Chapter 2 – Training
Let’s see, where should we start? Well, let’s go in order from the end of the uproar in the Count Abbas household. Count Hussel, who wanted to take over the Abbas house, manipulated Dokum to assassinate Dolce, the Abbas heir, and pin the blame on Canaan.
Count Abbas asked me to find the truth, so I ordered my familiar, Beeze, to investigate. Through him, I found out Count Hussel was pulling the strings behind it all. By revealing the truth in front of Count Abbas, Dokum was captured, and the people involved in Dolce’s assassination were captured one after another, snaring the whole herd with a single rope.
However, it won’t be so simple for Count Hussel; Count Abbas seems to have accused Hussel’s family in addition to the man himself. Along with Dokum, Rotten’s wife was also arrested (Rotten is a loyal retainer of the Abbas house). Rotten’s wife was count Hussel’s niece, and after Dolce’s death, she was planning to make her and Rotten’s child inherit the Abbas family. Rotten is in a branch of the Abbas family, so without Dolce, there was a high probability their child would be adopted and take over the Abbas family.
When I left the Great Borf Forest, I assisted Allie’s carriage on her way to Algria, but that was also an attempt by Count Hussel to call her out, impersonating the letter of a noble lady who was in a good relationship with Allie. He tried to kill her off with a fake bandit attack while she was traveling. After all, she would have been the biggest hindrance to Count Hussel’s plans after Dolce’s death.
I just happened to pass by, and that caused the fates of myself, Allie, and the whole Abbas family to become intertwined, shattering Count Hussel’s ambitions. Canaan, who became my slave in the meantime, was freed from her criminal slavery.
“That’s great, Canaan. You’re no longer a criminal slave.”
Canaan went through combat training in the Great Borf Forest every day, so her level had reached 170. Best of all, she could activate her magic without chanting. Furthermore, she learned a magic called [Flame Prison Magic] which seems absolutely insane. The power of this [Flame Prison Magic] is so incredible it can’t compare to [Fire Magic]. A single attack with this magic was able to leave a crater three kilometers in diameter in the Great Borf Forest.
Canaan was silent after I said that line.
I was sitting in a chair and talking to Canaan over a cup of tea, but her reaction was underwhelming. This Count’s tea is really delicious. Let’s bring some of the tea leaves with us when we leave.
“I have a request.”
“What is it? Tell me.”
Canaan stared at me with a serious expression, seeming depressed for some reason. I’m weak to that kind of look from a beautiful woman.
“Please make me your slave again!” [ED: ah jeez not this shit again]
I was wondering what she was going to say, and she asked me to make her my slave again? What was this girl saying when she’d just been freed?
“Is this some kind of slave play?”
“No, it isn’t! It’s not playing at all!”
Good, I wouldn’t have wanted to go out with you if you said it was.
“I can’t see you anymore, Master!”
“I could see you when I was a slave. But now…”
“You’re blurred out, like a shadow…”
Is my shadow really that obscure…?
(Puhahaha! So that’s what it is, huh? It’s mostly because of you!)
(What are you laughing at? It’s not funny! …Hey, Black Mist, am I that hard to recognize?)
I did have the [Mask Presence] skill, but it was an active skill, so it only took effect if I activated it. Why couldn’t she see me? Was it because of the Hermit Coat?
“I can see you a bit more when you’re wearing the Bear’s Coat, but… without it…”
(It seems that Canaan can’t see you because your presence is so weak. Isn’t that good? You can do a surprise attack on her, you know!)
(Shut up! I don’t need surprise attacks, give me my presence instead!)
…Ah! …That’s it… That [Weird Person] title… When I wear clothes, I’m like a rock on the side of the road… Fuck, that must be the reason!
“There are various reasons for that. Therefore, it doesn’t matter whether you become my slave or not.”
“No, when I was a slave, I could feel a connection with you, and more than that, I could see you! Not being your slave now gives me anxiety!”
In the end, I begrudgingly agreed to enslave her again. What kind of play is that, being freed and then immediately choosing slavery again? But I was scared of the look in Canaan’s eyes. When she looked at me like that, I had no choice but to agree.
We needed to go to Sidele’s store to re-sign the slave contract, but before we did that, I needed to make an item that would increase my presence.
All I had to do was prepare some gold to exchange. There was gold dust in the Ellyn River which flowed through the middle of the Great Borf forest. It was purely a coincidence that I found the gold dust, but since I did, not collecting Mr. Gold Dust would be rude. I put it on the desk and created a perfect presence-boosting ring with [Equivalent Exchange].
Gold Ring of Existence : If you wear this pure gold ring, you have no choice but to stand out. So be careful of thieves, okay~ ♡
Nice! This will make me stand out, too!
“How about now?”
I put the ring on my finger and asked Canaan about my presence.
“Ah, I can see you, Master! Amazing!”
So, since you can see me, you don’t have to be my slave, right? I asked her that, but she said she “couldn’t feel the connection!” and still needed to return to being a slave. What’s this “connection” anyway?
I asked Count Abbas, Allie and Goliath about my presence when I met them in the hall, they said it was like they couldn’t compel themselves to look directly at me. They all followed up with a synchronized, “You’re firmly visible now,” when I put the ring on.
I was about to sweat from my eyes , so I took Canaan to Sidele’s store. I asked him when I arrived at his store, but he said the same thing as the Abbas folks.
“Are you really okay with that?”
After I delivered the onigiri, and Canaan said she wanted to go back to being my slave, Sidele’s eyes turned round somehow and persuaded Canaan to reconsider it. I also persuaded her, but Canaan’s will was firm and she continued to longing for serving me as a slave.
Sidele gave up with a sigh and made a contract to make Canaan back to become my slave.
“This will make Canaan into Sumeragi-sama’s general slave. Please take good care of her.”
Sidele bowing deeply at me. It seems I was giving him trouble. When I went back to the mansion, Count Abbas called me.
“Mhm, as I thought, he can see me just fine.”
This guy, I knew it! He just pretended he couldn’t see me well before!
Goliath and a magician-like man standing behind him also nodded with agreement.
“…W-what are you talking about?”
His tone was kind of vague. Hey, Black Mist, don’t laugh!
“Oh yes, I have three requests for you, Sumeragi-dono.”
The first was about Count Hussel. Although he said to prepare for war, Dolce said that war wasn’t good, and Count Abbas seemed to have lost his will for war thanks to Dolce’s persistent urging. Therefore, he said that he would seek the King’s judgment to charge Count Hussel for his crime.
Neither the letter addressed to Dokum nor the letter addressed to his niece, Rotten’s wife, were any problem, but he wanted other evidence of Count Hussel’s injustice so he could crush him with all certainty. The King would also make poor decisions and try to avoid a dispute between powerful nobles in the country, so Count Abbas wanted to gather indisputable evidence to prevent Count Hussel from escaping his fate.
“Ah, that guy has never lacked bad rumors going around about him, so I think if we look for it, we’ll definitely find more evidence of his wrongdoings!”
“Does that mean that you want me to collect it?”
“Can you not?”
Dolce’s idea of avoiding war for the people was admirable, and he knew that instead of going to war, he thought about crushing Count Hussel politically as the final stage. While that may have been true, I had no obligation to help him, nor did I owe him anything.
“No, I’m sorry. Forget about this. There are also things you can’t do, right?”
What? This bastard! Don’t just decide it’s impossible one sidedly before I do it!
“Alright, I’ll take that request!”
“But isn’t it difficult?”
I know I was riding on the count’s cajolery. I’ll just get right on that.
“I don’t care. Let’s talk about the rewards.”
“I see, I appreciate that. Rewards, right? Hmm, how about 20 million, no, 30 million gold, how about it?”
It’s a much higher reward than when I helped Allie or find the truth about Dolce’s murder. If there’s a war with count Hussel, I wonder if the cost would be even higher and also include people’s lives?
“Alright, then I’ll entrust you with this!”
Since the reward had been decided between, I took out something from [Material Storage] and put it on the table.
“Evidence of secret trades, illegal slavery, drug production, and smuggling, that Count Hussel is guilty of.”
The count was at a loss for words from this.
Beeze had brought home the letter that served as evidence of Dolce’s murder, but he’d also collected Count Hussel’s other letters and documents to determine if the letter was genuine, and compared the signatures and crest. That’s when I got this document. Beeze was just excellent!
