408 Magi Craft Meister

12-58 Despair

“Let’s begin the 3rd event of Gonkurrenz! We’re moving the stage to the water surface!”

Similar to the golem boat competition once held in Potlock, bird’s-eye view of Lake Tosmo was projected by utilizing the combination of Magic Eye and Magic Screen combination.

“I think we will win this time ….”

Viscount Georg Randol murmured while worrying in his seat amongst the audience. Sitting next to him, Elsa silently thought, “That’s impossible”.

“Look, look at that ….”

“That girl … Automata, is she going to swim in that?!”

“She’s still wearing her shoes, even ….”

Two Automatas and three golems lined up on the pier outside the plaza. No other participants were fully dressed, except Reiko.

Marcus Grinwald’s Automata even put on something resembling a swimsuit with great difficulty.

“Lord Jin, are you sure she’s going to be all right?”

Referee Christoph was concerned about Reiko swimming in her dress and tried to obtain Jin’s confirmation. Jin simply nodded silently.

“A-all right then, let us begin the 3rd event: swimming competition. Below the watchtower on the opposite shore of Lake Tosmo, there are boards with the names of each participant. Please take the board with your respective name and swim back with it. Of course, the fastest one wins.”

Although the boards left at the base of the watchtower were not visible from here, with the watchtower serving as a landmark, the participants were to retrieve their respective boards and swim back. The rules were foolproof.

“Ready your position, … 3, 2, 1, start!”

Five bodies jumped in the lake all at once and swam at tremendous speeds, leaving trails of white foam behind.

It was a 10-km round trip swimming in Lake Tosmo. It would take one 30 minutes to swim a round trip lap at 20 kmph.

However, one Automata was swimming at an extraordinary speed.

Unquestionably, it was Reiko. Even though she was fully dressed with shoes on, her speed exceeded 50 kmph. That being said, it was not even her full speed.

Reiko once dived into the sea searching for Jin who went missing, while traveling to various parts of the world.

During that time, Reiko swam at over 100 kmph while carrying more than 20 kg of luggage. Now that the improvement of her efficiency had been more than doubled, Reiko was only using a slight amount of energy output.

“Woah?!”

“W-what is that …?”

“No way …!”

Once again, Reiko took the audience’s breath away. The Magic Screen showed everyone her swimming style.

She was practically diving. As an Automata, there was no need for her to emerge on the surface and take a breath.

Thoughtlessly imitating humans’ swimming style would produce waves. The waves would create the so-called wave drag, a significant resistance for the swimmer to overcome.

Except for Reiko, the other four participants were swimming on the surface, producing a track of white foam behind them as they kicked up waves with their movements.

Sometimes Reiko would appear on the surface to confirm direction, but otherwise, she would continue to plunge forward under the water like a submarine.

“W-what an incredible Automata!”

Hearing her father muttered in disbelief, Elsa could not help but feel sympathy.

(… That’s what you get for having known only your little world. I was able to know this wide world, thanks to Brother Rei and Brother Jin.)

Swiftly, Reiko had already reached the opposite shore. She took the board with Jin’s name from the base of the watchtower and was ready to swim back.

The board was about 50 cm long on each side and seemed to be light. However, this only meant that it would not sink in water, and swimming with it could impede the speed.

Resourceful as she was, Reiko used it as a flutterboard and started to swim back.

She did not dive this time but still glided with incredible speed.

About a quarter of the way back, Reiko and Marcus’ Automata passed by each other. About halfway through her route back, she passed by the other three golems.

“Reiko is incredible ….”

Reinhardt sighed witnessing how Reiko swam. All because he felt that Reiko seemed to be faster than his water-specialized Lorelei.

“She’s fast, very fast!  Jin Nidou’s Automata, Reiko! She came back in less than 15 minutes!”

The moderator announced in an overly excited voice close to a scream. He could not believe what he just witnessed.

Reiko reached her finish line and won the swimming competition with a landslide.

She undoubtedly had broken a new record.

Ten minutes later, Marcus’ Automata reached the finish line. Ten more minutes after that, the remaining three golems returned.

“That’s inconceivable …!”

Elsa felt somewhat pitiful seeing her father greatly perplexed. Thoughtlessly, she commented.

“Father, the world is wide. Bro … Lord Jin is a wonderful Magi Engineer. Please acknowledge it.”

