Episode 57 – Elaru’s Spell Control Exam Result
Elaru resisted rolling her eyes at the strange mood in the room.
Yesterday, she was obviously unlucky. She didn’t do anything wrong, yet things ended up being broken. It’s not like she was a jinx or incompetent. It’s not like everything she touches would break.
It was an unlucky coincidence.
And lightning is not likely to strike the same place twice.
She was confident that nothing would break this time. But just to be sure, she approached the glass tube closely. She came so close to the glass tube that her nose was almost touching the glass.
Deora’s heart leaped to his throat. “Step away from the tube! Do NOT touch it!!”
Elaru raised her hands up in surrender and stepped back half a step. “Alright. Alright. I am not touching it. Not touching.”
“Step. Further. Away.” Deora repeated through gritted teeth. Elaru’s eyebrows furrowed slightly but soon it was replaced by innocent and honest expression.
She didn’t move back but instead tried to reason with him.
“Take it easy Fa…ir and venerable professor. If I am closer to the glass tube, I can monitor the behavior of my cube better and ensure nothing untoward happens.”
“Move away!” Deora was persistent.
Seeing Elaru’s pitiful expression Zerel intervened. “Let her be little Dei. Look at that honest and upright face. She clearly has no bad intentions. What happened yesterday was only bad luck. I’m sure it won’t happen again.”
As he spoke, the smile never left his eyes. More perceptive people among the examinees could tell that Zerel’s words held a trace of teasing in them. They didn’t seem sincere at all. The crafty vulpy clearly wanted something to go wrong.
Deora wasn’t as perceptive. He hesitated, looking between Elaru’s pitiful expression and Zerel’s reassuring look.
Zerel pretended to cough, placing his hand in front of his mouth.
However, both the keen ears of elibu and Deora standing next to him caught the words within the cough: “Don’t tell me you aren’t worried this would spread and ruin your just and upright reputation? Some people might say you were unreasonable and bullied the examinees.”
The corner of Elaru’s mouth twitched. What just and upright reputation?
Other elibu also displayed strange expressions.
What a clear attempt of manipulation. Even an idiot wouldn’t be so stupid to fall for it.
However, when Deora heard the cough, his foul expression turned blank and then after that his face turned serious, displaying an aura of an upright gentlemen.
The jaws of almost everyone present dropped down. Seeing Deora attempting to act as a noble and just gentleman looked as wrong and out of place as seeing a dragon wearing a hat.
“Alright. Let’s start the test. We have no time to waste.”
For a moment, Elaru felt sorry for Deora. Being so gullible and easy to manipulate while surrounded by nobles who are naturally treacherous and manipulative…one could imagine the kind of life Deora led. This kind of pure simpleton could only exist in the Thayn family. If he were born anywhere else, the nobles would have devoured him by now.
Elaru quickly glanced at Zerel, but from his sly expression, one could see no sense of shame or guilt. It was as if tricking Deora was second nature to him.
Could it be that the reason why these two were paired to hold the exams together was because Zerel was so proficient in controlling Deora? Or was it because Zerel asked to be paired with him? Does he…particularly enjoy making life difficult for Deora?
But I can feel no enmity from Zerel towards Deora. It’s as if he isn’t being mean for the purpose of tormenting Deora…
An involuntary shiver went down Elaru’s spine. Could it be…that Zerel actually…likes Deora?
Her eyes darted from Zerel to Deora quickly, a soft blush appearing on her face. Papa did tell me that boys enjoy teasing girls they like…
Elaru’s ears drooped down, and she coughed a few times to clear her head.
Her suddenly strange behavior didn’t escape Deora whose gaze was glued to her from the start. The suddenly lovable appearance of the little elibu made him taken aback.
What’s with that bashful look? His eyes widened. Don’t tell me it’s because of my sudden change in behavior? Could it be…that she finds this side of me attractive?
Deora abruptly averted his eyes to look at the papers in front of Zerel, avoiding looking at Elaru. A blush could be seen spreading to his ears. Not bad. Now that I look at her, she is quite pleasing to the eye. And anyone that can appreciate my charm is surely not a bad person. Zerel is right, it was just bad luck. This girl is not bad at all.
Deora nodded to himself a few times. He only looked towards the cube when he was woken up by gasps of surprise.
Elaru had started the exam, and her control of the cube was exquisite. It looked as though she could see the future, reacting to changes in the layout before they happened.
The neon strings seemed completely incapable of touching the cube.
Like a meteor, the cube passed through the net, not touching a single thread.
Everyone’s breath caught in their throat, but it wasn’t because of the incredible spectacle. The minds of examinees were going in a totally different direction. They were expecting an accident, an anomaly. The strange behavior of the cube only increased their expectations.
An accident will happen any second now!
Maybe the cube is going to fall apart like in the last exam?
No. I bet it’s going to melt!
No! The cube is going to slam into the glass and break it!
Look how it is constantly flying towards the side of the glass tube where the elibu is standing. It’s like it is trying to break out of the glass tube.
Everyone was on edge, watching the cube fly gracefully through the web. Not many noticed how the cube seemed to almost exclusively stick to the front side of the cylinder, even when the optimal path would have been closer to the back side. Even fewer people noticed the pale face of Elaru, the slight crease of her brows and the sweat dripping down her forehead.
