The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 39

Episode 39

The Limit of Bloodline, Bell Quierys had indeed eradicated Ribbendel School’s spirit creature, Yeom-mang.

However…

The problem was that it had been a 5-star spell. His brain had burnt to a crisp in the midst of the reverse calculation verification and his magical power had been completely drained.

“Cough…”

The bursting of blood vessels in his eyes was but a trifle. As the movement of his magic became erratic, he spouted dark red blood vomit, which piled up on the ground.

‘It would have been an impossible gamble in a real battle.’

First, I had boosted my magical power figure close to 50,000 in this hallucinatory world due to Bell Quierys.

All of that magic was depleted upon erasing Yeom-mang with Bell Quierys…

Perhaps due to forcibly acquiring such vast magical power of 50,000, there seemed to be a backlash, as if my internal organs were damaged. Not an illusion, but for real.

‘Pathetic, I am still not a complete vessel…’

Now, the task was to stay hidden until the end of the exam so that no points would be snatched away. With this body, barely able to cast a spell.

“What are you doing, dodge!”

Gertrude, who had been in a state of panic at the edge of life and death, snapped back to her senses at Rain’s cry.

The twin-tailed girl quickly kicked off the ground, flipping skillfully in the air and climbing from the rock to the treetops.

Lillian, who had been half out of her wits in a different sense, also composed herself upon seeing the situation.

‘It’s not a good matchup with that brat from Panten House. I have to call out Yeom-mang again if I want to devour him…’

However, there was a hesitation, undoubtedly because of the presence of Rain Ludwick.

Lillian’s magical power, born of a baptism of fire, was formidable enough to rival a Glados (4-star) magician when casting fire magic.

For Lillian, summoning Yeom-mang was quite a burden.

The difference in magical power requirements between summoning Yeom-mang again and maintaining the summoned state was enormous.

‘If I summoned Yeom-mang again and it disappears…’

I would lose any chance of participating in the 1st and 2nd rank competitive battles. Lillian glanced back and forth between Rain and Gertrude and took her stance.

It was intuition.

The intuition that Rain Ludwick was somehow involved in the disappearance of Yeom-mang. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be suffering from the intense magic overload reaction.

‘No, what he did isn’t important. If he’s defenseless like this…’

Then I just need to devour him.

Rain Ludwick is currently in 1st place, after all.

Lillian turned towards Rain and pulled out five talismans from her pouch.

‘I must become number one…’

The talismans she released resonated with the brand engraved on her tongue and transformed into flame, morphing into the shape of a fire snake and rushing towards Rain.

The fire serpent, Yeom-mang.

However, the heat wasn’t as ferocious as before, perhaps because the summoning was hasty, or maybe it was a rebound from the sudden disappearance earlier.

“!”

Rain leaped forward as if throwing his body.

Where Rain had been standing just a moment before, a natural disaster struck, and about a dozen trees were incinerated in an instant.

Though he evaded the direct hit of the flames, the aftermath of the residual heat surged, causing a stinging pain as his skin was scorched.

But at that moment when Yeom-mang had distanced itself from its master for the attack, a torrent of water poured down over Lillian’s head.

“…!”

When Yeom-mang swiftly returned to its master and coiled around her for protection, a small girl had softly landed behind Lillian.

“It’s bold of you to look away when I, Gertrude, stand before you.”

“Don’t interfere.”

“I must interfere. If Young Master Rain gets expelled, our dear Lady Krista might collapse due to heartache.”

Krista, who had been watching in real time, turned beet red.

While she was the center of uncomfortable attention, Logan gave her timid support with a thumbs-up.

“I’ll cheer for you, miss.”

Krista’s clenched fist bulged with veins, and then she struck deep into Logan’s solar plexus.

“What are you saying now? Are you mocking me? If that freak shows up, we’re really done for!”

Although Gertrude behaved jokingly… in reality, her actions stemmed from a similar conclusion to Lillian’s.

‘Judging by that flustered response, it’s unlikely that Lillian herself got rid of Yeom-mang.’

