T/N: Divination -> Magic Arts (check the Glossary for further explanation)
Today as well a strange-acting group continues to work endlessly starting early in the morning.
Just what the hell they are doing is completely incomprehensible when observed from the sidelines.
It reaches the point in which questions pop up wondering whether some bad disease has spread among a part of the Principality’s army as a topic of gossip.
First off, everyone’s wearing the army’s armor.
This isn’t the problem. Rather, if there was a group of people working there, while not wearing the army’s equipment, that in itself would be weird.
However, exactly because they are soldiers of the Principality’s army, it’s a fact that their conduct is far too strange.
Furthermore, all of them are swinging hoes for some reason while being watched by a young man completely dressed in black.
Of course the location is no farm.
And although it’s no farm, they are swinging the hoes single-mindedly as if possessed.
Thus, the soldiers are digging holes with plenty of vigor.
They drive the hoes into the ground with such an intensity that it makes others believe that they have some sort of grudge with the ground. They scoop out a large amount of soil and then drive their hoes into the ground once again. They carry out this kind of work without uttering a single word.
Having kept up such work all morning long, they take a short breather at noon.
Apparently considering the time to go back to the dining hall as wasteful, they sit down on the spot, silently eat up the food brought by a girl with a side tail, who appeared out of nowhere, and later relax after taking off their armor or lie down for a short while.
Once that break finishes, they pick up their hoes again and resume their work mechanically.
The parade ground is very large.
But the soldiers, who consist of 100 people, continue swinging their hoes determinedly while holes are dug out at a staggering speed. Before long, holes that are as deep as the soldiers are tall get completed.
When those watching them tilt their head in confusion, wondering for what those huge holes are going to be used for, the soldiers, who crawl out from the holes one after the other, pick up their shovels and, for some reason, start to bury the holes they had just finished.
No matter who watches that spectacle, no one is able of finding a meaning behind this type of work.
But, the soldiers involved continue filling in the holes without filing a single complaint as if an absolute order was given to them.
In the end, when the sky grows darker as the sun goes down, the holes are completely buried again. The people responsible for that return to their lodging houses while looking satisfied.
The next day, they, who are once again wearing their armor, appear at the parade ground shouldering large backpacks.
In front of them is the place where they dug holes and filled them up again with their own hands.
They leap towards that same exact spot upon being ordered to do so.
The ground is extremely soft, as it had just a hole of the size of an adult dug out and then filled up again.
Once the soldiers, who are clad in heavy equipment and are carrying a backpack that seems to be filled with weights, land on the ground, they quickly sink into it feet first.
When the girl with the side tail appears, she begins chanting some kind of spell and several water spheres manifest in the sky.
The girl begins firing the spheres at the soldiers.
The soldiers continue avoiding those water spheres while frantically hardening their foothold, but sooner or later their movements start to become dull and those who are directly hit by a water sphere start appearing among them.
Those attacks, which are likely the elementary spell <Water Ball> of the water attribute, easily blow away the soldiers’ bodies, which ought to be quite heavy, and knock them onto the ground.
The girl mercilessly fires even more water balls towards those who’ve collapsed.
These water balls are stopped by other soldiers, who are covering their comrades with their bodies.
Whilst they are stopping the water attacks, which should have quite the force behind them, they yell out their fighting spirits, while others help their comrades get up and make them resume evasive maneuvers.
The water balls that crash into the ground transform the still soft soil into mud.
The number of soldiers that receive direct hits after getting tripped up by the created mud increase, but they continue dodging without giving up.
If they completely stop moving, their feet will sink into the mud. And once that happens, forget evasion, they wouldn’t be able to even move.
Because they understand this fact well, they don’t stop moving.
As they earnestly persist in doing so, they continue rescuing the unlucky fellows who couldn’t move.
Eventually, once the time for lunch gets close, the girl ceases firing water balls while looking regretful. With that as signal the soldiers, who ran around for dear life, step away from the earth that had become a quagmire, remove their equipment and start cleaning their gear that ended up drenched in mud.
While they were cleaning their equipment, the girl with the side tails once again started preparing lunch and a blonde priestess, who was called over as a new addition, began to heal the wounds of those who were badly hit by the girl’s water attacks.
When that was done, they once again eat their lunch silently.
Once they finished their meal and the break time has come to an end, they return to the ground that was still a quagmire by orders of the black-clothed man who had continued monitoring them.
Then the black-clothed man begins to hurl <Fireball> spells at them.
Different from water sorcery, there’s no doubt that they will suffer severe burns if they’re hit by the fire spells, despite it being only elementary level.
The black-clothed man urges them, who are more frantically running away than in the morning, with a denser barrage than the one released by the girl with the side tail.
The lumps of fire that hit the ground make the large amounts of moisture contained in the mud evaporate and a thick cloud of steam enveloped the surroundings.
