Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Volume 1 - Chapter 7 - The Calm before the Storm


"Go Rick-sama~"
"Go captain! Show him the strength of a Feian!"

There are small crowds that completely filled up the various inspection galleys at the barracks. Teenagers, boys and girls, wives of the elders and guards, off duty guards, anyone that had free time that knew about the fight had shown up. In the moderately sized, empty training field, two figures faces off against each other while covered in dirt. One was a young blonde man wielding two wooden daggers, with several more daggers strapped in place front and back with a harness with loops to hold them, quite a few of the loops are empty. The other is a middle aged man with a scarred face wielding a wooden longsword, moderately armoured in various bronze pieces, holding a large, significantly dented kite shield.

* * * * *

Going back a few days... Since the Feian elders had to debate and consider the force to send to Sardon, Rick was being hosted by the various elders, trying to curry some favour in the future while Mikhal negotiated with the elders. After being fully fed by eye candies he couldn't touch, he was stiff and also bored stiff. Looking for something to do, he walked around the city, somehow becoming fast friends with the guards. He even went with them to hunt down wild beasts that bother merchants and farmers in the surrounding area.

One thing he has noticed that even though most of the guards are around mid 30s or so in level, they are able to take down beasts level 70+ with no serious injuries. These same beasts merely appear as Level ??? to him, Rick had to rely on the online bestiary for their level. When he asked the guards, they had no clue. According to their experience, the beasts are extremely tough and would be extremely difficult to take on alone, so the level Rick was referring to is likely the base values the immortals used to estimate the strength of any given beast. Since none of them knows for sure, Rick just accepts it as it is.

The negotiation dragged on, while Bell and Kun haven't had a chance to log in, but they did send some messages every now and then. Rick often make himself at home at the guardhouse. One is to dodge the greasy relations managers sent by the various elders and merchants that have been trying to curry favour with him, and secondly because he likes it there. He has also unexpectedly become playmates with the various guards' sons and daughters.

* * * * *


Rick and some off-duty guards were having a small feast with ale and roasted boar. Rick had hunted it by himself earlier in the day, trying to do a little leveling, he has been going around steady leveling himself, reaching the mid-40s now. He had to get some help from some of the guard's older kids to bring the hulking carcass back, with the wives gutting, cleaning and dividing it before cooking the thing. The ones that helped him got first dibs, while the rest is shared with the rest of the guards. He now has an appreciation of what Kun meant by hunting is not all fun and games.

This particular boar took him quite a lot of time to bring down, he had to lay various snare traps and shot an entire quiver of arrows to bring it down. He had learned from Kun and Bell that mobs killed without the use of [Skills] will leave their whole corpse behind while those killed with them will turn into particles of light. The more [Skill] one use, the faster the corpse will decompose.


"Things certainly are easier with you around." One of the guards gives a satisfied burp before patting his belly.

"Fighting beasts is one thing, but not having to worry about a meal every now and then, it's certainly a relief." Another guard leans back in his chair.

One person can't contribute much in term of beast elimination, but by bringing back some good food, it greatly eases the fatigue and increases morale.

Rick just relaxes and enjoy the ale, for some reason he has been missing Kun's cooking, and even Bell's abuse.

*kakka kakka*

A figure with firm footsteps approaches the group from the corridor, before stopping slightly away from the large round table.

The content looking guards stand up quickly and give the figure a salute. Rick turns around to see what's the big deal, recognizing the scarred face man, he gives a salute with his index and middle fingers on one hand accompanied with a smile.

"Don't mind me, just grabbing a bite here." The man has a smile on his face before grabbing a juicy piece of pork. The guards sit back down, making space for their captain. Despite his tough looking exterior, the captain knows when to take it easy and when to be strict. Since they are all off duty, there's no point to stand on formality. It would pointlessly tire his guards out otherwise. This accommodating attitude resulted in the guards holding him in high regard, even Rick has taken a liking to him despite being chased by him previously.

*topu topu*

Pouring himself a mug of ale, the captain takes a drag of the mug before releasing a satisfied belch. "Nothing beats booze and meat after a good day's work." The man take a big bite out of the piece of pork and chews with a content face.

"Hear hear!" The guards raise their mugs lazily for a quick cheer before drinking again. With the occasional game that Rick brings in, the guards had been able to save a copper here and there, resulting in them being able to afford an entire barrel of ale and even some extra money for their family. Tonight is as good a time as any to open its tap. The group resumes their idle chit chat, boasting about their children, or talking about the different formations and tactics for dealing with certain beasts.

