Waking up at sunrise, the new recruits would do the morning training for about 2 hours. After breakfast, they would do miscellaneous jobs within the chivalric order, and depending on the situation, they would patrol around the city following behind their seniors like ducklings. And after lunch, they would do nothing but train. When it was actually done, it was quite a hard schedule.
It had already been more than about 2 weeks since he had continued this lifestyle, but there had been no changes with Harold. This was true for both himself and his surroundings. To start with, with regards to either stamina or ability in training, he had no troubles. No matter how much he moved, his stamina limit wasn’t found, and he could finish any training no matter what it was.
On the other hand, due to his mouth that continued to throw out rash remarks towards his superior officer as though he had no idea about the concept of TPO, it was troublesome since supplements kept on being added to his training menu. Although he had a body that could easily complete the increased training, thinking about how the instructor’s impression about him was crawling on the ground, he was fearful everyday thinking that he might be asked to leave before long.
It was as usual with his surroundings, where he was avoided by his contemporaries and was always getting caught up with the anti-Harold force. By the way, he didn’t know much about his roommates. This was because he was always training during his free time due to not being able to stand the silence in the room. It had completely changed into a room that he used only for sleeping. That is, other than his human relations being in a devastating condition, there were no particular fatal troubles for now.
And so, today, when he was going to find lunch in preparation for the afternoon training, he was abruptly called to the instructor’s room. When Harold, filled with trepidation, went towards the instructor’s room thinking, ‘No way, am I really going to be dismissed?’, without any preface, the instructor informed him.
「Harold, you’ll take the final examination of the basic training course」
「The final examination?」
「That’s right. If you succeed, you’ll openly graduate from a new recruit and be enlisted」
Thinking, ‘Come to think of it, there was something like that in the code which consolidates the rules of the chivalric order’, he dug through his hazy memories. If that memory was correct, then only those who had enlisted for more than 1 year were qualified to take up the final examination of the basic training course.
「I thought that it still hasn’t even been a month since I’ve enlisted though? It seems as though the flow of time is different here」
「It’s an exceptional case this time. It has been judged that your strength has already far surpassed the limits of the new recruits」
「That was already known at the time of the enrollment examination. Well, I’ll praise you for your judgment to make an exceptional case」
Even towards his superior officer, he spoke in a condescending manner as though it were natural. For Harold, he couldn’t help but think that it was mystery as to why they still hadn’t chased him out with that crazy attitude of his. And he was also surprised at the sudden final examination. But he had no hesitation about taking it.
The original work’s Harold’s official post was unknown, but thinking about he would sometimes bring his subordinates along, it could be guessed that he had some high position. Harold himself had no interest in position, but he would lose nothing if he could move around freely to some extent.
「The final examination is in a few days. The content will be informed on the day of the exam, but make your preparations for going on an expedition」
「Is that all?」
「Yeah, that’s it. Wish you good luck」
「There’s no use in wishing. Because the result is obvious」
Towards the instructor’s encouragement, he didn’t even honestly say, 「I’ll do my best」. With this, if he were to fail, he would become a laughingstock. Harold renewed his conviction to at least strive to be sincere in his actions.
4 days after that. Quickly, the day of the final examination arrived.
While donning the noisy armor that also symbolized the chivalric order, he proceeded step by step. Bathed in the sunlight that was coming from the sun that was almost directly overhead, there were 9 shadows. It was a composition of Harold and the 4 from Cody’s squad, 2 platoon leaders, a company commander and his aide.
If the contents of the examination were to be summarized, it was field training. Currently, they were in the middle of marching towards their destination. This too was a part of the training, and they had roughly continued walking for about 3 hours.
「How is it Harold, are you starting to get tired?」
While he was silently moving his legs forward, a voice came from behind. Rather than worry, that tone contained intentions of teasing him. Shido, who was the owner of that voice, didn’t appear to be tired.
「If I look like that to you, then go see a doctor. But it might already be too late」
「Aren’t you quite composed? As expected of having participated in subjugation expeditions in your territory」
「……… Why do you know that? It was the same last time too」
「Last time? What are you talking about?」
「Don’t play dumb. You knew about Erika」
「Ah, Harold-kun’s fiancee」
Cody emphasized the fiancee part. Harold had dug his own grave. It was foolish of him to bring that up. Feeling suspicious about Cody having obtained information about him for some reason, Harold, being in a disadvantageous situation with Cody at the front and Shido at the back, kept silent. It was the so-called tactical retreat. However, he received a pursuit from an unexpected direction.
「That’s interesting. Does Stokes-kun have a fiancee?」
It was the side-part haired company commander, Sakrith1, to whom suit seemed to be more suitable than armor. Behind that elite bureaucrat appearance, maybe he liked this kind of topic. And due to Sakrith leading on the topic, everybody’s gazes concentrated on Harold. Frankly speaking, he was used to this, but still, he wouldn’t feel right if he just ignored him.
Without being able to deny it by saying it was just a front, the instant he answered, the tension shot up. Especially the aide, whose face immediately stiffened. As expected, talking informally with a company commander might not have been permitted. Resigning himself to just accept the admonishment here, he prepared himself and waited for the shouting. But, what came back was a faint wavering voice filled with sorrow.
「Is that so, is that so…….. Even a boy 20 years younger has a fiancee, but when it comes to me………」
Sakrith started mumbling something. Cody and the 2 platoon leaders were peeking at that situation, where the aide was trying to cheer him up with a 「It’ll be alright!」, while trying to stifle their laughter. It seemed as though the fault wasn’t his disrespectful attitude, but that he had stepped on Sakrith’s landmine. While thinking of how the members of the chivalric order who didn’t have lovers seemed to have the same reaction, Harold glanced at Aileen.
