Last one for today.
Captain-sama has come!
Thud! The delicate looking body fell as her face twisted in pain.
Tonic, who had been teaching her directly, sighed and turned to face her once more.
「Where is your determination!? Today is the last day of training, don’t underestimate it!」
She apologized quickly, stood herself up and faced Tonic with her sword again.
The girl’s name was “Rio Akidzuki.”
She was the girl from the other world that Tonic had been training in martial arts for the past week.
His first impression of her was “a woman without impact.”
While baptizing her with a stream of insults, he was able to break through her clumsy guard.
If it were not for his childhood friend Reyfaras who had asked him to teach her, he would have refused outright, but he thought that during training she would definitely give up and quit.
But it was not like that at all.
The girl diligently received and trained at a level where even half of the year’s rookie knights had dropped out.
She had haggard breathing and bruises that appeared all over her body, but even while dragging her faltering legs, she completed all of her training on the first day.
Well, although it said all of her training, it was reduced a fair amount. Still, it was a feat that a normal girl would not have been able to do.
Honestly, he admired her efforts.
He did not think there would be a woman like her.
Even so, he did not have any kind words in his vocabulary for her, and he continued to spew abusive language at her while she was already all beat up. He mercilessly beat her down.
He truly thought that she hit her limit, and if she did not come to training tomorrow, then she was only worth that much.
But she also came the next day.
The next day she went through the same menu with injuries all over her body, and even though she was thoroughly physically and mentally walloped yesterday, the girl who asked him to train her simply looked forward and said that she needed to put in enough effort to the point where she would be half dead so that she could survive.
It was the impression he currently held for her.
It was not like she was strong.
What he taught her was to use a one handed sword and the bow.
He knew that there was a limit to teaching her in that short period of one week, and she did not have any talent.
Her stamina and endurance were average. Her reflexes were also average.
There was nothing extraordinary about her.
Rather, it wasn’t wrong to say that she wasn’t a person suited towards combat.
But even so she was amazing.
On the third day, she was able to keep up with the two hours of running.
On the fourth day (although it was reduced) she was able to complete her training and keep up with the other knights.
On the fifth, she was neck to neck in battle with the rookie knights.
And today, she was able to endure the mock battle with him.
But it did not mean she had anything special.
It was just because she had put in effort.
Every day, she put in effort.
After training, she would go and learn about magic and about Auweight’s history from Rey, and when she had free time she would swing her sword.
Before she took her bath, she would run without fail.
She put in as much effort as possible.
Because of the way she was, the knights did not hate her.
Rather, they cheered for her and were delighted whenever she showed signs of progression.
They would pass by the rookie knight that she had won against and honestly praise her.
Then, as if being influenced by her, the rookie knights began to follow her example and put in their own effort.
She was nothing short of “amazing.”
As soon as her spar was over with, she would immediately be surrounded by knights, giving her advice on this and that.
She listened to them eagerly, and sometimes even asked them questions.
Then, as the last morning of her training was about to end, a person made their rare appearance.
「Yo! You guys are into it today.」
「Captain! Why are you here!?」
It was easy to see how splendid his muscles were, even under all his clothes.
He had a long ponytail slightly tied off to one side, and his somewhat pointed eyes were green. He lightly stated that he was in his latter thirties, but he still looked young.
Some people took fright at the scar over his right eye that extended to his cheek, but with that and the gap that he was actually very kind hearted, there were many girls who fell to his charm. He was the Front Line Pioneer Corps’ Captain, “Kleihart Charginal.”
「You didn’t want to see me, Tonic?」
「Ah, that’s not it, I didn’t mean it in a bad way…」
「I know… Hmmm, so you’re the rumored little lady.」
Kleihart walked past the still dumbfounded knights and stood in front of Rio.
「…You’re more normal that I thought.」
He examined her from the bottom to the top.
Tonic knew that those words were taboo in front of Rio.
