Chapter 12 – The Entrance Exam (3)

BY ARTHAS – JUNE 18, 2023


Ibella Elearde.

She stepped out of the arena, biting her lip tightly.
Her emerald eyes, shimmering through cascading locks of flowing hair, blazed with fury.

Her gaze of anger was directed straight towards the arena.

‘……..Himmel Deorg,’ she muttered.
A high nobleman of the Ruben Empire and the eldest son of Count Deorg, Himmel was a prodigy with the sword since childhood, he was formally knighted this time last year.

He was also Ibella's older brother, although their mothers were different.

“I shall not mince words.”

They were alone in the arena.
Himmel looked at Ibella with contempt in his eyes, “Realize your origins and lineage and graciously surrender.
It is for the sake of our family.”

Ibella was the illegitimate daughter of Count Deorg.
She inherited the Count's blood and talents, but was unfortunate enough not to inherit the family name, due to the opposition of the Countess and her vassals.
So she took her mother's surname, Elearde.

‘Heir and illegitimate child’

The difference between their statuses was world’s apart.
But if, by some chance, she were to injure or defeat Himmel? It would be no different from sullying the House Deorg.

She would never do anything to harm her family in the first place.
If she did, her mother would be furious with her, who was alone in her hometown.

‘That's why I hoped we'd never meet………’

Unfortunately, her wish did not come true.
As a result, Ibella chose a humiliating defeat for the sake of her mother.
Barely able to contain her anger, she quickly regained her composure.

‘But this will do.’

With this exam concluded, Ibella and Himmel's exams would no longer overlap.
So if she does well on the rest of her exams, she shouldn't have any trouble getting a passing grade.

With that thought, Ibella turned away.

She didn't want to be in the same room as Himmel anymore.
But then, out of nowhere, someone caught her eye.

“Ulan Bator, to Zone 12!”

The assistant supervisor called out.

A man with auburn hair made his way toward the arena; with his rare crimson eyes and a rather large physique, he possessed a distinctly masculine face.

Although she was somewhat drawn to that direction due to his handsome appearance, there was something else that captured her attention even more.

‘Huh? Why is he bare-chested?’

Unlike the rest of the examinees, Ulan was completely shirtless, and she could hear the other students chattering behind him.

“What is he doing?”

“Why is he walking around half-naked?”

“Could he be some kind of barbarian?”

“Oh, come on.”

“If he were from a barbaric tribe, he wouldn't have made it through the written exam.”

“Then why is he walking around without clothes?”

Doubts and speculations lingered in the air, trailing one after another.
Among them, at the mention of the word barbarians, Ibella nodded reflexively.
It was because it perfectly matched Ulan's image.


Upon closer observation, his physique was quite impressive; well-built muscles, especially in his back, were extraordinary, like those of a wild horse.
It was no wonder that her gaze kept involuntarily shifting in his direction.
However, belatedly, she became aware of her own behavior.

'Ahem! Well, it doesn't concern me.’

In embarrassment, she let out a needless cough and turned away.
No, she tried to turn away.

But then she saw the figures who once again caught her attention.
The boys who had entered the arena before Ulan.

‘Those guys are…..’

They were Himmel's men.
The low-level official's sons, the ones who hang out with Himel and act like bullies.
From the smug smiles on their faces, it was evident that they were up to something.
And just then, the iron gate of the arena slammed shut with a loud noise.

Clang! Clang! Clang!

The entrance disappeared ominously.

The eleven boys, except for Ulan, huddled together.
Each gripping a weapon, they all pointed it at Ulan.

Their intentions were plainly visible.

Ibella frowned.

'…..Despicable bastards.’

Ulan Bator, warrior of Zone 12.

At first glance, it was clear that he was skilled in combat.
After all, such muscles were the result of various practical experiences.

'That's why they wanted to deal with him first.’

Ibella's brow creased further.
Her expression showed her displeasure.
The other examinees were equally surprised.

“Huh? What is that?”

“Are they forming an alliance?”

“Supervisor! Is that acceptable?”

Numerous questions poured in from all directions and the answer soon came.

“It doesn't matter.
Whether it's an alliance or not, it's all happening within the confines of the arena.”

