「Now we will start with the first party conference!」
In the evening, after returning from dinner, Rena suddenly proclaimed this.
The remaining three were perplexed and didn’t know what to make of it.
「Don’t you understand? Something bad happened, so I’m saying we need to put our heads together.」
「You, of course!」
Rena snapped back at Mile’s laid back question.
「Didn’t you notice! The eyes of the other students that were looking at you like a slab of meat!」
「Eh, am I that popular?」
「That’s not it! W-well, I won’t say that you’re not popular, but what they’re after is your Storage Magic!
They’ll continue coming after you until the graduation to get you into their party!
「It will be problematic if don’t do something about this. After all, you’re perfect for my…」
「N-Nothing! Anyway, guys will start chasing after you, not for yourself, but for your Storage Magic! If we don’t do anything about it, it’ll turn into a problem」
Mile was appalled at the thought while Maevis and Pauline slightly sighed.
「You understand? The people coming here are for the most part older than fifteen.
Those who become Hunters at ten and start at F-Rank and in a few years time will reach D-Rank. When they reach D-Rank they can theoretically take on any request, so there’s no need for them to come here. As expected, even though it means a slight deficit, they won’t make the overly young fight against dangerous monsters.
So, the ones coming to this School are those who turned into Hunters later on, and who were judged to be talented enough that they should quickly raise their Rank, like us.
You seem to be a special case though, Mile, but with your Storage Magic I can accept that.」
「So most people here are already adults. As well as there are people here looking for party members, there are also those looking for party members-slash-lovers.
Which means you Mile, a cash-cow with your Storage Magic, a timid personality that makes you seem easy to control, and your cuteness makes you too tasty of a price. You see?
Mile nodded mechanically.
「So, when someone tries to invite you, just reply “I have already promised my roommates”.
When someone wants to get into a relationship with you, turn them down by saying “I’m not interested in that sort of thing yet. For now I want to focus on my training.”」
Seeing the pressured Mile reflexive answer and the satisfied look on Rena’s face, Maevis and Pauline understood it.
((Ahh, so that’s her goal……))
That was her goal.
「Ah, we’ll need to decide on a leader!」
After Maevis outburst, the other three pointed their fingers.
… at Maevis.
She was the oldest, tallest as well as gallant, cool and sincere. The others were a hot-tempered shrimp, an airheaded shrimp, and feeble woman with a dark side. There was no other choice.
The next day.
Before noon were theoretical classes with training on the sports ground following in the afternoon.
「Good, everyone’s here.
At first, before we start training, I’m going to measure your level. I’ll take a look at your combat abilities one after the other. Break up your groups and line up according to your professions!」
Following Elbert’s words, the students rearranged themselves.
The other three teachers beside Elbert had also come to the training field. Huey, in charge of short swords, throwing knives and archery. Neville, the magic teacher largely in charge of Attack Magic. And similarly, Gilda, the female magic teacher in charge of Support and Healing Magic.
They all were former Hunters.
Although their specialties were quite well defined, as any Hunter should, they were not completely ignorant of the other fields. When there’s a need for a helping hand they’ll help each other.
When the students had separated by profession, boys were in the majority among swordsmen and archers, while there were zero girls among the spearmen. In contrast, there were a lot more girls among the magicians than boys.
Simply from their bodily capabilities, it was obvious that more boys passed in vanguard professions, also reinforced by the fact that many boys would rather focus on their swordplay even if they could use a bit of Attack Magic. In the first place, there were a lot more boys than girls taking the examination. The reason that the girls were the majority among the magicians while in the minority, when taking the complete class into account, was obvious.
The students all wore their personal armor, but since the weapons were provided by the school, they didn’t bring those with them. Obviously, sparring with real swords would drastically increase the casualties. Because of that, Mile thankfully didn’t stand out amongst the magicians despite usually being clothed like a swordsman.
Being a magician didn’t necessarily mean wearing robes, as everyone here wore either light leather armor or thick clothing if they didn’t have the money. Mile with her leather armor and boots didn’t stick out.
But when they would equip their personal weapons, Mile would stand out. Since she had a rather small short sword in contrast to most others blunt weapons like rods or staffs. For magicians, chanting magic was their life. Due to that, weapons that needed skill, paying attention to edge-alignment, or needed effort to remove once stuck in opponent, in short, every weapon that needed their attention or impacted their concentration was useless to them. So, they totally forgo trying to defeat the enemy with their weapon, only holding them back by flailing their weapon around. The obvious choice for that were staffs, rods and related weapons as comparatively light, blunt weapons that don’t affect your balance much.
But all of that has nothing to do with Mile.
