"Ugly Duckling" is the second chapter in Ahiru no Sora.
Sora challenges the current members of the Kuzuryu High boys' team to a 5-on-1 match. At the beginning of the game, Chiaki subs himself and chooses Madoka to participate in his absence. Sora questions him, and Chiaki informs him that his dear Tomo-chan might be waiting for him at the Kawasaki bridge. Madoka agrees to participate, and Sora requests her not to hold back despite his adversaries. Seeing his brother leaving the game, Momoharu tells Chiaki that he hasn't changed a bit.
Nevertheless, the match begins. At the start of the game, Momoharu informs Sora that if he can even score one shot over them, Sora will win the game. The sport starts, and Sora quickly grabs the ball at tip-off. Everyone on the court is amazed by Kurumatani's swiftness. Following this, Momoharu guards him, and Sora quickly passes him with a clever fake. Madoka and Chucky try to stop him; however, Sora steps back. Because of his short height and thin physique, Sora swiftly passes them.
Madoka and the girls' team refer to Sora's diving low technique as a 'duckling.' Therefore, his movements have become like a duck as it dives underwater. While watching Sora's incredible basketball skills, Chiaki understood what Sora meant when he referred to his basketball shoes as his wings.
As he is going for a layup, Yasuhara kicks Sora near his groin area. The girls' team member questions Shinichi about his illegal move. Seeing this, Chiaki exits the court and head towards the Kawasaki bridge. Momoharu approaches Sora and throws the basketball ball at him. He then lets Sora know that it is now a ten-minute match and that there are no rules in this game. Subsequently, Momoharu requests Madoka to stand back as the game is about to get intense. Due to this, Madoka tells Momoharu she is not backing off and has no intention of losing to Sora.
As the opponents are becoming more aggressive, Sora ties his basketball shoes properly. He then tries to score. While dribbling, he reminisces his time with his mother, especially when she gave him advice on the benefits of being a short athlete.
Meanwhile, Momoharu and Madoka are guarding him carefully, and they easily read Sora's movements. However, Sora does get fazed by this. He then performs a step-back three jump shot. As a result, Madoka and Momoharu are amazed by Sora's efficient shooting range. Because of this, Chucky and Yasuhara tell Sora that they have accepted him as a team member. They add that Sora can be their errand boy. Not wanting to lose, Momoharu gets mad at his companions and reminds them that the match is far from over since there are 8 minutes left.
At the Kawasaki bridge, Chiaki eagerly waits for his assumed-to-be girlfriend, Tomo. However, Chiaki sees a depressed Momoharu and his gang approaching him. Momoharu tells his brother that the kid (Sora) got a strong heart, even after receiving all those beating by them during the match. Sora never gave up, kept scoring. Due to this, Sora won the game by a significant margin.
After the match's conclusion, Madoka approached Sora and offered him a handkerchief to wipe off his injuries. She also asked Sora if he was okay and he didn't get injured. Sora assures Madoka that he is fine. Sora then tells Madoka that Momoharu is quite experienced in basketball compared to the other delinquents on the boys' basketball team. He adds that he was very impressed by Momoharu's defensive skills. Moreover, Sora believes that his twin brother, Chiaki, has also played basketball at an elite level in middle school.
- Chiaki Hanazono
- Madoka Yabuchi
- Sora Kurumatani
- Momoharu Hanazono
- Masahiro Saki
- Yasuhara Shinichi
- Yuka Kurumatani (Flashback only)