June 26, 2004
1 through 6
Amachi Hitsugi, Miyamoto Shizuku, Tatewaki Hikaru, Kurogane Hayate, Chiharu, Miki, Mudou Ayana, Kibi Momoka, Shabazou, Benibachi Kiyoko, Kuga Jun, Someya Yukari, Kamijou Maki, Suzuki Sonoe, Aida Shouko, Inori Sae, Mikado Akira, Hoshikawa Claire, Tsukishima Minori, Kotake Rina
Amachi Hitsugi gives a morning address to the assembled students of Tenchi Academy at the beginning of a new semester, as Kurogane Hayate drops by the orphanage where she and her twin sister Nagi were raised. Nagi is enrolled at Tenchi as a first-year middle school student, but due to an injury, has already missed the first six months of her freshman year. Consequently, she is at risk of losing her status as a sword-bearing student. To prevent this, Hayate must pose as Nagi and go to school in her place.
Hayate arrives at Tenchi, interrupting a meeting between President Amachi and a third-year middle school student, Mudou Ayana. Ayana is a sword-bearing student, but for the past half year has been without a shinyuu and has not been an earnest competitor in the Hoshitori. After Ayana leaves, Hayate is introduced to Amachi, her shinyuu Miyamoto Shizuku, and her adjutant Tatewaki Hikaru. Afterwards, Hayate meets Kibi Momoka, who is to be her roommate in the Tenchi dormitories.
As Momoka is showing Hayate around the school, the bell rings to signal the beginning of the Hoshitori. Though vaguely aware of Tenchi's sword-duelling reputation, Hayate knows nothing of the Hoshitori, and Momoka must explain its rules as well as the shinyuu system to her. Hayate remains disinterested, intending to avoid the duels and hold out until Nagi can return, though she is impressed by a display of skill from Mudou Ayana, who withstands four attackers without drawing her sword.
Hayate's attitude changes when she learns that Dandelion Garden owes a large sum of money to Smiley Finance LLC.. She becomes determined to repay the loan through the cash rewards from Hoshitori duels. However, she cannot score any valid duelling victories without first finding a shinyuu. Her preferred choice is Mudou Ayana, but Ayana--who has largely confined herself inside her dorm room--is unwilling to partner with her.
In her continued efforts to win Ayana over, Hayate learns more about the older girl's history at Tenchi. Her previous shinyuu was Someya Yukari, but following a certain incident for which Ayana was to blame, their partnership was dissolved. As atonement, Ayana has remained solo since, permitting herself to slide down the class ranks. However, Yukari, during a brief chance encounter, suggests that this kind of self-denying penitence will not earn her forgiveness. Ayana decides to change her strategy. She agrees to pair with Hayate until the two of them can reach Rank A, at which point she will be permitted to challenge Yukari personally in a duel (hoping thereby to confirm what exactly Yukari wants from her by way of redress), and Hayate will have earned enough to repay the loan.
Meanwhile, Hayate's plan to pass herself off as Nagi dies a quick death, as she signs her own name on the partnership contract (in addition to loudly referring to herself as "Kurogane Hayate"). However, due to the malleability of Tenchi's rules, this does not become a major problem; both Hayate and Nagi are permitted to remain on as students and swordbearers. To qualify for admission, Hayate must only do one thing: win a Hoshitori duel, together with Ayana, against Suzuki Sonoe, a girl with whom Ayana had earlier had a run-in, and her shinyuu Aida Shouko.
Though fighting with the special handicap of their wrists being chained together, Hayate and Ayana easily defeat the Suzuki/Aida pair, earning their first star as partners. For their next battle together, Hayate ambitiously (and unilaterally) challenges eighteen students to fight against them at once, hoping to speed their ascent through the ranks. Ayana is furious, and they are driven to exhaustion in the attempt, but they successfully defeat all 9 opposing shinyuu pairs, rising from Rank D to Rank C.
In the Shueisha edition-only bonus chapter, Amachi and Miyamoto discuss the 7 (or 8) Wonders of Tenchi, while Ayana returns to her dorm after sleeping late in the classroom.
Out of: 7 chapters, 185 pages.
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