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Chapter 11 – Jessica and the Final Game
The demons were shuddering. After all, after assuming that it would be a dead set result, this kind of result was thrust before them.
On the other hand, Tilea-san was all smiles. She was getting ahead of herself. Her attitude was incredibly filled with confidence now.
“Jessica-chan. Huhu, these guys aren’t a big deal. They’re a bunch of simpletons. At first I was scared because I heard it was a death game, but if this is all, it looks like we’ll be fine.”
“I-, I see…”
“Mn, so relax. Right now, it’s like I’ve been possessed by the Gambling Warrior Akagin. I can see it. I can see through it all! Their thoughts are completely visible to me! FUHUHAAHAAHAAHAAHA!”
Or so she declared full of confidence, but what I suspected painted a different story. Anyway, let’s see if I’m right. While the demons were still stunned, I snuck into the Field(Battleground).
Uuu, it reeks of blood.
Inside, the corpses all showed expressions of disbelief. While ignoring the stench that assaulted my nose, I went to investigate the helmets worn by the demons, and the swords pierced through them.
Uu, this is so grossss~
But I want to know the truth.
While enduring the nausea, I checked them one by one. It felt like the corpses were staring at me with their widened eyes. I felt like I would faint if I looked back, so I just desperately endured as I checked.
First match. Tilea-san’s sword was fire, and the demon’s helmet was fire. Even though they should have neutralised as the same attribute… Tilea-san killed him in one strike.
Second match. Tilea-san’s helmet was fire. The demon’s sword was water. Even though it should have been a Critical Hit, Tilea-san neutralised it.
To have defended against a strengthened elemental attack, just how hard is she.
In the same way, I investigated the third, and fourth match…
I found that Tilea-san defended against three Critical Hits, while she attacked two No Damages. In terms of predicting the opponent, it was a crushing defeat for her.
Haha, in front of Tilea-san, rules don’t mean a thing, huh. Although I had guessed this, it really is too ridiculous.
What on earth is she?
She’s definitely no human. Then, a beastman, elf, or perhaps a dragonoid? But her physical characteristics don’t match either of them, and her completely extraordinary combat strength is closer to a demon’s.
Then, a demon?
Hm~mm, but the attribute I feel from her is closer to light than dark. So I guess she really is a Hero’s descendant? She herself denied it, but it’s the one that makes the most sense. Her intelligence is one thing, but the rest of her abilities are like the stuff of legends.
While thinking about the questions I’ve been having this whole time, I left the room to find Tilea-san provoking the demons.
“Well? Who’s my next opponent?”
“H-, How dare you! Then I, the second in command shall…”
“Wait, Gilgant. This is the first time in a while that an opponent has excited my heart. This girl is worthy of being my opponent!”
“Then Horus-sama, you yourself shall be participating?”
“Umu. I shall personally bring the hammer down on her.”
“I see. So the big boss himself has finally come out, huh.”
“Huhu, girly, may I ask your name?”
“Then Tilea. Let’s play a game where we use a mana absorption tool.”
“A mana absorption tool?”
“Indeed. It’s exactly as it sounds; a machine that absorbs mana. Our next game will feature one. We shall use mana as chips to play our game!”
Mana as chips!?
There’s no doubt that no matter the game, having more chips gives you an advantage. Demons already begin with high mana. That makes it a handicap from the very start. My mana would be out of the question. It wouldn’t even be a game if your chips ran out right away. On the other hand, Tilea-san overwhelms them in the mana department.
But as for using her head…
Already, I can see in my mind, the scene of her mountain of chips disappearing in a blink.
“Tilea-san, we’re at a disadvantage here.”
“Y-, Yeah. Using mana as chips is just way too advantageous to them.”
“Fumu. You are correct in your discontent. Very well then, in exchange, you two shall choose the game. In that case, if you come up with the right rules, even you have a chance of winning.”
“Ohh~? Is it fine for me to choose? No matter what kind of game?”
“Indeed. As long as there are no overwhelming faults with it, any game is fine.”
“I see… Then it’s going to be a mahjong match!”
Marge’Ong!? What kind of game is that?
Tilea-san suddenly proposed the name of some game I’d never heard of. It’s not like I think I know of all the games in the world, but ‘Marge’Ong’ is just so alien sounding.
That’s fine in and of itself, but I’m just hoping that it’s not another one of Tilea-san running wild as usual…
“‘Marge’Ong’ you say? I am a man proficient in all fields, and yet I have never heard of this ‘Marge’Ong’. Interesting. So what kind of game is this? It is a game suggested by you, who has overwhelmed my Wisdom Unit. I am truly intrigued.”
At Horus’ prompt, Tilea-san began to explain the rules of ‘Marge’Ong’ to us.
From what she said, ‘Marge’Ong’ is a four-way competition. Four players sit around a table, and tiles called ‘hai’ are gathered from a total pool of 136 in order to form combinations called ‘yaku’. This is done numerous times, and points are gathered as it happens. The results of the game are determined at the end of the game, when the points are tallied.
