Squatjaw’s Amusement Park of Mystery (5)

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A special boxing arena inside the amusement park.


With the stage of the decisive battle in front of me, it felt like my heart was racing for some reason.

To warm up a bit, I did some shadow boxing on the spot.

One, two.
One, two.

Then –

“Hey there, champ.
You nervous?”

I didn’t notice her arrive, but Cocoa was smiling and patting my back with her palm.

“Who’s nervous…”

“The opponent is a rookie nobody’s ever even heard of.
Put him to sleep in the first round.


I silently stared at Cocoa as she walked towards the ring.

That kid… It looked like she was having a lot of fun playing the referee.
She’d completely assimilated into the concept.

As soon as Cocoa climbed into the ring, thunderous cheers resounded from all directions.


“I’ve been waiting!”

“Let’s get started!”

– Yes! You guys have been waiting a long time! Finally, it’s the highlight of our amusement park! Let the Unlimited Boxing Championship begin! Originally, I should introduce the challenger, but that cowardly little boy is late because he said he had to pee! So, shall we call you!? Red Corner! The one and only champion! No one’s ever managed to stand up to this man’s fists! Introducing, Tyson Squatjaw!

I raised my hand in response to the shouts pouring in and climbed into the ring.


It was my first time standing in a place like this.
I’d only ever seen boxing on TV, and I never even liked it that much.
To be honest, I hadn’t expected it to be this exciting…

Even standing still, leaning against a corner, I was feeling strangely electrified.

The square ring that seemed to clamp down on me just by looking at it, the audience screaming in excitement down below, and even the dazzling ceiling lights.
Somehow, it felt like the environment was squeezing me tight, same as the gloves gripped tightly in my hands?

Bang –.

I clapped my gloved hands.

Maybe Cocoa had been right.
I really was nervous.

Now, it was the final match, and my opponent was Yan.

In fact, it was arguably the most dangerous match.
To say this was my last obstacle also meant that this was the author’s last chance to be rid of me without a hitch.
He might never get a chance like this ever again.
So I couldn’t rule out the possibility of the author infusing Yan with some unexpected powers, like a ‘protagonist buff’.

Besides, this wasn’t the only danger.

There were no tricks inside this ring.
There was no mechanism to restrain or subdue Yan, no weapons or drugs hidden, no teammates waiting to be tagged (actually, Chinuavi did offer to hide under the ring pretending to be me, but I’d refused).

In other words, I didn’t prepare any cowardly tactic.

Because this time, I was going to compete with pure skill.

– Yes! Just in time, here comes the peeing chicken! He should’ve just run away.
Why did he walk into the lion’s cage on his own feet!?

Yan’s face was the exact opposite of Cocoa’s description.

The boy’s eyes were cold and deep.
His face was indeed a little flushed, but it was hard to see him as nervous or excited.

A tranquil atmosphere.
The same fighting spirit I’d felt before inside my gloves.

Yan looked like he was already in combat stance.

– I am introducing! Blue Corner! The weakest of that cheeky little gang of kids! Yan, the Wimp!


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“Get you gone!”

“You’re in for a real drubbing, baby boy!”

I slowly glanced at Yan, who had climbed onto the ring.

“Hey there scaredy-cat.
Did your pee dry up?”

“You were impersonating a member of the Black Shadows.
Of course, it’s true that it allowed me to go on an adventure… but I’d like to hear the reason why.
Along with your identity.”

The provocation didn’t seem to work.

Every time, before a battle, this guy would become a calm monster.


Well, that was what I’d expected.

I simply clenched my fists, then slowly moved into position.

Soon after,

Ding –.

The bell rang, announcing the start of the match.

There were three reasons why I dared to compete with Yan in the last match by skill.

First, to compete with your skills and win.
That was the ‘end’ that I really needed.

Of course, it would’ve been much easier to subdue him with a trick.
Judging from the progress so far, I don’t think the author would really stop me.
It would also be a familiar development for readers.

However, that ‘familiarity’ was the problem.

