Chapter 17: Third day of testing
Mildly dehydrated, I drank plenty of water and rested for the rest of the day.
The next morning, while I was still lying in bed, the third day of the test arrived. Feeling completely refreshed, I went to the training hall where the test was to be held.
Today is the practical test for magic. Unlike the martial arts test, the content of the test was not announced in advance, so no one could predict how it would turn out. Well, Bianca-sensei is a teacher, so I’m sure she won’t be reckless with me.
Feeling little anxiety about the test, I bit out a sore throat in the corner of the training ground.
Perhaps it was because almost all the first-year students had gathered here, but it was a bit hot and humid. While I was feeling dismayed at the population density, which is about double that of yesterday, a familiar figure appeared from the school building.
The person with shiny black hair rushed toward me as soon as he saw me.
“I heard that you almost had heat stroke──── Charlotte-san, are you alright?”
Saying this, it was my classmate, His Highness Grayson, who put his hand on my forehead.
“You don’t seem to have a fever,” he muttered seriously and I let out a laugh, ‘You worry too much’. But I didn’t feel bad.
“Yes, I’m fine now. I was only mildly dehydrated, so I got over it pretty quickly. In fact, I’m feeling too well.”
“I see. Well, that’s good.”
Exhaling with relief, His Highness Grayson’s expression softens slightly.
I could tell from his every move that he was truly concerned about me and it made me very happy.
“Speaking of which, how was your test yesterday? As I recall, there are different tests in the morning and afternoon for the swordsmanship course, right?”
“Oh. The morning was a mock battle and the afternoon was a demonstration of techniques. In the mock battle, you fight a randomly selected opponent and win. If you won three times in a row, you passed the test and were exempted from the afternoon test. In the demonstration of skills, mannequins were given a blow with the best of our ability and the degree of skill was measured. Even if you lose all the mock battles, as long as your technique is well-honed, you will pass the test, so the scoring criteria are rather lenient.”
After explaining the content of the swordsmanship course test as simply as possible, His Highness Grayson says, “To be honest, it was a little unsatisfying”.
What kind of test were you expecting? I could only chuckle and be amazed at his stoicism.
He’s indeed the youngest Sword Master. In many ways, He’s out of the ordinary.
“If those are the rules, I’m sure your Highness would have passed right away. After all, you passed the test in one shot, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, I guess so. Whenever I was in a fight with them, they lost their will to fight, so I was able to pass easily. According to the teacher, I was the fastest in history.”
“It was over in less than five minutes,” His Highness Grayson said, shrugging his shoulders a little ruefully.
That’s not much of a fight against an active Sword Master, is it? I can understand how the opponents feel. If you’re going to lose, you might as well just get it over with and move on. It’s more efficient. Above all, there is no reason to dwell on that one fight.
I feel sorry for his opponent, and I laugh at His Highness Grayson, who slumps his shoulders.
“I’d like to have fought more,” he complained, sulking a little like a child who’s been left to fend for himself.
“Oh, by the way, how did it go with you? I heard you poked a hole in the rules and did something about it…..”
His Highness Grayson asks me. Yesterday’s events have already spread throughout the school.
What do you mean? I recounted yesterday’s events as I resisted the urge to shout, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s more like a hole in the rules or a quibble, but I just made a new path with my barrier magic and earth magic. It’s not against the rules, so I got special recognition for this one time. I think I got a perfect score on the test.”
“…… I see. So that’s how it was. …… Well, was that better that way than racing properly?”
His Highness Grayson, holding his eyes as if trying to hold something back, manages to convince himself.
“At any rate, I’m glad you passed.”
He let out a deep sigh of resignation and congratulated me.
I smiled as I thanked him.
I felt like I’ve been identified as a disappointment by His Highness Grayson, but… well, I guess it’s okay. Maybe …….
“Anyway, today is finally the big day. It’s time to show what we’ve been practicing!”
“Ah, yes. I’ll give it my all for you, who has been with me for practice.”
“Yes! Good luck! I’ll be rooting for you, behind your back!”
I clenched my fist in front of my chest and said, ‘If you do as you practiced, you’ll be fine!” I send words of encouragement.
We looked at each other and nodded our heads, each thinking back on the hard work we had done.
At that moment, the school chime rings with a ding.
I shut my mouth in a panic and looked back toward the school building and there was a familiar figure.
The person wearing the familiar pointy hat is floating in the air with wind magic. Also, in her hand was a magic circle for amplification.
“──── first-year students, I ask you all to please be quiet.”
Her voice, inflated many times over by loudspeaker magic, echoed throughout the training grounds.
In an instant, the place was quiet and Bianca-sensei, the magic teacher, smiled.
“Good morning, everyone. My name is Bianca, and I’m in charge of the practical test for Magical Science. I will now explain the test. I will only be explaining the test once, so please make sure you don’t miss anything.”
As Bianca-sensei prefaces her talk with this, we first-year students feel our nerves rising.
‘Don’t miss a word’ she says and while everyone listened attentively, she held up her index finger with a pinprick.
“The test we’re going to give you is simply called the ──── defense test.”
Defense ……? That’s another …… what a modest test. Defense is the basis of combat, so in a way it suits us first-years, but it sounds a bit boring.
“You will all now be divided into your classes and play against the teachers who will be helping you with the test. The rules are simple: use magic to defend against attacks from the teachers. It’s forbidden to avoid the attack or harm the opponent. It’s also not allowed to use the same magic twice in a row. Is that okay? You can use the same attribute of magic, okay?”
Bianca-sensei implied that it was acceptable to use magic of the same attribute consecutively as long as the types were different.
The aim of this rule is probably to prevent the same magic from being deployed endlessly. If the same magic can be deployed all the time, especially barrier magic, the test becomes easier at once. Then there was no way to measure the ability.
“The number of times you’ll be attacked is five times in total. If you can prevent all of them, you’ll pass the test. Also, this time the test will be based on a point deduction system, so every time you fail to defend yourself, 20 points will be deducted from your score. The same applies to violations of the rules.”
Bianca-sensei explained the easy-to-understand formula, “5 x 20 = 100,” and smiled.
We tightened our grip when she said, “You can’t fail more than three times”.
As far as the rules go, it’s not that difficult a test, and as long as they don’t unleash an attack that’s an order of magnitude stronger, you’ll be fine. …… maybe.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you should be able to use your judgment, your quick thinking and the speed at which you can activate your magic.
But His Highness Grayson, standing next to me, seemed far more nervous than I was. I guess he is getting nervous because it’s focusing on his only shortcoming, the speed at which he can activate his magic.
This test will be quite unfavorable for His Highness Grayson. …… I’m a little worried.
“That concludes my explanation of the test. Now, everyone please line up by class. As soon as you are lined up, you may begin the test.”