The weekend has come, and along with it, the start of the preliminaries of the Festival of the God of War.
I am sitting together with Hyoro in the audience seats at the fighting arena, watching the matches. The sun is still high in the sky, and spectators are sparse. Well, this is just the prelims after all. More like, this number is a pretty good turn out for the prelims.
Actually, I had fought two matches already last night. Not in the fighting arena, but at random grassy locations. Yep, the first and second rounds of prelims are held at the grasslands outside of the royal capital. Nobody comes to watch those matches. The quality of my opponents was also the worst. I beat both of them by knocking them out with a half-hearted lariat. Both victories were entirely joyless.
Then from the third match onwards, it’s finally the fighting arena! By this point, the quality of the matches have finally reached barely acceptable standards. Though few, there are at least some spectators, which is also a big improvement. What most people refer to when they mention the Festival of the God of War is the tournament proper, after all.
“Oh yea, where’s Jaga?”
So I ask Hyoro, who appears to be taking notes of some sort.
“He said that he went home to do some farming.”
(T/N: The joke here is that Jaga’s last name is ‘Imo,’ so when you put it together his name is ‘Jagaimo’ = potato. And he’s farming. Lol.)
Hyoro continues to enthusiastically take notes while watching the match. Around his neck is the Holy Sword necklace, the souvenir that I had gotten for him at the Holy Land. I’m glad that he likes it enough to wear it. But more than that, I have misgivings about his sense of taste, to actually like something like that……
“So, what’re you doing?”
“I’m gathering battle data. Noobs would bet based merely on their intuition, but I am different. I collect data, I apply statistics, and then bet based on probability.”
I steal a glance at Hyoro’s memo pad.
‘Probably strong’ ‘Probably weak’ ‘No idea’ is what it says.
“Winning in betting is considered from the cumulative total.”
So Hyoro says confidently while continuing with his notes.
“Is that so.”
“Noobs bet on one match and call that a win or a loss. But I am different. I do not fixate on the results of a single match. I increase the number of trial runs, combine the probabilities, and win in units of 10 matches.”
“Is that so.”
“For I am a man who wins by totals……”
“Good on you.”
“That’s an interesting conversation you guys are having over there.”
That moment, a young man appears behind us.
“Our conversation is interesting?”
“It is indeed!”
In response to my question, the blond handsome guy with an almost visible background of sparkles smiles with a pose.
“You, you are……!”
“You know him, Hyoro?”
“You are the Undefeatable Myth, Goldoh Kinmekki-san!!”
(T/N: When read together, his name means ‘gold gilding/plating’.)
Goldoh-san brushes up his hair in response to Hyoro’s reverent gaze.
“That nickname is quite embarrassing. By all means, call me Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki instead!”
“Y-, yes for sure! Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh-san!”
Eh, I prefer ‘Undefeatable Myth’ though.
“Are you gathering battle data?”
“Yes I am!”
“Prospect, you hold. I, too, never forgo the collection of battle data.”
“I-, is that true?!”
“Indeed. Always in pursuit of victory…… see?”
“SO COOL! Can you tell me more?!”
“Yare yare, just a little bit then.”
I have a feeling that this is going to take quite a while.
My entry is just about approaching too, so it’s good timing.
“Gonna go take a shit.”
I change in the toilet, then head towards the participants’ waiting room.
Hyoro is listening to Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki’s sure-win theory with rapt attention.
“For example, see. Take the next match as an example.”
It just so happens that the participants of the next match are being called into the arena.
“Round 3, Match 12! Gonzales versus Jimina Sehnen!”
The two magic swordsman face off.
“My theory enables me to measure most people’s general strength before it even begins. First let’s consider Gonzales. His physical strength can be determined by looking at his muscle balance. His eyes and expression give him the aura of a veteran who has waded through many a battlefield. At a quick glance, his battle power is 1,364.”
“B-, battle power?! What is that!!”
“After I gather and analyze a fighter’s battle data, I quantify it. Battle power of 1,364 is not a bad number.”
“In contrast, Jimina Sehnen…… fumu.”
Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki stares at Jimina with sharp eyes, falling silent.
“H-, how is he?”
“No, how could he…… But, this is……”
“Sorry about that. I was merely a bit taken back.”
“Could it be that Jimina is actually that……?!”
“Indeed, that man…… Jimina Sehnen is……. an incredibly small fry!”
“Eh……? Small fry?”
“No doubt about it! I haven’t the faintest idea how he managed to win his way to the third round! Perhaps by a miracle?”
“He does look kind of weak……”
“Weak-looking face, weak-looking body, and weak aura! Jimina’s battle power is 33! Haha, he’s the bottom of the barrel as a magic swordsman!”
“Which means that it’ll be Gonzales’ win?”
“With just one blow, most likely. There’ll be nothing to see in this match.”
Then the match begins.
The one who moves first is Gonzales.
With a speed unbefitting of his large muscular body, he rushes towards Jimina, brandishing his sword.
His movements are a notch above most other participants in this third round. Goldoh’s evaluation of him as a veteran of battle seems to be not entirely unbased.
Jimina does not even react to Gonzales’ attack.
Every single person is sure of Jimina’s loss.
But, at that moment.
Right in front of Jimina, Gonzales stumbles and rolls.
Then in the same movement, his head hits the ground, and he loses consciousness.
The entire arena falls completely silent. ‘Come on, he’s gonna get up, right?’ is what everybody is thinking.
But Gonzales does not even twitch.
Jimina sheathes his sword and turns to leave, before the judge finally reacts.
“W-, winner, Jimina Sehnen!”
“W-, WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?!”
“RETURN MY MONEY TO ME!!”
Jeering falls like rain upon the unconscious Gonzales.
Not knowing how to react, Hyoro peers at Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki’s face.
“W-, well, this happens too, every once in a while.”
So says Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki with a slightly twitching face.
“Battle data can help us to predict the outcome. However, nothing is ever certain in a fight. This was a good lesson, was it not?”
“D-, don’t tell me, Sensei actually predicted that this would happen……?”
Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki merely smiles in reply.
“Let me teach you something good.”
“There are two ways to win a gamble. The first is to seek out a strong participant, and to bet on that participant. The other way is to seek out a weak participant, and to bet on the opponent of that participant.”
Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki stands up and turns his back.
“Tomorrow’s Round 4, Match 6 will be Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki vs. Jimina Sehnen.”
“Wha-…… you mean!”
Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki turns around, and points at Hyoro.
“Have you…… also figured out the sure-win formula?”
Then he leaves while brushing up his sparkling blond hair.
“S-, so cool……!”
Hyoro sees Sure-Win Golden Dragon Goldoh Kinmekki off with a dazed face.
“Yo, I’m back from my shit.”
A black-haired teenage boy returns to his seat.
“Oi, Sid! Tomorrow there’s a match with guaranteed victory! Bet all your money on it!”
“Eh, don’t wanna.”
“Just do it, pretend you were tricked by me!”
“Tch, forget it then. Don’t come crying to me afterwards!”
Then the two of them resume watching the matches.