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—- The next day.
The students belonging to Takeru’s class 1-9, had a sullen look on them.
A lot of the students can be seen talking in loud voices.
All of them were talking about the preliminaries that will happen after school.
Everyone in the Academia were totally restless. The first day of the month have already arrived.
After the classes ended, homeroom started.
The homeroom teacher in-charge of Takeru’s class 1-9 is at the front of the blackboard.
The students who’ve heard of the preliminaries wishes to join. All of them had a mixed expectation from their teacher.
However, their super-extreme-shy of a homeroom teacher crouched in fear.
She had a honey-colored hair and a prettily-arched brows and eyes.
She raised up her eyes above the teacher’s desk. Carefully surveying her surroundings.
“U-umm… Everyone…… Today is the day for the zeroth preliminary examination for Velm Ramina.” (TLN: I’m kinda confused about this one 第零次予選 so I settled with zeroth preliminary examination.)
As the homeroom teacher said so, all of the students’ gaze was fixed at one point.
Being stared so hard, the homeroom teacher went “Hiiii!!! Haaa!!!” with a weird voice. She once again hid under the teacher’s desk.
Behind the teacher’s desk, her composed voice can be heard once again.
“Pardon me. Well, everyone. I’m sure you already know since you’ve experienced it already. This is, this Academia’s tournament in deciding on who’s the strongest. Not just Academia’s strongest but also deciding as the world’s strongest. Well, there’ll be expectations from different countries you see.”
The Homeroom Teacher kept talking.
“However, everyone’s still a student. Please do give your all. Do not be in fear. Fairly push yourself onwards.”
For the Homeroom Teacher to speak about fairness while hiding on her own.
Her voice encouraged her students. Sent by her from hiding behind the square desk made from tree.
It wasn’t persuasive at all. Not even one. Not single one of them ever thought so.
“Here’s some detailed explanation. This is from the department heads. Shameless as this may be, please go to the third practice arena. For the zeroth preliminary examination, as usual, will be done from each department.”
One of Takeru’s classmates, a boy with piercing on his mouth raised his hand.
“Say teacher. What kind of exam is it for this year?”
This year? So they change the examination every time? That’s what Takeru thought then the teacher’s desk replied.
“I’m sorry Baker-san. I cannot tell you that yet. Since there still time before the meet up time, those who wishes to participate should go to the third practice arena.”
From that voice of hers, the students stood up and exited through the door.
Every single one of his classmates did. There was no one from them that went back to prepare.
Those students that went out of the class, the teacher’s desk raise some voice.
“If you leave some good results, that will be tied in to your future. To grasp your good future. Do your best and have no regrets! You guys are my prided students after all. I will cheer for you guys okay!!”
The Homeroom Teacher gives out warm words. But seeing that she’s on the teacher’s desk, the thankful ones were reduced in half.
And then, Takeru stands up too and started to converse to no one.
“Right! I should go too.”
Exiting his classroom, there were girls standing in front.
Four girls from the same class went near Takeru.
Takeru was troubled remembering their name. They talked to him with cheerful voice.
“Hey Takeru-kun. Let’s go together. You don’t know the place right?”
“…… Thanks, that would be helpful.”
After Takeru answered, he went to the exam area together with them.
They have arrived to the place their homeroom teacher said, the third practice arena.
It was a different place from when he dueled Noel from the other day.
At that time, it totally looked like it was the ancient Rome. However, this time, only in the plaza. Takeru was reminded by it as a sports ground before. However, it is far, far, far wider than that.
Showered upon by the summer sun’s shine, there are lot of students gathered in the plaza.
Looking at it, roughly around a thousand of them. No, possibly they number more than that.
There are lot of voices around. It was only an incomprehensible noise to Takeru’s ears.
It had the atmosphere of when the school assembly starts. Takeru felt nostalgia about it.
It wasn’t even a week when he came to this world though he didn’t have any good memories either.
Even so, after remembering something, was it because of the place he lived for so long?
He sunk in sentimentality. He then heard a voice from his side.
“HEY YOU! The YOU there. Do you have some time?”
Turning his gaze, it was a voice from a frivolous looking man. Takeru saw a group of them.
They were four boys that looks like they always mess around.
Among these conspicuous bunch, one with a the feel of a “host” stepped on forward to Takeru.
He had a long golden-colored hair. His uniform was opened down to his chest. He also had finger-fitted rings on both of his hands.
“Hi, I am this Academia’s prince man. Name’s Nakkun. A second year.”
He began to strike a pose thinking it’s good.
