Hello, Ankydon is here.
Here is another one
Update on Project Gender Bender
After having a manju each, the group embarked to find a place to eat.
Sheryl used her supreme social power to ask the passerby for recommendations.
「Apparently there is a place called Puniqueen Cafe that is both cheat and delicious! It’s right the next street!」
「Sheryl……I’m impressed with your social skills…….」
「Eh? It’s simple. Everyone can do this much except you, Iris-sama」
She answered with a straight face.
This sharp comment made Iris’ shoulders droop.
While completely true, she didn’t feel too great about it.
「You should hurry up and fix your sociophobia」
「Talking is fun, why is it so hard for you?~」
There came another two hits from Muriel and Eclipse.
Life is suffering.
However, a rescue ship appeared from an unexpected direction.
「Oh, I might be barely brave enough to capture some complete strangers and ask for a nice restaurant……」
Marion spoke while deep in thought and Jessica nodded in acknowledgment.
「Even though it would be fine to speak casually, it’s hard to ask strangers out of nowhere」
「Is that so?」
Sheryl tilted her head mystified.
「It’s plain and simple. There is nothing to hesitate about」
「Marion and Jessica are secretly asocial?~」
Muriel and Eclipse said as they assumed caring smiles.
They didn’t try to poke a sore spot, but instead honestly thought so.
Carefree characters are to be feared, Iris trembled in fear.
「Compared to you three we might indeed be somewhat asocial」
「Mom, don’t use them as a reference point! I’m absolutely sure we are the normal ones!」
Marion answered in force.
If those two are normal, this means Iris herself is normal.
「Comrades! Normies Alliance!」
Iris stood between Marion and Jessica as she made a declaration.
「W-What about it? I’m on the normal side! Are you implying that you can easily ask strangers yourself?!」
「Ah……..I forgot, no one understands what you’re saying anyway…….welcome to the Normies Alliance!」
「Hold your horses. It makes sense for Punigami to belong to the Normies Alliance. But you aren’t the case. You’ll go awawaing long before you can ask for a restaurant」
Marion unleashed a sharp retort.
「But even Punigami can only 『punipuni』!」
「That’s beyond his control!」
「Why…..because he’s a slime that’s why!」
「This is beyond my control too! I’m a shut-in! That’s normal! Normies Alliance!」
「…….Mm? Is it though……?」
Marion thought with her hands interlocked.
Iris for the win.
Flawless victory through overwhelming momentum!
From now on, Iris is normal.
Or so she thought….
「One way or another, your shut-in disposition is a fact. Not something to be proud of」
Marion briefly summarized the conversation.
The argument struck right into Iris’ heart.
As it was super effective, Iris immediately, collapsed on top of Punigami.
「You’re such a bother」Punigami grumbled.
However, Iris didn’t have the will to walk, so she stayed in place.
Can’t be helped, he muttered and chose not to mind it.
Punigami is always the most reliable.
「Here it is! Here it is! Puniqueen Cafe!」
Sheryl shouted as she pointed at the signboard.
It had a spacious storefront, with about fifty customers already inside.
There was a substantial queue outside the place.
Perhaps it’s just that great of a place.
「Hearing its name I imagined something more humble…..an impressive establishment」
Sheryl nodded deeply impressed.
「There is a black slime depicted on the signboard. Looks strong」
「But Punigami is much more adorable. What is Puniqueen by the way?」
「Come to think of it, didn’t that man say he was going to defeat Puniqueen?…….I think we can learn more once inside!」
Sheryl clenched her fist in excitement.
「Mm? Not going to ask around for hints? Any employee should know a thing or two」
Iris casually asked.
「Non-non-non. Naive, Iris-sama! They’ll probably say something like『This is a cafe, not an information shop, little lady』. So let’s order a lot and eat a lot. This should loosen their tongues!」
「Fufu. Did you perhaps read one too many novels recently, Sheryl-chan?」
As they spent time in silly conversations, it was finally their turn.
「A table for six and one slime. Am I correct?」
「Then please follow me to your seats」
As expected of the Holy Ground for slime tamers.
A conversation was somehow established between him and the employee.
Upon arrival, Punigami hopped on the deepest chair.
Iris sat next to him, and Marion next to her.
「Let’s look at the menu」
「Everything sound tasty. I want everything」
「That’s a bit too greedy. You won’t be able to eat all of it anyway」
「Unfortunate. But I’ll still eat as much as I can~」
「So is This Mistress!」
Muriel and Eclipse eagerly looked through the menu while letting out「pizza 」 or「hamburger」 on occasion.
「What do you want, Punigami?」
「Eh? Separate slime menu? Ah, I see, Slislan never fails to impress」
There was a slime exclusive section on the menu.
Apparently, it was developed by a top breeder with optimal temperature and nutrition value in mind.
「Emm, slime-only roasted ginger set, slime-only omelet, slime-only stew. Slime-only udon!? The ways of Wagaka village spread far and wide…….」
「You want the slime udon? Then I’ll take the human udon」
Everyone ordered whatever they wanted. All that was left is to wait for them to be done.
Looking around the store, they saw many customers with their slimes.
Some of them hugged their slimes in front of them.
Iris tried imitating them by putting him on her lap and playing around.
「What was that for?」
「You know, too much free time」
「Sure. Don’t mind if I join」
Touched by them both, Punigami let out a voice of pleasure.
「You seem to be having fun. This Mistress shall join the fondling!」
「Don’t mind if I do!」
Muriel, Eclipse, and Sheryl, who were across the table, bent over and stretched their hands Punigami’s direction.
Apparently, five people was a bit too much for him to handle, so he started complaining.
Jessica「Arara, ufufu」watched their antics from the side.
