「Chief you keep shouting orders but when are you going to practice?」
「I don’t need to practice because I can already do it.」
「Ohh? Then lead by example.」
I bragged unnecessarily which now caused the roughneck of the village, Roleau, to throw down a challenge.
「That’s right! I want to see Cyril being cool!」
Lucy joined in with a teasing smile. She probably didn’t have any ill-will she probably wanted to see me participate.
Roleau aside I couldn’t betray Lucy’s expectations. I smiled wryly and opened my mouth.
「I understand. I’ll give an example. First is from 100 meters.」
I said and pulled the string and set the arrow.
Then I activated 3 different spells.
The first was the 【Wind Ward】 spell that the other elves used. It made it so that the wind would not affect the trajectory of the arrow and would reduce the air resistance to near zero.
In the elf village children would be taught magic to cause wind and to ward it off once they reached a certain age. Conversely you could say that most elves only knew that kind of magic.
The second spell I used was 【Perception Expansion】. I melded my senses with wind mana and was able to magnify my perceptive abilities. It’d be helpful to teach the others this magic, but because of the amount of information it provided, it was an incredible burden on your mental faculties. Implementing it would be prohibitively difficult.
The last spell I activated utilized my internal magic power. It was my original magic 【Program】. This was a spell that would calculate and initiate actions based on the feedback from my body and 【Perception Expansion】.
「Hit the target.」
I casually fired off the arrow and it looked as if it was sucked into the target.
It was fairly easy to do considering I didn’t need to calculate for abnormalities in the wind.
「Next up is 300 meters.」
I said and backed away. I had to step further because the furthest target I had set up was only 100 meters away.
Furthermore 300 meters was around the limits of 【Perception Expansion】.
When reaching a distance of 300 meters the pull of gravity can’t be ignored so I had to aim at a 42 degree angle above.
「Once more hitting the mark.」
My arrow flew in a parabola and hit the target once more.
Tentatively, this would be the limit of what would be considered as a useful reference for them.
I wouldn’t ask them to be so precise at that distance, but using 【Wind Ward】 they would still be able to fire arrows with killing power.
With fifty of them firing at the same time they wouldn’t have to be so accurate. It would have plenty of stopping power.
「Last is 500 meters.」
This was already beyond the limit of 【Perception Expansion】.
If I switched 【Perception Expansion】 from sensing in every direction and switched it to simply sensing what was in front of me, I could strengthen it and forcibly reach that distance.
I had to adjust the firing angle to around 120 degrees. At this point the gravity and range reduced this shot to a mere acrobatic performance.
Theoretically I could fire it no matter the distance because of the lack of air resistance, but since I had to compensate for gravity by shooting it straight upwards it was basically unusable as a weapon from this range.
The arrow I fired flew through the air for 5 seconds before finally hitting the target.
「This is my limit with the crossbow.」
I sighed and returned to the villagers. They were simply staring at my arrows with shocked faces. It looks like it was completely out of expectations.
「As you can see you can reach a certain degree of mastery with devoted practice.」
I intentionally put on a self-satisfied face as they began to return to their senses.
「Cyril, that’s too amazing…we can’t even use it as an example.」
「You’re…really an elf? You’re not a legendary High Elf right?」
「Can’t you shoot their commander from anywhere?」
「I feel like 500 meters is impossible, but I’m confident I can reach 200 meters.」
The elves all kicked up a fuss.
「First we should start from 100 meters. For now let’s bring today’s training to a close. Everyone is dismissed to collect their arrows. Oh, before that I have a reward for you.」
I said as children and elderly who couldn’t pull crossbows walked around distributing dried berries.
「Cyril what’s this?」
Lucy asked curiously.
「These are dried cranberries.」
「Uuuu, more cranberries…I don’t like how sour they are.」
Lucy cried out recalling how I forced her to eat raw cranberries everyday.
Many elves had similar expressions. Wild cranberries were terribly sour and had barely a hint of sweetness, few people enjoyed them.
「Well if you think I’m fooling you just give it a try and you’ll see.」
「Cranberries are yummy?」
「What are you saying?」
「That’s right, here, I’ll give you mine.」
There were plenty of surprised and doubtful voices as some tried to return them to the children who distributed them.
Amongst them the children who received the dried cranberries back had a glitter in their eyes.
They cried out and stuffed them into their mouths.
The innocently said.
Even those who were doubting me looked curiously at the dried cranberries in their hands before putting them in their mouths.
「Woah it’s true.」
「Ah dammit…shouldn’t have given them away.」
They ate them one after another. Sweet food was precious even in normal times, but they were tired after training so it must have been even better.
It was simple to make them. You bake them in an oven on one side for an hour at 100 degrees then dry it in the sun during the day for two weeks.
The heat reduces the sourness and concentrates the sweetness making it delicious and easy to eat.
「Cyril, if it’s like this then I’m willing to eat them every day.」
「That’s no good. I’ll be having you eat raw ones for a while longer Lucy.」
「I’m not doing this to be mean. After heating them like that it breaks down many of the vitamins. It’s better if they’re raw for your treatment.」
Even I wanted to give Lucy delicious things to eat. But, although she had greatly improved, she was still suffering from vitamin deficiency. I still needed her to continue eating vitamin rich foods.
After seeing her health improve it wouldn’t be impossible to switch raw cranberries for dried ones. They still had plenty of vitamins left.
「It’s really delicious. Is this why you had the women and children gather cranberries Chief Cyril?」
Roleau asked while staring at his empty hands.
「That is part of it. Dried cranberries can last for around a year so it’s an important source of vitamins during the winter. But that’s not all…」
Cranberries aside, there weren’t any edible plants that grew during the winter so we would be lacking in vitamins except for those gained from meat. Thinking health-wise these cranberries would be a great help.
「Can we use them for anything else?」
「Once winter comes around I was thinking of making alcohol. These are part of the ingredients.」
「Alcohol!? We can make that in the village!?」
「Yeah, if it goes well we can even make vinegar.」
「Seriously!? Amazing…but why can’t we just make it now? I want a drink quick.」
「That’s impossible. It needs an ingredient that we can only get in the winter. Plus I only know how to make it, I’ve never done so before. It’s possible I might fail so don’t get your hopes up.」
I said with a strained laugh.
Alcohol and vinegar were fairly luxurious products in the village. If we were able to make them here then our lives would become more plentiful. It wasn’t as if we’d die without them, but life and enjoyment were tied together.
I could have made ale using the wheat we produced, but there was no way I wanted to reduce our emergency stores of wheat. Plus the processing took more time than I was willing to spend.
「Okay that’s the end of today’s practice. We’ll be going hunting and gathering. We have plenty of things to prepare for the winter. I aim to have all of us overcome this winter season.」
Everyone answered me with a positive attitude. We’d ride this momentum through the difficulties of the soldiers and the winter. For our current selves it was easily doable.
Chapter 17 End.