Chapter 19 – The Returner’s Promotion Battle (5)
In any case, they managed to accomplish their first goal—get the party
together . Unfortunately, they had been fighting the entire time, and were
exhausted . After casting detection magic constantly, Romantica was looking
much worse for wear . Desir motioned towards a tree stump and spoke . “For
now, let’s rest . ” The party cleared out the fallen leaves and sat down .
After sitting down, each of them opened up the packets supplied by the
academy—inside were two energy bars and a bottle of water . Desir took out an
energy bar and started eating . He grimaced in response to the taste, but it was
no time to be picky .
His eyes wandered over to Romantica . She went through her energy bar slowly,
melting it in her mouth . The girl who always grumbled about hard food was
nowhere to be found . Pram also noticed this sudden change and stopped eating .
Romantica, noticing their stares, stopped eating in embarrassment . “What are
you looking at?” she asked .
“Are you alright, Miss Romantica?” questioned Pram .
“Mm? What are you talking about?”
Desir had a knowing smile on his face . “Looks like you’re completely used to it
now . There shouldn’t be any problems even if we leave you in the Beta Class
now . ”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” exclaimed Romantica . She threw her food packet at
Desir deftly caught the packet, and buried the remainder of the party’s packets
to hide their tracks . After they finished eating, they enjoyed their momentary
break before returning back to reality . Desir grabbed a stick and took this
opportunity to explain his plans:
“There are two ways for us to enter the Alpha Class . First, we are among the
last 9 survivors . Second, we clear the Shadow World’s quest and take 1st place . ”
As Desir explained their goals, the wind bit into their skin and the drizzle
coated the plains . Romantica, intently listening, offered her own rebuttal . “But
you said the second way was impossible . ”
Desir quietly drew 30 lines on the ground, before crossing out 4 of them .
“Correct . With our power, it would be difficult to do so whilst taking attacks
from the other parties at the same time . It really is impossible,” explained
Desir . Pram and Romantica nodded in response . “But . . . think of what our
objectives are . Our objective isn’t 1st place, but 9th place or higher . So our most
important objective is to eliminate the competition . ” Desir crossed out more
lines on the ground, one by one . “24 people remain . As each party is working on
the quest, they will undoubtedly get into fights with each other . If we take that
opportunity to eliminate 15 people, it won’t be that difficult to enter the top 9 . ”
The stick stopped drawing, and 9 lines remained on the ground . Desir circled 3
of them . “If we think about it like this, our goal isn’t as hard as it seems . ”
Pram nodded in agreement . “I see—so that’s the plan . ”
A torrent of rain washed over the land . The sound of raindrops pattered against
the leaves and resounded across the entire forest . Their party was truly lucky—
they’d found a place to rest where they could avoid most of the rain .
Unfortunately, that was where their luck ended .
A clear bell rang out and the party all turned towards the northeast
simultaneously . The peals could be heard over the rain . “Romantica, what time
is it?” asked Desir .
“1 o’clock,” responded Romantica .
It was starting . An announcement played in Desir’s ears .
| The time has come to test your knowledge . The Privius Clock Tower has been
activated—it creates a demon once every hour .
| The clock strikes 1, and the sin of cunning crawls out from the depths of hell .
The Killdra Mouse has been summoned .
| The quest has begun .[Survival: Demons live in the forest . Survive and defeat the demons . ]
“Kiaaaaaaaak-!” A sharp cry rang out, followed by dozens of similar screams in
response . The first cry alone would make anybody’s heart palpitate and shoot
right out of their chest, but the chorus of monsters would make a person’s heart
“Everyone, get back . ” Desir ordered the team and hesitantly rose up . The leaf-
covered dirt shifted, thumping up from the ground . It looked like the spirits in
the dirt were dancing with the raindrops .
“Eugh, the smell!” Romantica complained as she pinched her nose . She’d
smelled this before—the smell of rotten meat and blood, pungent enough to
paralyze a person’s sense of smell . She tried to recall the smell . It was definitely
when they were cleaning the training ground . . . A shiver ran down her spine .
“By the first demon, they can’t mean . . . ”
“Squeak-!” A red blur burst out of the rumbling dirt .
Romantica held her shaking hands together and screamed . “Rats!”
