26 – Military Arts Training!
With two cloth sacks filled with sand over his shoulders, Tatsumi was standing in place, bending his knees till his back was completely down and then he stood up again.
In other words, he was squatting. It’s been god knows how long since he first started.
The sweat rolled down his body and dyed the sand at his feet grey. But Tatsumi kept going with the squats patiently. Around him there were several boys in his age bracket who were sitting on the ground and grasping for breath.
“Oy Oy What’s the matter ladies? This all you got? At this rate who know’s when you’ll become a Clerical Knight!”
There was a man standing in front of them.
He had a large body packed with well toned muscles. His armor was made out of metal plating with the crest of the temple of Savaiv on the chest. One could guess he was someone from the Clerical Knights Order.
Probably in his mid-forties, his unshaven scary face really gave of that [Instructor] feel.
The [Instructor’s] eyes were glued on Tatsumi who was still doing the squats.
It was as if he was glaring at his mortal enemy, but the current Tatsumi had no time to notice that.
The sandbags on his shoulders each weighted about 8 Kilograms. That would mean that he was squatting with 16 Kilograms of extra weight on him.
Actually, Tatsumi was at his limit too. The only reason he could keep going was because of willpower.
The lads who used up all their strength were watching Tatsumi silently as he was the only one left.
After that, Tatsumi continued for a while longer. Then he finally used up his remaining willpower and collapsed on the ground.
Seeing that, the [Instructor] began to show a grin on his unshaven face.
“All right, break time for half a bell! Finish up your meals in the meanwhile! But remember, if you overeat then you’ll suffer later so keep it moderate!”
[TLN: Half a Bell = Approximately 1 hour]
After saying that, the Clerical Knight who was instructing them left the training grounds with large strides. This training ground was for the use of the Knight order and was situated at the back of the temple.
There were about 10 cadets left who also sluggishly left the training grounds after standing up. As the Instructor said, they were probably going to have their meals.
Tatsumi was still lying on the ground in a ‘大’ shape. One of the boys’ who stood up made his way to Tatsumi, peaking in from above his face and said,
“Heeey. Tatsumi, you still alive?”
Tatsumi raised his right hand unsteadily while lying on the ground, and shook it.
The youth—-Verse, grabbed Tatsumi’s hand and pulled him up.
“Tatsumi, are you going to have you lunch?”
“Yes, I intend to.”
“Then hurry up! Your wife’s been waiting at the usual place.”
“N-No well, I haven’t yet married Chiiko so…”
Verse who pulled Tatsumi up showed a surprised face after hearing that.
“What the hell are you saying? You guys are living together, and on top of that she makes homemade lunch for you everyday you know? Even though you haven’t officially married, Lady Calcedonia is basically your wife.”
Tatsumi who was a bit embarrassed at Verse’s teasing and grinning decided to ignore him and walk away.
The place they were headed to was a corner of the temple courtyard, which had become their lunch spot for some time.
After hearing the knock on the door, Giuseppe sent his new aide, a High Priest, to confirm who it was and after that he gave the permission to enter.
“Please excuse me.”
After a bow, the one who entered Giuseppe’s office was the Instructor who was with Tatsumi and them a while ago.
“Good work, Captain Odin. So how were they? The new recruits.”
“Well, I’d say they’re still hatchlings.”
At Giuseppe’s question, Odin’s strict face became even stricter.
In the Savaiv temple, there were 5 squads of knights each with about 15 to 20 people. They were lead by the 5 Knight Captains. And on top of these 5 commanding officers was the Knight High Commander who lead the whole order.
Morganeich who left the order for the streets was also one of the Captains. After he left, the Knight who used to work as his lieutenant took on the position of Substitute Knight Captain. In the near future, he would probably be officially promoted as well.
But this Odin was the person who had the title of the 6th Knight captain. While he had no platoon to lead of his own, he was someone who was stationed full time at the temple to train the newbies.
“Specially that Kid called Tatsumi who his holiness forcefully enlisted…He’s a total failure.”
