༺ Joint Practical Evaluation (4) ༻
Before the start of the joint practical evaluation.
Near the canyon, I secretly told Kaya to come behind a boulder so that I could explain the situation.
I told her that there were people with considerable mana waiting throughout the exam site and that a demon would also appear at some point.
Just in case, I requested her to finish the evaluation as quickly as possible so that she could wait in advance at the location where the demon would appear.
Without a single ounce of hesitation, Kaya told me she would do it.
“Also, I think we’ll need the power of your dark persona.”
“I’m sorry, Sir Isaac. But…”
A variable had appeared.
Apparently, Dark Kaya had hidden herself deep inside Kaya’s heart with no intention of coming out.
The last words Dark Kaya left before she hid herself were for Kaya to do her best on her own so that she could be acknowledged by Sir Isaac.
‘Why is this happening?’
I thought that Dark Kaya would help for sure… Did she leave for OG Kaya’s growth?
I don’t recall anything like this happening in ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱ though?
It was an ominous sign. Any change in Dark Kaya would also reflect on Kaya. I examined her body all over for any issues.
Although Kaya’s face turned red and stiffened in embarrassment while I was examining her deeply, I had no time to be concerned about that.
“Kaya, have you noticed anything out of the ordinary with your body lately?”
“N-n-n-n-no, I haven’t! Ah, I have had a pretty big appetite these days… It feels like I can digest anything I eat.”
“…Um, have certain parts of my body become… generous? Is that why you asked…?”
“I was just checking if you had any problems with your body.”
In the first place, Kaya and her dark persona shared memories, emotions, and even senses. They were both the same person regardless of their personalities.
As such, the fact that Kaya did not know why her dark persona had hidden herself was a big worry.
…Nothing would change even if I worried about it. The joint practical evaluation was about to start. For now, I should put aside any unsolvable worries and focus on the things that I could solve in the present.
Clearing the fourth gate with only the original Kaya was difficult. I had no choice but to recruit an ally but…
‘The atmosphere is tense’
In the present.
On top of the limestone cliff where the fourth gate was located, Kaya was squinting at Lisetta with clear disdain.
I had already explained why I had held Lisetta in a princess carry. I told her it was because I had no choice but to do so since I needed to get up the cliff quickly. However, Kaya remained unconvinced.
Suddenly, Kaya turned her eyes away from Lisetta to stare at me. Her usual puppy-like eyes were now filled with sorrow.
…I should do it for her as soon as I have the chance.
Suddenly, Lisetta cupped her hands around my ears and whispered.
Kaya’s face flushed red as she got flustered. She started waving both her hands to dissuade us while saying, “E-excuse me! That’s too close!”
Even though she was anxiously fidgeting, she couldn’t quite bring herself to interject for fear of becoming a bother to me. She just grumbled with a cute expression
Lisetta ignored her and continued talking.
“Aren’t you dating the first seat?”
“I’m not, you dumbass.”
“I really want to beat the shit out of you when you talk like that… So what is it then? Is the rumor about you trying to seduce every girl true? Now that I think about it, how did I end up in the middle of it all?”
“Do you really think I would do something like that…”
“You asshole. Why do I have to get looked at by the second seat like that? Her glare is intense…!”
What could I even do when Kaya kept insisting on liking me…
Lisetta let out a sigh as she moved away from me.
“This lady-killing asshole…”
“Did you say something?”
“Nope, nothing much.”
When Kaya pouted with a glare, Lisetta automatically replied like a machine.
“Let’s go, we shouldn’t waste any more time here.”
I took Kaya and Lisetta to the cave entrance.
The only light source were the lamps installed on the walls. Inside the cave, I could see stairs that led downward. They had been carved out by the academy.
We started to traverse down the stairs.
“By the way.”
Lisetta’s husky voice echoed in the cave.
“Let’s put me aside for now. What exactly is at the fourth gate? How is it so difficult to clear, even with the second seat? This is just an exam, right? If the second seat finds it hard to clear, what are we even supposed to do?
Kaya looked at me with her puppy eyes as if to say that she was curious too.
