Competency Test Begins

Although there was healing magic, this was just a part of the lesson.

Since it would be a nuisance to those in the healing room if they were injured too badly, the attacks were limited, and the bleeding should be kept to a minimum.

If a fighter loses the will to fight, he must declare, “I give up​”.
Any further attacks on the declared opponent will result in disqualification of the attacker.
Claushezade explained the rules in simple terms.

“The order of the matches is as indicated under the circles.
Due to the large number of players, 20 matches will be played at a time.
Referees should be split between the sixth graders and the fifth graders.
Since you guys have experienced the match, you probably have also acted as a referee.
Underclassmen, don’t think of it as other people’s affairs, you should take a good look at how to do it for the future.
Also, the time limit for each match is 30 minutes.
If the match is not decided by then, the judges will take into account the hit ratio and other factors.
Any questions?”

It was Leidyrune who quickly raised his hand in response to Claushezade’s explanation.

“I have no objection to students serving as referees.
However, I think there is a problem with using commoners.
If they’re pressured by the nobles who’re dissatisfied with the decision, I don’t think they will be able to resist.”

Sheila couldn’t hide her surprise at the surprisingly fair remarks.
Though he despised the commoner, he said that his pride as a knight had nothing to do with his status.

“If a student pressures a referee, they will be declared defeated immediately.
Students who are referees are to report to me the moment they feel pressured.
Of course, I will be watching the matches, so if I come across a situation where someone is cheating, I will stop the match.”

“We live together.
For the sake of their future school life, some students may not be able to declare under pressure.”

Leidyrune persisted.
After staring at him for a moment, Claushezade grinned.
It was a vicious grin, probably a habit of his.

“It’s certainly possible.
But you are aspiring knights.
I assume you understand the spirit of chivalry.
What we should do is fight the battles we are proud of.
Is that not so?”

Several students huffed and straightened their backs.

A knight wasn’t just someone who knew how to fight.
All of their actions must be virtuous, and it was precisely because of this that they were able to go into battle with pride.

The students’ eyes suddenly turned red.
Even Cody had tears in his eyes.
Sheila was the only one who looked at them with a very subtle feeling.
How many of them would’ve noticed that he had prevented the cheating with his clever storytelling? Even if they had noticed, they might have been so moved by Claushezade’s noble conviction that they had no words.
Perhaps this instructor was gloating inwardly right now.

“Any other questions?”

This time, Sheila raised her hand.
Claushezade, looking slightly reluctant, allowed her to speak.

“When is the lunch break?”

For some reason, everyone deflated at once.
Claushezade shook his head as if to say, ‘I knew it.’

“It’s important! We have to consider the time it will take to stomach it!”

Even after Sheila’s justification, not a single person blinked their eyes.

“Lunch break is two hours after the dorm cafeteria opens at 11:00.
In terms of games, that would be between the fourth and fifth games.”

“I understand.
Thank you.”

Sheila had three games, the 2nd, 6th, and 9th games, so if she had enough time, she can eat as usual.
Cody and Zechs looked down at Sheila, who was smiling with satisfaction, in dismay.

“Are there any more questions?”

“Yes!”

“….
Sheila Danau.”

“Can I cheer for support? Can I make a noise?”

This time the question seemed to be fine, so Claushezade nodded.

“It seems that you can also ask a serious question.
Since we must learn to fight in any situation, there is no excuse for not being able to concentrate.
Therefore, I permit cheering.”

“Yes, sir!”

“It looks like there are no more questions.
Then, we will now begin the competency test.
All contestants for the first game, please move to your assigned field.”

When Claushezade motioned, everyone moved in unison.

“If I remember right, Cody will be starting in the first match.
Can I go cheer for you?”

“Of course.
Thank you, I’ll do my best.”

Cody nodded back firmly.
There was no sign of the nervousness that had been present until this morning.

Zechs had a match he wanted to watch, so they separated.

Cody’s opponent was a classmate.
Bert Reston, one of the commoners studying with him.
He was a scholarship student and was a boy whose skills stood out alongside Zechs.

The two men faced each other and took their positions.
After a few moments, the voice of Claushezade, who was holding a magic tool in his hand, echoed throughout the area.

“First match―― Start!”

They flew backward at the same time.
They held up similarly shaped swords.
Bert’s sword was longer, so he had the advantage in the match.

But Sheila’s thoughts were short-lived.
Cody cast some kind of spell, and a bolt of lightning struck Bert.

“I see.
With magic, the distance between the swords doesn’t matter….”

