Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 11

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Chapter 011: The Archmage’s Appearance

Roommate Jason pushed me forward and declared,

“Behold, the Archmage has arrived!”

My reputation, it seems…

“Oh! It’s Luin!”

“Luin, join us for lunch today?”

“Did you exercise this morning again? Do you train every day?”

Overnight, everything had changed.

Until yesterday, I was the academy’s most notable loner.

“Luin, are you confident about today’s test?”

“Are you going to use your punch, the ‘yap yap’, in today’s test too?”

“Of course he will!”

Today, it seemed that the number of people wanting to befriend me had increased.

I shook my head and replied to my eager classmates,

“Please, I’m begging you, just leave me alone.”

Yet, the more I asked, the more they flocked around me.

“Luin, do you know my name? We’ve been in the same class for 6 years and this is the first time we’re really talking. I’m Halbert, make sure to remember…”

“Out of the way! It’s my turn. Luin, you know my name, right? I’m from the noble Mungelinde family.

Sorry to say, but your names are of no interest to me.

“Sigh…”

As I let out a small sigh, Jason teased me with a more playful tone.

“Is something bothering you, O Great Archmage?”

“Shut up, it’s annoying.”

“Kekeke.”

Instead of feeling indifferent like before, I was now more exhausted from all the attention.

Of course, not everyone viewed me positively.

There were still those who spoke ill of me.

“I just can’t understand the judges. How could they recognize something like that as magic?”

“It’s got to be some kind of trickery, right, Mikael?”

The nobles huddled close to Mikael Gerihil, as if trying to suck a benefit from him.

They looked at me with disdain.

Frankly, I preferred to deal with them this way.

Grinning slightly,

“Huh?”

“Is… is that guy smiling?”

A light smile simply meant that they would explode on their own.

“You, did you just laugh at us?”

“Just because you did well on yesterday’s test, you think you’re something special?”

As expected.

It’s all within my expectations.

Mikael Gerihil, who had been glowering from a distance, approached me and said,

“A mage using his fists… How vulgar indeed.”

“Vulgar? Do you think that’s a dismissive statement for all the knights of the kingdom?”

“Well, whatever. I don’t know what kind of trick you used yesterday but…”

Mikael lifted the corners of his mouth, as if he had something to rely on.

“You do know that today’s test will be useless, right?”

The second test was set for today.

“Mana Output Measurement Test.”

It purely measured the destructive power of magic.

However, there was a variable in this test.

An ‘artifact’ called ‘Ancient Ogre Kinggram.’

This artifact, it ‘lives,’ literally.

The ancient predatory Ogre Kinggram, after being defeated by the first great archmage Proyan Ignite, fell into a cursed state of endless ‘hunger’ trapped inside the void of the artifact.

This state became ‘artifactized,’ and the Kinggram trapped inside receives and absorbs the mana of attacking mages.

It’s somewhat of a magic sandbag, revealing the amount of mana it has absorbed, thus determining scores.

In other words, there’s a completely different dimension to the variables.

‘What if my unconventional magic isn’t accepted by the ogre?’

That’s the concern.

I had never encountered ‘Kinggram’ before.

Plus, my magic is unusual.

Seen by no one.

Mikael’s confidence is probably due to all these reasons.

But instead of worrying, I chose to smile brightly.

“Mikael, good luck on the test.”

“What? What are you talking about all of a sudden?”

“So you can face me in the ‘Combat Test.’”

The ‘Combat Test.’

The final and most climactic part of the exam.

Students battle inside a special barrier that reduces magical lethality by 99%.

The match-ups are determined by today’s test results, and the fighting groups are assigned accordingly.

Those with lower scores face each other.

Top scorers compete against other top scorers.

“You want to face me too, don’t you?”

Mikael’s eyebrows twitched at my slight provocation, and he responded with a snort.

“Do you really think you stand a chance to face me? Someone who has been failing for 6 years…”

A failing student.

Perpetually low scores.

This label stuck with me to the very end.

I responded to Mikael with a slightly stiff voice,

“Mikael, aren’t you a bit too relaxed?”

“What?”

At that moment.

Wiiiiiing!

The siren signaling the start of the test reverberated throughout the academy.

Clunk!

At the same time, the doors to the examination room opened, and the assistant judges started to appear.

“The test is beginning! Everyone, return to your places!”

Despite the many things Mikael seemed to want to say, he could not continue and had to return to his place due to the assistants’ arrival.

Instead, his eyes spoke.

Glaring as if he was about to kill me.

I shrugged my shoulders towards Mikael.

Careful, you might shoot flames out of your eyes at this rate.

Then, Jason pointed at the entrance to the testing grounds and said,

“Hey, Luin. Look over there!”

“Huh?”

“It’s still amazing every time I see it…”

At the spot Jason pointed to, the academy’s assistants were carrying in a huge ‘statue’ on a cart.

On top of the cart, a silver-plated statue made of sturdy parathenium, but inside, there was a living creature that breathed life.

That was none other than.

“…Kinggram.”

The ancient Ogre Kinggram.

A treasured relic of the academy and one of the rare-grade artifacts that existed only a handful across the continent.

‘Ancient Ogre Kinggram.’

It had lived for thousands of years.

An ogre from the ancients, imprisoned within a statue and turned into an artifact for hundreds of years.

An ogre that has been the living history of Ignite Magic Academy for 500 years.

And today.

Will be the judge responsible for the grades of all the students gathered here.

Upon arrival, Kinggram began to speak with a voice full of complaint.

[The stench of weaklings vibrates in the air. Their smell is so offensive that my head is throbbing with pain.]

♦ ♦ ♦

The second practical test began.

The procedure of the test was straightforward.

