The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 32

Episode 32

“Teams 1 through 20, you will be given 10 minutes to discuss your strategies. Once you’re ready, please enter the labyrinth. Keep in mind that your time will start being counted after the 10 minutes, even if you have not entered the labyrinth.”

A labyrinth is, as the name suggests, a ‘house that bewilders’. It has but a single entrance, yet once inside, the path branches out, making it virtually impossible for students to completely master the labyrinth within a short span of time. Professor Kyle knew this well, which is why he prepared twenty distinct routes, assigning each team to their own passage.

“What kind of magic should we use?”

“I think lighting magic! We should maintain it throughout the exploration time.”

“Idiot, we can’t use magic indefinitely. What if we run out of mana using lighting magic? We should start by looking for branches to use as torches!”

The students were embroiled in heated discussions, though most of their plans were meaningless. They would only understand the true nature of the labyrinth after entering.

“Professor, you insist on this test every year for the first-year midterms. Is there a reason?”

Observing the intrigued students, Professor Kyle answered the assistant’s question.

“When thrown into adversity they’ve never faced before, it is then you can truly see a magician’s talent.”

“…?”

“In such circumstances, their minds go blank, and their judgment and actions become sluggish compared to usual.”

“Ah, I see.”

“However, there are those who stand out in adversity, unlike the rest.”

The first quality required of a magician is composure. They must remain cool and collected, no matter the situation.

“This is just a basic assessment to recognize that quality… Desk-bound magicians who only study theory can never become top-class.”

Indeed, the education so far has lacked such urgency and tension. It might very well be why magic has stagnated.

As Kyle’s gaze shifted to Krista Warden and Logan, dubbed ‘the golden generation’, he thought, ‘It’s my duty to expand their thinking from a young age.’

The young man with black hair and red eyes standing next to Logan spoke up.

“What should we do, Logan?”

“Once we enter the labyrinth, we just need to defeat everything we encounter, right?”

“Kid, I like how simple-minded you are. Still, it’s better to have a proper plan for things like this.”

This is indeed an interesting evaluation method. Once in the labyrinth, magic must be used efficiently.

Lighting, defense, attack… If they don’t assess their own limits and strategize accordingly, they are likely to fail.

As Krista sat on the ground, mulling over strategies with a twig, she sneered.

“Balancing lighting with defense and attack magic, huh… Can you really claim the top spot with such a generic approach?”

Logan, annoyed, snapped back.

“The spells available in the labyrinth are the same for everyone. How differently do you plan to do things, acting all high and mighty?”

“That’ll become apparent soon enough. If you’re curious, just watch. Rain, didn’t you say you were aiming to graduate at the top of your class?”

“…?”

“Sorry, but I’ve never conceded the top spot to anyone. Today will be no different. I’ll make sure to teach you the difference in our abilities.”

Confidently flipping her hair, Krista strode towards the labyrinth entrance, followed by a timid-looking male team member.

“Team 2, begin the test!”

As Krista called out, Professor Kyle nodded, and the assistant manipulated a magical device on their wrist.

· Team 2 – Passage 2.

· Time – 00:00.

· Target – Model 32.

It was a race to see which team would destroy their assigned targets in their corridor faster and more accurately. Krista spread her palms.

“Arise, my soldiers!”

The double-layered rectangular magic circle that formed above her hand was inscribed with the runes Sai (使 – for command) and Jong (縱 – for extension), embedding the command and extension traits into the spell of Earth magic.

Sssssss… Chaaaaak!

No sooner…

“Summoned creatures… They all seem to be alive, right?”

“Wasn’t Warden’s Summoning Magic based on inanimate objects…?”

To put it simply, summoning magic is divided into organic and inorganic summoning.

Organic summoning involves contracting with living spirits and summoning them, while inorganic summoning creates non-living entities, like Warden’s sand soldiers, to control.

Naturally, the latter requires the summoner to possess extreme magical control abilities.

“The amount of mana required to maintain all those creatures is no joke… Is he truly that powerful?”

Rain whistled inadvertently, to which Logan gave a look of disbelief.