“The first request has been completed, isn’t it?”
“…Ah, mhm, that’s right… but…”
It took a while for Count Abbas, who was muttering and getting into his own world, to be broken from his reverie. He probably didn’t think he’d get the evidence on the spot, so it took him a little while to prepare 30 million gold, but I was definitely well-rewarded.
The second request was about Dolce’s murder.
A lot of knights and magicians were punished for their involvement with Dokum, and Count Abbas was under pressure to rebuild the military. He supplemented the ranks with new recruits, but he wanted to improve the overall quality of the army even more. To that end, he wanted me to become an instructor to train his soldiers.
“Don’t be unreasonable, I have never been involved with the military.”
“Maybe so, but your capabilities are obvious just from looking at Canaan.”
Canaan and I looked at each other like we had no idea what they were talking about.
“It was the legendary [Light Magic] that saved Rotten, right? I know Canaan’s capabilities since she was my former vassal, she couldn’t use [Light Magic] before.”
We both fell silent hearing that. Come to think of it, when did Canaan learn [Light Magic]? Was it after she passed level 100? Since it’s a level that can’t be reached in general, is [Light Magic] just a legend?
“I hear that only heroes and great sages in the past used [Light Magic]. Now, Canaan is on par with those legends. Moreover, she can cure such wounds instantly which might have been fatal with just [Recovery Magic]. Anyone would have noticed that, not just me.”
As expected, the title of count wasn’t just for show.
“I’ll give you a lot of rewards! I beg you!”
I couldn’t refuse Count Abbas when he was bowing his head with his hands on the table even though he was a noble.
“There are conditions.”
“Ten people. I can’t take care of too many. That’s why I will only train ten people you’ve chosen. Those ten people can train other troops afterwards.”
“Understood. However, I’ll make some selections personally, and I’d like you to choose from among them. It won’t be good if an imprudent person gains power.”
I see, he can choose from servants with high loyalty.
“That’s good. But please understand, I won’t be responsible if they die.”
“…They could die?”
Count Abbas looked at me and Canaan, and she nodded curtly. That’s weird, did I force her to train that hard? I think I’ve erased my memories from that time.
“Master’s common sense is insane compared to other people.”
Canaan muttered with a sigh. I’m not convinced… I didn’t hear you complaining!
“So, what’s the third request?”
“Mhm, take this person with you.”
He wants me to take someone with me? Who might that be?
Then, the butler opened the door. Because I stayed in this mansion, I was indebted to him for many things, so his face was familiar. But behind him…
Why is she here?
“You already know without me introducing this person, don’t you? But I’ll introduce her once again. This is Hannah, the maid who tried to poison you. She’s a criminal slave now.”
“Yeah, I remember her face…”
Therefore, what the heck is this? Why is he introducing Hannah to me?
“I want to leave her in your care, Sumeragi-dono.”
What’s he talking about with such a serious face? Does he want to pick a fight with me? I’ll smack him. No, don’t make a fuss, stop it. Why do I have to take care of the maid who tried to kill me?
“I have a lot to say, but please explain yourself. Take care that you don’t jeopardize the good relationship we’ve had so far.”
The count’s forehead beaded up with sweat when I threatened him. I didn’t show my killing intent yet, so it might have just been cold sweat from his own speculation.
“She’s a poor girl. It’s not an exaggeration to say she’s basically one of the victims. However, it’s still true that she tried to poison you. That’s why I’ve made her a criminal slave, but considering that background, I’d like to leave her to the victim — you — and give her a chance to atone for her sin.”
I don’t think there’s a lie in this explanation, and I can understand what he’s saying… Well, I’m not saying there’s no self-interest in it, but atonement? Sure, one can say that she’s pitiable since her younger sister was taken hostage, and she was forced to do it. But what about me as the victim? It was good that the poison didn’t work, but if it had, I might be dead now.
“How about this, you may not be able to accept her entirely, but why don’t you simply give her the opportunity to atone?”
Good grief, this person is such a skilled sweet-talker. I saw Hannah looking down in the corner of this room. Those are dog ears, huh? …No, wolf ears? Wait, I don’t care about that now. In the current situation, it’s bad to care about something like that.
“Sigh, fine. I’ll go along with this farce.”
“Is that so? My apologies!”
I looked at Hannah again with a sigh, then turned my gaze back to the count.
“I’ll be strict, you know.”
“That’s what Hannah should be prepared for.”
That’s the count’s answer? Well, Hannah is a slave here, she has no right to say anything.
“If I decide she has atoned, I can free her, right?”
“I think that kind of condition should be acceptable.”
“Hmm. Very well then, I don’t care. Do as you like.”
It seems that criminal slaves can’t be released so easily. But when I’m satisfied and convinced by her behaviour, I will free her from slavery. I should have that much freedom.
“It’s a promise. It’s just a verbal promise, so don’t go back on it.”
“I won’t do anything so horrible that could violate my promise with you, Sumeragi-dono.”
The two of us laughed and shook hands. Count Abbas got tears in his eyes since I held his hand so tightly. By the way, Hannah’s price as a criminal slave was 50,000 gold. It’s pretty cheap, but it’s hard to find a buyer for someone who attempted assassination with poison. I recalled the time when no one buys me even for 10,000 gold, so I felt a sense of intimacy with her!
As soon as I went back to my room, I asked Hannah, “Are you okay with working for me?” I wanted to talk to her about this before it was too late.
“Yes, ’til the end of my life!”
She knelt down and swore her allegiance to me. She tried to poison me not because she wanted to, but for the sake of her sister who was taken hostage. I wouldn’t trust her so easily, but I still had a responsibility as her master since I accepted her with me.
“Alright, I’m going to save your younger sister now!”
“That’s my master! So merciful! Like a God!” Canaan was a little over the top. I’m neither merciful nor a God, I just don’t like the fact that Hannah’s weakness is still in the hands of a bastard named Hussel. I couldn’t allow anyone to control my slave’s weakness!
It’s Hussel’s fault that Hannah tried to poison me in the first place. Count Abbas was free to begin working with the royal family to go after Hussel for his crimes, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t target Hussel for my own reasons. However, I had to be sure that the difference between what Abbas did and what I did was clear.
That was why I came to the town of Sardais, which was located within Hussel’s territory. By the way, I was running while carrying two people! I think my speed was more than 300 kilometers per hour. Thanks to that, it took me less than an hour to traverse what would have been a two-day journey by horse-drawn carriage!
Hussel’s mansion was luxurious. Count Abbas’ mansion had a formal, elegant style to it, but Hussel’s had the gaudy, over-the-top kind of luxury that one would expect from new money.
“He sure has bad taste, huh?”
“Right? Why is everything so shiny!?”
So Canaan also thinks his decorations are stupid? Good, that means my perception of style is normal.
“The head of the Hussel family has even worse taste in clothes; everything he wears is covered in ornaments…”
Since his mansion was like this, it wasn’t hard to imagine his clothes would also be tacky and showy. I could have walked into his silly-looking mansion fair and square, but that was no fun, so I sneaked in.
Hannah and I both knew how to conceal our presence, but since Canaan still couldn’t do that on her own, she used the Hermit’s Coat. Its effect would make everyone here (except me) unable to sense her presence.
“Eh? Where is Canaan-san…”
Hannah was surprised, but it was also because she had a lower level than Canaan. The Hermit’s Coat had finally made its appearance after such a long time, and one of its effects was that those with lower levels than the user couldn’t detect the user’s presence.
“She used an item that can conceal her presence.”
“You really have some wonderful items, don’t you Master?”
“Don’t tell anyone.”
Guided by Beeze, we went down to the mansion’s basement. There, we found a prison. A skinny and dirty girl lay in the cell Beeze led us to.
“This is Hannah-dono’s little sister.”
“It looks like she’s sleeping right now. I’ll carry her out of the bed so that she won’t make any noise,” I said.
Hannah tried to insist, “It’s okay, I’ll carry her.”
“I have more power than you. Just leave her to me.”
The iron bars bent easily under the force of my [STR], leaving a big enough gap for me to enter the cell.
Sanya was sleeping face down. It could have been a problem if she woke up and made noise when I picked her up, so I put her to sleep with [Dark Magic]. There was no chance of resisting it because our levels were so overwhelmingly different.
