Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 32

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All-Powerful Sorcerer Episode 032

The Altean commercial district was bustling with students eager to check the tournament brackets.

“Who’s our first opponent?”

“Move over! I can’t see!”

Everyone was preoccupied with finding out their first match-up.

Schools with relatively weak opponents celebrated.

Those facing tougher opponents were disheartened.

Our academy was, unfortunately, in the latter group.

“Damn it. Right from the first… Our first opponent is…”

“Ignyte Magic Academy… Oyotaya.”

Our neighboring country’s “Sand Kingdom of Oyota.”

Oyota had a notorious reputation—not only for demoralizing students before matches, but also for their dubious conduct during them.

Our group, including Henkers with his particularly bad memories of Oyota, paled at the thought.

“Ah… Why them, of all teams?”

Since the previous dispute on the mana train, we’d had no special friction with them.

But I was well aware of what they—

No, particularly how ‘I’ was regarded by them.

‘Was his name Seta Malkiri?’

Seta, representing Oyota, had shown hostility towards me every time we crossed paths.

And it was no different now.

“Look at that, it’s just the academy failures.”

“The first match is basically handed to us on a silver platter, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, absolutely. Kekeke.”

The Oyota students, realizing they were up against us first, taunted with a sneer.

Seta Malkiri was, of course, at the heart of it.

“The first match is against those academy losers. Easy win, but… it doesn’t even build any tension before a big tournament. It’s just… tedious.”

Seta Malkiri looked at us and began mocking us blatantly.

Despite the seemingly trivial mockery, it had a substantial impact.

“Man, I’m envious. If we faced the academy failures, it’d have been so easy.”

“Kekeke. No kidding.”

With Seta Malkiri’s words, more joined in with snarky comments.

It started with Oyota.

The students from other schools added their own remarks.

One thing led to another, and before we knew it, the atmosphere around us grew uncontrollably hostile.

Before long, ‘academy failure’ was a label firmly attached to us by those who hadn’t even thought about us moments earlier. Now they looked down on us.

Just like now.

“See that? They’re too scared to even move.”

“They are from the failure academy after all.”

The air turned cold.

The mood shifted.

“Kekeke.”

Seta Malkiri enjoyed the atmosphere, smirking at me. All I could do was give a hollow laugh in response.

I understood. Spectacles are always amusing to watch.

The ‘provocation’ from Seta Malkiri was nothing more than entertainment to these students.

A delightful distraction from the boredom before the tournament.

But.

It was too blatant.

The crowd had begun to circle around Seta and me, watching this one-sided provocation unfold.

No.

“Is that the representative from the failure academy?”

“It seems like it…”

“What? I’ve never seen that face before.”

They were blatantly ‘spectating’ me—the new face of the ‘academy failures.’

They were asking me.

‘You’ve been disregarded in front of everyone. Will you endure it? Or will you retaliate?’

To be branded a coward.

Or to fight back.

One or the other.

Whichever choice I made, it’d be an interesting event for the bystanders.

It felt as though I had become a jester.

But of course, I had no intention of being their jester.

I casually scratched my nose and stepped forward to speak to Seta.

“I’ve been waiting too.”

Seta Malkiri looked puzzled and asked.

“Waiting for what?”

“For this occasion. With students from 32 schools all gathered here, it’s time for a proper introduction.”

“…Introduction?”

Caught off guard by the suggestion of introductions instead of anger, Seta Malkiri frowned.

“…What kind of trick is this?”

“No trick. I just want to say hello before the tournament starts.”

I said with a faint smile as I turned to the spectators.

“It’s a pleasure to meet everyone. My name is Ruin Ardell, the representative of the so-called academy failures.”

Yes.

Greetings.

A moment to formally introduce myself among the representatives gathered there.

And at the same time.

“Now that we’ve exchanged names, I have a small favor to ask of all of you.”

A request to everyone…

No.

“I’d prefer if you refrain from calling me ‘academy failure’ moving forward. I find it rather unpleasant.”

It was time to issue a ‘warning’ to them all.

“…What did you say?”

Yes.

This was a veiled declaration of war.

“What, did he really say that?”

“Did I hear that wrong? ‘Academy failure’? He has the audacity to say he’s offended?”

Whether my tone sounded more like a ‘warning’ than a ‘request’, or because I said I was offended despite being ‘an academy failure’.

Certainly, both reasons applied.

“Call an academy failure what it is. How else should it be said?”

I had thrown a stone at the crowd.

I had given a warning about the entrenched mindset that ‘the last place is meant for the failure academy.’

Yes.

At least.

I won’t just sit back and take hits as usual.

I won’t just sit back and be ignored.

No.

