As usual, the loud laughter of the Second Prince of Spada rings out.
It would be fine if he was outdoors while making such a loud noise, but currently he is in the interior of a Dragon carriage, packed full of students.
Their destination is the Rank 3 dungeon,『Iskia Hill』, where the open-field exercise is to be held.
The students who have horses are riding them, but there are many who do not own horses. Therefore this Dragon carriage, an appropriate form of transport for such a large number of people, is being used.
The carriage, which is being pulled by a huge herbivorous Land Dragon, is several times larger than a normal horse-drawn carriage. But even so, the volume of this single person’s voice is irritatingly loud in the confined space.
The reason nobody can say「Shut up!」to him is likely because he is a prince.
「You’re being too loud, Will.」
No, there is one person who can voice his complaint to the prince of an entire country.
「Oops, my apologies, Simon. But this『Buster Rifle』, said to have submerged the old world in a sea of flames, will not spread the flames of destruction to the world again. Kuku, it is such that even I cannot suppress my dark joy. Kukuku, FUHAHAHAHA!」
Hearing his friend blurting out the fantasies in his head again, Simon looks at him with scornful eyes and speaks to him.
「The gun isn’t that powerful, so you have to pick the right monsters to shoot carefully.」
「Hmph, to be chosen as my prey, such cursed fates they are born to.」
As if to say enough is enough, the small female – no, the respectable male student Simon lets out a small sigh.
Not enough time has passed to say he has become good friends with this loud prince, but enough time has passed that he has come to understand his deplorable personality.
Therefore, Simon could guess what was causing him to be in such high spirits.
Wilhart has previously accidentally let slip that he thought the weapon was plain, but now he is looking forward to using it in real battle.
As a man, Simon understands this feeling, so he does not make fun of him for it.
「With that said, don’t go getting ahead of yourself and standing in the front just because you’re the general, Will.」
The purpose of the open-field exercise is to act as a practice for military group operations, so a clear chain of command has been established.
The prince of Spada, Wilhart, has been chosen as the top of that chain of command; though this choice may not result in the optimum combat efficiency.
The other candidate was the First Prince of Avalon, Nero, but he refused. So it has been decided this way.
General Wilhart vehemently opposes this advice from Simon, his trusted subordinate.
「Whaaat?! A general of Spada should stand with his subordinates on the front lines with bravery and courage–」
「That only applies to strong people like your brother, or Ria-nee, or King Leonhart. Your physical strength is about as good as mine, so don’t do anything reckless, you got it? If you rely on your gun too much, you’ll die. If you run out of bullets, you’ll die.」
Upon receiving this sound argument from the developer of the guns himself, Wilhart finally falls silent.
But after a while, he starts fiddling with the prototype rifle on his shoulder, making more noise.
It has not been long since the rifle was completed, but in that time, Simon made sure to lecture Wilhart on the correct way to handle a rifle. So it was unlikely that he would accidentally break it.
Wilhart can already disassemble it for cleaning, and then reassemble it by himself.
The rhythmic vibrations of the carriage bring on an early-afternoon drowsiness, causing Simon to inadvertently let out a small yawn.
「Will-sama, something is coming.」
Seria, who has been silent like a shadow in the seat on the opposite side of Wilhart from Simon, finally speaks.
「What, an enemy attack – Did you think I would panic in such an event, Seria? Kukuku, naïve. You are as naïve as the sugar-saturated green tea that Charlotte drinks*. If you are trying to deceive me, whose response is to make this Spadan joke, I suggest you try a more realistic approach. On a highway like this, no matter how clueless a monster could be, it would not dare to attack such a large group of armed academy students in broad daylight –」
「It’s an enemy attack!」
Wilhart’s long speech is interrupted by a scream from outside – no, a voice warning of a monster attack.
「Will, calm down.」
「Please stay calm, Will-sama.」
The same advice comes from both sides of Wilhart.
「Uh, mmm, yes, first I must calmly take a deep breath, suu, haa! Alright, I have calmed myself, what should I do next?」
「... How about you take another deep breath?」
Simon replies in a cold voice, and Wilhart has no choice but to take another deep breath as he suggests.
He breathes in deeply, then exhales.
After his second deep breath, Wilhart is quieter the next time he opens his mouth.
