“Eugene!!! Why are you not coming to see me?!” (Sara)
My former party member, Sara, hugged me.
Sara is the student council president and an important person from the Holy Nation of Caldia, so she is always interacting with other students with a flexible attitude.
But she is awfully close to only me.
I told Sara, who is from the elite Legendary Hero Department, that ‘there’s no need to worry about me’ and she responded with ‘why are you saying something so cold?!’ and didn’t understand me well.
Normally, I could wait until she calms down, but I will be heading off to explore with Sumire today.
I can’t just stay with Sara the whole time here.
While I was thinking about what to say to her…
“Uhm, Sara-san, was it?” (Sumire)
Sumire spoke to Sara first.
Sara looked at Sumire for a bit and then returned her gaze to me.
She ignored her?
Sumire seemed to be a bit angered by this.
“Hey, Eugene, are you listening?” (Sara)
“Y-Yeah, I am. More importantly, you should greet Sumire…” (Eugene)
“I have been waiting the whole time. Hey, do you have time now? I am reaching the 90th Floor, but I am feeling like I am hitting a wall already. You defeated a Divine Beast, right? Let’s exchange information. I am sure I will be able to provide useful information to you, Eugene!” (Sara)
She spoke to me with incredible intensity.
“No, Sara, right now would not be po—” (Eugene)
“Sara-san, we are heading to the 31th Floor. Can you please leave it for another time?!” (Sumire)
Sumire said to Sara with a clear voice.
As expected, Sara didn’t ignore the words of Sumire this time around.
She slowly turned her face into a cold one and directed her gaze there.
The two look at each other for a few seconds.
And then, Sara spoke.
“I am sorry, Sumire-san. We are currently having an important talk. Can you wait?” (Sara)
“O-Oi, Sara.” (Eugene)
You shouldn’t be like that when you are the one that came talking to us out of nowhere.
The angry face of Sumire turned into an expressionless one.
Ah…she is mad.
(I have to warn Sara.) (Eugene)
The moment I decided that…
“Hey, Eugene-kun, let’s leave that former partner and go explore☆.” (Sumire)
Sumire grabbed my arm and pulled it.
I separated from Sara.
She continued pulling me to where the dungeon elevators are.
“W-Wait! Wait right there!” (Sara)
Sara hurriedly pulled the arm opposite of the one Sumire was grabbing.
“Can you please let go? We are in a hurry.” (Sumire)
“Sumire-san, Eugene and I are tied by a really strong connection! Someone that just popped up shouldn’t get in between!” (Sara)
“I see~. But that connection got snapped after you were moved to the Legendary Hero Department, right? And yet, you returned when he defeated a Divine Beast? Uwaah, nasty.” (Sumire)
Sara’s complexion changed at the words of Sumire.
“T-That’s not it! If I am together with Eugene from the Normal Department as someone from the Legendary Department, a lot of people will cause trouble for him, so it would be better to create a bit of distance…is what Teresia-san told me, so I was careful about it. But even with distance, mine and Eugene’s hearts are connected! And what about you, you are just the protegee of Eugene, so don’t go acting all high and mighty!” (Sara)
The face of Sumire changed at the words of Sara.
Sara and Sumire bump faces and glare at each other.
This is not good.
“You two, calm d—” (Eugene)
““You be silent, Eugene.””
The two stopped me with their hands.
Sumire and Sara were still glaring at each other.
The one who ended the silence was Sumire.
“Sara-san, Eugene-kun is my partner. If you have business with him, can you please get through me first?” (Sumire)
“Hmph, you say partner, but that’s just recent, right? I have been in a party with Eugene since enrolling. Our time together can’t even compare.” (Sara)
“Even though it was dissolved after less than a year?” (Sumire)
“! …That’s why I came here to tell him to redo it. Don’t get in my way, Sumire-san.” (Sara)
“I am sorry, but the companion of Eugene-kun has already been set to me.” (Sumire)
“Eugene-kun is the son of the most powerful fighting force of the Empire, the Imperial Sword. In that case, the one worthy of him is me as a Holy Maiden candidate!” (Sara)
“…I am an otherworlder, so I don’t really get stuff like that.” (Sumire)
“Anyways, I won’t allow you and Eugene to have a party with just the two of you!” (Sara)
“As if we need your permission!” (Sumire)
“Don’t get all touchy-feely with my Eugene, Sumire-san!” (Sara)
“I-I am not all touchy-feely!” (Sumire)
“Lies! You were pointlessly locking arms until you entered the Zenith Tower!” (Sara)
“In that case, what about you? You always come and hug Eugene-kun every instance!” (Sumire)
“T-That’s…my own business!” (Sara)
The arguing between Sumire and Sara was endless.
