Wills of Steel Have Become Easier to Bend Recently
Because of his experience, Marco went into the game feeling good about himself, but as the pieces began moving and they came closer and closer to the end, an unpleasant sweat began oozing out of his pores.
“Ku…..! Then I’ll move my griffon here…..!”
“Ehehe, then I will take it with my treant piece!”
It was already too late by the time he noticed. As another one of Marco’s pieces was taken, it acted as a signal to unleash the floodgate of heckling from the boys on his side.
“Hey~!? Haven’t you been losing for a while now!?”
“S-Shut up! It’s part of my plan; I’ve got this!”
Despite what he said Marco has been on the defensive this entire time, unable to push back against Sophie who wasn’t playing like any amateur.
Marco is still a child even if you say he has experience, and his time during club is much more focused on having fun. That isn’t to say he is so weak that he couldn’t beat someone who only just learned how to play, but Sophie is coming in with a strategy that more than makes up for her lack of experience. She is using everything she learned from her pro tutor.
Due to the rules of adventure board, if you’re going to take away your opponents pieces, you have to advance your own pieces forward. That’s the type of game it is, and on top of that, it can be inferred from how he started moving his pieces that Marco prefers a more offensive strategy.
“Booyah! I took another one of Marco’s pieces!”
Sophie on the other hand had fortified a position in the corner of the board for her hero piece, carefully crafting a bulwark of her other pieces that could simultaneously hunt down any of Marco’s stray pieces while protecting her own.
It’s a simple yet extremely troublesome formation you often see come from more experienced adult players that is well known across the continent. At the very least, it’s not the kind of strategy a child would be able to learn without earnest study.
One point of note that doesn’t hold too much relevance here is how Shirley had done a small dance inside her mind upon seeing Sophie understand a method of playing usually reserved for professional players.
“The hero piece is completely blocked off!”
“What kind of move is that!? Like that your dragon isn’t able to move anywhere at all!”
A song of cheers and jeers rose up with every move made on the board. This children’s quarrel was moments away from being settled.
Invited into the school’s special conference room by Canary, Shirley and the others walked in to find a large number of adults already seated signaling that they were the last ones to have arrived.
“It looks like everyone is here now. Then I’ll begin the report for this year’s sports meet.”
After Shirley and her friends sat down in some of the leftover chairs, Canary addressed the gathered parents with Raccoon, having regained his human disguise, at her back.
However, most of the parents there met her words with obvious suspicion. After all, none of them knew what had to be explained about the sports meet to them in the first place.
“I’m sure the various incidents that have occurred this year are all fresh in your memory. The battle with the dragon kings, the two separate kidnapping incidents from the empire. …..and the reports of that Phantom Thief making a fuss inside the castle. Even with certain laws in place and the number of adventurers on the side of civilians greater than ever, the world is still a dangerous place. And the craziness of the world has made its way to our village.”
And most unbelievable of all would be how all of these events happened between this spring and early autumn……all of these incidents centered around Sophie and Tio have happened in the span of a half year.
The acknowledgement of that made Shirley feel a little uncomfortable. She wouldn’t hesitate for an instant to turn down all this trouble so she could regain her usual peaceful life, but there are various obstacles you have to deal with when handling someone from a foreign nation.
“That’s why, because of these recent troubles, any guardian who wishes to support their child during the sports meet……..who is also a member of the adventure guild will be asked to come armed and act as guards for the event.”
The conference room immediately erupted in a fit of noise. It’s not a guarantee that something would happen……but given the turmoil that has been prevalent throughout the year, it makes sense that security would be tighter. As a guardian especially, you can’t simply say it’s someone else’s problem with multiple attempted kidnappings going on.
“You won’t need to go on patrol or keep watch or anything. Just enjoy the sports meet as you would normally. This is simply a safety measure should anything happen. If it does, we will be fine, and if nothing happens, even better. However, should something happen then adventurers will be in charge of evacuating the students and general guests――――”
“Um…….I have a question”
“Mu? What is it? I will allow you to speak.”
