「The three of you have been doing your best so I’ll brush all of you. But before that could you show me the job I asked you to do?」
The two of them smiled brightly when they heard me.
I couldn’t help but roughly pet their heads.
「Un, we did it! Come and look Cyril-niisama!」
「Kuro did here best too…」
Kemin and Kurone took my hands and pulled me behind the Fire Fox Workshop.
There, I saw large objects covered in a sheet.
The two of them let go of my hands and grabbed the sheet and pulled it off.
There were a number of 200 liter baked clay jugs lined up there.
These were the objects I had requested from the Fire Foxes to begin production of Erucy’s specialty products.
「Kuro made this one」
「I made this one」
Kurone and Kemin said boastfully pointing out the jugs they had made as their tails wagged.
Even for the Fire Foxes who could use Earth and Fire magic, it would not have been easy to make so many large jugs. There must have been quite a bit of trial and error involved in making all of these.
「You two did very well. Un, this much should be plenty. All that’s left is the number. Do you think that you can reach 100 of these within the next month?」
「Of course. We’ve already got the hang of it.」
「We could even make two hundred of them」
The two of them answered confidently.
If I was going to be honest, these jugs had been a worry of mine. Using these it would only take two weeks to make our specialty product. If we didn’t have them ready by the final date then our next chance would be next year.
As I was thinking I spotted Kuu and Yukino dashing towards the workshop.
Their expressions were strained and they seemed lost in their own world. It seems that they weren’t coming back, but that this was a part of their training regiment.
Their running speed was not normal. They seemed to be dashing at about 40 km per hour (24 mph).
Just like the elves had exceptional eyes and magic foundations, the Fire Foxes had incredible ears as well as powerful and flexible legs.
The two of them were running around at a speed that Elves could only achieve when using 『Body Enhancement』 while barely looking tired.
Of course, not all Fire Foxes had that kind of strength. It was because Kuu and Yukino were Gold and Silver foxes with heightened base abilities.
The reason I didn’t have them do the same training as the Elves was because their physical abilities overshadowed them too much. Forcing these girls to climb the snowy mountain barely had any meaning because of their strength. Furthermore, their talent with bows fell far behind that of an Elf’s they would not be able to keep up with the archery training.
However, it may be good to have them undergo the Hell Survival training along with the Elves.
The silver Yukino struck out at Kuu. Kuu lightly countered it and used her own force to send Yukino flying into the air. However, Yukino managed to regain her balance midair and landed on her feet before moving into Kuu’s blindspot and shooting forward like a bullet to continue her attack.
Kuu’s ears twitched. Then she dodged with a paper-thin margin without even looking behind her, hooked Yukino’s legs, and knocked her to the ground.
Yukino couldn’t even put up a guard and fell flat on her face.
Fire Foxes didn’t need to depend on their eyes to determine their surroundings. Their excellent hearing could provide almost as much information as their sight.
It was likely that if magic was not allowed I would not be able to win in a pure fistfight with Kuu.
「Yukino, I know I said this before, but your attacks are too repetitive.」
「Kuu-anesama but then you said it was better not to forcefully put in feints if they weren’t going to work…」
「Yes, that’s why you need to be better at fooling me. You’re weaker so you need to think a bit more.」
Yukino got up with tears welling in her eyes and once again jumped into the fight.
Kuu easily dealt with the attack. Kuu’s movements were a mix of powerful wild strength and refined martial arts practice. Compared to that, Yukino’s movements were solely momentum based. No matter what she did in this state she wouldn’t reach Kuu.
「Kurone, are Kuu and Yukino doing this all the time?」
「No, today they’re doing hand to hand fighting, but yesterday they were training magic.」
「How did they do that?」
「Well um…they’d continue to output as much fire as they can for as long as possible. Let it out for as long as possible until they collapse. But Kuu-anesama…if you quit while you still have a bit left she’ll get really angry. She says ‘if you don’t put everything into training then you’ll be shoddy on the battlefield and die’. Yukino-chan stopped making fire and fell in the snow….then Kuu-anesama buried her in snow and saw that it was still melting…she got really angry and said that it wasn’t her limit and then….」
Kurone stopped and hesitated. Was it really that horrible?
「She got angry and…?」
「She kept burying Yukino until the snow stopped melting…and then only dug her up after thirty minutes…」
「……I should stop her.」
Certainly it was true that using magic until your absolute limit would increase your internal reserves and could help with your control and technique. There was also meaning in letting you learn where your limits lay while training your will-power.
However, no matter what, she was going too far. Even the training today was just showing that she was more powerful and beating her up without giving any constructive advice.
Kurone and Kemin both shook their heads when they heard me say that.
「Cyril-niisama, you can’t stop them. Training more painful than death is what makes a Fire Fox Warrior hard to kill. When Kuu-anesama’s brother trained her it was even harsher. Yukino-chan knows that too, and it’s also hard on Kuu-anesama who has to treat Yukino-chan like this.」
Kurone said as she looked at me seriously.
It was true that the Fire Foxes produced warriors that would fight hard even in the face of death. No doubt this was the type of training that would produce warriors with such strength of will.
「Plus Yukino-chan is enjoying some of it. She says that she feels that she’s getting stronger everyday and is proud that she’s being treated properly as a Fire Fox Warrior.」
I looked once again at Yukino. As usual she was being knocked down over and over by Kuu. But, she continued to rise.
Looking more carefully, every time she stood her movements changed a little. Every time Kuu knocked her down, she was analyzing Kuu’s movements, changing her lacking parts, and improving herself.
Every moment she watched Kuu’s movements without a moment of inattention as she engraved these painful lessons into her body.
Yukino’s eyes had tears in them and her face showed how frustrated she was, but even so, deep in her eyes you could see a burning will that said ‘this time I’ll win’.
「If you stopped them now, I think Yukino-chan would be really angry. That’s why we’re just cheering her on from the side.」
Kurone said while gripping her fist.
It must have been hard for them to watch their friend getting beat up. However, they believed in Kuu and Yukino.
「I see, so she’s doing her best….risking her life.」
Somewhere within me I had been looking down on them. I had treated them as existences that I needed to protect and guide…weak existences.
Even in the plan I was thinking of, I only expected them to use their special abilities as a strategic piece rather than counting them as pure war potential.
I was thinking of how to let them live as peacefully as possible.
However, these girls were exhausting themselves in order to become strong enough to survive.
Perhaps the Nettle members and other Elves were off fighting their own battles out of my sight.
「Ah, look Cyril-niisama!」
Kemin said excitedly as she pointed towards the fight.
It was a single strike, but Yukino’s fist certainly reached Kuu.
Kuu happily praised Yukino as she patted her head. Then Yukino tearfully leapt into Kuu’s chest.
Oh no…if you show me something like this….
「Then I’ll have to try even harder….」
I couldn’t just stay as I was. These girls were trying so hard…I had to put even more effort in. That was the will of a man.
Try harder and have everyone survive.
Allow everyone to laugh by the end.
That was certainly how my Father lived. That was the ideal form of the Chief.