In A Different World With A Smartphone - Chapter 252
Chapter 252: The Oni and the Candidates
「Now then. It's good that I've entered the forest, but what am I going to do now?」(Touya)
I suppose I should start with securing water. I have a canteen given to me when I've entered the forest in my hand, so I decide to go towards the source of water, a river. If I'm not wrong, it should be located in the center of the forest, flowing from the north to somewhat the south-east.
I could see the figures of other examinees here and there walking ahead of me as I started to walk through the forest. Did they think of doing the same thing?
Still, my field of vision is really narrow. That and the numerous trees around... Oh, I've discovered a rabbit. ... It's good that I did, but I only have an ordinary sword hanging from my waist.
There's no way for me to publicly use magic here because everyone expects that the barrier makes magic unusable throughout the forest.
Though in fact, we, the people of Brunhild, are exempted from the effects of the barrier, so we can use magic. However, I don't know if someone may be watching me from somewhere. It's not like I can either take a bow and a quiver of arrows from [Storage] or something.
It can either be that I get some weapons from storage or magic beasts may come to attack here. I wonder, will I be able to escape should magic beasts attack and given the number of trees around? It can't be helped that it will be troublesome. Let's give up on magic. My stomach gets smaller once again. That reminds me, I should've placed some food inside [Storage], haven't I? There should be water in it as well, but it would surely look suspicious for me to not go to the river as an examinee.
The current examination is to mainly select the knights who will be fighting in battles, knights who will be defending the castle, knights who will be patrolling the town, and spy knights who will be placed under Tsubaki-san's supervision. It's our plan to employ those who are deemed usable among the successful candidates of this examination if there are any. Maybe we should take applications for office work next time, I think? A dedicated magic corps isn't needed at the moment after all.
At the very least though, I would like those with an ability to pass through this survival training. It's good to able to fight to the bitter end or to relentlessly escape. For the latter though, I would like them to achieve the goal of staying in this forest for three days as rules dictate.
I keep on walking while thinking about that when I suddenly hear the sound of a small stream.
Having come out of the forest, I could see the river with a river bed consisting of rolled stones in front of me.The width of the river is six meters at most, enough to allow passage through it. It also appears to be shallow as well.
I immediately fill the water in my canteen and try to drink a mouthful on this occasion. Yep, it's delicious.
I then take a look around and notice that the examinees who have filled their canteens similar to me are gathering in large groups. This place has a good outlook, and it's convenient since the river is here as well. However, it's easy to be discovered here by an [Oni] since this place just stands out that much.
They better leave this area soon after filling their canteens with water. Those who have understood this are already going away.
After all, those guys who stay here for far too long are at risk of failing.
I then climb up to the top of a tall tree after having entered the forest once more. Now then...
I send forth my senses of vision and hearing and look through the surroundings. There are fellows who huddle together and move as groups, and there are those who move alone.
Oh, there's also someone climbing up a tree, same as me. He's wearing a mask so I can't recognize him, but he looks just like a ninja with his completely black outfit. ...Hmm?
Is he looking this way? It can't be. We're being separated by a kilometer of distance, and there are obstacles on the way. Yet, how is he doing that? Ah, he's waving his hand. It seems the other side was somewhat surprised as well when I waved back for whatever reason. What a strange guy to wave his hand. Did he want to ascertain if the other side could see him as well?
I suppose that must've been some kind of ninjutsu assuming that he's a ninja. Or, is he a possessor of magic eyes? He might be a referee sent by Tsubaki-san.
『O-Oni is here! Guaaa!』
I return to my senses towards the sudden voice that has reached my sense of hearing and turn my sight towards the river bed where from the voice came from.
The guys that had gathered at the river bed were being done in one-by-one by the two members of our knight order wearing the masks of oni. Our guys are persistently mowing them down, wielding the stun rods. How should I say this? Those two must be Baba-jii-san and Yamagata-ossan...
With the feeling as if they are enjoying the chaos they spread in the surroundings, the pair throws down the examinees without mercy and snatch their badges. The way they're doing it is the very definition of brigands. They're well too suited for something like that. Examinees who have had their badges taken away are being teleported to the headquarters, leaving no one at that place. It seems that not even a single one of them showed any promise.
