“Luck is also part of an ability.”
Why are you still in the forest? I thought you had already returned to the starting point of the exam and passed it by now.
Standing in front of her were three guys with good builds and a healthy lifestyle.
They wore expensive-looking canes and accessories, giving off an air of wealthy nobility.
They were probably also participants in the exam, as she had seen them during the written test.
I wonder what they’re doing here?
From this distance, I can’t tell the exact situation, but it seems like the three boys are cornering Little Red Riding Hood.
As evidence of this, the blonde boy who appeared to be the leader spoke with a domineering attitude towards the girl.
“Hand over the Embryo you obtained to us.
It’s meaningless for a ‘commoner’ like you to have it.
Only those of us from noble families, like me, should be admitted to the magic academy.”
Little Red Riding Hood remained silent, visibly shrinking under the intimidating behavior.
When I looked closely, I saw that the girl was holding a white ball about the size of a fist, which I assumed to be the Embryo of a Dead Flower Ivy, tightly in her small hand.
What an obvious attempt at extortion.
I came to watch out of curiosity, but this is a pretty sickening sight.
“You commoners are always trying to join us nobles in the magic academy’s entrance exams.
Even though you know you’re inferior to us because of your lack of innate magical talent.” The leader continued to spout insults, while the other two boys followed suit.
The girl shrunk even further at their words.
Finally, the blonde boy snatched the Embryo from the girl’s hand with a quick motion.
He then continued to spew venom at Little Red Riding Hood, who was unable to do anything in response.
“We can’t afford to have one of our admission slots taken by someone who got lucky and happened to find and defeat a magical beast before us.
It’s unacceptable for someone like you, who only got in through luck, to take the place of someone who has real talent.”
I wish she had said something like “I’m an unlucky girl with a luck score of 0, so this is not luck, but my own ability.”
Feeling compelled, I jumped out from behind the bushes and interjected with a sigh.
“Maybe luck is also part of ability, don’t you think?”
All eyes turned towards me.
Feeling uncomfortable with so many people looking at me, I regretted speaking up.
“Um, about earlier…”
“Hey, it’s Little Red Riding Hood again,” I said, waving my hand at her in surprise.
Seeing my carefree attitude, the blonde boy frowned and asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m a participant in the same exam as you,” I replied.
I immediately regretted getting involved in such a troublesome situation.
I should have just looked the other way and left.
But I couldn’t let those who belittled luck go unchallenged.
Above all, I couldn’t just ignore the sight of three guys surrounding a little girl.
Was I always this righteous?
“So, you’re a participant too,” the blonde boy said, grinning arrogantly when he realized who I was.
Suddenly, he pointed to a badge-like object on his chest and asked, “It looks like you don’t have a family emblem.
Did you forget it? Which noble family do you come from?”
“Family emblem?” I had no idea what he was talking about.
Was he referring to the badge on his chest?
However, I understood that he was asking about my background.
Did it have anything to do with the current situation? Well, it didn’t matter.
“I was born in a remote mountain village,” I replied after thinking for a moment.
“Huh? Ha ha, sorry, sorry, did I mishear you? You said a remote mountain village, right?” The blonde boy laughed loudly in the forest.
“That’s what I said,” I replied.
He continued to laugh loudly, his voice echoing through the forest.
“Hahaha! I never thought a country bumpkin like you would actually be taking the entrance exam for the prestigious Royal Harvest Academy of Magic.
So, you’re from a mountain village, huh…”
The person chuckled, his laughter sounding forced.
Then, two other people spoke up, their voices dripping with venom and confidence.
“It gives me the chills just thinking about the fact that someone like that is taking the same exam as us.
A talentless commoner thinking they can stand on the same stage as us is a big mistake.”
“These arrogant commoners are a real problem.
They take the exam knowing they won’t pass and just end up getting in the way.”
Finally understanding what the family emblem meant, I realized that those born into prestigious families wore them on their chests to show off their heritage and looked down on us commoners who didn’t have one.
It was ridiculous.
“Don’t assume we’ll fail without even trying.
This exam isn’t about separating nobles and commoners; it’s about skill.
We don’t know who will pass yet.”
The examiner had only asked us to bring back a Deathflower Ivy Embryo.
They never said they were only accepting nobles.
Just because magical talent was often inherited didn’t mean those without noble blood couldn’t be skilled.
The golden-haired person frowned and retorted, “Magical talent is usually inherited from bloodlines.
Don’t you know that?”
“Even so, that doesn’t prove that you’re better than us.
In fact, the child who defeated the magical beast and got the embryo first is more skilled.
From an outside perspective, that child is better than all of us here.”
“That was just luck, like I said before.
The world of magic is tough, and luck won’t help you survive.
That’s why we’ll be the ones to send you on your way instead of wasting your life trying to become a mage.”
The golden-haired person played with the embryo they took from the blue-haired girl, confidently claiming that we wouldn’t become mages.
“Go back to your mountain village or wherever you came from before you die in vain.”
As if on cue, the other two burst into loud laughter, and the three of them went off somewhere together.
I chased after them, trying to stop the golden-haired trio.
“Hey, give that back! It’s against the rules to take an embryo from another examinee!”
“Harming someone to take it is against the rules.
We didn’t lay a hand on that commoner.”
“How can you twist the rules like that?!”
Unexpectedly, someone grabbed the hem of my shirt from behind, and I couldn’t keep chasing after them.
When I turned around, the blue-haired girl with a face about to cry was standing there.
