"Academy Rank 135780! Come and collect your ID card!"
Taking notice of the call, the girl, whose name was yelled, got up from her seat and walked up to the podium.
There, Liz passed her a 3-inch flat metal cube. With a bitter expression on her face, the girl walked back to her seat.
She was probably worried about her unusually low rank. But unbeknownst to her, the rankings at the start of the year didn't mean much.
Since as I've explained before, most of the cadets submitted incorrect data about themselves.
After the first monthly exam that will take place next month, the rankings will start to fluctuate like crazy.
Not to mention, her rank wasn't even that bad.
With that, Liz resumed taking attendance.
"Academy rank 122212! Come and collect your ID card!"
After a short pause, she yelled again.
"Academy rank 128936! Come and collect your ID card!" Liz continued.
"Academy rank 129097! Come and get your ID card!"
The students kept coming as Liz kept calling out names and academy ranks.
"Academy rank 012268! Come and get your ID card!"
As soon as Liz disclosed Grace's rank, murmuring broke out among the cadets. This was the first five-digit rank since the start of the attendance.
But they weren't aware that the upcoming rank announcements would shake them even more.
After all, the rest of the main characters were about to be called out too.
"Academy rank 009468! Come and get your ID card!"
Again, murmurs broke out amongst the cadets after a four-digit rank was announced.
Liz, on the other hand, didn't look too impressed.
That was because she didn't believe in rankings as she knew they were unreliable as of right now.
However, what she didn't know was that Amelia's and all the other main characters' rankings were authentic.
Because not a single main character tried to fiddle with their rankings by submitting false stats.
"Elijah Steelforged! Academy Rank 009467! Get your ID card here!"
"Chase Wood! Academy rank 007989! Come and get your ID card!"
"Anastasia Bigod! Academy rank 007231! Come and get your ID card here!"
After a full ten minutes, most of the students were finally done with their attendance.
"Lucas Morningstar! Academy rank… 116969! Get your ID card here!"
Huh? Did she pause before announcing my rank?
Why? Because I have two 69s in my rank?!
I looked around and saw a few kids giggling among themselves after hearing my rank.
It wasn't even that funny!
Tsk, damn these extras!
I quickly got up from my desk and tramped over to the podium to collect my identification card.
Liz, who was busy scrolling through the tablet in her hand, which contained the names and ranks of the cadets inside, absentmindedly handed me a flat metal cube like everyone else.
"Quinn Darkstar! Academy rank 000018! Get you…."
Grabbing it, I turned around and left for my seat while Liz called out another name.
On my way back, I pressed on the flat metal cube and a black translucent screen with white font popped out from it.
User ID: Lucas Morningstar [Face Image]
Academy Ranking: 116969/138000
Rank: Iron 2
Potential: Gold 3
Merit Points: 0
It was a holographic ID card.
"Hmmm," once again I felt genuinely impressed by this world's technological advancements.
Right when I was lost in my thoughts, my shoulder bumped into someone. But to me, it felt like I had crashed into a steel wall.
"Watch where you are going-" I was about to give a piece of my mind to the person who bumped into me until I peeked a glimpse at who it was.
It was Quinn.
Seeing him glaring down at me with his icy cold olive eyes sent a shiver down my spine.
"What?" He scowled back at me.
"Nothing, good sir!" With an amicable smile that could put even the best of corrupt politicians to shame, I replied. "Please don't mind me."
"Tsk," for some reason, he clicked his tongue and walked past me.
"Phew~" I, on the other hand, just felt like I had escaped death. So with a relieved sigh, I went back to my seat.
Look guys, don't get me wrong. I wasn't scared of him or anything.
I just didn't think it was good to mess with a major antagonist right now.
Yes, I was avoiding him for the sake of the plot! I was totally not scared of him. Got it? I was not scared of him.
Ahem, anyway, as you might've guessed, classes weren't divided based on the academy rankings.
Cadets were divided evenly but not equally so that the weaker ones didn't get left behind.
Basically, high rankers and low rankers were paired together, while middle rankers were paired with other middle rankers.
In short, the average of one class should be equivalent to any other class when compared.
However, this was not the case, as rankings will fluctuate a lot in the future. Some classes will come out on top of others.
Overcoming this difference in ranks will be our heroes' first hardship.
At that very moment, the door of the classroom was slammed open, making everyone shift their attention to it.
I already knew who it was, but I still looked.
"Am I late?" The one who said that was a black-haired boy— the perpetrator who slammed the door open.
