32 Graduation Exam 2
「You did it!」
「You did great! That’s a good first act for our party.」
「You were amazing, Pauline-san!」
Forgetting about the horrible words of abuse before the match, the trio congratulated Pauline on her victory.
Pauline twisted her facial expression and sat down with a completely red face. The tension, or rather the agitation caused by her anger, had ebbed away with the conclusion of her match, and she had now returned to sanity.
It might have been because she just now noticed that, maybe due to the influence of Mile’s bedtime stories, had spouted a lot of Chuunibyou lines in front of a large audience.
「Now then, since Pauline won her match we can’t allow ourselves to lose now!」
Nodding in reply to Rena’s words, Maevis equipped the dulled sword prepared for the exam and walked off towards the arena’s center.
The second Chuunibyou patient walks there.
Maevis’ opponent was the young swordsman in his mid-twenties.
Normally, people at that age were somewhere around the middle of C Rank, but he was B Rank and member of a skilled group like 『Mithril Roar』.
He was still quite far from the level of their leader, the A Ranked Guren, but his abilities more than qualified him as a genius.
In addition, with his well-defined face and noble demeanor, he charmed the capital’s womenfolk to make 『Mithril Roar』 more famous.
But even though he was seen as young, there was still almost a decade between him and the seventeen year old Maevis. That age gap directly translated into a difference in the amount of time they had spent training and gathering experience.
Furthermore there was a gap between the male and the female body in terms of power.
The amount of times they had fought against other humans were also too different. And for a honest person like Maevis who didn’t like to use dirty tricks, winning against a Hunter who was willing to use any and all means to win was difficult.
But for Maevis things like that were unimportant.
She would simply give it everything she had!
Thinking this, Meavis bowed before her opponent in greeting before unsheathing her sword.
「Hm? What are you apologizing for?」
The swordsman asked back as if Maevis had insulted him.
Meavis answered him with a smile on her face.
「It just truly pains me to heap the shame of losing against a younger novice in front of a large audience upon you…」
With a speed that eyes couldn’t follow, the swordsman’s sword was swung, and leisurely parried by Meavis.
The storm of slashes was easily deflected.
「Huh? Was that it…?」
Recently, Maevis had only fought against Mile and Vail, because the others didn’t like fighting against either of the three. Due to this Maevis standards had shifted slightly. Towards Mile’s end of the scale.
So she had been excited to fight against a B Rank Hunter, but he was slower than Vail, and his attacks lacked power.
Which is why words laden with disappointment and demotivation had escaped from beyond her lips on their own.
「W-What are you talking…」
Halfway through his chain of slashes, he had started attacking seriously, but every strike was brushed aside by this student as if it was nothing.
His pride as a B Rank Hunter shattered to pieces, his face turned blue.
「Then, it’s my turn now…」
Although he was barely blocking all of Maevis chained together strikes, that was all he could do when faced with the steadily rising speed of her sword. Not to mention that each blow was also powerful.
「Then, we should both have finished warming up by now, so let’s get to the main spectacle!」
Receiving a hit to his right side, the young swordsman was almost blown away.
Because the match had only just started, nobody raised a voice to stop it.
Since the meaning of these fights was not about whether the students won or lost, but rather served as a place to showcase their abilities, having the matches end too quickly would be troubling.
Even though they were dulled blades, what you were getting hit by was still made out of metal. Disregarding plate armor, the usual leather armor worn by Hunters would let through a lot of damage.
The swordsman endured his pain and somehow managed to stand up.
When he had finally raised his sword again, Maevis declared:
「That was 『Godspeed Sword times 1.2』 right now. Let’s go with 『Godspeed Sword times 1.3』 next.」
There was no way that he could see through an even faster strike in his current condition when he had been unable to do so earlier with a slower attack.
「That’s enough! Someone cast Healing Magic on him!」
The match was declared over after there was no sign of the swordsman getting up again.
It might have been that Maevis hadn’t fought enough yet, but she was making a dissatisfied expression.
「There were still two more speeds…」
Under seemingly unending applause, Meavis left the arena.
「W-What was that, that female swordsman! She was so fast I couldn’t see her blade at times!」
The minister of finance was quite excited. Count Christopher’s eyes were also opened wide.
「Amazing! So she must be the 『amazing youngster』!」
「Her recent catchphrase is 『Why am I the only one being left out!』.」
Once again, Elbert awkwardly replied to the King’s exclamation.
「How wonderful, Onee-sama….」
Behind them, a strange switch had been flipped inside the princess.
Rena called out to Maevis when she passed her on her way towards the arena. On her face was an ominous smile.
The thirty somewhat years old magician nervously looked at the aged magician and the great sword bearing leader of his group, but they remained silent and expressionless.
The man did have confidence in his abilities.
He certainly didn’t measure up to their party’s top magician, the dragon killer Anselm, called 『Gramps』. But that was only due to the gap in their amount of experience. The old magician had spent twice his own lifetime as a Hunter and magician, so it was no wonder that he was a little bit more skilled and knowledgeable. When he reached that age, he would be even stronger. At least he was stronger than Gramps was at his current age. Even now, he might win against Gramps due to his receding stamina.
The man who had held those beliefs now was afraid.
『Mithril Roar』, a party standing on the cusp of reaching A rank had lost to students of the Hunter Training School two times in a row.
