Chapter 7: Gotta Expect a Terrorist Incident on the Academy Admission Train (V)
“Ugh… *cough*… It hurts….”
“It’s alright. You’re not going to die.”
“Just let me die….”
“Don’t say that.”
Ivan whispered tenderly as he poured a potion over Hugo’s body.
As the starry, cold liquid made contact with his skin, Hugo convulsed, emitting soft cries.
Ivan understood this man’s heart well. Most soldiers on the front lines despised healing potions, despite their crucial importance akin to rations. Senior members, commanders, and even enemies empathized with this sentiment, comprehending the suffering they entail.
Ivan himself had once been forcibly administered a healing potion when his arm was almost torn off.
“I’d rather lose the arm! Aaaahh!!”
“Please refrain from saying that, Petrovich. Your body is a treasure to your country!”
“Who treats a treasure like this!!!”
It was an incident from his youthful and immature years. After that harrowing event, Ivan took great care to avoid severe injuries.
Healing potions inflicted a pain akin to a vile drug from his past as Kim Sunwoo—its cursed name being Albocil.
However, during his time in the Cleansup Unit, Ivan found a new appreciation for healing potions.
The pain invoked by the healing potion was akin to pouring salt on a wound.
Yet, it undeniably facilitated healing.
Thus, even during the process of healing wounds sustained during interrogation, the questioning persisted.
It was indeed sustainable interrogation. Ivan’s colleagues in the Cleansup Unit were amazed by his approach. (Unfortunately, in this world, there was no established Geneva Convention protecting prisoners’ rights.)
“No, I don’t… know… I don’t have… anything… more to tell you! Please… stop…”
“You’re even more useless than I had anticipated.”
“Save me… No, end me….”
“No, you have to live.”
Because he was the tutorial boss.
Ivan administered the potion into the man’s mouth again, closed it, and rose to his feet.
He found that the criminal group responsible for the train terror sported thick coats, were adult males, and obscured their faces with a recognition-inhibiting spell.
Given that it was January, it was unsurprising for adult men to don heavy coats.
It wasn’t possible to determine their nationality based on speech or accent. Ivan hadn’t expected the culprit to lack such distinguishing details.
Ivan clicked his tongue and surveyed the train. The train remained quiet, which wasn’t necessarily a negative sign.
“Princess Ecdysis is still in the fray.”
Had Ecdysis the princess been defeated, bandits would have swarmed out of the train. Although they hadn’t found any gold, they had captured a noble for ransom.
No one had emerged from the train yet, a sign of Ecdysis’s safety.
Thinking so, the moment Ivan rose to approach the train.
At that instant, a danger sensor sent an intense warning to his forehead.
No, it was his entire face.
Amidst the sound of tearing wind.
Similar to a shotgun blast, a boulder whizzed past where Ivan had stood moments before.
Ivan swiftly evaded, dodging the line of fire. Boom, boom, boom! A pellet struck Hugo squarely.
The thrower displayed unexpected strength.
Therefore, the opponent must also be aware of the “line of fire.”
As it was clear they would be drawn into a full-fledged battle, the opponent, too, had to reveal themselves.
“The leader is a real monster!”
I dismissed it because the words came from an amateur unfamiliar with the ‘line of fire.’ Are you telling me this Hugo guy wasn’t a leader? If so, I just wasted a bunch of potions.
Ivan pondered dispassionately as he observed the approaching man from a distance.
“You’re quite resilient.”
A muscular, middle-aged man with rock-solid muscles approached, growling.
An intensely threatening aura surrounded Ivan.
“But daring to harm my nibling shows your foolishness despite your capabilities.”
Nibling? Is this person related to him? What an annoyance1.
Ivan clenched his teeth, holstering his pistol and gripping an axe in each hand.
“You’d better have some valuable information.”
“Nonsense… Come. Let me end you.”
The man bared his teeth and raised his axe.
In the following moment, the two men collided.
Ecdysis gritted her teeth upon hearing the violin signboard twist.
“Please hold on a bit, Vio-unnie!”
Violins aren’t meant for striking. Most instruments, such as electric guitars, aren’t made for that purpose. They shine on stage through playing.
Thus, with each swing of Ecdysis’s delicate and fragile wooden string instrument, the front panel twisted, the backboard bent, slowly beginning to break.
However, Vio-unnie (the 2-year-old violin) never disregarded the memories and friendship shared with Ecdysis.
As Vio-unnie was wielded, something shattered – mostly the skulls of adult men.
“She’s insane! What’s wrong with that woman!!”
“Where’s the gold! Hey! What happened to the cargo compartment!”
“There’s nothing!! We’ve been tricked!”
The bandits wanted to flee. No gold, a blown-up train, and the inevitable pursuit by the military. Meanwhile, the woman with the violin was taking down individuals left and right.
Ecdysis also wanted to flee. The dwindling life of Vio-unnie felt vivid with each passing moment, fighting was frightening, and she didn’t even know where she was.
Vio-unnie claimed another thief’s teeth and finally met its end.
Ecdysis held the remaining piece of the violin’s signboard, sighing with a heavy heart.
“Vio-unnie… You were a splendid instrument….”
“You’re insane, you’re insane!!”
“Aren’t we supposed to flee? This isn’t the time to fight!”
“She’s goading us into fighting for our lives, isn’t she?”
“Where’s the boss now!”
Unaware of the conflict erupting between the muscle-bound man and the special forces officer, the bandits retreated, muttering and wavering.
That turned out to be a mistake.
