Part 26: A mad scientist and a maid with cat ears meet on the field of battle
A song starts playing. A somewhat solemn melody, with a coquettish female vocalist. I've heard that song a lot recently. I'm pretty sure it's RaiNet Kakeru's theme song.
Bathed in the spotlight, Faris begins to MC. The previously peaceful audience instantly explodes in excitement. Everyone stands up, raising their fists in the air as they shout in unison.
"Thank nyu, thank nyu!"
Responding to the shouts of joy with a majestic wave of her hand, she clears her throat.
"The rules are simple. Faris will face off with everyone in RaiNet alone nya."
"Faris will keep at it and face even up to 10 people at once, nyan."
"By the way, as a reward for anyone who can defeat Faris, Faris will give her home cooking nya~"
"Now then, everyone, enjoy the contest!"
Seems like 28 people, including me, are participating in the noon portion. Faris will face 10 people at the same time, so she divides us into three rounds. I'm in the third round.
Daru, who was in the first round, was insta-killed by Faris. Though he said I'd be a burden, he was actually quite weak. No, maybe it's that Faris is too strong.
RaiNet AccessBattlers is close to Shogi. There's a special board where you use shogi-like pieces to compete. There seems to be some fairly complicated rules, but the point of the game is to penetrate your opponent's encampment with whichever of your pieces are stronger.
Faris is doing that against 10 people at once. She's moving to each of those 10 people's tables one by one, taking one move at a time. They say Go and Shogi are multifaceted; the same goes for this game. To be skillful at this game, you need to be multifaceted. It looks like Faris is considerably skilled, just like Daru said before.
"Nyahuhu♪ I'd like it if you all tried a little harder nyan."
Damn Faris. Don't get so cocky. I lean my back to the wall and silently watch the round 2 matches.
"Faris sure is strong, huh."
Returning from her break, Mayushii carries drinks as she whispers.
"Mayushii's not good at RaiNet at all, so I'm really jealous."
"What'll you do if you become strong?"
"Okarin, didn't you know/ Right now, RaiNet AccessBattlers isn't just popular in Akiba, but it's a worldwide blend."
Blend...? Like coffee?
"You mean brand?"
"Yeah, that. So if you get strong, you're sure to be the hero to all the little kids♪"
"Hero, huh... That doesn't sound bad."
"Also, Upa is so cute, too♪"
As everyone knows, Upa is RaiNet's mascot character. His popularity now exceeds that of a certain electric yellow rat.
"Wait, that line of argument is strange. Being strong at RaiNet is unrelated to Upa's cuteness."
But to Mayuri, they are related. Meaning, her objective is the limited Upa plush toy they give out for participation in official tournaments. Only in your dreams can you become the strongest with such impure intentions, Mayuri.
"Faris's so busy she can't go to official tournaments, but I think she definitely has worldwide top level skill."
In that case, these commoners participating in the Faris Cup aren't a suitable match.
Nobody's even close to Faris. An overwhelming difference in ability. Her level's too high.
"NyanNyan, apawlogies, everynyan, but Faris thinks it's rude to go easy in RaiNet nyan. And what Faris wants is a serious match nyan."
"Gwohh, Faris, fascinating. I can't win. I didn't win..."
A thick mood of defeat has already spread across the challengers. All of them are genuflecting with their heads hung.
"Hmph... tough luck, you guys..."
I nonchalantly accept Faris's dubious glance.
"...but we've been saving the best for last. Daru, allow me to show you: The true gentleman's art of war."
"Okarin, don't tell me you've got a plan...?"
"Hmph. Indeed I do. Let's leave the operation name as 'Sweet Side'."
A loud 'ohh!' echoes from the surroundings. The ones cruelly defeated by Faris, and the other 7 round 3 participants, entrust their hopes to me.
I've felt the cries of their hearts so much that it hurts. At first, they were all enemies. But now, before the high mountain known as Faris, our hearts are one.
"Is Kyouma confident nya?"
"The tears of the fallen twenty... shall not be in fain. Faris, do you remember our promise? Once this match is over, I'll have you tell me everything you know."
"Amazing! Okarin feels like he's going to win at the get go!"
"Okarin, go for it!♪"
The crowd goes wild. They've got high expectations for me. I slowly go to the table with the board placed on it.
"Five minutes. The match will be decided before then."