Episode 31. Conferment of Honors (1)

Because the infantry had all left, the camp was nearly empty when the riders arrived at their destination.

As such, not many soldiers were present to welcome the victorious cavalry.

“There won’t be any training or additional dispatches for the time being. You’re all relieved of your responsibilities until further notice. However, anyone caught doing anything inappropriate will be put on patrol duty – this is your warning.”

Company Commander Frederick was about to send off the troops, but then added one last comment, “You’ve all done well. You’ve fought well, and you’ve survived well.”

His unusually warm words were likely out of his sadness over the riders who could not return.

Clark disappeared after the company commander to confirm the extent of their losses, and the foreigners were guided to a barracks that had been prepared for them. Likewise, the remaining riders left their horses in the stables before returning to their barracks to rest.

They were all exhausted from the violent battle, and this was especially evident now that they could be at ease. Like the others, Seon-Hyeok threw himself onto a bed and fell into a deep sleep.

A day passed.

Mental fatigue could not be overcome with just physical strength, and thus, Seon-Hyeok only regained consciousness after sleeping a full day. Even after waking up, he continued to sit in bed and stare absentmindedly into the distance.

He didn’t want to do anything.

Seon-Hyeok felt as though he was floating, now that he had returned to normal life after participating in a fierce battle. The sight of soldiers coming and going peacefully and his comrades chatting casually, just as they had before their mission, did not seem like reality.

There are so many empty spaces…

Their actions seemed cold-hearted at first glance, but from seeing the eyes of the men laughing and talking, it was obvious this was how they expressed their mourning for the dead.

Seon-Hyeok tried to pull himself together and joined in on the conversation.

“So what will you do?”

After a while, Jonasson suddenly asked him a question. It wasn’t difficult to understand what he meant.

“I don’t know. I only thought about getting discharged once I made my contributions, and I hadn’t considered anything beyond that.”

At the time, he couldn’t worry too much about the future given his focus on immediate survival. As such, when his goals finally became reality, he wasn’t sure what to do.

“I’m sure I’ll get a lot of money as part of my reward. Maybe I could set up a store or something?”

“Oh, come on. You’re a dumbass who doesn’t even know the first thing about stores or business. I’d be shocked if you didn’t get scammed.”

He had a point. Seon-Hyeok already knew he wasn’t someone who was very well-informed about the world, and this was even more true in this new world he lived in.

“Maybe I can just live off the money.”

His answer sounded pathetic, even to himself.

“Well, it’s a bit weird to suggest this now, but do you really need to get discharged? I don’t know how it was in the other world, but it’s not easy for someone to live on their own here. The lives of common people here are so much worse than you think.”

“It’d be one thing if you were rich or a noble, but that’s not the case. You probably won’t even have much left after repaying your royal debts. It wouldn’t be a bad choice to serve in the military as your career.”

Hansen and Jonasson objected to Seon-Hyeok leaving the riders. Their reasoning was that this world was far too harsh for a foreigner to find his own way in.

“You can start anew without any debt. You can be a real soldier, without having to rely on royal support.”

These were the first true friends he made after being dropped into this world, and thus, their words tugged at him. Seon-Hyeok just smiled uncertainly, unable to give a firm response in one way or another.

“Hmm. Yeah, think about it. You’ll have some time to decide anyways.”

It would take days for reports on the battle and their current situation to reach the royal family, even if magic was used.

And after that, it would be even longer before the royal family deliberated on the appropriate rewards for his accomplishments and sent their response. At the very least, he should have a month or so to decide.

“Yeah, I’ll do that.”

Clark opened the barracks door and entered in the midst of their conversation.

“I have good news. The company commander’s allowing us to spend the night out.”

The men sprang to their feet immediately. It was as though their conversation from just now had disappeared without a trace in their minds.

“Let’s go!”

The riders were ready in an instant and began to swarm out of the barracks. As they did, they saw the cavalry in the barracks across from them doing the same.

“Let’s go! To the land flowing with milk and honey!”

“Let’s eat, drink, and die!”

The riders stormed towards the stable with ridiculous shouts. Seon-Hyeok likewise ran, dragged along by Hansen.

“You bastards! We’ll be formally getting a reward vacation soon, so don’t use up all your energy already!”

Clark sternly reprimanded them, but he himself was running after his comrades.

There were several villages near their garrison. Nobody knew whether they sprang up after the establishment of the military in the area, or whether the military settled in near the villages.

However, everyone knew that their primary source of income was from the soldiers of the 24th Regiment. Naturally, all the villagers worked in areas catering to the soldiers’ needs.

“It’s crazy.”

Brothels, bars, and inns. As they entered the village, Seon-Hyeok expressed his amazement at the unnecessarily hedonic atmosphere of this village in the outskirts, where there were few travelers. Of course, there were also places like this in the other world, but they hadn’t been so blatant.

“How about it? Do you like it?”

“Do you have to ask? This is paradise!”

Seon-Hyeok simply nodded his head at Jonasson’s answer, and Hansen, still missing his front teeth, shouted.

“You can all go wherever you please! We’ll meet at the ‘Milk and Honey Inn’ at night!”

