Saijo no Osewa ~ Takane no Hana [LN] - V3 Chp 2 part 1
Noon, the next day.
After leaving the mansion with Hinako and Shizune-san, we drove about an hour to a large lodging facility in the mountains.
After getting out of the car and walking for about five minutes, I saw a large amount of tennis courts.
There were twelve in total. Two of the courts were dirt, two more were as hard as asphalt, and the remaining eight were artificial grass.
[It’s one of the accommodations owned by the Konohana Group. The building is currently closed for building renovations, but the courts are still available for use with no problems]
Naturally, there were no customers since it was under renovation.
Looks like we can have this big court all to ourselves.
[Miyakojima-sama is here]
A black car pulled into the parking lot while Shizune-san explained the facilities.
Exiting it, Narika and her servant appeared.
Narika soon noticed us and approached.
[Narika, I’m looking forward to working with you today]
[Yeah! I’m counting on you too!]
Today Narika was full of confidence.
Narika was carrying a tennis bag on her back and even had bags in both arms.
[You’ve got a lot of baggage]
[I had Konohana-san provide the court, and so I provided the tools. Rackets and balls, plus grips and gut strings, just in case. They’re all the latest products we offer. We’re confident in their performance. …We even sell clothing and shoes!]
Narika stated proudly while taking out tennis gear for the current number of people from her bag.
Narika’s family is Japan’s largest manufacturer of sporting goods and its products are both honest and reliable.
We decided to use the equipment Narika had prepared for us.
[The changing rooms are over there]
Shizune-san led us to the changing room.
I immediately put on the tennis gear Narika had given me.
[Ohh… it’s light]
I thought the quality of the gym clothes at the academy was good, but the clothes I received from Narika were also very high in quality. I tend to be sensitive to the breathability of clothes during the summer, but it was very comfortable and the shoes were light and easy to move in.
[Itsuki-san, have you finished getting dressed?]
Just as I put on my clothes, I heard Shizune-san’s voice from the entrance.
A little surprised, I said [Yes].
When I walked out of the changing room, Shizune-san was waiting for me.
[Your collar is a mess]
[Ah, I’m sorry…]
I was so impressed with the comfort of the clothes that I lost awareness of my personal appearance.
I reflected on this while Shizune-san fixed my collar.
[Itsuki-san, are you aware of the level of the competition you will go against?]
Suddenly, Shizune-san asked.
[I heard that it’s a casual competition….]
[Yes. But that’s just the subjective opinion of the students]
What does that mean?
[Students at the academy not only focus on academics, but also athletics. It’s not uncommon for the students’ families to have their own business associations. They’ve been very well versed in sports and their family’s work since they were very young. I hear that some of them practice alongside the business community]
If one’s company has a business team, there will be more opportunities to conduct studies related to sports. I think that’s what Shizune-san is trying to say.
Here’s one thing I’ve understood recently.
The students at the academy are not just serious and capable academically and athletically. They also have many opportunities to be positive about their future.
They’re often associated with people who are respected by the public, such as presidents, secretaries, artists, and business, so they have no shortage of backers to aim for.
The students grow up with a treasure trove of motivation.
Among these students, Hinako and Narika are the ones who have excelled.
I’m reminded once again of the tremendous ability of these two.
[They say casual, but it’s probably tougher than Itsuki-san imagines. I know it will be tough to keep up… but please do your best]
Pulling myself together, I replied.
It’s alright. I’ve been at the academy for three months.
I’m used to making up the difference with effort.
(Those two… aren’t done yet)
I arrived at the court first and waited for a while, checking the feel of the racket.
[Thank you for waiting]
After a while, Hinako and Narika arrived.
They were both wearing tennis gear.
Hinako was wearing a white shirt and a peach-colored skort. (TN: Yes it’s called a skort. A skort is a pair of shorts with an overlapping fabric panel made to resemble a skirt covering the front and back)
Narika wore a light blue shirt and a gray skort.
They both look fresh and I was slightly at a loss for words.
Should I at least say it looks good? But this is tennis gear. Even if it’s plain clothes, I feel that if I compliment them, it would sound like sexual harassment.
When I was wondering about that—
[How is it, Tomonari-san?]
[Well… You look good in it]
Saying this, Hinako smiled cutely.
[Itsuki! Me! What about me!?]
Narika was competing with her.
[It also looks good on you]
[…Sounds kind of insincere doesn’t it?]
[Just your imagination]
It can’t be helped.
It was embarrassing to say it seriously.
