"He defeated Garcia in battle magic…!"
"How is he a dunce?"
The students were truly very noisy. It was difficult for them to accept that Garcia, one of the best in their year, had been defeated. The even more frustrating thing was that the man who defeated him was Theodore Miller.
He had studied for an extra three years, but the gap in talent couldn't be that much. The students knew that better than anyone else, so their surprise was greater.
Professor Vince was the most surprised person.
'Great… Fire Bolt aiming at one point, a shield with a variation in shape, and a compressed Fireball… It's already at a good enough level to be an active war magician.'
No, maybe even more than that. Theo's face never showed any tension, and he didn't take a step from his first standing position. It was literally a one-sided win. Vince raised a hand in order to calm the students and declare Theo's victory.
However, at that moment…
"…Not yet, not yet! I'm not backing down yet!"
Garcia's eyes were wild as he awkwardly raised his body from where he had fallen. Clearly, he wasn't in a normal condition. His magic power was running out of control outside his body, and his distorted face revealed his wounded pride.
'If Father and Big Brother know that I've fallen in such an unsightly way, they will never forgive me!'
His father, Viscount Carter, was famous. His family was several times stricter and more hierarchical than other families. If rumours spread that he had lost to not just any student but to the famous dunce, he would never be able to leave the Carter estate.
That was something that could never happen.
"This is the last one. If you can take this spell, then I will admit defeat, Theodore Miller!" Garcia shouted wildly toward Theo, who still had a casual expression on his face.
Garcia knew it was nonsense, but he couldn't retire like this. He started preparing the spell before Theodore even replied.
'Tsk, this is why children of prestigious families…'
In the end, Professor Vince clicked his tongue and stepped back. If Theodore had rejected it, then he would've interfered. However, Theo didn't seem to have any plans to resign either. Rather, he was carefully observing Garcia's boiling magic power with cool eyes. His eyes, which were as sharp as blades while concentrating fiercely, gave the illusion that he was standing on a battlefield.
Thus, the final confrontation between the two students began.
"「Red light streaking across the sky–」"
A strange voice emerged from Garcia's mouth. It was a chant which accompanied a magic spell and displayed a different power compared to magic with only one or two starting words. Even if the same amount of magic power was used, the power was increased overwhelmingly. Once it was high-level magic, it could be used as a tactical weapon.
Additionally, there was a function hidden behind the chant.
The jeweled pendant hidden in the uniform began resonating with its owner's will. It was the artifact, Roaring Flames, which was only give to a legitimate child of the Carter family. This artifact greatly increased the magic power of the contracted owner as well as the output of fire magic.
It was because Garcia trusted in this power that he requested for another round with Theo.
'Now, I can use 4th Circle magic. No matter how hard the three-time dunce tries, it will end with this!'
Simultaneously, Theodore's face stiffened as he sensed the suspicious magic power. Alfred's sensory perception sensed a sudden increase in the opponent's magic power, and he knew it was 4th Circle magic. Theo frowned at the difference in the magic flow.
'What? The amount of magic power in his body has suddenly increased. Is it a Carter family secret technique?'
Theo could suspect that it was due to the use of an artifact. However, if he made the accusation and it was wrong, then it was likely to backfire on him. Therefore, Theo prepared his defense instead of objecting. Anyway, Professor Vince would stop him from getting hurt.
Thanks to Garcia's crude control, the magic formula was read and Theo found an effective means to stop it.
The material was dirt, and he would created a spherical barrier to withstand the heat and shock.
'If I had to name this, it would be Earth Dome.'
He could load the formula with magic power at any time to create it. So, now, he just needed to match the timing. If he stacked a few layers of magic power, then it should be enough to stop a single 4th Circle fire magic. Theodore believed in his calculations and collected his trembling emotions.
Garcia soon completed the magic. It was a crimson fireball, a magic bullet which would turn a person into charcoal if it touched them.
Garcia called out the name of the magic with a confident expression. It was a high-ranked fireball and was considered one of the greatest spells to use against a person in the fire attack magic. The slow speed, destructive power of the flames, and penetration power were supplemented for military use.
It was a fire spell capable of easily destroying a Shield of the same level.
"How about it, will you surrender now?"
Garcia was sure of his victory.