Compared to staffs or rods, it is easier to take down an enemy with a sword or spear. It was only that. Mile also thought about preparing a slingshot sometime later. A slingshot couldn’t bring out the full potential of Mile’s power, but that was what she wanted. Even if she was startled or excited, the proportion of her body would limit the shot’s power, preventing a tragedy from occurring because she misjudged her strength. Also, it would be easy to cover it up if something happened.
Carrying a bow around or preparing the arrows would be a hassle, so she passed up on that. Slingshot ammo takes no place and she could also just use pebbles. If there were none, she could just take a nearby rock and crush it until it was round, and if it was in a sandy terrain, she could simply use iron sand, so it was more practical than a bow.
Thanks to the Nano-chans adjusting her aim, her accuracy shouldn’t be worse than with a bow.
While Mile had been thinking about a lot of things, the swordsmen had started fighting.
Of course, they used wooden swords.
As expected the instructor wasn’t so demonic as to start with blunt metal swords right off the bat.
As expected of elite Hunter trainees, with their more than fifteen years, the spars at Ekland Academy didn’t even come close. Both speed as well as power were on another level altogether. The first pair showed quite a good fight which was won by a strike to the torso. After that close, for the most part, fights continued.
They were top class for their age and from all around, so there wasn’t that much difference in their abilities.
Mile carefully followed their matches and took a mental note of everyone’s level. Mile could learn from her errors. She can do it if she tries. If she only has the necessary experience… Since the male swordsmen were an uneven 13, one of them was paired with a girl. His opponent was Maevis.
The last boy seemed to be among the strongest, but Maevis was older and taller compared to the other girls, overturned the physical gap between man and woman, and splendidly achieved victory. The boy who had lost looked perplexed for a moment before breaking out into a smile and thanking Maevis.
(Ahh, as expected of an adult…)
Mile remembered the childish attitude of a 11 year old brat and looked forlorn into the distance before getting her act together and clapping for Maevis.
When the last two girls had finished their fight… Mile thought that the next would be the spearmen.
「Hey, Mile. You said you can use a sword. Let me see what you got.」
In return to Elbert’s unexpected words, Mile unintentionally raised her voice.
(Refusing… is not an option right. Looks like I have no choice.
But, just in case something like this happens, I carefully took note of everyone’s level. It will be fine, it will be fine…)
While Mile steeled herself, Elbert had chosen her opponent. When he had asked for volunteers, amazingly almost everybody had raised their hands, so Elbert chose someone on the weak side.
(Why does everyone want to fight against me that much? Is this bullying? Am I being bullied?
Of course this was to invite her later along these lines: “I’m sorry, did I hurt you? Why don’t we meet later to reflect on the match. I’ll prepare tea and sweets.”
With Elberts voice the battle started, Mile catching the boy’s chained attacks on her sword and returning her own, turning their battle into fierce close combat. And finally, one of the boy’s attacks got through, striking her torso and ending the match.
Mile could learn from her errors.
Despite the ending of the match, Elbert stayed silent for a while before calling the boy Maevis had fought against to himself and walking out of hearing range with him.
When it seemed like they were talking about something, the boy suddenly seemed angered by Elbert.
After that, their conversation continued, and while the boy still didn’t seem content, he nodded before both of them returned.
「Alright, now Mile, time for round 2!」
This time it wasn’t only Mile’s outburst that happened in reaction, but also whispering springing up between the other students.
The second matched forced on her.
The boy also seemed to be reluctant about it. Fighting against a delicate, younger girl that had lost against one of the weaker boys. And a magician at that. Even though he had lost to a girl before, Maevis is a swordsman and strong. Though there might be difficult feelings involved, he could probably accept that loss. This battle on the other hand was probably impossible for him to come to terms with. Even if he won, there was neither honor nor fame nor exaltation, or even just satisfaction to gain. It would only leave behind a bad taste.
But it was a part of their training and an order by their instructor. He had no other choice than to follow that.
As the fierce clash of swords continued, Mile panicked.
(Why are you only aiming for unarmored spots!)
Her sword arm, neck, the gaps in her armor, and other spots that would hurt when hit were aimed at with as much power as if he really meant it. It was questionable whether it would just be a bruise if one of those hits connected. Mile kept catching his blows with her sword, swinging it around desperately.
And after a while, finally her chance came.
(Yay, an attack that will hit my armor!)
Just like the first match, a blow to the torso ended it.
(It’s finally over!)
What was reflected in Mile’s relieved eyes was her opponent staring, not at her, but at Elbert.
Following his line of sight, Mile was faced with Elbert’s lips twisted into a smug smile on his face.
She had been had.
Mile would only notice this quite a bit later though.