Chapter 17 – The Returner’s Promotion Battle (3)
Desir continued . “Even though we can manipulate it in various ways, we can’t
change the fundamental properties of the Shadow World, such as its historical
events or the clear objective . That’s why we have to study history . ” This was
why the study of history in this world was so abnormally advanced, to the
extent where there were specialized teams of historians dedicated only to
studying the Shadow Worlds .
“So what you’re saying is . . . ” said Romantica, “these books are references for the
Shadow World of the promotion battle?”
“Precisely,” answered Desir .
Romantica glared at the disgustingly large pile of paper before her . She didn’t
know if she would be able to get through it all even if she pulled three back-to-
back all-nighters . “You’re certain that this is relevant to our promotion battle?”
Romantica’s question was blunt, to the point .
Desir responded calmly . “No . ”
“So . . . ”
Desir spoke sternly . “No objections, Romantica . ”
“Ugh . ” Romantica threw her hands in the air in protest, but there was no way
Desir would change his mind .
“These are the historical events that I feel are most likely to appear in the
exam . If you don’t agree with my methods, you can instead try reading every
history book in this library . ” It was a joke, but for Romantica it was no different
than a threat . Desir watched sympathetically as Romantica cringed and
‘I didn’t want to be this harsh, but . . . ’ Desir sighed . He had no other choice . After
all, he couldn’t exactly tell them that he came from the future and knew exactly
which Shadow World would appear . Desir ordered them to get started . “Read
all the history books I picked out and write a short essay summarizing their
events . ”
“Aaaaargh!” Romantica slumped back on her chair, unable to prevent the cry of
agony from escaping her lips .
Romantica closed her eyes and whimpered . Then she focused, gathering
unpleasant memories together and releasing it all with a breath . Desir was truly
exceptional at tormenting people . This was no different than torture .
“That guy is definitely a sadist,” she muttered .
Pram turned a page . He looked up from his book, which was already read
halfway . “He’s doing this to help us . ”
“Well, duh,” retorted Romantica . It was the fact that Desir was doing this for
them that was annoying her . It made her not want to defy him . When she was
with him, Romantica forgot that she was a noble, even though that was was the
reason she had decided to stay with the team originally .
Romantica leafed through a book, but couldn’t process anything she read . It
was impossible for her to study in this situation . She closed the book and
looked around . Desir was focusing intensely on his book .
Romantica leaned over and whispered softly so that Desir couldn’t hear .
“Pram . ”
“Yes?”, he whispered back .
“I can’t help but notice that you’ve been a bit more attached to Desir recently . ”
Her voice sounded slightly accusatory .
“Huh? What are you talking about?” Pram looked at her quizzically .
Romantica narrowed her eyes . “It’s weird, that’s all . You two look so friendly
now . Did you go and hang out without me?”
Pram tried to avoid the subject . “Ah, who knows? It wasn’t really hanging
out . . . ”
“Where did you go without me? Wait, are you wearing different clothes? Did
you two go out on a date or something?” teased Romantica .
Pram flinched and turned to focus on his book . “Hmm, so this happened in
1417 . I should remember this . ”
“Hey, don’t ignore me . I’m on to you . ” Romantica’s tone was light as she
playfully reached over to tickle Pram .
Pram desperately tried not to make a sound, covering his mouth with hand
while trying to wriggle out of the way . As they messed around, Pram’s elbow
accidentally bumped the desk and a precariously placed book fell on the floor
“Stop playing around and start studying . ” Desir was stern as he spoke to his
party members .
“Sorry, Mr . Desir . ”
Romantica bent down to pick up the book, but an elegant looking hand got to it
first . As her eyes looked up, she traced the hand back to its owner . Once she
saw who it was, she gasped in shock . Standing before her was a goddess of
beauty with eyes cold enough to shatter ice . Her platinum blonde hair swayed
gracefully by her waist .
“Ajest . . . Kingscrown . ” Romantica’s eyes immediately fell upon the Blue Moon
crest on Ajest’s chest . The Blue Moon party . Their enemies .
As Ajest looked around the room, Romantica spoke coldly . “What are you doing
Ajest did not react to her at all . As if to say ‘I have no interest in you,’ she
walked brusquely past Romantica and sat across the table from Desir . It was as
if the only thing she was interested in was Desir Arman .
Art From Official Light Novel
“It’s been a while . ” She said, emotionless as always .
Desir answered her with his usual lackadaisical tone . “So it has . ”
This was true—as the two had not met again since the entrance exam, this was
their first encounter in two months . Two months . For some, this was a long
time, whilst for others it was short . Regardless, it was long enough to decide
one’s affiliation .
“The Blue Moon party . You chose well . It’s very fitting for you . ” complimented
“What’s fitting?” Ajest responded with doubt .
“That you and the party both stand at the top . ” Desir had nothing but praise for
“Not anymore, unfortunately . ” Ajest paused for a moment before elaborating,
“After all, you’re here, Desir Arman . ” Desir put his book down and rested his
chin on his hand . Ajest’s implication was clear: You brought me down .