Finally, the cube reached the top of the hourglass.
A click was heard, and then…!
At that moment, something shocking happened!
Everything functioned as it should. Nothing broke.
Some faces showed disappointment, some showed confusion. Soon all of their gazes concentrated on the blue liquid hourglass, but it wasn’t to read the score.
It wasn’t over yet! The accident could happen any second.
Since their expectations weren’t fulfilled earlier, now would be the last opportunity for something unpleasant to happen.
One second passed, three seconds passed, soon, more than six seconds passed.
Still, nothing strange happened.
Is that it?
What? Nothing broke this time?
Elaru stared speechlessly at the disappointed faces and quiet grumbling. The depression spread thickly in the air as if mist.
What is with you people? When the equipment broke previously, you swore at me and sent me murderous glares. And now that nothing wrong happened, you are disappointed? There is simply no pleasing you.
Even Zerel, who previously always wore a smile, sighed dejectedly.
Elaru’s eyebrow twitched as she looked at the faces of examinees. What is with this atmosphere?? I scored full points! Where is the awe and praise?
Everyone? Clapping? Gasps? Anyone?
The room was eerily quiet. Deora was the first to break the silence. “Wonderful performance. Full points.” He smiled, overjoyed that finally, nothing went wrong. He nodded a few times, pretending as if he hadn’t been worried at all and everything was just as expected.
Everyone’s gaze turned to him, looking at him as if he grew two heads.
What is with this situation? Why is everything upside down? The jinx didn’t break anything. Firecracker didn’t explode. Eerie! Too eerie!
Examinees looked at each other, their hair standing on end. Murmurs of “Creepy…” and “Can we go now?” were heard through the room.
Zerel sighed again, shaking his head in disappointment. “Yes…you are dismissed.”
The examinees quietly left the premises, a strange atmosphere still in the air.
Unlike the rest, Elaru didn’t leave immediately. She walked towards the teacher’s desk and extended her hand, asking for her exam pass back.
Deora quietly hummed a happy tune and returned her exam pass. When his fingers inadvertently touched Elaru’s, the tune suddenly caught in his throat and his ears turned red.
To divert attention away from his strange behavior, he bashfully turned towards Zerel and exclaimed in a pleased tone: “You were right Zerel. It was just bad luck. Thanks for being so thoughtful.”
When Zerel heard Deora’s delighted words and saw his bashful expression, Zerel felt like he had just swallowed something sour. If Zerel were a lunar, all his fur would have stood on its end, and he would have started hissing.
That pleased, even happy, expression on Deora’s face dealt a heavy blow to Zerel – as if a thousand arrows pierced his heart. His face contorted into a pained expression, and he clutched the chest region of his robes.
He never thought he would ever see Deora acting bashful. Or be happy because of something he did! And even admit he was right! And..and…even thank him! This…this! This is simply preposterous! Creepy! Unnatural! Disturbing! Stomach-upsetting!
This was simply a nightmare! It made his skin crawl. Zerel’s plans had never backfired like this before.
Zerel wasn’t a violent person. He was a perfect scholar and a gentleman. Yet currently, his hands itched to punch Deora so he wouldn’t have to see that…strangely disgusting expression.
Zerel painfully swallowed the bile threatening to emerge from his throat. He shivered involuntarily and started rubbing his hands as if suffering from a cold even though his back was drenched in cold sweat. He threw one last displeased look at Elaru, before turning his head away from both of them as if offended in some way.
Elaru stared at the two professors in a daze before she slowly walked out, unsure whether she should be glad nothing went wrong or sad that she had disappointed so many people.
This…who was it that told me getting full points on Muni exams was a glory unlike any other?
She walked slowly, with a blank face. Is…this a good thing? Should I break something in the next exam instead?
She only regained her senses when she saw Arion waiting for her in front of the classroom. He had a bright smile on his face, as if he wasn’t among the ones with a disappointed face previously.
He patted her on her back and consoled. “There…there…don’t be sad. You did your best.”
Elaru’s eyebrow twitched, and she got the urge to smack him.
Must you insist on rubbing salt in my wound??
After meeting up with Kiel, the trio decided to have lunch before the second exam.
However, since they weren’t yet students of Muni, they couldn’t enter the dining hall to eat. And because Kiel and Elaru were “on the run”, if they wanted to eat outside Muni in a restaurant or a tavern, they needed to make themselves untraceable.
Naturally, they couldn’t do so if Arion was trailing behind them like a shadow.
Luckily, Kiel thought ahead and realized that such a situation might occur. Therefore, they stopped at a small shop on their way to Muni, where they bought several sandwiches.
As a result, they spread Elaru’s spidersilk blanket under a tree in the park-like courtyard and enjoyed a picnic.
Well, Elaru and Arion enjoyed it. Kiel was too busy swallowing down snide remarks instead of the food, and grumbling inside his head to enjoy the meal.
Like a gum stuck on the sole of my shoe, just can’t seem to get rid of you!
I bet that if anyone managed to create an Urwin-repellent he’d become rich overnight.
Heck, even I would gladly spend my savings to buy an Urwin- repellent!