~~Beilanea Magic University Central School Building, Two O’clock in the Afternoon, Twentieth Day of the Second Month~~
I had woken up immediately after that — exactly as the clock hit noon, as if it had been timed beforehand.
As for when I should tell Lina about it, I had decided to hold it off for now after discussing with Pochi.
I probably should talk about it when she is a bit older. For now, I want her to fully enjoy school life.
The Devil King would first be in the fetal stage, in which preparations were made for the time he fully manifested. It was said that those with high arcane energy could sense when such a period was taking place.
The fetal stage was said to last from a year to two, so it wouldn’t be too late to discuss it with Lina during that time.
Today, we have come to the reception counter of the Magic University’s Central Building, which hosted the entrance examinations.
It was completely different from the Magic University of my time, but the Central Building remained a gigantic structure of brickwork. In addition, two buildings were surrounding it, the East and West Buildings.
In the shape of a towering structure encased in another U-shaped structure, the Magic University was in the northern half of its plot of land, and opposite to it, the identical structures of the Warrior University was in the southern half of the plot.
“We are here for the entrance examination. Both of us are from Iverialtown”
I passed the edited letters of recommendation to the receptionist on the other side of the glass window.
As various manners of nervousness showed on Lina’s face, the receptionist promptly opened the letters and hovered them over the Spell Circle in the back, seemingly for detecting signs of forgery.
As I’d expected, they passed without issue.
To Lina’s muttering of surprise, the receptionist responded,
“If you’re surprised by this Sell Circle, you may find what lies ahead to be greatly difficult, don’t you think?”
And as I’d expected, the receptionist took Lina’s surprise in a different meaning. She proceeded to transcribe our names and birthplace onto new parchments and handed one to each of us.
“The examination is taking place in a classroom beyond this hallway. It is a one-to-one test with one of our mage professors on active duty.”
“Not a written examination, then?”
“It was designed to allow candidates little time to think things over. The institution seeks candidates who excel in immediate responses and solutions.”
“Now then, I will be guiding you to the classroom… Oh my, who’s this cute li’l doggo?”
The receptionist, now out of her office, noticed Pochi hanging around by my side.
“She’s my Familiar. The guard at the entrance has permitted me to bring her in, if I understood correctly…?”
“Now this is a surprise. You employ one even before enrolling– …Oh, pardon my interruption. Please follow me.”
As she guided us to the examination classroom, the receptionist bowed down slightly and pushed her glasses up, swaying her beautiful blonde hair.
In front of the classroom was a long bench, on which Lina and I were prompted to take a seat.
“This is the site of the examination. One person enters at a time to meet the professor. There will be a question-and-answer session, followed by a practical demonstration. First… Miss Lina, if you please.”
She was so nervous that her voice sounded like it turned inside out.
Now this might be a bit dangerous.
“Keep calm — it’ll be fine. You’ll ace this, Lina.”
As I passed Lina her papers, I patted her on her shoulder.
Trying to keep as calm as she could, Lina entered the classroom.
“Hu hu, it’s wonderful to see you two get along so well, but you are aware that the University’s examination is no walk the park, yes?”
“Ha ha ha, I reckon Lina will do just fine. I’m more worried about myself.”
“I don’t think someone with the ability to employ a Familiar would have any difficulty, though?”
Well, I was more worried about whether or not my answers would sound normal for this day and age, but there’s no point in telling her that.
“By the way, you do have permission to bring Familiars in, Mister Asley. Your Familiar would be considered part of your abilities, so there will be no issue with her taking part in the examination.”
“I see, that’s good to know. Um, ma’am, will you be waiting here as well? It must be tiring, standing all the time…”
“Hu hu, thank you for your concern. This is but a part of my job.”
The receptionist lady replied with a smile.
About 20 minutes later, Lina came out of the classroom. Apparent from her face, she has greatly calmed down compared to when she went in.
“I passed, Sir Asley!”
With tears welling up in her eyes, Lina shot me a V-sign. Looks like everything went smoothly.
“It’s wonderful to see a candidate succeed at this young an age. Congratulations, Miss Lina.”
“Oh, the results are announced on the spot?”
“The number of accepted candidates is low in relation to the number of applications, so the professors were told to decide immediately. Now, Miss Lina, if you would follow me. And best of luck to you, Mister Asley…”
“Thank you. C’mon, let’s go, Pochi.”