The other examinees who have heard the screams show different reactions. Some of them run away, and others go there to ascertain what has happened. Still, others hide while making no movements
The disguised fellow from a while ago is no longer here before I knew it. He's fast. As I've thought, he must be a ninja.
The pair of oni who had eventually hunted the examinees on the river bed to exhaustion went into the forest once more and vanished.
『This guy has its right eye smashed! Surround him from there! Attack him constantly from its blind spots!』(Examinee)
Oh? I once again hear a voice coming from somewhere in the forest. I then send forth my sense of sight and see a trio of examinees fighting against a King Ape located at a considerable distance from the opposite side of the river bed. No, it's one size bigger than a King Ape. Is it a subspecies?
『Aim at his legs! We have to first seal his movements!』(Examinee)
The one who seems to be a leader of this trio is a man with a short silver hair and who's just past 20 years old. He's wearing an old yet splendidly good breast mail. He's hurling out quite precise commands. It seems like he's making good use of the special skills of each member of the party which should've, perhaps, been created on the spot.
I watch them hunt this fellow for a little while, and they have eventually managed to splendidly subjugate the King Ape.
Furthermore, that leader is properly keeping an eye on the surroundings while they're fighting. Probably, he's cautious against an attack by an [Oni]. In fact, the [Onis] won't attack the examinees when they are fighting against magic beasts, but it seems they are still being quite watchful for an [Oni]'s attack. That man may be able to pass this examination.
I then descend the tree and walk to the south for now when I notice something groveling on the ground and come across a young man digging the soil.
「... What are you doing?」(Touya)
「?! .... Ah, Aah, food, I thought about securing some food」(Young Man)
The youth was momentarily startled, but he then sighed in relief after understanding that I was an examinee like him. He must've thought that I was an [Oni] initially.
「Food, you say?」(Touya)
「Eh? Ah, th-this vine is a ’’Daidrian Yam’’. The potatoes which grow underground can be eaten during this season. Three more months from now they become toxic and can't be eaten 」(Young Man)
「I-I cannot light a fire because an oni may find me if I do so. Given that situation, I've thought that I have no other choice but to search for stuff like this. There's also quite a lot of nuts and wildflowers that can be eaten growing in here」(Young Man)
Aah, so that's how it is. Even if someone manages to catch a rabbit, he won't be able to light a fire, right...? I suppose there's no way someone would be eating it raw. What the youth is doing might not be crafty, but it's really just another way of standing up to the current situation.
There are various wildflowers that the youth has gathered on him. There are several things that look like nuts and fruits as well. He also has stuff wherein I've already seen the variations of those. It looks like this guy knows about all of these quite well.
「Y-You can try looking for them to the south from here, where the Pashimo trees are growing. I've only taken a little bit from that place, so there should still be some left」(Young Man)
「N~, thank you. I'll try to look for them」(Touya)
I then leave this place since it looked like the youth is only interested in those potatoes or something.
Having separated from the potato digger guy, I've tried going south to where he has told me to go, and there really were Pashimo trees in that place. Pashimo is a food with a texture resembling pears, similar to kaki. I place some of it inside [Storage] and pick just one more to eat it right away. It's delicious.
I once again climb on top of a nearby tree and observe the surrounding area with [Long Sense] while I pass time until evening comes. There are oni attacking some examinees here and there, while the other examinees are also being attacked by magic beasts. It looks like there are no injured among both groups at present.
Some people have already been disqualified though, but there's still a long way to go. To begin with, I want their numbers to be around 500 or less, but let's see how this test will go.
The day ends, and the crucial part starts now.
I've confirmed that there's no one around here with the help of the search function of my smartphone, so I take out an oni mask from [Storage]. I then jump from branch to branch, running through the forest after changing my clothes into a set of completely black ones and covering my face with a mask.
A sudden light on the opposite side of the forest catch my attention, so I fire [Long Sense] to that direction. In there, I find a lot of examinees gathered around an open fire, grilling and eating the game they have caught while paying attention to their surroundings.
I see. That must be what they did after thinking that it wouldn't be easy even for an Oni to lay their hands on them if they can gather that many people in their group. A small group of guards, so to say, is keeping an eye on the perimeter, surrounding the group which is having a meal.
That certainly looks like it will be a bit hard to take them out. No, the knights of our household will still be able to annihilate all of them if they get serious.
