The following morning, Roel woke up to find Alicia lying on his chest. He looked at the pillow boundary that had been somehow torn down by her and sighed softly.
As usual, Alicia sat by Roel’s side for breakfast, enjoying the latter’s occasional feeding service. Geralt looked much more spirited after venting in the drinking session last night. Paul was as usual. The three of them had a discussion and decided not to take any actions against the transfer students for the time being.
Roel didn’t want to have a fallout with the transfer students from the Knight Kingdom, and he was responsible for maintaining peace and stability in the academy as a Ringbearer too. William’s action was indeed provocative and had undermined the authority of the Ringbearers, but they hadn’t done anything significantly harmful to the academy.
After breakfast, the three of them proceeded to their classes.
To Roel’s surprise, he encountered William in one of his classes.
It was the Burst Magic Class, which was a prerequisite to some of the spellcasting classes in the Second Grade. Its goal was to enhance the students’ fighting ability by optimizing their spellcasting speed. Needless to say, this class focused heavily on practicals.
Swiftness was a crucial aspect of fighting, not just for martial arts but spellcasting too. It could easily mean the difference between victory and defeat. Often, there were veteran soldiers who survived the battlefield, not by their overwhelming strength but by the swiftness of their spellcasting.
That being said, destructive prowess of the spells was also one of the grading criteria, for swiftness without ample might was meaningless. There was no point in bombarding an enemy with weak spells that hardly caused a scratch.
After several months of lectures and practicals, the students had made considerable improvements in dishing out burst magic. In comparison, Roel had hardly improved at all. He had already maxed out on his burst magic prowess and couldn’t make any significant improvement.
The fact that Lilian had offered a rare praise about Roel’s burst magic while they were still on bad terms with each other spoke a lot about it. Even teachers might not necessarily match up to him on that aspect, let alone students. If not for the fact that this class was compulsory, Roel would have just skipped it.
However, there was a slight difference in the situation today that made Roel take the class a bit more seriously—they were having an exam today.
To be honest, Roel was feeling a little worried as he was forced to skip a third of the lessons due to a series of compelling circumstances, so he decided to take the examination seriously. To his surprise, when the class commenced, an unexpected person was brought into the classroom under their teacher’s lead—William.
“That person is…”
“It’s the new transfer student.”
William’s appearance stirred a commotion in the classroom. Most students couldn’t understand why those from the Knight Kingdom were transferring over right before their examinations, and there were some who were looking forward to seeing them make a fool out of themselves.
William remained unfazed by the attention on him. He simply raised his head and looked toward the back of the classroom, where Roel was seated.
The two of them met eyes.
Is he here for me?, Roel wondered.
The teacher, George, quickly introduced William to the classroom before starting on the lessons. To everyone’s surprise, their spellcasting target today wasn’t the usual stationary targets in the training field but… a goose.
Most students had confused looks when they saw old George carrying a goose by its neck onto the empty field, but the latter paid their reaction no heed. He cast a spell to fend against the goose’s pecking attacks while calmly explaining the exam to the students.
“What I have in my hand is a Splitting Goose. The greater the force of your attacks, the more clones it would split into. You don’t have to worry about killing the goose; just give it your best shot. Let me see what you have learned over the past few months.”
After saying his piece, George calmly sat down on a table and gestured for the students to go ahead. One of the more confident students stepped forward. He summoned a huge ball of crackling flames within a single second and unleashed it upon the Splitting Goose, causing the latter to split into multiple clones.
“Gru, five geese.”
On the scorched earth in the wake of the massive fireball were five geese, which quickly rejoined to form the original Splitting Goose. This mystical sight surprised the students, but it also put their minds at ease too.
As a result, a peculiar power test measured in the unit of geese commenced.
“Meliana, three geese.”
“Jack, two geese.”
It was such a peculiar unit of measurement that Roel’s cheeks started twitching a little. He felt like he was on a variety show. He even suspected that it was a prank by the teacher to make fun of them.
However, everything changed when William stepped onto the field.
He walked toward the weapon stand and picked up a sword. The moment he tightened his grasp around the sword, the atmosphere around him changed.
It was hard to describe with words what the change was, but it was like the sword was the final puzzle piece that William lacked. Roel sensed a feeling of harmonious completion coming from the current William, but it seemed like he was the only one who felt that.
Most of the students were more focused on the distance.
Swordsmanship was intended for close-quarter combat. It was possible to launch a ranged mana attack using the sword as a medium, but it was inefficient and the prowess would be reduced compared to a direct attack.
There were also students before William who chose to wield a sword, but they had run straight to the goose and swung their blade down on it. However, William didn’t seem to have any intention of closing his distance with the goose.
“What’s that fellow intending to do?”
“It doesn’t seem like he’s going to walk over. Does he really intend to attack the goose from that distance with a sword?”
William paid no heed to the crowd and silently drew the sword. He swung the sword downward serenely, devoid of the sharpness of a sword practitioner. It was almost as if he was just playing around. Yet, the tremendous mana pulsations that belatedly rippled outward right after showed otherwise.
There were no spectacular flashes of light or anything of that sort. All the crowd saw was an extremely condensed glowing arc hurtling outward, and the next moment, the Splitting Goose exploded into thousands of miniature clones, scattering all around like clumps of dust.
“William, inestimable. Full marks.”
This unprecedented sight silenced the students present. It was only when George announced the result that the students began applauding and exclaiming in awe. The strength demonstrated by William had won their respect.
Is this the Swordheart School?
Roel wondered curiously.
While he was deep in thought, William put the sword back onto the weapon rack and walked up to him.
“Mister Roel, what do you think of my strength?”
“… I’m amazed. I believe that Prince William’s strength has far surpassed those of our age group,” replied Roel with a smile.
It was a simple compliment, but it unexpectedly delighted the armored man. He dove straight to the point and raised an offer.
“If that’s the case, Mister Roel, won’t you come to the Knight Kingdom… No, what I mean is, what do you think about leaving this academy and coming to join our Dawnbringer Order?”
It was William’s second invitation to Roel.