When that mysterious Southerner offered me a “second chance,” this was not what I expected. I know about the the House of the Ancient Stone and Palace of the Tamed Storm. They are intense military academies and they’re supposed to be harsh. They are rigid and demanding institutions, more like prisons than schools. They’re supposed to break you and mold you into a soldier or whatever else the Scarlet Dynasty needs. They want to take lost dragons and reform them. Whatever this place is doing is different.
The “entrance exam,” as Mr. Vanilethkin called it, was more than a simple test because failure meant death. Reno might have been cavalier about the whole thing, and not without reason as we handily slaughtered the two mutated hell boars even with that odd sorcery impeding our hearing, but individually we would have had a tough time. Tes would have been killed in the act of casting. Reno would likely have been taken out by each beasts’ horrendous mutations, and I would have likely run out of steam before I did enough damage to finish the kills. We passed the test because we were able to plan based on Mr. Vanilethkin’s information and cooperated in the moment without speech. Those advantages let me cover for Reno and Tes while they summoned and, once they finished, it was five verse two. The little hell piggies didn’t stand a chance after that.
So what exactly was this test? I have a theory and I want to be sure to record it: They were testing how we would operate as a team. A military school might try and get their students into the team mindset by breaking down their individuality and rebelliousness, turning them into obedient soldiers and citizens. Here they skipped the indoctrination, at least for now, and simply threw us into the crucible to see if we’d adapt.
The question now is for what purpose are they doing all this? Whatever it is, if I can see mother again, it will have been worth it.