Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Volume 4 - Chapter 3 - Elsewhere

Previously on EC…

The siege on Vesperheim is lifted after the night battle with the barbarians. During the truce, the enemy General tried to ambush the Commander of the Norman forces. It ended in failure as he ended up being captured; as a result, he is being held for ransom. The Adjutant dispatched by the Commander priorly have reached Sekn’s force who are guarding the route between Vesperheim and Zephyrus Harbour, relaying the information to their Chief Strategist, Illna. The Instructors employed by Kun also received a flare message from the Spec-Ops and decides to move out towards Vesperheim.


Damn it, damn it, damn it!

Illna paces back and forth, the events of the past two weeks have completely drained her. She had only rested for half a day after finally securing Tharsis-Ridge with the support from the troops that relieved Vesperheim’s siege. Her mind is frayed, it was a blessing that a scheduled supply run from Zinnia Academy came with a shipment of tea in its cargo. Something that she has been drinking in an ever increasing amount, even resorting to brewing the same leaves a few times in a row. Now that all the preparations are done for retaking Hellasheim, she has some free time available while she waits. The problem is, her over-active mind continues to ponder about other problems even though she only has to wait for the reorganization to finish and command the final push to retake Hellasheim, which is still barely holding on with the help of some covert squads previously sent by the sister of her master.

[T/N: Reminder, her master is the 1st Princess. The way it’s worded is to sure a closer relationship between the sisters and the superior-subordinate relationship between herself. Otherwise, I think just saying 3rd Princess would’ve been more concise.]

The tool that the students from the Academy created floats to the front of her mind, the fact that they weren’t allowed to be posted at night initially caused her some anxiety. Then the demihuman force resolved that issue by making vast improvements of their own at such a rate that even her troops can use it given that they have the raw materials to construct the basic infrastructure, which further gnawed at the inferiority complex that had slowly developed during this campaign - but in reality, without her noticing, since her rescue by the “emissaries”. Although it’s vexing, she’s still thankful. The Exalted One’s teachings warned her people of their tendency towards stagnation due to complacency, it’s fortunate that this particular case was exposed before an irreversible tragedy occurs. Stopping after pacing another round in her quarters, she grabs the nearby stationery and writes down her orders to be sent back to the Capital. “A horse knows how to turn quickly while the carriage would roll from sudden change”, if she wants to enact any change, she has to do it now, mobilizing all the hidden forces she had cultivated within the kingdom.

* * * * *

During the time the battles were raging on in the western edge of the Norman Kingdom…

“Oy oy, you bunch of lollygaggers, you guys call yourself soldiers? Take five and then get your asses off the floor you lazy worms!” An obscenely fit gray-haired man scolds the newly recruited men and women sprawled on the crude gymnasium floor, some of them dry retching from nausea. Although it’s called a gymnasium, it’s really no more than a glorified, large, temporary shack, barely capable of keeping the snow out. The walls are made of numerous relatively thin logs and branches -about the thickness of an adult’s arm- anchored with tall, stable logs interspersed between the four corners. The roof, the most expensive part of the building, is made of large, rectangular, thin sheets of metal that can be disassembled within hours. The floor, thankfully, is at least poured with concrete for foundation and then lined with floorboards, depending on the need of its occupants, extra flooring such as mats, different apparatus and even hay would be added. The recruits are of course on the cold, bare floorboard at the moment after going through their calisthenic exercises.

In another part of the gym, a youth is going through his 5th run through of the training course. The first of which is a set of horizontal bars about 3 meters high, where he jumps up and grabs it with his hands, then proceeds to pull himself up before flipping over it headfirst. After swinging back and forth from the flip’s momentum, he drops onto the mat below. Without pause, but with a small stumble, the youth runs up a set of stairs to the next apparatus and climbs underneath the horizontal ladder, making his way across the 10 meter distance from one end to the other with wide, deliberate swings, timing his exhale with his forward motion. At the end of the ladder, there’s a 4 meter drop, which he does so with a dive roll, absorbing the majority of the fall’s impact, as he lands roughly into the hay bundles. Without stopping, he sprints into a standalone wall before continuing up the wall, and after the 3rd step, he turns sideways and twists tightly before landing on all fours. From the low position, he kicks the floor and takes a running jump into a pre-rotated suspended tire, that started spinning the moment he landed inside its opening. After several moments of intense rotation, the youth stumbles out of the swing and runs towards a range, where multiple targets are set up, lining a section of the wall 15 meters away. Normally, short-bows or single handed crossbows would be used, but in this case, a bucket filled with tiny balls the size of his thumb lays at the front of the range. Without hesitation, the youth scoops out a handful of them on the run, then winds up for a pitch.

