Two weeks had passed since the fact that Hajime was the weakest was made known to everyone.
Currently, Hajime was using his break time from training to check out the Royal Library. On his hand was a large handbook titled “Illustrated Handbook of Northern Continent’s Magic Beasts”. The reason why Hajime was reading this book, was because after these two weeks of training, he had realized that he was even more useless than he had imagined himself to be. However, he could utilize knowledge and wisdom to compensate for his lack of strength. Thus, he had decided to utilize his break time from training to increase his knowledge.
“Haiii~” Hajime let out a sigh after reading the handbook for quite some time, then he threw it onto the table. “Bang! Boom!” The sound startled a librarian who just happened to pass by, causing the librarian to glare at Hajime.
Hajime was also surprised as he hurriedly apologized to the librarian. “Be careful next time!” the librarian continued to glare at Hajime. Hajime could not help but lament in his heart “What the heck am I doing?” and yet again letting out another deep sigh.
Hajime slowly took out his Status plate as he rested his cheek on the palm and glanced at it.
|Nagumo Hajime||17 Year old||Male|
|Magic Power:||12||Magic Resistance:||12|
|Transmutation • Language Comprehension|
This was the result of Hajime’s hard training for the past two weeks. Ridiculous! Naturally, he was ridiculing his own results. By the way, let’s take a look at Kouki’s stats.
|Amanogawa Kouki||17 Year old||Male|
|Magic Power:||200||Magic Resistance:||200|
|All Elemental Aptitude • All Elemental Resistance • Physical Resistance • Complex Magic • Swordplay • Herculean Strength • Ground Shrink • Foresight • High Speed Magic Recovery • Presence Perception • Magic Perception • Limit Break • Language Comprehension|
His growth rate was about five times of Hajime’s. Moreover, Hajime had also realized that he did not have aptitude for magic. What’s the deal with having no magic affinity? Let’s start by explaining the concept of magic in this world.
The process of utilizing magic in Tortus was by channeling magic power from one’s body into a magic circle by means of an incantation, which would then activate the magic spells. There was no way to directly activate the spells with magic power, one must construct the corresponding magic circles to cast the respective spells.
Also, the magic power that was channeled into the magic circle would increase in proportion to the incantation time. The scale of the magic circle would magnify in accordance to the complexity of the spell, which will inevitably lead the magic circle itself to become larger.
For example, the 【Fireball】 attack which was a signature magic spell in RPG would require a 20 cm wide magic circle. Basic techniques such as attribute, power, range, scope, and magic absorption (The method to channel the magic power in one’s body) were required. Other things such as inductivity and sustained duration were also required for the spells, which would end up increasing the scale of the magic circle.
On the other hand, there are exceptions to these concepts. That is one’s aptitude. Basically aptitude means that some people with unique body constitution could leave out some formulas when using magic spells. For example, a person with the fire-type aptitude will not require to write the attribute section of the magic formula. Instead, one can rely on imagination to make-up for this omission. Instead of writing the attribute section, one can just imagine the fire while chanting the incantation, which will then bring out the fire attribute in the spell.
Most people will have some sort of aptitude, and the aforementioned 20 cm diameter of magic circle is an estimate for an average person. In Hajime’s case, he does not have any aptitude. Other than the five basic techniques, he still had to add in the speed, trajectory, diffusion rate, control rate, and such meticulous techniques. Thus, Hajime required a magic circle close to 2 meter wide to launch a 【Fireball】 spell. This would not be practical in a real-combat scenario.
There are two ways to engrave the magic circle; By using a special kind of paper which can only be used one time and metal engravings which can be used multiple times. The former has a wide versatility, but can only be used once and its strength will also decrease. The latter can be used several times and still retain its strength, but its magic spell cannot be changed and it is bulky. The priests and Ishtar all wields staffs which contains the metal engravings.
Well, in short, it was not practical for close combat, especially if the person did not have an aptitude. For the “Synergist” class, it could only separate or create compounds, other than manufacturing purpose, it was useless. There was also no divine artifact that was helpful for transmutation. Hajime only received a pair of gloves with transmutation magic circle carved on it. Well, was there any point in making pitfalls and traps? Even if Hajime could do it on the ground, the scale would be a little too big…… He would become an easy target in combat.
During these two weeks, Hajime’s classmates had labelled him as worthless. There was nothing he could do about it, except accumulating knowledge…… His future was bleak and the only thing that increased recently was his unceasing sighs.
