77. Chapter 77
After a gentle rite of passage, the group began to move to a magical silver mine called the Carorolaia Vein. It took about two days, but for Walm, who was accustomed to marching, it was just like a nostalgic excursion. The Highserk soldiers who had already joined the garrison of the Carorolaia Vein, made that nostalgic feeling stronger.
If outside forces were invited to the conflict between the lords of the Archipelago, a criticism couldn’t be escaped. In that respect, ironically, Highserk soldiers would be the right people. Since the empire ostensibly had been destroyed, the wandering former Highserk Empire soldiers were put in the mercenary unit, and dispatched like that.
It was unclear whether the wisdom from the Dalimarx Family was spot on, but given the achievement of the Highserk Empire, which had shocked and overwhelmed international affairs, it could be said as good wisdom.
Walm who had been lost in the sea of thoughts, when the whole unit became sluggish, his consciousness was returned to the reality.
The physical strength of each soldier and others varied widely, and due to the unfamiliar handling of spears and fatigue due to their weight during the march, the formation seemed to be delayed.
In the first place, when it came to carrying a spear, supporting it with your shoulders while moving should be the basic among the basics. For the soldiers who were familiar with it, they would naturally adjust the angle of the spear even if the interval got narrowed, but unfamiliar soldiers would hit the spear against each other, ending with spears colliding with each other.
In fact, a spear was approaching Walm. He grabbed the wandering spear tip, and decided to be more careful.
“Don’t lose your grip too much. It may hit a person. Better to hold it with more angle.”
“Y-yes! I’m sorry.”
The young soldier obediently changed the angle of the spear, but over time it gradually collapsed.
Well, if you kept a spear on your shoulder for a long time, your shoulder might swell.
If you carried a spear on your back for a long time, your skin might become stiff due to repeated stimuli. You might be able to automatically stretch the magical barrier, which was made from mana, but it would be a ridiculous thing to ask from a boy.
An idea about holding the spear in the boy’s place came to mind for a moment, but it would be better to rely on others as little as possible on the battlefield, so Walm didn’t do that. In the battle, it was out of the question to leave your most loved thing to others. Even the three idiots often said that on a battlefield, you could let go of your lover’s hand anytime, but you should never let go of your weapon.
“It’s coming down again. If your shoulder hurts, put a piece of cloth on the friction point. It’ll help you maintain the position a little better.”
Walm always had a piece of cloth ready. After all, it had many uses. It could be used to prevent the sound of iron rubbing against each other, and also wrap food. But the greatest advantage of having it anytime was that it could be used as bandages when he himself or his companions got injured.
“Sorry, but I don’t have it.”
The boy shyly said.
When Walm left the countryside, he was taught about that by his uncle, who had experience in military service, but for someone who had no one to get advice from, of course, the boy wouldn’t have the knowledge.
Walm removed a piece of cloth from his magic bag.
“I’ll give you, so use it.”
“T-thank you very much. Hm? There’s something inside?”
It was unclear whether he was obedient or unable to tolerate the pain any longer, but the boy didn’t hesitate to accept it. The bags handed over were packed with beans.
“It’s dried beans. It’s a hassle to take out the contents. Eat with your friend.”
“Thank you very much!!”
“I’m sorry for troubling you, we even got some beans. Thank you.”
When the boys looked at each other, they tried to eat the beans with one hand, but they couldn’t bring them to their mouths well.
The other boy couldn’t carry the beans to his mouth because his other hand was holding the spear. As for the boy who was given directly by Walm, he stretched his hand to bring the beans to his mouth, but as he needed to match the walking speed with the rest, the weight of his spear made him lose his balance. It was like a comedy act.
Walm almost smile, but he held it up and said,
“Hey, the beans will fall. I’ll bring the spear for you guys.”
“No, we can’t trouble you any further.”
“I don’t want to be hit with a spear because you’re so desperate to eat beans.”
During the march, Walm put the halberd in the magic bag, and was empty except for the longsword that hung on his waist.