[T/N: In regards to the spinning tire, I was told by the author that Soviet/Russian gymnastic coaches used that exercise to make their student used to the vertigo feeling after doing flips and to increase their balance, I couldn’t find any sources from my cursory searches, so I don’t know if that’s true. I did some entry level gymnastic myself when I was young, but we never used this method, so who knows. Just leaving this here in case people wonder why the tire swing was used here by Rick.]


The ball grazes the edge of the center target, missing it by a hair’s breath.


Undeterred, he runs parallel to the targets - jumping, flipping, twisting while moving from one side to the other and back, all the while sending the balls at the targets at a regular tempo, albeit with odd angles. The balls thrown miss about half the targets by a small degree, while the ones that landed were never dead on.


With a final butterfly twist, the blond youth whips out his hand mid-spin fiercely, sending the last ball dead center on the first target, emitting a satisfying hollow ring throughout the gym. The youth stumbles from his over-extended twist and falls on his ass, he grits his teeth and crawls up from the ground, breaking out into a light jog for his “rest period”.


The entire building shares a subdued whisper, with some of them hanging their mouths open, even the agents responsible for the youth’s security who watched him from day 1 couldn’t help but silently praise him. The training staff and agents recall how seemingly clumsy and slow his movements were, of course, only Rick himself knew that he was merely adjusting himself to the basic motions and verifying the proper positions of his body during the early days. So to these observers, the difference in his speed, stamina, flexibility and accuracy have improved greatly, to the point that some of them deem it on the verge of being artistic.

[T/N: And thus Gymnastic gets accidentally reinvented, ww]

To these agents, there’s a sense of wonder in the back of their mind. Just who is this youth? Why is he so heavily protected? From the file they were given, he’s just the son of a diplomat. Under the luxurious conditions that is afforded to him during this period, why isn’t he out indulging himself since everything is paid for by the government? From what they can see and hear, the youth isn’t in the military nor does he aspire to be. Training to become a baseball player? Where would you even find a professional player training as strictly as he does, on his own no less? What is his motivation? They would occasionally complain to one another during their off time, trying to solve this enigma, and also to vent some of their envy at the youth’s situation and how he’s wasting it, only to have some of the more diligent agents to question them back. “If what he’s doing is a waste, then what were you doing at his age?”

[T/N: A reminder, their version of baseball is more like dodgeball in a cage between pitchers with no bases or fielders that we know and love. Go Cubs go, see you at the world series in the next century!]

* * * * *

Day in, day out, Rick focuses his time on training despite the bitter cold weather, borrowing the military facilities after notifying his “watchers” ahead of time when conditions are too severe to train outdoors. On his downtime, he sends emails to his friends and family, keeping a tab on the Academy through Isabel. While this was happening, the Intelligence Bureau was busy trying to figure out the specifics of why he’s being targeted; it took a retired Colonel to solve the mystery for them by chance when he came in for conditioning at the facilities…

“Yo, Chromedome, what is that kid doing in the pool?” The old man points at the blond youth tumbling in the deep water and occasionally shooting himself out of the water vertically by kicking the water below. “I’ve been seeing him around here a lot lately, especially at the gymnasium.”

“What ya so noisy for, Token?” The potbellied, bald administrator rebukes his former superior as he reaches into a box that’s on the table.

“That’s Sir Token to you, now what’s the deal with that kid?”

The man just shrugs. “The Bigwigs are keeping an eye on him and put him under some sort of house arrest, something about national security. Kid’s been here for weeks now, jumping around and throwing balls and whatnot, waste that he ain’t with the troops, he can run laps around the greenhorns.”

