The Entrance Examination
(Thank you for reading at bayabuscotranslation.com)
As I was already ten years old, I was enrolled to the school of Knights. From this day, I would start living in the capital city.
I was depressed.
The most enjoyable things I’d ever had since I came to this world was between one and seven years old.
From that point, I was made to remember the history, memorize the national language. When I was done, I was made to learn the ancient Shan language. The last part didn’t end well, but there was no turning back. Syamu would surpass me.
Anyhow, when I was handed a family tradition short sword from Syamu, I was instinctively moved. As I thought about the days of three years of training, tears came out.
There was a second residence of the Hou Household in capital city. When the whole family came here before the entrance ceremony, we stayed there without doing anything on that day. Today was the day of the entrance examination.
Even if people did bad during the entrance examination, it wasn’t a measurement to refuse them from enrolling in. It seemed to be some sort of classification test.
There was no elementary school in this country. Education was entrusted to respective family until the age of ten. For that reason, there would be a gap in academic ability.
If people were allocated to the lowest class, it might start like a classroom of writing letters. Contrary to Satsuki’s education, it was only torture to be confined in such a place for a year, so I had to work hard here.
Then, in that morning…
“It’s fine, you don’t have to come. I can go alone.” (Yuri)
I tried hard to soothe my parents.
“What are you saying? It is a rule for parents to follow. You don’t have to be shy because other children are going with their parents too.” (Rook)
I was planning to go alone because they would bring the carriage that the Hou Household had.
‘What is this?’
When I was thinking that a maid could put on the uniform of Knights on me, I was dressed up by my parents and they planned to follow me.
They wore formal attires, and they were going to come with me to the class division test.
‘What does this mean?’
“Are you sure?” (Yuri)
“Do you think that I’m lying?” (Rook)
‘Is this for real? Give me a break…’
“I wonder if Yuri is embarrassed.” (Suzuya)
Suzuya seemed sorry when saying that. When I looked at her sad face, it was strange that it made me sad as well.
‘I need to hurry…’
“There is no such thing. It’s my pride to be with you, Okaa-san.” (Yuri)
‘…and put a follow up.’
“Well, why do you say you want to go alone?” (Suzuya)
“I wondered if this will bother Okaa-san and Otou-san… since this is just an exam.” (Yuri)
“Do you think we are bothered to see our son’s big moment?” (Suzuya)
Suzuya was staring at me. When I was looked with such eyes, I thought I was wrong.
‘Is this the strength of a mother?’
“I’m sorry. I was wrong. Please take care of me today.” (Yuri)
I had no choice but to give up when it became like this. I had to give in.
“Yes, good boy. I will support you perfectly.” (Suzuya)
If such a mother said such things, a son had no choice but to try his best.
‘Let’s do my best. Haa…’
Then, we got on the carriage and started moving. When I thought about it, this was the first time I was riding a carriage to the capital city.
After moving for about thirty minutes, we arrived at a large establishment. The walls continued like forever, and it felt like it wouldn’t stop. On the other side of the wall, I could see trees.Just as I thought, this seemed to be the school of Knights. Then the carriage turned in the middle of the wall, and went into a place like a big gate.
According to what I had heard from Rook, this must be the school of Knights, but it wasn’t entirely the school of Knights. There were two establishments inside here, the school of Knights and the school of Liberal Arts. It seemed to be called ‘Academy’ by including both establishments. In other words, the big gate that I visited would be the main gate of the Academy.
The school of Knights had mainly male students, while the school of Liberal Arts had mainly female students. Apparently, there were no female classmates when Rook studied here, but there seemed to be male students in the school of Liberal Arts.
When it was about the school of Liberal Arts, people with incredible social status like Witches, and not Knights, studied here. In other words, they were the bureaucrats who served the Queen.
Speaking of the Shogunate, there were like lower ranking vassals or vassals under direct control of the shogun, but these Witches weren’t taking the role of fighting. They did purely clerical works or government official works.
The women and the men of the Witch households, and the women of Knight households usually enrolled in the school of Liberal Arts. Hence, in the school of Knights, the students were usually the men from the Knight households, the men from the Witch households, and it would be rare to have women from the Witch households.
This was how it looked like.
The men of the Knight household and the women of the Witches households were clearly going to be the bureaucrats and the soldiers, but other than that, it would be slightly complicated.
If the men of the Witch households had physical strength, they would be absorbed under the army of the Queen to be either the imperial guards or generals. If they were intelligent but weren’t able to become ministers due to disadvantageous in life, they could still become bureaucrats.
