The 2nd class advancement happened to take place during the day. At the various instructors’ command, all the foreigners stopped their respective training regimens and focused on Lee Soo-Hyuk.
“It says I’m a two-handed swordsman?”
Disappointment flashed across the foreigners’ faces. It was clear they had expected a significant transformation.
Whether it was a knight, mage, or a different class altogether, they hoped the 2nd class advancement would result in a mid-tier class capable of displaying superhuman power. They did not anticipate the difference between the two classes to be a simple modifier, like ‘two-handed’.
However, Seon-Hyeok did not lower his expectations.
After all, the difference between riders and dragon riders was also a single word. Despite this, there was a huge disparity in the two classes’ inherent ability. He sincerely believed the foreigner’s improved class would also denote a comparable increase in power.
Seon-Hyeok was determined to personally measure the two-handed swordsman’s power.
“You have a new ability, right?”
Using the shield handed to him, Seon-Hyeok covered his body as he lowered his stance.
“Use it on me.”
There was no brilliant flash like the sword energy manipulated by the knights. Soo-Hyuk’s strike was just that – a simple, vertical slash.
However, the power was extraordinary. If Seon-Hyeok had not taken extra precautions by using his earth attribute to weigh down his body and reinforce the shield, the large iron shield would have been torn in half.
Disappointment could be seen on Soo-Hyuk’s face. Despite using his new ability and all of his strength, Seon-Hyeok did not even retreat a single step. The other foreigners had the same reaction.
This misunderstanding was because they failed to grasp Seon-Hyeok’s true power. In all of Adenburg, a kingdom with countless superhuman beings, there were only a few capable of pushing him back in his current state.
Seon-Hyeok slowly lowered the shield as he looked back.
“Sir Trail. What do you think?”
Instead of responding, Asha Trail picked up the discarded shield. It seemed she did not want to pass judgment without experiencing the attack firsthand.
The exact same attack was repeated, this time falling on the female knight bracing herself with the shield.
Of course, the shield remained intact once again, and Asha Trail stood firmly in place.
Soo-Hyuk stared at the shield and the knight’s feet before showing even more disappointment. His strength had been insufficient to move this lithe knight.
However, Asha Trail was also one of the superhuman beings of the kingdom, and a knight at the peak of her strength. She was also one of the kingdom’s 100 owners of Gradus.
Moreover, having spent significant time as a member of the Royal Guard, she was required to be adept with the shield. In that aspect, she was likely even superior to Seon-Hyeok.
If Soo-Hyuk had successfully forced the knight back, it would have been absurd. It would be an indicator that a swordsman with his 2nd class advancement was a monster with even greater strength than a senior knight.
But unaware of this, Soo-Hyuk despaired and closed his eyes.
“What do you think?”
Hearing Seon-Hyeok’s question, Asha Trail observed the shield’s surface before giving her short assessment.
“Based on just power, it’s between that of an average and senior knight.”
“It seems our evaluations are the same.”
Soo-Hyuk’s eyes grew wide as he heard their conversation.
“Instructor Gibson. I request that you re-evaluate Lee Soo-Hyuk’s ability.”
“I will do so immediately and without any mistakes.”
Soo-Hyuk still looked bewildered, unable to follow the conversation happening in front of his eyes.
“I’ll congratulate you in advance.”
Seon-Hyeok held his hand out and smiled.
“C, congratulations? It wasn’t a failure?”
Hearing the foreigner’s words, Instructor Gibson laughed in derision.
“If you had successfully pushed back either of these two, you would immediately be classified as high-tier. Both Earl Drachen and Sir Trail are skilled enough to look down on most senior knights.”
Belatedly figuring out the situation, Soo-Hyuk flopped onto the ground. Tears began to stream down his dirt-covered cheeks.
As though the accumulated sorrow from his time in this world hit him all at once, Soo-Hyuk was unable to come to his senses.
“You should get up. It’s not over yet. Don’t you want to get your class re-evaluated?”
“Y, yes! Yes!”
He jumped up from the ground and responded spiritedly.
“I wanted to be the first! Either way, congrats!”
“I’ll catch up to you soon!”
The foreigners had been watching the scene unfold with bated breath, and they suddenly shouted out to offer their congratulations. None of them seemed envious of Soo-Hyuk, as they could see their own future in their comrade’s achievement.
They sincerely congratulated him on his 2nd class advancement, and as they celebrated, Soo-Hyuk passed Gibson’s evaluation with aplomb.
“Two-handed swordsman Lee Soo-Hyuk! Mid-tier!”
Now with his tier readjusted, Soo-Hyuk was immediately put under Asha Trail’s instruction.
“He is still lacking in endurance, but that instantaneous burst of strength was better than that of an average knight. I believe he will be able to play the role of a knight in shorter battles.”
Seeing that the foreigner’s new weapon of choice was the zweihander, Asha Trail requested that she be able to train the two-handed swordsman herself.
“In that case, I will leave all of the future two-handed swordsmen to you as well.”
Seon-Hyeok gladly accepted her request.
After Soo-Hyuk successfully reached his 2nd class advancement, the other foreigners showed renewed enthusiasm with their training.
“Mid-tier! Mid-tier! Mid-tier! You’re mid-tier as well!”
As a result, many other foreigners began to reach that milestone as well, and these individuals all passed Gibson’s test to improve their standing.
“Sh, should we ask him to let us participate again?”
It probably happened around then. Those previously expressing their dissatisfaction and subsequently excused from training began to fret over their situation.
“Wow, it must’ve been so nice resting in the shade.”
“Yeah, I’m so jealous. But still, you have to work to reach your 2nd class, don’t you think?”