「I’ll destroy you」
The moment their eyes met, he was warned so. He wasn’t sure as to what she would destroy, but she was being quite unreasonable. It was a behavior where he could understand why she didn’t have a boyfriend. No matter which part of the body, since it would be unbearable to have it destroyed, he turned forward and concentrated on walking. But that too was interrupted soon.
「2 Hammer Treants! They are approaching in this direction!」
Robinson raised his voice. When they looked, trees of about 5 m tall were using 2 branches about as thick as their trunks like crutches and were drawing nearer. Naturally, they weren’t normal vegetation.
Hammer Treant was a monster in the shape of a tree. The huge branches that were used for movement were also swung around like cudgels to destroy their opponents, defense and all, which was why they were prefixed with the word Hammer. Since there were things like eyes and mouth on their trunks, they were also called human-faced trees. Without a doubt, they were vegetation, but it was possible for them to predate on animals using their mouths and turn them into nourishment. There were no exceptions even when humans were their opponents.
「Hmm, it seems that we are the targets」
「Since there are still a bit distant, we could get away, but if they were to go down the hill behind us, the highway is there」
「Then we should bring them down here itself. Stokes-kun, you–」
「Don’t ask me to step back, alright?」
Harold declared his intention to fight while interrupting him.
「Running into Hammer Treants was unexpected. It won’t have any influence on the examination’s results」
Thinking that since this was field training, dealing with unexpected situations like this was also a part of the examination, and deciding to go all out, backfired. That said, it wouldn’t look good if he were to withdraw now. And also, Harold still held a grudge against Hammer Treants for putting a crack his ribs. It was just right for a revenge match.
「Like I give a damn about the points. That one is mine」
「……..Understood. Just in case, I’m sending Lukas and Selim to support. Don’t force yourself」
With Sakrith’s order, they split up in 2 directions with Harold and the 2 platoon leaders in one and the rest of them in the other. The Hammer Treants were also lured by those movements and split up. It was a chance to crush each and every person.
「We’ll be behind you. You can fight without any worries」
「I’m looking forward to seeing that rumored strength of yours. But as soon as you find it dangerous, immediately fall back, alright? Originally, that is a very pressing opponent for new recruits」
Lukas and Selim encouraged Harold by patting his back. They were extremely reliable seniors.
(Come to think of it, these people have no hostility towards me. That itself helps me)
But the person himself had enough complacency to think about such things. Although he called it a revenge match, he felt no particular emotion. Even during that day when he was injured, if he hadn’t tried to protect the soldier, it would have been an opponent that he could have defeated without much trouble. Much less when it was an unexpected situation that occurred during the examination. He wanted to defeat it quickly without needlessly wasting any time.
Without even drawing his sword, he walked towards it with unfaltering footsteps as though he was taking a stroll. In contrast with him, the Hammer Treant switched to attacking. It raised it’s right branch– hammer, and struck down towards Harold.
‘Dogoon!’- with a heavily destructive sound, a cloud of dust rose up and the ground shook. Harold evaded that attack by leaping up.
But with him floating in midair, he became the perfect target. In a flash, the left hammer attacked Harold. It was a timing at which he couldn’t avoid a direct hit. But Harold did a quick spin in midair, and with his right leg clad in something that looked like a violet aura, he kicked the attacking hammer down.
Similar to Heavy Palm Knock, it was a heavy strike technique in unarmed combat. It was a kicking skill also called as 『Axe kick》』 among the players. Originally, artillery kick was a skill that was inserted in the middle of a combo, but differing from Heavy Palm Knock, its power was reasonably high even when it was used on its own. But still, since the attack’s reach was short, it wasn’t used much on its own. By the way, he didn’t quite know what the violet effect that was generated like in the game was, but since it naturally appeared even when he thought it wouldn’t, he just convinced himself that it was something like that.
The Hammer Treant’s hard branch and Harold’s right leg clashed. It was a collision of Harold, who weighed about 50 kg, and the Hammer Treant that weighed about a few hundred kg. The level of the masses were too different, and normally thinking, the lighter one would be blown away. But even accepting that, the original work’s characters were existences that their opponents would feel as though they would bring about results that were to the extent of being called irrational.
The moment they clashed, a shrill sound resounded. The one that was defeated was the Hammer Treant. Not only that, but with a thud, the edge of the branch was buried in the ground. The hammer was crushed, and at the part that had been kicked, the bark was ripped off.
Lukas and Selim were looking at that scene in a daze. Even the others that had been fighting the other Hammer Treant were gaping at this scene, but for now they gave higher priority to bringing it down. Using the buried hammer as a foothold, Harold approached the trunk, and after finally removing his sword from the scabbard, he stabbed it deep into the Hammer Treant’s mouth. And then, without even giving the it the time to cry out in pain, Harold ended the fight.
Flames erupted from the sword that Harold was gripping. But the pain of its insides being burned directly, for the Hammer Treant, it lasted only for an instant. Harold cut straight upwards with the sword still thrust in its mouth. Due to that, the Hammer Treant was cut right in half from the inside by the flaming sword, and was burned to death.
The close to 5 m tall body separated into 2 parts, and in the blink of an eye, it was wrapped in flames. While blazing, the Hammer Treant fell down to the ground. It was a battle that didn’t even last a single minute. The fight was literally an instant-kill.
1. The name is サクリス(Sakurisu)
2. The kanji -鳳仙脚. And also in furigana -ほうせんきゃく (Housenkyaku)