Translator(s): Yomigaeru Editor(s): Yuzuha Proofreader(s): Yomigaeru
About what happened this morning.
「Master, would you like to go look around the festival together today?」
Yuel shyly asked me after I had just woken up. Nervously twitching her fingertips and thighs, Yuel gazed at me with those round, blue eyes, awaiting my response.
As for why Yuel was asking me something like that, it’s because today is the day of the festival. The few days of preparation have passed, and today, a great number of events are taking place in the city.
「Master? Is that… a no?」
When I didn’t reply, Yuel made a slightly anxious face. Of course there was no way I’d refuse.
「No, it’s no problem at all. Alright, let’s go see the festival today!」
Yuel’s bright smile was radiant. Surely, today will be extremely fun. That’s the kind of feeling that Yuel’s smile was beaming out.
…However, at the time I didn’t realize that I was forgetting something very important.
After that, Yuel invites Eris, and the three of us go around the city. I didn’t expect Eris to close the hospital and come along with us, but today is a festival after all. Eris must have wanted to have some fun; she readily consents to Yuel’s invitation.
Now, it’s time to decide on our destination… and finally I remember.
Ruruka was telling me about it earlier… on the day of the festival, there’s a beauty contest.
Eris talked about it too… the contestants in the beauty contest are awfully exposed.
So that’s what it was. Today is the big event to decide on the number one beauty in town. I’m sure there’ll be a ton of high-level buxom beauties gathered there. And what’s more, they’ll apparently be exposing a lot of skin. There’s no way I don’t want to go to an event like that.
My destination today can be none other than the beauty contest.
…However, I’m already grouped up with Yuel and Eris.
Bringing the two of them with me would be problematic.
Of course, my reason for going to the beauty contest is to rubberneck. Even if I can come up with a suitable excuse to deceive Yuel, Eris will likely completely understand that my goal is to observe scantily-clad hotties the instant the words “beauty contest” leave my mouth. If I say we should go see the beauty contest, there’s no doubt she’ll be disgusted.
Furthermore, since Yuel said she has somewhere she wants to go, we’re already on our way there. There’s no way I can disregard Yuel’s wishes at this point and steer the rudder towards the beauty contest instead.
Should I betray Yuel’s expectations and resign myself to being scorned by Eris by going to see the beauty contest, or should I give up on it?
This is surely the ultimate choice. But, as Yuel’s master, the decision I must make is obvious. Resolving myself, I drive my feet forward in the direction Yuel is pointing, towards the martial arts arena.
We’re in the stands at the martial arts tournament, inside a large building that has the feel of a coliseum. Looks like this tournament has a round-robin format; we’re overlooking a large number of combatants exchanging blows with wooden swords down below.
Seems like Yuel’s aim is to study this martial arts tournament. Since fighting the Armor Ogre, Yuel has often been practicing her knife thrusts in the garden. She’s likely trying to learn from watching other people’s fighting styles.
Oh yeah, the earnings she received from all her recent part-time work at the tavern went toward buying knives attached to long cords that can be retracted back to the hand after throwing, smoke bombs for running away from strong monsters, and low-grade recovery potions for when I lose consciousness. Looks like she’s making arrangements to fight a wide variety of monsters. I don’t plan on sticking my head out into danger very much anymore, but Yuel is steadily preparing to fight. She’s probably getting ready to be able to protect her master no matter what happens. I think she’s going a bit overboard, but I don’t feel like stopping her when she’s so enthusiastic about it.
That’s exactly why at the martial arts tournament today I hope that Yuel will watch, study, and enjoy herself to her heart’s content. That’s the reason I decided to come here. I didn’t want to see Yuel’s disappointed face.
So I would never do something like head to the beauty contest lightly.
「O-Ow ow ow ow!! …Ahh, m-my stomaaach…!!」
「M-Masterrr, what’s wrong!? A-Are you okay!?」
「Ahhhh, this is bad! Kuh… the pain… I-I’ll be alright somehow…! …Y-Yuel, I may need to be in the toilet for a while. I’m going to the restroom, so make sure you stay close to Eris and don’t get lost. Got it?」
「M-Masterrr, I’ll escort you!」
「I-It’s fine. Believe in your master. Okay? Yuel, don’t leave Eris no matter what, alright? It’d be terrible if you got lost! No matter what, okay?」
–I’m calling it the Eternal Toilet strategy.
I’ll act like my stomach is upset, and head to the beauty contest. It’s simple, but this way Yuel can watch her much-anticipated martial arts tournament and I can go see the beauty contest with my dignity intact.
The weak point of this strategy is that if time drags on as I’m watching the beauty contest, it’s possible that Yuel will come all the way to the restrooms out of concern. But by giving her such detailed instructions, she shouldn’t do something like that.
I’m concerned about how Eris was looking at me dismally, but there’s no use worrying over minor details. More importantly, it’s beauty contest time.