Their positions were now completely reversed. The outcasts ridiculing their comrades for their efforts under the blazing sun were now the ones subject to mockery.
However, as they had voluntarily removed themselves from training, these foreigners were unable to respond. They could only watch anxiously as the others reaped the rewards for their struggles.
If they asked to be included once again, they would have to come face to face with their previous actions. On the other hand, if they remained as-is, they would continue to be jealous of the foreigners reaching their goal one-by-one. In the end, they swallowed their pride and approached Seon-Hyeok.
“What? You want to go back to training?”
They worked up their courage to express their thoughts. However, Seon-Hyeok’s response was icy.
“Why? You said your situation was comfortable and nice. You said the others were idiots to fall for my lies.”
“T, that wasn’t how I really felt! It’s just…”
They struggled to come up with excuses, but Seon-Hyeok did not play along.
He was naturally gentle and considered other people’s perspectives. At the same time, he could also be cold to those who turned their backs on him, and he did not look back.
For him, these people were not worth turning back to help.
“So it’s good when things are going well, but not when they aren’t. Bastards with mindsets like yours are always the ones to betray their comrades.”
In the end, even if they rose to mid-tier, the foreigners would only be able to prove their worth on the battlefield. The foreigners in front of him could not be trusted to watch their comrades’ backs.
“Order us to do anything! I’ll do anything!”
“There are always those who don’t listen to orders and complain later.”
He replied coldly as they belatedly lamented their situation. However, they proved to be persistent, not wanting to fall behind their comrades any further as they improved their status.
“In that case, you can do all of the chores. You may only participate in the training once you complete all of your other tasks.”
“T, thank you! Thank you so much!”
Seeing these outcasts bowing their heads in thanks, Seon-Hyeok coolly replied.
“Let’s see if you’re thankful until the end.”
As of that day, Seon-Hyeok reassigned all of the chores previously done by the dozens of foreigners to the returnees. Now that only 10 or so people were doing the tasks of 60, these menial responsibilities did not end quickly.
“Damned laundry again! Keep your clothes clean, you bastards!”
The other foreigners snapped back when they complained.
“What? Do you think that’s possible?”
“You should’ve worked hard from the start. You’re simply getting your just desserts.”
How much temptation did we have to suffer through because of those slippery bastards?
The hardworking foreigners redoubled their training and rolled in the mud even more in response to these complaints. Naturally, the more they did, the more the chores increased.
In the end, it became normal for the returning foreigners to spend their entire day doing routine chores, without having any chance to rejoin the training efforts.
“Screw this! I don’t care about that 2nd class advancement!”
“I’ll be a captain when I go back anyways! That’s more than enough to make ends meet!”
There was nothing saying that those who gave up once would not do so once again. They soon cursed and threw aside the last chance Seon-Hyeok gave them.
“You damned bastards! What are we supposed to do if you quit like that?”
Among the ten returnees, five gave up. The remaining five were even more burdened as a result, and soon, two more threw aside the dirty laundry as they crawled back under the fort’s shade.
There were only three left, but they refused to quit.
These three even gave up on their sleep to struggle through their chores, and after about 3 weeks, Seon-Hyeok finally gave them permission to rejoin the training.
“Thank you. Thank you so much.”
“No third chances.”
They realized to their core that this world was not gentle enough to provide them two or three chances. Knowing this, they focused even more on their training, and they continued to work on their own after their daily regimens.
“So far, 27 foreigners here have completed their 2nd class achievement and had their rankings re-evaluated. This much manpower would be sufficient as a reserve for the Central Knights.”
Before Seon-Hyeok knew it, only half of the initial 60 foreigners remained stuck in their original tier.
“The royal family will be happy.”
Pleased, he smiled upon hearing Gibson’s report. Though belated, it would be more than enough as an engagement gift.
“His Majesty is pleased. Actually, he sent magical communications to say that all of the foreigners successfully reaching mid-tier would be knighted.”
Seon-Hyeok immediately went to tell the successful foreigners the good news. They were thrilled and began to look forward to the day they would visit the royal capital.
“B, by the way.”
“Do you have something to say?”
Soo-Hyuk cautiously opened his mouth before asking an unexpected question.
“Then what happens to us? Will we be scattered across the kingdom again?”
Perhaps they had grown fond of each other through their shared struggles. The foreigners’ expressions indicated that they did not want to be separated from their new comrades.
“A, and what about you, commander?”
Seon-Hyeok looked back in confusion. Clark stepped up to explain.
“Hansen and the others kept referring to you as commander in private. They overheard, and I soon noticed that they also wanted to start calling you that. It turns out they’ve already started.”
There were times when Hansen and the original members of the Drake Cavalry jokingly called him by his old titles. These foreigners joined in before he knew it.
“Ugh. I’m not some leader of a street gang.”
Seon-Hyeok reprimanded them out of embarrassment, but he was not displeased. The trainees were not the only ones to have become attached through the rigorous training.
“Well, I have something in mind regarding your future deployment, so don’t worry about it too much.”
Even from his perspective, it would not be ideal to simply return them to the royal family to be divided once again. Their new bonds and camaraderie aside, these new mid-tiers needed to be together to complement each other’s skills and exert even greater power.
The two-handed swordsmen  gained access to powerful strikes capable of breaking down dense enemy formations and opening opportunities to attack, but they needed the help of guardians , a class with no offensive skills but excellent defensive capabilities. Both classes, comparatively slower than the standard superhuman beings like knights, could only truly shine when supported by snipers .
If such individuals were mixed in among knights, it was clear they would once again be treated as useless deadweight. Seon-Hyeok was determined to keep them together, even if it meant using the one wish promised to him.
“I, is there any chance you could lead us, commander?”
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