ZAP – Chapter 21: Eugene faces the Divine Beast

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I readied my sword at the watchdog of Hades, Cerberus, that’s looking down at me. 

The defense stance of the Twin Heavenly Resonance Style.

I will buy time until rescue comes. 

“Magic Sword: [Flame Blade].” (Eugene)

The blade shone red. 

*Ssst*

That sound reached my ears. 

High density mana is popping. 

This is plenty enough firepower to face a Troll or a Goblin King. 

But how effective will it be against a mythological being like a Divine Beast? 

I didn’t even have the time to ask this question. Cerberus approached me with speed unthinkable from that giant body. 

“Gaaaaaahhh!!” 

The sharp claws of Cerberus became black wind and stretched.

—Twin Heavenly Resonance Style: Wood Form – Willow Sweep. 

(Ugh!!!) (Eugene)

The attack I thought I had deflected perfectly was not deflected. 

Moreover, it easily pierced through the barrier protecting me. 

“…[High Heal].” (Eugene)

I immediately heal my arm that was cut deeply by its sharp claws. 

“!!!” 

The big leg of Cerberus approached me from the side.

I can’t avoid it! 

“Barrier Magic: [Light Greatshield]!” (Eugene)

I reflexively used barrier magic to protect myself. 

*Bang!*

By the time I noticed, I had already been blown away together with my barrier spell.

I bounced a number of times on the ground, but I still somehow managed to mitigate the fall. 

“Haaah…haaah…haah…haah…” (Eugene)

My breathing has gotten unbelievably rough. 

*…Rumble…Rumble…*

Heavy sounds of footsteps approaching.

Cerberus was looking down at me as if I had disappointed him. 

(This is impossible…) (Eugene)

It was impossible to buy time. 

The attack of Cerberus just now was most likely simply to test me. 

As proof of this, this beast that has 3 heads has not directed his fangs at me once. 

It would have ended the moment it took this seriously. 

“Fuuh~.” (Eugene)

I fix my breathing. 

Defending won’t work. 

I have to attack. 

I undo the defensive stance and bring it back to my natural one. 

I lower my center of gravity and slowly ready myself for the next attack. 

—Twin Heavenly Resonance Style: Wind Form – Sky Step. 

I close the distance to Cerberus in one go. 

If it were the Troll, I would have been able to take my eyes off it for an instant. 

But this is a Beast of the Gods. 

It is obviously reading my moves. 

(As if I care!!!) (Eugene)

—Twin Heavenly Resonance Style: Fire Form – [Dance of the Lion].

The technique that defeated the 10th Floor Boss.

Putting the centrifugal force right into the attack of my sword.

What resides in the red blade is the mana of an Ifrit. 

I slammed that onto the base of Cerberus’ neck. 

*Clang!*

A sound as if hitting hard metal rang. 

It was bounced off by the fangs of Cerberus.

“Uooooooh!!” (Eugene)

I didn’t care about it and continued swinging. 

*Gan! Gan! Slash!*

A number of the slashes cut the skin of Cerberus. 

Faint blood spurted out from there.

But it hasn’t been hit with a fatal wound.

“Gaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!” 

Cerberus approached me with his big mouth open in an attempt to swallow me. 

“Guh!” (Eugene)

I narrowly avoid the attack and present him with more slashes.

Avoiding not for the sake of running away but to attack.

No matter how fast you are, the Watchdog of Hades is several times bigger than the Troll and the Goblin King.

If I take advantage of the blindspots between its legs, I will have the advantage.

However, one small mistake and I will be crushed.

An exchange where any second can define my life or death. 

An equal battle for a brief instant.

But…

*Sst…ssst…*

The mana of the Fire Blade is slowly decreasing. 

This is the red mana I got from Sumire.

It is not my own mana. 

That’s why it will eventually run out. 

Once the red mana of Sumire runs out, I will return to being a defective swordsman that can’t attack.

*Slash!*

The sharp claws of Cerberus gouge my barrier magic. 

That attack just now destroyed 3 layers of barriers. 

“Ow!!” (Eugene)

The meat of my shoulder was gouged out too.

“[Heal].” (Eugene)

I don’t have the time to use a High Heal. 