Licking his fingers, the captain turns to Rick with a serious face. "You know, I've been meaning to ask, weren't you an archer? Some of the guys here have been saying you even go into some melee fights with bears and the like."

"I've been trying to practice something lately." Rick replies rather sheepishly, he had been learning dual wielding from Kun before. Kun uses a mix of a baton or some other blunt striking instrument with a bladed weapon, according to him, this allows him the option to switch to whichever weapon is more effective as the main attack while the other can act as a shield of sorts. Since Rick's style is fundamentally different from Kun's, he just learned what he can about the various grips and stances before making them his own.

"You know, I've been getting a little rusty lately just fighting beasts..." Taking another drag from his mug, before continuing. "Can I interest you in a spar?"

Maybe it is the ale that's talking, but Rick just nods heartily. The captain is level ??? to Rick, but it's just a spar, he've had hundreds if not thousands of them against Bell alone. "But one thing, you have to be properly armoured." There is a fundamental difference between an user and a non-user. One is called immortal because they can never truly die, the reason all the non-users fear them is not because of their skills, although that can be part of it, but that they can never be killed. One simply can't win a war when the other party can just come back and fight a war of attrition, the immortal simply need to win once to win the war.

Since Rick would simply lose items and experience upon dying, he isn't too worried about himself. But if he somehow severely injure the captain by accident, it could have serious consequences. Seeing the captain hesitate a little, Rick downs his mug before adding. "Non-negotiable". The captain just smiles at the youth's consideration and nods.

"Oh! There's going to be a fight?!"
The various guards start pounding the table with their mugs, quite a few are chanting, some have even started a betting pool. Knowing that it is all in good fun, no one bets more than a copper.

* * * * *

"«Fire»!" The youth throws a wooden dagger as he rushes toward the armoured man. Expecting a combination attack similar to what the youth has previously done, the man brings his kite shield tight to his body, preparing to charge when the second attack comes.


After the enchanted wooden dagger lands harmlessly against the shield, "«Shield Bash»!" The man slams his shoulder forward, hoping to catch the youth off guard. Unexpectedly, the youth ran way back to where he had previously abandoned his bow, The dash forward was simply a misdirection. "«Ice»!", the man quickly pulls the shield back to cover his body. Another *zudon* echoes among the cheers in the barrack. The fight has been a clinical display of offensive and defensive techniques.

Rick has been attacking unpredictably, starting with a series of bow attacks initially when the fight started, he tossed the bow aside and charged into the man who had been steadily advancing while hiding behind the shield. Using his enchantment skill to its fullest, Rick has been wearing down the captain's defense. Although Rick doesn't have any special [Skill]s like the rest of his party, he can still use some basic formulas. By using the same [Source] and [Conversion] from basic elemental [Spell]s, he was able to produce some elemental (physical) mana. By changing the [Action] to a simple "stick to whatever he's holding", he can turn anything he holds onto into an elemental weapon.

With a combination of bow attacks, thrown daggers and melee strikes, Rick has been on the assault. The captain on the other hand had been expertly parrying with his sword, blocking everything else with his kite shield and even managed to land a light counter attack with his sword during one of the melee exchanges.

*zudon dottaa dottaa*

The captain expertly moves around the center of the field, slowly limiting Rick's routes. Rick on the other hand shoots numerous arrows at various angles, causing the captain to adjust his shield accordingly as he advances. The wooden arrows bounces off the misshapen kite shield each time they are fired.

Eventually Rick was cornered when he finally ran out of arrows. The scarred man shifts left and right, swinging his sword, blocking all of Rick's escape routes. The spectators become silent as the moment of truth is approaching. The youth throws a dagger when the captain approaches within a few steps. Seeing that the dagger isn't enchanted, the man assumes the youth had ran out of mana and charges right in with the battered shield raised.


"«Flame»!" Unable to risk taking a direct hit of a higher level magical assault, the captain drops to one knee and slides a bit, completely blocking his body with the shield. He can feel the heat building up and uses «Reinforce» to increase his heat resistance. Rick had grab a handful of dirt from the ground before enchanting it with fire, making it spread the heat more evenly and to hopefully have it stick to the shield.

*tatatata ton*

Rick take this chance to run up to the man kneeling on the floor and leaps over him "«Water»!", throwing a dagger straight down as he does so. Thanks to his experience, the captain reacts quickly, swinging the shield up to block, followed by the sword.


