Chapter 24:

Ch 24 - The Rejects of the Mana

St Chaos Healer

It’s been about an hour since they started the first test.
At first, it looked pretty easy and everyone was optimistic and thought this would be a breeze. But as testing progressed, the reality of the matter started to set in.Bookmark here

It’s been about half an hour and 40 people have been tested so far.Bookmark here

Out of 40, only 9 kids have passed the test and moved to the next phase.
The rest of those who failed were sent back to their room.Bookmark here

The joyful optimism was now crumbling seeing the threshold for passing.
The kids who failed were heartbroken and shocked. Some even wept in disappointment and some even challenged the test itself.Bookmark here

The one who did manage to pass the test left without any cheers.
It didn’t feel right to celebrate in such a gloomy room.Bookmark here

But there were some cocky kids out as well who laughed proudly for clearing the first phase of the test. Even going so far as to mock their fellow candidates next to him who failed.Bookmark here

Right now the 9th batch of kids just got done with the testing.
But there was one kid who was trying to grab the ball desperately and a few minutes had passed but there was no progress. The rest of his four candidates participating with him had already done with their test and left the stage.Bookmark here

Only he has yet to give up.
Finally, Miss Thesia couldn’t stand it anymore and decided to intervene.Bookmark here

“Madam why did you stop the test!” the candidate on the stage shouted, “I was so close to grabbing it. Please restart the test.”Bookmark here

Miss Thesia sealed the candidate’s crystal ball.
“You did good Peter. But now please step down from the stage and check yourself with the healers,” instructed Miss Thesia.Bookmark here

“But-but I haven’t felt rejection yet. I can still continue, please. I know I can clear this test,” argued Peter.Bookmark here

“I said that’s enough. As your supervisor, I order you to go step down and get yourself checked by the healers.”Bookmark here

“Why? Why are you stopping my test! Is it because I come from a lower class, is that it? That’s why you are using your authority to fail me, right?” accused Peter.Bookmark here

Miss Thesia let out a sigh,
“You barely managed to stand by sheer adrenaline that you didn’t even notice it. Take a look at your chest.”Bookmark here

It’s when he noticed that his white full bodysuit had red blotches spreading from his chest. It was slowly but surely expanding in size like veins of a leaf.Bookmark here

“You are bleeding from your chest, you haven’t even noticed it. If I let you continue any further, you could have died,” added Miss Thesia.Bookmark here

Peter reached out and touched his chest and his hands turned blood red.
“B-but I don’t feel any pain. This is not my blood,” argued Peter.Bookmark here

Miss Thesia rubbed her forehead,
“Listen, kid lying won’t get you anywhere. You are clearly feeling the rejection but you won’t accept it. Your stubbornness is just making it harder for yourself. I know you wish to be a mage but just face the reality and save yourself the pain.”Bookmark here

Peter finally fell on his knees with a dreadful look.
He had his eyes wide open and tears rolling down from his face.Bookmark here

This time in Peter's batch two boys managed to pass the test.
Sadly Peter’s luck wasn’t so good.Bookmark here

“Stop delaying and head back to the medic. We have more kids waiting to do their test,” said Miss Thesia.Bookmark here

But Peter was motionless on the stage sitting on his knees with his eyes open wide staring at the floor.Bookmark here

Miss Thesia finally couldn’t take it anymore,
“Please Peter, move out of the stage. I need to-”Bookmark here

But suddenly Peter grabbed Miss Thesia’s sleeves,
“Miss Thesia, please! I can’t fail this test. If I didn’t become a mage- then those guys~ they will~ They will turn my family into slaves. They already captured my big sister and if I also turned into a magic-less brat then… my family is done for.” he quickly bowed his head and grabbed Miss Thesia’s feet, “I am my family’s last hope. If I can become a mage then they might spare us.”Bookmark here

Everyone who heard that was surprised and there was a moment of silence.Bookmark here

Miss Thesia was also surprised and helped Peter get up,
“I see. So your family made a deal with the Slave dealers. That is unfortunate.”Bookmark here

As soon as that statement came the room erupted in chattering frenzy,
“Slave dealers? What’s that?”
“They are the talk of the town. I heard they target normal human families and later they turn them into slaves.”
“I also heard about them. Sadly the city guards do little to nothing to help us.”
“Haha! That’s what you get for borrowing money from those thugs. You deserve it.”
“Hey! How could you be so heartless? You boys are all the same.”
“If you feel so bad why not sell yourself instead. That way Peter will be saved.”
“You disgust me. Don’t ever talk to me.”Bookmark here

The whole room was chaotic and noisy.
But even I had heard of these Slave dealers.Bookmark here

Apparently, there are some shady groups who lend money to poor families coming from a peasant background. They especially target parents who recently gave birth to a kid. They offer a sweet deal to their parents to borrow money from them while signing a contract that if their kid ever forms a mana core at the age of 12, he/she will work for them to pay that amount in very low interest.Bookmark here

Meanwhile, if their kid fails to form a mana core then those interests will be multiplied and the family has to pay more money. And if they fail to repay the money, they will enslave the entire family and be sold as slaves.Bookmark here