If things just ended like this, my impact was bound to deteriorate significantly.
Rather than ‘how I defeat Yan’, the readers were probably already more curious about ‘what will I do after the game is over’.
It was a game, so they’d guess that I’d have some trick ready to win.

But after the game is over, nothing would really come to light, right? So this time too, do I just leave behind a question and disappear?

I’d end up being a weirdo who blocked their way for no reason at all.
While sacrificing the image I’d built up so far.

Of course, the reason I had a confrontation with these guys was because of the conditions the author put forward, but readers had no way of knowing that.

In short, I needed some kind of a ‘reversal factor’.

A way to break the familiar flow and make it possible to imagine something new.
How to make them focus more on my ‘character itself’ rather than my ‘motives’.

And that was this show of talents.

It was for this reason that I chose an actual fighting game as the match event.
Any way you slice it, competing with skills is the ultimate orthodox way to ‘battle’ in a shounen manga.

And the second reason.
In the first place, this guy was the only one suited for me to fight.

Siana, who did not yet have combat ability, was naturally excluded, and I didn’t even dare fight Kiriko or Leo head-on.
Those two, who played the role of adversaries, in fact had even more hidden power that had still not been revealed.

Of course, the strength of the characters in this manga is not clearly divided into numerical values.
Rather, there are many times when the power balance is completely flipped according to the author’s convenience.

But that was even more of a reason why I absolutely had to avoid fighting them.
Because the author’s convenience would always tilt towards the victory of the main characters.

I’d scheduled the matches with Kiriko and Leo at the front taking that into account.

Whatever happens, you can never beat the protagonist coming out last.
Because no reader will ever tolerate it.

So what would happen if Leo and I compete with skill in the last turn? In a situation where the main character is in a 3-0 pinch?

All my effort dragging things to all the way here might have gotten overturned by Leo’s fists.

On the other hand, Yan was quite different in that sense.

First of all, this guy didn’t have enough time since he joined the party, to receive enthusiastic support from the readers.
His appearance proportion was still low, and his character wasn’t yet very suitable to play an active role as the protagonist.
Even for the author, it wouldn’t be easy to apply a ‘protagonist buff’ to this guy.

Also, although this guy showed skills comparable to Leo in the last chapter, he was actually a guide.
In other words, a character whose defeat in a ‘duel’ could be tolerated.

So, there was only this guy.
That I could set myself against.

Even as the match started, Yan just stood there with his eyes gleaming.

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Those tranquil eyes seemed to be examining my ability.

‘Taking a peek, huh?’

I looked at Yan and smiled.
Since he was showing such calmness, I thought I should also at least show a degree of relaxation.

“Do you think you can see through my identity if you just keep staring?”

“… There are no signs of training, but your body is unusually strong and hard.”

“I know you have good eyes, but it’s embarrassing, so please stop peeking.
You just have to beat me.
Then I’ll tell you anything.
Can you do that, though?”

“… Well.”

At that moment,

“The long and short of it… if we’re just face to face!”

Shh –.

Suddenly, his form disappeared.



Bump –.

“Won’t I know then?”

“… Ah-oh.”

A foot flew in from somewhere and hit me in the ass.

It was tingling rather than painful, and I was feeling more embarrassed than angry.

This guy was faster than I’d thought.
Much, much faster, at that.

“Hey, you know we’re boxing right? Fists only.”

“Oops, my mistake.”

His face had no trace of shame and no change in expression.

“And anyway, I was just saying hello.
If I had struck somewhere else with more force, it might not have been safe.”


I nodded.

“Okay, I looked down on you.
You got a lucky hit in.”

Actually, these was not just some empty words.

I immediately mimicked his unique ability.

[Dance with Ghost Killer].

Soon after, a transparent ghost that looked just like me popped out of thin air.

“Oh, what’s this place?”

I am your master.
Attack target is that gloomy kid in front of you.

“Hey, you want me to beat a kid?”

“No good?”

“It’s just fine!”

Then he rushed towards Yan.

Even as the ghost’s uppercut brushed past his chin, Yan kept observing.