“Master, I will use [Clean] on Sanya. Please wait for a bit!”
Right, this is a prison, and there’s no toilet or bathroom here, and she’s a girl after all… yup, this is the first thing to do. Canaan’s [Clean] spell worked its wonders on Sanya, and she even healed her.
I picked up Sanya, now recovered from Canaan’s magic, but I was shocked when I saw her face, frozen in place with her in my hands. Why is she here…? The girl in my arms had a familiar face that I could never forget.
A voice came out as if overflowing from the bottom of my heart. The girl’s face resembled my only little sister, Ayumi. Wolf ears like Hannah’s grew on her head, but her face was unmistakably the same as Ayumi’s.
My heart practically leaped into my throat as it beat like a drum.
Canaan and Hannah both asked with concern.
“…No, it’s nothing.”
Ayumi died in a traffic accident, there’s no way she could be here.
However, is it possible that she died in our world and reincarnated into this one? It can’t be…
I managed to move on somehow, suppressing the urge to make sure, and my desire to talk with Ayumi again.
“…She’s so light.”
I was told Sanya was fifteen years old, but she wasn’t the weight of a healthy teenage human. She was as light as a baby. She must have been getting the bare minimum of food, how pitiful. I kept staring at Ayumi’s face — no, Sanya’s. Hmm, Canaan and Hannah’s eyes… w-was that only my imagination?
Sigh, I breathe out and compose myself.
“Beeze, collect any gold and silver treasure, armor, food, or anything else that’s valuable stored in this mansion.”
I was getting compensation on my own for when Ayumi, as Hannah’s little sister, was used to blackmail Hannah into poisoning me.
“Oh yeah, you said that Hussel has a mansion in the royal capital too, right? Take everything from that mansion as well. Take his entire fortune!”
“As you wish.”
After Beeze disappeared, we withdrew from the mansion.
Since Hussel’s subordinates seemed to be getting noisy in Sardais, we went to the nearby port town called Port. As one would expect, I couldn’t carry three people with me, so Hannah and Canaan ran under their own power.
Canaan was panting hard. “W-water…” She said between gasps.
Meanwhile, Hannah was perfectly calm. Strange, Canaan should be a much higher level, right? Is this something that doesn’t correspond to that?
I poured some [Spring Water] directly into Canaan’s mouth as she asked, and she gulped it down greedily. In spite of my efforts to avoid it, she practically spilled as much of it as she could. She was certainly enjoying the luxury.
“Are you kidding me?”
“I-I’m very sorry!”
Vassals obviously noticed that the gold and silver treasures, reserved foodstocks, and other valuables stockpiled in the mansion had all disappeared, and reported it to Count Hussel. He was furious.
It was impossible to imagine that everything obtained in the past by staining his hands with evil had disappeared. The vassals didn’t even know what the count had done to obtain all this wealth, let alone that it was dangerous.
Ever since the loss of confidential documents, security inside the mansion had been reviewed and even expensive magic items were introduced. The daughter of a wolf-beastman named Sanya had also escaped from the prison by destroying the cell, so her sister Hannah was believed to be involved, but Hannah had been sold as a criminal slave and her whereabouts were unknown.
How did she escape when she was under the strictest security that was even complemented with magic tools? They had no idea.
“I was summoned by His Majesty, what happened to all our groundwork? There’s no money at all? On top of the treasure vault, even the food warehouses are empty? What were you all doing?!”
Hussel’s rage was boiling over, to the point it was the only thing showing on his face.
The confidential documents describing the weaknesses of the nobles were gone, along with all of the books loaned with cash. If this came to light, it would be clear as day that no one would defend him; even his own allies would turn around and blame him.
He massaged his forehead which had a headache caused by this incident.
In response to losing everything, Hussel increased taxes. The entry town tax was raised by five times, the merchants had to pay three times more customs duties than before, and even though farmers had been taxed 70% until now, he levied an additional 20%.
These efforts would of course raise prices in the territory overnight, and travelers and merchants would avoid the region. Farmers were originally charged a high tax, but if they were burdened any more, they would have no food to eat and be unable to survive.
There was no end to people abandoning their properties to escape. The security deteriorated at an accelerating rate, with soldiers cracking down on townspeople and farmers all trying to leave the region.
The brown rice was polished into white rice, then cooked with plenty of water. The ratio of white rice to water was one to twenty. With the water content being so high, the result was a thin porridge. Sanya had been starved in that prison, so it was better to slowly reintroduce her to food.
“Thank you very much, Master.”
Hannah thanking me respectfully.
“Don’t mind that, here, feed her, this is easily digestible food from my hometown. It will be good for Sanya in her current condition.”
“T-thank you so much.”
Sanya also thanked me. The more I looked at her, the more she looked like Ayumi. Ayumi was a dear family member that I couldn’t help wanting to see. Now Sanya showed up right in front of me, with the same face as Ayumi. Is this divine enlightenment? Is God giving me a mission to protect Sanya?
“Hey, Sanya, do you know of a country called Japan?”
Sanya was blowing her porridge to cool it down.
“Japan… I’ve never heard of it. I’m sorry.”
As I thought, I guess it was just an accidental resemblance.
“No, it’s ok. You don’t need to apologize. I’m sorry to interrupt, please eat while the porridge is still warm.”
It may have just been an accidental resemblance, but I couldn’t just leave someone behind who had the same face as Ayumi. I was told that Sanya had been held captive by Hussel for around five years.
One wouldn’t be wrong to think Sanya’s muscles had weakened considerably since she was first confined to that dark, damp and humid prison. Beastmen, especially wolf-types, are resistant to hunger, and they seem to be able to survive even with only a little food and water.
Furthermore, Sanya was doing muscle training in her spare time when she was imprisoned, so her condition wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
“There don’t seem to be any problems with your stamina or mentality, even though you’ve been cut off from the outside world…”
The wolf beastman is absolutely a resilient existence. Come to think of it, Ayumi also had a positive outlook. In the end, I still saw her as my sister.
By the count’s request, I took Canaan to the training grounds. Hannah and Sanya were at an inn affiliated with Sidele. The sisters had been separated for a very long time, so Canaan and I would just be a hindrance to their reunion.
But I want to see Ayumi, too…
“Master, why do you look so sad…”
Whoops. Seems I’ve made Canaan worry.
“I’m fine. Thanks.”
When I gently patted her head, Canaan’s eyes narrowed. Even she had felt the sadness of losing her parents, so I had to be more reliable.
Many knights were active in this circular training ground that was roughly 150 meters in diameter. Looking over the lively place, Goliath was doing a mock battle against three of his subordinates. I decided to watch him train for a while.
Goliath’s weapon was a huge sword. In the mansion, he used a normal sword, but this big sword was probably his main weapon. It was a double-edged sword about 150 centimeters long, 40 centimeters wide at its widest, and a thickness of about 5 centimeters. [ED: wtf just use a hammer at that point]
Goliath himself is a gorilla-beastman about two meters tall, with so much physical power that he can handle that big sword with just one hand. He must resemble a muscular gorilla himself, or else he wouldn’t handle such an overbuilt weapon so easily.
Name: Goliath Ixal
Job: Strong-Arm Swordsman, Level 52
Skills: [Two-handed Swordsmanship] [Strong Arm] [Destruction] [Body Strengthening (2)]
Attributes: HP [D] | MP [F] | STR [C] | INT [F] | AGI [E] | DEX [E] LUK [E]
His status showed he was as much a muscle brain as you’d guess from his appearance. This “Strong-Arm Swordsman” job had a power-oriented composition, with [Two-handed Swordsmanship], [Strong Arm], [Destruction], and [Body Strengthening (2)]… It’s really a perfectly suited job for Goliath.
Since [Body Strengthening (2)] is a passive skill that’s always active, he really might be able to handle that big sword as lightly as a normal one. When it came to the subordinates that were acting as his opponents, one of them took the hits with his entire body, making use of his large build, while the other two were blown away by the flat of his huge sword.
He blew right through all three of them at once, and they were barely able to stand back up, using their swords like canes to support themselves. Their feet were trembling like a newborn foal; even three people at once couldn’t compete with him at all.
He breathed out, gave instructions to his subordinates, and walked calmly towards me. His big body had a certain presence to it.
“Yo, that was rather exciting.”
“Young people these days are disappointing.”