The Ludwick House’s bloodline limit, when it reaches its peak, allows one to freely manipulate all magic (both one’s own and the opponent’s), but could it be?

‘However, wasn’t it only three people in the thousand-year history of the Ludwick family? And they only used it when they were elderly, as I heard.’

No, it’s too overwhelming to think about such an opponent now. I can just ask directly later.

‘The Panten House does not owe anyone. We are the pillars supporting the Warden House; if we owe anyone, it is only to the Warden House.’

“Was he pretending to faint…?”

“No, he really seems exhausted…”

“But what was that just now…?”

That moment of hesitation was fatal.

As they finished calculating what to do and were about to act, a horn blared loudly, and the magical device on his wrist emitted light.

[End of exam.]

Only then did Rein let out a breath of relief, sliding his back down the giant tree, and sat down in the muck.

“I swear, the things you do to improve your unique magic skills…”

He sat there, too drained to walk. For some reason, there was no cadet approaching to help. They merely slipped away quietly.

“Now I feel oddly miserable.”

It was only after a while that an instructor came to help Rein out of the barrier, and a chilly voice followed from behind.

“What have you done?”

It was Lillian Karain.

That voice, fierce as a flame, made it unnecessary to look back.

“I wonder.”

“Answer me!”

“First, answer my curiosity.”

“What is it?”

“You, you really admire your father, don’t you?”

What…… That struck Lillian’s sore spot. The magic within her surged like flames, and her body heated up with rage.

“Are you picking a fight with me now?”

“Not at all. You’re just doing exactly what that scoundrel Dandan did. Trampling on everything around you to achieve your own goals.”

Hit by that innocent query, a piercing question that stabbed deep beneath her chest, Lillian staggered to a halt.

“If that’s the kind of adult you want to become, I have nothing to say.”

Shut up…

Her adam’s apple trembled weakly.

Growing up in a harmonious family, enjoying all the luxuries, what do you know… What do you really know…

– Lillian, what kind of magician do you want to be when you grow up?

Trembling, she recalled a voice she had long forgotten, while the cadets began to descend one by one.

“Rein!”

“Your Highness!”

As Gertrude and Rein emerged from the barrier, Krista and Logan rushed over. Gertrude greeted them with a bright smile.

“Lady, I hope you enjoyed my performance── ugh!”

Of course, he was promptly punched by Krista, a bump forming on his small crown.

“What nonsense are you spouting! So embarrassing! Everyone was looking only at me!”

“…but it’s true.”

Krista hammered Gertrude, full of sobs.

“Why is he like that?”

“There’s a bit of a thing there.”

“Is that so?”

If it wasn’t important, then it didn’t matter.

As Logan supported him to find a place to sit, Krista spoke up.

“Rein, you helped Gertrude earlier, didn’t you?”

He couldn’t answer right away to that. Because it wasn’t that he helped Gertrude. It was all for the sake of acquiring his own unique magic. Therefore.

“No?”

“Don’t lie. There’s no way a surge in magical power could happen all of a sudden.”

“Why would I lie about something like this?”

That was… indeed true. Hence, Krista couldn’t press further.

Gertrude also looked skeptical, but with Krista’s urging eyes telling him to say something, he shrugged his shoulders without much to say.

What else could be said?

If he says he didn’t help…

‘Then who took down that Imugi from Rivendell Faction? By whose power?’

As Logan helped him to lean against a rock, Rein chuckled.

“Ah, that was fun.”

“Why are you laughing?”

“I was just thinking, if I hadn’t come here, I wouldn’t have had such an experience.”

If Krista hadn’t left that note, if it wasn’t for the tradition of Delighten’s top graduate encountering Rein’s corpse, he might never have had such an experience.

Could this also be a gift from Krista?

Resting his head against a rock and gazing up at the sky, Rein murmured as if in soliloquy.

“Truly, the world (世界) is amusing as you said.”

Meanwhile, Krista waited in the same spot, even after sending Gertrude ahead.

As cadets from Group C crowded towards the entrance, Lillian Karain walked out of the barrier, looking like someone bereft of strength.

