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Arc 26: What can be done for tomorrow
Chapter 254: The Interview and the Successful Candidates
「Alright. The results will be posted the day after tomorrow in front of the castle. Everyone can withdraw now」(Rain)
The five people, whose interview have just ended, reply to Knight Commander Rain-san and leave the room.
Having confirmed that everyone left the room, Yumina starts to talk first.
「This person, this person, and this person; those three are not good. The ambition of those two are as plain as day. Sooner or later, it’ll probably reach the point wherein they’ll consider pushing other people aside. The last one is too rebellious. He may violate a command that doesn’t coincide with his intentions just by giving a very convenient reason, and he may become the cause that’ll throw the order into chaos」(Yumina)
「It’s just my intuition, but I also felt the same way. Besides, every word that comes out of their mouth revealed their arrogance… They’ve also mixed in a few lies」(Rain)
I cross out the names of those three people from the list while hearing out Yumina and Rain-san. That is, they’re disqualified.
「What about the remaining two?」(Touya)
「Well, they tend to stutter whenever they reply, but they didn’t lie to us. I also couldn’t sense any malicious intent from them. They’re probably okay」(Yumina)
「Certainly. Them being overly serious can be counted as their mistake, but I guess they’ve passed the threshold sufficiently」(Rain)
If that’s the case, then these two have… passed.
The interviews have gone for two days inside a room in the castle after the survival examination.
The interviewers are: I, Yumina and Knight Commander Rain-san. My appearance has been changed with [Mirage], same as last time.
During this period, we interview the examinees who have passed the survival exam in groups of five. Assuming it takes about ten minutes to interview a group, we then have to conduct more than 80 interviews in total. This makes it a serious work even if we leave some for the second day.
On the other hand, it’s not like I can cut corners here. The one who will suffer won’t just be us but also the citizens of our country if we admit a strange person into the knight order.
That’s because what we look for in the members of our knight order, more than anything else I think, is whether they can act [For the sake of the citizens] and not [For the sake of the country]. We also don’t need people who would do it [For the King] or [For pride and honor].
They must be able to go to the extent of trying to defeat me should the time comes wherein I won’t be governing the country properly and making the citizens suffer. Though that situation will certainly not happen.
「Ok-kay. Well then. Call-in the next group of five 」(Touya)
At my request, Spica-san, who’s standing next to the door, calls out the examinees. The ones standing nearby are the Lamia twins, Murret and Charret.
I feel bad for the three of them, but I’m having them be one of the criteria that we will judge the applicants this time upon.
As soon as the next five people enter the room, we see that three of them frowned the moment they’ve seen the demonkin trio. The other two were surprised but didn’t show any disdain on their faces. The emotion they’ve displayed is probably that of interest. Spica-san is beautiful and the Lamia sisters have lower bodies of a snake.
Our interest in the frowning trio has mostly disappeared at that moment. Though we’ll still more or less ask all of them harmless and inoffensive questions. Among which we blend those that get to the cores of their personalities, as we confirm the reaction of the Keeler Polygraph.
There are those that lie, and there are also those that speak truthfully. It’s not like I tell them to be honest about everything. A few lies here and there are an unavoidable aspect of life. There should be some things someone wouldn’t want to answer because they may not to know the other party well. A mix of truths and lies becomes the basis for our judgment.
Yumina and Rain-san discuss the five people after they leave the room. It appears it’s much better to retire those guys that were frowning. According to Yumina, she could strongly feel their vanity and haughtiness. One of the remaining two was deceiving us about his birthplace and background; he told many lies. I don’t feel like employing someone like that. Out of those five applicants, I cross out four of them and pass the remaining person.
Once again, Spica-san ushers the next five people to come-in. O, ya.
From the batch that entered, two of them are the armored man and the potato youth whom I’ve discovered.
Both of them were surprised at our demonkin group after seeing them, but that was the extent of their reaction. The potato youth has gotten stiffly nervous, which probably isn’t impossible to expect.
