༺ Grading Test (2) ༻
『Monsters will come out in 30 seconds. Deal with them as you wish.』
Professor Ronan’s indifferent voice reached my ears.
All of a sudden, we were thrown into a white dimension with nothing but a case full of weapons to abruptly conduct a test.
Most Grade 5 and Grade 6 students would probably pick up a random weapon without even thinking twice, but it was highly likely for that weapon to be a sword. That was the same even for me in last iteration’s grading test, and approximately 70% (?) of the students in the Knight Department tended to choose a sword.
After all, swords were cool right?
“Let’s see, let’s see~”
I, however, unhesitatingly picked up a spear this time, because that was the weapon I used the most in the previous iteration. Actually, the reason I chose the spear before was quite simple.
They say 100 days to master a spear, 1,000 days to master a blade, and 10,000 days to master a sword right? I remembered reading from a wuxia novel how 100 days was enough to be proficient at using a spear whereas a sword required 10,000 days.
It’s not like I didn’t try using a sword, but it was actually quite difficult to use.
『5… 4… 3…』
When I took a spear out of the weapon case, a new spear appeared inside.
This was an element that wasn’t included in the game, but it was Lady Josephine being considerate in case a weapon was to break.
After a brief pause, monsters began appearing in the distance like a hologram. Showing up were three Grade 5 demonic beasts that appeared like small hunting dogs with large fangs.
Even though I thought three Grade 5 monsters was a bit too much against a novice, a guardian was at least expected to defeat a monster that was right above their designated grade.
For example, a Grade 5 knight should be able to defeat one Grade 4 demonic beast, and should also be able to deal with three monsters of the same grade even if they were to take some time.
My evaluated rank was Grade 6 so according to common sense, it would be great if I could even defeat one of those Grade 5 Short Hounds let alone three but…
I’ve killed those guys way too many times already.
“Around 40 meters away? How nice.”
After calculating the distance between me and the short hounds, I gently tossed a spear.
Drawing a parabola behind its path, the spear accurately pierced through the head of one of the monsters. Thanks to the thousands and tens of thousands of experiences, the javelin precisely pierced through its target.
The short hound killed by the sudden spear was vanishing into a mist, and the startled monster next to that guy was the next one to die.
The remaining beast kicked off the ground and dashed forward. As a proficient master of spears, I immediately calculated our distance, its path and timing.
It would be okay to deal with it with a javelin but I wanted to try out rune magic instead. Gathering mana to my fingertip, I wrote a letter in the air.
The rune letter meaning ‘fire’ was engraved in the air, and was followed by a scorching blaze.
The short hound threw its body to the side and avoided the approaching flames as the fire ended up burning nothing but the poor ground.
Was there not enough mana? Speed was also a problem. It was a long-time problem but rune magic was not a good magic to use by itself. Well, things might be different if my mana rank went up though.
After running up, the short hound pounced to tear my throat but its movement was way too linear.
Calculating the trajectory, I straightened up the spear at where it would land.
The low scream in the middle of its jump was way too late.
Leaving behind the short hound who jumped to the tip of the spear for its own death, I calculated how long it took.
It took me about 12 seconds to deal with the Grade 5 demonic beasts. Even though it was only possible thanks to the spears constantly popping up, it was still relatively fast.
‘How far can I go this time?’
Although I failed in the last iteration because I couldn’t kill the short hounds, this time it was different.
The grading test should have demonic beasts and demonic spirits showing up in the ascending order of their grades, and there should be up to Grade 3 prepared.
I was waiting for the next wave to hurry up and appear but for some reason, it was taking a very long time, even though it used to be very quick in the game.
“…Is it broken?”
Even after waiting for a few minutes, the Grade 4 monsters didn’t show up. Instead—
Grade 5 monsters appeared again.
Was this seriously broken?
Professor Ronan didn’t have high expectations of his allocated portion of students.
He absent-mindedly followed Lady Josephine’s settings to summon monsters and let them fight. While looking at the students struggling against the monsters, he clicked his tongue.
“Tch tch. What can they do if they can’t even kill that?”
Seeing those kids that couldn’t even readily deal with three Grade 5 monsters made him heave a deep sigh.
‘Back in my~~ days…’ he reminisced in his memories of how he had dealt with those Grade 5 monsters in just 1 minute and 22 seconds. Even though he was a Grade 3 mage back then, this batch of students was still just horrendous.
