ZAP – Chapter 1: Eugene drops out

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TLN: Hey guys, Reigokai here!

New story from the same author of Weakest Mage is here. To celebrate this new story in my own way, I will be uploading chapters of Zero Attack Power on the blank days as well for 2 weeks. Basically every 2 chapters of WG will be followed by 2 chapters of ZAP instead of 1, meaning there will be no breaks.

The full name of the story is: The Squishy Swordsman with Zero Attack Power ~Abandoned by his Childhood Friend Oracle, he entered the Magic Academy, and ended up looking after the Demon Lord~

Now, let’s enjoy the ride in this new story in the same world as WM!

——-

“No way…my ability is…White Mana only…?” 

I muttered this dumbfounded at the stage. 

Imperial School, Selection Exam. 

In the Empire where you are considered an adult when you are 15 years old, after you finish the Selection Exam, you can officially become a soldier. 

The students of the school endured rough training, and will be given a Blessing by the Destiny Goddess, Ilia-sama. 

By receiving the Ability Blessing, the path you will be taking will be made clear. 

As the number 1 student with the highest grades in the school, I -Eugene Santafield- had high expectations placed on me. 

And I myself believed in my success.

Swordsmanship, strategy, leadership; I stood at the top of all subjects, worked hard every single day without end, became stronger than anyone else, and obtained outstanding grades. 

…And yet…why…?

I looked at the Selection Card in my hand. 

When placing the transparent Selection Card in front of the Goddess statue, the Ability of the wielder will be shown with the ‘color’ of guidance.

My Selection Card is pure white. 

Black is talent in attack.

White is talent in defense. 

Gray is half and half talent in attack and defense. 

Red, dark orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple; those 7 colors are special colors, and they each show their respective talents.

The more Abilities one has, the more colors show up. 

The average person gets gray. 

And the ones who have ‘defects’ in their Ability will have pure white or pitch black. 

In other words, just like me…

“Eugene-kun…I understand you feeling down. Hang in there.” 

The teacher tried to cheer me up. 

But those eyes were clearly showing disappointment. 

“Oi, there’s people in line here. Return to your seat already!” 

The 3rd ranked of the School, Mazio, laughed at me with a mocking tone, and pushed me by the shoulder. 

I couldn’t avoid it and left there with unsteady steps. 

“Nice! I got 3 colors!” 

“Tch! 2 colors.” 

“Oi, someone with 5 colors apparently showed up!” 

“Seriously?!” 

Cheers were raised one after the other among the students. 

I couldn’t think of anything and was just looking up, spaced out. 

My childhood friend Airi, who was sitting by my side, was talking to me, but it didn’t reach my ears. 

After a while, someone got in between me and Airi. 

“Hey, Airi, sadly to say, your childhood friend was a ‘failure’. An elite like you shouldn’t be together with him.” 

Mazio, who had finished his selection, slapped my shoulder while grinning. 

The colors of his card are: red, green, and gray. 

3 colors means exemplar. 

…Different from me. 

“Man, it truly is a shame. To think mister top would get the failure white card.” (Mazio)

“Damn true, Mazio. But an Ability where he can only do defense…would he even have a place in the army?” 

“Sounds impossible. No one would accept a monochromatic failure.” 

Even the lackeys of Mazio were getting involved.

“You people…” (Eugene)

I was trembling in anger. 

But they are right. 

White Mana is only an Ability in defense. 

A pure white card means that I don’t have a single trace of ‘mana connected to attacks’. 

I have been learning techniques for a magic swordsman. 

Magic Sword is a technique to clad mana onto the sword. 

But with my white mana, even if I were to cut an enemy with a magic sword, I wouldn’t be able to scratch them. 

I would be a faulty swordsman that can’t attack. 

Why did the Goddess only give me talent in white…?

If only I had a little bit of talent elsewhere, I have the confidence to be able to manage somehow with hard work…

“With only white mana, being a swordsman is impossible.” 

“Become a healer. I will request for you if I get injured.” 

“The other option left would be a Barriermancer. A job where you have to go around each point in the region reapplying barriers of the cities, huh. Sounds great. Not for me though!” 

“““Hahahahaha!”””

“…Damn it.” (Eugene)

I can’t say anything back. 

I could only groan in silence. 

◇◇

Misfortune really likes to latch on.

I felt it was a pain to leave school, so after skipping classes for a while, my childhood friend Airi asked about me at home. 

I thought for sure she came to cheer me up, but…she seemed to be acting strange. 

It wasn’t only Airi alone, but her friend was with her too. 

Airi tried to avoid eye-contact with me. 

I have a bad feeling about this. 

“…Eugy, I think we have to put some distance between us for a while.” (Airi)

Airi calls me with Eugy. 

Her voice I should be used to hearing felt cold like ice. 

“Eh…? What are you saying, Airi?” (Eugene)

I remember the Selection Card Airi got in the Selection Exam the other day. 

—The color was rainbow. 

The highest form of Ability.

The complete opposite spectrum of me, who is the lowest monochromatic white. She overflows with talent. 

