“There are people who hate people overly creative with skills,” Youko warned, then after seeing him nod, she went with her group to rest in the cave Yousuke’s group made.
“…Surely you haven’t forgotten, right?”
Yousuke muttered under his breath, but no one could hear him because of the rain.
“Our big brother’s specialty.”
The creativity to use a tool for something other than it was intended for.
Shinichi has always been turning everyday items into toys.
And even the products of another world couldn’t escape that fate. Before him, they too were no more than toys.
“Meeting him is always such an enlightening experience.”
Yousuke was certainly biased since he was his little brother, but he wouldn’t doubt him.
He looked down on his foster and smiled.
On it was a text document written by someone that was registered under a pseudonym, entitled, ‘Regarding Skills’, and in that document was a list of ideas concerning the possible uses of skills.
Creating a hole in a mountain by taking advantage of the side effect of a skill…
Only the little brother knew whose idea that really was.
About 20 students of 2 – B canceled their full body equipment and rested.
Only the older sister and her little brother, who had an exoskeleton of their own, kept watch by the entrance.
“We can’t proceed like this.”
“If we all had an exoskeleton it would be possible, but unfortunately, the rest of the class only have simple exoskeletons.”
As the two siblings sat near the entrance of the cave, they looked outside and shook their heads.
They were only intending to have a short break they recovered the crystals, but in the end, they all had to take an extended break.
The land outside the cave had been turned completely white. Roaring winds blew and riding on them was pure-white snow.
“So after raining like cats and dogs, next we have to deal with snow?”
Although it was also dangerous to move while it was raining heavily, it only started to rain after a part of the class had already left to become bait.
This time, however, it was already snowing before they could even move out. They may be among the better students of the academy, but they were by no means mountain climbers. The snow would make the climb much harder, and since they’ve yet to start set out, it made more sense for them to just wait for the weather to change again.
“I knew the weather changed frequently here, but who would’ve thought it would be this bad?”
“It’s meant to train our ability to adapt to a changing weather.”
The mountain range of 2 – B’s exam area was exactly that sort of place.
Of course, Garesto’s weather didn’t change this frequently, but it wasn’t stable by any means either.
They will eventually be made to work in Garesto, so it only made sense to make them experience this sort of changing weather now.
That’s also the reason why the academy made this place in the first place.
Of course, in this case, it was being used to test them.
“Well, I guess, that’s fine and all…” Yousuke said.
“You have something to say?” Youko asked.
Yousuke looked at Youko with a meaningful gaze while
“I just don’t think you have the right to tell others off either,” Yousuke said.
“Huh?” Youko said.
“…You think barrier and shield are normally meant to be used like this?” Yousuke asked.
Yousuke poked the shields used to separate the cave from the world outside.
The shields were made of energy, but they were definitely there, kind of like glass.
It was thanks to these shields that the cold winds and the snow couldn’t get inside.
There was a barrier erected inside too.
“Really? This is basically a transparent wall and dome. It’s really durable and even a little flexible. There are pillars for supports and is even reinforced from inside… Is it so strange?” Youko asked.
They had made this cave on the fly, so fearing that it might collapse, Youko decided to reinforce it with barriers, but she never thought there was anything strange about it until Yousuke pointed it out.
“No, I was just thinking that we’re really siblings, after all, ” Yousuke happily smiled.
“Huh? Of course, we are. What are you even talking about?” Youko asked suspiciously.
“Nothing,” Yousuke shook his head and looked outside.
He was just happy to be able to confirm it once again.
Yousuke looked happy from the side, but Youko didn’t pursue the matter anymore and just turned to the snowy sky.
The weather here changed a lot, but it seemed it won’t be changing for a while.
The two siblings watched the unchanging weather quietly for some time, but eventually, one of them broke the silence.
“…Have you calmed down?” Yousuke asked.
“Yeah, sorry… I’ve been really irritable since this morning, huh,” Youko said.
“I don’t know about you being wrong or scary, but it can’t be helped when it concerns someone you’re so close to.”
Youko had a friend that she had gotten along well with since enrollment.
A classmate that she has kept in touch with even when she became a public morals officer and even when her grades shot up.
In a school that revolved around the merit system, Youko treasured this friend of hers.