Is the food still not ready? They continued the fondling as they thought such.
In such a peaceful environment, there was a sudden angry outburst.
「My slime’s softness is unparalleled!」
「No, my slime is definitely softer!」
Looking closely, they saw two men angry glaring at each other and arguing.
The argument then escalated one step further as they grabbed on each other’s clothes.
「Wanna do it, huh!?」
「Yeah, you’re in for it!」
One step and it would be a fight.
The whole cafe stirred.
「Just when everyone is having a good time. Those guys have no manners」
「They look kind of drunk」
「Fights are no good. Gotta stop it~」
A sudden fight would indeed be bad. For the appetite.
However, Iris isn’t equipped with communication ability great enough to intervene.
Sheryl is the best in that regard, but she lacks in the strength department.
Muriel and Eclipse aren’t intimidating enough.
Jessica is a bit too nonchalant. She’ll twist their arms with a harmless smile on her face. Which is rather scary.
「Marion. Good luck」
「Me!? I might as well…..」
Perhaps because she arrived at the same conclusion, Marion was about to reluctantly get up from her seat.
However, before that even happened.
A black slime jumped out of the kitchen and smashed into the two.
Both of them dramatically faceplanted into the table.
Their faces covered in soup, which looked rather hot.
However, the black slime took all of Iris’ attention and their fate didn’t register in her mind.
The reason being, the black slime looked exactly like the one on the signboard.
「Hmm. You sure have guts to be noisy in Puniqueen cafe. Forget about the payment and get out. People like you aren’t customers」
A blonde girl appeared out of the kitchen the next second.
She was in her mid-teens about the same as Cindy.
「Y-You’re the champion!」
「You think you can get away with hitting customers!?」
「As I’ve said, you aren’t customers. I’ll throw you out by force. Do it, Puniqueen」
The slime’s “eyes” glowed red greatly intimidating the men.
「Chi…..even Puniqueen won’t prevail two-on-one! Go, Slikichi!」
「Defeat Puniqueen, Slilis! We are the new champions!」
Their slimes pounced on the black slime.
Two-on-one is cowardly.
While Iris stayed silent, Punigami rushed to aid the black slime.
However, the worry was unnecessary.
The black slime easily sent them flying.
The two flew straight into their partner’s faces, which resulted in all of them rolling out of the cafe.
「This black slime is amazing…..maybe even stronger than Marion!」
「No, that’s too big of an exaggeration! However…..that speed and power is beyond any slime I’ve seen」
As Iris and the rest were busy admiring the slime’s strength, cheers rose within the audience.
「As expected of Punqueen, the champion of three consecutive years!」
「Win this time as well, champion! I’m your fan!」
「Puniqueen! Your dark vibes are the greatest!」
Apparently, the blonde girl and the black slime were a celebrity to those people.
According to them, they were the pair is the slime sumo champion.
For three years in a row.
Despite rushing to help, Punigami didn’t even get his turn and felt very depressed.
「……What? Want to try too?」
The blonde girl called champion glared at Punigami.
Punigami desperately denied the accusation.
「……Okay. Good for you」
Having said so, the girl went back to the kitchen.
The black slime followed after.
The audience sent them off with grand ovation.
「Champion! Champion! Champion!」
「Puniqueen! Puniqueen! Puniqueen!」
She was awfully popular.
Cindy wasn’t wrong when she said that powerful slimes gather everyone’s respect.
However, Iris heard something this very champion muttered to herself.
Just her talking to herself.
Not intended to be overheard,
However, Iris’ transcendental hearing managed to pick it up.
Why does she sound so distant amidst the constant praise?
Perhaps she’s the same as Iris and hates to draw attention to herself.
However, that didn’t seem to be the case.
Perhaps Cindy knows a thing or two.
Let’s ask the next time we meet.
Thus, the party decided to walk around the city without any particular goal in mind.
They saw banners and posters about slime festival on every corner.
There were kids wearing slime masks running around, as well as slime manju sold in the stalls. The festive mood completely took over despite it being only a day before the actual festival.
Eclipse jumped in joy after she’s got to taste one.
By the way, slime manju is a white slime-shaped manju. There is no actual slime used in its production.
「You barely avoided cannibalism, Punigami」
A slime manju inside Punigami gradually melted away.
Other slimes around them also ate those, not only Punigami.
Iris also had her own share.
There was cheese inside. A sudden but welcome surprise.
「Oh? What a beautiful slime. Is it yours?」
A sudden stranger initiated the conversation out of nowhere. The man had a green slime by his side, which identified him as a slime tamer.
His gentle expression gave off no malice. He seemed purely interested in Punigami.
Still, knowing that wasn’t enough to prevent Iris from feeling nervous.
「Eh, ah, yes, it’s my shlime…..awawawa」
「I see. Are you participating in the slime sumo?」
She only wanted to acknowledge his praise, but her tongue refused to roll in her mouth.
However, her eyes spun just fine.
「You can’t even handle trivial conversations? Sorry, this child is prone to feel nervous. We are intending to participate. What about you?」
「Indeed. This time around, we will defeat Puniqueen and claim the champion title. You slime looks quite strong too. Let’s have an honest fight if we ever run into each other. Until then」
The man and the green slime disappeared into the crowd.
「Hiee…..that was intense…..」
「You are a total wreck. It’s embarrassing for us to be near」
「Even if you say that……he was a total stranger…..he was even a man…….Never leave my side, Marion. Your task is to intercept any conversations」
「D-Don’t ask for impossible! But…..yeah. Even if it’s impossible, I’ll try to stay close as much as possible……!」
Impressed by her reliability, Iris subconsciously hugged her.
