Ex Strongest, Training Soldiers
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The reason why Soma was requested to train the soldiers appeared to be understood quickly.
The level of training of the soldiers itself was at the same level as education. It should be said that the soldiers were strong. Same went for the recruits as they already had the ability close to full-fledged.
However, it might be said it would backfire if they became better. They had been trained and improved their abilities through solid training, and the number was one of the highest among the soldiers in this world.
However, if they actually fought, Radeus’ would have a better chance. Radeus had two Seven Heavens, so the capabilities were different. However, the difference in the strength of the soldiers was different. So, the empire’s strength should be higher than it should be.
At least, Soma felt that way, and it was also an objective fact. Radeus would win if the Seven Heavens were involved, but the empire was overwhelmingly superior in terms of force.
If he simply concluded, it was due to the lack of practical experience of the royal soldiers. It seemed that they were training by practicing against each other as partners, and they had already experienced actual battles with monsters.
However, they didn’t have experience in fighting seriously against other people, which should be the most important aspect when fighting as a country.
This would have been a drawback because the empire was an empire. To put it simply, no one wanted to have even small skirmishes against the empire.
In that respect, Radeus had more experience since they had been at war with Veritas on a daily basis. That was true even though their force was half that of the empire’s force. They could have been trained more than five years, but the empire hadn’t fought anyone, probably for more than a hundred years. On paper, they had knowledge, but they never actually fought which was a considerable handicap.
What was required of Soma was to fill the shortfall. Strictly speaking, that was impossible.
Although it was easy to fight against all soldiers, there was only one Soma. It was too different from dealing with an army as an opponent.
However, it should be far better than not doing the training. To be able to actually experience moving as an army should definitely be a good experience.
“…I don’t think it’s better for them to lose confidence than to give them experience.” (Aina)
“Hmm? Why is that?” (Soma)
“There’s no reason… if they defeat a single person in a literal sense, there’s no way they can gain confidence.” (Aina)
Aina sighed as if she was astounded, but Soma had no choice but to shrug.
She certainly imagined that there would be piles of corpses spreading in front of him, but it wouldn’t be a training if he went easy on them. Then, there was no choice but to leave it up to each individual standing at that place.
They persevered more than she actually thought, and the quality was higher than expected. She wanted them to have confidence in that area.
“Even if you are told that you have confidence by a person who hasn’t suffered a single wound, won’t it become an additional blow to their confidence?” (Aina)
“Don’t be rude. I’m being honest here, you know. Rather, they’re physically an ordinary person. If I attack them unnecessarily, it will be a big deal, alright.” (Soma)
“Tell me when it’s at least a big deal. Haven’t you seen that it is a big deal?” (Aina)
“Well, if it’s too much, it will be over at that point. If not, I won’t be here, right?” (Soma)
“You are the only person who would say that…” (Aina)
Well, it was such a conversation, but from the conclusion, should they still be said that they were the soldiers of the empire? Everyone stood up firmly, and even if they encountered the same thing three times, they stood up with all that.
It was a wonderful spirit.
“Are you a demon?” (Aina)
By that time, Aina turned pitiful eyes to the soldiers, but the results of training were steadily coming out.
The movement changed visibly in the subsequent training. It was said that it was training as usual, but from the experience of moving as an army, they were able to firmly recognize what was the meaning of each training, and what kind of movement they should be aware of. It seemed that it was possible to carry out a higher level of training.
However, although there was a matter of a slight increase in accidents in training, it was probably caused by a deviation in the purpose. That was because the situation assumed by each person was different. Thus, there was a difference in movement.
However, that should be resolved with further training. For the time being, Soma was relieved after fulfilling minimum role, but… for some reason, it didn’t end there.
Soma would continue to train them the next day and beyond. It was said that there was a flood of hope from the soldiers.
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As for Soma himself, he didn’t think that he was doing much, but it was inevitable if they requested him. It was fun in some way, and he was so busy with training that he couldn’t interact with the soldiers very much.
Anyhow, even after that Soma, he still trained the soldiers.
“Hmm… I can’t say anything.” (Soma)
Aina turned her suspicious gaze toward Soma who suddenly muttered that conclusion. While watching the soldiers training, she wondered why Soma said so.
However, for Soma, his reason hadn’t changed from the beginning and that was to understand them.
“It is related to the empress’ reason.” (Soma)
“Aah… I see. I was wondering if you had forgotten since you were training the soldiers normally.” (Aina)
“Don’t be rude. Actually, I do that for that reason, you know.” (Soma)
In the end, the place where the soldiers showed their true intentions was during training. While the thinking was optimized, there was no room for extra intervention to improvise the true intention. Training and watching them led to observation.