They sit next to each other on the left side. So their numbers are close to each other, huh?
W~ell then… the armored man with short blond hair must be Lance Tempest, while the potato youth is Callen.
Lance Tempest. Birthplace – Knight Kingdom Restia. Third son of a knight bachelor. Both this older brothers are in Knight Order of Reista, huh?
「Why have you applied to our Brunhild Knight Order?」(Touya)
「Yes. I’ve been hearing about the exploits of His Majesty The King and rumors about your knight order for quite a while now. The news regarding the dragon extermination conducted by Brunhild has reached as far as Restia. That convinced me to believe that I too want to devote my strength, however poor it may be, in such a knight order」(Lance)
He shouldn’t be aware that this king is sitting in front of him right now, but he’s still being honest. Oh well. I guess I should ask this question just in case.
「I can understand that you want to become a knight of Brunhild and not Restia, but is that really okay with you?」(Touya)
「His Majesty The King of Brunhild is engaged with the princess of the Knight Kingdom of Restia, Hildegard-sama, making Brunhild be considered as a friendly nation to Restia. Now that I’ve raised my sword, I intend to work with all my power as a knight of Brunhild」(Lance)
He isn’t lying. He looks serious but somewhat stiff. I guess that’s how someone from a family of knights feels like.
I then turn my eyes to the potato youth, Callen.
Callen. Birthplace – Belfast Kingdom, huh?
「… According to the report from a member acting as an oni, you seemed to have been collecting various edible foods in the forest. Where have you acquired this kind of skill?」(Touya)
「I-I w-wouldn’t c-call it a s-skill, yes. M-my house are pharmacists, s-so I have been e-entering forests s-since I was s-small, yes 」(Callen)
He’s too nervous, and his words are becoming somewhat strange.
Speaking of which… A pharmacy, huh? He must know a great deal about plants if that’s the case. I guess he’s useful.
「Why have you tried enrolling into a knight order?」(Touya)
「T-that’s because I’ve heard that B-Brunhild knight order devotes its efforts into the reclamation of farmlands too. I-I’ve thought that I would be able to help in that matter. I also f-fair well in battle, and I can d-defeat a bear or s-something similar」(Callen)
So he’s a Matagi, huh? Oh well, he did manage to pass that survival exam, so he should be able to fight to some extent. It feels like he’s well versed with a nata knife.
(TL: Matagi – japanese winter hunters, mainly hunting bears, Nata knife – a machete-like knife)
He doesn’t seem to be lying, so I guess he together with Lance pass the interview.
I ask for the opinions of both Yumina and Rain-san after the five exit the room, and it’s what I’ve expected. They, same as I, feel that we should employ those two.
「I would like that youth named Lance to be a castle guard. I also think it’s most suitable to place Callen under the supervision of Naito-sama on the reclamation of the eastern lands」(Rain)
Rain-san has apparently been thinking the same thing as I do. All right. Both of them are employed.
The individuals who entered the room next are the ones that were driven away during that survival exam namely: a woman from the lion clan, a man from the winged clan, a wardog youth and an arachne girl. There is one more man with them dressed in leather armor, but I immediately lost interest in him because it looked like he didn’t a favorable opinion towards the presence of the other four.
The woman from the lion clan is Ashley.
The man from the winged clan is Bars.
The wardog youth is Dingo.
The arachne girl is Liphon.
We’re told that they’ve immediately traveled to Brunhild after hearing rumors in other countries about the recruitment for our knight order during their travels. Ashley was traveling with Bars at that time while Dingo was traveling with Liphon.
I understand that reason why Ashley and Liphon wanted to come here. Despite both Misumido and Zenoasu having their own knight orders (though it’s called “Warrior Order of the Royal Palace” in Misumido), it’s still difficult for those born as commoners to become female knights in any of those countries.
