—I want to challenge you, who contributed greatly in the previous conflict, to a match in this exam.
Blain Milhis, the top student in our year, suddenly made a declaration.
Being on the receiving end of that, I reacted with shock—
and the surrounding students who were listening raised loud voices in excitement.
“OOOOOOOOOOOOH! FOR REAL!?”
“The star of the last war and the top student are gonna duke it out!”
“Things are heating up!”
“This came out of the blue, so I’m not really following, but… are you serious?”
“Of course I am.”
Blain had a sincere look in his eyes. There wasn’t any indication that he was joking, and I could see that he had the resolve to back up his words.
“…We don’t have to jump the gun with a match. Can’t you just compare my score to yours and be satisfied with that?”
“I won’t be able to push myself with that, you see. Though it might be a nuisance to you.”
Blain responded instantly.
…He’s got the gallantry that a knight challenging someone for a one-on-one duel has, I’ll give him that.
“Sorry about all this, Albert! This guy is a hard-headed Mr. Serious!”
Someone suddenly cut in with a lighthearted tone.
A male student with dark-brown hair placed his hand on Blain’s shoulder and poked at the side of Blain’s head with his finger.
He had a smile on his face and gave off a sociable aura. He spoke politely to me because he was a commoner.
He glanced at the other guy with a sour expression.
“Stop that, Sarles.”
“How scary~ Aren’t we buddies, Blain~?”
Sarles laughed flippantly as he took his hands off of Blain and took a step backward.
“Ooh… The three Iron Emblem holders are here!” shouted one of the students.
He accurately described the current situation.
You needed the Stone Emblem, which the large majority of first-years had, to advance to the second year, and the Iron Emblem was required to advance to the third year. As such, students who had the Iron Emblem in their first year were few and far bewteen.
The students who did have Iron Emblems were me, Blain, and Sarles.
“Are you gonna get mixed into this too, Sarles!?” yelled one of the other students.
Sarles waved his hands back and forth.
“No no no, I’m gonna pass on this. I’m not really that interested,” said Sarles as he stepped back and kept his distance.
I fixedly stared at Blain.
“I told you so earlier: you were a major player in the previous conflict. Your offensive magic must have the strength to back that up.”
Blain stared right back at me and continued.
“I want to compare the strength of my offensive magic with yours.”
There was no frivolity in his words whatsoever; his voice carried only the seriousness of his thoughts.
“…Alright… I accept…”
The surrounding students jumped with excitement after hearing what I said.
Personally, I wasn’t really up to the idea, but it was hard to just say no after being challenged in front of this crowd.
…Though I admit part of me succumbed to his earnestness.
“Thank you,” said Blain in a quiet voice.
Firvus clapped his hands together.
“C’mon, don’t go exciting everyone like that! Good grief, you guys are something else…”
Then, he made a broad grin and continued.
“Well, I don’t really mind when stuff like this happens.”
“How about you participate too, teach!”
“No way! I won’t be able to talk big anymore if I lose!”
Firvus instantly responded to one of the student’s comments. Hearing his reply, the students roared with laughter.
“Quiet down! I’ll explain the details of the exam!”
After barking at the students, Firvus opened the door to the adjoining room.
Just past the entrance of the room was a waist-high fence, dividing the room and preventing entry to the back.
Firvus pressed a button.
Immediately after, several walls gently rose from the ground beyond the fence. Then, black silhouettes in the shape of a person suddenly appeared from the walls.
The silhouettes disappeared and reappeared in various locations.
The students gasped and made a stir.
Firvus continued to speak.
“This here is a mechanism that employs Illusion Magic. In this exam, you’ll all be shooting at the silhouettes that emerge from the walls before they disappear. That’s pretty much the gist of it.”
Firvus pointed his right hand forward.
“Magic Arrow! Magic Arrow!”
The two shots of Magic Arrow each struck a silhouette. Immediately after, they were broken into pieces like shattered glass.
“But beware of something like this happening. Magic Arrow!”
A white arrow pierced a red silhouette as it abruptly emerged from a wall.