Ethan responded with a grim expression.

Meanwhile, the examinees were hiding their beads on their bodies.
Like the previous exam, most of them had placed the beads in their pockets or undergarments.

However, Ulan's method was a little different; he simply swallowed the bead directly.


He swallowed it in one gulp, without hesitation.

This sight caused Ibella and even the other examinees to widen their eyes in surprise.
Even Ethan, who had maintained a nonchalant expression throughout, was the same.

“Ha! He must be insane.”

Ethan burst out laughing.
And the term ‘insane’ was a perfect description.

No matter what, no one expected him to actually swallow the bead.

“D, Director!”

“W-What should we do in a situation like this?”

“Shouldn't we change the rules?”

“No, there won't be any rule changes.”

Ethan interrupted decisively; his expression filled with genuine amusement.

“Victory is only acknowledged when the bead is shattered.
If you wish to triumph, destroy the bead.
Even if it means thrusting a blade into that madman's belly!”

These words left the examinees bewildered, naturally taken aback.
Most of them were akin to delicate flowers sheltered in a greenhouse, lacking any experience in combat.
The concept of taking a life was foreign to them.

However, not everyone was flustered.

Some students, especially those in the Himmel group, had a murderous glint in their eyes; as if they were going to break the bead somehow.

‘Wrong decision,’ Ibella thought, her turquoise eyes narrowing.
But then, her gaze fell upon an unexpected sight.

It was none other than Ulan, who was smiling mischievously.

‘He's smiling? In that situation?’

Could it be that he hadn't grasped the situation yet?

Ibella was puzzled.
Even she, talented as she was with a sword, couldn't guarantee victory against those eleven opponents.
Ulran, however, seemed different.

The smile on his face was not one of despair, but of confident victory.
Intrigued by this sight, Ibella decided to observe his battle a little more closely.

“Let the battle commence!”

A resounding cry announced the start of the Great Brawl.
And in that very moment, the reason behind Ulan's confident attitude became evident.


With a thunderous roar, he lunged forward like an enraged rhinoceros, swiftly crashing into the leading boy.
Pow! Pow! There was a sickening thud as their bodies collided, accompanied by a sharp sound of something snapping.

The boy's limp body was sent soaring through the air like a loose puppet, crashing forcefully into a corner.
He lost consciousness before he could even let out a scream.
Naturally, the bead he carried shattered into pieces.


A momentary silence settled upon them, spreading a sense of quietude.
The remaining ten boys, along with the assistant supervisors, blinked in a dazed stupor.
They were unable to grasp the gravity of what had just unfolded before their eyes.

And amidst this interlude, a second victim emerged.

This time, it was a boy of a rather considerable size, his body seemingly too weighty to soar through the skies.
Ulan, recognizing this, seized him by the scruff of his neck with a savage grip.

“Hold on…!” The boy, belatedly regaining his senses, shouted with a contemplative expression.
It was his final declaration within the arena, the last words to escape his lips.


With a thunderous crash, the hefty body plummeted to the ground, impaling the earth with its mass.
As Ulan forcefully pinned the boy in an inverted position, a bead rolled out from his pocket, clattering as it tumbled.


A resounding crack!

Ulran crushed the bead underfoot, then swiftly turned his attention, seeking his next prey.
He needed to find his next quarry, his next target to pursue.

Just then, the assistant supervisor, barely regaining his composure, announced the outcome of the battle.

“R-Rian Arca! Eliminated!”

“Dalon Serti! Eliminated!”

Already, two had fallen, eliminated from the contest.
As the shouts of the assistant supervisor subsided, the boys within the arena hastily reformed their ranks.

“Everybody, just stay calm!”

“They were caught off guard, that's all!”

“On my signal, we all charge at once!”

“If we charge all at once,——.

But the boys' maneuvers proved futile.
While they strategized verbally, Ulan waged the fight through action.
He fought with deeds, not mere words.

Thud! Smack! Crunch!

One after another, the boys were sent hurtling through the air.
As the numbers within the arena rapidly dwindled, the remaining boys began to retaliate, each launching their counterattacks one by one.

Of course, by then it was too late.

Thwack! Crash!

