Translator: “Ashita” Editor: “Weasalopes”
At the center of the magic circle drawn in the auditorium.
Mini Knights are endlessly fighting among one another.
Outside the magic circle, Ponytail was sitting on her pilot seat, a ghastly expression on her face.
She had no leeway to relax. That is probably because she has thrown all she had into this battle.
Aboveground, she readied her sword and swung downward.
The moment when the sword is readied, there is a huge gap between the chest and the belly but it is possible to parry a blade that stabs through this gap by using the speed and power of the downward swing.
That fighting style that concentrates on one-side is a perfect fit for Ponytail who holds a burning fighting spirit.
(It is about time for the former pilots to get serious)
She felt it probably from the air.
Sensing a gaze, I looked sideways and my eyes met those of the guild master’s.
(I guess he thought the same)
I gave a small nod back.
A true clash between powers is about to begin.
I calculated in my mind whether Ponytail will be able to push through with the damage she has accumulated up till now.
(It will be quite difficult)
I frowned, having reached such a conclusion.
Ponytail is leading with a small distance from the rest. If the former pilot were to start charging for real, there is a high chance that she will be overtaken before the goal line.
I twitched one of my cheeks subconsciously.
I would rather have Ponytail winning than the former pilot.
At that moment, the golem piloted by the former pilot readied his sword, from the bottom, his blade drew an arc-like half yen coin and started to slash upwards.
「Something is coming!」
I shouted a meaningless explanation.
The next moment, a violent and heavy sound like that of bowling balls crashing into one another, a single golem was blown outside of the circle.
The judge declared.
The guild master and I looked at the scene, dumbfounded.
We are speechless, met with a situation we did not expect.
Some intervals later, I forced my voice out together with my view.
「……Nothing comes to mind huh」
The guild master nodded repeatedly.
「Up until the very end, it seems like he only showed amateurish movements」
The golem that was blown away was the former pilot’s. Blown out of the circle, his golem lay collapsed, without any signs of magic remaining.
(Well, in this situation, I should praise Ponytail for her decisiveness)
The former pilot’s knight was led to ready its sword. Seeing this, there is no question that he was trying to harden his defenses.
On the other hand, his opponent, determining that she had the opening, diverted all her magic towards propulsion and charged by activating vernier.
(Whether to call this an all-out attack or an eight-way attack)
It was definitely not a safe plan. It is so like Ponytail to have reached that decision on the spur of the moment.
(But that was also the reason she lost to me many times on the bed)
As she bets everything on one side, her eyes would go white and pop out, and she would continuously spout a tide like that of a whale. Additionally, she does fall for simple taunts, a scene that I am very familiar with.
「What a surprise. Whether to say it was out of my expectation or within my expectations…」
One one end, the guild master looked down and shook his head.
From my perspective, I am shocked that he was able to employ such a person. Even the employer himself feels miserable.
I, being polite, ignored the guild master and stood up, clapping as I congratulated the winner.
From what I see, Ponytail did not stand from her pilot seat. She was drenched in so much sweat that it was visible from here.
It seems like she really gave it her all.
I gave her my blessings from the bottom of my heart and started clapping.
Right then, a voice loud enough to stop the applause rang out.
(What is it?)
When I looked in the direction where the voice came from, there is a pilot dressed formally who stood up from his pilot seat. He pointed at Ponytail while he shouted at the judge.
(Objection? Does this fight have any points that deserve an objection?)
I do not know. I looked to the side, seeking an opinion but the guild master was still looking down.
There is no way for him to not have heard that voice earlier. And there is also no way for him to not have recognized the owner of that voice.
But him being like this gives off a strong feeling of 「What? I did not hear anything」.
As I had no choice, I lent my ear to the words of the former pilot.
「Look at that woman! Can’t you see that she is already unable to get back up? She won’t be able to fight the next match like this!」
Lying across from where his fingers were pointing at, Ponytail slouched in her pilot seat. Her mouth was wide open and she was repeatedly gasping for air.
「That woman has thrown the next match! True pilots aim for overall victory. A low-life that thinks that throwing the next match to win the current one has no right to be a pilot!」
He looked around as he put on his posed look.
An expression that seeks agreement from other people hoping that they will not doubt his righteousness.
I turned away, making sure not to meet his eyes.
「Guild master. I have no idea what he is talking about」
When asked, he weakly replied, 「I see.」
「Even I do not know even up till now」
He bent lower as he said this.
(It must have been this sort of reason)
I had a warm welcome when I became a Knight pilot at the Merchant Guild.
