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Episode 83 - Unexpected Bets ‘Weapon that kills.’
Blinking at the speedy farewell, Eugene let out a deep sigh as she watched Levis and Moniqua's figures becoming smaller and getting further away from her.
‘How did I end up here again?” She stared at the blue sky before focusing on the two huge horses pulling her and the others towards their destination.
With her small body bouncing up and down from the impact, Eugene briefly looked behind her where several loud voices mixed in with each other from inside the carriage. Yes, she was currently the coachman assistant, assisting Duke Marleigh who was the head and key person maneuvering the two horses. And yes, she was currently excluded from the rest of her comrades; Louis, Ramon, Aernest, Euria, Aedelak, Aeselak, and Ron Graeme aka, the Paladins of Xenperia.
Surprisingly, Euria wasn’t the one who cried out, but instead, the cries came from a pair of horses carrying another carriage. The person sitting in that carriage was a semi-important individual and the person maneuvering that carriage is your one and only, Duke Amos Rodriguez.
So! How did Eugene end up being the only child excluded from sitting comfortably and staying warm inside? Well, to put it in simple terms, there are only 7 seats inside the carriage and she, unfortunately, had lost a bet she was slightly confident in and this was the result.
Deeply sighing from her thoughts, Eugene quietly stretched her numb butt as she watched Sakura petals move flexibly through the breeze. This was another difference from her past world. Sakura petals from her past world only fall for one week during spring. However, Sakura petals in this world fall every day for one month at the beginning of summer.
These pink petals that illuminate iridescent light when exposed to the sun too carried a delicate perfume for people to experience joy with all their senses. Fine, Eugene had to admit. This beautiful pink world was worth giving up the most luxurious seating in this world.
Besides! She was given a semi-break from socializing with people!
Anyways! Why and where are the Paladins and Generals of Xenperia leaving? Well, this story began because of that day…
Eugene was nervous. Hovering her hands over her heart, she could feel her heartbeat slightly skipping from all the tension she was feeling. Here, in front of her, was a humongous military building colored in camouflage. To call it a military building was even slightly undermining it. This building is the military base of Xenperia, also known as the number one roof the world wants exterminated, gone!
This building stretched wide across the empty plain land and stretched tall enough for Eugene to feel as if she had to stretch her body like a bridge to see the endpoint of the building.
“....” Eugene couldn’t help gulp her dry throat.
This feeling was mutual as Eugene wasn’t the only one feeling slightly overwhelmed. Euria, Aernest, Aedelak, and Aeselak could feel their hearts beating loudly due to their stress hormones being triggered. They were scared because 100… no, 200 military men were glaring at them, hard!
Big, macho, tan men were staring intensely at the five of them as if they were ants that didn’t belong here. In multiple rows, men with camouflaged clothing stood straight, guarding the entrance to their military base.
“-Gulp-” The five gulped until their throats started to ache.
It was at this moment when 2 men in the same military attire walked out. It was also then when the two hundred statue-like soldiers split into a perfect half, parting ways for the 2 men to walk out.
The sound of the soldiers stomping in unison sounded like a man-made earthquake, scaring Euria, Aernest, and Aeselak into hiding behind Eugene and Aedelak.
“Welcome to the central military base of Xenperia.” Duke Rodriguez spoke, breaking the silent-intense atmosphere that has been going on for half an hour.
“From today onwards, you five will train here in 2 groups. One group with me, and one with General Rodriguez. As to which group you belong to, you, naturally already know by yesterday’s results.” Duke Marleigh emphasized on ‘naturally’ as he spoke. Taking out a letter from his pocket, he then began to read as follows.
“You are five incredibly brave children, and I welcome you to the Military with open arms. Here, you five will train to the best of your abilities with no restrictions. My command for you is to leave no rooms for regrets and to never give up. - Sincerely, Commander of the Military Unit” Duke Marleigh finished, before staring at the five children in a calm face.
“Leave no rooms for regrets and never give up!” Duke Rodriguez repeated with a smile on his face.
The five children replied ‘Yes sir!’ in unison, their facial expressions easing with the letter.
“These are some of the soldiers on duty today.” Duke Rodriguez stepped to the side to introduce the children to the two hundred soldiers behind him, who in turn saluted to the children.
‘Some soldiers…’ Eugene slowly scanned across the soldiers in front of her.
From what she heard from Aeselak, World War 2 ended only 100 years ago. To prevent countries that had lost from waging another war in revenge, United West Liasel had to circulate 85% of their powers throughout the world to clear out any sparks that might escalate into one big bomb.
With 85% of the powers being distributed to the whole world, Xenperia and other countries in United West Liasel are only left with 15% to protect themselves. When Eugene asked how much 15% was, Aeselak could only reply with hesitation. According to Duke Marleigh, the exact numbers are a secret, but the number of people joining the military is high every year.
‘To roughly estimate how many soldiers Xenperia has, I first need to know Xenperia’s population.’ Eugene extinguished her curiosity for now.
“Well then, Aeselak’s group please come with me.” Duke Marleigh turned around after finishing his words, leaving no rooms for goodbyes.
