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Ch. 60: Talking While Walking
After the fruitless battle with the goblins, Loren and the group found the stairs to the third floor without encountering any monsters again.
The fact that they weren't encountering any monsters at all made it obvious that there was something weird was happening, so Loren thought Ain and his party would feel uneasy, but they were far from being uneasy. In fact, they were rejoicing at the fact that they didn't encounter any more monsters.
"At this rate, we'll reach the fifth floor in no time."
The other students nodded happily at Ain's words, but in Loren's eyes, if they were to become adventurers at their current level, the possibility of all of them surviving for a year was equivalent to him suddenly being able to use magic tomorrow.
He seemed to have been misled by the fact that they were examinees, realizing that those who took exams weren't always ones who had the ability to pa.s.s.
"Seems like they would have a short run."
Lapis muttered indifferently, as if she was thinking the same thing, and all Loren could do was nod.
"By the way Loren, have you noticed?"
"That there's no sign of blonde pigtails and her party?"
Lapis pouted slightly at Loren's response.
Loren guessed that she expected him not to know and ask her, and start the conversation from there, but Loren couldn't pull off feats such as feigning ignorance and asking back, when the answer was clear as day to him.
On their minds was the party that entered before them, led by Parme with Klaus proctoring them.
According to the map given to them by the princ.i.p.al, there should only be one set of stairs that led to the levels below, and since they were moving so smoothly, it wouldn't be surprising if they had caught up to them by now.
But there was no sign of them at all, which raised Loren's concern.
"Their skill levels are higher, and they have more combat experience, so they must be moving a lot faster than us."
"It doesn't seem like we pa.s.sed them either."
Ain and his party took quite a while to defeat the weakened goblins.
It was unlikely that they had overtook Parme's party.
"Maybe they already made it down to the fifth floor."
Lapis growled as she spread out the map and checked their pathing, making sure the students couldn't see it.
"It depends on how skilled the other party is. If they are like ours, they shouldn't be able to get past the fourth floor."
"If you're talking about Parme's party, they are near the top when it comes to swordsmanship alone."
Feim interrupted Lapis' muttering.
Ain and the rest of the party were ahead of them, but she had slowed down to where they were.
Lapis' mood worsened as Feim came over, but Loren covered Lapis' face with his palm, as her expression started becoming stern, and decided to ask her a few things.
If it wasn't related to exploring the dungeon, it didn't count as advice or warnings, so it was a move based on the calculation that it didn't stray from the limits of a proctor.
"Is that blonde pigtail called Parme that strong?"
"Of course. The girls in her party are all swordsmen that are in the top ten for this year's exam."
"What is this difference in level between the two groups?"
"Hahaha, you think so too?"
Feim laughed, but it wasn't a laughing matter for Loren.
And if what Feim said was true, it meant that Parme's group was already at the fifth floor or even further.
"We're not n.o.bles and we're not talented either. We're just a group of ordinary people."
"Wait, I thought the training school was meant for raising talented people."
Loren turned towards Lapis, since she was the one who said so, and Lapis nodded, telling his she wasn't lying.
"That's the basis. But you know, even if you're talented, there are people with greater talents than others."
Loren knew that was true.
A wide range would exist, and on one side of the spectrum would be those with incredible talent, while ones who were just barely more talented than most would be on the other.
"It's fine for the people at the top, since they could work hard together, but for people in the middle and below, we feel inferior when we see those people who are called prodigies."
"Yeah, I'm beginning to get what you're saying…"
From what she had just said, although the school slogan was to raise talented individuals, but it seemed that they were accepting those that weren't talented at all.
Loren started wondering why they would do that, but Lapis gave the answer.
"It's because some people find relief when they see and know that there are people below them. It may be effective, but it's quite a worthless thing they're doing."
"Hahaha, it's not all that bad. We're taught how to fight and given education properly, after all."
Loren wondered if Klaus knew about this, but he concluded that he most likely didn't.
It was because if he did know, he wouldn't have let Loren in charge of a dropout level group.
"We get support funds from the nation as well."
"Judging from that, the school's probably receiving some sorts of funds as well."
They were having to enroll the ordinary along with the talented, just so they could raise extraordinary individuals.
When considering the flow of money going into the school from the nation as tips or rewards, the princ.i.p.al could surprisingly be categorized as a corrupt individual.
That's what Loren concluded, but Feim's words rejected it.
