While practicing at Go salons, Hikaru mistakenly insults Suyong Hong, a twelve-year-old who is studying for the pro test in his native Korea. To settle their differences, they must play a grudge match.
"Since Sai's disappearance, Hikaru has given up go! Meanwhile, undefeated by his failure to pass the pro test, Isumi plays his heart out in China. His foreign training teaches him unique ways to handle the stress of mental challenges and competition. Upon his return, he asks Hikaru for a rematch! But how good will Hikaru's game be after such a long break--and without Sai?" -- from publisher's web site.
Hikaru and Sai are introduced to a new world of people as they head to a school festival and play a pick-up game of Go. There they meet Tetsuo Kaga, a Shogi punk, as well as the sophisticated members of Kaio Go Club and the optimistic few of the Haze Go Club.
"Go players under the age of 18 in Japan, Korea, and China are getting ready to qualify for the Hokuto Cup. Hikaru and Akira are both in contention for the Japanese team, but the preliminaries prove to be tough going. Stung by a reality check, Hikaru focuses like never before. But will it be enough to meet the challenge of the unconventional yet formidable go of Kiyoharu Yashiro of the Kansai Go Association?"--P.  of cover.
Hiraku struggles to turn his losing streak at the insei school around in time for the Young Lions Tournament, where he could have a chance to play against his rival, Go prodigy Akira Toya. But that's only three months away!
"The main storyline takes a holiday, making way for six tales that offer fresh insight into the characters and lives of Akira Toya, Tetsuo Kaga, Asumi Nase, Yuki Mitani, Atsushi Kurata and Fujiwara-no-Sai. Hikaru Shindo figures in some of these and takes center stage in the final tale when he challenges a crooked antique shop owner to a game of go in an attempt to restore an heirloom vase to its rightful owner" -- from publisher's web site.
The Hokuto Cup games are about to begin, and Hikaru gets caught up in some misunderstandings that make it difficult for him to concentrate on go. In the first match between Japan and China he starts out poorly and seems well on the way to a resounding defeat. Only by getting a tight grip on himself can he possibly make a showing, but that's far easier said than done!
The main round of the pro test has begun. Everyone's feeling the pressure, no one more so than Hikaru's friend Isumi, who has failed the test twice before. Fighting off his feelings of self-doubt, Isumi faces his next opponent, who turns out to be Hikaru. But a careless mistake lands the pair in an awkward position!
"Hikaru's classmate Ochi has won enough games to guarantee his place among the top three players who will pass the pro test. Hikaru, on the other hand, still needs to win more games, and he'll soon face his friend Waya and Ochi himself, who has been preparing for their match with Akira's help! When the dust clears, who will be left standing?"--P.  of cover.
Akira is beginning a new school year at Kaio Middle School. With his daunting reputation as the Toya Meijin's son, Akira finds he must prove himself to more than a few mean and jealous classmates. And with the help of upper-classman Yuri Hidaka, Akira finds the confidence to persevere in his hunt to beat Hikaru. Meanwhile, Hikaru is having a hard enough time just trying to find a third teammate to play in the Haze Middle School Go Club. A possible...
Tension is high during a Go tournament between the Kaio Go Club and the Haze Go Club, particularly during the final match between Akira and Hikaru. Afterward, Hikaru and Kimihiro learn more about playing the game and Hikaru finds a way to let Sai play all the Go he desires without drawing attention.