My name is Crag, a commoner living in the Mermaid Kingdom.
Many others live a humble life like me, but there’s one event we look forward to every year, and that’s the Martial Swimming Competition.
It’s a festival where confident mermen from across the nation gather to fight and determine the strongest.
I usually peddle salmon roe, but when this day comes around, I naturally start jabbing at the sky.
The highlight of this year’s tournament is Prince Arowana.
Not only does he have a noble bloodline, but he also has the title of the defending champion.
He has spent almost a year training on the hellish lands above, not resting on his laurels.
Everyone is looking forward to this year’s tournament, as it’d be a great chance to see the results of his training.
There are also high hopes for the other finalists, such as General Shark, Master Pike, and Hendra.
I was able to get my hands on the fast-selling tickets, so I got to watch the games live.
I’ll have my customers put up with eating flying fish for these few days I’m off.
My bets are on Prince Arowana. I’m sure he’ll win again this year.
I’ll burn into my memory the moment he wins!
When the tournament actually started, it was more exciting than I had expected.
King Nagus even made a surprise participation.
His Majesty had announced his retirement after winning the championship for fifteen consecutive years and had never participated in the tournament since.
This excited the long-time fans of the sport and speculated about what his intentions were for coming back to the ring after nearly ten years of silence.
The majority of the opinions were unanimous: His Majesty wants to determine Prince Arowana’s qualifications as his successor.
Depending on the outcome of the match, this could be his succession to the throne! And we audience held great anticipation.
We might be witnessing a historical moment.
Both Prince Arowana and King Nagus won all their preliminary matches in a flash and were the fastest to advance to the finals.
They’re beyond strong.
It’s no surprise with King Nagus, but Prince Arowana is almost as strong, crushing his opponents one by one.
The prince did undergo meaningful training, after all!
His power-up proves it!
But who is that mermaid who snuggles up to the prince and gives him aftercare support every match?
I feel like I also saw her last year…
I asked one of the avid watchers, and he said that it was Puffer, the Witch of the Bitter Cold of the Six Mad Witches.
I don’t know much about her, but according to classified information, she and Prince Arowana are engaged.
To think he’s taking a witch to be his wife… Amazing!
Prince Arowana is one heck of an extraordinary man!
The Mermaid Kingdom is in safe hands if someone that strong is inheriting the title of Mermaid King.
This year’s tournament will be the sole domain of the royal father and son.
But just when everything was going swimmingly, an unexpected turn of events occurred.
The incident happened after the preliminaries.
One of the finalists had undergone a sex change and was forced to withdraw.
The audience buzzed anxiously, thinking, “Not the beakfishes again.”
But the surprise was yet to come, for the first time in the history of the Martial Swimming Competition, another race appeared as a replacement—Princess Platy’s husband, a land-dweller they call a saint.
As the eldest daughter of the Mermaid King, Princess Platy is overwhelmingly popular among the merfolk for being an astounding potion compounder.
Many of the mermen were secretly shocked when the princess got married, including me.
The fact that Princess Platy was married to a land-dweller was a popular topic for a while, and people were curious about what kind of man he was.
He recently came with the princess on her homecoming day and made his first public appearance. Surprisingly enough, he looked normal.
But now her husband is going to participate in the tournament?!
There may have been some disagreement about another race participating in the venerable mermaid race’s festival, but everyone swept that under the rug and paid close attention to him.
The princess herself is an amazing person, so her chosen land-dwelling partner must be the same.
In fact, I can’t be convinced otherwise that he isn’t.
I mean, he managed to monopolize Princess Platy, who has tens of thousands of admirers in the Mermaid Kingdom.
I was jealous.
But the person in question, at least from the outside, looks normal and, dare I say: weak.
Is this okay?
Is he really special enough to be Princess Platy’s partner?
In order to find out the truth, today’s sudden entry is just the thing.
Even more conveniently, his first opponent is the fierce General Shark.
He is a soldier in the royal mermaid palace, but his innate belligerent personality has earned him the rank of general. A battle fanatic who never misses a chance to participate in the annual tournament, he has won tournaments in the past and is qualified to expose that land-dweller’s abilities.
“Let him have it, Generaaaaaal!”
“Kill that infuriating land-dweller who flirts with Princess Platy all-year-roundddddd!” cheer the spectators from their seats.
General Shark is a powerhouse player, so he should be able to crush a nobody like him.
As a fan of mermaid grappling, I, too, watch the match with envy for the man who has Princess Platy all to himself.
The match began.
And it ended with a terrible result.
“Gwaaaaah! I’m being swallowed! I’m being swallowed by the vorteeeeex! I’m spinning! I’m spinning round and rouuuuund!”
The vortex swallowed General Shark!
The land-dweller created a whirlpool by clutching the water!
What is that technique?
Are all land-dwellers capable of doing that?!
At any rate, the game was settled in an instant, and the land-dweller easily defeated one of the strongest mermen.
Is his power even real…?!
Princess Platy’s husband instantly killed his next opponent with another whirlpool attack.
In the semifinals, he faced the most popular player in the tournament, His Majesty Nagus.
Everything seemed to be a throwaway match until His Highness Prince Arowana’s match in the finals, but even the semifinals turned out to be an amazingly good game.
How can he stand his ground against His Majesty Nagus, the living legend in the Martial Swimming Competition?!
Did he just make him use his trident? All this time, King Nagus has won without ever resorting to his weapon!
And not only did he make him use the trident, he even exchanged blows with it! Where did he get that sword that rivals a divine weapon?!
Is it a legendary weapon on land?!
The battle between King Nagus and the land-dweller was one of the longest battles, but it was also one of the best, with never a dull moment.
And the outcome was something no one could have predicted.
His Majesty Nagus threw in the towel first.
Although it was understandable since he was already old, the land-dweller won with the stamina of a young man.
He has shattered the legend.
King Nagus, who had kept the myth of his unbeaten streak in the tournament alive, has been beaten.
And by the hands of another race.
This may hurt our pride as mermaids, but for some reason, everyone in the audience, including me, was truly satisfied.
We witnessed such a heated and heart-racing contest; who wouldn’t be satisfied with that?
Sure, it’d have been frustrating if the winner were a typical land-dweller, but this is Princess Platy’s husband we’re talking about.
As expected of a man chosen by the princess.
I’m glad the saint has a good relationship with the mermaid royal family.
Our nation is in safe hands.
…Though, I felt uneasy about his match with Prince Arowana.
I heard land-dwellers can’t breathe underwater, but I wasn’t expecting the special medicine that makes this possible would run out, and he’d drown.
As a result, Prince Arowana won by default.
It’s a bit of a bummer if you ask me.
But all in all, it was a good tournament with more spectacular matches than usual!
I’m satisfied as a huge fan of the sport.
All right, back to peddling smelt roe from tomorrow!