The number one buxom beauty in town. Beautiful girls in skimpy outfits. There’s no room in my head for anything else.
Let’s get going, hurry up, right away. I can’t contain my excitement anymore.
Just like that, I escape by myself from the martial arts tournament arena.
The beauty contest is located in a plaza a few minutes away from the martial arts arena. A big, temporary stage was constructed in the plaza, and it’s already surrounded by a great number of people. However, it doesn’t look like the event has started yet. It seems I arrived a bit early.
I’m sure I’ll be at this place for a long time. Before I enter, I’ll buy some drinks and snacks from a food cart.
With that in mind, I check out the nearby carts. And when I do…
at some point, I spot a priestess. Before I know it, the black-haired, flat-chested woman who was called a saint is standing next to me.
「You have quite beautiful hair.」
…Then she hits on me. No, just because I’m suddenly praised, it’s too hasty to assume she’s hitting on me. All she did was call out to me.
「Ah, please excuse my impertinence. I am known as Philine. That color is not often seen around these parts, so you caught my interest.」
While I’m still stupefied at the sudden greeting, the priestess introduces herself.
But man, I wonder why she called out to me? She must be an eminent priestess in the Church of Medine. Enough to be called a saint.
Besides, right now there are multiple people nearby in priest garb who seem to be guards. My wariness is taking precedence over the happiness from having a girl call out to me.
「H-How do you do.」
Then, after Philine carefully assesses my appearance,
「Might you be a healer?」
she asks me that. I’m wearing my usual monastic habit that’s common among healers. She could likely tell from this garment. I don’t know why she asked me about it, but I can’t exactly ignore someone with high social standing. And I’m scared of what could happen after.
For the time being, I answer her.
When I do, Philine peers directly into my face. It’s almost as if her rational eyes are evaluating me.
What’s going on? What reason would a higher-up in the church have for assessing me? There shouldn’t be any…
Wait, there is one. Quite a dangerous one. At the time of the Krankheit Turtle incident, the healing magic that covered the entire town. It’s that.
Certainly, this city seems to be treating it as sacred, calling it Goddess Medine’s miracle. The members of the church must want to find out who was responsible for it by any means necessary.
…H-Huh, isn’t that bad? A higher-up of that church called out to me, and furthermore she’s peering at me in order to evaluate me. Moreover, she asked me “might you be a healer?” just now.
Don’t tell me that back then, I was spotted by someone at the moment I used an Area Heal? Something tells me I’m in an extremely unpleasant situation.
「H-Heyyy, did you need something? I’m a little short on time right now.」
Before I crumble under pressure, I need to withdraw. Whether or not I’ve been found out, I get the feeling that talking to this person is unwise.
「Ah, a thousand apologies for suddenly calling out to you. Until our next meeting.」
I thought I’d be detained, but Philine doesn’t try to stop me.
…So I haven’t been found out? Did she really just call out to me because we have a similar hair color? Who knows. However, it seems better for me not to get involved with that priestess named Philine.
Slightly apprehensive though I may be, I return to the beauty contest area. There was an accident, but my heightened mood won’t be quelled by something of that degree. Right now I’m just going to enjoy myself as much as possible.
Looks like the contest is just starting; I can see a beast girl with cow-like horns walking out onto the stage swinging those massive udders. Her preferred outfit is a bikini-style swimsuit. Luminous magic tools that are set up on the temporary stage further enhance the whiteness of her pale skin.
It seems she’s the first one. As expected for someone participating in a beauty contest, she certainly is quite lovely. And those breasts that sway back and forth with every step she takes probably exceed Eris’. In terms of balance Eris would win the judges’ decision, but that size alone is an aspiration.
…Wait, haven’t I seen those somewhere before?
And, while I’m contemplating and appreciating the big-breasted babe,
「Ah, Master! Is your stomach alright now!?」
From behind, I hear the one voice I shouldn’t be hearing. I turn around, and as I feared, Yuel is there. The question of why she’s here arises, but it’s shortly answered when I look right behind her.
「Leaving Yuel-chan behind, what are you doing…」
It’s Eris. She’s looking at me and making an exasperated sigh.
「Earlier, you asked me whether I was participating in the beauty contest, didn’t you? That’s why I expected you to come here.」
I see. That’s Eris-san for you, she really understands my character.
「Master, is your stomach okay…?」
「Y-Yeah. I felt better on my way to the toilet, ha, ha ha ha.」
Or rather I should say that if I did have stomach pains I could just cure them with healing magic. Eris realized that, so that’s likely why she was giving me a dirty look back at the martial arts tournament arena. Maybe because it was impromptu, but it seems there was a hole in my strategy.
…Although Yuel doesn’t appear to have noticed. I wish she’d learn to be a little more skeptical.
