Mopping Up After the Sports Meet
Student absenteeism because of injuries didn’t only affect the three-legged race. One of Sophie and Tio’s classmates who was supposed to run in the 400 meter relay got hurt and was currently being taken care of in the infirmary. The red and white team will have four runners each who will run their own 100 meter segment around the oval track.
Thus the red team needed a new runner. This is the climax to a flashy event you wouldn’t normally associate with a school event, and it’s a pure contest of speed running across a flat, paved track…..so of course they would sub in their fastest student, Tio.
The difference in points between the two teams is small, but the white team is ahead. However if the red team manages to win this final event, it will equal a come from behind victory. The students who this day is about and the adventurers lured here by the promise of great riches could only sit back and watch with bated breath.
“Laugh or cry, this is it folks! Our final event, the 400 meter relay, will soon begin! Runners, to your starting positions!”
The first runner for the red team is Sophie. Shirley couldn’t help but to admit how cute Sophie looked as she used earth magic to build little footholds at her feet that she could push off of for a speed boost when the race began. It isn’t a violation of the rules, and it is little more than a few mounds of dirt behind her. It doesn’t create any significant difference in the overall running ability between her and the white team runner either.
As a result, both of the children handed off their baton to the second runner at around the same time. In the same vein, those second runners were able to keep pace with each other, but just as the red team’s second runner was about to hand off the baton to the third――――
After running as fast as he could, the red team runner tripped on his own untied shoelaces and went tumbling along the ground. The baton flew out of his hand at the same time, rolling over towards the team’s bleachers.
He hurriedly scrambled to his feet and received the baton from some spectators who were nice enough to pick it up for him, but by then, the white team’s runner was so far ahead their victory had been almost secured. A collective dejected groan echoed from the red team, but just when it looked like the runner was about to start crying, an angry voice from one of his classmates……..Marco’s angry voice rose above everyone else’s and stabbed into the student who had lost his willpower.
“Idiot! Get running! If you give it to Tio, she’ll be able to do something about it!”
Unexpected encouragement from an unexpected source. Sophie and her friends were all shocked to hear that Marco would put his trust in one of the twins when he’s always so hostile towards them, but his words were enough to bring power back into the eyes of the second and third red team runners.
“Sorry! I leave it to you!”
The second runner gave everything he had to reach the third runner as fast as possible, even doing so much as to slightly lessen the gap between the two teams. Even so, the white team’s runner was able to pass along their baton to the final runner with the red team still 20 meters behind. It’s also only natural that the white team would have their fastest student playing anchor as well, so in the time it takes for the third runner to reach Tio, the gap between the two teams would surely widen again.
“Mm. Leave it to me.”
As soon as Tio had the baton in hand, she began closing the distance between her and the white team runner at a tremendous speed. Obviously Shirley’s camera shutter speed increased to match.
The white team’s runner could feel an enormous pressure on their shoulders by now. This would already be over if it was just fifty meters per person, but the extra length meant Tio had more time to turn things around…….and with no obstacles in her way this time, Tio is able to put all her concentration on simply running fast.
(Dang……I’m just a little short……!)
However the difference in distance isn’t something that can be filled with talent alone. Tio could already see her opponent’s back about to cross the finish line. Another five meters and she will have lost.
(What would Mom do…….?)
It felt as if time had slowed down as Tio’s mind went racing for an answer when the runner was only four meters away from the goal. She had seen Shirley close large distances in the blink of an eye before. If ever Sophie or Tio dropped something like a mug, Shirley would almost teleport in from the other side of a room to catch the mug because she was afraid the shattered shards might cut one of them.
(It was something like……..)
Tio had once asked her mother if it was some form of teleportation or magic and had persistently badgered her in order to learn how to do it herself. She didn’t have the mental understanding or the muscular strength to pull it off back then, but as her opponent reached three meters away from the goal, it felt like a grand curtain had been drawn away from her mind.
(Tilt my weight forward, pour my energy into one of my legs, and release it all at once…….!)
And then, as the white team runner passed the two meter mark and was only one meter away from victory, Tio’s sudden burst of acceleration allowed her to push through and cross the finish line before anyone else.
It was impossible to imagine. The Demonic White Sword’s shadow step technique is something no other adventurer has been able to replicate. And now just using her natural talent and intuition, a ten year old girl was able to pull it off to win a last minute foot race.
“T-The red team wins! This year’s victors is the red team! What an upset! From a hopeless distance to a splendid victory!!”
Cheers sprang up from all over and filled the school grounds. As worn out as you would expect, Tio returned to her classmates breathing heavily and could do little to prevent herself from being jostled around by her excited sister and their classmates.
Shirley had seen the whole event unfold and was deeply moved by her daughter’s come from behind victory. She raised her camera to take another close-up shot of Tio, but at the same time, her daughter looked up and met her eye. With her usual taciturn expression and monotone voice, she raised up a hand and stuck out her index and middle fingers towards her mother,
before giving a very Tio-like victory shout.
