Chapter 84:

Tenju and Taira

En Passant Grandmaster


As nightfall hit, everyone gathered in the ballroom.

“So do you punish your minions by giving them tattoos each time they fail?” Okisato glared.

“Nay, boy. I chose to embrace this to prove just how beautiful I truly am,” Mizuse cooed as she twirled in place. She was now completely unrecognizable now that every inch of her body was covered in tattoos. She also had multiple piercings adorning her face and ears, and was now wearing nothing but a purple skintight micro-bikini along with her stylish white sneakers.

“I don’t understand how you can smile normally. You must be in excruciating pain.

“Women have higher pain tolerance than men, yet despite that, I feel no pain from the tattoos in fact, I dare say I feel better than before.”

“Well you’re a lost cause then. So are we ready to begin?” Okisato asked as he turned to Ai.

“Yes. As agreed upon, you shall challenge all my SPCMs to team 4-way chess. Naturally, DESPERs will be active and you will only be allowed to participate once. You will only be allowed to participate again if both teams still have members left following the initial 1st round. And naturally, should you best an SPCM team, it will count as beating the and you shall reap all the rewards you would normally get for besting them. In addition, should any of you fulfill the requirement of besting all 6 of my lovely SPCMs, you may challenge me for the low, low, price of 100,000 yen. Now, first up is Taira and Tenju,” Ai declared as Taira and Tenju stepped forward.

“Guess I’ll go then. I want to beat Himitsuue,” Okisato nodded.

“I’m down too!” Iori waved as she stepped forward.

“Iori-chan, are you-”

“Don’t worry. Iori-chan and I pair well together,” Okisato nodded as Taira pulled out her DESPER.

“Now, let’s say losers get burned to death by blowtorches, but only if they haven’t been cursed with immortality. If they have, they’ll still get burned but survive, though the injuries they receive from losing will be irreversible,” Taira stated as she activated her DESPER.

“Fine by me. Though if possible I’d prefer that you, Taira Kuroshiro, survive-”

“I LOSE I DIE! END OF STORY!”

Okisato sighed as a 4-player chess board along with some overhanging blowtorches appeared on the stage. “Iori-chan, you play as yellow. I’ll play as red,” he nodded as he headed for the red end of the board.

Iori nodded and headed for the yellow end while Taira headed for the blue end. Tenju struggled to maintain a brave face, but took a deep breath before heading over to the green end of the board. At just a glance at the ratings, Tenju and Taira seemed to have the advantage, however, 4-way chess was an entirely different beast compared to normal chess. To make matters worse for Tenju, Taira was still not acting like herself, however, that also fueled her determination to save her.

Taira and Tenju had a rough life ever since they were born. In addition to being born prematurely, Taira had been born with hideous scars covering her face. This led to the twin's birth mother requesting that the staff dispose of Taira and only focus on saving Tenju. However, Tenju, despite being a newborn, reached for Taira's hand and grasped it. This was her first act of protecting Taira. The staff decided to try and save both twins, leading the twin's mother to descend into rage and resentment. She then decided to leave the twins for dead and returned to the strip club she was a part of.

As for Tenju and Taira, they both miraculously survived, however, that was just level 1. The two were sent to an orphanage where Taira was once again scorned for her scars. Tenju was the only one who would defend her, but as a result, she got into lots of fights, often leading to her being reprimanded for her actions. School was much the same, but worse.

Despite Taira showing intellectual prowess, she was not only targeted for bullying by other students, but also some teachers as well. Tenju once again came to her aid, and while things seemed to be going fine, trouble occurred in the twin's second year of middle school. There, a teacher led the class in hurling jeers and insults at Taira, reducing her to tears. As a result, Tenju landed the entire class and teacher in the hospital, and was promptly expelled and sent to a juvenile correction facility.

The separation was unbearable not just for Tenju, but also Taira. She began blaming herself for Tenju's arrest, and began to wallow in sorrow. However, it was at that moment that she had a fateful encounter.

...

