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The Ramuff Forest.
It’s a vast forest located almost at the center of the Solisthea Magic Kingdom.
Although it is not as large as Far-Flung forest, it’s also an area inhabited by many monsters.
Mercenaries and researchers mainly enter this forest to collect medicinal herbs, ores, and monsters’ materials, but it is also famous as a place where knights and mages train.
For some reason, this forest seemed to be a perfect environment for monsters to live in, and according to some researchers, part of the magical power flowing through the planet was accumulated there.
It’s said that it created the perfect environment for monsters to live in, but whether this is true or not is unclear.
“So you’re saying that this forest is on a ley line. That makes Far-Flung forest seem even more mysterious. Plants and animals had unusually strong vitality……”
“It’s said that the magic is flowing right underneath Santor, but no one has been able to confirm it.”
“Ah~…… I now understand why the Mandragoras were unusually fertile. It seems that the other plants are also affected in some way by the magical power flowing underground.”
In the campsite in the middle of Ramuff forest, while the students and mercenaries were setting up camp, the ossan was discussing with Zweit to get more information about the location.
Even though they’re not as strong as in Far-Flung forest, the monsters that live here are powerful enough to be a dangerous environment for students who have never experienced a real battle.
“Come to think of it, the road to Steeler was unusually wide, is there a fort there?”
“Yeah, one of the largest fortresses in this country is located just beyond Steeler. The road itself has been widened to transport soldiers and food supplies. The road narrows in the middle in places where they could be ambushed or widen the road because of the terrain.”
“The road suddenly got narrow, and I almost got knocked over.”
“Shishou…… what in the world are you doing there?”
The ossan did not answer Zweit’s question.
The bike he built has the worst stability because he built it without a proper design. Thanks to the extra features, the bike is barely stable, and also has a lot of inconvenient problems.
When he returns, he plans to dismantle the sidecar parts and rebuild the motorcycle fully.
Perhaps because it was made from a recycled piece of discarded material, the bike’s name naturally became [Junk No. 13].
The name came from the fact that the discarded items in his inventory were reused, and among the parts used was an armor with a shield fixed to a movable arm, called [Prototype Automatic Defense Mechanism Armor No. 28].
It looks like a power suit, it seems that he has been playing around with it as he pleases, ruining the fantasy world from the time he was playing the online game.
It was too heavy to equip, and even if he could, he wouldn’t be able to move it, so he decided to use the movable shield as a part to make the wheels of the sidecar move. As a result, the body of the sidecar would be slightly bent when installed as an additional feature.
The movable mechanism of the shield is used to move the wheels of the sidecar, and the arm part is used as a securing device for the armament that is currently installed.
The [Magic Motor] built into the front and rear wheels of the bike is also a piece of a large fan that is used for the monster raid events that have been massively popular during the game. The reason why he created such a thing was that he thought, “If I hit the swarming monsters with a powerful wind, it would slow down the invasion”. That’s what he thought.
The idea was to get several of them, but in the end, it was rejected and the prototype that had been sitting in his inventory was used, but just knowing that the magic motor was usable was a bonus.
However, the bike itself was no good. The ossan promised himself to ride safely at a reasonable speed on the way back.
“After all, it must be designed properly…… If you just build something from memory and randomly reassemble it, it can be dangerous~…….”
“What are you talking about? Seriously, I don’t know what Shishou came for……”
“In short, a [Big Toy]? It’s a failure… it’s a wonder we made it this far without anyone dying……”
“That’s dangerous! What about safety. Won’t you usually consider that when making these? It’s a magic tool, right?”
“I didn’t have much time, so I started to add things in the middle of the project, and it turned out to be a bit weird. I didn’t have enough time to improve it, so I persisted until the last minute, but the result was terrible. Hahahahahaha”
“…… You know, that whole thing was really wrong, right? It’s no laughing matter.”
As long as it can make a sharp turn, it’s good enough.
However, that’s only if the ossan has insane physical abilities, and it’s obvious that no one but Zeros can handle it. It’d be highly uncommon.
Because he didn’t think that he would do the foot brake.
“Ah…… Should I have made the Batmobile? That thing was capable to separate as a bike if the main body was destroyed……”
“No, I don’t understand what you’re saying. What are you talking about?”
With two powerful motors, it would have been no problem to build an automobile.
The ossan realized this now and thought back to the time when it was made when he was very close to finishing it.
Zweit of course couldn’t follow.
“Zweit! Stop talking and help us. We’re shorthanded.”
“Oh, sorry. I’m coming!”
