Chapter 82:

The secret revealed

En Passant Grandmaster

Taira began cackling uncontrollably before repeatedly smashing her face into the counter. "C- C- Congratulations challenger. Y- You beat me to a pulp, so you get my badge, 400,000 yen in prize money, and the rematch option for a single yen," she smiled as blood oozed down her face.

Mimoko took a good look at Taira before sighing and deciding to head out. "Perhaps I misjudged, then again, I never knew her well in the first place," she thought.

"Oi, the hell's going on in here!?" a voice rang out.

Everyone turned to notice Hagemi entering the cafe.

"Shousen-chan? Why are you here?" Mimoko asked as Hagemi marched up to Taira.

"P- P- Pay the entrance-"

"LIKE HELL! Why the hell is there an entrance fee!?"

"Because of Maestro Himitsu," Mimoko sighed.

Hagemi gritted her teeth and clenched her fist before slamming it down on the counter. "Like hell she'd do that! The Maestro's a good woman! She'd-"

"A 'good woman'!? She attacked my mother for no reason and now she's in a coma! My father's also gone missing and my little brother was almost kidnapped! All because the maestro joined the Desperados and is trying to get rich quick!"

Hagemi's eyes widened in shock as her anger subsided temporarily. "What did you say? When did all this happen!?"


Tears began to drip down Hagemi's face as she slapped herself really hard. "I've been out of the loop cuz I've been hangin' out with Kuon and not checkin' my phone. Damn it, I've never been more pissed off with myself."

"Then why are you here?" Okisato asked.

"I ran into Yuusuke and he told me they were charging to enter this place. So what happened? What's all this about Maestro Himitsu supposedly chargin' fees, and where the hell is Himitsudono!?"

"We don't know where he is, but we do know about the maestro," Okisato nodded as he flashed the article about Ai's speech before Hagemi.

Newfound rage consumed Hagemi as she zoomed in on the picture of Ai, Xiao lin, and the SPCMs. "The hell is going on!? Who the hell is that on stage with you all!?" Hagemi shouted as she grabbed Taira by the scruff of her neck.

"M- Maestro Himitsu-"


"B- But it is. And that is Maestro Xiao Lin-"


"Sh- Shousen-chan, what are you talking about?" Mimoko nervously asked.

"That maestro is a fake," a male voice stated.

Everyone turned to notice a bruised and battered Himitsudono entering the cafe.

"The hell happened to you!? I thought all SPCMs had Caïssa’s blessing, so why are you so banged up?" Hagemi asked.

"The blessing merely prevents unnatural death and severe injury. Not to mention, it is not in effect during DESPER battles."

"You were in a DESPER match!?"

"I just barely managed to scrape by the skin of my teeth against that woman."

"'That woman'?"

"Maestro Xiao Lin."

Everyone went silent as they stared at Himitsudono. Taira meanwhile, took the chance to slip out of her shirt and suddenly teleported away.

"So you can use your WWCF cards to teleport," Okisato glared.

"Yes, my apologies, I should have prioritized restraining her instead of telling you my story. But yes, all SPCMs and maestros are able to teleport to any secret puzzle cafe in the world as well as the WWCF's headquarters should they choose to."

As Himitsudono, sat down, Hagemi and Mimoko crowded around him.

"You said the maestro is a fake, but we met her when we first came to Triple cedar," Mimoko stated."

Himitsudono went quiet for a moment before letting out a sigh. "The real Maestro Himitsu has been kidnapped. While the fake one that has taken over might seem like a good imitation, I can completely confirm that she is not the real maestro."

"Then who the hell is she?" Hagemi glared.

"I am unaware, but she clearly is powerful if she was able to sway the likes of Xiao Lin and the other SPCMs to her cause."

"Michiko-chan mentioned she suspected the maestro was up to something and that she had "changed". She also mentioned she might get caught and... It looks like she might have," Mimoko stated as she began to tear up.

"If all the SPCMs got caught... So that's why that girl was a cackling mess. Poor thing," Hagemi sighed.

"There is a way to solve this. We simply must beat the false maestro to save everyone," Himitsudono declared.

