[Vol 4] Chapter 5 – The Only Way to Survive
“Well then, I think you all need some combat training” (Hajime)
Hajime and his group’s ban from the Faea Belgaen had them residing in a temporary base near the Great Tree when he thought of this. Even though it was called a base, it was actually only a barrier made of Faedraean crystals that… Hajime nonchalantly stole. Located inside were a bunch of dazed expressions accompanied by rabbit ears.
“Th-that… Hajime-san. By combat training… you mean…” (Shia)
Shia asked him on behalf of her perplexed clan.
“Just like I said, what else? Anyway, we can’t reach the Great Tree before ten days pass, right? Then it’s better to effectively use that time, I’m thinking of turning sore losers like you with weak and fragile mentality into a tribe who excels in combat.” (Hajime)
“Wh-why did you think that…” (Shia)
The rabbit-ears were trembling from the intimidating aura that could be felt from Hajime’s eyes and whole body. Shia naturally doubted Hajime’s abrupt declaration.
“Why? Did you ask why? Shameless rabbit.” (Hajime)
“Au, you are still not calling me by name…” (Shia)
Hajime’s skeptical eyes explained to the depressed Shia.
“Listen well. The promise that I had with you guys was only to protect you until you done guiding me. Then, what will you do after guiding me, have you thought about it at all?” (Hajime)
The Haulia tribe’s members looked at each other then shook their heads. Kam also had a hard expression. Even though they vaguely felt the uneasiness, it seems that since they were in upheaval after upheaval, that thought was thrown into the corner of their minds, or, it was possible that they didn’t think about it at all.
“Well, it looks like you didn’t think about it at all. No one told me you’ve thought about it after all. You’re weak, so you can only run and hide in front of malice and possibility of injury. For reference, the home you called Faea Belgaen was lost. In other words, when my protection is gone, you’ll be in danger again.” (Hajime)
Since that was the truth, everyone of the Haulia tribe looked down with dark expressions. Meanwhile, Hajime continued.
“You didn’t have any way out. There’s no protection and no place to hide. However, demonic beasts and humans will aim at the weak, specifically you, without mercy. If this goes on, there will only be the path of annihilation… are you okay with that? Are you okay with weakness as the reason of your ruin? Is it okay for the lives that you luckily got back to be uselessly wasted? What do you think?” (Hajime)
No one uttered any words and a gloomy atmosphere filled their vicinity. Until someone suddenly said,
“There’s no way I can accept that.”(Shia)
Haulia tribe began to look up having been touched by those words. Shia was already looking resolute.
“That’s right. That can’t be accepted. Then, what should you do? The answer is easy. Just become strong. Just tackle all the trouble that comes your way and destroy it, you can only acquire your rights with your very own hands.” (Hajime)
“… What can we do as the Haulia tribe though? We don’t have a strong body, such as Tigerman tribe and Bearman tribe, neither special skills like Wingedman tribe and Dwarven tribe… … We’re totally useless…” (???)
Everybody knew that the Haulia was the weakest of all tribes in Faea Belgaen, so Hajime’s words only gave birth to negative feelings. Due to their nature of being weak, they had zero fighting capabilities. No matter how much they would struggle to get strong, they thought they would stay at the bottom.
Seeing this, Hajime laughed through his nose.
“Did you know I was called [incompetent] by my former companions?” (Hajime)
“[Incompetent] you hear, [incompetent]. My status and skill were as ordinary as the average person. I was the weakest among my companions; nothing more than a burden in combat. Therefore, I was called [incompetent] by my former companions.” (Hajime)
All of the Haulia tribe members were surprised by Hajime’s confession. They couldn’t believe that Hajime, who was able to easily defeat Raisen Grand Canyon’s brutal demonic beasts, and the Elder of Bearman tribe who excelled in combat, was someone [incompetent] and [weakest].
“However, I, who fell to the bottom of the Abyss, made an effort to become strong. I didn’t care if something was possible to do or not, I just did it. If I didn’t do anything then I’d die, so I gave my all to become strong…… Before I realized it, I have become like this.” (Hajime)
Hajime talked about it indifferently, however, all of the Haulia tribe members could feel a chill running through their whole body after listening to the story. His status used to be the same as an ordinary person, which were even weaker than the Haulia. Even despite this, he was able to defeat the horrors in the Raisen Grand Canyon that not even they could match. His abilities, accompanied with the fact that he used to be the weakest, made the Haulia tremble in fear at how strong he was able to become. If they were in Hajime’s boots, they knew that their will would’ve long been shattered and simply accepted their fate. Just like how they accepted the decision from the Elders Conference.
“Your situation is similar to how mine was. Now that you’ve sworn to yourself, let’s break that despair into pieces. I don’t even care whether or not you think it’s possible, because only annihilation awaits you in the next battle. After all, I won’t be there to help you after my goal is achieved. Are you fine with spending the rest of your lives licking each other’s wounds and getting killed?” (Hajime)
Hajime’s eyes bore ‘What will you do?’ within them. There was no immediate answer from the Haulia tribe. They understood that there was no other road to survival except to become strong. It’s not like Hajime protected them out of a sense of justice. They knew that he would leave as soon as their agreement was fulfilled, but their innate nature was peaceful and gentle, more so than any other tribe. It was difficult for them to change their way of life unless they fell into a spitting image of Hajime’s situation.
