Man this is getting harder. I need an assistant! Ok, so the Chinese raws scanner finally tells me where I'm at....Geez. This marks our spot as Vol. 5, Chapter 26. Chihaya is losing miserably at the national A ranked competition while facing the current Queen, Shinobu Wakamiya. Read on if you love spoilers...
I guess you wouldn't be reading this, otherwise. Heh.
Full page illustration: Chiyaha slumped in defeat
I can't do it...
I've lost my will to win...
Taichi observes that the disparity between the players is great in terms of the number of cards Shinobu has already taken. There is little to no opportunity for Chihaya to attack. The greater the disparity, the less confidence she will have. Moreover, Shinobu is such a formidable opponent. Her defenses are impervious to attack.
But, the only option is to attack! Hang in there, Chihaya!
The next card is read. "Waiting for my lover, my lover doesn't come..."
Taichi wonders why Chihaya has stopped attacking. Even Shinobu pauses to observe. Chihaya looks like she's about to cry.
Shinobu thinks, Ah, not again. When this first started, everyone was so excited about going up against the "Queen." But whenever they play against me, it's like I'm playing by myself. Let's just finish this, then.
Chihaya is sweating bullets at this point. Just then, one of the onlookers accidentally switches off the lights to the room. Because of that, Chihaya snaps out of it. She notices Taichi and Ms. Miyauchi supporting her.
Hang in there, Chihaya!
Ayase-san, hang in there!
She looks down at the cards again. But I don't know what I should do. Taichi...sensei... At this point I haven't taken a single card from her. The last time this has ever happened to me was....
The image of the first time she played Arata flashes across her mind. So fast...!
She realizes that her situation with Shinobu now is exactly as it was with Arata back then.
I won't pull any punches.... he told her.
She realizes that both Shinobu and Arata play seriously, without holding back. She remembers her feelings back then. It was so frustrating. She wanted to at least take one card from him; at least one. It was then that she noticed a single card, the "river divided" card, because it was one of the poems she had memorized.
Chihaya apologizes and gets up for a moment. She notices that Sudo is also still in the room. When the match wasn't going in his favor, Sudo was the one who showed her she can actually stand up for a better perspective. It was then that she noticed the Queen was left handed.
Oh my God, I can't believe I just noticed...How long have I been doing this? -_-;
Chihaya sits again and bows, "Forgive my rudeness." The Queen is slightly amused by Chihaya's antics.
At this time and place, I cannot lose to the 12-year old I was....
The Queen notices a look of resolution that overcomes Chihaya's features.
So you're ready to have another go? But how much longer can you hang on?
Chihaya attacks. The movement is so quick, not even Taichi could tell who got the card. Chihaya notes that just as she attacked and regained her momentum, the attacking Queen was still faster.
But the karuta I play is all about attack. In her mind's eye she recalls Harada-sensei's words, "Chiyhaya, just think about it and you will understand. The best time to attack is when your opponent's self-confidence/ego is at its highest. One successful attack into the enemy's strongest defense at that point would throw them into mental turmoil. Kick them while they're down and then take control of the game in your own hands." (TN: loosely translated...)
At the next card, Chihaya and the Queen touch it at the same time. Shinobu is surprised that Chihaya's hand ended up on the bottom and hers on top. But the Queen gives her the card. Chihaya blurts out and asks why, since the card was positioned on Shinobu's side and thus, it should be Shinobu's win. Taichi laments Chihaya's idiocy. The Queen takes the card back. -_-; Chihaya herself is shocked at her own idiocy... -_-;
She remembers Harada-sensei's words, "These cards are all mine. Contest every single one! You cannot admit defeat. You must take them from me yourself."
Chihaya thinks, This is Omi Jingu, (a sacred place). (But) it's the same for me anywhere....Whether battling a ranked player or the Queen, I don't want to win by cheating.
Cute scene (from the future??) with the following caption: From the very first card that she draws from here on, her path will open towards this stage.... (TN: is this the final battle for the Queen's title?? Is that... *gasp* CHIHAYA?? Actually, while translating this, I completely forgot how the manga began. She does actually get there in 2 years...)
Chiyaha lifts her head and takes a huge, deep breath. Shinobu thinks her odd.
Chiyaha attacks and takes her first card! Shinobu is shocked. The jaws of the crowd drop to the floor. Taichi marvels that this is where Chihaya's natural talent comes into play. The card began with the syllable "fu" which is near silent at first pronunciation. Harada sensei once told him that Chihaya can hear this sound, however, even before it fully sounds out.
As Chihaya picks up her very first card, she attaches a special affinity to the card "After the Autumn winds blow." Chihaya sits down again, and stares the Queen straight in the eyes as she hands her first "penalty" card to her. Taichi is impressed.
Chihaya's hand swiftly and automatically draws towards her "namesake" card and she slaps it away. Again, she gets up and retrieves another point against Shinobu.
"She got it! She got it!!" exclaims Ms. Miyauchi excitedly. "She got it in one breath!"
Taichi watches silently in awe. Chihaya!
Caption: This card will one day take her to the title of "Queen!"
TN: Kyaaaaa~! This chapter was so exciting. I nearly cried out in jubilation. That's the card Arata named for her, right? Kekekekeke....