In the middle of the sound of unceasing applause, a single person glared upset at the girl standing in the middle of the stage. It was Kairos. He could not forgive the eternal lowest rank that was Summoning, for standing out more than he had.
“Please wait, everyone.”
Losing his temper, Kairos moved to the middle of the stage, spread his arms exaggeratedly and raised his voice. In response to his actions, everyone stopped their applause and looked toward him in wonder.
Seeing the applause for someone else than him finally stop, Kairos chuckled to himself and glanced at the guest seats.
“Don’t you think it’s a little strange? The representative changed on the very day of examination assembly. Furthermore, do you really think that a child like this is able to use even more difficult spells than Hinata-sensei?”
(“...What is he talking about?”)
To Mira, what Kairos said was a complete nonsense, but it wasn’t so for the examiners. Inside the hearts of those who saw a phenomenon completely different from the Summoning they have seen so far, each of Kairos’ words spread inside them like ripples.
“Certainly...Is that really Summoning? Isn’t Summoning the thing where spellcaster has a black or a white knight fight instead of them?”
One of the examiners asked a question. It was one of the nobles who only knew Hinata’s Summoning. He was one of the young generation who was raised without knowledge of the original Summoning. As a fact, Kairos’ words spread among the examiners, but it was all among young people in their twenties or younger. However, currently the majority of the examiners had been compromised of such generation’s members and it could affect the score greatly.
“The Arkite Academy is the best spellcasting training facility in the entire continent. If there was any better Summoner than one of the academy’s teachers, don’t you think it would only be someone from the tower? There is no way for a child like this to be capable of using such spells, this MUST be some kind of manipulation. I’m sure that it was Hinata-sensei who got fed up with being at the bottom who caught a good-looking child to take away attention and did something behind the scenes. I’m sure all of you remember the results of Summoning in the previous examination assemblies."
Because of the words Kairos spoke, there were examiners who looked toward Mira suspiciously.
Realizing that Summoning’s current condition was so weak that people could be incited with this much, Mira stomped her feet in frustration in her head.
While Mira’s own skill was being doubted, there was a man slightly past his middle-age who was troubled by the same thing as she. Heaving a sigh, he clapped his hands grandly to bring the entire assembly hall’s attention to himself.
“If you say this much, then how about we settle this with a duel instead of an examination?”
The one who made such a proposal was the school’s chairman. For just an instant there was a commotion, but soon after voices saying “that’s a good idea" sounded.
This proposal has been accepted unanimously and a match between Kairos who had raised objection, and Mira has been decided to be held.
There was a fifteen minutes long break for preparations. However, there was none who stood up from their seats during that time, everyone talked excitedly about the unprecedented match.
“What a pain…"
“Um, I’m sorryy. I keep troubling you.”
Mira had returned near the wall for the time being and muttered. Hinata hung her head apologetically. That moment, a certain person approached the two.
“Good gracious, my apologies. If I didn’t say so, there would be trouble settling this.”
The one who spoke to them as such was the very person who was behind this entire match idea, the school chairman. He was tall and clad in gray robe, furrowing his eyebrows he made an apologetic expression as he looked in their direction.
The instant they saw his appearance, Hinata and others representatives all straightened their backs and bowed. The chairman lightly returned their greeting and turned his gaze toward Mira.
“My apologies, but I would like you to go along with this for a little longer.”
The chairman said and smiled bitterly. Mira sighed grandly and “well, fine” she answered. The chairman shortly answered with “that helps" before he returned to his guest seat.
The school chairman lamented the current situation of the examination assembly. Not only the level of the recent examination assemblies was low, but the same was for the trends in which influential nobles went to. However, since there were many influential nobles who financed the school, there were also many of those who entered the society without knowledge of the age of upheaval. Overlapping with that was the decrease in spellcasters’ overall abilities, which was the reason the academy turned to be like it was now.
Not only the school chairman, but also several other aged guests were fascinated by the sight in front of them, and their hearts trembled. They felt as if they had returned to the age when the Nine Sages were still there.
Just by seeing that, the chairman had grasped Mira’s level of skill. That the girl in front of them was far above everyone in here. Also, the rumor that he happened to hear about Danbulf’s disciple had passed by his mind.
