Midterms and Study Application Form (5)

“The examination will begin at 11 o’clock.
The examination is 2 hours in total.
Students who have completed the examination may leave in advance.
Any students caught using magic will instantly be counted as cheating.
Now then, please get ready.”

The exam was finally here.
The five-days examination period was tightly organised.
Just like the prestigious Lexley Academy’s entrance exam, the difficulty level of the exam and questions were tough.
I was confused at first, but following Senior Jimbo’s previous explanation, I slowly began to solve it. 

When I glanced at Leto next to me, his expression didn’t look too good and appeared to be quite lost.
In fact, there was a rumour that there had only been one person who scored perfectly in the Lexley Academy, where talented students attend.
It wasn’t strange for Leto to have a hard time.
Naturally, I was also having a hard time.

After an hour passed, the students began to leave the classroom one by one.
As the number of students leaving increased, I became nervous all of a sudden.

There was one question left that hasn’t been solved.

‘No, what on earth happened to the difficulty level?’

The remaining question was truly the hardest difficulty.

I was even doubting if it was a question made to be solved.
After reading one sentence, I figured I should simply skip it, so I skimmed through the solution process to answer the remaining questions.
A groan could be heard from behind me as though they had seen the last question.
I fully understand now.
There’s a reason why there was only one perfect score at the Lexley Academy so far.

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Who on earth scored perfectly? Once again, I became curious.
What kind of monster is that……I placed down my pen, leaving the last question unsolved.
I had completed enough and it didn’t seem like there was anything else I could work on anymore.
Finished, Leto also placed his pen down and only checked the last question he had solved. 

He appeared to solve the last question, as his answer sheet was filled up.
I got up first.
There were already about half of the students left in the classroom.
I left the classroom first and waited for Leto.
Fortunately, he came out within a few minutes.

His complexion was dark.
Seeing him sighing deeply as he came out, it didn’t seem like he did well on that exam.

“Shall we go to the cafeteria?”

I didn’t even bother asking him about the exam.
We headed to the cafeteria for lunch.
The students who finished the exam had already begun to talk about the exam.
The noise inside the cafeteria became louder than usual.

There was even a kid crying while eating.
The faces of the students who had tasted the Lexley Academy’s challenge for the first time held empty smiles and dazed expressions.
Leto and I were no different.
Leto scooped more strawberry jam on his plate than usual and sat down.

“As expected, it’s not easy.”

He spoke for the first time.
It was a voice full of complaints.

“But wouldn’t the next core exam be better?”

“I wouldn’t take it easy either way.”

Leto mentioned something akin to an honour student and took a bite of his bread.
He murmured while glancing at the sausage on his plate before opening his mouth to ask my thoughts.

“How about you? You studied in a group.”

“The study group benefited a lot.”

I said with a small smile.
What I’ve learned from Senior Jimbo so far has been a great help.
I wasn’t able to solve the last question, but all the other questions were easily solved because of what Senior Jimbo had taught me.

Did his interest spike a little when I talked about this? Leto was paying attention to my words for the first time.
Just then, I happened to notice Senior Jimbo in the distance.
I tapped Leto and pointed at Senior Jimbo.

“That’s the senior.”

When I said that, Leto searched for him and instantly narrowed his eyes.
Maybe he recognised him?

“……He looks pretty.”

He murmured.

“What?”

“I thought the mentor would be a senior.
It doesn’t look like that’s the case at all.”

“He is a senior.”

“……It’s different from what I imagined.
I thought it would be a four-eyed guy.
He looks pretty.”

No, you’re also a top student, but you’re pretty and handsome too, Leto.

Leto was staring at Senior Jimbo with a dissatisfied face.
Could it be that Leto hates pretty men? At that moment, Senior Jimbo raised his head and looked up, perhaps noticing our gaze.

As soon as our eyes met, I waved my hand warmly.
Contrary to my expectation that he would return the greeting, Senior Jimbo turned his side to the side and gave out a long yawn.
It looked like he hadn’t slept again.
It was incredible to take the exam in that condition.

“Are you close?”

Seeing Senior Jimbo ignoring my greeting, Leto relieved his frown.

“……Maybe?”

“Sometimes, I think that you don’t like women, you just like pretty people.”

His sharp words startled me.

“He’s just a mentor, nothing more.”

“Really?

Leto snorted.
At least, he seemed a little relieved.
I wasn’t sure which part he was relieved of.
Leto and I resumed eating our meal and talked about the next core exam.
When I was having a heated discussion with him about the anticipation of an easier difficulty than this major class, someone tapped my head.

When I looked up, it was Senior Jimbo.
He looked down at me with his drowsy eyes and ruffled my hair.

