The Archmage’s Reincarnation in the Hero’s Party chapter 8

Episode 8

317 years after the Antarctic War ended.

The great sorcerer Lin, Rain Ludwick, is now fifteen years old.

Amidst a busy thoroughfare bustling with countless people rapidly passing by, the boy lets out a short yet deep exclamation.

“Wow, the view here is really fantastic.”

The First Magic College of the Holy Human Empire, .

Founded by the progenitor of magic, Emita Page, is established right in the heart of the Pages’ Bloc Mage Family’s city, .

The Magic City, .

Viewed from above, this southern city unfolds intricately like a rose and is always teeming with a relentless crowd.

“Magical books for sale! I have heaps of reference books compiled by a meticulous magic instructor!”

“Magical artifacts that amplify the power of mana! This silver grade adventurer, Katt, sourced them directly from the labyrinth!”

The majority were merchants and magic students, with the occasional adventurer affiliated with the Alliance (Adventurer’s Guild) spotted among them.

The center of magic, hence the Magic City.

It was said that all the world’s knowledge passes through , also known as . Its importance was evident without need for words.

“Young master!”

“Young masteeeer!”

“Young master!”

The problem was that this fifth-largest city of the empire showed a devilish streak to newcomers wandering its maze of streets.

It was overly complicated.

Children and those with no sense of direction would lose their way within 10 minutes and become lost. And on days like today, when the crowd density spikes around for the entrance examinations, it was even worse.

“Rain young master!”

“Where are you!”

“Waaaah, young master!”

The family guards, having halted their carriage by the roadside and shouting themselves hoarse, were undoubtedly faced with the same predicament.

“Goodness me, it’ll be quite the task finding him.”

“Which family’s guards are they?”

“From the Ludwick Bloc family, a mage house.”

“Ludwick? Ah, are they talking about that talentless noble from that family?”

What could Rain Ludwick be doing now?

Dressed in black silk attire that complemented his dark hair.

His robe, artfully embroidered with the family crest in red thread along the back and hem, along with ruby earrings and a necklace, placed him amidst the bustling street.

“How much is this?”

“Just 10 copper pennies, sir.”

“10 copper pennies, huh?”

As the boy strolled past each street vendor, asking casually about the price of intriguing items, a clear smile played upon his lips.

– This is 10 copper pennies?

Once, after the great war subdued the flames of Hades and drove the abyss south, a marketplace was established near the banks of the town by the red city .

Back then, Rista casually inquired about prices from the vendors in simple civilian clothing, engaging in idle chatter.

While it seemed pointless to ask without intending to buy, the answer he got still resonated in his mind.

– You can tell the era from the price of food.

– …?

– Take these grapes, for instance. During peaceful times, they don’t even cost two pennies. Last year, the price rocketed to twenty, and now they’ve dropped to ten, no? Isn’t that all evidence of our hard-fought battles?

To a boy always fascinated by magic and his own endeavors, this perspective was both baffling and intriguing.

To think like that.

To see the world in that way.

It was then Rista added, with a sudden sad smile:

– Lin, I won’t live long. I’ve undergone the modifications required of a Payquiry.

– ….

– So, much later, after you’ve really~really lived a long life. When we meet again somewhere in the heavens, could you tell me about it?

It felt like this conversation had taken place just yesterday, yet I died before Rista who waited for me, and she passed away in loneliness. Fate is indeed ironic.

“Back then, it was easily 80 pennies. What would that guy say if he saw it’s now just 10?”

While the boy was intently examining a red gem, the vendor tentatively struck up a conversation.

“Excuse me, young master?”

“Hm?”

“Shouldn’t you hurry to your destination? They’re tolling the bell from the clock tower. The examination will begin soon. You might already be late…”

Snapped back to reality by these words, Rain thought to himself:

Oh?…

That’s right, when did I last see the guards? Since setting foot on this street, I’ve lost track of time, consumed by echoes of the past.

Frantically running through the sprawling streets of , stopping passersby to ask for directions, Rain finally reached the examination hall, only to have a teaching assistant inform him:

“I’m sorry, but even the descendants of noble families cannot escape disqualification for being late according to the school rules. And since the exam has already started and more than 5 minutes have elapsed…”

“Is there no other way?”

