'Well, well, well, it's finally here!The big battle of the century!The corn thief who recklessly bared his fangs at the 42nd district will challenge Delia, the leader of the River Fishing Guild, one of the best Soldiers of Warrior in the 42nd district, to a duel for his own release!
...... I think it's okay to let her go back to work now, don't you?
I'd like to make some comments about this. ...... Well, it's best not to mention it. Yeah.
I'll let you do it.
I don't know. What do you think of this battle?'
Wow, what a reckless casting.
Imelda is not interested in anything that doesn't involve her, so she can't commentate.
'This time's challenger is a bandit who has been fighting against the Forty-two districts.
'On the other hand, the representative of our District Forty-two team who will accept the challenge of such an outlaw is Delia-san. She seems to be in high spirits, but what do you think?
Hey, isn't that commentary broken?
Even a tape recorder is a little more versatile than that.
'I didn't expect such a large group to show up.
'Well, it just happened.
As I expected, Estella let out a chuckle when she saw us all arriving.
I guess it's a good thing that there's enough space to spare and that the spectators won't be harmed.
The place chosen for the duel was a large field in the prison.
The bare earth had been trampled down, indicating the rigorous training that was being conducted here every day.
'In case you're wondering, a soldier who guards the guilty is expected to be reasonably strong. It's not as good as ...... Delia's, but ...... haha.
That's what they said.
The soldiers at Estella's place must have been training as well.
The jail is located further from the lord's mansion, on the road leading to the forty-first district and down an alley, in a place that you would never even approach if you didn't want to come here.
It was built in such a way that even if a criminal escaped, the damage to the people would be kept to a minimum.
Criminals caught in the 42nd district would probably leave the alley and flee to the 41st district. It's a rather irresponsible idea to say that the criminals who go there should be dealt with there. ...... Well, it's not up to me to say anything about it, and even if the neighboring districts are inconvenienced, it's Ricardo. It's not going to hurt you.
'Come on!There are very few prisoners currently incarcerated, and the guards have too much time on their hands.
Basically, the 42nd district is very safe.
You don't hear much about crimes, and if you do, it's only between drunks.
Moreover, even if such people are caught, the lenient lord will give them a light punishment and release them quickly, so the prison in the 42nd district is always closed. ...... Tear it down, it's such a useless facility. No, we don't need it, but....
'If you keep taking lenient measures against criminals, the 42nd district will become a paradise for criminals.
'Don't worry about it. ...... There is no one in the Forty-two Wards who would be reckless enough to think of offending Natalia.
The head waiter of the lord's manor is known to be ruthless and terrifyingly strong.
By the way, Loretta used to say that he was very scary and actually a bit of a pain.
Well, now she's ......
'The previous commentator was a clod, so now I've called in a fighting professional.
'Hi, I'm Natalia, the commentator.
'Well, well, well, Natalia!What do you think of this fight?
'Well, yes. I'd like to focus on Delia, the guild leader of the river fishing guild.
'Huh!She looks professional!I've been waiting for something like this!By the way, what are you looking out for?
'I'm very curious to see how many bounces she'll make during this game!
'What are you looking at?
'I know, I know!You don't have to say it again!
'It's the tits!
'Why did you say it again?I told you you didn't have to say it!
'That's an expression no good child should ever have to hear!Someone get this head waiter out of here!
'Pick up her tits ......?
'You're out!I'm out of here!There's a lot of empty jail cells, so you can come in for a while.
...... and it ended up like this. ...... haha.
Natalia must still be scary for those who don't know her.
But those who know Natalia understand her fears better than she does herself. ...... She's on my list of people I can't let offend me.
It's a shame.They're all disappointing people. In this case, I'll ask Regina, who smells of disappointment from the start, to explain. The lower your expectations are, the less disappointed you'll be.
'You're harsh, yourself. Well, I won't deny it.
'So, Regina, is there anything you're worried about?
'Well, all I can say is that you should clean your nails before you pick your tits ......'.
...... In a district full of idiots like this, I doubt there will be any crime in the future.
'Yashiro-san. Is ...... it okay, Delia-san?'
As I look at the forge, Ginette folds her hands in prayer next to me.
'He says he's going to do it. Let's trust him and watch over him.'
'Yes ....... ...... Please don't get hurt.'
Ginette holds her crossed fingers to her chin and prays earnestly.
I guess I'm not the type to watch martial arts.
The soldiers are lined up around the forge, and we're positioned behind them.
