Chapter 488 Daily Life at the Pioneers’ Village (1)
The new year was here before I realized.
With the Galahad war and the confrontation with Sariel, the turbulent Gloom Moon month had come to an end and the month of Dawn began–or so I thought deeply but that month of Dawn was close to ending as well.
Although it was just a month, my time here was quite busy. The first on that list would be that time I was called out on Gloom Moon 29th because a child was being born.
Without knowing anything about the whole thing, I witnessed a birth and even performed baptism on the child–a Christian ritual. It wasn’t anything too hard, I read a verse from the Bible, splashed a few drops of holy water on the child and devoted a small prayer.
Fortunately, a priest’s job during birth ends there and is not involved in any of the actual birth work. With the only doctor grandma as the lead, the village’s women skillfully pulled it off. After all, by the time I had taken the lecture after excusing myself to get ready and went to Ted’s house, a healthy baby’s cry could be heard.
I sighed a breath of relief after successfully clearing the birth event but there was no way I would’ve known at that point that I would be called out at night for the same thing again on New Year’s Eve. Is this village going through an unprecedented baby boom?
Putting aside such spontaneous events, the New Year’s worship went perfectly well as it was planned from before and I had studied and prepared for it as well. Other priests would be giving more preaches during these events but I just performed the necessary rituals properly and saw myself out after greeting everyone. Well, despite it being the New Year’s day, the villagers weren’t as idle to laze around all day. They couldn’t afford to spend the first three days of the New Year under a kotatsu with oranges.
However, it was exactly after three days that the village got somewhat noisy.
That day, another messenger had come like before and officially announced that the Crusaders will temporarily stop trying to capture the Galahad fort, which is basically declaring that they lost.
Afterwards, you could see wounded soldiers being carried from the Alsace fort almost everyday. Through the main street of the village, which was right in front of the church, which is exactly where I live.
The reason why there was still no problem was because this 202nd Pioneer village was just a site for them to pass through. They would start moving from the Kual village and stop at 203rd Pioneer village for a night to replenish their supplies and cross this village by noon the next day.
As it was just a passing point, there was almost no contact with the Crusaders army. They got all the supplies they needed from the last village so they didn’t come demanding for anything either.
The only thing I was worried about was my own emotional state. I thought I would be filled with the urge to blast them with Grenade Burst but surprisingly enough, I felt no such drive as I saw the gloomy line of soldiers pass by in front of me.
It’s not like I forgave them or much less sympathized with them. It’s just that the sense of relief from succeeding in making the Crusaders retreat slowly filled my heart and that was enough to make me feel satisfied.
After all, this scene we won through victory is no doubt a precious one–the result of continuous bloody battles and struggles.
As a result, I was able to pass my days without any problems till now. Although there were a few small incidents between the soldiers and the villagers, it didn’t really spread as the chief Randolph and the squad leader intervened quickly enough.
Additionally, nobody really thought much of me not showing myself, despite being the priest of the village. I guess to them, it doesn’t really matter if there’s a priest or not as long as the village deals with anyone who dies along the way. I did perform several rituals for burial in the cemetery, for what it matters. The villagers and I just indifferently dealt with these corpses without feeling any sort of emotion.
If there’s anything else that interests me, it would be info regarding the Crusaders.
“Well, how was it?”
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any new info.”
Talking to Randolph in this one room in the church–how many times does this make? The reason why I was speaking so casually was because there was no need to act with honorifics with Randolph.
Randolph was a gangster before so I can’t have him underestimating me and I also don’t want him being too friendly either.
Honestly, I want to talk to one of the soldiers and ask them stuff directly but the risk of doing that is too high even with a priest disguise. Which left me depending on the chief to have some idle talk with the soldiers or the squad captains as they pass by here.
And it’s not like Randolph became my underling or anything, he just simply wants to know more about the Crusaders as they would play a big role in the village’s future. That’s true for all the villages here.
“It seems even the Crusaders army is a bit disordered due to the unexpected defeat. It seems all they talk about is rumors or speculation.”
More specifically, their plan regarding the army reorganization, the border defense system and the re-attack on Galahad fort.
“I did get to know that there’s no doubt that baron Helman was left in charge of the border defense as he was standing by at the Alsace fort.”
“If I am not wrong, baron Helman has quite a strong connection with earl Bergunt. I guess the responsibility of defeat was pushed onto him.”
I act like I know it all but all this info about the Crusaders executives is from Sariel.
The Crusaders aren’t all united like a monolith, they are largely divided into three parts. The first army–the one that achieved victory in the Goldran and in direct control of commander-in-chief Sariel. Next is the second army which is occupying Daidaros–the one we fought against during the Alsace battle. And the last is the third army, the nobles’ alliance, which came attacking Spada.
