Ichihime is the priestess at the Mahjong Soul Shrine, she's not very good at mahjong but she tries her best. Nobody knows how long she has been at the shrine but some say she's older than mahjong itself.
It was a monday, that means the offerings box is filled with the scrolls and jade coins from the previous week, the scrolls need to be washed and returned to the dust store but the jade coins need to be sent to the safe house as religion tax, the priestess at the shrine uses some of this jade for maintenance of the shrine and to feed herself, of course, but she needs to document all her incomes and expenses as to not fall in tax fraud which is one of the most serious mahjong crimes.
ーI hate mondays-nya
Ichihime mutters to herself, the sun was hitting directly at the front of the temple where the offering box is located. She opens the box but it's filled with wishing scrolls and only a few coins scattered around, it's been a bad week again. After moving the scrolls to the washing machine she starts picking the coins with the full power of the morning sun hitting on her back, sweat starts to run through her neck. After half an hour she manages to get all the coins out of the box only to find 1400 jade in total. Her brows start frowning considering there were over 60 scrolls in there and those give nothing to the shrine.
ーI can't even feed myself with this-nya
ーEver since the moon temple opened only free to play cats come here-nya
Cicadas start chirping in full force as she puts the coins into her purse and starts running down the hundred steps of the mahjong shrine.
A couple of jumps and she's down, her face is soaked in sweat but she's still full of energy. Ichihime is now at the ghetto of the city and without a second thought she starts jumping over the roofs of the houses in the neighbourhood.
ーnyagger, come here!
A familiar voice comes from one the houses at the other side of the road.
Ichihime made a quick stop and looked at the other side of the street.
ーNyaaaageeer! Down here!
It was the cat lover that recently moved to the city, Sara, who was waving her arms calling for her. Ichihime jumped right in front of her.
ーI'm busy-nya, what do you nyeed?
She said while putting her hands on her waist and making a disinterested look on her face.
Sara started petting her head.
ーLet's play a friendly game, we need a fourth player.
She opened the door behind her showing a room with a mahjong table in the middle and a fridge close to the wall, it was a rather small house.
ーOK, OK-nya, stop messing with my hair-nya.
Ichihime pushed Sara's hands and went inside the house, she suddenly felt a strong smell of alcohol before witnessing the amount of garbage and empty beer bottles in the floor, Nadeshiko was at the corner sleeping while sucking on one of these, then after hearing the sound of a toilet flush the rich lady that ran away from her house made her appearance.
ーGreat, we have four players now, I'm tired of sanma-desuwa
As she dried her hands on her dress she sat in front of the table while gesturing Ichihime to do the same.
ーHeey, Shiko, wake up.
Sara was moving Nadeshiko's shoulders with her feet.
She started crawling to the table and sat while cracking her neck.
ーOh, hi Ichihime, want a beer?
She said while pointing at Sara who was at the fridge.
ーI don't drink-nya.
Sara threw a bottle at Nadeshiko while opening one for herself, Xenia was mixing the tiles on the table and started partitioning the wall.
After throwing the dice it was determined that Ichihime was going to be the first dealer with Nadeshiko, Xenia, and Sara being south, west, and north respectively. They weren't playing with an automatic table so each player had to make their own hands.
Ichihime had a quite nice hand, 2 tiles away from tenpai and two red doras, the issue was that one of her sequences had a bird in them, calling tanyao was not possible but it was still the first turn, her first discard was a lone south tile.
Nadeshiko called as she chugged on her beer.
Xenia also called Nadeshiko's discard which was a west tile, her discard was the fourth south tile.
Xenia called yet again, this time it was a triplet of north tiles from Sara's discard, her discard was an east tile but no one reacted to it.
ーMaybe this is still safe...
Sara's discard this time was a 4 sou.
A call on the 4 sou could speed Ichihime's hand but she wouldn't be able to drop the 1 sou and the amount of tiles needed for tenpai wouldn't change, then again Xenia had a confident look on her face due to her two calls, she's probably 1 tile away from tenpai if not in tenpai already.
Speed was needed to keep her dealership so without a second thought she called the 4 sou and dropped a lone 8 pin from her hand.
Nadeshiko also called and dropped a 6 man from her hand.
Ichihime is now 1 tile away from tenpai and she can finally let that bird go. Nadeshiko started laughing at her discard, everybody at the table knew she was forcing her well known 1 han open tanyao.
Five turns have passed and Ichihime's hand is still 1 tile away, a classic iishanten hell. Both Xenia and Nadeshiko have already begun discarding the tiles they draw right away.
ーSo, if you deal in or someone else calls tsumo you have to pay 10 jade for each 100 points you lose, keep that in mind Ichihime-chan.
