Welcome to the Entrance Exam
After more than an hour of those 8 sitting there, someone needed to break the quietness that persisted between them.
It was obvious that most of them were tired after finishing such a test, but two of them, the kid with the jet black hair and the girl who followed him to the bathroom, hardly did anything.
As Ken was about to open his mouth to say something to those two, the tall girl who came out last spoke first.
"It's been a while, the exam should be done by now."
"Indeed it is!" yelled the proctor from behind them.
"Congratulations for passing the first part of our entrance exams!"
"I'm sure you are all curious why no one else came following behind you, and the answer to that is quite simple!" he proclaimed.
"Let me ask you bunch a question first. What do you think leads to success in life?" the proctor asked.
"Knowledge!" one of the two clumsy girls said out loud.
"But you also need smarts, intelligence, and experience…" Ken said timidly.
"Exactly my point!" responded the proctor. He continued: "Knowledge, unfortunately, will only get you so far in life."
"What you really need is the ability to adapt, to make your situation work no matter how shitty the circumstances are."
"And that brings me back to that test you 8 just skimped on…"
Ken flinched on the thought that his efforts were viewed in vain.
The proctor continued: "Those students who failed to be creative during this test were all excused as soon as the 4 hours bell when off."
"Unlike you 8, they did not choose to finish the test following a different set of rules."
"Therefore we have deemed them unfit for our attention."
"Some of them will surely do well in life, but I can guarantee, any of you who get in will do better!"
"In any case, you bunch are lucky they didn't move on, because from now on, you will be working as a team."
"Starting tomorrow, ten other groups will be brought over from all over the country, and only groups who's members all pass the exam will be admitted to our school and be able to attain magnificence!"
"Excuse me teacher, but could you enlighten us as to how those two managed to pass without doing a thing?" Ken asked while hinting toward the two students who took such a long bathroom break.
"Oh, you mean Akira and Jane? That's easy! I'll give them the honor to explain what they were doing though!" The proctor laughed merrily.
"We went to the arcade…" Akira quietly responded.
"I don't think that's what he meant, Akira…" Jane said as if she were scolding him.
She continued: "Our older sisters both went to this school and became great friends with each other, so fortunately for us, our connections gave us a little heads up on the situation."
"You know that rectangle that says 'Final Score' on the first page of the exam?" she asked.
Ken nodded as he listened.
"Well, both of us simply filled it out with 1000 before we left to have fun. We were told we wouldn't be able to leave the school if we left after turning it in, so we took a break beforehand."
Both Ken and David had this "ah hah!" moment as the lightbulb inside their head was given power for the first time.
"Darn, why didn't I think about that!" yelled the redhead boy.
"All I did was mark with a red pen a score next to each of my answers hoping a proctor would think he already corrected my test… If only that didn't take so long…" he sighed.
Ken was amazed by how much people cheated, including himself and David, and not to forget the two clumsy girls.
But the tall, asian girl who came out last was the most surprised.
After all, she had taken the test with complete honestly, and had only given it in early because those 7 who went before her seemed to know what they were doing.
"How did you guys get in?" the redhead asked, looking towards Ken and David.
"Unlike you, we gave proper answers to the majority of the test. We may have shared some of them using morse code though." David answered with a smirk.
"Wow!" said one of the girls that followed out of the room right after them.
"All we could think of was to smash the other person's foot when we needed help!" she said cheerfully.
"And we nearly made too much noise from that, Mary!" said the other.
"Anyways, enough jabbering and let me get all of yer names before I take you to your temporary dorms." said the proctor.
"We have Akira, Jane…"
"Sean!" interrupted the redhead.
David and Ken both said their names in turn, followed by the clumsy pair who said "Mary!", "and Lucy".
Finally, the tall girl spoke her name with confidence and an air of seriousness: "Ting!"
"Ok y'all, my name is Will, but feel free to call me Bill, or Teacher, or whatever. In any case, I'll be taking care of you all for the next week, so you better pay attention!"
The proctor then took those 8 students to the temporary dormitories they would be staying in for the next week.
The night quickly passed as the 8 of them got acclimated with each other and got a good rest.
Their morning, however, was unfortunately disturbed by some yelling outside their door.
"WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO BUMP INTO ME, EH!?" yelled a large person towards a much smaller kid by comparison.
"… I'm… so…rry…" He said while trembling.
Akira was surprisingly the first to get up out of bed at this situation, and as he opened the door, he closed it right behind him.
The others listened but they only heard silence from the other side of the door.