My conclusion is that both Bars and Dingo are the same as Rain-san wherein they want to serve in this country after hearing about my exploits. I’ve reminded them just in case that our wages are low, but it seems they have no problem with that, to which the lie detector showed no reaction. Those wages are really low, you know?
We’ve asked several more questions after that, and what they say about them coming to work in service of Brunhild appears to be their true feelings.
I ask Yumina for confirmation after they leave the room. There doesn’t seem to be any problems, so we pass the four except the man in leather armor.
Our interviews continue during the second day as well. The number of applicants is still considerable even if it has somehow decreased since we’ve refused members from the infiltration group. Moreover, it’s not like we can cut corners during this process, so the workload is immense.
We’ve gathered quite a lot of talented personnel after having decided which of the candidates are successful and satisfactory.
And then, the last three people are…
「Sarutobi Homura, Kirigakure Shizuku, Fuuma Nagi…」(Touya)
Three girls wearing shinobi clothes and sitting in front of me are the ones who have been recommended by Tsubaki-san.
They seem to be the daughters of Sarutobi Sasuke, Kirigakure Saizou, and Fuuma Kotarou, respectively.
Their daughters, huh?… I thought their parents would come instead. When I asked the girls about their fathers, they said that their honorable fathers are already very old. As such, they’ve already retired from their activities.
All three girls are 15 years old, two years younger than me, bringing them to the same age bracket as Elzie and Linzie. Homura is a girl with bright vigor while Shizuku gives an impression of a composed coolness. Nagi’s presence feels elusive and faint.
Their hairstyles have different features. Homura has short hair while Shizuku has a long one. Nagi has a wavy shoulder-length hair. Their fields of expertise are different as well. Homura is an expert in martial arts while Shizuku specializes in concealing arts. Finally, Nagi’s expertise lies in throwing arts. It seems that their training of ninja basics ends just with those specialties.
By the way, it’s Homura who discovered me standing on top of the tree, though I didn’t know about that since she was wearing that mask at that time.
「It may be hard to understand, but I possess magic eyes. I can see things from quite a distance, and it’s possible to see through obstacles if they’re small」(Homura)
Homura’s right eye certainly has a different, light brown color, though it isn’t noticeable with just a single glance. She has apparently named this ability [Clairvoyance]. I guess it might really be a convenient ability for a ninja to have.
If ever they are employed, they’ll probably be admitted into the intelligence unit led by Tsubaki-san based on the abilities they have. I ask the girls if it’s fine for us to do so, and they say that it’s not a problem.
「I’m proficient in concealment arts, so I believe I’ll be able to display my abilities be it an undercover investigation or just intelligence gathering in town」(Shizuka)
Is what Shizuku answered…
「I aaam quick on my feet, sooo I won’t lose in a game of tag, you knoow 」(Nagi)
Is what Nagi responds with. This girl has apparently managed to clear the examination this time thanks to her quick legs.
Still, just when I thought that this girl named “Nagi” resemble someone, it comes onto me that she’s like our maid, Cecil-san. The way they talk is similar, and Cecil-san is proficient in knife throwing as well, isn’t she? That girl has originally been a member of the intelligence unit belonging to Belfast, after all.
『Nice to meet you~. I am Cecil~』
『I’m Nagi~. Please treat me well~』
I try imagining the situation where these two meet up, and I become nearly exhausted doing so. Both of them are… excelling. Don’t tell me they are lifelong sisters that have been separated, huh?
We ask the trio ordinary questions and then finish the interview. They haven’t told lies, and it seems that Yumina sees no problem with her magic eyes. There’s also the recommendation from Tsubaki-san, so we pass all three of them.
With this, we’re finished with all interviews. Among the 416 candidates who passed the second examination, only 131 passed the interviews. It’s a little less than what we’ve expected, so let’s ask Kousaka-san to conduct another interview next time but only for the positions of vice-ministers and civil officials.