I, having searched the surrounding with my smartphone, grasp the place where the Onis have gathered, and swiftly move there.
「?! ... Your Majesty, were you there all along?... Please don't scare us like that」
「Don't erase your presence and creep on us like that, Boss. We have almost jumped up startled」
Everyone gathered at the place scold me after I've called out to them from behind.
The ones here are Logan-san, Baba-jii-san, Yamagata-ossan. Ah, there's also Nicola-san. In addition to several other people, their total number is 10 at most. All of them are men.
Oh well, that's fine too. It makes things more relaxed. Our knight order is more of a gathering of family and comrades rather than a structure with the policy of ’’Knight Order is about discipline!’’ after all. To begin with, those people who have talent but can't do things without tying themselves to regulations are being rejected during the interview with Yumina.
「So, how are the things going on out here? Have you discovered any valuable people with talents?」(Touya)
「There were some who would seem to do well if trained」(Baba)
「I've discovered some people showing a considerable promise as well」(Nicola)
Baba-jii-san and Nicola-san answer me. I see. It looks like there are capable people who seemed to be useful in their own right. I, too, have found talented people, like that ninja, the armored man, and the potato youth, but they might have been hunted down by an Oni after that. Especially the potato youth, he didn't seem to be strong at all.
「Speaking of which, what will you do after this? Will you attack that group?」(Touya)
「N~. We only have 10 people here. The other side should have about 100 people,right? It's not like we won't be able to win, you see, but we won't be able to go easy on them, all right. Measuring their talents one by one is impossible in that situation, isn't it?」(Yamagata)
Yamagata-ossan groans while folding arms. Certainly, that will be similar to putting the cart before the horse. We'll be surrounded by our opponents if we fight them all at once. It's no use even arguing about that. Taking them out with a single hit should be easier. Though if we do that, our true goal will be, well...
In addition to that, we may have some Oni here, but it's not the amount wherein I'd start an attack even after gathering them. There are still a lot more examinees out there even if I exclude those guys near the open fire.
However, for them to be using such a showy fire, they must have the resolution to be attacked, don't they?
「If it was His Majesty, what would you do?」(Nicola)
「Me? Let me think... I would've shown my hand a little while making sure that I won't be defeated and run away afterward. Then, I would've ambushed and defeated several of them once they came chasing after me. Something like that, I think?」(Touya)
「Hey-hey, will they really be caught with that method?」(Yamagata)
「Well, those who do aren't needed in our household either way, right? Whether they are caught in it or not will be the material for us to judge upon 」(Baba)
As Baba-jii-san has said, it's better to have those who won't be caught by a tactic like that rather than those who do. I project the place where the other party surrounds the open fire on the screen terminal built in my smartphone with the help of [Long Sense].
「If they even have people properly keeping an eye on their surroundings, there will also be people relaxing in there, right?」(Nicola)
It is just as what Nicola-san has said. There are people watching the surroundings while looking nervous, but there are also people idly talking with those next to them and yawning. It must be due to their numbers, right? They have gathered a very large group, so they have some composure despite the stress they are experiencing. ...Oya?
The ten-odd people surrounding the open fire are trying to drive away their fellow examinees who have turned up there for some reason. I increase the volume of the speakers because I've become curious.
『No-no-no! Go that way! We are already crowded here! 』
『What are you saying?! It's not like we are asking you give us food or anything, aren't we? We only want you to allow us to use the fire for a bit, you know!』
Those who have come from the other side are demihumans and demokins, two men and two women. It looks like they are holding several rabbits in their hands. I guess they've come to ask to allow them to grill those. There's a low probability to be attacked by an Oni in here after all.
「The beastkins are from the Lion Clan and the Winged Clan, and the demonkins are a Wardog and an Arachne... I assume」(Nicola)
Nicola-san mutters while looking at the screen. Hee. The beastkins are somewhat familiar, but this is the first time I see those types of demonkins.
The Wardog species don't have an appearance of humans with wolf ears and tails growing like Norun-san who's a wolf beastkin. They look entirely like dog people from their head up to their tails. Their whole bodies are covered with fur, making them look totally like werewolves. Though they cannot turn into humans, and they look more dog-like rather than wolf-like.