One of the large fellows said to another: "What's up with him. He didn't even say anything and just left…"
"Shit, he's probably going to get a teacher." another one said.
The head honcho of the group clicked his tongue and signaled to the other two to just leave.
The other 6 all looked at each other in admiration for the quiet Akira, but Jane brought them back to reality rather quickly.
"Oh Akira… you wish he had enough incentive to go ask a teacher…" she said quietly, but depressingly let her head hang.
The other 7 caught up with him in the cafeteria where their proctor soon found them.
"In an hour will be the opening ceremonies for this year's entrance exam!" Will said with excitement, but he soon noticed the unsatisfied faces of the 7 of them after they had learned how lame Akira was.
Sensing the mood, Will continued "Let me give you a little preview, since I like you bunch!"
"Today, you'll have a chance to complete tasks from other teachers around the campus to gain points."
"Basically, this is your chance to raise your score, and let me tell you, you'll be needing it!"
"Essentially, as of this morning, you are all free to trade in scores with any other student, along with receive more points from teachers, using these IDs."
Will handed them all ID cards that showed the faces they submitted as a part of their applications on them.
"All you have to do to transfer scores is to hold onto the card with your thumb, and speak out the amount you want to transfer as you tap it with someone else's card."
"It'll only respond to your touch and voice, so don't worry about someone else using it!" he said with his usual joyous laughter.
Confused at how such technology might even work, Ken starred at the card.
Will continued: "Incidentally, you will all need at least 2000 points to get into our school!"
Will starred at the bunch like it was nothing, but almost all of them were astonished by how much they needed.
"To know how much you have on your card, just hold it up as say 'Balance'…" he continued, but he was interrupted by everyone yelling 'Balance' all at once.
Akira and Jane's both read '1000', Sean's '800', David and Ken's '843' and '826' respectively, while Mary and Lucy had '327' and '551' respectively.
Last but not least, Ting said "Balance" out loud, and surprised by most, her score read '1389'.
Although everyone was astonished including Ting, Will broke the silence: "Since we noticed that you didn't cheat at all but still decided to finish early, we gave you the extra 200 points then doubled your score!" he said with a wink.
That left them with 9264 points left should they all be able to pass this exam.
"One more thing" Will said.
"As you have no doubt realized, you'll need to get points quickly before the week ends, and there are two common ways to do that: Get them from other students through competitions, or earn them honestly."
"Keep this a little secret between you and me, but the most you can earn in a day is 100 points by helping a certain group out on campus. That is no where near enough to pass though, so the rest is up to you!" he once again said joyfully.
Curious about what Will meant, Ken asked: "Excuse me, teacher? Wh…"
"Call me Will!" Will interrupted.
Ignoring him, Ken continued: "Anyways, what did you mean by two common ways? That implies there are others, does it not?"
"Indeed, but I'll leave thinking up those ways up to you. If you want to live a happy life, I'd recommend staying away from those areas in life." Will said in a much more serious tone.
On that note, Will wished them good luck and left.
Jane was the first to talk, and she explained that her sister and Akira's sister had both helped out in the cafeteria's kitchen.
Although you could not get more than 60 points at a time, it was the only task that was offered three times a day, so they could earn 180 each every day and barely make it.
Afterwards, they went to the opening ceremony where the school's headmaster repeated much of the same things Will said.
Of importance was that there would be no challenges today.
Also, for the next 5 days, they would be able to find challenges posted on the dormitory board.
Student's would be paired in each challenge, and if one wins, they will receive their opponent's scores, up to the amount they already own at least.
If a student is the only one competing for a challenge, they will be given 100 points.
Same goes for a student who has 0 points — they could only win up to 100 points.
However, if someone with 0 points were to lose, they and their entire team would be failed immediately.
At those words, Ken immediately understood that they needed to compete in these challenges as soon as possible to rack up points, because it would be so easy to lose them all on the last day.
Especially considering you could only so much as double your existing score, if it were to fall too low, it might take a while to raise it again.
After this somewhat grim opening ceremony, the 8 of them immediately went for the cafeteria to help out.
They were all pleased to find out no one had discovered this was a doable task yet, and was pretty easy.
All they needed to do was cook the set menus according to the listed recipe, and they could collect their 60 points at the end of the shift from the head chef, who was very nice.
Unfortunately, Sean blundered a little too often, so he only got 20 points, but by the nighttime shift he improved.
Something else entirely was on their minds however.
The emotion they all felt could only be described as eagerness, as they would all be competing against the other teams tomorrow.
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