Chapter 35 – Magic Soldier Training Facility

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After wrapping up my research in the library, I headed off to inspect the magic school.

Aside from my two large goals, I had also planned on supporting each country’s anti-Shadow Demon measures.

Though it did sound a bit shady, I needed to fully understand this new experiment that is the magic soldier. The possibility that they truly prove to be a viable counter against Shadow Demons was not completely nil, after all.

The magic school was located on a small island in Lake Liuus reserved for the Magician’s Guild, so I had to take a small boat to get there.

Proceeding down a canal while sitting on the bench of a small boat turned out to be a pretty pleasant experience.

It would have been even better of an experience if only there wasn’t an old guy even older than me sitting next to me the whole trip.

Yahman is a sociable person, but his mouth just wouldn’t stop chattering from beginning to end. It also didn’t help that the content of his words was almost all bragging.

Apparently, he is the leading authority in the field of potion production, and therefore even gets called in as a consultant every now and then by the Healer’s Guild. His bragging was noisy, but I had an interest in this world’s potions and magic items, so I lent him an ear.

It turned out that those who are capable of producing magic items and potions are only a select few magicians who possess the natural aptitude. For those magicians, the magic characters for [Creation] and [Life] appears in their magic boards. It is apparently not possible to choose which characters appear in one’s magic board.

I wanted to ask about the production of magic items in greater detail, but Yahman quickly—”The potions that I make are good enough to sell, you know? But then I’d feel bad for the Healer’s Guild. So that’s why I go to the trouble of selling wholesale to them first.”—changed the topic to him bragging about his financial means.

“I see, that sounds impressive.”

And other such interjections were all I said though, so well, I suppose I didn’t have much right to complain.

All that aside, I further learned that the functions of most magic items in Sedia are not as crazy and far-out as the ones that show up in D&B. This is especially true for magic items with infinite uses—these are apparently pretty much nonexistent in this world.

“…… Which means I’ll also have to take vested interests into consideration……”

“Sorry, did you say something?”

“Ah, no, it was nothing.”

♥♦♣♠

The magic school itself turned out to be a splendid building that looks like a city hall. The training facilities for the magic soldiers, however, were another story altogether.

Upon reaching the island, Yahman did not lead me to the center of the island, but to an out of the way corner.

“So you’re the ‘wizard’ or whatever?”

When we arrived at the Magic Soldier Training Facility, we were greeted by the person in charge, a man by the name of Griad who took no pains to hide his disdain for me. Incidentally, the buildings of the training facility were clearly constructed in a hurry, but well, they looked alright for a hurried job.

“Y-, you! Did you not receive the directive from the Branch Leader to show respect to Margils-dono!?”

“I am showing respect. But just in my own way, of course.”

He was apparently the type to not believe in anything that he hasn’t seen with his own eyes. But well, if I entertained every single person who doubted me, then I wouldn’t have time for anything else.

“Apologies for taking up your time in spite of your busy schedule. Can we go straight to observing an ongoing training session of the magic soldiers?”

“Of course, of course! Griad-kun, I trust you’ve made the necessary arrangements?”

“…… This way. It’s nothing interesting to look at though. Just saying.”

♥♦♣♠

We are currently on our way to the training grounds, with Griad taking advantage of this time to explain the training received by the magic soldiers.

The concept of the magic soldier was first thought of after the war against Shadow Demons 10 years ago, when the Magician’s Guild was searching for a way to build up its own fighting power.

The training to produce a magician, which normally takes about 10 years, can be shaved down to 3 years by removing all content that can be removed. After that is 2 years of normal military training.

It was Guildmaster Heldol who came up with the original idea. Griad is charged with staying on-sight to guide the project as needed.

What I hear next absolutely floors me.

8 years ago, there were almost 50 applicants when they were recruiting for Gen 1, almost all of whom hailed from noble or upper-class families. In the end, however, those who managed to acquire everything needed as a magic soldier numbered only 2. All the others either quit because they couldn’t bear the training anymore, were forced to quit because of injuries caused by the training, or literally just dropped dead. As a result, there were only 10 applicants for Gen 2, of which only 1 made it to the end.

“…… messed up beyond even what I had imagined……”

“Sorry, what’d you say?”

“No, nothing. So, what about the current batch, Gen 3?”

