I calmly looked at the few cadets that were walking toward me. From their expressions, anyone could guess their intentions weren't good.
I didn't need to think twice to guess why they were coming to me.
They were worried that the crazy cadet, who was insane enough to challenge Susan and yet act haughtily after getting beaten, might be in their teams.
They were coming to 'tell' me that I shouldn't do anything funny in the test.
'Most probably they want to use me as an example for other low-rank cadets to act as they are told to do but….'
Smilingly, I saw two cadets stopping in front of the group coming toward me, both of them were wearing top 25 cadet uniforms.
"You shouldn't try to do anything funny."
A clear and sweet voice admonished the cadets walking toward me. Seeing the speaker, they had no choice but to stop.
She was Anna Kenward, Rank 9 and a once-in-a-century genius mage. Despite coming from the Kenward family, a family that had fallen during the Second Disaster, her talent put her in the top brackets even among the golden generation.
In the future, it was guaranteed that she will reach great heights as such no one wanted to offend her.
As someone who always followed rules, the last thing Anna wanted was another scuffle in her class. Hence, she had deterred the cadets from coming to me.
When everyone was back in their seats, another dignified yet friendly voice echoed.
"I know everyone is nervous, even I am. The difficulty level of the test is a lot higher than any of us expected. But I don't think infighting at such a crucial point will help us. Rather, we should try to come up with solutions by discussing with each other."
Cadmus' words brought everyone back to their senses. He was right. They needed to make plans ahead of the test if they wanted to pass with their entire team.
The problem was that no one had any idea of what to do.
Everyone was trying to come up with something, but no one spoke. The teams hadn't been told yet. Nobody wanted to tell their thoughts to their potential competitors.
Amid the tense atmosphere, Anna spoke again.
"I suggest all of us follow one thing: No one will attack others inside the dungeon."
The rules didn't forbid fighting others, but doing so would delay everyone inside the dungeon.
Anna's suggestion was a welcome one. Having not to worry about being impeded by others was a big help for anyone.
Anna was a top ranker and a genius. Should anyone agree now but later attack others, she will make sure to make them pay for betraying them. This acted as a safety net, as no one would want to go against her.
'As expected, both of them noticed it.'
Cadmus and Anna were trying to eliminate any possibility of infighting from happening.
From Sean's words, it was safe to assume that the Vice headmaster was responsible for the exam. This was the result of how cadets worked during the Byzander Island test.
But the content of the current test was something that would make the cadets isolate low-rank cadets.
The most crucial part of being one of the passing teams to pass was to be done by the low-rank cadets. Everyone would put pressure on the low ranks to work properly to pass.
A gap was going to open between low rank and other cadets due to the raising friction.
This was the Vice headmaster's intention. With this test, he wanted to see if they worked together toward a common goal or fight against each other foolishly. A hidden test to say, or the real test.
This also meant one more thing: Should the cadets fail to meet the Vice headmaster's expectations, something even worse was waiting for them.
As Cadmus and Anna spoke, the atmosphere inside the class relaxed a little. Almost no one was against her suggestion.
"Do what you want. But don't involve me in your petty tricks."
Ken spoke and stood to leave the class with his goons.
"What do you mean by petty tricks?"
Rather than getting offended by Ken's remark, Anna calmly questioned him.
"Isn't 'not attacking others' a way for you to win? Normally, the weaker team will have to work together to take the stronger ones out, which is you, to get a chance to pass. But you are already tying their hands and feet so they can't win."
Ken walked away without waiting for any response, but his words sowed a doubt seed in everyone's heart.
Indeed, although clearing the 0th floor was possible for weaker cadets, the Iota-rank cadets could use their higher stats to easily traverse the maze and clear the floor.
If the weaker teams wanted to have a chance of clearing the test, they had to stop the stronger cadets first.
The atmosphere of the class became taut. No one rebutted Anna, but everyone was having second thoughts about accepting her suggestion.
Anna had a good head on her shoulders and can look at the situations calmly and objectively. But her biggest weakness was she wasn't well versed in human psychology.
To me, it was painfully obvious what Anna was thinking. Logically thinking what Ken said was true, but if they did not bar attacking each other, the ones who will suffer the most will be the low-rank cadets.
Stronger cadets will eliminate the weaker cadets and thus also eliminate the competing team.
Stopping the fights and focusing on clearing the floor was the only way for the weaker teams to win.
Since Anna was able to come up with this conclusion, which was more logical, she believed everyone will come to the same conclusion.
What she didn't understand was emotions can easily overpower that logic. And the cadets were being swayed by the strongest emotions: doubt, anxiety, fear, and greed.
Ken's words left a deeper impact than Anna could comprehend.
The situation was becoming irreversible by the second, but Anna didn't do anything. Rather, she was confused why no one was agreeing to her suggestion.
As the atmosphere became increasingly tense, Cadmus finally spoke again.
"I believe we should follow Anna's suggestion. The 0th floor is a complex maze where meeting our own teammates will prove difficult. Teaming up with other groups and laying ambush will be very time-consuming. It's for the best if all of us redirect our time to find our teammates and clear the exam."
Cadmus's argument was effective.
Different from Anna, who was intelligent, Cadmus was wise. He used Ken's words as a stepping stone to further solidify the veracity of Anna's suggestion.
Suddenly a cadet agreed, and within the next minute, like a snowball effect, everyone agreed.
"It's tomorrow, huh?"
Looking at the three beautiful moons, I thought about what was going to happen tomorrow.
The 0th floor can be cleared by walking to the altar at the center of the maze. The floor did have traps and monsters, but none of them were above mid Iota-rank, i.e. Lvl 16~ Lvl20.
Ward wasn't going to provide any safety net this time. Even the bracelets we'll be given will only show the approximate direction of our teammates.
In the future, the cadets were going to fight on the frontlines. There was no point in giving them a safety net every time there was a dangerous mission.
This was what made the incident inside the dungeon particularly dangerous.
Our class, which will be the first class to have this test, would fall prey to the Royal Demon that had recovered there.
This event was where Leon would be completely and utterly defeated.
The only way to kill Royal Demons is to completely overpower them or use your stigma to kill them. Sadly, nobody will be able to do so and they will be pushed to the corner.
At the endpoint, Anna will almost be killed in front of helpless Leon, only to be saved by the Student council which entered because no one had completed the test even after a few hours.
This event was very important. Why?
Because it showed Leon his helplessness and powerlessness. This becomes a vital reason for Leon to be able to unseal his stigma.
Also, this was the real introduction of Tia Maybell, the one who would kill the Royal Demon. She was going to be the biggest factor for Leon re-awakening his stigma.
"Will everything go as it is supposed to be?"
I knew that it was only an ignorant wish. My presence was going to mess up the sequence. When found the demon will surely focus on trying to devour me.
"Why couldn't the extra life thing work on the 0th floor?"
If I could leave the 0th floor by giving up one chance inside the Dungeon, I would have done it in a heartbeat. But dying on the 0th floor was dying without extra life.
Breaking my thoughts was the sound of an incoming notification.
Checking my device, I saw that the email was the team members list.
"Who are my teammat-What the hell?!"
I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Was my life playing some kind of prank on me?
> Peter Gill – Meta-rank
> Nathan Hunt – Meta-rank
> Derek Damse – Meta-rank
> Ryan Fraught – Meta-rank
> Susan Warner – Iota-rank
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