Although some of the students should be easily able to deal with Grade 5 monsters, they were still failing to do so time after time. Even the ones that could fight them were taking their sweet time to defeat all three of them.
‘Grade 5s are like that, so there’s no need to even look at Grade 6.’
While thinking that, Professor Ronan turned to the Grade 6 students that were at the very end of the crystal balls. Judging from how all the screens were off, it seemed that they had all been defeated already.
That was when he saw a student sitting on a weapon case in a white room.
『Korin Lork: Grade 6』
An ungifted pebble which would not even be able to serve as a stepping stone for the gems of the academy was yawning while leaning on a spear.
“What? How’s he not dead yet?”
Let alone the other Grade 6 students, 30% of the Grade 5 students had already been defeated by the short hounds. Why did that one student look so normal?
Did he get rid of all three short hounds already?
“There’s no way.”
Even the Grade 5 students weren’t able to deal with it so how would a Grade 6 student have defeated those monsters already? More than anything, it was way too fast compared to the Grade 5 students.
“Must be an error.”
Thinking that there must have been a problem with summoning the monsters, he assumed it was because of a bug.
After summoning the Grade 5 demonic beasts in his room, Professor Ronan turned to the screens of other students. He mindlessly glanced across the crystals and finally came across one person who succeeded at defeating the monsters.
“7 minutes and 20 seconds huh…”
It was a pathetic record. Even though all the students he was in charge of were Grade 5 and Grade 6, 7 minutes was still quite horrible.
Looking at Professor Fermack who was in charge of Grade 3 students next to him, they all appeared to be defeating the monsters in 2~3 minutes.
Slowly but surely… a few of them were successfully dealing with the Grade 5 monsters but that was when Professor Ronan turned to the side and doubted his eyes again.
Inside the screen, Korin was still sitting on the weapon case. There were a few spears taken out of the case that were rolling on the floor but that was it.
“What’s going on?”
“What is it?”
Professor Haman Welsch walked closer with his typical obstinate voice. He was sometimes called Instructor rather than Professor and was respected by other professors so even Professor Ronan had to be careful in front of him.
“It, it’s nothing much but… This seems broken.”
“Broken? That can’t be. Lady’s Josephine’s testing magic has never created an error in the last 20 years.”
“You see, the demonic beasts aren’t being summoned into this one specific room.”
“That can’t be…”
Old Man Haman observed the crystals.
After immediately scanning across the screen with his refined vision, he found Korin in the corner of the screen who was nonchalantly sitting down by himself.
“Rank 6 in mana. Korin Lork. Surprised he’s not out yet.”
“Right? This guy who should have dropped out already is still sitting here. I’m sure the demonic beasts aren’t being summoned.”
“Did you see it?”
“Did you see the monsters not being summoned, Professor?”
“No, but… There’s no need to, is there…”
He was Grade 6. Grade 6 in mana would probably have a hard time to even be employed as a city guard.
It didn’t even make sense for a student like that to deal with Grade 5 demonic beasts, and besides, defeating them in around ten seconds while Professor Ronan was looking elsewhere was impossible.
But that meant he didn’t see it. Old Man Haman immediately glared at him with a sharp gaze so Professor Ronan quickly took a step back.
“A, alright. I’ll have a clear look at it this time. It must be a bug so I’ll summon it again…”
Like that, Korin had to do a third test against a group of short hounds.
『……What is this? Is this on purpose?』
Korin muttered inside the screen before raising three spears and tossing them one by one to pierce through each of the short hounds.
Professor Ronan doubted his eyes.
In a fluster, he walked up to Professor Fermack who was next to him checking his own batch of twenty Grade 3 students.
“H, hey. Professor Fermack.”
“Wassup? Anything wrong?”
“Your students… are already at Grade 3 demonic beasts.”
“Well, pretty much.”
Professor Ronan asked him after slight hesitation.
“Who was the fastest in your group of students?”
“Hmm… I didn’t count but this student here called Jaeger took around 3 and a half minutes.”
“Ah… I, I see.”
“Why did you ask that?”
“N, nothing much.”
Professor Ronan blankly went back to observing his crystals.
‘W, what am I doing. I need to summon the Grade 4 demonic beast.’
Korin Lork appeared to be decent at javelin. He disregarded it by thinking that he must be from a family of hunters or something but he nonetheless concentrated on Korin Lork’s screen.
