Barbarian | Chapter 15.1 – This Is How My Magic Works (2)
BY ARTHAS – JULY 21, 2023
Ulan's final talent test, the〘Mana Detection〙test, took place outdoors.
As he looked around the large circular arena, Ulan made his way to where the other examinees had gathered.
As always, all eyes were on him.
However, unlike during the Great Brawl, the gazes were mostly of interest and curiosity.
Few seemed wary of him.
“It seems the supervisors haven't arrived yet,” Ulan observed, noting that there were still ten minutes left until the test commenced.
He chose to wait patiently, leisurely surveying his surroundings.
Then, his attention was drawn to a particular spot.
Unlike the other examinees huddled together, there was a girl sitting alone.
Ulan narrowed his eyes slightly.
‘That person is…’
With silver hair cascading around her and serene golden eyes that sparkled like stars, the girl possessed a beauty akin to a sculpted figure.
Her presence exuded an unmatched power, surpassing all others.
Ulan knew who she was.
A hybrid of human and elf, the fifth princess of the Arpen Kingdom, and a wizard beloved by mana.
She had many names, but her most famous one was undoubtedly “The Star Witch.”
Among the Seven Heroes, she stood as the mightiest wizard, capable of summoning falling meteors, her power rivalling that of all the continent's other wizards combined.
Ulan had met her in his previous life, shortly after discovering Ibella, the Sword Maiden.
However, seeing Dilia now didn't surprise him as much; she had always proudly claimed to be an Arsene Academy alumna.
‘She still looks so young.’
She was definitely the same age as Ulan.
But in person, she looked much younger than Noah.
You'd be forgiven for thinking she'd just grown out of her childhood.
Did she feel Ulan's gaze on her? Dilia looked back at him, uncomfortable.
Her golden eyes showed a glimmer of interest, but it lasted only for a moment before she averted her gaze again.
Her demeanor was just as reserved as it had been in their previous encounter.
Feeling a sense of nostalgia for some reason, Ulan couldn't help but smile silently.
Just then, the test supervisors made their entrance, stepping onto the platform, seven in total, with several assistant proctors accompanying them.
The examination hall fell silent as they assumed their positions.
As he observed them, Ulan’s eyes met with one man, a middle-aged gentleman with a well-groomed mustache; presumably the test supervisor, his face twisted in a grimace as soon as he made eye contact with Ulan.
The intense hostility in his gaze felt as if he were looking at something repulsive, making it clear that he harbored animosity towards Ulran.
It reminded Ulan of Noah's words –
“Professor Dirac will probably try to fail you somehow, which means he'll go to any lengths to give you a failing grade.”
When he first heard it, he thought it was ridiculous.
But as soon as he saw the look in the test supervisor's eyes, he had a hunch that it might be true.
Though he didn't understand the reason behind it, the hostility in the man's gaze was unmistakable.
Recalling Noah's advice, Ulan was lost in thought.
But at that moment, a familiar voice rang in his ear.
It was Dilia's voice.
A flurry of emotions flickered across her otherwise expressionless face – surprise, then bewilderment.
What could she be looking at? Ulan turned to see what she was looking at.
There was another girl there.
The girl flicked her apricot-colored hair and waved at Dilia, and in that moment, Dilia's face hardened.
Her lips quivered with anger and bewilderment.
Clearly, she knew the person who had waved at her, and it wasn't for a pleasant reason.
As Ulan wondered about the nature of their relationship, Professor Dirac stepped up to the lectern.
The same man whose hostile gaze had met Ulan's.
“I am Dirac Ormine, a professor at the Department of Magic.
I'm the test supervisor for the〘Mana Detection〙test.”
It was a short introduction.
Ulan could tell from his tone of voice that he was stern.
One by one, he introduced the assistant test supervisors who had come with him, before finally pointing to the girl with the apricot-colored hair.
She was the one who had waved earlier.
“And over here, we have a guest from the Department of Magic……..
who came to observe this test.”
“I'm just a casual observer.”
That was when the girl cut him off.
She motioned for him to stay quiet.
It was a rather rude gesture, but Dirac shut up immediately; without even a hint of displeasure.
“Hmmm, now, let me explain the test content.
There are three parts to this specialty test.”
First, a test to see how quickly you can recognize the flow of mana and locate the mana core that forms the center of the flow.
Second, a test to see how quickly you can find the mana core in an enchanted medium and use it to create a mana reaction to complete a specific task.
Third, working in teams of two, you'll be tested on recovering as many mana cores intact as possible against multiple enchanted golems.
Each test was designed to test the qualities and applications of mana detection, as well as cooperation and delicate mana manipulation.
“Each test is graded on a scale of 0 to 5.
First place receives 5 points, while last place receives 0 points.
The rest of the points will be distributed according to their grades.”
There would be a lot of overlap with the other scores, but the 0s and 5s mean that there will only be one each for last place and first place.
“Any examinee who receives a single zero and those with a total score of five or less will automatically receive an F-Grade.
However, if any examinee scores a perfect 15 out of 15, they will be awarded an S-grade without question.”
After the explanation to the grading system was finished, the assistant supervisors hobbled over, carrying something.
A ball as big as a watermelon.
It's used to measure the wizards' mana reserves.
“Before we begin the test, we'd like to conduct a measurement of your mana reserves.
This is to determine your capabilities, so I ask for your cooperation.”
Professor Dirac paused for a moment before adding with a serious expression, “Oh, and by the way, if anyone's mana reserves are measured to be less than '100,' in other words, if you're not even a wizard, you'll be immediately graded with a Grade-F.
So, be aware of that.”
The announcement was soon followed by laughter from all around, including the assistant supervisors and even the esteemed Deflyn.
“Hahaha! Nice to see you again, Professor Dirac.
I heard you were the most boring teacher in the department, but I never expected you to crack jokes like this.”
Laughter was only natural; having a mana reserve below one hundred meant that you weren't even a wizard.
So, everyone took it as a joke.
Ulan, on the other hand, couldn't find it in him to laugh.
‘It's just as Noah said.’
For reasons unknown, Professor Dirac seemed determined to make Ulan fail.
There was no other reason for such a measurement unless he had intentions to sabotage.
Ulan was torn.
For a moment, he thought about using Spirit, but the mana used by warriors and the mana used by wizards were very different in nature.
As a professor of magic, he should be able to tell the difference.
As he pondered over what to do, an idea suddenly struck him.
‘Huh? Wait a moment.
His eyes widened slightly.
After a moment, Ulan stroked his stomach.
He had found something in an unexpected place, something he hadn't intended to find at all.
Soon, his eyes lit up like stars, as if he had found a way to overcome this obstacle.
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