The second part of the practical exam was a mana dispelling test via Dispel Magic.
The problem was that I could only use Magic Arrow.
…To sum it up, I was guaranteed to fail here.
After seeing the situation I was in, Laura spoke to me.
“Let’s learn it now! I’ll teach you!”
My response was slow.
I knew what would happen in the end, after all.
When I was a student here ten years ago, I studied like crazy. From morning to night, I constantly hit the books to prove the talent I believed I had.
I studied and studied, but I couldn’t acquire a single new spell.
Dispel Magic was one of the spells included in my studies, which is why I knew the result would be no different—even if Laura tried to teach me now.
“Guess you’re right. I’ll be counting on you.”
I gave Laura my dishonest reply.
Even if I decided it was pointless and went back home, the only thing I’d gain is a trifling extra hour or two.
Unfortunately, a loafer such as myself had all the time in the world—but nothing else.
If that’s how it’d end, then struggling until the bitter end didn’t sound half-bad.
Besides, Laura was going out of her way to encourage me out of the kindness of her heart. Shooting her offer down would leave a bad taste in my mouth.
The examiner loudly hurled instructions at us.
“The next test will be held in the classroom. Make sure to follow me!”
The examinees moved in swarms, tailing the examiner.
I followed the examiner as I listened to Laura giving me a quick rundown of Dispel Magic.
The moment we entered the classroom, we were told to take a seat.
The examiner spoke.
“We will now commence the written examination! We will also conduct the second practical exam at the same time. The person in charge will call on you one at a time, so those who are called should exit the classroom and follow their instructions!”
Thus, the written exam began.
A little after the written exam started, a different examiner entered the room.
“Number 389! It’s time for the second practical exam!”
Though I could tell as much from the first practical exam, it seems like I was the first number of this group.
The other examiner brought me to a private study room in a different building of the school.
The room had cubicles lined up in a neat row next to each other.
The examiner who brought me here placed his hand on a pot sitting on top of the desk. After the examiner mumbled something, the pot began giving off a dim light.
The examiner handed me the pot and a small timer.
“I enchanted this pot with a spell; Your task is to dispel it. You have a time limit of ten minutes. After your ten minutes end, the bell inside this timer will ring. Once that happens, return to me with the pot whether you finish or not.”
I see now—so this is how the test works.
I moved to one of the cubicles.
A small desk was provided along with the cubicle. After placing the timer and pot on the desk, I sat on the chair.
Let’s have a go at this…
I placed my hand on the pot. Then, I recalled the method to cast Dispel Magic, which I drilled into my head countless times over during my student days.
After a whole ten years since I was a student, I’d be putting what I learned to the test.
It’d be great if I could use it by accident or something, though.
After taking a deep breath, I spoke the chant that acted as the trigger.
Nothing happened. The pot was giving out the same dim light.
I guess I couldn’t use Dispel Magic, after all.
What did I expect?
I haven’t done anything new. It was foolish to think I’d be able to suddenly cast a spell I couldn’t use ten years ago.
Miracles like that don’t happen so conveniently.
I breathed a sigh.
However, I had no choice but to cling to the measly possibility I could make that miracle happen. Dispel Magic was the only way to overcome this trial.
I tried casting it again and again. I dredged up the memories of my student days and spoke the chant that acted as the trigger.
The pot didn’t react.
It was just like ten years ago. No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I wished, every other spell refused to look my way—refused to lend me a hand.
All of those unpleasant memories bubbled into my mind.
My concentration snapped. Feeling sick, I took a deep breath and clawed at my chest with my right hand.
Shit… This was pointless, after all…
After giving the timer a fleeting glance, I saw there was one minute remaining. There was no time left. A time-up was unavoidable.
However, just as I had resigned myself—
A flash of inspiration struck my mind like lightning.
That flash of inspiration whispered to me.
Shoot the pot with Magic Arrow.
No, that was wrong.
What it really meant to tell me was this:
Shoot the enchantment spell itself with Magic Arrow.
Not even I knew what that revelation meant. While staring at a speck on the wall, I pondered those words over and over.
Don’t shoot the pot itself.
Instead, shatter the enchantment spell cast onto the pot.
Could I really do something that ridiculous? Though it was true I could recreate the effect of Dispel Magic—if I was able to do it.
My common sense edged its way into my mind.
There’s no way in hell that’s possible.
Magic Arrow is a spell that destroys things physically. There’s not a chance in hell that it’ll have any effect on something like mana, which has no physical form.
However, part of me believed.
When the other 999 spells turned their back on me, Magic Arrow was the only spell that didn’t abandon me from the beginning to the very end.
If it was Magic Arrow—
Wouldn’t it pull through for me?
Ten seconds remained.
I no longer had any more time to hesitate.
I gave out a deep breath and gently pushed my hand against the pot.
I chose to follow my heart and risk it all. This was the overdue battle of ten years. At the very least, I want to settle the score without any regrets. Failure would only end up in breaking a cheap pot. They’d probably forgive me if I apologized.
I closed my eyes and traced my hand along the pot’s surface.
I concentrated, attempting to burn the remnants of the mana dwelling in the pot into my consciousness, even by a little.
I had no time.
And yet, I didn’t panic.
I just needed to raise my accuracy, even by a centimeter…
The timer started ringing loudly. The moment it rang, I opened my eyes widely and called on the name of my trusty partner, whose name I’ve spoken countless times until now.
Today’s chapter. The next chapter is coming later today, so look forward to it.