At that moment, one of the parents stood up while raising his hand. He was a young man with gentle features you wouldn’t have guessed was an adventurer by looking at him. Next to him was a female adventurer, probably his wife, who Shirley had seen in the guild before and recognized her as having just moved to the village recently.
“Won’t there be too many people between the students and the other guardians for just the parents who happen to be adventurers to watch over? Shouldn’t we try and ask for extra help from the guild?”
The school has two whole classes for each of the three grades. If you count up all of the students attending in total, you would have about 180 children. You’re then increasing that number even more by including the parents who can’t fight and the teachers as well. Whether they’re experienced members of the guild or not, it would be difficult to execute a successful evacuation with the limited number of people Canary is suggesting.
(But the odds of any other adventurers agreeing to help out are slim even if we did try to hire someone. The job is to guard a school’s sports meet after all, so the reward would be a pittance for their time.)
The whole reason why adventurers exist is because there are jobs out there too dangerous for ordinary people. The guild isn’t a one-stop-shop. It’s too busy to handle security work because of some commotion or to place guards and catch thieves…….that’s the job of the city garrison.
However the garrison is also busy all hours of the day with the continued turmoil and wouldn’t be able to spare any members for a simple school sports meet.
“No, we have enough.”
However, Canary instantly denied the man’s worries.
“If you look it up, then on average we usually have somewhere between 20 to 30 adventurer parents across the three school years. This year we happen to have 34 adventurer parents among us.”
“Eh…….? That many!?”
Kyle managed to stifle his surprise into a whisper, but he quickly glanced around the room from his seat next to Shirley. Just from a quick look he found several faces that looked familiar to him.
“The city is a settlement meant almost entirely for adventurers. It makes sense that ones with children wouldn’t be anything rare.”
In a world where monsters, bandits, and black magic is prevalent, adventurer becomes a common occupation despite the dangers that such a life entails. This city is a pioneering village for the kingdom, so it is no wonder that it would be filled with adventurers meant to help quell this untamed land, and with these adventurers settling down in a single town for such an extended period of time, the fact that many of them would end up having children is a natural consequence.
“Other relatives are allowed to observe the sports meet as well so long as they are accompanying a guardian. It will increase the number of guests we have to be sure, but the number of adventurers there will go up just as well. Personnel will not be a problem. So should anything happen the day of, I will be entrusting the duty of organizing the adventurers and managing the situation to Asterios here. That is why I called you. We can negotiate on payment later on. The others as well.”
“……I see. That’s the reason? Then I will help any way that I can, Witch.”
Asterios originally has nothing to do with the school, but as a good-natured priest with a thing for helping others, he immediately agreed to help. With the added talk of payment piled on to the talks about the recent turmoil, other adventurers began agreeing to the proposition as well. Seeing everyone like that, Canary nodded her head satisfactorily.
(……even though Canary definitely has a completely different reason for doing this.)
But Shirley knew almost immediately that this effort to arm adventurers had nothing to do with ‘security’ issues. Asterios probably realized this as well.
Canary is the school’s director, so she attends the sports meet every year. That would be more than good enough in terms of security. That, plus the new principal Raccoon who is sealed on the school premises as an always on-duty security guard. There wouldn’t be any need for adventurers to come to the event armed……unless Raccoon somehow finds a way to break his contract and attacks a student.
“However, this is still a school sports meet, and we can’t have the children getting scared by a bunch of adults carrying around weapons. A complete no-go. It simply won’t do. But then, I had an idea.”
Just like I thought…..Shirley was convinced she had been proven right then and there. As she wondered just what this demon was about to say, Canary revealed her grand plan to everyone else sitting there.
“Why not have you all take the plunge and participate in the sports meet as well?”
Each of the parents had the same reaction. It was the natural reaction. The sports meet is an event where children take center stage to compete and have fun, so why is the topic of parents participating suddenly coming up?