「W-W-Wait! Don’t cling to me in public!」
Realizing the extent of her actions, she hurriedly let go and clung to Punigami instead.
「Are you scary alone? It’s alright. I’m also here for you~」
「No ja! So is This Mistress! Fret not!」
「Fufufu. I’m also here, Iris-sama. As the Silverlight Baroness, I know how to handle deities!」
「Oh my. In that case, I’ll also do my best as everyone’s mother」
「You are my mother only!」
Marion latched on Jessica in panic.
「You want both Iris and me for your exclusive use, Marion? How greedy of you」
「Exclusivity is inappropriate!」
「Right~ Marion is too spoiled~」
「Me!? No way that’s true!」
Marion shook her head and immediately denied the accusation.
However, Iris didn’t feel like defending her in this situation.
In the first place, the chain of events resulting in dragons settling in the village started from Marion losing to Iris and going home to cry to her mother.
Which only served to prove she’s spoiled.
「It’s nice for Marion……she has an actual mother」
Iris muttered to herself.
Iris and Eclipse are both biological weapons manufactured in a capsule. They have no mother. Although they have the father back on Kurifot continent, there isn’t much parenting being done.
Sheryl’s parents divorced a long time ago. She hasn’t been able to meet her mother for quite some time, while her father has already passed away.
As for Muriel, she is a deity born of people’s sentiments, she had no parents since the very beginning.
In that regard, only Marion has the luxury of staying by her mother’s side.
Iris felt a sudden surge of jealousy towards Marion.
「Uu…….fine! I allow you to be spoiled by mother too!」
As Marion became aware of her position, she begrudgingly agreed.
However, when it comes to being spoiled, it is actually quite embarrassing to perform.
For starters, Iris tried clinging to Jessica.
Jessica happily patted her head.
「Yay, me too!~」
「Me as well!」
「Ara~ So many daughters I’m surrounded from all sides~」
Jessica put her hand on her cheeks while not looking inconvenienced in the slightest.
「Eh, you want to join too?……Then I’ll join too!」
「Ah, all of you together are a bit too much for me…….I’m going to get crushed」
Surrounded from all sides, Jessica displayed her weak side.
However, that was fun in its own way.
「Fufufu. Actually, this hotel is owned by my family!」
「Really? Did you perhaps wanted to contribute to your family’s fortune?」
「You are wrong! I won’t take your money! I’m actually making sacrifices!」
「I-Is that so…….I apologize…..」
「Don’t worry about that! I have three rooms prepared for you, two in each room. Let’s go inside!」
Cindy and Punyobaron went through the revolving door.
Following after her, the group saw the lobby furnished with a red carpet.
There was various high-quality furniture around them.
In the middle of this lobby, there was a statue of a pink slime.
The moment Iris asked that
Punyobaron stood next to the statue trying to show off.
「It looks very much alike. You won’t be able to tell the difference from afar!」
Punigami seems jealous. Never took him as a type that wanted a statue.
Stone is impossible, but I might be able to make something out of clay, thought Iris.
「Oh? There is 『Punyobaron, one of the Four Heavenly Kings』inscribed below. What is this all about?」
Sheryl tilted her head.
Which caused Cindy and Punyobaron to assume smug expressions.
「Well asked! This city is the holy land of slime tamers! There are about a hundred slime tamers living here at all times! Those who aren’t slime tamers also like them a lot! Four strongest slimes acknowledged by the public as such……..are the Four Heavenly Kings!」
「I see! That’s amazing! The statue is a kind of award, right!?」
「Not at all. People like to stay in the same place as one of the heavenly kings, my dad made it to promote our hotel!」
「Ah, I see…..what an admirable commercial spirit!」
Punyobaron wobbled in response. Since the statue didn’t move it was easy to distinguish between the two.
「Mm? Punigami defeated him though. Does that mean he’s stronger than the heavenly kings?」
Marion asked as she fondled Punigami with her hands.
「No such thing! The last battle was only meant to be a test for Punigami-san! Punyobaron isn’t so easily bested! Right, Punyobaron?」
「I won’t lose」 「I won’t lose either」they argued.
Only Iris could understand the precise wording, but everyone still understood the sentiment.
Seeing the two slimes intensely glaring at each other, everyone assumed tense expressions.
「Aah! Aren’t slimes adorable!? They are wonderful! They make you want to lick them!」
Cindy screamed as she swayed left and right.
「Indeed…..no one licks anyone!」
「I thought Iris-san of anyone would understand me……」
Cindy easily had her expectations crushed.
While Iris was disappointed because of her expecting something like that in the first place.
「Well, everyone loves slimes in their own way. Anyway, let me guide you to your rooms. Follow me!」
They went up the stairs after Cindy.
Their rooms were on the fourth floor.
Sheryl immediately entered the first room and opened the window to intake the scenery of the city.
Peeking from the side, Iris saw a clock tower and a square with a fountain.
Rather impressively beautiful.
And many slimes all around.
「This room and the rooms at your sides are yours. About meals though…..I must apologize. Meals will be charged separately. You’ll have to settle with our dining hall or a nearby restaurant」
「It’s nothing much since we are staying here for free. No need to apologize」
Jessica nonchalantly said as she touched her cheek.
「I appreciate that. It was difficult to convince the mother and father to let you stay for free……Punigami-san will achieve great things in slime sumo no doubt. Then we can advertise that we had a champion staying here! Or so I argued and somehow succeeded!」
「Champion…..if it’s Punigami he can certainly do it!」
「I’m the champion!」the argument escalated even further.
So lovable you might want to lick them……no no, what am I thinking about? Iris shook her head with force.
Cindy’s infection isn’t to be underestimated.
