Matthew opened his eyes to a world of flames. Around him was just simply an endless sea of fire without anything else in sight.
"This dream again…"
Matthew did move and only stood there idly. Even though he was surrounded by fire, he did not feel pain at all. One would think that this was definitely just a dream if not a nightmare, but for Matthew who had seen this many times already, it was something different.
He could not explain what it was. He just sensed that there was something else about this dream that he had.
In the far distance, he saw a gigantic figure of a lizard of some sort. Its eyes were glowing bright yellow in the darkness above the fire.
"That thing again… What does it want with me?" Matthew asked himself.
Matthew's head was suddenly ringing. It caused pain inside his temple that it forced him to the ground. He tried to bear with it but it was excruciatingly painful.
Until suddenly, the pain he felt was gone and the sound of ringing within his head was much clearer now.
Matthew opened his eyes. He saw his hand that had been cushioning his head on the pillow and the alarm clock that was ringing annoyingly.
Matthew flipped his body onto his back and took deep breaths. He could feel the sweat accumulating on his back and neck. Matthew took one last deep breath and slowly rubbed his face with his right hand.
Matthew walked all by himself towards his morning class. Usually he would be bored in the morning aside from when he had physical training class. But on this particular morning like a few other mornings, there was something bothering his mind.
'That dream again… But, it didn't feel like a dream. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it. But for some reason, when I looked into that thing’s eyes, I felt some kind of connection with it.’
Matthew could not fully understand the situation that he was going through. His mind was caught up between this and as a result, he couldn’t quite pay attention in class, not that he ever does.
‘It all started since the AQC. Is there a connection between that and what’s happening now?’ Matthew shook his head as if to also shake away his worries. ‘The Hunter exam is less than a week from now. I should be worrying about that more for now.’
Matthew changed the tracks of his train of thought. With the exam taking place less than a week, he must prepare all he can for it. The exam to get an official Hunter license.
Just thinking about it made Matthew’s heart pump and adrenaline rush through his body.
‘I’ll be prepared for you.’ Matthew said confidently in his heart.
The Hunter Association Main Headquarters, Omni Kingdom, Exams and Ranking Executive Office. Night time.
Heller pinched her forehead as she stared at the applicant documents in her hand. Three stacks of the same document were present on her desk. Her mind was fuzzy after checking the thousands of documents of applicants.
She had intended that she would finish it all today and take a good rest when she gets home. She was completely wrong when the number of applicants had suddenly increased by fourfolds.
Heller put the document that she was holding on the left stack that she had. There were two more equivalent stacks to go. She scoffed at the two stacks as if giving up.
She laid back in her chair and took a deep breath. She stretched her arms and legs which were starting to strain after sitting for too long. Then she rested her head on her arms on the desk. She was starting to feel sleepy.
She looked outside. The sky was still slightly red, hinting that it had not been too long after sunset.
‘Maybe I’ll get some coffee.’ She thought.
Heller stood up from her chair and walked out the door. She headed towards the pantry that was not too far from her office. The hallway was bright but pretty much no one was there. Office hours usually end at sunset and people would’ve gone home already.
Heller went inside the pantry and brewed a fresh cup of black coffee. She could’ve used fire magic to heat up the coffee, but why would she do that when there’s a magic item that does that for her?
The device rang when the coffee was ready. Heller picked it up and drew it close to her mouth. She took a little verbal sip.
“Mmm~” She hummed.
Satisfied with her drink, he carried the coffee with her to her office. As she walked through the hallway, she wondered why there were so many applicants this year. It was very shocking to see the explosion in the number of the exam applicants.
Even the Hunter Association President, Kaito Mato, was shocked. That said, even the number of students who entered last year had increased dramatically. Could something have triggered more people to become Hunters?
Whatever the reason maybe, Heller only thought of it as usual. “Even if there are thousands of applicants, only a handful will actually make it past the exam.” She took another sip of her coffee.
Heller grabbed the door handle to her office and was about to open it, until she heard something.
Something fell from inside her office. Heller was not only an Executive, she was also once a Veteran ranked Hunter. And she could tell that what was currently inside her office was no mice.
‘By how heavy it sounded, probably a person. But it’s also so quiet. An assassin?’
What could an assassin be doing inside her office? There was no treasure in there let alone a precious item. So what was the point?
Heller thought of something. ‘An applicant perhaps? There is a map and a list of examiners as well other documents. A cheater.’
After getting an estimation of the possibilities, she was prepared to enter.
The door swung open with a bang. “Who’s there?” Heller shouted.
However, there was no one there. The room was just like how she left it.
Heller entered the room slowly and carefully as she observed her surroundings. She noticed a few documents were on the floor. After closer observation, she noticed the stack of documents was also moved.
“It has to be a cheater.” Heller concluded.
She was not worried at all as she could just improvise the plan later.
“You shouldn’t worry about that.” Heller heard the voice of a woman.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Suddenly all the doors and windows closed and the lights went out. The room was now dark with only the moon lighting up the place through the window.
Heller’s heart was pumping hard. She didn’t know what happened, but she could sense a presence in front of her.
The chair slowly turned around, revealing a woman with pale violet skin, dark purple hair, a pair of horns on the side of her head and wore a skin tight jet black suit. She sat in a way that one would imagine of an executive would. Legs crossed and hands interlocked.
Even in her slight fear, Heller had the courage to ask. “Who are you?”
The woman chuckled. “The third Demon Lord, Crymillia.” , Crymillia."
Heller's eyes shook when she heard that name. 'A Demon Lord? But I heard that the Demon Lord was killed centuries ago. Could she be a reincarnation?'
Noticing the pale look on Heller's face, Crymillia spoke out.
"Now, now, there is no need to fear me. I only came to check on something is all~"
"... By that, do you mean…" Heller eyed at the documents.
"Sharp eyes. I am nothing but interested in the upcoming exam."
"... What are you up to? What do you are going to do to the applicants?" Heller asked.
"I will do nothing but just observe our cute little subjects. Hehe~" Crymillia chuckled again.
"Oops! I might've said a bit too much. Well, not that it matters." Crymillia shrugged her shoulders.
"I am not just gonna stand idly with this. If you wanna watch them, watch them from hell! Hah!" Heller was only about to step forward and dash into a fight.
But Crymillia was already in front of her. "Don't worry about my seat too much, since I'm gonna be taking yours~"
Heller felt a sharp pain in her stomach. Warm liquid dribbled down from her stomach to her legs. Heller coughed up blood.
Crymillia licked the blood that was spat on her cheek. “That is some tasty blood you have. You'll make a fine meal. Hehe~"
Heller’s heart was beating fast and her mind was getting hazy. She could feel death’s invitation for her as she stared into those demonic eyes.
About a week later…
At the border between the Cyss Empire and the Omni Kingdom.
Thousands of people were gathered on the vast field surrounded by mountains, marshlands and other terrains. Today was the starting day of the special event that takes place every year.
The Hunter Exam.
People of all races clad in armour of their own style. Some did not wear visible armour such as mages and other certain people with special abilities.
People gifted with talents to master their powers and the confidence to use them took the exam in order to test their worth. Among these people were two teenagers who came from another world.
Matthew and Rose had arrived at the starting point.
"This is it." Rose said.
"Yeah, the places where we'll get our licenses. I'm so hyped!" Matthew was burning with excitement.
The exam will start soon!
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