I, Yahman, Griad, and 18 young boys and girls are currently on a military training ground that is merely an empty piece of land with a surface hardened by frequent usage.
The magic soldier trainees had just finished an intense session of training, so this is after they have had a break.
At my suggestion, the trainees are equipped with the spear and armor actually in use by full-fledged magic soldiers.
Almost all of their faces are filled with unease and fear. Except for one…… the black-haired young boy at the front, the one who was pointed out to be the most outstanding of the batch. Log, I think it was? His eyes are only filled with challenge.
“Actually creating Shadow Demons would be……” (Griad)
“Shh! He’ll hear you! Well, we can just watch……” (Yahman)
While ignoring the two ossan magicians behind me who are furiously whispering to each other, I proceed to stand in front of the trainees.
(T/N: Ossan: uncle / middle-aged men. Gio calling them that has the connotation of slight disrespect.)
I can see all of them stiffening with nervousness. Goodness, what kind of introduction was given about me?
Back in Japan, I’ve stood on a stage in front of new hires going through their induction training…… if only those guys had been this serious.
“Ahem…… I am the wizard Gio Margils. I think of you all as comrades that share my desire to protect people from Shadow Demons.”
As I say this while lowering my head, their eyes all grow round with surprise. A buzz of whispering among themselves springs up, but I quieten it by slightly raising my staff. As expected of those who’ve received military training—the buzz immediately dies.
“I fully understand how seriously you all have taken your training. As such, though it may be presumptuous of me, I have taken it upon myself to provide all of you with the opportunity for live practice against existences that possess roughly the same strength as Shadow Demons.”
Beginning with Log, several of the boys—and girls too—sharpen their eyes. The other trainees also begin to fidget around. It seems that they think I’m belittling them. I can also feel Griad’s cold gaze boring into my back.
“By means of this spell, may 18 goblins and 1 ogre be created and be under my control for 10 minutes. [Create Monster]”
The moment my chanting ends, a crowd of goblins, which possess the characteristic small horns and large ears, and an ogre appear, tearing apart the uncomfortable silence.
The training itself ended very quickly.
Upon merely laying eyes on the goblins and ogre, a majority of the trainees fell into panic, and Griad just fainted. It turned into quite a commotion.
It probably needn’t be said that not much proper fighting took place. Unlike [Create Ogre Platoon], [Create Monster] can create almost any monster without a special ability. In exchange for the versatility, however, the duration is only 10 minutes. I was slightly worried as to whether a conclusion would be reached in that time, but the trainees ended up not lasting even 5 minutes, with the goblins and ogre pinning down every single one of them.
The goblins and ogre were all bare-handed (of course, I also instructed them to hold back), but aside from Log and the blond girl from earlier taking out one goblin each with their magic, I saw nothing else that could actually be called ‘fighting.’
I command the monsters holding them down to step back, then I approach them.
“Is anyone injured? Please tell me, there’s no need to be reserved.”
“…… I’m sorry, it seems that this guy hit his head.”
“Is that so. Sorry about that.”
It was Log who spoke up, while holding in his arms another trainee who is cradling his own head and groaning. As I feed that trainee a serving of Healing Potion, the blond girl, whose name is Daya, glares at me.
“…… I-, it’s because all of them are still in the training stage. There’s no way they can actually fight against real Shadow Demons. In the first place……”
Griad, who has woken up but still looks ashen, calls out to me, but I shake my head to cut him off.
“In any event, I have seen enough of the Magician’s Guild’s boasted-of ‘magic soldiers.’ I shall convey my decision to Heldol-shi at a later date. I’m sorry, but can the two of you make your way back first? I wish to speak to the trainees.”
To be honest, there’s no justification for my rejection of the Magician’s Guild and magic soldier trainees. It is completely uncalled for.
These people are simply trying to stand up against the absurdity that is the Shadow Demon threat, using what they know within the boundaries of their reality. As such, even when death or tragedy occurs as a consequence, that too is simply another part of that reality.
If my eloquent lip service turns out to be enough, then great. But what I am prepared to do is a method that will fully utilize the absurd power and assets of the being called Gio Margils.
If it comes to that, then that’s fine too.
Pushing through the impossible and forcing reality to swallow it is the duty of absurd existences such as myself.
I walk towards the trainees, who are mostly still sprawled on the ground, then sit down on the ground.