With a sad look, Euria only momentarily looked at Eugene before quickly following Aeselak. Eugene, Aernest, and Aedelak naturally followed after Duke Rodriguez who too headed into the Military building but soon turned to a different direction that headed outside of the building.
“ONE- TWO. ONE- TWO!”
Loud shouts and yells of multiple men soon became distinguishable. These shouts, Eugene are familiar with. The only time she used to shout like this was during her military training back in her former world. The trainings are compulsory and an obligation everyone fulfills. Although it wasn't a notable memory, she did have 'some' military knowledge. Well, if formation marches, running, more running, and evactution drills counts.
“NO HONOR! DIE HONOR!”
Now, these were shouts she wasn't familiar with.
Just like the military side of the Paladins training grounds, the real Military headquarters too were stripped bare of any grass or trees. It was a plainland that stretched incredibly wide and far.
The three children quickly followed behind Duke Rodriguez and passed by groups of men doing separate exercises in unison. Even without being close to the soldiers, the heat radiated from the men was hot enough for the three to feel as if they had been sitting out in the sun for 5 consecutive hours during peak summer.
After 10 minutes of walking forward, passing by at least 10 groups of soldiers, they came to a stop behind the obstacle training ground. Here, not all the land was stripped off grass, multiple big trees even came to view!
‘This… This!!’ Realizing what they were about to do, Eugene turned to Duke Rodriguez with her eyes wide open.
“This is a shooting range” Duke Rodriguez confirmed Eugene’s thoughts.
In front of them was a half indoor-half outdoor shooting facility. This was basically an outdoor shooting range, but with a roof that stretched from the firing lane to the bullet trap. Kind of like a bus stop, but bigger.
There are 4 lanes in total, 5 meters, 10 meters, 15 meters, and 20 meters. Besides the bullet trap and the odd white doll that was seemingly a shooting target, numbers that indicated the distance from the firing lane to the bullet trap was colored in dark green.
“This is the only short-distance shooting range that exists in this headquarters.” Duke Rodriguez slightly smiled at the three children.
‘Don't tell me!” Eugene looked at the training range with sparkles in her eyes before looking back at Duke Rodriguez.
Her excitement surprised Aernest, Aedelak and Duke Rodriguez so much they swore they saw flowers flowing out of Eugene’s aura!
Gulping down her excitement, Eugene put back her calm demeanor, yet slightly glanced at Duke Rodriguez with anticipation of his next words in her eyes.
“... -Ahem-” Duke Rodriguez coughed.
Going along with Eugene’s high expectations, he nodded. “Yes, you will be training with guns today.”
‘ASDFGHJ!~~’ Eugene cheered in her mind! She has finally unlocked something that will add excitement to her normal routine!
She has sufficient knowledge about how guns work because back during her days as an actress, she had to learn how to wield a gun for the characters she acted as. Although she was nonchalant about these things back then, right now, for some reason, a strange sense of excitement was filling up in her body.
Military training is compulsory in China. Training is normally 2-3 weeks before the school terms begin. In middle school, she practiced basic formation. In high school, she did drills and studied emergency evacuation. And in university, she undertook formal military training and more emergency evacuation training.
Her experience was so-so. She learned basic defense training before she entered middle school and learned to shoot a gun in highschool for a movie. In the military, she did formation marches, some running, more running, punishment squats, and written tests. The most impressionable memory she had in the military was the scorching sun and that's it.
‘Another form of insurance!’ Eugene slightly clenched her fists. ‘Now this will definitely protect me from any danger.’
Being too excited, Eugene failed to notice another individual that had blended in and crept up behind them for quite a long while now. It wasn’t until Duke Rodriguez introduced the individual that Eugene snapped out of it.
“This is instructor T.E. He will always be here to help you when I’m not around.” Duke Rodriguez introduced a very ordinary-looking individual with short dark brown hair. This person wasn’t macho like other soldiers they passed by but was more slender and lean looking. In other words, incredibly normal looking.
“Pleased to meet you, my name is T.E. Please call me Instructor T.E.” The ordinary man politely greeted with an ordinary voice.
“Eugeneia Veria.” Eugene politely nodded in acknowledgment.
“Aernest Veria! Hello!” Aernest grinned.
“My name is Aedelak. Pleased to be in your care.” Aedelak finished off their greetings.
“Well then, this particular training was especially stressed by the Commander for you to train and for you to master all the basics of this machinery by embedding it into your entire being.”
“Although he is not currently here with us, he is well aware of you and the incidents you were involved in. Because you choose the military path, he wishes for you to be thoroughly trained as soon as possible, and for you to have some form of basic defense in case a scenario where things go haywire occurs.”
“Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean the commander expects you to train vigorously like the military soldiers who shed blood, sweat, and tears on a daily basis. You are still young. Incredibly young. Yet, because of your origins, you are forced to never let your guard down.”
Everyone quietly listened as Duke Rodriguez seriously spoke. To Aernest, things like origins and never letting your guards down was something they couldn’t fathom. Meanwhile, Eugene and Aedelak who were older in age and more mature fully understood the Duke’s words.