I watched that a bit dumbfounded.
Sara and I have been acquaintances since the day we enrolled, but this is the first time I see her showing this much emotion.
I knew Sumire had abundant emotions, but this is the first time I see her throwing so much anger at someone.
(Oh my, a catfight for Eugene~. Popular guys have it harsh.)
The voice of someone rang in my head all of a sudden while I was spacing out.
It goes without saying that it was Eri.
(Hey, Eri, what should I do at times like this?) (Eugene)
(…Eh? You ask me of all people?) (Eri)
(Can’t I?) (Eugene)
(…Hmm, let’s see.) (Eri)
I have never had a girlfriend before.
I am distant from male and female relationships like this.
I tried asking Eri who is the older one and seemed like she had a lot of experience.
(How about you do it with both of them?) (Eri)
(…Nevermind. I will think about it myself.) (Eugene)
Now that I think about it, Eri is a Fallen Angel.
I must not take her comments as reference.
The arguing of Sara and Sumire continued.
That’s when I suddenly felt a strange gaze on me.
I know that there’s explorers looking at us with interest since we are making this much noise, but there’s a different gaze from that.
A ball shaped magic device floating in midair.
It is the eye that sends footage of the Zenith Tower to the Satellite System.
That was looking straight at me, Sumire, and Sara.
Is this being watched by the students of the academy?
“In the first place, I have even kissed Eugene! Have you, Sumire-san?” (Sara)
I wasn’t really paying attention to the arguing of Sara and Sumire, but something I couldn’t just ignore reached my ears.
“Eugene-kun…and Sara-san…are like that? He said you were not a couple…” (Sumire)
Sumire looked at me as if she had been betrayed.
Cold sweat ran down my back.
“T-That’s not it, Sumire! She said that was a customary practice when forming a party with a Holy Maiden candidate… Also, it was only once…” (Eugene)
“That’s right… I can’t forget that passionate kiss even now…” (Sara)
Sara blushed as if entranced.
Sumire looked at her with a doubtful look.
“Looks like it is my win.” (Sara)
Sara made a mysterious declaration of victory.
Sumire looked for an instant at me and then said this to Sara.
“I-I have spent a night with Eugene-kun in the same tent!” (Sumire)
When Sumire said this, Sara opened her eyes wide.
“E-Eugene…no way. You spent a night with that girl…?” (Sara)
“Hmph, I even saw the sleeping face of Eugene-kun. Eeh, have you never seen it, Sara-san~?” (Sumire)
“……I-I have never seen it…” (Sara)
Eh, she saw my sleeping face?
I should have been the one that woke up first though. Did Sumire fall asleep after me?
Sumire and Sara were exchanging dense gazes.
Both of them had sweat flowing down from their cheeks.
…No, it is the same for me.
What are they planning on saying next?
The first one to speak was Sara.
“I-I will remember this!!” (Sara)
She said this and ran off at incredible speed.
“I won…” (Sumire)
Sumire raised a fist and made a pose.
Was there a winner and loser in that?
(Fufu…I wonder what would happen if the two were to know about what you and I do normally.) (Eri)
(…Spare me.) (Eugene)
I am scared just imagining it.
“Hey, Eugene-kun.” (Sumire)
Sumire called me.
“What’s the matter, Sumire?” (Eugene)
“…Do you actually want to form a party with Sara-san?” (Sumire)
“No, that’s…” (Eugene)
I was actually thinking about it for a bit.
We will eventually hit a wall with just me and Sumire.
