Chapter 9: High Ranking Officer

A four metre tall wall stood erect, and within it stood a two meter tall gate wide enough to only allow one person through.

At its side was a bonfire crackling away, illuminating the gate, and a uniformed personnel in front of it. That person was probably a soldier or a policeman on sentry duty.

He stood erect by the gate, a tube like weapon tucked close to his body, pointing downwards at a 45 degree angle. A pose similar to ones you see in a first person shooter.

That thing…is that a pea shooter—-shotgun!? [1]

Has this world’s weapon technology advanced to such a level?!

However, upon closer inspection, I realized my mistake. It was a simple musket without even a nozzle on it.

By now, the sentry had already spotted me so I set aside my guessing and approached him.

Sentry: ……

As he stared at me, he seemed to notice my unease and asked.

Sentry: An exile? I didn’t expect to see an exile at the south gate.

Sentry: Lucky kid. You picked the right time to visit. There’s no inspection.

Di Qi Ju: ……??

Sentry: Head straight until you hit the central plaza. You will see why then.

Di Qi Ju: ……Okay.

Well, that was easy…

I wonder what he meant by “you will see why then”. I guess I should just check it out. What could possibly go wrong anyway? Might even be a job opportunity.

Though getting mistaken for an exile is kind of annoying.

According to my vast high school knowledge, highly centralized governments tend to keep a tight rein on immigration.

Exiles were an affront to such regulations so the governments tend to come down hard upon them.

However, being an exile had one major advantage; it was the perfect cover for my unique origins. Though that was its only advantage.

I should be more careful about my status from now on…

As I finally took my first step through the gate, the long awaited city view came into sight.

A wide concrete road was the first to greet me. On its left side were a neatly aligned row of buildings. They were two stories tall and had the look of a 19th century European mansion but were slightly plainer.

Just across the street from these buildings, were a field of buildings under construction. Within this hive of buildings, buzzed a swarm of worker bees diligently hammering away. The cacophony of human activity painted a vibrant picture of city life.

Flanking the road were a bunch of black street lamps with a height of two adults combined. A worker could be seen tending to these lamps with his push cart and ladder. He was currently atop his ladder refueling a street lamp with an unknown liquid fuel.

The red glow of the evening sun washed over me, reminding me that night was about to fall.

As I continued along the road, the row mansions suddenly gave way to a bustling shopping district.

The construction works on the right were gradually replaced by completed buildings as I approached the city center. There was even a luxurious looking four storey inn nestled among them.

The lights from the street lamps mingled with the illumination from the buildings in the dimming sky. It was truly as if I had come to a peaceful 19th century city. A pity I didn’t have time to admire this scene.

After a long walk, the road finally came to an end and a circular plaza came into view.

The plaza stood at the intersection of four roads and one of which was the road I had just came from.

My gaze was immediately drawn ahead  to the right of me.

If it had been a bunch of buildings, it would have probably been considered a district of its own. However, it was instead a forest of tents pitched on a flat field.

They were mostly green in color and varied in size . The smallest could house one person while the largest could contain over a hundred people.

Did I just stumble into a campsite in the wilds? Wait, this is the middle of a city.

I cautiously approached one of the inhabitants and questioned.

Di Qi Ju: Excuse me, is this——

Before I could finish, a uniformed personnel similar to the gate sentry peaked out of the tent.

Soldier: hm? Are you here to register? Head to the largest tent over there.

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Di Qi Ju: Oh……oh.

Registration? I knew this place had job openings!

Just from a glance, I could tell that large portions of this city were under construction. They must be recruiting for this.

A laborer‘s life? If it is a skilled job, I could probably get a better wage than a farmer.

Come to think of it, I haven’t found a place to spend the night yet. Who knows I might meet a potential colleague. That would definitely help me settle down .

That’s my ideal start to my work life.

As I thought about this, I opened the flap of the largest tent and peered in.

The tent was filled with several dozens of people sitting on the floor. Only the people at the sides were standing and talking. Among them were several non-humans.

No one paid attention to me as I entered the tent and sat down in a corner.

Next to me was a lamp and a hole in the tent wall to allow for air circulation. This arrangement was replicated throughout the different corners of the tent.

If it wasn’t for the tense mood in the tent, it would almost look like a banquet.

It looked like everyone had been waiting in here for a long while.

Just as I sat down, the tent’s flaps were opened.

A lean, golden short haired youth strode into the tent. He wore an officer’s uniform and maintained an upright posture. The serious demeanor of a soldier not lessened a bit by his youth.

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Beside him was a older, black haired instructor. Judging from his demeanor, that man should be his adjutant.

The crowd immediately turned their attention to the pair, with some even standing up.

It was at this moment that the odd atmosphere in this tent finally sunk in. This didn’t look at all like a recruitment for laborers.

That’s right…I should have known from the uniform of that guy whom I asked directions from.

The bell rang in my head as the test ended. I looked in despair as I just realize I had just messed up royally.

Looks like I have no choice but to see this through to the end.

Blond Officer: Sorry for the wait. I had some personal matters to attend to so I’m late. I hope you will understand.

Blond Officer: You guys are the last batch of applicants today, and as a show of my hospitality, I’ll provide accommodations for everyone here tonight regardless of whether they are hired.

He paused for a moment to let his words sink in. After looking around to see if anyone was dissatisfied, he continued.

Blond Officer: First I’ll introduce myself. My name is Puleiman. I’m the vice commander of Honor City’s defence forces and also the commander of this exploratory expedition. This is vice commander, Ethan.

Blond Officer: I know that everyone had to make a long arduous trip here. While I do not wish for anyone to go home empty handed, a simple test is still required.

Blond Officer: Just relax and do your best. Even if physical strength is your only redeeming point, know that this expedition requires laborers to move in its support team as well.

Blond Officer: My vice commander will hand out leaflets with the necessary information. On it are some basic information as well.

Blond Officer: that’s all. We will begin the test in half an hour. Ethan.

Vice Commander: Understood.

The black haired officer stepped out from the blond man’s back and started giving out the leaflets.

While no one spoke up, the sight of everyone gearing up created a bustling sight in the tent.

However, everyone clearly didn’t include me; as I was still in a daze when the leaflet was handed out to me.

Di Qi Ju: ……

Di Qi Ju:….huh?

Di Qi Ju: Pioneering?

Footnotes:

[1] Peashooter – old nickname for a shotgun.

Credits:

Special thanks to 7STARDARK BLADE! The first ever patron of Catato Patch Translations

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