Because of their birth circumstances, things like assassination, and things like someone plotting against them will be normalized the more they age. Letting your guard down for a second might kill you. Thinking you are safe because the place itself is safe, or there are plenty of guards protecting you, will get you killed. Anything can happen and this was a lesson they were forced to learn when they were incredibly young.
From Duke Rodriguez’s words, Eugene could roughly understand the intention behind the commander’s move of allowing them to train at the military base. This was most likely because he was someone who has a lot of sympathies and/or understands the weight of them having titles at such a young age.
‘But…’ Eugene blinked.
Adults aren’t that simple. Especially those of older age who have experiences with the way the world works. Things like sympathy are possible, but it was most likely on the lower spectrum of their mind.
“With this training, you will be able to overcome the physical differences between you and an adult. Well… That is actually wrong.” Duke Rodriguez corrected himself.
“With this weapon, you will be able to easily overpower any adult with bad intentions towards you. And with this weapon, you will be able to uphold your duties as a Paladin and protect the Crown Prince from any danger that may occur in the future.”
After Duke Rodriguez finished explaining, 2 macho soldiers came carrying what seemed to be four gun cases. Duke Rodriguez then motioned for the three children to get closer whilst opening a silver case that was handed over to him.
Eugene, Aernest, and Aedelak couldn’t help but gulp from the mysterious box being opened.
“We do not take up swords like knights.” Duke Rodriguez began.
“To hold a sword, one must have years of practice to be able to put it into good use. Swords are basically a useless form of weapon when given to a beginner. As you may or may not already know, only commoners join the Military. That alone already makes them unable to hold a sword. Why? Because only the Aristocats train with swords. Unlike the aristocrats, commoner children's needs to work to help their family out. And because they work, how will they have time to take up something useless like sword fighting?”
“This is why swords are useless in the military. What the soldiers have is physical strength and the discipline to never give up. These two things are already cultivated ever since they are young by helping their family out with work. With just a little polishing, their already established physical strength then becomes an incredibly powerful weapon. Yet… No matter how powerful people are, to fight a person with a weapon with your bare hands is asking to die.” Duke Rodriguez stopped to inhale.
“Which is why we, soldiers, are granted the use of guns.” Duke Rodriguez knocked on the silver case cover as he continued fumbling around with the object inside the case.
“This is a weapon only soldiers are allowed to use, you know? Even the Emperor is forbidden from handling guns. With this firearm and our physical strength, we soldiers are more powerful than the knights hahahahahah!” Duke Rodriguez laughed.
His laughter brought awkwardness to Eugene, Aernest, and Aedelak. Paladins are knights alright? Not to mention, Eugene and Aernest just began swords training. To call swords useless is… awkward...
“Oh, did I mention that these firearms are actually quite costly to make and only some units within the military are permitted to use it? Not to mention, the military is currently in the midst of upgrading the guns and those new guns will probably be even more scarce.” Duke Rodriguez scratched his head awkwardly.
“.....” Eugene stared blankly at Duke Rodriguez. ‘So is it useful or useless after all?’
“Let me explain the severity of using this weapon.” Duke Rodriguez coughed, becoming serious all of a sudden.
“One pull will seal the deal. This is a weapon that kills.”
Author’s Note: Merry Christmas guys~! Hope you all had a great Christmas! There are some updates about this novel that you should read. It's a bit long so --> Click Here! It's important so make sure to read~~ See you guys in February!
Author's Previous note: I completely forgot about compulsory military training in China! This is further elaborated in Ep 92.
I can already tell that some of you might have mixed thoughts about children and guns. Me too honestly. I had mixed thoughts writing this especially when I think about today and 2020. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way and think I advocate for children using guns. This novel is written in the medieval era and the world in the novel isn't as safe as our world. - Eugene currently can’t do anything. She can’t possibly beat whoever comes her way without a weapon (Which is why I want her to be familiarized with a gun now.)
I’m sure some idiotic aristocrats actually taught 3-5 year old how to use guns back in the days! And although this wouldn’t be common in 2020, I'm sure some rich family allows their 5 - 10-year-old to practice shooting just cause..
This is a fictional novel. Just like how Eugene was treated during the Prequel & Prologue of this book and the Assassination at the Royal Palace. Not everything makes sense, I understand. How can adults do this? How can they hurt a child? It’s not realistic. - It’s a novel. They thought Eugene was a neighbor spy. They witnessed Eugene killing. Should the soldiers not treat her roughly in that chapter cause she’s a child? - They should’ve treated her a bit better. But guess what? There’s more to it. And there are many reasons the soldiers should be wary of Eugene, especially during that arc.
I understand some of your mixed reaction, but I hope you understand that this is a novel. Eugene would beat up the people who hurt her and her comrades when she is able to! Don’t look down on Eugene! She wouldn’t take a free beating!. Heck no! Even a touch will result in death if you ever hurt my Eugene!
(February - September 2020)
(September 2020 - First half of 2021)