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"Life" is the eighty ninth chapter in Ahiru no Sora.

Chapter Summary

Sora meets his mother at the hospital

Three seconds remain in the conclusion of the intense first-round match between Kuzuryu High and Shinjo Towa Academy. Takahashi passes the ball to Kazushi, who then efficiently scores the mid-range shot tying the match and taking it into overtime. Shinmaruko High, after completing their warmup routine, awaits on the side of the court for their match. At the Kanagawa Hospital, Yuka’s condition worsens, and the hospital staff takes her to the intensive care unit for operation. Sumi calls Madoka and requests her sister to speak with their teams’ advisor. Satsuki attends the phone, and Sumi reports to him about Yuka’s severe condition. After the match's conclusion, a tired and fatigued Sora heads towards the hospital, accompanied by Madoka and Satsuki in a minicab. Upon arrival, while exiting the vehicle, Sora slips and falls to the ground due to being exhausted. Satsuki then assists his pupil in standing up and escorts Sora to the room where Yuka is currently receiving treatment.

Madoka asks her sister Sumi about Yuka’s condition. As they’re conversing, one of the hospital staff informs them that Yuka has gained consciousness. On hearing, both feel happy and relieved. Saho, a young patient at the hospital, overhears their conversation; and politely asks about Yuka’s wellbeing. Sumi courteously replies to Saho that Yuka is doing well and notifies her that she cannot walk alone around the hospital's halls without an escort of hospital staff and requests Saho to return to her room. Saho and Yuka are good friends at the hospital. Saho being young and underage, Yuka, to cheer her up and keep her critical condition hidden, lied to her that she is an actress and told Saho to keep a little secret between the two of them. One of Sumi’s colleagues at the hospital escorts Saho to her room. Madoka asks her sister that did the hospital contact Sora’s father. Sumi replies they did, and Mr. Tomohisa is on his way and will reach the hospital by tonight. Tomohisa lives in Nagano, which is approximately 300 km away from Kawasaki. Madoka then questions her sister that if she was aware of Yuka’s worsen condition, she should have given her a sedative or painkiller to relieve her suffering.

Kazushi scores the layup shot and the match goes to overtime

Sumi replied that their hospital has that kind of medicine; however, patients with severe illnesses like Yuka carry certain risks like going into a coma. Sumi further stated that Yuka was not in suitable condition to go to the tournament venue. It was a risk on her part, and she was far beyond her limits. She had heavy makeup on her face to hide illness and often smiled to appear calm. In concluding, Sumi stated that Mrs. Yone knew about her daughter's condition and still insisted on travelling to the tournament venue. Sora finally meets his mother. Yuka becomes happy to see her son after a while. Yone leaves the room so that both mother and son can have a pleasant and friendly conversation. Sora asks his mother if she is alright. Yuka replies that the hospital staff is exaggerating about her illness and there is nothing to be concerned about. Yuka then questions Sora why he is standing and urges him to take a seat. Sora grabs a nearby chair and takes a seat. Yuka then notices a nervous Sora and politely tells her son it has been half a year since they last spoke or met. Yuka praises Sora that he has grown taller. Sora replies he is 30 cm taller than before. Yuka smiles and then notices the Kuzuryu High jersey, and she then asks Sora that his school had their first official tournament match today, and did he participate?

Sora replied that he indeed participated and was one of the starting members of his team. Yuka then informs Sora that her first basketball jersey coincidentally also had number 15 on it, and seeing it brings back good memories for her. Yuka then asks Sora about the conclusion of the match. Sora, being confused and not to dishearten his mother, lies that their team won the match. Yuka congratulates her son. Yone overhears their conversation and expresses her doubts about Kuzuryu High winning the match. Sora furiously tells his grandmother not to think low of him. Sora then confidently informs both of them that his team just won the first-round match, and he can’t get happy or carried away over a single victory. Yuka asks Sora to tell her the details of the entire match. Sumi arrives and politely asks Yone that Dr. Hayashi would like to speak to her in private. Yone leaves the room, and Dr. Hayashi gives the disheartening news about Yuka’s critical illness that she won’t be able to survive for that long. Yone thanks both Sumi and Dr. Hayashi for looking after her daughter.

The final score of the match

Meanwhile, inside the room, both Sora and Yuka continue their friendly conversation. In between their conversation, Yuka changes her mood and apologizes to her son for not being able to provide him bigger body. Upon hearing, Sora tears up and questions his mother as to what she just said. Yuka also tears up. Sora then tells his mother that their opponent Shinjo Towa Academy had three people on their team who were 190 cm tall, and similar to them, his team also had taller colleagues like Chiaki and Kaname. Sora further states that he didn’t let his small height hold him back, and in fact, he used it as an advantage and courageously competed against his opponents. At first, Shinjo Towa Academy looked down on him, and as the match progressed, their demeanor changed, and it felt good to see the level of doubts change in their eyes. Sora then again praised his teammates and called his colleagues ‘Nakama’ which in Japanese means comrade. Sora further praised his adversaries and stated that meeting stronger basketball players like Chiba, Tokiwa, Tarou, and Takahashi made him a sturdier individual. In fact, his small height is what caught his opponent's attention, and in concluding, Sora thanks his mother graciously. Meanwhile, at the Inter-High Preliminaries Tournament venue, one of the attendees at the tourney, while seeing the final match score, praises Shinjo Towa Academy and Kuzuryu High for the exceptional performance both teams displayed during the match.

Characters

Reference

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