In terms of position, if people hadn’t decided what they wanted to be, they could live a relatively free, and had an unconstrained life. Since they couldn’t hope to remain in their parents’ house, some of them left the house and became merchants or farmers.
The women of the Knight households, they could work as bureaucrats if they were intelligent, but usually, they became the bride of another Knight. If the daughters of educated families went to the school of Liberal Arts, they were purely going there for education. Satsuki was one of the examples.
What was rare occurrence was daughters of Witch households entered the Knights household. There was a small number but it was also a way to attain fame.
Speaking of what they were going to be, they became the commissioned officers of the imperial guards. There were very few women in the school of Knights, but the imperial guards were separated from the Knights and the seven great Witch households which took out money to be preserved, the commander in chief was the Queen, and the general class was all female.
Since there were not many people who wanted to get into the military in the future because they would have hard times as girls, most of the imperial guards were male, but their rank was below than the girls.
For example, Galla, who was Rook’s best friend. Galla was incredibly success in life. He finally served as the deputy commander of the 500-cavalries corps of the first imperial guard forces. It was commonly said that this was the end of his career. He couldn’t achieve higher rank than that. The rest was just waiting for the future to be laid out by the generals or the general of the army.
(Thank you for reading at bayabuscotranslation.com)
By the way, the test for the school of Liberal Arts was conducted yesterday.
When we entered from the main gate, there were already a series of carriages. There were a lot of adults. Rook was certainly telling the truth. It looked like to be a parent-participant type of class distribution test.
‘What’s going on in this country?’
When the carriage of the Hou Household entered the flock of carriages, I felt that the eyes of some adults were concentrated here. The carriage went to the inner part and stopped. Then, the coachmen descended to open the passenger car door.
As a family of three people landed on the ground, their voices clearly stopped, and there was a feeling that their attention were focusing here.
‘What’s with these people? Is it because the prestige of the Hou household is huge? Or is it because the non-Knight and rancher Rook’s strange reputation? I feel that something is wrong. Either way, a headache is likely to occur when considering about the future.’
Rook, who had been used to the attention in the last three years, escorted Suzuya with a calm face without being bothered by the atmosphere. After that, they headed toward a building. Then, I followed them. As I walked into a splendid brick building like a university building, there was a place like a reception for large company, and there was a person who seemed to be a receptionist sitting there.
“I’m Rook Hou. This is my son, Yuri.” (Rook)
When Rook said so to the receptionist…
“Thank you for coming. The person in charge will immediately guide him to the exam venue. Rook-sama, Suzuya-sama, please wait in the parent’s waiting room.” (Receptionist)
‘What, he knows up to Suzuya’s name? That’s a big deal.’
“Well then, let me guide you.” (??)
In almost no time, a beautiful Onee-san came over. It seemed she was the guide. Here was the farewell to my parents for a while.
“Do your best, Yuri.” (Rook)
“I’m cheering you on.” (Suzuya)
Rook and Suzuya waved goodbye with a smile.
‘This is not like the entrance examination for university…’
Then, I entered the room that was the examination hall, led by the Onee-san. Soon, I noticed something strange.
Of course, there were a lot of children who were about my age among the people here. The strange thing was that the examination test had already begun.
There were twenty to thirty children sitting on long desks like in a university lecture room, writing or twisting their head toward the wooden board in front of them. If they weren’t altogether seriously enjoying graffiti, they must be taking the exam now.
Next to each of them was a person who seemed to be a staff member. They were either a man or a woman. Some of the children probably had finished taking the test since they left the board on the desk and left the hall.
‘What’s going on?’
‘If we aren’t going to start at the same time, there will be impartiality. Is there no time limit?’
‘If this is the case, it is normal to hold everyone up and start all at once, given the risk of leaking questions to those who come later. Is this going to be fine?’
Without understanding what was going on, I was seated in a proper place. A wooden board was placed on the desk. An inkwell and a feather pen were added after that. The wooden board had no name, and only the problem was engraved on the whitish wooden board. Of course, the problem was engraved not by printing, but by writing.
‘It’s a waste to use parchment, huh?’
There were only ten questions. If these questions were translated to Japanese…
No 1: Write the name of our country.
No 2: Write the names of the neighboring countries.
No 3: What is the answer of 12 x 3?
No 4: With North at the upper side, write North, South, East and West.
No 5: What is the name of the Queen?