“So the students are setting up the tent. What a bunch of busy people……”
“It’s also training for when there’s a war. Mages are conscripted, mercenaries are not forced because they can join the war at any time. I’m so jealous…….”
“I don’t think they can be used, though. Even if they experience a real battle here, they won’t be able to coordinate with the military, and they won’t have the knowledge to conduct maneuvers. It’d be like going to their deaths, right?”
“Many of the people who participate in this training are aspiring mercenaries. I’m sure they’ll learn a thing or two in a real battle, so there’s no point in worrying about it.”
Becoming a mercenary in order to avoid conscription duty. For the ossan, it seems like the end of the world.
Along with the guild card, he was also given an instruction manual that outlined the duties of a mercenary. Certain ranks are forced to participate in wars, and these duties are lessened as the ranking increases.
Also, if a mercenary did not receive a certain number of requests, they would have their membership revoked and would have to register again, but with a lower rank, and other complicated matters were written in detail.
The ossan doesn’t care if his guild card expires, but Iris is obligated to participate in the war, and if war breaks out, she will have to go to the battlefield even if she doesn’t want to.
While it may seem that the obligation to participate in the war has been removed, the fact is that becoming a mercenary does not remove the risk of being sent to the battlefield.
Zweit is a member of a duke’s family and therefore compelled to participate in the war, so he seems to be unfamiliar with these details.
The main reason why the higher ranks are not required to participate in the war is that considering the time it takes to develop skilled mercenaries, higher-ranked mercenaries are valuable.
As they are hard to train, high-ranked mercenaries are forced to train inexperienced mercenaries in exchange for not being required to participate in the war.
With the threat of monsters surrounding them, securing human resources was a serious problem everywhere.
“Dio’s calling me, so I better go. Well, I haven’t set up a tent in a while……”
“I think I’ll go and set up a tent for the mercenaries. I’ve prepared my own tent, though.”
“Shishou, you should use your own tent if you have one, okay? I’ve heard that some of the mercenaries are thieves and mo-ho. The last time I participated in a field training, there was a guy who was dragged into the tent ……. Apparently, he was used as a substitute for a woman.”
(*Enkiros: The author has some interesting tastes ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°))
“Seriously? I can’t believe this line of work is so disgusting…… Well, I guess it is better for me that way since I have my cuckoos……”
He knew that no mo-ho would attack a good old man, but he had experienced firsthand that there are exceptions to everything, and he decided to be vigilant.
The ossan took thorough defensive measures against the things he disliked.
After parting ways with Zweit, Zeros headed for the mercenaries’ tent area.
He wanted to secure a place to set up his own tent.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
“What should I do with this……? I have no idea……”
“As I recall, I was told that you are supposed to attach the frames together…… and put them in this cloth to hold them in place……”
“What should I do with this hammer? I don’t really know……?”
Celestina and her friends were currently struggling to set up their tent.
The girls, Celestina and Cristey, had never been camping before. Of course, they had never built a tent before.
The same goes for Uruna. Beastmen are not used to using such tools.
They are a rough race, to begin with, and would rather stay out in the open than build a tent.
This characteristic is the reason why they are considered a barbaric race, but most beastmen are not concerned with small details.
If it’s a useful tool, they learn to use it, but they don’t want to go through the hassle of putting together a tent made of metal pipes. In the first place, they don’t mind sleeping on the ground.
“I understand that you have to be conscripted, but this kind of training should be done in lectures first. You can’t just ask people to build something out of the blue!”
“Hmmm. I wonder where this pipe leads to? Huh? The length is different…… What is this rope?”
“What is this big sack here? This is what the pipe was wrapped in, but it seems a little big…… What?”
The two innocent young ladies and Uruna, who had no friends and had never camped before, were having a hard time.
Nearby, Kreuz and his friends were pitching their tents, but Makarov had taken the lead in instructing them, so they were setting them up very efficiently.
The only problem was that they were not allowed to ask their friends for advice on how to set up the tent, and the instructors were constantly patrolling the area to keep an eye on them.
In addition, the instructions on how to assemble the tents were not provided, which made it difficult to set up the tents.
“The stakes are supposed to be driven into the ground, but I don’t understand the structure. There are thin pipes and long pipes, and what are these short strings?”
“Why don’t we just sleep on the ground? No one will be bothered.”
“I don’t want to! What are you going to do when you change your clothes? You can’t be so vulgar in public!”
“What? I don’t mind it. I don’t mind. It doesn’t make me any less of a person.”
“”That’ s not how girls are supposed to behave……””
Uruna has no sense of shame.
As a beastman, she is like a wild child, no matter how much she grows up in an environment with other humans.
“Uruna…… you’re a girl, you should be a little more aware of your surroundings.”
