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Today after breakfast, each of the girls immediately headed out to finish up their work for the day. Claire was off to the Workshop Guild with a blueprint she made for an apartment building. She’s recently been finding quite a few excuses to head out to the Workshop Guild lately. She must be planning something. Frau and Katie left for Cross Town together. Frau had been doing consultations with all of the established stores for their menus. Ken and Hanna’s café especially has been asking for her opinion on some of the new creations they had been pumping out. Katie meanwhile played the all important roll of taste-tester. After Reeve finishes the laundry, she takes Pi-tan outside, and the two of them enjoy basking in the sun. The sun was shining bright and comfortably warm.
While everyone else was working, Ellis was clearly up to something lying down in her usual spot in the living room scribbling something down onto a piece of paper in front of her. She had been working on it ever since breakfast had ended, and when Reeve saw she was still there after getting back from her sunny nap, she became curious about what scheme Ellis was planning now.
“Mistress, what is that you’re writing?” “An angle for the next fighting performer’s box office.” “Angle?” “Something to get the crowd wound up before the fight starts, a rough overview for how the fight will progress, and how it will end.”
For a second, Reeve didn’t know what to say. “Mistress, isn’t this supposed to be a serious match?”
“Reeve, if you really think that, then do you think 300 people would pay 5,000 ril to gather and watch you fight?”
Reeve started to feel a little self-conscious. But still not quite convinced, she asked something that bothered her. “Deciding the results of the match, are you fixing the fights?”
Finally Ellis looked up from her paper and gave Reeve a small glare. “Good Reeve, a serious fight will just escalate into someone eventually killing someone else. Then, the audience will just show up hoping someone gets killed. But that’s amateur stuff. What matters is the story of the fight and the fight looking good. This is a show that’s sole purpose is for entertaining the audience, and as long as it can do that, the ril will keep rolling in. Do you understand?”
To be honest, no Reeve didn’t understand, but the pressure Ellis was giving off made her not want to ask any more questions.
“Good? The results of the fight will be decided beforehand, but the content of the fight will be completely left up to the skills of the fighting performers. They are experts who trained for that very purpose after all.” Ellis turned back to her paper on the ground and continued. “After a fierce battle, the Hero finally manages to overcome the Demon Lord–is how the story goes. The catharsis of the fight will leave a refreshing feeling behind after a come from behind fight and appeal to the people’s morality. That’s what the audience wants. Well, something like that would get boring after awhile, so we will have to switch it up some.”
Ellis repeated the general outline for the story she had scratched down. It was something simple drawn from real world events. It wasn’t very creative, but it would suffice for a first time show. Or so she thought until she noticed something inside the story.
Oh? Oh hoh. This angle should be just right. Ellis began to furiously move her brush once again, with a still curious Reeve looking over her shoulder.
Ellis had managed to complete her angle. Reading it over again, she nodded her head. It turned out better than she thought. With it finished, she immediately headed out to the Thieves’ Guild and explained the contents to Nobuhiko.
“Ellis, for this angle, what if we were to wear masks as well?”
As expected, Nobuhiko gets it.
“Do you think Helen and Karen would be willing to help out again?” Masakatsu was also all ready for it and asking about the show.
“Well, it looked like they had fun last time, but I’ll let them know and ask to be sure.”
Ellis didn’t have to go far in order to get secure Karen’s help with the show, and after a short little run to the Adventurer’s Guild, Helen was brought back on board as well.
“Uncle Flint, what do you think about going this way this time?” “I think Ellis is a genius.”
Right now Ellis was at the Workshop Guild. New fliers needed to be made for this fight, and she was currently talking with Flint about how to best arrange them.
“Why not go with the Merchant Guild for the opening performance?” “Yes, but I wanted to get Uncle involved too.” “I doubt that.”
After joking around a little more at the Workshop Guild with Flint, Ellis then made her way over to Gentleman Street. Her aim there was Marilyn and Margherita.
And once again the day of the event came. And once again banners of thanks fluttered in the wind to celebrate the full house. Because the last two fights left such a bad feeling with those who watched it, a number of repeaters had shown up again hoping for a cleansing. The contents of the flyers were as follows:
A Break Over Ril is a Break On the Edge! Workers in Need ○ Guilds and Dealers¹ ○ The Battle Between Guilds Continues
A Hero Stands Against the Demon Lord’s Declaration! The Demon Lord VS the Hero is Realized Today!
Ellis stood at the center of the ring.
"Gathered spectators, allow me to introduce, the fighters for our first match!"
The Stone Walls began beating their drums once again. Compared to the previous match, the crowd wasn’t as on edge as before. They had a bad taste in their mouths from the last event, and all they were hoping for was something decent enough to satisfy them. Even the newcomers had heard the stories from previous patrons and were anxious to see what would happen. Much of that changed when the audience saw Flint himself walk into the blue corner. He always looked big, but when he walked onto the stage wearing a set of chain-linked armor with a cross-shaped cut on the chest, he looked truly gargantuan. Added on his famous battle axe he was carrying that had bisected numerous demons during the Assault on Warren, and the audience was left in awe of him. Right before their excitement got the better of them and their cheers started echoing in the hall. His thunderous reception completely overshadowed the appearance of a masked person in the red corner. There was little detail to them other than the fact he was wearing a white mask with a large ‘Dealer’ symbol on the forehead.
