The gate opened to reveal a spacious training ground.
From it, a tremendous degree of fighting spirit from all the shouting struck right through my heart.
The first thing I saw was the soldiers in training – not their magic, but their bodies.
They deliberately used spells of disadvantageous elements to defend against incoming attacks.
With how intense theyre going at it, theyre going to die instantly if they stop defending, arent they
Anyway… that Aegis Protect support spell sure was amazing.
I could use it as well, of course, but with the number of soldiers here able to use it, it goes to show how advanced the Royal Capital Magic Guardians are.
A high output of arcane energy could be felt from among them – particularly near one edge of the perimeter.
“HAAHHH! VESTMENT THUNDER!!”
Former Magic University Student Council Vice President, Jeanne the Lightning Flash… Its been over two years since Id last met her, I believe.
Looks like shes holding her own more than well enough against the regular brigade members.
She wore the same brigade uniform as everyone else present here, which meant her fascinating, splendid t.h.i.g.hs were obscured.
The magnitude of her arcane energy has increased considerably, feeling more focused than ever, which goes to show how well she had been keeping up with her training.
And that armor of electricity… Id like to know how to make one as well, but shell probably never agree to teach it to me.
A brawny man, standing arms crossed in the back, shouted in a thundering voice.
Immediately following, the training maneuvers stopped, and the soldiers snappingly lined in a formation.
Their numbers here… about a thousand, I would say.
I couldnt get a reliable estimate, but that should be about right.
I refrained from waving to her out of consideration that she may dislike it, only for Pochi to wave her hand at her instead.
“What do you think”
Gaston asked the same thing that he had asked just a few minutes ago.
Why does he want to hear my opinions on things that much Well, not that Id figure that out by thinking about it now.
So… their war potential.
By mages standards, they are quite powerful.
But for mages to stand up against SS-ranked monsters, they would need swift movements and even greater raw power.
That was the very reason why Tūs had trained me the way he had.
As unpleasant a character as he was, I AM thankful of him.
Just for that, if anything.
Now, as for these mages… they are trained fairly well.
However, frankly, the yield of two years worth of training I had gone through, when compared to what Jeanne has achieved in the same amount of time, was far greater.
I did not quite think of it as believable when Id first heard of it, but after I had actually gone through with the training, I did find that it gave me a tremendous boost to my magic invocation ability.
With my fortified abilities and improvements to my mobility across the board, in just one year, Pochi and I had been able to fell a Chaos Lizard, an SS-ranked monster.
…Albeit we barely managed to do so with a bit of luck involved.
If I were to consider whether or not these soldiers would be able to pull it off with how they are now… Id say half of them would be wiped out in the process – and thats being optimistic.
But should I really say that outright to Gaston
Id been able to say it easily last time because it was about a gate, but it would be extremely difficult to make myself say the same about all these people who worked to improve themselves day in and day out.
Pochi was supposed to cover for me in times like this, but shes still occupied with waving to Jeanne, so thats not an option right now.
“Were not a financial services agency, young man.
You dont have to analyze things that much.”
Still angry about the signboard, huh
“I would say… at most half of them would make it.
At worst, thirty percent.
Thats the estimate I can make now.”
“The current rough estimate is that it would take a quarter of a regular mage brigade to take down SS-ranked monsters.
And even then, at most only four at the same time…”
“Will that simple of a calculation be enough to work on, sir”
“Of course not.
Lend us your wisdom, young man.”
“What are you so surprised about You think I dont have my problems to deal with”
Well, Id always thought you were an omnipotent super grandpa, sir.
Anyway, are all these soldiers going to stand in formation and wait through our whole conversation Their legs ought to be worn out by now.
Hmm… but it IS quite rare for Gaston to be relying on me, or anyone at all, for that matter.
In the end… Ill have to rely on HIM again, as much as Id rather not.
“…Ill write up a letter of recommendation.”
“An… acquaintance of mine.
I would say that hes on par with the Holy Warriors.
But hes also… quite eccentric, you see, so I reckon hell never offer his aid directly.”