The conclusion Soma got from that was…
“Well, it’s not surprising given that they are fighters, but their thinking is basically flat and average. It may be good to say that their thoughts are neutral.” (Soma)
When Soma was thinking about that, he caught a familiar figure at the edge of his field of vision. The person walking toward him was a man of slender build. Soma talked with him for a bit in the dining room. He was the captain of the royal guards.
Although he was a royal guard, he was still a soldier. So, this man also participated in the training. On the contrary, he even played the role of coordinating the soldiers here, and… for that reason, it couldn’t be said that this man walked toward them without any business.
He might have something to say.
“What is it?” (Soma)
“Aah. If the recruits were gathering with each other for a while, they would get too excited and overdo it. Can you say a word after I gave them medical treatment?” (??)
“I understand.” (Soma)
Soma nodded and turned his gaze to Aina, who nodded back as if she had already expected it. It didn’t contain any special meaning. It just meant that she left the decision to Soma.
Even though they were in the same courtyard, it was spacious. There was a possibility that someone would come if Soma wasn’t there, since such a role was necessary.
Anyhow, Soma left Aina on the spot, and he walked to the spot where he was needed. He let out a breath while watching the soldiers continue training along the way.
“Still, with what they are doing now, wouldn’t it be alright for me to say something to them after giving them treatment?” (Soma)
“Well. It’s a word from the instructor. It’s more effective than anyone else.” (??)
“I’m not someone from this country though.” (Soma)
He didn’t say it out loud, but he was sure that everyone was guessing it. To begin with, even if he was someone from this country, he was a stranger after all. Even though they were disciplined not to underestimate people based on their education, they didn’t have accumulated trust.
There was already something similar. For example, it would be more effective for Soma to say something, but…
“What? No matter what country you are from, they are soldiers after all. The most important thing for soldiers is strength. There are no fools here to despise your words when you have shown strength.” (??)
“Hmm… Is that so?” (Soma)
Although Soma was wondering if that was the case, he felt that he couldn’t say anything. It was true that he had more confidence than anyone else in this place. Even if he concealed this fact, his swordsmanship was self-taught.
He had never studied under anyone, and he had never read anything like an instruction book. It sounded good to say that he learned it independently, but actually, it was just an imitation of what he had seen, and he made it on his own.
If the soldiers wanted to experience the actual battle, there was nothing that could be taught in ordinary training. Therefore, even though Soma was trained, he mainly trained himself by fighting. And since he couldn’t get the soldiers to do that, most of the time, the soldiers did the training they used to do, and Soma just observed them. Soma’s true intention was to know how much sense if he gave some words.
Of course, it couldn’t be helped if he had to say something, but as mentioned before, he basically accumulated his own swordsmanship on his own. For those who learn swordsmanship properly, it would improve their awkward movements. In fact, his skills probably wouldn’t make sense.
In fact, Soma’s swordsmanship incorporates so many things that it didn’t originally correspond to swordsmanship. When Soma was treating the soldier, who said he wanted to train with him, the imperial guard man muttered as if he was impressed.
“You can really do a lot of things. Aren’t you a mage?” (??)
“If I am, wouldn’t that be better?” (Soma)
“Ooh… I guess you aren’t one.” (??)
Was it because it was a statement from his true feelings which was close to the truth? The royal guard man apologized while retracted, but Soma just shrugged his shoulders since he didn’t mind.
Anyhow, the swordsmanship that Soma had was something that was similar to this. He couldn’t give them much advice, and he couldn’t do more than what he was asked to do. He told the recruits that he did something that he thought was appropriate and that he did it.
Honestly, it was a mundane statement, but… for that reason, Soma frowned inexplicably when the recruits bowed with glittering eyes. While looking at the back of the recruits, who left the place with renewed spirit, he muttered that he couldn’t understand.
“Hmm… I think they’ve already heard similar words from someone, but…” (Soma)
“That’s why I told you, right? It’s important who said it.” (??)
Soma wondered if that was the case again, and tilted his head, but that was probably true as long as that was what happened. When he thought whether he had done something unnecessary, he suddenly felt a gaze.
“What is it?” (Soma)
“Ah, no… Is it alright if I ask you directly, rather than having me guess the answer? I’m sorry if you feel unpleasant, but… may I know why you are doing this?” (??)