For reference, I already told Kaya before that Lisetta knew my secret. As such, Kaya did not question Lisetta’s doubts and concerns.
“That’s because there is someone stronger than both of you at the bottom of the cave.”
The fourth gate of the joint practical evaluation was to open the door that was guarded by the gatekeeper.
And the gatekeeper was a ‘Professor’.
In reality, there was no need to actually take down the gatekeeper. If the student gained the acknowledgment of the gatekeeper, they usually passed regardless of the result. Even in ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱, as long as you held on for a set amount of time, you could pass the fourth gate.
However, the professor we were going to face was different.
Professor of Class A, Phillip Meltron. He was a stingy bastard.
Even in the game, unless you took down Professor Phillip, you had no chance of eliminating the frog demon. This was why it was a necessity to form a powerful team.
‘He’s an inflexible bastard.’
‘No one will have any mercy when facing me in combat’. That was the philosophy of Professor Phillip Meltron.
Even if it was against a favored noble or a rookie student, as long as it was an enemy in combat, he always fought to win. In truth, for the student, this path was nothing more than a dead end.
‘If this were actual combat, you would be a dead man. Be grateful that you were only disqualified.’ I suddenly remembered seeing those words on the game screen as he ruthlessly eliminated Ian.
This was a… Professor? Nah, he’s totally a petty douchebag.
A man who abandoned his willingness to compromise out of a strong desire to win. A man who did not tolerate defeat in any match. That was Professor Phillip.
“Kaya, Lisetta. Listen carefully.”
I coordinated our combat strategy with them.
The stairs descended in a spiral. Soon after, as we reached the end of the stairs and passed through a narrow passage, we could see the high ceiling and an open area inside of the cave.
A large arena was in the middle and on the opposite side, a steel door in the shape of an arch was present. I felt like a gladiator as I entered a dome-like structure similar to the Colosseum.
And in the middle of the open area, with a spotlight shining from the ceiling, a familiar face could be seen. A middle-aged man with red hair arrogantly sat with his legs crossed as he peered in our direction.
Kaya and Lisetta’s eyes trembled in shock.
“So you’re finally here.”
One of the referees from the duel evaluation of the first semester.
Class A’s professor, as well as a bigot who despises commoners.
It was Professor Phillip.
Elements: Fire, Rock
Psychology: [Displeased that a commoner like you is within the midst of Class A students.]
I could fully understand Kaya and Lisetta’s shocked expressions.
They probably would have never imagined that they would fight against their own class professor.
At that moment, in the corner of the cave ceiling, a round magic tool that acted as a messenger flapped its wings as it flew toward us.
[Welcome, students! I will explain the fourth gate to you.]
I could hear the voice of a bright boy from the messenger.
[The passing conditions of the fourth gate are simple. Open the door on the opposite side and go through. However, the academy professors are gatekeepers that will obstruct your path. Take down the professor to proceed. If you do, you shall pass the fourth gate!]
Eliminate the professor. Unless it was Luce or Dark Kaya who had outstanding power, it was an insurmountable task.
All they expected of the students was to ‘have the determination to eliminate a professor and to give it your all.’
However, when fighting against Professor Phillip, it was required to take the task quite literally. As previously mentioned, he did not allow a challenger to easily pass.
[We will give a handicap to the gatekeeper. Firstly, only one element is allowed. Secondly, only a maximum of 4-star magic is allowed. That’s all! Try your best!]
The messenger gave its last explanation and flew somewhere else. As expected, the handicap was the same as how I remembered. If I recall correctly, Professor Phillip would use the fire element.
We stared down Professor Phillip.
As the messenger disappeared, Professor Phillip spoke in a calm voice.
“Kaya Astrea, Lisetta Lionheart. Both of you are talents worthy of pioneering the future of the empire. However… I do not understand why an impurity like you is standing between them.”
Professor Phillip got up from his seat as he shot me a glare.
An impurity you say… Honestly, it was one of the more elegant insults that I have heard so far.
Professor Phillips’s level was 112. He had a higher level than everyone else here.
