A/N: 1/13 – Changed the color of Hakuou Maria’s costume.
1/21 – Changed from [True Machine] to [Magic Woman].
3/15 – The person’s name changed from “Kamei Donta” to “Margame Donta”.
The sky peeking through the open ceiling has completely changed to the color of night.
Lights are turned on here and there in the museum. Spotlights (probably [Lightball] or oil lamps, since they are not supposed to be electric) directed from the audience seats dazzle the ring.
At the center of the ring are Aomoto Rin from Sugamo and Giran Taichi from Ikebukuro.
I saw Aomoto, who was in the infirmary a few minutes ago, but from what I heard, the sixth match turned out to be a spectacular battle that could have been fought at a magical academy in Europe.
The [Illusionist] Ide Kenzo from Sugamo, was throwing high-powered hypha balls, and the [Beast Warrior] Kinuta Pompoko from Nerima, was showing his ability to deal with a wide variety of mycelium. The back-and-forth battle excited the audience, and in the end, it was Ide who outclassed Kinuta with his veteran cunning to take the win.
The Sugamo team now has three wins and two losses. They are aching for a win.
Naturally, Ms. Aomoto was very determined to continue the streak to a win by her own hand. She was so tense before entering the ring that I hesitated to talk to her. I could feel an aura rising from her back as she faced Gillan.
I briefly confirmed it before, but it seems that the wolf man Giran is “just a human male” to a fluff-maniac like her. There seems to be no worry that the fluff spirit will get the better of her during the match.
Positions, ready… Start!!” (Referee)
The referee shouted, and the gong rang.
Ms. Aomoto draws her [War Spear] and Mr. Giran draws his [Knight Sword], and the battle is set off with a violent clash.
Ms. Aomoto, a level 54 [Beast Warrior], has mastered eight Fungal Skills. She is a close-range fighter with abilities that is comparable to Kure’s.
In contrast, [Holy Knight], Mr. Gilan is a level 73 fighter with 11 Fungal Skills. He can not only fight at close range with his powerful combo of [Knight Sword] and [Flame Blade] but also at medium range with [Throwing Axe] and [Roar]. In addition, he is also highly durable with his [Self-Regeneration] and [Perseverance] Fungal Skills, etc. A high-level, well-balanced all-rounder, or was it Ms. Aomoto herself who described him as such?
Difference in Fungal Level, Fungal Skills, and experience. If we were to compare them on the basis of specifications alone, the difference might be as great as that between a professional baseball player and a high school or even junior high school baseball player.
However, it is not only the numbers that determine the winner. It is the persistence to win, the spirit to realize their desires, and the courage to face the odds without fear. These things can sometimes work miracles.
—Ms. Aomoto was so desperate to win that she made many spectators believe so. And then…
“Match end!!” (Referee)
In the end, she ran out of energy, but there was no upset.
Sending her away with thunderous applause, the stretcher carrying Aomoto returned to the entrance where I was. As she passed by my side, her hand, which had been hanging slack, grabbed my sleeve.
“…I’m sorry, Mr. Abe…” (Aomoto)
Her hair is frayed and covered in sand, her face is sticky and bloodstained, her eyelids swollen blue, and her eyes wet with tears of frustration. She says this in a trembling voice.
I took her hand and held it.
“ Nice fight, Aomoto-Seki.” (Shuu)
“…leave… the rest…” (Aomoto)
There was no strength left to grip my hand back. She had left everything in the ring.
I bent down and put my hand on her forehead. I feel like I can take something from her.
“–Yes, I accept.” (Shuu)
~3rd Person Perspective~
“Good job, Giran. You fought a brilliant match.” (Donta)
One of the waiting rooms for guests. The man standing in front of Giran, who is kneeling, is Margame Donta, the fourth head of the Ikebukuro Tribe. Behind him are two guards, both juniors of Giran.
“I am extremely pleased to offer this victory to my king.” (Giran)
“Hmm, I’ll accept it gratefully. Then… there was one thing that bothered me.” (Donta)
Giran looks up. Donta has a smile on his face.
“Why did you not use [Flame Blade] in this match? If you had used it from the beginning, even that brave lady hunter would have been unable to get a hold of you.” (Donta)
“…Master Donta, there is no one around us other than us. Do you mind if I use my usual words?” (Giran)
“Oh, sure.” (Donta)
Donta breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed his shoulders. The mask of awkward authority that has been pasted on his face is peeled off, and the childishness that is appropriate for a seventeen-year-old returns.
