Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
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Note 1: An editable text of this chapter is provided in case of eye cancer.
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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile the wagon was jouncing up and down, Scarlet Heaven and Ranger woke up one after another without too much residual pain on their bodies. It seemed that the barbarian officer hit the two with just the right amount of strength.
A rather youthful werewolf was there with them in the car. He also wore a suit of ragged rookie’s uniform. A pair of big and bright eyes were on his fluffy head. As the vehicle slightly bounced, his pair of pointy ears were turning cautiously.
Ranger made a pleasant smile to that werewolf because he knew it was this wolf who thoughtfully put a pile of cloth-stuff under his head.
This new companion seemed to be somewhat shy, or possibly cautious because as he nodded back to Ranger’s greeting, his body shrunk backward to the far end of the car.
Hell, it was rare for a werewolf to blush because a werewolf’s layer of facial fur will usually conceal any sorts of natural blushing.
Ranger chuckled again. He knew that the one sitting beside him will eventually terminate such a cautious and timid behavior.
“Thanks, bro!” Scarlet Heaven caught the werewolf’s pair of claws the moment he sorted things out. He shook the werewolf’s claws (hands) while crying aloud, “I’m Scarlet Heaven, what’s your name?”
“Ah… er…” The werewolf was certainly not prepared for SH’s sudden act. As he could neither dodge SH’s friendly handshake nor retracted his own, he eventually talked, “Hello, I’m Alvgomia Seidarucan Belgconfivol Alycupta…”
While the blushed werewolf continued pronouncing his lengthy, awkward-sounding name, the other two people started to have a basic idea why the nickname notion popularized in the army. While calling someone by his full name was life-and-death massive kind of a deal for alien soldiers, their utterly complicated and prolonged names were utterly a time waster on the battlefield.
“I… I did not get a word of that. Never mind, though!” SH had both of his hands on his forehead, “What about your nickname?”
The werewolf went even more blushed, and his eyes lowered.
“Fallen.” His voice resembled that of a mosquito so that SH had to lean in to catch the sound, “My nickname is Fallen.”
“Fallen! Fallen?” You’re called Fallen!” SH looked away to Ranger and turned back to the werewolf. Then he began laughing out aloud.
The little werewolf’s face turned purplish red in SH’s wild laughter. His head dropped, and he started scratching the carriage wall awkwardly with his nails. Then a pair of hands made a sudden landing on his shoulders.
“Easy now.” SH’s laughing was so not going to stop that his well-kept teeth revealed as a result of the open laugh, “I merely thought this is a bad name for you. You know, there are werewolves in my hometown. They’re a group of brave people!”
“He’s right. I’m Ranger.” One more body leaned over, and one of his hands climbed onto the werewolf’s shoulder, “We’re friends now.”
“Em!” Fallen spotted no harm from Ranger and SH’s eyes; he nodded with joy. Thus the three’s cheerful voices joined.
‘BAM!’ A guy outside slammed the car. Thus the three seized their noise then sat still.
Free time was scarce for the rookies during their beginner’s 6 months training. So Scarlet Heaven, Ranger and Fallen chatted, teased and played in the small wagon. Soon they’ve become close friends. As long as they did not make any high-pitched voice of sorts, no one will come for them.
SH and Ranger somehow ‘interrogated’ Fallen to tell the origin of his nickname.
The werewolf village where Fallen’s family resided had heroes in each and every generation. Some of them have become senior officers in the army. It was unimaginable at that time. Thus Fallen’s village was well-respected among the local werewolf clan.
Fallen’s father was the village wealthy. And Fallen was the youngest son who was well-indulged due to his gentle disposition. As Fallen grew up in such an environment, the fierce and tough nature of a werewolf had the least hint on him. On the contrary, he always did stupid things like distributing food and clothes to the needy villagers. Thus other rich werewolf kids started calling him a fallen guy.
