C75: Rice Planting
Thus began the very first rice planting race amongst the ladies at our settlement.
It looks like the person who plants the most seedlings in the shortest time possible will be declared the winner.
I never intended this activity to be a competition in the first place.
It was supposed to have everyone get along and experience rice planting together.
And yet, each of them took it upon themselves and put their dignity on the line.
So, they better not be coming to me for a prize, because I didn’t prepare any.
“The winner of this competition…”
“…will receive even greater favor from Master!!!”
What absurd prize are they making up now?!
Sparks continue to form between Platy and Veil.
“I want nothing more than to be of service to Princess Platy. On the occasion that I win, I will offer the prize to the princess,” says Lampeye, unwavering in her resolve.
As for Puffer…
“Hmph. That doesn’t fire me up. Why would I concern myself with a lanky land-dweller? Maybe I should just withdraw like Garra Rufa…”
“If you win, I’ll set you up on a special date with my stupid brother.”
“Stop getting the wrong idea!!!”
Although Puffer denied it through words, she patted her cheeks and braced herself.
Aren’t they being too excited about this?
Just don’t go too far and get yourselves hurt, okay?
As mentioned earlier, the person who plants the most seedlings within the given time limit will be declared the winner.
And before I realized it, Orkubo and co. have made and set up a scoreboard to count the seedlings planted by each contestant.
Even the monster army had already chosen which contestant to root for.
The venue is filled with a competitive tension in the air.
And then, the competition started.
The first to head straight for a dash were the oldest residents; Platy and Veil, as they bend and thrust seedlings one after the other into the mud.
Their speed was almost double that of the other contestants.
If you think about it, there’s no way Veil would fall behind the others in any kind of competition.
She’s a dragon, after all.
Her transcendental magic allows her to shift back and forth between her human and dragon forms at will.
Out of curiosity, I once asked how strong she is in her human form.
She told me that she can use her dragon magic with ease regardless of her physical appearance.
So, even if she were to fight against the human or demon race in her current form, she can still annihilate them all with one hand. In fact, thanks to her smaller stature compared to when she’s a dragon, she can even perform minute tasks, making it more convenient.
This time, she strengthened her human form with magic and planted the seedlings at a tremendous speed.
But Platy won’t be outdone with this, either.
Merfolk have always had strong muscles. As a race that swims in the oceans, their strong hips allow them to twist and wade through the water.
This point was ultimately proven during the time Prince Arowana emerged as the champion in the sumo tournament.
Platy submerges her buttocks into the slippery mud as she steadily plants the seedlings.
“Looks like things really turned into a one-on-one heated battle between the two of them as speculated.”
“There’s a speculation going on?!”
“The odds are 1:2 for Lady Platy and 1:1 for Lady Veil.”
“You’re betting on them?!”
Orkubo is reporting live. I will be providing the commentary.
But the situation seems to be in favor of the strongest race, the dragon.
The number of seedlings Veil has planted is steadily outnumbering Platy.
“Oh no! At this rate, Princess Platy will suffer defeat!” grumbles Lampeye who is planting the seedlings at her own pace. “I, Lampeye, will turn into a snake or a moray for the sake of the princess. I shall become a steppingstone to the princess’ victory!!!”
The rest of the ladies continue to plant the seedlings, unaffected by the situation around them.
However, Lampeye increased her speed several folds and charged at Veil like a fighting bull.
Veil was still immersed in rice planting, so she didn’t notice Lampeye coming at her from behind.
As a result, they collided head-on…or should I say, butt-on?
But of course, because Veil’s body, including her butt, is currently strengthened by dragon magic, Lampeye, who collided one-sidedly with her, was sent flying.
Lampeye; retired for sabotage and going outside the field.
Even though Veil has a human form that resembles that of a loli’s, Lampeye’s muscular butt lost over a small one.
I guess Veil really is going to totally win this.
But just when I was thinking that the wall of the strongest race was too formidable, an unanticipated development occurred.
“I’m fed up with this.”
Veil, who had the lead over every other contestant by a long shot, suddenly said that.
Dragons, who seemed to be flawless beings at a glance, lacked one thing: concentration.
They lacked the patience to keep doing the same thing for an extended period of time.