"I was planning on doing that anyway. That fiend attacked my mother and put her in a coma," Mimoko tearfully glared.

"I was made aware during my bout with Xiao Lin. My deepest condolences. On behalf of the real Maestro Himitsu, I shall offer my services to aid you in your quest to best the false maestro," Himitsudono bowed.

"So your lame-o maestro got kidnapped and now we gotta clean shit up for you?" Iori glared.


"You may hold that opinion. I should have been more on top of things. Now, we should begin our training before the false maestro damages things further."

"What do you mean by training?" Okisato asked.

"In order to challenge the false maestro, you will either need to ante up an exorbitant fee, or best all the SPCMs to reduce the price significantly under the false maestro's rules. However, I doubt the false maestro would make things so easy and would likely try to halt your progress. That, and if Grandmaster Inoue's mother truly fell in a DESPER battle, the only way to save her will be to best whoever bested her. Naturally, if DESPERs are involved, the corrupted SPCMs and the false maestro will hold all the power."

"So we just challenge them to chess."

"I doubt they would accept. Both you and Grandmaster Inoue clearly have an advantage and since you both have yet to best all the SPCMs of Japan, the exorbitant fee won't be waved. Thus, the best course of action is to fell all the SPCMs you have yet to beat in a 4-way chess teams match. Since some of your clubmates have not played 4-way chess before, I shall offer them some pointers," Himitsudono bowed as he motioned towards a table.

Himitsudono waited until all the members of the chess club were present before summoning a 4-player chess board and explaining the rules. "Welcome to your first bout of 4-way chess. Now first off, there are two major variations of this; free for all, and teams. We'll start with free for all rules after going over the basics. First off, there are 4 different colored armies on the board; red, blue, yellow, and green. Red always goes first, followed by blue, yellow, and lastly green. Now allow me to discuss the board. It is numbered 1 to 14 going from red to yellow and lettered A through N going from blue to green. This also means that some squares such as a1,a2,a3,a12,a13,a14, and so forth don't exist due to the board being an 8x8 with 3 rows of 8 cells extending from each side. The board's nature also means that pawns will promote on your 8th rank or file. For red, it is the 8th rank, blue the h-file, yellow the 7th rank, and green the g-file. Keep in mind that pawns will automatically promote into queens, and will still only be worth a point if captured in their promoted state."

"Points?" Mimoko asked.

"Yes, in free-for-all, the winner is not the last player standing, but rather the one with the most points. Like in normal chess, pawns are worth 1 point, knights are worth 3, rooks are worth 5, and queens are worth 9. However, bishops are worth 5 points rather than 3 due to them having far more power than a knight on this type of board. Kings are also worth 20 points, and can be captured, though mating a king will get you 20 points as well. You are also able to get additional points for putting multiple kings in check at once."

"But you mentioned we should challenge them to teams, right?"

"Correct. There, the rules are a bit different than free-for-all. Teammates sit across from each other and are tasked with mating a member of the opposing team. Points don't matter, nor are king captures allowed. Teammates can also aid each other in both getting out of check, and putting the other team in check. Now how about a practice round?"

Everyone sat down and began playing. Okisato and Yuusuke both knew how to play already, so they elected to team up with Utami and Mimoko respectively. Iori and the others all ended up playing each other in free for all.

Okisato and Utami ended up winning the practice match, though mainly due to them both ganging up on Yuusuke.

"Seriously, why do you always gang up on me," Yuusuke groaned as he swapped out with Iori.

"So are you getting the hang of this?" Okisato asked.

"More or less. It's simply just chess on a larger scale," Mimoko nodded.

"I got this shit down pat," Iori grinned.

"I... Still need to get more accustomed to it. Had Tanabe-san not been guiding me, I fear I would have become a liability," Utami sighed.

"That is another thing to remember. Sometimes, you'll be allowed to converse with your teammate, but other times not," Himitsudono stated.

"Once all you kids feel you're ready, we'll throw down the gauntlet. I hear the false maestro is headquartered at Triple cedar, so we'll head there as soon as everyone's ready," Hagemi nodded.

Mario Nakano 64
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