“Bah, might as well just go out and travel.” While thinking like this, Hajime peered through the library’s window, and gazed at the blue sky outside. In the end, he began to give his future a serious thought, recollecting all of the knowledge he had painstakingly gathered in the past two weeks. Hajime sunk into a deep thought.
(That’s it, I should go to the demi-human’s country. A mystical world without kemonomimi is simply out of question…… However they were located deep in the “Sea of Trees”~. Because of the discriminatory attitude towards the demi-humans, the only ones outside of the forest were the slaves.)
According to Hajime’s knowledge, the demi-humans were discriminated and holed up deep in the 【Hartzena Sea of Trees】 that spread across the North and South on the East side of the continent. Why were they being discriminated? It was because they did not possess any magic power.
According to the legends, during the age of Gods, this world was created by God Eht and his apostles using ancient magic. The magic that was used in this age was a degraded version of the ancient magic. Therefore, magic was admired by everybody as it was a gift from the Gods. Of course, these were all teachings from the Saint’s Church.
Because of this notion, the demi-human which could not use any magic was viewed by humans as an evil race abandoned by the Gods. Then, what about the magic beasts? It is said that magic beasts are a race that brings about disaster and does not have the blessings from the God. They are just a vermin. Hajime was aghast at this kind of over-generalised perception the humans had.
Other than that, even though the demons worshipped a different God from the “Eht-sama” which the Saint’s Church worshipped, their view of demi-humans was the same as the humans’. In addition, every demons have high magic aptitude, they require a much shorter incantations than the humans, and a tiny magic circle possesses enormous firepower.
Humans — Because of the difference in the Gods they worshipped — affirmed the demons as their enemies (Saint’s Church’s teachings) and discriminated the demi-humans who were not loved by Gods. Demons are the same as the humans. Not much is known about the demi-human race, but they probably should feel the same way? All the races are really exclusive.
(If getting to the “Sea of Trees” is impossible, then maybe I should go to the West Sea? Indeed, there should be a maritime city called Elisen. If I can’t see a kemonomimi then I want to see mermaids. Mermaids are a man’s romance. And I also want to eat the seafood there.)
【The Maritime City Elisen】 is located at the coast of the West Sea and known as the seafaring demi-human’s city. This was the only tribe of the demi-humans that received the protection of the kingdom. The reason was because this city supplied 80% of the seafood and marine-related materials to the Northern Continent’s markets. There were no other reasons. What happened to the self-righteous discrimination? Hajime was disgusted at this kind of reasoning.
After passing through the Western Sea, one will reach the 【Guryuu-en Great Desert】. In this desert, there is the trading transit, which also served as an important oasis, the 【Dukedom of Ancadi】, there was also the 【Guryuu-en Great Volcano】. This 【Guryuu-en Great Volcano】 is one of the Seven Great Dungeons.
The Seven Great Dungeons were few of the most dangerous zones in this world. There was one dungeon located at the Southwest of the Hairihi kingdom, and 【Orcus Great Dungeon】 which was located at the center of Guryuu-en Great Desert. In addition, the previously mentioned 【Hartzena Sea of Trees】 was another one of the Seven Great Dungeons. They mentioned Seven Great Dungeons, and yet only three were mentioned, that was because the other dungeons were only briefly mentioned in the Ancient Recordings, their exact locations had not been confirmed yet.
Tentatively, there were speculations of the Great Dungeons in certain places. Such as the 【Raisen Great Canyon】 which cuts across the North to South of the continent, and the 【Shune Snowfield】 in the snowy Southern region of the continent.
(Desert is still impossible after all… If that is the case, I can only look at the slaves in the Empire… I still don’t have the confidence that I will be able to maintain my calm while looking at kemomimi who were treated as slaves.)
Empire refers to the Herrlicht Empire. This nation was founded by a group of mercenaries during a large-scale war against the demons 300 years ago. This is a military nation which employs numerous powerful mercenaries and adventurers. This nation is ruled by the supremacy of strength, which is quite a dark nation.
The people of this nation do not care so much about the affairs of the demi-humans or other matters, they will just use anything that is of use to them. That is why there are so many slave-traders who deal with demi-human slaves.
The empire is located between the Hairihi Kingdom and the 【Neutral Commercial City of Fhuren】. As the name implies, 【Fhuren】 was an independent trading city which remained neutral. This country was managed properly, by utilizing its economic power to the limit, it was able to maintain its neutrality. One can get anything they want in this city, it was not known as the commerce center for nothing.