With his left thumb pointing to the sky, his index and pinky finger were sexily raised towards his lips.
“This is, LOOOOOOOOVE” (TLN: Oh man… Neorika’s(?) full of weirdos… :|)
Next, he crossed his arms. Pointed his right hand towards Takeru and raised his middle finger.
“And this is, DEATH!”
He showed a glittering smile.
“LOVE OR DEATH~ There are two roads open to you. Should I love you, or maybe, should I kill you?”
Takeru was flabbergasted. The boys together with him started to speak.
“Hyaaa!!! As expected of Nakkun!! So cool!!”
“He’s really the chosen one in this Academia!!” (TLN: So they’re like the F4 with this Nakkun being Dao Ming Tzu (the rest are gay to him) and Takeru as San Xai… xD)
“Kuuuuuuh!!! His charisma really makes me wanna wet myself!!!” (TLN: He says 失禁し which means “Incontinence” and I don’t know how to put it in english… xD)
The Academia’s Prince, Nakkun commanded his colleagues with one hand.
“Wai-, Wai-, Waiting~ Yes, yes, I know already. Even if you state the obvious, praises won’t get you anywhere you know? UNDERSTAND?”
Nakkun personally unbuttoning his shirt slowly as he spoke to Takeru.
“YOU are Kisaragi Takeru right? Recently, aren’t YOU shining? You are leaving this me behind. Are you trying to STEAL the seat of the Academia’s PRINCE?”
Takeru answered back with a frown.
“I don’t need that. I don’t really get that kind of stuff.”
“Hmm? YOU. Don’t lie to me, Kisaragi Takeru. Of course everyone wants it. The Prince’s seat that it. There’s no way you wouldn’t want it right? I see. You chose DEATH didn’t you?”
Once again, Nakkun raised his right hand’s middle finger. (TLN: This guy flipped the bird… twice on Takeru.)
“I don’t care about DEATH whatever. If you wanna go, I’ll let you have it. PRINCE.”
After Takeru declared so, Nakkun-senpai had a superficial look on him and whispered to Takeru with a low voice.
“Then, there’ll be no mercy. Maine?” (TLN: He said メーン I have no idea what he meant by that in engrish… xD)
“Oh really now. So, how am I not gonna receive any mercy?”
“Supposedly, for example, an example, If by any chance, we’ll face each other in the zeroth preliminary exams, I’ll show you then. This PRINCE’s radiance.”
Nakkun said so and turned his back around.
With his middle finger rising up to the heavens, he slowly stepped forward.
“See you then, BROTHER. The next time we meet will be the judgment day. Will it be LOVE or will it be DEATH.”
After that, the three schoolboys next to him followed after.
“Sigh. What a weird guy. Still though, he sure has the confidence. Could that guy be great like the others too…?”
Surrounded by clamor, Takeru muttered alone.
『Ehem. Everyone, please be quiet.』
Gripping the microphone, the timid voice from a man echoed in this fair weather.
However, maybe because of the power of his voice, the students didn’t stop talking.
『Umm, everyone. Are you listening everyone?』
Seeing the owner of the voice was a man in a suit standing in top of a metallic podium.
Probably in his late twenties. He wore glasses. He also doesn’t seem to be a confident person.
『E-, everyone. Please listen to me.』
At that moment, he raised his voice.
Then, a teacher with a huge body appeared from his back.
His muscular body becomes bigger as he inhaled then shouted at the microphone.
“DAMN FUCKING BRATS!!! THE DEPARTMENT HEAD IS TALKING HERE!!! WHEN ARE YOU GONNA STOP THAT BLABBERING!!!”
An eardrum rupturing roar.
Every kind of noise from conversation was dispelled by his loud voice.
Every noise disappeared.
『Ah… Thank you very much. Department Sub-Head sensei. I’m sorry for the trouble.』
The man in glasses thanked while bowing down.
“Department Head, please stop that. It’s a natural thing to do. More importantly, it’s already time.”
As said by the department sub-head, the department head faces the students. He looked around.
『Erm, everyone. I am department head, Bartholomew Valois. I am happy that there are many students participating in Velm Ramina’s preliminary examination.』
He bowed after in front of the students he said that.
『Currently, amongst the gathered ones here, there’s an interested participant from the Lumen Department. Umm… Amongst the one thousand two hundred participants you see. That’s the number of students right now. From middle high to high school. Every students from every school. Almost twenty thousand participants are in this too.』
From what he said, Takeru remembered something.
Ah, right. That’s right. These guys are not the only one participating in it.
Ether Float, the Academia has a strict examination in choosing twenty thousand people to enter.
