Episode 69. The Prepared Assistant

Perhaps because they were nervous, the soldiers didn’t even understand what their lord just said. They saw that he smiled and simply made assumptions. Among them, the particularly tactless even laughed along with their lord.

“I said shut your mouths. Are my words a joke to you? Do I need to charge you with contempt against your lord?”

His tone was soft, but the words themselves were violent.

“Just look at you new recruits. At attention. Don’t you know what ‘at attention’ means? Hands on your thighs. Legs together. Back straight. Yes, like that. Attention! Okay. Don’t move.”

The lord was still smiling. However, his gaze was as venomous as that of a viper. The recruits froze at the look he gave them.

“You over there. What’s your name?”

“M, my name is Adol.”

Adol, the selected recruit, responded with a frozen expression. The lord once again let out a chilling laugh.

“Good. Adol. You’re recruit number 1 from now on. You’re number 2, and you’re number 3. Remember your numbers – they will be your names in the future.”

The new recruits couldn’t understand what Seon-hyeok was saying. They just listened to their lord in bewilderment.

“Okay. So what’s your name?”

“Ado…”

Adol began to answer like he did earlier, only to stop as he noticed his lord’s expression becoming grim.

“Recruit number 1…”

“Okay. At least you’re tactful. Good. I like it. You’ll be squad leader of the 1st squad from now on.”

The conversation progressed quickly. The recruits didn’t know what was happening, but they suddenly opened their eyes wide at the words ‘squad leader’. They were envious at the sudden promotion(?) Adol received, but at the same time, they waited in anticipation.

“Someone who thinks he has a loud voice. Step forward.”

Nothing went as expected for the new recruits after they met their lord. They looked at each other, unable to grasp what he was getting at. At that moment, a seemingly quick-witted recruit stepped forward.

“I have a loud voice!”

The recruit shouted out, as though trying to prove what he was saying.

“What number are you?”

“I’m recruit number 11!”

“Oh. That number’s perfect. You’re squad leader of the 2nd squad.”

In an instant, two recruits had been promoted(?) to squad leader. The remaining recruits listened carefully to their lord’s words hoping for additional opportunities, but unfortunately for them, it looked like there would only be two squad leaders among the twenty.

“The 1st squad leader is in charge of recruits 1 to 10, and the 2nd squad leader recruits 11 to 20. In the future, any order I have will be delivered through these two squad leaders.”

The recruits collectively let out a sigh. They regretted missing their opportunity at a promotion.

“Okay. Squad leaders, lead the recruits to my residence. Find Squire Julian there. She’ll give you all fitting clothes. Also, get rid of those useless spears. Where did you find those garbage skewers anyways?”

“We asked a carpenter to make them. We thought we’d need…”

“That wasn’t necessary. I will take responsibility for all of the equipment you will be using in the future. Don’t bring anything weird – like that pot lid you’re carrying.”

The new recruits were all smiles after hearing their lord’s words. They imagined themselves equipped with shining armor, swords, and shields. However, their imaginations were nothing more than fleeting delusions. The clothes distributed at the mansion were unimaginably shabby for a soldier to be using.

In fact, it wasn’t just the clothes that were completely different from expectations. It didn’t take long for them to find out that squad leader, which they initially believed to be a desirable promotion, was a troublesome and difficult position.

“Ack!”

“Get it together! Why are you a squad leader if you’re so useless!”

“My lord, you…”

“Are you blaming me now?”

They were reprimanded for their squad’s mistakes. They were reprimanded for their own mistakes. They were reprimanded twenty, no, at least thirty times a day. Such was the position of squad leader. The others were belatedly relieved they had not been elevated themselves. However, this did not mean that the other recruits had it easy. They had to re-learn every hand and foot gesture for their basic training, and in the process, they came to realize how demon-like their lord was.

“Salute!”

“At ease.”

After two weeks of learning how to walk and speak from the ground up, the new recruits were finally becoming familiar with military salutes.

“This is just the beginning.”

The lord looked over at the recruits with sharp eyes and smiled contentedly.

***

Julian advised that hiring reputable mercenaries would be cheaper than building up a local militia. However, Seon-Hyeok rejected her advice and decided to go through the difficulty of training soldiers himself. He thought that this would be his only opportunity to use his own experiences and training. At first, he was worried about losing his personal training time. However, these fears did not last long. He found that training new recruits was more enjoyable than he expected.

“Run! I can see your feet! Run faster!”

The recruits frantically moved their feet at his commands, and watching them train felt refreshing. He ordered them around in a variety of ways, and it couldn’t have been more exciting. It even occurred to him that he might be a natural-born teaching assistant.

There was a saying that those who worked towards a goal could never overcome those who truly enjoyed it. Right now, he was enjoying putting his new recruits through boot camp, and the results were outstanding. Within two short weeks, the recruits, after knowing nothing, had begun to look like actual soldiers. Within a month, their posture was sharp, and their military discipline was noticeable. That was when the real training began.

Using what he learned from his command training, Seon-Hyeok trained the recruits on their physical fitness and basic weapons skills. The lights in the recruits’ eyes dimmed after extended periods of intensive training, but at their same time, their bodies developed well.