“Isn’t that obvious? Krista is the most promising magical genius of our generation.”

“Is he that well-known?”

“Everyone knows. Even the elders of our school instructed us to be cautious around Krista.”

“And what about me?”

“…”

“…?”

“We’re not enemies, Young Master. Aren’t we comrades who share a love for muscle?”

Oh, this guy is using his head?

Rain chuckled, and Logan laughed along. They had been idly chatting but the situation was already concluding.

“Remaining number 3.”

“Remaining number 2.”

“Remaining number 1… Team 2, the objective is complete. Time taken: 4 minutes and 13 seconds.”

The instructor announced with surprise, causing the cadets to exchange glances in astonishment.

“Crazy, that’s too fast!”

“Other teams haven’t even finished discussing yet…”

“They finished the exam already…?”

Such an overwhelming exam result was as surprising to the other students as it was to Logan, a later-generation successor from the Eight Schools.

‘To command twelve summons so effortlessly… I now understand why the elders have been so cautious.’

And it made sense now why that smart but insolent guy, Weiber, had never beaten Krista in an exam.

‘So there is a reason he’s been talked about as the next Magic Lord since he was fifteen…!’

While other teams were still strategizing how to navigate the maze, Krista Warden was already leaving the cave with a buoyant step.

“Since I’ve been teaching, your team is the second one to pass this test in under 5 minutes.”

Professor Kail praised them; their success seemed but natural to them.

“‘With an overwhelming force.’ That’s the motto of our family. Of course, this much is expected.”

Professor Kail also smiled. The Warden family, deeply rooted in the eastern mountains that make up 80% of the land, always had substantial physical and magical strength.

‘Highlanders like the Wardens or the Pentons of the eastern families always possess such immense physical and magical power.’

But Krista Warden, this child was a complete anomaly even when compared to other Wardens. A genius, and also someone who puts in an immense effort?

‘However… not yet an individual to change the horizon of thinking.’

Internally sighing with a mix of disappointment and praise, Professor Kail penned down the evaluation.

“Krista Warden, Rummelow Vesli. I wonder if there is even a need to say ‘you passed.’ Perhaps it’s safe to assume that Team 2 will take the S grade?”

Krista Warden gave a noble curtsy, lifting her skirt slightly, a gesture filled with aristocratic arrogance.

“Your praise is too kind!”

Yet, her gaze was not on Kail, but rather on Rain Ludwig… That provocative look spoke volumes.

‘This is me.’

‘This is Krista Warden.’

‘I will not give the position of valedictorian to anyone else.’

Receiving that silent cry, that competitive gaze devoid of animosity, Rain’s lips eventually curved into a grin.

“This exam thing might be more fun than I thought.”

* * *

The Sacred Human Empire’s East.

The eastern Frontier Lord, the Tisriar Royal Family, is supported by the magic family Warden.

“Our family may have the shortest history among the magic families, except for the Pages, but we are the only one with a sage as our founder.”

Having produced a sage was a matter of pride for the bloodline, but at some point, it began to feel like shackles.

“Have you heard? The head of the Warden family barely achieved the Rank of Limitless (2 stars).”

“Are they really a magic family? They only produce idiots, maybe it’s time to hand over their position to another family.”

“Ha, where did the sage’s genes go?”

The rise of their family was once the fastest among the empire’s houses, but the decline was just as swift. And then Krista Warden was born.

Her father was a mere Limitless (2 stars) magician at the age of forty-two, and her two elder sisters were dullards who scarcely managed to earn the Rank of Halfmoon (1 star).

The scorn heaped upon her family by the world felt pitiable.

“Why do mom and dad get ignored by people?”

“…”

“Because they’re not competent magicians? If a splendid magician emerges from our family, will such treatment stop?”

“Krista…”

“Then I’ll become the pinnacle of magic. I’ll become a splendid magician. I’ll make it so mom and dad are no longer scorned.”

Thus, she vowed to correct her parents’ tarnished honor and her family’s prestige with her own hands.

And she would not lose to anyone. She would be the best in every field – at school, at university, and in the Magic Confederation.

When she set that goal, the girl was only six years old.



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