However, the red silhouette merely staggered without disappearing, and it was hidden by a wall thereafter.
“The silhouettes have durability. There’ll be times where a single shot won’t be able to break one. When that happens, you’ll need to use a stronger spell.”
Firvus turned around and faced the silhouette once more.
He threw a sphere of flames at a spot where two black silhouettes and one red silhouette were gathered.
A thunderous roar.
Instantly, the three silhouettes vanished from a single shot.
“Kinda like that.”
Firvus was met with cheers of admiration upon turning around to the students. Flashy and well-known spells such as Fireball were exceptionally popular.
“This room is made out of Heavy Mithril, which possesses exceptional anti-mana defensive capabilities. You’re all free to let your magic loose and fire away without a care in the world.”
Firvus stomped on the floor in succession. It made a dull noise.
“However, powerful spells come with a steep mana cost, too. You can’t just fire those kinds of spells thoughtlessly, so be sure to adjust accordingly.”
The power and accuracy of your spells are indicative of passing. However, the ability to discern when exactly to use spells with a large mana cost is indispensable to magicians.
…Though I can only use Magic Arrow, so that’s all irrelevant to me…
“You could also call this target practice. You’ve all used a toy bow or crossbow or whatever during festivals, right? This is the same thing, but with spells.”
Once Firvus finished speaking, he returned to the room we were in.
Then, he pointed to a black panel embedded into the wall.
“Once you exit the testing room, your score will show up there. It uses a 100-point scale, with 100 being a perfect score. Isn’t that great? You’ll all be able to see each others’ scores. Everyone can compete with Albert and Blain, you know?”
Firvus made an evil chuckle, and in response, the students objected.
“Huh!? We’re all good! There’s no way we can win!”
“I wasn’t told about this!”
“That’s embarrassing, cut it out~!”
I could hear the shrieks of various students.
Although, this was pretty typical of this academy.
The Royal Magic Academy was rather unforgiving—you could tell as much from the strict expulsion system set in place.
Even during the Lake Bjarnu Water Quality Investigation, students who had just enrolled were selected out of the blue. Such was the academy’s way of inciting competition between students.
“Relax—I’ll just say this is an advanced course geared towards everyone selected here. You can just use that as an excuse if your score is bad.”
The only students here were top achievers with the best grades among the entirety of our class… but for some reason, I was here as well. It’s probably because I have the Iron Emblem.
The group of students here seemed to primarily consist of nobles, and there were only a handful of commoners including Sarles.
“Alright, let’s get started. I’ll call on everybody in the most exciting order.”
Firvus pointed at Blain, then at me.
“Blain, you’re first. And Albert—you’re last.”
Blain and I exchanged looks.
“Understood,” said Blain with a nod. He entered the adjoining room together with Firvus.
The wall separating the adjoining room from this one was glass and transparent. I could see Blain standing in front of the fence, and Firvus sitting on a chair at the side.
I could hear the students whispering.
“…I wonder how many points Blain is gonna get?”
“Firvus did say this was an advanced exam…”
“Won’t he get like 80 points or so?”
Then, the exam began.
The room seemed to be soundproofed, so I couldn’t hear anything, but I could clearly see how Blain decided to play his cards during the exam.
Spells of various colors shined brilliantly as they pierced the silhouettes one by one.
“I guess the name Hundred isn’t just for show…” said one of the students.
So Blain has already learned 100 spells, huh…
The wide variety of spells he displayed was more than enough to convince me of that. He wasn’t trying to show off—he was taking everything into account, from power and scope of impact, and choosing the most suitable spell to cast on the spot.
I never would’ve thought a first-year student was this skilled.
In all honesty, there wasn’t anyone at the same level as Blain among my classmates 10 years ago.
A little while later—
Blain exited the room.
“OOOOOOOOOH! As expected of Blain!”
The students raised their voices in excitement at Blain’s stunning performance.
Simultaneously, all eyes turned to the black panel embedded in the wall.
The panel displayed the following:
Today’s chap. most likely gonna post the next one tmrw along with recreator. See you guys then.