"Smouldering Emotion" is the thirty fourth chapter in Ahiru no Sora.
A determined Sora heads out to find Masahiro and Nabeshima. At the start of his trip remembers that he forgot to ask his teammates about Chucky's and Nabe's house address. He finds a public phonebooth nearby and recalls he doesn't have any money to make a phone call. So Kurumatani decides to go back to school. As soon he is about to, coincidently, a depressed Nabe and Chucky pass by him. Masahiro informs Nabe that we are so weak and helpless in life and general; the way those middle schoolers looked down on us felt terrible. As soon as Sora sees them, he tries to stop them and asks when they intend to return to the Kuzuryu High. Masahiro responds that they are quitting the team, and Kenji was correct that he and Nabe would undoubtedly drag the entire team down. Sora responds that Natsume was a bit furious at them at the given moment, and they shouldn't take his opinion too personally. Masahiro asks Sora that since when he has been playing the sport of basketball. Kurumatani responds that since he was three years old. A low-spirited Masahiro replies that they just got a real lesson about how not to underestimate the sport of basketball. At the current level, no matter how hard they train, they would never be able to catch up to a competitive level of high school basketball.
After responding, both leave and head back to their residence. The following day the two of them go to the nearby convenience store. While glancing over some magazines, Chucky informs Nabe that he feels bored and they should eat some ramen. The two then go to the nearby Ramen Noodle restaurant. While eating ramen, both started conversing about their recent basketball game loss against the middle school kids and what they should have done to counter them. Midway through their discussion, Chucky questions as to why they are discussing basketball again. Afterward, the two of them go to the nearby park, and Nabe expresses his frustration that due to Golden Week, they still have eight days of holidays left, and the two of them have done everything in their free time, and again he feels bored. Nabe then informs Masahiro that basketball is indeed an interesting sport. Chucky tells him not to think about it, and they should spend some time at the arcade.
As they are about to leave, the two of them see the middle school kid with his girlfriend. Upon seeing him, both get furious, and Nabe expresses his frustration that the teenager already has a girlfriend in middle school. Both then sneakingly eavesdrop on their conversation. The teenager then expresses his desire to his girlfriend upon enrolling in high school; he intends to make it into the Inter-High Tournament. Upon listening, his girlfriend informs that people who play sports are cool after all. On hearing both Nabe and Masahiro get energized and believe that they might also have a chance to get a girlfriend if they keep playing basketball. Chucky then announces to Nabe, similar to the middle school kid, his goal upon playing basketball is to make it into the Inter-High Tournament.
Meanwhile, at Kuzuryu High, Sora and the rest of his teammates diligently follow Nao's training regimen. During their workout, Nao receives a phone call from Madoka, and she informs that Nabe and Masahiro are in a middle of a friendly basketball game against middle school kids. So, Nao and the rest of the Kuzuryu High squad head to the nearby park, and they see a determined Nabe and Masahiro. After making the layup shot, the middle school kid informs Chucky that the game's outcome won't change, and he and his colleagues will win the match again. Upon listening, Masahiro replies to the teenager not to get ahead of himself; the match is still ongoing, and he and Nabe haven't given up. However, Kenji, while watching tells Sora, that Nabe and Masahiro can't win the match under the given circumstance; the middle school kids have more experience than them. Both Nabe and Masahiro, frustrated by their futile attempts, notice that their tall height is their biggest disadvantage, which is causing the middle school kids to pass them and score. Chucky then lowers his defensive stance in accordance with the teenager's height. Nao then notices that two of them are correctly doing the cross steps routine she taught them. Masahiro steals the ball from the middle school kid, Sora excitingly rushes and joins the game. Chucky passes the ball to him, and Sora scores the point. The teenager questions Sora's involvement. Kurumatani replies; he joined cause the match looked interesting and fun to him. Sora then asks Nabe and Masahiro again that isn't basketball interesting. Both confidently respond that indeed basketball is an interesting sport, and their goal is to reach the Inter-High Tournament. The two of them, with Sora's assistance, win the match. Later on, Kenji praised Nabe and Chucky for their recent improvement in their defensive skills, and then all of them returned to Kuzuryu High.
- Sora Kurumatani
- Masahiro Saki
- Ryuuhei Nabeshima
- Yasuhara Shinichi
- Nao Nanao
- Madoka Yabuchi
- Kenji Natsume
- Chiaki Hanazono