|Major Panic in Midterm Exam?!|
5 (POP 6)
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Major Panic in Midterm Exam?! is the fifth overall chapter in the Mamotte! Lollipop manga and the final chapter of volume one.
Nina and Zero are arguing over a piece of cake, Ichî pointing out that they are at a smorgasbord of cakes, and yet the two are arguing. Nina and Zero each insist that the other started it, and Ichî apologizes to a waitress, while Nina and Zero are in a slap fight in the background.
Rokka suddenly appears and tackles Ichî from behind in a hug, and the three along with Gô and Rokka are kicked out for destroying the store. The three walk away, upset over the fact that they were kicked out, and Ichî telling Rokka that she needs to stop jumping on him.
Sun (who has purchased a new staff to replace the one Zero broke) and Forte wander over, saying that they are in trouble. Sun realizes tells Forte that “he” is approaching, and summons a large dragon head that breaths fire at the approaching man, who is unharmed.
The man is happy to see that there are more examinees there, saying that this lessens the effort of having to find them. When asked who he is, the man introduces himself as Will, a professional wizard and examiner sent from the Magical World to give the examinees a midterm test. Will explains the goal of the exam, which is to have the Crystal Pearl by the end of the six months, however things seem to have taken an unexpected turn. Noticing Nina, he takes off his hat and bows politely, correct in presuming that she is the human who mistakenly swallowed the Crystal Pearl. He apologizes in advance, advising Nina to cooperate as he grabs her from behind.
Zero attempts to cast a spell on Will to get back Nina, but Will casts a spell on Zero, pushing him back and saying that he is still too inexperienced. He informs the six examinees that if they are unable to get Nina back by sunset they will all fail the exam.
Will runs off with Nina, leaving the discouraged examinees at a loss for what to do. They decide that there is no choice but to cooperate, and the six team up to rescue Nina.
Meanwhile, Will explains to Nina that they are in a magical dimension filled with traps, disguised on the outside as an ordinary building and protected by a magical barrier to prevent anyone from entering. He then asks how the “princess” is doing, revealing Nina who is wearing a fancy dress. Nina asks why he made her wear this, and Will explains that he wanted to add some various options to make things more fun, including the wine glass he is drinking out of. Will’s feline familiar appears to be just as exasperated by Will’s behavior as Nina is.
Will’s familiar assures Nina that they aren’t going to do anything to harm her. Nina screams surprised to see that the “cat” is talking, and Will’s familiar repeats that she said not to panic, adding that her name is Aquamarine and that Nina should not refer to her as a cat. Will, looking into his crystal ball, realizes that the examinees have arrived outside of the building. Ichî casts Barrier Release to dispel the magical barrier Will put up.
The six enter the building, announcing their arrival, and Will appears holding Nina. Zero lunges at him, but falls forward, the image being merely a hologram. Will tells them that he is on the third floor and that there are obstacles for the examinees to face on each floor.
Zero and Ichî tell Nina to wait, assuring her that they will come to her rescue. The first obstacle is the “Mind Blowing Quiz Show”, causing all of the students to slide down onto the floor in exasperation (and Sun because she finds it to be fun). The rules are to hit the buzzer and be the first to answer the question correctly in order to head to the next round.
The first question is, “What falls but never breaks? What breaks but never falls?” The quiz is actually a quiz of riddles! Gô is the first to answer the question, he correctly answers, “night and day”, and is allowed to proceed with Rokka to the next obstacle. Will next asks “What fruit always travels in groups of two?” and Ichî correctly answers “pears”. Forte and Sun are the only ones left, and Will asks, “How does the gingerbread man make his bed?” Forte knows that the answer is “cookie sheets”, but once he says cookie, Sun interrupts with a request for Cookie Crisp Cereal.
Their answer incorrect, the two are disqualified and Zero and Ichî watch as a trap door opens underneath Sun and Forte.
On the next floor the goal is two defeat one of two muscle men in order to proceed to the next floor. Zero tells Ichî that he will handle this, and defeats one of the muscle men with a destruction spell. It is up to Rokka and Gô to defeat the other, and so Rokka uses a transformation spell, but says the chant incorrectly, instead saying “turn me into an elephant with the power of rice,” instead of “thrice”. She is transformed into an elephant with a head and torso made out of mochi and a pile of earth. The muscle man knocks her out of the way, Gô running after her. Rokka clings onto Gô as the trap door falls out from underneath them.
On the third floor, Aquamarine and Go are discussing this years examinees, noting that they are quite disappointing. Nina tells Will that he is wrong and that Zero and Ichî will come and rescue her. Will, interested with Nina’s statement, touches her lips with his finger. Aquamarine shouts in protest, telling Will that this was not part of the plan, but Will proceeds anyway, pulling a small glowing orb out of Nina’s mouth.
Zero and Ichî burst through the door to save Nina, asking if she is all right, but Will informs them that she cannot speak. He lies and tells them that he made an agreement with Nina: her voice (which is the glowing ball he extracted from her mouth), and in return, Zero and Ichî pass the exam. Will lets Nina go, saying that they can have her back with them.
Zero and Ichî are surprised with Nina, who unsuccessfully tries to communicate to them that Will is lying. As it is still before sunset, Will offers the boys a deal: he will return Nina’s voice if Zero and Ichî forfeit the Magic Exam. They have to choose between Nina and winning the Exam, and the answer is simple: they choose both. Will, Aquamarine and Nina are baffled.
Will understands their decision, seeing now that they plan to beat him so that they can get her voice back themselves. Zero and Ichî send an attack hurtling towards will, who dispels it with ease. Seeing that their attack had no affect, Ichî instructs Zero to cast his destruction spell on him. Zero is hesitant but Ichî assures Zero that he will be fine, adding that he believes in Zero. Zero sends his spell towards Ichî, and Will runs to Ichî’s side, telling him that he is being foolish, but this is exactly as Ichî had planned. Will is drawn into the spell, Zero’s Magic Cannon having absorbed into Ichî’s capsule, concentrating the power of the spell into one area. The two beat Will and retrieve Nina’s voice.
Will is impressed with their strategy, and summons the rest of the examinees, telling them that he is so pleased with Zero and Ichî’s faith in one another that he will pass the rest of the teams as well. He then walks away, not bothering to say anything else. Realization dawns on Nina—this means she’ll be continued to be pursued by the examinees!
- As the riddles all involve play-on words, the Japanese versions were difficult to accurately translate into English and still make sense, and so they were changed. The original questions and their answers were as follows:
“Itsumo makete bakari iru oisha-santte nanda?” (“What doctor is always losing?”) Gô answers “haisha”, which means both “dentist” and “loser” “Taberu to kanden shite shimaisou na ke-kitte nanda?” (“What kind of cake could almost give you a short circuit when you eat it?”) The answer is strawberry shortcake [short circuit, shortcake] “Pan wa pan demo taberarenai pan wa nanda?” (“Pan (bread) is delicious, but what’s the pan you can’t eat?” Forte knows that the answer is frying pan, and starts to say so, but Sun interrupts with a random request for fried chicken
- As with the riddles, the spell Rokka chanted also contained a Japanese pun difficult to translate into English, and so a different, English version was made. In the Japanese version, Rokka had intended to say “turn me into a mighty elephant”, but misspoke. She said the word “chikaramochi na”, meaning “mighty” as “chikara mochi”, meaning “something strong” and “toasted piece of rice cake,” more or less.