03-08 The Common Sense of the Academy
“Now that Padyuel-san is done, let’s talk about Foster.” Frank spoke as if nothing at all was out of the ordinary, but that in and of itself was the same as pouring salt to a certain flustered girl’s bleeding heart.
“To think that of all people, I would…”
It might’ve been because of her high regard for herself, but she did not appear down.
Whether that was a good thing or not was difficult to answer, but Shinichi, nonetheless, found it amusing.
He really should repent a bit more though.
“So, what is that Foster thing?” Shinichi asked.
This was more important right now, so Shinichi decided to let her off.
It might be a bit unexpected, but even he can be considerate once in a while.
But then, with how bad he is at reading the atmosphere, in the end, it just cancels itself out, netting him a zero.
“…You’re starting there? I’m pretty sure there’s a terminal that’s been circulating with the same name, but anyway… Foster is short for Foton Use Terminal. That thing I used to show you those images a while ago, as well as the one Padyuel-san has with her – those are both fosters.”
They showed Shinichi those tablet-like terminals again. One was A4-sized, while the other was just small enough to hold with one hand.
“It’s a product resulting from the fusion of Garesto’s portable military equipment and Earth’s tablet technology. It was originally created for the students of the academy.
The abbreviation fosuta is foster in English, and since the meaning fits perfectly, it was decided that it would be called that from then on.”
“…Sorry, but what does it mean in English?”
Frank carefully explained what the tool was and the origins of its name, but Shinichi got confused when a foreign language was brought to the equation.
The translator machine won’t work if a foreign language is intentionally used.
And the translator he had with him wasn’t that high-spec’d to begin with.
“Oh? Isn’t foster a common English word?”
“Unfortunately, I never got to finish middle school because of my situation, so…”
This had been bothering Shinichi for a long time now.
Just when he’d finally become a second-year middle school student, he was suddenly swept into another world.
He’d already had difficulties with English, so when the burden of having to learn so many new things all of the sudden was added, it’s not strange to see how he was able to forget most of what he’d learned.
At most, now, all he can do is to read and write the English alphabet.
“I see. Then… I’ll translate it for you. Basically, it’s a ‘terminal that uses photon.’ Yeah, that sounds about right.
Foster means to raise or to rear. So, when you think about it in a mental sense, it’s exactly on the same line as “kokoro ni idaku (to harbor a feeling).”
“And by mental, I suppose you’re referring to the one from the status?
That odd one out of the bunch that’s hard to understand.”
He was surprised to find that humans now had those status things when he came back here.
And from among the different statuses listed, the one he couldn’t understand at all was the “Mental” or “Mind” stat.
“You really don’t know anything, huh? But, well… You did enroll as soon as you returned, so I guess it can’t be helped.”
For a moment, Frank looked fed up, but it was only for an instant before he put up his teacher act again. He did look annoyed though, not that Shinichi minded.
“How much do you know about photons?” He asked.
“Umm… Photons are crystallized forms of the energy Garesto uses. But, nowadays, it’s gotten much rarer, and it’s use is being limited,” Shinichi replied.
A smidgen of knowledge was all he had.
Frank nodded. “Photons aren’t just crystallized energy, however. It’s rare, but sometimes they also possess a special trait which allows them to sympathize with the will of a living creature.”
“How cliché…” Shinichi mistakenly said.
“Orthodox?” Frank didn’t understand.
The cliché setting of a mysterious power that will bring forth tremendous strength when the hero is in a pinch. The promised tale of a hero that shall slay a great evil.
A common story in Shinichi’s childhood days, but it’s also exactly the kind of power one would expect from a different world. But, a power like that was just too cliché as far as Shinichi was concerned.
“Sorry, it’s nothing. Please –continue.”
A poor attempt to move the conversation.
Anyway. It’s a lot faster than using a machine to pull out energy once.
The “Mind” status indicates how easy it is for a person to gather energy. Of course, the higher the Mind, the greater the energy. Literally, ishi no chikara (power of the will). So, it was translated to “Mind”.
Meaning-wise it didn’t really match, but with this, Shinichi finally understood what the “Mind” status was about.
No wonder I have a D on it, he thought to himself. As untalented as ever.
“…Since you didn’t know anything about mind, I take it you don’t know anything about the other statuses either?” Padyuel asked.
While Shinichi was at a lost on whether he should be relieved or sad, the voice of a certain girl who had finally gotten over her slump reached his ears.
