[Translator – Anwen]
With the practical evaluation one day away, Shirone meditated in his dorm room.
‘I did everything I could.’
He didn’t have the time to devise a new special method for doing so would only hamper his ability to perform.
So instead, he explored the essence of the Sequence method.
‘What is the Sequence method?’
Starting with the question that marked the beginning of everything…
‘Why is it the Sequence method…?’
‘How is the Sequence method…?’
He pondered nonstop.
Shirone, who thought of so many questions it could fill up a field, closed his eyes.
‘Don’t think… Feel.’
Just like that, Shirone embarked on a journey in which he built up his knowledge of the Sequence method from the base while increasing his knowledge one step at a time.
He has no set goal or limit in regards to how long and how far he should count.
‘I feel unrestrained. There is no incorrect path.’
How long had he been at it?
When he reached a point most humans never set foot in, Shirone had a sudden thought.
When he reopened his eyes, the sun was there.
24 hours had gone by, and yet Shirone didn’t even feel an ounce of fatigue.
However, a holy light that could not be described by any human emotions or words was fluttering in his eyes.
With a sorrowful expression, he asked in the direction of the ceiling.
“Is that so?”
No one replied back, but Shirone felt like he had already received a response.
There was still an hour left before the practical evaluation, but the training ground was swarming with participants.
The academy also paid great attention to this exam’s preparation.
The safety device was strengthened, and scoreboards to keep track of the scores were placed all over the place.
Although today was for the Speed Gun exam, Class 7 and 6 attended without exception. They were hoping to impress their upperclassmen.
On the other hand, most of Class 4 were not present.
Only a few who took interest in Shirone and Yiruki’s contest bothered to take the time to watch.
Of course, if someone had to name a person most recognized among them, it would be Sharelle, a prospective Advanced Class student.
Mark being Mark, ran up to her and said his hellos.
“Hey. All the lowerclassmen seem to be present. Well, I used to be like that, too.”
“That hurts my feelings, senior. I’m only here to cheer and celebrate senior Shirone’s victory today!”
“Oh! Good! Very good! Then let us fire up and cheer like crazy!”
The two were able to take the best seats available.
Needless to say, wherever Sharelle passed by, the path always opened up by itself.
As predicted, the students’ interest was towards Shirone and Yiruki’s Speed Gun competition.
“Up until now, Yiruki has always had the upper hand, but there’s a variable nobody can control. The practical exam is done by two people at the same time.”
The reason why the academy chose to go for a competition layout was to push the students to achieve higher scores.
“It’s similar to a race. If you have a competitor, you get a score higher than when you take it by yourself. But can that variable alone bridge the gap? Yiruki hasn’t even tried his best yet.”
“That’s why I find it dangerous. For me, the level of tension I feel during actual combat is different. If you set the difficulty of training too low, you may not reach your maximum potential in actual combat.”
“Each of you, check your assigned group and wait for your turn. The exam will begin in 10 minutes.”
As Ethella started talking, everyone went quiet.
In order to maximize their potential, students were partnered with opponents of similar records.
In addition, those with high records were placed on the second half of the exam. This was to ensure that those who were not as talented would not suffer any psychological blow before their turn to perform.
As such, both Shirone and Yiruki were allocated under group 20.
The 10 minutes came to an end, and two people from group 1 walked towards the Image Zone.
“It’s finally starting. I’m nervous.”
The Speed Gun was popular with the spectators due to its competitive nature.
Perhaps the participants were aware of that as well, as even if they attained a new high score, they would return to their seats with an unsatisfied expression if they lost to their opponent.
“Good job. Next group, get ready.”
It took about an hour to get through 10 groups and the highest score so far was 533.
Nade earned a score of 491, which was considered to be slightly above class average.
As the second half neared, the hearts of the spectators thumped faster, and their cheers got louder.
They knew as well.
The main event of the day was coming soon.
“Nice job, group 19. Alright, the next group is the last—”
Ethella’s voice got buried under the loud shouts.
Contrary to the excited students, Shirone and Yiruki didn’t even bother glancing at each other.
They only stared straight ahead.
Mark, who saw Shirone, spoke.
“Wow, upperclassman Shirone sure looks psyched up! However, won’t it be hard for him this time around? I heard upperclassman Yiruki say he was falling behind.”
Sharelle made an unhappy grunt.
“Shirone is stronger in actual combat. Even during that teleportation exam, if I remember correctly, a certain someone said something similar and paid the price for it, correct?”
Mark let out an empty laugh and gave his cheek a scratch.
Shirone and Yiruki got into their place inside the Image Zone. Ethella went over the rules.
“You have one minute. You begin as soon as the red light from the scoreboard flashes. The divisions are divided using Magic barriers, so work comfortably and feel free to think of it as an individual test. Also, a lot of your lowerclassmen are watching, so don’t do anything embarrassing.”
As if to save their energy, the two only nodded and moved away from each other.
The cheers quieted down, and the lowerclassmen held their breaths and kept their eyes wide open so as not to miss a single movement.
‘Both are holders of records over 700 points. They will start off strong in the beginning.’
Shirone stared at the scoreboard indifferently.
Though his heart was beating slightly faster than normal, he was in a state where he couldn’t feel any nervousness.
“We will begin in…”
When the preliminary light on the scoreboard turned on, Shirone counted in his head.
‘3… 2… 1…’
The moment the red light flashed, Shirone began his onslaught.
Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!
Ten Photon outputs per second shot out in all directions, hitting the targets.
Yiruki’s Spirit Zone also moved like a bee, causing a train of explosions.