As the indifferent Lillian passed by the crossed-armed Krista, her eyes glinted menacingly.

“You did quite the interesting thing to my cute servant?”

“…?”

“Be prepared. I will repay this debt tenfold, even hundredfold. Our Warden family does not live in debt.”

* * *

On the fourth day afternoon, the written part of “Understanding and Utilizing Runes” took place.

Although there was a hellish practical exam on the fifth day morning, it was considered nothing compared to the battle royal by the leading professor.

After all the exams and grading were finished on Friday afternoon, all the professors involved in the examination gathered in the conference room.

“Four cadets scored an S grade in all subjects: Krista Warden, Nora Ledon, Caiden, and Rein Ludwick.”

Traditionally, Delighten’s top student, the Sun, has always been a singular entity. Therefore, the professors conducted an additional point assessment for the cadets who scored S grades.

In this assessment process, professors related by blood or academia to the top candidates (such as Carolain or Elin Ludwick) were excluded for fairness.

Elin Ludwick sat with arms crossed and eyes closed as if uninterested, but her ears twitched violently whenever Rein’s story came up.

“I will give my score to Krista Warden.”

“I will opt for Caiden. If you see his work, you will understand my evaluation.”

“What have you been watching up until now? Nora’s talent is extraordinary.”

The professors had the authority to exercise one additional point, with the exception that the second-ranked professor could give two points and the leading professor could give three.

“Professor Carolain, how did you raise such a vessel? Truly impressive.”

“Heh, you flatter me.”

While receiving praise from other professors, Carolain smiled knowingly at Elin Ludwick.

Crack, a vein popped on Elin Ludwick’s temple. The two heroines, once seniors and juniors, were now in an implicit rivalry over their disciples and nieces.

Amidst this, the professors’ opinions started to crystallize.

Krista Warden was in the lead with 6 points, Nora had 4 points, Caiden 3 points, and Rein Ludwick was at the bottom with 2 points.

Traditionally, the second and leading professors were the last to exercise their scores. Finally, second-ranked Professor Kail spoke up.

“Krista Warden really was perfect.”

At that, not only Krista but all other professors who supported different cadets bit their lips anxiously. The 2 points from the second-ranked professor were significant.

“Nora was indescribably precise in her magic, and Caiden’s harmony of musical grasp and magical understanding was truly remarkable.”

“……!”

“However, I shall cast my precious vote for the future of magic.”

Kail beamed, sliding a stone slab forward with the name of a cadet written on it – an entirely unexpected name, ‘Rein Ludwick’.

“……!”

“……!”

“……!”

Everyone gazed at Kail in disbelief, but there were no challenges to his subjective opinion.

However, it became an unchangeable truth that Krista would become the top cadet; the leading professor had never cast additional points before.

As all professors united, a hearty laugh burst out. It was leading Professor Marhena.

“The future of magic… In chick days, the lad only knew how to charm thorny maidens, but now he has grown to make quite profound statements.”

“Thanks to all the teachers, of course.”

“Did you also see yesterday’s spectacle?”

“I might have seen something different, but I did see it if that counts.”

“Hmph… well said. My vote should be an investment in the future of magic. And I too, share your sentiment.”

With all eyes upon him, Marhena picked up the stylus to inscribe on the slate, causing the professors to buzz in astonished murmurs.

‘The leading professor…’

‘Is casting his vote?’

‘He has never exercised his voting right during his tenure…’

He always said, ‘What’s the point when there’s no one worth the points…’ hadn’t he?

In the midst of this chatter, Marhena spun the slate, triumphantly displaying it for all to see.

“……?!”

In that instant, Carolain’s eyes wavered before settling into a defeated smile.

Meanwhile, Elin Ludwick clenched her fist under the table, struggling to contain the corners of her mouth from lifting in joy.

As the assistant finalized the evaluation and marked an additional 3 points next to the cadet’s name on the whiteboard, their trembling voice announced the vote result.

“With the highest score of 7 points, this cadet is hereby announced as this year’s first-year midterm top cadet… Rein Ludwick.”



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