After finishing the meal, I kept on trying to see if I could feel mana in my body. If Brunos words were to be trusted, it was possible but highly unlikely that it would happen this quick. Regardless, I now had a lot of free time on my hands so I decided to walk around the training grounds, although it was a bit hard with my hurting back, and get a better look at the artifacts people were using.

As I walked around, everybody was still training like before. The activities ranged from regular swordsmanship practice to attacking or maneuvering with magic artifacts.

I looked around for a while until I could eventually say with certainty that all of the people had to use an artifact to create magic. Could it be that Rorick actually used an artifact of some kind without me noticing, or is it the case that what Id like to call true magicians are rare? Either way, I continued to walk around while paying attention to my body for signs of mana.

Soon a young man approached me and broke me out of my thoughts.

”Hey, weren you the old man that was summoned with us? Why are you all hunched over like that? ”

I looked at the young man and recognized him as the student that asked a lot of questions to Rorick before.

”Yes, thats me. Looks like youve calmed down quite a bit since that day. ”

He smiled a bit sheepishly as if he were embarrassed of that time.

”Yeah, but I think anybody would be pretty shook up about that whole thing. After all we were suddenly abducted and thrown into a strange place. ”

”Say, how much have you been able to figure out about this place? Ive spent most of my time alone and recovering from injuries so I haven been able to learn much. ”

I saw a hint of pity in the mans eyes perhaps because he remembered how they knocked me out before or from simply seeing me walk around now.

”I can believe they treated you like that for just asking simple questions. It truly is a different world huh? ”

He looked towards the sky with a frown.

”Well anyway, we were all told the jist of the situation. They said that any one of us four could be the hero that they wanted to summon so all of us would go through training. I was pretty hesitant about it at first, but then they showed how to use the magical artifacts or at least the ones that don require mana. Even I can do magic now, can you believe it? This place is just like those stories or games back home so now Im really excited to see how strong I can get. ”

It seems like they really got this man hooked. But I had to frown thinking that they introduced the heroes to artifacts rather than the same type of magic Rorick used. Maybe it was just too hard to learn for beginners, but I felt that they were intentionally holding us back.

”What about the other three? Are you still in touch with them? ”

”Oh them? Yeah, Greg is over there training currently and Jessica and Samantha are in a different training ground. Oh, I haven introduced myself either have I? My name is Alex. ”

”Nice to meet you Alex, Im Ron. ”

”You bet. I suppose they are even going to train you up now that you
e here huh? ”

”Yeah, I keep thinking Im way too old for this kind of stuff, but I guess I don really have a choice. That Bruno guy basically forced me here. ”

”Him huh? Hes a real dick when it comes to his subordinates, but he kind of has a right to be. They wanted to show us what a real fight looks like a while back so he fought with one of the top trainees. Let me tell you after seeing that I have no doubt that this is a fantasy world after all. Every time their swords met there was an actual shockwave. You would have to see it to believe it. These guys have some otherworldly strength. ”

Hmm, so Bruno has a vastly increased strength huh? It might be a bit of a stretch, but that could be the result of introducing this mana into the body and using it to strengthen the muscles and bones much like how he wants me to strengthen my heart. So, would that mean Rorick wouldn be as strong physically?

Maybe that was why he mentioned that a well placed arrow could kill a mage. Does that mean he used mana to strengthen something else like his mind or spirit? There was no way for me to know at this point.

”Wow, I can even imagine something like that. Maybe Ill have the chance to see it sooner or later. ”

”Im sure you will man. It might not be on the same level as Bruno, but they do have spars around here fairly often. You should at least be able to get a glimpse of whats possible in this world. ”

I really would have to look into this more.

”Well, it looks like Greg is almost done over there so I should head back. The instructors get pretty upset if you take too long on your breaks. It was nice talking to you Ron. I guess Ill see you around. ”

With that, I sent him off and then went back to walking around the training grounds. I had a lot of new information to think about and plenty of time to myself.

Eventually, the sun was getting lower on the horizon and all of the people around stopped their training and headed to the cafeteria at the same time. I was a little puzzled on how everybody knew it was time to eat at the same time, but I followed them all the same.

When I finally arrived at the cafeteria, the whole place looked completely chaotic. Instead of an organized and civil line that you might expect of troops in a military, there was instead just a huge crowd that all pushed to get their food as fast as possible. On top of that, everybody seemed to be in a conversation making the noise level of the whole building too loud to hear much of anything.

The whole scene reminded me of my high school days so long ago. For a bit I thought about pushing my way into the crowd to get food faster, but after remembering that everybody here was likely way stronger than me, I decided to patiently wait my turn.

Soon, everybody was served and I was able to pick up the scraps as one of the last people in line. With my tray in hand, I looked around for empty seats and was only able to find a couple. I wasn quite sure what the people would be like, but I decided to test my luck and sit at one of the tables. However, before I could even sit down everybody there looked towards me with disgust.

”And what do you think you
e doing old man? ”

It was going to be like that huh? I was starting to really look forward to the day when I could get my own freedom in this world. Despite that I put on a smile and tried to smooth over the situation.

”Im sorry I just wanted to eat my food at a table. Was this seat taken by any chance? ”

”No, its not. Be we aren going to let some newbie, let alone a broken old man, sit here. Go sit on the ground where you belong. ”

My god, Im starting to see Brunos mannerisms in more and more people here. I felt that this wasn a very efficient way to raise a fighting force. If you couldn even bond with your fellow soldiers what was the point of risking your life when the time came?

Instead of humoring them any further I followed their advice and found a corner on the ground to sit and eat. I tried to make use of my time at least and attempted to eavesdrop on nearby conversations, but the noise level made it much too difficult. On top of that, every time I actually could make something out, it tended to just be some joke or trash talking.

So, I just spent my time eating and trying to feel the mana that was supposedly entering my body. The sooner Im able to accomplish that, the sooner Id be able to plan out what I am going to do in this world.

Eventually it became clear that nobody had to train anymore after dinner. Everybody just carried on with their conversations until they decided to leave for the barracks to sleep for the night. For a second, I thought to follow one of the groups to see if there were actually empty beds, but after thinking back to what happened earlier, I decided to just sleep in my corner of the cafeteria. At least this way, I would be woken up when everybody came back for breakfast.

Soon all of the groups had left and I was left alone to try and get some sleep myself. As I was falling asleep, I kept thinking about my plans for the future. Someday surely, I would get a chance to change my situation. Then maybe I could become like those heroes in the stories I saw back home. I might be old and useless now, but someday I would show everybody that I am capable of much more.

Thinking along those lines, I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

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