It’s fine, he caught himself wanting to say, but he changed his mind and asked her to explain.
“Very well. Consider this as an apology for Rizet’s behavior earlier.
I’ll use my status to explain.
Sensei, please take care of the foster’s initial settings.
Let’s start. Status Open.” Padyuel said.
She spoke as if to command the foster itself. And without even lifting a finger to touch it, a window appeared between her and Shinichi.
Name: Aristel F. Padyuel
Height: 165cm (5’4”)
Weight: 60kg (132.277lbs)
Mind, AAA (MAX)
Three Sizes, B89;W54;H85
Shinichi felt some parts to be too much info, but there was something he needed to point out first.
“So, the ringlet curls were heavy…”
“Can you please drop the hair stuff already!”
The difference in their height wasn’t much, but for some reason there was a 12kg (26.5lbs) difference in their weight. That couldn’t possibly be all muscle, right? Then it must be those curled sausages of hers. Women sure has it rough, Shinichi thought as he looked at her with pity.
He decided to ignore her three sizes that were being clearly put on display.
This was, after all, her apology for having intruded his privacy earlier.
“Calm down, calm down… A member of the Padyuel House must not lose her composure.” Padyuel took a deep breath, then she began her explanation. Shinichi also refrained from any further teasing and focused on listening.
“Fuu… The following status can be described as follows—”
Strength pertains to the maximum power the physical body can produce unaided.
Stamina pertains to the longest a person can maintain his strength.
Mind pertains to the greatest amount of energy a person can muster.
Resistance pertains to how much damage a person’s bare flesh can endure.
Agility pertains to one’s speed and reflexes.
“—And that about sums it up.”
Shinichi nodded. It was the same standard as Falandia.
The only difference was that there were attributes that they didn’t have here.
And one of those was the attribute said to be the most important.
That’s probably the reason why Shinichi saw statuses differently from the people here.
“As for the hierarchy of ranks, E is the lowest theoretically, but in actual practice D is the lowest and S is the highest. There is also the Double A Rank and the Triple A Rank between A Rank and S Rank.
Minuses and pluses are also used when letters alone aren’t sufficient.
In my case, for example, my resistance is shown as B+. That’s because it’s greater than just B, but not enough to be called an A-. So, it’s called B+.
The same goes for my agility, which is an A-. It’s not high enough to be called an A, but it’s still greater than a B+, so it’s given an A- Rank instead.”
“…It’s the same until here, huh.”
“Hmm? Did you say something?”
Strange… The definitions and the ranks are the same.
Does that mean there’s not much difference between the three worlds? Or is that as far as their similarities go?
“It’s nothing. I just thought it impressive how you’re able to look so good despite such high values in strength, endurance, and resistance. It’s not a feat you can accomplish with meager talent alone or effort.
You must have been training hard since you were young.
You’re pretty amazing, aren’t you?”
He didn’t want her to ask something troublesome, so he steered the conversation away. At the same time, however, those were his honest thoughts.
The easiest way to train was to build up muscle, though that didn’t guarantee an increase in stat, as muscles and statuses weren’t directly related.
It was for the same reason that most of the women of Falandia who fought in the front lines were muscular, while those who wanted to keep their appearance fought from the back.
There was only one way to maintain one’s appearance with high stats, and that was through a long period of calculated training. There was no other method. It took a lot of guts and perseverance, which is exactly why Shinichi praised her. Yet by doing so he had inadvertently confessed that he knew more than he let on.
Padyuel went beet red, and she failed to notice the oddity of the fact.
Here was a man who hadn’t the slightest clue about “Mind”, yet somehow someway, he actually understood the difficulties of keeping one’s appearance with a high status.
Moreover, she was a high ranker with a high social status. It shouldn’t have been possible for her to lose her composure with just a compliment or two.
Yet that would only prove true if what he praised was something else.
Yes, it was neither her beauty nor her status that he praised, but her effort.
It was something she’d taken for granted, like the rest of the people around her. Giving her best was a given. There was nothing exceptional about that, yet here was a man who praised just that.
It was odd, but for some reason, she felt proud to have “his” praise.
Enough to make her heart beat.
“B-But, of course!
As a member of the Padyuel House, it’s only expected to be exemplary!
It’s pretty much my duty to be both strong and beautiful!”
“Yep, you’re amazing.”
She tried to hide her embarrassment by running off her mouth, but the tender gaze of that supposedly younger boy dyed her flush deeper.