After saying that Sara sipped on the last drop of her beer and smiled at the catgirl.
ーEhhhhh?? Why didn't you say that before-nya?
Ichihime started panicking almost bumping the table.
ーBeer is expensive and it's running out, don't try to hit and run on us, cat.
Nadeshiko said while licking the edge of her empty bottle.
ーGo ahead and discard, I promise we won't do something scummy like cheating on you-desu wa.
"The offerings at the temple have been decreasing as of late, I should use this opportunity to make some good cash-nya" She thought to herself, her hand was that good after all, but at the end of the 6th turn things became more complicated.
Sara had declared a riichi, other than an early 4 sou all her discards have been terminals and honors except for the 9 sou which is dora and nobody has discarded so far.
Ichihime had no safe tiles against that but she had a lone 7 sou which was suji to that early discard and this was the perfect time to use it, she was still 1 tile away from tenpai after all. But right after Sara's riichi she draws a second 7 sou, she can drop her other lone tile, the 8 man, and get into tenpai for a double sided wait on 3 and 6 pin, although two of the 6 pin and one of the 3 pin have already been discarded by Xenia.
"It's no use, I can't risk the shrine money, this 7 sou pair can support mye for two turns-nya" As she muttered to herself she dropped the 7 sou, no reaction, it passed.
Nadeshiko draws and drops a bird, Xenia draws and drops the fourth west, no Kan, then Sara drops a 3 pin.
Ichihime makes a frustrated face, if she had discarded the live 8 man she could have won, but she won't commit the same mistake again.
She calls the 3 pin and drops the second 7 sou, and by pure luck the second 8 man comes the next turn.
ーTSUMO-NYA, 2000 points all.
She let a huge laugh come out as she said that, she didn't get only the points but also 700 jade in total from this hand.
Xenia made a sound with her tongue and leaned on her back, Nadeshiko started mixing the tiles and Sara went for more beer, this time she brought 3 bottles, 1 for her and 2 for Nadeshiko.
The second round started, Ichihime was still dealer and her hand was 1 tile away from tenpai from the get go. ーI think flow is gonna be on mya side today-nya
ーRON-desuwa. 1000 points.
A turn 3 direct hit on Ichihime from an open green dragon yakuhai, a garbage 1 han hand ended her dealership. This wouldn't be the end of it.
ーI'm sorry, it's my win. 1600/3200 points.
This time it was Sara's turn with a 7 pairs riichi. But in the next round the opportunity arises.
A triplet of 3 man, all of them being doras, appear on Ichihime's side, she tries her best to keep a calm face but ends up rising her thumb, only the drunk Nadeshiko winks back at her in response. Other than the 3 man she also has a lone red 5 man that could be used with the triplet but also a sequence that includes a red 5 pin, this is a haneman in the making if she were to complete her tanyao.
By the next turn she draws a second 5 man, and right after she completes a triplet of them, tenpai, except that there are no remaining tiles for the 2 lone honors in her hand, she discards the fourth north and keeps the last west for now but then the flow kicks in. She draws a 4 man and now she's in tenpai with a 5 sided wait on 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 man. Tanyao dora 5, haneman, if she were to riichi this it could easily become a baiman.
Calling riichi was really tempting but Ichihime decided this was her opportunity to secure her first place. A turn goes by but her strategy pays up.
Nadeshiko declares a riichi by discarding a 2 man, but it's not going to pass, Ichihime started laughing furiously.
ーRON-NYA, 12000 points.
Sara spat her beer at the tiles.
Xenia was pissed off, she slammed the table as she stood up but Nadeshiko's reaction was the most violent.
Nadeshiko tearing up started throwing empty glass bottles at the cat.
ーWHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU??
One of them hits Ichihime on the head and everything went black for a couple of minutes.
ーHeeey, nyagger, are you ok?
Sara was pouring beer on her face as to stop the bleeding, her eyes finally opened up again.
She pushed Sara back as she woke up, Nadeshiko was chugging yet another bottle of beer and Xenia was cleaning the table with the edge of her dress.
ーCan we continue the game-nya?
Ichihime wasn't ready to give up on her earnings.
Sara replied as she put a bandaid on the cat's forehead. The mood on the table couldn't be worse.
ーPlease refrain from using underhand tactics again you dumb cat-desu wa
Xenia said as she ate a chocolate bar, then she threw the emptywrapper to the other side of the room.
ーPull that again and I'm going to kill you for real this time.
Nadeshiko was still angry at her. She finished the wall and threw the dice, the south round began.
Ichihime was dealer again and was ahead of the second place with a lead of over ten thousand points. With a powerful defense she could get out of this friendly with a chunk of extra jade or she could try to attack as they get desperate to get their points back.
