Time elapsed: 34 Minutes 12 Seconds – 20/600
20th team out of 600.
This was the panel that appeared when Irina clicked on her smartwatch.
'What is this? We would be ranked?' Seeing this immediately, a question arose from the hearts of Irina.
'Fuck. If I knew it would be ranked, I wouldn't have played with that wolf.'
Since it was a rank three monster, at first, she thought this would be hard. But after fighting with the monster for a while, she realized it didn't pose much of a threat, so she wanted to play with it to test her magic, and as time passed on, she was having so much fun that she forgot she was even in an exam.
'I feel stupid now.' Irina thought. No matter how careless she was, it was blatantly her mistake, and inside her heart, she knew it.
But she was still annoyed to the point where she wanted to smash those trees and burn them alive.
Because the rank 20 was something she would never be satisfied with. After all, she was the third rank student in this academy, and she was the second strongest here. Thus, this score was unacceptable for her.
At that moment, she saw a person amongst the trees.
'Hmm? This guy is here?' She had completely ignored his existence. After all, he was just worthless trash who didn't deserve to breathe the same air as people like her. Those talentless dogs like him were the reason why she needed to step up like that all the time.
Her gaze wandered around him. He was breathing heavily as if he had just fought his life's battle. In fact, it looked like he had a battle since a little body of the Lesser Galewind Wolf.
'He even struggled against a rank-two monster. What a pathetic bastard.' The moment she saw his face, she grew more annoyed.
If it was another person, they would probably reach there faster, and they might even get an idea about this time score. She was already feeling angry, and now her anger stiffened.
And that bastard turned his gaze to her for a second, matching her gaze with his own. But it was only a brief moment since after that he turned and started walking back.
'He ignored me!' She grew more and more annoyed at that fact as her gaze followed his back, glaring daggers at him.
The other two, who were panting slightly, decided to say nothing as it was obvious that her mood was not great, and she thanked them for that since she didn't want to deal with flattery right now.
Just like that, they started walking back as well. And since they were faster than that bastard at the entrance of the dungeon, they caught him.
At that moment, she couldn't help but want to turn all the attention to him. After all, she wanted someone to shift the blame.
So she shouted while calling out to him. She asked why he was standing and not helping others, making it look like she was not the one who ignored him in the first place.
"At least fight like a man!"
Knowing that most of the males would get mad over such words, she decided to press his buttons.
At least she tried to.
Since the response she got was nothing like she was expecting.
"Don't talk to me."
A simple cold answer that didn't contain any ounce of emotion. Cold purple eyes that were empty.
She was really surprised, not expecting such a response. Irina Emberheart was getting ignored like that? No way.
But it happened.
That bastard just said if he did something wrong, he would see it on his grades. And it was logical.
Which was what made her more annoyed. Because she couldn't fight it back, and just as she was about to call him back, the instructor came and started explaining to everyone how the grading process was going to happen.
lightsnοvεlAll right, listen up, cadets. The dungeon exploration is over, and it's time for the grading procedure. You will all be evaluated based on various criteria, including teamwork, combat effectiveness, adaptability, and problem-solving skills."
But she didn't listen to that intensively since she was thinking about something else.
'Astron Natusalune….' It was at that moment his name entered her head with a bad impression.
'Next time, I will let you see who is the boss.' Though she was annoyed, it was not like she was going to bully a lowlife like him.
She was not like those other bastards after all. But still, she swore to herself that next time in a competition, she would humiliate that bastard.
And seeing that Julia smiling ear to ear while laughing with her team made her more mad. Since her ears were able to hear that her team was ranked 8th overall….
The moment I left the Artificial dungeon, I made my way toward the library of the academy.
The reason why was simple. Because I wanted to grab a bunch of books related to mana control and also look for a simple hidden easter egg.
Now, I want you to look for a developer's perspective and think about an easter egg type of manual.
Where would you put it for an early-game easter egg inside the academy?
You would either hide it in the forest or…
Or you would put it in the library amongst the countless books that the player could interact with, right?
