Grandson of the Holy Emperor is a Necromancer - Chapter 282
Eventually, the noisy equipment distribution came to an end. At the end of the distribution, Harman began issuing new commands to the recruits. “Everyone, get ready. Your new training shall start from…”
Right at that moment, Paladins suddenly marched into the practice grounds.
Harman stopped talking in surprise and confusion. One of the Paladins walked up to him to whisper something in his ear.
“…Real combat training? Where? The border region to Aslan?”
The Paladin nodded silently at Harman’s question. Meanwhile, the other Paladins stepping inside the practice grounds were dropping a large rucksack in front of each confused recruit.
“Wha-what the heck? Why are they so heavy?”
The recruits were already kitted out in their newly supplied armour. Now a leather bag filled with luggage was being given to them. Its contents were food and water meant to last a week, an outdoor tent, a blanket, a simple first aid kit with some bandages, and even a small shovel as well.
“From now on, we begin our march.” The recruits stared at Harman, their faces stunned. “Our destination is the border region with Aslan, where our border wall rests. We have a two-week march to reach there.”
The eyes of all the recruits widened greatly in an instant.
Even riding on carriages, it would take two weeks to get to the border. But now, this many people had to walk on foot to reach there in less than two weeks?!
“Those who fall behind will have their qualification to become the empire’s proud soldiers revoked.” Harman shouted out while scanning the faces of the recruits. “What are you all doing? Pick up your bags!”
The recruits hesitantly lifted up their bags.
With Harman at the front, the recruits formed somewhat orderly lines and marched out of the Imperial Palace.
And so, their long march began.
However, winter hadn’t ended yet and snow still fell from the heavens. The Paladins leading the wagons closely observed the new recruits toiling away.
“Fuu-woo… Fuu-woo…” Gril was breathing heavily as he struggled with his bag.
Adolf shifted his gaze over to Yuria, marching next to him. “Are you doing alright?”
“Please don’t worry. I can definitely do this,” Yuria replied while carrying a bag larger than she was. She was also grunting in some difficulty, however.
“In any case…” Adolf furrowed his brow. “When are we supposed to take a break?”
Eight hours of nonstop marching, then two hours of break, followed up by yet another eight hours of gruelling march.
The tiring, unforgiving march continued on in this manner. They had to sleep during those two hours of breaks, as well. It wasn’t surprising to see all the recruits were exhausted.
“The ones you’re about to face in the future are vampires, who do not sleep at night!” Harman was walking on the road and shouting at them. “So, you must get used to this. If you fail to endure, then forget about becoming a Paladin, you won’t even become a cleric!”
Gril listened to Harman’s shouts, panting laboriously.
Even though the Paladin was roaring at the top of his lungs and commanding the troops while marching alongside them, he didn’t even look remotely tired.
Just what was up with his monstrous stamina? That man was once Charlotte’s superior officer, although he somehow ended up as her subordinate these days.
“Bloody hell, just who am I?! I’m the proud father of a daughter serving as a Paladin! You think I can’t endure this little bit of hardship?!” Gril gnashed his teeth and continued to forge ahead.
“Argh, what a bother!”
Adolf flinched a little at that angry-sounding yell, and glanced to his side.
Yuria and her deeply crumpled expression was glaring at Gril walking ahead of her. “An uncle like that is doing it, so I can definitely do it, too!” She chased after Gril with determination to spare.
“…Well, they are overflowing with tenacity, at least.”
Adolf turned his head at that voice, and promptly froze in surprise. “Fella, isn’t that a bit too uncomfortable to wear?”
A rather peculiar individual among the recruits was walking next to him.
This person was kitted out in the set of heavy chain mail and a surcoat while carrying the rucksack on his back. On these points alone, he didn’t seem all that different from any other recruits. Other than the fact that a bird-beak mask was covering his face, instead of the usual helm that everyone else had to wear, that was.
“Nope, not at all,” said this peculiar bird-beak masked recruit with a shake of his head.
This guy was not even bothering with polite speech from the very beginning. Adolf thought inwardly that indeed, the world was full of eccentric people like this guy. “We will be comrades moving on, so we should at least exchange our names, don’t you think? My name is Adolf.”
Adolf extended his hand, and the eccentric recruit shook it firmly and replied, “I’m Extra, an apothecary.”
The march continued on, and half of the original group eventually dropped out.
Around the time the second week was coming to an end, the recruits finally could see their destination in the distance.
“I, I see it!”
“It’s the border wall!”
They excitedly pointed at the wall standing tall and proud at the border region. They stared at the tall and imposing structure and rejoiced.
Harman took a deep breath and exhaled softly. He seemed to be tired as well, because he had to shake his head once before he could shout at the recruits, “Prepare to set up camp!”
Even though everyone was exhausted, they still went ahead and prepared camp.
“Finally, it’s over.”
“No, wait a minute. We still have to go back, right?”
“Dear goddess! Goddess Gaia, please save our souls…!”
“S-still, we should at least get a good night’s sleep tonight.”
The recruits vented their dissatisfaction.
Meanwhile, Gril, Adolf, and Yuria worked together to prepare for the night. They gathered firewood and set up their tents.
While staring at the tall border wall, Gril let out an exclamation of awe, “Wow! So that’s the border wall that kept Aslan out all this time.”
