Shatei Kyokufuri – 83

Data.76 – Old Bowman, A Battle With Yourself

“…!”

Splash…
There was nothing caught on the fishing hook when it came out of the water.

“Ha… Haa…!”

I swallowed back the ‘Help me!’ that threatened to come out of my mouth.
If I said that, it would be like I haven’t grown at all.
And there was no doubt that I had grown.
After all, I had succeeded in catching one 4-star fish.
It was a catfish known as a Medallion Great Catfish, and it had seven medallion-like patterns on the sides of its body.

However, ever since I had caught it, I hadn’t been able to catch any 5-stars, let alone any 4-stars.
And it wasn’t because I was so unlucky that there were no big ones nearby.
Because there was a surefire way to complete the 5-star challenge.

And that way…was to continue catching fish with perfect timing.
Once the player casts their line, the shadow of a fish that targets that bait alone will appear.
This fishing pond was special in that it looked like there were a lot of fish from far away, but you couldn’t see any when you got closer.

This was to prevent players from fighting over fishing spots.
Because if there was a large shadow in the water, then everyone would want to cast their line there. The current system meant that fish would appear for individual players.
Though, there were still players wandering around. Either it was to try and break their unlucky streak or the belief that there was a hidden spot where you could catch bigger fish.

In any case, once you saw the shadow approach the hook, you just had to wait for it to bite.
And when the float went down, you pulled the rod up swiftly.
The faster you are, the more likely you will be to catch a rare one the next time.

In other words, if you catch a small 1-star fish, then you will be more likely to catch a 2-star fish the next time, and so on.
So by the time you catch a 4-star fish, you are guaranteed to start seeing 5-star fishes.
But that also meant you had to continue to concentrate and fish for the very chance to catch a 5-star fish.
Well, supposedly they did have a very low chance of appearing at all times, but one could not rely on that.
If you wanted the special reward, then it was best to start at 1-star.

However…there were so many distractions.
This trial was like a battle with yourself but also a battle with others.

“YEEEEEEESSS!!! I caught a 5-star!!!”

“Huh…!?”

Splash…
There was nothing on the hook that I pulled out of the water.
And a short distance away, someone was celebrating their catch of a huge 5-star fish…
Well, I would clap for them… Everyone else was.
Though, they were probably fuming inside…

This was one of the traps that messed up your concentration… The cries of joy.
As everyone was so desperate to catch a 5-star, they couldn’t help but shout when it happened.
However, it was terribly distracting for me to hear sudden screams everywhere.
And if it happened just as the float sank…well, I was destined to fail.

However, it’s not like I could ask them to be quiet…
Because I knew that everyone, even me, would do the same…!

“Tsk…focus…focus…!”

I threw the line.
I had been on a good streak and caught a 3-star, but now I was back to 1.
However, I would not let it get to me. Things would turn around soon…
I closed my eyes and exhaled.
Alright, it’s back to war…!

“Oh…!”

I couldn’t help but gasp.
This shadow was big!
Could it be… That I was lucky enough to get a 4-star?
I had to catch it… Now, come…!

“Yes!!”

Splash…
But there was nothing on the hook that emerged from the water.

“Alright! I caught a 4-star!”

The person next to me had been the one to catch it.
…I had gotten our floats mixed up!
As they were all borrowed, the designs of the rods and floats were the same.
And it was so easy to get them mixed with other people’s!
Especially after you became distracted!
There were even times when someone thought mine was theirs.
This ‘mix up’ was another dangerous trap…

But the most dangerous trap…was myself.

“It-it’s getting harder to focus…”

Even when I tried, there were times when my mind would become dim, like a fog had come over it.
And when that happened, my timing was awful.
Getting a 2-star was fine, but once I reached 3-stars, my timing was off and I could rarely reach 4-stars.
At that point, there was nothing I could do but put the rod down and rest for a while.

My ability to focus must have been crazy as a child…
I had lots of memories of finishing action games that were too hard or uninteresting for me now.
You can understand complex puzzles and stories as an adult, but I felt that I was definitely better at simple 2D action games when I was a kid.

I listened to the murmur of the water and thought of such things to give my mind a rest.
And then I cast the line again and stared at the float.
I repeated this over and over until I realized that it was already night time.
I had no trouble seeing the surface of the water, thanks to the lanterns by the river, but I was overcome with fatigue once I realized the time it was.

As I had made a habit of logging in during the morning and logging out during the night, my body started to feel tired at night.
Heh. Like a child who goes home when the sun comes down.
However, I intended to stay a little longer…!
If I managed to have a good streak but still failed after that, then I would give up for the day.

“Huhhh…hahh…”

I kept my eyes open so I wouldn’t lose sight of the float, and took in a deep breath.
And the rest of the world seemed to fade away, and all I could see was the float, the water, and the shadow of a fish.
The float sank, I raised the rod, repeat…
The simple process was repeated with precision over and over.
How many times have I done it? I hadn’t failed yet.
And I won’t…this time!

“Ah…!”

I raised the rod without thinking, and there was a ridiculously large fish attached to it.
I fell back and nearly got crushed by the thing.

“Wh-what is this!?”

It was huge. Probably not a fish you would see in Japan.
And it had a giant golden medal stuck to its forehead.
Like a decoration on a general’s helmet… Just as I thought this, the fish disappeared.
Ha-had it escaped…!

‘I took the liberty of taking it since you appeared to be in pain-nyon! That was a Medallion Pirarucu! Obviously, a 5-star-nyon! And so…here you are!’

She handed me the Pisces medal.
It seemed like I hadn’t gotten one in a while, but it had a similar design to the others.
The face had the constellation made of jewels.
And the back had a picture of two fish.
Why were there two fishes? People from long ago were mysterious.

‘And here is the special reward, ‘Magic Fish Fossil’-nyon!’

Woah, what is this…
Well, it was what it sounded like. A fossil that looked like fish bones stuck in a rock. But how was I supposed to use it?
I couldn’t use it to learn a skill, and I couldn’t equip it.
But if it was related to fish, then perhaps it can help Garbow… I will have to ask Mister Yu.
Of course, I am tired now, so that would have to be tomorrow.

‘Hey, hey! Would you like to take a commemorative picture with the fish? Of course, there is no extra charge-nyon!’

“Hmm. I don’t see why not.”

And so the two of us held up the giant Medallion Pirarucu and took a photo.
It was a good photo. But since Charin was dressed like a proper fisher and I was in beginner gear, it looked like she was the one who caught it.
It seemed like I was just the local guide who helped the pretty beast hunter catch a monster fish for her tv show.

In any case, I had cleared the greatest trial, so it was all good!

Next Chapter

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Shatei Kyokufuri Yumi-Ojisan

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