Chapter 20: Invitation
The first semester’s exams began soon after.
This was something Anastasia had experienced in a previous life. She also took first place in the written exams back then, so there were no issues.
The most significant improvement has been in practical skills. The results were in the middle of the range at the time, but this time, her result is outstanding.
Anastasia got first place on both the written and practical tests, making her the best student in the first year without a doubt.
“I did it… I didn’t get a red mark, but above all, I placed in the top ten! I did my best!”
When he sees the results, Hoyle throws his fist into the air and yells.
Hoyle studied hard with Brandt and got an 8th-place ranking on the written exam, which is in the single digits.
Furthermore, as he gained a better understanding of the theory, his practical skills improved. In the practical exam, he finished second to Anastasia.
He finished third in the overall ranking.
”I’m in second place… Well, I think that’s fair.”
Regina finished second overall after placing second in the written test and third in the practical test.
Anastasia feels guilty because she recalls Regina coming in first rank in her last life.
“I was hoping to get at least first place in the written exam…Someday, I’ll beat Tasha in the practicals as well.”
Regina smiles at her challengingly, and Anastasia tries not to think about anything else, putting away her guilt.
Anastasia, Regina, and Hoyle scored significantly higher on the practical exam than the rest of their classmates.
Anastasia recalls that Regina and Hoyle weren’t that different from the others in her previous life, which means Regina and Hoyle’s magic spells have definitely improved.
“Brandt-senpai is… unquestionably the best.”
Brandt had topped both the written and practical exams in his third year.
In addition, the third-year 2nd rank was Keira, who does not appear to have changed.
“I don’t think Foster’s name is… I guess it’s not gonna happen.”
Anastasia searches through all the names from the first to the third year but cannot find Foster, the researcher who will die as a result of a failed magic experiment.
It is probably not a student-turned-researcher after all. Anastasia reminds herself that she will ask her teacher again later because she does not know when he will become a researcher from the outside.
“I can now return to my home country this semester break… that’s a relief.”
“Speaking of which, I’ll be home for the semester break as well… Tasha, how about you?”
Regina asks as if she remembered when she saw Hoyle muttering with relief.
“I… I’m staying at the academy. I’d like to conduct some research and other activities…”
There is no place for Anastasia at home.
She felt more at ease in the academy than in a place where she was compared to her sister and sarcastically criticized.
—Besides, I made friends, and I’ve been too busy enjoying my daily life to train myself. During the semester break, I should work on myself.
The students around me appear to be buoyed by the sense of liberation that comes with the end of exams.
Based on the voices I’ve heard, many of them will be returning home.
“What are your plans for the first semester break, Anastasia-san?”
After school, she went to the hidden room in the library, and Brandt asked her about it.
“I’m thinking of staying in the academy—how about you, Brandt-senpai?”
“I’m also staying at the academy because I have nowhere else to go. So, I’m considering going away for a while, perhaps to an intermediate dungeon.”
“Yes—it’s not a place you can do in a day, so I don’t go there very often—the difficulty skyrockets in the intermediate dungeons; beginner dungeons lack traps and their internal structure remains constant, whereas intermediate dungeons do.”
Anastasia wonders if the intermediate dungeon is a [living dungeon] after hearing Brandt’s description of it.
In Anastasia’s previous life, dungeons were usually full of traps, and some of them changed their internal structure after a while.
Anastasia didn’t know the difficulty levels of the dungeons at the time, such as beginner or advanced, but she most likely went to intermediate or higher-ranked dungeons.
“If you have a rank higher than 4, you can go to the intermediate dungeons alone, but it is not recommended—If at all possible, travel with more than one person—since I reached rank 4 just before the end of my last semester break, I’ve never gone alone.”
“Did you have a party with someone?”
Anastasia inquires, recalling that the guard said something about Brandt always coming alone the first time they went to the beginner’s rank dungeon.
“Yeah. I went there with a makeshift party. Anyone who can use [White Fire] gets in quickly.”
“Then, will you have another makeshift party this time?”
“Well… Having a party is a lot of work. I think I can go by myself now that I have the [Transfer], but if you want, Anastasia-san, you can accompany me.”
Anastasia was startled, as if she had been stabbed in the chest with a dagger.
If you can’t return home within a day, you’ll have to camp at night. Her heart races at the prospect of being alone with Brandt.
But Anastasia quickly convinces herself that she is only being invited as a party member.
No, Anastasia is not the only one who has been invited; the other members of the party may have been invited as well.
“…Hoyle will spend the semester break in his homeland…”
“Yeah, I know… I mean, why is Hoyle-kun coming out?”
Brandt tilts his head inquisitively.
“Regina is also returning home. I doubt we’ll have our usual group…”
“Yeah, Hoyle-kun and Regina are both excellent. It’s difficult to believe they’re only in their freshman year. However, I don’t think they’re ready for intermediate dungeons—I’d like to go with Anastasia-san alone.”
Brandt looks directly at Anastasia while she looks at him.
Anastasia couldn’t take her eyes off the violet eyes and felt dizzy. Her breathing is labored, as if something is stuck in her lungs.
Anastasia tries to calm herself by telling herself over and over that this is just an invitation to form a party.
Going on a dungeon exploration as a party has gotten a little out of reach, and the number of members has only shrunk to two.
Furthermore, intermediate dungeons are excellent for training.
To be honest, Anastasia found the beginner dungeons insufficient. She wishes to face more powerful monsters.
Anastasia talks herself into thinking that the invitation to the intermediate dungeon is ideal.
“…All right, let’s go…”
Anastasia responds in hushed tones, face down.
“Good, thank you!”
Brandt expresses his delight with an unconcerned smile.
Anastasia’s heart is warmed by the sight, and she is glad she nodded.
She’s been thinking about Brandt since he mentioned her as a potential partner the other day. But what truly exists between them is a bond of camaraderie and friendship.
—How can a woman with such a bad figure be considered a woman?
Anastasia, who once thought she was Shin the Hero’s lover, was only interested in Anastasia for his own ends.
Anastasia swallowed, trying to be mindful and aware of the twinge in her heart.