However, her comment fell on deaf ears.

“Marcus! Win the next round!”

After shooting such a directive, Georg arrogantly leaned back in his seat.

Seeing his attitude, Elsa could not help but think,

(Has Father been such a person all along? … When compared to Brother Jin and Brother Rei …. No, his problem lies even deeper than that. He’s lacking something as a person.)

Elsa thought she could understand it better for she had traveled, met many people, and had many different experiences.

Her father was too egocentric and would not listen to anyone, which only facilitated the shielding of his little world and throwing away possibilities.

(But in the old days, I didn’t think he was this way ….)

In her distant memory, there was still a kind father — kind in his own way. Elsa felt a little uncomfortable with the inconsistent image of his father within her memory and the one before her eyes.

While Elsa was pondering about her father, the 4th even began.

In this event, the participants were to retrieve the weights they threw in the previous heavy throw competition.

A portion of the audience was thunderstruck by the announcement.

Partly because no one had any idea where the weight Reiko threw earlier had landed.

“Committee member! Haven’t we been required to throw different colored balls into the water and retrieve them for this exploration diving event?”

Reinhardt’s inquiry was closer to a protest than anything else.

“Well, starting from the current Gonkurrenz, as a handicap, it has been decided to retrieve the weights thrown in the previous heavy throw ….”

The whole venue roared in objection.

“But that’s ….”

“Reinhardt, it’s all right.”

Jin interrupted Reinhardt’s protest.

“Reiko, can you manage?”

Reiko nodded silently at Jin’s inquiry.

“Ready, 3, 2, 1 … start!”

The bed of Lake Tosmo was mostly rock or gravel, which was visible through its limpid water, with occasional congregation of mud near the shores. This made the finding of the thrown weight relatively easy.

However, the whereabouts of the weight thrown by Reiko was unconfirmed. Finding it would be excessively difficult.

“Jin, will Reiko be all right?”

“Yeah, I believe in her.”

Living up to that expectation, Reiko found the 30-kg weight she threw earlier within 15 minutes. The whole audience went wild over her accomplishment.

“(Is Elsa doing okay?)”

Jin’s mind wandered as he was relatively free while waiting for the other four participants to return; since Reiko retrieved the weight she threw with ease.

He was worried about Elsa, but he could not go to her.

Jin then decided to ask Reinhardt to check up on her.

“Okay, leave it to me. I’m worried, too.”

Reinhardt left to check up on Elsa.

Elsa was guarded by Automata soldiers on each side. There were the Viscount’s subordinates standing guard at the seat in front and behind her as well. Since Reinhardt could not sit right next to her, he came close enough to call out to her.

“Elsa, I’m here.”

Elsa looked over her shoulder upon hearing the voice.

A sign of relief melted her tense expression when she set eyes on her gentle and reliable cousin.

*     *     *

In the meantime, the competition continued.

Marcus’ Automata successfully retrieved the weight 30 minutes after Reiko. The three remaining golems were having difficulties in locating their weights even after an hour had passed. As a result, they were disqualified due to overtime.

So far, Jin and Reiko had undisputedly snatched the top spot.

Candidly speaking, it would seem that only Jin and Marcus were competing, since the three other golems were outmatched by far. However, from Jin’s point of view, it appeared to be a one-sided game on his part.

“Moving on to the 5th event! It’s Battle Simulation! This final event is to be performed with a sword and hand-to-hand combat! Let us start with swordplay battle simulation!”

Presumed to be the most exciting event, the outcry of the audience erupted across the venue.

At this point, since the three golems had been disqualified, only Jin’s Automata and Marcus’ golem advanced to this stage.

Jin had equipped Reiko with “Pseudo-Peach Blossom” in advance, a weapon similar to an edgeless Japanese sword made from 64 aluminum.

As her opponent, Marcus’ combat golem stood with a 2-meter colossal stature, equipped with full-body armor, a tower shield in its left hand, and a great sword in its right hand.

Standing face-to-face, they looked like an adult and a child — no, a giant and a child were more accurate.

“Reiko, don’t do any flashy destructions.”

Jin cautioned Reiko as such and returned to his seat.

“Are both parties ready?”

Both nodded silently.

“Ready …, fight!”

The referee swung his arm down, marking the beginning of the battle simulation.

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