Chapter 139: Among them, part 3


Translator: Denryuu; Editor: Ryunakama


「That Daz… he ain’t a bad feller, but he does tend to go overboard once you flip his switch.」

「Yeah, that’s about right. Once he starts, he doesn’t know when to stop.」

After training was over, the instructors had brought me to a local watering-hole. It was noisy in a good way — like your typical downtown pub where one could kick his feet up and relax. Daz and the recruits he had beaten up were taken to the first-aid room to be patched up. Though the two recruits were bruised all over, they had gotten away without any broken bones.

On the other hand, Daz looked okay on the outside but closer examination revealed that I had fractured every bone of his that I hit.

「You really dumpstered ol’ Daz」, an instructor said, thumping me on the shoulder. 「Who are you?」

「A martial artist travelling the land… I suppose.」

My match with Daz had garnered too much attention. Nobody would believe me even if I insisted that I’m a rookie.

「A pathseeker…?」

The others also looked at me with apparent interest.

「Nowhere near as noble as that, I’m afraid.」

That didn’t stop them from gasping in awe.

「On a journey to study martial arts…」

「You’re very humble for a pathseeker.」

「The mediocre ones tend to act high and mighty, but you’re nothing like that, Henri.」

Henri…

Right, that’s me. I remember now.

Due to the alcohol, the instructors were now more willing to talk freely.

「So how many soldiers do we have? Like, three thousand?」

「Aye, around there. But I do think we recruited too many.」

「Do you know why his Lordship is gathering so many troops?」, I asked.

The instructors looked at each other and shook their heads cryptically.

「We have soldiers serving as escorts even when we’re just moving goods around. Since our men were trained under his Lordship’s jurisdiction, they’re more trustworthy than a bunch of adventurers.」

「Aye. When we need to deal with monsters or pirates, we’re probably only gonna send our men instead of asking the guild for help.」

That idea sat perfectly well in their minds. Never in their wildest dreams would they expect that a civil war was in the works. Goods, huh? Supplies will be absolutely essential during a civil war. But I’ll leave it at that for today, I thought. Can’t arouse suspicion now — I still have a long way to go.

I inquired of the instructors’ backgrounds, and learnt that they had all served as soldiers during the war. Since Ferland had fought only to defend herself from the demons, the rewards received by the soldiers afterwards hadn’t been anything to write home about. On top of that, fewer soldiers were needed in peacetime. Every kingdom, not only Ferland, had cut down on the scale of their armed forces. Having lost their bread baskets, they had seen the recruitment posters just as they were beginning to despair.

Now that I had asked about their backgrounds, it was only fair to reveal mine as well. After all, it’s difficult to place your trust in a bunch of strangers who you know nothing about.

「I trained under my master while living deep in the mountains. The war started shortly after I left her. I ended up in the army where I met many people, and I was thinking about the avenues I had to help others when I saw the recruitment poster.」

I was portraying myself as a kind-hearted person. The first half was as true as the second half was utter bullshit.

「Deep in the mountains…」

「Training under your master…」

「Wanting to help others…」

Their impression of me being a martial artist cum pathseeker was beginning to solidify. I looked at the instructors, and one of them nodded.

「Henri-san, I wonder if we can rely on you to train the men?」

「Me?」

I hadn’t expected such a request, at all.

「I agree」, said another instructor. 「All of us are self-taught, so we ain’t exactly good teachers.」

「No complaints here. Especially since you’re strong enough to dunk on Daz」, chimed in another.

「If it’s a person like you who ceaselessly strives towards excellence, Henri, then I have faith in you.」

「And you seem pretty stoic, too.」

「Well, what do the higher-ups think?」, I asked.

I’m all for it, said the last instructor, smiling.

「Out of those who train soldiers in this region, I’m the strongest. But I’d like to leave it to you too.」

「Maybe we can become stronger under Henri-san’s tutelage…」

「Most likely. He’s the one who pulled off an attack so fast none of us could catch it!」

「We can become even stronger…?」

「Wait up. He hasn’t agreed yet, y’know?」, observed one of them, to which the others laughed.

「All of you… if you think you can become as strong as the Heroine, then y’all best get your heads out of the clouds. If that was possible, a lot of our men would still be alive and kicking.」

I’m not an exception — there were many times during the war when I had felt powerless. If only I had been faster, or stronger. I could’ve saved that town or rescued that village.

The banter above had reminded me of my initial desire to become stronger. We are one and the same, I thought — now that I’ve seen the innocent side of these people, how can I dash their hopes?

「Sure, if you’re fine with me.」

When it came to physical combat on the frontline during the war, Almeria and Elvi had been essentially useless at first, so I had devised a training scheme for them.

『If only the sun doesn’t rise tomorrow…』

『Who am I, and why am I here… I’ve been thinking a lot about it recently…』

『『…』』

『『I want out…!』』

The two ladies had apparently cried every night while lamenting their existence.

Even though these people in front of me now would eventually have a hand in starting the civil war, they wouldn’t be at fault. And that’s why I’m here — to see that the uprising never happens.

Continuing to make merry, the instructors clinked their glasses yet again.

「But it won’t be easy. Please keep that in mind.」

「Of course.」

But who am I to call them innocent, I thought. I had agreed because I had grown attached to them.



2 Comments

  1. And then Barbatos’ entire private army leave him because they like Roland’s training more.

  2. And then, Barbatos’ entire private army, though they would be stronger in the long run, was out of commission for 3 weeks due to the harshness of Roland’s training.

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