finished speaking, a hundred beads stuck to the wall.
Spaced quite widely apart.
He pointed to the wall and continued his explanation.

“Each of these beads contains 10 mana.
But there is only one, and it contains 15 mana.
Find it and break it, that's all there is to this test.”

Soon after the brief explanation.

The atmosphere in the examination hall grew heavy.
The students' faces showed signs of bewilderment.

If the test was merely about finding beads infused with mana among ordinary beads, it wouldn't be that difficult.

‘But it was quite difficult to find beads that differ only in the amount of mana.’

Even by as little as five mana.

To comprehend this, one needed a certain talent for reading the flow of mana or continuous lectures on mana detection.

In other words, it was not something you'd find on a test.
Dirac was well aware of this, so he made one proviso.

“Of course, I recognize that this is a higher level test than you are capable of.
So I'll add one special condition.”

There was a pause.

Dirac smiled a cruel smile.

“I will not deduct points for breaking a bead that is not the correct answer.
The purpose of this test is to find and destroy the target as 'quickly' as possible.”

This meant that everything else would be taken out of the equation, and only the time it took to find and destroy the target would count.

The students' expressions brightened at the thought that it was manageable under these conditions.
But Dirac's words were not yet over.

“However, the use of any tools is prohibited in this test.
That includes wands and spellbooks.
And if anyone touches the bead, I will immediately give the candidate a failing grade.”

“…………”

The students' expressions turned ambiguous.

Not using tools and being forbidden to touch the beads meant they had to break the beads solely with magic.


Still, this balanced things out.

When the students understood the test, Dirac glared at Ulan once more.

‘This should be the end of it.’

Ulan was a warrior.
A warrior who couldn't break the bead without using his weapons or his body, and even if he could, it didn't matter.

‘He only has a mere 100 mana.’

Even the least expensive of the offensive spells – the〔Magic Arrow〕- required 50 mana per use.

This meant that the best Ulan could do was to read the mana flow properly, find the right target, and destroy it.

But Ulan won't be able to do that.

‘His beads are special.’

The hundred magic beads given to Ulan were all imbued with exact same amount of mana

In other words, no matter what he did, it would be considered incorrect.

'I'm tired of you, and I don’t want to see you again.’

Go back to the grasslands, you barbarian.

Dirac laughed sinisterly.

Meanwhile, the students' exams were going well.
Most of the candidates met their targets within three minutes.
During this time, one result caught the attention of many.

“Dilia Arpen.
24 seconds!”

Once again, it was Dilia.

Reading the mana flow, identifying the anomaly, and smashing it – it took her less than 30 seconds.
Five times faster than the other examinees.

“That's my student.”

Deflyn chuckled again.

Dirac nodded in agreement.
Dilia's skill was truly outstanding.

And finally.

Ulan stepped forward.

He had applied under the category of magic abilities, yet he was a peculiar individual possessing only the minimal mana of a wizard; all eyes were naturally on him.

Thump! Thud, thud!

The beads clung to the wall, as if waiting.

Ulan glared at them with an expressionless face.

Then, he slightly furrowed his brow.


‘I still don't get it.’

He knew the beads contained mana.

But he didn't know what made them different.

To Ulan, they're all the same.
Even when he concentrated, even when he frowned and glared, he couldn't tell them apart.

‘There's no other choice.’

He had to use that method.

As Ulan lowered his gaze, one of the assistant supervisor approached and spoke.

“The test will begin in 10 seconds.”

He wanted him to be ready.

Ulan nodded.
He steadied his breathing, pushed his right foot back, tilted his upper body slightly, and balled his fist.

“Huh? What's he trying to do?”

“It looks like he's just preparing to swing his fist.”

“Ah, don't tell me.
Then he's going to fail.”

“After all, the distance is too far for his fist to reach.”

The distance between Ulan and the beads was about eight paces.

He couldn't reach them even if he stretched his foot forward.

As curiosity surged among the students, the assistant supervisor signaled the start of the test.

“Begin!”

At the same time.

Ulan stretched out his fist.

Whoosh!

A sound of wind slicing through the air.

For a moment, the space warped.

What kind of magic was that?

Before the students' widened eyes, a loud noise suddenly resounded.

Pa-ah-ah-ang!

It was the sound of the beads shattering.

There was no need to identify which bead he destroyed.
All the beads adhered to the wall had turned into fragments and dust, scattered all around.

None were left; he destroyed them all.

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