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Chapter 72


Where Tara has a bout of depression, Bernard shows his 'Future General' self and a lazy offical arrives for tea.


This chapter is dedicated to Kelzbelz ! Thank you for your support and kind comment.


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Episode 72. 60 kg (2)


“Now… Lift it.”


I lifted the axe handle up to my elbows and gripped it tightly at one-third of the hilt, then slowly began to run as Bernard had shown me earlier.


I reached full speed about 5m from where the mannequin was standing, then jumped about a meter away from the doll. Trying to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, I struck it hard with a 'whack' right where the neck met the shoulder, then immediately pulled the axe out and stood up. *


"Wow!"


Juan, the embassy official, and Wilson, the cook, erupted in thunderous applause once again.


I gave a quick nod to their now all-too-familiar cheers and turned to Bernard to prepare for the next round.


"Do you want to stop?"


"No. I have to do this."


If I didn't train, I'd probably feel like digging my way to the other side of the planet.


“Today, we will learn how to choke an opponent quickly and easily after knocking him down.”


Ever since we'd been in Durben, Bernard had been teaching me self-defence in case I didn't have an axe on me, or he couldn't be by my side.


Before possessing Tara, I had learned simple self-defence techniques, so on the first day of training I had confidently used what I had learned on Bernard.


However, my skills were overpowered in a matter of seconds.


[Tsk, tsk. If you do this in real life, you'll get killed. The theory is good, but the weird body movements are not. Oh well. Here we go. Let's start with the wrist flip again.]


I’d felt bad for a moment after being told that the skills I had learned before my transmigration were useless, but he hadn't been wrong.


That's probably why I had got killed in front of that restaurant, I hadn't even thought of using self-defence skills at the time.


I had never properly used the self-defence techniques I had learned during that gym recruitment event in my old life.


"A common mistake in self-defence is thinking that the goal is to defend oneself."


"So, it's offence?"


"Yes. The ideal goal in self-defence is offence, followed by defence. When a woman has to use self-defence, the opponent is often a man who is stronger than the woman, and men are usually caught off guard, because they don't expect the woman to attack first."


"Ah..."


"It's most effective when you strike first…"


"I know! There. That’s where I should attack!”


I glanced at Bernard's crotch and winked. His hard face hardened even more.


"...No!"


"No?"


"When a man fights, that's the most guarded part of his anatomy. It's instinctively protected, so it's not easy to attack. The best places are the eyes and throat, the fingers, the instep or armpits."


"Really?"


"There are other areas, but you should aim to attack those first."


"To attack those areas, you go about it like this… and while you've knocked him down, quickly get behind him and put your arms around his like this. Then wrap your legs around his neck like this…"


After Bernard demonstrated on the dummy, I copied him.


After all that training, I was exhausted. I usually felt refreshed after, but not today.


I grabbed the training axe I had momentarily set aside and stumbled over to Bernard.


"… How long are you going to do this?"


"What?"


Looking annoyed, he tapped his foot on the ground.


"You've been like this for three days already."


“Haha… that’s…”


As the days drew closer to winter, a certain feeling of anxiety was slowly eating away at me.


I wondered if I was going to rot here forever. Maybe I should quit everything and go back to the Capital to find another way.


Perhaps I should have explained the whole situation to my father from the start and asked him to give up his ambitions and go down to the countryside manor.


Or maybe I should do that now.


All of these thoughts overlapped, and I felt increasingly helpless, as if everything I had done until now was meaningless and foolish.


I had worked hard to get this job, but I didn't know how long I'd have to stay in a place where no one recognized me, or whether I'd be able to return to the Capital within the year.


I had been in this state for a couple of weeks, and there was no sign of my mood getting any better.


I'd lost weight, gotten in better shape and become a Third Secretary. But my family’s destruction was getting closer…


Looking up at the clear winter sky, I sighed deeply.


"Haaa.... I was looking too far ahead..."


Just as I was about to dig myself into another hole again.


"Third Secretary, an official letter has arrived from the Capital's Military Administration," Jack the chamberlain of the diplomatic mission ran up to me, panting.


"Really?"


At the beginning of every month, a letter from the Capital's administration would arrive, and this was one of the few times it arrived on time.


The road from the Capital to Durban was rough. Sometimes, the mail wagon would have an accident, and then the next month’s letter would arrive with the previous one.


As I hadn't received the August and September letters, they must have arrived with the October one.


"Go ahead, I'll stay here and train some more."


"Haha, yes. I have to work...."


The axe handle slipped out of my sluggish hand and clattered on the floor.


The sound was louder than expected, and I winced, but I figured it didn't matter.


"Miss."


"Huh?"


"If you continue to do this, I'm going to stop you. This is not the Master I decided to follow."


"Ah...!"


I belatedly turned towards Bernard. His expression was cold, devoid of any emotion.


"Make your choice. The Master I chose to believe in and follow wasn't the kind of person who would be consumed by delusions that eat away at the body and soul."


".....!"


Yes. That's right. If I was going to act like this, I never should have taken the Administrative Exam.


I shouldn't have made Bernard my vassal, and instead ran away when I was sent here. I shouldn't have allowed myself to get so carried away.