From what I heard, not only does ‘Marge’Ong’ have a well developed set of rules, you can tell that it’s a very strategic game. An interesting game that fits gambling perfectly. If ‘Marge’Ong’ spread in the capital, I’ll bet everybody would love it too.
But still, it was shocking that Tilea-san knew the rules of ‘Marge’Ong’ off by heart. Considering how bad she is with using her head, it’s quite a rare feat.
Could it be that Tilea-san was really into ‘Marge’Ong’ back in her hometown?
“Fumu, what a truly interesting game! Very well, the next game shall be this ‘Marge’Ong’.”
“But well, although I was the one who recommended it, what are we going to do about the mat and tiles?”
“It is but a simple matter for us to create them through magic.”
Horus created the ‘hai’, ‘riichi stick’ and other things that she mentioned were used in ‘Marge’Ong’. It was an incredibly high level use of creation magic. I thought so about the swords and helmets too, but demons really do use a level of magic that humans can’t compare to.
“They’re done. As ‘Marge’Ong’ is a four player game, this shall be a tag match.”
“Jessica-chan, I’ll help you out, so could you participate too?”
“Thanks. Also, do you understand the rules to mahjong?”
“Yes, more or less. Only, I’m a little uneasy about the scoring for the ‘yaku’, so could I trouble you to write them on paper later?”
“Got it. Are you guys fine too?”
“Who do you think you are asking? Do not make light of the Wisdom General! Hearing just one explanation is enough for rules of this level.”
As expected of Wisdom General Horus. It seems he’s noticed the nature of ‘Marge’Ong’, and is already forming strategies too. I desperately tried to memorise the things written on Tilea-san’s memo.
“That reminds me, shall we not use mana as this ‘skoring bord’!”
“Yes, I’m fine with that.”
“Ku ku, your attitude is praiseworthy. But are you fine with that? The mana of a human will run out in no time. Once you run out of mana, it begins to take your vitality, and once you run out of that as well there awaits only death, you know.”
“I’m completely fine, I said!”
“W-W-, Tilea-san, please think this through! If you get too ahead of yourself, things will end in disaster!”
“Huhu, Jessica-chan, if this were any other game, you might be right, but I never lose in mahjong. I may look like this, but I used to be famous at the game centre under the name ‘Shioda the Stripper’ you know.”
Shiyodah Thess Rippah? Geme Sentah? What the heck is she on about? Tilea-san is talking about stuff I don’t understand again.
“Tilea-san, it looks like you’re confident but the opponent is on a different level this time. Even if they’re beginners at ‘Marge’Ong’, it doesn’t mean…”
“Jessica-chan, your worries are needless. From the earlier game, I’m already sure of it. There’s actually nothing to fear about demons. Even if I don’t have much mana, as long as I keep winning, there’s no problem.”
Aahh, it’s no good. Because she thinks she won all the matches earlier, Tilea-san is on an unstoppable rampage.
What do I do? Should I just let her play?
Hmmmm… Well, I guess that’s fine. Tilea-san’s chip(mana) is way beyond the norm. She seems confident in ‘Marge’Ong’ too, and as long as she doesn’t lose too badly, it should be fine. And also, this time it’s a tag match so I’ll be playing as well. If anything happens, I’ll follow up for her.
And so, the match began at the table with Wisdom General Horus, and Vice-General Gilgant. We shuffled the ‘hai(tiles)’ as we began forming strategies. Tilea-san began as ‘ton(East)’ or the dealer.
Tilea-san, staying as the first dealer is really important, you know.
But my wishes came to nothing, because she immediately lost the dealership.
Right now, Horus in the ‘shaa(West)’ corner was dealer.
But still, in just these few turns, I really felt the depth of this game. I already had a hint from listening to the rules, but after playing it myself, I became keenly aware of it. When the opponent is a ‘hai(tile)’ away from completion, it’s standard to cut your losses, but it’s also important to decide how aggressively you go about things. And it’s difficult to determine when somebody will be ‘tenpai’, or waiting for their winning ‘hai(tile)’.
I looked at ‘shaake(West Player)’ Horus’ ‘sutehai(discarded tiles)’. In ‘Marge’Ong’, the ‘sutehai’ are an important source of information on the states of the other players. You observe their discarded tiles, the ‘hand’ you guess they’re building, and their facial expressions. In the 5th round, it was hard to tell if he was ‘tenpai’ from his ‘sutehai’. Even if I assume that he’s ‘tenpai’, I think that ‘tanyao’ is the best that he can do, but…
Uuu, it’s impossible. It’s too hard to tell with confidence. Horus is combining his wiliness into his plots and running circles around us. Not just that, the Vice General Gilgant is more intelligent than I am. The way he’s handling the ‘hai’ is efficient to the extreme.
Their hands are fast, and they have no openings.
I frantically tried to read their ‘hands’ while hiding my own information, but they were steps ahead of me.
Uu, we’re stuck in their pace for this game as well.
Just as I was lamenting,
“It’s here, here, heeeeere! Hell yeah!”