「Well them, it’s time for me to depart!」
After the two left, the remaining people decided to discuss the room arrangement.
「I want to be in one room with Iris~」
「Sure. Eclipse and I are in the same room」
A natural development for sisters.
「Then it’s me and Marion, Sheryl and Muriel. Is everyone fine with that?」
A reasonable combination.
「Punigami is my and Eclipse’s hugging pillow as usual」
Punigami bounced in agreement.
Since the important stuff had been decided, it was time to laze about.
But the moment Iris was about to suggest that.
Marion preemptively raised her hand.
「T-This arrangement is rather dull……I’ve come all the way here, so how about changing some things?」
「Noja? What are you suggesting?」
「Emm……like me and Iris……?」
「No ja……..can’t you just honestly admit that you want to be in the same room as Iris without going around in circles?」
「Right. You should’ve said as such long ago. Why can’t you be honest?」
Sheryl said in exasperation.
「Arara. I’ve been negligent in your education. Well, not that I mind the result. Ufufu」
Jessica seemed happy for some reason.
「Mm? You want to take Iris? Unfair」
「Eclipse-chan. You are always monopolizing Iris-sama by yourself. Let’s be magnanimous for the duration of our stay here」
「Un. Alright. Marion really likes Iris after all. You can have this one~」
Said Marion with her whole face a deep shade of red.
「W-Wait a second. Don’t casually advance the conversation without my input!」
「N? You don’t want to?」
「I don’t mind……I don’t mind but….」
「Then this room is for big sis Iris and Marion. Where should I go?~」
The room allocation debate entered its second phase.
Marion and Iris, who were left behind at this point, silently gazed at each other.
Marion’s redness spread all the way down her neck.
Most likely, Iris herself was exactly the same.
「Emm, best regards…….」Iris
「Ah, yes. Best regards……」Marion
It’s only about friends sharing a room, but how did it come to this?
Even if the subject was herself, Iris had no clue.
Maybe she caught a cold?
「This Mistress and Jessica. Eclipse and Sheryl. With that out of the way, let’s go out and play」
「Ah, wait. We might’ve caught a cold…..」
Marion said as she squirmed in place.
「Noja? Your whole face is red!」
「It’s alright, Muriel-chan. They are perfectly fine. Just embarrassed」
「I see. As expected of the mother. Mama Jessica sees through anything」
「Leaving the fun parts for the night, let’s go out somewhere. Starting from dinner!」
「Hey, Sheryl. Can I have some chocolate before dinner?」
「Sure, here you go」
Eclipse left the room with Sheryl as she munched on her chocolate.
Muriel and Jessica followed right after.
Punigami pushed Iris and Marion out without any considerations.
He pushed so hard, they almost sunk into him.
Iris and Marion quickly embraced each other due to surprise.
As a result, the turned red from head to toe like never before.
「I don’t like hor things and you know it. You are both scalding! Sit up at least!」Punigami complained.
However, both Iris and Marion couldn’t do much on their own will at that point.
According to the flyer.
The Slime Festival has a history of more than a hundred years.
It lasts for three days and attracts many slime tamers.
There are other festivals for monster tamers, like Goblin Festival, Zombie, Festival, or Mongolian Death Worm Festival. However, the Slime Festival is the biggest of them all.
On the side note, the Dragon Festival is the smallest of all.
It was held once about fifty years ago, but, since they couldn’t gather even three participants, they had to give up on hosting another one.
「Huh? For an honorable dragon to befriend a human……isn’t unthinkable」
Marion was about to complain but turned back mid-sentence.
「Why were there so little participants?」
「Probably because it’s hard to make a dragon obey. We generally refuse to follow those weaker than us」
Muriel seemed convinced by Jessica’s explanation.
Speaking of which, Marion and Jessica only settled in the village after their defeat at the hands of Iris.
「The city of Slislan is about a week’s journey away. However, we have dragons! Marion-san, Jessica-san, please!」
「Haa……..you are definitely treating us as mounts……」
「Fufu. You might have what it takes to become a dragon tamer」
A day before the festival.
Iris and the rest headed towards Slislan on Marion and Jessica’s backs.
They landed some distance away from the city in the evening and proceeded on foot.
Because people tend to be freaked out by dragons above their heads.
Despite both being monsters, people are strangely fine around slimes.
Perhaps the Dragon Festival was canceled not only because of the lack of participants but also because of lack of the proper venue.
There is an option of having dragons move around in their human forms, but that won’t be much of a dragon festival.
「Amazing. Everyone is in a festive mood!」
「Look, look. So many slimes. Amazing~」
As Muriel and Eclipse said, they encountered a slime the moment they entered the city.
Green and yellow. White and black. Their size ranging from watermelon to that above Punigami.
Each slime had a human accompanying it. Mysteriously, no one around them considered this scenery unusual.
It wouldn’t have been surprising had they started discussing slimes all of a sudden.
「T-That’s bad……they’ll try to talk to me……what should I do?!」
Iris muttered as she rolled on top of Punigami.
Fondling Punigami was the only way she could calm down a little.
「Can’t you just talk about Punigami?」
Marion says as if it’s natural.
「Talking about Punigami…..but I don’t even know what slime tamers usually talk about!」
「Just follow the flow」
「H-How do you do that!?」
「If someone compliments your slime’s color compliment back or something like that」
「I-Isn’t it too advanced for me?!」
「It’s not particularly advanced……but it’s you we are talking about」
「Hieeee……I wanna go home」
「It’s alright! You can do it!」
「Really? I’m feeling insecure so let’s practice……with Eclipse. Try talking to me as if you are a slime tamer」
「Okay~. Muriel is my slime then」
「This Mistress!? That is not an easy task」
With a light step, Eclipse moved in front Iris and Punigami.