“That’s right. By the way, I was wondering why you address Celestina-san as sama while you address me using just my name?”
“E ~e ~? Celestina-sama is Celestina-sama, you know? Cristey is Cristey, What’s wrong with that?”
“I’m also a nobleman…… Why don’t you call me “sama”? It doesn’t make sense.”
Uruna doesn’t really understand what Cristey is saying.
As a side note, the Beastmen are a righteous race. They show respect to their benefactors and the strong, but other than that, they are appropriate.
Celestina once taught Uruna how to fight and saved her from insidious mistreatment, and ever since then, she has shown respect to Celestina.
She judges things almost by instinct, so she has no thoughts of ranking people.
In short, Celestina was like picking up a puppy. And it attached to her.
Understandably, Cristey would think that she is being disrespected because she is a human, but the beastmen have no sense of nobility or authority.
The only difference, if there is one, is between a benefactor and a stronger person.
Celestina explained this with a smile on her face.
“That makes sense. In other words, the beastman race may live with humans, but on the inside, they live only with their wild instincts, don’t they?”
“I was also baffled at first. I want her to call me by my name, but she stubbornly refuses to take the ‘sama’, and to be honest, I feel jealous of you, Cristey-san!”
“Is that so? I was surprised. I thought you were just embracing it……”
“When people call me by honorifics, I feel alienated. I want people to feel free to talk to me……”
“Except for the “sama” part, the rest of it is pretty straightforward. Why should you be concerned?”
“That’s the only thing that helps. It would be uncomfortable if they were afraid of me……”
As a daughter of a mistress, Celestina does not like to be called by her name in a formal manner.
Although Uruna adds “sama” to her name, the rest of the time she is very carefree and doesn’t hesitate to talk to people. Although she has a few complaints, she is honestly happy to have made some friends.
When Celestina suddenly turned her eyes, she saw an old man walking around in black, wearing a mask, and puffing on a cigarette leisurely.
It was a complete breach of etiquette, but there were no such rules in this world.
“Sensei, why are you here?”
“I was with Zweit-kun a little bit, you know. Now, I’m going back to the place where the mercenaries are gathered.”
“Why don’t you stay here? You are supposed to be my Niisama’s bodyguard, so I don’t see the problem.”
“Well, that’s just our situation. I’m a mercenary, and I can’t always be there to protect Zweit-kun.”
Tomorrow, the mercenaries will decide which party of academy students to escort by lottery.
Since they don’t know who will be escorting which party, it’s best to discuss and decide on a schedule. As nothing goes perfectly, it is best to take whatever steps you can.
“…… I haven’t seen Sensei for the past three days?”
“I went ahead and defeated some monsters and other things, and trained with the cuckoos. After that, I was escorting Zweit-kun. That is my job, you know.”
“Is it really that dangerous?”
“Well, the bandits said they were hired by some nobleman, so I’m sure they’ll make their move.”
The bandits who were destroyed by the cuckoos were then taken to a nearby fort led by some mercenaries.
Half of the bandits were cruelly killed, and many of the rest were seriously injured. The carriages the bandits had prepared were used to transport them, but they would probably be executed without even becoming criminal slaves.
The reason was that it would be less expensive to dispose of them than to treat them, leaving those in good health. Criminals have no human rights.
“Hah…… I wonder why this has happened. I thought Zweit-niisama was just pointing out a mistake. That’s just……”
“Those who are too ambitious won’t listen to others’ opinions. They are arrogant and think it’s normal to look down on others.”
“What about some of the more ambitious people in history who were even called heroes?”
“In most cases, they were dissatisfied with the government’s policies or the people they served were stupid. Even if they are ambitious, those who are calm and have the ability to consider the people are the ones who succeed.”
“Are you saying that a self-satisfied ambitious person will never make it big? Niisama used to say he was a lineageist……”
“Hereditary magic isn’t that big of a deal. It’s a magic you’ve had since you were a newborn baby. They occupy a lot of space in the subconscious, and the effects themselves are not that great.
There are a few powerful spells out there, but it’s doubtful that you’ll ever grow up to be able to use them. You can’t use other magic, and you’ll probably choose to go down a different path instead of being a mage.”
In this world where the monarchies are running rampant, there are quite a few royals who have grown to despise their people.
The same is true for the nobility, but they have often lost their positions due to rebellions caused by their disdain for the people after getting a taste of power. The ringleaders of the rebellion would work behind the scenes to spread their justifications and become known as heroes in later generations.
The key is how much support the people have, and those who ignore it are often doomed to perish, but since some politicians live out their lives doing bad things, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the rebellion will succeed.