(Sigh~ In the end, I cannot run away if I want to return home. Ah, shoot, it’s time for training!)
In the end, the only way to escape from reality is to shake one’s head. Realizing it was almost time for training, Hajime ran out of the library in a hurry. The road to the Royal Palace was just a short distance, however, it was flooded with cheers and bustle from the Royal Capital. The sound of merchants touting their wares, the sound children playing around, and the sound of elders reprimanding their overexcited child, it was a very peaceful day.
(Seems like I really can’t return home without participating in the war~)
Faced with the upcoming depressing period, Hajime escaped reality by indulging himself in unrealistic dream.
When Hajime reached the training ground, there were already students there chatting happily while doing some independent training. It seemed like Hajime had arrived earlier than expected. Hajime retrieved a western-style sword which was given to him and also started his own free practice.
Suddenly, Hajime felt an attack from his back and hurriedly took a step forward. When he saw the unsheathed sword that just swept past, he broke into cold sweat. He frowned as he saw the face he was expecting to see, he couldn’t help but show an annoyed expression. As expected, it was Hiyama Daisuke and his gang the Bastards Four (the nickname Hajime had for them). Every time, they would try to create trouble for Hajime during the period before the training commenced. They were half of the reason why Hajime was so depressed during training. (The other half was because of his incompetence)
“Yo, Nagumo, what are you doing? There is no meaning with you carrying that sword, you are so useless after all~”
“Hey, Hiyama that was overboard! Even if that is the truth, you don’t have to say it out~ Wehehehehe”
“Why do you come for every training! If it was me, I would have been too ashamed of myself! Heh-heh-heh”
“Ah, Daisuke, since that fellow is so pitiful, why don’t let him train with us?”
Hiyama and the rest were laughing like madman, was there any meaning to this?
“Ah? Hey hey, Shinji, aren’t you being too nice? Oh, actually I am also a nice guy, let’s train together~”
“Oh oh, good idea. We are super nice. We are willing to spend our precious time to help this incompetent fellow~. Nagumo~ you must be grateful, right?”
After saying their piece, Hiyama and gang was all smiles as they brought Hajime to a secluded place shoulder to shoulder. Moreover, the classmates who noticed this scene also turned a blind eye to it.
“No, I am alright being alone, you can leave me by my lonesome self.”
As such, Hajime tried to reject tactfully.
“Ha? We are going out of the way to train the useless you, and yet you were saying this to us? You are being unreasonable. You just need to remain silent, and say ‘thank you’ afterwards. Just that sentence will be enough!”
As Hiyama said that, he hit Hajime in the side. “Urgh!” Hajime let out a groan as his face distorted in pain. Hajime did not remember that they were those type of people who would easily resort to violence. However when adolescence boys were suddenly granted such huge power, it was only natural for them to be deeply engrossed. As thus, they were unable to restrain themselves from targeting Hajime. Hajime who had no power to resist, could only clench his teeth and bear with it.
Not long later, they arrived at an isolated corner of the training ground. Hiyama sent Hajime flying with a violent punch.
“Hey, get up quickly. Isn’t this a happy training period?”
Hiyama, Nakano, Saito, and Kondo then surrounded Hajime. Hajime gritted his teeth and stood up unwillingly.
At that moment, Kondo used his sheathed sword to hit Hajime on his back. Hajime let out a scream as he fell forward, and even more attacks were added on.
“Hey, why are you sleeping? It’s going to burn~ Burn my target, 【Fireball】”
Nakano launched a fireball. Hajime who was unable to get up from the floor due to the pain on his back desperately rolled around to avoid the spell. However, as if it was already planned, Saito casted another spell.
“Slice my target, 【Windball】”
Hajime who just stood up was hit by the windball in the stomach, and was sent flying by the wind. Hajime let out a “Bleeegh” sound as he throw up some gastric fluid while squatting. The magic itself was just a simple 10 cm wide magic. Even if that was the case, it still had the power of a professional boxer’s punch. The main reason for such power was due to their high aptitude, the other reason was because the medium they used were the Divine Artifacts given by the Kingdom. Otherwise, their attacks would be even weaker than the fire used in cooking or a cool breeze.
“Hey, you are too weak. Nagumo-chan~ can’t you put in some effort?”