“Why don’t you leave the training to the cavalry riders now? I understand you want to personally train the soldiers responsible for defending your land, but I think you’re losing too much time…”

Julian discreetly made this suggestion while he was in the middle of enjoying training the soldiers. She worried that he was wasting time with these recruits, as they were destined to be average soldiers, and not even knights.

“Not yet.”

However, Seon-Hyeok shook his head at her recommendation. Unlike what she thought, he wasn’t neglecting his own training out of enjoyment of training the recruits. He was making gains during the process as well.

-          Your leadership has increased by 1.

He had originally planned to teach the soldiers their basics before passing off the training to others. The reason he continued to train them for nearly a month was the increase in his leadership stat.

-          Your leadership has increased by 1.

-          Your Command Squad skill level has improved.

-          Command Squad (Low Tier) has improved to Command Squad (Mid Tier)

-          While commanding small units, soldiers will be more motivated to carry out your commands. The ability of soldiers to maintain ranks and carry out battles has increased slightly.

His leadership stat grew faster the more he worked the new recruits. Moreover, his Squad Command skill had also improved that day. There was no reason to quit this beneficial training right away.

Seon-Hyeok gave a satisfied smile to the soldiers as they wheezed, completely out of breath. He smiled because he was proud his skill improved thanks to his soldiers’ efforts, but to them, it seemed like their lord was cruelly enjoying their hardships.

However, he cared nothing for how others looked at him. He only focused on working his soldiers and living life to the fullest.

The training led by Seon-Hyeok was completely different from normal military education in this world. Everything, from the initial saluting method to positions such as squad leader, was unfamiliar to the local people. Above all, the most extraordinary aspect of his training was that distinctions between specializations became ambiguous.

The soldiers in this world were generally trained in a single weapon or fighting style, whether sword, spear, or shield, based on their personal aptitude or the circumstances behind their training. However, Seon-Hyeok trained them without discriminating between weapons. Some days, they’d swing swords, while on others, they would use spears. As a result, after a couple of months, the recruits were able to clumsily handle swords, spears, and shields. They were even introduced to javelins and throwing knives.

They had become jack-of-all-trades soldiers, and naturally, they each had a diverse arsenal of weapons befitting their skills. They were given four daggers and a 60-centimeter [1] short spear for throwing, along with a sword and shield. Based on the weapons they carried, the soldiers looked like they would feel at home no matter where they were inserted into a battlefield.

Seon-Hyeok had a satisfied expression as he looked at the soldiers lined up at attention.

“Hell yeah. And cost-effective as well.”

Despite arming them with so many weapons, it had been cheaper than equipping an average infantryman. They used cheap iron, affordable leather which cost much less than heavy armor, and a tunic emblazoned with a roaring golden drake symbolizing House Drachen. The recruits looked like veritable soldiers.

The soldiers themselves seemed reasonably happy with their uniforms. There were rumors that on their monthly three-day vacations, the soldiers would always go around in full military attire.

Over time, the soldiers became proud of being Rheinperle’s troops. They had been given military-level salaries even as new recruits, received intense training, and even satisfactory gear of their own. However, Seon-Hyeok wasn’t satisfied yet. His soldiers couldn’t defeat swordsmen with their swords, or spearmen with their spears. They still did not boast mastery with the shield. There was a long way to go before they could genuinely be considered all-purpose soldiers.

“More! More! I’ll work you even harder!”

He even spoke of intensely training his recruits in his sleep. The servants who heard this breathed a sigh of relief that they didn’t apply to be soldiers.

***

Time flew by. Half a year passed, and Rheinperle had changed in a number of ways.

As the mine was developed and began producing valuable ores, the financial situation at Rheinperle became less desperate. The fertilizer acquired after building public toilets proved effective in farming, and the stems and leaves of the crops that filled the farms were unlike any other. Julian’s expectation was that they would enjoy significant crop yields when the harvest season arrived.

Now more free to manage his territory, Seon-Hyeok recruited two more squads of soldiers. Thanks to this, the Drake Cavalry, after patrolling the lands day and night, were finally relieved from the territory’s security duties. When they weren’t on their regular long-distance patrols, the riders were able to spend their time training with their company commander.

As these small and large changes occurred in the territory, the messenger sent to the southern coast in search of news regarding the sea serpent returned.

“So. Are sea serpents real?”

Seon-Hyeok answered with an expectant look, and the messenger replied with his head bowed.

“Some of Rugenburg’s sailors remember the incident. They all mentioned they had come face to face with a demon, and considering the circumstances, it’s likely that the demon is the sea serpent you’re looking for.”

“Oh! So Dixon was telling the truth.”

Seon-Hyeok celebrated. Whether or not the sea serpent was actually a subspecies of dragon, he had grown exhausted waiting futilely for news to arrive.

“However, there’s a problem.”

The messenger hesitated as he looked at the celebrating lord. Julian, having been briefed beforehand, stepped up and explained the situation.

“The monster thought to be the sea serpent hasn’t been seen in several years. In other words, even if it exists, we have no means of locating it in the vast ocean.”

“Won’t we find an answer if we search the area where the incident occurred?”

“Well, that’s if you can find a boat to bring you there.”

A number of potential problems were mentioned, but Seon-Hyeok didn’t give up.

“I’ll just have to see for myself.”


1. 60 centimeters = 2 feet

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