Spring has come.
The end of the season to endure, and the beginning of the season to breed and multiply.
Having my own child in Plati's belly, I couldn't help but feel that way.
And then came the event that was as good as experiencing the breath of life.
The Wind Cloud Okubo Castle.
It was the first battle to start with an open call for ordinary challengers.
Wind Cloud Okubo Castle, Spring Battle...!
* * * *.
It's been a long time since I've visited the land where Oakbo Castle is located, and I groaned.
There are a lot of people there.
There are so many of them.
There are so many of them that it's almost as if the earth is filled with them.
And all these are for the challenge of Castle Okubo?
That's right. We have 3000 men in all.
Far more than expected?
''Our three-month-long propaganda effort has been successful. Not only the former human countries, but even demons from across the border are participating. The participation fees we've collected from them alone will far exceed our territory's annual income...!
That's what the female demon race, Varina, says.
It seems that she was sent to the territory of the occupied human nation as an observer because the human race was defeated by the demon race in the war.......
.........why is that?
I have a feeling she's more active in enriching the territory than the lord himself.
''Now that I'm the lord's wife, it's my duty to make the territory prosperous to all intents and purposes with my husband! As a start, we'll make sure this event is a huge success!
I became a wife.
When did you become the wife of the lord?
And so, please turn to the main attraction. The future of this fiefdom depends on your work.
That's all up to Okubo, but I'm sure he'll be fine, he'll...
Anyway, it was a great success.
In addition to the contestants, the crowd in front of Okubo Castle was packed with spectators whose sole purpose was to watch the competition, almost as many as the challengers.
Although they couldn't take an entry fee from the spectators, they would entertain them by selling food and drinks in a hurry, as well as making a profit.
The villagers of the village at the foot of the mountain are the ones who are responsible for dealing with them.
They were delighted with the extra income and the boost to the village.
Of course, the villagers couldn't do it all by themselves, so they were more and more crowded with supporters who had come from all over the territory.
In short, it was a great success.
''Uh-oh, then, I'd like to conduct the opening ceremony.
Okubo, who fits in to host this event, steps forward.
'The object of this event is to trample this castle I built and face me in the keep. I wonder how many of you will be able to break through the many hurdles that have been prepared for you and get to me?
His tone was becoming more and more provocative.
"Do you have the courage to challenge my castle!
"Will you make it to my doorstep?
Do you want your prize?
""Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh!"
Do you wanna go to New York?
The last one is a story I'd included in advance in OkCupid, but it went down a lot.
After all, it's impossible to communicate in another world where people don't even know that New York is the name of a place.
Now then, I would like to receive a few words from the lord and lady who worked so hard to hold this tournament.
As if gingerly escaping from the delicate air, Okubo passed the baton to Lord Dalkish-san.
Next to him, Varina-san was also standing in line.
We were introduced to the lord and his wife, but are these guys really married?
''I have just been entrusted with the introduction, the Lord of our realm, Mr. Dalkish.
His wife, Varina.
That's a real marriage!
''This place, Okubo Castle, was originally built in our territory. It's a great pleasure to see a new landmark in our land. As the lord of the castle, I am delighted that you have come to visit us and become familiar with our land. I would like to express my gratitude to Lord Okubo for building Okubo Castle and providing such an event, and I would also like to express my gratitude to the many people who gathered in response to it. .........!
You can cut it out of my life.
He interrupted me with a long story, typical of great men.
'So much for the stiff talk, let's get to the point.
Miss Varina, now the lord's wife, who seems far more shrewd than the lord himself, said.
''The challenger who conquers this Okubo Castle will receive a prize. That's exactly what was stated in the application form.
With those words, the air in the hall suddenly began to buzz.
''In order to ignite your fighting spirit, let me introduce some of the prizes here.
As Varina gestures, several of our goblins come up with something in each of their hands.
'Prize number one! It's all the rage in Demon City right now! Farm brand clothing (usually made of silk)!
The audience erupted in excitement.
''Rare items that are said to be worth no more than a few dozen gold coins if purchased in the Demon City, can be obtained by conquering Okubo Castle! Plus, the next prize!
''This leather bag, what a material it's made of, Hydrolex!
The audience was even more buzzed.
'The human race, which is more likely to be adventurers by profession, will understand. The Hydrorex is a reptilian-type monster that only appears in cave dungeons of three stars and above. Its skin is a rare item!
It's the one that normally lives in the teacher's dungeon........
Every time Okubo and the others encountered it, they would ask "Hydrolex? It's enough to make me go, "That's enough.
"And then, item number three! The god of sake, Bacchus, created this sake by himself! And it's new!
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh!
It was the biggest crowd so far.
I knew sake was popular everywhere.
I mean, all the prizes were taken out of our farm.
The winner who conquers Okubo Castle will get to pick one prize of their choice to take home! There are plenty of other prizes, so challenge the castle to the death!
Was this the reason why there were so many challengers at Okubo Castle?
Perhaps it was some kind of publicity to recruit participants, and they flashed the contents of the prizes.
I don't know if I've been on the farm for a long time, but I've heard from Shaks-san, a merchant who goes in and out of the farm, that the products they produce on the farm are of tremendous value to the outside world.
So this trend is not unacceptable from my point of view.
''Well, even so, I think it's safe to say that we've limited the prizes to only those items that aren't a problem to be leaked, right?
Verena says next to me.
The planning and management of the open Oakbo Castle and negotiations with the lord's side are all left to her. She's still a self-proclaimed incompetent as usual.
''You don't think there's anything bad at all that would cause a hazard if even one of them went on the market?
'Yes, your saint wouldn't like it either, would he? The world is going to die because of what leaked out of our house.
Are we going to the end of the world?
Is it really that bad in this country?
Anyway, we know that the participants are all glued to this place for the most precious prizes in the world.
After a half-hearted speech by Varlina, the enthusiasm for the competition is at an all-time high.
'Then let us begin! Wind Cloud Okubo Castle, Spring Battle!
* * *
This is how Okubo Castle began, but the first obstacle is still the "Frustrating Mean Table".
The contestants had to cross a narrow bridge connecting various parts of the moat while maintaining their balance.
Reflecting on the viciousness that had reduced the number of challengers from two hundred and fifty to eighty last time, we made some changes to the rules to adjust the balance.
There were still ten average platforms passed over the moat, but the next challenger could not start until one person crossed over or fell on each one.
This meant that no one would be able to destroy themselves in the crowd, as they had done last time.
The jamming thrower is still there this time.
Now let's see how many people can get through this first barrier!
.........and then an extraordinary person came out from the first challenger.
A huge demon race that looked up at me........