Steam continues to rise up, which makes the soldiers sweat more profusely than they would under normal circumstances due to continuous exercise.
The temperature climbs steadily and as such, a choking humidity assails the soldiers, but they don’t stop moving.
If they stop moving at an inopportune moment, they will end up receiving a fireball and stop moving altogether.
Once they stop moving, they’ll receive a concentrated sorcery attack that was adjusted to a level so that they won’t die, albeit barely.
They too are desperate.
Before long the thickness of the rising steam starts to worsen the visibility.
They don’t know from which direction a fireball will come flying out of.
They fully employ all senses they possess and dodge frantically.
However, there are still some among them who directly receive the fireballs after all.
And, the guys, who stopped moving, are dragged away from the mud as if being pulled by invisible hands and are brought to the location of the priestess who’s on standby.
Then they are treated with healing arts by the priestess and furthermore have dubious deep crimson, purple and pea green potions, which were taken out by the girl with the side tail, poured onto them from above as if being showered by hot and cold water.
Their bodies are completely dyed in a poor looking color, but those, who had the potions applied to them, stand up right away and plunge into the mud once again.
Their bodies that were scalded by burns all over mere seconds ago look now as if that was a lie.
Before long, when the sun was sinking and the sky got dyed in crimson, they are finally released from the act of continuous evasion against the one-sided attacks.
Below their feet is a ground that became hard and tough after continuously getting scorched by fireballs and earnestly trampled by their feet.
While firmly stepping on that ground, they think: Tomorrow we will dig it up even faster.
“I can’t believe that to be sane training.”
When this cycle, where one set takes two days, had repeated itself seven times, Renya was summoned by Mayria and proceeded in the direction of her room located inside a military facility.
Renya wondered whether there would be items that suit the room of a 15-years-old girl in there, but that place appeared to be completely like the work area of an office worker. It was a totally unbelievably tasteless room at a humid place.
Close to the wall there’s a large desk that fully promotes its existence.
Moreover, those were the first words Mayria, who was processing documents, threw at Renya when he entered the room.
“I have shut my eyes towards the matter of you completely occupying one of the several parade grounds, but… be that as it may, I don’t comprehend the meaning of the training. It’s too dangerous.” (Mayria)
“Do you think that they will be able to become fully fledged soldiers by carrying out normal training for a month?” (Renya)
Mayria turns at Renya, who asked her back in reverse, with a grim expression.
Although it’s implicit, Renya is basically saying that the soldiers of the Principality’s army are not fully fledged and also, that the training they are carrying out is too lenient.
“There’s no way for there to exist many people who can devote themselves to such penance, is there?” (Mayria)
“Though there are zero drop-outs at present?” (Renya)
That fact was something unbelievable for Mayria.
She was definitely prepared for there to be some or even a majority of soldiers running away after giving up, but just as Renya says, there’s not a single person among the 100 soldiers receiving his training, who has run away or dropped out due to injury or such.
“However it looks there’s a great number of injured, doesn’t it?” (Mayria)
“There’s a skilled priestess and a doctor around, right?” (Renya)
“I’m well aware of Rona-san’s skill, but… who’s that girl with the side tail? She heals injuries in a flash with medicines I have never seen or heard of. It doesn’t seem to be bragging that she can immediately restore an injured person as long as they aren’t dead, does it?” (Mayria)
This time it was Renya who frowned, albeit only faintly.
In reality even Renya didn’t want to get Emil involved overly much.
However, it was a fact that he couldn’t refuse Emil who asked him to let her participate after promising that she absolutely wouldn’t do something like giving the soldiers a magic remodeling and would stick to only healing the injuries and fatigue of the soldiers with a medicine which she produced with slightly unusual ingredients.
No matter how skilled a priestess Rona might be and moreover even if she were to use as many magic stones as she liked in order to support her magic arts, Rona just by herself wouldn’t be able to handle the injured people that are produced one after the other after all.
Furthermore, even if she healed their injuries with magic arts, she would completely steal the stamina of the injured. In addition, it’s not possible to cure fatigue with healing arts.
As such, the injured soldiers would lose a significant amount of time.
After worrying about it for an unusually long time, considering it’s Renya, he approved Emil’s participation on top of reminding Emil of her limits many times over.
“I guess she’s an expert with slightly special circumstances. I can’t talk about the details. I will take full responsibility for that girl.” (Renya)
“I leave it to you then. If you go this far, it probably won’t be anything bad. And so… there’s a reason why I called you today…” (Mayria)
Putting the documents she processed aside, Mayria looks at Renya.
“First is… about my elder sister…” (Mayria)
“She’s so full of spirit that she leaves the soldiers of the Principality’s army behind, you know?” (Renya)
“Is it really true that she left them behind from the start?” (Mayria)
Renya, who felt a tinge of a fear-like emotion in the tone of her voice, examines Mayria’s face without answering right away.
