At the instructions of the official, the participants went out to the arena one after another with their magical beasts. The cries of beasts resounded within the dim path, but upon nearing the exit, the cheers of the spectators along with the light from outside drowned their cries away.
Ryouma’s debut was getting closer and closer.
The first one to go out was a woman with four of the same beautiful magical beast.
<<How beautiful!! Just what sort of magical beast is that?>> [Host]
<<That’s a… C Ranked magical beast, a Spore Butterfly. It’s a terrifying magical beast>> [Analyst]
<<Please don’t be fooled by its looks. Spore Butterflies generate powerful digestive liquids within their bodies which they spit on their foes, melting their bodies, allowing them to slurp them for food! They’re carnivores! When Spore Butterflies appear, it’s common for people to disappear, leaving behind only their weapons and armors.>> [Analyst]
<<T-That is quite terrifying… To think she actually has four of those… Which beast will these Spore Butterflies feast on? Or will they, instead, be feasted on?>> [Host]
Ryouma also heard the explanation, but he wasn’t panicked in the slightest, only thinking to himself that there wasn’t much of a difference between that and acid slimes. Although Ryouma was competing as well, he wasn’t nervous at all, and was instead exceedingly calm.
The next participant came out, and what he brought with him was a magical beast capable of even defeating large-type magical beasts. With the terrifying prowess of poison and three heads, it was the Trident Snake.
After that finally came Ryouma’s turn.
“Takebayashi-sama, please.” [Official]
“Thank you very much.” [Ryouma]
Ryouma leisurely carried his slimes as he approached the exit. Having come from the dim path, Ryouma couldn’t help but narrow his eyes. He walked straight toward the elliptical-arena to one of its sides where an official carrying a flag stood.
There are 19 opponents for this round. And they all stood along the shape of the arena, some distance away from the wall separating them from the spectators. Ryouma walked toward his spot as the commentators talked about his magical beasts.
<<Entering now is participant Ryouma Takebayashi! And with him are the first slimes to make an appearance in this entire tournament! What an odd participant!!>>
When those words resounded in the arena, the spectators all voiced out their disbelief.
Can he win?
Is he seriously trying?
Isn’t he just trying to hype the crowd?
Such impressions could be heard here and there, but…
“Uooooooo!” [Spectator Fan 1]
“Do your best!!” [Spectator Fan 2]
In one part of the spectator seats was a group of people fervently cheering for Ryouma. These people are all either members of the research facility or the training facility, so when Ryouma decided to participate in the tournament, word got out, and they decided to make a cheering squad. They are all cheering for Ryouma from the bottom of their hearts. But even then, the slime researchers in particular were especially passionate.
The spectators were feeling disappointed because of the slimes, but because of the cheering squad, some of the spectators became excited. Gradually, the difference in hype between the spectators caused confusion to spread.
<<It seems he plans to participate with slimes, but… What do you think?>> [Host]
<<Well… they are slimes…>> [Analyst]
The analyst amongst the two commentators meant no ill will, but compared to the other contestants, he was clearly biased against the slimes. Still… In order to keep the crowd hyped, he chose to keep his opinion vague. For the same reason, the host tried to reveal Ryouma’s information, but…
<<Umm… From what I’ve heard, participant Takebayashi is a C Rank adventurer, and has many high class slimes under his command>> [Host]
<<Being a C Rank at that age is certainly an admirable feat, but in this tournament, only the magical beasts will be fighting, so… And even if the slimes are of a higher class, well… I just can’t help but wonder exactly how he plans to fight with them>> [Analyst]
<<…Participant Takebayashi, what a mystery! Will his battle be short-lived! Or is he the dark horse of the tournament, ladies and gentleman, please keep your eyes peeled, and decide for yourselves!>> [Host]
As the host finished introducing Ryouma, Ryouma arrived at his spot, and the host and analyzer moved on to the next participant.
After that, participants steadily entered the arena one after another, and Ryouma brought down his slimes as he did his preparations for the match. When he did so, he saw some familiar faces almost directly behind them, there in the second floor, above the entrance
“So that’s where Elia’s group was…” [Ryouma]
Elia and her friends were sitting on the special seats for nobles. They were sitting especially near the arena, and walls separated them from other seats. Their seat was clearly of the highest class.
“Well, it’s them after all, so it’s no surprise.” [Ryouma]
It’s a group with the daughters of a duke and a count, so there’s nothing odd at all about them sitting in the noble seats. As Ryouma was wondering about the other two sitting on that room-like seat but weren’t nobles, the participants all finished lining up on the arena.
Ryouma steeled himself, and went to the center of the arena as he waited for the signal to start sound.
<<It is now the 24th match of the preliminaries–––>>
With the start of their match right before their eyes, the glare of the participants grew fiercer.