Muriel tried to imitate Punigami’s voice from behind her, but it was hard to tell how similar it was.
「You have a pretty slime~」
「T-Thanks. Your slime is rather nice too……」
「Right?~ You can call her Nojapuni. Say hi, Nojapuni」
「Pu-Punii……na no ja」
「Y-You’re so polite……my slime is called Punigami…..」
Despite talking with her little sister, Iris was strangely tense.
「Punigami? He looks tasty. Can I have a lick?」
「Y-Yes? What are you talking about?」
「It’ll be over in a moment lick」
Punigami struggled to escape the sudden tingly sensation.
「No ja! You shouldn’t do something like this! You’ll turn into a pervert!」
「Eh? I am pretending to be a slime tamer. Cindy licked Punigami before. I’m simply imitating」
「She did indeed do something along those lines……but doesn’t mean you should go that far!」
Muriel grabbed Eclipse and pried her of Punigami.
Which made her rather sulky.
「Look around, Eclipse-chan. There are so many slime tamers but no one does that」
Having heard Jessica, Eclipse briefly surveyed her surroundings.
「Right? Normal slime tamers don’t lick their slimes. Cindy must’ve been a special kind of pervert. You don’t want to become a pervert, right?」
「Don’t wanna. Won’t lick anymore~」
「Ufufu. Good girl」
Jessica patted her head.
Eclipse has been saved from turning into a pervert.
Cindy is a source of bad influence, Iris thought to herself.
If we happen to see her here, let’s avoid conversation at all costs.
The moment she thought that……
「Iris-san, Punigami-san! As well as the rest of you! Welcome to the city of Slislan!」
Cindy and Punyobaron were running their way.
「What a coincidence」said Sheryl as she waved at them.
Eclipse wanted to wave too, but Iris immediately stopped her.
「Why? Why can’t I wave?」
「You should stay away from Cindy as much as possible. You’ll catch her perverseness!」
「Is it contagious? It’s not a cold though~」
「It does spread! Didn’t you lick Punigami a while ago?!」
「I won’t do that anymore. Have faith~」
「Uu…..don’t look at me with those innocent eyes of yours…….」
「Yay, You believe in me~」
Eclipse happily jumped and ran towards Cindy.
「Hey, Iris, is that okay? Cindy isn’t a bad person…..but she’s definitely a pervert!」
Marion muttered in worry.
「But……she says it’s okay…..」
「You are really weak to pressure. Well, even if it rubs off, Punigami would be the only one in danger」
「It’s okay, Punigami. You can use magic now. You can just fight her if she ever tries to lick you again,」
I see, that’s an option. Punigami was struck with a realization.
He apparently forgot Eclipse could extinguish his magical power.
Punigami was supposed to be levelheaded one, but the recent events put him on the edge.
「Cindy said she’ll introduce us to a hotel. Lucky~」
Eclipse returned in no time.
「I have a proper reservation too! After all, it’s hard to find decent accommodations in Slislan at the moment. Some slime tamers even have to stay in tents outside the city. Well, living in a tent is a lot of fun…..but I recommend this particular hotel! Follow me!」
Cindy beckoned Iris to follow her.
Punyobaron, being a slime, didn’t have any hands, so he morphed a part of his body to imitate the motion. He seemed rather skillful at it too.
「Such a considerate pervert」
「I would very much like to camp outside with others, but we didn’t bring any tools~~ A hotel is a lifesaver! Great idea for a lickorist pervert」1
Muriel and Sheryl expressed their questionable admiration.
Perhaps due to her deliberately selective hearing, Cindy puffed her chest in pride.
「We’ll take you up on that offer. Even so, how did you find us so quickly, Cindy-chan?」
「I’ve been visiting the entrance to the city many times! At one point I felt going back became rather bothersome, so I stayed in the nearby cafe and observed through the window! Then I finally saw you! What a coincidental coincidence!」
「Oh, I see….」
Even Jessica felt at a loss after her speech, as she stood there with a weird smile.
By the looks of it, it was more of an inevitability than coincidence. Or so one would retort, but since the person in question believed it was a coincidence, there was no need to disillusion her.
「Hey, big sis. If she was on the constant lookout for us does that mean……」
「Eclipse. Cindy wants to believe it was a coincidence. Let her be」
「Is that so? I don’t understand but okay~」
As they were having such a conversation, they finally reached the hotel.
A fine four-story building.
「Excuse me, but I found a certain someone right before my door, do you have any idea?」
There was a nonchalant voice from the side.
The owner of which was Marion’s mother, Jessica.
She held a pink slime in her hands as she climbed the hill.
「Ah, Punyobaron! Thank you very much for bringing him here!」
「Ara, is this slime yours? He’s very comfortable to the touch」
「Is that so!? It’s an honor!」
Punyobaron jumped out of Jessica’s arms and came to Cindy’s side.
Despite rolling down the hill, he appeared absolutely fine.
That said, it’s not so easy to diagnose a slime anyway.
「I see. Does that mean you a slime tamer? Here for Punigami-chan?」
「Yes. I’ve heard about a colorful slime in this village. His color and might were the real deal, so I’d like to extend an invitation to the slime festival! Please participate by all means!」
「If I remember correctly, it’s an annual event where every slime tamer gathers in one place」
「Oh, so you are aware!」
Cindy looked happy.
This village’s awareness of slime tamer is on the low side, so she might’ve been feeling anxious about it.
Thank goodness, Jessica is the knowledgeable one.
「More than two thousand slime tamers gather in one place on this occasion. Exchanging pointers is fine. Competing is fine. Sharing knowledge is fine. A big event for slime enthusiasts!」
Iris nearly spewed blood at the mere thought of it.
