173-172 The hero's courage

 Prince Arowana came to visit me.

 He is my wife Prathi's brother, and he is my brother-in-law, so to speak.
 We're close in age, so I feel like we're friends already.

 It feels like it's been a long time since we've been friends, but Prince Arowana comes to visit our farm regularly, not even for three days.

 Is it really OK for him to come so often? Are mermaid princes that bored? I used to worry about it.
 But lately those worries have relaxed, and every time I come, all I can do is welcome the prince.

              * * * *

"I won the martial arts competition.

 Then one day Prince Arowana brought such a souvenir story.

'What? Really? That's great, brother!

 It's like a rare occurrence coincided with a rare occurrence because Prathi, who doesn't usually respond to his own brother, happened to show up by chance and bite into the topic further.

''........What's that Wuyoutai meeting about?''

 I listened at the tea table, gulping down the Shibazuke that had been served to me over tea.

It's the traditional martial arts tournament of the mermaid race. It's a traditional martial arts tournament of the mermaid tribe, in which male mermaids swing their arms... no, they swing their tail fins.

 Allegedly, the fighting methods of the mermaid race differ greatly between men and women.

 Female mermaids use the mermaid's unique pharmacological magic to create battle potion and use it to fight.
 This is the fighting method that Plati and her friends use every day, which is probably one of the reasons why they are called witches.

 Male mermaids, on the other hand, have a very different fighting style.
 First of all, male mermaids do not rely on potions to fight.

 They mainly rely on a sharp harpoon and their own bodies.

 Taking advantage of their lower body fish form, they swim through the water, gain a certain amount of speed, and then use their momentum on the harpoon to penetrate the enemy.

 That was the male mermaid's winning method.
 Various assistive technologies have been studied for this purpose.

 Faster swimming techniques. Skillful harpoon handling. There are even some secret techniques to manipulate the current to assist their own movements and to block the enemy's movements.

The significance of the WUWA is that these skills and efforts are publicly competed against each other. It's a one-on-one game, where people poke and prod each other with harpoons! Whoever dies loses!

 No, it's not that serious, is it?
 If you surrender, you lose, or if you're half-dead, you lose, or some such rule, right?

'We will fight each other again and again until we are the last! What an honor for a male mermaid to have a good performance!
You've been a regular participant in the finals every year, so you've been able to keep up your good looks as a prince, but you've never won a championship before, have you? You must have been really lucky in the lottery.
I knew it, sister. You don't think it's because of my competence, do you?

 This brother and sister. I don't think they don't get along with each other by any means, but what is the cause of this sister's unhappiness with her brother?

You didn't win this thing by luck alone, by any means! After all, my opponent in the first round of the final tournament was the previous year's winner, General Shark!
"So that's great! You beat that ferocious general?
In the semifinals, the previous two-time champion and a master swimmer, Tatibio! And the man who fought in the finals was the living legend of the mermaid world, Master Sunma! What do you think? You can't call me lucky if I've fought your way through all these people!
Brother, what kind of trick did you use?
"Don't you trust me one bit?

 As an outsider, I don't know, but I hear Prince Arowana has accomplished an amazing feat anyway.
 It's a bit unassuming, but I'm sure he's a pretty amazing mermaid too.

There is one, isn't there? Tell me! Tell him! And go apologize to the tournament organizers!
'I didn't break any rules! The secret to the victory is........this!

 With a thud, Prince Arowana brought out a huge turtle shell.

"Ah, that's...?

 It's the shell of Lotus, the turtle-shaped monster we defeated in the dungeon some time ago.
 After a lot of trial and error to find an effective use for it after bringing it back, I decided that it was the right shape, so I made it into a shield.

 In the past, Prince Arowana liked it so much that he took it back with him!

This shield is really excellent. It's a very strong shield, and the unique round shape of the shell is also very good.

 The rounded tortoise shell shield slips and repels all kinds of attacks, killing its original power.

The reason why I was able to surpass General Shark's bite killing saw, Tachibana's slanting swimming technique, and even Master Sanma's tsukomi is because of this shield. That's how I was able to grab the victory with a counterattack right after I withstood the desperate attack!

 The excitement of those days came back, and Prince Arowana's tone was heated.

As Prathi said, this is my first victory. "As Prathi said, this is my first win," he said, "and I've always wanted to do this because of this shield that the saints have given me. I wanted to come here today to thank you for that!

 It's no problem.
 From what I've heard, the tournament, which is a prestige event for mermaids, is not something that can be won with just one secret weapon.
 Plus, Prince Arowana's unflagging efforts must have paid off.

 At the same time, I used my hand sign to give a passing orc the go-ahead to mass produce a shell shield.
 Now that it's proven effective," he said.

'I won the martial swimming competition and I'm ready to follow in my father's footsteps and become the Mermaid King once again. From now on, I'm going to continue to diligently face the responsibilities that have been assigned to me.
'But I've been having some misgivings lately,'

 Somehow, Prince Arowana's voice suddenly dropped in tone.

I wonder if I have the wherewithal to become the Mermaid King. I can only think so because I won the Wushuushu competition and am another step closer to becoming the Mermaid King. I'm still not good enough to follow in my father's footsteps...!

              * * *

 But I digress.
 I asked him why Puffa, his favorite "frozen witch," was so quiet and didn't react much to the victory of Prince Arowana.
 I asked her why she was so quiet.

I went to the venue to watch the match in person. That's when I got really excited.

 Mr. Puffa, you....
 You're a mermaid prisoner and shouldn't be allowed to return to the sea without permission, right?
 Why are you in such a public place........?

I had to support the prince. If I disguised myself a little bit and kept my cool, I found out that people don't notice me as much as I thought.

 I also heard later that there was a female mermaid who supported Prince Arowana between each match by providing him with potion support to heal his injuries and keep him in good shape, and who may or may not have led him to victory.
 When he won the championship, she hugged the prince and rejoiced with him.

 And yet the true identity of the female mermaid is unknown. I've heard that the mermaid's identity is unknown, and the prince has a mysterious girlfriend?

 In addition to his secret weapon, his tortoise shell shield, the prince's own hard work and training were behind his first victory.
 It's not just his secret weapon, but also his own hard work and training, and the unofficial help of a woman who adores him...!