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"Vows" is the seventy seventh chapter in Ahiru no Sora.

Chapter Summary

Tarou and Katori see Chiaki at a nearby convenience store

The intense first-round match between Kuzuryu High and Shinjo Towa Academy is underway. Kaname, due to his poor stamina, starts to show signs of fatigue. Sora notices an exhausted Kaname and states that both teams have been focusing on attaining low post scores. Hence, this puts a lot of burden and pressure on either team’s center. Sora then asks Kaname for his wellbeing. Kaname replies he is fine and feels a little fatigue. The match continues, and Sora has possession of the ball. From the half-court line, Sora passes the ball to Kenji, who then efficiently scores the layup. Kuzuryu High closes the point deficit to two points, and the first half of the match concludes. Chiaki, on seeing his team’s better than expected performance, depressingly leaves the court. Chiba praises both teams for performing exceptionally well and comments that the first half to him looked even. Tokiwa agrees with his captain’s suggestion and states that the second half won’t depend on skills alone; it will be a battle of stamina and extreme concentration. The extent of either team’s abilities has yet to be tested. Chiba then notifies his squad that it is their team’s turn to start their warmup on the court. On leaving the court, an excited and delighted Tokiwa looks at Sora and comments that he is impressed by his performance and looks forward to competing against his team.

A tired Momoharu asks his teammates where are Chiaki and Nao. Yasuhara replies that Chiaki suddenly went off somewhere about 2 minutes ago, and Nao went to look for him. On hearing, Nabe replies that maybe Chiaki went to the washroom. Kenji urges his teammates that now is not the time to be worrying about people who are not present at the court, and at the given moment, what's essential is resting. Momoharu then remembers his brother’s personality, that he hates losing or doing anything uncool and believes that Chiaki must have depressingly left the court due to his poor performance. Similar to Kuzuryu High, Tarou’s team Kitasumi High, who are competing at a different venue, their first-round match is also halfway done. During the first half timeout, both Tarou and Katori, through bicycle, head towards the tournament venue where Kuzuryu High is competing. Tarou complains to Katori that his speed on the bike is too slow and urges him to pedal faster. Midway, Katori stops, and Tarou furiously questions him. Katori replies that there is someone familiar inside the convenience store. Tarou sees Chiaki and tells Katori that his eyes must be deceiving him, and there is no way the chubby afro would be at this convenience store. Katori replies that it is indeed Chiaki and confirms that he is even wearing the Kuzuryu High’s uniform. Chiaki sees both of them, gets excited and tries to approach them. Tarou and Katori, being scared and confused, start to run and notice that besides Chiaki, the convenience store owner is also chasing the three of them.

Nao meets Chiaki during timeout

Due to having no money, Chiaki somehow manages to get Tarou to pay for the ice cream he consumed. Tarou furiously tells Chiaki that he should not have eaten the ice cream bar if he had no cash and urges him to pay him back. A depressed Chiaki replies that he got three fouls in the match, and he didn’t want Nao to see his poor performance, and she must be thinking of how lame he is. Tarou replies that Nao would never say such rude things to anyone. Tarou then informs Chiaki that when he started playing basketball, he wasn’t good at it, and win or lose, Nao always greeted him with a smile and words of encouragement. In concluding, Tarou urges Chiaki that not to look down on her cousin, Nao. Chiaki looks at Tarou and comments that besides his odd appearance, Suzuki is a good person. On hearing, Tarou angrily replies that his name is not Suzuki; it is Tarou Kabachi. Katori then advises Chiaki to head back to the tournament venue; otherwise, he can get a technical foul. Katori then further states to Chiaki that he is the Kuzuryu High’s primary point guard, and his teammates would require his assistance. Before Chiaki can reply, Nao approaches them. Chiaki notices his tired manager and then sees her bruised left leg and questions as to what happened. Nao replies that she tripped and fell on her way trying to find him. Nao then informs Chiaki that she was worried about him suddenly leaving the tournament venue, and if she didn’t find him, their team would be in trouble.

Chiaki notices her kindness and tells himself that he is indeed a lame person and he looks pathetic in front of his carrying manager. Nao then kindly gives Chiaki a towel and informs him that he seems drenched in sweat and urges him to dry himself properly. In concluding, she comments that everyone on the team is trying their best to fill the void of his absence and requests Chiaki to come back and cheer for them. Upon hearing, Chiaki then notices that Nao is indeed a carrying person, and she only sees the effort that everyone puts forth. On departing, Nao tells Chiaki that the match is halfway through, has not ended yet, and requests him to return to the tournament venue again. Chiaki regains his confidence and asks Katori if he can use his bike to go back to the arena. On departing, Chiaki confidently informs Tarou that he will not lose to anyone and he will become the best player in Japan before him.

Characters

Reference

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