There don’t seem to be any knights among his subordinates who can fight Goliath properly. There had been Rotten until now, so he didn’t feel troubled to search for a sparring partner.
However, even though Rotten wasn’t involved in Dolce’s assassination, he quit the knighthood and stayed home with his wife, because she was one of the main culprits. The fact that Rotten had settled down like that and wasn’t accused of the crime that involved his wife as the main culprit, was likely because they recognized his loyalty.
I’m sorry about the sad atmosphere, but I didn’t come to the training ground to talk about Rotten.
“I came here to see those chosen for my training.”
“Yeah, I know. Can you listen to my one request before that?”
“Just say it.”
“I’d like to have a bout with you.”
He’s a lively and hot-blooded guy. But I don’t hate that kind of person.
(Isn’t that interesting, Tsukuru? You should try it!)
(What’s that, Black Mist? You want to fight Goliath?)
(It doesn’t mean anything for me to fight him. Fighting Goliath is so you can learn to lead a lower companion.”
(Aren’t you going to train ten people? That means you will have ten disciples… Master Tsukuru.) [T/N: Master here = Shishou.]
(Master, you say… that sounds pretty good…)
“I don’t mind, but I don’t know if you’ll get hurt. I’m not very good at going easy on people.”
Since going easy on someone depends on skills.
“I swear on my pride as a warrior, I won’t object to the results when it’s over.”
Goliath knows I have strength, but he doesn’t know the scale of it. That’s why he wants to check it for himself. I guess he really is a battle maniac. If I don’t demonstrate my strength to his subordinates, they may not accept my training. We faced each other in the center of the training ground. The knights moved to the outer circumference to observe us.
“You can start whenever you want.”
I pulled out Black Mist and held her in my right hand.
Goliath also held his huge sword with both hands and locked his eyes onto mine. His stinging bloodthirst stimulated my senses. That alone could tell me he was serious.
(Anyone who can’t control their bloodthirst is just a half-assed man, after all.)
(How many people in this world have enough expertise for you to acknowledge them, Black Mist?)
(When it comes to the knight commander of a count’s household, you should definitely be at a higher level.)
She says such unreasonable things. However, she was rather joyful when speaking of my first 1v1 battle in a long time.
We glared for about 10 seconds, and then Goliath started to move. A strong sword in a straight line. He must have used a certain amount of power to instantly close the distance with his large body. If it’s just a mere general soldier, this may be too much, but in front of me, it’s meaningless. The Emperor Dragon’s power was incomprehensible, and there were many occasions when I thought I would die. Comparing Goliath’s power and bloodthirst with the Emperor Dragon’s is like comparing a gentle breeze with a hurricane.
The big sword swung down from above, with all his force and weight behind it, right at the left side of my body, but it ultimately sank into the ground.
“I’m not done!”
He pulled out the large sword with all his might, swinging it overhead and up to the side, so I quickly fell back to avoid it again. It probably hadn’t even been two seconds. Goliath and I faced each other again.
“Do you plan to avoid all my attacks with that same look on your face?”
(There’s still a long way to go, but that was a good step.)
(Bloodthirst will tell you his movements, so you could avoid him even if you closed your eyes.)
“Erase your bloodthirst. That’ll make you even better.”
“Erase… my bloodthirst…”
In some cases, Bloodthirst can telegraph your next move to your opponent. Therefore, erasing one’s bloodthirst makes it more difficult for the opponent to perceive your attacks. There are some advanced techniques to put feints into your bloodthirst, but you can’t train in those without first completely controlling your bloodthirst.
“Whether it’s a person or a monster, the superior ones are sensitive to bloodthirst. If you want to be stronger, control your bloodthirst.”
“I see, I’ll do just that.”
He then closed his eyes, still in the middle of the battle against me. Even though it’s training, I’m right in front of you, you know… I moved forward and swung my fist toward Goliath’s face. He grunted from the impact and flew back, rolling across the ground.
“Are you stupid? If you close your eyes in front of me, you know what’ll happen.”
The knights were saying I was horrible, but if it was a serious battle, Goliath would already be dead. He got up, nose dripping with blood, and aimed his sword at me again.
“Don’t let yourself get distracted by thinking it’s only training. Think of yourself as always being on the battlefield!”
After that, I beat Goliath on the spot.
(Goliath is really solid. Fighting him is worth it!)
Black Mist said something, but I ignored her, because I was the only one who actually hit him. He regained consciousness in a few minutes after six knights carried him to the bench.
“I fully realized my weakness now, thanks to Sumeragi-dono.”
He thanked me for beating him up, is this guy an M!?
“That last one was pretty good, you know.”
I nodded as I sat on the bench next to Goliath sleeping and stared at the knights who had returned to training. He kept his eyes closed, but he made a smile in his mouth as if he knew I was nodding.
“So, is there a list of those who will train under me?”
I didn’t want to see this gorilla-faced dude get all shy, so I forced myself to change the subject.
He took a paper from inside his armor. The paper had been in the breast pocket of this sweaty gorilla-faced dude all this time… Do I really have to touch it? I opened it, trying not to think about where it had just been. The list included the names, jobs, and levels of about thirty people. Some of them were not only knights but also magicians.
“Can you call these people over?”
“The knights can be here quickly, but the magicians will take a little longer since they’re at a different training ground.”
“That doesn’t matter. Call them all here.”
Ten trainees were selected from about thirty candidates.
[Spear Fighter] Bulga was a dog-beastman. [Great Shield Knight] Edel was a bear-beastman. [Bow Fighter] Schwarz was a cat-beastman. [Stealth Dagger] Falken was a monkey-beastman. [Healer] Akramakan was a human. [Magic Guider] Jamaran was a fox-beastman. [Dancer] Flynn, was a flower fairy. [Spiritualist] Oburi was an elf.
Only eight selected people, huh? Apparently, the other two were Goliath and Rotten. Goliath aside, when I asked him if Rotten was a good choice, he said, “Lord Abbas has accepted him.”
Mr. Gorilla was apparently a pretty serious guy, and the count was open-minded. But… They’re all men, and there are no flowers among them… No wait, there is a flower fairy, but he’s also a man.
(I wanted an oasis for my heart.)
(Don’t you have Canaan? And now Hannah and Sanya as well. They’re your harem.)
(What are you talking about? Canaan and Hannah are slaves, I’m not the kind of devil who’d lay his hand on them! And Sanya isn’t even my slave in the first place.)
(You know that Hannah’s wishes, as a criminal slave, are irrelevant, and even if Canaan is a general slave, it’s fine if she approves. As for Sanya, I think she’s fond of you, so it should be possible for the three of you to do that.)
(Don’t be stupid, I’m not depraved enough to put my hands on slaves.)
(Is that so? I don’t care either way. Hahaha!)
I looked at Canaan and saw her sweetly smiling at me. It was a rejuvenating sight.
Who said my training would take place at the training grounds? In that way, I brought Goliath and the others to the entrance of the Great Borf Forest. If I raise Goliath and others’ levels to above 90, my mission will be complete. That’s why I thought I’d throw them into a group of ogres to finish it quickly, but I think I’ll just have them get a first-stage limit-break.
“Sumeragi-dono, someone like me ─” Rotten started to object.
“The count said it was okay, right? So there’s no problem.”
“If you feel guilty, return that obligation by serving the count for the rest of your lives.”
I tried to relieve Rotten’s tension and anxiety by encouraging him. It seemed to work; he flinched for a moment, then said, “Y-you’re right! You’re exactly right, Sumeragi-dono!”
Then I began to prepare for the upcoming practice.
“Eat this first.”
I gave each of them a slice of grilled meat.
I gave the vanguards grilled meat with the effect of raising HP, STR, AGI, and DEX. The rearguards got meat with the effect of raising MP, INT, AGI, and DEX. I intended to provide them with skills, but due to not knowing the skills’ compatibilities, I didn’t know if they’d actually be able to learn them from the grilled meat.
“Here’s my first command: Eat! What’s your answer!?”
“Wrong! Your answer is Yes, sir! That’s all you have to say!” (T/N: Author literally wrote that in English.)
Ten people said that in unison pressed by my spirit.
No, really~, I just wanted to do this once! It feels good~
When they ate my grilled meat, each of the 10 trainees responded with shock. Maybe they saw the notification that their attributes were improved.