That’s why she couldn’t accept it.
“…It’s only natural to question it. I found it strange too. Who would’ve thought that that Safina-san would run away,” Yousuke said.
“Tomoe didn’t run away! This was her last chance! That’s why she’s taking it more seriously than anyone else! She may have just gotten out of the hospital and is yet to fully recover, but she’s been doing her best, and her reputation isn’t bad either!” Youko said.
Tomoe Safina was able to get good results on the first day of exam.
Her results didn’t particularly stand out among the crowd, but they weren’t that bad either, and she ranked somewhere around the middle of the class.
But as soon as the sun set, she suddenly vanished and was presumed to have run away.
Youko protested marking her as a deserter since it didn’t make sense for her to abandon the exam when she managed to get such a good result, but unfortunately, her protests fell on deaf ear, and Tomoe’s demotion was decided.
“Or at least that was the case, but then all of the sudden this morning, we were told that she’s been found and that she will be taking the exam again. Something must’ve happened. The teachers were really tense. The situation doesn’t seem as bad as last year, though, when they screwed up the number of raybeasts,” Yousuke said.
“Wasn’t that already a special case? The whole student body had to fight against an overwhelming number of enemies,” Youko said.
Last December, during Youko and Yousuke’s second test, the Energy Convergence Devices responsible for maintaining the number of raybeasts somehow went out of control and increased the number of raybeasts, causing every class to fight a hard battle.
At the time, the teachers were much more worried than the students.
Yousuke nodded, but he felt that the situation this time was different.
“In the end, no one followed up on the issue last year. I get that we were able to deal with the raybeasts anyway despite the increase in number, but this time around, only one person went missing, and yet the teachers immediately decided to give her a retake anyway. This whole situation reeks. The overall supervisor is also that famed demon instructor,” Yousuke said.
A different kind of trouble was brewing.
The situation left them with no alternative but to presume that, but unfortunately, there wasn’t enough information to speculate.
“In any case, I’m just glad that she managed to hang on. Could’ve done without panicking again, though,” Youko said.
“…I think we were the ones panicking the most that time,” Yousuke said and Youko nodded.
When Tomoe had lost her cool and was gravely injured during her infamous incident, they were shocked. Seeing someone you know get injured so heavily right in front of you is a really shocking experience.
It was during class too, so the whole class witnessed the incident.
“We couldn’t do anything,” Youko said.
“…That’s not true. We rescued her and gave her first aid. We were just… Slow to act… Slow to understand the situation and act appropriately,” Yousuke said.
Fortunately, that delay didn’t end up being fatal.
But that was only natural. No one in their position would’ve been able to react immediately.
If anything, the fact that they were able to act in the end was plenty commendable already.
“We’re still a long way away, huh.”
But despite knowing that, the siblings still found themselves too green.
It was curious if it was because of their youth or because of their confidence, but regardless, the goal of these two siblings couldn’t be reached just by having good grades.
They wanted power and a job that could make a living with that power.
This was the only road they could go down on to start making a living quickly despite still being children. Fortunately, they had the talent to pursue it.
Their stats were high and balanced for Earthlings, and they still had plenty of room for growth.
Because of that they gained the attention of the world and they even received a scholarship from the government.
Both of their parents provided money to their household, but their mother’s income wasn’t that big and was mostly a supplement.
Their father paid for child support, but they still needed to be able to save.
Hence, their end goal was to have a public reputation that affirmed their mother’s efforts, while earning enough to allow her a comfortable life.
“Looks like the weather is about to change again. Depending on what it changes into, we might be able to move out,” Yousuke said.
“Yes. I’m worried about Tomoe, but we have our own matters to take care of. It won’t be funny if I screw up here worrying about her,” Youko said.
“Yeah, we can worry about others when we’re done with our own problems. That’s what mom’s always said,” Yousuke said.
Yousuke wryly smiled as he remembered their mother’s sermons.
Saving other people was only something they should do when they could afford to.
‘You’ll only cause more problems if you save others at the cost of yourselves.’
‘Saving others like that would only burden them,’ is what their mother said.
Youko nodded and stood up, and then together, they took another step toward their goal, so that one day they can easily help their struggling mother.