never forget to get lots of rest <3)

      Ilinox responded:
      July 1, 2016 at 17:01

      <333!

      I'm so sorry for how long it's taken me and happy that you can enjoy Hime-hen now! I'm going to be working on Mizuchi's route next and already 2 choices in, so I think it should go pretty fast.

      Aww, you're so sweet and thank you for commenting! It always gives me motivation to see people excited for the games I'm playing |D let's all get ready to cry for the fates of everyone in this game (except for Hime this time).

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