Mayria smiled wryly since he easily found out what she had apparently intended to hide as much as possible.
“Those are not overly pleasant news.” (Mayria)
“It’s a fact. Especially on the side of stamina, you can say that she won by a wide margin.” (Renya)
Mayria sighs due to the reality mentioned by Renya.
“Is there some kind of problem?” (Renya)
“No… it’s no big problem, but… as you are well aware yourself as well, Renya-san, the Fatale family plays the role of Archduke of the Trident Principality, but this Principality itself is a country that was established by the family head of the Fatale family ten generations ago.” (Mayria)
To begin with, the area of the current Principality of Trident is not only the closest country to the Miasma Forest, but also to the demons’ domain on the human continent. It was labelled as a place where those, who committed crimes in the continent’s central area, lived while repeatedly plundering the central areas together with conspirators. No one really thought that anyone would deliberately found a nation at such a place.
The ones who subjugated that area with their own strength and built a country there is the Fatale family.
Due to Renya wondering whether it wouldn’t be fine for the one, who created the country with their own strength, to call themselves king of that area, Mayria says that the cause is a single comment of the family head at that time stating that they didn’t change it into a monarchy since they somewhat disliked causing a commotion by calling themselves king.
With the incomprehensible reason that it would be more stylish to use the word Archduke rather than the aggrieving word of king, the Fatale family’s head at that time apparently appointed those, who achieved meritorious deeds, to nobility and built a nation in the shape of a dukedom.
“I will be troubled if it’s taken as boasting, but even though the Fatale family is said to be slightly dim-witted, there are times when capable people, who are called braves so to speak, appear one after the other while possessing staggering amounts of power.” (Mayria)
“You are saying that Shion is one of those?” (Renya)
Mayria shakes her head left and right while thinking you haven’t denied the part about dim-witted.
“I don’t know. Until now there haven’t been any signs for that. I’m just pondering about it at a hypothetical level.” (Mayria)
“For argument’s sake, if Shion was a person with abilities that identified her as a brave, would this cause some sort of problem?” (Renya)
“I think it will become a huge problem if elder sister tries to hijack this country.” (Mayria)
“Though that won’t really matter either”, Mayria shrugs her shoulders.
From her point of view, she wants her elder sister Shion to succeed the title. She had absolutely no resistance towards surrendering her own position to her if Shion said that she wanted to become the ruler.
“However I will be troubled if I’m told me and mother will be killed because of that.” (Mayria)
“I don’t think that will happen. She isn’t a child that will say something like that even in jest.” (Renya)
“I know. It’s a bad joke.” (Mayria)
Mayria smiled due to Renya stating that without any pause in-between.
“The second point is… actually doubts about your training have come up within the military.” (Mayria)
The corners of Renya’s mouth rise slightly.
His expression resembles that of a person who wants something interesting to happen.
Rather than the matter with my elder sister, the problem lies with the guy in front of me, doesn’t it? While thinking so, Mayria continued,
“A faction that insists on you showing results has appeared. They are questioning the nation for paying money to a man that leads such incomprehensible training. … Though I believe that there would be no way for them to spout such lines if they saw the actual circumstances.” (Mayria)
“You know, I think it’s fine to just let them say whatever they want.” (Renya)
“Yes, but the Trident Principality is a dukedom that’s governed by nobles. You can give them the cold shoulder and let them say what they want if it’s a monarchy, but no matter what Her Majesty the Archduchess says, continuing to ignore the pressure from a reasonable amount of nobles is troublesome…” (Mayria)
“So what do you want to tell me in the end?” (Renya)
Due to Renya’s question urging her to get to the point, Mayria readily said as if trying finish the conversation swiftly,
“Please have a sham battle with the soldiers working for our nobles.” (Mayria)
Apart from the Principality’s army, each of the nobles have soldiers under their command.
Those soldiers are completely under the control of the nobles and even the Archduchess has no authority over them. They have created an independent military structure.
“You told me that the training period lasts one month, didn’t you?” (Renya)
Mayria nods upon the confirming question of Renya.
“Indeed, since that’s our agreement, I will keep them quiet for one month.” (Mayria)
“In that case I accept.” (Renya)
Mayria took a deep breath, feeling relieved, as if a weight had been removed from her mind due to Renya readily accepting, but her expression froze right after hearing Renya’s next words.
“Then I’d like to request permission to train the soldiers under my thumb in the Miasma Forest in preparation for the sham battle.” (Renya)
“… I can’t think of that as a sane suggestion!?” (Mayria)
Mayria’s shout seemed like a scream.
Her servants looked at each other while wondering just what the heck happened for Mayria to raise her voice to a degree they had never heard before.