༺ Grading Test (1) ༻
It might be the same for Earth, but this world had misfortune and unfortunate tragedies decided by the scenario.
People full of pride and honor might unexpectedly fall into the pit of helplessness, and a citizen leading a normal life could also be caught up in a natural catastrophe.
For Marie Dunareff, her future was destined for despair.
The unfortunate event was both unstoppable and unavoidable. The timed bomb instilled inside the final boss of the 1st arc, Marie Dunareff, would definitely go off, and what was important was the timing of the explosion as well as the aftermath.
Depending on how the aftermath was dealt with, it could lead to the future attack of the fundamentalists, but could also reduce the triggers of the great collapse.
“Everyone. Shout out loud~! Ba~ baba! Baba! Ba~ baba! Baba!”
Like a tourist bus of teenagers, the large magic carriage was filled with people singing a song and playing music. It would take over 30 minutes to get to the Liberty Hall from this place on a carriage, and it was always up to the Senior in charge of guiding the students to liven up the mood.
“Thanks for clapping along, everyone! That was great! Here are some potatoes!”
“Thank you, Senior Marie!”
Marie, who was in charge of guiding the freshmen, used her characteristic ability of creating friends to shorten the gap between herself and her juniors in just 3 minutes.
She was a beauty with an easygoing personality… and besides, she charmed others with her overwhelming amount of food so there was no way the freshmen wouldn’t like her.
People that gave away food were nice people most of the time.
“We are almost there. Right! You see that old lady next to the window? That lady with an afro hair makes potato croquettes and they’re very delicious! You should try them when you have time! And juustt over there, there is the Creation Hall, where students learning magic gather for research. They make a lot of strange things. And over there is the stamina training room! We call it the training room! You can borrow a lot of interesting weapons so I recommend you go there at least once! But I was restricted from going there this holiday… I was using nunchucks and I accidentally broke a window…”
Marie was as friendly as a capybara and immediately grasped the hearts of her juniors.
Soon, the carriage arrived at the hall.
“You have to get off in the span of 2 minutes! But don’t run, and get off slow! You have plenty of time!”
She kindly guided the students after getting off the carriage first.
“The professors are inside, so you can go in one by one and line up! Then, good luck everyone!”
The other freshmen were curious about her sudden encouragement, but I knew what was waiting ahead. I was worried something might happen because of the Precept but fortunately, nothing happened.
That was when Marie stopped everyone in their tracks.
“Oh, right. Everyone! Here are some steamed and sweet potatoes for you!”
How many steamed potatoes and sweet potatoes were there inside that basket? I’m sure there have at least been 50 potatoes so far.
“See you again later!”
Leaving behind Marie who was energetically waving her arm until the end, we walked into the Liberty Hall as our sight immediately turned dark. It seemed that we were the last batch.
“Can anyone see anything?”
The crowd buzzed from the sudden darkness in front of them. It was natural for them to be anxious considering how their peers suddenly disappeared from their sight, while being unable to touch anything.
Spatial Expansion. It was the unique spell of Senior Professor, Lady Josephine Clara.
“Do not be flustered, rookies!!”
The shout echoing one’s eardrums… was the voice of Old Man Haman the professor of martial art studies.
I could still vividly remember how he used to shout that he was still in the prime of his life even though he was only 2 years short of his retirement age.
“How could the new cadets of our academy be flustered by something like this! I can only imagine how hard it would be to raise you incompetent fools into warriors!”
This old man was always the same.
Huu, he brought my mind back to the marine camp I went to back in my school days. Those were some crazy days back then.
“Stand up straight! You over there! You bony-looking one! I am looking at you!”
Students were the only ones that couldn’t see what was ahead, and the professors standing on the platform were able to see everything.
Academy; school; education. It was easy for people to misunderstand, but this Merkarva Academy was a superhuman training facility that was centered around training instead of education.
The history of this world’s humanity was that of a constant strife against the demons.
The most effective weapon against those monsters were the superhumans who had control over aura and mana.
And because a guardian academy was a place that nurtured those superhumans, it was unavoidable for it to resemble a training facility more than a school.
“It’s my first time seeing people like you in my 20 years of life as an instructor! Quite shocking!”
Every military was the same – they all began by breaking the spirits of the new recruits before anything.
Marine camps which tried to replicate that military also had a similar trend.
At the end of Old Man Haman’s noisy discouragement, a spotlight appeared in that space of darkness.
“Ah~ Hello. I am Professor Fermack Daman, in charge of this year’s freshmen welcoming ceremony. Professor is too stiff so you can call me sir.”
Standing in the middle of the stage welcoming the freshmen was a man who looked like a good-for-nothing compared to Old Man Haman.
His outfit and attitude were unbelievably casual compared to other professors, but the muscles being shown underneath his short-sleeved shirt was bulky enough to overwhelm the freshmen.
‘Been a while since I saw that bastard.’
All the professors next to him as well as Fermack Daman were all staring into the darkness. On the left side was the obstinate Old Man Haman Welsch, and on the right hand side was Professor Lulara Mars from Alchemy. They were practically divided into 2 groups: professors from the Knight Department and those from the Magic Department.
Even though it was called a freshmen welcoming ceremony, the professors were all gathered here because today’s event was a very important one for students. They would soon be conducting the student grading test.
It was a fairly important test, because the grades of the missions and the support funds would all be decided by this one until the next test.
“Well, you are all here to either become a knight or a mage, and you already got a qualification the moment you came here but…”
His gaze that was so sharp it would pierce through his sunglasses penetrated through the students.
“I would hate to see random weaklings acting tough, so let’s have a look at everyone’s abilities.”
I could hear nervous gasps from here and there. Even though he was wearing a light costume, Fermack Daman was a Grade 1 knight who was even introduced in the monthly guardian magazine.
