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(15 minutes earlier)
When Deora finished explaining the test, Elaru was eager to try it out first. Usually, she wouldn’t mind waiting for a bit and monitoring other people taking the test, but her Aethernea of Sight caught Kiel’s visage sitting in the main hall. She didn’t want to make him wait for her. Therefore, she was the first one to volunteer to take the exam.
Deora hesitated a bit, the whole reason why they moved this group of examinees in the last time slot was because of the red headed jinx. Perhaps they were worrying too much? After all, she didn’t break anything in the previous exam. Those accidents should have just been bad luck?
Deora looked towards Zerel. Zerel just shrugged, not caring about it at all. This nonchalant behavior finally helped Deora make the decision to allow it. If Zerel had urged him on, Deora would have felt a bit suspicious. After all, he had drawn the short stick too many times when dealing with Zerel. But this time, Zerel was too lazy to care.
That made Deora feel confident in his decision. Nothing bad would happen this time.
He resolutely nodded and stepped aside so that Elaru can come back into the room.
Elaru gave him her exam pa.s.s and approached the first apparatus made out of gla.s.s figurines.
She gave the figurines a measuring look. Her glittering teal eyes darted left and right, deep in thought.
Just when Deora was about to lose his patience and order her to start the test already, Elaru sprang into action.
Unfortunately, the kind of action she started doing wasn’t what she was supposed to be doing.
Elaru jumped towards the gla.s.s figurines as if she intended to step on them.
Deora let out an involuntary screech, and his eyes almost popped out of their sockets. Zerel’s lazy posture suddenly straightened up, and glitter of amus.e.m.e.nt returned to his disinterested eyes.
Elaru’s lithe body pa.s.sed through the air, and just as her foot was supposed to make contact with the fragile gla.s.s figurines, it stopped in midair.
Her entire body was floating in the air as if it held no weight. She paid no attention to Deora’s jaw that almost dropped to the floor, or Zerel’s mouth finally twitching into his almost omnipresent smile. Elaru crossed her legs and sat. In midair. Her perky b.u.t.t was almost touching the gla.s.s figurines.
Cold sweat broke out on Deora’s forehead, and he screamed: “What are you doing?!? Get down! Now!” Suddenly, he realized what he just said and hurried to correct himself. “Stop! Don’t come down! Don’t you dare touch the figurines!”
Elaru smiled comfortingly, using her beautiful features to calm down the firecracker who was about to explode. “I am changing my vantage point. If I view the array from above, it will be easier to keep track of everything. I am also closer to the figurines like this, so the distance the mana has to travel is less. Thus I will be able to activate them faster.”
Deora’s eyebrows furrowed, trying to process what she just said. Zerel didn’t need as much time to understand her words, in fact, he even smirked and gave her a peculiar look.
If anyone else saw that look, they wouldn’t be able to understand what it meant. But Elaru understood. “Liar.”
The vantage point from directly above in this case wasn’t as good as just standing outside and looking down at it. While the distance the mana had to travel in both cases was negligible, since mana could travel almost as fast as lightning.
Elaru’s eyebrow twitched almost imperceptibly.
Deora’s eyes darted from the figurines to Elaru and back again, his face becoming paler by the second. He was searching his memory for any rules that would forbid this action, but he was coming up empty. He finally looked towards Zerel, as if searching for the last lifeline, as ridiculous as it was to put his hopes on Zerel.
Deora squeaked out. “Is this allowed?”
Zerel’s smile grew wider, and he shrugged. “Why not?”
Deora grit his teeth. “But what if she falls down and breaks the artifact?”
“When Eri had these made he took into account that you would be likely to drop them and break them, so he made them out of especially durable gla.s.s and even added a durability enchantment.”
Deora’s previously pale face turned red. “He didn’t make them durable because of me!! Anyone could end up breaking them accidentally! It was just common sense to make them durable!! Who would make an artifact out of a fragile base material?!”
Zerel’s eyes twinkled. “Since you understand that, why are you so worried about a thin little girl ending up breaking the figurines? It’s not like she will be playing airbalt with them.” Zerel chuckled softly. “Since when did you became such a scaredy-pet?”
Deora’s eyes almost burned holes into Zerel with the intensity of his glare. “I… Hate… You… So… Much.” Deora squeezed out between clenched teeth.
Zerel clutched his heart in mock pain. “That can’t be…! I thought we were close friends?”
Deora barred his teeth at Zerel. “Friend?! With you?! With a friend like you who needs enemies?!”
Zerel’s face contorted into a pitiful expression. “You are so cruel little Dei. Stomping on my honest feelings like this. Didn’t I always look after you like you were my own little brother?”
“You call that looking after?! No wonder all your brothers and cousins turn tail and run as soon as they see you coming their way! Deciding not to make you their family head was the best decision your family head ever made!”
Zerel waved his hand dismissively. “That’s where you are wrong. It was me that didn’t want that position. It is too boring. They can have it. I don’t want it.”