Utterly foolish of me.

I resolved to meet Rista’s note, and yet this is how I begin.

“Well, there is an additional exam for those who fail the written test. It’s conducted in Test Area 2.”

“Do I qualify to take it?”

“That would be up to the supervising professor, but it’s not impossible. It is meant for those who failed the regular written test. But it might be a bit… Oh?”

The teaching assistant, who had been scratching his chin in uncertainty, suddenly blinked.

Wait, where did he go?

* * *

Test Area 2 was set up near the third clock tower within the college grounds.

Since Rain was inherently poor with directions, by the time he finally found his way there, individuals who had failed the written test were beginning to gather, and the place was soon buzzing with people.

Unsurprisingly, most looked gloomy. The boy observed them intently.

Perhaps due to the additional test, there weren’t many from the eight major schools. Some from the relatively well-known Kashuta school were present, but there were no representatives from elite or mid-level schools.

“But why are there so many people for an additional test?”

Rain had long since discarded his house’s silk robe, carelessly folded and tucked under his arm. His servants would have been appalled.

was incredibly hot.

This was the south, Sunsetland, influenced by the climate around the Red Mountains which divide the territory of the Yongin Republic and the Holy Human Empire.

Unlike Richland, a blessed land with a consistently clear and cool climate, this place differed in many ways, especially in temperature.

“Well, there’s a good reason for that. After all, what is ?”

Then, a boy with a refreshing appearance spoke up to Rain’s mutterings, dressed in the robes of the Epicuro school.

“The chance of entering and graduating from this top magic college of the empire, renowned as challenging as plucking stars from the sky, is precisely why so many are here.”

“?”

“Just the diploma from here can open vast opportunities. You will be warmly welcomed in any magic tower, or earn handsomely as a magic tutor. There’s absolutely no shame in taking the additional exam.”

The boy flashed a bright smile and extended his hand to Rain.

“I’m Limjo, from the Epicuro school.

“I belong to a faction. How about you?”

Rim Jora. Certainly not a name of nobility. With no surname to accompany it.

“I am Rein Ludwig. No faction for me. I learned family magic.”

As soon as he said this, Rim Jora’s face contorted with contempt. The pleasant smile that had been there was suddenly gone.

“Ha… So you’re the young master of Ludwig.”

“?”

“This place isn’t somewhere you can come just by having a family and bloodline. Only those with prodigious magical talents can enter.”

What’s with this sudden change in attitude?

He found it strange how the man’s demeanor had done a complete 180 upon hearing his name.

“Look there. The one ahead is a disciple of the Toley faction. That one there is the ace of the Rentami faction.”

Hmph…

A scion of a great house needs additional testing?

How lacking in skills must they be… or are they trying to get in through connections? The female student remarked to Rim Jora, who had turned away in scorn.

“You’ve got guts, picking a fight with Ludwig’s heir.”

“If he’s so incompetent, what does it matter. It’s only natural he gets ignored.”

“Incompetent? What nonsense. Hey, I’m from the Rivarden Magic Academy, and during our time as students, he served as an …”

Just then, two female magicians walked into the second examination hall.

“Candidates, welcome. I am Caroline from Delaiten, currently serving as a professor. Feel free to call me Cat.”

She was a young woman, but she radiated impressive experience. However, what caught his attention more was the student standing beside her.

A beauty with characteristic chestnut short hair, reminding one of earth damp with rain. A hairpin opened up her left forehead liberally. A purity that bloomed amidst rusticity.

A girl who held the natural beauty unique to Easterners who lived in the mountains, and oddly enough, she looked familiar.

‘Delaiten uniform…’

The boy tilted his head in curiosity.

That kid, we must be the same age, so why is she already in uniform?

Cat smiled and spoke.

“Actually, my assistant fell suddenly ill yesterday, and thus, cannot assist in your examination.”

“!”

“So this young lady here will help with your additional exam, Krista.”

The girl next to her then took a step forward. Rather than the arrogance of the nobility, she exuded a confident demeanor.