In order to not let anyone mock his family because of him, Fallen insisted on joining the army like other youngsters in the village. He intended to take advantage of the army time and hopefully come out looking less shy. However, on the first day in the boot camp, ‘Fallen Guy’ reverberated the training ground. Since then, the god-forsaken officers who overheard the name ‘Fallen’ took the liberty and marked the very nickname on the list.
What a textbook injustice case.
“Don’t worry, bro.” SH said something comforting because he was born carefree, “When your achievements have earned you an imposing title, no one dares to call you Fallen.”
“Really?” The little werewolf’s innocent eyes revealed a pleasant surprise, “Is it true? As long as I achieve something?”
“Exactly! If only your deeds are big enough, you could even call others a Fallen.” SH laughed, “Well, for me, I’ll suffice not being called Fallen if I were you.”
“For now, we’ll have to call you that anyway.” Ranger said, “However, you can always consider the name as a motivation, like… hmm. Like how I remember my father beat me up.”
“Your old man?”
“Yeah! He used to smack my ass no matter where I was.” Ranger said with a smile, “He smacked me wherever he caught me. That’s how I picked up my pacing skill. Anyhow, that’ll stop after I become a hero. He’ll have to ask for permission from the army headquarters if he still wants to.
The werewolf chuckled.
Thus the werewolf’s nickname settled as ‘Fallen’.
“Alas, alas!” Ranger made himself comfortable on the wagon deck, he made no disguise of his excitement, “What weird names will come next. I can’t wait!”
However, the next three guys thrown into the wagon had very common names, which disappointed Ranger greatly.
Such a disappointment persisted until the return journey when the pale-faced barbarian officer tossed a comatose mountain dwarf into the car.
The guys could tell that the dwarf held contempt for the officer. Soon he woke up and started throwing tantrums in the wagon. The dwarf was furious. His eyes were shooting flames, and his mouth took turns to make low and loud howls. His vicious face was like that of a cannibal.
Undoubtedly, the officer did not like the sound. Immediately, a sheathed battle saber flew over while spinning and hit the dwarf’s head. He passed out again.
“How violent, the officer!” Ranger thought, “Can’t he be reasoned?”
“Great voice.” The barbarian officer’s companion happened to be there, and he made a joke, “He sounded like a deer at its rut.”
“Em…” The barbarian agreed and took the saber Ranger passed over. He gave his first order to the rookies in the wagon, “From this moment forward, he is Rut.”
The car full of rookies nodded anxiously.
“Though we’re the best rookies,” After the officer had left, Ranger looked at SH and Fallen and quietly said a thing approved by all, “the army is not a place to mess around.”
All the rookies in the car shared their eyes of compassion for Rut who was still in a coma and started worrying about their future.
A few days later, a fleet full of elite rookies has finally reached the dream destination: the fabled training ground of the Champion Legion.
Such a view made all the newbies giggle, act proud and pat on each other’s shoulders to encourage.
“Get the hell off, you all!” A tall military officer showed up with his whip and started driving the newcomers off the wagon even before the vehicle went completely steady, “Grab your things and stand in line there!”
Thus, with all thumbs, the rookies hurry-scurried to grab their things and jumped off the car to line up.
“What the hellish line you’re all making! Cunts!” The officer strode over. His whip roared and curved accurately onto every rookie’s shoulders, “Move, asses, move!”
Ranger and SH stood beside Fallen. They had no choice but accepted being shouted around. They didn’t even have time to sigh about their misery. However, the irritable Rut just cannot stand the whipping out of nowhere. Thus once again, he bounced out of the line howling and demanded a duel with the officer. As expected, the experienced CO put Rut down for good one more time.
The rest rookies kept circling the training ground while marveling at Rut’s amazingly high vitality. Although all the rookies had the experience being put down by an officer, they all suffered no significant wound after waking up. Unlike Rut, none of them had the courage to fight the officer after coming to life. The dwarf was an immortal monster without fear!
Some rookies guessed in undertones that this mountain dwarf was definitely trying to avoid training duty by doing what he had done. Such comments incurred all other rookies’ eye-rollings in no time. Though reckless, Rut’s behavior was essentially an act of bravery since the Champion Legion had no losers.
