Chapter 323 Part 1

The leaves on the trees along the streets of the royal capital have begun to change their color from green to yellow. A number of golem carriages pass by them.
Each has its own crest painted on its side, but they have two things in common.
The first is that they are high-class golem carriages, polished to the point of reflecting the scenery.
The other is that they are headed for the pilot school.

(It’s been a long while but, nothing changed huh.)

I get out of the shiny black golem carriage owned by the merchant guild, look up at the main auditorium, and exhale.
Today is the second day of the 『Regular Practical Exam』 which it’s open to the public. The ladies and gentlemen being spat out of the carriage are all honored guests.

(I can’t believe I can come to this school with such a peaceful feeling.)

I remember the days when I quit after being basically kicked out of school. Although I was only visiting for a moment for the practical exam, I couldn’t stop the sentiments that were welling up.
Then I hear the weak voice of Herbivore mechanic from behind me.

「Um, Tauro-san. I feel really out of place right now.」

When I turned around, I saw the slender young man looking around nervously. Looks like he is being overpowered by the other guests around us.

「It’s all right. We are now representatives of the 『Merchant Guild Knights』. We have more standing than the general public.」

It is one of the places to find pilots to hire. That’s why they have seats for distinguished guests.

(Even our clothes are perfect.)

I am in my fancy pilot’s uniform, with an aglet and shoulder patch. While the Herbivore mechanic wears formal attire and a half cloak.
Whether it’s a party or a wedding reception, I’m not embarrassed to go anywhere now.

「That’s why please walk with your back straightened up and puff your chest proudly.」

The guild master once told me, 『You will feel better about yourself if you keep a good posture』.
Now I must pass on this knowledge to the next generation.

「Now then, our seats are over there. Let’s go.」

I led the way into the main auditorium and walked down a long, wide corridor.
A series of windows reflected a plain thirty-something man in pilot’s attire and a young man in a half cloak walking beside him.

(Ohh there they are. They look so gallant in that.)

We arrived at our seat, which was set up one step higher than the others, and looked down at the students lining up in the hall.
They were wearing tank soldiers-like shirts, jackets, and slightly short, tight skirts.
The freshness in their eyes made me feel a strong sense of coolness.

(Hm?)

Herbivore mechanic grabs the railing beside the seat and leans forward. I follow his gaze and naturally see a freckled girl with long red hair in braids.
She works in a low-class brothel and is one of the people I recommended to Corneal, whom the Herbivore mechanic has feelings for.
She seemed to have also noticed us over here and gave me a small wave.

(Looks like his tension from earlier has been blown away.)

The slender young man with flushed cheeks waved back enthusiastically. Reassured by his appearance, I called out to him.

「What do you think? Isn’t it nice to wear a pilot’s uniform?」

The young man’s cheeks relax and he smiles shyly. At this rate, he will definitely ask for a play with a pilot uniform after this.
The allure of this uniform is something that never fails to captivate people.

(Could it be that it also means that some people find my appearance in this formal attire attractive?)

While making a guess, I look around myself in this uniform, which I don’t think suits me very well.

(……Well, let’s set that aside for now.)

Shaking my head lightly from side to side, I let out a sigh and returned my gaze to the venue.
What I see is a slender girl with black hair and a big bun wearing black tights. She stands out a lot because she was showing a lot of her bare legs.

(That’s so like her.)

The small-chested athletic kouhai-chan wearing black tights, who was the winner of the previous regular practical exam.
Naturally, she participated in the subsequent training of the knight order. However, she was not hired and was sent back to school.
According to Corneal, the level of the test itself was low due to the exhaustion of human resources in the temporary practical exam held before that.

(Certainly, she lacked the power compared to Ponytail and Busty-chan.)

But that was only back then.
I have trained Black Tights-chan with blindfolds every time I went to the 『Uniform Store』.
Now, although not so much as fun as Ponytail, she has become a woman who’s enjoyable to have a play with.

(Good luck.)

The black hair bob-cut girl notices me and gives me a bow.
When I nodded back at her, I noticed a familiar female student standing next to her.

(Oh, it’s Plain-chan. So she made it through the qualifying round, huh? Congratulations.)

She looks quiet and gentle. She looks like she would be willing to listen to a request, even if she looks annoyed.
Without her butterfly mask, she is the same plain girl I met when I first met her at Cassabell.
It has become harder to book her these days, probably because she is busier now that she has started going to school.

『Line up!』

The instructor’s sharp voice echoed through the auditorium via loudspeaker magic. The students clicked their heels in unison and turned toward the podium.
After the principal’s long, formal greeting, the students scattered to the four magic circles.
The battle that will determine their future is about to begin.

(Enjoying serious matches under heavy pressure from the side. It’s a really good feeling.)

This is one of the best parts of watching a match.
Leaning my weight on the backrest, I raise one hand and ask the student who appears to be in charge of beverages for an iced tea.
I turned to see if the Herbivore mechanic also wanted some, but he seemed to be making a face as if saying it was not the time for something like that. That’s because the red-haired braids were in the first match.

(Let’s see what she got.)

She settles her butt into the simulation cockpit, and after a few moments, the miniature Knight stands up.
I looked at the weapon in her hand and was surprised.

「A club huh.」

It was a wooden stick, shaped like an upside-down bottle, that was pulled out from behind a round shield in her left hand. The thick part has many nails driven into it.
It was also used by the C-class, box doll in the Northern countries, but its pilot was an old man. It doesn’t seem to be a weapon favored by young women.

「Could it be that you recommended it to her?」

Herbivore mechanic responds to my question. After nodding, he opens his mouth without taking his eyes off the stage.

「Yes, since she has no aptitude for martial arts. I suggested the idea myself.」

It’s already above standard if you can move a golem. Moreover, she has more magic power than other people. However, she was unable to use swords and long-range offensive magic, which apparently led to her failing grades.

(It’s true that swords are difficult to use. A simple weapon is easier to use to the fullest extent of its capabilities.)

A single-edged sword, for example, would be the best example. It takes a certain amount of skill to demonstrate its performance.

(I get the logic, but how does she feel about it I wonder?)

I move my hand from my chin to my cheek and stroke it while frowning.

『The club suits you.』

A man who clearly likes you looks you in the eye with a straight face and tells you he loves you. It must be difficult for a maiden’s heart.
But on the other hand, it can be said that it was precisely because of it’s Herbivore mechanic. The fact that the red-haired braid is also following his advice suggests that she understands that this is his taste.

(And the opponent is a female student huh.)

When I look across on the opposite side, I see a female with brown hair and narrow eyes sitting there. I think she was already here when I was still a student, but I honestly don’t remember much about her.
The Knight she is using is equipped with a one-handed sword and a rectangular shield, which is the mainstream equipment nowadays.

「Begin!」

The instructor who was acting as referee swung down his hand and the first match began.

NEXT CHAPTER

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