Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 119

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Mightiest Melee Magician

Graduation Exam.

The exam has existed annually, but the types varied each year.

Dueling, subjugation, relay, trap-disarming, detoxification, and more.

From the variety of categories, a few were selected and combined.

Typically, three categories were mixed for the exam due to two reasons.

First, to prevent students from knowing the test categories in advance.

Second, because it’s necessary to evaluate a magician’s ‘comprehensive’ ability to respond.

We referred to this as the graduation test, or the ‘Challenge’.

And now, this year’s Challenge had been decided.

“Isolation, Glacier, Destruction.”

Isolation.

Every student starts in a cubic room blocked on all sides.

Escaping this isolated room using magic is the first barrier.

Glacier.

The second barrier is safely traversing the subsequent treacherous glacier region.

And finally, Destruction.

The last barrier ends when a stone wall, that hardly budges under regular magic, is destroyed.

All challenges must begin simultaneously for 10 students and must be completed within 15 minutes.

Rankings are determined by the order of completion, and those who fail to finish receive the lowest score.

Nodding at what would be my ‘last test’ in life, I murmured.

“Simple enough.”

For those of us, including myself, who have experienced the Grand Competition, these categories weren’t unfamiliar.

However, unlike my relatively casual approach,

“Are we actually doing this?”

Most students shook their heads in disbelief at the structural challenges.

“I hope I don’t embarrass myself in front of my father who’s come to watch.”

“Just like that senior last year, right? Got teased for wetting himself in front of the nobles during his graduation exam.”

“I know. You teased him quite a bit too.”

“I just thought of that, now I feel I might end up like him.”

The difficulty, as always, wasn’t measured too harshly.

It was gauged considering the average level of the graduates.

Perhaps that’s why?

A banner in the center of the exam site read,

[The top rank is, after all, Ruin.]

Most here came to witness his performance – aside from two men covertly watching me from the stands.

“..Strang.”

“Hmm?”

“Those two men over there.”

I pointed at those two mysterious men with my chin.

“They seem like people I know.”

In response, Strang simply said,

“Yes, you’re right. They are people you know.”

“How do you know that?”

“I am an incarnation unaffected by forms. Do you think your disguise tricks deceive such eyes as mine?”

“Disguise magic?”

Disguise magic.

Also known as Change Face or Change Man, it’s magic that alters a person’s appearance.

A high-level spell only barely manageable by a 6th-class magician.

However, far from perfect, if the caster is unskilled, it’s unstable and lasts very briefly.

If the opponent can sense mana finely, they would easily see through it.

It’s said that magicians above 7th-class can even change body shapes.

Who could they be?

Those men using nearly perfect disguise magic.

Then, a name flashed across my mind.

“…Emperor Theron.”

“Correct.”

“And next to him… surely not the Crown Prince?”

I felt this just by looking into his eyes.

Complex jealousy was evident in the gaze that he shot my way.

And it was the correct guess.

“Indeed. That perverted Crown Prince who treated you like a toy. Emperor Theron has changed his face for him. But that revolting aura cannot be hidden.”

Emperor Theron and Crown Prince Shomer Tan Rainak.

Why were they here?

If they came openly, it would’ve become an official matter.

So, they must have a personal reason to visit, disguised.

And if so, there’s only one reason I could think of.

“…Is it because of me?”

“Obviously. What other reason could there be? Half a year since the Grand Competition, they must be curious about how much stronger you’ve become.”

Indeed.

I have grown stronger.

Over the past nearly three months, I haven’t been able to quest every day, but I did whenever possible.

As a result, my power has surged beyond 9,900.

But what concern is that of theirs?

“They’ll undoubtedly propose the same thing. Asking you to join them.”

The same old offer.

Behind the promise of all the world’s gold was the Crown Prince’s twisted desire.

Resolved, I promised myself to respond definitively to this ominous possessiveness.

My gaze turned to the Crown Prince’s arrogant face, clashing with his in midair.

The Crown Prince seemed to query silently,

‘Have you been well?’

I intended to answer his question but had to shift my gaze.

“The 510th graduation test of Ignite Academy! Let us introduce this year’s Challenge!”

“Wow!”

The graduation test had begun.

♦ ♦ ♦

[Isolation, Glacier, Destruction]

The time attack test, swiftly passing through the three mentioned challenges.

The isolated room tests a magician’s intellectual ability.

There are various ways to escape a room firmly locked with a padlock.

Using Cancel Lock magic to neutralize the lock.

Creating a key using Mana Gem to match the lock and open the door.

Other attempts are also viable.

Any method is acceptable.

Just find a way out.

“Group 6 has nearly seven magicians simultaneously escaping the room!”