At the very least, no sane player would check what the books contained…Aside from some psychos…
In any case, because the developers wanted to put a high-ranking art manual as an easter egg, they chose the location as a library since the forest already had one. Therefore, the only thing that was left for me was to find it and use it to my advantage.
As I entered the vast library of the academy, I was met with rows upon rows of bookshelves, each filled with countless tomes on various subjects. It was a treasure trove of knowledge.
Knowing the developers' penchant for hiding secrets in plain sight, I began my search among the vast collection of books.
'It should be in the mana control section.' I thought and made my way toward the mana section.
Since the library was filled with countless books written over time by scholars, naturally, there was quite a lot about mana as well.
Thus, the moment I reached the mana section, a 50-meter-long row of shelves welcomed me.
At that point, there wasn't anything that could help me since even though the name of the books that surrounded the easter egg was revealed, their location was not that definite. After all, nobody could create a game where 50000 books were shown, right?
Therefore, the only thing I could do was simply look at the books shown there and find the one I needed.
Just like that, I started looking at the books.
Hours passed as I meticulously scanned through various shelves, occasionally flipping through the pages of some books that seemed promising but turned out to be unrelated to my quest.
It felt like a needle in a haystack situation, but my patience and knowing I would be successful in the end drove me forward.
And at one point, I stumbled upon a section of the library dedicated to ancient arcane arts.
'Arcane Arts?' I thought. 'One of the books had a title like that.' It was at that moment that I felt like I was very close to finding the book I had wanted, and with a renewed feeling, I started skimming the books.
As I skimmed through the dusty tomes, my eyes fell upon a particular book that seemed out of place. Its worn cover and the faded title caught my attention. "Moonstruck Convergence: A Tale of Celestial Mana."
The moment I saw the title, I felt slightly weird. Like, this book was something I needed to grab, even though it was not related to the easter egg I was searching for at all.
'Moonstruck Convergence: A Tale of Celestial Mana.'
The name alone was enough to make me interested in it.
Grabbing the book, I put it in my bag and started skimming through the books once again, trying to find the easter egg.
Just like that, another hour passed in the blink of an eye. At this point, my head started to hurt since I felt like I skimmed through thousands of books.
At this point, it became a monotonic routine where I would be mindlessly opening the pages of the books without even paying attention.
I could see some students looking at me; even though this section was fairly empty, there were still some students, and certainly, their reactions were normal, considering a madman was randomly opening the books and putting them down after looking for three pages at most.
I absentmindedly picked up another book, its title barely registering in my fatigued mind. I opened it and casually flipped through its pages, expecting to find yet another normal book like the others.
But then, as I put the book down, I noticed something strange. The pages were empty, different from the previous ones; they were bright white like no ink had touched them.
The moment I realized what it was, I immediately felt refreshed as my attention returned to the book.
My heart began to race with excitement as I opened the book once more, determined to find out if my hunch was correct. I carefully inspected each page, running my fingers over the seemingly blank surface.
'Finally.' I thought, breathing a sigh of relief. I had been picking up the books for a long time now, and I finally managed to find the one I was searching for.
When my fingers touched the book, I got a weird feeling different from any other book I have touched so far. Like this book was giving otherworldly vibes, and it was something I absolutely needed to explore.
With that, my tensed body was also relaxed. Closing the book, I looked at its title, and as expected, it didn't have any title at all, just like its papers.
I could finally leave this place and reach my dorm room, now.
Reaching the receptionist, I registered the first book, 'Moonstruck Convergence: A Tale of Celestial Mana,' as borrowed and said the other one was my notebook, so I didn't need to explain everything in detail.
Just like that, I reached my room.
There I could see a box inside.
This must have been my bow, but I didn't want to open it at that moment since my attention was on the empty book.
'Let's start now.'
Like that, I grabbed a needle from my drawer and stabbed the tip of my index finger, dropping a small amount of blood on the top of the book.
Only to make it shine.
Then, a bunch of unknown hieroglyphs started shining, and suddenly I lost consciousness slip away….
Hope you liked the chapter.
You can check my discord if you want. You will be able to see the illustrations here and engage in a conversation with me if I am available.
The link to the discord server is in the description of the book.