The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 37

Episode 37

As the overall rankings unfolded in mid-air, they paused at 63rd place. Although it was surprising to see the 62nd place with 21 points while she stood alone with 0, what was truly astonishing was the name listed.

[63. Lillian Carline: 0pt.]

Lillian, one of the golden first-year students and a future powerhouse of Rivendell, was… seated cross-legged atop the cliff of Precipice F (Reclaimed Land), eyes shut, as she had been from the start.

“How could this happen, Senior Elin?”

“Aren’t you uninterested in grades?”

Even Elin, who posed the question, wasn’t actually interested in Lillian. Her gaze had been fixated on the window (窓) reflecting the image of Lerin the whole time.

[13. Lerin Ludwick: 198pt.]

To be 13th place with just treasure collection… Monster hunting points were a mere 2. Elin’s brows furrowed.

‘What on earth are you thinking?’

The disappointment among the other students was reaching a fever pitch. However, the faculty thought differently.

“She has exceptional stamina.”

“And it seems she’s climbed mountains quite often, doesn’t it? Intriguing. It’s not the skill of a novice. When exactly?”

“But at this pace, she’ll only be trailing behind the leading group. Shouldn’t she change her strategy soon?”

Then, as if tracing the trajectory of a comet, a branch whizzed through the air and pierced through a monster’s head.

[Monster Hunting: 1pt gained.]

Stepping on the grotesque corpse of the creature, Lerin retrieved the branch and briefly looked up at the leaden sky.

‘The rain is getting stronger.’

Splash, footsteps echoed ominously in the mountain.

Perfect weather.

For predators with keen hearing to hunt, and also to engage in multiple combat using that instinct.

‘Ah, could that guy possibly…?’

While everyone else watched the situation, Marhena, with arms crossed and sitting alone, whistled.

‘Has he just been holding back until now? It’s about to start…’

But Lerin wasn’t the only one waiting for ‘that moment.’

On the cliff of Precipice F,

Lillian, who had been sitting quietly in her cross-legged pose, was surrounded by about a dozen will-o’-the-wisps, dancing around her face like fireflies.

‘Found them. All of those within the top ten ranks.’

In the rain, Lillian’s eyes opened slowly, chillingly dark.

‘Shall we begin?’

As Lillian murmured and stood up, a new message alongside a map was outputted on the magic devices the examinees wore on their wrists.

[Volcanic Eruption]

– Evacuate from the specified area immediately.

The battle royal exam was designed in such a way that survival by merely hiding was impossible, with the safety zones continually shrinking due to volcanic eruptions.

In the increasingly narrow areas, the competition continued as students fought for survival.

Volcanic eruptions that started in the peak district regions B and C soon engulfed almost every area except one.

“As expected, the second place group’s top two candidates have started to sprint.”

“Wait… hold on. Another one is breaking through.”

With a surprised tone from one of the professors, the monitor started showing the score of a student whose points began to soar at an unbelievable rate.

“The score is rising at an impossible rate?!”

The moment that image filled the screen, Elin Ludwick shuddered with a thrill as if her heart stopped.

“He’s overtaking them, yes, overtaking! Passing the 12th rank, then the 10th, and now the 9th… all the way up to 8th?!”

Lerin.

It was Lerin Ludwick.

In Region C, directly hit by the volcanic eruption, while everyone else was scrambling to other points, he stood alone… fighting against dozens of monsters.

“Look at that audacious guy.”

Lead Professor Marhena’s eyes slowly widened in admiration.

“What exactly is happening?”

As if they’d never been close, Logan asked with widened eyes, to which Krista warily responded before explaining.

“He’s attracting the monsters by causing tremors in the ground.”

“Monsters? Towards himself?”

“Correct.”

“Has he completely lost his mind?”

Krista explained calmly, but her eyes unwittingly sharpened with a dangerous glint.

And for good reason, as the tidal wave of attacking monsters faced Lerin’s palm where a triple-layered magic circle was spread.

It was a 3-star magic array. Moreover, a Yorhen type, conjured by mental arithmetic.

‘Was he conserving strength for this one strike? Or was all the hustle and bustle for this moment?’

Once a vibration-based magic array Lerin had set throughout the region of C gathered as many monsters as he wanted, the rings of light in his palm shattered.