“This child is Krista Warden. She’s this year’s recommended entrant. You all know, right? She got official permission from the school, so there’s no need to worry.”

Ah, that’s why…

Warden.

The Warden Viscount family.

As the position of Viscount would suggest, the Warden was one of the five magical families, like Ludwig, rooted in the eastern part of the empire.

‘I saw her once when I was seven.’

The place of meeting was in a family conference.

It was before Lin had regained his memories.

– Work harder!

– Do you like living like an idiot?

– You’re a scion of a great house! Even the eldest son! Don’t you feel ashamed of yourself?

He remembered her bombarding him with such words the first time they met, but he just let it slide. He didn’t care much for the world back then.

“Krista Warden…?”

While the boy nodded in understanding, the other candidates murmured with voices tinged with fear.

“Fifteen years old and she’s already hit the Limitless rank (2 stars) and eyeing the Atlas position (3 stars)…”

“They say she’s a magical genius that comes once a century…”

“Last month, she also got her quasi-Battlemage qualification…”

With a familiarity and indifference to the gossip, Krista Warden, with her arms folded, scrutinized each candidate one by one.

“Now, if anyone can land even a single valid hit against Krista in a magical duel by the Iluwendan method, they will be passed immediately. But no fatal hits. That’s a disqualification.”

“!”

“As you all know, the additional practical exam is usually conducted this way. You don’t have to win; just land a light hit to pass, so focus on your magic without feeling pressured!”

Cat chuckled softly as she said this.

While the candidates stood dumbly, shifting their gaze between themselves and Krista, Caroline lightly flipped through some papers in her hand.

“So, can I have number 200 for the additional test come forward now?”

The candidates held their breath in tension, and the 200th candidate hesitantly climbed onto the stage.

Just as she was about to cast her spell… she was struck in the chest by Krista’s magic and fell back awkwardly.

“Disqualified.”

The announcement of disqualification followed like a specter. The 200th cadet’s lips quivered desperately.

“No way… Please, just one more chance! I’ve prepared for years for this…!”

There was no mercy from the examiners of Delaiten, where only the empire’s finest students could enter.

“No. Number 201, please come to the stage.”

And so, another one.

This time, a spell was cast, but with the coordinates miscalculated, the fireball hit an odd spot. And again, struck in the chest by Krista’s spell, disqualified.

“Disqualified.”

And then another one.

Even that Rim Jora.

“Disqualified, number 216 come forward.”

“Disqualified, number 244 come forward.”

“Disqualified, number 267 come forward.”

Candidates went up to the stage with the call, only to leave the examination hall with dismayed faces.

Many candidates were disqualified, but equally numerous were those who, feeling the gap in skill, voluntarily withdrew.

In roughly 20 seconds per assessment, it took about 30 minutes for a hundred candidates to be swept away like the tide.

Watching this, Krista sighed and shook her head.

“All dressed up like Great Magicians on the outside, but turn out to be nothing special underneath. How did they even earn their Sibandoran rank (1 star)?”

“That just proves just how exceptional Krista is. As the saying goes, ‘An empty wagon makes a lot of noise.’”

“So is that it now? Can I go back to my studies?”

Among the candidates leaving the examination room, shoulders drooping, Rein watched Krista with a wry smile on his lips.

Right.

I used to be like that.

Unpleasantly arrogant, lacking affability, and entirely focused on self-improvement without a care for others’ circumstances… With that talent, a bit of leniency in the assessment would have been appropriate.

– Lin.

– Lin?

– Lin!

Had I not met those three people, I likely would have spent my youth like that and grown old in the same way; such a life would have been disgraceful. What should I do now? Perhaps teach them that the world is wide?

“Just overwhelming them with magic will do, right?”

At his presumptuous remark, both Cat and Krista’s eyes widened almost simultaneously. It was only now, with nearly a hundred candidates gone, that they noticed the boy remaining.

‘What did he say…?’

Beneath his black hair, his eyes shimmered like rubies while he elegantly cracked a smile. Rein Ludwig stretched lightly, flicked his hand, and prepared to give a lesson.

“No need to go study. I’ll teach you an important lesson right here.”



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