But I Was Faster, right?
Magic Department, Danya Catsnesia.
Magic Department, Ian Blackangers.
Reconnaissance Department, Everidge Harf.
Priest Department, Yurran Alteach.
‘Is it still the same?’
No crazy priests have been taken away or anything of the sort.
He may look like a normal priest, but he’s actually a fanatic cultist.
His eyes are excessively clear and blue at first glance.
I didn’t like the fact that his name included ‘teach’. For some reason, guys with that pronunciation didn’t end well.
The fanatical guy with clear blue eyes smiled brightly.
“I’m Yurran from the Priest Department. Nice to meet you. Ahaha!”
“Nice to meet you.”
Ian shook Yurran’s hand while smiling.
He knew he was the villain, but there wasn’t much to worry about.
It’s not time for him to reveal his dirty fangs just yet.
It must have been a misunderstanding.
A faint, subtle, dirty aura spread along the hand they shook hands with. It was so fine and delicate that if he hadn’t been focused, he might have missed it.
‘Is it a brainwashing trigger?’
The intention behind it was sinister, but thanks to that, it wasn’t overwhelmingly powerful. Ian immediately used purification with his Dishwashing technique to dispel the dirty aura.
The fanatical guy with clear blue eyes looks for his next target.
His eyes stop when they meet Danya, who’s looking in their direction.
Ian casually grabbed Danya’s tail.
Danya jumped in surprise.
“W-What are you doing!”
“Sorry, there was almost dust on your tail.”
“Is that an excuse to pull my tail without saying anything!”
Judging by her hand reaching for her waist, she seemed really angry.
But Ian knew how to handle Danya.
“The tail is as soft as it looks.”
The compliment stopped Danya in her tracks.
Ian gently pulled her back.
Regret passed through Yurran’s bright, crazy eyes.
‘It’s been a while, kid.’
Ian’s lips curled up slightly.
After all, he had to acknowledge the members of the Bloodstone cult.
They were one of the prominent factions among Fantasy X Academy’s Thirteen Evils. To put it simply, the Thirteen Evils were groups that didn’t hesitate to harm humans for the sake of their goals.
In the world of martial arts, they were like the sinister group, a kind of villainous lineup.
However, Bloodstone was notorious even among them.
They worshiped the gods of blood and darkness and would do anything for power.
They actually gained power by consuming human blood and offering their flesh. Their rate of accumulation was overwhelming, making each disciple powerful.
Of course, due to the accumulation of such achievements, they often go insane, with some going completely berserk in a state called [Blackened] or [Bloodened].
‘Most recently, in a publicly released scenario, Pongpong reappeared in a [Blackened] state.’
ongpong, who had no knowledge of combat magic, wreaked havoc at the academy (although his talent played a significant role) – that alone was enough to illustrate the power of Bloodstone.
“Hello. I’m Yurran. Nice to meet you, brother.”
Everidge, a student from the Reconnaissance Department, seemed uneasy around Yurran. Since he took a step back, it didn’t seem like he’d be a problem.
Surprisingly, he showed more interest in Ian.
“Could you be ‘that’ Ian Blackangers?”
“I’m not sure what you mean by ‘that’, but it’s probably me.”
“Nice to meet you! I’ve been personally admiring you.”
What’s with this conversation?
“As you can see, I’m so ordinary that I wish I had the courage to be as provocative as Ian.”
… I have no words.
He continued to observe Everidge without saying a word.
Certainly, Everidge seemed quite ordinary.
With his ordinary brown hair, average height, and the fact that he was left alone, he was probably of average ability too.
He replied casually.
— Alright, everyone, prepare for battle!
The instructor shouted, leaving the 120 students who had been chattering in confusion.
“Wasn’t today just about forming teams?”
But Ian seemed to have expected this and quickly tied his shoelaces.
Inside he clicked his tongue.
Were students from the Lichten Academy really this fragile?
Did they have to dedicate the entire afternoon just to form teams?
Lichten Academy wasn’t a place where such leisure was common.
Ian was sure there was something fishy going on, and this scenario confirmed it.
Suddenly, 30 portals opened in a row.
At the end of each was probably a makeshift training dungeon.
— It’s a speed run! We will rank based on the order of finishing. Everyone, go in!
While most of the students were still in confusion, Ian quickly led his team.
“Get a grip, everyone, and go in first!”
Ian’s team was the first to enter among the 30 teams.
Inside the dark cave, the 13th team immediately started tackling the artificial dungeon as soon as they entered.
Their training objective was to clear the dungeon in the shortest time possible, so there was no reason to delay.
Of course, some team members were hesitant and nervous.
“Don’t worry; we won’t die anyway.”
“Think about it. We formed teams and were immediately sent into the dungeon. They must have set up a low-difficulty dungeon. This is a speed run. We should act quickly without overthinking.”
The team accepted Ian’s logic and began their mission without delay.
Their first obstacles were traps and mechanisms, all as Ian had predicted.
Everidge, their scout, missed a few traps due to his inexperience, but there were no fatal attacks.