After getting permission to take a seat by Giuseppe, he folded his arms and began to rudely say,
“He has no stamina, and doesn’t even have the strength to lift up the weapons and armors. He can’t even swing a stick properly. Even those spoiled children from noble households are much better than he is. I’ll take the trouble to look after him because His Holiness’s wish, but if not for that fact I would have thrown him out on day one.”
His mouth, while hardly visible, turned into a “へ” shape covered by all that beard, and he further continued.
“When I told them to do physical exercises with the others, it was always that kid who collapsed first.”
Giuseppe noticed a strange change in Odin’s tone of voice, so he skillfully brought that up and inquired,
“I see. But why past tense, if I may ask?”
And at Giuseppe’s sharp glance, Odin too responded by loosening up his stiff face with a grin.
“Yes, because he ‘was’. Recently he’s become the one who can last till the very end. It’s been but 30 days from when the basic training started for the recruits, be without a doubt he’s the one with the most results. I myself have started to enjoy pushing that brat till his limits recently, it might be bullying on my part though.”
Odin let out a careless laugh, as if he was the kid who’d just found a new toy to play with.
“Now Master, please enjoy. Mister Verse too, please don’t hold yourself back and enjoy the meal.”
“Oh! Please excuse my rudeness then, Lady Calcedonia. But still wow, I’m really lucky. My friend’s wife is such an unparalleled beauty and on top of that her cooking skills are amazing!”
Being called his friend’s [Wife] by Verse made Calcedonia all the more happier, as she gallantly presented Tatsumi with the lunch she prepared.
“I am not joking you know? After becoming friends with Tatsumi I’m able to eat homemade lunch made by Her Holiness herself. I haven’t been this grateful to someone in my whole life.”
While giving some well spoken compliments, Verse grabbed the meal presented by Tatsumi.
It’s been about 30 days since Tatsumi and Verse started their training as a Clerical knight. And before they knew it, it became an obvious thing for the 3 to eat their lunch together like this.
“However, honestly I’m being a nuisance here right? Tatsumi and Lady Calcedonia would rather spend this time by themselves right?”
While saying that with a teasing smile he looked at Calcedonia. But the person in question, rather than being embarrassed, even showed a happy expression and said,
“It’s okay Mister Verse. Because always just the two of us, me and master, when we are at home. Right master?”
Saying that, she put her arms around Tatsumi’s in way that her abundant valley completely covered his arm. Tatsumi who was flushed red continued to stuff his mouth with food silently without replying.
Seeing the interaction between the two Verse put on a bored face saying “Blah, I give up.” and then concentrated on eating.
“But for even Mister Verse to participate in the Clerical Knight Training, neither me nor Master knew about that, right?”
“Well yeah, in my case I was surprised when I first heard Tatsumi would undertake the training. Then I thought, ‘Hey, won’t it be okay if we took it together?’. At first I only participated with light feelings but then after doing it everyday, I had to become serious myself too. I mean, Instructor Odin really isn’t someone who’s leg you can easily pull.”
At the start of the training, the recruits numbered around 30. But after about 30 days they went away one after another and the number dropped to one third. Now there were only about 10 left.
“Ufufu. I remember when I was just a recruit too. Instructor Odin was in charge of us then likewise. There were many times when I collapsed on the ground while crying my eyes out in exhaustion.”
“Woah, that old fart doesn’t even go easy on women huh.”
Verse put on a dejected expression, Tatsumi and Calcedonia laughed.
“But hey, as fate would have it, I can eat delicious meals cooked by Lady Calcedonia everyday. Next time as thanks, let me take you to a place I know. I’m telling you this shop has some seriously tasty delicacies.”
Tatsumi and Calcedonia, after hearing that, exchanged glances and then said with smiles,
“We’ll look forward to it.”
“I mean that brat trains everyday till he collapses, and then the next day he shows up all smooth and glossy like nothing happened. That resilience, if all things, is not something to take lightly.”
“I am guessing Calsey is behind that. She should be healing Son-in-law with her magic everyday.”