Just one Cindy was enough to force her to hide behind Marion.
Multiply that by two thousand.
In addition, they share a common topic in slimes and are more likely to initiate a conversation.
The difficulty level is much higher compared to simply visiting a city.
「I-I’m afraid I have to de……」
「Do you want to go?」
「I see……you want to meet new friends….」
From Punigami’s perspective, that made perfect sense.
Before Iris came to this place, Punigami was drying on the bottom of the well.
Even later, he didn’t get to meet a single slime.
Now, he met Punyobaron and got the chance to meet two thousand other slimes.
「Gunu……gununu…..two thousand…..but……..alright, I’ll go!」
「Are you going to be fine, Iris!? You’re going to die!」
「But Punigami wants to go…..he is my friend……..!」
「I-It’s alright, Punigami. I shouldn’t die from the nervousness alone. Most likely」
「Iris……alright! I’m going too. D-Don’t misunderstand. I’m just worried about Punigami!」
Marion turned red and crab-walked behind Jessica.
Embarrassment is quite infectious.
「In that case, This Mistress shall accompany you!」
「I’ll go too. Have to bring so much chocolate with me~」
「Leave the matter of chocolate to me. I don’t what this slime festival all about, but you are our representatives! Of course, I’m going to cheer for you!」
「Ara. In that case, how could I possibly miss it?」
Jessica wasn’t opposed either.
If everyone goes, I’ll be okay. Iris persuaded herself as such.
「Are you going to attend!? It starts in a month. In the city of Slislan! Please look at this flyer for more details! As one of the Four Heavenly Kings, I’m glad I could scout such a magnificent slime. I might’ve lost today, but it won’t happen again! Farewell!」
Leaving behind her title, Cindy and Punyobaron excused themselves.
However, Iris didn’t care much for the Heavenly Kings.
One month left.
She had to prepare her mind for the horror that is two thousand people.
The snow outside mostly melted letting the grass show itself.
Two slimes faced each other.
Let’s do our best, they exchanged a greeting.
Quite friendly for someone they met just a few minutes ago.
Is it because the opponent is a fellow slime?
However, Iris couldn’t get along with Cindy all that well.
She was too scared to stand before her, so she spoke from behind Marion’s back.
「Hey. Explain the rules at least」
「Aren’t you a bit to calm for someone who hides behind me?」
「Well, I somehow feel at ease here……」
「I-Is that so….」
Embarrassed for some reason, Iris felt her face getting hot.
Marion was also fidgeting.
She only said she felt confident behind her friend’s back. Why did it feel so weird?
「Let’s cut to the chase……ring open!」
With a scream, Cindy spread her hands wide.
Light appeared on the grass and gradually formed a circle.
About three Iris in diameter.
It looked quite magical, but it was no more than a circle of pale light.
「……Does something come out of it?」
「Come out?! I’m not an archmage! It’s the stage for slime sumo! Nothing more than that!」
「Ah, I see……」
「Yes! Rules are simple! The one who gets pushed out of the circle loses! No weapons are allowed! All the help from the outside is prohibited! Anything else is OK!」
「Simple indeed. Are you ready, Punigami?」
「Sure. Let’s begin」
Punigami overflowed with fighting spirit.
「Do your best, Punigami~」
「Do you best as the representative of this village」
Eclipse and Muriel cheered for him.
Riding on the encouragements, Punigami entered the ring.
「It’s your time to shine, Punyobaron!」
Punigami and Punyobaron faced each other inside the ring.
Ready to strike at a moment’s notice.
「Someone should signal the start!」
Cindy could’ve just done so by herself, but since she was a participant, they needed a third party.
「If you don’t mind, Marion」
「Me?! No way, it’s embarrassing…..」
「What is there to be embarrassed about?」
「I don’t want to hear that from someone who hides behind my back!」
This is this and that is that.
Iris wasn’t hiding because she was embarrassed but because she was scared.
Either way, it was rather pathetic, so she chose not to elaborate.
「Then I, as the Lord, shall oblige. Ready, go!」
Together with her signal, slimes collided with each other with great intensity.
Their voices are full of spirit.
A great collision happened!
Then they bounced back from the momentum!
Seeing the successive strikes and rebounds, the peanut gallery watched with their fists clenched……or not, they were rather nonchalant actually.
After all, the two are slimes. They are too soft.
No matter how hard they tried, they just bounced back.
Only one person, Cindy, watched with bloodshot eyes.
「Push, Punyobaron! Do your best! Push harder!」
She cheered with all her power.
How does she gets so excited by such a peaceful fight, mused Iris.
However, encouragement is important.
Iris decided to say a piece of her own.
「Punigami, don’t lose」
Responding to Iris, Punigami rolled spun with unprecedented before momentum and struck Punyobaron.
He was pushed all the way to the edge of the ring.
「Amazing! The power of cheering!」
「Power overwhelming!」said Punigami!
In that case, more encouragements were in order.
「To push my Punyobaron so one-sidedly…..as expected of the slime I admire. Your color isn’t just for show! However…..Punyobaron, use magic!」
Punyobaron’s body glowed red.
Simultaneously a fist-sized fireball flew at Punigami.
「Punigami, are you okay?!」
The fireball hit him.
Punigami, who originally didn’t like hot things, rolled on the ground to put himself out.
「Wasn’t it about pushing each other? You shouldn’t cheat~」
Muriel and Eclipse immediately accused Cindy.
Yet she was unperturbed.
「That’s not cheating! As I explained before, you can’t use weapons and outside help. Anything else is OK!」
「Mumu, I see……If the slime himself uses magic it’s not cheating….but then Punigami is at a disadvantage!」
Iris grabbed and shook Marion in frustration.