In the meantime, Barbara, who has been unshackled, is protecting us from being attacked. I don't trust any of the soldiers here at ......, though. They're all human, and I don't think they're up to the task of dealing with the beastmen.
So I'm staying here with Norma. Yeah, that's a relief.
'Besides, the thought of a thin yukata underneath that cloak is making me paranoid.
'Yashiro. You can hear it in my voice.
Are you serious?
Then I guess I'm done.
'I wonder if you'll get excited and drop it while watching the game?
'What are you talking about in your big voice?
'Mr. Yashiro, you can't do this...'
'Norma will be protected by me and Nephrite.'
'Yes, yes, Yashiro. Just move over there.
Paula and Nephrite step in between Norma and me.
Hey. The more distance you put between you and Norma, the more danger you'll be in if something goes wrong.
We've got Estella here too.
She's not as strong as Norma, but she's pretty strong too. I can count on her.
'Estella, I'm counting on you.
'Huh!Bo, you're giving me the drop?
You can't expect me to do that!
You don't have enough to make me pee my pants!
'Ginette's in charge of polori.'
'I'm not in charge!Please repent!
And while she was doing that, Delia seemed to be all set.
She is standing in the middle of the forge with her arms outstretched and full of energy.
The sky is dark, but the area is bright enough, with glowing bricks glittering in the light.
It's too bright to take advantage of the darkness and escape from prison.
'Hey, Yashiro. When is my opponent going to come out?
Barbara's still in the dungeon.
We can't let him out until we're ready.
He could be harmed. He could escape.
Letting him go and letting him escape are two very different things.
Will you be a benevolent lord or a foolish lord? Even if the outcome is the same, the process is more important, they say.
This is not a time to be concerned about appearances.
'Oh, looks like he's coming out.
Norma's words drew everyone's attention to her.
As if to quell their excitement, Norma pulls out a pipe from the valley and lights it with an expert hand.
A light purple smoke rises into the night sky. ...... I mean, even when you're in your nightgown, you still have a smoking pipe in there!I'm curious as to what else is in there.
'Big brother, you have to be cooperative!Watch your opponents!
I'm sure you'll have a great time.
....... There's nothing interesting about seeing Barbara, though.
'Is that the bandit ......?
'The woman, what ...... is she?
Paula and Nephrite let out a squeak of surprise when they saw Barbara.
The word 'bandit' must have made them think of an old man with a bad guy's face.
'The way those muscles are built, ...... they're more concerned with speed than arm strength. Delia, be careful.'
Norma was the only one with an expert's eye for detail.
He's a fighter too, focusing on muscle tone and such. He's supposed to be a hardware store.
'Listen . Even if I remove the shackles, don't go on a rampage, okay?Keep in mind that if you do anything rash, you could be sentenced to death without trial!
The soldier is strongly advising Barbara.
In fact, he's probably so scared he's shaking inside. His heart must be racing. If the beastmen rampage, there's nothing they can do about it.
Barbara looks around without changing her expression, whether she's listening to the soldier or not.
And when she saw me, she gave me a sharp look.
She seems to be taking out her frustration at me for taking so long.
I understand that you want to go rescue your sister, but ...... you need to think about your position. You're the one who wasted time by staying silent.
This is still an exceptional measure.Do you understand that?
I've already nailed Barbara, who has begun to radiate a murderous energy that seems to be about to erupt.
'The shortest way is to do as you're told. If you don't, you'll go back to that place.
Pointing towards the dungeon, he said.
He frowns, clicks his tongue, and looks away from me. I guess it's safe to say he understands, then.
'But how did you get him to talk in one day?
'One day is a coincidence. I thought it would take two days.'
'Still, it's quite a feat. After all, he didn't make a sound at all, at first.
'Once you get him to open his mouth, he'll talk and talk and talk. That's the way people are.
The first step in any endeavor is the heaviest.
It's hard to take the first step because you don't know what's waiting for you.
However, once you have taken the first step and can see the view ahead, things will progress rapidly, as if the initial stagnation were a lie.
This is because of the psychological effect of 'what you have experienced once is no longer a threat.
In Varvara's case, she had kept her mouth shut because of her obsession that she would lose her sister if she talked, but she quickly changed her mind when I shook her a little.
Rather than keeping silent, she would save her sister by working on her. That's how he shifted his thinking.
'Maybe the credit goes to Yap Lock.