Everything was useless in front of Ian’s moderately clad metal. Even though he was intentionally hiding his true strength, they were no match for him.
“…A mage at the front? This is quite an unusual experience. It’s beyond common sense.”
Everidge muttered as he watched Ian lead the way.
“As expected, Brother Ian is amazing. He has a charisma that’s out of the ordinary. I’ve been thinking that for a while. He’s truly impressive!”
Yurran shouted praises like he was reciting hymns.
Receiving compliments from a Bloodstone cult member sent chills down Ian’s spine.
“Wait a minute. Something seems off…”
Everidge seemed to have a similar thought, although the reason may have been different.
“I sense a poisonous presence in the air.”
“Is that so?”
“Wait a moment. Let me check it out and come back.”
True to his role in the Scout Department, Everidge stopped the team, ventured forward, and soon returned.
“There’s an area ahead with colorless, odorless poisonous fog. Without purification magic, it might be hard to pass. Can you use it, Yurran?”
“Of course, I can.”
Yurran, who had been brimming with confidence, suddenly appeared uncertain.
“But only one person can pass, and even that’s a challenge. As you know, maintaining purification magic constantly is difficult.”
At Yurran’s words, Ian narrowed his eyes.
‘Is that b*stard playing tricks?’
The idea that purification magic could only be used on one person at a time, especially when dealing with the Bloodstone cult members, didn’t make sense to Ian.
There was something fishy going on. While this was just a scenario within the academy’s artificial dungeon and probably wouldn’t lead to anything significant, Ian considered the possibility of trying to cast that peculiar mind-control spell again.
“Hmm… This is a bit tricky. It might cause a significant delay.”
Despite Everidge’s hesitation, Yurran chuckled heartily.
“Don’t worry. I can handle it.”
Ian raised both his arms, telling them to hold onto him.
“Grab on, both of you, Danya, and Everidge.”
“You know how to use purification magic?”
“It’s not exactly purification magic, but it’s similar. You won’t collapse while we’re passing through.”
Everidge appeared skeptical, raising an eyebrow.
“That’s right. This is the real deal. I’ve experienced it myself.”
Danya was the one who responded, almost bragging about the experience.
Her enthusiasm was a bit puzzling, and Ian couldn’t help but wonder what had her so excited.
Everidge eventually agreed and took one of Ian’s arms, with Danya on the other side.
As they moved forward, Yurran asked a question with a cheerful smile.
“Oh, right! You’re amazing, Brother Ian, but what should I do?”
“You heal yourself.”
Where was he trying to get to, anyway? This Bloodstone cult guy.
After that there wasn’t much trouble.
After that, it wasn’t very difficult. Monsters that were tough to handle in close combat were easily brought down by Danya’s grass elemental bow. Everidge, whose abilities were quite average, led the team effectively through the low-difficulty dungeon. Yurran provided healing and support to the team, seemingly dedicated to his priestly ways.
The dungeon had a peculiar setup, emphasizing the importance of tanking more than they had anticipated.
However, thanks to his relentless training, Ian had little trouble handling it.
They finally arrived at their destination without much difficulty.
Thirty teams all seemed to have reached the same destination, where an intimidating instructor awaited them.
“Ho, you’re surprisingly fast. Team 13, fourth place.”
Both Danya and Everidge looked surprised at the instructor’s words.
“… 4th place, 4th place? 4th place out of 30 teams?”
“It’s all thanks to Ian! His judgment was truly excellent!”
“Good job, everyone.”
Ian gave a modest response before leaning against the wall.
Frankly, he found dealing with Yurran more challenging than the dungeon.
It was a small consolation that the guy was quiet, perhaps preoccupied with his priest cosplay.
“Team 7, 5th place.”
Soon one more team came in and the surroundings became crowded. Red hair that filled even this dreary space with brightness.
Her expression wasn’t exactly cheerful. Ian assumed she wasn’t happy with the results.
‘Well, the ranking is not good considering the team composition.’
Some of her team members seemed familiar, characters with a certain degree of skill in the game. However, the knight’s condition wasn’t good. The plate armor was covered in dirt. Clearly, tanking was vital, and that might have caused them to arrive slightly late.
Lina walked without displaying any emotions. Then, her eyes met Ian’s gaze, her large green irises widening with astonishment.
“…How did you do it?”
The meaning was evident: how did Pongpong arrive before her?
It was a clear expression of disregard.
It could have been a matter of pride, but…
“My team was lucky.”
Ian had no intention of being confrontational.
In fact, he preferred it when she ignored him. Her disregard made it easier to challenge the gathered heroines, and he needed to become stronger than them before causing any disturbances.
Lina bit her lip, wriggled, bit her lip again, and hesitated, as if she didn’t know what she wanted to ask. She appeared to be lost in her thoughts, not knowing how to express herself. Ian, on the other hand, just raised an eyebrow.
He wasn’t sure what had led her to this internal conflict, but he knew the answer was straightforward.
“Don’t worry. I won’t bother you anymore.”
As Pongpong handed her a lunchbox, she responded by saying she didn’t want him to bother her.
That was undoubtedly the right response.
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