“Kyu~ Kyu~” A certain girl who had been watching from a distance was stupefied. She skillfully moved her forelegs and took on the pose of a person shrugging shoulders as she shook her head. ‘Same as ever, huh’, she seemed to say.
“You seem to be done explaining the status. Shall we return to the original topic?”
“Ah, y-yes. By all means!”
After coming back to her senses, Aristel stepped down and let Frank explain.
She distanced herself from Shinichi and took a deep breath to calm down, while Frank took out a “Foster” from the box he was carrying.
From what Shinichi knew, that was none other than a tablet.
It was already on and it was no different from the ones he’d seen on TV or in the streets before being swept to another world.
But the senses he had that had been trained in Falandia clearly felt the presence of “power” inside it.
Shinichi was stunned.
“…I guess with this much photon even a useless returnee can feel it, huh.”
That ever expressionless face of Shinichi broke when Frank took the tablet out.
His eyes went wide as he felt the surge of photon.
“This is Foster. It can be used as a portable terminal, but as far as the academy or this city is concerned, it’s an indispensable tool for studying.
It’s your ID, your textbook, and your weapon.
Just like that, see?” Frank pointed to the other students who had their tablets equipped on their arms as they sparred with one another. It was the place with the greatest concentration of photon.
The students fought under the protection of the photon energy. They hit and kicked, and were hit and kicked in turn. It was more a brawl and less an actual spar like two sandbags that had grown a pair of arms and legs, and were hitting each other. But what surprised him was that light.
“That thin layer of light is a barrier. It comes from the foster and it protects the students.
It’s necessary to ensure the safety of the students during combat training and hunting duties.
It’s also used to ensure that no one gets hurts during quarrels between students.
As long as it’s up, no hits will actually reach the body.
Well, the shock can still reach the body though.”
Frank seemed to be joking at some point, but Shinichi couldn’t laugh.
He didn’t like the way this school did things, but now he finally understood.
When he first saw the students fight, he was annoyed by something, yet he couldn’t tell what that something was. But now, he finally understood.
The students didn’t know how to fight. They were too soft.
It’s not because of the barrier, Falandia had that as well.
The real problem was that they were using that to beat each other senselessly, flailing their fists about wildly, then smiling when they got hit as if all was right.
These students were all on the road to death. And if this were an actual fight, they would all – without exception – be slaughtered.
Even more surprising was how they belittled shock waves.
Did they think that their barrier was invincible? There were countless ways to kill a person without touching them. In fact, Shinichi himself knew enough to pile a mountain.
“A-Ahh… This isn’t good… I’m thinking strange things again.” Shinichi shook his head.
That way of thinking was too close to that of Falandia, a war-torn world where battles occurred at every corner. Monsters frolicked the perimeters of the city walls, and bandits ever lurked in the shadows for unsuspecting travelers.
War and terrorism dyed the world in its color. It was a world completely unlike Earth, which was currently trying to adopt Garesto’s way of life.
It wasn’t right to judge another world by the standards of another, something that Shinichi kept doing. He had to stop, but…
“…Sensei, what, is that?”
“Hmm? Oh, that? Well, that’s because fosters are also weapons.
Swords and shooters are standard equipment.”
The answer wasn’t wrong, per se, but that wasn’t the question.
What Shinichi was really asking was “Is that really how you’re supposed to use your weapon?”
A terminal was equipped on each of their arms. A blade of light or the nozzle of a gun extended from their hands. Facing each other, they let loose a barrage of attacks. That was it. It was like two kids play fighting.
Their skills were poor. That’s to be expected, but everyone looked on at that as if it were perfectly normal.
The students looked to be trying, but there was no fear in their actions.
The fear of holding a weapon. The fear of using a weapon. The fear of hurting your friend. The fear of hurting yourself.
It was as if the concept of fear was swept off to another world, there was no fear at all. Moreover, the students that were supposedly sparring looked no more than a bunch of brats messing around.
—They probably don’t even realize the existence of such fears.
“This is horrible…”
He wanted to ask, just where did Earth’s —no, Japan’s common sense go?
Wasn’t Japan a country supposedly blessed with a culture of morality, etiquette, and martial arts?
Did all that go away just because of another world’s culture?
Suddenly, his head that shouldn’t have been hurting began to hurt. Before he knew it, his palm was supporting his forehead.
“This is just pathetic.”