It hasn’t even been over thirty minutes since they started, but Veil was already showing signs of boredom.
Planting rice requires an excruciating effort that lasts for several days.
“I can’t be bothered with something so plain and boring. Just hurry up and declare me as the winner so I can go play!”
As the strongest race, dragons can kill most opponents in one turn. As a result, they never developed the tenacity to settle down and deal with something for a long time.
“Even one of those fish legs already retired. If there are any meddlers, I’ll use my breath to wipe them out and claim my victory.”
No. That’s a disqualification for you. Even Lampeye was eliminated for going out of her lane.
“Hmph! Then this doesn’t make it a competition anymore!!!” says Platy as she immediately assesses the situation. “Everyone! Let’s all work together against Veil!”
“Understood, Miss Platy!!!”
The demon combo of Batemy and Belena followed Platy, threw themselves upon Veil from three different sides, and held her down firmly.
“What’s with this weak power? Do you really think you can restrict me with just this?”
“I can break free as soon as I revert to my dragon form. In fact, I can do that now…”
“Wait,” says Platy with a hint of desperation in her voice. “…This is the first time I ever experienced running on slushy and slippery mud. I might actually lose my footing here more than I anticipated.”
“The more you run the more you lose balance…”
“And you immediately slip if you stop, so you’re left with no choice but to keep running!”
It seems Batemy and Belena felt the same way.
“Just when I was about to fall, I decided to grab on to Veil. She’s still our target after all!”
“You also thought of the same thing too, Miss Platy?”
“Hence, we can only keep our balance by leaning on you, Miss Veil! Even now, my feet keep sinking into the mud, I feel like I’m going to slip at any time!”
Just as they said, their slanting posture is slowly getting shallower and shallower as the three of them lean on Veil at an inclined angle.
Turns out, it was the muddy field that was to be feared, not Veil.
“You blockheads! Damn it! Get off me! Fall into the mud for all I care!!!”
“Don’t be like that, Miss Veil!!!”
“She’s right! I made these clothes specifically for today’s activity. It would be too sad to have it covered in mud on the very first day we wear it!” says Batemy, as she cries out in grief.
“You think I care about that?! How about I just transform into a dragon now and use that momentum to send the three of you flying?!”
I call out to her from outside the field.
“If you transform into a dragon or use offensive magic from where you stand, we’ll disqualify you. Not only that, but I also won’t give you food for three days.”
She leaves me no choice.
Her transformation will only ruin the paddy field.
“What am I supposed to do then?! Stop leaning on me and stop groping my chest! Who’s the one shoving their face in my butt?!”
“Ah! Stop flailing around! Your movements will just make us sink further into the mud!”
“Miss Veil, let’s all just get covered in mud and become fertilizer for the rice paddies.”
Thus, Veil, Platy, Batemy, and Belena crashed into each other and retired from the competition.
I thought this match was going to be voided because of everyone’s self-sabotage, but there was one more person in the field: Puffer.
She continued to plant the seedlings steadily and quietly, unperturbed neither by Veil’s rampage nor by Platy’s sedition. She topped everyone’s records, making her win the race.
She may have a delinquent-like attitude, but she can actually work hard and steadily.
After the commotion that just happened, all of us, including the monster army, planted rice in the remaining rice paddies. Now, we wait for the ears to bear fruit.
Thanks to Platy’s hyper-fertilizer that we spread earlier; their growth is also enhanced.
I can’t wait for harvesting season to come.
Jeremy, have you seen a vegetable garden? Some vegetables can grow there not from the stage of seeds, but after being grown from seeds somewhere else first (like in a greenhouse in so called nursery bed), then after sprouting several few first leaves there they get uprooted whole and then placed in the garden as a separate place from the initial one where they sprouted.
You do that if you want to get an earlier harvest even if those vegetables can’t sprout easily in a cold weather of early spring. Ask someone growing outdoor tomatoes if you don’t believe me.
I don’t have any idea why is that done to rice plants too, because they usually grow in warm and wet tropical climate. Maybe to ensure proper land coverage for plants with certain distance between them even if they sprout growing somewhere else after initially being sown very densely?
So…where did the ears come from? He plants seeds by touching the soil, but I don’t think ears of rice count as seeds…?
And the winner is….