Since she had only practiced with swords in class, she had no idea how to incorporate magic into a fight.
Not to mention, this was the first time she had ever seen a match.

Sheila’s eyes lit up as she saw more combat than she had ever imagined.

Cody continuously shot lightning.
Bert was too busy avoiding them to move forward.
His expression showed some impatience.

Since Cody was firing lightning magic in rapid succession, Bert was a bit careless, thinking that all he had to do was avoid it.
As he continued to dodge, he lost his balance with a jerk.

“What?!”

A look of astonishment spread across Bert’s face.
A deep hole had opened up at his feet before he knew it.

Come to think of it, Cody touched the ground once while using lightning magic, though Bert was so focused on avoiding the lightning that he didn’t notice.
Did he manipulate the ground with that? Was he actually guiding Bert while pretending to attack him with lightning magic?

He wasn’t so dumb as to miss an opportunity when his opponent was out of position.
Cody quickly closed the gap.

“Hahhh!!”

“Urgh!”

Bert also managed to fight back with one knee on the ground.
However, he was unable to recover from his disadvantage, and finally, the tip of the sword was pointed at his neck.

“….
I give up!”

In between heavy breathing, Bert declared his defeat.
Sweat was beading on his forehead as well, as he continued to be at the mercy of magic.

Cody took a breath and held out his hand to Bert.
He took his hand and stood up.

Cody, who had been relatively unmotivated, approached Sheila with a gait that showed no signs of fatigue.

“Cody, you did it!”

“Yes.
Somehow, I managed to win.”

“That’s not true! I was so caught up in watching the match that I forgot to cheer!”

“That’s right, that’s right! I’ll feel miserable if you’re so modest.”

Bert followed Cody out of the field.

“Good job Bert! It was a great game, very cool!”

“I lost in a heartbeat, though.”

“Still, it was awesome! I thought so too in class, but Bert’s sword is so fast! And I couldn’t believe you could wield a sword that well from that position!”

When she tried her best to explain how cool it was, Bert seemed to get the message that she was serious, and he beamed.

“Well, it’s been a good learning experience.
If it’s just that you can use magic, then it’s not that amazing.
I’m strong because I properly incorporate it into my tactics like you.”

Bert patted Cody on the shoulder.
Cody smiled a happy but vague smile.

“I don’t have much magical power, so I have no choice but to fight like this.
It would be much more overwhelming if I had more magic power.”

With that said, Cody turned his gaze to the battle of Leidyrune.
The opponent was about to fall and surrender in front of the tornado that seemed to cover the field.

“….
It’s substandard, isn’t it? Besides, if it’s a grand magic, the spells will be that much longer, right? It’s their fault for giving the opponent so much time to chant.”

Bert scratched his cheek and looked indescribable.

Sheila was looking at Leidyrune seriously, wondering if such a strong man was her last opponent, but she soon returned to her senses.

“Oh! I also had to learn how to referee.
Oh no, next time I’ll have to observe more seriously.”

Cody laughed at Sheila’s unreliable determination.

“Rather than that, you’re going to have a match soon.
It’s almost time to go, so you’d better get going.
I don’t have a game either, so I’ll be there to cheer you on.”

“Me too.”

“Thanks, Cody, Bert!”

Sheila smiled and ran to her assigned field.

◇ ◆ ◇

When Sheila headed onto the field, the previous match had already ended, and a man was standing in place.

His black hair, tied high, swayed in the wind.
His slanted black eyes gave him a mature impression, and he was tall and slender.
As a senior student, he already looked more like a young man than a boy.

He must be the first opponent, Seiryu Mifune.

When he noticed Sheila, he bowed beautifully.
She had heard that he was a commoner, but his manners were refined.

‘Come to think of it, Zechs was also like a different person in front of all the aristrocats except Cody.’

Unlike Zechs, who used different faces depending on who he was talking to, Seiryu was a man who never failed to be polite to anyone.
Sheila also hurriedly got into position and returned the courtesy.

Suddenly, her gaze was drawn to the sword in his hand.

It was a single-edged sword she had never seen before.

The blade was unreliably thin.
However, the shimmering blade pattern shone with a dull blue color, indicating that it was sharp.

The handle was very decorative, with threads wrapped around it for easy gripping.
The black, shiny scabbard and the elaborate crossguard were both unusual.

She stared at them for a long time, and before she knew it, time had passed.
The practice hall was quiet, and Claushezade held the magic tool in his hand.

Sheila readied her sword.

Translator Notes:

1. I changed “proficiency” to “competency” cause it just seemed more fitting.

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