I heard Tilea-san talking to herself. I-, It’s no good. She’s an open book. She’s definitely in ‘tenpai’. Looking at her ‘sutehai’… She’s probably waiting for a ‘ryanman(20,000)’ or an ‘uuman(50,000)’.
Aahh aahh, Tilea-san arranges all her tiles from highest to lowest, so you can completely read her ‘hand’. At first, Horus and the others all thought that Tilea-san was a sage, so they assumed that it was all an act.
But… they know now, don’t they?
Maybe they thought that she won in Elemental Predict due to pure luck. The true is different though.
“Hmph, this situation is too good not to riichi.”
As expected, Tilea-san declared ‘riichi’. But only a little later, Tilea-san received a direct hit from Horus.
“‘Ron’, ‘Pinfu, Tanyao, Iipeikou…’ It’s ‘Mangan’!”
Tilea-san screamed, before dropping her shoulders in defeat. I drew my mouth to her ears.
“T-, Tilea-san, are you okay?”
“Ha ha, I-, I’m fine, fine. Huhu, geez, w-, with this handicap, the game is finally worth playing. Ahaha, hahah…”
Tilea-san’s eyes have become dots.
Even since Horus became the dealer, he’s been sniping Tilea-san. Most of her ‘skoring stik’ is gone now, so I have to try my best or else!
Then, in the next game…
After a few rounds, Horus placed the ‘riichi stick’ on the table.
A ‘riichi’ from the dealer. I don’t want to take this direct. I looked carefully at Horus’ ‘hand’. I get the feeling that something big is coming. A ‘mangan’, no, a ‘haneman’-class ‘yaku’ I expect.
It’s vexing, but we’d better fold.
I just hope Tilea-san follows…
Eh-!? I doubted my ears. Tilea-san suddenly shouted ‘kan’.
Tilea-san, do you understand the situation? Horus just declared ‘riichi’.
Speaking of which, Tilea-san has been meaninglessly declaring ‘kan’ for a while now…
Eh? Eh? What the heck is this woman doing? I have no clue anymore. This is bad. At this rate, Horus is going to raise.
And then, just as I expected…
“I see. ‘Ron’, ‘Riichi, Tanyao, Pinfu… 2 Dora’ and then… Ohh. ‘Uradora’ as well. It’s a ‘Baiman’.”
I couldn’t bear it, so I declared a time-out, and pulled Tilea-san away from the table to talk.
“Tilea-san, please cut it out already. You need to think properly!”
“U-, Umm… Y-, Yeah, I am, sort of.”
“Then why did you ‘kan’! He had already declared ‘riichi’. Why did you go out of your way to ‘kan’ when it had no strategic value, and only increased the risk? Or could it be that you actually had some reason to use ‘kan’ each time?”
“U-, Umm, well, as a rinshan user, I just kinda…”
“Hahh? Rinshan user, as in the ‘yaku’ ‘Rinshan Kaihou’? Why did you do something risky just for the sake of such a cheap yaku!”
“J-, Jessica-chan, your eyes are a little scary.”
“Do you really understand the situation? Tilea-san, at this rate, we’re going to ‘Bust’, you know.”
“I-, Is it that bad…?”
“…Tilea-san, the situation is extremely bad. At the moment, we’re definitely minus 30,000 points. In other words, we’ve lost 30,000 units of mana.”
“T-, Then… could it be that we’ve lost an active adventurer’s worth of mana?”
“Tilea-san, your thinking is too naive. The number of adventurers whose mana exceeds 10,000 in this world, can be counted with your fingers.”
“Yes. The S-ranked Remilia-sama is roughly 20,000 mana.”
“T-, That can’t be… W-, W-W-What do we do?”
“Well you see, at this rate, we’ll be at least minus 100,000 by the end of this game. Do you understand what minus 100,000 means?”
“W-, What does it mean?”
“It means that the mana we’ll have lost is equal to the legendary founder of magic, Camilla! Also, Tilea-san, this is a little hard to say, but Horus’ pride has been hurt because his subordinates lost. If you consider how motivated he is to win this, it won’t stop anywhere near 100,000 mana!”
Ah-, uh oh. I may have threatened her a little much. Tilea-san just broke. But, just how much mana does Tilea-san actually have? Definitely over 10,000. I get the feeling that she might even have 100,000. I’m a beginner myself, so anything above 10,000 is just too powerful for me to measure. Perhaps even if we lose the game, Tilea-san will be totally fine. But games really are impossible for Tilea-san. I should try and convince her to change strategies.
“Tilea-san, there’s no point in continuing this game any more. Let’s give up!”
“Awawawa, I-, I guess you’re right. It’s just like you say, Jessica-chan. At this rate, it’s obvious that we won’t win normally.”
“Yes, that’s why battle should be our――”
“I-I’ll do it. It’s time to do it. It’s down to my final plan, the Tsubamegaeshi!”
‘Tsubamegaeshi’? Apparently it’s a technique of some sort. Anyway, I wonder if I succeeded in getting her to battle.