༺ Storm-Summoning Entrance Exam (4) ༻
To be honest, I have always been a good student.
During elementary school, I was always in the top five in my class.
In middle school, I was easily able to stay in the top ten of my class even whilst messing around.
In high school though, I went through many challenges, enabling me to barely stay within the top 5 of my classroom.
Still, I thought that I had some talent for academics.
I felt like I was the subject of complaints from many mothers around the world, “Our son is gifted, but he doesn’t put in the effort!”
Maybe that was.
For me, exams were just boring.
Something that wasn’t special, and something I never felt nervous about.
If I were to name anything exciting about them, it would be that we would get to leave school early, so I was able to go to a PC bang with friends.
However, today was different.
Unlike my usual self, I couldn’t help but feel nervous.
I wasn’t even the one taking the exam!
“Is Naru….doing alright?”
Why was I so nervous?
I almost wanted to march in there and take the exam for her.
“Have I become an overprotective parent without even realizing it?”
Lately, I feel like I am continuously coming to know about unknown sides of myself.
I never thought I’d worry about such a thing.
At that moment, a bell began to ring.
It was already two o’clock.
It meant that the exam, which had persisted for the past hour, had come to an end.
The six-year-old children who had been taking the exam up until this point exited with a frenzy.
The parents who had been waiting for their children craned their necks like giraffes, hoping to spot their children amidst the crowd.
“Hans! Over here!”
“Melody, how was it? Did the exam go well?”
Everyone was in a frenzy.
I was no different.
I climbed up a nearby tree.
Using the vantage point, I was able to view the entire area.
“Naru, where are you?”
Naru had black hair.
As the professor had mentioned, there had never been a Barboi student admitted before. There was not a single person in the crowd that had black hair.
It was unique to Naru.
That was why I was sure I would be able to find Naru quickly.
However, even as the crowd that had poured out like a swarm of bees began to thin, I still couldn’t spot Naru.
“What’s going on?”
“Did something happen?”
I felt puzzled.
Was the exam not yet finished?
Did Naru get lost and come out of the wrong exit?
I was half confused, half worried.
I chose to make my way to the Goldenbell classroom, where Naru had taken her exam.
* * *
The exam ended.
Whilst looking at the collected answer sheets, Professor Diogenes murmured to himself.
He felt more exhausted than he had expected.
It seems that he couldn’t lie to himself about his age anymore.
“To think such a shameful thing happened in the midst of an exam I was proctoring. I, Diogenes, have an obligation to find the culprit behind the incident.”
About ten students stood in front of Diogenes.
They were the students who had sat behind Naru and Cecily during the exam.
“Firstly, I’ll grant everyone an opportunity. Everyone, close your eyes. Whoever threw the paper, raise your hand.”
Every student present closed their eyes.
However, no matter how much time passed, nobody raised their hand.
Diogenes felt a slight sense of frustration.
Despite giving everyone a chance to admit to their mistake and correct it, nobody stepped forward.
“Everyone, open your eyes. Cecily, can you say for sure, you know who threw the paper at Naru?”
Cecily’s blue pupils moved around, scanning each individual child’s face.
Diogenes carefully observed each child’s nervous twitching as Cecily’s gaze focused on them.
After a moment of deep contemplation, Cecily shook her head.
“To be honest, I can’t be sure. It wasn’t like I could turn around in the middle of the test.”
“If so…. I’ll ask the victim. Naru, is it true that someone threw paper at you from behind?”
Naru nodded vigorously.
Diogenes couldn’t help but utter a faint sigh.
‘I wish Cecily had been lying. If it was any other child, I would have tried to resolve it through discussion, but Naru’s father is Judas.’
On this continent of Pangea, ‘Judas’ was the symbol of fear and evil.
It was true ten years ago.
It was true a hundred years ago.
And even a thousand years ago.
Knowing this well, Professor Diogenes felt a sense of helplessness.
