Episode 38 – Little Patience
Deora’s heated gaze turned towards Zerel. “What did you just call me?!” He pointed his finger towards Zerel, his two eyes like embers.
Zerel’s vulpine smile didn’t waver at all. “Little Dei?”
“No! The other thing!”
Zerel scratched his head feigning ignorance. “Eh? What other thing? I always call you little Dei.”
Deora’s mouth pressed into a thin line, his eyes flashing dangerously. “Annoying. You are so annoying! Even that way of address is annoying. There isn’t a single part of me that is little!”
Zerel tilted his head and smiled impishly. “Little patience.”
All sound in the room stilled at that moment. The examinees didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Some of them found Zerel’s retort funny, but they didn’t dare laugh. The others were counting their blessings hoping that Deora wouldn’t erupt in flames.
Deora didn’t know how to respond to Zerel’s retort. Zerel had always been more proficient in the art of conversation. Since he couldn’t come up with an adequate retort, Deora’s tight lipped expression slowly turned into a pout. “Hmph!”
He turned back to the examinees, shifting the target of his anger. He scrutinized their faces, trying to determine who spoke earlier.
While Deora was glaring left and right, Zerel brought out a pocket watch and checked the time. Then he sighed helplessly. “Little Dei, searching for a miscreant is just, but if we end up running behind schedule because of it, Eri will be very mad at you. He might even punish you.”
Examinees didn’t know who “Eri” was but they nodded their heads nonetheless. That other professor might be just as odd as the hot-tempered redhead, but at least he had some common sense. He was clearly trying to defuse the bomb.
“You can search for the miscreant after the test.” Zerel added innocently.
The examinees stood dumbfounded, their mouths gaping open. You two…you are nothing like teachers! Who in the name of Origin, let you two supervise the entrance exams?!
Elaru wasn’t among the people with their mouths agape. She had previously heard of both Deora Thayn and Zerel Reysic. Both of them could be considered eccentric, but they were also geniuses in their respective fields.
Deora was on his way to becoming the youngest Muni professor (as opposed to his current status of an assistant professor), at the gentle age of 23. Although he was an argel, which made him unable to use transmutation magic, he was a master of conjuring and manipulating flames. Which coupled with his short fuse, earned him the nickname “firecracker”.
Zerel, on the other hand, was an authority on several different topics, from ancient language and culture to survival in the wilderness. He was popularly referred to as a “walking encyclopedia”.
The mention of “Eri” and “punishment” seemed to invoke a shiver in Deora, and he quickly changed his demeanor, as if flipping a switch. “Eh?! You are right! We must hurry it up. Can’t keep the next batch waiting!”
His aura quickly turned more docile, he even retracted it, removing all the pressure from the examinees. His face, however, looked a bit stiff.
He quickly turned around and continued explaining right where he left off. This time, his talking speed increased, trying to make up for lost time.
While everyone else was concentrating on Deora’s words, Elaru wasn’t paying much attention to what was being said. Her heart thumped excitedly inside her chest as if it was trying to break out.
What are the odds?! How can there be such a large coincidence? Could fate truly exist?
Her father warned her to lower her performance, to hold back. To avoid drawing too much attention to herself.
She had every intention to listen to him.
But the current situation wasn’t something she predicted would happen. The probability was less than 1%. She would have downplayed it without a hitch…if her examiner was anyone else.
But now, downplaying it was no longer the ideal move. To achieve her main goal, she would need to show her worth eventually. However, if she hid it initially, it would only raise more questions later.
Was this encounter good or bad luck?
For 18 years she had kept to the shadows, stifling her nature, never walking out to the light. Watching everyone rise and spread their names far and wide. Watching them make a difference in the world, while she disappeared into obscurity.
She walked in the shadows, yet where she belonged – what she craved, was the light.
Elaru clenched her fists, the blood inside her starting to boil.
It was time.
Time for her to attempt to cross the divide. To shoot up into the stars. To become someone who couldn’t be disregarded. Someone who mattered.
Was it dangerous? Very.
But when has Elaru Wayvin ever been afraid of danger? In fact, which part of her life wasn’t dangerous?
Elaru Wayvin wasn’t the type of person who let opportunities slip her by.
Her eyes glowed with fiery light like two bright suns. That’s right! This is the true me. I am Elaru Wayvin and I live my life without regrets!
These exams were exactly the opportunity she needed. If she didn’t take it, she would forever regret it. Yet, if fate weren’t playing tricks on her, she wouldn’t have remembered who she was.
Her aura burned and intensified, if anyone were to come close to it, they would be enveloped by incredible pressure. If anyone’s mind were to touch it, they would receive a shock.
If I’m going out, I’ll go out in flames!
I’ll show them exactly who Elaru Wayvin truly is!
The change in her own aura didn’t escape her notice. Quickly, decisively, she wrapped her Mind around her tighter, leaving only a few small openings in her cocoon, so that her aura wouldn’t disappear completely.
It seemed like she managed to conceal it in time. No one seemed to notice the change.
She looked up towards Zerel Reysic and for a moment their eyes met.
If her eyesight wasn’t even better than the eyesight of an argel, she might have missed a slight gleam in his eyes.
He noticed it!
Beside the quickly vanishing gleam, Zerel showed no change in his expression. He still held a sly yet disinterested smile on his face.
Elaru’s eyes darted toward Deora who was animatedly explaining the details of the test. Just as she looked at him, he seemed to have finished with his explanation.
