Caption: Even if it's just one card...I don't want to let someone who's already given up take a single one!
The room is getting hotter. Yumi looks beyond the players towards her sensei where the shadows of onlookers stand behind the windows. Outside her sensei complains that he can't see through the glass anymore, since the condensation has fogged up the windows. His karuta society members tell him to calm down, and he tells them to go to hell.
Yumi looks towards her opponent, whose ferocious aura is quite apparent now. The next card that is read is an "empty" card, and Chihaya moves to attack, but averts when she realizes there is no need to take a card at this time. Yumi wonders why Chihaya even bothers moving when she knows it's an empty card. Chihaya's eyes are full of determination.
While Yumi is still distracted, Chihaya takes the next card. Meat bun notes that this is Chihaya's fifth card in a row. Even Yumi notices that she's actively attacking now.
Why is that? Before she was so cautious... It's as if she knows....
She knows she's going to win...
Going to win...?
This strikes a nerve and Yumi rallies against Chihaya as she presses and cracks her knuckle against the tatami mat.
Outside, the peanut gallery is commenting how all the glass in the competition grounds have fogged up at this point and how the difference in temperatures inside and outside must be significant enough to do that. Someone asks if they could possibly crack open a window.
Tsutomu comments to Kana that he didn't know A rank competitions were this scary. There movement and speed is on a whole other level. Kana agrees, but also comments that it's also beginning to feel a little uncomfortable because everyone inside the tournament room has a "killing aura" about them as they listen to the next poem in that unbearable heat. Tsutomu has to agree with her there. But, Kana can still hear the card reader so clearly, resounding, as if there was no window barrier between them.
Yes, this is poetry.... It's not that she's reading it aloud...she's chanting it. (TN: in its ancient form, "poetry" is not just "詩" but also "詩歌" which literally means "poem song." In ancient times, poems were sung, hence Kana's reference that she is connecting to the poem in its original, purest form)
Tsutomu notes that the card readers are really something. Not only is the selection process stringent, they must also take tests. Those who are qualified to read during the Meijin contests are only about 10 people in all of Japan. Kana gets an awestruck look on her face and comments how difficult it must be to become one... (TN: perhaps she aspires to be one...?)
Chihaya...Listen even more carefully to these 'songs'! Kana thinks.
I can win! I can win! Chihaya thinks.
Yumi notices how Chihaya's aura has become formidable, comparable to even Wakamiya Shinobu. This pisses Yumi off as she recalls the look on Shinobu's face when they dueled. A look of satisfaction that came naturally after attaining one's own momentum.
I've lost that sort of thing a long time ago! Yumi thinks irritably.
At this point Yumi comes to some realization that she can see clearly now, and challenges herself to make a comeback from here.
Chihaya makes a mistake with a "chi" card, and Yumi takes the correct one, which is incidentally on Chihaya's side. Yumi starts her attack and everyone is surprised (except her mentor, who still can't see past the glass)
Yumi thinks how pathetic it is that the "former Queen" of karuta should score a point only because her opponent made a mistake. She's gone from being 7 cards behind, to only 4. Because she's dueled hundreds of times like this before, she decides she will make her comeback starting from here. Meanwhile, Chihaya is berating herself for making a mistake in hearing "chihaya" incorrectly.
Just as Yumi wonders if she can begin from here, her mentor throws open one of the windows. She wonders if his actions have helped Chihaya snap out of her funk more than anything. He gives her words of encouragement, (And also letting some fresh air into the room!) to steady herself and "firmly grasp" her own way of karuta. Everyone in the room takes his advice to heart.
My own karuta...my own...the karuta that I've practiced with everyone, Chihaya thinks as she takes a deep breath.
At the next card, Yumi and Chihaya take the card at the same time, but Yumi verbally contests Chihaya's claiming the card. (TN: apparently they are quite verbal in their karuta club about card disputes) With her vocalization, Yumi has found her own strength again, remembering that she was once the champion. She starts to intimidate Chihaya by telling her to stay behind her boundary. Chihaya quickly apologizes.
Even if it's become hard to compete, Chihaya thinks, I must calm down and take the cards I am able to take. She notes that the cards she can take (TN: single syllables?) are all lined up next to her opponent. But as the next card is read, Yumi attacks and takes it.
Did I get something wrong? Chihaya thinks. Taking the single syllable cards are like second nature to me, but...
She recalls what she said towards the beginning of the match. "Even if it's one card, I won't let her take it."
What was I thinking? My opponent is the former Queen of karuta! What was I thinking?
TN: Lame. Really lame. For her to lose to Yumi like this...is super lame!! We don't even know what Yumi's strength is. We don't know how she can be better than Chihaya except we know she grows a backbone again. Very discontent with the story arc! Everything about Kitano and Yumi annoy the hell out of me. Yumi wins by pulling her weight with intimidation and Kitano's disruption should have disqualified his players immediately. It almost feels like they were cheating or something...and to have Chihaya lose after all this is just so dissatisfying.