It was a rat with jagged teeth, covered with red flesh . It looked as if a child had
molded it out of clay . The slow contractions of its stomach matched its
heartbeat . An exoskeleton covered its entire body, starting from the two horns
sprouting on its forehead . ‘Demon’ was the only word Romantica could muster
to describe the creature .
| Your prior knowledge has revealed the identity of this monster . Killdra Mouse .
2-star demon . This monster commands countless rats, consuming human flesh .
After determining a target, it never gives up on its prey .
“Squeaaaaak-!” The Killdra Mouse cried out, and its ear-splitting scream
reverberated across the forest . Tremors broke out yet again, the ground
bursting at the seams trying to contain the pressure . The bulging ground
exploded, and black creatures emerged from the dark crevasse .
Rats . Thousands of rats swarmed out from the hole, and they squirmed and
scurried like one massive organism .
Romantica’s face was pale, and she was frozen in place . Her breathing became
heavy, and she had no idea what to do . Desir pulled sharply on Romantica’s
arm, and turned around to run away . The tidal wave of rats crashed in the
direction of their party .
The squealing rats’ cries pounded against Romantica’s eardrums . She trembled
in terror . “I’m going crazy . I’m going crazy . I’m going to go crazy!” If she got
swept up by these rats, she might really go insane .
They kept running, but the plague of rats were incredibly fast . If they slowed
down for even a second, the slew of rats would consume them .
“Huk . . . huk!” The wind bit at their skin, and the crunch of the leaves rang with
each step . Trees flew in and out of their peripheral vision as they desperately
tried to get away . With each tree that they passed, a booming sound rang out
behind them . If they looked back, they could see the tree ground into dust by
the black swarm .[Blow Wind!]
Romantica flung a spell at the mess of rats, but it had very little effect . For
every rat blown away by the spell, a dozen rats came to take their place . The
current situation was extremely bad for the three of them . The ground was
slippery, and the densely packed trees made getting away several times more
difficult . The group was losing their breath, and growing more exhausted with
each passing second . On the other hand, the rats continued barrelling down on
them, with no sign of stopping .
“We’re blocked off!” said Pram . An enormous tree appeared their path, fallen
on its side . Fragments of ice glittered on its stump . Desir immediately
recognized this tree .
‘The tree that fell during my fight with Lapras . Of all times, why now!’ Desir
estimated it to be 1 meter tall . Pram didn’t hesitate, vaulting over the tree and
landing lightly on the other side . The problem was Desir and Romantica, who
were mages . Desir let go of Romantica’s hand—it would only impede their
movement . They had to run as fast as possible to make it past .
“3 . . . 2 . . . ” Each second was precious . They sprinted to the foot of the tree and
Desir contracted his leg muscles with all of his strength .
“1 . . . now!” Desir kicked off the ground, and flew in the air until he landed on the
other side . Looking to his side, Romantica landed face-first in a puddle . She’d
caught her leg on the tree as she jumped . The last hint of reason fell away as
Romantica felt an imminent sense of foreboding looming over her . With a
thunderous slam, the giant tree exploded into pieces, as the wave of rats rushed
forward . The party was barely three steps ahead of the rats .
“We’re going to get caught!” Romantica shrieked .
Desir had to quickly come up with a solution . “It’ll be over if we kill the Killdra
“And where’s that!” shouted Romantica .
“In the swarm of rats!” said Desir .
“You idiot! How are you going to kill a rat in THAT?” retorted Romantica .
The monster’s main body—it was definitely possible to find it in the swarm . It
had an unusual form, so they would be able to tell the Killdra Mouse apart from
the other rats . Unfortunately, because it was buried in the wave, it was
impossible to aim an attack at the main body alone .
‘But what if we can draw the Killdra Mouse out?’
The squirming rodents were nipping at their heels, and there was no time left
to run . There were even rats scrambling over the backs of the swarm to make
headway for fresh meat . Some of the rats climbed onto the party’s shoulders
and began gnawing into their skin .
They was no time . Desir breathed out deeply . ‘I have to draw the Killdra Mouse
out from the swarm . ’ He’d use it . The reason the monster was chasing them . Just
before the rat wave reached them, Desir bit down on his thumb, and blood
spurted out of his finger . Immediately, he thrust out his finger and a stream of
blood flew across the air .
A figure rocketed out of the wave, careening at the glistening red liquid—a red
rat, covered in a black exoskeleton .