These groups tend to call themselves ‘Sponsors for young mages’ but all they have been doing is create a big chain market for selling slaves, especially targeting the magicless humans.Bookmark here

This boy Peter here must be one of the victims of those sponsor groups.Bookmark here

Peter clutching on to Miss Thesia’s legs,
“Please Miss Thesia, I am begging you, let me-” Bookmark here

But before Peter could say anything Mr. Hagar came behind Peter and hit him with a chop in the back of his neck. The chop instantly put Peter unconscious and he carried him in his arms.Bookmark here

“I will take him to the medic team, please continue the test,” said Mr. Hagar.Bookmark here

Miss Thesia just silently nodded.Bookmark here

Mr. Hagar carrying Peter on his shoulder walked down the stage and walked out of the room.
There was dead silence until Mr. Hagar left the room. Bookmark here

People were still shocked at what they just saw.Bookmark here

Miss Thesia was the first one to break the silence,
“Let that be a reminder to everyone. Maybe you strongly wish to be a mage whether it’s a passion or just desperation. That won’t change the fact that it’s not up to you whether you can become a mage or not.”Bookmark here

She walked on the stage grabbing the files left by Mr. Hagar,
“We already deal with stubborn kids like Peter here every year. Those who try to pass the test by just gritting their teeth are after the status, the privilege of being a mage. Hence why we made you folks wear this all-white full-body suit. If some kid tries to force their way in this test, they will be injured and the white bodysuit you are wearing is specially made to detect those injuries. That’s why we were even instructed to not wear any undergarments so that we won’t miss any injuries. None at all.”Bookmark here

If Peter was wearing regular clothes he might even pass this test and his injury might have gone unnoticed in the first phase. Sadly his bodysuit gave him away.Bookmark here

“Alright moving on, the next candidates, Jim Barton, Danny Rivers, Kieth Malone, Trisha Valencia, and Margaret Banks. Please come onto the stage,” announced Miss Thesia.Bookmark here

The usual routine,
5 students got up from their seats and walked on towards the stage.
But among the 5 there was Trisha Valencia, the girl who stirred quite the commotion and even became the leader of all the girls of our wagon.Bookmark here

She was also the talk among the people after the closing remarks left by examiner Salvador. Now after all the big talks, it would be disappointing if she failed in the first phase of the test.Bookmark here

All 5 candidates got up on the stage and stood in front of the pedestal like usual.
Everyone was nervous except for the apprentice knight.Bookmark here

She was calm and confident unlike the other candidates before her.Bookmark here

Not to mention all the girls were rooting for her and shouting good wishes. This was the first time ever that the crowd was a bit cheerful in a while.Bookmark here

“I’ll now begin the test.” saying so Miss Thesia lifted the seal.Bookmark here

The purple crystal ball turned back into the white again. The white glowing condensed mana thread poured out from the crystal ball wiggling outward desperately trying to flee.Bookmark here

The candidates even had a hard time even standing beside the crystal ball. The candidates each desperately stretched their arms to touch the crystal ball but there was an unseen force that was pushing them back.
Some screamed using their voice to push themselves, while some gritted their teeth bearing the pain.Bookmark here

The candidates were all struggling except for Trisha.
The knight candidate managed to touch the crystal ball in mere seconds.Bookmark here

The knight candidate grabbed the ball and just stood idly with her eyes closed.
The mana threads wrapped around her arm like snuggling to her in the same way as Miss Thesia tried to touch that ball.Bookmark here

This was surprising because the other candidates who managed to pass this test managed to hold on to the crystal ball for half a minute but they could at best only attract 3 to 4 mana threads to their arm. Bookmark here

But Trisha managed to attract a lot of these threads that her arm was covered all over.
This surprised everyone in the room.
Although Trisha herself didn’t look surprised, as if she expected this result.Bookmark here

There were constant awes erupting from everyone.
The knight apprentice must be a prodigy and have a bright future if she becomes a mage. There are still 2 tests to clear before becoming a true mage but she has had a good start so far.Bookmark here

Knight apprentices usually come from a noble family and that’s why many of them are powerful.
And here Trisha clearly showcased the gap between us commoners and those who came from nobility.Bookmark here

In her batch, she was the only one who passed with flying colors. The rest of the other 4 candidates failed and were sent back to their room.Bookmark here

Before leaving Trisha glanced at the girl’s crowd.
There were sad goodbyes from the girl’s side. As it was fated that most of the girls would fail and never hope to see the knight apprentice ever again.Bookmark here

There were even a few boys who were shouting goodbye but the knight apprentice didn’t even glance at the boy's group.Bookmark here

She left without saying a word and went out from the stage door heading to the next phase.Bookmark here

“Alright hush down. We don’t have all day.” shouted Miss Thesia, “Alright, the next candidates are Jerry Holt, Andrew Hickman, Anthony Shepherd, Sean Delbert, and Benjamin Almond. Please come to the stage.”Bookmark here

Finally, it’s showtime.

Bookmark here

Author notes
Working from home as an intern. I just had a busy week, hence the delay.
The internship will last for 2 months. After that they could help me with placement.. or not, god knows.Bookmark here

Thanks for reading, have a nice day.
( ´ ∀ `)ノ~ ♡Bookmark here

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