I thought it would be reliable to have Sara as a party member.
But it is most likely impossible.
Hearing the conversation of Sumire and Sara just now, their affinity is the worst.
“I am sorry, Sumire. It turned weird because of Sara.” (Eugene)
“Nah! Now then, let’s do our best in our exploration!” (Sumire)
Sumire showed an empty smile.
I also responded with a smile.
But her steps were heavy from the 31th Floor and on.
◇Lykeion Magic Academy: Physical Education class◇
“Alright, you guys, make pairs.”
The physical education teacher instructed us.
What I am participating in is a combined class where students of the Normal Department, High Department, and Special Department are participating as well.
It is not the guys and girls together, so Sumire is not here.
By the way, I am not good with this stuff where we have to form pairs.
The reason is simple… I don’t have many friends.
It always takes time to form a pair.
Well, I should just speak to a random guy that’s left.
I was thinking that, but…
“Yo, Eugene, let’s pair up!”
A familiar voice called me.
The students of the Legendary Hero Department are normally free to decide whether to participate in the classes.
They get their credits just by clearing the exams.
Because of that, Claude rarely participates in physical education.
But I am thankful that there’s someone close to me here.
I decided to pair up with Claude.
That’s when I suddenly noticed.
“Why does your face look like that?” (Eugene)
“Hm? …Aah, this. A cat scratched me.” (Claude)
“Yeah, a cat.” (Claude)
There’s no way a Hero would get injured just from a cat scratching him.
Well, it is probably something he doesn’t want to say.
I decided not to pursue the topic any further.
“Mock battle, start!”
The physical education teacher gives the signal to start.
By the way, all the weapons are made out of wood.
Claude unleashes a thrust from his spear at a blindspot.
I shifted half of my body and ward it off.
And then, I thrust my sword at the throat of Claude just like that.
“One point.” (Eugene)
I grinned and Claude frowned.
“Hold back.” (Claude)
“I am not using the Twin Heavenly Resonance Style.” (Eugene)
“Your swordsmanship is weird.” (Claude)
“It is not.” (Eugene)
We continue our mock battle while chatting.
“Hey, Eugene.” (Claude)
“How about taking the exam to transfer to the Legendary Hero class?” (Claude)
“Oh, opening!” (Claude)
“Not letting you!” (Eugene)
I barely manage to avoid the 2 combo spear thrust of Claude.
That was close.
I take distance for a moment.
“So, what’s that about transferring?” (Eugene)
“There’s whisperings in the Legendary Hero Department. There’s no way it is fine to leave the swordsman that managed to defeat the Divine Beast alone in the Normal Department, right?” (Claude)
“I don’t plan on transferring though.” (Eugene)
Claude made a confused look.
“You know already. I have zero attack power without the mana of Sumire. There’s no way I can pass the exam.” (Eugene)
“Just transfer with Sumire-chan. She is an Ifrit, so she should be able to clear the exam.” (Claude)
With Sumire, huh.
I didn’t think about that.
I thought about it for a bit and then shook my head to the sides.
“It wouldn’t be possible. Sumire can’t control her own mana. It would end up with her magic going out of control in the exam.” (Eugene)
“…Is that so.” (Claude)
Looks like Claude was convinced by what I said.
While we were having that talk.
“Eugene Santafield, can we talk for a bit?”
A number of students came to where me and Claude are.
They have swords on their waists.
And I have seen these guys before.
“You are…Olvo of the swordsmanship club?” (Eugene)
“Yeah, rank 3 of the swordsmanship club, Olvo de Bakker.”
The biggest faction of the Lykeion Magic Academy.
All members of the swordsmanship club are numbered depending on their strength.
They are apparently competing with each other through that.
If I remember correctly, he is the best swordsman in his year.
“I am here with a message from the club president. ‘Would you join the swordsmanship club? We will prepare a seat for you in the 1st wing. It would be the best shortcut if you are aiming for the 500th Floor’.” (Olvo)
“Hmph, I objected though! I don’t think you would be able to keep up with the 1st wing even if you were to join!” (Olvo)
What’s with this guy?
It seems like he told me this message against his will.