“Oh? Wait now that I recall it Calsey was with that brat then. Well with this I’m convinced.”
“Well, in case of son-in-law, other than Military arts training, he’s trying hard with many other things too.”
“Yeah I’ve heard about it. How that brat’s been having magic classes from his holiness and Calsey other than the military arts training.”
Currently, Tatsumi was training in magic other than the military arts. Recently he had finally been able to sense a small portion of outer origin mana. So he took his first step as a magician, or in Tatsumi’s case, a Mana user.
“Besides, that brat obediently listens to what I say, and obediently does what I tell him to do. Guys like him who don’t have some kind of bad habit are really interesting for me, I mean, they’ll just walk straight down the road I tell them to.”
Tatsumi hadn’t received any sort of training till now. In other words he was like a blank paper. That’s why he always attentively listens to what Odin has to say, and follows the instructions to the point.
For obedient recruits like them, even the instructors have it easy, as they become people who can be taught properly.
“For now I’m only having them do physical exercises to build up their strength, but lately there’s been a few who had been telling me to move onto weapons training. These guys, they seem to have some sort of half-baked experience and confidence when it comes to weapons, and this is in turn a dangerous thing. Currently while they do listen to me, the reluctance is written all over their faces. So I was thinking it’s about time to straighten them up.”
Odin has trained countless recruits till now. So he was well aware when the recruits’ dissatisfaction would finally hit a limit.
“Ooh? So are you going to finally teach them how to handle weapons?”
“What in the world are you saying, your holiness? It’s still far too early for them to even touch a weapon.”
And Odin’s face once again wrapped with that stiff grin.
While engaging in an enjoyable conversation without altruism, Tatsumi and Calcedonia, and Verse too finished their lunch and started to pack things up.
It was then that Verse noticed a the plain and uncouth bracelet on Tatsumi’s wrist.
“Hey Tatsumi. What is that? Maybe it’s a gift from Lady Calcedonia?”
“Hmm? Ah this. No this isn’t from Chiiko but I borrowed it from Mister Giuseppe.”
“By Mister Giuseppe you mean…….sheesh, you. You’re saying the name of the Supreme Pontiff like he’s some sort of retired old man who lives in the neighborhood and hands out toys to children in his free time. That part of you, really, I can’t say it’s not impressive but…”
Verse shrugged his shoulders in amazement. But even so his gaze never left the bracelet on Tatsumi’s wrist.
Noticing that, Tatsumi raised his hand so that Verse could see it clearly and explained,
“This bracelet is a ‘Magic Item’ that can store mana…wait, in your language it would be called a ‘Magic Seal Device’, I think?”
At Tatsumi’s confused voice, Calcedonia turned around and confirmed with a nod.
“Hmmm, a device that let’s you seal and store magic huh?…Than that means, you really are a magician?”
“That seems to be the case? Well I appear to be a special type so at first even Chiiko and Giuseppe didn’t realize it.”
The Bracelet Giuseppe lent Tatsumi had exactly the effect Tatsumi said.
In this world, because manufacturing Magic Seal Devices was very difficult, their price was ridiculously high. That’s why Giuseppe didn’t just give Tatsumi the bracelet, but lent it.
Just like that time with the wood-chopping, Tatsumi might end up subconsciously drawing in all the mana from his surrounding to strengthen his body.
Right now Tatsumi was building up his foundation, so relying on mana would obstruct that. Judging this, Giuseppe decided to lend Tatsumi the bracelet from his personal collection.
By the way, it seems like collecting magic seal devices was Giuseppe’s personal hobby. Though as one might not expect, even he the supreme pontiff didn’t have many top grade seal devices.
“Well then, we should head back, Tatsumi. If we’re late then Instructor Odin is going to lose it again.”
“Right. Then, see you later Chiiko.”
“Yes. Take care then, Master, Mister Verse.”
Calcedonia stood there seeing them off, until Tatsumi and Verse’s silhouette could no longer be seen in the courtyard.