Translator: “Kell” Editor: ”Weasalopes”
After mulling it over, I chose the Path of Fury.
Now that I really think about it, making someone mad and making someone sad is somewhat similar in a sense that you’d have to do something horrible to them. If I said or did something horrible to a complete stranger, which emotion would I most likely trigger?
It still depends on the person’s character, but I believe most people would get mad. If someone’s close friend said something mean to them, they would probably be dejected, but if it came from someone they just met, they’d most likely snap. At least I would.
So I went into the hole that led to the Path of Fury. Before me stood the same kind of door as before and I opened it.
「―Welcome to the Strongest Corps!」
It was quite the passionate greeting. A group of ten soldiers wearing light equipment and weapons in their hands acknowledged me with big smiles on their faces. This time it was another room, though it looked more like a training facility. It was spacious with wooden practice dummies planted everywhere. They were all men with most of them having chiseled faces.
「I, uhh… came here not knowing anything.」
「Oh, come on now! You came here to join the Strongest Corps, right? If not then we’ll have to send you away.」
「Uh, yes. That’s right. I want to join your group.」
Things probably won’t go anywhere unless I joined. As before, my Appraisal didn’t work on them so I assumed they were artificial beings created by the dungeon. A dandy fellow who looked pretty good with his beard wanted to shake hands so I did.
「Welcome. I’m the group’s leader, Son. You’ll join us in training starting today. I trust you don’t mind?」
「No, I don’t.」
「Very good. I’m giving you an exception today to keep that outfit of yours on. Let’s get down to work right away and start your training.」
Unlike the old gentleman from the Path of Laughter, this one’s not giving me any hints. I examined the facility and noticed a door in a corner.
「Sir, I have a question before we begin. What’s beyond that door?」
「It’s a room for isolation. We lock good-for-nothing soldiers inside there as punishment.」
Ooohh, I get it now. If I piss them off, they’ll throw me in there as punishment. Then I’ll find the stairs I’m looking for in there.
「Let’s start with practice swings. Are you ready?」
I took out my own sword and swung a number of times, matching the other soldiers’ rhythm. After about ten swings, I realized something. I can’t make them mad if I just listen to them and do as they say. It was a bit risky, but to hell with it. I stopped swinging and sat down.
「What’s wrong, newbie?」
「I’m exhausted so I’m taking a break.」
「A break, you say? Hmmm…」
The leader furrowed his brows. They were called the Strongest Corps so they should be strict and harsh against slackers. I hope he gets mad.
「……Fair enough. You’re still a newbie, after all.」
He actually gave me permission for a break. I must say it’s quite strange to hate someone for being nice. I tried sitting cross-legged and rolled around. It was bad behavior but they weren’t even close to getting pissed.
「Haha! Looks like the newbie’s already worn out. Everyone’s like that at first. Can’t really blame the lad.」
They were far from angry. In fact, they even talked to me like a kind senior. It was quite a comfortable atmosphere which put me in a spot. After practice swings, next was a one-on-one fight with real swords.
「Hey, newbie. Do you wanna go first?」
「Um, yeah. I’ll go first.」
I have no other choice but to act like a jerk.
「Good luck, newbie!」
「We expect great stuff from you.」
They were getting fired up. My opponent was a slit-eyed guy. He raised his sword above his head, its tip pointed towards me. I, on the other hand, raised mine mid-level, and taunted him.
「The Strongest Corps, huh? I’m sure you’re strong in name only. The truth is, you’re pushovers.」
「Oh, big words, newbie.」
「What are you waiting for? Come and get me~!」
I stuck out my tongue, trying hard to be annoying.
He kept a complacent smile and charged. I deflected the attack upwards, and with the opening, landed a kick on his hands.
He dropped his sword all too easily. I won. He wasn’t all that strong.
「…He was too weak. I didn’t even use half of my strength. Are you guys strong in name only, then? Strongest Corps… more like Strongest Snore.
Heavy silence descended upon the room. I deliberately said something to hurt their pride. I kinda felt bad about it. The calm before a storm… or so I thought but they burst out into laughter.
「You’re a funny one, kid!」
「Wow, this newbie has some spunk! Things are starting to get interesting.」
With their mouths wide open, they guffawed like they were really having fun. It was contagious as I ended up forcing a smile as well. This is bad. They were too nice. I had no idea what to do to really piss them off. I sat down near the door in the corner.
I tried to open it while they were all focused on training but it was locked.
