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Chapter 14 - Anticipation

AU. Hikaru never entered the professional Go world, opting instead to placate Sai with NetGo and Go Salons. Years pass by and now Hikaru is a normal office employee going about his daily life until…

Chapter 14 - Anticipation

Chapter 14 - Anticipation

Akari was excited about watching Waya-pro's match from the observation room. It was something that she did not see much of everyday. And to think that Waya-pro was to play against the genius Touya Akira!

Bustling about and getting ready to meet Hikaru's two disciples, Akari was feeling rather flustered and ecstatic at the same time. Her hair was flying about in all directions from the way she rushed around gathering up her necessities and hastily packing them away in her bag. Soon enough, she was all dressed and ready to head to the Go Institute.

As she made her way up the steps leading to the front entrance of the Go Institute, Akari felt her pulse speed up in anticipation. This would be the very first time she was to witness such a match between two popular and still steadily rising Go players, and to think it was not something for work, but a good-to-honest invitation to watch from one of said players. Of course, the invitation was originally for Hikaru and the boys, but this was just as exciting.

Making it up to the top, she noticed Taguchi and Ohka just entering the building, and quickened her steps. It wouldn't do for her to keep the two enthusiastic boys waiting after all, all the while unaware of how her own eyes seemed to gleam with unrestrained glee. Akari giggled to herself, thinking of all the notes she was going to jot down about the match, and of all the possible impromptu interviews she could have with the pros who decide to watch this particular showdown. It was a once in a life-time chance for her, and it was all thanks to Hikaru!

"Aunt Shindo!" Taguchi's voice cut through Akari's inner fantasies. She looked over to where the two boys were waving for her to join them at the door. She smiled and nodded at them before picking up her pace and hurried over to the two boys.

"Good afternoon Taguchi-kun, Ohka-kun," Akari greeted genially, "How are you today? Excited about watching the match?"

"Yeah!" Taguchi shouted in reply, jumping up in excitement, and eyes sparkling.

"Good afternoon Aunt Shindo," Ohka replied politely, jabbing Taguchi in the side to calm him down, "We're very excited to be able to watch a match between Toya-pro and Waya-pro. Please thank Shindo-sensei for us for the invitation."

"There's no need to be so formal with me Ohka-kun," Akari laughed off Ohka's stiff and formal reply, while patting the boy in the back. "From what I gathered, you should be thanking Waya-pro for the personal invitation."

"Yes ma'am," Ohka nodded stiffly.

"Well, let's go in now, shall we?" Akari asked the two rhetorically, as she pushed the two through the automatic doors of the Institute.


Walking towards the side room, Akari noted that there seemed to be quite a large number of people, mainly teenagers who she assumed were insei, and many of the lower level pros in attendance at the Institute that day. Of course, there were also a few higher level pros there as well, but not as much the other two groups she had noted. As she reached the door to the observation room, she was surprised to see two security guards standing by the door, and the rough line that seemed to form from it. Sidling up to one of the people closer to the door, she was even more surprised to see that only a few of the people were allowed into the room.

"What's going on here?" Akari asked in shock. Taguchi and Ohka looked just as shocked, but for a different reason.

"Apparently, because of the large number of people wanting to witness Toya-pro and Waya-pro's match, they've made it a policy to have a list made for the number of people allowed to enter the observation room, due to space constraints," a person standing beside Akari, who had overheard her question, answered her.

"But, how does it work?" Akari asked, confused.

"First come, first served," another person answered Akari, as they walked away from the door, scowling. He sighed as he continued, "However, the room's been filled, so unless you're on the VIP list, then you can't get in."

The people in the crowd, who were close enough to hear the announcement by said person, groaned collectively in defeat and slowly started to leave the vicinity. Taguchi and Ohka were of the same mind as they too heaved a long sigh, turned and started to leave along with the crowd.

"Ohka-kun? Taguchi-kun?" Akari called, as she noticed the two boys starting to leave, "Where are you two going?"

"Eh?" the two boys looked at Akari in question, "But…!"

"Don't worry boys," Akari winked and smiled at the two boys, "We can get in. I'm sure Waya-pro made sure of that."

Pulling the two boys along behind her, Akari walked up to the security guards by the door. One the guards, stopped them, tapping at the clipboard he held in his hand.

"Name?" he asked Akari.

"Shindo Hikaru, with Taguchi and Ohka," Akari answered the guard, "We were invited by Waya-pro."

The guard nodded as he glanced at the list in front of him and found the name. He motioned to his fellow guard to let the three in, "Confirmed; Shindo Hikaru, for three. Enjoy the match."

"Thank you," Akari nodded to the guards and gestured for the two giddy boys to follow.


Upon entering the room, Akari and the boys were met with the sight of various pros. The boys however, were able to pick out some of their fellow insei. The rest of the groups in the observation room were assumed to be family or friends who decided to just tag along. Spotting an empty space in the room, Akari quickly rushed over and commandeered the space. She then ordered the two boys to find some spare chairs, while she went to scour for a Go board. Settling into their seats, the three patiently waited for the match to start.

"Excuse me," a voice surprised the three sitting at their table. They all looked up to see who was addressing them.

"Yes?" Akari nodded for the man to continue. He looked familiar for sure, Akari thought, but she wasn't able to place where she'd seen him right at the moment.

"Could you possibly know of a Shindo Hikaru?" the man asked, a sheepish look on his face as he asked. "My friend asked me to see if I could keep him company should he show up for this match."

"Yes, I know Shindo Hikaru," Akari answered the man, "Is this friend of yours Waya-pro?"

"Yes, that's correct," the man answered, looking seemingly relieved to not have embarrassed himself any further. He gestured to the two staring teenagers, "I assume these two are the 'insei brats' that Waya mentioned to be studying under Shindo-san?"

"Yes… and who…?" Akari nodded to confirm the assumption, her face scrunching up as she tried to place the face of the man standing before her.

"It's Isumi-pro!" Taguchi cried out, still staring at the Go pro before him. Ohka only nodded, too in awe to voice anything.

"Isumi…?" Akari's eyes widened in recognition as she took a second look at the man standing before her. "Oh! It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance Isumi-pro!"

"Ah… and I as well," Isumi smiled at Akari, as they shook hands. "And you are?"

"Oh! I'm so sorry, I am Shindo Akari," Akari introduced herself. She gestured to the two boys, "And these two are the insei, Taguchi Shun and Ohka Tetsuo."

"It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance sir!" both insei vocalized as they bowed in unison to the Go pro.

"Haha, likewise, Taguchi-kun, Ohka-kun," Isumi nodded to the insei. Turning to Akari, he asked, "You don't mind if I join the three of you do you?"

"No, not all, Isumi-san," Akari shook her head, gesturing for Isumi to join them. Nodding in thanks, Isumi pulled up a chair next to the three, sitting perpendicular to them.

"As I've already mentioned, Waya has asked me to keep you company during his match, and answer any questions you may have regarding the game for the duration of the match," Isumi informed the two insei and Akari, "So please do not hesitate to ask questions regarding the match."


Shortly afterwards, the match began. The first hand went to Toya.

3-4, Komoku.


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