That vigor was not something freshmen newbies could handle.
Lady Josephine swung her horse whip once. The area turned dark again, as a short text appeared in the eyes of every student.
Aura Rank: Low (680)
Mana Rank: Very Low (120)
Specialties: Nothing (0)
Overall Grade: Grade 6
It was nothing new but my stats were really trash.
Considering how named characters began at ‘Medium Low’ in general, with the numbers starting from 5,000, as well as how the player’s initial stats began from 3,000, my stats were horrendously low.
‘The ranks are the biggest problem. Do they go up with the Precept as well?’
The capacity of aura itself could be increased by having potions or through increasing stats but the ranks were a different issue altogether.
A higher rank meant an increase in the amount of aura you could release at once, and in turn meant an increase in power.
Even if the total capacity of aura was to be either 10,000 or 100,000, as long as the rank stayed at ‘Low’, the maximum output at a given moment would always stay at 100.
Whether you had a water tank or were living by a lake, you had to use water through a faucet. That was what it pretty much meant.
‘For now, I can only believe in myself.’
“Ah. So in front of you, there should be your name and your overall grade. Let’s all go to the number you received, from… let’s see, here to all the way there.”
The spotlights appeared again. Even though the students were a bit fussy, they nonetheless moved to the prepared signboards.
In front of the sign for Grade 6, there were only three timid-looking ones apart from me.
There should be about 400 new students in total this year, and yet there was only 1% of them in front of this Grade 6 signboard.
“Those numbers are the grades given after calculating your mana capacity, so you could say it is your Mana Rank. From now on, you will be taking tests starting from a grade lower than the one you received.”
The crowd buzzed again, but Fermack made them shut up by trampling on the ground once.
“Well, don’t be disappointed by it. My aura rank is also at Medium High but I’m still a Grade 1 knight. The key is that the way you fight is more important.”
That was true. The amount of energy was nothing but a number, and making the most out of it in a real fight also required talent.
Of course, at grades 5 and 6, it would be nigh impossible to overcome that gap.
“Let us begin now! I wish you all the best. Well, you won’t die anyway, so if you really don’t feel like doing this, you can just dash in and kill yourself.”
Along with the ominous words of Fermack, light covered my sight.
Half of the darkness enveloping the Liberty Hall was lifted as the professors gathered in one place.
“There are a lot of gems this year.”
Professor Lulara of Alchemy said while looking at the students half-encroached by the darkness.
The signboards of Grade 2 and… Grade 1.
The freshmen that had been standing in front of those signboards were next to them without being isolated in the ‘testing ground’ which had been infinitely expanded by Lady Josephine.
“One Grade 1 and four Grade 2s, huh.”
The young-looking blonde-haired beauty, Lady Josephine, looked at the remaining students of this place while lifting her monocle.
Granddaughter of the Sword Emperor, Alicia Arden.
Druid of Avelorn, Yuel.
Mercenary of Flying Swords, Dorron Warsky.
Golem Mage, Kranel Luden.
They were geniuses who had been famous even before the admission.
Considering how most of the professors of the guardian academy were Grade 2 with only a few of them being at Grade 1, it was possible to say that these students were as strong as a professor in terms of their ability.
Of course, their ability to fight in an actual battle was a completely different matter, but it was clear that their talents were at the level of a genius already.
However, this was one of the only four academies worldwide. Here, geniuses were overshadowed by even greater geniuses.
Josephine turned towards the Grade 1 signboard.
There was a mysterious girl with a sharp gaze who was standing straight as if she had been straightened up by a right-angled ruler.
Her nun clothes tightly tied by chains and her short hair were exactly the same as what Lady Josephine had seen in the past.
She appeared like a temperamental cat from a distance, but Josephine was with the chairman of the academy, Eriu Casarr, when first inviting her, so she knew her true identity.
‘What is the chairman thinking?’
If not for the dozens of yellow talismans stuck on the entangled chains, even Lady Josephine would have been greatly against inviting this girl.
Heavenly Yaksha, Hua Ran.
‘Knight’ was not a suitable description for that girl. A ghastly aura that couldn’t be concealed by the indifferent look on her face was devouring the nearby air.
“…I suppose there would be no need to gauge your abilities. Please wait until everyone else is done with their test.”
Leaving behind the cream of the crop, Josephine and the remaining professors gazed into the dimension where the students had gone into.
“By the way, is there even a need to bother about these kids?”
One of the professors, Professor Ronan said while looking at the students through one of the crystals.
Most of the students were in Grade 5, so he was evaluating them along with 3 other professors, but he was also in charge of the four Grade 6 students.
“Honestly, wouldn’t it be better to expel these ungifted students…”
Grade 5 was already quite useless, and Grade 6 pretty much meant they were completely ungifted. They could only barely perceive even the most basic of astral bodies so it was hard to make use of them. They were like pebbles who just happened to be awakened.
Professor Ronan used his cold gaze to stare at the under-achieving students whom he would not even consider as his disciples.
He had also been hailed as a genius when he was young, and thus could not understand the minds of ungifted and normal students.
Considering how education was meant to cultivate the wide range of students instead of focusing on the small number of geniuses, Professor Ronan was by no means a good educator.
Lady Josephine heaved a sigh at the professors that were too much of an elitist and changed the atmosphere by slapping the air with her whip.
“It is the chairman who wants every student to walk down the path of education. Are you dissatisfied with anything?”
Professor Ronan closed his mouth. Just like other elitists, he became humble in front of someone who was more of an elite than him.
But even Lady Josephine was unable to refute the words of Professor Ronan while looking at the boy with a pony-tail stuck in the dimension she made.
These ungifted students which were as rare as the few geniuses were usually unable to withstand the burden of a guardian.
It would be great if they could even defeat Grade 5 monsters.