"Our training grounds are split in three. First is our warrior division… Actually, while we're here, why don't you have a go at their basic training?"
Having been swept along by the captain's impressive aura, Wilbert simply nodded.
The captain shoved a dull sword with a blue handle along with a dented, rusty shield into Wilbert's arms. "Take these training weapons. They won't be useful against strong enemies, but against weak enemies and training dummies, they work just fine. Now, join behind those troops over there and follow the drill sergeant's instructions."
Meekly nodding, Wilbert did as he was told.
The drill sergeant, a short, rotund man who did not seem to fit in with the environment, was pacing up and down the line of trainees. "And one and two and three and four. Set. And one and two and three and four. Set…"
When Wilbert joined the line, the man did not even spare him a glance or explain anything; he just continued shouting his orders, and the other trainees seemed to understand what that meant. Each number signified a certain movement, and the set was for the trainees to reset their position to start again.
After observing the others for a few minutes, Wilbert soon joined in.
[Basic Slash] discovered. Unlock progress: 1/100
[Basic Jab] discovered. Unlock progress: 1/100
[Basic Block] discovered. Unlock progress: 1/100
[Basic Shield Bash] discovered. Unlock progress: 1/100
After completing his first set, the system sent a series of messages. Not really knowing what it meant, Wilbert ignored it and carried on with the exercise. After completing his second set, the progress of each move increased by one.
'I have to repeat each move to unlock it? What will unlocking it do?'
Wilbert dutifully continued with the training, and Bairn, the captain, stood at the side observing. He had to take a break every ten sets or so to get some water, which showed his endurance was far worse than that of the other trainees. However, given that he was not yet an adult, let alone a professional soldier, that was to be expected.
When he finally completed his hundredth set, a warm glow coursed through his body and headed toward his mind. As if the muscle memory from those one hundred sets had been imprinted into his mind, he completely understood those basic movements. Turning to observe his fellow trainees, his eyes filled with derision.
'What is this sloppy technique? His elbow is too far out, and his feet aren't positioned properly. That guy's not even holding the shield correctly. And he… no, I literally can't even.'
As if sensing that Wilbert was done training there, the captain walked over and said, "Now that you've learnt the basics of swordplay, shall I introduce you to archery?"
Having realised that he could easily learn new techniques, Wilbert nodded eagerly. "Yes sir, that would be great!"
"I like your enthusiasm." The captain smiled and made his way over to the east side of the grounds.
The archery field had several targets lined up, and the soldiers were constantly firing at them with surprisingly high accuracy. As Wilbert and Bairn approached the field, two soldiers who had nocked their arrows gently released the bowstring, placed their equipment to the side, and entered a small hut to the side.
The hut looked like a small sports clubhouse or changing room. Against the side of the hut, in the shadow of the building, leant a man chewing on some straw with his hood up.
"Abel, come see this kid, potential recruit."
The man in the shadows spat out and removed his hood before walking over to them.
With soft, flowing hair, perfectly smooth skin, and pointy ears, the man flashed a confident smile at Wilbert. "Welcome. Take these training weapons. They won't be useful against strong enemies, but against weak enemies and practice targets, they work just fine. Now, join those troops over there."
Following which, the man shoved a blue bow and a quiver full of arrows with blue shafts to Wilbert.
Too busy thinking about what had happened before, Wilbert did not pay attention to the man's race. He approached one of the vacant lanes and held the bow in his left hand. He observed the other soldiers, adjusted his grip, nocked an arrow, and released the bowstring.
[Quick Shot] discovered. Unlock progress: 1/100
Although the shot did not even reach the target, landing approximately ten metres short, the unlock progress still appeared. With a smirk on his face, Wilbert continued firing arrows like someone would take them away if he did not use them all quick enough. Whenever it looked like the arrows in his quiver were about to run out, the pretty elf would rush over to silently top them up.
[Quick Shot] discovered. Unlock progress: 100/100
The warm glow from before coursed through his body again, although this time, it was not as strong as before, probably because he had only learnt one skill, not four in a short period.
While completing the unlock mission, Wilbert had noticed that the soldiers were using slightly different techniques. With the perfected [Quick Shot] in mind alongside his observations, he attempted another two types of shot.
[Balanced Shot] discovered. Unlock progress: 1/100
[Long Shot] discovered. Unlock progress: 1/100
In approximately half an hour, Wilbert completed both of those new missions, and once more, as soon as he did, Bairn approached him alongside Abel and said, "Now that you've learnt the basics of archery, shall I introduce you to magic?"
Again, as soon as he said that, he started walking over to the west side of the field, the mage training area. There were various training dummies spread out over the field, and mages were hurling spells at the dummies.
With the captain's introduction, a woman soon proffered a blue staff with a white orb on the end to Wilbert.
"Welcome. Take this training staff. It won't be useful against strong enemies, but against weak enemies and practice targets…"
However, Wilbert did not accept the staff, nor did he hear her words. Instead, he was staring blankly at her.
The black, metal skin, the frost exterior, the exposed face—she was a cyrmex.
'She's like him, the bastard who killed my parents!'