When was the last time things had gone smoothly? Wasn't I the kind of person who tirelessly tried to make the impossible possible?


This was a problem that could be solved if I didn't give up and found a way.


A small flame flared in my chest again.


I squeezed my eyes shut and looked at Bernard.


However, just because I had a newfound resolve, it didn't mean that I had changed my state of mind. As his Master, I owed Bernard an apology.


"... I'm sorry I looked so bad. It's been a rough couple of days. But I'm not giving up. As you said, Bernard, I'm not the kind of person to let this get me down. I'll do this for today, and tomorrow I’ll have my act back together."


"Just for today."


After watching me nod so hard my head looked ready to fall off, Bernard gave me a quick nod then turned towards the dummy and began training.


As expected, a future General is different!


Looking at Bernard, I slapped my cheeks.


"Pull yourself together!"


Startled by my behaviour, Jack took a step back and prompted me gently.


"We also have a visitor from the Durben Joint Security Force." He explained as he followed me towards the building.


"Is it Bruno, the third-class sergeant?"


As a secretary dispatched by the Capital, I was in charge of the special administrative affairs of the Empire's military units, while the general administration within the unit was handled by a non-commissioned officer who doubled as a police officer.


The non-commissioned officers at the top of the general military command were divided into four classes, and the one who had come to visit was a third-class sergeant with over fifteen years of service.


"Yes ma'am. He's in the office again and wants things done quickly.”


"Oh, isn't he a little early? He normally always comes one day before the deadline."


Bruno, the third-class non-commissioned officer of the Ocerian Joint Security Unit had visited me once every fortnight since I had arrived because he needed the final seal that was part of one of my eight duties: [Joint Security Unit Military Supply Distribution Management]


Before my arrival, he’d had to travel to another Ocerian Imperial Mission, about fifteen kilometers away, to get the final stamp from the secretary in charge. So, the unit had sent me the largest welcome flower basket the day I had arrived.


The flowers, which had already withered, were still displayed next to the entrance hall.


As I entered the office, Bruno was humming a tune while sipping a cup of black tea brewed by a servant.


"... Did you record everything correctly this time? You didn't write 855 military boots instead of 85 like last time, did you?"


"Ah... I'm not an idiot who would make the same mistake twice. By the way, I've noticed that every time I come here, the tea tastes amazing. Where the hell do you get this kind of tea? The servant mixed it with milk last time and it was fantastic. I went back to my unit and tried to copy it, but it's not the same."


Stroking his signature mustache, his cheeks still reddened by the cold, the third class officer pelted me with questions as soon as he saw me.


I took the stack of papers he handed me and concentrated on checking and comparing them against last month's records, making sure there weren't any missed or additional requests.


All the while, the 42-year-old officer showed no sign of getting up from the couch.


As a non-commissioned officer who had been stationed in Durben for the last 13 years, he had gained weight despite being in the Military. 


Curiously, because it was so peaceful despite being a conflict zone, there hadn't been a single transfer from the local unit since I had arrived, except for Paul Simpson.


Was it a relief that another one of my eight duties [Joint Security Unit Transfer Document Management] had all but disappeared?


I was still waiting to hear back about the transfer application I had written the other day.


I guess that was why I was burned out...


The only thing I could count on, if I didn't get transferred for my excellent work, was the special promotion for being 'a person who made a great contribution to the Empire outside of their duties'. But there wasn't anything worthy of a great contribution to be had.


This place was too peaceful for a conflict zone.


Damn... I was out of luck.


"Hmmm. There is no problem with the paperwork. I'll go check the supplies when they arrive, and the black tea comes directly from Binding Street."


"Hmph... well you are a noble, so it's different. By the way, don't you think you’re working too hard? You're always in a hurry whenever I see you. Take it easy and get some rest. You look like a man caught cheating who’s being chased by his wife."


‘Ah... I wanna puke....’


But except for me, neither the chamberlain, the maid nor the deputy chief of staff stifled their laughter. They were so loud that even the two military guards at the entrance giggled.


"... Yes, but one has to work hard if one wants high marks for proficiency and job performance."


"What?"


Looking quite surprised, the officer spat out a nasal exclamation that I would have rather avoided hearing. He turned sharply towards me as he brushed away the cookie crumbs that had fallen onto his stomach.


Editor's Note -

* The MTL was weird and it was @Rina that helped me assume it was going for “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” which is a Muhammed Ali quote. But this is a supposition on our part. The sentence feels still iffy, but it does work.


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3 Comments


June
June
Mar 09

Bernard for president!!


And.. Tara winking at Bernard's crotch.. The image in my mind.. We should have had it in the manhwa.. Hahaha 😆

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ProMama
ProMama
Mar 07

The best part of the novel is how much it humanizes every character that much more.


And yeah, that quote’s definitely super common knowledge pop culture enough to be picked up by a K-writer.

Like

Laralee
Laralee
Mar 07

I like how the author makes her characters very human, but doesn't aggravate us by over-indulging in the down or weak times. In real life such challenges have their own time tables, but in this novel I appreciate the pacing we get.


Thank you for the translation

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