But man, this is bad. Stomachache aside, I need to explain why I’m here. My dignity as Yuel’s master is on the line.
「Yeah, Yuel, I’m sorry. It’s just that, the truth is, somebody I know is participating in this contest. So I wanted to cheer them on no matter what.」
That’s a lie, of course. But it should definitely give off a better impression than “I’m here to appreciate the sexy babes”. And so long as there’s no chance to speak with the contestants on stage, the lie shouldn’t be so easily uncovered.
Eris’ gaze grows even colder, but recovering with her is impossible this time. Yuel is the only one I can deceive now.
As I’m giving Yuel my explanation,
「Ah, it’s true!」
Yuel raises a happy voice and points toward the stage.
「Ruruka-san, it’s Ruruka-san!」
…There actually was someone I know.
Looks like Ruruka is the second contestant; I can see her walking around on stage in a black bikini. Her face is slightly flushed, and she’s covering her body in embarrassment as she walks. However, her expression isn’t just embarrassed, but somehow angry…?
「So it was true…」
Eris mutters in surprise. It was just a lie I told that happened to turn out to be true, but let’s not mention that.
Although, I wasn’t expecting Ruruka to participate in something like this. Maybe she’s aiming for the prize money or something? No, at any rate, she doesn’t have enough appeal. I mean, that Cowgirl-chan earlier was squeezing her tits together as service for the crowd. I can’t feel any motivation from Ruruka to take the top prize in a contest like this. She’s just hiding her body as much as possible and nervously looking around the audience.
And as I’m watching her doing that on stage, our eyes meet. What’s more, she calls my name.
…What’s with that? She can’t possibly intend to pick up where we left off in front of that inn right now? That would definitely be bad. And in front of such a huge crowd. Plus, Yuel and Eris are here too.
「Hey, what did you do to that girl? Her face is absolutely livid.」
But apparently that’s not it. Indeed, when I take a look at Ruruka, her body is trembling and she’s chewing her lower lip while glaring at me. What’s with that expression? It’s a mixture of embarrassment and resentment.
「No, I have no memory of making her angry though.」
「Then why is she glaring at you?」
As I’m conversing with Eris like that, Ruruka begins to tremble once again. She’s clenching her fists and glaring right at me.
Why’s she glaring at me? I don’t think I’ve done anything to Ruruka to deserve a glare like that. In the first place, I had no idea that she was participating in the beauty contest until just now.
…Wait, beauty contest?
「Are you sure you didn’t do something after all?」
Eris asks me, nervous for some reason.
…That’s it, it’s Eris.
I remember. Certainly, I said it back when Ruruka told me about the existence of the beauty contest. That “I’ll try to encourage Eris” to enter.
At that time, Ruruka had received a shock from Aria calling her my mistress with Eris. Furthermore, right after, I was invited to enter an inn with baths together. Even I realized that she must have felt no small amount of goodwill towards me. I’m sure she did that due to her rivalry with Eris.
Now I feel like I understand why Ruruka entered the beauty contest.
If this isn’t me being overly self-conscious, Ruruka may have wanted to establish her superiority over Eris through this beauty contest. And she wanted to clear away the stigma from being called a mistress.
It was most likely for that purpose alone that Ruruka endured the high exposure of an embarrassing bathing suit and faced the beauty contest. And yet the vital Eris isn’t participating. Furthermore, she’s chatting amiably at my side.
…Yeah, that would make her angry.
But I did encourage Eris to enter the beauty contest. It’s just that she refused. Ruruka must have been under the impression that she would be participating, though.
While I’m thinking it over.
「O-Oi, ain’t that the Saint-sama!?」
「You’re so beautiful, Saint-sama!!」
A huge cheer assaults my ears. Looking at the stage, the priestess from before is there. It’s Philine.
Compared to Ruruka or Cowgirl-chan, Philine is wearing a rather modest one-piece. I’m surprised that someone referred to as a saint of this country’s state religion would be participating in such a vulgar event as a beauty contest, but this too is probably linked to gathering faith. She seems to be doing the same thing I tried to get Eris to do.
Although, if someone with a title like Saint appears, this race is already over. Looks like there are a number of shills here as well, so her victory in this contest is surely already decided. I don’t think that Ruruka’s figure is inferior compared to the saint’s, but for a popularity contest such as this, name value carries more meaning than anything else.
Everything from here on is a throwaway match. The moment I think that.
「H-Hey, those… what are they? D-Don’t tell me…」
「I-Impossible! Why, in the middle of the city!?」
The audience starts to clamor noisily. Then, a lone spectator points at the sky. In that direction, there’s an enormous number of black shadows.
My first thought is that it’s a flock of birds, but be that as it may, they’re large in size. I strain my eyes to get a better look, and they’re actually big, bat-shaped creatures with fangs sticking out of their mouths.
…Those are… monsters.