Read the following sentences and answer the questions.
KURO had a big spear but the spear was stolen. The stolen spear was sold and SHIRO made a lot of money. SHIRO used the money to buy AO a medicine. When KURO found SHIRO , he hit SHIRO . When KURO saw AO, he forgave SHIRO.
No 6: Who stole KURO’s spear?
No 7: Why did SHIRO want money?
No 8: Why did KURO hit SHIRO?
No 9: Why did KURO forgive SHIRO?
No 10: Write KURO , SHIRO, and AO in Kanji. (TLN: KURO – Black, SHIRO – White, AO – Blue)
It was something like this.
‘No matter how I look at it, these questions are easy.’
‘What did I study for three years? I had to study for three years, and in this crucial moment, I feel like the anger is building up. That old hag…’
While I somehow felt terribly lifeless, I solved the problems and said ‘I’m done’. I probably took like five minutes.
The guide looked at my wooden board, and confirmed that the answers were complete.
“Aah, yes. Please follow me.” (Guide)
Then, I was brought to the front. There was a woman who was like a teacher.
“Say your name and submit your answers.” (Woman)
“My name is Yuri Hou. I finished answering.” (Yuri)
As the old teacher looked at the wooden board, she said ‘Bring him to the first room’ without hesitation. Without a moment delay she moved a writing brush on the nearby notes. Then, I saw the note and it said ‘No. 1 – Yuri Hou’.
“Please follow me.” (Guide)
I didn’t understand the meaning. After that, I followed the female guide and went out of the room.
I walked in the room where I was led to. The room was much smaller than the previous one, and there were about five other children already.
“Please wait here.” (Guide)
The guide lowered her head to me as if she had finished one job. Then, she turned back, went toward the door we came in, and left the room.
She seemed to be ready to leave me here and went back.
‘I don’t really get this.’
“Please wait a moment. What is it? Here.” (??)
When I asked from the back, the guide turned around and leaned.
“Is this the exam hall?” (Yuri)
If it was an exam, I did it earlier.
“I’m sorry but I finished the exam earlier.” (Yuri)
When I said so, the guide got me and made a consent face.
“Aah, that was a preliminary exam. It was a general exam. This is the real exam from now on.” (Guide)
‘Heh? Aah… Is that so?’
When I thought about it a little, I immediately understood.
‘So, since there is a big gap in academic ability, I’m going to have to take few simple tests in advance before the class division from now on?’
Therefore, they were breaking it up with wooden boards, and not starting all at once.
Since it was wasteful to use parchment for such a test, I supposed they would shave the wooden board and reuse it after the test was finished. It was strange for the guide waiting next to the examinees during the exam, but that was because it was just a transit point. It was obvious to end soon.
“Understood. I’m sorry, I didn’t understand how it works.” (Yuri)
“It’s alright.” (Guide)
The guide said that, and this time, she left the room.’
‘What? Is that really how it is? Whaat?? But, if they don’t explain it, people will think that is the exam.’
‘In a sense, this should have been explain by Rook beforehand. That guy…
‘Oh well. I guess I have to wait for the exam to begin.’
(Thank you for reading at bayabuscotranslation.com)
I waited for a while, but the exam didn’t start, and it didn’t start even after about thirty minutes. When I thought about it, the final exam wouldn’t start until the preliminary exam was finished.
‘Is somebody holding out? Or was it too early for Rook to bring me to the venue? Then, would I have to wait for another thirty minutes?’
Then, the number of children in the room increased rapidly. If that was the content of the exam, it would be uncommon for children to earn a perfect score.
However, considering the number of people in the hall, the number of people here was small. By considering that point, here wasn’t a class for those who got nine out of ten points, but this might be a class of those with a perfect score.
By the time the children in the room had come to understand each other and had conversations, the teacher finally showed up.
The teacher was accompanied by a girl. She was about the same age as me.
It was a beautiful girl with well-groomed features. She had blonde hair, which was rare in this country. When I thought about it, this place was like Scandinavia, so blonde hair wasn’t an uncommon image.
However, this was the first person I saw with blonde hair. Of course, there was no one blonde among the tens of students.
From my point of view, it was the same feeling of a blond person with blue eyes saying ‘Even so, this is the original ancestral of Japanese’, and I would be considerably surprised.
There was someone with blonde hair among Shanti.
I stared at her out of curiosity. When I looked at the surroundings, the other children were also staring her.
For some reason, she gave a feeling of cleverness, and not so friendly. Well, it might feel that way because of the tension and the strong face she had.