The next demonic beast was a Mat Boar. It was an annoying beast to deal with, that curled its body and rolled around at max speed.
This time, only one monster was summoned unlike the Grade 5 monsters, and that in turn showed how exponentially dangerous this monster was.
Ronan rubbed his eyes multiple times. He even used the spell, Return of Memories, to recall how Korin Lork killed the mat boar in an instant.
He had avoided the mat boar, which was rolling at full speed, like a bullfighter and tripped it by pointing out the spear at a timely manner to fling the boar into the air. And as soon as the boar’s body straightened up in mid-air, it received a spear to its stomach and crashed into the ground.
It was a remarkable hunt done with only technique and a little bit of power. Although Professor Ronan tended to look down on those who fought with their own bodies, even he couldn’t help but admire how exquisitely that was done.
『This is unfair!』
He also couldn’t help but compare that to the other students who couldn’t overcome the tough monster.
So far, there were only 4 students who had passed the Grade 4 demonic beast test.
Next up was the Grade 3 monster, Owlbear. It was a medium-ranked demonic beast who was widely considered a big threat because of its large body and a tough grip.
It won’t be easy this time. Owlbears had a thick skin that was hard to penetrate, and getting hit by its thick claws would fling off knights regardless of their barrier of aura.
In fact, one of the students had already been insta-killed by the owlbear.
He tried to block the attack with his shield but the shield ended up breaking, and the impact that was carried over was so strong that he was deemed unable to continue.
However, Korin was different.
Without trying to parry the frontal paw swing of the bear, he lowered his head to dodge the attack and stabbed his spear into the armpit.
And without getting greedy for more, Korin immediately started to retreat and swung the spear out wide to strike the head of the owlbear while immediately falling back.
His fingers left a trace behind in the air. The letter created with mana rapidly turned into a ball of ether that pounced at the owlbear.
“R, rune magic?!”
Professor Ronan’s shout gathered the eyes of the surrounding professors and Professor Fermack showed an especially bigger reaction by sharply glistening his eyes.
Rune magic was one that had a clear limit and weakness. It was such an ancient system of magic which only scholars would take a look at while becoming a professor so it was understandable for Professor Ronan to be surprised.
Ignoring its own body that was caught in flames, the owlbear jumped at its prey. Due to the dreadfully low amount of mana, the magic that was cast in an instant was unable to show an astonishing outcome.
However, the smoke created by its blazing fur was enough to cover its sight.
In the end, the owlbear couldn’t differentiate between the black smoke and the spearhead that was coming in like a small dot and…
That was what decided the victor.
Korin was the only survivor of the Grade 3 test among Professor Ronan’s students.
At this point, he couldn’t help but admit that this student was definitely not someone who should stay at the likes of Grade 6.
‘Unlucky there’s only up to Grade 3 for the demonic beast test.’
Would he be able to defeat a Grade 2 demonic beast as well? Even though Professor Ronan was skeptical, he couldn’t disregard the possibility.
‘As long as he doesn’t make any big mistakes in the demonic spirit test, he would easily go up to Grade 4.’
In the start of the semester grading test, the lowest record was used as the estimated rank.
If he couldn’t defeat a Grade 4 demonic spirit, then he would be estimated to be a Grade 4 even if he defeated a Grade 3 demonic beast,
Wondering how proficient this student called Korin would be in a fight against a demonic spirit, Ronan summoned a Grade 5 demonic spirit.
That rune magic alone should be enough to easily defeat a Grade 5 demonic spirit.
He assumed it would be easy for him to reach Grade 4 at least and focused on Korin’s screen but…
Korin Lork didn’t do anything. And after a little while…
『I give up.』
『The grading test has ended. The estimation of ranks and the organization of data has been completed. The records will now be put together.』 
『Student Number 7. Roco Roco』
『Student Number 14. Verdic Rumlow』
Aura Rank: Low (680)
Mana Rank: Very Low (120)
Specialties: Nothing (0)
Overall Grade: Grade 6
Grade 5 Demonic Spirit, Ghost: Forfeit
Grade 4 Demonic Spirit, Hex Wraith: Disqualified
Grade 3 Demonic Spirit, Banshee: Disqualified
Grade 5 Demonic Beast, Short Hound: 7.3 seconds (New Record)
Grade 4 Demonic Beast, Mat Boar: 3.7 seconds (New Record)
Grade 3 Demonic Beast, Owlbear: 11 seconds (New Record)