“Please, it’s okay.
Don’t worry about my embryo.”
“Why not? They’re trying to pass with an embryo you got, not their own power.”
Wasn’t she going to try to get it back?
But while we were arguing, the trio had disappeared from sight.
The girl and I exchanged awkward glances in the ensuing silence.
Why did she stop me? I wondered.
Then the girl in the blue hood explained apologetically.
“If we keep fighting, they might do something terrible to you too.
I don’t want anyone else to be unhappy because of me…”
Her words were strange.
It was as if she had been involved in making someone else unhappy before.
I didn’t care about that, and I didn’t think it would happen to me, but the girl looked sad and didn’t make any move to chase after the trio.
Perhaps she was worried about not just me but also the trio being dragged into something unhappy?
But why bother worrying about them? Shouldn’t we want to involve them instead?
“Well… there’s no use crying over spilt milk.”
I can see neither their figure nor hear their footsteps anymore.
I let out a big sigh and decided to give up on the embryo.
The person who obtained it said it was enough, so I don’t need to interfere anymore.
That leaves me with only one option.
“If we can get a new embryo and find the Dead Flower Ivy soon, everything will be fine.”
It has only been about 40 minutes since the practical exam started.
We still have plenty of time to find Dead Flower Ivy.
So giving up now is not a good idea.
But the girl spoke in a disheartened voice and said something that sounded like she had already given up on the exam.
“Anyway, someone else will just take it again.
It was foolish of someone as unlucky as me to try to become a national alchemist.
I was born a commoner and out of place…”
As I listened to her voice gradually becoming tearful, I couldn’t help but feel a pang in my chest.
The girl didn’t move from where she was standing.
In fact, she turned her back towards the exit rather than deeper into the forest and started walking in that direction.
It seemed like she was planning to leave already.
Even if she got the embryo of the Dead Flower Ivy again, she thought someone else would take it.
The insults from those three people had a significant impact on her.
It’s not surprising that she’s becoming so pessimistic.
Besides, she seems to have a weak personality, which probably made the deep wound in her heart even worse.
If that’s the case…
“Then I’ll protect you this time.”
“I’ll stay by your side and protect you from anyone trying to take the embryo.
I’ll definitely drive away those mean-natured nobles.
So let’s do our best in the exam together.”
As I watched the girl’s back get further away, I couldn’t help but call out to her.
And in my eagerness to not let her go, I made a suggestion that might have been too hasty.
Perhaps it was an overly protective suggestion.
But whether it was effective or not, the girl with blue-colored hair stopped walking.
She turned around and tilted her face, which was streaked with tears, with a puzzled expression.
“Why are you doing this?”
“Why are you helping me? Both now and earlier, why did you do this for me?”
Hmm, why did I want to help her?
When she asked me that again, I couldn’t come up with a clear answer.
Why did I want to help this girl?
Not just now, but earlier as well.
I helped her look for her pouch for a brief moment.
Was it because she was a cute girl in distress? Did I feel sorry for her?
Of course, those were factors.
But the biggest reason was…
“If you were my benefactor, I think you would do the same thing.”
“She’s the one who inspired me to become an alchemist, and she’s also the one who saved my life.
She’s an incredibly cool alchemist, and I want to be like her someday.”
If it were Mulberry watching that scene instead of me, I think her kind heart would have done the same thing without hesitation.
So to put it simply, this is me imitating Mulberry.
Imitating someone I admire.
I thought that by imitating them, I could get closer to them.
I’m not particularly “kind,” and I have a selfish personality where I just push through with what I think is right.
“…It makes me very happy that you want to help me, but I still think it’s best if you don’t get too involved with me.”
“…Because everyone becomes unhappy when they’re around me.”
The girl had a contemplative expression on her face.
If being around her makes everyone unhappy… Well, it’s true that nothing good has happened since I met her.
But nothing particularly bad has happened either.
“Oh, that’s okay.
Even though I may not look like it, my luck is my strong suit.
When it comes to happiness, I have confidence that I can beat anyone else.”
“Well, even if you say that, it’s too late once something irreversible happens…”
I started to blabber, so I took the girl’s hand in a hurry.
“Let’s go find a magical beast as soon as possible since time is running out.
Even if being with you makes me unhappy, isn’t it better to think about what to do to make us happy?”
She seemed like she wanted to say something, but I didn’t give her a chance and pulled her along.
She followed me quietly without resisting, so I realized that she had agreed to take the exam with me.
Well, it’s more like she gave up.
My perseverance won out.
She seemed like the kind of person who is easily pushed around, just as she appears.
And now I realize something.
“Come to think of it, we don’t even know each other’s names.
My name is Sachie.
What’s your name, little Red Riding Hood?”
“U-Um, my name is Miltie.
“Miltie… can I call you Mil? Nice to meet you, Mil.”
“U-Um, nice to meet you too.”
And so, Mil and I teamed up to take the entrance exam.
Mil didn’t seem very enthusiastic about it, though.
But still, this girl…
“You will never become alchemists.”
They said it so bluntly to her.
That’s because she was a commoner, she didn’t have the talent for magic and couldn’t become an alchemist.
But that’s not true.
She defeated the Dead Flower Ivy before anyone else and obtained the embryo.
And she did it alone.
Although she appeared timid, she is probably one of the most talented applicants.
It would be a waste to bury that talent.
I just thought it would be great if I could catch a glimpse of that talent up close and personal.
That’s why I wanted to help her.
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