“Both of them are so fast! As soon as they began, everything exploded!”
In the midst of Mark’s excited shouts, in level 2 and level 3, the targets disappeared as soon as they appeared.
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They were on equal grounds up to level 6, so Sharelle clenched her fist.
“Nice! If Shirone keeps this up, he might actually win.”
The two, who passed level 10 at about the same time, took a huge breath.
‘The real battle starts now.’
The number of targets for level 11 was twenty.
[Translator – Anwen]
They could not get rid of that many targets in a single breath, so the road up ahead would only become more complicated.
The current score was 239 points vs. 237 points, with Shirone ahead by a narrow margin.
As the level rose, the number of targets would also increase, so at this pace, they would definitely pass 700 points.
‘Good! I’m in my best condition. Even though Yiruki is trying his hardest, I’m not getting pushed back.’
Even a single mistake was fatal. But thankfully, Shirone’s Photon output never missed its mark.
That was the same for Yiruki who was a savant.
‘Oh, so you wanna play?’
The Spirit Zone of Yirruki, who was using the Sequence method of log, sped up.
377 points vs. 377 points.
At the 30-second mark when Yiruki caught up, Shirone accelerated his Sequence method.
Shirone was in his absolute best condition ever.
As he continuously jumped over huge numbers, the world flashed left and right in a quick blink of an eye.
The students shouted.
“Shirone is in the lead again by 4 points!”
Yiruki was slowly being driven to the edge.
Unlike the practice rounds, he was actually putting in effort this time around.
“Still, I’m being pushed back? My calculation speed?”
He couldn’t understand.
Only three days ago, he was well ahead of the game. What kind of magic did Shirone conjure in that short period of time?
Shirone seized his consciousness desperately.
‘Release the limitations of modularization.’
If he had been dealing with multiples of 100 before, now, he was doing whatever random calculations came to mind… At least it seemed random. Shirone was relying on his intuition to give him numbers that would work.
187, 293, 378, 423…
Shirone’s concentration had reached an all-time high. He was on a tightrope where the Sequence method itself would collapse if even one number was not analyzed properly.
469 points vs. 432 points.
When Shirone suddenly propelled, all the students stood up and cried out.
Even Ethella couldn’t take her eyes off as she couldn’t determine who would win either.
Yiruki saw through Shirone’s plan.
‘He broke the arithmetic routine. A kind of mental doping, I should say. He is thinking of absolutely winning .’
The corner of his mouth tilted up.
‘Do you know how long I’ve waited for this?’
For an opponent who would put in everything they had.
‘I’ll face you, Shirone.’
To take on his first, legit rival, Yiruki chose to walk on a tightrope as well.
‘My gambling is on a different level than yours.’
The change happened instantly, and the students noticed it too.
“Hey, what’s going on?!”
542 points vs. 558 points.
Yiruki’s newfound speed managed to catch up with Shirone’s and not long after, completely surpass his.
“Senior Sharelle, how did this happen? Did upperclassman Shirone perhaps make a mista…”
“No, Shirone’s speed is also increasing. It’s just that Yiruki’s is speeding up at a faster rate.”
“But he gained 100 points in a heartbeat! Is it possible to suddenly increase 2 folds like that?”
Sharelle pursed her lips.
It still didn’t appear possible, but there was no other explanation.
Also, if it was actually feasible, the current situation would be perfectly explainable.
“That guy… He has two Spirit Zones.”
As soon as Sharelle spoke those words, the lowerclassmen squinted their eyes to try and detect even a wisp of the 2nd alleged Spirit Zone.
Although it was blurry, it seemed like there were two afterimages flying around at different angles.
Sharelle’s expression turned dark.
‘I knew he was outstanding, but really, a double Spirit Zone?’
Mental Partition, a unique characteristic of Deviant types.
However, not every Deivate type could do it. Even if one were familiar with the Deivate form, only a chosen few could put this advanced skill into action.
‘It’s my first time seeing it. Currently, Yiruki is probably the only one who can do it in this entire academy, including the Advanced class. Above all, even though he split his mind into two…’
His speed did not drop.
‘He is carrying out two different Sequence methods at the same time. Is that even something a single human brain can do?’
Yiruki’s performance proved that it was possible.
‘To process everything with mental arithmetic… That is not a level that can be explained by the word ‘talent… Yiruki is more like a mutant.’
The Savant Syndrome’s true power could be seen through the scoreboard.
692 points vs. 845 points.
There was over a 100-point difference, and Yiruki was ahead in terms of level as well.
“It’s over. The winner will be decided here.”
While most students were thinking Yiruki had won already, Shirone did not give up.
‘More. I have to tie up more numbers!’
The amount of numbers Shirone was processing using modularity was not at an average of 1,000 or more.
732 points vs. 911 points.
Shirone broke his personal highest score… But Yiruki was far ahead.
It looked like he was going to break Amy’s record.
The students just sat there as if they had lost their souls.
“Yiruki… He’s out-of-this-world amazing. At this rate, he’s going to write a new history for Class 5.”
Meanwhile, Shirone didn’t stray away from his thoughts. There was only one thing on his mind.
‘I can’t reach it through arithmetic.’
He had to go beyond.
‘Can I do it?’
Was this really an ability humans were allowed to use?
There wasn’t anyone who was going to answer those inquiries, but Shirone felt like he received just the answer he needed.
‘In order to transcend the number… I have to…’
‘REACH FOR INFINITY.’
PR Note: Prolly the worst cliffhanger yet no cap.