Chapter 6: Gotta Expect a Terrorist Incident on the Academy Admission Train (VI)
The leader ‘Hugo’ has been silently staring at the signal lamp that has been flashing brightly since earlier.
“Is this thing broken?”
That signal gadget cost a fortune, all set for emergency escapes from the Igorovich Station.
It keeps blinking, like, once every minute or so.
The emergency signal should be three quick presses, but it’s glitching and giving a single blink, like it’s messed up or something.
“Man, this thing cost a ton!”
“Hey, Commander, chill. Money’s easy to make, right?”
“What about the guys?”
“They’re in position, bombs planted. When the train rolls in, boom, loot, and gone! Best-case scenario, 15 minutes tops!”
“Great. Here comes the train. Get ready, everyone!”
The train, billowing steam, was coming closer. Thirty minutes from Igorovich Station, just over an hour on foot.
Even if it derails, they’d have a two-hour window before backup arrives.
“Blow it up!!!”
Hugo yelled and…
The explosives went off, shaking the ground.
The train screeched, tilted, and derailed.
“Go, grab it all!”
“Hahaha!! We’re rich now!!!”
Word was the train’s carrying loads of gold bars. After melting and scrubbing off the royal symbols, how much could they pocket in the black market?
Hugo chuckled, watching the faulty signal blink, planning to grill that tricky wizard he bought it from.
The train went off the tracks, twisting and falling.
Ivan, up in a tree, scanned the scene.
One looked like a commander, another a lieutenant, with about three more by them.
“About ten are making a beeline for the train.”
Estimating about fifteen folks, his count seemed about right.
Ivan jumped down, handgun in hand.
– Bang! –
With a distant rumble, the bandits either hit the ground or scrambled behind trees.
So, this one dude gets hit in the head by a stray bullet. None of these five guys had any ‘line of fire detection.’
Bullets and stuff don’t work on the tough ones. That’s why the hero party doesn’t have any archers. The ‘strong’ can sense the ‘life’ within a discharged firearm, making it ineffective against them
To handle that, enchanting a weapon to remove the ‘life’ from it is crucial. But, you can’t do that with stuff like bullets or arrows once they’re out of your hand.
So, the strong ones don’t hide. They jump right at the gunshot’s direction to handle their foes. Getting surprised by a gunshot is just for the weak.
That’s why the hit squad carries handguns. They’re not just for sizing up the opponent’s strength but also for dealing with the weak in small fights.
That loud guy is probably the leader, worth keeping alive for valuable info. The rest? No need.
Ivan steps out from behind the tree towards the guys.
Bullets flying all over the place. Ivan reloads as he walks.
Click, bullet hitting a vest.
– Bang! –
Click again, bullets bouncing off a mag.
– Bang! –
Click, bang, click, ting-!
Every shot, one less guy.
Trained agents might not have mastered ‘Line of Fire Detection,’ but they’re not foolish to get caught in gunfire.
Ivan, seeing he’s alone and they’re not trained, starts shooting.
Result? Skill, experience, and training make a difference.
Four guys with bullets in their heads and one big dude shaking.
The man winces, drops the gun, pulls out a knife.
Not a bad move. If bullets miss, guns are useless.
“Who sent you? Where the hell did you come from?!”
– Bang! –
Knife drawn, meets a bullet, making him drop the handle, clutch his wrist, and stagger back.
Faced with a massive difference in skill, the guy goes pale, starts shaking
“Are you good at remembering faces?”
“Umm… you, you, yeah, I totally remember you! Just wait and see! I…”
“Lucky for you. From now on, you’ll need to remember some stuff.”
Ivan didn’t expect this guy to spill about the train incident.
An organization causing such chaos wouldn’t leave obvious clues.
So, it began with observations. Anything that could hint at something, no matter how small.
Walking style, behavior, what they wore.
Maybe a stand-out tattoo or some bling.
Even how they talk and their accents.
“If something comes to mind, answer it.”
Ivan said quietly, wielding his axe.
He didn’t plan to kill. This guy was like a tutorial boss, meant for the main character.
But causing pain was different. Ivan knew plenty of ways to inflict pain without messing up someone’s basic functions.
Ten minutes post-train mess.
