Now this exam really is moving along! No surprise that fights have started breaking out. Some people in this situation would use their skills to capture the Stille and just try to sit back and wait for the test to end. But some would simply choose to use their combat skills and take the Stille that others worked to capture. It’s a brutal way of doing things, but no surprise that some would turn to that. Stille aren’t easy to catch and I could imagine many have spent their time developing their combat abilities more than anything else.
The ironic thing here is that too many might have chosen to take the combat route. Fern and Frieren’s respective teams did manage to get the job done and that has led to them being targeted. But I haven’t seen that many teams successfully reach the goal. There may simply not be that many Stille to take! This could turn into a brutal battle royal with only a couple teams able to even pass. There’s no way this is the only part of the test, and it might already be whittled down to a small number of competitors.
The reaction to Lawine freezing the lake really showed which teams are completely out of their depths and which ones aren’t. You have some people foolishly trying to melt a frozen lake without understanding that it’s pointless to do so. The magic there will keep the birds away. Though I suspect those people didn’t understand the Stille at all in the first place.
Speaking of combat though, I do love how calm Fern looks when things get serious. She isn’t exactly the best at expressing herself so she might be more shaken up than it appears. But so far she’s handled everything with a very stoic grace. When the ambush first landed she calmly threw up her defenses exactly where they were needed. No excess effort needed. Her opponent may try to throw her off with verbal jabs, but that’s all the damage she appears to be doing here!
Fern may have a very “old school” style, but the key thing is that it works. No surprise that someone as old as Frieren would teach and employ a classic approach. Heck, she brought Flamme’s magic suppression policy into teaching Fern in the first place. No need to throw rocks at people when pure magical defenses and attacks are fast and effective. I love how Fern delivers a nice burn. A calm repeat of Frieren’s message that basic offense and defense is enough to topple the mages of this era. And she might be right. Her opponent may realize on some level that Fern is suppressing her mana, but I don’t think she knows who she’s up against quite yet.
Things were mostly less violent on Frieren’s side. I will say the actual plan to catch the Stille was clever and very much what I’d expect from Frieren. Her hobby of gathering as many weird and random spells as possible paid off big. The only downside was getting close enough and the strategy there was perfect. There’s no one better at suppressing their mana than Frieren. So even she could lower it enough for the bird to just treat her as a thing hanging out by the lake. Once it was close…game over! It does show how relatively competent Frieren’s team is and how most can’t think outside the box nearly so much. I kind of wonder how Fern’s party caught one…
I will give slight points to Frieren’s team. Lawine and Kanne were far more tolerable this week. Maybe because they didn’t focus all the time on the team or they simply realized that this test didn’t have time for them to bicker and fight. But the results were nice. They were just effective support players in getting this quest cleared.
Sadly, the violence is coming with Frieren’s team getting tracked. We’ll have to see how capable Denken’s team is. One would think he’s reasonably skilled if he’s taking this exam and was able to detect where Frieren was from a brief use of magic. The old guy is good. He seems like the Frieren of his own team. The man has seen a lot and knows that it isn’t simply about who has the most raw mana. It’s about experience, tactics, and execution. Of course, he’s going up against someone in Frieren that utterly surpasses him in experience and mana usage. I’m sure Frieren can handle this. But they did set her up as admitting that she’s lost to humans with less mana than her in the past. There are no guarantees.
The show is obviously not all about fights. But I’m not going to complain when we get some! Fern’s fight will be one to keep an eye on since obviously her surviving this is the most important thing of all. But I have a feeling she’ll be ok. She’s stronger than her opponent thinks. Frieren will be interesting to watch. I wouldn’t be surprised if Denken is at least able to cause her some trouble. But he may be truly in over his head if he can’t tell how truly powerful Frieren is. The next episode or two should be fun. Some nice magical battles. And all of this while Stark is probably just chilling out in the inn!
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