Chapter 136 32.2 – Mid-terms
‘This reminds me of the college times.’
I thought, looking at the exam paper before me. The me from Earth had been admitted to one of the best national colleges in his country.
Therefore, he had his fair share of exams, both before admission and after starting as an undergraduate.
The questions on the exam paper had a certain familiarity to them, just like the engineering courses I had taken back on Earth. It was almost like a flashback to my college days when I’d spend my time preparing for similar tests.
The first question on the page seemed like a nod to classical physics. It read, ‘Calculate the maximum velocity a hunter can achieve when applying a continuous force of 500 Newtons to a mana-propelled vehicle weighing 300 kilograms with 2.7 M density. Assume negligible air resistance and conductivity c=10.’
It was a straightforward problem involving Newton’s second law of motion and required applying concepts I had learned in my college days. Of course, there were some weird things that wouldn’t normally make sense.
Firstly, the name of Newton. In this world, rather than being a simple physicist, he was actually a mage who rose the ranks in the mage tower in the past.
‘Developers were lazy.’ I thought, jotting down the formula, and started working through the math.
The first exam was [Introduction to Mana for Hunters], and this course wasn’t that hard from my point of view since it was just an introduction and the formulas used weren’t that hard.
I was already familiar with the concept of last week’s cramming and solving the past exam questions, and because I didn’t neglect my weekly reviews after the lessons, I was able to keep the knowledge in my head.
Adding my trait into the equation, these written exams were nothing but a simple maze in which I knew the path to reach the end.
Just like that, the exams continued, and in two days, everything was finished. Normally, it was something inhumane, but because the academy was growing Awakened Humans who had both supernatural body and mind, they didn’t regard their mental health.
Five exams in two days was like hell for most of the students.
Day 1: [Introduction to Mana for Hunters] – [Bestiary 1]
Day 2: [Dungeon Theory] – [History of Continent 1] – [Understanding of Combat]
The schedule was in such a manner, and at the end of the day, almost all of the students were left exhausted at their desks.
Some of them were sleeping, and some of them were just trying to clear their heads.
And, of course, there were bound to be people who always talked about the exam questions after it finished.
“Hey, could you solve the second question?”
“The one with spear trajectory?”
“Yeah, that one.”
“I don’t know, man. I skipped the spear section, thinking they wouldn’t ask about it, but they asked. How unlucky I am?”
Listening to the students talking like that, Sylvie felt a touch on her left arm.
“How were your exams?” It was Jasmine.
“It could be said fine.”
Sylvie looked at Jasmine, her face expressing a mixture of exhaustion and surprise. “Well, some of the questions were quite challenging, but I think I managed to solve them thanks to… some help.”
Jasmine raised an eyebrow. “Help?” At first, she slightly questioned, but as her exam-fried brain worked, she understood what she was talking about. “Ah….”
After all, she was there watching when they were studying together.
“Was it really thanks to him?” Jasmine asked.
“Yes. The exact question he solved was in the exam.”
“Ah, that one….”
“Don’t tell me you forgot?”
Seeing Jasmine lowering her gaze, Sylvie couldn’t help but shake her head. Her friend was weird sometimes. She was the sole reason she asked Astron, but she didn’t even listen to her.
What kind of setup was this?
“Sigh…You really need to be careful about your notes.”
‘Stupid Jasmine.’ Sylvie thought, wanting to punish this girl, but she refrained.
“Ho, girls, you are here.” With Danielle’s appearance, the trio gathered once again.
“Let’s hang out today; I am so tired.”
SWOOSH! SWOOSH! SWOOSH!
In the training rooms of the academy, I was standing, firing arrows continuously.
“My speed has improved.”
As the written exams met their end, the only thing that was left was the practical exam. Of course, when the name practical exam is mentioned, what comes into one’s mind would be dungeons or sparring.
This was what we have been doing so far, and that would be the case in this one as well.
‘Solo dungeon raid.’
We were expected to raid a dungeon all alone. Since the academy did have specially crafted artificial dungeons, they could adjust the strength terrain of the dungeon accordingly.
According to one’s rank, they would be assigned to a specific dungeon that was adjusted to their strength, and then they would be ranked according to their performance.
Of course, the word ‘Solo’ didn’t mean you needed to complete the dungeon all alone. It was just there weren’t any predetermined teams while entering, different from the practical lessons before.
Therefore, in the game, there were quite a lot of students who ganged upon others by simply grouping together and having a momentary truce.
Though, in the end, when it came to scores, those momentary truces would be broken.
“Let’s see which dungeon I will be assigned to,” I mumbled as I grabbed my bow for another training session.