The way too high of a difference created between me and her who grew up together has been forming a rift between her and me recently. 

But for her to suddenly say that…

“Put some distance, you say… What do you mean by that…?” (Eugene)

Even when I asked her with a trembling voice, Airi covered her face as if sad. 

The one who answered instead was her friend that was by her side. 

“Hey, Eugene-kun, take a hint. This is an important period for the Oracle Airi. It would be troubling if weird rumors were to arise from being together with a talentless like you, right?” 

“Wa?!” (Eugene)

That unbelievable way of saying it made blood rush to my head. 

Who is talentless?! 

Airi and I may not be engaged yet, but our parents officially recognize us.

Even you as our classmate should know that we have promised to be together in the future! 

“Airi apparently received a marriage proposal from the 2nd prince of a certain major power of the Empire. Rainbow Ability and a prince, huh. That’s nice. Airi really is blessed.” 

“Wait! You said you wouldn’t tell Eugy about that…” (Airi)

Judging from the reaction of Airi who hurriedly covered the mouth of her friend, I learned that that’s the truth. 

“Airi…what’s that about a marriage proposal…?” (Eugene)

“That’s not it! Father moved the conversation forward on his own…” (Airi)

“That’s right. Basically, this means that it is the will of Airi’s father, His Eminence. Eugene-kun, don’t go hating on Airi, okay?” 

“…”

The father of the Oracle Airi is the top of this nation.

In other words, His Eminence, the Emperor. 

For the citizens of the Empire, the words of His Eminence are absolute. 

Even a 3 year old knows that. 

“Airi…I…was going to become your Royal Sword and…” (Eugene)

I noticed the absolute joke of those words that I blurted out and couldn’t finish what I said. 

The Royal Sword is the right arm of the Emperor. 

Always standing by the side of the Emperor, and the sword that protects the Emperor from enemies. 

…That was the last objective I was aiming for. 

Airi closed her eyes sadly, and the friend of Airi warped her mouth slightly. 

“Pfft… A mere white failure becoming the Royal Sword…?” 

“Hey, don’t laugh!” (Airi)

The words ‘don’t laugh’ from Airi gouged at my heart. 

“Sorry, sorry. Let’s go, Airi.” 

“Eh…but…o-okay.” (Airi)

Airi left, pulled by her friend. 

Airi…didn’t look back at me even once.

—The next day, I dropped out from the Imperial School. 

◇◇

“Yes yes, so after you got rejected by your childhood friend, you shut yourself at your house, got your butt kicked by your pops, and you were forcefully enrolled into this Lykeion Magic Academy, right? How many dozens of times have I heard this already, Eugene?”

“Shut up, Claude. This is something that wouldn’t ever happen to you as a mighty Hero. At least let me complain about it.” (Eugene)

I am currently enrolled in the Normal Department of the Lykeion Magic Academy located at the center of the South Continent. 

The Lykeion Magic Academy is the highest academic center of the South Continent. 

The academic level is fearsomely high. 

And the quality of the students too. 

While I was dumbfounded, I got hit by the iron fist of my dad and was thrown into the magic academy. 

There’s barely anyone I know here, so I am having a carefree school life. 

I am really grateful to my dad.

Though I think it was pretty rough. 

The man walking by my side is Claude Percival from the Magic Academy’s Legendary Hero Department. 

He has a 5 Color Ability, and his Job is Hero. 

An elite among elites. 

Compared to that, my Jobs are side-lines like Healer and Barriermancer. 

Those are the only 2 Jobs that I can get in with white mana. 

With this, my lifetime wages will be lower than 1/100th of a Hero, so…that’s such a harsh reality. 

It really makes me wanna cry. 

“Your childhood friend, Princess Airi, right? I heard that she managed to climb all the way to the highest rank of the Empire, a Heaven Knight.” (Claude)

“Tch, that’s right. She also has a coworker boyfriend…” (Eugene)

Even in a far foreign country like the magic academy, you can still hear rumors about famous people. 

The marriage proposal of the 2nd prince from somewhere apparently didn’t go through. 

But there’s rumors that she is in a romantic relationship with a young elite general of the Empire. 

My childhood friend forgot about me and is doing well with her new boyfriend…or so they say. 

How annoying. 

Maybe Claude noticed my expression, he tried to comfort me with a sympathetic tone.

“But you are the only one I can leave my partner wyvern under the care of without worries, Eugene. You are helping me out greatly all the time.” (Claude)

“That’s because I am in the Animal Club after all. It is simply my job.” (Eugene)

Most students in the Magic Academy are in clubs. 

The club activities of the Lykeion Magic Academy are similar to the Confederation Guild. 

In the classes of the academy, you can learn general magic, maneuvering, and knowledge. 

At the clubs you have the senior-junior hierarchy, and there’s many students that use this to make connections with students of different years. 

The one I am in is the Animal Club. 

Normally, the students can freely choose what club they want to join, but for me, it was assigned to me by the Principal. 

My tuition was exempted in exchange. 