<<In this 24th match, who will be the one to proceed?–––>>
The magic beasts entered into battle mode as an intimidating aura greater than anything they’ve released yet burst.
<<Preliminaries, 24th match, fight!>>
Howls echoed within the arena as the chains keeping the brawl at bay were released. Immediately, several of the beasts rushed for Ryouma’s slimes.
Ryouma instantaneously responded, ordering his five slimes according to their practice these past 9 days.
The slimes Ryouma brought out today are 3 Iron Slimes, a Mimic Slime, and a slime known as the Portion Slime.
According to the rules of the preliminary, every participant can only bring out a maximum of 5 magical beasts, so Ryouma decided to hold back on the announcement of the big reveal of the Big Slime just yet. Instead, he came up with a plan to win.
Following Ryouma’s instructions, two of the three iron slimes transformed into a flat plank upon which a mimic slime and a portion slime were, who were then taken by the remaining iron slime into its body as they all transformed into a seamless iron ball.
Attacking them was a native of the Shurus Great Forest, the Galmos Alligator. Although it wasn’t particularly fast, but because it was standing near Ryouma, it was able to close the distance in no time at all.
“Get rid of the small fries first!” [Male Participant]
The galmos alligator followed the instruction of its master, and right before it crashed into the slimes, it stopped in its tracks, twisted its body, and whipped its fat tail against the slimes, lightly flicking them away. After which, it changed its target to one of the magical beasts also aiming for Ryouma’s slimes.
To the galmos alligator and its master, Ryouma and his slimes were no longer an issue.
<<Oh no! Takebayashi’s has been sent flicked off! No, actually, they’ve been sent flying!>> [Host]
<<That’s most likely it for participant Takebayashi>> [Analyst]
Around this time, Ryouma, who just had his slave demons sent flying, quietly muttered, “Not yet.”
Ryouma ordered the slimes inside his mind as the slimes landed near the center of the battle between the other beasts.
In that place that was almost the center of the battle, the slimes bared their fangs!
<<W-What is that!? A purple mist suddenly came out of nowhere! The mist is swallowing the other beasts in it. Their movements are getting worse, and ––– they fainted!? Participant Horizon’s galmos alligator has been paralyzed!?>>
The host gave a play-by-play of the battles as the other magical beasts ran away from the mist. Unfortunately, for those who were snarling at others or for those who were too slow to react, they couldn’t run away in time. The galmos alligator was one of those.
It was here that the analyst then explained the situation.
<<This is definitely poison magic. I do believe we have seen other beasts use magic in the tournament, but I don’t think there’s any who can use poison in this match…>> [Analyst]
<<Ah!? There is! I-It’s actually the slime! The beast responsible for this mist is none other than the slime that was sent flying by the galmos alligator’s tail whip a while ago!>> [Analyst]
A commotion stirred within the spectators when the analyst said that, and they tried to make out the slime from within that purple mist.
<<How could a slime be responsible for this?>> [Host]
<<…It’s true that it’s rare for a slime to be able to use magic, but there are definitely those that can. For example, poisonous marshes where poison-attribute magic jewels can be found are inhabited by poison slimes, and although rare, the slimes that can use poison magic, the portion slimes. It seems that inside that dazzling, silver-colored slime is a portion slime. As for what that silver slime is, it’s most likely a slime that possesses a metallic body, a metal slime.>> [Analyst]
<<I see! I see! So the portion slime is hidden inside the metal slime, which is why it was able to endure the attack of the galmos alligator, correct?>> [Host]
<<There’s no other explanation.>> [Analyst]
Hearing the explanation of the analyst, the host immediately exaggerated the facts, hyping the crowd even more.
<<What an unexpected development! Participant Takebayashi’s slimes are actually putting up a good fight! More and more magical beasts are falling to the slime’s magic. This is truly a fight you can’t keep your eyes off!>> [Host]
Just as the man had said, the magical beasts were falling one after another due to the poison of the portion slime. If they weren’t inside the arena, they would’ve long been able to run away, but unfortunately for them, the area they could run to is limited, so there were some who couldn’t find a place to run to anymore.
On the bright side, the portion slime’s mist only contained a strong sedative, so there was relatively no danger to the beasts’ lives.
“Forfeit! I’m forfeiting!” [Participant 1]
“Me too!” [Male Participant 1]
Because of this, the opposing beasts received damage that couldn’t be ignored. And some of their owners even started forfeiting. But, of course, not everyone did.
“Bite it!” [Participant 2]
As that voice echoed out, a three-headed snake attacked the slime. It was the Trident Snake who entered into the arena right before Ryouma. This magical beast possesses strong resistance against poison, so it can move freely even inside the poison mist.
The trident snake coiled around the slime, and its three heads bit at it. But because its fangs literally couldn’t penetrate through the iron slime’s iron skin, it failed to poison the slime. This is despite the fact that the trident snake wasn’t just a poisonous magical beast. Around this time, another magical beast jumped in. It was like a stripe-less leopard, and its sharp claws ferociously struck out.