“The discussion that all of you and I will now have, I will never let leak to the Magician’s Guild, unless I have your express permission. This I am saying ahead of anything else.”
As I begin talking to them quietly, they sit up one by one. Of course, there’s nothing but unease in their expressions.
“It is fine to honestly speak out whatever you’re thinking. Firstly, do you all actually want to fight against Shadow Demons? I’ll say this so that there will be no misunderstanding: real Shadow Demons are several hundred times scarier than what you just fought.”
At my question, almost all of the trainees cast their eyes downwards. But among them,
“I will get revenge for my Father!”
Only Daya and Log boldly return to my gaze and assertively declare so. Several others nod along, seemingly in agreement with them.
“Among those of you who want to fight against Shadow Demons, are there any who really want to be a magic soldier at any cost?”
Everyone looks perplexed at that question.
“I-, it’s not like it has to be a magic soldier…… But this is about the only place that would provide us combat training……”
“Here, they give us enough food so that we don’t die, and we get a place to sleep too……”
Log and another young boy answer me haltingly. As I’d thought, they must be orphans.
“Are there any here who actually want to go back to your parents?”
Now several people raise a hand. However, I can tell from some of their faces that they might not be welcomed if they actually went home.
“After everything that I saw today and the explanations that I’ve heard, I have determined that it will be extremely difficult for you magic soldiers to put up any significant resistance against Shadow Demons…… Actually, I’ll be honest—it’s not difficult, it’s outright impossible.”
They have endured this training with their lives on the line in spite of this. Log and Daya bite their lips and glare at me. Though I feel sorry, I say what I have to say in no uncertain terms.
“After this, I will go to the Magician’s Guild and negotiate for a temporary closure of this Magic Soldier Training Facility. If there are those among you who wish to return to your parents, I will personally visit them with compensation money while returning you. If there are those who have nowhere to return to, I shall help you find a work stay…… or at least somewhere to go. And lastly, if there are those who still wish to fight Shadow Demons, then I will arrange for you to join the Cabanera Knight Order. Of course, you may be starting as a servant.”
I’m afraid I’ll have to rely on Irudo’s help again to find them employment. The thing about the Order is just an empty promise right now, but well, those guys owe me a huge favor, so they shouldn’t be able to decline, especially if I even pay for the children’s living expenses for the near future.
While I’m still fleshing out this plan inside my mind, Log slams the ground with both of his fists.
“W-, what, you! I mean, Wizard-sama! Didn’t you come to teach us the wizardry that you’d just shown us? Teach me wizardry…… please!”
Then he immediately lowers his black-haired head.
“Even if I teach you, the possibility that you can use wizardry is very low. Furthermore, it would take years before we know the results.”
Although there is a small part of me that wants to do this kind of ‘experiment,’ I answer him honestly.
“It’s fine however many years it takes! It’s fine if I have to start as your servant! I don’t have a dad nor a mom anymore anyways. Also……”
Within Log’s eyes, which are looking up at me right now, I see something aside from a powerful hatred of the Shadow Demons.
I find myself overwhelmed by his pure and strong will. The Japanese me might have already ran away by this point. The reason why I’m still standing here resolutely may be because I, too, now have a powerful will inside of me beyond what I’ve ever had before.
“Also, Wizard-sama is also aiming to exterminate the Shadow Demons, right? Let me help with that. Rather than becoming a magic soldier or becoming a knight, I can do so much more if I’m with you. My intuition tells me so!”
“I want to be a knight, but…… wizards seem so much stronger than knights……”
“I want the same thing Log does……”
“I was just left on the roadside to die anyways……”
Seemingly infected with Log’s zeal, Daya and several other trainees also begin to entreaty me for the same.
I have clearly underestimated their resolve. But I don’t really want to do the same thing the Magician’s Guild was doing.
“…… just have to do it differently then.”
I stand up and brush dust off my pants while murmuring to myself.
All that’s left now is to talk to Heldol.
Finding fault with their anti-Shadow Demon forces is one thing. Getting them to let go of the project would be something else altogether. But well, if the standard is their current method, then I believe I can think of something even better as ‘compensation.’
I feel slightly sorry towards Heldol, but he is going to have to give up and acknowledge that my absurdity is preferable over the absurdity of the Shadow Demons.