Deora smirked and challenged. “Is that so? Didn’t look that way to me.”
Zerel shook his head sadly. “See, that’s why you need me to look after you. You are so clueless and naive. If I let you go alone into this cruel, cruel world, you’d be taken advantage of.”
“Ah, so you decided to take advantage of me instead? Wait! Don’t change the subject!”
Zerel suddenly smiled, a smile that caused Deora’s skin to crawl. “Little Dei, if I really wanted the family head position, do you really think anyone would dare to say no?”
Deora gaped. He opened and closed his mouth like a fish but couldn’t find an adequate response. He’s totally right. Considering how his siblings and cousins run away at the sight of him, none of them would dare tell him no! Heck, even the family head himself didn’t dare force him into an arranged marriage!
Their exchange was suddenly interrupted by an awkward cough. “May I?”
The two suddenly remembered the reason why they were here in the first place, and their eyes landed on the red head in front of them.
Deora’s ears turned pink. He squeezed out an awkward smile and nodded. “Yea…go ahead…”
Seeing Deora finally agree, Elaru smiled at him radiantly, so brightly that Deora actually involuntarily shielded his eyes, before he realized what a strange action it was. He then looked away, a tinge of pink spreading from his neck and ears towards his cheeks.
After dealing with the troublesome firecracker, Elaru finally started the actual test. Her smile faded away replaced with deep concentration. She weaved the trigger spell upon the glowing gla.s.s figurine and started the test.
One after the other, figurines constantly lit up and dimmed. Even Deora had to admit it was an impressive sight. No wonder that the n.o.ble family behind this girl placed enough importance on her to give her something as precious as a mana purifying artifact. Or at least, that’s what Deora thought. Gravity was an augmentation spell, so the girl was either an Arite or had a mana purifying artifact. The likelihood of the latter being much higher.
Multicasting was known to be among the most difficult tests on the exam. A test very rarely aced. And yet, they were witnessing someone do it so casually, seemingly without even breaking a sweat.
Even Deora had to admit that he couldn’t have done a better job at it. This girl was an absolute genius mage, no matter how one looked at it.
When the final figurine dimmed, both Deora and Zerel forgot to note down the score and just watched the apparatus in shock. Well, the shocked one was mostly Deora, with his mouth so wide he could catch a tiwi bird in it. Rather than shock, Zerel displayed surprise and interest. His eyes glittered so brightly one would think he was a child who just found a new fascinating toy to play with.
After finishing the test, Elaru accelerated her floating body away from the gla.s.s figurines and then dispelled her Gravity spell that made her weightless. She landed on her feet gracefully, and without further ado made her way towards the second apparatus.
When she arrived in front of the pink jelly, Elaru let out several deep breaths to calm her state of mind. She then stared at the pink abomination with what seemed to be… displeasure?
Her eyes darted around the cactus, and even her feet started to circle around it, as if she was searching for the optimal place where to stand.
The more she moved about, the darker her face became. Her eyebrows furrowed slightly, and she involuntarily bit her lips a few times, making her naturally red lips even redder.
After a few circles, she started casting Light on the black cubes littered over the floor. Each time she placed a cube under her control, the cube would follow her around as she walked in a circle.
When she reached her original, starting position, all 50 cubes were flying around her in tow.
Zerel’s eyes squinted into an undisguised glee. “Do we even need to continue with this test? The test didn’t even start yet, and she is already controlling all of the cubes. Why not just save the time and just send her off?”
Deora’s head snapped back to glare at Zerel. “We aren’t allowed to do that!” He hissed. “It’s against the rules!”
Zerel shrugged but didn’t say anything more.
Elaru threw a few annoyed glances at the pink cactus in front of her, mumbling something along the lines of: “I hate this shade of pink the most…” and then, instead of starting the exam, she pulled her goggles out from under her scarf and placed them over her eyes. The goggles were tinted, and no matter how much Deora tried to see the expression hidden under them, it was to no avail.
Something is off about this girl. Deora’s frown deepened. Why is she constantly doing strange things that make no sense?
Unlike Deora who had a bad feeling about all of this, Zerel’s grin only grew wider and wider. His expression practically screamed “Fascinating!”
After her goggles were securely set, Elaru finally made her move. A single cube flew towards the pink bubble in front of her.
As soon as the bubble popped, two other bubbles appeared.
Both of the bubbles were to the right of the cactus. As soon as they appeared, Elaru moved like a shadow and appeared right in front of the bubbles. What followed were two popping sounds as the cubes touched the bubbles.
And then 4 new bubbles appeared, one on each side of the cactus.
Elaru hesitated for a single moment, before gritting her teeth and suddenly stepped towards the cactus. Her body swayed left and right gracefully, like a branch on the wind, flipping and dodging. Completely avoiding all the tentacles as she approached the cactus. The cubes followed her into the fray, all 50 of them, and they too carefully avoided the tentacles.
Deora’s pupils shrunk. “What the…?!” What is she doing?!