Yet, for some reason, mages who inherit bloodline magic often rebel from time to time, resulting in heavy casualties. This is the same for the NPCs in the online game, and the ossan had a strange sense of déjà vu.
‘Was that really an NPC? The feeling when you hit it was so real…….’
This world and the in-game world are similar, but they are also different in many ways.
But the common thing now would be that mages with bloodline magic have a strong tendency to revolt.
Although he had hit NPCs who were mages who had inherited bloodline magic before, the feeling was no different from the real thing.
The same is true for the snobbishness, and sometimes it’s hard to tell which side you’re on.
“By the way…… don’t you need to set up a tent? Two of them are looking at me with a grudge, aren’t they?”
“E~? A~a ~!?”
Behind her, Cristey was unable to set up the tent and was staring at them intensely.
“Celestina-san, it’s fine to talk to your acquaintances, but please don’t forget about us.”
“Sorry! I was just so excited to meet him……”
“That ojisan is Celestina-sama’s sensei? ……Wow, this guy…… scares me”
Uruna approached Celestina energetically, but her tail and animal ears fell down as soon as she sensed the presence of Zeros. It seems that she has decided that you should not make enemies with this person.
“Fufu, it looks like you’re having trouble putting up the tent. The first step is to connect the supporting frames, and then assemble them into a three-dimensional structure inside the bag-like sheet. Old ……”
“Sensei! For this field trip, you must not ask others to set up the tent……”
“As a mercenary, you mean? In the first place, a student with no experience at all would have a hard time assembling a tent out of the blue.”
“A~…… by the way, there is no rule that says ‘don’t ask the mercenaries’……”
Yes, this field training also serves as training to interact with the mercenaries in case of emergency.
In the case of a war, a detailed strategy must be formulated and executed even with mercenaries, and the students of the academy are intended to learn many things by interacting with mercenaries here. The war is not only fought by knights and nobles.
Celestina finally understood the meaning of this training.
“I can’t help it. I’ll help you. It looks like you’re having a hard time with it～.”
“P, please……. Because it looks like we’re not going to be able to rest at this point.”
“A nobleman’s daughter and a beastman race……. Also, these members are not suited for this kind of work! Most beastman tribes are so rough~.”
Celestina and her party had a problem with the members themselves.
They couldn’t even do simple assembly work, and above all, their tent was old-fashioned and had many parts.
The frame was made of steel and was heavy, so it would take a lot of work for three girls to put it together.
Zeros has no choice but to intervene.
This training was not only to make acquaintances with the mercenaries but also to learn how to build tents and techniques on their own.
The children of nobles, in particular, were remarkably unskilled in such tasks.
Since they always leave things to others, and as mages, they don’t have anything to do with the outdoors, which makes them look out of place.
However, many of the lower-ranking noblemen and merchants at the academy were more familiar with this kind of work.
Whatever the case, Celestina and the others finally had a place to sleep.
As a side note, the ossan’s tent was the type that unfolds when you throw it, and he got a lot of stares from the students who were desperately trying to pitch their tents.
The reproduction of outdoor products from Earth seemed to be cunning in their eyes.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
The next morning, the students of the academy were finally going to start their field training.
All they had to do was enter the Ramaff forest, find the monsters and defeat them, but for the students, this was their first real battle.
Most of them had no combat experience and would be accompanied by one to three mercenaries.
However, they would need to finish their breakfast first.
Many of the students had been walking for three days and could not move, so they needed to eat and regain their energy before they could go any further. If you go into the forest, no matter how weak the monsters are, they could lead to your death.
The mercenaries also had a role in assisting the students.
Some of the wagons included stalls with cooking equipment.
This was prepared by the mercenary guild and was the lifeline of the academy students, with several chefs constantly preparing meals.
Several mercenaries were on guard to protect this stall and food, but the ossan watched the chefs preparing breakfast and grumbled skeptically.
“What’s going on? Ojisan.”
“No~, those chefs are very strong, aren’t they? Do they need an escort?”
“You’re right, the way they train their bodies is not that of a chef. They look like some kind of military men. Special Forces?”
“The feeling of solid metal is just too strong. It looks like it’s about to hide in a corner of the room and kill the enemy from the shadows.”
All the staff was dressed as chefs, with knives of various sizes on their leather belts and containers of spices attached to their waistbelts.
Their eyes are like a hunter’s, smiling like a beast at the ingredients placed in front of them, and they cook them in the blink of an eye with amazing skill.
“Scorpion, I’ll take care of the seasoning!”
“Heh, I’ll cook it up good. You get the meat on the left, don’t screw it up.”