Once the sports meet had formally come to an end and the crowds had begun to dissipate, Shirley told Sophie and Tio to head home first while she recovered the cameras she had installed all over the place. After she was finished cleaning up after herself, she then visited Canary on the school’s roof.
“Canary. Did any of them crack?”
“Indeed. So let us be off straight away……..I want compensation for the damage they caused to my turf.”
“Then, what was their reason for all this?”
“I can’t tell you the reason…..all I was able to pick out was who hired them and who they were targeting.”
Shirley released a deep sigh after she heard Canary’s answer.
“I see……so it wasn’t just a bad feeling on my part. Then I cannot do nothing.”
“So you would like to help with the settlement?”
“Of course. Martha will be preparing today’s supper, so I have plenty of free time, but…….there is something we should take care of first. …….If you would”
Shirley reached out her hand with her palm facing up.
“Return my clothes.”
“…….ah, I forgot.”
The home of Duke Earlgrey inside the empire. Inside his office, Genan restlessly sat back in his chair as Elena paced around the room.
“Genan, how come we have yet to receive a report? It is already late into the evening.”
Genan answered his wife’s question with silence. The plan was to have his two granddaughters, (who were only related to him by blood), killed and then have the success of the mission conveyed through a crystal-type magic tool used for long range communication he was keeping on his desk.
But far from reporting success, there hasn’t even been a report on the mission’s failure. It was highly unlikely that something as absurd as all 45 of his assassins would lose the ability to contact him, so Genan had yet to link this strange happening to the failure of the mission.
(Today a school event is being held for commoners, and there should be a wide mix of people present. So long as they are dressed up as ordinary people, they should have plenty of chances to get close and just as many opportunities to kill them.)
He paid zero consideration to the lives or personal safety of his disposable pieces. For Genan, these assassins were the equivalent of mobile bombs. If he’s lucky, he might be able to reuse some of them later on, but the reason why they were used was because they would kill themselves after assassinating someone in the middle of a crowd or some other inescapable situation.
A human bomb like this is highly effective in large crowds, and with the number he sent, it is impossible for them to fail…….that’s what you would normally think at least.
“Anyway, for now all we can do is wait for confirmation. If they’ve failed, I will have to handle the fallout and reorganize the assassins――――”
A large rumbling that shook the entire mansion cut Genan off. His desk shuddered, the bookshelves collapsed to the floor, and the entire building was filled with the horrified screams of the people inside who had lost the ability to stand up straight.
“W-What!? What the hell is going on…….uwoooooooo!?”
Just when it seemed like the shaking had stopped, the entire floor suddenly tilted diagonally downwards. Every person and object in the mansion that wasn’t bolted down came tumbling into the edge of the room with zero warning, and Genan just so happened to have his face splatter onto his window.
“Grrrrrr………! W-What the hell………!?”
Genan had thought it a natural disaster, but he was wrong. That became clear when he looked out the window. He had always been able to look down on the town from his home, but right now his view of the city was much higher up than he was use to. Looking up back at him with a brutal, malicious smile on her face was the Golden Witch who was floating in mid-air beneath him with her hand pointed upwards.
There is something out there called psychic magic. It is a type of magic capable of creating something akin to an invisible hand that allows the user to move objects around without having to physically touch them. An educated guess would suggest that this is the type of magic Canary is using. So in other words, she used a spell to create a giant shovel and excavated the mansion from the ground, and now that she has it in the air, she’s rotating it like a glass of wine.
After having a little bit of fun, she didn’t forget to use space magic to evacuate the people from the floating building. A group of armed men and women were gathered on the ground, and they quickly got to work sifting through the various butlers, maids, and civil officials summoned there…….these police officers examined each and every person from inside the mansion and sorted them while checking over some documents. Some of them were delicately taken care of and healed of any injuries. The others were thrown into cages pulled by dragon wagons with zero questions asked.
“Did Miss Witch really have to go this far? I feel this may be overkill.”
“This is a bit of personal revenge for her, and she said she would personally pay me for any lingering damages. If she is willing to go that far then I see no reason to stop her. ……..Well then, if you would excuse me.”
A blonde princess watched this strange sight unfold from the ground……Philia gave a small bow to the white-haired swordswoman standing next to her. The swordswoman held a blue and red sword in each hand, and once Genan and Elena were the only ones left in the mansion, she started swinging.
The storm of slashes flew from her blades, flying through the air and slicing through the magnificent mansion’s walls. The whole massive building was torn to shreds and crumbled into a pile of rubble.
These slashes harmlessly passed through Genan and Elena, but everything around them was reduced into an unrecognizable state. The wreckage of the mansion fell from the sky, forming a broken mountain on the ground below, and leaving the husband and wife helplessly floating in the air on their own. Slowly they were brought down to the ground………and dropped off directly in front of Shirley.
“Long time no see. Father, Mother”