Spring is here.
The season of endurance has ended, making way for the season of budding.
I can’t help but feel this way as Platy is now carrying my child.
The curtains also rise on another event that would allow us to experience the breath of spring and vitality—Orkubo’s Castle.
This is the first time we’re inviting the public to take on the challenge.
And we call it…
Orkubo’s Castle: Spring Campaign!
It’s been a while since I visited Orkubo’s Castle.
There are so many people.
So many that they seem to fill the entire area!
“Are they the people who gathered to challenge Orkubo’s Castle?”
“Yes, a total of three thousand people has gathered here.”
That’s a lot more than we expected!
“Our three months of advertising paid off. The participation fees we collected from the human and demon participants alone will far exceed the annual income of our territory!” says Varlina the demoness.
Apparently, she was sent as a supervisor to the Human Kingdom since the humans were defeated by the demons during the war, but…
…I wonder what’s this feeling I get?
It’s like she’s more proactive in making the territory richer than the feudal lord himself.
“As the wife of the feudal lord, I must work together with him to make our territory flourish to the fullest! Hence, I will make sure this event is a huge success as a start!”
Since when were they married?!
“That’s why I’m asking you to take care of our prized attraction. The future of this territory depends on your efforts.”
“I’ve completely left everything in Orkubo’s care, but I’m sure things will be all right, knowing him…”
The event is already a success so far.
In addition to the three thousand game participants, there’s also a crowd of spectators of almost the same number.
Although we couldn’t charge them participation fees, we hurriedly sold food and drinks to entertain them while also making a profit.
And these are all done by our neighbor villagers.
It makes for their extraordinary revenue and funds their village’s revitalization, so they’re more than thrilled.
Naturally, they couldn’t do it all by themselves, so the event became even more crowded with assistants from all across the territory.
In short, they’re busy as bees.
“Ehem, I would like to host the opening ceremony,” says Orkubo as he makes an appearance. “The purpose of this event is for you to traverse this castle and confront me in the keep. How many of you will be able to overcome the many obstacles and reach me?”
The tone of his voice is becoming more and more provocative.
“Do you dare to challenge my castle?!”
“Will you be able to reach me?!”
“Do you want a prize?!”
“You want to go to New York?!”
The last one was a joke I told Orkubo beforehand, but it was a miss.
I guess people in other worlds don’t know that New York is a name of a place.
“…W-Well, next, a few words from the feudal lord and his wife who have worked so hard to organize this event.”
As if to hastily escape from the awkward atmosphere, Orkubo passed the baton to the feudal lord, Dalkish, with Varlina standing beside him.
Orkubo introduced them as such, but are they really married?
“I am the lord of this area, Dalkish.”
“And I am his wife, Varlina.”
“I am happy that a new landmark has been built in my territory. As the feudal lord, it would make me delighted if this becomes an opportunity for everyone to visit my realm and build intimate connections with each other. I want to express my gratitude to Orkubo for building Orkubo’s Castle and organizing this event, and to each and every one of you who gathered here…”
“You can stop there, Dear.”
His long speech was interrupted.
“Let’s put the formalities aside and cut to the chase,” says Varlina, now-wife of the feudal lord, who seems far more cunning than her husband.
“There will be a prize for the challengers who conquer Orkubo’s Castle, as stated in our notice.”
The venue suddenly became noisy after hearing Varlina’s words.
“I’d like to show you some of the prizes as motivation.”
At her gesture, several of our goblins came up with something in their hands.
“Prize number one! Trendy Noujou clothing (made of normal silk) that’s all the craze in the Demon Capital!!!”
The audience is in an uproar.
“It is an item so rare that it would cost dozens of gold coins to buy one, but you can easily get yours by conquering Orkubo’s Castle! Onto the next prize!”
The next prize the goblins hold up is…a leather bag made by Maelga and her group.
“This leather bag is made of hydrolex!”
The audience buzzes even more.
“I’m sure the human race full of adventurers understands. Hydrolexes are reptilian monsters that only appear in cave dungeons of three stars or higher, making their skin highly valuable!!!”
You can easily find them hanging around in Sensei’s dungeon that the orcs have had enough of encountering them, though…
“Onto prize number three! It’s a drink the god of alcohol, Bacchus, created himself! Not to mention, a new brew!!!”
The third prize excited the participants the most.
I guess alcohol is popular wherever you go.
Hold on, all the prizes are taken from our farm!
“The winner who conquers Orkubo’s Castle gets to have one prize of their choice! There are more prizes to be won, so go crazy!”
So this was the reason why a swarm of challengers gathered.
They must have given them a sneak peek of the prizes while they were advertising.
It’s hard to tell since I’m on the farm all the time, but Shax, a local merchant and our business partner, said that the products we produce are worth a fortune outside.
Hence, this flow of events isn’t hard to understand from my point of view.
“Well, we only showed prizes that are already known to the general public, so I think it’s fine,” says Belena beside me.
The project planning and management of Orkubo’s Castle and the negotiations with the feudal lord were all done by her. She’s a self-proclaimed incompetent as ever.
“You’re sure there’s nothing that could be a hazard if it were to appear on the market?”
“Yes, we know you also don’t want the world to be destroyed because of leaked information, Lord Saint.”
Huh? Do we really have something that dangerous with us?!
In any case, I can tell that the participants are raring to go after seeing some of the prizes.
After Varlina’s agitating speech, the enthusiasm for the upcoming game hit its peak.
“Well then, let us begin Orkubo’s Castle: Spring Campaign!”
Thus, Orkubo’s Castle began, with the first obstacle remaining the same: the Frustrating Balance Beam.
You have to balance yourself while crossing a narrow bridge that leads to various parts of the moat.
Reflecting on the brutality of its previous set-up, which had reduced the number of our first batch of challengers from 250 to 80, I made some changes to the rules and adjusted the balance.
The moat still has ten balance beams, but the next challenger cannot start until the person before them has crossed or fallen off of it.
Doing so will prevent anyone from eliminating themselves due to crowding, as was the case last time.
Of course, we still have the interfering ballistae.
Let’s see how many of them can get through the first obstacle!
But while I was lost in my own monologue, we met an unexpected challenger.
He was a giant demon…