The shape of the magic array was three-layered squares.

The runes being carved were Rul (律), Gwan (貫), Du (阧).

Du (阧): Bursting forth,

Gwan (貫): Piercing through,

Rul (律): Imparting the trait of restraint.

In the next moment, as the earth rippled like waves, massive roots surged violently from the ground.

These ferocious roots pierced through the skulls and chests of the monsters charging at Lerin, splattering their entrails in the air, or constricting around them like serpents tearing their bodies apart. These scenes were visible in the Cheonriang.

The speed of point accumulation was so rapid that tallying occurred consecutively, ultimately displayed as a total score.

[Subjugation Points: +164 points.]

The professors glanced at each other in disbelief, then let out sardonic laughter.

“Rapid calculation of 3-star magic──?!”

“To take on such a number of monsters would require truly absurd skill.”

“Did Lerin Ludwick have a battle mage certification?”

“Is this the disaster (天災) prince?”

Elin Ludwick interjected as if irked by the fuss, though her lips nearly soared to the heavens with pride.

“There was no need for such a certification. There’s a saying, ‘The truth will reveal itself.’ Why boast with a certification for something that’ll make itself obvious?”

Lerin Ludwick’s points had already reached 362pt. He surpassed not only Gertrude, the leading candidate in Group B, but also Krista, who was leading Group A, by a mere 1 point difference.

‘The score is secure.’

Lerin noted as he gazed at the lava flowing down from the mountain peaks. How long would it take for the lava to reach here, about three minutes?

‘With this score, it should be enough. Time to withdraw.’

Reaching that decision, Lerin skillfully descended the mountain slope. As Carolin watched and fondled her chin, she mused.

‘With this pace, defending the S grade isn’t just Gertrude’s problem anymore.’

Running alongside her in the lead… Hmm? As Carolin scanned the ranking board, her eyes blinked in disbelief.

“Senior Kyle? Something seems off.”

“What do you mean?”

“The names of the students who were in 2nd and 3rd place have disappeared.”

“Ha, there’s no way that… uhm, what the…?”

Kyle was momentarily baffled as well. The names that were once 2nd and 3rd had vanished.

‘It should have been a considerable gap?’

Even more bewildering was… the fact that those 2…

Third place was nowhere to be found. Not pushed back to fourth or fifth, nor found within the top ten or even the top twenty.

They had vanished.

While everyone’s attention had been captivated by Rain Ludwick, those names had disappeared like ghosts.

“I’ll use the power of Clairvoyance to locate the regions where the second and third place cadets were last seen. Rolling back to three minutes ago.”

When the scene materialized, no one could utter a word. They could only blink in horror, their mouths agape.

The first sound was an appalling scream.

Then, the image revealed the second place cadet, writhing in flames of lethal intensity before being reduced to a charred husk in moments.

“……!”

Next, the third place cadet who had been searching for treasure in the forest encountered a similar fate as flames swarmed them like a horde of bees, and they met their end amidst a piercing death cry.

It happened in the darkness, amidst pouring rain.

Then lightning flashed, eerily illuminating the face of the being who had drawn near the smoldering remains.

Lillian Karine.

The points gained from slaying a fellow cadet amounted to half of the points the victim had held. By hunting down the second and third place cadets, this girl had soared from the very bottom all the way to third place in a single stroke, her eyes shining fiercely.

‘Now, three more? No, taking down the first and second place would be enough.’

Even the professors were rendered speechless for a moment.

‘To think the cadets who had been vying for second and third places could be dispatched so easily…’

Marhena pondered upon the scene, tapping his chin in thought.

‘Indeed a powerful one. As brutal in nature as her father.’

Once, such a talent was what the magical community sought after—where having skill meant anything was permissible. But perhaps now was the time to reconsider such ideals.

First place: Rain Ludwick, 362pt.

Second place: Gertrude Fenton, 323pt.

Third place: Lillian Karine, 312pt.

Gertrude Fenton, who had checked the situation using her magical device, blinked in confusion.

‘What’s this?’

The scores of Rain and Lillian… No, that was an issue, but where had the names of the ones following me disappeared to?

A chilling sensation pierced the muscles in her back like a sharp needle.

A killing intent.

Her body initiated an instinctive evasive maneuver. Concentrating power to the tips of her toes, she launched herself away from the ground.