Ulan charged like a raging bull, breaking up the formation.
And then, he seized the collar of the boy who had been issuing commands to the other boys moments ago.

“Urgg! Release me, release me! Ugh!”

Dian Mortesi, one of the Himmel gang and the mastermind of this alliance.
Ulan wielded him as a shield, skillfully parrying the attacks with swift and decisive movements.

It was effective.

“Damn it, you son of a bitch!”

“Let him go!”

The boys hesitated to launch an immediate counterattack.
Primarily, Himmel’s men faltered in their assault.
And their hesitation paved the way to inevitable defeat.

Thwack! Thwack! Kwazik!

Ulan's fists shattered their jaws and noses.
None of the boys who took his blows could rise again.

A mindless, destructive assault that smashed everything in its path.
Ibella watched, dumbfounded, as he single-handedly overwhelmed the arena.


Too strong.

What if she had been the opponent?

She pondered, but the answer came too quickly.
It would have been her downfall.
There was not even a glimmer of hope for victory in any conceivable way.

Meanwhile, as the contemplation lingered, the one-sided hunt neared its end.

“Grrrr! Grrrr!”

The boy who had fought bravely until the end collapsed, frothing at the mouth.
Now, the only one standing unscathed in the arena was Ulran.

Silence blanketed the field.


The sound of swallowing saliva echoed distinctively in the air.
Ethan burst out laughing.
Then, as if there was no need for further consideration, he spoke, “Ulan Bator, Grade-S.”

There were no objections.

Such was the primal, instinctual, and overwhelming nature of Ulan's combat prowess.
Ibella clenched her fist without even realizing it.

‘The world is truly vast.’

She couldn't believe a monster like him existed.

Moreover, someone of her own generation.
A sense of anticipation welled up inside Ibella's eyes.

‘You said Ulan, didn't you?’

Somehow, she had a feeling she would meet him again.

With that in mind, Ibella murmured Ulan's name several times.
After stealing a final glimpse of his muscular back resembling that of a wild stallion, she turned her body.

It was time to head to the next exam.


Shortly after the last boy fell, Ethan's voice sounded in Ulan's ear.

“Ulan Bator! Grade-S.”

A single declaration to announce the outcome. 

Ulran cast aside Dian, the shield he had been using.
The boy's beads, which he had planned to shatter as the final act, were already broken.
Perhaps they had been damaged while he was using the shield.

Putting aside his barbaric musings, Ulan turned his gaze towards the outside.

Once again, gazes poured upon him.
However, they were entirely different from the looks he received when entering the arena.

Tension, fear, reverence, and more.

A valiant warrior would revel in such looks, with his shoulders broadening in pride.

But Ulan remained indifferent.

It was a look he'd received many times in his past life.

Instead, he looked around.

‘Has Ibella left?’

He looked around the arena, but she was nowhere to be seen.

‘That's a shame, I thought I'd say hello.’

Ulan was close to all seven of them, but if he had to choose one among them whom he considered especially close, it would undoubtedly be Ibella.

Among the seven warriors, she was the one he had known the longest and with whom he had shared numerous life-and-death struggles.

‘And most of all……..’

In his last life, when Ulan had decided to buy time alone, Ibella had been the only one to oppose his decision.

“Why should it be you who stays?”

Her voice, uncharacteristically devoid of emotion.

“We can send the wounded back, and we can fight this together.
We can definitely win! We don't need your sacrifice…….!”

Ibella had shouted furiously.

But Ulan didn't listen to her.
He had a warrior's instinct.

He knew that only he remaining was the best course of action.

The moment she realized that the decision was irreversible, Ibella's face contorted as if she would burst into tears at any moment, and she shouted.

“Hold on until the end.
Survive no matter what! Even if the cave collapses, I will definitely come to save you!”

A comrade who had worried about Ulan until the very end.
That's why he was so happy to see her.
Of course, they had no contact in their current lives, but he still wanted to say hello.

‘But if she's already gone, I can't help it.’

Greetings can wait until after we enter.

With her skills, she should be able to pass the rest of the exams.

After organizing his thoughts, Ulan headed for the next test.

Hall of the Southern Falcon.

It was the testing center for 'Monster Hunting'.



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