“Next up, we have the second year’s ball-toss game.”
Shortly after Shirley had returned to her her seat, a loud voice rang over the field. There is an announcer inside the management tent who is using a magic tool to make their voice audible to anyone anywhere on the sports field.
This was a general competition where Sophie and Tio would both participate. It was only inevitable that Shirley would snap a few bones when using her camera. It’s hard to believe that a guardian who would show up to an event in a cheerleader uniform could exert a level of concentration and fighting spirit that their hair would lift into the air from the pressure, but after all this time, Kyle and the others were to the point where they didn’t feel the need to say anything at just this level.
“Even so, there are a lot of adventurers who don’t seem interested in the students’ competition.”
Shirley had been hitting the shutter repeatedly from the instant her two beloved daughters entered the field, and she was already in a state of concentration that nobody would be able to break. Gathered behind her however were a number of adventurers who had begun talking amongst themselves without paying any mind to what was happening on the field.
“What are we going to do about the first event? Who do we send out?”
“The fact that we don’t know what it is ahead of time really hurts. We have no way of specializing picks.”
“Maybe we should just choose a versatile guy who can handle most things then?”
Most of the adventurers here are solely focused on their guard duties and winning prizes. Thankfully Canary had announced ahead of time that severe sanctions awaited anyone who dared to try and interfere in any of the student-only competitions which meant the adventurers had to stick to a policy of focusing only on their own events.
In other words, for the other events……especially the ones that only involved students, only the results mattered to them. A far cry from those parents here purely to see their children have fun.
“Well, isn’t it fine as long as they stay quiet? There aren’t any drunks rampaging about yet at least.”
“The Guildmaster would bop them down the second they got to that point.”
Cudd was watching Canary down near the field. She was lying back on a sofa, snacking on sweets as she watched the events go on. He figured the sports meet had to be at least somewhat important to her if she was handing out prizes for it.
“Hm? What’s wrong Shirley?”
“No, nothing really.”
Shirley had decided against telling other people about how Canary had come to see this year’s sports meet as a guardian instead of as the chairman. Sophie and Tio had come to the same decision.
Because of her personality, Canary reacted poorly to any kind of teasing. Shirley herself didn’t like it when people made fun of her for how much she loved her daughters…….and she wasn’t very good at making fun of people to begin with, so she thought it better to just keep quiet.
(But……why does she not want other people to know how much she cares for her family?)
Is it a side effect of her usual audacious behavior? She’s so used to teasing others she isn’t used to being honestly praised?
(…….maybe I should keep that in mind for next time.)
A small, mischievous spirit that hungered for revenge flared up in Shirley’s heart. If everything goes well, this may prove to be an effective countermeasure against Canary.
“I mean, are they still using that for the school’s boll-toss game?”
“Looks like it. Look, it’s over there.”
“…….I always figured this was normal for a ball-toss game, so I was a bit shocked when I learned the truth after graduating.”
As the three young adventurers shared in the nostalgic memories of when they attended this school, the announcer’s voice from the management tent spoke up once again.
“And now, introducing our basket.”
One of the adventurers who was setting up strategies for the adventurer competition had their interest piqued by the announcer’s words and turned to look back at the sports field. Then, a shadow about half the children’s size flew out of the entrance gates and settled in the middle of the field.
“W-What is that?”
All of the adventurers who hadn’t been here before were fascinated by the shadow.
The true identity of that shadow was a large basket with wings attached to the side. It elegantly danced over the students’ heads like a graceful bird. Meanwhile back on the ground, a large number of white and red balls were scattered around the children’s feet.
“The rules are simple. The team with the most balls of their color in the basket at the end of the time limit wins.”
This school located in a remote town at the edge of nowhere……..is a school supported by Canary herself, so of course it has a large number of magic tools to work with. This basket is one such tool given for the sake of the sports meet.
“And so the second year ball-toss game……….begins!”
Charge the field! All at once the children’s voices united together at the announcer’s mark. It wasn’t just the children participating in the competition either. The cheers of the third and first years mixed together, making it impossible to tell whose voice was whose.
“Ei~! Ei~! ……Uuu~, it won’t go in.”
“It’s even faster than I remember! Take aim!”
“Hahah! I got one!”
The basket didn’t move that fast nor did it ever stray too far from any of the students, but it’s difficult aiming at a flying target. Even so, it is more exciting than the monotonous task of repeatedly aiming for a stationary target, and the children were showing a distinctive excitement.
“Ah! It’s coming this way!”
“Now’s our chance! Throw them in!”
What’s more, there are times where the basket will suddenly fly in low, so students who couldn’t get their balls in before wouldn’t grow bored simply tossing balls in the air. It was a special Canary production meant to give the students at least some level of accomplishment and help them to enjoy the sports meet.
“Nice Tio! I’ve collected some more balls here!”
“We’re counting on you!”
“Mm. Leave it to me.”
Among the swarm of students struggling against the flying basket, there was one female student who could accurately sink a basket every time she took a shot. It was Tio. And this inevitably meant that the shutter speed on Shirley’s camera would jump up.