I slid open the classroom door and made my entrance together with Pochi. The room was narrow and long, and a single girl was sitting in the middle of it.
“A girl, Master! A girl!”
“I have eyes, doggo.”
“Hmm, you have a Familiar? That makes you the second candidate to have one this semester.”
The silver-haired girl, even smaller than Lina, kept her arms folded as she stood up and approached me.
Her cut was short and her eyes red, and she had on what seemed to be the professors’ uniform, the same violet robe as the receptionist lady from before.
She extended her hand, asking to confirm my papers, and I passed them to her.
“Asley, from the same town as the previous candidate… Were you her mentor, by any chance?”
“I wouldn’t exactly say mentor, but in a sense, yes.”
“Well, I’ll know after the practical demonstration whether you are to humble or that lass was too excellent. I’m Irene, by the way — It’s a pleasure to have you here.”
“The pleasure is all mine.”
Pochi and I bowed to Irene,
“Now then, please answer the following questions with as much detail as you can. First: Let’s start with the basics… Please name all four of the Core Elements.”
The basics, indeed.
“Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind.”
“Hey, why’re you the one answering, Pochi!?”
“The lady from before said something about letting me butt in, didn’t she?”
That’s not what she meant! Wait, maybe it was… Does it also apply to this when she said that my Familiar is considered a part of my abilities?
This makes me look so damned shameless, though.
“You are versed in the subject as well, Familiar?”
“I may even be more well-rounded than my Master? What with his polarizing subjects of knowledge and all that…”
“Hmm… I won’t mind your participation, then. Let us continue. Second: Is it possible to invoke spells with a modified magic formula? Please provide reasoning for your answer.”
The difficulty curved up quite steeply. She was not directing her line of sight at me, but instead at Pochi. I see, so she’s bent on testing Pochi now.
“It is possible. The reasoning is that formulas are only that: formulas. Nothing dictates that one must only use certain formulas to invoke spells to be successful.”
“Third: Please name three magic spells that disregard pre-determined formulas.”
“Examples include spells with their arcane energy emission limiter formulas removed, such as High Cure, High Recover, and Familiar Brainwashing Pact.”
Pochi dropped the bomb on that last one.
That was a formula-less spell that I had discovered, so isn’t it entirely possible that it’s unknown to the rest of the world?
“The Familiar Brainwashing Pact is feasible? Familiars possess inherent individuality. Are you claiming that it is possible to take that away with a pact?”
“Yes, all it takes my Master is a few words of his weird chant! It’d been used on me once before, so there’s no mistake!”
Now that she mentioned it, I did use the Brainwashing Pact on Pochi once, as a prank. Must have been relatively recent, in fact.
“Why’d you even have to go with that? You should know a lot more conventional answers!”
“Heh heh heh, I do want to boast about you from time to time, Master!”
“How in the world did you achieve the Brainwashing Contract!?”
Irene sure put a lot of power in her hand game.
“I’ve researched Familiar Pacts! It was concluded that it’s impossible!”
“This is your time to shine, Master!”
You little… Don’t boast about things you don’t understand, dammit!
Irene directed her glare at me. Her expression was the childish kind of stern, as if angered that the limits of her research had been surpassed. I’d also hit quite a lot of walls back in my time, so I more or less understood how she must have felt.
“It is achievable by inserting a special magic formula into the Spell Circle of the Familiar Pact… That is all I’m willing to say.”
“That’s ridiculous! There’s no way that’s possible… No, wait… Could this be it…?”
“Yes, the formula-less… or rather than complete disregard, it is achievable via substituting them with special functions.”
Makes me wonder who’s the one under examination at this point…
“If you do complete it, I ask that you restrict its use to only the monsters.”
“Says the one who used it one me!”
“I was planning to fix your habit of wetting the bed in your sleep!”
“You were laughing like no tomorrow!”
“I mean, you were being so hammy, like, ‘IS THE FOOD NOT DONE YET, BOSS!?’ Pfft — Hehhehheh, oh man, now I remember–“
The Familiar Brainwashing Pact had been a topic of research even 5,000 years ago, with the objective being to make stronger Familiars out of monsters or beasts with violent natures.
