Intermission Interception Part 3
“Kuhahahahaha!! Poor, feeble effort!!”
Parent competition’s tug-of-war…….a large, sturdy chain was being used in lieu of a rope, and Canary was participating for the white team. The match was decided in almost an instant. Canary generated a pair of mini tornados beneath her feet, easily dragging the chain and the red team members along with it.
“There’s not much we can do when it’s a direct contest like this.”
“……oi, get off me already pipsqueak. You’re heavy.”
In the pile of red team adventurers left over from the chaos of the event, Leia started violently pummeling Cudd after he touched upon both a personal and maidenly landmine. Kyle did his best to calm her down while stealing a glance towards the bleachers. Even though she was there earlier, Shirley was nowhere to be found.
“What’s the matter boy? Feeling regret that you couldn’t show off your victory to Shirley? Oops, except it wasn’t a victory but rather a crushing defeat. Pukukuku”
As usual Canary had come to taunt the losers and prick them where it hurt. A vein popped on Kyle’s head, but he managed to rein in his anger enough to ask her the question burning in his mind.
“Um…..when we were pulling on the chain, you were able to decide the match in an instant, so why did he wait so long to start pulling?”
For the first half of the event, adventurers from both sides put their souls into their magic, and it looked to be a very close contest. With Canary standing at the head of the white team, a strange tension ran through the red team as they all realized she wasn’t doing anything.
Just when it reached the time when the competition was scheduled to end however, Canary activated her magic and brought the competition to an immediate end. It was almost as if she was deliberately making sure the sports meet kept to its schedule. Actually, because of this, there would be a slight delay in the other events.
“I might be wrong, but…….does this have something to do with Shirley who keeps disappearing somewhere……..?”
“……..Hah! I was wondering what you were going to say. I was merely enjoying myself watching you lot so desperately and futilely struggle for victory.”
“Rather, could it have been anything else? It’s the guildmaster we’re talking about. Is there anything else she cares about?”
“R-Right. If that’s all it is, that’s fine.”
Canary quietly snorted as she watched Kyle’s worriedly retreating back.
“The chickies are coming to an end. For now just enjoy the noise.”
Turning back the clock a moment to when the tug of war first began.
Like the autumn breeze or a flash of light reflecting off a mirror, Shirley traveled across the town at a speed imperceptible to people by using the walls and roofs of buildings as footholds.
Distinguishing the assailants in this city for adventurers was a daunting task, even for Shirley. This was a town where people regularly come and go while carrying equipment that could be described as sketchy at best. Identifying her targets by equipment alone would be next to impossible.
(Another group of assassins are making their way to the school through the narrow alley there)
Raccoon was the key to her efforts. Originally from a smaller race that inherently carried a more acute awareness for danger, his detection magic was able to accurately capture someone’s true murderous intentions. He was able to pick out anyone from the crowd who showed some kind of hostility towards the school and passed that information on to Shirley.
She silently slid into the alley and slipped behind the assassins’ backs. By the time the targets finally noticed her, she had already knocked them out and was on her way to the next marked out location.
A swordswoman who is better at assassinations than actual assassins. The arrival of a god of death, swiftly meting out punishment to your companions was something out of a true horror story…….which is why the few assassins who did catch a glimpse of Shirley had their expressionless masks shattered from the fear.
(The path behind the furnisher store!)
High speed movement that doesn’t leave a shadow behind. Shirley passed by any number of citizens on her jaunt through the city, but not a single one of them noticed her. At most they would have to cover their eyes from a small brush of dust carried over by the wind. About to come up on a busy street, Shirley put in the extra effort to keep herself hidden from the other townspeople by jumping from roof to roof above their heads. With her targets in sight, she then dove on them from the sky.
(That’s main street! The trio of men are disguised as merchants and are heading to the school. There are a large number of people around them, so be careful!)
Leaving the recovery of the unconscious assassins to Canary, Shirley kicked off the nearby walls and once again climbed up onto the roofs. She made her way onto main street, and as soon as she found her targets, she began casting her magic.
Shirley glanced down at her targets walking down main street…….and then aimed her magic towards the people around them.
The spell 《Inverno》 creates a blind spot in the target’s field of vision, preventing them from perceiving what’s going on in their peripheral vision. It’s a touchy spell and not suited for combat in the slightest, but if you’re simply trying to avoid being noticed by a group of ordinary men and women, it’s perfect.
Shirley dove down from behind the men and kicked all three of the assassins diagonally up in the air in order to keep the passing townspeople from noticing. She then jumped back into the air, and after using magic to strengthen her leg, kicked them into an out of the way back alley.
(Big Sis is dragging on the current event as much as she can! Let’s finish off the rest while we can!)
(Even if you didn’t tell me…….!)
Once the tug of war is finished, it is time for the parent/child competition with Tio……it will also be the last competition Shirley could win for her daughters. She couldn’t afford to be late by even a second. And so the reaper with white hair once again blew through the city street’s like a gust of wind.
