428-426 Battle for traces

 And so it began.

 A battle.
 A single, merciless match for the position of head of the Fermented Foods Division.
 The competitors are Discus and Angel.

'Discus! I know we're friends, but today we're enemies! Let's fight each other fair and square with all our might!

 Discus was smiling.
 They are two of the five people who originally called themselves the Five Witch Saints and rode into the farm.
 It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're doing.

 Especially the one from Discus to Angel.

'I guess friendships aren't forever! Two people who were so close together, and now they're enemies! But I will not resist my fate! Beating you and grabbing the glory is my destiny!

 I guess I'm already used to the part where I feel doomed and excited on my own.
 It's a very good idea to be able to have a good idea of what you're looking for.

''.........And when you say match, what exactly are you going to do?
You know what to do! If you're going to decide who's in charge of making pickles, that's what you're going to do: taste test the pickles!

 That makes sense, doesn't it?

 Puffa served in the farm's fermented food department.
 If you want to follow in his footsteps, well, you have to be familiar with making fermented foods.

By the way, how good is the discus who was officially appointed by Puffa?
Come in.

 A tub offered to me.
 There was a cup of rice bran inside.
 It was a bed of bran for making pickles. The cucumber was dug out of the tub, washed and cut into pieces to remove the bran.
 The process was very clever.

I made the bran bed by myself," said Atai. Miss Puffa taught me how to do it all by myself.

 Now take a bite....
 I put a cucumber in my mouth, pickled in salted water.


 It's really nicely salted!
 Isn't the saltiness and spiciness of the bran bed perfectly adjusted?

I told you. As I said, this discus is technologically on the verge of being equal to that of Atai.

 Puffa shuffles out of the room to face his mentor.

'There's still one thing that's missing to be completely even with Attai, though. Once that is filled in, you'll be truly perfect.
Master, what's that?

 Did he just say "love"?

'The desire to be eaten by the man I love! That's what soaks into the pickles and makes them taste many times better! Just by picturing the master's happy face, the lactic acid bacteria that live on the bunk beds of Atai will be a hundred times more active!
'I see! I'm learning, Master!
You're gonna have to find someone fast.

 Will the day come when Discus wakes up to the bog of love?

'So the discus has shown its overwhelming taste power, versus...'

 Angel, the second princess of the mermaid race?
 What are you going to do about it?

Can you even make pickles?

 If you can't do that and you're trying to follow in Puffa's footsteps, Kimi.
 I'll be blown away.

"I'll be fine! I already have it all set up!

 Don't, the tub is placed in front of my face again.

'Discus taught me the other day to pickle it! This is made by Princess Angel. Special Royal Nukazuke!

 I didn't expect that he was being instructed by Discus, who was challenging him as his opponent.
 Even though there was no one else suitable, it is exactly the act of repaying a favor.

But the reason you were taught is because you were taught just the other day, right? How can such a haphazard preparation beat a discus with direct instruction from Puffa?
That's where my noble blood and grace comes in!

 It's a perfectly bad royal behavior patter.

 I guess the point is that you're supposed to compare Discus's boggy pickles and Angel's boggy pickles and decide which one tastes better.
 Isn't that the kind of game you want to play?

 ...Very well.
 In order to obtain a result that satisfies everyone, let's make sure we do our best to judge it.

 Then we'll have a proper judge.
 Someone who can make a fair judgment after comparing two people's bran pickles.

    * * * *

 So I called the No Life King teacher.

'Sir, it's nice to meet you.'

 Angel interrupted me while crying something.

How can you be a teacher? Isn't it too much to ask for a no-life king to be a judge over pickles?
No, that's not true.

 I've been serving takuan as a souvenir since the beginning of our relationship.
 So his judgment of taste must be top-notch!

Um....but if you could still do it, would you have an easier judge...?
You're an easy judge. I mean, most of you guys are good at what you do.

 Currently, Angel and her friends are students at the Mermaid Witch Academy Farm Branch School, which was established on the farm.
 They are wrapped up with other students of the human and demon races.

 They are also wrapped up with other human and demon students, which is probably one of the reasons why they've been so lacking in recent years, but that doesn't stop them from being pampered by their teachers as one of the prettiest students!

You're the type to praise and encourage. "Don't worry, no matter how bad your pickles are, I'm sure he'll find something good in there!
You can't tell me that beforehand!

 By the way, if we were to divide the judges by difficulty level....

Berry-Easy: Queen Sheila.
Easy: Prince Sheila.
Normal: Prince Arowana.
Hard: Me.
Very Hard: Puffa.
Nightmare: Prati.

.... or something like that. Do you want to take the plunge and try the Nightmare?
Easy, please.

 You're right, I didn't want to run to the Berry Easy.
 If Queen Sheila were to be the judge, she would let Angel win outright, regardless of taste.
 I guess Angel's good sense told him that this was a bad idea.

 Now that it's officially decided, let's see.

Sir, the review.
Thank you!

 The doctor eats.
 Paprika dug up from an angel bed of bran.
 A paprika? Why did you pickle those strange things? It's because of Angel. 'It's the royal family's humidity, so it should look special. And that must have been a strange thing to say!
 .........Anyway, taste the paprika, Sensei, without showing a single confused face.

 I chew it for a while........

''........let's try a little harder!

 Even the teacher, who usually praises most things students do, couldn't find the beauty in it and had to euphemistically ruin it with maximum angularity.
 Sorry teacher!
 Thank you for being so thoughtful, doctor!

'Whoa! My nukazuke is aaaaah!

 And Angel breaks down in tears.
 It seems that he could tell that it was not good enough.

"My ambition to follow in the footsteps of Puffa's sister-in-law and join the flow of the royal family is ah! The dream of being close to your big sister is ah!

 Angel, who was so frustrated that she cried out.
 It's a good idea to be able to have a good time with them.

'I have a request. May I turn it over to Mr. Angel, the head of the brewery?

 What are you trying to tell me, Discus? You were the one who got appointed!

"Mr. Angel found you and took you in as a crony. It's thanks to him that I was able to come to the farm and apprentice myself to Miss Puffa, whom I respect. I want to repay that favor to Master Angel.
'Naturally, the practical side is handled by Atai! We won't slow down the work like we did with Miss Puffa, and we won't diminish the quality of the flavor! So the position in charge should be Angel-sama!

 Doesn't that mean that Discus is actually in charge and Angel is only the head of the decorations?

 Okay, so?

'Oh my God, thanks for the discus! I knew you were my dear friend!
'Yes, sir! From the moment the princess said she was my friend, I was ready to give my life to you! Let me continue to work for you!

 Two girl mermaids embracing each other.

 I slightly wonder if this is the right way to go, but Angel's way of moving people around by virtue of his humanity is much more like royalty than Prince Arowana and Prati.

 Queen Sheila is the first to have her daughter grow up (?). I was moved to tears as I witnessed the Parent Fool.


 And King Nagas was weeping. Super parental idiot.
 After all, fathers are even sweeter to their daughters than they are to their daughters!