That quiet mutter and that slight action went by unnoticed by Aristel, who was watching him intently from behind.
Her gaze seemed to be searching for something, though they also carried with them a hint of respect.
It was as if she was looking at someone she respected. Yet, hidden even deeper neath that gaze full of yearn was a fire unknown.
“All of you stop! Just stop!
What’s with those movements? Nothing’s changed at all since you’ve entered this school!
You have to look at your opponent properly and then move!
Just swinging your weapons doesn’t count as fighting!”
Frire Doneju harshly reprimanded the students.
Some of the students frowned upon being told they’ve made no progress, but whatever complaints they had were suppressed by a swing of her blade.
It was fast and brimming with power. And though it wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular, the pressure alone was enough to overwhelm them.
“I won’t hear any of it! You have to look at your weapon properly and use it!
Just hitting someone with them doesn’t take any “technique”!
Are you humans or a bunch of drones!? Then stop moving around aimlessly and use your heads!” Frire demonstrated for the students, instructing them as she showered them with abuse. From time to time, she would even hit them. It was starting to turn troublesome, but her older brother, Frank, only shook his head, muttering “Goodness gracious” under his breath as he wondered whether such rough teaching was warranted.
“Goodness gracious, what a rough woman.” Frank said.
“On the contrary, Sensei.
If you had just thrown them out to fight for themselves in the field, they would have everything learned in a day,” Shinichi disagreed.
Frank was just looking to hear someone agree with him, but out of the blue, a method even harsher than Frire’s came knocking. He froze.
“You’re… Too extreme.
They won’t be able to do anything if a strong raybeast comes out.” Frank advised.
He was shocked, but he figured Shinichi must’ve made that remark because he didn’t understand just how dangerous the raybeasts were.
“Er… That’s exactly why I want you to throw them out there… Actually, never mind. Let’s just continue.”
It’s precisely because it’s dangerous that it makes sense.
That danger is what will hammer the basics into their body.
But just as Shinichi was about insist, he stopped.
There wasn’t any meaning in that, so he forcefully changed the topic.
“…As for the rest, you’ll figure it out as you use it.
It’s been set to its default setting, so, just change it later as you see fit.” Frank seemed displeased for a moment, but he quickly handed the foster.
Shinichi strapped it to his non-dominant arm, his left arm, where it automatically turned into an arm band.
The now angular-shaped foster fit perfectly.
It was hard to tell from a distance, but it looked just like a kote (bracer used in Kendo).
“…So needlessly high tech.”
Any other Earthling would’ve been goggle-eyed at the transformation, but Shinichi wasn’t impressed.
On the screen of the terminal appeared some large Japanese characters which read “Registration Complete”, and the energy began to seep out.
A photon barrier wrapped around Shinichi just like the rest of his classmates.
He wasn’t good with this sort of stuff. Having a barrier cover his own body was like being stuffed in a sleeping bag. It was hard to move.
He waved his hands a couple of times. Opened them. Closed them. He wanted to find out if it would really be a hindrance to his movements, and unfortunately, that seemed to be the case. In truth, it was all just in his mind. It was just a feeling and nothing more, but it still felt like he was being constrained. He had to get used to it.
“Padyuel-san, I think you’ll be a better fit for teaching what comes next. Do you mind?”
“Leave it to me.
I’ll make sure to explain everything. Now then, if you’d follow me.”
A stage just like he’d seen during recess at the first sports ground rose from the ground.
Aristel wore her terminal on her left arm like a kote just like he did, and she faced him atop the stage.
The reason she joined this class was to lift the veil from Shinichi. Of course, she wasn’t foolish enough to say that out loud.
“Then let’s start with the basics of foster combat.
You have already been registered to that foster, so please go ahead and say ‘Sword’ or ‘Shooter’ to it.”
“…Say it? You mean with my mouth? When we have to use our weapons?”
Aristel was clearly serious when she said that, but Shinichi still couldn’t help but do a double-take.
“Huh? Umm, yeah.
You can also input it manually… Oh, right. You must find it odd to have to say the name of the weapon you’re using while fighting, huh?”
There were many people who thought it stupid to have to call out the name of your weapon in actual battles, so, she was able to immediately deduce why Shinichi reacted like that.
There also weren’t any people who had to rely on voice activation during the sparring in recess, which Shinichi had observed.
In actuality, those weren’t the only things Shinichi was confused about, but he let it slide.
“Well, yeah, something like that.”