With that, Hiyama kicked Hajime who was still crouching in the stomach. Hajime did his best to prevent himself from puking. The lynching which was disguised as training also continued for a period of time. Hajime clenched his teeth to bear the pain while he lamented why was he the only one who was so weak. Even if he was no match for them, he could at least counter-attack. However, since young, Hajime was never good at dealing with conflicts. Whenever there was a conflict between Hajime and the others, only he would get hurt. He believed that if he took a step back, the conflict would eventually come to end, which was much better than quarreling.
Some people said such actions of Hajime was very kind while others said Hajime was just a coward. Hajime himself also didn’t know which was he classified as. When the pain was getting unbearable, an angry girl’s voice suddenly rang out.
“What are you all doing!?”
When the Bastard Four heard that voice, their faces revealed a dreaded expression. It was only natural. That girl was Hiyama’s crush, Kaori. However, it was not just Kaori, even Shizuku, Kouki, and Ryutaro came too.
“ No, please do not misunderstand. We were just helping Nagumo with his special training…”
Kaori ignored Hiyama’s explanation as she ran beside Hajime who was still squatting and coughing non-stop. The moment she saw Hajime, everything else did not matter to her.
“Special training? Then this was a really one-sided training.”
“No, this is…”
“I don’t care about your excuses. Among the classmates, Nagumo-kun is not suited for combat. This kind of incident should not happen again.”
“If you have so much free time, you should use it to train yourself and get stronger.”
Seeing the situation, Hiyama and the others let out an awkward laughter as they left in a hurry. Under Kaori’s healing magic, Hajime’s injuries were gradually recovering.
“T-thank you Shirasaki-san. I’m saved.”
Looking at Hajime’s bitter smile, Kaori shook her head as she teared up.
“Has this been always happening? If that’s the case, I…”
For some reason, Kaori was glaring at the direction which Hiyama and his gang left in, Hajime hurriedly tried to stop her.
“No, it is not always like this! It’s alright, I am fine!”
Even so, Kaori looked like she was still unable to accept it, Hajime reassured her with another smile. Finally, Kaori relented.
“Nagumo-kun, if there is anything just feel free to tell me. If not, you can also talk to Kaori.”
Shizuku forced a smile as she cast a sidelong glance at Kaori who had an agonized expression, and Hajime also expressed his thanks to her. However, pouring cold water here was also the Hero’s ⌈1⌋ talent.
“But, Nagumo should work harder too. Excuses will not help you become stronger. I have heard that during the break time, you are always in the library. I suppose that should stop now. If I was you, I will spend every moment of my free time training to become stronger. Nagumo, you should also be more serious, otherwise, Hiyama and his gang might bully you again.”
How could Hajime explain his way out? Hajime stood there half-dazed as he listened. Ah~ ah~ seriously, Amanogawa was a person who believed in the good of others, so he thought that everybody would act out of kindness. This was why he gave such an advice to Hajime. Hajime couldn’t help but force a smile. In Amanogawa’s line of thoughts, there is no evil in humanity. He thought that those people had a reason behind their actions. It was surely not because of the other person involved! He had this kind of thought process.
Furthermore, Kouki did not have any malice behind his words, he was seriously advising Hajime to be more serious. Hajime was already exhausted and did not have any energy to resolve the misunderstanding. He thought it would be useless to correct Kouki who had such a strong sense of justice.
Shizuku who understood the situation covered her face and heaved a sigh, she apologised to Hajime in a low voice.
“I’m sorry, Kouki did not have any ill intentions.”
“Ahaha… En, I know, so it’s fine.”
Hajime replied with a smile as he got up and dusted off his dirty clothes.
“Look, training has already started. Let’s go?”
Under Hajime’s urging, everybody returned to the training grounds. Kaori was still concerned about Hajime, but Hajime kept feigning ignorance. As expected, as a man, he did not want to reveal his weak side to a fellow female classmate.
On the way back to the training ground, Hajime kept sighing. His future looked bleak.
Usually after the training ended, they would have free time till dinner time. However this time, Commander Meld held everybody back for an announcement. The students were wondering what was going on as Commander Meld used a deep voice to announce.
“From tomorrow onward, we will be conducting our practical training in Orcus Great Dungeon. All the necessary equipment will be prepared by us, I want to use the Magic Beasts outside the capital as practice target. More importantly, get your spirits up! Have a good rest tonight! Dismiss!”
He quickly conveyed the important announcement like this. Amongst the hustling and bustling of the students, Hajime sat at the end as he looked up at the sky.
(…My future looks really bleak.)
- Silva: You know what it means, who else can it be other than Kouki? ↩