'He was very remorseful, though. He said he was interfering with you and me.
His negativity is deep-rooted. He's got a habit of thinking darkly.
Come on, mainstay.
You're a farmer producing one of the best products in the forty-second district.
'I'm untying you!
A soldier announced loudly, and Barbara's manacles were removed.
I hadn't noticed, but it seemed that her ankles had been fitted with steel plate anklets. The anklet came off with a heavy thud.
Waving his free limb, Barbara lightly stretches her muscles.
She looks at me again, then glares at Delia.
Then, in a husky voice, he declares clearly.
'I'm going to beat you, and Aashi is going to save Theresa!
Quickly, Barbara kicks the ground and quickly closes the distance between her and Delia.
She approaches Delia with such speed that you can barely follow her with your eyes, and fists fly.
Her thin arm snaps like a whip, and she thrusts it at Delia's side.
But Delia, instead of bracing herself, looked down at Barbara without taking a single step, and then suddenly - that's the only way to put it - with a speed that could only be described as sudden, she grabbed Barbara's face and threw her with all her might. He threw her down with all his might.
...... I couldn't see the movement of his arm.
I'm not sure what to say.
Then, she attacked Delia again with a low trajectory like a beast.
The moment Delia's gaze turned downward, he used all the spring in his body to leap into the air.
It turned itself around and attacked Delia with its sharp claws glinting.
...... Did I mention that humans are heavy enough to be thrown away with one hand?
I'm sure you'll agree.And then!
Barbara began to run as soon as she landed, and then circled around in a low orbit again.
She moved in a wide arc and came around behind Delia.
Then, this time, she slides for Delia's right leg, aiming for her Achilles' heel.
With the ease of picking up a fallen pebble, Delia grabbed Barbara's leg as if it were a weapon, threw it upward with a pop, grabbed Barbara's face as it fell, and threw it again to the same spot.
'Ouch! Barbara, who was struck on the back, let out a cry of pain.
As you can see, it seems to take a while for her to get back into position for the third time.
It's also because he's been running as fast as he can from the very beginning, and he's breathing hard. Barbara thrusts her limbs like a wounded beast, and her shoulders rise and fall violently.
The dripping sweat is making countless stains on the ground.
Delia, on the other hand, is standing in the same place, in the same outfit, with a relaxed expression on her face.
She hasn't even moved a step.
Delia turns to Barbara with a slightly grumpy look on her face.
''Start! Don't move until you're told to. You'll never get started, will you?
'What about ........................?'
Barbara's vocal cords quivered slightly in the back of her throat.
It sounded like all of her emotions were concentrated in a really, really short sound.
And then, as if seeking a place for those emotions to go, Barbara turns her gaze to me. ...... No, if you want me to explain...
'...... That idiot. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do that. ......
Norma's brow furrows and she lets out a grunt.
The smoke from the flue dances in the air.
'Norma, what's the 'rule'?
'Oh, you know, actually. ......'
She drops the ashes from her cigarette, scratches her temples with her mouthpiece, and begins to explain.
'I told you that I was having a match with Delia, didn't I?
Under the guise of training, these guys occasionally have hand-to-hand combat. I heard that.
'That's when he'd hit me out of nowhere. Before we're ready.'
'Oh, you want to play?All right! "Boom! Delia's not afraid to go to ....... And with all her might. Without mercy, without malice. Not even a hint.
So I gave her a good beating. When you're face to face, when you're both ready, when you say, "Begin! And then you can start the game.
'That's, well, ...... what can I say. It's very true. ......'
Estella's face scrunched up.
It doesn't look like a 'Delia, you've learned to follow the rules, good for you' kind of twitch.
'You don't have to be so polite and reasonable to an opponent who's going to make a full-on surprise attack like that. ......'
With a troubled look on his face, Norma swallowed ...... the words stuck in his throat, as if it was very difficult to say.
...... Hey, say it. Don't fool around. Don't turn your back on me. Don't fill your pipe with new weed.
'You know what?The ones who follow the rules are the good guys and the ones who ignore the rules are the bad guys!
Delia pointed at Barbara and said these words on behalf of Norma, who had closed her mouth.
'......,' I told her, 'I'm a good guy and I'll stick to the rules! I'm sorry. ...... She's a good, honest girl, but ............'.
I felt that Norma's words, 'but she's an idiot,' were hidden in her distant gaze. Well, it's not that she's stupid, it's that she's stupidly honest. ...... Delia really does remember what she's been told. ...... "Responsible" and "dependable".