It seemed as though the earlier comment on milk and honey had actually meant something. Seon-Hyeok laughed, thinking the name felt excessively crude and suspicious.

“Let’s get something to eat first. I’m sick and tired of military rations.”

The riders from the 3rd platoon headed to a restaurant. They ordered a huge meal, as if to compensate for their poor meals up to this point, and devoured it in an instant.

“Ah, I’m actually full. I’ve been constantly hungry because the military cooks haven't been doing a good job, and this is the first time in a while that I ate so much.”

“Now, should we get started?”

Seon-Hyeok had a bewildered expression, hearing that this was just the beginning, but sighed in relief when he realized the others had something different in mind.

“Drink, drink, drink!”

The riders spilled half of their drinks in their excitement, but even this couldn’t dampen the mood.

“Hey, look at this lightweight.”

“I had three more drinks than you.”

“Look at the two worst drinkers here going at each other. Both of you, kneel before me.”

The faces of the men laughing, talking, cursing, competing, and drinking were full of life. There were no traces of the terrible battle that had recently taken place.

Seon-Hyeok soon found himself joining in because everything felt so natural.

“Here! Drink! Drink!”

Seon-Hyeok, face red after a few drinks, lifted his glass and shouted. Silence ensued.

“Which bastard gave him a drink!”

“Take his glass!”

The other riders paled, remembering their previous drinking incident.

“Ugh. So annoying.”

Fortunately, events did not escalate this time around. The surprised riders successfully took away his glass, and he wasn’t able to get drunk. Seon-Hyeok stood up, looking in dissatisfaction at the non-alcoholic drink placed in front of him.

“Where are you going?”

“Bathroom!”

The riders laughed as Seon-Hyeok shouted back.

The drinking continued through the night. Seon-Hyeok had managed to sneak a few drinks for himself, but he nonetheless found himself completely sober and returned to his accommodations. The riders didn’t stop him, and this frustrated him.

They’re treating me like a child.

He threw himself onto bed, unable to outwardly protest given his past actions while drunk. However, someone opened the door and came in as he was about to fall asleep.

Turning his head, Seon-Hyeok was shocked to see a woman staring back at him. She smiled, saying that the men below had sent her, but he remained bewildered.

Ugh, so annoying.

They had treated him like a child in stopping him from drinking, but now they were sending him an escort. Seon-Hyeok sighed, frustrated at the inconsistent attitudes of his comrades, and politely sent the woman back.

“You won’t regret it? I’m pretty famous around here.”

Seon-Hyeok grew even more frustrated, seeing the woman covered in thick makeup smiling and acting cute. She seemed old enough to be his aunt.

“I won’t. Please leave.”

There was a saying that there was no man who would reject a woman’s advances, but it was not the case here. Appearances aside, he was accustomed to the cleanliness of the other world and found the body odor of people here to be too intense.

“It’s not common for a woman like me to seek…”

“Ah, stop! Leave!”

“Ah, you brat. You should accept a woman’s advances like a gentleman.”

“This bastard. You’re worse than Hansen.”

Seon-Hyeok was told off by his colleagues the entire way back following the tumultuous night out. His seniors had introduced him to the most beautiful woman in the area out of consideration, but he had refused.

“Oh, come on. Then why didn’t you see her instead, Hansen?”

At that moment, the raucous riders shut their mouths. Soon, they scolded him.

“You crossed a line.”

“Apologize to Hansen. Right now.”

Seon-Hyeok had shot back at Hansen, who had led the riders in berating him, but was attacked in return. Even while teasing one another, the riders showed teamwork befitting a cavalry company that always moved as a unit.

“Hey, you jerk. Life’s short. Why do you have so many complaints? You should enjoy life, do what you want, and meet pretty girls – just like everyone else.”

Though it made sense in a way, Seon-Hyeok thought it was unfair. He had his preferences and standards, and for him, the woman from yesterday had met neither of those criteria.

As he watched the cavalry go on and on about how he had rejected such an attractive woman, he realized something and got goosebumps.

These guys. Their standards are so low.

Seon-Hyeok sighed as the riders kept talking about how beautiful the woman, who could have easily been his aunt, was.

When they finally returned, Seon-Hyeok was summoned by Frederick.

“Our company was ranked first in terms of battle contributions.”

Frederick’s words weren’t particularly surprising. Considering that they had annihilated the infamous Sastein cavalry, it was natural that no other victories could match that of the 24th Regiment heavy cavalry.

“And among us, they are giving the most credit to you.”

As expected, the commander must have accurately reported their contributions in battle. Seon-Hyeok had already prepared for this, so he simply responded in turn.

“I’m guessing there’ll be a significant reward?”

“You’re guessing? You still don’t realize how big of an achievement you had.”

Frederick shook his head and sighed, saying he wasn’t sure whether Seon-Hyeok was being naïve or just wasn’t greedy enough.

“We’ll know for sure once we head to Fort Mangsk, but even from what’s known already, your reward will be the greatest ever given.”

“Oh! Then money…”

If nothing else, having the funds to become self-sufficient was something to celebrate about. Seeing him finally show interest, Frederick continued, saying that money wasn’t what mattered.

“Put simply, they’ll be granting you a title, and your low-tier rating will be adjusted.”

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