Among the crowd of dejected people who had failed the test, William saw one person he hadn’t been expecting. It was the little girl who had been directly in front of him at the aptitude test. Even thinking about someone the same physical age as himself as a little girl made him feel weird, so William amended her status to just “girl”. No matter her status, he wasn’t surprised to see her at the school. Instead, he was surprised that she had taken the main admission test. It would have been simpler if she just entered the easy way, with her aptitude. Barring that, he was surprised that she failed. Although the average student in the main school was twelve years old, magical potential wasn’t just the ability to manipulate mana, but it also brought with it some understanding of how magic worked. Well, so he had heard.
Thus, William did some quick eavesdropping, and learned about the situation. Put simply, she hadn’t written anything on the theoretical test, and likely couldn’t. Although she seemed to have very good mana control, she didn’t seem to know the proper incantations, and thus her practical test was also not up to par. William followed her off school grounds.
“Welcome back William. Time to go home.” His father said when he saw him.
“Can you go back without me? I need to do something for the benefit of the magical community.”
“Huh?” William’s father gave him the traditional look that he used whenever William did something weird. “Well, don’t be too late for dinner. Do be careful.”
If William didn’t know how capable he was on his own, but had just been watching as an observer, he would think his parents were neglectful. Fortunately, they just trusted him and his capabilities. Which was good, because William refused to pass up this chance.
It didn’t take William long to catch up to the girl, since he had made sure to stay in shape. It was pretty easy to do with a kid’s body, of course, but being intentional about it still helped. Once he caught up, though, his plan ran into a snag. He had no idea what to say. One possible but quickly rejected thing included, “Hey, I hear you can’t read?” William soon realized he hadn’t talked to children his age much at all. So, he went with something that would hopefully bring a sense of kinship… or something. “Wow, I didn’t think I was going to get zero points on the practical test. I must be pretty stupid, huh?.” He laughed in a self-deprecating fashion.
This caused the girl to turn to look at him. She quickly turned away from him, probably to hide the tears going down her face. William understood the feeling, although this time he’d failed on purpose… sort of. Then, she spoke, and half laughed. “Hah. You must be… pretty *sniff* pretty stupid.”
William had a hard time around a crying little girl. He felt really bad, but he was trying to help, so that was something. “Yeah, I’m pretty stupid. I can’t do it even though someone taught me how to read. Actually, I heard that nobody taught you how to read and yet you can still do magic, you must be pretty good.” Flattery was good, right? Well, he already knew she had amazing potential, so it wasn’t untrue.
“Y-yeah? But, I still wasn’t good enough. I didn’t know what magic they wanted me to do, so I couldn’t get a good enough grade to get in.”
Well, of course she couldn’t, since the theoretical section had some of the necessary points. William didn’t say that though. Instead, he said, “Well, yeah, it’s hard to do anything without someone to teach you. Why didn’t you enter the training level? It’s more for people your age anyway.”
“T-that’s because… *sniff* because I couldn’t read, so they wouldn’t let me in. They let me take this test for free, though, so I tried it, but I failed.” At this point, she started crying even more. William was highly uncomfortable.
“Are they stupid?” This was of course exactly what William thought. “They wouldn’t put in the effort to teach someone with your potential? Do they not want good wizards?” William paused at this. Maybe they didn’t. Although he’d been treated well, this was a world with a different society than he was used to. The poor were easily discriminated against, and the wizards could still look like they were fair by letting those with high potential take the test for free. That made William want to be a wizard slightly less, but only slightly. “You know… I could teach you to read.”
The girl looked surprised at this. “You… you could? But… you’re six, aren’t you?”
“So? You’re seven, I guess, but I know how to read. That’s all that’s necessary to teach someone, at least a little. Me teaching you would be better than nobody, right?” Personally, William thought he was the best person for the job. He’d take a seven year old girl learning magic and reading seriously, and he was quite good at reading, vocabulary, and the rest now.
“I-I guess I could try. I have to, umm, go home now though.”
“Well, if you want to try to learn, come by my house. We have lots of books and stuff.” He gave her easy to follow directions to his house, from the magic academy, since that was the only place he knew they both knew about. “Just ask for William, okay?”
“O-okay. I’m, uh, Lila.”