I’m confident… Confident that I’ll be one-shotted into oblivion.
Therefore, I had no choice but to fight with the information I had on Professor Phillip’s personality and habits, something I know deeply from playing ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱.
“I remember you clearly. You surrendered immediately during the first semester duel evaluation, completely disregarding the value of feedback… A truly foolish and inferior existence. I could not find fighting spirit nor the will to continue within you. However, I understand why. As expected, it is because you are a mere commoner.”
He was talking about my duel with Tristan.
Do you think I had a choice? I had to go destroy Leafa the Illusive!
“Eh, the opponent was strong after all.”
I casually shrugged my shoulders. It wasn’t even that big of a deal.
LOL, look at the veins popping out of his forehead. He must have despised my attitude.
Professor Phillip let out a short breath in anger.
“Do you think you’re someone important because you are with competent students? Kaya Astrea, Lisetta Lionheart. You need to develop an eye for choosing your teamma-”
A fierce light green wind swirled around as it swallowed Professor Phillip’s words.
Kaya walked steadily in front of me to ascend the arena. After whipping out her Armana Wand, she stopped a distance away from Professor Phillip.
Her emerald puppy-like eyes turned into cold jade. Kaya’s light green pigtails, cape shawl, and skirt blew around furiously because of her wind.
“Who do you dare to insult in my presence?”
It was a lively wind.
“Me personally, I don’t really have a problem with you cursing but…”
Next, Lisetta readied her Rock Bat in both hands as she stood next to Kaya.
Lisetta roused her fighting spirit and glared at Professor Phillip with her golden eyes.
“We’re going to fight anyway so what’s the point of talking so much?”
They’re so dependable…!
“That is an incredible fighting spirit. However, the reason for your anger is clearly distorted.”
Professor Phillip looked at Kaya and Lisetta with pitiful eyes, as he took out a brown wand.
“It looks like both of you need to be taught a lesson.”
Professor Phillip’s gentle voice rang out.
A heavy anxiety crushed my chest as a drop of cold sweat ran down my cheek.
I also ascended the arena while honing my fighting spirit.
“Kaya, I’ll trust you with defense.”
You know, since I’m still a bit of a weakling
“Yes, Sir Isaac.”
Kaya’s voice rang loudly as she answered.
I took out Zhonya’s Staff which was tied to my back and got into a combat-ready pose.
A heavy silence fell.
The fourth gate, VS. Professor, had begun.
* * *
Eve Ropenheim quickly killed 10 demonic creatures to clear the third gate.
From watching afar, she confirmed that Isaac had left after becoming teammates with an orange ponytailed girl.
“That wuss who couldn’t even look in a woman’s direction…?”
Eve couldn’t keep her mouth shut.
With the exception of her and their mother, he had always been a timid guy who was shy with women. As such, it was shocking for her to see that shy boy suddenly wrapping his arms around the shoulders of a beautiful girl while talking slyly.
─‘Sis, Sis, hug me please.’
─‘Sis, Sis, hug me.’
─ ‘Let’s hug while sleeping, Sis… The thunder is scary…’
─‘Yawn… Okay, come here.’
She recalled a younger Isaac begging for a hug whenever he had the chance.
He was a guy who didn’t know what a girl even was besides Eve. At one point, he was even called a sis-con by our hometown…
Is that really the loser Isaac that I know?
His skill in magic, manly charm, and friendly attitude to female students… All of this was different from the Isaac that Eve knew. It was like he was a completely different person.
Eve went in the direction Isaac had left. She wrapped wind mana around her body to quickly climb the limestone cliff, but in the middle, she ran out of mana and had to walk up the stairs.
Even with the chilly wind, Eve’s body was drenched in sweat. If she hadn’t skipped to the halfway point with wind magic, she would’ve fainted from climbing up the steps.
As she gasped for breath, Eve got closer to the top of the cliff.
She held onto her two knees as she tried to gather her breath.
She saw a cave entrance leading underground. Isaac’s team probably went into that cave.
After she caught her breath, Eve entered the cave and began to carefully climb down the steps.
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