Just at that moment, I was startled by the sound of a notification, and my bowstring slipped from my fingers. I turned my attention to the holographic interface that appeared before me from my watch, displaying the academy’s emblem and a message that held my future:
[Academy Notification: Solo Dungeon Assignment]
[Assigned Dungeon: B-3]
The Arcadia City was the capital of the Human Federation, Valerian. It had countless towering buildings that reached the sky.
Guilds flocked to those buildings, and lower-ranking ones were left with normal buildings.
Inside one of those small buildings, a young woman was sitting at the table looking at the picture of a young kid.
“Don’t worry, son; mother will avenge you soon.”
The image she held was that of a young boy, a cheeky smile on her face, a stark contrast to the solemn room, and the hatred in the woman’s eyes. “They think they can just take you from me and get away with it. They don’t care about your life, about the pain you suffered.”
Her fists clenched, and a trembling anger gripped him. “The authorities, the so-called protectors of the people, they couldn’t care less. They brushed it under the rug, called it a ‘tragic accident,’ and moved on. But I won’t move on.”
The woman’s fists were squeezed to the point where they were fully white. The hatred in her eyes was clear.
The young woman’s hands shook as she pulled out a small report and a set of documents from a hidden drawer. The room was dimly lit, and the only sound was the heavy thumping of her heart.
As she leafed through the documents, she saw the details of the incident that had taken her son and two other children. Her vision blurred as she read the chilling account of that fateful day, and the pain washed over her once again.
“The authorities did nothing… They just let this happen,” she muttered through gritted teeth. “And the survivor, Astron Natusalune… He’s the one who took you from me.”
The hatred in her eyes burned even brighter as she read Astron’s name.
She didn’t know who had provided her with these documents as suddenly they appeared in her office with a small note.
“Don’t you want to know why your son died?”
That was what they had written in that note, and without even thinking, she opened the document.
And there, she found what they had been searching for this long. The details of the incident. She read the lines over and over again.
“All three cadets had died because of the claw marks of the Unclassified Monster.”
This was what they knew as well. But, the shocking things were what came afterward.
“In the scene when we arrived, the three students were already dead. We could see the dead body of the monster and one cadet, later his name was confirmed as Astron Natusalune, injured while his dagger was stabbing the monster.”
When she read this, she couldn’t understand. The sole survivor was the last ranked student, who had overwhelmingly lower strength than other cadets.
But, things revealed themselves as she read further.
“After the autopsy and investigation of the crime scene, it was concluded that the monster died after the students were already gravely injured. There were traces of Holy Mana and Lighting attributed to mana in the environment. It was found that the mana came from none of the students but the one-time usage consumables, Holy-Radiance Scroll and Thunderstrike Orb, purchased by Astron Natusalune in the same week.
According to the DNA and Mana analysis, it was found that the monster used the Shadow attribute and contained demonic energy comparable to a rank-10 demon. From the experiments, it was later revealed that the monster is weak to both Holy and Lightning mana when used at the correct time.
It is being suspected that the monster was a demon without humanoid properties, but further investigation is needed.”
As she read the report, she understood one thing.
‘My son was set up.’
The material Astron Natusalune coincidentally bought this week turned out to be the weakness of the monster in the forest. Any sane person would easily understand the link between the two.
The woman’s hands trembled as she continued to read the report, each word fueling her rage. The realization that her son had been set up, that he was the victim of a cruel scheme, sent her into a fit of anger.
With a furious, almost animalistic growl, she seized the pen she had been holding and snapped it in half, the sound of it cracking echoing through the dimly lit room. She felt a deep, seething hatred for Astron Natusalune, the one she believed responsible for the death of her son.
“I will make him pay,” she hissed to herself, her voice filled with venom. “He’ll pay for what he did to my boy.”
Just as her mind swirled with thoughts of revenge, the door to her office swung open. The woman turned to see the person she had been expecting, a sinister smile creeping across her face.
‘He said we shouldn’t do something reckless, but I can’t wait anymore.’ She thought.
The newcomer was the person that was sent by them. From the moment her son died and the authorities didn’t do anything about it, she knew where she would be standing at this point.
His eyes held a dark and ominous glint, and he seemed unfazed by the hatred that radiated from the woman.
“Madam, it seems you’ve found what you were looking for,” he said, his voice dripping with a malevolent undertone.
The woman nodded, her eyes locked on the demon contractor. “Yes, and I want you to help me make sure Astron Natusalune doesn’t make it through another day in this world. I want him dead.”
The demon contractor grinned, revealing sharp, predatory teeth. “Understood, madam, you can leave him to us, though you do know how we are getting paid, don’t you?”
The woman nodded, her eyes unwavering as she gazed at the sinister demon contractor. “I am aware of your payment, and I have already made arrangements.”
The woman stood for a second.
“The orphanage you requested is complete.”