[But you look stylish in every outfit you wear, Konohana-san…]
[Thank you very much]
Hinako responded to Narika in a very accustomed kind of way.
In addition to her tennis gear, Hinako now had her hair pulled back into a ponytail. Although it’s just a simple change, it has a completely different feel from her normal appearance.
Her base form is too powerful. (TN: This isn’t even her final form. Also did I ever say that I’m a huge fan of ponytails? Def top 3 hairstyles)
Then we did some light stretching to loosen up our muscles.
Narika and Hinako are both daughters of large corporations. It’s not only those around them who’s cautious of injury, but themselves too. Stretching was done carefully.
[Konohana-san won last year, but how well can Itsuki do?]
After we finished stretching. Narika asked me.
[It’s probably up to as light as a rally can be]
At my high school, we were scheduled to learn tennis in PE starting in our sophomore year. But I haven’t yet learned tennis properly because I came to the academy before that.
[Then, let’s have a rally with the three of us first. Serving and receiving can come after that]
Narika then headed to the back of the court.
Me and Hinako rally with Narika, taking turns at three points each. Narika was playing against both of us, but she didn’t seem to be out of breath at all.
[Itsuki! You can hit a little harder!]
I followed Narika’s instructions behind the net.
However, when I tried to hit it hard, the ball went out or into the net.
[Hinako, you’re up]
Narika was in the other court and would not be able to hear our exchange.
I talked to Hinako in a casual tone.
[Today I’ll show… to Itsuki how cool I can be]
With that said, Hinako started hitting the ball with Narika.
(Both of them… are too good)
Narika and Hinako are both very talented. I can only wonder how they can hit such a fast ball with their small builds.
Maybe they’re hitting the ball properly, right in the center of the racket.
It seems like showing off did not win last year’s competition.
My turn came.
As I received the ball from Hinako, I mentioned a thought that came to mind.
[I sometimes thought about it, but Hinako is really good at sports too]
[I don’t really like them because they are tiring…]
Naturally, Hinako made a statement like that.
[But now… I’m fat… so…]
I think she said something but Hinako kept her mouth shut.
We continued our rallying for the next 30 minutes or so.
[Ahhh. Is it a net ball?]
The ball we were playing with was caught in the net.
There was a basket of balls in the back, but if we took a new ball out of the basket every time, the court would be full of stray balls, so I went to pick up the ones that got caught in the net.
Then, as I was thinking that, Narika also approached the net.
[Itsuki hits better than I thought]
Narika said as she picked up the balls.
[At this rate, I think you’ll become much better by the time the competition starts]
[That’s good to hear. …Is there anything that I should fix?]
[I’d advise you to wait until you’ve practiced more. If you want to fix something, it’s more efficient to look at the whole picture then prioritize]
It was so straight forward that I couldn’t help but be impressed.
I remember when I first met Narika back then.
That day, I became a resident of the Miyakojima family and encountered Narika swinging a shinai at the dojo.
I didn’t bother to tell Narika but… I was there, and I watched Narika swing her shinai for a while. I had never seen anyone so earnest and so selflessly devoted to something before, without a care in the world.
Narika is dignified and cool when she is seriously engaged in sports.
More than five years have passed since then, but I felt the same dignified coolness as before… Who was dripping sweat in front of my eyes.
[…Speaking of which, Narika, do you ever use the dirt court over there?]
I asked, trying to stifle my inner turmoil.
[Ahh. I’m not going to use it because only omni courts are used in competitive tournaments]
She answered while looking at the courts.
[By the way, those dirt courts are called clay courts. The unevenness of soil causes irregular bounces. Conversely, the hard courts next to them have a harder and flatter surface, so irregularities are less likely to occur. And the omni court we’re using now is an artificial turf with sand mixed in, which makes it less prone to irregularities and a little more slippery]
I was amazed by her simple explanation.
I lightly tested the ground with my shoes. Indeed, this omni-court was flat but also soft and slippery.
I probably used clay courts in my old high school. It was basically the same feeling as the dirt here.
A hard court probably feels like a gymnasium floor. On a hard, flat surface, the ball certainly wouldn’t bounce in strange ways, but it may be a little bad for someone’s knees and back.
[You really know your stuff. As expected of the daughter of a sporting goods company]
[R-Really? You can ask me anything!]
Narika proudly puffed out her chest.
[Next we’ll practice serving and receiving. Continued with volleys, and then we’ll end it with some tips to improve]
[Alright. I’m counting on you]
Donations are very much appreciated. (EDN: Help fuel me and Ezu’s Honkai addiction plz)