“Who do you think you’re talking to? I wouldn’t do something like that!”
“Damn it, the enemy (the academy students lined up to eat) are reinforcing! Captain (head chef), please cover us!”
“I’ve got my hands full! Give me 10 minutes. I’ll be right there!”
“Reinforcements over here too! Where’s our supply (prepped food)!? We can’t hold out much longer!”
“Tsk, you starving wolves (hungry academy students and mercenaries)…… cut us some slack!”
If you just talk to them, they don’t look like they’re cooking.
They were standing on a battlefield, a battlefield of sorts.
“……I don’t know why, but it’s very tense and worth watching……”
“It’s very harsh……. I guess the world of chefs is always a battlefield.”
“They are professionals. They risk their lives to serve a plate of food to a customer no matter what the situation……”
“The hungry enemies (customers) are being destroyed at every turn, you know? I wonder what they are, those chefs……”
Iris and the ossan watched with bated breath as the culinary warriors engaged in an uncanny battle (the spectacle of cooking).
Their battle is a serious one, a hard mission in which not even the slightest mistake is tolerated.
They have to destroy every customer in line with their food and make sure that their stomachs are hit. Yes, their job is to completely subdue (fill up) the enemy (customers).
“It looks delicious…… Shall we line up too?”
“You’re right. And this scent is making me hungry.”
The savory smell of the food was a direct attack on the ossan’s stomach.
No longer satisfied with just looking at the food, their dishes hit the people in line with a tremendous destructive force. Their appetites are insatiable.
It was like being shot at by a sniper.
“Incoming reinforcements! It’s a surprise attack!!”
“What, Just hold on! Hold on until the supplies arrive!!”
“Roger that! We’ll defend this place at all costs!”
“This is Viper. We’ve been resupplied! We’re ready to go!”
“All right, we’re gonna fight back! Don’t die on me!”
A fierce battle begins at a camp set up in the Ramaff Forest.
An hour later, the food warriors stood in line with a look of accomplishment on their faces as they stood in front of the dead bodies (the academy students and mercenaries who were too full to move) spread out before them.
They survive the battlefield today and start preparing for the challenge of a new battlefield (preparing lunch).
The battle of the culinary warriors never ends.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
Satisfied with their breakfast, the students and mercenaries were finally ready to enter the forest.
The Academy’s students were taking it easy and forming teams with their friends and classmates, but the problem was Zeros and his friends.
The ossan and his friends were speechless.
The reason was that no one had been assigned to escort Zweit.
This was a matter of luck, but from the standpoint of the person who requested the escort, it was a serious problem.
“I’m…… in charge of a regular student group.”
“Me and Iris are not part of the escort, but the sister……”
“What about you, Rena?”
When the three of them looked at Rena, she was looking pale and overwhelmed with despair.
“I’m …… the little brother. Oh my god, I can’t believe I’m getting left …… in charge when there are so many cute sweet boys here.”
“No, we’re here to provide protection, aren’t we? Aren’t we forgetting our purpose?”
“Rena, you……. You haven’t forgotten our work, have you? Our lives depend on it, remember?”
“There’s a lot of Rena’s prey here, and the conditions are more than favorable enough for her to forget her purpose, you know? She’s suddenly disappeared while we were on a mission before……”
“A～…… I’m sure there was……”
At the time of the request to defeat the Wild Cuckoos, Rena disappeared in the middle of the mission.
It’s tough because when faced with her preferred prey, her priority is on the young and immature boys.
Rena is happy to help the boys, the blue fruits of her life, climb the stairs to adulthood.
The ossan was worried that the victims would tumble down those stairs.
“It’s no use, I’ll just ask Wu Kei and the others to escort Zweit-kun. Although it may seem like overkill……”
“The same goes for you too, right, Ojisan? I think you can burn down this forest all by yourself, can’t you?”
“We’re suddenly faced with a problem. We don’t have the manpower to do this on our own. There’s no way we’re going to be able to escort anyone with just a few people.”
There were too many problems with this request in the first place.
It is not always possible to stay close to the target of the escort, and the manpower is limited.
He gives them an excessive amount of items, but that is not enough to ensure a decisive outcome.
“We’ll just have to keep them from going deeper into the woods as far as possible, okay? We might not make it in time, you know?”
“That’s right…… No matter how many assassins there are, they’ll avoid places with lots of people.”
“It would be nice if the other party could understand that logic…… There are exceptions to every rule.”
The escort mission started out with a problem.
Though he had anticipated it, the weight of anxiety was different from that of an actual problem.
The training period was four days, and things were starting to look bleak.
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