「Why are you venting your frustration onto me!?」
「Grrr! But, but, but! Punigami is going to lose!」
「Doesn’t mean you should shake me! Don’t pull on my twintails either…..ah, Punigami is in trouble!」
「Punigami, evasive maneuvers!」
Punigami dodged the fireball with a side jump.
However, Punyobaron wasn’t done yet.
His evasive tactics won’t work forever.
「In that case, Punigami-sama has no choice but to use magic himself. Punyobaron-san can use magic. This means Punigami-sama has to be able to do the same as a fellow slime!」
Sheryl’s thoughts went into an outrageous direction.
「There is no way for him to suddenly master magic in a pinch! Magic is something you learn gradually. I’m sure of it」
「How much did you learn, Iris-sama?」
「No….I’ve been using it since birth」
Eclipse raised her hand in high spirits.
「This Mistress is the same」
「As for me……I did train, quite a bit」
Muttered Marion in a tiny voice.
「See, you don’t need to learn to use magic」
「Don’t just casually dismiss me, Sheryl!」
「It’s three versus one. Marion-san is in the minority. It’s more probable to use magic without learning!」
「This logic is flawed……definitely flawed…….I’m the normal one…..」
「Punigami-sama, ignore the incoherent mumbling and use magic. I believe you can absolutely do it! It’s time for a convenient awakening!」
Punigami continued to dodge fireballs as he listened to Sheryl’s nonsense.
However, he had little space to maneuver and was almost hit by a fireball.
At that moment, rainbow-colored light spilled from Punigami.
Punigami didn’t seem to understand what happened.
However, that same light easily extinguished the fireball.
Yes. It was the light of magical power.
Iris didn’t use magic.
Neither did Eclipse and Muriel.
It belonged solely to Punigami.
「The color. It’s the same as big sis Iris’~」
「It’s that isn’t it? After being close to Iris-sama for so long he absorbed her perspiration. After all, Iris-sama’s magical power is potent enough to turn this place into a grassland. There is nothing unexpected about that!」
「Iris’ perspiration…..soaking into Punigami…….licking Punigami is the same as licking Iris? Cindy…..what a schemer!」
「Hm? Do you want to lick Iris-sama’s perspiration?」
「O-Of course, I don’t…..!」
Marion answered while avoiding eye contact.
She couldn’t agree to it, especially in Iris’ presence.
「Seven colors?! It’s like a rainbow…..however, color doesn’t correlate with strength! Don’t falter, Punyobaron!」
Punyobaron continuously shot fireballs at Punigami.
However, instead of dodging, Punigami rushed straight at him.
At collided with full force.
Not only was Punyobaron pushed out of the ring but he also rolled all the way down the hill.
「Yay! Punigami’s victory!」
Iris dismounted Marion and jumped at Punigami.
Punigami pushed his metaphorical chest in pride.
Since this time he was actually amazing, she didn’t mind him showing off.
Iris patted Punigami.
「Ah…..my Punyobaron…..I didn’t expect his fireballs to be repelled. My eyes didn’t deceive me! Iris-san! Punigami-san! You have to participate in the slime festival! You might even take the crown from the Puniqueen!」
What is the slime festival?
Who is Puniqueen?
Iris wanted to take a nap, but would she?
The future holds many mysteries.
「I’m not a pervert! I’m Cindy the Slime Tamer! I’ve heard the rumors about a colorful slime and this village and came to take a look!」
The girl introduced herself and explained the reason behind her arrival.
She looks ordinary. Perhaps all this pervert business is a giant misunderstanding.
「But this Slime-san is too gorgeous, so I couldn’t restrain myself from hugging and licking him!」
「A pervert after all!」
Iris and Punigami screamed from below the blanket.
「I’m not a pervert! Just a slime enthusiast!」
「Have you no self-awareness? You shouldn’t be like that~」
「Indeed. Being a pervert is fine, as long as you are self-aware and don’t inconvenience those around you. One doesn’t lick unfamiliar slimes」
「Uu…..for that I apologize……but I’m not a pervert! Anyone wants to lick a slime one or twice in his life!」
Cindy retorted with a serious expression.
Still, no one nodded.
Instead, the room was full of dumbfounded people trying to process her words.
「Yes….okay……I don’t really understand but stay strong. There must be someone who can understand you somewhere in this world」
Eclipse chose the route of encouragement.
What a nice girl.
She must’ve felt loneliness radiating from this pervert.
「W-Why am I being encouraged!? There are plenty of people who share my school of thought! All slime tamers are this way!」
「What is a slime tamer in the first place?」
「An important question indeed! Slime tamers befriend the slimes, share their hearts, and live together! Right, Punyobaron?」
The pink slime behind Cindy bounced with a pyon.
They do seem to be friends.
「No ja. So that pink one’s name is Punyobaron? Back on topic, does that mean Iris is a slime tamer too?」
「You must be on some very good terms to share one bed together! You must be licking him every night!」
「No one does that!」
Iris poked her head out to retort.
And then their eyes met.
Her fierce momentum caused by agitation didn’t last long enough to have an actual conversation.
Especially since her opponent was a pervert.
「Iris is the same as always around strangers」
「It’s alright, Big Sis. Muriel and I will escort the pervert outside our village」
「Leave it to us!」
Muriel and Eclipse grabbed Cindy by the arms and tried to drag her away.
「Wait a second. Don’t pull on me……I have an appointment with the blue slime……..save me, Punyobaron!」
The pink slime by the name of Punyobaron used a ramming attack again the two.
But slime is still a slime.
No matter the momentum behind it, it’s not very effective.
