The First Special Exam: Prelude (2)
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"In two weeks, you will have your first Special Exams."

Mr. Claudio's words washed over the class like a humongous wave mowing down a surfer. The thing all of us suspected and feared was here.

One student from the benches toward the front raised his hand. "Sir, isn't it too early?" he said. "We have only had our ranks for three weeks."

Nodding, Mr. Claudio walked around on his podium and crossed his hands, seemingly thinking something. After a few seconds, he sighed. "Right. Well, we don't want it to be so soon either, but a few real-world circumstances have come up for us in the faculty, so we have no choice but to push the first exams up ahead."

Real-world circumstances? 

{How many of them are getting married at once? A big joint wedding?}

This dumbass.

For the entire faculty to have to move at once, what kind of power or problem could do that? Something I could count on one hand.

Mr. Claudio cleared his throat and clapped his hand, alerting the students to speculation once again. "The special exam is performed in two phases, a practical test, and a theoretical test."

He walked toward the board at the back of the classroom and swept his palm over its surface as words started appearing on them. This guy, he probably stayed back a bit to prepare for this special effect.

"The contents of the practical test will remain a secret until the exams begin, so be prepared for anything. As for the theoretical test, you all will be given a quiz with only objective multiple choice questions."

The students tensed up in the beginning and then sighed with relief at the end.

"Since the requirements are simple," Mr. Claudio said. "You will have to score higher than a 90% on the quiz to qualify for the practical tests. Your ranking will be decided by how much you score compared to the other failed students, the worst in the practicals will still be above the best among the failures in the theoretical."

"N-ninety!?"
"No way, how can everyone score that much!?"
"I struggle to get in the 60s!"

A worm was placed in front of our noses and a hook was shoved up our mouths. 

"You'll just be flailing around without any knowledge when you become adults. Prepare well and you'll manage." Leaving no room for argument, Mr. Claudio cleared the board with another tap of his fingers. His back facing us, he said, "You'll get the details for the theoretical test on your devices. That's all for that topic, we'll be talking about surviving in extreme conditions in my class today."

We held in our complaints and the class continued. Mr. Claudio not taking a class in the training field was always welcome, so all the students were especially attentive today. The class covered multiple extreme conditions from temperature and terrain to bodily conditions like dehydration and mortal wounds. 40 minutes passed by in a breeze and the class.

Once Mr. Claudio had left the classroom, the groans of the students filled the place.

I was worried about the examinations, but they seemed to be easier than I expected. Just a 90% was no big deal.

Odis, Cauldron, Jack, and a few other students including Reina came over to my seat in a flash.

"Ralph!"

"My friend!"

Odis and Jack said, extending their hands and blinking their eyes exaggeratedly.

I was the top scorer in academics in the grade, after covering the material I had missed, I also went ahead and studied everything else so that it doesn't happen again. Academics were what got me in the school so not living up to the reputation wouldn't have made sense. And well, among the other top scorers, I was the most approachable one around.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Let's cheat."

"Yeah!"

"Sure. How do we do it?"

"Please— wait, did you say yes?"

Cheating was a pain, the risks far outweighed the benefit, especially since I wasn't the one getting the answers. But it was different this one time. With my sister's stupid moves, I was ready to develop and strengthen my image with these people in any manner.

"Yeah," I said.

"Hey, Ralph." Before they could continue, though, Reina interrupted. "Is it true that you defeated the second year's rank 2?"

Dozens of heads turned toward me at once. The chatting students all quietened down and only the fluttering curtains were still able to make a noise. My eyes slightly widened at the unexpected comment before darting around.

From the ones at the front to the ones surrounding me, everyone had their eyes fixed on me. Some were in disbelief at the words, and others wondered about the rumor's authenticity. Only a few eyes were different, eyes belonging to Zachy, Luke, and Leone.

"Hah..." Odis said. "W-what are you saying? Ralph did what?"

"I've been wondering too," said Blaine Sothsfield as she left her Seraphina gang and walked toward me, fiddling with her watch. "There's a video going around."

With a single sentence, the word 'no' was removed from my options.

 

Discord!! https://discord.gg/2xzY5JZzWR
I read over the last chapters, and they have been kinda dragging along? The pacing shall be kicked up, cool moments shall be brought forth.

Also, I won't be around to welcome everyone to the discord right away, but I'll hop in every chance I get! Thank you very much for your continued support everyone!

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