I'm sure you'll have a great time.You can't talk about yourself with confidence to your family, friends, and other important people.Isn't that sad?
Barbara's face twisted slightly at the mention of the word family.
You can't confidently talk about ...... yourself to your family, can you? You can't tell your family that you're eating with the money you robbed from others.
Not being able to talk about yourself to the people who mean the most to you,......, isn't that pretty painful? Hey, Barbara.
You'll be able to get a lot more out of it than you think.
Delia is proud of her work and her way of life.
This has been consistent since the time we met, and that pride has become her strength. He must have been influenced by his parents. He seems to respect his father.
'When you try to be a good guy, a lot of good things happen to you. You become friends with people you've never talked to before, you go to faraway wards for parties you've never been to, and you get together with people in completely different jobs and do all kinds of things!I'm having so much fun right now.
That must be Delia's true intentions.
I can tell by the look on her face.
I see. She's having so much fun now?
'And I found some really sweet popcorn!
I'm sure the popcorn encounter was a memorable one for Delia.
The time when she couldn't buy sweets because of the heavy rain, and the time when she couldn't come to the sunny pavilion because of this and that caused by the water shortage. Every now and then, Delia would cry over the sweetness of the popcorn. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it was now a taste of her memories.
And at the name of popcorn, Barbara also reacted.
She had come to District 42 for the popcorn.
I'm not sure what to make of that.
...... I see. I knew it. You got it all wrong.
I heard about popcorn somewhere, and I wanted to steal it - mostly to feed my sister - but it was hard corn that wasn't even sweet, and my disillusionment and disappointment turned to anger. Disillusionment and disappointment must have turned to anger and he tore it to pieces with a knife.
Well, he didn't know what popcorn was, so there was nothing he could do.
'You'll become a scoundrel if you don't follow the rules!Are you sure?You're going to have a hard time in front of your family!'
When she feels guilty, Delia instantly turns into a crybaby like a little girl. I think she is talking about the pain of guilt when you feel you have done something wrong. ...... is not a good word.
However, the poor but straightforward words of Delia seem to have resonated with Barbara.
It's not that she's forcing you to change, like Yap Lock, but that she's telling you in simple terms, based on her own experience, that it's better this way.
'It's ............ no longer ...... difficult to suffer in front of your family. .......'
Such a small whisper reached my ears in the wind.
It was a husky murmur with a hint of a whisper.
I exchanged a glance with Estella.
And then, without a second thought, he turned his gaze in admiration to the person who had done so much for him.
Delia. You've done a great job.
'I want to be ...... someone that Aashi can be ...... proud of, too. ......!
'Then become one. Eating popcorn while laughing is delicious. There's something special about eating it with someone else.
'My sister ...... and I eat ............ with ......... ...'
Barbara's voice trembled.
Delia's words, delivered without the slightest trace of arbitrary emotion and with a purity of feeling that cannot even be called good will, saved Barbara from denying the world and retreating into her own shell.
'Then, be a good guy from now on.
'Be ...... ............ or ...... Aarushi something... ...'
'Don't worry!Yashiro will take care of it!
'Oh, come on!
I'm not sure what to do.
A hard fastball called a no-look pass is bad for the heart!
'Don't think too hard. You and the one you think is the most important. As long as you don't lie to those two, the rest is pretty much taken care of. That's how we teach it in my guild. There are a lot of idiots who don't understand the hard stuff!
says the leader of the guild who doesn't understand difficult things.
Where does your confidence come from? You act like you're the best in the river fishing guild, but you're not.
'If I don't lie to myself and ...... the two people I care about the most ............... ...can you start over ......?'
Barbara is now respectful!
What struck you so much!
No, she did say some nice things, but...
I'm sure you'll be impressed......., right, Yashiro?
So don't dump on me. ......
'The crime you committed will be erased if you do the given punishment properly.
I looked at Estella next to me and she nodded as if she had no problem with it.
The lord here is the kind of guy who will dig into the ground to find room for extenuating circumstances. If you're remorseful, you'll be forgiven with a reasonable punishment.
'After you've been punished, well, ......'.
And then look at Jeannette on the other side.
From the flow of the conversation, he must have guessed where this series of events would end up. He is smiling with a look of great joy on his face.
I'll tell him what such a good-natured person said to me.
'All you have to do is live the rest of your life to the fullest so that you can forgive yourself.
