The place called hell more or less exists within God’s doctrine.
Within the「Holy Scriptures」the concept of hell is minutely explained through a splendid amount of chapters. Theses Scriptures recorded what should be inherited of God’s doctrine, given by the angels to the humans and they were the sole scriptures recognized by the church.
According to the Scriptures there’s a place where those who committed sins throughout their lives will be dropped after death by the verdict of the angels. It’s a place said to be assigned to the dead so that they can experience various kinds of tortures in order to make up for their wrongdoings.
It’s said that through long tortures the impurity of sinning will be absolved from a person’s soul. Eventually a person is forgiven for their sins and they will be able to rejoin the cycle of death and rebirth once again.
That’s definitely a lie, Keith thought.
Hell isn’t something that exists after death. Isn’t it right here right now?
His consciousness feels hazy. His body desires air and water, while heavy breathing escapes his mouth.
Quite a bit of time had already passed since both his legs reached their limit, but to stop moving them will not be tolerated.
If I stop my feet, that will come here.
That’s definitely no human, Keith believes.
I’m certain that it’s something imitating a human’s shape.
Devils*, who are said to exist in hell, are surely something like ‘that’. (T/N: Using devil here for “oni” as ogre/demon already exist in that world)
Even Keith was aware that he was thinking incoherently.
However, if he doesn’t think about something, his consciousness will immediately leave his body.
Usually he would have thoughtlessly insisted that it’s the weight of his equipment, which he wore so often that he isn’t even aware of its existence.
The shoulder strings of his backpack, which he wore on his back, continuously produce creaking and grating sounds.
Trying to get engrossed in those sounds, he abruptly heard a plumping sound.
Probably someone collapsed, Keith assumes.
Because it’s a comrade from the same unit, the soldiers actually want to go help, but no one tries to lend him a hand.
If they had such leeway, they would rather advance even a single step further as they have to escape from ‘that’.
The collapsed man stretches out his hand, seeking help.
I want to help you, Keith thinks.
The one asking for help is his own subordinate.
Words asking for help are likely coming out of his mouth, but the only thing that could be currently heard were sounds similar to a hoarse draught.
If I go to help him, it’s very likely that I’ll collapse as well.
And yet, because of his position as Soldier Leader, Keith couldn’t abandon a comrade that had fallen down.
Keith, who tried to step up to the soldiers seeking help while unsteady on his feet, staggers after receiving a kick on his butt from behind.
Normally that would cause him to flare up, while saying “What the fuck are you doing?”, but rather than the pain of the kick he received on his butt, Keith becomes pale due to the fact that he was kicked.
It means ‘that’ came.
‘That’ sends Keith, who tried to do something unnecessary, flying with a kick and walks up to the collapsed soldier.
There’s nothing similar to sympathy towards the soldier that fell down due to fatigue in ‘its’ eyes.
Those are the eyes of a hunter who wonders how he should cook the pig before him.
The soldier, who was pinned down by that look, simply shut his eyes in silence.
He probably resigned himself to his fate, tears well up in Keith’s eyes.
‘That’ grabbed the nape of the fallen soldier and casually lifts him up.
With one hand, it lifted up the soldiers body, which has been forged quite a bit, the soldier’s backpack, which had been filled with weights, and the soldier’s equipment at the same time.
Of course, since ‘that’ isn’t so tall, it’s not as if the soldier’s feet were floating in the air, but even so, the soldier’s body, who had no power left in his limbs should be very heavy.
“Hey? Did I tell you to do something that difficult?” (Renya)
The one who indifferently asks the soldier he held up with one hand is Renya.
His tone contains no anger or ridicule. It was a tone as if merely confirming the facts in a truly detached manner.
“I only told you to run around the parade ground in full gear and with around 50 kg of weights crammed into your backpack, didn’t I? Is that difficult? It’s not like I asked you to run several tens of laps in less than an hour either. Didn’t I only tell you to run until I say that it’s enough?” (Renya)
You put that much weight into our backpacks? the soldiers, who heard Renya’s voice, thought uniformly.
Since their equipment was that of infantrymen, it’s not like they’re wearing full plate mail like knights.
Their equipment has been created by utilizing mostly leather, but since it’s reinforced with metal here and there and has been covered with chain, it has a substantial weight.
The longswords affixed to their waists are for training use, but the swords’ weight is no different from those used in actual combat.
Even with only that, it should add up to a reasonable weight, but adding a further 50 kg on top of that can’t be regarded as sane order.
“T-… To have added such weight… and to tell us to keep on running; that’s unreasonable. Instructor-dono…”
The words of the soldier were squeezed out somehow since he was painfully gasping, but Renya cuts that objection down completely.
“Isn’t that similar to what a single woman can carry? If it’s a soldier of the Principality’s army, they have the duty to rescue citizens, who’ve become unable to move during battle, by carrying them, don’t they? They have the duty to escape while carrying a fallen comrade, right? Or do you bastard intend to abandon those duties? Don’t whine!” (Renya)
“First off, look. At that pointlessly energetic Shion.” (Renya)
Shion, who was suddenly brought up in the conversation, with a voice containing a bit of spite, has her body tremble with shock while being in the middle of the parade ground.