「What the hell are you doing?!」
Crap, am I busted? I tried to apologize, but quickly realized I wasn’t the one getting yelled at. A guy collapsed while in the middle of training and the leader rebuked him for it.
「Get up, you fuckin idiot! You think you can stay with us if that’s all it takes to wear you out?!」
「I’m sorry… Sir.」
「Get up. I’ll give you three second to get on your feet.」
The timid soldier tried to stand up, but he couldn’t keep his legs steady and collapsed once again. The leader spoke coldly.
「…You should quit.」
「Please wait, Sir! I’ll get up… I’ll get up!」
He mustered all his strength to get on his feet but dropped on the ground once more. This time, though, it was because the leader kicked him. The soldiers who were watching roared in laughter. It was quite different from how they treated me which made me a bit uncomfortable.
「Out. You’re fired. Get your things and go back to the sticks.」
「Please don’t fire me, Sir. I have a family to raise back home. I won’t be able to feed them if I get fired.」
「Haaah? Like I care. You can live in the streets with your family, then.」
Not one soul sympathized with the poor man. They all just pointed their fingers at the guy and mocked him. It was legit bullying. Not something a grown man should do. Before I realized it, I was standing in front of the leader.
「You went too far, Sir.」
「Newbie, this guy is a disgrace to the corps.」
「But he’s trained more than me. You should think of the long run.」
「Are you taking his side?」
「A group that bullies the weak has no right to call themselves the Strongest Corps. The strongest should help the weak and take down bad guys. If you have that mindset, then I believe that’s the only time you can call yourself the strongest. 」
「You’re just a goddamn newbie! Where do you get off giving us a lecture?!」
The leader who was gentle to me was now irate. The rest of the soldiers jeered. I could feel extraordinary rage in the air.
「Wait… I just succeeded in pissing them off.」
That wasn’t my intention, but it turned out favourable for me. They’ll probably take me to that room now.
「Boss, let’s kill that guy!」
「Yes. We can’t let him go around telling people nasty things about us. Everyone, kill him!」
Okay, this was not what I expected. Approximately ten people came charging at me, oozing with bloodlust. If the mock battle was anything to go on, I could handle one guy. But I was clearly outnumbered so I had to run around. I stopped with my back on a wooden dummy.
I crouched down to dodge his horizontal attack. His sword dug deep into the dummy and got stuck. Seeing my opening, I landed a powerful uppercut on his nuts.
「Sorry, but I can’t really afford to fight fair and square.」
One more came rushing at me so I moved behind the dummy. If I keep engaging in close combat with this many enemies, I’ll eventually get surrounded and that’ll be the end of me. I’d like to settle this quick with magic. So I created an 【Explosion skill】and granted it to the dummy.
It suddenly burst and chips of wood flew everywhere, causing the soldiers to freeze in place. Then I fired 【Stone Bullets】 at them. Their size a hundred centimeters.
They went tumbling on the ground, unable to withstand the barrage of rocks with their light equipment. One man stood tall, however―the leader. He was no doubt strong. He cut a stone flying at him in half.
「That won’t work on me.」
I examined his sword right away. It was called the Sword of Vanity with the skills 【Stone Slice】 and 【Wood Slice】. They made cutting wood and stones easier. He swung his sword diagonally and I stopped it with my two-edged sword.
「You’re quite strong for a newbie.」
I was physically stronger than him. I pushed with all I got causing him to lose his balance and move back. Once again, I made a nearby dummy explode, which drew his attention and I used 【White Flame】 on him. The flames ignited his beard.
He let go of his sword to put out the fire. It wasn’t really powerful so he was able to put it out right away without causing too much harm. Of course, I didn’t just stand there and watch him. I picked up his sword and with two blades, I thrust them right before his throat.
「Damn you, newbie.」
「What, I’m cocky? I actually think so too myself. So how about this? I’ll lock myself up in that room and reflect on my actions.」
「Can I borrow the key?」
「I’ll cut your throat.」
「Here, take it!」
It seemed he was afraid of death as he tossed the key to me. I carefully took it and moved to the door, not turning my back on him.
「Wait! That’s my sword!」
「You’re the one who threw it away. I feel sorry for it so I’ll put it to good use.」
「You goddamn insolent brat! Don’t show your face around here again!」
You don’t have to tell me. I don’t have any intention of coming back here either.
Thankfully the key was not a dud and the door opened. Inside was a small room, with the stairs I was looking for at the center.
I revelled in joy, carrying my new-found sword, the Sword of Vanity.