Sariel knows the most about her first army but doesn’t know much about the second and third, or rather she wasn’t told much about them. As expected, Sariel doesn’t have the commanding ability to take control of a huge army like this, she’s just a war machine. Rather than her actual commanding ability, she was at the top because of her being a symbol as one of the apostles. In other words, a puppet.
Even still, she at least knew of the names and faces of the key people in the Crusaders army. It would be troubling otherwise.
“The news that earl Bergunt died in battle has spread quite a bit too. After all, even villagers like us got to know about it.”
“He died right in the center of the battlefield, after all. You can’t really stop people from talking.”
I didn’t see him getting taken down but I can tell from the situation on the battlefield right before Sariel came and intervened.
However, what’s more important to me is the apostle and not the fact that the commander of the third army is dead.
“Did you hear anything new about the 7th apostle Sariel?”
“No, nothing other than the official announcement.”
Although everyone knows about earl Bergunt’s death by now, it has not been officially made public. However, the Crusaders are grandly announcing about what happened to Sariel.
And that is–she sacrificed herself to seal a terrifying, enormous demon.
I see, that is true, Sariel might have looked like that when she used Heaven’s Gate and took me in. Most importantly, it wouldn’t look good if the symbol and the greatest strength of the Crusaders army just fought and lost.
That said, it’s even worse making it a secret. The well-being of God’s apostle is more important for morale than the noble supreme commander for the Crusaders. Although Sariel has not actually died, she did go missing so it would look better to announce that she sacrificed herself.
This interpretation of sealing a demon is convenient for me, though. That is ‘cause if the demon is sealed then the demon doesn’t exist anymore–in other words, there’s no need to search for me.
Although, my black hair and black-red odd-eyes with my terrifying appearance do stand out a lot. If found out, I’ll probably be put on a wanted list as the sworn enemy who killed off an apostle. I need to be cautious and stay concealed going forward too.
“Ah, I’m sorry but I have an appointment after this… is this fine for today?”
“Ah, yeah, me too, it’s almost time for training.”
With little to no result from the information exchange, Randolph and I left the room.
It’s about 3 in the afternoon now. The men of the village should be returning from lumbering right about now.
Reki’s training usually began late towards the evening but… after Ryan joined in, Ted and a few others from the vigilante group also joined and now it’s sort of a large training program with almost all the vigilante members.
Well, this allows me to at least work a decent amount and I also would like to avoid getting my body dull by not exercising enough.
Now then, let’s do our best today as well.
The men’s energetic yelling reverberated in the center plaza of the village.
What played out before me was these men trying to hit me with their wooden spear, the tip of which was wrapped with a cloth, made specifically for mock battles. Although it wouldn’t be fatal if it hit, it would still hurt. I dodged these with ease and mowed down the vigilante’s torso, which was covered with leather armor.
“Your pursuits are slow. Now is your chance, when the enemy is attacking others.”
There were two more vigilantes behind me equipped with the same gear. However, they were slow in hitting my defenseless back with the spear.
I safely dodged the two’s attacks and changed course. Now turning right towards them, I closed in on the spear handle, already in range of my sword.
Although I didn’t use any martial arts, I quickly dished out two slashes with the wooden sword and made them unable to continue. For what it matters, the rule for this is that you’re dead if you’re hit even once. There’s no need to go beat someone up.
Well, it will hurt a bit if it hits, of course.
Even still, seeing the two somersaulting on top of the snow in pain, I reflected on my actions, thinking that I might’ve messed up the power control a bit.
“Listen close now, as I’ve said many times before, teamwork is essential for infantry. Don’t try to make it into a 1-on-1 fight. Surround one enemy with 3 people and definitely beat them.”
I said it sounded all important and what not but of course I don’t know the proper fundamentals of military training. I have no idea how they train soldiers in the Crusaders army or the Spada army, all I know is how the adventurers’ parties fight. And so, even if you don’t like it, I have to base my teachings off of that.
What I am teaching them is how to do chain attacks in a 3 man cell with your main equipment being the spear and an off hand sword. A strategy where you surround the enemy in the middle of a triangle then two of your allies distract them while you land the final blow–a simple but strong strategy.
It wouldn’t help in a melee fight but what I am assuming the enemy to be is rank 1 monsters attacking the village as the possibility of that is the highest. They should be able to annihilate a leadless group of goblins if they use this formation.
Now, if you were to ask me if my teaching is right or not, I couldn’t give you an answer honestly. But considering how these vigilante guys have no experience of being an adventurer, having fighting experience like this will not completely go to waste.
“You say that but Kuroe, you dodge even if we attack you all at once.”
“But of course. One would naturally try to dodge if they’re being attacked.”