He had a chiseled face and dark brown eyes. He was neither slim nor too ripped. Lean-built would be the perfect description for him.
Yes, he was the protagonist of this story and the person whom this world revolves around.
He was Nero Dekrauf, the illegitimate son of a member of the Central Government.
He stood still on the door saddle, not daring to barge in without permission.
"What do you think?" replied Liz with a question from behind the podium while eyeing the black-haired boy.
"Arghh- maybe I'm a little late?" Nero said while scratching the back of his head.
"No, you are 15 minutes late," Liz corrected while tilting her head with an 'are you serious' expression on her face.
"So, can I come in?"
"No, you are expelled."
"Oh, come on, master! It's because of the task you gave me that I got here late!"
"Fighting a ‹Silver› ranked mana beast shouldn't be that hard."
"Shouldn't be that hard, my ass! Master, I almost died! Twice!"
Yes, Nero Dekrauf and Liz Snyder had a master-student relationship.
When Nero's father, Mayor Blaze Dekeauf of Helvidia City and a member of the Central Government, killed his mother, who was his concubine, Nero ran away from home.
On that day, he swore that he would kill his father for what he had done. But there was a teeny tiny problem.
You see, Mayor Blaze was one of the most powerful people living on this planet.
No, he was not strong. But he was one of the twelve members of the Central Government— the supreme legislative body of this world.
That means he was an important person for the survival of this world.
So you can't just kill someone as valuable as him even if you are perfectly capable of doing so. That was one of the most strictly enforced laws in this world.
But Nero couldn't just accept that. He couldn't bring himself to forsake his oath of revenge.
Even if his father was one of the most influential people on the planet. Even if he was protected by something as fickle as law.
He could only quench his thirst for revenge with the blood of the man who murdered his mother.
And Liz saw that thirst as an opportunity to create a perfect protege to her legacy. So she took him under her wing.
And by doing so, she also created a monster. A monster whose only drive was to get stronger.
But unlike most, Nero didn't take his thirst for power to the dark side. No, he managed to preserve the kindness in his heart.
Even after all the things that happened to him, he didn't give up on people and turned heartless. If anything, he became even kinder.
"Masta~! Please let me in!"
"It took you 78 minutes to kill a ‹Silver› ranked mana beast! Unacceptable!"
However, I must say the sight in front of me was quite a fuss.
Everyone in the classroom had their jaws dropped as soon as they heard that a boy killed a ‹Silver› ranked mana beast all by himself in just a little over 1 hour!
Remember I told you all about mana beasts. They are basically evolved animals who adapted to the changes in the world and started welding mana.
Now, these beasts aren't really a threat until they are low-level ones— ranking anywhere from ‹Iron 1› to ‹Bronze 3›.
However, ‹Silver› ranked mana beasts possess a great threat since they aren't just wild animals anymore after reaching that rank. They are now predators.
And killing a ‹Silver› ranked mana beast alone within a little over an hour is an inhumane task! So why was Liz yelling at him?
Not many in this room could do that! Even Quinn can't kill a ‹Silver› ranked mana beast alone under two hours mark.
Yet, some no-name boy did that?
Looking over at Quinn, I could see a conflicted look plastered on his face. It was as if he couldn't believe what he was hearing.
No, more like he was refusing to believe what he was hearing.
"I promise I'll improve! Please let me in, master! You are making a fuss!"
"No! You are making a fuss!"
Oh god! I couldn't help but facepalm in disappointment at the immaturity of the argument.
They both were fighting like a bunch of 9-year-olds! No, even 9-year-olds can initiate a better argument than this!
Maybe this was the reason I started hating this web-novel. Such immature writing! Tsk tsk.
At that point, someone finally decided to speak up and stop them.
Need I say who it was?
Only one boy in this room had the audacity to raise his voice in front of the Witch Of Soul Harvest.
Yes, it was Quinn.
The whole class fell silent and everyone, including Nero and Liz, looked at Quinn, who was standing up on his spot.
After confirming that everyone's attention was on him, Quinn opened his mouth to speak again.
"Let's just finish the attendance, yeah? We have yet to choose our main weapons."
Liz's face stiffened up. It seemed like she wanted to say something, but she knew she was in the wrong, so she didn't.
"Go take a seat. We'll talk about this later." She barked at Nero, who was still standing outside the door.
Following Liz's instructions, Nero closed the door behind him and walked into the classroom before taking a front-row seat.
Urghh, frontbenchers. Always hated them