The real thing can change shape with just a thought, but these things we have are – in the end – meant for school use.
They’re not meant to be used against people, only raybeasts. Think of them as exclusively for training .
The only students equipped with such fosters are those of the special class.” Aristel explained.
“I see.” Shinichi nodded.
Actually, Shinichi found the very thought of having to call out the name of his weapon embarrassing.
He’d often done something similar in his childhood days when he acted out the heroes he on television.
“Sigh… ‘Sword’” Shinichi said monotonously.
A sword of light just like the rest of the class’ extended from his left palm, where the kote-like terminal was strapped.
The photon sword shone a golden hue and was a double-edged 30cm blade.
It was only about half the size of the other students.
“Huh, is it because my mind stat is low that it’s smaller?”
“Y-yeah, probably… It’s not true for all ranks, but a difference will probably appear when the rank is as low as C or D.”
“As I thought. Anyway, this suits me just fine.”
Because I’m bad with long weapons, he nonchalantly added as he swung the sword a couple of times.
There wasn’t a hint of a sense of inferiority about him, even though his sword was smaller than everyone else.
In fact, he swung his sword like all was right in the world. And he was so used to it that Aristel felt like her common sense wasn’t so common.
“N-Next is the shooter. Please give it a try.
It would be problematic if a problem shows up later, so…”
“Right…” Shinichi took a deep breath, then with a stiff face that spoke of the hesitation he had to overcome to utter the next few words, he said, “Shooter”
He really didn’t want to say it. In fact, he’d suffered a similar fate back in Falandia, since using magic required one to say the attribute.
“Good. It seems there’s nothing wrong with the foster.”
I mean he might be a 1-D student, but I’m not about to hand out defective fosters now.”
The foster was working properly. When the foster changed shape from a sword to a shooter, the blade vanished, and a nozzle appeared in its place.
Although, he felt it closer in appearance to that of a fire hose than a gun. But, considering it’s supposed to shoot out energy, he figured it made more sense this way.
“Then, let’s have some shooting practice… Shoot me some stationary targets.” Aristel ordered the foster.
Suddenly, a gutter opened on the floor, and circular-shaped targets came shooting out, aligning themselves at a fixed height. No strings were attached to them, but they floated there as still as a mountain.
“…Seriously, unnecessarily high-tech.” Shinichi said.
Everything about the whole system from the way the targets came out to the way they floated there in the air stupefied Shinichi.
They could’ve just relied on people, he thought to himself. Or they could have just made a simpler system.
“You shoot with your mind. Aim, then give out an order in your mind to shoot.
You can also say it out loud like this… ‘Shoot’!”
A fist-sized bullet came shooting out of the shooter-form foster.
It shot through the highest one of the floating targets, extinguishing it so that it left no trace but the scattering minute fragments.
“Ho~ not bad.” Shinichi clapped.
It was a remarkable shot, and he found himself honestly praising her.
His eyes were focused on the automatic cleaning system that took care of the fragments.
“No, I had some help with the aim, so anyone could have done the same.
Anyway, try shooting the remaining targets.” Padyuel humbly replied as she boasted of the machine’s capabilities.
Shinichi set his sights on the floating targets. There were still three remaining, behind which was a wall in the off-chance he missed.
Shinichi calmly aimed his foster at the targets that resembled those of darts.
He didn’t have to say it out loud, but the person who was teaching him did, so, he figured it would be safer to follow suit.
As he said that one word out loud, three consecutive shots resounded, and before anyone knew it, teeny 2cm balls of energy penetrated the targets.
It was so accurate it felt as if the bullets were sucked into the center of the targets.
The sound of teeny bullets hitting resounded as they shot through. And as they watched on, the question begged itself, how many people in this academy could shoot like that?
“Good shooting for a first timer,” Frank said. “But… while I know you’re a D Rank, aren’t those things a tad too small?”
Although the teacher didn’t really understand, he still felt something was off.
Compared to him, Aristel was shaking in admiration.
She had instructed him to shoot normally, and the result was far greater than what she’d expected.
She gulped. She’d joined this class just for the sake of confirming it with her own eyes, and now that the prize was right before her eyes, her instincts screamed at her to stop.
But it was too late. She needed to confirm it – with her own two eyes – whether that something she’d seen once upon a time was real or not.
And this was the fastest way to do it.
“What about— Padyuel-san?”
Her shooter was aimed at Shinichi—