I just stop the bleeding and devote myself to moving.

I will die if I stop.

“Barrier Magic: [Armor].” (Eugene)

I also have to reapply the barriers.

I would instantly turn into minced meat with my bare body. 

But my own mana is being expended more and more. 

I don’t have a bottomless pool of mana like Sumire.

I will most likely be turned into ribbons when my barrier magic is gone. 

(…No good. It won’t last. I will lose in just a few minutes more…) (Eugene)

But Sumire is on the 20th Floor.

I can’t run away. 

(What should I do…?) (Eugene)

Just when I was enduring my stirring emotions and was wondering if there’s any options here.

— Eugene, do it…with me…

A beautiful voice rang in my head.

The conversation I had with Erinyes one day rang in my head.

◇◇

“Hey, Eugene, did you know that you are actually in a provisional contract with me?” (Eri)

“Huh?” (Eugene)

One day, when I had passed a night with Eri like usual.

Eri was intense that day too, so I was a bit drowsy, but what she said blew my sleepiness away. 

Provisional contract? 

“What do you mean by that?!” (Eugene)

“Don’t make that face.” (Eri)

Eri made a bewitching smile and brushed my hair gently. 

“You are being embraced by me on the regular, right, Eugene? This is one of the 5 contracts, Body Contract. That’s why the mana of both of us is connected. It is like the Mana Link that mages use.” (Eri)

“Really…? Aren’t all contracts required to have the agreement of both sides…?” (Eugene)

“You are tangling up with each other already, so there’s obviously agreement, right?” (Eri)

“T-True.” (Eugene)

It was obvious. 

“Well, the Body Contract is the only one that could get formed without your notice. The other ones properly require the contract ceremony. And so, you can form a contract with me anytime you want. Fufu, congratulations.” (Eri)

“I feel like I have been made to buy an expensive commodity without my knowledge…” (Eugene)

As if I have been scammed. 

A provisional contract at some point in time with a Demon Lord, huh…

“Isn’t that fine? There’s not many people who can have a contract with the Demon Lord, Erinyes. The compatibility of our bodies is really good. You are probably the only human that can make a contract with me.” (Eri)

“…Really? Wouldn’t any Barriermancer be able to?” (Eugene)

“As if. They wouldn’t even be able to have a normal conversation with me. Be proud of yourself. You are quite the big deal.” (Eri)

“…”

The words of Eri were infinitely kind and sweet. 

They sounded like the whispers of an angel at that time when I had my heart broken by my childhood friend. 

…And the reality is that Eri is an actual Fallen Angel.

Anyways, she would try to seduce me as if taking advantage of my heart. 

“By the way, do you know about my Ability?” (Eri)

“Of course I do.” (Eugene)

The one in front of me is a legendary Demon Lord that ruled the West Continent in the dark era. 

Even infants know about her legendary strength. 

“The Fallen Angel Erinyes that had been exiled from the Divine Realm has: the White of affection, lost the Yellow of light, and in exchange obtained the Black of violence, Indigo of poison, and Purple of death…right?” (Eugene)

I spoke of what I learned in the Military School a long time ago.

“Right, that’s what’s being told by the general public.” (Eri)

“Is that not it?” (Eugene)

“I have one more. If you make a contract with me, you will be able to obtain that power.” (Eri)

Eri gently caressed my cheek and whispered into my ear.

“When you are really in trouble, call me without hesitating. You don’t have to go out of your way to come to the prison. You can do so even in the middle of your explorations. My mana is waiting for its turn inside your body. You just have to say one thing…” (Eri)

◇◇

I avoid the attack of Cerberus. 

I can avoid it a few more times. 

And then, I won’t be able to anymore. 

After hesitating and hesitating, I decided. 

It might be unforgivable. 

A contract with a Demon Lord. 

But obtaining power is also a wish of mine. 

The one approaching me is the legendary Divine Beast, Cerberus. 

Dying without trying anything…is not something I want to do. 

“…”

I steel myself. 

I said those words.

— “Eugene Santafield will form a Contract with the Demon Lord Erinyes.” (Eugene)

The next moment, my body was engulfed by fearsome miasma.

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