“Tired of being last place for so long, I might try being first this time around.”

I declared my intention to win.

When the word ‘first’ left my lips, it stirred the crowd.

“First place? What is he talking about?”

“…He’s lost his mind.”

Seta Malkiri muttered in disbelief, “What an idiot.”

Someone questioned me directly.

“First place? Ha! Are you delusional? You think this is some local market contest, you academy failure? Unbelievable. Who do you think you are?”

“Me…?”

As I was about to respond, I caught someone’s eye.

Just before.

The Student Representative from Seiki Ladies College that I had encountered in the antique shop.

Irene Prius.

Her gaze filled with curiosity was fixed on me.

And as she watched, I playfully smiled and said.

“…A secret weapon.”

《The Grand Competition》

It’s natural for friction to arise when hundreds of proud genius wizards from all walks of life are corralled into a place as small as ‘Altein’ for a fortnight.

It’s like letting a pack of curious cats loose in our room—territorial disputes are bound to happen.

Battles of pride, both big and small, go on throughout the tournament.

And the day before the official start of the tournament, today.

“Wow… The secret weapon of our academy has appeared! Did everyone see Ruin’s gaze just now? It was like…”

“…Shut up.”

Now self-proclaimed as the academy’s secret weapon, I had become public enemy number one for all the participating students.

*Sigh*…

I should have just let things slide.

In a moment of annoyance, I didn’t just provoke them, it was a full-scale ‘area taunt’.

There was no need to create enemies.

Ah, this temper of mine.

However, Jason found it all amusing, chuckling as he spoke.

“No, it’s not about teasing. It was really cool.

The scrawny guy said incredulously, ‘First place? Ha! Ridiculous. Who do you think you are?’ and our Ruin with an expression full of anguish and contemplation, like a knight in the twilight of his life, said ‘…A secret weapon.’ Keuh! I get chills just thinking about it… See this? I’ve got goosebumps.”

“……Jason.”

“Kekeke, sorry.”

Jason exaggerated the story as if it were an epic from a bard.

By now, there wasn’t a student in our lodging who hadn’t heard the story.

I’d heard it at least three times myself.

And I had grown tired of it.

The academy’s secret weapon.

Well, thanks to that, I’d become the butt of Jason’s jokes for the next three years.

But it wasn’t for nothing.

Above all, the most valuable payoff was…

“Honestly, Ruin did look cool earlier.”

“You thought so too? I felt pretty good inside. He said just what I wanted to say.”

“Of course, the secret weapon part was a bit cringy, but…”

“……Hrm.”

My peers were pleased.

Even if they would have preferred to skip the secret weapon part…

No, wait. That was the finishing touch!

Anyway, their newfound confidence was helpful in facing the scrutiny from outside.

“Okay, let’s get serious. We absolutely can’t lose to Oyota in the first match.”

It was like drawing a line in the sand.

I had thrown down the gauntlet in public, so we had to regain confidence.

It was a meaningful ‘greeting’ indeed.

“Ruin, we can do it, right?”

Of course, it wasn’t just a matter of confidence. We had to prove that the challenge wasn’t made in vain.

We had to demonstrate our abilities.

Starting tomorrow.

“Of course.”

The Grand Competition’s team events were split into two categories.

The team event with student representatives.

The team event with all members except the student representative.

The event tomorrow was the latter.

I would not participate.

“Don’t worry. I’ve already laid out the strategies.”

I caressed the Artifact Ring of Invincibility, fitted on my finger as if tailor-made, and spoke.

“Enough teasing… It’s time for a strategy meeting.”

Seta Malkiri.

Seta Malkiri, the student representative from Oyota, spoke with a sullen expression.

“Ruin Ardell. Who the hell is that guy… Have you not figured him out yet?”

A student beside him responded.

“Yeah. I looked into it. Seems like he used to be a failing student.”

“…A failing student? How did a failing student become a student representative?”

“Details are sketchy. Somehow, he went from being a failing practical student to a monster who turned around all his 1st semester grades overnight.”

“…Turned around all his grades overnight? You sure?”

“Yeah. He even said it earlier. Tired of being last, so he wants to try being first this time. It looks legit.”

Seta Malkiri scowled.

He remembered the words from Professor Malcolm, warning him about this unusual fellow.

“Damn it. Why am I worrying about those academy failures?”

Seta Malkiri spat on the ground and stood up.

He left the dorms and aimlessly wandered through the alleyways of the Altean commercial district, eventually ending up near my academy’s lodging.

He looked up at it and said,

“These cocky brats. I’ll have to teach them a lesson.”

Terrifying the opposition before the tournament had begun was a long-standing teaching of the Sand Kingdom of Oyota.

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