That was an unacceptable disgrace.
Who would push for a party like that to rise to A Rank?
No, even before that, who would hire such a party for any difficult quest?
But think about it for a moment. There was no way a B Rank Hunter would lose against a student! Especially not two times in a row!
Had they been tricked? By someone aiming to crush 『Mithril Roar』 by ruining their reputation?
The school had kept their strong students for the end. Meaning that the next one would be even stronger. As if that could possibly be true!
But what if it really was like that? What if the one in a million event of him losing came true?
Was it really okay for him to go out there? Wouldn’t the experienced Gramps or Leader be the better choice in this situation?
Me, losing against a child in front of the masses? There was no way that could turn out well….
The magician suppressed his wavering heart and had no choice but to move towards the arena.
Since both of them used Attack Magic, the took positions with a bit of space between them.
「I will be in your care. Ah, by the way, do you have a family?」
Why are you asking that!
Are you worried whether I’d leave someone behind!!
Fear encroached on the magician and he lost his calm.
No, he might have already lost his calm before even entering the arena.
Raging flames of purgatory, envelop my enemies and incinerate them! Flame Hell!!」
「Wha-, idiot, stop!」
A cry rang out from the resting area prepared for 『Mithril Roar』.
Now wonder though, as the spell he had used was normally used to exterminate high ranked monsters.
It was a kill technique that didn’t do things like holding back or canceling it just before it hit.
It was the fastest invoked and most powerful Magic he usually used.
Overcome by nervousness and fear, the magician had instinctively fallen back to using this spell.
Although he might have amassed a reasonable amount of experience, if you asked his fellow party member and mentor, the old magician, he would say that he was still 『half-baked』. And of course, he fought from the rear.
His duty was firing off high damage spells from the rear while the dependable vanguards and centers protected him. Thanks to them, he hadn’t been attacked directly even once those last few years.
He also didn’t receive a lot of magic attacks. Leaving out the elder dragons, most monsters had low intelligence , so even monsters that could use magic simply attacked the nearest enemy, and even if they attacked him, he could easily block spells of the level a monster could use.
And fighting a skilled magician during escort missions was also rare. If your skill was at that level, there was no reason to stoop to the level of a bandit.
So, due to being part of a highly skilled party since a young age, he had few chances to feel the fear of death, making him weak to mental attacks despite his enormous skill with magic.
He hadn’t thought that doing volunteer work like this to help the next generation could possibly shatter the reputation of his party. Not to mention that he would be in the position of having to defend it. And in that unprepared state of mind a thought popped up 『What if she used a powerful magic and failed to stop it in time or accidentally hit me without meaning to. No, what if she only made it look like she lacked the skill but in truth aimed for my life!』.
I won’t die in a place like this, leaving my wife and child behind!
In the next moment after he had finished that thought, the 『attack magic he always uses when in doubt and is best at』 was fired off.
The conflagration of hell completely enveloped the small girl.
Regaining his sanity after the fact, the magician realized what he had done and was frozen in shock.
There was nothing that could be done until the effect of the magic died down and all of the flames vanished. The only thing they had left to worry about was whether there would even be bones remaining they could give to her relatives.
「Ah, Ah, Aaaa…」
The magician was sittin on the ground in shock while the audience made not a single bit of noise in front tragedy that had unfolded before them.
What could be seen after the flames began to grow weaker was….
「Oh my, Are you already finished?」
「Although my specialty is Fire Magic too, lately I’ve also become adept at using Ice and Defense Magic, you know?」
Rena off-handedly noted.
「Did she perhaps mean this when she taught us that 『A strong defense is the best offence.』?」
Rena quietly muttered upon seeing the magician sitting on the ground without a shred of intent to fight remaining in him. So to end the match, she started chanting.
And what else would be appropriate but the spell she had just been attacked with?
「Raging flames of purgatory, envelop my enemies and incinerate them! Flame…」
「W-We have a winner! Stop fighting!」
The desperate declaration of victory rung out.
She might have had a calm expression on her face, but it seems that Rena was a little bit angry beneath that facade.
「W-What was that! Really, what is up with the graduating students this time!?」
The minister of finance shouted as a reaction to the spectacle.
「We didn’t get to see her Attack Magic, but if we didn’t stop it this time, it really would have turned into a tragedy. If we hadn’t stopped her, she probably would have fire off that spell…
Well, from that Defense Magic alone her ability can be judged to be more than enough, so it should be good enough for the examination…」
Count Christopher said, with serious worry written over his face.
Elbert had known that those four had hidden their true level, but he hadn’t thought that it would be to this degree, so he was baffled.
「Will I be able to get that strong if I attend the Training School, Father?」
Lightly bopping the prince and princess on their heads, the King whispered to himself.
「Will this bring about the end of this era? This era that had been stagnant for so long…. 」
The words offered by Rena in passing made Mile smile bitterly
When Mile stepped out into the open, the members of 『Mithril Roar』 started arguing.
「The opponent is a magician, so obviously I should be the one to face her!」
「No, the outfit clearly shows that she’s a sword fighter! I’ll go!」
The elderly magician and the forty year old spearman squabbled about who would get to fight this time.
After watching their byplay for a while the great sword user Guren, passed his judgement as the party leader.
「….I will go.」