Practical Tests Part 3
A crowd formed at the martial arts examination grounds.
The reason was simple.
“It’s Aria and that blonde girl,” I noticed.
Aria and a blonde girl were currently engaged in a high-level brawl.
Now that I look closer, that blonde girl has quite the physical ability. Her strength is at E, and it’s a miracle that Aria can even hold her own against the girl.
Satella’s eyes lit up the moment she saw me, and she jogged over before pulling me into an embrace.
Satella was the type of person that didn’t hold back in front of a crowd and was often intimate like so. Fortunately, most everyone had their attention drawn to the brawl between Aria and the blonde girl, but this needed to stop once we matriculated. I should let her know later, but it might be futile.
“Good work, Satella. Have you finished?” I asked.
“Yes. The test will finish with this last battle.”
It takes quite a bit of time to properly evaluate battles between examinees.
“It’s about over.”
The blonde girl swept at Aria’s legs, knocking her to the ground. She then mounted Aria before the examiner signaled that the test had concluded.
With her back to the floor, Aria moved her arm to cover her eyes as she trembled all over—she was frustrated, probably.
“Satella, if you would.”
The concept of crying because you lost during a test didn’t exist inside me, so I wasn’t confident I could empathize with her. Satella would do a much better job at soothing Aria.
Satella wordlessly nodded and ran towards Aria. As she gave Aria a helping hand, a round of applause erupted from the spectators. The fight she had given had made so many rivals give her a round of applause. I think that’s something she can take pride in, regardless of the final result.
And just as expected, Satella calmed down Aria, who had been crying in anguish, before hastening her over to the magic examination hall.
“Hey,” said a voice from behind.
I turned around to see the boy with a mushroom cut who had quarreled with Satella before staring intently at me.
He wasn’t in group A; he was with Satella in group B.
“Do you need something from me?”
“I’m Odo Usan!”
I see, he’s introducing himself. How laudable.
“I’ll never lose to you!!” he yelled before dashing away.
“What was that?” I wondered aloud.
After all the examinees from group B had left for the magic examination hall, the rest of the group A examinees filed into the ground after having finished their magic exam.
“Silence!” the examiner shouted. His voice echoed through the entire grounds as everyone focused their gaze towards the center.
“Huh? Why is that old geezer here? And next to him is that deadbeat dragon number two. Just what is happening.
“Listen, everyone! The Great Sage, Siegfried Granbull is about to speak!”
After the examiner’s reverent introduction, Sieg, the sage-like man with white hair, took a step forward and gazed over the examinees.
The examinees did a collective gulp. No wonder: though old, he was the Great Sage, a living legend.
Sieg locked eyes with me and gave me a devilish grin. I felt like I was dead center in some sinister design of theirs. Ugh, it gave me goosebumps.
“While we normally hold the exam as a series of mock battles between students, we’re changing the rules a bit for group A.”
“Please wait. What about group B?” one examinee yelled.
“That’s right! This is too sudden!” another chimed in.
After the silver-haired boy’s objection, an outpour of apprehensions and complaints burst out into the hall.
“So noisy. If you’re aiming to serve as this empire’s knights and magicians, then don’t lose your minds over something as innocuous as this,” said Sieg as he picked at his ear and blew at his fingertip.
“Don’t mess with us you shitty old man! We’ve worked ourselves to the bone to take this test in order to become the kind of knights and magicians you’re talking about. Don’t you dare pretend that we didn’t!” roared a boy with rough red hair in a rage.
“Alan-kun, the Examination Task Force have already made their decision. There’s no going back, no matter what you say. Or will you withdraw and get disqualified?” said Rebecca.
The boy’s face warped into a demon-like one at her piercing words, but he looked away.
I get where he’s coming from. Sieg and that stupid dragon had suddenly come and changed the rules. I was the cause, in all probability.
From what I’ve heard, he must have really trained himself before coming to take this test. Even I would get angry if my hard work were to be suddenly overturned for seemingly no reason.
Still, what is Sieg planning? To me, passing this test is just a bonus. That’s all. Anyone who knows my objectives should understand that. Moreover I just can’t understand the foolishness behind involving all the examinees.
