Chapter 359 Babysitting Job
What kind of bullshit mission was this?! Jack stared at the "fishes" before him, his face twitching.
His new task was to escort a bunch of inexperienced weak aquatic humanoid NPCs straight into enemy land to fight. He could already feel the headache coming:
1. Goddamn escort mission!
2. He'd be monitored via magic…
3. High kill requirements to boot!
4. Oh, and the system had truly screwed him over! The AI had also joined in bullying him.
[Language Now Changed!]
[All communications Temporarily Altered!]
[Communicating With "Players" = Penalties Applied!]
This sounded easy to bypass but wasn't. Even if he talked to his people IRL, any suspicious move by them would most likely alert the system.
Was this retribution for all the work he had given the AI lately? This was akin to throwing him into a tumultuous sea, an anchor attached to his foot.
But even then, he wasn't in the position to refuse. Not only was he running out of water-breathing pills, but he still hadn't found Pumpkin Girl yet.
Oh, and he still needed to find a water-generating treasure…but that was lower on his priority list. After all: Pumpkin Girl > Preventing a Massive Infinite Disaster.
But now that he gazed at his troops, he felt like crying. "Inexperienced" was actually gracious to them: they were downright frighteningly bad!
He had given them a single order: "Show me what you got."
They swung their various weapons with great focus and dedication, eager to show off. The barbed coral-looking tools of destruction were sent flying all over, sometimes toward allies.
"You all, you're supposed to hold the damn thing! You, did you just stab yourself picking your teeth with a spear?! What about you? I saw you bludgeon that other guy! Seriously…."
There were visions of horrors everywhere. Gross misuse of weapons, peeps shaking in their scales, and downright imbeciles. Those guys would be a danger to themselves!
They were the complete opposite of the Centaurs…
Jack could almost hear that one mermaid chuckling in the background. At this rate, he'd have to fight an army alone and with liabilities. This was freaking hellish!— Not that he'd give up.
"All of you, from now on, refer to me as Commander. Follow me. We're going out to train!" Jack powerfully declared.
The shaking fishes sheepishly followed him to a beach. It took a while to find one that wasn't occupied by players, for even with the upcoming war, they were still farming.
They took their first steps unto the sand.
They were worse than crawling newborn turtles. How hard could putting one foot before the other be? According to them: very freaking brutal!
"Ah! Commander, save me!"
One had somehow aggroed a few giant crabs and was now running for his life. Unluckily for him, there was a bold guy beside him.
"I'll save you! Just wait for me. I'll!—"
"OUCH! Stop stabbing me! I'm dying, dying!!"
This was what he was supposed to deal with?! Jack had to run around, physically grabbing his troops frozen in fear, throwing them back to the lake as one would a flopping fish.
[Seen Blood: Troops Fear +++!]
-[Troops' Trust Decreased Sharply!]
What the hell?! The beach was large enough to dodge the enemies in the first place! Also, fear of seeing blood?! What kind of BS was this?!
Jack could sense his blood pressure rise, especially as he saw them gaze at him reproachfully. Some were even mumbling, 'we should have never followed a human'… Bastards, all of them!
There was one thing left to do…
Under the guise of a marching exercise, he grouped them all together and then…. BAM! Before they could react, he struck. Before long, he had all thirty of them tied up.
"Now, let's be frank, shall we? You guys are all actors trying to sabotage me. That's the only explanation. No one is THAT BAD!"
"W-what, no?!" They vehemently protested.
"I gave you all a chance, but you refuse to take it. I'll torture it out of you all instead. You might not know this, but I'm the one that taught the Thousand-Arms General. Let's see how—"
….. There was already some fainting. How?! Their entire bodies emitted pure terror, which couldn't be faked. Wait, could it be that they really weren't acting?!
"P-please have mercy! I'm just a goldfish trainer!"
"I-I just want to go home!"
"S-sorry, sorry, sorry!"
It seems like he had been given civilians. Heck, most of them hadn't even volunteered for the task. They had been set up as much as he had been…
[Traumatized the Troops! They Now Distrust You!]
[Desertion is now Possible!]
Was it? As they say, in for a penny, in for a pound. Jack quickly went away, dragging the carcass of a giant crab back.
"Sorry, you all. It seems I misunderstood you. Let me cook you all a meal to apologize." Jack gave them the friendliest smile he could muster.
They were still tied up, dropped on the sand right where the beach met the ocean and had a front-row view of his cooking. That's when he got to work.
He had called it cooking, but he was torturing the crab's carcass. He excruciatingly slowly took it apart, piece by piece, from the shell to its soft insides.
— Gulp! —
— Shiver! —
[Troops Are Scared Shitless!]
The gallery was nicely reacting, if he could say so. But even that wasn't enough. He had to make it even better. "Hm, perhaps one won't be enough. Better get a second one!"
This time he got a live one, maiming the poor thing in the cruelest way possible. It was as if he had a vendetta against the damn thing. The poor monster was quickly shrieking in agony.
— Sudden Vomiting! —
— Uncontrollable Trembling! —
[Acquired Title: Torture By Proxy!]
[Your "Cooking" Will Haunt Their Nightmares!]
Jack gave a satisfied sigh as he finished the preparations. Before long, he served them a hot piping meal of delicious crab. "Here, eat up! Enjoy!"
They had trouble holding the damn thing, their hands shaking more than a vibrator on max setting. Yet they weren't about to refuse his "kindness", devouring it ASAP.
Who knew that intimidation was possible with simple cooking? Now that they were utterly terrified of him, he could begin actual work.
"Alright, I'll meet each one of you. Don't worry. I'll just be asking a few questions." He reassured them, peacefully smiling— something they perceived as demonic-looking.
He didn't take long to interview them, noting their strengths and weaknesses. Whenever such a meeting ended, the target would thank the gods he had survived.
He only ever asked three questions:
1. Their old professions
2. Their combat experience and fears
3. One seemingly utterly random question.
It went from "What color is the sky?" to "How many shells are in the ocean?" and even "If it takes one human 17 minutes to gut one of us, how many could 345 humans kill in 4.3 days?".
The troops talked to one another, and that third question was rendering them insane. What the heck was it actually about?! Little did they know it was only misdirection.
The questions were only the surface. What truly mattered was the small talk that led to it. It was chock-full of subliminal messages!
Humans Gutting Them? Anger toward the invaders
The Ocean? The home they had to protect
Blue Sky? A desire for peace and freedom
They suddenly felt like victory was the only option they had. Fear and necessity now blended into a beautiful mix of brainwashing.
[Impossible to Ascertain Troops' Mental State!]
[They Can Break At Any Given Moment!]
Meh, sanity's overrated anyway…
"You guys ready to train?"
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