"It's likely that the school is receiving funds, but I doubt that the princ.i.p.al knows about it."
"Why's that? Isn't he the one in charge?"
"There are other people in charge of the school's finances. You know that the princ.i.p.al is the descendant of the adventurer this school was named after, right?"
Loren already guessed that from the princ.i.p.al's name, and then realized.
"He's just letting them use his name."
"Even he's being hired, to be exact."
Loren wasn't sure if the princ.i.p.al knew about this, but he knew that if he did know, he wouldn't agree to do so.
"We're not sure what the princ.i.p.al thinks about us, but we're not expected to pa.s.s this exam in the first place."
Feim drew a conclusion to the conversation, but to Loren it seemed like a very dangerous matter.
Under ordinary circ.u.mstances, Feim and the rest of the students wouldn't be able to pa.s.s this exam, be branded as failures, and would be forced to continue being students or go find a different way to make a living.
But the current dungeon wasn't sp.a.w.ning monsters at all for some unknown reason.
They were still only on the third floor, but Loren guessed that it would be similar enough on the fourth and fifth floors.
If this went on, it would mean Ain and his party pa.s.sing the exam even though they weren't skilled enough and would be sent out as full-fledged adventurers.
This wasn't good for Ain and his group, and it wasn't good for whoever would become their client.
"I have a question."
Lapis raised her hand.
"Is the priest named Al the same?"
"What do you mean by that?"
"He told us that he was a priest of the Supreme G.o.d. Unlike the other G.o.ds, not anyone can become priests of the Supreme G.o.d."
It was the strongest G.o.d of them all and was considered a being above all the other G.o.ds, and in order to become a priest, you needed social standing as well as skill and ability.
Since Lapis knew that, she couldn't understand how a priest of the Supreme G.o.d was with Feim and the others, who knew they were drop out level.
"Al is a bit different. His name is Alford Veronica, and is the second son of a n.o.ble."
If he was a n.o.ble as well as a priest of the Supreme G.o.d, Loren wondered if he had the social status and ability.
His skill with his mace was disastrous, as he saw when he failed to kill the goblin multiple times, but if his skill as a priest was high, it was something that could be overlooked.
"Al didn't only become friends with a bunch of ordinary commoners like us, but he's someone we could rely on to help us with his knowledge and divine arts."
"That's someone reliable?"
The att.i.tude that Al had shown Loren a short while before didn't make it seem like he would be reliable at all and he couldn't believe it, but he was stunned to see that Feim was being serious.
"Well, he is a bit timid and can't use his weapon at all."
"I can hear you…"
Al said with a laugh as he walked in front of them, but Feim didn't pay any attention and continued.
"But he's still reliable, you know? We only made up our minds to take the exam because Al encouraged us that we would be able to get to the fifth floor, and if we could get past it, the tenth floor isn't a dream."
"I've watched you guys listen during cla.s.s and train hard. Of course, we might not be able to do things well, but if we work together, we'll definitely be able to do it."
As Al said that in a timid voice, the others nodded.
At the sight of students that were considered dropouts trying their best to pa.s.s the exam, Loren asked Lapis, who was standing next to him with a bored look on her face.
"You think that's a likely story?"
"I don't know. One of them could awaken to new powers. One of them could have skills like Loren's berserk. Hard for me to say."
"There's always the possibility of our expectations being wrong, right?"
"Being hopeful isn't a bad thing. Maybe."
Lapis managed to squeeze words out that wasn't even on her mind.
Loren thought that there was no need to say it like that, but if their current situation continued, the party would pa.s.s the exam, regardless of their skill level.
They were just walking without running into any obstacles, after all.
"Hey, there's the stairs to the next floor!"
The other three ran forward at Ain's voice.
As Loren watched their backs, he wondered if he should be worried at the fact that they got through the third floor without encountering any monsters, which hinted that something was wrong with the dungeon, or if he should worry about the children in front of him, who were moving ahead without realizing.
Hey guys Kaoto here.
Last two exams tomorrow, wish me luck.
I've been reading Tokyo Ravens again, and I've forgotten how much I love the series.
There is quite a bit of detail and difficult words, phrases, and ideas throughout the story, and made me wonder how long it would take me to translate one book.
To be honest, I don't even want to try.
Checking out the translations for reference doesn't seem like a bad idea though.
Tell me what are some of your favorite novels.
I might check some of them out if I haven't already ?