『To pass this examination, one must defeat a number of opponents. They should amount to twenty-five people. For the Lumen Department’s high school division, there are only two of them.』
Packing inside here are students that amounts to a thousand and two hindered people.
Amongst these numbers, there’s only two.
In case of the school Takeru went in, only one amongst everyone will be chosen. He cannot fathom how big it would be.
Each one of these students are chosen elites in the world.
What an obstacle.
For Takeru, he was one of those possible twenty thousand candidates around the world.
So how far can he take it? How far can he go? Can he destroy the walls before him?
Takeru cannot suppress his hot-bloodedness. He clenched his fist.
『It is a very harsh examination. Do it half-assedly and you’ll die. That’s why, for the remaining ones left here, please do steel your resolve.』
—You might possibly die. A very harsh examination.
He just smiled. Even if it was to mock them, he did not underestimate it. He’s just that happy. That’s just it.
『Those who are afraid from what I’ve just said, please back down now. Renounce that you’re abstaining right now.』
For such a very interesting thing, like who would damn quit it?
『Is there someone who would quit? Seems like a no. Wonderful everyone. Well then, I’ll explain the details of the zeroth preliminary examination.』
The surrounding students held their breaths.
The department head quietly watched. The place had the atmosphere of not missing a single word said.
Whatever kind of examination might come, the air has been filled with the mixture of expectation and fear.
『Everyone, please listen.』
The words they longed for finally comes out.
However, the department head said nothing. Only to incline his neck.
『Oh my. Do you still not get it? Ermm… You, the one standing there. Just stand there. Good. If you manage to stay stand still for five minutes, your examination in the zeroth preliminary is a success.』
Takeru have frowned.
—I’m just to stand here? For five fucking minutes?
He thought it was going to be a harsh examination. Of course, everyone’s gonna pass it if it’s only to stand for five minutes.
Then, one student alone shouted.
“Are you fucking with us?!”
After that, many complaints came one after another.
“That’s right! What’s with that?! Everyone else can pass this!”
“And you say this is a harsh examination. Are you just making a fool out of us?”
“Sigh. You’re really weak for a department head. This harsh examination isn’t harsh at all.”
Were those students misunderstood his words? The department head smiled as he answered.
『Is it that long for you? How about we reduce that to a minute then? Yeah, Let’s do this for a minute.』
There were more booing coming from the students since then.
The senior students who managed to see through had their faces paled.
“Oi. Can you stop with that one minute already?”
While they were looking impatient, the senior students halted their complaints.
The department head pulled out the saber from his waist. It was a beautiful sword that had a light blue hue on the blade. As it was basked in the sun’s light, it shines blinking.
『Well then, please stand there okay? The Zeroth Preliminary Examination now starts. Ah, Department Sub-Head sensei, can you please man the timer? For a minute only. Only a minute.』 (TLN: Oh my f***ing god. He’s one of those RL acquaintance of mine that I hate mingling with… O_O)
The department head turns the blue tip of his 《Replica》 to the students.
The sunlight from some time ago was hot, now it becomes unpleasantly cold.
The student next to Takeru, was gritting his teeth. He then embraced himself with his arms. (TLN: And Takeru’s completely unfazed about this bulls*** xD)
It was as if he were thrown into the midst of midwinter.
No, he was not the only one. The students around him had also caught the attention of his eyes.
The department head announced to everyone with a smile.
『Please cover yourself in Ether. If you lost consciousness, you’ll never get it back. Now that’s a no-no. If you don’t do so now, you might not be able to withstand this with small amount of Ether.』
I see. The examination was this.
The surrounding temperature has dropped dramatically. They must endure the coldness.
There’s approximately thirty seconds left huh?
There’s only lesser than ninety percent left standing.
『Now then. Is it going to come into a conclusion now? Well, let’s go everyone.』
The department head pointed his blue bladed saber 《Replica》 towards the sky.
And then, bakin!!! Something of a clump cracked in the blue sky. Crack, crackle. Crack, crackle. No, this is wrong. The crack was not from the sky. It was an ice covering the sky itself.
『Now then, everyone do your best to endure this okay?』
The department head swung his saber 《Replica》 downwards while saying those words.
And at the same time,
The sky cracked.
The ice that covered the sky broke.
The gravels of the freezing ice, shot down like bullets in a lightning manner.
It made holes down in the ground.
One student got hit and was down in one hit.
The students who endured that one hit, was once again hit for the second and third time. Their bodies bended staggeringly.
—Fifteen seconds left.