“Did you do well on the exam?”

He asked in a tired voice.

“May……be?”

“Maybe? What’s this?”

Senior Jimbo smirked and moved his hand on my head into his pocket.

“Do well in the remaining exams.”

He left the cafeteria after that casual remark.
A smile gradually grew on my face, as if I had gained a little bit of strength thanks to my senior’s support.
And when I looked in front, I saw Leto staring at me with a sour expression.

He looked at Senior Jimbo’s back and my face alternately before placing the fork in his hand on the plate.
He appeared quite upset.

“What’s the name of the group?”

“Lexley.”

When I answered, Leto nodded his head and chewed on his bread again.
Don’t tell me he was going to join? He didn’t seem very fond of Senior Jimbo.
I didn’t know why, but ever since Senior Jimbo came and left, his expression looked as if he was chewing on crap.

Afterwards, we went to the library to study before going straight to one of the core subject exams.
Contrary to our heated discussion at the cafeteria, the exam turned out easier than I thought.
The students rose quickly from their seats since the questions were solved rather swiftly without needing to spend much time on them.
It was the same case for me and Leto.

*  *  *

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After the first day of the exams, we fully concentrated on the rest of our studies.
During the whole time, I went to the library, returned to the dorm, studied again, ate and read the textbooks.
And when the next day came, Leto and I had a liberal arts exam prepared by Professor Hartz, which we were both worried about.

The level of difficulty was not hard, but the questions were all bizarre and confusing.
The one-whole page question alone took time to read it.
It felt very much like Professor Hartz, who was infamous for being picky.

However, it was still possible to solve the question by analysing it.
The question wasn’t confusing enough for me to curse out loud.
From what we learned from Professor Hartz’s class, Leto and I were able to solve the question and finish the remaining exam.
After that, almost all our conversations revolved around the exam. 

“How was the exam, Leah?”

“……Sigh.”

“I see.”

“You?”

“……Can I curse?”

“I fully understand how you feel.”

That was our only conversation.
Apart from that, we did not disturb each other.
The main reason being that we had no power left in us to bother.
The Lexley Academy exams were intense and difficult.
It wasn’t just us, other students have complained to me as well.

There was a kid in my class that cried while taking the exam.
One kid even collapsed and gave up on the exam.
When the five-day examination period was over, the students ran out of the main building as if their reins had been released.
The courtyard became full for some time. 

“Great job, Leah!”

When I handed Leto an orange juice, he smiled and reached his arm out.
There were dark circles on Leto’s face from how hard he worked.

But looking at his smile, Leto seemed happy after the exam was over.

Now, you can rest in the dorm……

“Hey, the seniors told us to gather up!”

A notice was issued from our seniors.
It had been quiet before orientation and exams, but suddenly there was an assembly.
We tilted our heads before heading to the basement where our seniors were gathered. 

It was evening.
Our classmates, who came to the basement after the exam was over, complained as their free time was being stolen.
There was no one in the dark and musty basement.
Why on earth did they call us to gather?

The students became nervous as they bumped into each other.
After the exam, everyone felt exhausted since they couldn’t rest. 

【Lumeni.】

Suddenly, a magic spell was heard and torches sparked up the entire basement.
With the basement brightened up, the seniors could be seen surrounding us.
This place seemed more like a wine cellar.

The strong smell of alcohol made me feel drunk just by smelling it.
Among the seniors standing all around us, I found Senior Jimbo in front of me.
He stood sluggishly, yawning as if he had been dragged along.

“Congratulations on finishing your exam, freshmen!”

At that moment, a guy who appeared to be the representative shouted.
He wore a cardigan over his school uniform, his pants were folded up to his knees.

“At the Lexley Academy, we have a ceremony that takes place after the first exam! It’s a tradition of the Magics Department, so you have to experience it.
All of your seniors have been through it, so don’t complain too much! I’ll let you drink a bit before letting you go, so don’t be too scared!”

He said with a grin.
That face did not look like he’d let us go at all.
Perhaps the rest of the students noticed that as well and their complexions turned pale.
Damn tradition.

“What kind of nonsense is this?”

Only Leto expressed his thoughts and tried to escape the cellar.
When Leto tried to pull on the doorknob, the door instantly closed and locked itself.

“W-What?

Leto became puzzled and pushed the door, but it did not budge.

“It’s your choice to enter, but leaving is not an option.”

The representative said sarcastically and gestured the bottles in front of him to us.
Apparently, these many bottles were in our hands today.
The representative prepared several cups and handed them out to us one by one. 

“It’s considered a courtesy to drink all the alcohol your seniors give you.
I mean that everything will be fine, so shouldn’t you drink it all, freshmen?”

It was pure horror.

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