「Ahaha, it tickles」
「Reminds me of Punigami」
「Kuh, even Punyobaron can’t stand against a human….!」
Cindy’s face manifested deep frustration.
Meanwhile, Muriel and Eclipse gradually dragged her away despite constant tackles.
At that moment.
The Lord, Sheryl, and the dragon girl, Marion came to the church.
「Iris-sama. I saw a person with a pink slime…..ah, there she is」
「Why is it trying to hit Muriel and Eclipse……?」
The two didn’t seem too surprised by Cindy and Punyobaron.
It sounded like they knew about them beforehand.
「No ja? Are you two friends with this pervert?」
「I don’t have any perverts as friends!」
Marion screamed as she turned red.
「I’m not a pervert!」
So as Cindy did.
「Well, there are many weirdoes in this village. I don’t know what kind of pervert you are, Cindy, but let’s get along. Everyone here is a comrade」
Sheryl spoke nonchalantly.
Iris wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about befriending the slime licker, but she refrained from retorting for now.
「…..It appears to me that you are acquainted with Cindy」
Iris spoke as she slightly poked her head out of the blanket and refused to look in Cindy’s direction.
「Well, I saw her wandering around the hill a while back. She brought a slime with her and didn’t look like one of ours, so I approached her. There, I coincidentally met Marion-san in the middle of her stroll」
「Just so you know it, I wasn’t about to come here to play because I have too much free time!」
Marion was desperate to deny.
「She told me about her quest for a colorful slime. My my, the rumors about Punigami-sama spread far and wide. In my delight, I told her where to find him before seeing her dashing up the hill as fast as she could. I became curious, so here I am」
「What was it again? Slime Tamer? You seem like a good match. That said, Iris is scared of all strangers without exceptions. You can probably get along as you discuss slimes together」
Marion put her hands on her waist as she preached.
As if asking her to do something about her social skills.
However, one doesn’t need to be Iris to try to make some distance from the pervert.
「We won’t get along! That Cindy over here licked Punigami on their first meeting.」
「Eh……out of nowhere….!? We have a pervert here!」
Marion screamed with a pale face.
「…..Is that so? There was a time when I licked Iris-sama before」
Sheryl fell deep in thought.
Come to think of it, that did happen before.
「What!? When did you do something so envious…..I mean, horrible to Iris!?」
「With some effort. You can do the same any time you want. Iris-sama will resist, but you’ll still be able to get away with it!」
Marion gazed at Iris as she gradually turned red.
「No, you won’t get away with it! Don’t waver, Marion!」
「I’ve almost fallen into Sheryl’s trap!」
「Who cares about that. Since your goal in licking Punigami is complete, it’s about time you go back. Or do you want to lick him some more? That’s not allowed, I’m afraid」
「No no, I do want to lick him……but that’s not why I’m here! I’m here to challenge that blue slime to a match of slime sumo!」
「Slime sumo……what it even is?」
Muriel tilted her head.
The resident of the capital, Sheryl, and the dragon girl, Marion, didn’t seem to know either.
As a matter of course, neither did Iris and Eclipse.
「The hell is that?」The one with the biggest chance to know a thing or two seemed rather confused too.
「How could you not know about slime sumo!? Even though you are on such good terms with your slime! It’s an essential part of the slime battles!」
「Even if you say that……what is the slime battle in the first place?」
Curiosity trumped over sociophobia as she asked the question.
「Slime Battle…..it’s a sports event that allows slime tamers to compete against each other! Wisdom and courage. Effort and spirit. It’s a complex sport that requires a vast variety of skills. The slime sumo is the cornerstone of them all! The owner of the strongest slime gets great respect from all the slime tamers!」
「Oh…..there are so many slime tamers…..」
「Of course! Our kind can be found in any corner of the world!」
Having said that, Cindy puffed her chest in pride.
Then with a clap of her hands, Sheryl remembered something.
「I saw some people bringing slimes to the capital from time to time. Apparently, there are plenty of slime users amongst monster tamers. Other monsters aren’t even allowed in the city」
「Then why are the slimes okay?」
Eclipse couldn’t help but ask.
「Because they are weak…..that’s why」
Interested in the topic, Punigami jumped out of the blanket.
That’s slander, or so he said.
「That’s right, that’s right」agreed Punyobaron
Apparently, that statement their soft spot.
They are weak though.
「You shouldn’t call them weak! They just don’t wish to cause any harm! They are by no means weak! They are only soft from all the kindness stuffed inside of them!」
「Hawawa……I apologize….slimes aren’t weak. Slimes are great…..」
Sheryl quickly conceded after being pressured by an enthusiastic slime tamer and two slimes.
「As long as you understand. Come, let’s have a match!」
「Bothersome……do I have to?」
「Aren’t you motivated………can’t help it then…….」
Her initial plans of napping until noon had to be postponed.
「Yay! Iris is awake! It’s only the morning. Amazing~」
「It’s a miracle!」
「Excellent, Iris-sama! I’ve always believed in you! Yahoo!」
「Are you okay, Iris? You aren’t pushing yourself? To wake up so early……you are about to break through your limits!」
A simple act of getting out of bed turned into a spectacle.
Especially Marion, she even seemed to be worried.
「There are times where even I can get up early! The time when Muriel first appeared I stayed active since the morning!」
「That was an exceptional exception」
Sheryl said with a straight face.
Iris puffed her cheeks.
Yet no one objected.
Even though she volunteered to protect the slime.
Iris’ prestige is less than that of a slime.
「I’ll rub it into your faces later! So, how do you do that slime sumo thing!?」
「Thank you for participating! Let’s go outside first!」
Cindy took Punyobaron and went outside.
「Punigami, let’s go!」