The ‘Butcher’ Ainar’s daughter shared many traits with her mother but, notably, in ‘anger,’ ‘fighting spirit,’ and ‘combat skills,’ she took after her father.
To the warriors of Drovian, they were like blood siblings. She couldn’t let the death of her long-time companion, Vio-unnie (a 2-year-old instrument), be in vain.
With a gentle gesture, she tenderly caressed Vio-unnie’s remains and slowly stood up.
“Vio-unnie, I’ll always remember your sacrifice. I’ve always been thankful, and I’m sorry.”
“That woman is insane. I’ll stop her. You all run.”
“Hurry! You all need to survive too!”
The remaining bandit remnants turned to flee, tears streaming, heading back to their boss’s location.
Amidst this departure, the sole bandit left turned to Ecdysis with a determined face.
“Please don’t misunderstand, miss.”
“We had no idea you were on this train. But if you spare us, we’ll testify in court. Isn’t Krasilov a country of justice? Spare us!”
The thief dropped his weapons, knelt, and pleaded. It was a wise move.
The fleeing bandits were now caught between the angry Huscal and the furious Cleansup Unit officer, for the moment.
“What’s the point in bringing in more amateurs!”
“…Quite a few of them have survived. But it won’t change anything.”
The two men, fighting and clashing with axes, simultaneously shouted as they observed bandits pouring out of the train.
“Ecdysis, what happened to the woman on that train? There was a young blonde woman. Is she safe?”
“My nibling!! Is my nibling safe?!”
At the man’s outcry, Ivan paused for a moment.
Wasn’t the nibling this guy?
Ivan glanced at Hugo, hit by shrapnel and unconscious in the midst of the battle, and grimaced.
This fight was exceptionally challenging.
For an early tutorial, the man in front of him was an excessively designed boss.
It appeared this individual was meant to act as a gatekeeper, akin to Souls-like games, but his attack patterns were too diverse for a beginner to handle.
In that case…
“The train attack of the Academy never results in the protagonist’s death. A helper shows up to provide assistance.”
Was this man the helper?
Presumably, the tutorial boss fight was intended to acquaint you with the concept of multiplayer combat by facing a group of amateurs who escaped from the train and an underwhelming boss.
Ivan sighed, readying his axe. It was too worn out to be kept anymore. Though weapons were generally expendable, he couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
“Well, hold on a moment. Weren’t you two collaborating…?”
“I’m not sure why you’d have that misconception.” (Ivan)
The man stashed his weapons away, eyeing Ivan sharply.
“You were applying healing potions to that guy.”
Labeling it as the Cleansup Unit’s interrogation method was an exaggeration. There wasn’t a convincing way to explain it.
“I was investigating something.”
“Ah, you should’ve mentioned that earlier.”
But there wasn’t time for Ivan to explain.
As Ivan observed the man with a troubled expression, the man smiled, noticing a woman bustling out of the train.
“My niece!! Ecdysis!! You’re safe!!”
Ignoring the man rushing out, Ivan glanced at the terrified bandits amidst the scene, which appeared devastated as if a bomb had exploded.
The target was safe, and the helper had sufficient ability to keep the target safe until they reached St. Jan’s Academy.
Revealing his identity would cause trouble, and Ecdysis seemed to recognize him. It had been a long seven years, but she might remember Ivan after all, when she was just a ten-year-old kid.
All obtainable information had been secured. Ivan turned back and withdrew.
Ecdysis, the eldest daughter of the berserker Einar.
Arrival at Krasilov.
Sent a Huscal (presumably) as a Drovian dispatcher.
Successfully ensured the target’s safety.
Urgently sent an encrypted brief report to the Royal Court, Ivan boarded the train heading for the capital.
The day had been exhausting compared to the result.
“Ecdysis, do you happen to remember someone named Ivan?”
“Mr. Ivan?! Yes, of course!”
Ecdysis, whose face lit up at the familiar name, soon turned somber.
“He was truly a remarkable person… kind and impressive…”
“I’m not entirely certain, but whatever.”
The man moved on, frowning.
Under a makeshift litter crafted from the torn train carriage doors, six or so bandits cowered, carrying the litter.
Speaking in a hushed tone to avoid being overheard by Ecdysis on the litter, the man murmured, “I thought I heard he died two years ago.”
His fighting style felt familiar, and he joined the Krasilov commandos.
The familiarity with the axe was peculiar, much like Ainar’s. If it was someone from Krasilov who learned axe techniques from Ainar, there was only one person that fit the description.
“Reserve Ivan Petrovich.”
More precisely, ‘Hero Reserve’ Ivan Petrovich. He was considered a potential candidate to join the Hero Party in case of vacancies.
That individual was known to have befriended one of the Seven Dragons during the post-Demon King’s death annihilation battle.
Due to the thick beard, the dense forest, and the anger in his eyes, Han didn’t have the chance to thoroughly examine the other person’s appearance.
He seemed affiliated with the royal intelligence organization, so Han was confident they would meet at least once while working in the capital.
By then, he should at least consider shaving. The man shrugged and walked away.
It would be a week-long journey to the capital.
The two ‘freshmen’ from St. Jan’s Academy commenced their journey via train-litter!
1. The translation for ‘nephew’ in Korean is ‘조카’ (joka), and for ‘niece,’ it is ‘조카’ as well. In Korean, the same term ‘조카’ is used for both nephews and nieces. So, I’m using ‘nibling’ for it as it’s gender-neutral.
2. Souls-like games