“Kuroe’s speed is not normal.”
“If you can land a hit on me, you can more or less land a hit on anyone. Do your best.”
I answered back bluntly to the vigilantes who were sulking on the snow. Before I realized, I started talking casually with the vigilante group during the training.
“On top of that, your power is off the charts too, Kuroe.”
“Are you sure you aren’t stronger than a constructed golem?”
“I did KO Ryan with a single punch.”
But thanks to that, I feel like I can talk to the vigilante group more freely now. Since most of them are young and close to my age, it’s probably easier to feel like friends.
“Come on now, stand up already. I’ve gone to the trouble of conducting this training by putting aside my job after all.”
The vigilantes stood up with a weak response, ‘Ye~s’.
And that’s not just the three I knocked down just now, it’s also the dozens I knocked down before as well.
“Now then, come at me all at once again.”
I can’t be bothered to instruct them one by one. And so, these mock battles are with a certain number of people or all of them at once. Me versus the twenty vigilantes. There are 45 vigilantes in this village but we can’t have all of them participate all the time. So there’s a rotation in place.
“Alright, I’ll definitely land a hit this time!”
“You can count on me, I’ll block Kuroe’s hits with dying resolve.”
“I’ll show you my skills with the spear!”
“Ohh, the girls are watching, after all!”
As the site for the training was the center plaza, it had turned into somewhat of a spectacle as well. I could see a few girls here and there watching, as well as a gallery of people around the place. Among them, Sariel and Ursula were also watching from the church window.
Maybe ‘cause of this they really get pumped up when doing mock battles with me.
It’s good to be vigorous but I need to deal with you seriously even though this is practice. I have no reason to get hit on purpose and more importantly, it does act as practice for me as well, to fight against a group of people.
“Now then, let’s goo!!”
With each of their spears in hand, the vigilantes charged at me with quite the force. At first, they just charged at me and ended up getting crowded by themselves but now they are aware of their roles and are cleanly surrounding me from all four directions.
Their charging pace matched up as well and they didn’t end up mistakenly hitting each other like before. They were definitely learning the fundamentals of working together.
All attacks converged on a single point–me. Being honestly happy with their progress, I decided to jump up in the air to dodge the attacks first.
I ended up muttering that out as the moment I jumped up, higher than a person’s height, a few wooden swords came flying at me as if they aimed for it–no, they definitely aimed for it.
I did dodge their attacks by jumping before as well after all. They probably started making counter strats. Throwing your sub weapon towards the enemy, a simple yet effective strategy.
However, as an anti-air attack, it’s still not enough. I could easily sweep them off the air with a slash of my own wooden sword.
“Tch, he deflected them!”
“Prepare your spears, he’s coming down.”
Their reaction was pretty quick. They quickly determined my landing spot and took formation there to pierce me as I tried to land.
I would have normally landed right there and turned it into a melee fight but let’s go with a different plan this time.
I fended off one of the spears with my wooden sword and took a step on his shoulders.
Immediately upon making contact, I took another leap. I broke away from the 20 men formation at once with a leap. It’s that overhead dash I performed that one time to break through the heavy knight.
“Oi, oi, are you for real?!”
Now that I had landed on the other side at once, I started a reverse sweep and cleared through the formation.
They still had a circular formation going on so I went around the outer circumference and sliced past them. My movements were such that they don’t surround me again but since we’re talking about over a dozen people here, they could very well disperse once and surround me again–but then again, it would be harsh of me to expect that level of proficiency from them.
And like this, the vigilante group tragically got destroyed. There wasn’t anyone who could face me head on yet. Once the formation was broken, there wasn’t anyone who would come with a counterattack properly–or so I thought.
“Orraaa, the fight isn’t over yet, priest!!”
The one who appeared before me with a war cry was an armored knight wearing silver full plate armor. The vigilante leader Ryan.
He shouted with strength as he swung down the extra thick wooden spear from above.
He isn’t the leader just for show. Ryan was the only one in the village who had learnt martial arts.
However, normal martial arts isn’t even enough to stop me. I have taken on countless ‘Breaks’ from hard-trained heavy knights. I think I can even deal with three of these coming at me at once too.
I side-stepped his full-body weight martial arts swing and swung my wooden sword sideways to his flank.
It would’ve ended here normally but it seems Ryan had predicted there would be a counter attack and so he blocked my attack with a tower shield that he had on his left hand.
That said, it does feel like Ryan is oddly accustomed to using a long weapon with a big shield at the same time. Unlike just a sword or spear, properly using such a combination is hard.
In the first place, the reason why he’s using these heavy knight equipment is ‘cause I simply didn’t need them. As I couldn’t sell off these Crusaders equipment and felt like it’d be a waste to let them rot deep in the storage, I let Ryan take them as it felt like he could maybe make use of them.