Even if everyone hated her she decided it was her time to win and the flow was on her side too. Her starting hand was good, 2 tiles away from an ideal 3 sided wait pinfu, no tanyao or dora was available though, but as long as the points kept going up that was winning.
Nadeshiko calls Ichihime's discard, a south tile.
She does it again the next turn, this time revealing a dora, but two turns later Ichihime finally attacks.
She doesn't fear Nadeshiko's calls, if Ichihime gets a direct hit on her she's dead and Nadeshiko knows it, that's why she has to fold-
ーThat's a ron. Double south, dora two, mangan.
She cleans her mouth after finishing the bottle.
Ichihime started tearing up.
It wasn't as if flow had abandoned her, the mahjong gods were conspiring against her and proof of that was the terminals filled garbage hand that came right after, but that wasn't the end of it. Xenia was looking deep into her hand thinking as the first two discards came up.
ーDOUBLE RIICHI-DESU WA
She didn't even need to pick a tile from her hand, it was discarded right after she drew the tile, with a little more flow it could have been a tenhou. The surprise in everyone's face didn't last long as the tile that came next turn completed her shortcut to first place.
ーTSUMO-desu wa. 3000/6000 points.
A seven pairs double riichi ippatsumo haneman. Xenia covered her mouth as she laughed while Nadeshiko just threw herself on the floor to cry.
It was south 3 already and Ichihime went from first to second place, she was still over the 30 thousand points mark but any mistake now could be fatal. It was time to end things quickly but her next hand was quite troublesome.
Nine different winds and terminals, after Xenia's and Sara's discards, both being terminals already on Ichihime's hand, the tenth tile came, it completed a pair of birds and she's now 3 tiles away from the thirteen orphans.
ー9 honors or terminals-nya.
It wasn't the time to get cocky, Ichihime wanted to end this game as fast as possible.
Xenia's face was as if the flow had left her body, aborting the draw most likely killed a godly hand so it was the right thing to do, on the other side Sara was pretty happy as she started mixing the tiles.
ーCHI Sara was in top form trying to speed up a tanyao, the dora was the 9 pin so her hand could only be a pure 1 han tanyao, but right after the 10th turn the counterattack began.
Both Nadeshiko and Xenia called riichi one after the other. Sara froze in fear, she had been discarding tiles right after drawing them but this time she picked something from her hand, betaori, she was out of the game.
Sara's discard didn't deal in as it was the same tile Xenia used for her riichi discard, the 7 pin, Ichihime had been waiting for this tile to complete a 789 pin sequence needed for her to reach tenpai. The problem was that if Ichihime were to call it she would need to discard a live 4 man and the wait would be for a lone 5 pin to complete a silly 1 han iitsu and two of the 5 pin have already been discarded both by Xenia and Nadeshiko beforehand.
Sara decided to fold and Ichihime's winning tile was discarded by both Xenia and Nadeshiko before. Either Sara deals into them because of her open hand or she deals into Ichihime's hand because she's folding against them, discarding a 4 man here was a risk worth-
Sara raised her hands in happiness.
ーAra, that's my winning tile. 1000 points.
She had a pair of 7 pin and was waiting on the 4 and 7 man for her tanyao. Discarding the 7 pin from her hand early was a trap, she actually drew a third 7 pin and decided to keep her double sided wait while tricking Ichihime into believing she was folding.
Now it was time for the final round.
Xenia called Sara's discard, a south tile, Ichihime was feeling anxious already and her hand wasn't helping at all.
She called Sara's discard again, this time it was a bird, to make things worse it was the dora. But that was all, the turns pass by and nothing is happening, except for Ichihime who has a serious look as if she's plotting something, every draw pushes her closer to tenpai, then, at the 8th turn her hand is complete, a sad pinfu with nothing else to it.
No need to take risks against those doras, Ichihime keeps herself quiet and it pays off right away, Xenia deals in with a 9 man.
Ichihime is not allowed to say how much is her hand worth because of an angry Xenia jumping at her filled with rage.
ーYOU FUCKING NYAGGER
She starts punching Ichihime on the face, Sara tries to stop her by hugging her right arm but Nadeshiko throws an empty bottle to Xenia who catches it with her left hand.
ーFINISH HER OFF
Nadeshiko screams as she takes her phone out and starts recording. Xenia then breaks the bottle and goes right for her neck.
A cold runs through Ichihime's back, everything goes black again. Time passes and as Ichihime starts getting back on her senses her eyes start hurting, as she opens them she finds herself in a place she can't recognize, she's being transported and this guy starts talking to her.
ーHey you, you're finally awake. You were trying to cross the border, right?
Ichihime doesn't understand what's going on but it looks like a new adventure has just began.