It was truth that those who employed such powerful Familiars would be crowned an influential figure of their generation.
Naturally, Mages had often attempted to form Familiar Pacts with powerful creatures, with some successfully employing Dragons and the like, but more often than not, the creatures would end up killed, their power unable to be suppressed by the Pact alone.
Which brought them to the subject of the Brainwashing Pact… a special function substitution based on the formula-less method, but it was not doable by just any block headed mage.
Its usage ran the risk of spontaneous arcane discharge, possibly resulting in death. With that in consideration, not many mages were willing to use it, nor did any want to pursue the subject further.
I did not necessarily want to, either. But with some special methods, I had succeeded in its research.
With that, I had made Pochi perfectly obedient, and got tired of it not even a day in.
A Pochi who does not oppose me is no Pochi — No laughter, no anger, no tears, no ill expression — I had realized that such control over others’ emotions should not be permitted.
It may be worth mentioning that memories while being brainwashed seemed to remain. Meaning, Pochi had gotten severely mad at me afterwards.
“…You said you were Asley, yes?”
“Yes, Miss Irene.”
Which reminds me… I might have heard the name ‘Irene’ from somewhere?
“One of the Six Archmages, Irene the Invincible Sprout, has taken interest in you, for you have succeeded in such a mad subject of research. You pass.”
Aha, Irene as in Irene of the Six Archmages. In order to maximize arcane energy circulation in her body, she had halted the growth of her body at the point where its arcane energy potential was at its peak… I see, so that explains her short stature.
An ever-growing pool of arcane energy… That also applied to me, but the way she had gone about it must have taken a lot of courage.
“Um… What about the practical demonstration?”
“Bah, now that you reminded me… It would be unfair treatment if I don’t have you do something. Not that there’s the need, though, considering you were the previous candidate’s mentor…”
Thereafter, I went through some simple magic spell demonstrations, which anyone who had read a few volumes of the Magic University-published preparatory books would have passed.
They included destroying a distant target with attack magic, healing the wounds of a lab rat with recovery magic, and invoking the same support magic spells as the examiner.
“That was perfect. The previous candidate did have the same performance, though.”
“Is that all, then?”
“The next one is the last. The examination is already over, but considering that you did everything perfectly, I thought I’d throw in an extra difficult problem for you to solve. The two previous candidates couldn’t quite solve it. And it’s not mandatory to take it, either… so what will you do?”
From what she said, the candidate before Lina must have had perfect performance as well.
I’d rather avoid attention to myself, but I’ll admit that I’m quite tempted…
“It’ll be a problem if he were to fall behind his pupil. Of course he’ll do it!”
Once again, Pochi has gone ahead and gotten me in trouble.
“Very good… Fire & Remote Control!”
Irene created a one-meter diameter fireball from a Spell Circle and suspended it in the middle of the classroom.
“Make this Fire spell disappear from this room.”
“There is no water around, and the fire looks strong… Is there an alternative to destroying it with a powerful spell, Master?”
“And you’re not permitted to destroy this room — The damages come out of my paycheck, you see.”
“Hmm, decisions, decisions…”
“The two previous candidates have opted out at this optional stage, but what about you?”
Make the fireball disappear from the classroom. Without destroying the room.
Now, what to do… I do have a few methods off the top of my head, if I want to not be too showy, my choices are limited.
“…Will you opt-out? You will still pass, of course.”
“Well, no, there are so many approaches to choose from, you see…”
“Hmm, guess I’ll use these? …Rise, A-rise, A-rise, Remote Control & Parasitic Control.”
With Remote Control, I slid open the door, and with Parasitic Control, I took over control of Irene’s Fire spell.
Irene’s Spell Circle crackled with bluish-white sparks and shattered. With Irene losing control of her spell, I took it over.
Slowly, I directed it out of the classroom.
“Whew… Now the Fire Spell has disappeared from this room, yes?”
“…Did you just… Control another mage’s spell?”
“I’ve used the safest and fastest method I have. Well, now that the Spell Circle is gone, I have to make sure to put the Fire out, too.”
I made a gesture of crushing the Fire spell outside of the classroom. The fireball promptly shrunk as if being compressed, and finally disappeared.
“…What did you do this time?”