Even though I had no experience at that time.
I honestly thought it was weird but my doubts have been cleared. It is bound to be like that if I am compared to him.
(Everyone had it rough)
I recalled the faces of the Vice-guild master and the Herbivorous Mechanic, and deeply empathized with them.
A bellow echoed from where the former pilot was.
The employees were taking action to remove him from the auditorium.
「You lot! Don’t you all who belong to the Knights’ Order know what I am talking about?!」
He was bellowing at the instructors dispatched by the Knights’ Order.
He was captured from all sides, struggling violently every time, many wrinkles appeared on his formal clothes and his aiguillette* broke into a thousand pieces.
By the way, the match result was obviously left unchanged. Ponytail’s position is confirmed to be within fourth place.
The mass of people with the former pilot at their center noisily left for the outside of the auditorium.
(My oh my)
As I sat further back into my chair, I took two drinks that was served to invited guests and held one out to the guild master.
The coffee’s fragrance seems to have calmed his heart down as he took the drink before my hand got sore.
「I understand how you feel」
Those were the only words that appeared in my mind.
The guild master sipped the coffee and merely nodded.
Feeling I should wash away this atmosphere, I switched the topic.
「It seems like the semi-final is about to begin」
The pairings are a middle-aged pilot from the Adventurers’ Guild and Braided-chan. And similarly, a middle-aged pilot from the Adventurer’s Guild and Ponytail.
The match that took place first was Braided-chan’s.
(This is quite a spectacle)
I grunted as I watched the way the middle-aged pilot fought.
He had a way of fighting that had the craftiness and persistence that those enrolled in the Pilot school did not.
(Although they are piloting the same standardized Knight, the middle-aged man’s had a larger and heavier presence)
The difference probably came from the many experiences he had fighting with magical beasts.
As I closely observed the battle, my imagination overlapped the two Knights with Braided-chan and the middle-aged man.
I imagined a man in his prime drenched in sweat and Braided-chan in her school uniform repeatedly being cornered.
Braided-chan’s scream echoed.
Her Knight had sustained a heavy blow and was it bent on one knee.
However, the shutter in my mind played a video of a middle-aged man pushing down a highschool girl, shouting at her furiously to keep it down while hitting her.
Braided-chan had a fearful expression, her cheeks swelled, blood trickling out from her mouth. The middle-aged adventurer got on her as he wore a prideful expression, opening the collar of her shirt with his hairy hands-
「Stop right there!」
It seems like the match has ended.
The middle-aged man won in the end.
By the way, Braided-chan’s Knight had dents from the blows it took but she was unscathed.
She does not have the level of mana control to synchronize her pain receptors with her Knight so she obviously did not feel any pain at all.
The video from earlier is just my delusion.
Letting out a short breath, I slowly return to reality.
(This makes me look forward to the next match)
When I looked to the side, I saw that the guild master also had the same expression as me.
I sensed it when my eyes met his. That we were both looking at the same world. That we both have shutters. Our seats are no doubt close.
As expected of my boss. our hobbies, taste and even our perspectives on matters are similar.
「We can really look forward to the next one right?」
We nodded to each other, discovering a new way to enjoy ourselves as spectators, we waited for the next match, filled with expectation.
I went to the toilet for a while and returned back to my seat.
It seems like the match is about to begin.
As VIP seats have their own designated toilets, there is no need to wait in a long line and I can spectate the match stress-free.
(Getting special treatment sure is good)
First-class seats of aeroplanes, S seats of cinemas and stadiums or even the VIP seat I am sitting in right now. Getting special treatment even when everyone is at the same place sure puts me in a good mood.
(I kind of get why people would want to pay more for this. You get to feel that you are from the upper caste, to feel like you are a noble)
As I was thinking of this, a middle-aged pilot from the Adventurers’ Guild and Ponytail entered the circle.
A battle between a burly, to the point of smelliness, middle-aged man and a girl in her late teens who looks like she is strong-willed.
(As expected, Ponytail does not have any leftover mana)
As the match began, the middle-aged man’s Knight advanced forward, cornering Ponytail’s Knight at the edge of the magic circle.
Grasping the sword with two hands, it is now raining slashes down upon Ponytail’s Knight.
Ponytail has no choice but to ready her large sword, treating it as a shield. Only the middle-aged man’s one-sided slashes continued.
Although the match is all but settled, Ponytail’s eyes still had a strong light packed with the intention to not yield.
Due to this, the judge was unable to declare the end of the match.
(As expected Ponytail)
I swallowed my saliva. The person beside me also did the same, I could tell from the sound.