“The students have to change into their gym clothes whenever they have physical education. So in a way, you could say that’s their formal wear whenever they’re exercising. And in a similar fashion, your armor and weapons would make up your formal exercise wear. And so you will be able to hide your gallant figures behind the excuse of being a participant, and any questions the students might have will be inevitably quelled.”
“No no no, that doesn’t quite explain why――――”
Everyone else was dumbfounded as Canary tried pushing the matter forward with that mess of a reasoning. However as one of the adventurers rose to their feet to call out the guildmaster, Canary shamelessly added on an extra detail.
“Right, before I forget, as a side note…….I’ll say it twice because it’s important, but this really is just a side note……but there are two teams competing against each other in the school’s sports meet, and tradition states that the winners will have their wishes fulfilled by me as a prize.”
When Shirley gave a sideways glance towards Kyle and Cudd, they both nodded their heads letting her know Canary wasn’t lying. That was why the students were so highly motivated for this upcoming sports meet.
“Each adventurer will be assigned to the same team as their child……and if you can lead your team to victory, you will be entitled to the prize as well. I will do as much as I can to fulfill your wish up to what my own discretion will allow.”
A tense silence filled the room as any level of counterarguments came to a screeching halt.
“Y-You mean…….like a big sack of gold coins?”
“A special, made to order magic tool from the guildmaster?”
“Even an expensive magic weapon and armor that I would never be able to pay for normally?”
“Nothing is impossible for me.”
If you want to move an adventurer, offer them a succulent reward. And rather than simple gold, a precious magic weapon or one of Canary’s handmade magic tools that would directly improve an adventurer’s life is definitely a reward that would get them licking their lips. The atmosphere inside the room had clearly changed from what it was before.
Every single one of those bothersome adventurers had become uniformly motivated. People do say that adventurers are motivated by their greed, but from Shirley’s perspective, as someone with a longstanding relationship with Canary, the witch was still hiding something. This all sounds much too generous for the crafty Canary.
“How about it? It may be a school event, but a festival is still a festival. As parents, isn’t it your duty to liven up things for your children?”
“……Hmm. That sounds good too.”
Whether your team wins or not, there are merits involved in participating. That was was the thought running through everyone else’s minds, so Canary turned her gaze towards Shirley, smiling as if she had already won even as Shirley did her best to avoid falling into Canary’s clutches.
“By the way, I was thinking of having each event you all participate in be a competition against other adventurers and making all of these events family oriented where you compete with your children. For that matter, I should mention that each of our students has proven to be very determined at winning. Should a parent make a visible contribution to their child’s team and help them achieve victory, why, I’m sure those children would look up to their parent as if they were a hero――――”
“This is a fantastic idea. I will do my utmost to ensure everything goes smoothly.”
I will absolutely not go along with whatever this witch is planning. This isn’t going to end up like it did during summer vacation. Shirley’s firm determination wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on as she did a complete 180 degree turn.
“Then let’s put it to a vote. All those in favor of having parents participate in this years sports meet, raise your hand――――”
Just like that, the extra safety measures for students was decided upon with zero dissenting opinions. At the same time, this year’s sports meet was to become the largest event in the school’s history with the inclusion of parent/child events as well. It wasn’t until all the votes had been cast though that a sudden realization hit and Shirley’s face twisted into one of complete despair.
“Oh no…….what have I done…….!?”
“Oh, so you’ve finally returned to your senses Shirley. You were completely swept up by the guildmaster there, so what should we――――”
“If I’m participating in the competition with Sophie and Tio, I won’t have the time to take any close-up shots of them……..!!”
“Never mind. She’s still lost to us.”
The school meeting ended just like that with Shirley completely beside herself, unable to decide whether it is better the enjoy the sports meet together with her daughters or to be cheering them on from the sidelines. Meanwhile Canary was quietly chuckling to herself as her plans slowly moved forward.