“I’ve compressed and absorbed the Fire spell’s arcane energy with a pressuring trick. I could’ve done this from the beginning, but… It’s not magic, you see. So I thought I’d use some proper magic on it first.”
“You think things over too much, Master. I would’ve just peed on it.”
So uncivilized. Pochi can be too dog-like in her mindset sometimes.
Irene folded her arms, seemingly still disturbed.
“…Asley, may I have a word?”
Irene asked, shaking the disturbance off her head.
“What is it?”
“You said you had many approaches? For future reference, I’d like to hear them.”
“Hmm, it’s dirty, but I could have multiplied my saliva to put the fire out… or I could whittle it down with a wind spell, or make a vacuum–“
“…Is something the matter? Feel free to continue.”
I couldn’t help but feel that I had done too much. No matter how I looked, Irene was now scrutinizing me with a researcher’s eyes. If this kept up, I would surely be barraged with questions down the line.
“Well, the rest is trade secret.”
“Bah, that’s no fair.”
This may sound childish on my part, but why should I disclose my magic repertoire to some kid? Well, I do want to be careful going about saying that to her.
I approached Irene, who seemed slightly agitated still. With my staff held up, I used it as a mental flame shield of sorts.
“There will be plenty of time once I’m enrolled. If you want to know that much, you could try stealing them.”
“Y-you cheeky little… You do realize that I have the authority to fail you, right?”
Irene and I circled around in a standoff, with her firing at me one question after another.
What she had said was true, but since I don’t necessarily need to be here, so her threats did nothing to faze me.
“But you do realize that if my Master didn’t get in, those countless answers might elude you for the rest of your life, right?”
Wonderful follow-up, doggo. With that, Irene finally stopped her feet.
Irene’s cheeks reddened up, finally realizing that she might have been digging her own grave. Seeing her as quite adorable, I scratched my chin and nodded.
“V-very well, then… Once you’re enrolled, I’ll personally expose every one of your assets!”
Now she’s gone and got me imagining myself being stripped naked by a little girl. Which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but…
“I appreciate your passion, but I’d rather not be subject to that.”
“Wha– I didn’t mean it in that way!”
“What do you even mean by ‘that way’?”
Now Irene was as red as a boiled octopus.
To the point of having steam come off her head, though that might just be my visualization.
“L-look, you passed! Leave this room, now!”
As if kicked out of the room by Irene, Pochi and I excused ourselves.
We looked at each other as the door slammed shut.
“I passed, she said.”
“She did, indeed.”
“So let’s be on our way, yeah?”
With all that said and done, and not seeing the receptionist lady around, we headed back to the front reception counter.
The lady was there chatting away with Lina; she stood up as we approached.
Upon seeing me, Lina happily called me as she rushed over.
“How did it go?”
“I nailed it!”
Lina’s expression spontaneously brightened up as she shook my hands in delight.
“Congratulations! Of course there’s no way you’d fail!”
“Ah, yeah… Thanks.”
“Half of that was thanks to me, though!”
And Pochi was as boastful as ever.
But yes, I was quite surprised myself. I’d never thought Pochi would have so much knowledge in magic.
“You did great, too, Pochi!”
“Boy, my Master was such a handful to take care of!”
“Hey, you can be so cruel sometimes, you know that?”
“Hu hu hu, I suppose congratulations are in order. The Magic University welcomes you two, excellent mages.”
The receptionist lady called out to all of us.
“I told you Sir Asley would pass, Miss Trace!”
“As I would expect of one who employs a Familiar. Pardon my belated introduction — I am Trace, assigned the privilege of supervising new students this year.”
Trace expressed her gratitude. She certainly looked beautiful and had a faint sweet fragrance to her… Could it be perfume?
Though a teacher, she still is a city girl, so she must be taking good care of her appearance. Lina seemed to smell it as well, and was now studying the mature charms that she had never seen in Mana.
“By new students, you mean you will be in charge of us as well? Please do treat us well.”
“Especially my Master, ma’am!”
“A-and me, too!”
“Now then, let me provide some explanations regarding your enrollment. Please follow me to the reception office.”
With a beautifully refined gesture, Trace called us to follow along, and so we promptly did.
Thinking about the examination I had undergone, it was been quite simple, but it filled me with a sense of exaltation that I hadn’t felt in a long time.
And so begins my second school life.