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A Friend's Friend (友達の友達 Tomodachi no Tomodachi) is the 156th chapter of manga, Baby Steps.
Characters in Order of AppearanceEdit
- Ryuhei Aoi
- Masumi Makihara
- Yuki Tajima
- Akiko Kosaka
- Natsu Takasaki
- Yukichi Fukazawa
- Eiichiro Maruo
- Yoshiaki Ide (flashback)
- Kojirou Kageyama (flashback)
- Himeko Sasaki (flashback)
- Yusaku Miura
- Hayato Terashima
- Takayuki Okada
- Tomoharu Oota
- Yu Nabae
- Sakuya Takagi
Eiichiro and Natsu have a conversation, reflecting on what had happened in that day. The next day, Nabae introduces Takagi to Eiichiro which apparently, has defeated Nabae in a practice match before.
At his room, Eiichiro finishes writing his reflections to his notebook about the events happened on that day - that he had to defeat Ide in order to get into the Nationals and if he failed, not only he will leave the tournament location but he has to give up pursuing of becoming a pro. Natsu calls him out to have a small talk.
Natsu asks Eiichiro his feelings of being qualified for the All-Japan Junior Tournament. Initially, Eiichiro is reluctant to answer Natsu's question but later, he answers it - that he is glad that he is qualified, that his match against Natsu helped him in his match against Ide, how unusual to feel such pressure of many spectators and how he wants to experience such feeling again someday. Natsu laughs on how Eiichiro answered her question but it is more Eiichiro-like.
Eiichiro asks Natsu about the "zone" but Natsu herself seems not to aware about it. Eiichiro realizes that Natsu is similar to Ide in many ways - that both of them are strong players and have many spectators - and he is currently going out with Natsu. They talk like nothing has changed but the atmosphere seems different. While he remembers the time when Natsu held his hand, suddenly, his instinct tells him to hold Natsu's hand but his reason tries to stop it because the atmosphere is totally off. Eiichiro decides to cool himself off in order to recover his composure because his instincts seem to be getting stronger. Natsu asks Eiichiro to put his hand on top of her hand and cheer to do their best on the future matches.
The next day, Coach Miura reminds everyone that their matches will be the deciding factor for their seed position. Yukichi wants to go far as he can for the remaining matches but his next opponent, Takagi, seems to be a tough one. Nabae sees Eiichiro and Yukichi and congratulates Eiichiro for his match against Ide. Nabae calls out Takagi and introduces him to Eiichiro and Yukichi but Takagi remains cold in attitude. After Nabae and Takagi leave, Yukichi tells Eiichiro about the rumor that Takagi has defeated Nabae before.