Chapter 18 – The Returner’s Promotion Battle (4)
Aster0x’s Notes: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)  “Senbonzakura Kageyoshi,” she said, as she tore off a mask, revealing a
handsome male face with long black hair held up by intricate white hairpieces . Pretty sure this qualifies as sexual harassment in America . . .  ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Desir walked past Romantica and headed towards Pram .
“What’s my role, Mr . Desir?” asked Pram, with an oddly expectant light in his
Desir paused as he said, “Pram, the role I’d like you to take is . . . ‘damage dealer . ’
But to better fit our party composition, let’s call your role ‘half-damage’ . ”
“Half-damage . . . ” Pram repeated, as if trying to engrave the words into his
“You’ll need to protect us . We’re mages, so we’re very vulnerable to melee
attacks . Your role as our sole melee attacker is very important . ”
“I’ll do my best!” Pram exclaimed, as he saluted playfully .
Desir couldn’t help but smile, seeing how insanely cute he was, and Pram
smiled back at him . 
Romantica piped up as she observed the exchange . “Desir, what will your role
“Hmm . My role is . . . ‘anti-mage . ’ Well, to put it simply . . . ” He paused, as he
pondered his choice of words, before finally speaking, “A playmaker, I guess?”
It was time . An announcement blared out .
| The Shadow Gate is opening . Students, please proceed into the Shadow Gate .
Desir took a step forward . The Shadow Gate bulged outward, enveloping him in
a blinding light . He closed his eyes reflexively .
When they opened again, the scenery had changed completely . Birds chirped
noisily around him, and a gentle, soothing fall scent drifted up from the fallen
leaves crumpled underfoot . The location was a forest, and the time was 11 AM .
Desir took a deep breath as another announcement sounded out .[Objective: Locate the enemy’s base . ] [Failure condition (an unknown input has been entered): Participants in
this world cannot die . Upon taking lethal damage, the failure condition
will be met, and you will be ejected from the Shadow World . ]
| You are a soldier . You have received information on the location of the hostile
forces’ base . As a soldier of the allied forces, you must find the hostile forces’
base . Pain limit is reduced to 20% .
He looked around, but couldn’t see either Pram or Romantica . As expected, the
30 participants had all started in different, randomized locations .
“Lucky for me . ”
Desir sensed the flow of magic power behind him simultaneous to the sneering
voice . He ducked, as an Ice Bolt flew over his head and stabbed deep into a tree
with a thunderous crack, chilling the air around him . He turned to see a girl,
around the same age as himself, smiling maliciously .
“Lucky I found you so quickly, that is . ”
Desir arched an eyebrow in response . “Was I that famous?”
“ . . . Not in a good way . ” A pulse of magical energy radiated from her as formulas
appeared in front of her . In response, Desir began casting his own spell .
“I’m Desir Arman, party nameless,” he said, almost casually .
“Lapras . Blue Moon party . ”
Their spells shot forward simultaneously .[The throne of ice sinks into a freezing cold . ] [Ice Blast!]
Lapras’s spell was Ice Blast, a higher tiered version of Ice Bolt . It was a spell
produced by encasing an Ice Bolt in an orb of ice, before shattering the orb and
releasing the bolt again .
The orb shot towards Desir, leaving forsty air in its wake .[The road of flame burns stronger than any other . ] [Fire Road . ]
Fire Road . A 1st circle flame spell that shot a ray of condensed heat . Desir had
expertly predicted the trajectory of the Ice Blast, and released the Fire Road
directly into its path .
But Lapras wasn’t done yet .[Aqua Wave!]
A stream of water shot up, rising nearly 2 meters into the air before washing
over the Ice Blast . With a dull sputtering and a burst of steam, the Fire Road
disappeared as it struck the water . At the same time, what remained of the
water froze from the bitter cold of the Ice Blast, forming a pillar of gleaming ice
that held the orb in place .
Desir looked at Lapras, who smirked as she looked back .
With a horrible crinkling, the ice pillar shattered like a sheet of glass as the Ice
Bolt encased within the Ice Blast exploded outward . Shards of ice sprayed
wildly in all directions, shredding everything they touched .
Several shards tore into Desir, and he staggered under the weight of the impact .
Without hesitation, Lapras continued her assault . Countless ice fragments
slicing through the air froze in place, as if time itself had been suspended .
Then, in synchrony, they gathered around Desir, surrounding him in a
whirlwind of ice knives . 
A terrifying rending roared through the air as magnificent, ancient trees were
reduced to sawdust in an instant . Around him, birds flew into the sky in panic .
Dust kicked into the air, before being blown away by the intense force . From
outside this trap of ice, Lapras looked on triumphantly . Her voice carried
confidence in every word . “Any last words?”
“Hmm, not a bad idea,” replied Desir lackadaisically, as if he were a professor
lecturing a student .
“Hmph . ” Lapras snorted at his response . She raised one hand slowly into the air
and squeezed it into a fist .
The whirlwind of ice began closing in on Desir . For an instant, he felt a slight
tugging as the shards of ice reached his coat, before being freed again as the
edges of his coat were instantly disintegrated, disappearing without a trace .