(“Her outer appearance matches the rumor. And this skill…")
“Can it be?” he thought and feeling this incident was a good opportunity, he decided to ascertain her strength.
If it was as he thought, it could become an opportunity to break the current situation of the academy. Once he realised this, the chairman came up with a plan. To defeat Kairos who was the symbol of this age’s spellcasters and to revive the real spellcasting, optimal in all regards, which used to exist in the Arkite Kingdom. And with it, he would love if everyone recalled the playfulness that was born from spellcasting. With that as his wish, he proposed an examination match.
“Go smack him a good one.”
“Don’t hold back.”
“From me too, please.”
After the chairman returned, one of the representatives had called out to Mira. with that as the start, the other representatives also threw in their encouragements to her as if to dispel the resentment that built up in them.
People who were here were skilled enough to have an influence on their curricula’ future. Although some unbelievable things happened, just by seeing them they understood that Mira was not ordinary.
Normally, Kairos would be able to make similar judgment as well. However, it was possible that his pride as the academy’s strongest made him avert his gaze from the difference in skill, which a spellcaster should be able understand was like that of heaven and earth.
“Well, you can leave it to me.”
Mira answered so and turning toward the stage, she started walking.
The break time had ended and the two faced each other in the middle of the arena. The man in white robe stood between the two as the referee and explained the rules of the match.
According to rules, they were to fight fair and square. The match was decided by either side becoming unable to continue combat, losing the will to fight or deciding to admit their loss, which was all confirmed by the referee. Actions that could result in taking another’s life were forbidden. He explained things like that. Originally there was no such thing as examination match, so it used competition rules.
“Can someone watch Hinata-sensei? We can’t have her do any more dodgy business.”
Kairos raised his voice on purpose to make no one in particular pay attention to Hinata. Then, one of his henchmen with whom he made arrangement in advance had volunteered, and moved next to Hinata. If she moved even if a little, he intended to point it out and blame her.
(“With this, it’s all already decided. All that’s left is to bind myself with this thing and it’s over. I don’t know what kind of trick they have, but they’re damn getting ahead of themselves for mere Summoners.”)
When Kairos glanced at him, his henchman returned a slight nod. This preparation had one more purpose behind it. Kairos intended not only to defeat Mira, but also make it up that she was cheating and destroy the position of Summoning completely.
In Kairos’ hands he was holding a spell tool called 《Iron Chain of Binding》. Right before his victory he planned to release it onto himself, then at the same time have his assistant appeal that Hinata has cheated. The moment Mira looks like she is about to lose, Hinata would intervene with the match. Intending to make it seem like that and crushingly defeat them, Kairos dyed his eyes black.
“Well then, we shall commence the special examination assembly match. Both sides, bow.”
Seeing Kairos bow elegantly, Mira momentarily recalled Leticia and pinched the ends of her skirt as she bowed. This gesture made the guests slightly stir.
Mira who loved this kind of performances tended to pay attention to formalities for things such as duels. Not knowing whether there was a difference between men and women, Mira for the time being decided to imitate the bow she saw Leticia do earlier. But if there was one mistake that could be pointed out here, it was that this gesture was not something that should be done with a short skirt.
After glancing at the two, the man in white robe moved a certain distance into the back and raised his right hand.
Kairos moved along with the sign for the beginning of the match. He strongly leaped backwards and started filling his both hands with mana.
“O’ army of flames dancing in the sky, heed your king an…?!!”
It happened in the middle of Kairos leisurely leaking his words. Truly in an instant, six pure-black knights surrounded Kairos and thrust six blades right at his neck as if to envelop it.
The sight in front of them made a shiver run through the guest seats. Even if one looked through all the guest seats, there was none who grasped what has happened.
Everything happened instantly, there was no chant, convergence of mana or preliminary movement.
Kairos leaped backward and landed while converging mana in his both hands. However, the next instant magic circles appeared around him, from which black knights releasing an overwhelming presence had appeared and swung their swords. Those who unconsciously closed their eyes, upon opening their eyes again saw six black sword that remained unmoving by Kairos neck. And there was none who saw Mira do any preliminary movement.