“S-Sumeragi-dono!” Goliath called out to me.
“I told you to call me Instructor!” I said to him with a penalty hit. If I smacked Goliath seriously, his face would blow off, so I just gently, slowly tapped him with my fist. Still, I could most likely have beaten him down with that alone.
“I gave you all special meat that I treasured. I believe you’ve already seen just now that your attributes were improved, and I suppose you’ve learned a skill, too — that was real. That alone would have made you guys a little stronger! But that’s still not enough! If you want to survive in this forest, listen to my instructions and put them into practice! Do you understand?”
Everyone, including Goliath, now back in line with the rest, replied with a “Yes, sir.” This is going to become a habit.
At the moment, the trainees (Goliath and the others) were split up into two parties. I didn’t know about it before, but in this world, there existed an item called a party ring, which seems to evenly distribute experience from defeating monsters across the party members who are wearing it.
Naturally, I said it was an essential item for a rearguard, such as a party’s healer or support. However, since they come in sets of six rings, only six-member parties can be registered. This time, I would be training ten people, so I organized a party of five, but I didn’t make them wear the party ring yet. The reason is each individual one of them has to do their first stage limit-break separately, so as not to negatively impact their experience gain at that time. It seems these party rings are sold to the public, and the count’s household has a hundred sets of it. Well, I’ll buy some later.
The next thing to do was a precaution for the Great Borf Forest.
“You will now enter the Great Borf Forest.”
The ten trainees didn’t even try to hide their fear.
“Even if you were to enter this Great Borf Forest now, you wouldn’t survive an hour.”
This is true, so they don’t seem to object.
“But you must enter!”
Most of them have a grave blue face.
“Don’t worry — I’ll raise your levels. Right now, we’ll start the combat training.”
The trainees buzzed at my words.
“Who said you could talk?”
Rotten was the closest, so I hit him with a soft touch and blew him away. Well, good luck. I wandered around 2 or 3 times in front of the five people who would be the vanguards and stopped in the middle of them.
“First, we’ll go defeat a Dark Bat!”
They’re just silent, no reply. Like a bunch of corpses.
“What’s your answer?!”
I hit the nearby bear-beastman, Edel, and everyone replied. Geez, they can’t answer unless I beat them.
“The Dark Bat is a level 160 bat monster. It’s easy to find because it sleeps during the day, and it’s also easy to kill because it has low defense.”
The troublesome part about the dark bat was that it flew silently at night and attacked with stealth. However, since it didn’t act during the daytime, one could say it was easy to kill. Since they’re level 160 monsters, they’re ideal, since even Goliath, the highest level among the trainees, can do a first stage limit-break.
I pulled out Black Mist, cut the Dark Bat with [Moderation] active, and restrained it using Dark Bind, a spell from [Dark Magic].
“Goliath, we’ll start with you. Try to kill this dying Dark Bat in just one blow.”
Mhm, that’s the right answer. Go on!
Goliath held his huge sword aloft and swung it down at the dark bat. The attack from such a heavy sword cut the dark bat’s body in two.
Maybe he’s getting a lot of level-up notifications right now. What level has he reached? Hmm, well, that’s probably that. The bewildered Goliath’s making a really stupid face right now.
I kicked his ass since he looked so stupid.
“Don’t just stand there. The others need to level up, too!”
This time I beat him up. “The answer is yes, sir!”
After Goliath came a dog-beastman spear fighter, Bulga, who pierced the next dying dark bat with his spear and leveled up. After that, in addition to Rotten, was the Great Shield Knight Edel, a bear-beastman, then the cat-beastman Bow Fighter Schwarz, the monkey-beastman Stealth Dagger Falken, the fox-beastman Magic Guider Jamaran, and the elf Spiritualist Oburi. All of them leveled up smoothly.
However, the human Healer, Akramakan, and the flower fairy Dancer, Flynn, had a hard time because they weren’t attackers. But still, those two were able to put an end to the dying Dark Bat with a stab, so they were also able to level up.
“So, we will now annihilate the group of Ogres. Rest assured, Ogres are a level 80 monster. There won’t be much difference between you and them now!”
When I told them about their next action, everyone saluted me. They seem to be on board now that they’d leveled up. However, it’s my job to break down whatever pride they’ve just gained. Hehehe, look forward to it.
Next, I turned to face the five rear-guards.
“Healer, Magician, Spiritualist! You shouldn’t chant!”
I flicked these three people’s foreheads since they were so noisy. Even that flick blew them away from the terrible shockwave it had. The three were groaning, lying down while holding their foreheads, and then stood up to try again.
“I told you, you’re not allowed to speak without permission!”
Ignoring the Dancer flower fairy Flynn’s trembling, I continued talking to the three magician-types.
“Try to activate your magic without chanting! If you chant in this Great Borf Forest, your friends will die during your chant! If you don’t want your friends to die, shoot your magic without chanting! If you chant, I’ll beat you in order to cancel it! Do you understand?”
Next, I stood in front of the cat-beastman Schwarz. Despite being a cat-beastman, he was a man. Damn it, give me back my dream!
“Bow-fighter! You have to improve the precision of your scope to find enemies! The safety of the party relies on your ability to find the enemy, do you hear me?”
I can’t find a reason to hit him even though I wanted to… well, that’s fine.
Finally, the flower fairy Flynn. Honestly, I never thought such a race would exist. There were butterfly-like wings attached to his back, and he floated in the air even though his wings didn’t move. He was about fifty centimeters tall, and his face was cute like a five-year-old child. He was actually 43 years old, much older than me despite looking like that. It’s a double score. A legal shota, not legal loli. Anyone want him?
“Dancer, all you have to do is dance! Dance, dance, and dance! Never stop! Do you hear me?”
A child giving a definite answer while trembling and tears in his eyes. It makes me feel guilty somehow, like I’m bullying a kid.
“You got your balls?”
They seem to be attached. Do the flower fairies also have night activities? I don’t want to imagine it, I’m not a pervert!
Finding an Ogre was easy. Just by exploring the outer circumference of the Great Borf Forest, I was able to detect the presence of a dozen or so Ogres. Schwarz, the Bow-fighter, has advanced; first, he carefully pays attention to the ground, trees, and various other things, but he doesn’t seem to be aware of them yet. Schwarz’s ability to search is a combination of skills such as [Observation], [Tracing], and [Distant Vision], so I can’t predict how far away he can detect the Ogres.
After a while, Schwarz lowered his hips, raised his hand, and sent a stationary signal. It seems he found the Ogres once he was about 140 meters from them. Perhaps it was because of his [Distant Vision]; for a range of visual recognition in a forest, I think it’s excellent, but this makes it a problem if a monster approaches from behind.
“Schwarz, eat this.”
I gave Schwarz a slice of grilled meat that would make him learn the [Presence Detection] skill. Now, Schwarz should be able to expand the range of his ability to search for enemies from all directions.
He was startled at first, then said, “Instructor! I learned the [Presence Detection] skill!”
Yup, that’s good. Next, I made Falken, the Stealth Dagger, also learn it. This should have reduced their blind spots. In front of us now, 14 Ogres were wandering around with big clubs and giant swords.
Using the party ring, Goliath was paired with the Spear Fighter Bulga, the Stealth Dagger Falken, the Healer Akramakan, and the Magic Guider Jamaran. They were all around level 80, same as the Ogres, so they just needed to get used to their current levels.
I thought Goliath was the leader since Falken was running in front of him, but Falken changed direction just before he met the Ogres and headed to the back of the tree. From the Ogres’ point of view, Falken’s actions would have been peculiar, but Goliath didn’t hesitate and plunged into the group of Ogres. He smashed into one Ogre that was even more massive than himself and blew it away, then cut another nearby Ogre with his massive sword.
He hit the Ogre’s flank and it roared in pain, but he had attacked it from an unstable position after he struck the first Ogre, so his footwork was inadequate, and the wound was relatively shallow. Then he was surrounded by multiple Ogres.
The Ogres attacked him with thick logs and tattered swords, but he fought back skillfully, parrying the Ogres’ attacks with his giant sword and armor. He moved like a guy who’s actually familiar with combat.
While Goliath attracted the Ogres, Bulga butted in with a shout and thrust his spear into the chest of one Ogre, accurately piercing through the Ogre’s heart. Goliath and Bulga were working together to attract the Ogres, a pretty good move. The two of them really came across like professional soldiers.