“You just had a bad matchup,” continued Desir, seemingly undeterred . He
spread his hands . The ice shards that were inches from tearing him into pieces
stopped and began gathering in front of Desir .
Lapras’ eyes widened in shock as she watched each of those thousands of tiny
fragments fall out of her control, and gather in front of Desir, like iron dust
pulled by a magnet, until a single, perfect ball of ice floated in front of him .
“That’s . . . . !” she sputtered .
“Watch and learn . ” Calmly, Desir raised his right hand, letting the fist sized orb
hover inches above his palm . Without hesitation, he grabbed it and threw it at
The orb flew across the air before it split apart into an incredible number of Ice
Bolts flinging in every direction . It was the most powerful ice projectile spell in
existence: Ice Orb .
Before Lapras could react, dozens of Ice Bolts burst into existence and impaled
her all over her body .
“KUUAAAA-!” She shrieked in pain as her body was struck again and again –
And then, as the fifth Ice Bolt struck, the screaming stopped as she disappeared
and her body fell to a pile of ash .
| A contestant has been eliminated . 29 contestants remain .
Romantica felt her mana surge as she created the formula .[The wind lies in my embrace, becomes the eyes and ears of the hawk as it
hunts its prey on the ground . ]
A detection spell formula formed in front of her . It was a 2nd circle spell, but,
depending on how much she wanted to boost the range, the mana consumption
could rise to that of a 3rd circle spell . Since the moment Romantica had entered
the Shadow World, she had been casting this detection spell without regard for
her mana .[Detect . ]
A heavy wind radiated from Romantica’s position, and everything the wind felt
was transmitted to Romantica; trees, rocks, and, most importantly, living
creatures . She could sense five people within 1 kilometer so far .
The spell hadn’t even been completed, but Romantica didn’t hesitate in the
slightest as she instantly shot a Wind Bullet at the nearest target .
Chantless, ultra long-range sniping . There was almost no delay between the
detection and the shot . She hadn’t liked it at first, but the chantless magic Desir
had taught her to use was definitely bearing fruit .
The bullet tore through the air . She had little problem controlling the power;
after all, the ball she’d been training with this whole time had been around the
same strength as a human head, so all she had to do was match that same level
of power .
She heard the slightest thump, before an announcement sounded .
| A contestant has been eliminated . 26 contestants remain .
“Okay, that wasn’t him,” she vocalized, before preparing to cast her detection
magic again .
“Is the search for Mr . Desir going well?” interrupted Pram, who stuck tightly to
Romantica . Fortunately for the two of them, Romantica and Pram had ended
up with fairly close starting locations . Romantica had found Pram the first time
she’d cast her detection magic, and now, there was only one member of their
party left to find .
“Not yet . But we’ll find him soon,” assured Romantica . Once again, the heavy
wind spread from Romantica, transmitting what it felt back . There were four
living creatures, in total, within range . She raised her hand and a bullet formed
in front of her . Once again, she fired and began counting down the seconds
until the inevitable . “3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . ”
She waited for a moment, but the expected announcement never came . Instead,
she felt the bullet slip out of her control before dissipating into a light breeze
that blew back past her cheek . Romantica grinned as she spoke . “Found him . ”
“Found what?” called an unexpected voice from behind the pair . They whipped
around to see a two man group, comprised of a swordsman and a mage . “You’re
broadcasting your own location by flinging around detection magic like that,
you know,” said the mage, haughtily .
Romantica smirked at the mage’s mocking attitude . “Even if you know . . . ”
“I wonder why you’re so sure you can take us down,” finished Pram, as he drew
his rapier .
“Stop spouting bull . . . ” the swordsman started . He had just grabbed the handle
of his blade as he spoke, but before he could finish his word, Pram had already
closed the distance . In an instant, the rapier pierced through the swordsman’s
heart . “Huh . . ?”
Simultaneously, Romantica fired a bullet at the totally unprepared mage
standing behind him . It was perfect coordination . Both bodies vanished into a
pile of white dust .
| 2 contestants have been eliminated . 24 contestants remain .
“Now then, should we go find our stupid party leader?” Romantica asked
rhetorically as she stretched her shoulders .
Dark clouds rolled across the sky as an ominous rumbling rang out through the
air . The light breeze from before had quickly grown into a powerful gale, and
the temperature had begun plummeting rapidly . Rain was all but inevitable .
“I took out two people by myself,” Romantica preened as she looked at Desir
with a smug expression on her face, her arms folded across her chest .
Desir smiled and patted her head . “Looks like you haven’t been slacking off on
your practice . ”
Romantica looked up at Desir, annoyed . “Wa-wait! Don’t touch someone’s head
without getting permission!”
Desir hurriedly retracted his hand . He had pet her head without thinking
because of how cute she looked,  but wisely withdrew .
“Mr . Desir!” Out of nowhere, Pram slipped in between Romantica and Desir
like a ghost . “I took out someone too!” He quickly moved Desir’s hand on top of
his own head, and stood quietly, patiently waiting . 
Romantica looked at them as if she were annoyed, and turned away .
“Stupid Desir . ”