Now we have to assign each person to the positions of spy knights, patrol knights and guard knights according to their abilities. Although we’ve assigned some of them immediately, most of them are still not settled.
Oh well, the successful candidates have already been gathered, so I guess all that’s left is the enrollment ceremony.
「Congratulations on passing the examination, everyone. I’m glad as king to be able to welcome all of you to the Brunhild Knight Order」(Touya)
Standing on the stage, I then greet the new knights. Those people who have seen me for the first time might have been surprised. According to the rumors that overflow the streets, I seem to be hailed as a hero who has defeated crystal apparitions, operated the inheritance of an ancient civilization (Frame Gears), slain dragons, and reached the highest rank as an adventurer.
It’s natural for them to be bewildered after witnessing such a young man standing right before them, I guess. Seeing as they aren’t making light of me or anything, I suppose it should’ve been expected of the people who were acknowledged by Yumina.
「Now then, you’ve just finished the previous examination, but I would like you to show me your abilities. I will have all of you, who are currently here, to fight me」(Touya)
In response towards what I’ve just said to the newcomers who looked like they didn’t understand the meaning behind my statement, those who’ve passed the examination last time leaked out voices like [Uwaa…] or something indescribable.
「So it’s going to happen again… huh?」
「Wanna make a bet? How many do you think will be left?」
「Don’t go making bets, okay?…」
「I hope it won’t turn into trauma for them…」
We start the battle of 1 vs 131 after moving to the spacious second practice field. Each of the newcomers is holding a weapon used for mock battles, like padded spears, wooden blades or wooden swords. I wouldn’t mind it even if real weapons were going to be used, but I’d be troubled if they couldn’t take this exam seriously because they felt guilty about attacking me. Still, I naturally have no intention of letting them touch me.
We’ll use even this battle as the basis for us to judge where to assign those guys.
「Well then, shall we begin? … Accel」(Touya)
I invoke the acceleration magic, facing the newcomers closing their distance to me.
Not a single person was able to continue standing until the end, same as the last time. In 20 minutes, all 131 newcomers are rolling about on the practice ground, beaten up.
I cast [Refresh] and [Mega Heal] on them, completely restoring their condition. It will be troublesome if they remain like that.
Although there are those who expressed their thanks towards it, my heart will hurt if they thank me too much. It’s me who knocked all of them down after all, and they’ll be taking their very first ordeal after this…
「Now then. It’s my turn from now on, right?」(Moroha)
Moroha-nee-san enters the practice fields and changes place with me. Why the hell are you smiling like that? It must be that “well worth the training” kind of smile.
「I’m Mochizuki Moroha, the sword instructor and an advisor to the Brunhild Knight Order! Congratulations on your enrollment! It’s sudden, but we will start training immediately!」(Moroha)
As a matter of fact, we’ll be holding a week-long hellish training whose schedule has been set up by Moroha-nee-san for the newcomers, starting right now. It’s a compromise which I had to accept in order to stop nee-san from saying that she wanted to participate in the survival test herself.
「Okay. Let’s have you start with running around the castle. 50 laps will do」(Moroha)
The newcomers raise a cry. The castle perimeter is about 2 km. It’ll then be a hundred kilometer run if she’s talking about a 50-lap run. Please don’t start with something like that right off the bat…
I guess I can’t go without praying to a god for their safety after looking at them going out of the castle, driven away by Moroha-nee-san… Though the one who drives them away is a god herself…
Moroha-nee-san and the other gods are prohibited from interfering by using their godly powers with the events happening on the ground. That’s why, it’s said that she works within the range of what a human can do in the end, but it’s a problem that this range lies within a super-master level.
This might be the state which humans can reach after training for about 1000 years, but their lifespans end before reaching that age. It’s a complete disregard of time. Elves, demonkins or fairy folks can possibly reach this height though.
Oh well. That hellish training will certainly make the newcomers strong. I suppose I’ll have them persevere for the sake of this country.