“I heard you passed the tournament . ” Her voice contained a tinge of
excitement, something unusual for Ajest .
“We did . We were lucky,” said Desir .
Ajest was dissatisfied with his answer . “You can hardly say that you were lucky
when your specialty is analysis . Well, no matter . ”
By passing the tournament, Desir’s party moved into the top 30 of Hebrion
Academy, which meant that they had earned the right to participate in the
promotion battle .
“So when we next meet . . . ” Desir’s question was abruptly cut short by Ajest . “It
will be on the battlefield . In the Shadow World . ”
Desir followed Ajest’s train of thought . He was certain what was coming next .
There was only one reason for Ajest to visit them . “Have you come to declare
Ajest was silent, as if she was at a loss for words after having her intent clearly
read . “That’s your personality right? Paying respects to your opponents and
declaring war before the battle?”
Ajest met Desir’s eyes . The two stared at each other intensely, trying to fathom
each other’s thoughts .
“You’ve recognized me as your rival,” Desir stated . He was confident this was
the case .
Desir got her, but Ajest couldn’t read anything from Desir’s eyes . It had been
like that from the start . His smiling face was so strangely serene, without a hint
of uncertainty . Reading his thoughts was impossible . It was the expression of
an experienced politician .
“You know me too well, Desir Arman,” Ajest relented . “It is as you say . I think
of you as my rival . ”
“It’s an honor . ”
“To disregard you before was my error . A misjudgment . I apologize for that,”
Ajest bowed her head, her voice steeled with resolve . As she looked back up,
her bright platinum blonde hair swayed . She was truly beautiful enough to
make one speechless . Her elegant, delicate appearance was more becoming of a
charming princess than a battleworn knight .
But she was indeed a knight, and a flawless one at that . From her perpetually
restrained attitude and speech to her abnormally incredible talent .
“Still, I have no intention of losing to you . I’ll use all my strength to defeat you .
That is all . ” A slight tremor in her voice betrayed her competitive spirit . Her
drive to win against others, to rise up while breaking her enemies apart . That
was the driving force behind her growth, her strength .
Acknowledging her feelings, Desir secretly felt happy . ‘Things are going according
to plan . ’
He had been planning it from the start . In the entrance exam, he’d revealed
much more of his strength than necessary . He had defeated Ajest Kingscrown,
the clear favorite, in an overwhelming fashion . He could say that he’d done it in
an attempt to enter the Alpha Class, but Desir had already known that, as a
commoner, he would be assigned to the Beta Class .
No—the main reason was Ajest Kingscrown . By defeating her, his plan was to
make himself her target . The mighty spellsword . The woman standing at the
top in the Shadow Labyrinth . Desir would gladly become her rival if it meant
that she would become stronger . No, she absolutely had to . ‘Because you’re the
key to clearing the Shadow Labyrinth . ’
Desir’s eyes were looking far into the future, as always . Looking at the big
picture . This woman was the shining ray of hope in Desir’s plans . “I look
forward to an honorable duel, Ajest Kingscrown . ”
The cheers were so loud that they could have blown apart the main building of
Hebrion Academy . There was a magic-strengthened metal frame supporting a
gigantic panel that covered the ceiling . The panel shone down on the main
building, over 10,000 spectators, around 200 professors and supervisors, and
the 30 participants of the promotion battle .
Spectator seating wrapped around the Shadow Gate like a coliseum . The
interior of the building was no different than an arena . This was intentional, as
the interior was recently remodelled to resemble an arena for this special day .
Many kinds of people gathered in the audience . Aside from the expected
students and professors, there were many visitors from all over the world .
Ticket prices were expensive, but just the name of Hebrion Academy’s
promotion battle was enough to sell out the seats .
It was a highly entertaining spectacle after all . In the safety of the modified
Shadow World, boys and girls would kill and be killed in order to move up in
the ranks . Additionally, these were the top students of Hebrion Academy . They
would surely display skills worthy of the greatest school in the world .
Spectators were looking forward to a high-level battle . The promotion battle
was one of the biggest money makers for Hebrion Academy .
“Let’s go over our roles,” Desir turned to Romantica first, “Romantica, you’re
our sniper . Use detection magic from long range and take out enemies one by
one . ”
“ . . . I’m not sure if sniping will work on Alpha Class students,” she answered
“Don’t worry . That’s why we practiced, right?” Desir gave her clear instructions
and helped her calm down . “Take as long as you need when using detection
magic, but as soon as you locate an enemy, immediately cast your sniping
magic . Even if they’re Alpha Class, they’ll go down if they can’t react fast
enough . ”
“Okay, but I still have a problem . ” Romantica said . “This is my first time using
long-range sniping magic . I don’t know how much power to use . ”
Desir smiled, he had already expected her to get cold feet . “Remember the ball
you practiced with? It was about as tough as a person’s head . ”
Romantica’s eyes widened . She had spent countless hours getting accustomed
to the level of power required to destroy those balls with her ranged attacks .
“Ah, so that’s why . . . ”
Desir already had this in mind . He’d been set on her role from the beginning .