「My apologies, I seem to have panicked. First we must stop the Dragon carriage, and prepare to counterattack.」
After successfully regaining his composure, Wilhart gives out orders exactly according to the instructions of what to do in the event of a monster attack from the textbook, which he has been studying while traveling.
His first order of stopping the Dragon carriage is immediately carried out, and the intermittent vibrations of the carriage stop.
Next, he orders his subordinates, the team leaders and knights, to exit the carriage.
Wilhart is not known for his leadership, but rather, his unpopularity. Thus, the teams under his command are just the “leftover” students, so they are of various races and studying different courses.
Also among them are students who are here because they lost their companions to bandit attacks and were unable to maintain their parties.
Even so, as expected from students of the highly renowned Spada Royal Academy, they move quickly, exactly as they have been trained. They make sure the area around the carriage is clear before spreading out to secure it.
The team leaders are wearing red capes that mark the elite students, while the knights are wearing their respective classes’ equipment.
The rattling sound of those dressed in metal armor moving quickly rings loudly through the small carriage.
The last one to step off the carriage is the general, Wilhart.
As he rises from his seat, he calls out to Simon in front of him, who is holding a prototype rifle identical to his.
「Simon, you are surprisingly fearless.」
With the dark blue coat he is wearing over his uniform fluttering in the wind, Simon looks back at him.
「Have you forgotten? Even though I look like this, I’m experienced with battles.」
Saying such a line with a slightly lonely expression, Simon jumps out of the carriage through the door.
「I must not show any more failure to a sworn friend of my soul.」
And so, Wilhart follows after his friend’s small back.
「A fight on our first day, we just don’t have any luck...」
Riding a unicorn that was pure white from the tip of its horn to the hairs of its tail, Nero Julius Elroad complains wearily.
Nero is standing at the front of the group of students. The cloud of dust kicked up by monsters charging this way is reflected in his red eyes.
The students make preparations to defend – in other words, pace back and forth holding their weapons.
「Alright! We get to fight so early, things are looking good for us!」
This shout comes from Kai Est Galbraith on Nero’s right side, unsheathing his greatsword and riding a Bicorn, looking ready to charge forward with full speed.
He, too, has seen the enemies approaching from the front.
Their frames, larger than normal men’s, are covered in thick muscles, and the brown color of their skin further adds to their huge appearance.
Their faces are distorted into evil expressions; their yellow, uneven teeth are visible in their wide open mouths and their eyes are completely bloodshot.
Their thick, log-like arms are waving their deadly weapons – bone clubs, rusty hammers and leftover swords – in the air.
They can immediately tell that their enemies are armed Orcs.
They likely came from the Rank 4 Dungeon,『The Great Forest of Latifundia.』
There is a nearby forest with few trees near the highway, but everyone knows that deeper in that forest is the Latifundia forest.
Perhaps these monsters have been forced out of the forest by territorial conflicts. The true reason for their appearance is unknown.
Though, nobody cares about such a trivial thing in the first place.
「If it’s just these enemies, you can go and have a rest, Nero. Anyway, you know, those subordinates need someone to give them commands, right?」
Riding on a rare scarlet-colored horse, with the same colored hair, is Charlotte Tristan Spada.
The Orcs’ shouts, entirely devoid of intelligence, reach her ears.
There is absolutely no chance that they are somehow Orc citizens of Spada dressed like wild monsters.
This means that the students behind them can attack freely to show the results of their training.
「Well I’m going to go in first, since I want to test my new servant.」
Right behind Nero is Safiel Maya Hydra, riding an Undead imitation of the eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, created with『Necromancy.』
There is still some time before the Orcs arrive.
「It’s unusual for even you to be fired up, Safi. Fine, I’ll leave it to you guys, and I’ll be at the back giving orders to those guys. I’ll tell them it’s dangerous so they should stay away.」
Nero, who has a fearless smile on his face, is answered by his party members.
「Well then, time to go wild!」
「I, Charlotte-sama, will send them flying away with one blow, so leave it to me!」
「I don’t need any materials from such weak creatures, but...」
The three of them are all different in their own ways, but they all have the same confidence in their words as they ride forward.
As the three horses let out high-pitched neighs, they strongly kick the ground and fly forward like the wind.
「Well, those three will be more than enough to take care of the monsters. I won’t even have time to have a rest.」