~~Eight Oclock in the Morning, First Day of the Sixth Month, Ninety-Fourth Year of the War Demon Calendar~~
[What is… this…]
At the training ground of the Royal Capital Magic Guardians, Jeanne the Lightning Flash found herself kneeling under a colossal shadow.
In fact, the figure before her towered over one-eighth of the whole hall.
Another man – of considerably smaller size – clacked on the cobblestone pavement as he walked up to the podium before the dumbfounded soldiers.
He was Gaston the Great Mage of Flame.
Though he was the leader of the mage brigade here, neither the petrified troops nor his devoted Brigadier Viola had their attention on him now.
“Was it too cramped in there, sir”
Once Gaston started speaking, all eyes turned to him.
And then back to the colossus again.
Gastons words toward him had been out of utmost respect.
The answer he got, however, was nothing but a half-hearted reply from the gigantic figure.
The one in question was Tūs the High-Order Muscle.
Having departed from the Far East Wasteland, he had traveled a great distance to arrive here at the Royal Capital of Regalia.
[“Bah, never thought hed actually pull it off in one week.
Really shouldnt have challenged him in the first place…”]
Gaston stood beside Tūs, who towered over him despite sitting down cross-legged.
In comparison, Gaston was a single bean next to him; the soldiers were greatly intimidated by the view that they swallowed lumps down their throats in unison.
“For the love of God, you shouldve told me you were coming here!”
One woman called out to Tūs with a taut voice as she emerged from one of the spectator seats.
The soldiers awaited her orders; Irene lightly raised her hand as a sign for them to stand up and hold formation.
“Here comes the old hag…”
“Shut your trap, musclehead Philosopher.
If Gaston neverreminded me, I wouldve missed this
“Its a whole lotsa pain comin all the way here, yknow.”
Irene was visibly doubtful of that claim.
It was unthinkable that a man like him, so powerful that he was considered a Philosopher, would have difficulties with the simple act of traveling to a city.
As a matter of fact, the act of movement itself was simple.
Therefore, Tūs had taught Gaston to use the Storeroom – which he himself had learned from Asley beforehand – so that the latter could transfer him all the way here, just like how Asley had done for Melchi.
He also had to suppress the enormous amounts of arcane energy within his body.
Slightly modifying the Arcane Energy Circulation Optimizer, which Irene and Asley usually had activated on their bodies, and then applying the Teleportation spells formula, he had made it so that his excess power was sent to the Far East Wasteland instead.
That had allowed Tūs to enter the Royal Capital of Regalia without being sensed by Gaspard.
But of course… just because Gaspard wasnt aware of him being here didnt mean the same would be true for a certain wild acquaintance of his.
Suddenly, one woman among the rearmost row of soldiers fell down on her rear.
The man in the next row turned to glare at her.
Although Tūs was what needed their utmost attention, any disruption of discipline was an embarrassment to the Royal Capital Magic Guardians name.
But then the man realized what the woman saw up in the sky – the cause of distress for trained soldiers such as them.
The man, upon looking up, fell down just like the woman had.
Tūs looked up and saw a black dot in the sky above him.
Its movement stopped, but not the release of its overwhelming arcane energy, pressuring Gasston, Irene, and Viola to his side.
“Well well, if it aint the purple bird.”
What he saw up there, which scratching his head, was none other than the Shishichou, which had inflicted a great deal of pain to Asley and his party recently.
It was practically impossible for the Shishichou to not notice the approach of one as powerful as Tūs, what with the Regalia region being its turf.
It had considered that, if the big man was harmed, the danger might extend to it as well.
“…An acquaintance of yours, sir”
“Meh, just had a petty fight or three back in the day.”
“Apetty fight with a Heavenly Beast, huh I didnt know you had a knack for unfunny jokes.”
They realized that if it wanted to, it could kill everyone currently present here, including them.
Fuyu, who had been watching from a corner of the hall, shuddered as she held on to her staff.
All the people present here were trembling with fear toward what they could only see as a little black spot in the sky.
But since the Heavenly Beast was here now, Tūs had no reason to hide from it.
Tūs, wanting Shishichou to leave the current location as soon as possible, initiated a Telepathic Call with it.
[“Hey, long time no see.”]
[“…I knew you were up to something again.”]
[“Aint got no time for arguin now, bird.
Just go home.”]
[“…And that you have been seeing more people lately.”]
[“Heh, strange, aint it Looks like Imma be seein more and more from now, too.”]
[“Imma explain that later.
Youre gonna attract the enemys attention.”]
I shall wait at the usual ravine.”]
Tūs, eyes closed while communicating telepathically, loosened his lips slightly, apparently feeling nostalgic.
Once that was over, the Shishichou flew back toward the north.
A Heavenly Beast was right in front of them.
As brief as that was, it was enough time for all the soldiers to turn pale, realizing now how profusely they were sweating and how cold they were feeling.
Gaston, who had regained his bearings sooner than all the others, coughed to clear his throat.
That providing the soldiers with the push they needed, they promptly stood up and got back in formation.
Gaston held out his hand to Tūs and proceeded to say,
“This is Master Tūs, Philosopher of the Far East.
He is a man of great power and knowledge.”
“Heh, always a smooth talker, old man…”
“So… Ive heard that no one has been able to complete the training menu.
Not even Viola.”
Viola cast her eyes down upon being reminded so, but no one would blame her.
All of the soldiers had considered the training Asley had gone through to beimpossible.
They had a great deal of doubt toward Gastons decision to introduce this program to them.
They wondered why they, not being warriors, would need to train their bodies so intensively.
That was why no one felt ashamed upon hearing the announcement.
But then Irene, feeling annoyed at the soldiers reaction, stepped forward.
“WEAK! Listen, you all wont get anywhere with that attitude!”
The soldiers faces froze over.
They had always prided themselves in their power, but now they were being declared weak.
Though the one to tell them so was the powerful Irene of the Six Archmages, they would still need time to digest that fact down.
“Youre one to talk.”
“Just shut up and let me finish!”
Irene turned to glare at Tūs briefly for that remark of his, and then back at the soldiers.
“All you should need for this list is ten hours! And for the record, Gaston and I HAVE cleared it! Do you understand! Its the weakness of will – thats what sets you apart from us, not knowledge about magic and energy! And you, old man! Youve been pampering your troops way too much, I say!”
After screaming and howling all she wanted out of her system, Irene turned away and g.r.o.a.n.e.d violently out of her nose.
The soldiers did nothing to hide their surprise – and the doubt they now had in their abilities, assuming what Irene had said was all true.
She had pointed out that they were weak-willed.
But they had confidence.
They were convinced that they would never lose to some random adventurer.
None of them understood what they had just been told.
Tūs heaved a sigh, then Irene did the same.
Gaston stepped forward.
“…Your daily training has been sufficient.
However, it is only your choice to end it there.
There will always be a greater power to be attained by going further beyond.
“Well, not that theyd understand even when its spelled right at their faces… which is why youve called over this trash Philosopher, right”
“Damn old hag… Im plenty clean, thank you very much.”
“Mark my words, people! Those who dont keep up WILL be left behind! Steel yourselves for whats to come!”
Gastons croaky voice echoed through the training ground.
Seeing how the soldiers were slow to comprehend their situation, Tūs heaved another deep sigh.
[Gah, how many of them are there, anyway… That little **, forcing this kinda work on me… When hes back, Imma whoop his four-eyes ass… Nah, thats gonna be a drag, too…]
Ignoring Irene at his feet as she kept screaming at him, Tūs let out a long, loud yawn.