On average, seven out of ten students took about five minutes to escape ‘the isolated room’.

But, entering the glacier region immediately halved the number of passersby.

“Unlucky! Another one has hit a trap! The glacier region is full of traps and ice monsters might appear at any moment! It’s the most dangerous course!”

The glacier region drops body temperature in an instant.

Maintaining body temperature, disarming hidden traps, and eliminating possible ice monsters is essential.

Students’ crisis management skills are challenged here, and it’s where individual skill gaps widen.

‘About 8 minutes here.’

Only 2 minutes remain.

Then the last, Destruction.

This challenge is the final evaluation of a magician’s ‘combat’ abilities.

They must use their most powerful magic to break a solid stone wall.

But if they’ve crossed the glacier, the final challenge is relatively easy for everyone.

“Jason Damon! 55 seconds remaining! He finishes first in Group 6! This is a miracle!”

“YAHOO!”

… Jason.

So cocksure about recruiting me, prepared quite well, hm?

Watching my peers conquer the challenges, I began to draw a rough picture.

‘An average of 3 make it through.’

With 3 out of 10 passing and less than a minute left.

Students achieving outstanding performance failed to spare more than 2 minutes.

Most hovered dangerously close to the 15-minute mark.

Most time was consumed in the ‘glacier’ zone.

Speed through there is crucial to this year’s Challenge.

‘As quickly as possible.’

With that thought shaping my strategy, my turn finally came.

“Next, the students of Group 7! Please come forward!”

“It’s our turn.”

“Included in Group 7 this year is our academy’s pride, the next-generation magician, Ruin Ardel.”

“Correct. There are many esteemed guests here to see Ruin. We can’t wait to see what he’ll show us!”

As my name was announced, the stands began to buzz.

“Where’s Ruin Ardel?”

“There! There! In front of Room 1!”

Noble attendees from the capital eager to see me.

And then,

“Brother!”

“My lord! Good luck!”

“Ruin! Go smash it all!”

My family and friends.

Lastly, Emperor Theron and the Crown Prince.

Indifferently accepting their fervent cheers and curious glances, I stepped into the isolation.

Click!

No sooner had I entered, locks engaged and all sides sealed off perfectly.

“Group 7’s Challenge! It begins now!”

Thud!

I immediately tested the walls with a knock.

‘Dean, you’ve thoroughly prepared.’

The walls were sturdy enough to resist typical blows.

Thump!

Applying more force, I slammed the wall.

Still unyielding.

Especially made to withstand my ‘strength’, ensuring equal conditions with other students.

I pondered briefly on how to unlock it like everyone else.

But another method caught my attention.

Didn’t I learn this in the Grand Competition?

Nothing in the world is perfect.

Even in a seemingly indestructible wall, upon closer inspection, a weakness hides somewhere.

I focused on the hinges, fragile likely compared to the sturdy walls.

Clasping the lock firmly, I pulled with all my might.

Skill [Steel Destruction]

Click! Squeak.

The snapping lock and swinging door sounded triumphantly.

“13… 13 seconds! Door number 1 opened in just 13 seconds!”

The moment when every spectator in the Ignite Magic Academy’s graduation challenge rose in astonishment.

“What? 13 seconds? How…?”

“That’s impossible. It took others 5 minutes each?”

The crowd was washed with shock and disbelief.

However, friends familiar with Ruin were unfazed.

“Just as expected from Ruin.”

“What’s there to say? I anticipated this.”

They were not surprised, as if they expected this outcome.

[The top rank is, after all, Ruin.]

Just like the banner hanging in the arena, it was a matter of course.

The same sentiment applied to the two men hiding using disguise magic in the middle of the audience.

Crown Prince Shomer Tan Rainak and Emperor Theron.

“…He crushed the lock, it seems.”

“To be precise, he broke the hinges that held the lock.”

“Steady as ever, aren’t you, your highness?”

Emperor Theron.

Even as agreeing with the Crown Prince’s ‘steady as ever’ comment, he couldn’t hide his discomfort.

Instead, he inquired.

“Is your highness’s heart also unchanged?”

“My heart?”

“About visiting today. You mentioned it was your last lingering feeling?”

“Yes. Exactly. The final lingering feeling.”

The Crown Prince.

Shomer Tan Rainak’s gaze was fixed on Ruin Ardel, who finished the first challenge ‘Isolation’ in 13 seconds and rushed into the ‘Glacier’ without hesitation.

“This talent would be a boon if your highness embraces it, but could bring calamity if not.”

With Emperor Theron’s words, the Crown Prince muttered expressionlessly,

“As always, if we can’t embrace him, then he must be destroyed.”

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