Then, one day, you'll be able to eat good popcorn. With your precious sister.
'Jeannette. Tell her about it.
'The thing ......?Oh, yes.'
With my back to me, Ginette stepped forward.
She then crosses her hands in front of her chest and tells Barbara in a clear voice.
The words were so penetrating that even Barbara could not help but swallow them.
A quiet moment passed, and Barbara, who had been slumped on the ground, slowly stood up.
She lifts her face and turns her body towards me, or rather towards Estella who is standing next to me.
Then, after drawing her lips together once, she speaks in a clear, graceful tone.
'I'm very sorry for causing you trouble!
Words of apology.
The words were so strange that I could predict that she had not learned proper etiquette, but she was still sincere.
As long as the words were heartfelt, they would have been conveyed well to Estella, who was a rare lord who did not care much about phrases and formalities.
With this, it was decided that the sentence imposed on Barbara would be minimal and light.
'The matter is settled, isn't it?
Estella looks over at me and smiles happily.
What's settled in front of a criminal who hasn't even been punished? Are you some kind of magistrate? You're some kind of magistrate. Say something like that, for a change.
'You ...... no, you too, thank you very much!
Turning to Delia, Barbara bent at the waist and bowed deeply.
'Your words really resonated with me. Thanks to you, Aashi, I really felt like starting over!Thank you so much!
'Yeah!Life will be more fun if you're a good guy. Do that.
Somehow, I think I caught a glimpse of why Delia's sisterly nature is so beloved.
She is sometimes called scary because of her inflexibility, her over-commitment to everything, and her inability to take a joke, but she is also very caring, always straightforward, and above all, she has a big capacity. I'm sure they adore her.
'So I guess we're both good guys, then.
'Ha, yes!......Hehe, I'm a little embarrassed, but ......'
'Haha, don't be embarrassed, don't be embarrassed!You should be proud of yourself.
Facing Delia, Barbara holds her chest out firmly to avoid embarrassment.
She looked straight ahead and made up her mind to look the world straight in the face. He's changed so much that you can feel it. In this one moment.
Delia and Barbara face each other with a gap of about three meters.
They straighten their backs and smile at each other without saying a word.
'Well then, let's get started!
'......?What the hell?
--Delia blasts Barbara.
'Hahahaha!I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it.
She clenched her fists and struck a high gut pose.
Barbara is blown away about 10 meters and stretches out on the ground in a huge heap.
'...... What the hell happened?In that guy's ......'
'That's the thing: ......'
Norma tells me, exhaling smoke from her flue with a sigh and holding the dull, aching side of her head.
'Delia is ...... incapable of reading the air at all.'
'Oh, ...... I know what you mean.'
A heavy voice falls from Estella's mouth.
Now, in this place, things were completely complete.
Barbara changed her mind and vowed to atone for her sins and live a decent life.
She expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Delia for changing her so that she could feel that way, and they smiled at each other.
Normally, this would be the end of the story, but ............ Delia was different.
'Yashiro, I've won!
Delia proudly thrusts out a V sign.
In his mind, he said: 'I was asked to fight a duel' -> 'I will win! â'he attacks me before I can start' â'I scold him' â'he understands' â'he's saying a lot of things' â'he's saying a lot of things' ......' â'oh, you're standing face to face, that's great, that's great' â'then let's start the duel! --these thoughts must have flowed smoothly without any sense of discomfort.
You know, you should listen to Delia's ............ story so far!
And Imelda, who was the first to be fired from her job as a commentator, is still the same, muttering words that are appropriate to the situation.
I was expecting someone to respond, but Paula and Nephrite just stood there with a dry, scabrous grimace on their faces.
'No, but well, it's only one counterattack against three ...... surprise attacks, so ...... Delia's is still better ......... ...Maybe, right?
I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to do it, but I'm going to try. Don't strain yourself.
I'm going to go patch myself up for now.
'Then use my medicine. I knew someone would get hurt, so I brought it with me.'
Ginette and Regina run to the fallen Barbara.
Well, you won't be attacked ...... anymore.
'I'll stay with her, just in case.
Natalia followed Ginette and the others with a slow gait.
Well, I guess that's a relief. ......
I'd like to say something to Norma, who remains there, smoking a cigarette.
'Re-educate Delia, please.
'...... Too much for me to handle. ............'
Norma exhales the smoke with a faraway look in her eyes.
The light purple smoke faded into the night sky.