Chapter 15.2: Elimination Confirmed
“But really, you still look like you’re under ten years of age. You’re so lucky to be blessed with youth. Well, you’re still a midget, so that’s a con.”
“On the other hand, I see that you’ve aged a lot more than I have and become a hag.”
“That sharp tongue of yours really is the same as ever… But it’s much better than being snapped at by a brat like back then.”
“Well, I see you’ve matured a little. The you from before would’ve turned the room to ruins by now.”
“… Did I do something to displease you today?”
“You drank my coffee.”
“But it was cold and murky and tasted awful! How can you get hung up over something so small?!”
“Because it’s you.”
“How is that a good reason?!”
“If I explained you wouldn’t understand, you gorilla.”
“Hey, you may have beaten me completely in all subjects, but I was still far above the average you know? If I’m a gorilla, then what were the other students?”
“Ha, is that a question? Obviously-.”
“I changed my mind and no longer wish to know. Your pride hasn’t changed at all either…”
“Yeah, yeah. Oi, why’d all of you stop working? Back to it.”
Seeing this unexpected side of Harada Kenji, who possessed a cool head and a silent demeanor, and Tano Yuri, the personification of elegance and strength, the workers had naturally grown curious. In fact, one of them had started filming it with his phone, but when he was noticed, Kenji began to give him a scolding of a lifetime and then forcibly deleted the file.
Seeing the worker slump on his desk in disappointment, Kenji returned to his seat.
“Anyways, why are you here? I’m busy.”
“Ah, that’s an easy question.” She narrowed her eyes in amusement, and continued, “The group on the top left square right there…”
“Hmm? Ah, that group, huh.”
Kenji snickered as his mood visibly lightened. He said, “I guess that’s understandable. Never seen a strategy like that before. I really like that red-haired girl. Can’t wait to teach her.”
“Yeah, I imagined you would be like that. She’s pretty simil—”
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. FOURTEEN GROUPS REMAINING.]
“See! You see that? She’s smiling like some sort of evil monster from hell just because her strategy worked again, and even her allies can’t hide their disgust. She really is like you.”
“Shut up. What about you, then?”
“I’m rather interested in all of them really.”
He raised his brows, and confirmed, “All of them?”
“The twin with the gauntlets is also pretty intelligent, and the other twin reminds me of when I was younger, and the demoness there reminds me of you.”
“So what about the S-ranker?”
He nodded at the red haired boy on the screen.
“Well, as for him, I haven’t seen much. But he’s still an S-ranker, and I haven’t seen one in a while. The last S-ranker I talked to was Yamazaki-san, and that was a year ago.”
Once more, his mood took a turn for the worse. “Tch. That damned Demon Lord?”
“You know he’s older than you, right…?”
“I show respect to my elders unless I’m close to them—like you—or they’re complete idiots.”
“That’s harsh of you, but you aren’t wron—”
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. THIRTEEN GROUPS REMAINING.]
“—g. Ugh, this buzzer is annoying.”
That may be what the newcomer Yuri felt, but to Kenji, the blaring of the buzzer had only turned sweeter each time. He groaned and stretched his arms.
“God finally, soon there will only be the finalists—”
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. TWELVE GROUPS REMAINING.]
”—left… Huh, that was quick.”
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. ELEVEN GROUPS REMAINING.]
Blinking, he counted the sections on the large screen. Sure enough, they added up to eleven. But just as he thought it was a coincidence…
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. TEN GROUPS REMAINING.]
“Oi, what the hell’s going on?!”
He stood up with a momentum far surpassing his stature, and the coffee cup he slammed onto the table turned to smithereens. His eyes darted back and forth, but the keyboards had all turned silent.
One by one, smoke filled the many sections of the giant screen, which eventually just blacked out. Scanning the remaining ones, he spotted two particular scenes. In both, he saw the silhouettes of several figures fighting, before one of them blacked out.
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. NINE GROUPS REMAINING.]
Once done, the dark outlines on the remaining section immediately moved away before reappearing in another section.
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. EIGHT GROUPS REMAINING–]
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. SEVEN–]
The buzzer rang out in such quick succession that the electronic voice wasn’t even able to finish its sentence between rings.
Yuri sat back in her chair and crossed her arms. Her eyes were following the dark silhouettes moving between the screens.
“Well, well, well. Looks like we have more than one talented group this time.”
Her words seemed to have declared the finale, as the scenes finally stopped blinking out of existence, leaving only two giant panels that each took up a third of the screen.
The buzzer did its job once more, before turning silent.
[ELIMINATION CONFIRMED. THREE GROUPS REMAINING.]