“Hah… I’d been at the VIP table for a long time, so the king’s words seemed ready to collapse. I was so nervous because all the people around me were amazing, and I was in no mood to eat yakisoba or grilled corn.” (Donta)
It is said that the Ikebukuro clan chief called himself “King” and started using roundabout royal language from the second generation Funeto, the son of the first Tribe Chief Tsuruhashi Minato a [Master Threadweaver]. In the old days, it seems to be the style of Akasaka, the “first tribe to perish”, and it seems that Funeto tried to imitate it to show off his own authority.
After the overthrowing of the third King Yotto and the ascension of Donta as the fourth, the defenders of royal authority who escaped the purge forced him to “act like a king,” and as a result, this old and rigid ritual still remains. Donta can only relax in the presence of those he knows well, including Giran, where he can shed the robe of authority.
“Ah, yes. Why didn’t you use [Flame Blade]?” (Donta)
“That is… a power that is a bit too dangerous to be directed at a person. The other party was a woman who was not yet married, it would have been unfortunate if I had left scars that would last for a long time.” (Giran)
“As expected of Giran, you are quite sweet with women.” (Donta)
“Well, I was confident that I could overwhelm them… but I honestly underestimated how far they would go to get a win.” (Giran)
I have met Aomoto several times in joint training sessions, but I did not have such a strong impression of her.
However, she used her trump card that was never usually shown in training, [Berserker]. Her spirit and persistence were tremendous.
The rare skill of this physical manipulation system impairs calmness and logic in exchange for a significant increase in physical ability. This is a disadvantage that can be fatal in a fight against a man, but she used it better than expected.
She even maintained the cunning to guide her position and aim for a counter, even though she was charging headlong into the fray with her canine teeth bared.
“I thought about using the [Flame Blade] in the middle, but toward the end, it was like a battle of wills between us. I’m glad I managed to win.” (Giran)
He underestimated Aomoto Rin as a hunter.
Giran’s assessment was that she was an excellent fighter in her own right, but that she was at best a close-middle-range Fungal Skills.
She was raised as a representative at a young age and must have had to bear a lot of hardships. However, there may come a time when she will break out of her shell and become an amazing fighter. It may not be a dream to become a hunter in the upper ranks like the master class “Shooting Willow”.
“I see… even though she’s an enemy, she really impressed you. I’m glad Giran wasn’t seriously injured. Ah, you’re tired, aren’t you? Sit down on a chair.” (Donta)
“Excuse me. Ah, Suika, please hurry up with yakisoba and grilled corn. For the number of people here.” (Giran)
“The vouchers?” (Suika)
“It’s on me. Please do it before the final match starts.” (Giran)
Suika Mizutani, who plays the role of bodyguard, leaves the waiting room, and Donta sees her off with a kind smile. Giran almost smiled wryly at such a situation.
(It’s become a very kind place.) (Giran)
(In the old days, I’m sure they would have reprimanded and punished me for struggling against a lower-ranked opponent.) (Giran)
Eight years ago, at the age of only nine, the boy was carried on the palanquin of the revolution and became the fourth “king”.
His father, a leading figure in the Tribe, was ousted and executed, and his family went into exile to escape the oppression directed at his family… He had such a tumultuous childhood. Yet, in a sense, it is almost a miracle that his gentle spirit and endearing charm, which endeared him to everyone, remained unaffected.
In a short time, he was able to rebuild the internal administration, which had been on the verge of collapse due to the corruption and oppression that had continued since the second generation, as a result of the efforts of many of the people of the tribe who joined together “for the sake of our kind king.”
“It will be a while before the games begin since I and Mistress Aomoto have stormed the ring again. We may have a little time to savor the food.” (Giran)
The dance performance in between the matches was quite spectacular and kept the audience entertained. Giran, if he did not have to report to the king, would have been looking for a girl to go around the festival with him.
“Mr. Abe, he was the one who fought with Giran at the Ouji, right? You mentioned he is your benefactor, so I will have to support him.” (Donta)
“… my own benefactor, not that he’s the only one.” (Giran)
Donta nodded his head.
“Oh, no… there was an Ikebukuro hunter there, too. She is Ikari Noa, who recently moved to Sugamo.” (Giran)