Chapter 6: The End of the Exam
“Don’t be so depressed. Second place is amazing enough.”
“Thanks, Cynthia. –Can I order one more steak?”
That night after the test was over, Cynthia, Mac, and I had dinner at a cafeteria in the city near the school.
It was a rule that students were not allowed to go out at night, except on the last day of the semester, when we were allowed to do so.
The other students seemed to have gone to fancy and upscale restaurants, but we liked the unpretentious cafeteria.
We don’t have to worry about our outfit, and best of all, it’s cheap.
Mac gulped down a lemon squeezed soda water and asked,
“By the way, Liesel, are you that obsessed with being first?”
“Hmmm. To be honest, I want to beat Gideon more than I want to be in first place.”
“Why? Because he’s born with a good face, a good personality, a refreshing atmosphere, popularity, and skills, and he’s annoying? Does it disgust you that I think he should have a little trouble in life?”
Cynthia and I burst out laughing at the terrible way Mac said it.
“Mac, you don’t have to ask! You know exactly how I feel.”
“No, not really. It’s just that from a same-gender point of view, I don’t know what girls would think.”
When the cupcakes I had ordered arrived, I placed them in front of Cynthia. It was a cupcake with Cynthia’s favorite sunflower painted on it with colorful cream.
“You love these, don’t you? Cynthia, congratulations on your fifteenth place!”
“Thank you! I’ve finally reached a position where I can count from the front. Thanks to you, Liesel, for staying up late at night with me to work on my terrible magic.”
A magician had to be able to manipulate all three powers of water, wind, and fire, but Cynthia was particularly bad at fire.
Unlike wind and water, she found it difficult to feel the power of fire with her five senses, making it difficult to manipulate.
I managed to give her my advice, “Gather the scattered elements and rub them together to make fire,” but Cynthia couldn’t get the fire started on her hands.
In the practice before the test, she managed to make a fireball about the size of an orange, which was enough to complete the task, but her control was so bad that my bangs were completely burned out.
Perhaps remembering this, Cynthia looked like she was about to cry in front of her cupcake.
“Liesel, I’m so sorry about your bangs.”
“No, no, no! It’s okay, I can see fine, and it’s nice and clear! Besides, it’s my fault for standing in front of you.”
“If you don’t want the cupcake, I’ll eat it.”
Cynthia quickly swatted away Mac’s hand as he tried to take the cake from the side.
“No! I’m eating it!”
Mac and I laughed at Cynthia’s funny way of holding the cupcake in her hands protectively.
I spoke to Cynthia as she nibbled deliciously on her cupcake.
“Your parents must be very happy with your grades, right?”
Cynthia looked away from the cupcake and a smile spread across her face like a sunflower.
“Yes. After I graduate, I definitely want to get a job at the Royal Magic Agency and repay my parents.”
The Magic Agency is the top organization for magicians in the country.
It’s the organization that unites all the magic branches in the country.
“I’m surprised you want to work at the royal palace.”
“Yes, because as a magician, there’s no greater honor. The pay is good. Mac too, right?”
While picking at the mushrooms in anchovy oil, Cynthia turned her gaze toward Mac.
Mac lifted his fiery red eyebrows a little higher.
“Of course. I’m not an aristocrat, but I’ve heard that if you’re in the top ten, you’re guaranteed a job at the royal palace.”
Nodding her head, Cynthia tilted her head to the side and looked at me. Then she asked me as if she knew but wanted to make sure.
“Liesel, you’re not aiming for the palace, are you?”
“No. There are various circumstances…”
Cynthia and Mac looked at each other at the same time.
While showing a feeling of incomprehension in their eyes, they didn’t ask any more questions.
They do not know why I’m afraid of the royal palace.
I’m sure they’re waiting for me to tell them someday. But I can’t tell them the absurd story that time has rewound.
Because it’s just not possible. Time usually just moves forward. This kind of story is not a pretty one, it’s the kind that’s a little too delusional.
Common sense dictates that I shouldn’t talk about it.
No matter how close friends they are.
“Well, let’s keep up the good work in third grade anyway!”
We wished each other good luck as we finished our second year.