The girl immediately sat on a seat before me and turned back.
‘Is it a girl? Rook said that there is no girl in the school of Knights. Didn’t he said something like that? Was that a lie?’
‘However, she has the same cute face as Syamu, but the style iss somehow different. Syamu eyes are vivid when I look closely. The whole eyes are small and round, and it seems that the impression is quite different from that girl. Syamu had a cute face that anyone would love to see even if she stops making the sullen look, but even if this girl smiles, it won’t be an atmosphere where people can easily approach her. No, I’m not sure about that.’
‘Well, I wonder if this girl was the last student. For heaven sake, please let that be true.’
“Well then, I will distribute the paper.” (???)
The Sensei declared and began to hand out the paper that became the exam questions to each person.
‘Yeay. It finally begins.’
Soon, the exam questions on the parchment had been distributed to my place before long.
‘If I finish this up, I’ll be able to go home today. Let’s finish this quickly.’
I directed my eyes to the surface of the test paper. My eyes opened wide while reading the contents slightly.
‘The first question was the question on the strategic terms that were written in the book on military tactics which seemed to be the fake descendants of it. I read that in the Hou Household mansion. There is no explanation, and it is written in a way it is.’
‘It is obvious, but people won’t be able to answer unless they read the book on military tactics. Certainly, it is a famous military tactic book, but how many children who can read a slightly difficult military tactic book that adults read at the age of ten? Rook and Satsuki didn’t say anything, but is this a foundation book that people should read before taking the exam?’
‘After that, there is a description problem about the movement in the battle scene by using the tactic. If people don’t read the book, they will got it wrong on these two questions. Well that would be a deduction of twenty points out of 100 points. Or perhaps I should say that the questions asked are hard for children of ten years old.’
There wasn’t only that kind of questions as there was a question about right triangle. There is also a question of finding the length of the hypotenuse. This couldn’t be solved without knowing the Pythagorean theorem (the square of the hypotenuse was equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides), and it couldn’t be solved without a basic understanding of multipliers. Well, this seemed to be a right angle of 5, 12 and 13, so it wasn’t necessary to use square root, but it was still a difficult question for ten years old children.
There was a question of geography which required to write the names of all countries that existed after the Shantilla Great Empire collapsed. In the previous exam, there were questions about the name of this country and the neighboring countries. Therefore, the children here probably remembered at least two countries, but since there were nine countries in total, it would be rare for them to remember all countries.
Although there was no question on the ancient Shan language, the question on the national language was considerably difficult. I was asked to analyze the diplomatic failure of Gojoran, the country which was destroyed first among the nine countries. Of course, there was an essay question, but was there a person who could answer it?
“The time is until the sand of this hourglass has completely fallen.” (Sensei)
Then, the overseer Sensei turned over a big hourglass.
‘For the time being, let’s have a go, I guess.’
I probably took about an hour to solve all questions. It was quite responsive questions. However, I was able to solve all questions.
How should I put it. These questions were difficult for ten years old children, but it would be embarrassing if I couldn’t solve it.
When I looked at the front, the hourglass hadn’t been reduced by half. I wondered if the exam time was about three hours in total. I took the exam sheet, and went forward as quietly as possible so that I wouldn’t be a nuisance.
When I quietly submitted the test paper…
“You still have time, you know.” (Sensei)
…I was reproached by that reply.
“Aah, does that I mean I can’t go out until the time is up?” (Yuri)
‘I’m going to cry if that is true. I would have to wait for two hours without making a noise. It is too painful, indeed.’
“No. You are free to leave. But, you can’t come back.” (Sensei)
‘What? I’m glad.’
”If that’s the case, I’ve solved everything, so I’m good.” (Yuri)
After submitting the exam paper, I immediately went out of the room.
I got lost a bit, but since I remembered the way I came here, I returned there, and found a staff by luck. Then I asked the staff, and managed to reach the waiting room of my parents.
When I went inside, a bit of alcohol-like air came into my nose.
‘What’s in the waiting room? Isn’t it a party hall?’
In a reception hall, which could be seen nothing but a party hall, there were dishes arranged, and something like a standing meal meeting was held. It was also a place to drink alcohol.
‘I suppose this is what you call parent-participation. Did they do something behind my back?‘
‘Like how the parents drinking alcohol and having a big feast while their children are working hard? It’s more like a social party than a big feast though. If you are an adult, you will claim that this is a social gathering of parents, but from children point of view, this is embarrassing.’