(“What...what on earth is this. What is happening?! Where did they come from?! Wait, it must be her. That teacher!”)
With his neck completely restrained, Kairos turned his head to the limit and turned his glaring gaze toward Hinata. What was reflected in his eyes, was Hinata making an expression just as shocked as everyone else and his assistant, who frantically shook his head with his eyes wide open.
(“Damn it!! What’s going on?! What did she do, this damn brat!!”)
Irritated, Kairos glared at the girl in front of him. On the other hand, Mira ignored Kairos and walked toward the referee who was frozen stiff and prompted him to make a verdict.
“C’mon, so what is going to be the verdict for thiiis?”
Once she poked the cheek of the man in white robe, he finally returned to himself and hurriedly raised his right hand.
“Winner, Summoner representative!”
A voice saying so resounded, and sparse applause started. The understanding of the young people in the guest seats still hasn’t caught up and they remained dumbfounded. Contrary to that, middle-aged guests and older gave applause to Mira from the bottom of their hearts.
“Don’t screw with me!”
When the loser was decided and Mira dismissed her Dark Knights, Kairos who was released shouted angrily with a furious look.
“What is it, Kairos Bellrun? Do you have any complaints?”
The school chairman's voice sounded in the assembly hall which turned silent all at once. However, there was no stopping Kairos who shouted while completely forgetting to adorn his words.
“No matter how you look what happened, it’s impossible! It’s impossible to summon six knights without preliminary movements! What the hell were you looking at, there is no way a single, mere Summoner can do something like this! Can’t you tell? That’s it, there must be someone cooperating with her! Where are you hiding?! Show yourself!”
Everyone in this location looked coldly at Kairos as he ranted and raved in the middle of stage. The Dark Knights that appeared released pressure that everyone goosebumps. It was impossible even for the school teachers’ to gather collaborators who were capable of casting such Summoning. It was enough to think for a moment to realize it was just Kairos’ delusion.
“You cowards! Who do you think I am?! I’m…?!!”
And yet, Kairos continued without intention to admit his fault. However, the next instant, the entire assembly hall was swallowed by the sight in front of them. Once again, momentarily, Dark Knights emerged like revenants.
Stiffening with fear, Kairos took a step back. His legs entangled and he fell on his back.
That could not be helped. Twenty black knights holding black longswords stared Kairos down from the front with forty shining-red eyes.
"To think she would be this powerful…"
The chairman muttered, astonished with admiration. The speed of summoning combined with multiple simultaneous summonings, as well as the response speed the Dark Knights showed upon being summoned. All of it was far beyond normal.
“If I do this much, I guess you’ll understand, right?”
Mira made a flabbergasted expression and stroked her chin with her fingertips.
To use Summoning a few procedures were necessary.
First was designation of the summoning point. The range for it was in radius from the Summoner and increased with their skill. In Mira’s case, she was capable of summoning anywhere within twenty meters of herself.
Next was the selection of the summon. At this time, the Summoner selected what to summon in the selected location.
Once the summon was decided, it was necessary to pour required mana into the summoning. With this, it was possible to summon at any time.
Then, lastly, were the instructions. After summoning, it was necessary to control the summon’s movements.
This flow was very basic for Summoning. However, this was ultimately just general knowledge of Summoners. Mira fiddled with it a little and used the compressed version of it. Thanks to the spell theory she took a lot of time to construct, she allowed her Dark Knights to start their movement while they were in the middle of being summoned.
Simplification of spell activation procedure could be called the very gateway to becoming a top-class spellcaster of any spellcasting school. Therefore, there were extremely few who were capable of using it and to those who did not know of it, it was necessary to break their common sense to allow them to understand it.
And this, was merely the entrance. The Nine Sages were an existence that mastered many techniques like this.
Mira further tinkered with that and was capable of selecting multiple summoning points, and give the same order to all Armament Spirits at the same time. Simultaneous summons were her specialty. Just a mention of being surrounded by Dark Knights who suddenly swung down their swords was enough to understand just what a menace it was.
When the school chairman stood up and raised a voice of praise, that moment others had returned to themselves and the bountiful applause had been sent toward the single girl.
Afterwards, the examiners started summing up their scores. Kairos disappeared during the break together with his henchmen.
