Combat Training Practice (1)
——「Combat Training Practice Notice」——
– Freshmen who have received this notice are requested to gather at the following location.
– With this notice in hand, you can use the Academy’s Southern Magitech Gate checkpoint for free. (Please be aware that free access may be unavailable without this notice.)
Two days had passed since the weekend ended.
The notice had arrived.
‘It’s still amazing to me.’
Ian gazed mysteriously at the paper in his hand.
To be exact, the [About] part.
More precisely, it was the section labeled [Map]. The map provided detailed directions to the Magitech Gate, including the path from his current location. It felt like he had activated a navigation app.
Ian, who often struggled with finding his way, was quite impressed.
‘It’s incredible, this magic engineering.’
He had always felt that advanced magic was not much different from modern technology.
Ian, with his backpack and magic staff ready, set out from his dormitory.
For some reason, the staff felt heavier than the backpack, but it was probably just his imagination.
‘As expected, I need to do some physical strength training.’
As he pondered this, he smoothly slid backward on the mana tram, his body wrapped in mana.
[Academy South Gate Platform]
The South Gate, where the administrative offices of Lichten City were concentrated.
Well-maintained, wide roads stretched out before his eyes.
— Recommended Routes: On Foot (18 minutes), Carriage (8 minutes)
‘About 20 minutes on foot should be fine.’
The reason he had met Sebastian at the East Gate during the weekend was the same.
Ian was expanding his experiences in this new world.
He regularly visited the library, but taking the time to explore the surroundings whenever possible was also a valuable experience.
For instance, the various modes of transportation catching his eye right now were quite interesting.
From carriages that served as budget taxis to steam-powered cars, the choices were diverse.
Furthermore, there were mana trams crossing the paved roads and mana trains passing on the horizon, sometimes visible between the buildings and along the city’s outskirts.
And there stood the Magitech Gate building, visible in the distance.
Just by looking at the means of transportation, it was clear that magic engineering was driving Lichten.
“I should definitely buy some Ecomana soon.”
I hope no one heard that.
Ian quickly swallowed the unexpected mutterings.
It was important to be cautious with insider stock information like this.
Looking around, all he could see were people with dark circles under their eyes.
They might look like zombies, but if you turned your head, you could see a sign that read <Lichten Magic Engineering University>.
It wasn’t as prestigious as Lichten Academy, but in the field of magic engineering, it was considered a prestigious university on the continent.
Many magicians who graduated from here played significant roles in running the city.
‘There might be a few exchange students at the academy too.’
According to Fanta X Aca, there were well-known magicians at the university. If the opportunity arose, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to meet some of them.
– “Hey there, student! Get some medicine!”
By the way, as he got closer to the Magitech Gate checkpoint, it seemed that there were more street vendors on the street.
“Need better concentration? Try this medicine!”
“Feeling nervous? Just one pill of Clearmind makes all your worries disappear. Buy it now!”
“Hey, girl! This one makes your mana sensitivity go up, they say. Give it a try!”
Some vendors were trying to entice the freshmen who seemed to be unaware of today’s combat training practice.
Ian wondered if students at super-prestigious academies like the Lichten Academy would buy something like that…
“Just give me the one for mana sensitivity.”
“Sure, sure. Here you go. Good luck with your exams~!”
Surprisingly, there were some naive students in between.
Being good at studying and being wise were two different things.
Maybe it’s the complacent thinking, ‘Nobody would ever scam a Lichten student’.
Maybe it was just a desperate attempt to get good grades this time around. Before coming here, they must have been considered geniuses somewhere.
To Ian, it was all irrelevant.
Training, looting, hidden quests.
Those were the only three correct paths to grow.
When he spotted a pitiful cat sniffing the “[Mana Sensitivity Enhancement Medicine”, Ian walked towards her without hesitation.
“Gyah! Why are you grabbing me? I want to perform well with that medicine too! You’re ruthless, Ian! You do well even without taking this kind of stuff!”
With a belly writhing from consuming an unknown substance and no knowledge of the despair of the future, the cat swayed her tail confidently, knowing she could rescue herself.
Danya, who was suddenly grabbed by the back of her neck, struggled.
But Ian was already adept at handling Danya.
He skillfully avoided Danya’s tail’s flailing and continued toward the Magitech Gate
“Well, I also knew this was a scam.”
Danya, who had been walking calmly after being put down, muttered in front of the checkpoint.
Combat training practice.
Even though it was supposed to be controlled, it involved facing actual intermediate-level monsters at least 6th grade or higher.