And even disregarding direct assistance, its highly possible that hell not do anything at all.
“Even if the world is in danger”
“Even then, yes.”
“Meaning, Sir Gaston… what you get out of this, and how much of it, will depend on your approach.”
With Gastons personality… he might actually just make it through.
“And what will you do, young man”
“I already have somewhere I absolutely must go to.
It concerns this issue as well, so… Hahaha…”
“…If you say so.”
Was it just me, or did he turn a bit gloomy there Whats going on
“A-anyway, how much longer will we be standing here, sir Werent we going to talk over some tea”
“The tea can wait.”
“Huh! Now we have a problem, sir!”
Pochi reacted to that one statement, of all things, resulting in an expression as if today was her worst day ever.
“Little girl, if you can only keep your patience for a while longer, I will give you my portion of cake as well.”
Now its her best day ever, apparently.
And Gaston… hes suddenly gotten so good at handling Pochi.
Unlike years before, it looks like hes having fun now
Maybe hes secretly fond of animals, just like Billy, what with his Familiar being a mouse and all.
“So whats on the agenda, sir”
“You see, Viola has objected to your enrollment into the brigade.”
“…I dont remember ever replying to the invitation, though”
“Of course, I understand that youve got things to do now – that youve changed over the past two years.
But that doesnt necessarily mean Im just letting the possibility go.”
Gaston took me by surprise with the gradual harshening of his tone.
All the soldiers were visibly confused, and Fuyu seemed quite spooked.
Even Pochi ended up closing her eyes.
At any rate, he was right in that, two years ago, I would have wished to be here.
I did genuinely feel happy when Gaston had invited me back then.
But now I had so many more important things to do than work here.
Which was why I had decided to consider that invitationas long as I was still in the Magic University.
But… it looks like Gaston had other ideas.
I dont have much time – meaning I cant afford to spend any of it here.
All things considered, Id be better off cutting the bridge here.
That said, I understand that at this point, youre not meant to be stuck working here.”
Uh, so in the end, what was Gaston trying to tell me
“Ive already discussed that point with Viola.
Do you want to know her response”
“W-what is it, sir”
“‘If he does possess that degree of ability, then we ought to let him in – thats it.”
Wait, but didnt she just-
“H-howd she just up and reverse her opinion so suddenly!”
“Thats was just the first part.
Then I told her that Id make you the Commander.
Needless to say, she was enraged – Hmm, looks like everythings ready.
Look there, young man.
Shes waiting oh-so-eagerly for your enrollment into the brigade.”
Wowww… Unreal, bro…
Waitwaitwaitwait! Whatd Gaston just say! Me, the Commander Even disregarding my obviously unfitting personality, theres no way I can work it out.
Yeah, absolutely no way.
But it goes to show how high of an evaluation Gaston has of me.
I appreciate that, if anything.
Viola walked in a straight line from the back row, stopping in the center of the training ground.
I, upon being nudged ahead by Gaston, dragged my feet toward where she was, with the soldiers dividing their formation to make way.
“Remember that were having cake after this, Master!”… That was my Familiars idea of what constituted an encouragement.
But, well, shes not wrong.
I could go for some tea right now, too.
Thatbad feeling Id felt turned out to be true.
Man, I sure have been fighting a lot these past few days…
Well, technically most of my activities hadnt involved fighting, but still… it sure has been quite a while that Ive last had a one-on-one match.
“You see, Sir Gaston told me that, if Im capable of killing you, then Im free to do so.”
“But I dont intend to do that.
Ill keep you alive… and let you die off by yourself.
Were you a former bandit or something, Miss Viola Quite a nasty tongue for a Brigadier, dont you think
Well, no, she IS part of the Nations regular army, so her being stern toward her inferiors could be a part of her job.
Might be why she ended up coming off as rude… or is it
By this time, the soldiers have already retreated to the sides of the training ground, leaving all the open space for just me and Viola.
“Are you ready”
But… what should I do
I mean… theres no way I can possibly lose this fight, is there