But what got hit wasn’t the slime, but the trident snake coiled around it. The slime it was really aiming for was left unhurt. On top of the fact that slimes couldn’t be killed unless their nucleus was directly harmed, because of the hardness and the roundness of the iron slime’s metallic body, the magical beast’s attack could only slip.
Moreover, because of Ryouma’s straining, the metallic body of the iron slime was now impervious to penetration. Even blades couldn’t cut it unless struck properly, only being able to slip on its iron skin. On the contrary…
When the magical beast thought to crush the slime underfoot, it ended up breaking its own balance, hitting its own nose hard against the floor.
Physical attacks came one after another after that, but they all could only slip on the slime’s skin. If not slip, then dodged by the slime with a mobility unlike any normal slime. At one point, the slime’s poison strongly affected a large-type magical beast, causing it to jump back, and hit itself on the head of another magical beast… All the magical beasts aside from the slime were accumulating damage after damage.
<<Now what!?>> [Host]
<<Ah, that looks painful…>> [Analyst]
At the cry of a magical beast, the spectators and the commentators turned their heads. Without having noticed it, apparently, that iron slime and portion slime that have become the center of attention have managed to find themselves at the edge of the arena with the bear magical beast, the black bear.
The black bear was tumbling and standing on its two legs, restlessly rampaging around. As it opened its mouth wide, a silver-colored ball could be seen inside with thin needles protruding out of it, prickling the corners of the black bear’s mouth.
<<Erm… This too is because of Participant Takebayashi’s slimes.>> [Host]
<<Indeed. That black bear tried to bite the slime, but instead, it changed its form into needles. To have a ball of needles inside of one’s mouth… what a terrifying magical beast.>> [Analyst]
<<Who would’ve thought slimes could actually be capable of that…>> [Host]
<<It’s my first time seeing such a thing too actually. They must’ve practiced a lot.>> [Analyst]
Every spectator within the arena couldn’t help but change their appraisal of Ryouma’s slimes. But even then, for Ryouma, this was just the beginning. When Ryouma gave his next instruction, the iron slime that had been protecting the mimic slime all this time changed its form.
That form that could be said to be a chestnut’s cupule suddenly jumped.
All the spectators fixed on the now midair slime. Then without any warning, it suddenly shot off. It danced about in the air, dodging the poison mist and the attacks of other magical beasts as it attacked the spore butterflies who were busy spraying digestive liquids. Because of these the four spore butterflies were heavily damaged by the iron slime’s needles, and they all fell to the ground.
<<Can you explain exactly what just happened?>> [Host]
<<Unfortunately, I don’t understand either. Why is a metal slime able to fly…?>> [Analyst]
Looks like even the analyst is at a loss. But then a different analyst suddenly showed up.
<<That’s a mana slime’s magic!>> [???]
<<Mana Slime? Do you know anything about it? Or– wait a moment, who are you anyway?>> [Host]
<<Please excuse me. I am the magical beast researcher and adventurer, Raypin. I was preparing for a job when I coincidentally found myself here in the arena.>> [Raypin]
<<Thank you for your service. So… what is this about mana slimes?>> [Host]
<<Just as the analyst had explained with the portion slime a while ago, the mana slime is a slime that uses magic. Only, it doesn’t use poison magic, but neutral magic. I believe that needle ball of a slime used neutral magic to fly.>>
<<I see.>> [Analyst]
<<Thank you for explanations.>> [Host]
Hearing that Ryouma said to himself, “The magic is certainly telepathy, but the type of slime is wrong… Or rather, Raypin-san, just what exactly are you doing there?”
Ryouma was surprised when he suddenly heard an acquaintance’s voice, but he shrugged it off, and gave his slimes another order, causing the crowd to go crazy.
This match is a battle royal. Even if Ryouma doesn’t directly fight the other magical beasts, the number would naturally decrease.
Also, while Ryouma is indeed raising the mana slime that Raypin spoke of, the slime Ryouma brought out in this tournament is not the mana slime, but the mimic slime. As for why, it was for insurance in case the portion slime ran out of magic power. In which case, the mimic slime would then transform into Rai to secure the victory.
But seeing this situation now, there was no need. He didn’t really want to use that method anyway, so this situation is favorable for him. As he was thinking that, a dull sound vibrated throughout the arena.
That was the sound of the biggest magical beast falling. No matter how big a magical beast may be, and no matter how difficult it might be to poison, once enough toxicity has accumulated, it would certainly fall. This is true even for Ryouma who has poison resistance.
<<After a hard fought battle, the winner for the 24th round of the preliminaries is – who would’ve thought – none other than the slime user, Participant Ryouma Takebayashi!>>
Like this cheers were showered on Ryouma as his advancement to the main tournament was decided.