The basket was flying a bit slow from an adventurer’s point of view, but regardless of if it’s flying low or not, it’s not something an untrained person should be able to aim at. For this competition, luck has a stronger influence on the results than the skill of the individual children.
Nonetheless, Tio was somehow clearly able to predict where the basket was going to fly next, and she was sitting at a hundred percent accuracy. That’s why some of the students like Lisa had made the decision to devote themselves to just collecting the balls off the ground and passing them over to her.
“Tio’s been doing amazing. Whether it be magic or throwing, it takes a lot of skill to aim at a moving target.”
“She might just end up breaking your record. You said you got over seventy during our time in school right?”
“No no, the blood of elves runs through my veins. The sniper race. No matter how well a human child does, I’m not going to……”
“Tio has already thrown in over fifty balls.”
Leia turned a sickly pale as Shirley mercilessly crushed her pride and the elf’s blood running through her veins flowed out of her face. Shirley didn’t pay her any mind however, instead turning her attention to Sophie.
“《Wind Flow・Bag》 ……..um, 《Convergence》!”
Sophie knew Tio better than anyone else there, so she was the first person to start collecting balls for her. She knew just how talented her sister was, but the number of balls she had collected was a bit excessive at this point. When she realized there was no possible way that Tio would have time to throw all of them, she decided to use magic instead.
The wind she created scooped up the surrounding balls at her feet and compacted them into a nice pile. Sophie then once again used wind magic to throw the lump of cloth balls up into the air.
It went a little high, and everyone thought they would miss…….until a nice breath of wind knocked the pile back on course. The end result was a literal hail of countless cloth balls making their way into the basket.
“Yippee! A great success!”
“Oh! Again! Do it again!”
Having been standing nearby and seeing the whole thing play out, Chelsea quickly began collecting more balls for Sophie. Meanwhile Shirley excitedly hit Kyle’s back while furiously taking more photos the whole time it had been happening.
“Did you see!? Those two are…….those two are leading the charge……!”
“It hurts!? Ouch!? Shirley!? I saw, so if you could please take some care…….!?”
“Beryl, Rubeus. Take to the sky and grab some aerial shots…….!”
Afraid that shots from the side wouldn’t be enough, Shirley pulled out two extra cameras and slid the straps around Beryl and Rubeus’s necks.
These spirits had the leg and wing power needed to be able to fly while carrying Sophie and Tio if they needed to, and those two girls are still much bigger than them. Thus it wasn’t the weight of the cameras that really bothered them. It was more the fact that they had to carry around a camera and take pictures in front of a large group of strangers on orders from their masters’ mother that left them feeling depressed.
In the end, the ball-toss game came to a close with a complete victory for the red team. Shirley tried remaining calm when the results were announced, but after such a stellar start from her daughters, she was doing a boisterous dance in her heart.
“Next up, we have a guardian competition. Will all guardians who wish to participate please line up in front of the gate.”
After all the students had made their way back through the gate to vacate the field, and the announcer called for the next event, one of the adventurers who had been sitting nearby came up to Shirley.
“Oi, Shirley. Truth be told, we weren’t able to gather any information for the next event. That’s why we thought we would just use our strongest card and guarantee an auspicious win. Can you do it?”
Shirley clasped the imitation sword she had been given and rose to her feet as smoothly as water flowing down a gentle stream.
Her daughters had produced the best possible results. Then, it was her turn to do the same. A burning inferno smoldered in her eyes as she glanced down to the white team’s spectator seats.
“…….apparently I’ll have to stay on my toes for this battle.”
No matter what mighty monster stood before her whether they be dragon king or living natural disaster, none of them had caused her this level of tension before. Shirley had never expected she would once again feel the kind of pressure she felt when the Black Saintly Spear had hunted her down at a simple school sports meet.
“Guildmaster, I just received word from our spy. It seems the red team really is going to have the sword demon participate.”
“I see…….Kukukukuku, then it’s already my turn? Fine then, allow me to show these youngsters a little fun since their Guildmaster is here…….and I shall carefully deal with Shirley for the shame she dared bring me.”
Canary let out an arrogant laugh and looked down upon her red team challenger while still lying back on her luxury, floating sofa.
Both of them were fighting for their children…….and for one of them, revenge as well……..but for the sake of their daughters/granddaughter, neither of them were willing to lose.
“It’s already been ten years since we first met…….and now that I think about it, we’ve never actually fought before.”
“Indeed! This will be a good opportunity. We may not be allowed to try and kill each other, but……..how about we settle once and for all who is truly the adventurer guild’s strongest?”
A beautiful, sunny day. The strongest adventurer, the Demonic White Sword in a cheerleader outfit faced off against the adventurer guildmaster, the Golden Witch in a children’s gym uniform. Sparks scattered across the ground as their gazes collided.
Now, in the middle of this field of a school sports meet, the battle to decide the strongest…….was not going to take place.