The old man with the buzzcut frowns, trying to recall something at the back of his mind, but can’t quite remember what it is. “Tsk, too bad, let’s hope the kid isn’t a spy. Wish my kid has a quarter of his discipline. Hell, even half of yours, she must take after her mother.” He continues into the changing room and gets ready for his own swim, casually taking the donut from the fatman’s hand and returning it to the box.

* * * * *

A few days later…

“CHROM- ROCKMOORE!” The old-man barges into the main office of the building, throwing off some of the guards that are still holding onto him. The new batch of guards that arrived just two days ago were not familiar with the gentleman, and thus tried to detain him. It was unexpected that he managed to brush them off and even dragged the one who tackled him by just walking normally.

“Sir, yo-”

“Sir, reporting- Damn it, Token! What happened?!” The potbellied man rushes out of a nearby washroom, still fixing his pants. He scratches his head due to having to fall back into old habits and catching himself a little too late. He then quickly dismisses the guards and the flustered secretary with a wave of his hand.


The man quickly nods his hand and walks to his office briskly.

“That kid, he still around?”

“He should be showing up tomorrow, why? What happened?”

“You remember the Atchafalaya campaign?”

The potbellied man flinched a bit. “You mean where we nearly lost to the Almans?”

“Yes, ‘nearly’, do you remember the ‘hombre del pantano’ the Yuca sent as reinforcements that ended up saving our asses?”

[T/N: オンブレー・パーンターノー not sure what this is, quick nip search didn’t give me anything, maybe it’s just a name? Thanks to muerto, who is a native spanish speaker, it is just a poorly katakanaed hombre del pantano, which means Swampman. *shakes fist* I don't speak or know spanish, don't hurt me T.T *blames author*]

The fatman furrows his brows. “Can’t say I remember them, just that they did save our bacon… they were really effective though, I vaguely recall they were running circles around the Almans.”

“What if I tell you they use similar techniques as the kid?”


“Oh fuck!” The fatman’s face loosens, his eyes going wide with excitement.

The old man smiles. “Call the Bureau.”

“Wouldn’t it be better if you do it?”

“Pfft, I’m already retired, you still have a few years, you just might get a promotion out of this.”

“Damn it! You’re the greatest, Boss! I owe you one!”

“Just get that damn belly of yours under control and we will call it even.”

The fatman rushes out of the office, calling for the secretary. The old man strolls to a file cabinet, casually opening it and fishes out a bottle of alcohol, pouring himself a shot. He slowly sips his drink as he stares out the window with a thousand yard stare, the memories of bygone years flashing across his mind.

* * * * *



“Huh?” Rick slows down his jogging speed until he’s just jogging in place, trying to pinpoint that soft, high pitched sound.

“Me. Me.”

He snaps his head towards the copse of trees, a bit away from the sidewalk, taking large strides over the snow covered ground.

“Shit, stop the car!” The agent that’s following him in the car shouts at his partner, opening the passenger door and dashing off after Rick even before the black, solemn car comes to a stop. “What the fuck is he doing now?!”



“What are you doing here, little guy?” Rick looks at the brown tabby stumbling near a bush, its eyes closed firmly while meowing.


There are more meowing nearby, causing him to look deeper into the bush, finally spotting two more kittens and what appears to be their mother. The larger cat is releasing bursts of white mist slowly, drawing shallow breaths, it doesn’t react at all to the rustling of the bush as Rick moves closer to inspect it.

“What the…” As he gets closer, he notices that the larger cat seems to be slightly wet, bits of its fur frozen together into sharp, pointy bundles. Not knowing why, he picks up one of the kittens, which seems to be slightly warm to the touch. It curls itself tighter and pushes itself deeper into his hand, seeking the warmth it emits. Hesitantly, he reaches out to the mother cat’s front paw, grasping it gingerly and feeling its feeble remnants of warmth.

Rick quickly takes off his outer jacket and wraps the mother cat into a bundle. The three kittens he places into his hoodie pockets, zipping them up three quarters of the way, the kittens squirm a bit before they reposition themselves into a comfortable position and stop meowing. He takes a deep breath as he looks towards the building he’s currently staying at and rubs his slowly cooling shoulders, before breathing out with a puff of his cheeks. With the kittens secured, he then picks up the bundled jacket and carefully jogs back, making sure not to crush the kittens.