“The batch currently undergoing training is Gen 3. As we have to gather numbers, starting from this Gen, we have begun accepting applicants from common families and farming families who live outside the city. With the new policy of paying out remuneration to applicants, we managed to secure 80 people for Gen 3. Furthermore, we have drawn from the data gleaned from the two earlier batches and introduced large improvements to the curriculum.”

In other words, they couldn’t gather any more applicants after the training was revealed to be highly dangerous, so they have turned to recruiting the poor. Don’t tell me they’re dabbling in human trafficking……?

As I moan inside, Griad informs me that we have arrived.

…… It’s just a giant, empty piece of land.

“These are the meditation rooms.”

“Say what??”

I inadvertently blurted out my first thought. What Griad is indicating towards is a few lines of pits about 2m deep dug into a corner of the the open field. Each one has a ladder installed for going up and down and a lid.

There is one magician who is supposedly on watch, but he’s just standing in place looking extremely bored.

“In order to use magic without the aid of the magic board, the user must have a powerful mental image of the spell. In order to train for that, this kind of place where the trainee can be isolated from all five senses is the most effective.”

The trainees are instructed to take a certain herb that induces a relaxed state, then hole themselves up in one of these pits to focus solely on searing the image of the magic spell into their minds.

“We have also established that rather than just meditating in the darkness, using an aid like this helps make the images stronger.”

What Griad is proudly showing off to me is a copper plate engraved with the likeness of a magician whose staff is shooting out a lance of fire. If I understand him correctly, tracing one’s fingers over this scene repeatedly will cause the user to have a much clearer image of {Fire Lance}.

U——n? I…… see?”

The theory behind my own wizardry is just a bunch of settings thought up by TRPG otakus who happened to be students with too much free time on their hands. Because of that, I don’t have the right to argue against the logic that was just explained to me, no matter how much I disagree with it. However……

“Excuse me, may I ask one question?”

“What is it?”

“Does the strength of magic spells truly depend on the caster’s mental image? Because if it does, then would it not be even more effective to let the trainees watch a real magician shooting the spell, instead of relying on a mere engraving?”

Un, this point alone I cannot let slide.

Upon hearing my question, a ‘what is this guy saying?’ looks comes over Yahman’s and Griad’s face.

“…… That’s…… If such a method is to be employed, then we’d have to take on infants and show them magic every day.”

“A-, also, all magicians are taught from day 1 in magic school to never show their magic so easily to others. If we truly brought up that suggestion, we’d be branded as heretics.”

Fuumu……?”

The reasons that they lined up both sound quite unconvincing to me, but what Yahman mutters next is on a completely different dimension from what I had expected.

“In the first place, if it was that easy to learn magic, then where would our standing be……”

KA—N, KA—N~

The high-pitched ringing of a bell rouses me from my shell-shocked stupor.

That must be a signal, as immediately the lids covering the pits are opened from the inside and young boys and girls looking thoroughly exhausted start crawling out one by one.

“Well done. 3 hours of rest.”

So says the instructor haughtily towards the children, all of whom are sprawled over the ground.

And then.

“…… Tack! Tack!!”

One blond girl has gone beside a pit other than the one she came out of  and is trying to wrest the lid away while shouting with alarm in her voice.

There is apparently a pit that, despite the signal, has yet to be opened. In other words, there is a trainee who has yet to come out.

The other trainees gather around the blond girl and manage to remove the lid and drag the trainee outside.

“Tack, hold yourself together!”

“…… a……”

The young boy who was pulled out lies limp in the blond girl’s arms. His eyes are vacant.

“Tch, he broke? Leave him aside! I’ll give him treatment later.”

“Instructor! Tack is just tired. He should be fine after just a few days of rest.”

“Who has the spare time to look after someone like that! There’s no knowing when the Shadow Demons would appear!”

“Allow me.” (Gio)

“Ah.”

Seriously unable to watch any longer, I gently take the young boy from the blond girl’s arms.

His body temperature is dangerously low.

I quickly take out the Potion Server from my sling bag, pour out a cup of Healing Potion, then bring the cup to his lips.

“Hang on. Drink this. I’m begging you, please drink it.” (Gio)

“…… a…… uu……”

Almost half of the light pink-colored potions spills onto his chest, but his throat properly moves and drinks down the rest.

According to D&B rules, Healing Potions not only heal all injuries that cause a decline in hitpoints, but also removes one abnormal status, such as Poison or Panic.