There was no way that Theo, a 3rd Circle magician, would be able to beat the 4th Circle magic. While the other students became restless because they didn't know what would happen, Vince's expression grew colder as he watched on.
However, Theo just replied with a blank expression, "Shoot."
"…What?" Garcia asked in disbelief.
"The class needs to finish, so shoot it." As Theo spoke, his voice didn't shake at all.
Briefly, Garcia was lost for words. Then a thick vein bulged and the halted shell started to move through the air. The 4th Circle magic, Blaze Shell…
As soon as Theo confirmed it was moving, his magic power responded. He poured magic power into the pre-designed magic formula and placed the greatest amount at the point where the shell would hit.
Luckily, Garcia was limited in making the Blaze Shell and couldn't control its trajectory. Needless to say, there were no improvements such as rotation or acceleration.
Theo placed his two palms on the ground, and the floor of the academy wriggled like it was alive. The ground crumbled, and the dirt and stone mixed together were hardened by magic power. A spherical dome, with Theo in the center, formed in an instant. The improvised magic spell was truly genius.
Then once the Earth Dome was completed…
The fire shell collided with the earth barrier.
There was a loud rumble.
The students covered their ears and, belatedly, their eyes as the dust fell down. Indeed, it was a mess.
Only Vince was walking around with a wall blocking the dust, wind, and sound. It was common to use things such as smokescreens on the battlefield, so he was used to such measures. Soon after, the dust settled down, and the scene within was revealed.
"N-No way… This—ridiculous…" Garcia Carter was sitting there with a pale face,
"…This, isn't it just laundry magic?"Theo muttered as he cleaned his clothing.
'How interesting. Where did I hear something similar?' Vince laughed at the sight.
Blaze Shell and Earth Dome…
If he compared it to weapons, it was like a spear and a shield. Today's battle wasn't a contradiction but the victory of a shield which boasted a stronger defense.
* * *
"Okay, it is over."
Vince clapped after he finished cleaning up the playing field.
The students, who had gathered in one place according to his instructions, looked around with disbelief. Just five minutes ago, the academy grounds had been ravaged. However, Professor Vince had reset that destruction in five minutes.
'He has truly amazing skills.' Theodore was also filled with admiration. These were the skills of Bergen Academy's top magician.
He understood the formula and application of restoration magic, but he wasn't confident he could produce the same result. Perhaps it was a trick to control magic, his experience, or the difference in techniques.
Professor Vince returned to the front of the students and frowned as he called a person's name.
"Garcia Carter, get up."
Garcia, who was still stunned by his defeat, got up from his seat. He was confused about why he was called, but the answer didn't come back in words.
Vince's fist hit Garcia's chin.
A war magician also knew hand-to-hand combat. As proof of that fact, Professor Vince's hands were callused and Garcia's lips were bleeding.
Garcia trembled from the pain and shock as he grabbed his chin.
"You idiot. Did you think I wouldn't know?"
"W-What are you saying…?"
The colour drained from Garcia's face because he had secretly used an artifact.
This was a serious violation of the school rules. There was the possibility that Garcia would have to repeat a year or he might even be expelled. No, he had attacked another student with an unregistered artifact, so he was likely to face further punishment.
Vince then briefly explained why he knew about the artifact, Roaring Flames. "I served in the same unit as your father on the northern front. I thought he would've raised his child better. What a mess."
Garcia despaired after hearing the reason. "P-Professor! That isn't…"
"Shut up!" At Vince's yell, the other students flinched. Some students even lost control of their bladder.
"You will follow me as soon as the lesson is over. I will review your situation at the faculty meeting. Understood?"
"And Theodore Miller."
Theo raised his head at the sudden call.
"After class, finish your dinner and come to my laboratory. Understood?"
"Ah, I understand."
"Yes." Vince nodded after hearing the answer and looked at the frozen students. "Today's lesson ends here. Next time, I will teach you about the attributes of magic. Dismissed."
After his words, Professor Vince immediately headed toward the faculty members' office with Garcia. The rest of the students didn't know what to do, but they soon started moving toward their next class. They managed to melt the frozen atmosphere by wondering why Garcia was taken away.
'After school, the professor's laboratory…'
Only Theodore remained in place as he worried about why Vince had called him.