Episode 44 – In Pieces
Judging by the difficulty of the last exam most of them would not surpass that score, yet this girl who rushed her spellcasting managed to reach it. Doesn’t that mean that they were vastly inferior? Even if they managed to reach the same score as her, the speed of their weaving couldn’t be compared to hers.
As they watched the glowing spiral, their faces turned pale.
That was because the spiral was still continuing to light up.
Come on!! As Elaru gritted her teeth, the mouths of others gaped open.
The hands with which Deora held the cube started shaking. But even the shaking of the cube couldn’t cover up the increase in score.
Everyone’s eyes widened, almost popping out of their sockets.
As the spiral finished lighting up, everyone felt as if a bomb went off inside their skulls. Their mouths turned dry, their jaws almost dislocating from how wide they were gaping.
When the spiral finally lit up completely, Elaru let out a long breath. Phew! Safe!
Just as she thought that, before anyone could recover from the previous shock, another outrageous thing happened – like a string stretched to its limit, the enchantment cast on the cube snapped.
Like a snake, the spell writhed left and right and disintegrated like melting snow.
As if it was broken porcelain, the cube in Deora’s hands fell apart, clattering loudly as the mythril pieces fell to the floor.
“It broke! It broke again!!”
“My god! It fell apart!”
The one with the palest face, the face with the most comical shocked expression, was actually Deora. He stared at the mythril pieces around his feet in disbelief.
He stared at it for several seconds before his bloodshot eyes slowly rose up to meet Elaru’s. With a shaking finger, he pointed straight at her face and bellowed. “What did you do?!?!”
Elaru placed her hand on her chest acting out shock and pain. “Me? Why do you assume it was me?” Her long ears dropped down pitifully, her large eyes looking at him innocently as if saying “How could you even think it was me?”
“If it wasn’t you then who was it?!”
Elaru raised her hands in surrender, still looking pitiful. “It fell apart while in your hands, didn’t it?”
Arion Urwin found himself covering his mouth trying not to burst out laughing.
Deora’s two honey yellow eyes glowed like embers. “Do you think I am braindead?!”
He puffed up like a balloon, his hands twitching to strangle the annoying redhead that ended up destroying everything she touched.
“Out. OUT!” Deora screamed so loudly that the building almost shook.
Zerel slowly picked up the scattered pieces of the cube, inspecting them with a strange smile on his face.
As I thought.
Was the cube broken because her weaving was so incredible the cube couldn’t take it?
Of course not.
There was a limit of how good one could weave the spell. If it was flawless – it was flawless. It couldn’t be better than that. Naturally, the cube was made to take into account someone weaving the spell flawlessly.
The reason why the cube broke apart was because the enchantment holding it together disappeared. Without the spell, the little pieces were just lifeless decorations.
Zerel chuckled softly, his golden eyes turning into crescents. You, my dear, are indeed a spell breaker.
But how did you do it? And why?
He had paid close attention to her the entire time. He didn’t notice any actions or attempts of spell breaking.
It was as if…she touched it…and it broke.
Zerel revealed a wide grin. How peculiar.Better not tell Deora how satisfied I am with the batch of examinees he picked.
After Deora flipped out (again), this time, Elaru remembered to ask for her exam pass before leaving the room. When she came closer to Zerel to pick up her exam pass, she exchanged a few words with him. She had asked him if she was done with her exam and could leave instead of waiting outside with other examinees. Zerel waved her goodbye leaving a single sentence behind: “See you tomorrow.”
Muni exams actually lasted for 5 days. Because of the large number of examinees and the limited amount of staff and testing equipment, only two exams could be held on the same day. After the first 3 days, most examinees were eliminated from the exams, which allowed Muni staff to allocate more resources for the remaining examinees.
After exiting the room with the other examinees, Elaru wiped the sweat off of her forehead.
That was close…
Luck sure wasn’t on her side today.
Who knew Deora would do something as stupid as throwing a cube at her?
It was his fault that the cube broke!
Of course, he couldn’t have known her circumstances…
Her circumstances… Elaru smiled sadly.
Almost no one knew her circumstances.
Everyone thought her to be a gifted child of the gods. Not only was she in possession of a divine gift, but also the largest soul seen to date. A soul with a huge mana pool; an endless supply of mana.
Those that coveted her soul, those that turned green with jealousy, none of them knew the truth.
It wasn’t a gift. Rather, it was a curse.
Her soul…was flawed.
It kept filling up with mana, threatening to blow up like an overinflated air balloon. All that excess mana had to be constantly siphoned away from her soul, transferred through her soul tendrils to her body where it would form a dense mana field around her, acting as a natural mana armor, requiring no conscious control.
Her aura was like a sun surrounded by the sky of small stars. When her light appeared among the crowd, everything else dimmed. She was an abnormal existence that erased all others.