『Is is wrong to be normal?』
『I thought normal meant “average,” “general,” and “standard, ” but it seems that in this world it only aligns with “low rank,” “vulgar,” and “inferior.”』
『Are you going to say it too? “Whatever you do, it’s pointless so shut up and be a good girl.”』
「…Has someone said that to you?」
『This country’s King. He told me that when I asked him if I could use the library…And? What will you do? Are you of the same opinion as him?』
Rio glared fiercely at Kleihart while Tonic was panicking.
Though she didn’t know, it was quite an audacious attitude to take towards the Captain of the Front Line Pioneer Regiment.
Even though Kleihart wasn’t the type to take things to heart, it would be hard for Tonic to speak up in defense for Rio and ask for a lighter punishment.
「Ha ha ha ha! This kid is interesting! I’m “Kleihart Charginal.” I’m the Captain of the Front Line Pioneer Regiment. What’s your name, Jou-chan*?」
(TL: Kleihart refers to Rio as Jou-chan a lot, so I’m leaving it in romaji. Jou-chan means little lady or miss. Think of it as a term of endearment coming from him.)
Kleihart’s hearty laugh had cut off the words of warning Tonic was about to give Rio.
Rio’s jaw dropped as she realized “it was this person?”
「Rio, introduce yourself.」
『Eh? A-ah, yes. Um, I’m “Rio Akidzuki.” That thing from before… I didn’t know so um, I’m very sorry. 』
After Rio introduced herself, Tonic also lowered his head in apology.
「Ah, you don’t need to worry about that. I also worded myself poorly. Even so, I get it now. I know why Tonic and Reyfaras favor you. You have much stronger eyes than that Goddess-sama.」
While the words Kleihart had spoken confused her, Tonic finally regained his composure and got in between the two of them.
「Speaking of which, why is Kleihart-sama here?」
「Why have you been asking “why why” since when I’ve come back?」
「Why… Didn’t you yourself say it!? You were going to go to “Gizant Fortress” so you told us not to slack off!!」
“Gizant Fortress.” It was a fortress located near the territory line between the humans and the demons, and it had been entrusted to the Front Line Pioneer Regiment.
「Ah, I did say something like that.」
「Jeez… Even though you went to the furthest possible fortress to escape the duty of protecting the next Goddess, why did you come back? Did you come to become a guardian for the Goddess?」
Kleihart’s face distorted disagreeably to Tonic’s words.
「Don’t be stupid. As if I could stand babysitting some brat from “another world.” In the first place, it’s ridiculous to think that a savior would appear out of thin air to save the country that we have been protecting so desperately. If that happened, then what was the meaning of all the fighting we’ve done? For what did my men fight and die for? If other worlders were going to come and save us, then they should have come sooner…Before the people of this country had to die. If not, then we shouldn’t depend on other people. To rely on the “Goddess” is a 0 or 100 chance. We either fight the demons with the humans until one side surrenders, or stop fighting with the demons and rely solely on that person. Like this, they finally show how little they think of our lives. I can only see them underestimating us.」
「Kleihart-sama, Rio is here.」
Tonic told Kleihart to caution his complete disapproval of the Goddess and otherworlders.
Albeit getting involved mistakenly, Rio was also “another worlder.”
It would not feel good to be called an “outsider.”
That was why he cautioned him, but…
『I don’t mind at all, Tonic-san. Actually, I’m of the same opinion. Wait, haven’t I told you before? I said something similar when I first met Rey-sama. I said, “don’t involve the lives of people who don’t belong to your world.”』
The person in question laughed with a wide smile.
「Hahaha! As I thought, this girl is interesting! I came back because I wanted to meet her.」
『You wanted to meet with me?』
「That’s right. The replacement guys who came told me that there was a girl from another world that Reyfaras and Tonic had taken a shine to. I wanted to see what kind of girl she was so I came running on horseback. I thought it would be the “Goddess-sama,” but in the end it was just the normal girl who got caught up in the summoning.」
『…So what are your thoughts now that you’ve finally met her?』
Kleihart laughed to Rio’s question.