Receiving a grand welcome by other representatives, Mira was naturally questioned in regards to her skill. In response to which Mira was about to speak her usual excuse, when certain people appeared in the examination assembly’s hall.
“Oh my, is the examination assembly over already?”
“It looks like it.”
The ones who appeared were a single man and a woman. The man was a handsome young elf who had sparkling blonde hair down to his shoulders and was clad in a blue and black robe. The woman was wearing an impressive-looking mahou shoujo outfit with a red kerchief, she too, looked to be a young girl.
Although the two had well-featured facial features, the assembly hall’s atmosphere froze for a different reason than that. The chairman and teachers hurriedly descended to the open space, others also stood upright with nervous looks on their faces. From among everyone, Hinata and the Necromancy representative’s change was the most extreme.
“Mm? Oh, if it isn’t Cleos.”
When Mira’s sight stopped at the male elf, she raised her voice to say it has been a while. When the man looked into the direction the voice came from and saw Mira’s appearance, together with surprise he made a happy smile, then walked up to her.
“Mira-chan, I heard you came back, but I did not think I would meet you in a place like this.”
The man who said so and bowed to Mira who stood between representatives, was the person who acted as the Tower of Summoning’s substitute during Danbulf’s absence, Cleos.
“Oh my, your acquaintance?”
Following Cleos, the girl in red kerchief peeked in. Staring intently at Mira, “my, what a cute girl" she said and smiled faintly, but erased her expression soon after. As for Mira, she felt like she saw this girl in red kerchief before but was unable to recall who she was, and she peeked at Cleos seeking the answer.
“Speaking of which, back then I was the only one who spoke with you. This is Amaratte-san, one of my fellow Elder substitutes, she is managing the Tower of Necromancy. And this girl, is Mira-chan of whom I spoke before.”
Cleos introduced the girl in the red kerchief as Elder substitute Amaratte, then introduced Mira to this Amaratte as well. Hinata and representatives stared at this exchange in daze. Why are you speaking with them normally? They wondered deep in their hearts.
“My, so you are the one. Nice to meet you, I’m Amaratte.”
Receiving the introduction, Amaratte took a step forward and bowed just slightly. Then, she moved right in front of Mira and concentrated on the outfit Mira was clad in.
“By the way, this appears to be very well made. Could you tell me where have you ordered it?”
Amaratte was only a little taller than Mira. She hunched forward and expressionlessly stared at Mira’s Magic Robe Set as if she wanted to stare a hole in it. She too, appeared to be one of the mahou shoujo freaks, and she seemed to be very interested in Mira’s mahou shoujo-style outfit which was very smartly and elegantly refined.
“This was made by Lily and...oops, it was made by castle’s maids.”
“Castle’s maids, Lily. So they can make clothes like these. Maybe I should ask them to make one for me. Thank you, Mira-san. This is very useful information.”
Amaratte raised her head and smiled faintly, then she walked toward the chairman and others who were waiting for an opportunity to speak.
“See you then, Mira-chan. I’ll go exchange some greetings. Oh and, there is a lot I want to talk about so it would be a lot of help if you gave me some of your time later.”
“Let’s see. I guess I also had plenty to ask you, very well.”
After exchanging a few words, Cleos headed in the school chairman’s direction as if to chase after Amaratte. Amaratte had already met up with Chairman and others who ran up to her and were talking about something.
When Cleos had joined them, Hinata has been released from being frozen still for nth time today and pursued Mira with questions.
“Why?! Why are you so friendly with Cleos-sama, Mira-chan??! Rather, how are you related?!”
Hinata completely lost her composure. However, none of the representatives that stood nearby tried to calm her down. It was because they wanted to ask the very same thing.
“It’s because we met before. Don’t get so excited. More importantly, you guys, is it alright not to go and say a greeting?”
When Mira said so, Hinata’s cat ears stood upright and the representatives also leaked “ah”. They were so surprised they forgot all about it.
In a hurry, Hinata and others rushed to the school chairman’s side. While staring at their backs Mira pulled out Apple au Lait and took a breath.
Apparently the two thought they might as well watch the examination assembly since they were nearby. Cleos had returned together with candidates for acquiring Summoning. Amaratte finished some of her business in the castle and intended to do her business in the academy.