“…… hah…… uu…… eh……?”

As the young boys and girls watch on with bated breath, the color of life gradually returns to Tack’s face, and light returns to his eyes, weak though it is.

I entrust Tack to the blond girl, then turn towards the instructor.

“U-, umm……” (Instructor)

“As you see, he merely needs a bit of rest, after which he will be perfectly able to resume his training. It seems that this is all thanks to your training, instructor.” (Gio)

“Ah…… y-, yes of course. Thank you very much. Oi, take this one to the dorms!” (Instructor)

The instructor is shooting Yahman, who is his superior, frequent glances while giving out instructions.

The young girl and a few other trainees lend their shoulder to Tack, who is still extremely weak. But before that, all of them give me a quick bow.

“Goodness. Apologies for stepping in unnecessarily, Yahman-dono, Griad-dono.” (Gio)

“What a curious person you are.” (Griad)

“No, no, no, no, of course it was not unnecessary! But still, well, how generous of you to use such a high grade potion so freely.” (Yahman)

Watching Yahman frivolously smiling his ingratiating smile made me want to punch someone for the first time in a long time.

♥♦♣♠

The place we are brought to next is at the outer edge of the island.

The beautiful lake and sand gives the place a bit of a resort feel, but……

“Your feet have stopped! Keep walking, keep walking! The moment a soldier stops walking is the moment he dies!”

The scene is one of young boys and girls shouldering timber and knapsacks and being driven into marching by buff-looking soldiers.

Although it’s true that a lot of the children look more muscular than normal kids in their age group, the sight is still not a pleasant one to watch.

“It’s marching practice. These Gen 3 trainees have already completed the 3 years of the magic curriculum. After 1 more year of military training, they will be deployed to the Magician’s Guild as magic soldiers.”

“…… If I remember correctly, you said that you gathered 80 people for Gen 3. How many are left at the moment?”

“18 have successfully withstood the training up to now and are developing favorably. We are already seeing the effects of the improved curriculum.”

I don’t even want to ask what happened to the 62 who didn’t manage to hold on.

Before I came to this island, I was quite conflicted as to how to respond to the Guild’s request for me to teach the magic soldier trainees. But now? Oh, I’ve already made up my mind quite a while back.

♥♦♣♠

“Teru! It’s you bastard again?! Stand up!”

As I watch over the ‘training’ with my arms crossed, a noticeably small-bodied boy at the end of the line squats down. The soldier next to him yells into his ear, but he shows no sign of moving.

At that, a large-bodied boy from the front of the line makes his way over.

“Teru, there’s only a little bit left, so hang in there. The rest of you also put more effort into it!”

The big one lends his shoulder to the small one and resumes walking. This scene must be an oft-repeated one, as the soldier seems to be giving tacit consent. In response to the big-bodied boy’s shout, the others go “Oohh!”, so he must be the leader of the bunch.

“That one is called Log, and is the most excellent trainee among Gen 3. He is going to be more powerful than both Gen 1 and 2.”

While listening to Griad’s introduction, I closely scrutinize his—Log’s—face.

Somehow still managing to bear the training by some stroke of fortune…… is a description that has nothing to do with him whatsoever. In his eyes, which are glaring straight ahead, I see a burning will even more powerful than that of many adults.

So even among these children from poor families who were most likely gathered with money, there exists someone like him.

♥♦♣♠

“After this, it is time for combat training.”

“I have another question. You said that their training has been improved from the one applied to Gens 1 and 2. Specifically what has been changed?”

“Gens 1 and 2 were comprised mainly of children from noble and influential families, so we couldn’t apply more strenuous items to their training. Of course, we have also added other touches, like the copper plate from earlier.”

I see.

There is absolutely nothing to be expected of any future ‘improvements’ to this project.

“Now I have a proposal. How about I lend a hand with that session of combat training?”

“What?”

“I can create servants with around the same strength as large and small demons. I am offering to do so for the trainees to practice against.”

I’m sorry to Claura and the Guildmaster, but I cannot allow the Magic Soldier Training Facility, in its present state, to continue any longer.

Yes, I know, I’m an outsider. You guys have poured a massive amount of time and effort and expense into this project that you thought would grant you the strength to stand up to Shadow Demons—I get that. Outsiders have no right to interfere? That’s true.

But so what?

‘Great Wizard’s exist for the sake of kicking such truths to the goddamn curb.


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