Even with that, it is a club with a lot of troublesome menial work that just doesn’t make the exchange worth it. 

Claude and I arrived in front of a big cage. 

And there’s also a big key with a seal. 

This key is a magic tool for special use. 

“Ooi, partner.” (Claude)

Claude raised his voice. 

A beautiful wyvern with glossy ultramarine scales landed in front of him.

*Kurururu*

It purred in happiness. 

“Have you been doing well?” (Claude)

Being brushed by Claude, the wyvern cried happily. 

I replenished the feed while they were doing that. 

“I’m done, Claude.” (Eugene)

I spoke to Claude and the wyvern. 

*Kurururururu…*

The wyvern also pushed its face near me. 

I pet it gently. 

It has taken a liking to me since the time I healed it with healing magic when it got injured. 

It is normally hard to deal with this wyvern apparently . 

“Partner, tomorrow we are heading out on an expedition. Let’s fly together.” (Claude)

Claude smiled refreshingly towards his partner. 

What a pretentious guy. 

Also, he is popular. 

Well, that’s a given. 

He is a Hero after all. 

I exited the cage and headed deeper into the site. 

But Claude was following me too for some reason.

“You are already done with your business, right?” (Eugene)

“You will be heading to ‘that cage’ now, right, Eugene? I will come with you.” (Claude)

“…I don’t really mind though. You are a weird one.” (Eugene)

The Animal Club’s grounds of the Lykeion Magic Academy are vast. 

The Principal loves rare things, has a lot of peculiar magic creatures, and breeds a great amount of them. 

There’s even atrocious magic creatures in the Calamity Designation.

The deeper you go in, the more dangerous the Sealed Area it is. 

The air grows thicker and thicker. 

It is on a level where normal people would find it hard to even breathe. 

There’s no issue for me as a Barriermancer though…

I got worried and looked at my side, and I could see Claude had a pale face. 

That’s why I told you…

“Don’t push yourself, Claude.” (Eugene)

“I-I am still alright…” (Claude)

I match the pace of Claude and walk slowly. 

We eventually arrived at a giant black metallic gate. 

—Taboo Seal: Rank Seven.

Deep inside this place, you will find the most dangerous mythological creatures in the academy. 

A normal person would apparently go mad just by making eye-contact with them. 

Dirty work that can only be performed by a Barriermancer. 

Looking after them is also the job of the Animal Club. 

No wonder no one wants to do it. 

“S-Sorry…Eugene. I can’t go any further than this.” (Claude)

Claude was sweating bullets and completely stopped walking. 

“You managed to get pretty close today.” (Eugene)

“Yeah…the legendary Demon Lord. I want to see it one day but…I really can’t endure this miasma yet…” (Claude)

“Don’t push yourself. Later then.” (Eugene)

I opened the heavy seal door. 

The miasma accumulated inside bursted out. 

“Guh…!” (Claude)

Claude fell on his knees.

“Here, [Mind Heal].” (Eugene)

I cast healing magic on him. 

Claude stood up with unsteady feet. 

“Hey, Eugene, I am always wondering this, but why are you okay in this miasma…? Even I can’t endure it as a Hero.” (Claude)

“It is because I am a Barriermancer. How many times have you asked me now?” (Eugene)

“The Sage in our team that can use barrier magic fainted quite a few ways before the Seal Gate though…” (Claude)

“They lack training.” (Eugene)

“I am still not convinced.” (Claude)

“See ya.” (Eugene)

I waved my hand and closed the gate from the inside. 

“I am sure you are wrong here…” (Claude)

Right before I closed the gate, I heard that mutter of Claude. 

What’s that about being wrong?

◇◇

Lykeion Magic Academy’s Layer Seal Underground Prison.

The creatures here are all Calamity Designation and Mythological Creatures. 

If even one of them runs away, several cities could easily fall…apparently. 

None have actually escaped, so I don’t know if that’s true. 

As for why such dangerous creatures are here, it is because that’s the hobby of the Principal. 

Sounds just about right for a weirdo. 

There’s several seals stacked on the respective cages, and they won’t open at all unless you go through the proper procedure. 

That said, there’s a demonic space where miasma drifts about and not even the sturdiest seals can contain that miasma -that demonic element. 

If a normal person were to enter, they would be crippled. 

Even Claude, who is a Hero, was in that state. 

There’s no idiot who would sneak in. 

I carefully advance through the several seals that have a ton of troublesome procedures to enter the cage. 

But if I take too much time, that woman will get angry. 

(Let’s hurry…) (Eugene)

I go deeper in with slightly hurried steps. 

The nameplate at the deepest cage has this written on it. 

Fallen Angel Demon Lord, Erinyes. 

I slowly enter the cage overflowing with miasma. 

■Author’s Comment: 

This story takes place in the same world as the previous work: Zero Believer Goddess. 

However, the protagonist, heroines, and other supporting characters won’t be appearing here. 

※They will simply be mentioned by name at most. 

It is made in a way that you can enjoy it without having read the previous one. 

Readers of my previous work, readers of the current one; I would be grateful if both were to enjoy this story. 

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