First Special Exams: Pre-Practical Phase (1)
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Dozens of synchronized ticks merged into one and sounded in the room as the timer for the quiz hit the 0 mark. I leaned back on my chair and crossed my legs. A loading wheel appeared on the screen, and in the next flicker the results had already come up.

[Congratulations, you passed! Score: 99%—]

“—YEAHHHH!!“

Odis' grotesque scream interrupted everyone in the class as they turned to face him.

“90!!“ Fair, it was fair. This guy was rolling a pencil for answers. How did he even get a 90? What kind of monstrous luck did he have?

Leaving the clown be, I turned back to my results.

{See, you should have just taken my help.}

The system was being cocky. I had unexpectedly found myself stuck at one point in the exam, that was the time the system chose to reveal that it had made note of all the texts we had studied through. I had a personal notebook in front of my eyes that no one else could see. Taking its help was an option, but trusting the system with the answers wasn't.

“99% is perfect, there's no need to get a perfect score,” I whispered back to the system. “It was an easy test, many others must have gotten around that much.“

{Hundred?}

“Probably not. Maybe that Blaine girl?“

“Psst.“

A voice from my side called out to me. I turned to see Kristina's red eyes staring right into my own. 

“What'd you get?“ she asked.

“99%. You?“

Instead of answering, Kristina clicked her tongue and turned away from me. She tapped Luke's shoulders who sat a seat ahead of her and asked him instead. Below 99 then, heh.

I then turned to Zachy. 

“99,” I said.

“Same.“ Zachy stretched his hand toward me and I gave him a high-five. 

The class was devolving into a bunch of sighs and squeals at everyone's results when Mr. Claudio stomped his feet on the ground and stood up. “Congratulations,” he said. “Everyone got above a 90, so you're all going for the practical exams.“

Cheers resounded in the classroom, and then cheers from the next class over made their way in too. It seemed that everyone in class B had passed as well. Mr. Claudio chuckled at the students' reaction before gesturing at us to calm down.

“The exams aren't over, you guys.“

“When is the practical test anyway?“ Jack up at the front asked. The other students nodded at his words.

Mr. Claudio looked pulled up his wrist and glanced at his watch. “They start… in an hour. We have to go elsewhere so we'll move to the portal station inside the campus.“

Already!? The smiling faces were all swept away, the practical tests were not only on the same day, but started in an hour? 

The others were nervously looking around. Without waiting for Mr. Claudio to say anything, I stood up. Everyone seemed confused by my actions, but I didn't care and ran out of the classroom.

***

Claudio Alo and the students of Class 1-A froze and stared at the black-haired student that suddenly got up from his seat and ran out of the classroom. 

'Did he just walk out while class was going on?' was the thought that filled the minds of the students as they looked at the half-open door. To their pleasure, Claudio Alo didn't seem to mind it at all. He smiled and turned back to the students.

“As I had mentioned, the details will be revealed before the exams begin.“

Tired groans filled the classroom while a few of them packed their things up and get ready to leave. Seeing the students get annoyed almost made Claudio crack into a wide grin, he could only hold back by using all his mental fortitude. An evil idea filled his mind, but he let go of it. The students were his students, after all. He felt a bit magnanimous since they had all cleared the quiz, so he decided to drop the lost ones another hint.

“I hope…” he said. “You all are prepared.“

Prepared.

The students froze in place again when they heard that word.

Immediately, they all scrambled off their seats and ran out of the classroom, like one had just a few seconds back. 

Claudio Alo barely held in his laughter at the sight in front of him. He looked forward to everything that would come up next.

He was about to have a field day today.

***

“Remy? Remy?!“

“Holmes?“ the call connected within seconds. “There's no need for congrats,” Remy said.

I shuffled through the rows after rows of black street lights and green bushes laid on the sides of the path. My feet didn't slow down for a second as I brought the watch closer to my face.

“No! The second half starts in an hour!“

“Ah… all da best? Wait, don't ya need those things?“

“Yes! Are they with you?“ I asked as my feet screeched to a halt in front of a split in the path.

“Yeah, come to the engineering department.“

Nodding, I kept the call open and sprinted down the left path. Couples holding ice creams and faculty members yawning on the path moved to the side, and I pushed away the ones that didn't. The streetlights nested on tall pillars turned to small pods floating in the air above the path and the tiles below turned to paved paths of concrete as I reached closer and closer to the glass-covered building of the engineering department.

Dozens of students and adults were standing outside the premises of the building in suits and labcoats, fiddling around with their pens and inventions. I swerved through them and ran toward the automatic doors. Before I could step on the sensors, the door opened up and Remy came running out.

With a giant bag hanging from her shoulders and her cinder goggles in as much of a mess as her hair, Remy panted as the door opened. “Holmes!“ she said when she saw me.

“You're here!“ I said, my breath unstable too.

“Yeah, take this.“ Remy pushed the bag hanging on her shoulder toward me and I took it from her. The bag was too heavy to hold up with one hand, so I stumbled ahead.

“Ay, I'll kill you!“

“Sorry, sorry.“ 

I slung the bag over my shoulder and nodded. When I turned to her again, Remy was handing me a chocolate bar. I smiled and took it from her.

“Take care,” she said.

“Yeah, thanks.“ I placed the chocolate in my pockets with another smile and was about to leave. 

“Oh right,” I turned back to her and said. “Congratulations on passing your test.“

Remy gave me a confused stare for a second before breaking into a small. “Thanks.”

I nodded and finally left the place. 15 minutes had already passed, so I ran to the portal station that was on the north-eastern end of the campus, precisely opposite this place. I would have liked to get a first-aid kit too, but well, I could just steal it from the portal station itself.

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