“Respond. Can anyone hear me? Report.”
Three assassins remained in hiding near the old inn, talking into a crystal-shaped magic tool used for long distance communication. However no matter how long they waited, they got only silence back. By now, the three men had lost count of the number of times they had found a new line of communication cut.
“Contact has once again been severed.”
It was easy enough to guess that this was because of Shirley. And at this point, it means all forms of communication have been cut. At best this means that in a short amount of time, half of these men who have been training since childhood have been disposed of.
There were 45 assassins who had snuck into the city. It was impossible to tell how many of them had already been killed.
As communication lines continued to be cut off, the three assassins who had been lightly waiting by the inn began bouncing around different countermeasures they could take. Without even realizing it, a cold sweat had started dripping down their necks.
“I judge that our mission cannot be completed as is.”
“Implement insurance measures.”
To put it frankly, the targets’ mother has a very close relationship to the proprietress of this inn. Thus a simple and easy emergency plan would be to kidnap the woman and use her as a hostage.
There is no enemy more troublesome to deal with than one who acts with death as an assumption. One of the men would take the proprietress hostage and hold a knife to her throat. If the targets’ mother moves, they will kill her. In the time period that she is stuck, the other men will venture out and kill the targets.
……..it wasn’t the kind of emotion the assassins themselves could understand, but it was a tactic they knew would work from past experience.
“Beginning the operation.”
The assassins snuck up to the inn and gathered around the back door leading to the kitchen. They would first dispose of the husband with a throwing knife so he could not interfere before then moving to take the landlady hostage. They opened the door while pondering on how they would capture Shirley’s attention――――
Martha and her husband, who were each holding either a frying pan or rolling pin respectively, swung their makeshift weapons like a baseball bat into the faces of the first two men who walked through the door. They both crumpled over unconscious from the brain rattling they had received while the other man was too surprised to perform a quick response.
“Fuu……Canary told us to stay on our toes, but I didn’t think anybody’d actually come. You might be able to take my husband as a hostage, but you’ll be in trouble if you look down on me. I’ve been dealing with drunk, rampaging adventurers for years now.”
The remaining assassin quickly managed to regain his wits after being taken aback like that and moved to the offensive. It was unfortunate that he lost the numbers advantage, but since his opponents were simple, ordinary people, it would be impossible for him to lose……thinking so, the assassin swung his knife towards Martha.
“Drop dead bastard!!”
However before the assassin’s hand could make it to Martha, a man’s kick made it to the assassin’s face. An adventurer who was currently staying in the inn had been waiting out of sight. The flying dropkick sent the assassin’s body rolling across the ground, and not one to wait, the adventurer then charged forward as if to trample the assassin.
Biting back the pain, the assassin regained his posture and tried getting a bearing on his surroundings. It was already too late though. The ground beneath him liquefied because of a combination of water and earth magic, swallowing half of his body. There were nearly ten adventurers gathered around him, showing fearless smiles as each of them crackled their knuckles.
“So you thought this would be easy since Shirley was away on business did you? You came here intending to lay your greasy little hands on the landlady and boss. You’re prepared for the consequences, right?”
Shirley came sliding onto the school’s playground, a cloud of smoke billowing behind her as she screeched to a halt. The red team adventurers who had been on watch immediately began yelling as soon as they saw her.
“Heeeeey! Where did you go!? It’s just about to start! Your daughter’s been waiting for you!”
“…….My apologies. I had a small errand to run.”
She offered a passing apology before rushing over to Tio who had been waiting at the field’s front gate.
“I’m sorry I made you wait for me.”
“No, I haven’t really been waiting that long, but did something happen?”
It almost felt like Shirley was going to be swallowed up by her daughter’s shining crimson eyes. Yet she gave a small smile and shook her head.
“No, it’s nothing important, and I’ve already dealt with it.”
Tio gave a short grunt showing she understood, but after a second, she leaned forward and whispered in her mother’s ear.
“If you don’t want to talk about it now, you don’t have to, but please tell us later. Sophie and I don’t like it when you hide stuff from us.”
“We’re family………we shouldn’t be keeping secrets from each other.”
Shirley instinctively covered her face with her hands because she knew she wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face. This self-paced yet clever daughter of hers had been able to figure out that her mother was struggling over some trouble even if she didn’t know any of the details.
“I’m sorry. I kept quiet because I thought it would be for the best.”
“Mm. It’s okay. I know Mom is always thinking about us.”
With a quick change in energy, Tio sprinted over to right in front of the gate.
“Let’s go. We have to win here and take back the lead. When I’m with Mom, I don’t feel like losing.”
“…….yes, I feel the same way.”
Without realizing it, Tio had already grown into a fine girl who was able to worry about her parents. Shirley was dazzled by her growth, but at the same time, the knowledge that her daughter trusted her so much almost made her want to cry. This was to be the last event she would partake in for this year’s sports meet, and she was looking forward to sharing it with her daughter.