‘The bandits who gathered under the name of ‘Judas’ were all evil and cruel. Naru’s father was likely no different. If word got out that his daughter was being bullied….’
There would be a major problem.
No, a bloodbath might even happen.
Everyone present was both gifted and of noble descent.
And Judas the thief, wasn’t the kind to care about such things.
History attested to that fact.
Therefore, Diogenes wanted to resolve this situation himself if it were possible.
However, the children were far more ignorant and shameless than he had expected.
There was no other way.
“Naru, could you please take a close look at everyone present?”
Naru took a step forward.
She then began examining the faces of the lined-up students.
One, then two.
As the sound of Naru’s footsteps echoed, a sigh of relief escaped from a child that Naru passed by.
It was as though each footstep was gradually lifting the tension in the room. But then, Naru’s footsteps ceased in front of a child.
Diogenes felt a slight sense of panic.
‘Why did it have to be her….?’
Naru had stopped in front of an imposing girl with long ash-colored hair.
Similar to Cecily in her red dress, this girl also exuded an air of elegance, dressed in a black one-piece.
As Naru tilted her head, a murmur erupted amongst the surrounding students.
“Tywin did it?”
“Silence. Tywin, I will ask you. Did you throw paper at Naru in the middle of the exam?”
“No, I didn’t. To be honest, you’re wasting my time when I could be preparing for the practical exam. Can’t you just let me go?”
This six-year-old’s speech was quite refined for her age.
However, this was no surprise.
Tywin was known as a prodigy.
Even amongst this year’s applicants.
‘Would someone like her do something as foolish as throwing paper at another student’s head?’
Diogenes felt greatly perplexed.
Tywin continued to speak.
“You wouldn’t happen to be listening to this girl’s words, would you? She’s the daughter of Judas.”
“That’s right! Naru is Judas’ daughter! Naru Barjudas!”
“I’m not complimenting you.”
While Naru was exuding happiness, Tywin began to plead her case to the elderly professor.
“The King of Thieves, Judas– that was a name continually used throughout history, was it not? A name stolen by thieves through murder. I believe the current Judas must be of the 13th generation, is he not?”
“Tywin, you are quite well-versed in history. Indeed, that name has a long history on our continent of Pangea.”
Judas was a sinister name.
It was long tainted with the blood of murder throughout history.
It was a symbol of betrayal and plundering.
It was almost like a cult.
Naturally, those who bore the name were the subject of hatred among the people.
Perhaps thinking the situation was becoming favorable, Tywin delivered the final blow as if driving in a nail.
“To begin with, isn’t Judas the 13th considered the evilest of all excluding the original? A wicked person who escaped execution and roamed the world due to amnesty granted by our king—.”
Naru began to shudder to the point anyone could easily notice.
With an expression of intense anger, she shouted at Tywin.
“Dad isn’t a bad person!”
“Dad is a hero who saved the world and even put his life on the line! He’s the most incredible person in the world! Even Mom said the same thing! Hurry up and apologize!”
“What on earth is this girl saying? Put his life on the line for what?”
A loud commotion began to form.
The children nearby began to egg Naru on, chanting “Fight, Fight, Fight!”
“Oh dear, what should I do….”
Both were nearly untouchable in terms of status.
Diogenes was at a loss for what to do.
“Excuse me, may I ask what’s going on?”
The door to the classroom swung open, revealing a tall, well-built man.
His expression was as sharp as a well-sharpened blade.
The intense presence of the man caused many of the nearby children to burst into tears.
Some even wet their pants.
Diogenes felt a cold sweat run down his spine.
‘…To be honest, I almost pissed my pants too.’
* * *
What should I do in a situation like this?
Naru had been missing for so long that I had to go to the classroom myself to look for her.
When I opened the door because of the commotion, I saw Naru arguing loudly with a girl who resembled a princess.
I had once seen two dog squirrels wrestling in the middle of the Thieves’ Den.
While it was adorable, it was also quite violent.