The Arachne has her short black hair straightly arranged and split right at her eyebrows in a feminine style called a ’’princess cut’’, making her look quite cute. There are, however, a number of spider-looking legs growing from her back. Also, her eyes are red.
『Anyway, go the other way! If someone like you stays here, we might get smelled by the magic beasts and they come to attack!』
『Anyway, go the other way! If someone like you stays here, we might be smelled by magic beasts and attacked!』
『That's right, that's right! You guys have the stench of beasts!』
『You guys being attacked is your own problem, but don't go and roll us in it as well!』
The wardog youth(?) catches the shoulder of the woman from the lion clan who has tried to hit the men that are around the open fire, prompting her to stop. The woman lowers her fist, taking a look at the wardog youth quietly shaking his head. They then take the man from the winged clan and the female arachne and leave this place.
『Chi~, why are such fellows even among the examinees? They can go back to Zenoasu or Misumido, for all I know. The recruiting conditions are way too lenient, I say』
The man who turned away the group talked as if he's spitting his words.
『Brunhild has been created just recently, so they're probably lacking talented personnel. That's why they're trying to use even beastkins and whatnot. Let alone beastkins, there are even demonkins here. That in itself is a great deal』
『The commander is a beastkin too. If a beastkin can become a commander, then even we may be able to become nobles one day if we show some achievements, however small they can be』
『Fo-o-ol. If you can become a noble, then I will be able to rise up to a cabinet minister or something. Even the king himself has risen up from being an adventurer. This knight order doesn't even look like a knight order at all. I tell you, it's just for the sake of appearances』
Those guys lowered their voices in order to withhold their laughter, but my smartphone was properly capturing their voices.
『That's how it is. That's why we'll surely be creating a proper knight order after entering. After all, it's unbecoming of a knight order to have those beastkins exercise their authority 』
『Oh? Are you aiming for the position of the knight commander?』
『I'm trying to, I suppose. Once the number of proper knights increases, those demihumans shouldn't be needed. Us defeating the commander and vice-commanders during practice or something else will allow us to make a new knight order in a much simpler manner, right? The world is, after all, being ruled by those with real ability』
’’Gya-ha-ha-ha-ha,’’ several men start to smile together while raising a foolish laughter. In contrast to them, not a single person on this side of the screen is showing a smile.
「... We don't need those guys」(Touya)
「I guess so」(Nicola)
The fox beastkin, Nicola-san, stares at men who continuing to laugh on the screen after replying to my murmur. He has been a close associate of the commander, Rain-san, since the time they came to this country. He probably can't suppress his anger, and he's glaring at the guys on the screen while tightly clenching his fists.
I guess there are still guys who are misunderstanding that us employing demihumans is due to our lack of human resources. That misunderstanding is extreme.
Demihumans or demonkins don't come out of Misumido or Zenoasu that much. Their numbers are also scarce, so there are a few humans associating with them as a result, depending on the regions.
There are still people who have worthless images of demonkins belonging to the group of magic beasts and demihumans being savages because of that.
As for the demihumans, they have a history of being a target of contempt and being considered as inferior, vulgar and savage races in the past as well. There has also been a time wherein they've been treated as slaves.
Now that Misumido was established, guys having thoughts like that were more of a minority.
For demonkins though, there's hardly any chance to witness them, so discrimination against them may be due to the fear of the unknown. Nevertheless, guys holding thoughts like that aren't necessary in the order of my country either way.
Our country is certainly unique. If you say that our knight order doesn't seem like one, that's exactly true.
However, what's wrong with that? Even the kings or those guys doing the job of kings don't really behave themselves like one. There are too many of them, now that I talk about it at this late hour. If someone only considers a good knight order when it only looks like a proper knight order, then those guys are free to go to another country. It's nonsense.
I've certainly pressed the knight order into Rain-san's group since we've initially lacked personnel, but they easily handled the kind of training that would've made one's blood seep. They've managed to create this knight order by having unity with the other knights.
Their ability is comparable to Yae and Hilda since they've been trained by Moroha-nee-san. A superficially strong person won't be able to compete against the knight commander and vice commanders of our country. Right now, they are unmistakably the top three knights of our country with the exception of Baba-jiisan's group.
Well, guys who despise someone based on their appearance aren't needed in our country.
「Hmm then, shall we send these guys away?」
The Onis in front of my eyes nod at once to what I've said.