After walking around for a while, I finally found Rook. When I found him, Rook was giving his full attention to his best friend, Galla, while they were on a small round table. They actually were having an arm wrestling.
‘Are these two children?’
Their faces are a bit red and they looked drunk. Were they become drunk, got on board, saw a familiar face and had an arm wrestling match?
’What a shocking parenthood.’
Suzuya was smiling while trying to look calm, as she was accompanying behind him, but apparently, she couldn’t keep up with him. If it was as usual, she would hit Rook’s head, but since this was a formal place, she didn’t know what to do. That was how I felt.
Suzuya had a smile on her lips, but not in her eyes. It was clear that she was angry with Rook. Although she could pinch his butt so that the surroundings wouldn’t know…
“Father, what are you doing…?” (Yuri) (TLN: I’m using Father and Mother rather than Otou-san and Okaa-san because he is calling them ChichiUe and HahaUe in this situation.)
He was surprised when he heard my voice.
“Hmm!? Aah, is that you, Yuri? I’m…” (Rook)
The moment he saw my face, he lost his focus, and lost the arm wrestling. The back of his hand was slammed on the table.
Then, he shook his hand while uttering ‘Ouch’.
“Seriously, take it easy.” (Rook)
“Too bad, you got distracted.” (Galla)
Galla was grinning.
“Yuri, what is it? How about your exam?” (Rook)
“I’m done.” (Yuri)
When I looked around, there were no children and there were only adults in the room. It seemed that it was still in the middle of reception, so there might be few children who finished the exam early and got out.
“I probably still have another two hours.” (Yuri)
“Even if you have two more hours, you shouldn’t go out, right?” (Suzuya)
“…Did you do it properly?” (Rook)
‘They seem to be worried. I’m sorry.’
“I can’t say that I will get a perfect score, but I did it in my own way. So, it’s fine.” (Yuri)
“I see. Well, that’s fine, then.” (Rook)
Rook didn’t say much probably because either I told so or he thought that I would have to wait for another two hours.
“Long time no see, Yuri-kun.” (Galla)
I heard Gall called me out. I should have grown taller than before, but Galla’s physique was still huge.
“Long time no see, Galla-san.” (Yuri)
I immediately lowered my head.
“Have you answered all questions?” (Galla)
He said it in a nice tone.
“Well, yes.” (Yuri)
“If that is so, you will probably get the same class as my son. “Have you seen him?” (Galla)
“I wonder. I’m not too sure, because there were few people just now.” (Yuri)
“I see. Well, if you see him, get along with him, alright. Unlike you, he is a hopeless brat.” (Galla)
‘Uwahh. That sounds unpleasant.’
‘This person can’t really hide his physique in a slightly formal attire. If that brat has his physique, I won’t be able to deal with it, you know.’
“Is he really a brat? It’s scary, but I hope we can be friends.” (Yuri)
I said something which wasn’t in mind.
“If he does something bad, it’s fine to deal with him.” (Galla)
He seemed really emphasizing that point.
‘You can do it yourself. Don’t leave the breaking of a brat to other people.’
“What is your son’s name?” (Yuri)
“Dolla Godwin.” (Galla)
‘Dolla, is it? Alright. Galla’s son is Dolla. It’s easy to remember.’
“I’ll remember it well.” (Yuri)
‘I’ll make sure to stay away from him.’
“So, Father. Let’s go home.” (Yuri)
“Eh, are we going back already?” (Rook)
He seemed reluctant.
‘Does he still want to drink and eat?’
“Don’t you have to attend ceremony or something?” (Yuri)
“Nope, there is none.” (Rook)
“Alright. let’s go home. Look, Mother’s condition is not good.” (Yuri)
When he looked at Suzuya, let alone being not feeling well, she was displaying a mood with an undaunting pose, but well, that was fine.
“Certainly, I’m also tired.” (Yuri)
“Y-yes. Shall we go now?” (Suzuya)
“Galla, see you later.” (Rook)
“Ouh. You too, take care.” (Galla)
The two said goodbye to each other.
“Well then, please excuse us.” (Yuri)
“Goodbye, Galla-sama.” (Suzuya)
Suzuya held a bit of the skirt’s hem and bowed. It was a common female bow. That didn’t look good at all… there was a sense of incongruity…
On that day, we returned home in the carriage. The entrance ceremony would be tomorrow.
(Please consider supporting at https://www.patreon.com/bayabuscotranslation)