The house of cards rose in the blink of an eye.
I snuck a glance at Satoru sitting next to me. Looked like it was going well. He was already on the fourth layer. Satoru sensed that I was looking and spun the four of hearts card he was levitating with a smug expression on his face.
Determined not to lose, I focused on the house of cards before me. It was a simple task — stacking playing cards into pyramids — but actually doing it involves a lot of discipline in using your cantus.
First and foremost was concentration. The slightest touch or breath of wind would knock the house down. Next was spatial perception. Third was multitasking — you had to be able to pay attention to all that while looking out for signs that the house was about to fall and correct it in time.
Incidentally, there’s a story saying that when Shisei Kaburagi tried this assignment, he was able to complete it instantly by imagining a pyramid made of eighty-four cards. But no one else has ever been witnessed doing such a thing, so it’s probably just an exaggerated tale.
In Harmony School, we were instructed to build card houses on many occasions. I never thought that it would have been in preparation for Sage Academy.
“Saki, hurry it up,” Satoru said, unnecessarily.
“This isn’t a fair game. But don’t worry, I won’t lose to you.”
“Stupid, competing amongst ourselves isn’t going to do anything. Look at team five, they work really well together.”
I looked over and saw that all the members of team five were moving at the same pace, moving steadily toward the tip of the pyramid.
“And like always, our ace is in top form.”
As Satoru said, Shun was undeniably the best in our class. He had already built it up seven levels and was working on the eighth. No one else in the class could control cards the way he did, like the gentle flapping of butterfly wings. It was fascinating to watch.
“…but there’s also someone holding us back,” Satoru sighed, looking over the group.
Next to Satoru, Maria was working at almost the same speed as Shun, but her technique was sloppy and she had knocked over some of her cards twice already. But since she managed to fix it quickly each time, her pace was the same as ours on the whole. Next to Maria, Mamoru was almost the exact opposite. He worked almost unbearably carefully, but the result that his house was extremely stable. However, his slow pace meant that he was just barely above average in the class.
The problem was Reiko, sitting the farthest end. She hadn’t even completed one layer yet.
It was depressing watching her work. Her cards were shaking the same way a child’s hand would shake if they were bad at building card pyramids. Reiko was from Gold village, so I’d never seen her in school before, I have no doubts that she was also bad at making card houses back in Morality School.