It was a very cheerful laugh.
「She was a much more interesting Jou-chan than I expected. I understand why she appealed to Reyfaras and Tonic. How you had the guts to come to my squad’s early morning training, how you had the courage to shut up and endure the things you didn’t like, and how no matter what other people said to you, you didn’t give in– I like all those qualities! I want you in my unit. Don’t you too, Tonic?」
「Why are you asking me? ……Well, it’s not a mistake to say so though.」
Tonic had also thought about that.
If they left Rio in their squad, then Rio would get stronger without a doubt.
Even without the talent, she knew how to put in a tremendous amount of effort.
Those kinds of humans would be able to gain strength from other things than just talent.
But Tonic knew that it was not what she would have wanted.
「But no matter what Rey or I say, this girl will probably leave us.」
「What makes you say that?」
「She’s not such a docile kid to live by doing as she’s told to. She’s the type to ignore the rules and zoom through life the way she wants to. If she joins the Imperial Knights, then I won’t be responsible for any mess she makes.」
She was much better suited for freedom.
Rather than caring about title or rank, it would be better for her to live the way she wanted.
To have someone tell her the way to live would not suit her.
『Tonic-san really understands me. As expected of the person who taught me the sword.』
Hearing the Tonic’s words, Rio smiled happily.
『I’m very strong willed. In my former world, I was often told that I was stubborn. If someone decided that I couldn’t do something, I was the type to get fired up instead. On the contrary, if someone told me to do something, then it was like I had no ambition at all. Like in this case, if I really had been named the “Goddess,” then I would have refused outright. Well luckily, this time it didn’t turn out that way, but then I was labeled as a “mistake” and thrown away like garbage. As such, if I were to enter the Imperial Knights and fight for those people’s sake, wouldn’t that make me stupid? I will politely decline your offer. Ah, but I would have no problem if it was fighting for the Front Line Pioneer Regiment and people like Rey-sama or Tonic-san.』
To the girl who outright refused to fight for this country, Kleihart cheerfully and repeatedly slapped her on the back.
「That sounds good! I’ve decided to root wholeheartedly for you Jou-chan!! You’re much more interesting that the current royalty or the real “Goddess.” If anything happens, you can call for me. I’ll rush there as fast as I can.」
Tonic gave a bitter smile as he watched the scene of Kleihart relentlessly bashing Rio on the back.
Apparently, it seemed this girl liked by many “oddballs.”
The people who first stretched their hands out to this girl, Reyfaras and Kleihart had enough prestige to change the country and were insanely popular because of their strength, but even more so they were “oddballs.”
They were also people who often went against the imperial order of this country’s King.
The reason they still had so much political power and remained unchecked was because if they became angered, then this country would surely fall to ruin and to the demons if they were to lose them.
They had that much power.
Tonic also knew he was a weird person for following the king of oddballs, Kleihart.
Not only being a strong swordsman, but Kleihart’s ability to gather strong men and his ability itself was confidently stronger than the other faction leaders.
In fact, in regards to warfare, the only one more skilled than Tonic was Kleihart.
But even with that kind of ability, Tonic didn’t have the intention to serve under anybody other than Kleihart, and no matter how favorable the conditions, Tonic had no intention of ever leaving his command.
No matter who this country’s king was, Tonic’s ruler would only be Kleihart, and even if the King declared something was justified, if Kleihart said it wasn’t, then Tonic would be of the same opinion.
That’s why he was an “oddball.”
But that was also something all of the members of the Front Line Pioneer Regiment could say.
Everyone would call the people in the Front Line Pioneer Regiment “oddballs,” but most of them were picked up by Kleihart himself, so it was understandable.
The new recruits who endured the harsh training and didn’t drop out were also scouted by Kleihart.
Year by year, a number of weirdos entering the squad would increase, and the amount of Kleihart groupies would also increase.
And, Tonic thought that Rio, who was liked by all the eccentrics, was probably also a fine “oddball.”