She was swinging the training longsword while wearing the same infantry gear as Keith and the others, and carrying a backpack over her shoulders.
“If you consider that she has been made to run under the same conditions, you wusses are trailing behind several frigging laps in just one hour after getting separated from Shion. At the very beginning all of a sudden you guys were unable to keep up with her running pace…” (Renya)
That was a reality even Keith couldn’t believe.
Shion, who appeared on the parade ground in the same equipment as the soldiers, started to run in such a state after getting ordered to do so by Renya. She pulled apart from the soldiers at an overwhelming speed, although noisily due to her heavy feet, and in the end lapped them in the blink of an eye. She achieved the reckless deed of overtaking them several times during merely one hour.
The other party is unmistakably the esteemed daughter of her Majesty the Archduchess.
For her to have a superior stamina compared to us who continued to receive training as soldiers; I wonder just what kind of scam this is supposed to be?
Her physical state was that of staggering on her feet, while also sweating with a red face, but even so, Shion kept running for an hour. Renya had ordered her immediately after that to do something else.
Half of the reason why he did so was that he considered that she likely had plenty of excess stamina.
The other half was that he thought that she would probably break the soldiers’ spirit if he let her participate any longer in the same training menu as them.
“Hey? How are you feeling right now? While saying stuff like I received the training of a soldier, it’s just stamina, but how do you feel now that you were made aware that you are no match for Shion? How do you feel about realizing that you are inferior to the princess you ought to protect? Hey, try telling me.” (Renya)
The soldier, who was dangling his hands after being caught, questioned and held by his nape by Renya, didn’t raise his voice even once, he patiently endured as he gritted his teeth, producing grinding sounds.
Looking bored at the state of the soldier, Renya released the hand holding the soldier’s nape before long.
As if a puppet had its strings cut, the soldier sat feebly down on the ground. Looking down on him, Renya brought his face close by bending over slightly and told him in a quiet whisper,
“It’s fine to fall asleep here, you know? What will you do? Will you give up without any guts? What the hell are you? A brat? Or a soldier? The guy who hired you thinking that you are a soldier must be quite the idiot, right? Is this country paying a high salary to a gutless loser like you?” (Renya)
“It’s different…! Just one minute… I will be fine after one minute, please!”
The soldier shouts while tightly clutching the hands he put on the ground to prop his body up.
“Certainly… I will chase them without fail!”
“… I see. So you won’t give up, right?” (Renya)
Once the soldier nods at Renya’s question, Renya grabs the soldier’s nape once again and carries him easily on his back.
Not caring about the surprised soldier, Renya started to run while chasing the backs of the soldiers who were ahead of him.
“Rest there for a minute. Or observe my way of running while resting. In any way, you guys are noisy without reason. If you begin to tire, you pointlessly waste your stamina by dragging your feet.” (Renya)
Renya starts scolding them while grumbling that they have to consider the reason why humans possess a head or joints.
The soldier on his back realized that Renya’s body barely shakes left and right, and neither does his jouge.
Renya, who sprints practically without even creating any footprints, easily overtakes the soldiers in front once and then sticks to the back of the soldiers once again after running around the parade ground.
The soldier on Renya’s back and the soldiers that got lapped once after having been overtaken have once again become speechless as they are absolutely dumbfounded by Renya’s unbelievable speed. Even while carrying the weight of one adult man and his equipment on his back.
Renya, who plainly ignored their gazes and the feelings of astonishment that have been directed towards him, catches up to the end of the line of the running soldiers and lets the soldier, whom he carried on his back, down on the ground.
“You rested for around one minute, didn’t you? There, run.” (Renya)
There’s no way for a human, who had become exhausted to the point of being unable to move, to run after just having rested for a minute.
Nevertheless, the soldier answers Renya’s words loudly and runs behind his comrades with a frantic look while gritting his teeth.
Seeing him off, Renya takes out the tools for the next training activity from his inventory, and begins to pile them up into a heap in the centre of the parade ground.
In the end this marathon training continued throughout the entire morning.
A girl, who had quite the lascivious appearance consisting of a side tail, a tube top bra and hotpants, goes around distributing lunch to the soldiers who can’t move due to total exhaustion.
Renya, who hated bothersome efforts, disliked using the dining hall. Due to that, it wasn’t used by a single of the soldiers as they didn’t have the energy to walk there. Thus they took their lunch on the parade ground just like that.
The distributed food is soft, white bread, pitch black soup in contrast to the bread and several dried fruits.
Because of its bizarreness, the soldiers at first hesitated to taste the soup, but seeing Shion simply stuffing it into her mouth indifferently, all of them tried it timidly.
They didn’t have any expectations towards its taste because of its abnormal appearance, but once they tasted it, it was a seafood soup that had plenty of marine products thrown into it without any points to complain about.
The soup itself had a slight bitterness, but due to the seafood’s stock, which is rich to the degree of one not caring about the bitterness, the soup was mostly received favourably. In spite of the tube-top girl bringing a stockpot as tall as herself, it had been completely emptied out by the time the meal came to an end.