“… I’m really curious.
Suddenly, even my ability…”

“Well, you must have guessed, didn’t you?”

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Yan’s face darkened slightly.

“Still, I will win.”

Then, Yan too showed his unique ability.

There were two of them in the arena.

“I’ll start strong.
Things might get annoying otherwise.”

Before long, two ghosts that looked just like Yan started beating my ghost.

Real people couldn’t touch these ghost killers unless they had a ‘special method’, but the ghosts seemed to be able to beat each other up just fine.

“Hey, what are you doing? Counterattack!”

“Hey, these little ones… are strong! Add one more!”

Seriously, this oversized layabout.

“See… looks like one is your limit, right? Seems like you can’t draw out 100% of the abilities of others.”

“Who says that?”

I immediately summoned another ghost.

“Go over there and help your friend.”

“What do you mean, I’m on a team with that stupid squat-jawed lump?”

“Yeah, with the guy who looks just like you.
Get a move on!”

Seeing this scene, Yan gulped a bit nervously.

“Seems it’s possible.”

“Are you surprised?”

“A little bit… But, seems the ability isn’t mastered as much as me?”

That was true.

It was 2-2, but just looking at it, the Squatjaws were in a bit of a pushback trend.

Of course, it’s the master’s ability that determines the strength of a ghost.
But what is equally important is the harmony between them.
Because these guys have an ‘ego’ as well as a continuous ‘memory’, making them individuals capable of ‘growth’ through repeated actual battles.

Besides, the problem wasn’t just the ghosts.

“You don’t have the time to keep looking at the ghosts.”

Yan continued his attacks on me.

Shh –.


I hurriedly backed away to avoid Yan’s straight cross homing in on my jaw.

But that was immediately followed by a jab, jab, jab, and finally a hook.


“… Grunt.”

“Looks like the damage is slowly piling up.
You’ve slowed down.”

That last one was a little heavy.
It felt like the insides of my head were shaking.

‘Ah, was it bad to choose boxing?’

My chin was about three times as large as others, so it was a little bit harded to dodge.
Besides, the opponent’s hits were strong enough to hit the goal even with just a glancing blow, and that guy’s footwork was also too fast to follow.

But even so,


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I shook my head.

Fortunately, the gloves, the boxing shoes, and the rules of boxing themselves limited his routes of attack, so that was enough.

There are several hidden characteristics that Yan has learned from the assassins as per his setting, and one of them is ‘ghost walk’.
It’s a kind of body lightening method[1], a cheat ability that lets the user move secretly and quickly without making a single noise.

In the original work, Yan always took his shoes off when using that ability, meaning he was not currently using it.

‘But it’s still like this?’


I nodded.
Really, not just anybody could become the main character’s companion.
The guy I’d thought of as my most suitable opponent was still this strong.


“I can’t do it.”

“… Are you giving up?”

“Uh, right.”

I graciously admitted it.

For a moment, a look of embarrassment appeared in Yan’s eyes.
It seems to have been a completely unexpected statement.

And, perhaps, so was it for the readers.
Of course, for the author too.

Did I get some attention?

“You’re amazing.
So I’m going to stop playing around and finish it now.”


The third and final reason why I dared to compete with Yan by skill.

“Come, ghosts.”

“… Huh?”

Soon after,

“Um, where is this?”

“What, am I fourth?”

“You are the master! I am the ghost!”

Three ghosts spawned next to me.

I slowly gave Yan a glance and gave instructions to the three.

“Smash both the little kid and the two little ghosts over there.
Is five enough?”


“… What, what?”

Yan’s face, full of shock with his mouth opened wide, caught my eye.

What was the reason, you ask?

Because I was completely confident that I would actually win.

Because I wasn’t mimicking Yan, or rather the ‘Current Yan’.

The one I was mimicking was Yan a few chapters from now.

It was ‘Future Yan’, who was stronger than he was now.

I smiled at Yan.

“I’m confused too… who knows how this happened?”

Editor’s Notes:

[1] 경공 (lit.
light work), Chinese martial art term for method to lighten the body and facilitate movement.

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