”Staring at this building never gets old, ” Kaion whispered to himself as he looked up at the giant colosseum that stood in the city center. This was where most magic battles for entertainment purposes took place, but today it would be the venue for the magical academy entrance exam. And every would-be mages starting point.

”Write your name, magic release, and advancement technique here, please. The fee will be ten Enarcs, credit isn allowed, ” said the woman at the entrance in a rather dronish tone.

Kaion wrote his name on the sheet but left the other two spaces blank before handing over his ten-odd Enarcs. The woman seemed angry about having to count so much loose change, as most people had paid the Enarc as a single coin.

”You haven written your magic release, ” the woman snarled after having counted the coins.

”I don have one, ” Kaion replied, before quickly walking into the colosseum.

The entrance was like a tunnel, leading all the way to the bottom section of the colosseum where the participants were getting ready.

The waiting chambers were very simplistic, with grey walls and a few benches evenly spaced out all around the room. Kaion looked around and found a nice empty spot for himself to lounge around while he waited for the placements.

”Welcome to the annual magic academy entrance exam. It seems that this year we have a lot of aspiring mages, we apologize for taking so long to get things in order. However, the placements have now been decided, and this year we will be conducting the exam in groups of 6, ” announced what sounded like an old man from the upper portion of the colosseum.

”Sound magic, ” whispered one of the participants sitting a few benches away from Kaion.

[Magic,] thought Kaion, his heart pulsating as the man explained the rules.

”Only two participants from each group will be chosen. Weve tried our best to arrange the groups fairly based on magic release and advancement techniques. However, wed like our students to understand that things might not always be fair in the real world. Hence, there are a few groups with… imbalances, ” the man continued, slightly pausing towards the end.

”We will be calling out the participants shortly. Each match will be one minute long or end when one participant is unable to fight. Without talking further, let us begin, ” the man finished.

Kaion could hear the crowd cheering intensely from up above, even without the use of sound magic.

He was fired up and ready to go, however, it took a while before his name was called. Slowly but surely, the number of participants in the waiting area decreased, until eventually, it was his turn to fight.

”Kaion, magic release… ”- the announcer paused once he realized that Kaion hadn written his magic release, before quickly moving on ”versus Elton Mirtude, magic release wind. ”

The two entered the arena through tunnels that came from opposite sides. As the light from the midday sun shone upon Kaion, he felt the audiences presence. These were the most eyes that had ever fallen on him, and he could feel their pressure, each and everyone one of them expectantly awaiting his battle.

”Keep your techniques as non-lethal as possible. Any unnecessary permanent injury could lead to disqualification, ” explained the announcer from his stand.

”You may begin! ”

The moment the announcer uttered the words, Kaion focused his mana into an irregular-shaped ball, feeding a good chunk of power into it.

”A magic bullet? That won work, ” whispered a few of the spectators. And they were right, though magic bullets didn require incantations to be cast, they lacked sufficient power to hurt anyone with even a trace of mana in their veins.

Kaions opponent smirked before beginning their own incantation, their whole body visibly relaxing once they saw what Kaion was trying.

”Lord of the winds and storms, hear me. Bless me with your… ” as the boy began chanting, a series of concentric rings began appearing around his palms.

[Too slow!] Before the boy could even finish chanting, Kaions magic bullet had already reached an enormous size – about the size of his head.

The spectators held their breath, never before had they seen such a massive magic bullet. Though whether or not its size increased its effectiveness was yet to be seen.

After carefully aiming, Kaion let it lose, and the blue ball of mana zipped toward his opponent. The boy had to stop chanting to avoid the attack, luckily magic bullet was restricted when it came to direction, and could only move in straight lines.

The boy barely managed to dodge the bullet, causing it to hit the ground directly in front of him. A smokescreen of sand and dust was flung into the air, covering the boys field of vision.

A split moment later, Kaion was upon him, and in one massive swing, Kaions fist smashed into the boys face. Knocking him out.

”A physical attack in a magic exam?! ” shouted some of the spectators, disgust audible in their voices.

Kaion looked to the announcer to see if he would say anything about it, but apart from a look of disdain, he said nothing.

”Winner, Kaion, ” he announced after being quiet for a moment.

Kaion was led to another waiting chamber, this one with fewer participants than before.

[Just two more fights,] Kaion thought to himself, his breathing loud and jagged due to expanding so much mana at once. He looked around, and everyone there seemed to be out of breath as well, perhaps he wouldn be the only one at a disadvantage.

[No, thats idiotic thinking. Even if they are tired, that trick of mine won always work,] he decided, before sitting down with his legs crossed to absorb mana from his surroundings.

His advancement technique -if it could even be called that- was very crude. His mana capacity was massive, though he could only absorb a small fraction of what he could breathe in using the technique.

It was actually a waste of time even attempting it, as the mana absorbed would be insignificant. But that wasn the point, he did it merely to focus himself.

After a few hours, the first selection was complete and the announcer began calling out names for the second round. This time, there was significantly less time before Kaions name was called out.

”Gray Sulivan, magic release lightning, versus… Kaion. ”

Feeling a bit more confident from his previous win, Kaion walked through the tunnel toward the arena. It was now later in the afternoon, however, the sun was still overhead, shining slightly more directly into his eyes.

”Keep your spells as non-lethal as possible. Any unnecessary permanent injury could lead to disqualification, ” explained the announcer from his stand once again.

”Isn that the Smite Gods son? ” whispered a few of the spectators from the stand, referring to the white-haired boy that stood in front of Kaion.

It was odd, but Kaion could feel a weird pressure emanating from the boy. It was different from the pressure he felt from the crowd, this one felt like a cold chill, it made his heart slow down, and froze him in place.

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