I am picking up where the anime, episode 13 leaves off. Since I'm working with Chinese raws, I have no idea what chapter I'm really on! hahaha. Enter the reigning Queen, Shinobu Wakamiya! Chihaya's struggles are just beginning!
The chapter begins with team Mizusawa rallying under Taichi's direction to win. Kana is concerned for Chihaya's well being but Taichi rally's them saying that Chihaya, who wanted most to be there, would surely cry her eyes out if they lost. They gather their courage and move on without her.
Unfortunately, they were eliminated after the 2nd round. -_-; (TN: Aaargh, Chihaya!) But Desktomu-kun won for the first time, and two consecutively at that.
Chihaya wakes in her hotel suite by herself, with medication by her bedside indicating her teachers had already taken her to the hospital. (TN: By the way, Arata carried her into the taxi -- kyaaaaaah~!)
When she steps outside, Sudo is mumbling to himself and visibly upset. He couldn't believe that Chihaya had to forfeit. Sudo berates her for it, and Chihaya weeps comical tears in her own embarrassment. He relentlessly lectures her saying her tears won't dissuade him. Sudo is concerned for the Tokyo region division's reputation. But he is stopped by Taiki and the rest of her team.
Seeing as they are still concerned for her well being, telling her to go lie down and rest, her eyes well up in tears and she humbly prostrates herself in front of them, begging for their forgiveness. Desktomu-kun is the first to reach out and insist she get up. He tells her he's never felt so invigorated in his life after winning his first two matches. Kana agrees. Desktomu hints that if Chihaya isn't feel well enough, she should leave before the individual competitions begin. Chihaya freaks out at that suggestion but as she watches her teammates excitedly recount their victories and losses, a smile comes to her face. Chihaya immediately returns to her room, buried under the covers, willing herself to become well again.
Taiki follows her and pokes fun at how Desktomu-kun has learned to be such a braggart. He pokes fun at how heavy she was when he had to haul her off the tatami mats during the match. Chiyaha feels sullen again and asks Taichi if she's let Arata down. Taichi drops off a package that Arata left behind. It is apparently a tasty box of Fukui delicacies. On the box cover Arata left a short note.
"I'll see you again, when we compete. Arata" (TN: indicating that she inspired him to pick up karuta again and they will meet next year in the nationals) Taichi watches as she holds the box close to her face, tears coming to her eyes. Her thoughts,
Arata...I've reached through to him...!
Full page illustration: Arata walking away with a look of determination in his eyes. Chiyaha and Taichi and Arata's thoughts are united.
I must progress.... I must progress forward!
Cut scene: Day 2
The next day, Chihaya is up and running again. Kana-chan, Deskutomu-kun and Taichi discuss how only similarly ranking players must play in separate competition rooms. A division (31 people), B division (107 people), C division (95 people), and D division (198 people) can only play others of their own rank and win in their respective divisions. Kana-chan and Desktomu-kun are obviously ranked D. Meat bun-kun and Taichi are ranked B. Secretly, Taichi wants a re-match with Arata.
Hyoro-kun and Sudo are back in action in their individual ranking competitions. The illustrious "Queen" makes an appearance as well. Sudo describes her as the youngest Queen ever, Shinobu Wakamiya, a freshman from a high school in Kyoto.
Shinobu strides towards the registration tables with confidence, a slight smile on her face. She is a recent addition to the A division. Chiyaha recognized her as the one she passed at the Omi Jingu shrine. Everyone who sees her is freaking out over her appearance (she's cute but extremely intimidating -- and has bad fashion sense). She goes over to greet Sudo in particular, pissing him off by saying, "Even though you lost the high school regionals, you actually came to the individual competition. You must like karuta very much." (TN: Meaning, "you still have the gall to show your face around here" or something to that effect)
Sudo vows he will "kill her" one day, much to Chihaya's shock. He also pokes her forehead repeatedly and says he wants to kill Chihaya too as revenge for her forfeiting the national competition. As the others watch the Queen pass warily Chihaya's thoughts are conflicting.
I wanna face her...
I don't wanna face her...
I wanna face her...
Cut scene: during the first match of Division A
Chihaya is sweating as her opponent gives her a run for her money. She berates herself for being so naive since she is in a room full of A ranked players. Chiyaha has to remind herself that her win comes at "one card at a time." She hears Shinobu's voice, gracefully thanking her opponent as she gets up the leave. The Queen has made her first kill so quickly. Her opponent is still sitting dazed in a corner at the break. He lost by 24 cards! (Only managed to take one from her!!)
Chihaya watches her silently as she drinks hot tea from the thermos she carries by her side. (Remember, it's in the middle of Summer) One thought resounds in Chihaya's head.
I want to face her! (TN: Be careful what you wish for, Chihaya!)
Cut scene: The Empress (Ms. Miyauchi, their teacher) comes into view trying to figure out how to work a camcorder. She borrowed it from Kana-chan's mom and tells Chihaya that she intends to film each of them during their matches. Ms. Miyauchi is taken aback by the determined look in Chihaya's expression. Her next opponent is Shinobu.
Shinobu bows politely as they face one another on the tatami. (TN: She tells her "qing duo duo zi jiao" which roughly means "please tell me where I am deficient" but she probably says something like, yoroshiku onegai-shimasu (I am in your care) in Japanese.)
Shinobu's aura is quite formidable. Chiyaha realizes that the podium is right behind her. If her coach (Harada sensei) were here, he'd relish in her good fortune. Chihaya is able to distinctly hear the announcer's breathing patterns.
She focuses her concentration and hearing on the first syllable, but Shinobu is the first to strike. Card after card, Shinobu takes them, and even Ms. Miyauchi is puzzling over her lightning speed, wondering if the camcorder can even record it.
"Three fragrant wishes, in the sky dancing..."
As Chiyaha reaches for the next card, Shinobu is already one step ahead, her graceful fingers dancing in mid air, a swift, silent form of karuta.
TN: I never studied enough Chinese to take a course in classical literature, so, when it comes to the cards themselves I can barely read them literally, and I have no idea what they mean... -_-; So for the last part, I just did my best and matched the words I could understand with the picture the mangaka drew....creative embellishment, if you will.