Taira parted her hair a bit to get a glimpse at a gathering crowd. Apparently, people were converging around a flamboyant woman seated at a table. With her curiosity peaked by the loud groans of frustration from the crowd, Taira made her way to the front. There, she saw a man dejectedly leave the table as the woman motioned for the crowd to look at the table. The two had been playing a game of chess and the man had lost.

The woman then motioned for Taira to take a seat as she reset the board. Taira nervously obliged and sat down. As soon as the game was ready, Taira was allowed to move first. She had heard of chess before but never played it, and was afraid things would end horribly for her, but she touched a pawn, something hit her.

"T- This game… Something's just telling me... It's fate," she thought.

Taira ended up losing, but ended up impressing the woman so much with her skills, that the woman made her an offer. "Will you agree to become my disciple?"

"O- Only if my older sister can too," Taira responded.

The woman nodded and quickly pulled out her cellphone. Within an hour, Taira and Tenju were reunited.

"So one of the girls has talent then," Raymond nodded as he approached the flamboyant woman.

The woman nodded and pointed towards Taira.

"Why are you pointing at her like that!?" Tenju shouted as she protectively hugged Taira.

"Fear not, your sister is not being mocked for her appearance, rather she's being praised for her talent," Raymond stated.

"T- Talent!?"

"Yes, she has displayed such talent that Maestro Himitsu is willing to take her on as a disciple. Naturally, you are invited as well."

"W- What-"

"I- It was chess, Nee-san. I- I just knew as soon as I touched the pawn... It was fate," Taira stuttered.

Tenju's fear subsided as she looked Taira in the eyes before embracing her in a tearful hug.

That was how the twins first met Maestro Himitsu and got their start in the chess world. Taira quickly rose through the ranks and effortlessly achieved a rating of over 2000 in two months. Tenju, however, struggled just to break 500. However, Maestro Himitsu didn't abandon her, rather she said that it was fine for her to be at her current skill level. Tenju however wanted to improve, since she believed that her lack of skill would bring down Taira.

A few years later, the twins were appointed as SPCMs, and allowed to open secret puzzle cafes. Now in high school, Tenju worried about Taira being by herself and requested that she be allowed to manage a single secret puzzle cafe with Taira. Raymond was against the idea, however, Maestro Himitsu proposed a compromise. Since Taira was the most skilled and highest rated of her SPCMs, she proposed that in order to challenge her, one would first need to beat all the other SPCMs. Raymond ended up happily accepting the proposal.

Since then, the twins have felt nothing but gratitude towards Maestro Himitsu. The twin’s life outside of chess even began to improve with their high school life seeing a drastic reduction in bullying. This was largely due to the WWCF’s influence, but nonetheless, the twin’s lives were improving. The day the twins graduated from high school ended up being one of the happiest days of their lives, not just because they had managed to get through high school with little to no issue, but also because Maestro Himitsu took the time to attend the graduation. What truly made the twins respect Maestro Himitsu so much though was the fact that she felt like a real mother to them. She’d always help them and offer them guidance, not just in chess, but in life as well.

However, that was all before the incident that took place a few days ago. Now, Taira was nothing but a masochistic maniac and Tenju was in shambles at both her sister's change and the betrayal of trust from a woman she considered her's and Taira's savior.

...

Once everyone was seated, the game began. Okisato opened by moving his pawn to h4, while Taira cackled maniacally and moved her pawn to d6.

"Wow, that girl's a wreck," Iori scoffed as she moved her pawn to g12.

"DON'T INSULT HER! THIS IS NOT WHAT SHE'S NORMALLY LIKE!" Tenju shouted as she slammed her pawn down on l7.

Okisato let out a heavy sigh. "How are we supposed to know? Not to mention, the conditions of this battle make it hard to feel sympathetic."

"She was brainwashed! The maestro was brainwashed!"

"And you?"

"I- I was not."

"Then why are you aiding them?"

"I'M DOING IT TO SAVE TAIRA!"

"Really, and how exactly are you "saving" her?"