“Where do you think you are going?” The man dressed in the suit-uniform angrily shouts at the youth.

Rick stares coldly at the man straight in the eyes as he jogs towards him. “Don’t worry, I’m not trying to run away.” He then simply jogs past the man, who didn’t like his defiant attitude and tries to grab him, only to miss as Rick sidesteps carefully, spinning smoothly as to avoid jostling his passengers. The man can only stare daggers at the youth’s back, as the distance between them grows despite him trying to catch up, wondering what it is that the youth’s holding.

* * * * *


“Er… Isabel, you gonna pick it up?” George swivels his seat from his monitoring station towards his boss.

“In a bit, that notification isn’t from work. Keep an eye on the doppler for me, would you? Warn me when the water hits 300.” The redheaded woman stares at the monitors in front of her intensely, sliding buttons and giving orders over the mic every dozen seconds or so.

“250 meters per second.”

“Stop the drilling! Get to the designated area! Over.” Isabel orders through the mic.

The dull hum that usually permeates the station ceases as sharp, crackling sounds could be heard.


“Zz- ll clear. All zz- lear. Over.”

“3, 2, 1. Launching ram. Over.” Isabel lifts up the glass cover over a button and firmly pushes it. A rumbling is felt, more than heard, rippling through the entire area and the sound of rushing water fills the room constantly, replacing the previous mechanical hum.

“343 achieved!”

“Z- Ice pipe collapse confirmed. Good job. Over.”

“Good job. Keep an eye out. Over.” Isabel turns off the mic as the tension is released from her shoulder, slumping into her seat. Her previously professional demeanor evaporated as though it was never there as she suddenly plops towards an empty desk and plants a side of her face into the cold surface.

“Why that look, Isabel?”

“You…” She sighs and slumps even more into the desk. “Do you have any idea how dangerous cavitation mining is?”

[T/N: Educated guess here, I heard of it in research and heard of cavitation drilling. I don’t think cavitation mining is a thing irl. From context of the constantly rushing water and the 343 m/s (aka Mach 1), I’m thinking they bored a hole somewhere and made it into a closed loop, then send the water into the hole. When you have water going at that speed and if there’s a curve, it causes cavitation which would erode the bend in the loop. Basically, you’ve a bunch of small, but powerful explosions from the water, which scrapes away at the wall. At least that what I think that’s what it is.

E/N: Probably high pressure/speed water impacting against a surface solid enough to considerably slow down the stream, which causes pressure differentials and thus creating cavitation bubbles - which cause very violent turbulence, capable of wearing away at any material. Seems potentially workable if you have an immense amount of water and energy, but no reliably strong materials to use for drillbits (And if you remember the setting, no burning carbon for synthetic diamonds). See: cavitation bubbles in pumps being the main cause of wear and tear, for further reading.

T/N: Just remembered, mantis shrimp uses it and a group of them can stun a whale.]

“Er… what is that exactly?”

“Argh, nevermind.” Isabel then picks up her tablet that has been sending off notifications non-stop. “What… Huh… never took that idiot for a cat person.” She then quickly taps away at the tablet, returning a reply to Rick’s numerous questions.

“Well, our shift is done, so I’m gonna login with Lesley, you coming?” George stands up and stretches his back before rolling both of his shoulders.

“Aren’t you guys a little… you know… addicted?”

“Aren’t you?” The man asks back frankly with a straight face.

“… Good point. Let’s go.” Isabel pulls herself up from the desk and heads out with George, turning off the lights.

“You think those recipes can be replicated here? I mean, I think we have most of the ingredients for the potage at least.”

“Hmm… Kun can probably test it out for me, if he’s as good a cook as he is in game. I will ask him when he has time.”

“ALRIGHT!” The man makes a fist pump before exiting the door and locking it.


  1. Hope you get better soon. Sad to see this novel go but your own health is more important than this.
    Thank you for making the effort to get this chapter out even with all those RL issues

  2. Thanks for the chapter! This is one of my favorite light novels and I'm so happy to see it updated after so long! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Thank you very much for the new chapter, :D

  4. Thank you for the chapter! I'm glad to see it as I have been missing it.

  5. still working on it, just very slowly, helper wasn't much help, been piecing stuff together.


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