Even the white bread had been prepared in an amount that exceeded the number of people, but it got cleanly eaten up as well.
“Renya… that’s, Emil, isn’t it?” (Shion)
Shion asks pointing at the girl walking while waving her hand and treating the soldiers amiably.
“That’s right.” (Renya)
“I don’t think that you will supply things that can’t be eaten, Renya, but… is it safe, this?” (Shion)
“No problem. There’s no poison in it.” (Renya)
“I see… I’d like to hear the ingredients for caution’s sake though.” (Shion)
“Fresh marine products that were procured from the market and Frau’s deluxe garden vegetables.” (Renya)
“Ah, somehow I feel like it’s already no good with just that.” (Shion)
“Also a soup stock I got from the fresh ingredients I procured from our neighbors.” (Renya)
Since Renya’s talking about neighbors, it’s probably the house where Az and Liaris live, Shion believes.
However, she had no memory of having heard that the two of them were cultivating ingredients at home that can be used for soup stock as both of them are busy with work as well.
Renya quietly brought his mouth close to the curious Shion’s ear and whispered,
“Look, it’s that large… it was torn off into smaller pieces two, three times after that, was burned and ground, and mixed in.” (Renya)
“I-If it’s that, ho…” (Shion)
Renya silences the surprised and flustered Shion by pressing a finger against her lips.
That conversation also reached the ears of the surrounding soldiers, however they harbored no interest towards the ingredients Shion started to talk about until midways.
They didn’t have that much leeway, one might say.
One could also say that they didn’t feel like fussing over minor details as long as they were able to eat something delicious.
It will become a problem if something like people dying as result of the food occurs, but Renya and Shion have eaten the same thing.
Thus there was no reason for there to be a problem.
“Instructor-dono, what’s the training schedule from afternoon onwards?” (Keith)
Apparently they had recovered their stamina somewhat after eating a meal and resting to some extent.
Keith asked while walking up to Renya.
Renya replies by pointing at the things that are piled up in the centre of the parade ground.
“You will use those.” (Renya)
“Those, huh?” (Keith)
What has been stacked up over there are countless hoes.
A truly typical tool used in farming and such.
“After having mixed various metals into them, they are very heavy. Because all of it, from the teeth of the hoes to the handle, are made out of metal, they won’t break easily even if you handle them roughly.” (Renya)
“Haa… so what are you saying you’ll make us do with these?” (Keith)
“Isn’t that… usually digging holes?” (Renya)
Renya looks as if he wants to ask why he’s asking something that obvious.
Keith continues to question while scratching his cheek.
“Just where and how far will we dig holes?” (Keith)
Keith reflexively asks a question in return to Renya’s short answer.
With a feeling of a teacher that carries out a class with students that are slow at understanding, Renya pointed at the entirety of the parade grounds.
“You will dig to a depth of around your own height throughout the parade grounds.” (Renya)
Being told that, Keith surveys the parade grounds.
It’s only natural for it to be vast since it’s a place that can be used by several units at the same time and where sham battles between fellow units are carried out.
Moreover, since soldiers are constantly treading upon it, the ground is quite hard.
And, according to what Renya says, the hoes, which will be used to dig the holes, have been especially made out of metal in their entirety.
The conclusion he derived from that was a reality of heavy labor awaiting them, which he didn’t want to think about.
“You are serious?” (Keith)
“I’m always serious, right? Should I make you finish until dinner time? As long as you don’t finish, today’s training won’t end. Go at it with that mentality.” (Renya)
Being told so by Renya with a smiling expression, Keith had no other choice but to brace himself.
“You lot! How long do you plan to dilly-dally around? Get working quickly if you don’t want to die! Take off your armor, leave the weights behind and pick up one of the hoes piled up over there!” (Keith)
“Ah, hey, who told you that it’s fine to take off the armor…” (Renya)
“Renya, I will prostrate in front of you if you like, but please allow them to take off their armor.” (Shion)
Shion decides to pinion Renya, who tried to stop Keith, from behind.
As expected, even Shion apparently considered it as unreasonable to carry out the current training while fully equipped.
While Shion is holding Renya back, the soldiers quickly take off their armors, pick up the tools in a dash and start to fiercely dig holes in the ground.
Given that the work started without time for Renya to stop them, Renya gave up this time on making them do it while wearing their gear.
“Only this time, okay?” (Renya)
“Renya… what the heck are you planning to have them do…?” (Shion)
“Hasn’t it been decided that I’m transforming them into full-fledged soldiers?” (Renya)
Renya says as if it’s obvious.
While thinking I’m sure soldiers are monsters or something in Renya’s former world, Shion picked up a hoe as well, blended in among the soldiers and started to dig up the ground.
“You lot, even though your princess is doing it while wearing the armor, only you guys are taking it easy by taking off your equipment. What a nice social status you have. Is the social status of soldiers serving in the national army higher than that of Her Highness the princess in this country?”
Oops! Shion thought, but it was already too late.
Shion began to take off her armor as she blushed while looking at the soldiers who are accusing her with their looks Although we don’t blame you, why do you do what he says?