That wall signified the border to the nation of Aslan, the one that Charlotte had crossed over to wage war in the not-too distant past.
“Uncle? Your mouth,” Yuria called out to Gril, and he hurriedly clamped his slack jaw shut.
As they got back to work, Adolf walked up to them. “I received our share of food and water.”
The week’s worth of provisions they had received at the start of the march had long run out during this two week-long journey. Maybe that was the reason why new provisions were being distributed by the fortress near the border wall.
“Isn’t this a lot?” Yuria asked, while her brows shot up.
“Maybe it’s also for another week?” Adolf replied, rubbing his chin. He didn’t forget to sneak a glance at other recruits nearby, however.
Some of them were gorging themselves, while a few others were splitting a portion of the new provisions and cautiously packing them away in their luggage for safekeeping.
“…It seems that food and water will remain important in the future, too,” Adolf muttered to no one in particular.
“That should be the case. It’ll be smarter of you to eat sparingly from now on,” a voice suddenly came from the side, and Adolf turned his head to look.
“Oh, it’s you. Uhm, so…”
‘What a… unique name that is’, thought Adolf. ‘Also, a fairly easy name to forget, as well…’
Gril stared at the man wearing the bird-beak mask and just had to say something. “Now that’s a weird mask you got there, fella. If you aren’t a former cleric, then you must be a real oddball.”
Yuria promptly retorted to him, “…But uncle, you’re the real oddball here, you know?”
“Hey, you. You have a problem with me or something?!”
“You’re the one who started it first!”
Gril and Yuria began bickering away.
Extra ignored those two and turned his attention back to Adolf. “Is it fine to join you?”
“Of course.” Adolf nodded back.
Although this masked recruit looked rather weird, he didn’t come across as a bad person, at least. More importantly, though, if he was an apothecary, then he might prove to be helpful later on.
Adolf turned his head and watched Gril, Yuria, and Extra chatting away. Even in the middle of their chat, they still glanced in the general direction of the border wall behind them.
Priests donning the distinctive white robes had gathered there, but there were some others who looked like magicians wearing black robes in front of them, as well.
‘Are they Necromancers?’, Adolf wondered inwardly.
Aslan had become a vassal nation to the Theocratic Empire after the war. As such, it would not be that surprising to receive support from the Necromancers.
The real question was, though, why were they here in the first place?
“Everyone, rest up well for tonight! Today’s training will end with the conclusion of the march!”
The recruits roared out in elation at Harman’s words.
But Adolf was making a wary expression, instead. “Is that for real?”
“What do you mean?”
When Yuria asked that, Adolf looked back at her and replied, “I was talking about our training.”
Gril butted in, “Nah, it should be fine. Lord Harman might have a stiff upper lip and makes a lot of wrong assumptions like an idiot, but let me tell you this.”
Harman suddenly fake-coughed for some reason in the distance…
“He sure can be flexible when it comes to it,” Gril declared quite confidently.
Yuria asked him while sounding rather surprised, “Uncle, are you acquainted with that Lord Paladin?”
“Of course! I may look this way, but I’m acquainted with lots of people in high places, girlie!” Gril stood tall and proud as he answered. Yuria stared at him with an uncertain expression on her face.
“It’ll be a good idea to get some sleep now.” The trio’s gaze shifted over to the man wearing the bird-beak mask. He was advising them for some reason. “Things will get really hectic from tomorrow on.”
Those words seemed to contain some other deeper meaning. However, both Gril and Yuria didn’t think too much about it. Only Adolf continued to stare at Extra.
“Well, then. Lights out!”
With the exception of the recruits doing the nightwatch duties, the rest went to bed.
As the night deepened, the Necromancers began wielding their staves. They used demonic energy to summon some fog to cover the ground, and the fog slowly seeped into the tents of the sleeping recruits.
And so, the next morning…
A nasty surprise was in store for the recruits after they woke up, causing them to open their eyes real wide.
Several recruits suddenly broke out in high fever. Some even coughed and wheezed nonstop, while vomiting as well.
“What the heck?! What’s going on here???”
Gril, Adolf, and Yuria stared at this sight in a daze.
Of the one thousand remaining recruits, about fifty of them were plopped down on the ground while vomiting away. Their panting sounded so laborious that they might keel over at any given moment.
Adolf checked out the black spots appearing on those recruits’ faces.
‘Wait, could that be…?’
“It’s a plague,” Extra muttered.
Adolf automatically gasped, “…A plague?”
A plague had spread out overnight through the camp.
Adolf hurriedly looked around and saw the Priests in the distance, but none of them were making a move.
He quickly approached Harman and asked him. “Lord Paladin, it’s a plague! Sir, if it’s not treated right away…!”
Harman glanced at him before replying, “Don’t worry.”
“…What do you mean?” Yuria and Gril had also come over to ask.
Harman continued on, “It’s nothing more than a non-life threatening plague. Of course, we don’t know what will happen once the illness becomes worse, but if that happens, we shall make our move.”
When Adolf heard that reply, he automatically recalled the Necromancers he had seen late last night.
‘No, it couldn’t be…?’
Harman swept his gaze over the recruits. “This is your next training.” He then called out loudly to everyone, “Survive the plague!”
The faces of Gril, Adolf, and Yuria paled in an instant at that order.
< 148. Train like it’s the real deal -1 (Part One and Two) > Fin.