From episode 22. This description contains spoilers, though not much beyond what you'd guess just from looking at the cel.

Akari has finally reached her goal, but in the midst of the celebration she sees Kris walking away alone and follows her out. Akari is very upset to hear that Kris has to go home right away, and under a cloud, but here she has been cheered up by Kris' assurance that she is not sorry for her choice and that their hearts will always be together. Now Akari can kick back and live happly ever after...well, maybe not. :-)

Akari matures a lot over the course of the show. The whiny underachiever of the early episodes would not only have been unable to come from behind to triumph in competition, she also wouldn't have had the self confidence to think first of her friend at such a time.