One had to feed the ‘Ancient Ogre Kinggram’ with the most powerful magic they could cast.

“Chain Lightning!”

The students unleashed their magic at ‘Kinggram.’

[That’s all you’ve got?]

“…Eh?”

[It only tickles. Do you think scratches will appear on me with such magic?]

Kinggram then assessed them.

That was the test.

But considering how high Kinggram’s standards were…

[Pathetically weak. I can’t even give 10 points for that.]

[Just get out of here. You’re a 1-point mage. No, that would be an insult to the number 1. Perhaps you should quit magic right now?]

Kinggram was unimpressed by mediocre magic.

[Having been locked in this stone for over 500 years at this academy, how can I remember all the countless students that have passed by me? But you, you will surely be memorable. Most impressively so.]

“Really?”

[Yes. As a hopelessly useless piece of trash.]

Despite presenting a fairly decent level of magic, the brutal truth was spoken.

This was not strange.

Kinggram’s expectations were simply too high.

For 500 years…

In the long and storied history of the academy, it was said that no student escaped Kinggram’s scathing remarks.

It was said that the magicians who managed to escape Kinggram’s poison tongues could be counted on one hand out of thousands.

It’s interesting that every single one of those few became great wizards recorded in the annals of history.

It’s no wonder that the students’ faces were a mix of tension and excitement.

“I will definitely earn Kinggram’s recognition this time.”

“Let’s do this!”

To receive even slight praise from Kinggram meant more than becoming an excellent magician; it signified a life-changing turn of events.

At that moment, Jason, who had been watching the test by my side, spoke,

“Luin, this is your first time taking this test, right?”

“Oh? Yeah.”

“Don’t be too nervous. Just feed it your most confident magic and come back. Phew… why am I so nervous?”

Despite his own words, Jason was barely keeping his trembling legs under control.

Looks like you’re more nervous.

“That ogre bastard is notoriously stingy with grades. So don’t get too hung up on the marks… If you get over 20 points, it’s a respectable score.”

20 points being a respectable score, Jason…

[Your magic is bland. Has water been mixed in?]

“Argh! What? Did he say water was mixed in? That ogre! My mana is 100% pure, you bastard!”

[I’ll give you 3 points. Get out of here now.]

“Arghhh!”

Jason received a humiliating comment suggesting that water was mixed into his mana, leaving him with just 3 points.

“This ogre brat has been nothing but a magic sandbag in the academy his whole life, and he dares to judge my magic as 3 points!”

“Weren’t you the one who said he’s stingy and not to get hung up on scores?”

“He said there’s water mixed in my mana! Hey, ogre! If there was water, the magic wouldn’t even activate!”

Jason continued grumbling at Kinggram and eventually received a warning from the assistant.

What can you do?

3 points.

That was Jason’s current level.

That’s how precise and absolute Kinggram the Ogre’s evaluation was.

This is one reason why no professors were present in the examination room, aside from a few assistants to transport Kinggram.

Insight piercing through a wizard’s talent more than anyone else.

Kinggram spoke disdainfully as if disappointed.

[Tsk. There’s not a single one that does it right. Proyan Ignite, who trapped me here, was a very strong magician despite being human. Compared to him, you are all no more than flies. I could kill you with my little finger.]

No one could argue back.

It was fact.

The level of skill Kinggram described was the true level of the magician.

“Ah, another Luined exam…”

“Will the average grade for the whole class reach even 10 points?”

“It’s better in a way we all fail together…”

“That’s right, as long as no one suddenly boosts the average score.”

With an overall average score of 9 out of 100 points, students console themselves with the low scores—not just me, but everyone.

This harsh reality was no different even for ‘Mikael Gerihil,’ the top student among the graduating students.

“That all?”

Mikael had presented his specialty, a powerful magic combining the antagonistic elements of water and fire, but was met only with Kinggram’s cold reception.

[Gerihil, that’s somewhat disappointing.]

“Dis, disappointment…?”

[Over the years, plenty of your Gerihil family passed by me. Among them, Jorshe Gerihil was particularly memorable.]

Jorshe Gerihil.

The current head of the Gerihil family and a key member of the Mage Tower.

And Mikael Gerihil’s father.

Mikael, with a sense of pride as his father was mentioned, thumped his chest and said,

“Huh. Good memory. My father is indeed Jorshe Gerihil, the count.”

[Jorshe Gerihil’s son?]

“Yes! I’m the proud son of Jorshe Gerihil! The third, Mikael Gerihil—”

[Proud? Jorshe Gerihil. Who begged for more points crying like a baby.]

“…What?”

[‘My score is too low. Boo-hoo. I can’t be the top student at this rate. Boo-hoo. I must achieve high marks to become head. Boo-hoo. …Pathetic.]

Kinggram’s vivid reenactment had the crowd burst into laughter, and Mikael’s smug face contorted so severely it crumpled like paper.

Apparently ‘the secret about his father he never wanted to hear’ was indeed quite shocking.

“It’s a lie…”

Mikael was barely denying reality, but sadly, it was likely true.

An artifact doesn’t lie.

[Mikael Gerihil. Your talent is even worse than that pathetic Jorshe Gerihil. Here, have 27 points. I remember your father, so I gave you a generous score.]

27 points.

While very modest-looking, it was nevertheless the highest score in the class.

Still, Mikael couldn’t smile.

“No, it’s not true! It’s all lies! My father is the greatest magician more than anyone!”

Crying out loud and with a flushed face, Mikael fled from the exam room as if running away.

It seemed that family shame was a sore spot.

Amid the laughter, my moment came.

“Next! Luin Ardell!”

My name was called by the assistant.

It was finally my turn.

I clapped my hands, looked at Jason, and said,

“I’ll be back.”

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