The Haulia tribe fell into silence and looked at each other. However, Shia had been listening with a resolute expression the whole time before standing up.
“I’ll do it. Please teach me how to fight! I don’t want to stay weak anymore!” (Shia)
Her shout echoed all over the Sea of Trees. A declaration to say that there was no need to think more than this. Shia despised fighting, since it was violent and painful, and she didn’t like to wound enemies or feel pain. However, she was the cause of her family’s banishment, and therefore, she absolutely couldn’t let her tribe perish. Her desire to become stronger burned, even though it wasn’t in her nature.
Shia’s eyes were unyielding as she stared at Hajime. The Haulia tribe was dumbfounded by Shia’s determination, until they also realized the reality of the situation, and stood up. In the end, not just the men, but the women and children of Haulia tribe all stood up as well, and Kam stepped forward as the representative.
“Hajime-dono… please teach us.” (Kam)
His words were few. However, there was a will inside of it. The will to fight against any injustice that would come to attack them.
“Okay. Are you prepared? How much stronger you become will be up to your determination. I’m only here to help you grow to that limit. Also, I won’t be gentle to those who decide to drop out on the way, we only have 10 days until I leave, after all. Lastly… Be prepared for death. You’ll only be weaker if you aren’t.
Having heard Hajime’s words, all of the Haulia tribe members nodded with determination.
Before he started to train Haulia tribe, Hajime took out the equipment that he would use to train them.
Hajime took a weapon out of his [Treasure Box] and handed it to them. It was the single-edged knife that was similar to a type of Japanese sword called a Kodachi1 that he passed to them before. Hajime made the blades perfectly, so that they were both strong and durable, despite the ultra-thin blade.
After he gave them those weapons, he began with teaching them basic evasion. Of course, Hajime didn’t have any knowledge in martial arts, but it wasn’t something he got from manga or game. The things he taught were only ‘logical movements’ that he gained and polished, by fighting the demonic beasts in the Abyss. While doing so, he piled up real combat experience against all types of demonic beasts. The Haulia tribes strong points were stealth and searching. He concluded that it was better for their group strategies to specialize in cooperation and surprise attacks.
In the meantime, Shia was being specially trained by Yue. She had the gift to use direct magic manipulation just like Yue and Hajime, so she would be able to use magic without chanting or magic circles, so long as she obtained the knowledge for it. Occasionally, Shia’s screams would be heard from the other side of the fog, but it seemed that the training was going well.
However, something happened on the second day of training. Hajime looked irritated, he was literally shaking as he supervised the Haulia. The Haulia tribe members were taking their training seriously, since they managed to defeat a few demonic beasts without receiving many wounds.
One of the demonic beasts was dead, pierced by Hajime’s specialized kodachi.
“Ah, please forgive the sinful me~” (???)
The one that said that while clinging to the demonic beast was a man of Haulia tribe. It’s as if he was killing his best friend whom he knew for a long time.
Another demonic beast was defeated with a slash.
“I am sorry! I am sorry! Even so, I must do it~” (???)
A woman holding a kodachi with both hands cut off the neck, trembling while she did it. It was like the result of a mad love, and she had just killed her loved one.
The dying demonic beast threw a final attack at Kam with its body. Kam was hit by the body blow and was muttering in self-ridicule while flying through the air.
“Oof, this is the punishment for deciding to wield a sword…… it was against our nature after all…” (Kam)
Having heard those words, the surrounding Haulia tribe started to tear up, then they shouted at Kam with bitter expressions.
“Chief! Please don’t say that! The sinful ones are all of us!” (???)
“That’s right! Even if judgments come, that’s not right now! Please stand up! Chief!” (???)
“We don’t have any road to return any more. That’s why Chief, let’s advance together until death.” (???)
“Y-you guys…… that’s right. I can’t fall down in a place like this. For the sake of our lives, we will advance through this hell!” (Kam)
A good atmosphere surrounded Kam and his tribe. Hajime couldn’t endure it anymore and cut in.
“Aghhh—! It’s so noisy! Why the heck are you exaggerating every time you kill one demonic beast! What for? Seriously, what was that for? What’s with that dramatic feeling? Just kill it in silence! Just kill it instantly! Don’t call a demonic beast ‘he’! That’s gross!” (Hajime)
Even though Hajime knew the tribe was working hard, due to their nature, they would repent for every beast they killed. This was the second day, and having seen this spectacle many times, he ran out of patience.
Hajime was pissed. Due to the number of times they said ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘forgive me’, he was slowly losing it as he listened to them.