— Students, please use Gate 2, 3, or 4! Be sure to check the destination on your respective notices, as they are different!
The Magitech Gate checkpoint was filled with students.
A strange tension hung in the air.
“We’ve taken all possible precautions to ensure that none of you will die. However, this is a reminder not to get overly nervous!”
Twenty minutes after passing through the Magitech Gate, 120 freshmen had gathered at the training location.
Before them was the entrance to a dungeon that seemed to pierce into the mountains.
It appeared to be endlessly shrouded in darkness, as if it were devouring light and opening its mouth wide toward the freshmen.
“But remember to maintain a reasonable level of tension without panicking! This is a class where casualties occur regularly every year due to emergency situations! Use emergency scrolls immediately in case of a crisis. Keep in mind that you need both grades and your life!”
Instructor Gerald spoke words that were difficult to interpret—whether they were meant to reassure the students or increase their tension.
‘I just wish he’d provide comfort.’
No student seemed to have let their guard down.
In the space where the freshmen stood, the entrance to the dungeon seemed to exude an endlessly dark and eerie atmosphere.
Some students’ expressions indicated that it felt like they were stepping into a grave.
‘Actually, some might die.’
In the original scenario, the environment should have been as controlled as possible with the help of academy instructors and professors.
However, there was the presence of the Bloodstone cult, who had set traps here.
Some traps might actually attempt to sever limbs, and some monsters might genuinely desire to taste human organs.
Ian swallowed hard.
Naturally, he felt tense.
“I’ve never seen Ian so nervous before.”
“I’m scared too, nyaa…”
Both Danya and Everidge were tensing up, as if by default.
Meanwhile, Yurran continued to smile as usual.
“Why don’t you calm your teammates down if you’re going to be splitting hairs?”
No. What was he expecting from the Bloodstone cult?
Ian sighed lightly as he looked at the human team members.
“Man, it’s those guys without a knight who can’t get themselves together.”
A harsh, provocative voice.
Ian turned his head and sighed lightly.
Jacob, a student of the Knight Department, and the tank of Team 7, where Lina Rosewell belonged. He was the one to watch carefully during this practice.
Why, you ask?
Right now, he wasn’t part of the Bloodstone cult.
But there’s a sinister faction within Bloodstone cult, and this guy would be the first freshman to fall into their trap.
He didn’t know the details of the process, but…
‘The first one to turn Blackened.’
He remembered that much.
“Tsk. As expected of a magic newbie, he doesn’t have a clue.”
A guy muttered and bumped Ian’s shoulder, but Ian had a bitter taste in his mouth.
The guy raising his eyebrows awkwardly toward Team 7, which was centered around Lina.
Feelings of inferiority and self-blame.
You could easily read those emotions on the guy’s face.
“Ian… are you nervous?”
Danya asked with a worried look.
Yeah, why would he be nervous?
Ian declared, raising his magic staff.
Inside the dungeon, it was as dark and eerie as ever.
Since it was their first time, they took a safety-oriented position.
Ian led, with Everidge, the scout, right behind him. Danya followed, and Yurran was in between.
At the beginning, there were several teams around, but as they passed through a fork in the road, each team ended up separated.
While walking like this, Everidge asked Ian from behind.
“By the way, Ian.”
“What’s with that magic staff?”
Ian raised the Lunar staff he held in his right hand. Everidge nodded.
Ian’s eyebrows twitched slightly.
“It’s a magic staff.”
“A magic staff.”
“… Is it?”
At Everidge’s question, Ian shook his head with self-deprecation.
‘Why don’t people believe me?’
It was probably because he was in Pongpong’s body.
Changing people’s perceptions would take time.
“Try to say it. Magic… staff.”
Reluctantly, Everidge repeated after Ian, while Yurran just laughed away.
Watching their reactions, Danya felt somewhat relieved as her tension began to ease.
‘Right. If I stay nervous, I won’t see anything. Let’s focus more on the surroundings.’
She didn’t distrust Everidge, the team’s scout, but she knew that her own instincts could be helpful to the team.
As she relaxed and focused on her senses, she felt something.
It was hard to distinguish in the already damp cave-like dungeon, but…
There was a musty smell.
As if… it was emanating from an old parchment.
Danya urgently called out.
“Ian, in front!”
A monster suddenly jumped out.
Ian subconsciously swung his magic staff.
A lively full swing.
Looking at the skull of a skeleton soldier flying in the distance, Everidge muttered.
“It’s definitely a newbie weapon.”
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