When Walm reached out for the boy, two spears were timidly presented. He clenched the spears and look down at them. Both were mass-produced products made in the same length. A simple straight spear, and the tip was reinforced with an iron plate so that it wouldn’t be cut off by a sword that easily.
It was hard material that would be fine even if swung with full force. And even if used to hit an enemy soldier from above the helmet, it would still give an impact on the head. Before Walm used the halberd, he often used a similar spear. It was damaged in a battle and discarded, but it truly was a spear that was easy to use even for hitting, piercing, or slashing. But even two iron spears, were lighter than the Walm’s halberd.
The boys seemed to have finished eating the beans while Walm was playing with the spear that awakened a distant memory. They were tilting a wooden water bottle now, but anything barely came out. It seemed that the contents had run out.
It would be troublesome to fall down due to dehydration before the war.
Walm sighed inwardly.
Since it turned like this, he couldn’t help but get involved.
“I’ll fill the contents, so give me the water bottle.”
The boy tilted his head at Walm’s low-voiced request, but obediently obeyed.
“Your body is still underdeveloped, you have less blood than adults. This time, it can’t be helped, but be more careful about distributing water to your body. You can’t always get drinking water.”
Walm’s former squad, including him, had two magic-user with water attributes and wasn’t troubled with water for drinking, but the other squads were struggling to secure water.
Sure they were always on the front line and had the chance for plundering goods, but because of the water, they were given a preferential treatment of supplies over other squads. However, when forming a position, it was kind of interesting because the position was replaced with a squad that had a magic-user with earth attributes.
After handing over the spear and receiving the water bottle, Walm consumed his mana and filled the water bottle. Unlike fire and wind, his water attribute was low in compatibility, even producing water for drink taking quite an amount of mana that was always not worth considering the amount he produced.
The bottle was filled to the limit, and pushed back to the boys.
“Don’t talk about it.”
Walm’s intention was conveyed without fail. The boy repeatedly nodded with just his neck. Walm reluctantly accepted his role as a water dispenser before bedtime and during meals, but he just consumed his energy during the march. If all the soldiers in the line were asking for water, Walm would be exhausted due to his inefficient water magic.
Looking at the tip of the spear that was swaying in front of him, he felt it was worth the effort, as it was no longer approaching him again, resulting in him being able to continue the march with peace of mind.
The twin moons were looking into the horizon and the night was about to come. The march reduced the soldiers’ physical strength, and no one seemed to be in high spirits.
Walm chose a sleeping place in the back area of what was supposed to be a camp. He took a one-handed battle axe out of the magic bag and cut down a short tree. It contained a lot of water than normal, but it was a trivial problem for Walm, who specialized in fire magic.
Turned the blade of the battle ax over and dig a hole in the ground with the sharpest edge. A dent tended to retain heat better than the flat ground and also served as a windbreak. The ground seemed to contain a small amount of water, but Walm quickly manifested fire to the vertically divided firewood he had stacked.
After several tens of seconds, the water disappeared, and when the firewood had finally ignited, the blue flame extended from the hollow. Walm put the rest of the firewood beside the bonfire. This way, moisture would go away naturally without using more fire magic.
A while later, Walm turned to firewood as he took off his armor. The fire was about to break in the middle of the night. He was wondering if he needed a little more wood and looking if there was another short tree, but a pair of soldiers were approaching.
“May I have some of your time?”
Walm blatantly had a reluctant expression on his face, but the boys braved themselves and kept approaching him. Perhaps it was because the sun had set, the surrounding was getting dark and the visibility was getting worse.
“It’s not enough for a thank you, but here’s some firewood.”
Since they were marching on a unit-by-units, collecting firewood was a competition. It seemed that the two boys were busy collecting before approaching Walm. Considering the effort, it might be better to obediently receive a gift called firewood.
“Firewood is more than welcome. Well, sit down.”
The boy soldiers sat around the fire.
“We apologize for the inconvenience during the march.”
“The dried beans, were delicious.”
“Don’t worry. I was too, saved in the past.”
Walm was also helped by the Squad Commander, the Three Idiots, and other squad members during his rookie era when he didn’t know right or left.