The rookies were allowed to rest after running for god-knew how many circles. Anyway, the rookies slumped as a whole, tongues held out to gasp. Fallen’s tongue was so stretched that the extra part was totally enough to make a nice bowtie.
At this moment, the pale-faced barbarian officer walked over and led his trainees to their tents. Of course, being in a friendly group, the fainted Rut won’t be left alone. The rookies dragged him like dragging a dead dog because the commander had instructed: pull him back by the legs.
Although Rut was an irascible mountain dwarf, he had one good trait: all the unhappiness will be forgotten given a period of time, usually one night. The next day, he’ll crawl up and greet his rookie mates one by one with his powerful, straightforward hug. Despite his height could only reach up to an average human’s chest and he could barely hug another’s waist, all these cannot stop him from being passionate. Besides Rut’s extraordinary reckless disposition, he had an enormously massive and clumsy butt.
After breakfast, officers came to assign the rookies to their respective training locations.
The team of men where Ranger belonged to was taken by the barbarian officer to a distant valley. Without exception, each of them including the barbarian officer burdened pieces of equipment and supplies equal to his weight.
The barbarian officer was not a talker, the rookies discovered the up aspects of his silence. He barely verbally abused his subordinates. In fact, he seldomly said a word. He’d even ignore his men acting naughty every now and then.
“Your things there.” After entering the valley, the barbarian officer stood still on a flat ground and summoned everybody, “Stand your lines here.”
At once, the freshmen did as the barbarian told. Listening to the commander’s first team talk made the rookies proud. They all thought the way they stood must resemble the sacred and mighty statues in front of the Dark Temples.
The barbarian officer eyed the team from left to right. He was unusually calm, unlike his kindreds. Then he opened his mouth, “Let me introduce myself, you will address me as Commander Anemia.”
“Yes, Commander Anemia!” The rookies had an excellent understanding of how to reply a commander after coming out of the boot camp.
“I don’t have many rules, one to be precise.” Commander Anemia nodded at the rookies’ reply, “You hear my order, you comply. This is my, as well as this squadron’s, only rule.”
“The squadron’s name is Samgha. The Samgha Squadron traces its history back as long as 500 years. The name origin is unreachable and unimportant, for me as well as for you. All you need to know is Samgha Squadron has always been a group of firm-willed soldiers with extraordinary achievements.” Anemia continued, “Courage, passion, teamwork are the traditions of Samgha. You won’t understand the essence of them unless you’ve been through the test of life and death. So, before these good things pass on to you, all you need to do is following my orders.”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“Now, you’re supposed to be regular GIs, doomed to mix with regular troops and remain as a foot soldier whose features are neglected until you are killed by enemy’s random arrows and rocks. In that case, the so-called training you’ve been through is enough.” Anemia gazed at the bunch of exciting rookies and dejected them without any consideration, “However, as a member of Samgha, those are far less than enough. I’m going to dig you up from the dirt pit. You’re going to meet my requirement to shine. And to do that, you’ll train hard.”
“In here, you have no rights, no benefits, no nothing before you become a qualified team member.”
“Sir, yes, sir!” The rookies’ voices were a lot lower than earlier.
“Name your nicknames and strong points.” Commander Anemia lifted his chin to the first tall man at the head of the row, “Starting with you.”
“Nickname Baham!” The big rookie said aloud, “Specialize in bi-hammer and physical strength!”
“Retain the hammer, but you’ll use the Champion Legion’s customized version.” Commander Anemia said, “Put extra exercise on saber and shield and sustainability.
“Sir, yes, sir!” Baham was a swampman, his fat and thick lips caught Anemia’s attention.
“Your underlip stands out too much. If you don’t wanna get shot, hide it in your mouth.” Anemia said calmly, “Next.”
“Nickname Scarlet Heaven!” A rookie forced out a mighty voice, “Specialize in lance and saber!”