A cloud of steam rise from the kite shield before it crumbles in the man's hand. The wooden sword that continued to swing despite the loss of the shield smacks the still airborne archer squarely in the collarbone as a dagger bounce harmlessly off the captain's pauldron. Rick lands flat on his back after the strike, unable to recover in time.


The crowd cheers and applauds. The man walks up to the groaning youth and offers him a hand, dragging him up. Rick rubs his neck after getting up. "Man! That was close!" The youth grabs the man's arm and lifts it into the air, causing even louder cheers and applauds.

The captain shifts his eyeballs to the scrapped shield, had he not been using a metal shield and armour, he can already imagine the end result. He isn't too sure if this immortal is simply dense... or that he's just being polite. Of course there's no way for him to know that the youth is an idiot who just considers it his loss since he failed to even hit the man.

Taking a bow, the two dust themselves off before heading into the barracks to see if there are any injuries that needs to be treated.

* * * * *



"1 1 is 1"
"1 1 is 1"

"1 2 is 2"
"1 2 is 2"

"1 3 is 3"
"1 3 is 3"


Till, De'muel and Mak'ra are reciting the Nine Nine song, with the children following.

[T/N: It's the song form of the multiplication table in Chinese and Japanese.]

* * * * *


"A for anaconda."

"B for beast."


De'muel and Mak'ra are teaching the younger students how to read and write.

* * * * *



"«Air Hammer»!"

"«Earth Pillar»!"

"Don't damage the trees unnecessarily okay~?"

Till and Dosnak, who is under a makeshift parasol, are directing magic practice and the clearing of the trees behind the workshop, next to the farming fields.

* * * * *

*kasa kasa*



"Look at where you are moving before you move!" Isnic lightly chucks a piece of rock at the one that caused the rustle in the bush. Till is casting «Gust» intermittently to cause the bush and trees to sway. Small, agile demihumans as well as aerial demihumans are trying to reach the finish line without causing a sound.

* * * * *

After the incident with the amulet, Till had mostly recovered from her period of depression. With her cheerfulness returning, the rest of the students also became happier as well. Without her mental burden, she has been going through some scenarios on her own. This resulted in Till modifying the academy's curriculum. With the absence of the other three, lesson time has been dramatically reduced. There's only so much self-study students can do without an instructor, so Till spent some time with the four older ones to brainstorm some ideas. The theme being "What would one need to survive".

Farming and foraging had already been taught starting at a young age, so the students won't starve even if they are suddenly thrown into the wilderness. So that just leaves "Self-reliance", "Shelter", "Clothing" and "Income". Every single student had already learned a method of self-defense from the her party and can get food if they absolutely need to, so self-reliance is mostly covered. Most of them might not match up to a proper army, but they can deal with beasts and have the strength to rival any militia. "Shelter" and "Clothing" can be easily solved if they have "Purchasing Power". So in short, a method of "earning income" is what is required for them to survive.

Being a soldier or a mercenary is a dangerous job, so focus should be on non-combat roles. It was decided that "arithmetics", "literacy", "craftsmanship" and "traveling" should be added. Literacy is compulsory, while the other categories are open to those that have aptitude in them. "Traveling" is further divided into two types, "silent traveling" for escaping, relaying messages and so forth while "baggaged traveling" for transporting goods as is common for merchants, peddlers and logistic soldiers. Adhering to the concept of "judge a fish by its ability to swim, not its ability to climb" , this gives the students the best chance of employment regardless of where they are. Of course, those that have interest in fields they are not particular good at are welcome to attend the classes.

None of them noticed, but what they are doing is on par with, if not better than, schooling for nobles. Instead of specific vocational training provided by guilds or attending religious institutes like upper class nobles and royalties, the Academy is providing "General Vocation Education". In a society where literacy rate is all but non-existent among the peasantry and professions often being inherited, the ability to move between jobs is unheard of. Unlike the common education system on Earth, the curriculum is flexible and completely focused on necessary skills. Of course, no one in the Academy realizes the groundbreaking work they are doing.

During this time period, there are rumours of [Dawn's Moonlight] almost finishing off the [Boss] in [Barghest Dungeon], but was interrupted by [Monochrome Blades] at the last moment, allowing it to retreat and return with more monsters, wiping both [Raid]s out. This resulted in another prolonged battle between the two guilds, fortunately they had fought near the [Field of Ashes] and haven't advanced further into Sardon. Meanwhile, Till and the leading students busy themselves with setting up plans for when the other 3 return, time is ticking, whatever plans they have, it will have to begin as soon as everyone's back.

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