“Oh, right. I haven’t given my name. I’m Kuwen.”
A boy with short hair introduced himself. He looked like the energetic type.
Kalim had brown hair with some curls. Hearing his lazy way of speaking, made Walm feel that he might be a carefree person.
After introducing himself, Walm prepared meals.
“I’m going to have a hotpot, how about it eating together? Do you have anything on hand?”
The boys took out beans, dried potatoes, and brilliantly colored mushrooms.
“Can it, be eaten…?”
It wasn’t a joke. Walm didn’t know. Also, if your stomach got angry during the march, you could be left behind.
The boys explained to Walm, who looked at the mushrooms suspiciously.
“It’s thick and delicious.”
“It looks poisonous, but I ate it in the village. It’s fine.”
In this world, sure there was a difference in the level, but some had Poison Resistance skills just that they were unaware of it.
Walm didn’t mean to doubt the boys’ behavior, but he was reluctant. The problem was that it would be put in the pot.
Should I ask them not to put those things in?
— Albeit scared of what the boys would put in the pot, Walm decided to trust his stomach and prepared for the worst.
Salt, cabbage, and sausage meat were taken out from the magic bag. When Walm begins to fill the pot with water, the two boys naturally started to prepare for cooking.
Cut the ingredients into small pieces with a dagger, stuck two Y-shaped branches to the ground, and passed a relatively straight branch over it. The preparation was completed much faster than doing it alone.
“The magic-user who shot the fireball during the training was, Walm-san, right?”
“Yeah, that’s right.”
There, Walm guessed, that the boy must be the one who had fallen during the training, but once he tried to recall the memory, he was sure that it was the boy who was now sitting in front of him.
“Kuwen, you fell down at that time, right?”
The brown-haired boy told so as to tease.
“It can’t be helped. I’ve never seen magic, moreover, it exploded nearby.”
“Well, to be honest, I was about to fall too.”
The two continued to have a friendly conversation. Occasionally Walm joined, but the story was mostly about the two boys. Most of what Walm said was regarding the questions they had about the battlefield.
From the two, Walm felt that in addition to the heightened feelings for the first actual battle, there was the indescribable anxiety.
“Yes, it’s boiled.”
“It’s time to enjoy the meal.”
The pot heated by the bonfire was finally boiled and the diffused smell stimulated the nasal cavity. Steam could be seen from the soup scooped up by the ladle.
After everyone got their portion, Walm brought the soup into his mouth. There was still a suspicion of poisonous mushrooms, but the umami was well dissolved in the soup, and the mushrooms themselves were thick and satisfying to eat.
The other ingredients’ flavor was enriched. The cabbage and beans were also soaked in flavor. When the sausage meat got bit by the teeth, the meat juice overflowed after a slight elasticity.
Put the provided hard-baked bread into the soup, it was delicious. The boys had a strong appetite. Kuwen was struggling with the residual heat of the large number of ingredients thrown into his mouth, perhaps because he had sensitive tongue. As for Kalim, he continued to eat at a constant speed.
How long has it been since I have a meal with someone else like this?
Walm silently tasted the soup while being soaked in a sentimental atmosphere.
The conversation continued after the meal, but the two who consumed a lot of physical strength were drowsy. Walm took out the stone he put in the bonfire with a wooden stick and wrapped it in the cloth given during the march before giving it back to the boy.
In this world without disposable body warmers, Walm kept his body temperature by putting warm stones in his pocket. A nice partner who would accompany him spending the night. Such a thing worked really well before bedtime.
The two boys, who put the warm stone covered with a cloth on their abdomen, let go of their consciousness as if they fainted.
Walm also wore a cloak while entrusting himself to the heat of the warm stone. Slowly, he shrunk his limbs in the cloak.
Snores were rising everywhere in the camp.
It felt like a lie that they were going to the battlefield.
Exhaling a frosty breath while being watched by the fire, the night went on.
After a long time, the sleep that had become completely worse after serving in the military chose to lurk in the shadows, and as it was, consciousness slowly faded.
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