“Watch and learn!” Exclaimed Deora full of confidence and pride. He was about to demonstrate how the testing equipment was used.
He intertwined his fingers and stretched out his arms as if stretching would improve his magic casting.
His eyes focused, all expressions other than deep concentration vanishing from his face. Suddenly, in a blink of an eye, one orb after the other lit up brightly. Before anyone could realize what was going on or exclaim in surprise, the last orb lit up like the sun, and no traces of the jelly remained in the upper part of the hourglass.
The examinees looked on with disbelief, their mouths open so wide they could have caught a tiwi. Their mind spun with shock.
A perfect score?!
It’s a perfect score!
Even such a simpleminded person can have such a fast casting speed?! What have I been doing my whole life??
Everyone was shocked into silence. Zerel was the first to break the quiet with soft clapping. With a voice still as mischievous as always, making it hard to figure out whether he was praising Deora or mocking him, he exclaimed: “Way to go little Dei. Cool! That was so cool.”
Deora, on the other hand, didn’t seem to have the mental capacity to question the intent behind Zerel’s words, and his chest puffed out in pride.
The clapping woke up the examinees from their disbelief, but they still stood there frozen like statues, unsure whether to laugh or cry. What the bloody meep is this?! Stand-up comedy?? Are we supposed to clap too??
Deora looked at the shocked faces of the examinees, pleased with himself. His gaze lingered longer on Elaru, his expression clearly saying “Did you see that? Did you see? I am awesome!”
Elaru swallowed the laughter that threatened to emerge and gave him a thumbs up followed by a wide grin.
One had to hand it to her – her beautiful smiles had the power to light up the entire room. It wasn’t a wonder that her action made Deora puff out his chest even further, glowing with pride.
Self-satisfied, he nodded a few times before smugly remarking: “Don’t be discouraged, everyone. We don’t expect you to have a perfect score. It is impossible for you to compare to me, I am a genius after all. So don’t worry about it.”
He crossed his arms in front of his chest in an attempt to look domineering and grand. “Right. Now I’ll teach you the trigger spell for these balls.”
He opened his arms wide, and suddenly the stack of papers and orbs that were on the teacher’s table flew out. One paper and orb reaching every examinee.
Zerel just sat leisurely, in the same position with the same soft smile, not attempting to take the spotlight in the slightest. If Deora wanted to do everything himself, why would he stop him? It would be even better if he didn’t need to lift a finger. It was a win-win situation.
“Those papers contain the trigger spell pattern. And those balls I gave you are the same as the ones used in the test. Use them to practice.”
Deora waited a few seconds making sure everyone’s attention returned to him before continuing. “I’ll now demonstrate the trigger spell three times. Only three times! So watch carefully.”
As he proceeded to demonstrate, one had to admit, although Deora looked to be an airhead, his demonstration was flawless. It was slow and detailed. It made everyone’s opinion of him rise. He might be hot tempered, but his teaching wasn’t bad at all.
After repeating the spell three times, Deora declared: “You have 5 minutes to practice. After that, you won’t be allowed to continue practicing. Otherwise, those who take the test last would have more time to practice, which would put them in a more favorable position. We can’t have that.”
He looked at every face in the room, stopping a few more seconds on Elaru. After all, she was much more pleasant to look at than the rest. “Are there any questions?”
He didn’t wait for long before saying. “Alright then, let’s b…”
“Wait, wait! I have a question!” Suddenly an arm rose and started waving left and right, asking for attention. Deora’s eyebrow twitched. “What is it?” He asked with a pout.
Elaru’s eyes glittered mischievously as she asked. “Are we allowed to chain the trigger spells?”
Spell chaining was weaving multiple independent spells into a single spell. When a spell chain was finished casting and activated, the spells in the chain wouldn’t all activate at the same time. They would activate sequentially, one after the other. The delay between consecutive activations was determined by the length of the bridges between the spells.
If the trigger spells could be chained, Elaru would just create a large spell chain made out of 20 trigger spells and then activate the spell chain. Weaving a spell chain would be slower than weaving 20 trigger spells independently, but the apparatus would only start the test when the first trigger spell is cast on it.
Which means that the amount of time taken to weave the first trigger isn’t counted in the test. As long as the delay between activation of the first trigger spell and the other 19 was fast, it wouldn’t matter if one took hours to weave the first trigger.
So if the time taken to weave the first spell isn’t counted in the test, Elaru could weave a chain that would result in sequential activation of 20 trigger spells.
This way her spellcasting speed would be irrelevant, yet she could cheat the speedometer to display the highest score.
Deora stared at her blankly for a few seconds before bursting out laughing. “That would be convenient, wouldn’t it?” He looked at her disdainfully with a smirk. He was very tempted to say “Sure! I’d like to see you chain it!” since it would be a futile effort. The trigger spells were designed to not be chainable.
However, in the end, he refrained from saying that because the rules clearly stated that chaining was forbidden. “The next thing you are going to ask is if you are allowed to prepare the spells!” Deora chuckled and looked at Elaru provocatively.
Other examinees looked at Elaru as if she was a comedian. Disdainful smirks and pitying gazes were sent her way. Yet no one noticed the sly gleam in her eyes. Naturally, Elaru knew that chaining wasn’t allowed. Her question had another purpose in mind.
“Of course, I wouldn’t ask that. You have clearly stated that spell preparation isn’t allowed.” Elaru smiled mischievously. As Zerel saw that smile his eyes lit up.
He recognized that expression. That sly smile was just the same as his when he was about to dupe someone!