Chapter 8.2: 13
“Yeah, that’s about right. Also, is it just me or have there been several stares in our direction since some time ago now?”
Hearing his question, the other three looked around. No mistake, there seemed to be several people staring at their group, as Akira and the others were the only ones occupying their current area. Listening closely, whispers could be heard.
“Hey, that’s the S-rank, right?”
“In a group already, that sucks. I was hoping to group with him…”
“Damn, the rumors were true; that S-rank’s sister really is a babe… But it’s hard to approach since they’re grouped up…”
“Moreover, aren’t those three A-rankers? What a strong group… If we have to fight each other for the exam, I’d want to avoid them.”
“Onii-chan, it looks like your time to shine has arrived.” Akane snickered.
“I’ve heard several mentions of you and your looks, you know?”
“I think there have been more people talking about you though, Onii-chan?”
“Well good for ya, all I heard about bro and me was, ‘Those two are also A-ranks from district E… I think?’ Damn it, are we side characters or somethin’ ya bastards?!”
“Hey, at least they recognized us… somewhat…”
Realizing that they had been heard, the curious onlookers turned their heads and acted as if they never even looked in Akira’s direction.
“But they bring up an interesting point,” Akira said after some thinking.
“What?” His group turned their gazes to him.
“If we’re in groups for a practical exam, it might be-”
Before he could finish his thought, Akira was stopped short by the blonde administrator from before who was tapping the microphone at the podium in order to grab the room’s attention.
Tap, tap, tap.
“… I see everyone is listening.” The administrator gave a smile as she pushed the bridge of her glasses. “Let’s see… Earlier, I did not mention my name, but for certain purposes, I will now. My name is Tano Yuri, I wonder if that sounds familiar to you? If it does, that would be because I was 13th in the global rankings of the Maestros before I retired.”
The name Tano Yuri held fame equal to, if not greater than, some of the individuals belonging to the top ten despite her former rank being 13th. Receiving a Speculo that helped her manipulate the Space Element, a Derivative of the Darkness Element, she advanced her way up the rankings of the SMC at a breakneck pace, eventually landing at 13th. After 5 years of working for the SMC quelling international conflicts, she retired. However, where she had gone had been hidden from the public. The many reactions across the room were rather unsurprising when putting this into account.
On the other hand…
“Onii-chan, didn’t it look like she hunched over a bit after hearing her title?” Akane was wearing an amused face while pointing out her observation.
“Well, I wouldn’t blame her, with a name like that…” Akira chuckled.
“What’re ya on about? That’s an amazing name!” Shun shouted with shining eyes.
“Of course you’d think it is, bakani…”
“Shut it, machine bastard.”
“Onii-chan… I think she heard him because I could’ve sworn I saw her eye twitch just now…”
“Quiet down, quiet down.”
The whole room had been murmuring, but it was silenced by the waving hands of the golden haired woman at the front of the room. A little annoyed, she swept her hand through her hair, brushing it behind her ears, and continued to speak.
“As some of you may have guessed by now, the exam will be a fight between groups of four.” She gestured to the groups of people before her. “Out of all of you, only 12 groups will pass. So, how will we decide who passes or not?”
Wearing a grin, she clicked a button and several screens descended from the ceiling. After a moment’s delay, the screens flickered to life.
“There are several ways that groups will be eliminated.”
As her voice echoed through the hall, an image of a bracelet of sorts appeared on the screens.
“This is a collar that will constantly track and monitor you. If you are knocked unconscious or suffer serious injuries, this collar will immediately notify the observers. They will also inform the observers if they are removed from your body. Once the observers confirm that your collar has been removed, you will be taken out of the exam and treated. In the case the collar isn’t removed, unless the whole group is unconscious or you are in critical condition, you will not be withdrawn from the fight.”