Falken, who had been hiding his presence, appeared somewhere and sliced through an Ogre’s neck with his dagger before disappearing again. It wasn’t just a tricky move, it was a good attack that precisely targeted a critical point.
Ouch, Goliath got hit in the head with a log.
Akramakan started chanting when Goliath was hit, so I gently approached him from behind and ground my fist into his forehead.
“Who said you could chant?”
He began to tremble and get tears in his eyes when I applied a slight amount of bloodthirst.
“Chanting is not allowed!”
I threatened the other rear-guards. Rotten and the others watching were quite taken aback by it, but there was only one person who looked directly at me.
It was the Spiritualist Oburi. He seemed confident in using his magic without chanting. I don’t know if it’s even necessary for a Spiritualist to chant in the first place.
Goliath managed to hold out, and they were able to annihilate 14 Ogres, even though it really took some time. Goliath and Bulga were quite tattered, but that was to be expected since the two of them directly took on the 14 Ogres.
Next time, we found a group of 13 Ogres. This was with Rotten’s team, which along with Rotten consisted of Great Shield Knight Edel, Bow-Fighter Schwarz, Dancer Flynn, and Spiritualist Oburi.
“Rotten’s group, go!”
Rotten’s team had Edel, a Great Shield Knight, so they were able to fight in a more stable position than Goliath’s team. There was also support from the flower fairy Dancer Flynn, but the attack of the Wind Spirit summoned by the Spiritualist Oburi was also quite powerful.
He didn’t chant, so it was good that I didn’t need to give him my fist punishment. All five members of Rotten’s team fought together without any problems, and the fight itself went much better than with Goliath’s team. Did I make a mistake in grouping them? Well, Goliath will do something about it anyway. If he doesn’t struggle a tiny bit, it won’t be interesting.
After several battles with the Ogres, we decided to prepare camp when the sun started going down. The trainees were tired, but they set up the tents while I made the food.
I prepared a fermented wheat flour and processed it, then rolled it into a thin disc before applying a layer of tomato sauce on it. In addition to that, I also added the cheese fermented with moo milk on top, and then thinly sliced peppers and corn. I even put on some smoked meat I got from the wood boar.
Yep, this is a pizza.
The trainees looked exhausted and had ghastly faces because of today’s enforced power leveling, so I had to replenish their energy with a high-calorie diet.
“What is this!? It’s so delicious!”
Everyone praised the pizza. As a result, even though each one was about the size of a double-large, the trainees ate 23 of them. Canaan ate three on her own, as well as Goliath. I filled up from just one, but with that, 27 pizzas disappeared into everyone’s stomachs. Well, they said it was really delicious so many times, I was rather delighted by the praise, so I let them eat as much as they wanted.
The meal was over, and the order of watchmen had also been decided. Canaan and I wouldn’t do the watch, so the trainees would divide into groups of three, three, and four people. Well, since I spread my bloodlust around here, no monster will have the balls to come close, but I can’t tell them that or they’ll relax.
The power-leveling also progressed, with Goliath being the highest among the trainees at level 92. The problem was the magic-based rear-guard. Spiritualist Oburi had succeeded in activating his [Spirit Magic] without chanting, as expected from an Elf. However, Akramakan and Jamaran still hadn’t been able to do it.
“Look, if you can’t use your magic without chanting, your friends will die! It depends on your imagination – form a solid mental image and activate it!”
They’re trying to motivate themselves, but their expressions are dark.
Today, we’d be aiming for a group of Red Ogres, which were a high-ranked variant of Ogre. Red Ogres had red skin and wielded an ax in combat. It’s a higher level and more powerful than the Ogre, so it arguably has slightly better stats than Goliath and the others.
I’m glad we could find a pair of Red Ogres so quickly.
“Team Goliath, go!”
Goliath and Bulga, who were tired and wounded from the battle yesterday, ran toward the Red Ogre. Goliath’s team hadn’t been able to recover because the Healer, Akramakan, still couldn’t use his magic without chanting. It would have been easy to cure their wounds with my cooking, but that wouldn’t be any fun. Despite being wounded all over, you could tell they were full of energy. I think they actually felt invigorated because their level had gone up.
Goliath’s moves were sharper than yesterday; even though his opponent was a Red Ogre, he could fight it skillfully, and the extermination of the Red Ogres was soon complete.
“Goliath, the battle just now was excellent! This is your reward! Eat up!”
I gave Goliath a slice of grilled meat.
“Muh!? Instructor! I learned the [Intimidation] skill!”
“If you use [Intimidation] properly, the battle will be easier. You should be capable of that.”
“Thank you very much.”
Who wants to see this old gorilla dude smile?
Dancer Flynn was always dancing to buff his party members. He didn’t fight directly, but his job was probably the hardest. That much is obvious since he continues to dance even though his physical strength is not very high. That’s why I’m instructing Flynn to do a lot of dances that could reinforce and recover stamina for himself and his party. It’s kinda funny to see a kid dancing in the air, shaking his hips around.
Edel got attacked by a large number of ogres, and he activated [Anger Lock]. That skill would increase the hostility of enemies within a certain range. Once he was surrounded, he activated [Sturdy].
Needless to say, [Sturdy] has the effect of increasing physical strength, so even if the ogres concentrate their attacks on him, he will have several minutes to hold them off. In the meantime, Goliath the Strong-Arm Swordsman, Rotten the Dual-Swordsman, and Spear Fighter Bulga attacked the ogres relentlessly. There are around fifty ogres in this swarm, so Goliath and Rotten’s teams were fighting together.
Schwarz provided cover fire by sending arrows piercing through ogres. Falken, who’s becoming more like a full-fledged Stealth Dagger, jumped at the enemies’ heads from a large tree branch and cut through their thick, robustly muscular necks.
Edel’s exhaustion was about to reach its limits after about ten ogres had been killed. As expected, he’d have a hard time getting ganged up on ogres the same level as him. However, Akramakan, the healer, still hadn’t been able to activate his magic without chanting. Edel grunted with effort.
“Edel, hold on.”
At Goliath’s urging, Edel responded with a roar as he activated [Iron Wall] to nullify incoming damage. Unlike [Sturdy] that continues for a dozen minutes if activated, the effect of [Iron Wall] is only about two minutes. The problem is he can’t expect to recover if they don’t defeat as many ogres as possible before the effect of [Iron Wall] expires. The situation would stabilize if Akramakan could cast his recovery magic.
There were 30 ogres remaining. Flynn danced close to the front lines to restore Edel’s strength, but the dance’s effects weren’t instantaneous. Dancing near the front line was also very risky because getting hit by an ogre could be fatal to him. I respect his courage.
Akramakan was sweating bullets watching Edel fighting to his limit. Jamaran, the Magic Guider, couldn’t shoot his magic attacks, either. Oburi’s [Spirit Magic] knocked down another ogre. The fact Oburi can do things Akramakan and Jamaran can’t may be making them more impatient.
Goliath’s big sword blew over two ogres. Rotten bounced off another ogre’s neck with a sword in his right hand. Schwarz’s arrow pierced an ogre’s throat, but it was still alive, so Falken gave the finishing blow.
They tried to mow down the remaining 30 ogres.
The effect of Edel’s [Iron Wall] expired at this moment. Flynn’s dancing had restored his stamina, but not by much. However, Edel was tough enough to recover with even that small amount of energy and endure more attacks.
“Edel! Don’t get caught up in common sense if you want to be strong! Move more cunningly, swiftly, powerfully, and unnoticed by the enemy! Do you understand?!”
I got a little fired up for some reason, and called out to Edel without realizing it. Uh, that’s not like me at all… Canaan, stop laughing.
While I was watching the vanguard battle, Akramakan and Jamaran came over to me.
Akramakan prostrated himself with both knees on the ground while weeping. Jamaran was doing the same, but unlike Akramakan, he didn’t cry.
“I-I can’t do it!” He wailed.
“It’s too difficult to activate magic without chanting!”
They both seemed pretty depressed. Akramakan’s face looked terrible, covered in tears and dripping snot, and while Jamaran wasn’t in tears, his nose was still dripping while he bit his lower lip.
I squatted down and looked back and forth between them, before speaking up and giving them a slap, with a flick to the forehead like earlier. The two groaned in pain while gripping their foreheads.