“Master! Kill ’em! “Old man, cut them down!”
Almost the entire audience was cheering for Flint, but it was still important to show a sense of fairness in the ring which was why the adventurer Buzz was acting as referee.
The game began with the ringing of the gong, and before its echo even had a chance to fade away, Flint was on the attack. Dealer mask was barely able to block his attacks and was soon forced back into a defensive posture.
“Old man! Kill him!”
The cheers for Flint were starting to turn towards jeers against Dealer mask. Good. After one of Flint’s punches, Dealer mask staggered a bit and lost his balance. Flint didn’t miss the opportunity and unleashed a devastating lariat knocking him to the ground.
“Old man, the finishing blow!” “Finish it!”
Flint picked Dealer mask off the ground and threw him to the ropes, charging after him with another lariat. But Dealer mask was able to just barely avoid it the second time. Twisting his body just in time, Dealer mask managed to get behind Flint and wrap his arms around Flint’s waist. Before he could fully understand that his feet were no longer on the ground, Flint found himself upside down and his shoulders slammed onto the mat. He was held in that position for a moment, and
“One, two, three!”
Dealer mask was able to win in a surprise reversal. Flint was let go and allowed to vacate the arena while Dealer mask waved to the audience from the center. the audience ate the under-dog up, their cheers not caring that Flint had lost.
“This is pretty interesting.” The Demon Lord had watched the entire fight his seat next to Margherita.
“I’m glad you are having fun.” Hiding the fact that she herself had thought up that final inversion technique, Margherita responded to him with a smile.
“These kind of things are fun too.” The Hero Gray was really getting into the show from his seat next to Marilyn.
“I’m glad you are having fun.” Hiding just how much she hated the fighting and the screaming crowd, Marilyn answered the Hero with a smile and hoping that she could soon leave.
“Then for the second fight, we ask that everyone be on your guard, because the Demon Army is here!”
Ellis shouted out from her position at the center of the ring, and from the blue corner, Karen emerged. She was wearing a black leather bikini with something akin to bat wings on her back, and a large, muscular man wearing golden body armor behind her. From the red corner, Helen came out to meet her wearing pure white bikini armor leading a man with pearly body armor. The two men waited in their respective corners as the two women met each other at the ring’s center.
The succubus Karen was the first to speak and taunted the Hero’s side. “Foolish Hero, we will end this tonight!”
But the valkyrie Helen paid her no mind. “Evil demons, today you shall be destroyed!”
It was a simple plot, but in a city that had been attacked only a few weeks ago, it was one that generated a lot of excitement. The cheering from the crowd continued as the fighters took their positions in the center of the mat, stripping away their steel armor.
And so the fight began. Helen and Karen continued their roles as before, acting as managers in the corner and working to excite the crowd. But whether or not that was necessary could be called into question as the crowd never once stopped intense cheers.
And in the end, after a climatic and tense battle, the Hero managed to come from behind and force a double ring out.
“Next time the Hero will win for sure!” “I think I really became a fan of that Demon mask guy.”
But unlike the last time, the reaction of the crowd was far more positive. When the match had finally ended, there were more than a few people whose throats were sore after how loudly they were cheering.
"Today's games are over. Everyone, please take care on your way home."
As they were leaving, Margherita overheard the Demon Lord mumble something to himself. “The demon following the Demon Lord isn’t such a cute little demon like that, but a gambling obsessed sloth.” Yes, Margherita was able to successfully pull a little new information.
As they were leaving, Marilyn was able to overhear the Hero mumbling to himself. “The valkyrie assisting the Hero isn’t someone so nice. She’s a conniving magician that can’t be peeled off. Reality is too painful. Yes, Marilyn was able to successfully pull a little new information.
After seeing off their respective guests, Margherita and Marilyn both immediately headed off to Lily Garden to share a cup of tea with the waiting Ellis.
“How was it Uncle Flint?” “Ah, as expected of a pro, you were able to bring out quite the flashy attack to defeat me.” “Sorry, I was actually a little afraid there,” Nobuhiko laughed. Yes, the mysterious Dealer mask was just Nobuhiko. Flint had made his attacks simple and allowed the pro Nobuhiko to direct the fight, but even for an expert like Nobuhiko, having a man as large as Flint throw a punch at you is still scary.
“So was my defeat a good angle?” Flint laughed confirming the status of things with Ellis and Nobuhiko. And as if to answer him,
“Uncle, if you don’t mind, I want to write even more angles with Uncle in it. Next time I bring you in, I’ll give you 10 percent of the gross profits.”
This was the inside of the Workshop Guild. A place where ideas are made with ril not too far behind.
“If you are going to go that far, then I promise to do my best!” Flint laughed once again. As for Ellis herself, she is able to leave the fight with a total of 20 percent of the box office profits. All with her not having to life a finger.
Thus the second box office fight was a rousing success.
1. I thought it would be important to note that 商 or shou here is usually a suffix. I figured dealer would be the best word for it, but you can think of it as more largely representing sales in general