She kept the majority of the mana inside her own body, to prevent it accidentally harming people coming in contact with it. And the mana that her body couldn’t contain formed a dense aura around her which she had to conceal to avoid drawing attention.
Any spell, other than her own, which came inside her field would be crushed under the pressure of her mana.
This was the reason why she couldn’t wear any enchanted armor, magical weapons, or even magical artifacts as accessories. The only artifacts that could survive inside her mana field were divine artifacts and artifacts made by her mana.
All other magical artifacts needed to be placed inside platinum boxes or wrapped in platinum foil. The high mana resistance of platinum kept them safe from her aura, and before taking them out, she would divert her mana away to not damage them.
However, Deora threw the cube unexpectedly at her. She couldn’t divert her mana in time and as soon as the cube entered her aura, the spell it was enchanted with suffered severe damage.
It wasn’t just nicked here and there – the entire pattern was crushed.
By the time she diverted her mana away from the cube, it was already too late. The enchantment was barely holding up. It could snap at any moment.
Which is why she hurried up her spellcasting as fast as she could go in hopes she could finish the test before it completely fell apart.
Fortunately, it managed to hold out until she gave the cube back to Deora so it was his mana armor that finally finished it off.
They couldn’t blame this on her.
Elaru shook her head and turned towards Arion who was laughing uproariously next to her.
“Not funny. Not funny at all.” She grumbled.
Arion’s chocolate eyes stared at her warmly, but he couldn’t stop laughing long enough to respond.
She glared at him halfheartedly. “Don’t think I didn’t see you abandoning me to the lupaxes in the moment of crisis.”
Arion wiped the tears off from the corners of his eyes and finally calmed down. “Hey, if you end up dragging me down with you, there will be no one left to pull you back up.”
As if to demonstrate what he meant by “pulling back up”, he placed his hand comfortingly on her shoulder giving her an encouraging look. “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. In the case of a dispute, I can testify to it not being your fault. And besides, they won’t dare disqualify someone with perfect points.”
His lip curled into a smirk, and he couldn’t help but add. “Unless you break more equipment tomorrow.” As he said that, he suddenly started laughing again.
Elaru rolled her eyes and responded, her words dripping with sarcasm: “Gee, thanks…that makes me feel so much better…”
Arion gave her a thumbs up. “Anytime.”
She placed her hand on her forehead and sighed. ”I’m leaving…”
Arion waved her goodbye. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Yeah…yeah…” Elaru grumbled in response, walking away in the direction of the staircase.
After regaining his wits, Kiel discreetly looked left and right but saw no sign of Arion Urwin. Inwardly he let out a breath of relief. That annoying guy seemed to be like a shadow, impossible to get rid of, always trailing behind Elaru.
Elaru showed no restraint as she strode towards him gracefully and grabbed his arm. In a sing-song voice pleasant to the ear, she chimed: “Let’s go shopping.”
Kiel stared at her as if she grew out two heads. Who are you and what did you do with Elaru??
He even forgot to glare at her and shrug her arms off. “Shopping for what?”
She led him down the hallway, her smile never leaving her face. “Something that will be very helpful in the future.”
The crowd of people around them made way for them to pass through.
When Kiel noticed their gazes he wanted to shrug Elaru’s arms off, however, that would go against his image of a prince so he couldn’t do it for the time being.
The gazes of both males and females were glued to them. Some of them were entranced, almost drooling. Some gazes showed jealousy and hate.
Elaru seemed not to notice how they were the center of attention. Or rather, she didn’t care at all. Her bearing captivating, yet pure. Graceful yet powerful.
Her steps were relaxed yet steady, neither quick nor slow, neither prideful nor servile.
She walked as if the entire world was her home, like everything was her domain, as if nothing could make her uncomfortable. As if in her world there existed no one besides the two of them.
It wasn’t a cold and dignified disregard of a noble. One could not point out any refinement nor scorn in her behavior, only welcoming warmth. Yet it still made the hearts of everyone present palpitate. As if they were looking at a being far above them.
As if she was the sun and they were just little candles that flickered out in her presence. A phoenix among tiwi. Arrogance was unnecessary. Everyone could feel an intangible feeling of inferiority deep down inside them that stemmed not from her as a person, but themselves.
Kiel walked by her side with dignity and refinement of a prince, his own glowing brilliance not interfering with hers at all. Hot and cold, fire and ice, red and blue. Their entire beings formed a strange sense of balance, of perfect synergy.
Looking at the gazes around them, Kiel’s feelings were mixed.
He was glad that Elaru enhanced his own worth in the eyes of others. He was glad that being with her made him even more dazzling.
The respect and jealousy of others should have felt enjoyable.
Yet, for some reason, he really hated all these gazes. He really loathed this attention.
While he enjoyed quiet solitude the most, he had long gotten used to being the center of attention. So why did it suddenly feel so…so…stifling?
Why did wearing his flawless mask suddenly feel…painful?