I of course know who the club president of the swordsmanship club is, but I have not spoken to them directly.
You have selected the wrong messenger, club president.
“I am grateful for the invitation, but I will refrain from joining the swordsmanship club. We are going to explore at our own pace.” (Eugene)
“Ha! Got scared?! Scared at our level where we are soon going to clear the 200th Floor!” (Olvo)
He really likes to provoke at every instance.
It is kinda annoying.
“Let’s make it clear whether I am scared or not in the joint tournament. I will participate as a magic swordsman. Let’s make it clear there.” (Eugene)
Olvo’s eyes turned dangerous at my words.
“Not gonna run away on me, right?” (Eugene)
“I will crush you!!” (Olvo)
Olva left with his entourage after declaring this.
Looks like, despite provoking so much, he is sensitive to being provoked.
“You are being targeted in a lot of places, Eugene.” (Claude)
Claude said, baffled.
I don’t really feel that though.
Especially the swordsmanship club. I barely have any connection with them.
“The people of the student council’s enforcement division were also hostile to you, you know.” (Claude)
“That’s because Sara is close to me.” (Eugene)
I remember after saying that.
The argument between Sara and Sumire the other day.
Claude must have thought the same thing, he grinned.
“I was watching from the Satellite System. Sumire-chan and Sara-chan were fuming.” (Claude)
“…So you were watching.” (Eugene)
“And, who are you choosing?” (Claude)
“That’s not the issue.” (Eugene)
Sara hasn’t shown up since then.
But I am sure she will appear again.
Or maybe it would be better for me to go see her.
But they are going to try and pick a fight with me again if I go to the student council room.
“You haven’t put a hand on either despite two beauties of such quality approaching you, right? What a waste.” (Claude)
“I am the guardian of Sumire and Sara is the Holy Maiden candidate of Caldia, you know? I can’t just put a hand on them just for the heck of it.” (Eugene)
“No no, this is the Lykeion Magic Academy, you know? The students are all equal on paper. Also, you yourself have a certain degree of standing in the Empire, so I think it would be fine to put a hand on them though.” (Claude)
“Sorry to break it to you, but my family precepts state that I should take responsibility. I can’t just act frivolously.” (Eugene)
“You are so stiff, Eugene. It would be better to learn about all types of girls, you know?” (Claude)
“Leave me be.” (Eugene)
The P.E. class ended while we were having that silly chat.
I didn’t say out loud that I am a bit jealous of Claude’s way to approach life.
◇A few days later◇
We are resuming our exploration from the 36th Floor.
I would like to reach the 40th Floor Boss in 5 days.
I waited for Sumire at the entrance of the Zenith Tower.
There’s a lot of explorers here, and there’s others who are also waiting for their exploration members to come.
There’s also merchants roaming around, trying to get those explorers to buy their stuff.
Several merchants have already spoken to me.
I rejected them as I waited for Sumire.
I see Sumire running towards me right at the agreed time.
I wave my hand to let her know my location.
The face of Sumire was not a calm one though.
“Eugene-kun, this is bad!!” (Sumire)
“What’s the matter, Sumire?” (Eugene)
“You see…uhm…how should I say this? It is Eugene-kun’s friend, so I don’t want to badmouth him too much, but…ah, this is not a pun**, okay? That’s not it. Uuh…” (Sumire) <TLN: Eugene and friend (Yuujin) sound similar in japanese.>
“Calm down, Sumire.” (Eugene)
I tried to calm down Sumire who seemed to be panicking.
“Thanks, I am better now.” (Sumire)
Sumire sighed heavily.
I waited for the words of Sumire in silence.
“You see…it is about Claude-kun.” (Sumire)
“What about Claude?” (Eugene)
I am close to him because I look after his wyvern in the animal club, but my interactions with him are a lot more frequent lately.
He even told me he wanted to assist our exploration party.
I have not told that to Sumire yet, but I was thinking about consulting with her eventually.
That said, there should barely be any connection between them at present.
“Claude-kun is two-timing Leona-chan and Teresia-san!!!!” (Sumire)
The piece of information I got was even more stupid than I thought.