— 3 —
“I’ll start from the left. First up is Team Ryden’s results!”
A drumroll followed suit, fanning the crowd’s anticipation.
As the excitement grew to a peak, the female announcer opened her mouth.
“Goldens defeated! 37! Coins collected! 11! Their total reward comes out to be… an impressive 1,470,000E!”
The crowd burst the moment the results came out of her mouth.
1,470,000E was an uncommon sum even for adventurers. That was even more so for the normal city dwellers.
But of course, Ryden’s team hadn’t assembled this extravagant bounty just from hunting.
Probabilistically, defeating thirty-seven Goldens should only yield around three or four Coins. It’s obvious that they bought Coins to finish with triple their expected yield. They showed brilliant entrepreneurship, considering that they wouldn’t have been able to buy any from Hisame, us, or any other team aiming for the podium.
(We beat them!!)
Even then, they couldn’t reach us.
I was seriously worried for a moment, but it looks like we’re guaranteed second place at worst. The decider would be just how many Goldens Hisame managed to defeat.
“Team Ryden is our current top-place team. Will either of the two teams be able to beat their score of 1,470,000E?”
There was no question about it, of course. The announcer was just trying to rouse up the crowd.
I’m sure that just about everyone here knew that.
“Then, next, I shall reveal Miss Mitsuki Hisame’s total.”
At that moment, an even greater commotion enveloped the stage.
“Miss Mitsuki Hisame is, as you’re all aware, an amazingly skilled adventurer. But just how many Golden Wild Zlimes did she bury under a swing of her sword? Even I can’t wait to find out!”
She probably knew the results already, but the announcer continued stirring the crowd.
The cheering grew louder in response.
“Then, then then then, let us finally reveal Miss Hisame’s reward!!”
Will we clinch victory, or will Hisame?
It will all be revealed in the next few seconds.
“Miss Mitsuki Hisame’s results are…”
I perked up my ears and waited.
Before I noticed, the raucous audience had closed their mouths, and a nervous silence had taken over, a silence so quiet that it hurt the ears.
Ringo was muttering while looking at the back of my head. “…Ah, split ends,” rang out clearly in my ears.
And then, finally…
“251 Goldens defeated! 52 Coins collected! For a total reward of 7,710,000E!! She blew straight past Ryden’s team! She’s currently in first place!”
The crowd was rapturous after hearing results that surpassed their expectations.
In contrast, I slowly heaved a sigh, shoulders sagging.
(I see. Over half, huh.)
To be fair, this wasn’t completely beyond my predictions.
Hisame very distinctly used the word “finished”. This implies that she defeated more than half, that is, 251 of the 500 Golden Wild Zlimes that spawned. Following this, competing teams would only be able to defeat a maximum of 249 Goldens.
In addition, each time Hisame defeated a Golden, she aimed for its critical point, doubling the drop rate of the Coins. Even if another team were to defeat a similar amount of Goldens, slaying them any other way would leave an insurmountable gap in Coins.
Hisame’s usage of “finished” meant that she had ensured her own victory.
Even if someone realized this, it just wasn’t possible for a normal person to defeat an extraordinary 251 Goldens. Not to mention that she managed it all by herself, without forming a team. “Skilled” can’t be used to describe this.
(She’s really something, that girl.)
No matter how much I levelled up in the future, I’m sure that I still wouldn’t be able to manage such a feat.
Given the situation, I was starting to think that maybe I should just sincerely praise her for her accomplishment.
“And defeating 251 monsters sets a new Extermination Fest record! It completely trumps the old record of 150. Please give her another large round of applause for this phenomenal feat!”
So the announcer said, disturbing the crowd again. But I had already stopped paying attention.
(…It’s all over.)
The outcome was clear. I didn’t even need to hear our results, and the audience wasn’t listening either.
“E-Everyone! There’s still one team left! Everyone, please quiet down!”
She probably hadn’t expected this to get so out of hand.
In a panic, the announcer attempted to wrestle control of the crowd again, but there were no signs of a positive result.
The crowd was uncontrollable. To make matters worse, from each and every corner…
“Hisame! Hisame! Hisame!”
Calls of “Hisame!” erupted.
“F-Finally!! I’ll now announce!! The third group!! The results for Team Sagara!!”
Having given up on calming the crowd, the announcer pressed forward with her announcement, yelling at the top of her lungs.
I glanced sideways at Hisame while listening to the announcer’s desperate yelling.
“Defeated, 87!! Collected, 74!! Total, 8,270,000E!! Team Sagara is the winner!! Congratulaaaaations!!!!”
The unexpected result completely quieted the stage. I continued looking at Hisame, who stood dumbfounded.
See? Now do you understand, Hisame?
—This is the power of someone (exploiting bugs) who doesn’t give up until the very end!!