The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 35

Episode 35

“You didn’t hear me correctly?”

Logan blinked in bewilderment as he stumbled over his words, training equipment in hand. Lifting the barbell onto the rack, Reyn shifted into a sitting position.

“That red-haired girl, what was her name? Lillian, wasn’t it? Do you know her?”

“How could I not… But why do you ask all of a sudden?”

Logan gulped nervously.

Lillian was a peerless beauty. If a pretty boy like Reyn were to take an interest and make a move… They would be a match made in heaven, no, that couldn’t be, but just maybe…

“After yesterday’s practical test ended, I took a written test.”

“That’s right.”

“I thought I finished quite quickly even though I just breezed through it, but about a minute after I left, I saw her come out, done with everything.”

It wasn’t exactly her talent that bothered him; it was something underlying that talent… Hatred? Resentment? It was hard to tell.

Logan glanced around the physical training room cautiously before he spoke.

At this early dawn hour during exhausting exam periods, the only first-year students crazy enough to be here were just the two of them. Second-year students were rarely seen.

“Lillian Karine. As Rivendell’s secret weapon… once an enemy of the faction, she’s been the source of many rumors.”

“Such as?”

“They say she’s been using two-star flame magic since she was five, and at seven, she formed a contract with one of the Death Spirits…”

The Rivendell faction, representing the south, had its roots in the Flame Magistrate Peak of the Red Range.

More like worshippers of the Red Dragon Legion than magical scholars, this faction had been strictly studying the essence of flame magic, more rigid than any military order.

Their secret technique involved summoning spirits of the flame attribute through contracts, known since long before Lynn’s era as Death Spirits with formidable reputation.

“As you know, red hair is said to be baptized by fire, indicating an innate affinity for flame attributes several times higher than that of normal people.”

Though no relation had been proven… it was true. When Red Dragons took human form, they too had red hair. For example, the hair of Frida, the Miko of the Flame Dragon, was red.

“If Krista Worden is called a ‘genius’ among the Eight Great Factions, Lillian Karine is referred to as a ‘monster’.”

Logan even recalled elders of the faction talking in the past.

– With such talent… Rivendell might produce its second great archmage.

As Reyn listened to Logan’s story with intrigue, his eyes suddenly shone.

“You know quite a lot. Do you have a crush on Lillian?”

“How… how could you know that?!”

At that, Logan became flustered, his face turning bright red. The mages of the Chaïhark faction tended to be simple.

“You guys would make a good couple. I’ll cheer for you, Master.”

“Do you think so? Really?”

“That’s what I said.”

Smiling broadly, Logan nodded at Reyn, who then pondered for a moment. Rivendell’s secret weapon, huh… It seems like quite a mix of elements.

‘And this is just my intuition, but…’

He had a hunch that sooner or later, he would collide with Lillian in some way or another. And that hunch turned out to be dead on.

* * *

Midterm Exam Day 4.

Before even hearing the instructions, it was clear that today’s test differed significantly in scale and difficulty from the previous ones.

It all began with the location.

A vast barrier stretched from the foot to the peak of the boiling Red Range.

“The barrier has four layers…”

“Does that mean four-star magic…?!”

“Wow, this is insane…”

Apart from the headmistress Madelia, there was only one person capable of freely casting four-star magic among the faculty.

“Pay attention, you lot.”

The old woman emerging with the aid of a walking stick was Marhena, the senior professor.

“Today’s practical test will be conducted by entering the visible world of illusions in groups A, B, and C, each with around sixty people.”

A world of illusions…

That meant a widespread hallucinatory magic. If I’m right, everything would take place within an illusion once we enter that barrier.

“The magic you lads use inside will simply be a part of the illusion.”

“…?!”

“In other words, no matter the attack, no one will be truly harmed. But the pain will be quite real.”

While the students blinked in confusion, magical instruments projected a map into the air. It was the mountain range of the Red Range, intertwined like a maze. An assistant stepped forward.

“The practical test format will be a battle royale.”

“Battle royale…?!”

“Treasures are positioned in each area. You acquire one point for each treasure you collect. Oh, and the same goes for hunting the monsters created by illusions.”

From afar, a sharp-looking girl raised her hand – Krista Worden. The assistant nodded, allowing her to ask a question.

“Does this mean it’s a contest to see who can collect the most monsters or secure treasures the quickest? That doesn’t exactly sound like a battle royale to me.”

“Of course, it may seem that way.”

“?”

“Unless there was no rule to take points away by attacking others.”

As the students looked puzzled, Marhena’s eyes glinted with a sinister smile for a brief moment.

“You can kill or injure your opponents and take their treasures; that’s allowed, you lot.”

“Are we really allowed to do such things…?!”

“As I said, this year’s practical exam is a battle royale. Only two individuals with the highest scores from each group will ultimately receive an S grade.”

Look at this… From beginning to end, it’s all geared towards competition. Reyn raised an eyebrow.

This is ‘s top selection process.

Just as I heard at the opening ceremony, they’re really pushing towards an environment of endless competition. There were reactions from dangerous-looking sorts here and there.

“So, we just have to kill them all?”

“Only the top two get an S? So there’s no point in surviving until the end if the scores are low?”