Ponytail was hanging in there persistently but it finally reached its limit.
Sensing this, the middle-aged man’s Knight clearly lifted its sword up high, pointing up above its head and it swung down with all of its might, with the weight of its body behind the blow.
Unable to endure the force of the slash, Ponytail’s Knight was blown out of the magic circle.
When I looked to the outside of the magic circle, I saw Ponytail with a regretful expression on her face and a mass of tears welling up in her eyes.
The guild master and I cannot help but let out a sigh.
「Stop right there!」
「My my my. That ponytail lady sure is wonderful」
We nodded to each other, exchanging our views.
Aside from the match that unfolded in reality, the two of us appreciated a different story, one told by the shutters within our minds.
That story per say is-
Firstly, the middle-aged man so smelly enough that even a dog would bark when he is approaching suddenly assaults Ponytail.
The strong-willed Ponytail fights back but there is no way she can against the burly middle-aged man who is in his stride.
Burning with carnal desire, the middle-aged man starts spanking Ponytail.
*Smack smack* the sounds of spanking echos continuously, every hit reducing Ponytail’s will to fight back.
However, Ponytail does not shiver and yield like Braided-chan. She glares at the middle-aged man, her eyes filled with raging fury, repugnance and contempt.
That gaze lights a fire in his beastly instincts, further turning him on. The middle-aged man who has become a mass of desire let out a significantly louder howl, turning to face Ponytail who was still unprepared, he thrust into her with all his might.
Ponytail who is screaming and forced to take on thrusts that are filled with the man’s full strength.
But her heart does not break, tears of regret pouring from her eyes.
The middle-aged man’s dirty and burly rump moved continuously with skill and the only sound that spread to the surroundings from time to time were soft groans.
Or so the story went.
Such words emerged from my heart.
「Indeed. As expected, forcing a strong-willed girl into submission is irresitable」
The guild master started explaining fervently.
He had so much zeal that I was afraid that he might turn into Goblin Grandpa.
「Yes. She even refused to give up after the result was obvious」
I agreed even as I am worried.
「That regretful expression when the end of the match was declared was wonderful. It gave me chills」
As he recalled that, the guild master repeated 「Irresistible, irresistible.」
As expected of the talent known as Ponytail.
That act of resistance had generated many images in our minds. I am so thankful to her that I wanted to award her the most outstanding lead actress award.
「All that is left is the finals」
The guild master slumped his shoulders as he heard my words.
「Even though it would have been more enjoyable if the Ponytail lady or Braided-chan remained」
It is a shame that the finals will be a battle between two middle-aged men from the Adventurers’ Guild.
Even though the guild master and I cannot answer our loved one, we do not have such a trait.
「Well, this is also a job. We must watch until the very end」
We sat back down on our seats in order to watch the final match of the Special Practical Skill Trial.
After slightly over an hour, all the matches ended.
And right now, the awards commemoration ceremony taking place in the auditorium where heated battles had just unfolded earlier.
Coming in first place was a middle-aged man from the Adventurers’ Guild. And the runner-up is a middle-aged man from the Adventurers’ Guild
They are not the same person. I am merely not differentiating them.
The finals saw the two of them locked on fours. It was a match that any professional in this field would love.
「It is boring when there are no flowers but the same also applies vice-versa」
The guild master was talking about the deciding match for third place.
Actually, a match between Ponytail and Braided-chan took place before the finals.
A fight between the two, who were on the verge of out of mana, turned into a catfight and Braided-chan picked up the win.
Ponytail had persisted for too long during the last match which very likely made her mana even lesser than Braided-chan’s.
「As expected, a beautiful young girl and a beast-like, thick and hairy man overflowing with so much vitality that it smells. Those two are a must」
When hearing these words of mine, the guild master agreed repeatedly.
「It is attractive exactly because there is contrast right?」
Well, with the results being Braided-chan is third and Ponytail fourth, these results bear no meaning beyond taking part in the training conducted by the Knight’s Order.
Only those placed within fourth place are able to participate in the training conducted by the Knight’s Order, the deciding of whether one will be hired starts from the next line over.
(Seems like faces that understands this)
On the winners’ podium, both of their faces were stiff even while they were happy. I understood this after looking at them.
Compared to me, they should have a far better understanding about this. The middle-aged men from the Adventurers’ Guild were also the same.
I do not voice it out. The two of them also do not wish for me to do so.
I only gave them my congratulatory words in my heart.
*[1. TL note: An ornamental braided cord with decorative metal tips worn on uniforms, etc. To find out more, click here]