“Hmm…? I can’t quite grasp the intent of the question.” (Soma)
“I see… Aah, well… isn’t it the empress’ request to train us, right?” (??)
Soma didn’t have anything to hide, so he nodded obediently. The man probably didn’t want to mention Victoria’s name since he was using the word ‘empress’. Although Soma was concerned about it, he could think about it later.
“Yes, so?” (Soma)
“Why is that? I understand that it’s the empress’ request, but you shouldn’t have to be here. You can go wherever you like, you know?” (??)
To be honest, the man didn’t know what to say. Or maybe, the man himself didn’t understand well. Soma thought of that when he looked at the man’s face.
Therefore, Soma said what he thought.
“Hmm… Well, you’re right. If I want to do it, I can go anywhere I want. And that’s why I’m here.” (Soma)
“Does that mean you’re here because you want to be here?” (??)
“To be exact, that’s not the case. I’m doing this because I think it’s the best course of action at the end of the day even though it is a little detour to get to my purpose that I’m aiming for.” (Soma)
“The best course of action… so, is that why you think you should do this?” (??)
“Yes, that’s it.” (Soma)
While nodding, Soma observed the man’s appearance. It seemed that the man was thinking about something from the current response, but what was the meaning of this current exchange?
However, it would be good if Soma could understand what the man was thinking. Leaving that aside–…
“By the way, instead of just me answering your question, will it be fine if I ask a question?” (Soma)
“Hmm? Aah, yes… I don’t mind, but I think I can’t answer much, you know.” (??)
“There’s no problem. It’s not a big question anyway.” (Soma)
“Then, that’s fine. So, what is it?” (??)
“Hmm, what I want to hear is nothing else but about the empress…” (Soma)
The moment he said it, the man’s face was distorted into hatred again. Soma wondered why the man went that far, but that wasn’t what he wanted to ask this time.
It wasn’t irrelevant, but it would be a bit easier to talk to if he didn’t ask directly.
“…What about the empress?” (??)
“I’m not familiar with this matter, but is the empress popular among the people and civil servants, or is she favored by them?” (Soma)
“…Aah, I see.” (??)
Soma could hear the small mutter, but he decided to ignore it for the time being. What he wanted to hear was beyond that.
“So, the military officers seem to dislike her, but it seems that the ordinary soldiers are not. I wonder why that is?” (Soma)
The reason why he could see emotions other than hatred on the man’s face was probably because he had heard that. Although the hatred wasn’t enough to disappear, there was a bitter smile.
“It’s a very in-depth question, isn’t it…” (??)
“I think so too, but if there’s a problem with that question, you don’t have to answer.” (Soma)
“Don’t you think that it would put you guys in danger?” (??)
“Hmm, us, is it? Well, that’s right. My answer would be, I should try my best.” (Soma)
The man deepened his bitter smile there. It must be because he knew that Soma was strong, but that was it.
However, Soma was more than capable. Even though he knew that it was an in-depth question, he knew that the man understood it. In this case, carelessness couldn’t happen, and the man, who understood that much, shrugged his shoulders.
“…Well, it’s not really that hard to understand. The soldiers have a role to fight. Then, it doesn’t matter what the above thinks or does.” (??)
“I see… that’s the case.” (Soma)
Soma nodded because he was actually convinced in many ways.
The soldiers weren’t like military officers, nor were they like ordinary people. They didn’t hate the empress, but they didn’t look at her favorably.
Speaking of which, they didn’t seem to care about the empress. Not all of them were so, and although some people seem to favor her while others hate her, it was still a small number.
And this was the reason why Soma called them neutral.
“Hmm… does that mean that in your case, it is relevant?” (Soma)
“…There’s no difference between us fighting, but our lives are as good as ours. We can’t just fight.” (??)
In other words, the reason why they took such an attitude was because they were thinking about the empress or what she was doing. On the contrary, it might be the reason why the civil servants were favorable.
However, asking for the meaning would be stepping into their problems too far. But then, the answer was more than enough. It was helpful. What should Soma thought next was about that ‘something’.
The problem was how to find it out, so… he had to think about it differently.
“…I feel that the soldier I wanted to become wasn’t like this. I have something more important… that’s why…” (??)
It must have been a monologue. There was no reaction even if Soma turned his eyes. There was no hatred in the man’s appearance as he bit his lips down.
It was rather an anguish expression, but Soma turned his back without saying anything. He thought it was too much for him to say something there.
It was natural that there were various things going on if human beings were alive. But what was going on in this place?
With that in mind, Soma let out a breath while watching the soldiers continue training.
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