When the noise started to build, Marhena smacked her staff on the ground, and the light from the magical instrument faded, heralding silence.

“The progenitor of magic, Emmith…”

Page had once said this. “Even in a world like this, the true duty of a wizard is to allow people to dream.” It’s a very famous maxim.

There’s some kind of power that resonates in the chest with those words, leading many to choose the path of wizardry.

“For the fulfillment of that duty, what’s most needed is none other than skill! And the world of magic, both in the past and present, values strength above all! Come now, show off your prowess to the fullest!”

The cadets straightened their spines, and the promising students shone their eyes with various emotions as the instructors called their names.

“Viber, Group A.”

“Logan, Group A.”

“Krista Warden, Group A.”

Next to them stood Krista, who haughtily crossed her arms and directed her gaze towards Laine.

“Hmph, looks like we’ve finally got a task worth going all out for.”

“Oh? Weren’t you serious before? I remember you crying after losing.”

“What, who cried?!”

Krista’s face turned red as she flapped her arms wildly, clearly agitated but soon composed herself and arrogantly flicked her hair back.

“Don’t you fall behind and get anything less than an S grade. The only one who can deny you an S grade is Krista Warden herself. I won’t accept losing to anyone else.”

Logan seemed to approach but upon seeing Krista, he flashed a wary look and turned away.

‘Hmm, I suppose we’re rivals in this exam.’

Group A was poised to immediately enter the examination, and soon the instructors led them to the entrance of the barrier.

“Gertrude Fenton, Group B.”

“Lilian Karine, Group B.”

“Laine Ludwig, Group B.”

Gertrude Fenton, always attached at the hip to Krista, was a rascal with pigtails.

With a childlike face, she was normally smug but today looked nervously at the barrier.

“Nervous?”

As Laine casually approached and asked, she jumped back, mortified, and narrowed her eyes in resentment.

“Nervous? I, serving Miss Krista? That’s quite the unfunny question, young master.”

“Really? I saw you biting your nails.”

“I did not bite them?! Hmph! Maybe it’s you who should be nervous, young master.”

“Me? Why?”

Gertrude’s eyes sparkled with mischief.

“Because, you’re in the same group as me. You might fail on your first encounter, right?”

There was no trace of jesting in her voice or gaze.

Rain just looked at her silently before chuckling and waving her off.

“Nah, the chances of that happening are zero.”

“Ugh, just you wait and see!!”

Despite being a classmate, she felt more like a little sister due to her smaller stature. As Laine chattered, he glanced behind him.

“So, what do you want?”

Simply the distinct magical aura was enough to sense someone’s presence, let alone when they’re blatantly exuding hostility.

Lilian Karine.

The fluttering of her red hair in the wind was as intimidating as flaming tongues of fire.

“Just a moment for a chat, if that’s alright?”

From the day he enrolled in the school as the firstborn son of a noble house, and aside from Krista, this was the first time Laine was addressed without honorifics. Even that conceited Viber and Logan maintained formal politeness.

That same sense of disrespect was felt by Gertrude, who shot her a glowering look and moved forward, but Laine stopped her with an outstretched hand.

“Alright, if you have an interesting story to tell.”

* * *

“Sandstone!”

As the sand giant, the Sandstone Golem, swung its massive arms, the ground churned, grinding the monsters in its path into dust.

“Hmph, that makes it 280 points.”

Krista, despite already holding a commanding lead with an overwhelming point total, clicked her tongue as if unsatisfied.

‘This score won’t be enough. I need to see how many points Laine gets…’

Suddenly, the bushes rustled suspiciously… With a flick of her finger, Krista dispatched sand spearmen towards the source, dragging out the intruders.

“Stealing my points, are you?”

The sand spearmen’s spears snagged the cadets who struggled desperately.

“We, we apologize…!”

Looking disdainfully at the ruffians, Krista crossed her arms with a snort.

“I wouldn’t gain much in points by killing you, and it would be bothersome… Earn points honestly from now on.”

The professors watched the whole scene through Professor Kail’s clairvoyant vision, each smiling at the display.

“To control second-level summoning magic so freely at her age, indeed a remarkable gem.”

“To hold a commanding lead just by subduing monsters…”

“Viber from the Rohvinum school is also impressive.”

Viber achieved 253 points by utilizing the inherent strength of wind magic—speedy movement and sustained attack power—for treasure acquisition.

Logan of the Chaihak school, without any strategy, simply toppled every visible phantom, scoring 249 points.

As the three continued their dominant runs, the professors shared their compliments, although Senior Professor Marhena shook his head in dissatisfaction.

“No good prospects, eh.”

Elin Ludwig thought as he listened,

‘Professor Marhena’s intention for this test clearly outlines the virtues required of wizards.’

Although all bearing the title of wizard, their parameters vary greatly depending on individuality and aptitude.

1. Are they exceptionally mobile?

2. Do they excel at gathering information?

3. Or is combat their strength?

Knowing their strengths and able to use them judiciously in any situation is crucial for scoring high.

‘The results of this test will be used as data to tailor the education for the cadets…’

He smiled slightly as he searched for his nephew amongst Group B.

‘Rayne, I’m already looking forward to seeing what talent you’ll use to surprise the old curmudgeon.’



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