Saturday, May 21, 2022 @

Chapter 70 Dining and Final Exam

  "I see... that's what happened."
 In the Baskerville family's mansion, Aeris Centorea says this deeply while having dinner in the dining room.
 At the entrance, we met Aeris, who had turned into a yandere, and from then on, I tried to put her in a good mood, since she had been excluded from the date.
 Aeris, with eyes that looked like a mixture of all kinds of misfortunes, was absolutely terrifying. Not only me, but even Urza and Nagisa's faces were wrinkled with shivers.
 After about an hour of quieting her down, hugging her from behind and patting her head, I finally succeeded in getting her back to her usual calm expression.
 At dinner time, we sat around the table and talked about the events of the day.
 "No way, it's just a coincidence that you met Brave-san. And I didn't expect Zenon-sama and Brave-san to fight a duel..."
 "Brave wasn't weak either. But still... his lack of training was still noticeable. I'm sure I will win if I have to fight him a hundred times."
 I say my honest opinion as I put the knife-cut meat into my mouth.
 Leon Brave is a hero, and his potential is overwhelming.
 Not to mention me, even Nagisa and Urza can't beat the fully grown Leon.
 Even so... Leon, who has unintentionally avoided the trials he should have gone through because he was out of the regular scenario, was not that strong.
 For me, who had grown up by the shortest route using the knowledge of the game and the items, he was not a threat by any means.
 "But... he may turn out to be a good opponent after this defeat."
 Otherwise, it's meaningless.
 I need Leon to defeat the Demon King so that I can live peacefully from now on.
 If the Demon King can be defeated without Leon, I can leave him alone... but the blood of the hero is indispensable to seal the resurrected Demon King.
 And there is already less than half a year until the Demon King comes back to life. Leon must grow up before then.
 "He didn't look like he had that much guts, desu~no. That ball-less guy looks fragile, desu~no"
 Urza gives a withering assessment as she bites into a hunk of roast beef.
 Please don't tell him. Although his ball has been kicked and bruised... maybe it's still attached.
 "Fumu... Brave was not bad with the sword. The problem is that he is too good-natured."
 Nagisa, who has changed into a loungewear designed like a yukata (Japanese summer kimono), also evaluates Leon in this way.
 "I don't mean to say that being lonely is strength. I understand that there is strength to protect. It's just... he lacked the desperation to be strong at all costs. Perhaps, he has never experienced defeat in his life."
 Nagisa stirs the soup with a spoon, a somewhat melancholy expression on her face.
 "Defeat and humiliation are hard and painful, but they are also food for leaps and bounds. I guess that man never experienced a decisive defeat, so he was never saddened by his weakness and impatient with his strength."
 "...I suppose that's true."
 Nagisa Seikai, a female swordsman, experienced the 'decisive defeat' of having her school and family eliminated, which gave her the strength to fight through to this point.
 Her words came from that experience, and they were as heavy as gold.
 I believe that Leon was supposed to get such a decisive defeat in the battle against gargoyles.
 The correct scenario would have been that he would not be able to defeat the gargoyle and that his classmates would die because of it... and that he would use that defeat as an opportunity to grow as a hero.
 "...I wish my fight with him could be the substitute for that..."
 I murmur somberly and put a piece of meat in my mouth.
 This meat is of the finest quality, seasoned by a skilled chef and it is melted on the tongue.
 But, perhaps because I was worried about Leon, I couldn't taste it at all.
 "...I don't like it. It's useless for me to be worrying about it."
 No matter what I worry about, Leon does not suddenly become stronger.
 As a villain, as a hated character, I've done all I can.
 All that remains is to trust the hero's guts.
 "I'll see the results soon anyway... and I'm looking forward to it on the final exam."
 "If I recall correctly, the exams start next week. Oh dear... I've been so busy that I haven't been able to study at all. What should I do?"
 Aeris pressed her cheeks with her hands troubledly.
 The final examinations at the academy consist of both written and practical tests.
 The written examinations are the same as those at ordinary Japanese schools. The answers to the written examinations are based on what you have learned in class.
 In the practical test, on the other hand, the students form a party of four and work together to defeat monsters and collect items in a specific area.
 The rarer the monster or item is, the higher the score is, so it becomes a real competition.
 "Oh, by the way..."
 Nagisa murmurs as if she remembers and tilts her head.
 "We've been diving in dungeons instead of going to the school lately...perhaps the party is being decided in a place where we're absent?"
"No... the party assignment for the final exam is supposed to be flexible. There is no such thing as being assigned to a party without permission. However..."
 We need to form a party for the final exam.
 Aeris, Nagisa and I will be on a team of three. Urza can't participate in the final exam because she is not an official student.
 "Uuu, now Urza is left out!"
 "Don't be upset. I'll buy you some sweets next time... But still, do we need to find one more party member somewhere? Can't we participate in the exam if there are only three of us?"
 In the game, Ciel, Aeris, and Nagisa were already in the party by the time of the summer final exam, so there was no need to worry about the number of party members.
 But what happened if the members could not be gathered?
 "As I recall... if we don't have enough members, we are supposed to participate with the number of members we don't have. The score of the practical test is equally divided by the number of members, so I don't think it would be too much of a disadvantage even if there are three members..."
 Aeris answers my question.
 In the practical test, points are awarded for defeating monsters and collecting items in each test area.
 In the end, the scores are divided equally among the members of the party, and the results are graded.
 "In that case, it would be better not to increase the number of members. If we bring in a person of half ability into the party, he or she will be a liability, and the score will be taken away by the increase in the number of members."
 "I agree. I think we should challenge with these members"
 Nagisa agrees with me.
 The female swordsman, who is a strong fighter, seems to be of the same opinion as me... On the other hand, Aeris is thinking with a difficult expression on her face.
 "It's unbalanced that we don't have any offensive magic user... But there are probably already some talented wizards in the other party, and it's going to be difficult to find them now, isn't it?"
 "I agree. There will not be any good wizards left."
 "Besides... we can't have any more girls around Zenon-sama. I can't stand it if I'm excluded again."
 I looked away silently, not knowing what to say to Aeris' words.

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