It should be his first time using such high quality heavy knight equipment but judging from how well he’s doing, he might just have some experience of it.
While having such doubts in my head, I tackled right into the large shield and sent Ryan flying.
Even covered with full armor, Ryan’s weight wouldn’t cross 200 kilos. Considering my strength, it’s still pretty light and easy to send flying.
Although he floated in the air for a bit there, he quickly braced for landing and stood back up, which I do think is impressive. However, it ended up breaking his stance.
If I were to attack his open torso in a flash right now, he surely wouldn’t be able to defend.
But at that moment, someone else barged in, not letting me go for the final blow.
It was just behind me. She came cutting through the air on top of my head with intense force.
“Quite the timing, Reki.”
I turned around and did a quick slash. In front of me, Reki’s large-sized sword and my wooden sword crossed in the air.
A very familiar creaking noise came from the clash. But soon after, another familiar, but unpleasant squeak was heard. It seems my wooden sword has gone past its limit.
Scattering chips of wood all around, my wooden sword broke in two. With my weapon destroyed and a strong swing coming from atop, I barely dodged in time. It was pretty close. If it were a martials arts attack from an expert that drove me to this situation, I wouldn’t have been able to dodge without using Over-Accel.
Reki landed on the ground sounding disappointed as her full powered attack had failed. Although smacking the sword into the ground in disappointment would leave a lot of openings, she was surprisingly fast in flipping up her sword. As it wasn’t a martial arts move, her being able to flip back up so quickly also goes to show how fast she is.
While slightly dodging the sword as it went by my nose, I kicked her torso right when she finished standing up.
Although it’s not legal or humane to kick an elementary school girl’s stomach like this, Reki had already grown up to be someone who doesn’t need that sort of consideration.
The tip of my feet, which should’ve made an impact on her stomach by now, was barely blocked by her hands which came in with terrific speed. She had immediately let go of her sword and shifted to defense.
Being able to react this well already proves that she surpassed countless swordsmen. However, it’s not enough as a block.
I went through with my kick and easily sent her light body flying.
She flew quite a bit but was able to fix her stance right as she landed. That movement resembled that of the war-cat Nino when he made that beautiful landing.
To be able to move your body like a war-cat while being a human just shows how impressive her physical ability is.
Reki, who had properly landed with both feet on the ground, quickly grabbed her sword and took a stance to launch another attack–but that’s too slow.
By then, the broken sword that I threw had already reached her.
Letting out a cute dog-like shriek, Reki collapsed on the ground.
“D-damn it… it hurts……”
Muttered Ryan, who was on the opposite side.
Ryan is still not ‘dead’ as he had just gotten tackled by me. And so, I also threw the other half of the blade towards him.
Maybe he was trying to act cool or maybe it was just blocking his vision but Ryan had taken off the helmet. And on his forehead, which was clearly visible as his hair was swept back, were red marks.
Headshot. He would have instantly died if it was an actual battle.
“Damn it, I thought we were doing pretty good too…”
“That’s true, you were right in teaming up with Reki.”
As can be seen from this mock battle, the two strongest among these guys are Ryan and Reki. Compared to the other vigilantes, these guys were a head above–no, maybe even more. And this was clearly visible to even the villagers who were watching on.
“Mmmu! Next! Let’s go next, Kuroe! Come on!!”
Before I realized, Reki had already gotten up and was taking big strides towards me with visible anger.
“Wouldn’t it be better to rest a bit?”
“No! I’ve just finished warming up!”
Her crimson eyes dazzled like that of a wild animal’s as she threw away the apprentice sister’s garments on the ground.
Underneath, she was wearing a half-pant and a light shirt. Although she looked like an elementary kid doing gymnastics class in school grounds… Since she was going through a growth burst, she had quite the volume on her chest.
First of all, she definitely needs a bra with that size. And secondly, with that light of a shirt and the sweats sinking into it turned it slightly see-through, making it obvious that she wasn’t wearing one.
Even though she is still a kid, it would be bad for public morals, especially among all these vigilante men, to go around in that appearance. After all, her chest had grown to a size that couldn’t be ignored by men anymore.
It is about time I prepared some training clothes for her.
“Let’s go! Fire!!”
Thinking that, I entertained Reki as she came swinging at me, without the slightest bit of shame.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting her to improve at this rate. Even with her superior physical abilities in consideration, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call it abnormal.
It’s as if the way of battle had been etched into her instincts.
Even still, it’s a good thing to just purely want to be stronger. It was none other than myself who said that it’s best to get as strong as you can.
That said, there’s one thing I still feel uneasy about. Reki… you sure you aren’t getting too obsessed with fighting recently?