Chapter 4: The First Practical Exam Is Magic Arrow

 The entrance examination started at around noon.

The academy’s vast school grounds were jam-packed with examinees. The Royal Magic Academy was unmatched as a facility to learn magic, so it was no wonder so many boys and girls came from around the country to study here. 

Looking over everyone from a stage, a middle-aged instructor greeted us.

“Talented young ones! I consider it an honor that you’ve all passed the gates of our academy on this faithful day! Just as you all seek the pinnacle of education, we too desire those with the caliber to match! The gates of our institution will always be open for the gifted! We implore you to demonstrate your ability and study under us!” 

After he finished his long-winded speech, he concluded it with a parting statement.

“Last but not least! As a special service to you ladies and gentlemen, I was informed that the unexpected but most certainly not unwelcome guest—Royal Court Magician Carlyle—would like to take the stage! He will now deliver his speech, so do best not to soil yourselves in excitement!!”

After giving his final remarks, the male instructor descended the stage.

Royal Court Magician Carlyle

The moment his name was mentioned, the examinees began whispering among themselves. Even Laura, who had been quietly listening to the instructor’s speech, let out a gasp.  

I stealthily whispered a question to Laura. 

“Who?”

“Y-You, don’t know him..?”

“I’m a bit ignorant of the world.”

I was self-isolated for a good ten years, after all…

Laura murmured an explanation to me.

“Lord Carlyle holds exceptional talent, even considering this school’s history. As of now, he currently holds the title of Royal Court Magician.”

Royal Court Magicians are magicians who have been permitted to work directly under the royal family; It’s the highest rank of court magicians. 

“That’s pretty amazing.”

“Seriously. Becoming a Royal Court Magician at 25 is one in a million.”

“He’s 25?!”

I reflexively raised my voice. I covered my mouth in a panic and lowered my head from the crowd. 

Assuming that seat is no simple task. 

To become one, a magician with immense talent must build a long history of research and contributions to their country—only then can they finally be appointed, which is why it’s an occupation usually occupied by experienced senior magicians.

“25… Is he really 25?”

“Yes. What’s more, it’s said that he’s mastered enough magic to become a Seven. 

Seven is a title that refers to magicians who have command of over 700 spells. 

Over 700 spells at 25.

That went beyond just genius

It was only natural for the examinees to get excited—as they were about to take their first step into the world of magic, Carlyle himself would be taking the stage. 

He may even possess the talent to surpass the legendary Magnus of 1000—

I belittled myself quietly so that Laura couldn’t hear. 

On one hand, we have the deadbeat 25-year old magician who can only use a single spell.

On the other hand, we have the 26-year old Royal Court Magician who can use over 700 spells.

It felt like I was an insignificant turtle gazing up at the unreachable moon. We lived in two completely different worlds, to the point where I couldn’t even feel mad about it.

Just as Laura said, a man of the same age as me took the stage.

He wore frameless glasses and had a thin build. Although he was a guy, he had long, blonde hair that went down to this shoulders. With a seductive face, he was surely popular with the noble girls in the royal court. 

The moment he showed up, all of the examinees began raising their voices in excitement, while the male instructor from before told them to be quiet over and over.

After the commotion subsided, Carlyle began speaking.

“As luck would have it, I’ve arranged it so that I’ll be overseeing everyone’s exam today. But I’m not actually going to be assessing any of you—I’m just here to make sure the test goes smoothly, which is why the ones who should be nervous aren’t any of you but the teachers, so don’t get that twisted. Tension only breeds harm, my dear examinees.”

Carlyle bantered on in a light tone. 

“Buut, I suppose the splendid Royal Magic Academy has everything under wraps, so I believe there shouldn’t be even the slightest problem in that regard. I’ve already put ‘No Issues’ on my written report anyway, so I can slack off as much as my heart so desires. I wanted to see everyone trying their best and remember my inexperienced days, so I look forward to seeing a glimpse of everyone’s majestic figures. Please do your best.”

After grinning and giving a slight bow, Carlyle descended the stage in gallant strides. 

He was quite the tactful man. 

He assumed the post of Royal Court Magician at 25—his genius certainly doesn’t end at just magic. 

Well… It doesn’t matter anyway.

Compared to me, he was sprinting down the road to success at full speed. I doubt our lives would cross paths any further.

“Without further ado, I will now begin the exam!”

The male instructor raised a loud voice.

We were all assigned a series of digits and split into groups, then headed towards the examiner in charge. Laura and I registered for the exam together, so we were both in the same group. 

The middle-aged examiner man in charge opened his mouth.

“We will now commence the first examination via Magic Arrow!”

The examiner pointed to his rear. At the place he indicated, there were targets attached to a stand. They had the diameter of a human with both arms wide open. 

“Shoot three Magic Arrows from this green line! The distance is 30 meters! I’ll have you all display your ability to control spells!”

What a nostalgic feeling.

I took this same test ten years ago.

I’m glad it hasn’t changed. I would have failed here if it did.

Naturally, it was no coincidence that nothing had changed. 

Magic Arrow is a fundamental spell; A large number of magicians learn it first.

With that established, it was an equitable choice as an exam subject.

“Magic Arrow! Magic Arrow! Magic Arrow!”

The examiner rapidly fired three Magic Arrows in succession.

All three of them hit the target’s center with considerable accuracy.

“Just like that. The targets are enchanted with Defense Magic. They won’t be destroyed by the likes of you examinees, so don’t hold back and shoot away!”

The examiner continued talking. 

“Now then, you’ll take the test in order by your examinee number. Number 389! You’re up!”

…Me, huh.

“I’ll be off.”

“Do your best!”

Laura sent me off. 

When I walked out of the group to the front, the examinees started whispering.

The fragments of their conversation I could catch were:

“That guy isn’t a student, is he?”

“He’s quite the grown-up.”

And so on.

…That’s how most people would react. This was a magic academy—the examinees were overwhelmingly in their teens. Since this is a prestigious school, there were bound to be repeaters who failed last year’s exam, but players like me who stayed in the game for over ten years were rare. 

I heard someone laughing. 

“Think about your age, gramps~”

He mocked me. There weren’t many people openly saying such things, but I can guarantee the examinees were all thinking the same thing deep down.   

There was no helping it, even if I paid mind to it.

I stood in front of the green line and extended my hand to the target.

“Magic Arrow.”

The arrow of light I shot from my hand flew wildly at the target—

Boom!

—and together with a crash, the target was shred to atoms. 


Next chapter coming tomorrow!

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