Clank, clank, clankclankclankclank.
Making a loud clanking noise, the fragments of the no-longer-existing target and target prop scattered to the ground.
…I think I broke it.
I faced the examiner and spoke to him.
“It kinda just broke with a single shot? What should I do about my second shot?”
I couldn’t tell what he was trying to say.
“Did I forget to apply Defense Magic to it…? No… It was fine when I shot it with my Magic Arrow at the beginning, so then why…”
He muttered this and that.
After I questioned him again, he realized I was talking to him.
“…A-Ah, yeah. Sorry, but there seemed to have been a mistake of sorts. Could you try again with that target over there?”
After agreeing, I moved to the neighboring target.
Together with a crash, the target was shred to atoms.
“NONONONONONO! HOW THE HELL IS THIS EVEN HAPPENING?!”
The examiner screamed.
“There’s no way not only one, but TWO targets are faulty! You’re cheating in some way or the other, aren’t you?!”
“Exactly. Even if we were to assume that both of the targets were faulty, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that a lowly MAGIC ARROW could destroy BOTH of them to that extent!”
The examiner pointed at me and screamed.
“Admit it! You’re cheating, aren’t you?!”
“You’re disguising some other spell as Magic Arrow, right?!”
Well, this was awkward.
There’s no way that could be true.
I couldn’t use any other spell than Magic Arrow, after all.
That said, only I knew that. The agitated examiner had no way of guessing my circumstances.
If I knew it’d end up like this, I should’ve just held back like I did when I shot down that bird. The examiner said “They won’t be destroyed by the likes of you examinees, so don’t hold back and shoot away!”, so I ended up just blasting the target…
It happened when I was worrying about what I should do next.
“—What seems to be the issue here?”
Royal Court Magician Carlyle.
He stared at us with a gentle expression.
The examiner answered his question. Straightening his back, he reported the events to Carlyle in a strained voice.
“Yes! This examinee right here lied about using Magic Arrow, so I’m suspecting that he was using an entirely different spell! I was just investigating the credibility of my claim!”
“Woow. And why do you think that?”
“There is no way a mere Magic Arrow could destroy a target enchanted with Defense Magic. To top it off, he destroyed two of them in a row! I can’t help but believe he is cheating!”
Carlyle nodded his head continuously.
“Hey, are you cheating?”
“No, I’ve done nothing of the sort.”
“Got it, got it.”
After nodding with a wide grin, Carlyle turned to the examiner and spoke.
“He just said he didn’t. I mean, does it really matter?”
“Do you have proof?”
“Proof—I’m asking if you have any concrete evidence that he cheated.”
“I’m afraid I don’t…”
“Then I guess cheating’s out of the question.”
“Examiner, your job is to evaluate the examinees and to see through any irregularities. Sucks for you, but if you can’t find any concrete evidence that he cheated, it’s your loss, buddy.”
“Say, have you tried using analysis magic on the spell he used?”
“That, I cannot use… Can Lord Carlyle?”
The examiner had a look of sudden hope on his face.
“T-Then, use that to—”
Carlyle gave a dry laugh.
“I’m an inspector, no matter what may happen. I can’t assist in anything related to evaluation.”
After instantly rejecting the examiner, Carlyle patted my shoulder.
“With that said and done, you’ve completed the first examination for the time being. Wait for the next test.”
“No, it’s not over yet.”
I shook my head. A look of doubt spread across his gentle face like a fissure.
“What could you possibly mean?”
“The test requires I shoot three Magic Arrows. I’ve yet to shoot the last one.”
“Hahahahahaha! I see! You’ve intrigued me!”
“You do have a point. Advocating for your rights is the correct move. But y’know, we only have so many targets. It’ll be troubling if you break anymore.”
After placing his hand on his chin and carefully deliberating the next best move, Carlyle spoke again.
“I’ve got it! As a special service, you can shoot me with your Magic Arrow!”
The surrounding examinees began kicking up a stir.
Carlyle grinned broadly in response to my question.
“It’d probably be fine for me to act as a substitute target.”
“L-Lord Carlyle! You mustn’t!”
The examiner panicked and wedged himself in.
“I-If there’s even the slightest chance you are injured—!”
With a thin smile, Carlyle seized the examiner with a piercing side-glance.
“You dare imply that I—The Royal Court Magician, ranked as a Seven—would be hurt?”
“N-Never! I-I, I didn’t mean it in that sense! But, if there’s even a 1 in 10,000 chance—!”
“1 in 10,000? Make that 1 in 100,000,000.”
Carlyle waved his hands back and forth.
“So? Whaddya think?”
“I don’t mind.”
I answered instantly.
“I don’t see a problem as long as I’m able to shoot my Magic Arrow.”
“Great, great. Things have started heating up.”
Carlyle briskly walked over to where the broken target once was.
“Is this distance okaaay?”
Carlyle stuck his right hand out.
A perfectly circular shield formed from Carlyle’s right hand.
“Come now, I’m ready when you are. Don’t hold back now. Got it?”
I pointed my right hand at Carlyle.
The next moment, I spoke the words that acted as the trigger.
I lied. It was today. This was a short chapter so I managed it in a few hours. I tried to make Carlyle as snarky as possible, so I hope you enjoy his character. The next chapter is really tomorrow this time. EDIT: I messed up the translation. He shot two not one, my bad.