“I know it’s a bit sudden, but we’re starting. Now, if you would, Sylphy-dono.”
“Ooh, leave it to me. I’ll give you an amazing summon.”
She placed her right palm on the ground and proudly chanted, “【Lizard Puppet】—The weakest rock wyvern.”
A magic circle three meters in radius appeared on the ground, and a small pterosaur-like Giant Lizard of stone appeared out of it.
With three rock wyverns now staring at them, the examinees erupted into chaos.
“Hey old man! Explain yourself! What is that!?” yelled the red-haired boy as he pointed at the stone wyvern that was staring at him with red eyes.
“Fight with these monsters for 30 minutes. The weapons are at the end of the hall, and you are free to use magic as you please. I wish you all the best of luck,” said Sieg.
Then, Sylphy snapped her fingers when one stone lizard opened his mouth towards the ceiling and gave an earthshattering roar.
Before I knew it, the examination hall had descended into chaos.
Roughly 60% of the examinees curled up and trembled without even trying to go towards the weapons. The fault lay with Sylphy’s orders, probably—the rock wyverns wouldn’t attack any defenseless examinees.
In contrast, the remaining 30% grabbed weapons and valiantly struck at the rock wyvern’s thick tail which blew them off like a dump truck unloading its container as the examinees flew back and were forced to withdraw from the battle.
For what it’s worth, the examinees hadn’t sustained any life-threatening injuries, and Sieg immediately healed them.
In any case, the examinees were reduced to me, the silver-haired boy, the red-haired boy, and a couple of others in an instant.
These stone dragons were from Sylphy’s 【Lizard Puppet】 spell and didn’t hold any will of their own, so breaking them should be completely fine.
However, those stone wyverns had stats that averaged E, so only a small percent of examinees would be able to destroy them. But that’s after I clear a certain condition. Right now, I should assume the current examinees aren’t powerful enough to destroy the wyverns.
Still, this is an exam. They’re merely looking at your response against an enemy vastly superior to you. If there’s no need to destroy the wyverns, then this test is quite suitable.
In any case, just standing here is a waste of time.
“Bring number 8 over to the school building and move number 74 over to the weapons. Everyone else, stay away from those two,” I ordered.
“Huh!? Why the hell are you partitioning off the weak!?”
Alan, the red-haired boy, once again lost his temper in an instant.
“You won’t make any progress if you get cornered in a place like that. Follow what I said if you don’t want to die.”
That said, there wasn’t any real risk of death. As long as they didn’t transgress on the unwritten rules that kept us human, I wouldn’t kill them. It was the final scrap of dignity left within this unscrupulous body.
“Let’s follow what he says for now,” the silver-haired boy suggested to Alan.
“Huh? What’s happened to you, Roland? Are you trusting such a suspicious—”
“He’s a better magician that I am. I’m sure of it, after seeing his skills during the magic exam.”
He’s talking about the 【Fireball】improvement, probably.
“You’re sure of it?” Alan asked. “I’ll never forgive you if you’re trying to trick me!”
“Alan, do you really think I would do that?”
Alan gave the silver-haired boy, Roland, a sidelong glare before shaking his head.
“Alright, fine. I’ll listen to you, just this once. Hey, what’s your name!”
“Huh? Yeah, some means of identification is in order, so just call me number 344,” I replied. “I’ll call you two number 8 and number 74.”
“So names are too close for you? Well, whatever. I like your spirit, if but only a little.”
“I see, do you want me to thank you?”
“Ha! After everything’s over,” laughed Alan. “Hey, you guys!”
Alan gathered up several examinees and raced back to the weapons.
“You guys are going too,” said Ronald as he dragged the remaining students towards the school building.
Now, what should I do. Should I follow along with Sieg’s plot and focus on defense? That would be the simplest and most efficient way but……that’s boring. Yes, that’s boring. As the saying goes, in for a penny, in for a pound. I want to see that deadbeat dragon number two cry.
I sneered at her inside as I began to construct the perfect plan.