One boy from Haulia tribe couldn’t stand it anymore, he tried to approach and calm Hajime. This boy was the one who Hajime saved from the Hyveria in Raisen Grand Canyon and seemed especially attached to him.
However, when the boy advanced to say something to Hajime, he suddenly jumped back.
Hajime was dumbfounded by it and asked the boy,
“What happened?” (Hajime)
The boy answered Hajime as he crawled towards him.
“Ah, yes. I almost stepped on Flower-san… thank goodness. If I didn’t notice it, it’d be crushed. Because it was so beautiful, it would’ve been a waste to crush it.” (Boy)
Hajime’s cheeks were convulsing.
“F- flower-san?” (Hajime)
“Un! Hajime Nii-san! I really like Flower-san! Since there are so many pretty flowers around here, I wouldn’t want to crush them!” (Boy)
The rabbit-eared boy smiled happily. The surrounding Haulia tribe members were warm at this sight.
Hajime’s face slowly fell until he was looking at the ground. Hajime’s gray hair fell down and concealed his expression. Then, he slowly whispered;
“…… sometimes, when you were moving, you would jump in the wrong places… Is it because of those flowers?” (Hajime)
As Hajime said, during the training, the Haulia tribe sometimes changed their pace according to where they were, so the movement was always out of place. He thought it was in his mind because it connected with their next action, so it looked like they tried to find easier positions for them to kill in his eyes.
“No no, that can’t be. There is no such thing.” (Hajime)
“Haha, I’m not wrong, am I?” (Hajime)
Hajime started to chuckle as he listened to his words, however…
“Yes, not just the flowers, we also take notice of insects! When we have to suddenly move, we pay attention and manage to avoid them somehow.” (Kam)
Having heard Kam’s words, Hajime’s expression started to fall. He began to sway as if he was a ghost, while the Haulia tribe members started to wonder what they did wrong. Hajime slowly approached the smiling boy. He gave him a big smile as he crushed the flower and slowly ground it between his foot and the earth.
The boy who saw it was dumbfounded. Finally, Hajime removed his foot, and what was left were the remains of “Flower-san” that lay tragically after such cruelty.
“F- flower-sa~n!” (Boy)
The boy’s sorrowful voice echoed inside the Sea of Trees.
“What are you doing!” (Boy)
“Aah, I finally understand. I finally fi~nally understand. I was too soft. It was my responsibility. It was my mistake to have hope for your tribe. Haha, I can’t believe even in life and death situations, you still pay attention to “Flower-san” and “Insects”…… combat skills or real combat experiences are not your main problem. I should have noticed it faster. I’m angry at my inexperience……Huahaha… HAHAHAHAHA!!” (Hajime)
“Ha- Hajime-dono?” (Kam)
After Hajime began to ominously laugh, Kam timidly asked him. And his answer was…
He fired Donner at Kam, who was blown onto his back, face-up. Soon after, the non-lethal rubber bullet that was used to attack dropped to the ground from Kam’s forehead.
In their vicinity wind blew, while silence ruled the area. Hajime then approached Kam who fainted with his eyes turned white, while this time he aimed the shot at Kam’s belly.
Kam woke up with a scream along with a fit of coughing and looked at Hajime with tearful eyes. Despite the surreal spectacle of seeing the teary-eyed, bearded rabbit-eared old man sitting in woman-like position, Hajime declared;
“Listen up, you little ⓢⓗⓘⓣⓢ. From this moment onwards, you dumbasses have to kill those demonic beasts as if your life depends on it! In the future, don’t even take note of the flowers or insects! Or else I am going to ⓕⓤⓒⓚ you up! If you understand, hunt those demonic beasts now! You ⓕⓤⓒⓚⓘⓝⓖⓢⓗⓘⓣⓢ!”
The Haulia tribe grew stiff from Hajime’s vulgar speech. Right after, Hajime fired without mercy.
DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn! DOPANn!
Haulia tribe scattered into the Sea of Trees just like rats while screaming. The boy desperately clung to Hajime while trembling.
“Hajime Nii-san! What happened?! Why did you do this?!”
Hajime glared at the boy who stared at him with sparkling eyes, then looked at the surrounding and confirmed that flowers were blooming here and there. Until finally, he fired again.
One after another, the flowers got demolished, until there were none left.
“Why! Just why?! Please stop Hajime Nii-san!”
“Shut up, ⓢⓗⓘⓣⓣⓨ brat. Don’t you know? Every time you speak nonsense I will keep destroying the surrounding flowers. If you pay attention to the flowers, they’ll be destroyed. Even if you’re not doing anything, I’ll destroy them. If you don’t want that, go and kill a whole lot of demonic beasts!”
Having said so, Hajime started to shoot the flowers again. The boy’s cries then disappeared into the Sea of Trees.
After that, inside the Sea of Trees, Hajime’s curses would continue to be heard, while the Haulia members’ screams resounded throughout the area.
It was the training method to alter the character of Haulia tribe who were awful at combat by nature. Even the Haulia tribes’ nature would soon be altered by Hajime’s ruthless training.