Whether it was a girl or a boy, they toppled to the ground one after another. The pinned down students staggeringly moved their arms and legs. Their strength is leaving them, they cannot muster any.
Those students who got hit on the forehead was toppled down looking up to the sky.
The gravels of ice continued to rain down not letting the students take a break or so.
Majority of them are now in a ghostly state.
The students who can still stand are of few numbers.
And then, the gravels of ice rained down upon Takeru.
However, they never hit Takeru. (TLN: Haxx!!! F***ing cheat!!! REPORT TO GARY!!!)
Perhaps, like what the department head said, Ether might protect them.
Takeru stood there while placing his hands on his pockets.
Not even one gravel of ice touched his body.
『Let’s rain more down for the finale.』
After the department head said that, there was a loud thunder. Thunders of eraser size started to rain vigorously.
The students who endured it till now was finally brought down to their knees.
A student defended themselves with a Great Sword. It was fling away by a huge lightning.
—Three seconds left.
It was time to end it. The amount of falling ice gradually decreased.
After that rain, the sky once again lightens.
Takeru, who can finally see the sky clearing up had a weak mutter.
“Is this it?”
Then, the department head stared at Takeru.
He shouldn’t be able to hear his muttering because of the distance but, as if the department head heard Takeru just smiled.
『Such unpreparedness, you people might have gotten injured. It was supplementary lesson from letting your guard down.』
The next moment he said that, his heart gotten cold. He was emitting an unpleasant feeling.
He made a baseball sized lump of ice on his hand. Of course, it was on a course to strike Takeru.
The next moment before he realized, before Takeru was the lump of ice approaching him.
It would be bad if he got hit by it. It has an overwhelming power on it too. You can be injured if it’s just taken lightly.
Takeru clicked his tongue. Takeru immediately punched the ice.
The ice glistened into pieces then disappeared.
『That’s the end of the Zeroth Preliminary Examination. Only those who kept standing on two feet have passed』
In front of the smiling department head was heaps of lying corpses.
The remaining standing students are roughly in the twenties. Even among those twenty, they only barely stood up. The examination was over. All students crumbled down.
However, there were completely none of the students that were calm and composed. There was a boy who take out chewing gum from his pocket. There was a girl who’s on a crazy spree on her handheld console. (TLN: 余裕綽々 means Calm and Composed/Collected but had the furigana “Nandemonai(Nothing at all)” so double meaning kind of sense. They were fine and all and at the same time, panicking inside… xD)
『For those who have stood still, please come forward. We have to list the names of the successful applicants.』
And there, the Zeroth Preliminary Examination ended.
It only lasted a minute.
However, eighty percent of the examinee failed.
Oh yeah, what about that second year senpai that talked to me? Did he passed?
That’s what he thought as he looked around. However, amongst the ones that passed the examination, he can’t be seen.
What the actual hell was that? Really…
Takeru faces the teacher while thinking. He then catches the figure of Nakkun-senpai lying on the ground.
Nakkun-senpai had his face buried down to the ground as if he was prostrating.
“Oh… My condolences to you” is what Takeru’s gaze meant. He then arrives at the front of the training area.
The grown-ups earlier that was watching was now listing the names of the ones that passed. It’s been going for some time now.
A personnel made an eye contact with Takeru then smiled. It was a person he just met for the first time.
“Ahh.. So you’re that rumoured Yamato kid huh.”
“That might be so, Is there something you need?”
“No, sorry. I don’t really have any particular business with but, If you ran to some troubles, you can ask me for help. Can you please tell me your name and your class?”
“Year One, surely it was… yeah, Class 9. Kisaragi Takeru.”
And then, the staff slid the pen softly to the paper while nodding.
“I see. Entry complete. Your application is a success. Now please take this bracelet.”
While saying that, he handed a blue colored metal bangle.
“Hee, it looks beautiful.”
Takeru put it to his arm while saying so.
And then, the staff waved his hand in panic.
“Wait! Wait a moment! You don’t need to wear it right now! Haven’t you heard anything from your homeroom teacher?! That’s a special apparatus for the next examination so don’t just use it out of nowhere.”
“Yeah. That’s right. These are tools excavated from the same ancient ruins as the 《Regunare》. They are used with different techniques. Until you’ve been told to do so, never use it okay? Whatever happens to it, I’m not gonna take responsibility you hear?”
Said so by the staff with a serious face.
“And then, the examination starts next week so don’t you dare lose it. Take care of yourself now.”
Takeru nodded and cursed his homeroom teacher in his heart.
He almost failed a harsh examination.
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