Chapter 4.2: The entrance exam ── Couldn’t think of anything in particular

The signal commenced the start of the test, and Hyria opened her mouth before the test could proceed further.
"First, let us begin with introductions. May I know your name?"
"Reese Louise"
"Louise? I've never heard of that family name."
"Ah, that's probably because I'm just the son of the Louise family that lives in a small town in the middle of nowhere."
As soon as she realized that I was merely a 'commoner', blatant contempt showed itself in Hyria's expression.
"The amount of ignorance for a commoner to dare step into the honorable threshold of Geniuses. I won't say anything further. Now run along before you realize what an insignificant little existence you really are."
So, this is the noble teacher we were talking about earlier. Then that means the worn-out old man was the trustworthy one? You really can't judge a book by its cover huh?
… Or maybe, instead of treating nobles and commoners equally, he simply disregards both all the same?
"Tsk, seems you won't understand until you feel the pain."
"I don't really have a hobby of being oppressed though. If you ask me, I'd rather be on the dominant side."
"Nobody asked you about such a thing!"
It was just meant as a joke to lighten the atmosphere though. Well, she certainly has a bad temper, that’s for sure.
…That aside, the thing about me not being into masochism, wasn’t a joke, so don't doubt it.
"Well, this is also fine. I'll just have to show you the reality, whether you like it or not. This is how commoners turn simply powerless before pure noble bloodlines.
Finishing her ending piece, Hyria held her hands out in front of her. The next second, a glowing geometric pattern centered around her palm-- a magic circle appeared in the air.
In theory, there are several stages of preparation required to activate magic.
First step: Extracting mana from your body.
Second step: Using your mana as fuel, draw a complete magical circle.
Third and final step: Infusing the amount of mana needed to activate the magical circle.
The origin of the word [Magic] is derived from the phrase; 'Deciphering the laws of magical phenomena'. There are various phenomena in the world, which are bound by natural laws. Magic is generated by reproducing these laws in the form of a magic circle, or so to say, a technique that simulates a natural phenomenon in a pseudo-realistic manner.
[Flame Bullet]
Hyria released a [Flame Bullet]. It was the most basic type of fire attribute magic, which fired a flaming projectile at the desired target. Usually, an ordinary magician would take about three seconds to draw a magical circle from start to finish-- this is called 'projection'. But as a teacher, Hyria's time, from projection to activation took less than a single second.
The triumphant look on Hyria's face just then slightly irked me.
I calmly cast my magic in response. Similar to Hyria, I also projected a magic circle around the palm of my hand. Following that, a translucent circle that was about one meter in diameter appeared.
The [Flame Bullet] clashed against the barrier and exploded before disappearing. Other than a slight vibration, there wasn't any particular problem on my end.
Hyria's triumphant look became distorted as the [Flame Bullet] was blocked without any difficulty. However, after a little while, she soon regained her not-so-beautiful smile.
"I see. So it seems you can handle things slightly well. But to use an elementary-level barrier magic that any novice would know. As I thought, you aren't qualified to enter the Genius School of Magic after all."
Enough with that already. Just hurry up and shoot.
"...Alright. Next time I'll put a little more effort into it. [Flame Arrow]!"
A magic circle more complex than that of a [Flame Bullet] was projected, and a flaming arrow was soon released. The [Flame Arrow] possessed a higher penetrating power than a typical flame bullet. It took Hyria one second to finish her projection, but for an ordinary magician, it would have taken nearly five seconds to activate.
That strangely irksome triumphant look resurfaced on Hyria's face, triggering me a little yet again.
I calmly activated my magic again without a hurry. A circle of the same size as before appeared before me.
The [Flame Arrow] collided with the barrier, followed by a slight vibration like before, then it bounced off producing some noise, and disappeared without an issue.
The look on Hyria's face became even more twisted than before, seeing that the flame arrow was also blocked. However, she still managed to mend it with a smile somehow.
"... Well well, aren’t you doing pretty good for yourself? Even so, you used the same barrier magic again. It's common sense not to use barriers many times in a row, as it is foolish. Or, could it be that you aren't able to use any other magic than a simple barrier by any chance?"
That's not true. It's just that there's no need to use it at the moment.
"... It's time for a change of pace. Let's get a little more serious this time. [Flame Spear]!"
The magic circle this time was more complex than [Flame Bullet] and [Flame Arrow]. In addition to the penetrative power of a flame arrow, the [Flame Spear] also contained an increased intensity of heat.
It's a type of time-consuming magic, which normally cannot be activated without the aid of allies in battle. And yet, it was completed in merely three seconds.
I cast my magic without panicking or freaking out. Yet again, a circle appeared before me, which was the exact same size as the previous two times.
Then the flame spear collided with the barrier. This time I felt a slight tremor but the barrier was still intact. On the other hand, the flame spear blasted away with a loud roar before disappearing.
At that point, Hyria's cheeks were starting to twitch so much that it was clearly visible from the outside. Her face distorted so badly to the point that she seemed to be having trouble regaining her composure.
"Impossible… To cast a barrier that can withstand my flame spear in such a short time. It just doesn't make sense, this is impossible…"
Hyria kept muttering to herself, her expression tightening as if she was holding back.
"...But since that barrier was strong enough to defend against my [Flame Spear], the mana left in that bastard’s body must be almost empty by now."
This time Hyria began to draw a magic circle with both hands, instead of simply using one hand as she did before.
"This is fine. I may have underestimated you a little too much before. But no matter, be honored as I am going to take you seriously this time."
A magic circle, which was way more complicated than [Flame Spear], slowly started projecting itself.
"Don’t worry. the headmaster should be able to treat you even if your arms get blown off. -- Eat this! [Combustion Cannon]!!”
[Combustion Cannon] is a type of magic that boasts a high degree of difficulty to master. So much so that one would be recognized as a first-class magician simply by learning how to activate it. Its penetrative power may be inferior to that of a flame spear but the intensity of the fire and the sheer heat it contains is far greater in comparison.
--Hey hey, isn't this going a bit far from the level of a simple mock battle? Isn't the headmaster or that old man teacher going to stop this?
Fine then, I'll block it myself.
The [Combustion Cannon] slammed into the defense barrier with a tremendously loud explosion. Although the explosion didn't reach me, a sizable impact ran up along my arm as I blocked it and I was left all covered up in dust that blew into the air by the explosion.
Due to the hefty magical power consumption of using this magic, Hyria's cheeks were flushed and coated in sweat. Her shoulders heaved up and down as she was heavily breathing out in exhaustion. Even so, her face glowed with a confident smile of victory.
In her mind, a barrier that could block a [Combustion Cannon] simply didn’t exist in the world. After a few seconds, the dust that obscured her view finally blew away, promptly revealing the sight of me standing there alive and well. Faced with such a sight, Hyria finally let out a loud scream while clutching her head.
"Impossible! I've never heard of a novice magic capable of blocking a [Combustion Cannon]!! What the hell is going on here!?"
That's just the way it is.
──Well, it was a good warm-up and all. But was that really all?

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