Mission accomplished! Train troublemaker nabbed!
Ecdysis held her head, groaning. She couldn’t focus.
Her dad’s vassals were causing havoc in first-class; no one was around to explain.
She shook her head, trying to get up.
She found herself by the window. The seat she was napping in was now sprawled next to her. Train seats don’t tilt like that. She realized the train had flipped.
“Ow, it hurts… Hello? Anyone-?”
She called out, looking around. She heard noises, but the usual panic after a train accident wasn’t there.
“So, this… this.”
Ecdysis gasped, covering her mouth. Bandits raiding trains was rare. What could they possibly want from this train…!
“No, no! I’m all alone!!”
Freaked out, Ecdysis huddled down.
Seems like usual talk, but Ecdysis’s words surprisingly rang true this time.
“What do I do…!”
After warning everyone not to tail her or else face serious consequences, she found herself all alone.
Ecdysis felt her head going blank and quickly grabbed her instrument case.
Luckily, even with the train flipping, her violin was unharmed.
“Phew, thank goodness! What if you got messed up…?”
She delicately opened the case and gave her violin a gentle stroke.
Then, she gripped the violin’s neck, holding it like an ‘axe.’
Musicians often say instruments are like life. From this, you’d figure Ecdysis was ready to use her own life in a battle.
‘The Strongest Violinist’ student, risking it all, stepping in to handle the train chaos!
Before King Einar unified the Drovian Kingdom. Before the Demon King threat.
Back then, the Drovian Kingdom was filled with tribal leaders known as ‘Yals.’
Among the crazies making rivers of blood with axes and knives (and sometimes with their tongues for polite greetings), there was a special group.
The ‘Geshins’ of the Yals. Huscals.
Different from knights who formed military bonds for cash and land, Huscals were all about loyalty and skill.
Knights got paid, but Huscals? Loyalty was their only pay. They didn’t ask for much besides basics and a share in the spoils. No cash, no land.
Even without blood ties, they were ‘brothers,’ eating together, using the same bed in the same household. (Not necessarily sharing the night together, just to be clear.)
King Einar had a bunch of these ‘brothers.’
A dude was panting at the forest edge, eyeing the flipped train.
“Those darn scoundrels took my niece-!!”
His niece, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, is on that train now!!
Fuming with anger, he started hyperventilating and pounding his chest.
“If anyone tries to tail me, I’ll seriously harm them!”
When Ecdysis said that to King Einar, the great Drovian warrior saw the answer to this puzzle.
“Aha, I simply shouldn’t draw attention!”
Since trustworthy folks saw Ecdysis as their niece and cared for her, even with a decent disguise, it was hard not to stand out on the same train.
Sending her alone on the next train across the border was a worry.
So, Einar, the boss man of Drovian, cleverly cracked it: “Aha, then what it needs to do is follow the train!'”
He gathered his crew, his ‘siblings,’ and asked seriously,
“Who’s ready to guard our Ecy?”
“”Me, sir!!! I’d protect her with my life!!!””
“Who’s up for running alongside the train?”
““That’s me, sir!!!””
The tough Huscals of Drovian all raised their hands and hollered.
Big, burly dudes in their forties, mouths wide open like they’re ready to eat, yelling.
Watching this odd scene, Einar asked seriously,
“Let’s see who can get into St. Jan’s Academy.”
St. Jan’s Academy has a killer entrance test. While some felt cool about the practical part or interview, the written test was too much, so they backed out. (Warriors didn’t care much for book smarts.)
But one dude kept his hand up.
“From now on, you’re a freshman at Athletic College.”
“Yes, sir!! I’ll guard Ecy with all I got!!”
“Good. Go, brother.”
This went down two months ago. The guy sneaked into Krasilov during the St. Jan’s entrance tests in November, aced the written test, and got into Athletic College. (He barely passed the written test and aced the practical.)
Fortunately, St. Jan’s had no age limits…
One January day, after non-stop chasing the train for two days, a guy was panting hard as he stopped.
He saw the train derailment from 2 km away, started charging, flattening every tree in his path.
The strongest Athletic College student, rushing in to save the top Music College student!
Ecdysis finds her ‘uncles’ creepy.
Who wouldn’t at that age, right?