"If I beat you here, she'll be free!"

"No, she won't. That's not-"

"AI SAID SHE'D RETURN TO NORMAL IF I BEAT YOU!"

Okisato let out another sigh as he captured the queen at n8 with his queen. "You're clearly the more brainwashed one, or rather the more manipulated one. First off, you'd need to beat the one who beat your sister in a DESPER battle in order to reverse the change, which is impossible since Desperados can't challenge each other to DESPER matches."

"I- I know that! B- But I'll save her!" Tenju tearfully shouted as Taira giggled and moved captured the pawn at f2 with her queen.

"No, the fact that you were aware yet still chose to follow the false maestro shows you were complicit in her schemes. Also..."

SLAM!

"Checkmate," Okisato glared as Iori maliciously slammed her bishop down on m7.

Tenju's eyes went wide with horror as she stared at the board.

"Lol, you got two-moved!" Iori snickered as the blowtorches began to descend.

"So it's my fault. Taira... I'm sorry. Don't worry, I'll make sure that even if I go to hell, you'll go to heaven," Tenju sobbed as she and Taira were restrained to their seats via metal shackles.

"N- Nee-san..."

Tenju's heart began thumping as she looked up to face Taira. One look was all it took for Tenju to realize that Taira had been freed from her brainwashing.

"TAIRA! I'M SORRY I-"

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

To Tenju's horror, Taira was incinerated to the bone before her eyes, screaming all the way.

"NO! NO! DON'T KILL HER! DON'T KILL HER! SHE'S ALL I HAVE LEFT!" Tenju cried as she desperately tried to break free of her restraints.

However, as the blowtorch stopped, Tenju felt unbearable pain even though she had yet to be scorched. She didn't even need to see the horrific charred state Taira's corpse was in to know she was dead, though seeing it only caused her screaming to get louder and her tears to pour out harder.

"Wow, guess the scarred ironin' board got overcooked," Safumi sneered as she watched the spectacle with the others.

"The hell's wrong with you!? Your friend just died!" Yuusuke shouted.

"Shut up. First, that scarred, now charred, shit heap was just our sandbag. Second, Tenju ain't gonna die."

"Huh!?"

"Thanks to me beating her, she can't die, though guess she'll still get charred and be like that for the rest of her life. Now she'll finally match her shitheap of a twin, just like she always wanted," Safumi sneered as the blowtorch began burning Tenju.

As soon as the blowtorch stopped, Taira's DESPER deactivated and emitted a puff of smoke. Safumi then strolled up to the now burnt Tenju and stomped on her stomach, eliciting a pained scream from her.

"See, still alive despite bein' overcooked. Aren't I a nice girl?" Safumi sneered as Michiko and Doraaki carried Tenju away.

"A shame, she would have made a nice play toy for our harem, but I have no need for overcooked flesh, too much of a hassle to take care of," Ai scoffed as Mizuse massaged her head.

Iori shot Ai a look of pure malice, as Okisato held her back. "Don't let her provoke you. Killing her would only make things worse," he whispered as Iori begrudgingly agreed.

"...Guess you're right. Not like I have any right to yell at her considering how many lives I messed up," Iori mumbled.

Okisato took a good look at Iori's face. Gone was her usual vigor and edginess, and in its place, resentment and melancholy.

"You truly are regretful then?" Okisato asked.

"Nah, it was a blast. Just now... The taste is soured. Especially if it's a death like this," Iori mumbled before she approached Taira's remains and mumbled an apology to her.

Okisato also offered an apology to Taira's remains before he and Iori headed back to the spectator area. "The way she acted in her final moments... It couldn't be," he thought.

The full game:

Red: Okisato Tanabe (2525) Blue: SPCM Himitsuue (Taira Kuroshiro) (2631) Yellow: Iori Ishikiridokoro (1144) Green: SPCM Himitsutan (Tenju Kuroshiro) (1362)

1. h4 d6 g12 l7

2. Qxn8+ Qxf2 Bm7#

This Novel Contains Mature Content

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