“Who said you could talk? I don’t want to hear any excuses!”
I jeered at them mercilessly.
“If you have time to whine, why aren’t you training to use magic without a chant? While you’re loafing around, Goliath and the others are fighting for their lives!”
I pointed my fingers at Goliath and the others, they grit their teeth with teary-eyed.
“If you’re frustrated, don’t chant. That’s your only job.”
That’s all there is to it. Put your fighting spirit into it and try to activate your magic without chanting.
In the end, Goliath and the others defeated 50 ogres without the help of any of their magic. The men were quite exhausted.
“Edel, you did well. This is your reward, eat it.”
I gave him a slice of grilled meat, and he ate it ravenously. Like last time, he was trembling in shock. “Regene… ration… I learned [Regeneration], Instructor!” The trainees shouted victoriously.
“Just like with Goliath before, I reward those who do their best! Flynn, eat this.”
Flynn looked quite surprised. Perhaps he didn’t think he would be given a reward.
“You’re doing well. Don’t hesitate, eat up.”
The grilled meat I gave Flynn could grant the [Decreased Presence] skill. Not only did this skill make it difficult for the enemy to notice you, it also suppressed aggro from monsters. It wasn’t a good fit for me since it would make it harder for monsters to notice me, and negate some of the advantage from my bloodthirst, but it’s a useful skill that can increase Flynn’s chances of surviving.
“Okay, let’s have lunch!”
Today’s lunch is Chanko Nabe, made by adding a miso base to soup stewed in kelp broth. Throw in some thinly sliced Hellbear meat and lots of vegetables, and voila: it’s bear meat Chanko Nabe. (Note: Chanko Nabe or Sumo Stew is a robust soup brimming with mixed vegetables and lots of protein in a rich dashi broth. Although this one-pot stew is eaten by Japanese sumo wrestlers in training, it is hearty without being heavy.)
This is Chanko poured with plenty of love from me, it’s delicious! Let’s eat! However, take note that the love I poured in here wasn’t for these wounded men, you see! Even if one of them looks like a child, it’s not for him, either. I don’t care about him at all! This is simply my love for cooking!
“This is too delicious!”
Goliath shouted after he had a bite. What a noisy guy.
“It’s true. The richness of meat and vegetables within this thick soup give it such a soft and pleasant aroma! How does the stock taste… hmm, I see, now what about the vegetables?”
He was eating it almost like a food critic, but as a dog-beastman, Bulga had a good nose, so he seemed to have sniffed out the secret of the soup’s umami. The pot was emptied even though there was enough for 40 ordinary people. I’m glad they liked it, but how much do these guys eat!? I thought that as one’s level increased, the capacity of the stomach would be increased as well, but it doesn’t seem to matter to me since the amount of food I ate hadn’t changed at all.
The next swarm the trainees fought was composed of 30 ogres, 10 red ogres, 10 ogre riders, and one ogre general. When I confronted them in the past, there were only one or two red ogres mixed in with a group of ogres, but this was my first encounter with a group of ogre riders or a group led by an ogre general.
The ogres were level 80, red ogres level 90, the ogre rider was level 95, and the ogre general was level 100, so considering the current trainees’ levels, this might have been a good match. The ogre riders were just like ordinary ogres, but had black skin and rode a monster resembling a wild boar, a creature with rushing attacks and destructive power. The ogre general wore armor and wielded a sword even bigger than Goliath’s.
By the way, general-type monsters are apparently famous because they can boost the abilities of the same type of monster, but I didn’t know about this at the time.
The battle started with Oburi’s [Spirit Magic] and Schwarz’s [Strong Shot]. An arrow punched through a red ogre’s chest, and Tornado Cutter dealt damage to enemies in a vast range, its tantrums destroying the position of the ogres and red ogres. At the same time, its wind blades, which attacked from all directions, cut through their robust bodies. The surprise attack seems to have been a success.
The ogre riders and ogre general were in the back, so they were unscathed, but that first attack had massacred the small-fry ogres and red ogres. The red ogre that was hit by Schwarz’s [Strong Shot] got finished off by Oburi’s Tornado Cutter.
[Strong Shot] is a Bow-Fighter skill that lets any given bow and arrow exert twice their normal power. Although there are downsides such as decreased accuracy, the Bow-Fighter also has the [Concentration] skill which can increase accuracy, and [Target Lock] to guarantee a hit, so in combination with those skills, the downside of [Strong Shot] doesn’t matter.
The ogre riders who managed to escape the Tornado Cutter rushed toward the trainees. Their bloodshot eyes looked as though they’d lost all sense of reason, but ordinary humans would freeze up at the sight of it, soon to be reduced to lumps of meat.
An arrow hit the chest of one approaching ogre rider. More arrows pierced the left thigh and the right upper arm, and when it reached Edel, Bulga immediately activated his [Explosive Spear] skill, annihilating the ogre rider’s head.
The name of the [Explosive Spear] skill doesn’t mean the spear will explode, but simply that it releases a powerful shockwave as it hits, causing the wound to look like it exploded. A normal spearman would rarely be able to manifest this skill, but a Spear-Fighter like Bulga has a good chance of developing it on their own.
Surprisingly, when the black ogre dies, the wild boar dies with it. I wonder what they are… they seem to be a rare type of monster.
Another ogre rider lost its head after crossing paths with Goliath. The power of Goliath’s huge sword was enhanced further by the riders’ own speed as they rushed towards him.
However, Goliath also suffered a wound on his right arm from an ogre rider’s ax. It’s because of his own stupidity anyway. Even though he was injured, he didn’t stop, and continued attacking the remaining ogre riders. He looked like he was in pain — grinding his teeth in a harsh grimace, but he continued to face the ogres.
The effect of Tornado Cutter had worn off, and the ogres, now full of gouges, started running toward the trainees. Bulga’s proud spear ran through one of the two ogres Edel was holding off, and Rotten took out another one without giving it time to counterattack by making the most of his dual swords. These two were already above level 90, so they had the capability to take down an injured ogre in a short time. Schwarz also attacked an ogre with his certain hit arrows; the ogres suffered considerable damage from the ranged attacks.
A large number of ogres surrounded Edel. He didn’t use [Anger Lock], which dramatically raises monsters’ hostility against you, but since he leveled up, he’d learned the [Substitute] skill.
This skill’s effect was that when someone on your side uses an aggro-raising attack or extreme recovery, the aggro the ally would normally gain goes to you instead. So this time he took on the aggro caused by Oburi’s Tornado Cutter, making the ogres go after him instead of anyone else.
Edel was on his fourth greatshield now, and his third set of armor. I could see he was under intense attack. The equipment provided by the count had protected his vitals, but while other trainees have exchanged weapons once, Edel had replaced his shield three times and his armor twice; his equipment loss rate was incredible.
The greatshield that was brand new right before this battle started squealed from the strain of the ogres’ club attacks. At the beginning of the training, he was pushed into tanking hordes of ogres, but now he was caught up in a horde of red ogres. Since he’s a bear-beastman, he has a huge body, more than two meters tall, but he still looks small compared to ogres and red ogres. He might have grown the most from this training.
Blood splashed from an ogre’s neck as Falken, the Stealth-Dagger, sliced at them quickly, concealing himself again before the blood even hit the ground. His attack has no immediate effect on an ogre with strong vitality, but if they lost a large amount of blood, over time their movements would slow down and their defenses would weaken.
While not immediately fatal, Falken’s attacks were still very effective on the ogres. Those weakened by his attacks would become easy prey for damage dealers such as Goliath, Rotten, and Bulga.
A lot of ogres were gathering around Edel, so this meant Oburi couldn’t attack them with his [Spirit Magic]. This was a frustrating time for the Spiritualist whose specialty was using wide-area magic to soften up the enemy. Yet, in his eyes, he only saw the one ogre that was separated from the others.
“An ogre general… should I try it?”
I didn’t miss his muttering whisper. Oburi can shoot his magic without chanting — because if he does chant, my fists would punish him worse than the ogres. Still, he apparently needed quite a bit of time to solidify the image of his magic, sweating bullets all the while.
Next to Oburi was the Healer, Akramakan, and the Magic Guider, Jamaran, neither of whom could go without chanting yet. They bit their lips, frustrated, but they couldn’t escape the feeling of just spinning their wheels. Oburi solidified the image of his [Spirit Magic] away from those two people.
