「Then let me show you.」
I turned my back to the man who had protested.
「Look at my back. Now, go get some stones and throw them at me with all your might. I don’t mind even if you grab five.」
「Well, if I do that then you’ll…」
「I said do it. You can’t accept it like this right?」
I said and began moving the wind mana to activate 『Perception Expansion』. I used the wind to enhance my own senses in a span of 300 meters from where I stood.
In places with wind, I had no blind spots.
「Don’t hate me for this!」
Then with the protester in the lead some of the others threw pebbles at me as well.
Without turning around I simply and easily dodged every single one.
Finally the rain of rocks stopped.
「That was the result of listening to the voice of the wind. The wind tells me all. Before this, I clapped my hand on your shoulder and had the wind whisper to you. I was testing whether or not you could hear it.」
「…..so what you’re saying is…even if we worked hard to learn we couldn’t…but if it’s them then they can learn?」
「That’s right. But let me amend that, if you take enough time then you can learn as well. But the Empire will attack so we don’t have that kind of time. This time I need to teach those who can learn quickly.」
「…I guess it can’t be helped. Sorry for causing a scene Chief.」
「No, it was my fault as well. I’m sorry you couldn’t make it in even after you volunteered.」
With those parting words, the ones who failed headed off.
It might have been that my consideration was lacking as well. No matter their motives, these were all people willing to risk their lives in defense of Erucy. I need to treat them better.
「Alright then, allow us to begin the second selection.」
Though I said it was a second test, it was a simple endurance test. By the end of it, 3 of the 7 women who passed the first test dropped out and we ended up with 20 people.
As expected men had greater endurance than most women.
Naturally…Lucy, who used magic and did manual labor daily had passed.
Amongst the 20 who passed, ten of them were from Roleau’s troops which was quite nice since I wouldn’t have to train them from scratch.
Of the remaining ten most of them were young Elves. As expected, the younger ones had more fighting spirit.
Among the young ones were my childhood friends Rek and Shuti who stood near Lucy and strangely enough the plain young lady Konna made it too. I didn’t think she was the type of people to join in on this kind of thing.
「I didn’t think you’d come here Konna. What wind brought you to this gathering?」
「Ah Cyril-sama…Umm…well…I was invited by a friend who wanted to be with you Cyril-sama…」
「And that friend is?」
「They dropped out in the first test….」
I see, she was a fairly passive girl so I could see her getting swept up by her friends. Then she was the only one who ended up passing.
She could hear the voice of the wind properly and she had a surprising amount of stamina. But I doubt she could continue the training just because her friends told her to come here…I should probably…
「Cyril-sama! T-that’s not it. Certainly I came by chance, but they didn’t force me and I wanted to come…I properly made my peace and came with the resolve to die. I love Erucy as it is now. I did not feel this love for the village before, I feel it for Erucy as it is. So…I want to protect it. That feeling is true!」
The moment I was about to suggest she drop out…she flew into a panic and spouted out words like a machine gun.
I couldn’t help but smile.
She spoke a bit poorly, but I could feel her seriousness.
「I’m glad you think that way. The training will be harsh and the battlefield will be hellish…but those feelings will surely carry you through.」
「Yes! I’ll do my best!」
Konna cried out with tightly gripped fists. Though she wasn’t particularly cute, I could see her appeal in this situation.
I waved my hand and headed to the center of the square.
「Everyone listen. The twenty of you here will become the sword and shield that defends Erucy from her enemies.」
The two Fire Foxes were a special case, but the standing army would be mostly these twenty.
「From now on all of you will live everyday to become stronger. In other words, anything else will not be allowed.」
Up until now they had lived by raising crops and hunting. From now on they will abandon that livelihood of producing and train to fight and kill to survive.
「Your everyday life will be supported by others. For that reason….you cannot become haughty. You will grow strong. I will make it so. That strength will make you prideful. But, I want you to remember, this strength was only possible because of the support of everyone in Erucy.」
Even I had almost forgotten myself in my own power.
「Not only that, when emergency strikes you will move before anyone else and step in front of everyone else to defend them with the strength you obtain. That will become the meaning of your existence. If you can accept my words then hit your chest with your fist. It is the final confirmation. Once you agree, you cannot back out. Answer with that kind of will in your heart.」
All twenty placed their fists over their hearts.
I’m sure not all of them had taken it fully to heart.
But even so, I felt that time would change that.
「I’ve received your resolve. From now on you will become the Elite Unit of Erucy. Your name will be Nettle. You will have to move and act with the pride of being a member of this unit in the future.」
I heard some of them murmur the name Nettle under their breaths as they smiled.