That was exactly how it looked to me right now.
The issue was that one of the two was my daughter.
What should I do?
Why were the kids next to them crying so much?
Some had even soiled their pants.
It was a complete disaster.
“Hmm, it seems none of you have any form of elegance.”
Amongst them, there was a child who looked relatively composed.
Therefore, I asked a question to the girl wearing a neat red dress.
“Hey kid, what happened here?”
“See for yourself. Besides that, are you the bandit Judas? Just as my grandparents described, you’re quite a fearsome person.”
“Really? It seems your grandparents know a thing or two about people.”
“Of course! My name is Cecily Von Ragdoll! If you have something to say— Hey! Don’t you dare ignore me…!”
No, I’m not ignoring you. I just have to stop my daughter from fighting that other girl.
“Naru, calm down. Did that girl insult me or something?”
Instead of answering, Naru continued to quiver with anger.
I could visualize what had happened even without her reply.
To think she was fighting for my honor.
While I was proud of her, it was also becoming a headache.
There were many people in this world who cursed me.
If Naru got angry every time that happened, there would be nothing left of her body.
I needed to educate her in advance on what to do in these kinds of situations.
The old gentleman with white eyebrows then spoke.
“You must be Naru’s father. I am the proctor and professor of this goldenbell classroom, Diogenes. To explain to you what has happened so far…”
I listened to the simple explanation given to me by the old man.
Through it, I was able to fully understand what had occurred.
“Tywin, was it? Not only did you bully my daughter, but you also insulted me? You cheeky little brat.”
“….I-I didn’t throw……it….sir.”
As I spoke to her in a stern tone, the girl named Tywin flinched, clearly taken aback. I closely observed her reaction.
“It seems she’s quite the brat.”
I have developed a sharp sense to be able to distinguish between ‘duchesses’ and ‘princesses’ just in case I had to kidnap someone for ransom.
I had become so skilled at it that it had become a skill.
Its name was the C rank skill 「Princess Scouter」.
In my opinion, this Tywin was A+ rank in terms of value.
The girl who introduced herself as Cecily was about A rank.
As a reference, Bridgette was B rank.
And Naru was D rank.
I couldn’t help but think that she was quite a brat.
As much as I’d like to give her a taste of my wrath.
Her head might explode if I did so.
I couldn’t let the other children witness such a grotesque image.
To begin with, nobody had even gotten hurt.
Should I show the composure of an adult?
“Don’t children fight as they grow up? Let’s just move on for today.”
My dad used to say the same thing when I fought with the other kids in preschool.
Thinking about it now, it was quite a reasonable statement.
Some time passed.
When the situation began to calm down, most of the kids left the classroom with a shout.
It was because there was not much time left for the practical exam.
The only ones who remained were the victim, Naru.
And the girl named Tywin.
Just as I was wondering what would happen, the old Professor Diogenes spoke.
“It’s already 3 o’clock. It would be difficult for Naru and Tywin to take the practical exam. As a professor, please allow this old man to make a proposal.”
“While it’s not widely known anymore, here at Graham Academy, there’s an alternative to the practical exam known as ‘dueling’. However, this can only be done through parental consent.”
In other words.
Because it would be too difficult to hold the practical exam, he was suggesting a duel between the two children.
“I will go and obtain permission from the headmaster.”
It sounded simple but was quite a violent method.
A duel, huh?
Hearing that word made my scars tingle.
Then, Diogenes, who had gone to see the headmaster, reappeared.
“Unfortunately, the headmaster has denied permission for a duel. However, she says she would like to personally intervene to resolve this situation. Sir Judas, would you like to come to the headmaster’s office with me?”
The headmaster’s office?
Where that Elle Cladeco was?
It was an unexpected turn of events.
But it was a good opportunity.
A chance to meet someone who was referred to as a greater hero than the members of our party, who had defeated the Demon King.
The opportunity to meet such a person wasn’t common.
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