A huge wind vortex rose around the ogre general, along with a thunderous roar. The colossal vortex of wind lifted the giant ogre general into the air as it was watching the battle with a composed expression. The blades of wind gouged into its flesh all over.
The ogre general screamed loudly enough to stop even its own subordinates.
“It wasn’t enough to kill it, but that should have done a lot of damage…” said Oburi, out of breath.
I was sure it indeed did a great deal of damage, but that also meant Oburi gained the ogre general’s aggro. It started to run, an angry glare directed right at Oburi. The armored giant would be a threat not only to Oburi but to all of the trainees, and it rushed over with a guttural growl, its every step shaking the ground.
When the ogre general passed by Edel, the vanguard activated [Anger Lock]. However, the ogre general didn’t so much as glance at Edel, instead gunning straight for Oburi. Edel hadn’t activated [Substitution], and Oburi’s [Spirit Magic] already did a lot of damage, earning him more aggro than [Anger Lock] could catch up to.
“This is bad! Oburi, run!” Goliath shouted as he crossed blades with a red ogre.
As Oburi shrieked in fear, the ogre general roared vigorously and smashed into Oburi with a shoulder tackle, blowing him away. Oburi bounced on the ground several times, landing over a dozen meters away and suffering significant damage; he was on the verge of death.
If he wasn’t such a high level, he would have died instantly, but then, he also wouldn’t have dealt enough damage to take on so much aggro. The ogre general finally stopped when Rotten caught up and cut into it with all his power, and Schwarz pinned its foot to the ground with a well-placed arrow.
Canaan and I were away from Oburi when the ogre general headed toward him. This was supposed to be actual combat training, so if Canaan and I had our fingers in the pie, it wouldn’t be training anymore. They had to gain the instincts needed to survive in such harsh conditions. If Oburi survived this time, he should be able to accomplish that since he’s experienced that danger with his own body.
Akramakan and Jamaran, who were also near Oburi, nearly went mad calling his name, rushing over to the Spiritualist who now lay unmoving on the ground.
“Don’t die, Oburi! I’ll heal you!”
Akramakan activated [Recovery Magic] to heal Oburi. Jamaran looked at Oburi’s bloody body and turned around in anger, activating his [Ice Magic] to fire several Icicle Spears toward the ogre general.
The ogre general roared in agony after being struck by Rotten’s sword, Schwarz’s arrow, and Jamaran’s [Ice Magic] barrage attacks, but it couldn’t move to fight back.
“Don’t die don’t die don’t die don’t die, Oburiiiiiii!”
Akramakan desperately activated [Recovery Magic] repeatedly while tears ran down his face. Jamaran was also barely standing after continuously shooting Icicle Spears until his magic power ran out.
In spite of that, the ogre general had yet to fall. It was wounded all over, but its pride as the ogre general prevented it from kneeling. However, everything has a limit. When the ogre general stepped its arrow-sewn foot one step ahead, Jamaran had collapsed. The moment I saw it, the ogre general also fell over, its limbs splayed out like 大.
Goliath and the other vanguards who rushed to drive out the ogres were relieved to see the state of Jamaran and Oburi. Jamaran blacked out from magic depletion, and Oburi almost died, surviving thanks to Akramakan’s timely healing.
I stood in front of Akramakan, who sat stupidly on the ground near Oburi. He noticed me and looked up.
“You were able to do it, weren’t you? Don’t ever forget how that felt.”
Akramakan didn’t even realize he was releasing magic without a chant. Goliath, who was checking Oburi’s condition, also smacked him on the back with his huge palm, saying, “Well done!” Akramakan gradually came to his senses and began to shed tears. I don’t know if those tears were the joy of being able to activate magic without chanting, the pain of being hit by Goliath, or the relief of saving Oburi.
Oburi’s life was safe, but since Akramakan’s [Recovery Magic] was just a barrage of basic heals, his broken bones had started healing in odd directions.
“Don’t worry about it.”
Oburi smiled bitterly at the awkward Akramakan, waving it off.
“Geez… this guy just can’t stop sobbing.”
I poked Akramakan’s head and instructed Canaan to properly restore Oburi’s bones with [Light Magic]. I think even I’ve become half-hearted.
Although still unskilled, Akramakan and Jamaran were able to cast magic chantless, so I decided to finish up their training. After that, all they had to do was go back to Algria now and polish their skills.
Then something suddenly appeared in front of the trainees — a giant bird similar to a condor. It’s a level 140 monster called the Great Bird, a much more potent monster than the ogre general.
It made a rustling sound, then grabbed an ogre’s corpse and flew into the sky. Goliath and the others were surprised and couldn’t react, but Canaan calmly shot through the thieving bird’s wings. It crashed to the ground, still alive.
Goliath raised his sword when he saw it, but the Great Bird had already released its [Wind Magic], which Canaan blocked with an invisible barrier of [Light Magic].
“Hey, that bird is a level 140 monster, a Great Bird. Go kill it, you guys.”
The trainees hesitated after hearing it was level 140, but what did they have to fear from a Great Bird that couldn’t fly? They were scared, but after I kicked their asses into gear, they started slashing at it.
The Great Bird only showed its strength when it was in the sky, but on the ground, it’s weaker than an ogre. However, it could still use [Wind Magic], so one needed to be very vigilant all the same. Its [Wing Cutter] was also relatively strong, but if they surrounded and whaled on it, they could kill it instantly, so there shouldn’t be a problem.
Edel and Goliath were blown away by the Great Bird’s struggling, but their injuries weren’t a big deal. Soon after, the Great Bird was silenced when Bulga pierced its throat with his proud spear.
“All right, this creature’s meat is delicious! We’ll have a banquet when we get home!”
The trainees cheered. It was a lower level monster in the Great Borf Forest, but its meat was delicious. Still, the Great Bird’s habitat should have been a little deeper in. As far as I know, the monsters of the Great Borf Forest never leave their habitats. They weren’t supposed to appear around here, so I was a little concerned.
When I got home after the high school entrance exam, there was a note.
“We will have a party to celebrate your entrance exam, so the three of us will go shopping.”
It seems that my father, mother and little sister went shopping. There was a stew in the kitchen and chicken meat with a dipping sauce. This is what mother made for me, but there’s a problem. Yes, the problem is, my mother is bad at cooking. Devastatingly so, too…
Both of my parents are doctors, and my mother didn’t usually cook. That only really happened maybe once a year. Her blood was strong in my sister, Ayumi, so no one around was better at cooking than I was.
The phone rang when I was working on fixing the stew my mother made, and the chicken that was supposed to become karaage. The phone call made me feel hopeless for the second time in my life.
“Is that so… Yes, I understand. Yes…… I’ll be right there…”
The person on the phone was a police officer, and he told me that my parents and Ayumi had been in a car accident. The cause of the accident was a large truck that went too fast on a curve, crossed the lane markings, and collided head-on with their car.
When I hung up the phone, I noticed there were a lot of tears in my eyes. I hurried to the hospital where the police officer told me to go, but when I arrived, they were already…
On that day, I lost my parents and my sister. What happened after that is a blur. I was kicked out of my house by my aunt, moved into a shabby apartment, and passed my high school exams, but I’ve been living in a fog since then.
“…A dream, huh?”
I had a dream for the first time in a long time. It was the worst dream.
When I opened my eyes, I noticed that my vision was blurry. I thought it was because I just woke up, but it seemed I’d been crying. I closed my eyes, rubbed them, and opened them again.
Canaan’s face was right in front of me, and our eyes met. Apparently, I had been sleeping on her lap.
“Master, you were crying…”
“Me? You’re misunderstanding things.”
I would like to enjoy the comfort of her lap pillow as usual, but I don’t feel that way right now.
I’m grateful that Canaan is worried about me, but I don’t want to remember it. When she looks at me with such concern in her eyes, the memories grow even stronger; it’s so unpleasant.
“It’s just a misunderstanding. Don’t mention it again!”
Canaan wasn’t really in the wrong, but she’s surprisingly sharp. I know it’s not good to be like this, but I just want a little more time.
“I’m sorry, I’m getting irritated because of a strange dream.”
“No, it’s fine.”
Canaan’s sad eyes pierced my heart like thorns. Canaan loves me dearly, and I made her look like that. I’m the worst.