A rumbling eruption!

In an instant, a blinding blaze erupted where Gertrude had just been standing, its tongues of flame flickering menacingly.

“……?!”

Flames…? She quickly got to her feet, but there was no time for confusion.

Above her, eagles made of flame dived at breakneck speed, and without a chance to dodge, they collided with the ground and exploded.

The spectacle transmitted through the Clairvoyance spear was so ferocious that it could have been seen from another continent.

“Gertrude!”

Though she knew her cries wouldn’t reach, Krista still called out in desperation as Lillian grimaced.

‘There’s no sensation of burning.’

Lillian’s robe, soaked by the rain, clung heavy and damp from her form as she resumed her walk through the curtain of rain.

‘As expected, not as easy as the others.’

As Lillian drew a talisman from within her garments, the beads around her neck began to orbit her, expanding massively.

The Rivenel School was known for their talismans, which simplified the construction of Magic Circles and calculus equations, and for their runes which reduced casting time, taking practicality to the extreme. They were a reputation-honed Remedier Type.

“Fire Beetle Thread.”

When the talisman inscribed with the Magic Circle emitted light, one of the orbiting beads transformed into a glowing orb of flame.

“Ran (Wave).”

She turned abruptly and tossed the talisman, and the fireball split into countless fireflies of flame, swarming toward their target.

Gertrude, who had emerged seemingly from nowhere behind her.

But Gertrude was not so easily overpowered. Slamming her palms into the ground, the magic circles etched into them─the Fenton family specialized in palm-etched primary magic─gleamed brightly.

A curtain of water erupted, extinguishing the approaching fiery butterflies and, in that moment, Gertrude lowered her stance and surged forward.

“Oh, ohhhh!”

“An even match!”

“They’re both amazing, aren’t they?!”

While the cadets cheered, Krista bit her lip, consumed with concern.

‘I need to stay calm here. There’s still plenty of time left in the exam. If I expend all my strength now…’

Gertrude, breaking through the water curtain, stretched her legs high in the air before slamming down towards Lillian’s head.

It would have been over had Lillian not skillfully stepped back.

However, Gertrude grinned that moment. The magic circle on her foot flashed, activating a spell that harnessed an underground stream into a raging current engulfing Lillian.

“Oh, that’s cunning.”

“Yes. The Fenton house excels in combining water attribute magic and martial arts. They’re making full use of their strengths.”

With that, the use of talismans was impeded. Gertrude, focusing her magic on her toes, was certain of her victory.

The weakness of the Rivenel School was water.

Not because of their fire attribute magic, but because their water-soaked talismans were prone to tearing, rendering them ineffective.

“You’ve met your match. Before you dare to challenge me with your arrogant vanity, know that I, Gertrude, shall swiftly break you!”

With that proclamation, Gertrude grasped Lillian, who had emerged from the raging current.

She gave no opportunity for retaliation.

With a forceful pull, she twisted Lillian’s arm behind her back and threw her unceremoniously into the mire.

“Now, if you don’t want that joint of yours dislocated, I suggest you surrender!”

“……How naïve, truly. Had it been me, I would have killed you just now.”

“You’re itching to see some real pain, right?”

Slowly but firmly, she continued to twist the extended arm.

A grinding sound resonated from the joint, indicating intense pain, but Lillian remained calm.

“I don’t use talismans because my computation speeds are slow.”

“……?”

“It’s because I can’t control my power.”

Lillian stuck her tongue out, revealing a sinister hexagram burnt black onto its surface.

‘Dangerous, this is truly dangerous.’

Driven by a primitive fear, Gertrude released her arm and immediately backed away, sensing the cold touch of death writhing in her veins.

“Arise, Flame Python.”

As she commanded, the beads orbiting Lillian accelerated into a frenzy and merged, and in a blinding flash, they transformed into a transcendent creature made of fire.

A mane forged from flames.

Scales glittering with sparks.

A tongue of fire flicked sibilantly.

Overwhelmed by this intimidating presence and the ancient dignity it exuded, Gertrude found her mind blanking as she retreated.

The creature that stood before her, exuding a chilling aura, was an Imoogi, the fire serpent.

And the one who had summoned it issued a calm, chilling command with an impassive voice.

“You may eat.”



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