Although there was a temporary turmoil caused by their sudden overlapped appearance, but the counting of scores had safely finished and Summoning had shone in the first place with the highest total score in history.
Afterwards, the examination assembly had scattered and everyone had returned to their work.
Currently Mira was comfortably sitting on a sofa in the school’s guest room together with the two substitutes. Sitting in the seat opposite of her was Cleos who appeared to be having fun, as well as expressionless Amaratte. And next to Mira, sat Hinata who had an expression of someone driven against the wall as she was having trouble understanding why was she sitting there together with them.
(“Whyyy? Why is Mira-chan acting so confidentlyyyy?!”)
Even to Hinata who was a teacher, the two were an existence standing far above her. Acting towards them on the same level was something unthinkable for her, she felt like prostrating on the floor right away.
With a hand trembling from nervousness, Hinata picked up a tea cup, carried it to her mouth and tilted it.
The tea that was just poured was still hot, and Hinata reflexively raised her voice. Feeling healed by the ears and tail that twitched and stood up, Mira extended a glass with water to her.
Receiving the glass, Hinata sipped water to cool off her tongue. But eventually, she recalled the situation she was in and took a look around.
Cleos looked at Hinata with a smiley look his face. Amaratte put a hand by her mouth and grinned with a sparkle in her eyes.
“Are you okay, Hinata-sensei?”
When spoken to by Cleos, Hinata’s cat ears stood up wide and she answered while biting her tongue. While smiling at this appearance of hers, Mira picked up a cookie from the snacks placed on the table and put it inside Hinata’s mouth.
“Here, Hinata-sensei. There’s no need to be nervous.”
Hinata hurriedly chewed the cookie and washed it down with water.
“Come ooon, rather than that, why are you so calm Mira-chann?!”
Having her nervousness loosened slightly, Hinata spoke so toward Mira. She asked why was it that Mira was able to remain so calm when facing two substitutes.
“Why you ask, mm.”
While saying so Mira tilted her head puzzled. Honestly speaking, she was unfamiliar in regards to formal positions and such, so she was unable to answer a question like this. She knew the very minimum of things, but this country’s king’s was her close friend and Cleos used to be her follower. She kind of felt everything was off.
(“I guess I need to think about it later, mm.”)
Mira started to think that in order to have harmonious relationship with Cleos, she would need to settle their mutual relationship.
“Hinata-sensei, you don’t have to be so concerned. Like I said many times, we are merely substitutes, so there is no need to take such attitude.”
Those words that Cleos spoke came from the bottom of his heart.
He was someone whom Hinata continued to respect ever since she was a young child, so it was not easy for her to change her attitude so easily.
“What, Hinata-sensei, are you going to make him repeat himself, mm?”
That moment, Mira came with an additional attack.
As a result, Hinata opened her eyes wide and her thinking stopped. She realized that she made someone who stood above her ask her multiple times to do something but she did not comply. And just how bad that was.
Unable to bear it, Hinata prostrated. When Cleos smiled wryly, Mira caught Hinata by her collar and dragged her back onto the sofa.
“This is troubling. Personally I would love to talk with you more normally. There is talk about Summoning classes and the schedule from here on, too. You are speaking normally with Mira-chan, so I wonder why can’t you speak the same with me.”
When Cleos said so with a slightly lonely expression, Hinata lowered her cat ears apologetically and at the same time reacted to certain words of his.
“Eh? Um, what is this about Mira-chan?”
Why did he bring Mira into comparison there? She thought puzzled and turned her gaze toward Mira. The girl reflected in her eyes was very lovely and was also a Summoner of extraordinary skill. Thinking of her strength, it was certainly possible she should prostrate in front of her as well.
However, she was an adventurer. Adventurers valued their freedom and were existence unrelated to such things. Although the top adventurers had a fair amount of authority and influence, there was very few of such people.
“Mira-chan is Danbulf-sama’s disciple, after all. I think that most likely, her skill is above mine.”
Cleos turned a gaze filled with a slight amount of envy toward Mira as he said so. Hearing that, Hinata’s thinking fell into complete suspension this time.