“Retain the lance and use a pair of bi-handler swords.” Commander Anemia crossed his arms, “Your nickname is too long. Lose the second word.”
For a moment, Scarlet Heaven considered about arguing. On second thought, Commander Anemia’s only rule and his skill in putting people down made Scarlet stop any further actions.
“Nickname Ranger! Specialize in single-hand sword and archery!”
“Retain both. Level up your speed.”
“Nickname… my nickname is Fallen.” The werewolf said with a blushing face, “I’m extra-alerted and fast.”
“Practice single sword and dagger until you master them.” Commander Anemia glanced the werewolf, “Drop that blushing habit.”
“Er…” Fallen lowered his head, embarrassed. But the guy beside him recklessly burst out into laughter.
Commander made a few step rightward and fixed his eyes firmly on this funny rookie.
“Nickname Claypool.” The rookie clearly intended to fool through the episode, “Specialize in magic and…”
“You like to laugh?” Commander booted a tiny rock out of the dirt with his foot tip and kicked it by Claypool’s feet, “In your mouth.”
Claypool swallowed; however, he did not process Rut the dwarf’s courage to oppose the commander. He couldn’t help but picked the stone and tossed it into his mouth.
He made a bitter smile to everyone’s surprising look.
“And you smiled again…” Commander Anemia kicked over a bigger stone, “If you think one is not enough, one more.”
Claypool widened his eyes. He tried not to laugh as his facial muscle twisted. He picked the second dirty stone and swallowed it like swallowing a delicious breakfast break.
Claypool nearly cried and more misery added to his face.
The mountain dwarf could no longer retain the amusement. He started laughing with his foot stomping on the ground and hands over his belly.
Commander Anemia did not grow any anger. He said calmly, “Rut, come over here.”
“I know!” Rut couldn’t care less about the punishment as he stepped out, “I can deal with swallowing rocks.”
As he was about to reach for the stone under Anemia’s feet, he was stopped.
“Not this one.” Anemia called Claypool over, “The ones in your mouth, out.”
Claypool obediently spat the stones full of his saliva onto his hands.
“You can deal with stones, right?” Commander Anemia humphed, “Deal with these.”
After making sure that Anemia was not joking, the mountain Dwarf reddened his eyes and threw a fist at Anemia with an earth-shattering roar. Without a doubt, the result was all but guaranteed, Rut was always the unluckiest one.
Nevertheless, this time during the coma, Rut’s mouth had a dirty stone and 2 more with Claypool’s saliva on it.
“This is our banner. Mark it in your heart until the moment you die!” Commander Anemia unscrolled a piece of cloth, “In the past, a major, 4 colonels, 16 heroes and 0 traitor and cowards came out of Samgha!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“By joining this squadron, your life has been bonded with it. You wanna get out, you have two options: A, serve until your contract ends; B, go home in a coffin as a martyr!” At this point, Commander Anemia’s eyes revealed a sense of ruthless, “If any of you intend to leave by a third option, I will make you a martyr, you get me?”
“Sir, we get you, sir!”
“Now, weapons and armors up, practice your skills in teams of your choice.” Commander Anemia looked at the time, “You’re welcomed to have questions.”
While the rookies wondered Anemia’s words, he went aside and started sleeping.
Scarlet hesitated and picked up a war saber. As he drew the blade, he winced.
“It’s a real blade.” He talked to Ranger, “It’s a real blade!”
“So… er… should we practice with these?” Fallen asked anxiously, “We might get hurt…”
“Do it! You wanna be a martyr?” Ranger sighed, “We’ll protect the sharp end with a cloth.”
During the day, the rookies didn’t make much progress for fear of getting hurt.
Commander Anemia tested the rookies the same night.
The dozen rookies did not hold back during the trial as the group scuffle went on. The crowd ended with the rookies lying scattered in misery. Everybody was hurt without exception.
The only one who was able to do magic then began healing with his pathetically little mana which did not last long until he was about to heal himself. Thus as everyone else was practicing with full strength, Claypool had to sit and meditate.