ZAP – Chapter 40: Fire Half-God

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“Kukuku…foolizzt humanzzt have come to becomezzt our food, huh…” 

The Killer Bee Queen looked down at me and Sumire, and smiled cruelly.

“I-It is talking?!” (Sumire)

Sumire raised her voice in surprise.

Hm? That’s what you are getting surprised at? 

“The high floor monsters have high intelligence. They can talk normally. That said, you can’t negotiate with them.” (Eugene)

For monsters, explorers are enemies and food.

There’s no choice but to fight. 

“Then why are they not attacking?” (Sumire)

“Because we haven’t challenged the Floor Boss yet. At any rate, Floor 70 is full of Killer Bee hives.” (Eugene)

The hives of Killer Bees are made from piling up dirt, but there were several of them towering like castles.

Thanks to that, we are being surrounded by an outrageous amount of Killer Bees.

Alright, let’s keep the watching to this much. 

We have to defeat the Floor Boss that is the Killer Bee Queen or we won’t be able to advance.

“Sumire, you ready?” (Eugene)

“Yeah, I am!” (Sumire)

Sumire holds my hand tightly. 

*Thump*

I felt hot fire mana going through it. 

Fire clad the blade of the sword in my hand.

I took a battle stance with the Fire Blade and whispered to the Explorer Badge.

“Eugene Santafield and Sashiogi Sumire challenge the Floor 70 Boss.” (Eugene)

When I announced this, the Angel Voice rang in the 70th Floor. 

— “The challenge of the explorers has been acknowledged. Godspeed~.” 

I feel like the voice is a bit different from before. Is it my imagination?

But I don’t have the time to worry about that. 

The Killer Bees surrounding us came at us all at once. 

I used Barrier Magic to protect Sumire, and when I was about to fight the Killer Bees…

(Hm?) (Eugene)

I noticed a gaze. 

Sumire was looking at me. 

A brooding serious expression.

“Sumire?” (Eugene)

“…Eugene-kun, even when I give you my mana, it runs out immediately, right?” (Sumire)

“Yeah, it can’t be helped. I don’t have Red Mana to begin with. With your mana, I can use it for a short while. My White Mana erases the ones of other mages, so I couldn’t even borrow mana from them, so this is plenty enough.” (Eugene)

“If…it were to last longer, I would be of more use to you, right?” (Sumire)

“That’s true, but…” (Eugene)

“Then, leave it to me! I will give you a whole lot more mana, Eugene-kun!” (Sumire)

“Eh? …What are you planning on—” (Eugene)

Sumire hugged my body before I could finish talking.

She tightened the hug.

What are you doing? -Before I could even voice that out…

*Rumble Rumble Rumble Rumble Rumble Rumble*

A trembling rang in my body like an alarm bell.

I noticed soon after that it is the heartbeat of Sumire.

One breath later…

“?!” 

The mana of Sumire entered my body like a tsunami.

I was on the verge of drowning from the massive amount of mana.

An overwhelming sensation that made me unable to breathe.

And then, a burning sense of elation. 

(S-So this is the mana of an Ifrit…) (Eugene)

*BzztBzztBzztBzztBzzt*

The buzzing was getting closer. 

I was so distracted by the mana of Sumire that I allowed the Killer Bees to get too close.

(Kuh!) (Eugene)

I hurriedly readied my sword, but…

“…Eh?” (Eugene)

I doubted my eyes.

What was spreading around was a sea of fire. 

A giant fire tornado was happening with us at the center; the Killer Bees were being charred and were dropping like flies.

*Whooooooooom!!*

I watched dumbfounded at the fire tornado burning so vigorously as if it was trying to burn the heavens itself.

Sumire’s mana continued flowing into me even while all this happened.

It is already 10 times more than usual.

I doubt I will run out of mana like this for a while. 

At that moment, I noticed something strange.

I could hear rough breathing.

“Haaah…haaah…haah…haah…♡ Eugene…-kun♡ Eugene…-kun♡.” (Sumire)

“S-Sumire?! Are you okay?!” (Eugene)

Sumire’s face was flushed red while still hugging me and her breathing was ragged as if she had run a marathon.

Those eyes of hers looking at me felt like those of a carnivore aiming for her prey. 

She is in a weird state no matter how you see it.

(Aah, this is bad. Sumire-chan is in a serious state of mana dizziness.) (Eri)

Eri’s voice rang in my head at that moment.

(Eri?! Isn’t mana dizziness the one where beginner mages suddenly use spells they are not used to and the mana inside of them goes out of control, making you feel bad?) (Eugene)

(That’s right. But Sumire-chan is an Ifrit even if not exactly. The amount of mana she has can’t even compare to a human. She did her best to activate a strong spell, so the symptoms are terrible. 

Looks like she pushed herself in order to be of use to you. How envious you make me, you playboy! 

But lasting detrimental effects might show up on Sumire-chan if this continues for long.) (Eri)

(No way… Eri, what should I do to return her to normal?) (Eugene)

I can heal injuries with Healing Magic, but I don’t know how to cure mana dizziness.

It would be terrible if I were to use Healing Magic and end up worsening things instead.

(Hmm, there’s no choice but to have someone take the mana that’s running rampant inside of Sumire-chan. You are the only one there, so you gotta take that role.) (Eri)

(How can I do that?!) (Eugene)

(……) 

I raised my mental voice and asked, but Eri didn’t answer immediately.

(Eri!!) (Eugene)

(…You are always doing it with me, right?) (Eri)

(…What?) (Eugene)

(As I said, you just have to do it the same way as when you are taking mana from me. Aah, I told him~.) (Eri)

What I am doing to Eri.

In other words…

“Haaah…Haaah…Haah…” (Sumire)

The strength in Sumire’s arms hugging me is slowly weakening.

She is slowly losing energy. 

There’s no time to hesitate.

“Sorry, Sumire.” (Eugene)

I apologized and took the lips of Sumire.

◇Sumire’s POV◇

(…Eh? …Wa?) (Sumire)

I lost consciousness for a while after hugging Eugene-kun.

—At the time when giving mana with Mana Link, you can increase the efficiency of pouring mana by hugging instead of holding hands.

This is something that the Sage Apprentice Teresia-san taught me. 

“Ooh, there’s a method like that? I didn’t know!” (Sumire)

“There’s one more reason… It is not a method you can use on anyone though.” (Teresia)

“What is it?!” (Sumire)

I leaned forward and asked.

I plan on doing anything to help Eugene-kun.

When I did, Teresia-san smiled meaningfully. 

“When doing the Mana Link, the effectiveness increases the more you love the other party.” (Teresia)

“Really? I didn’t know that either.” (Leona)

Leona-chan, who was eating lunch together with us, raised her head in surprise.

“It can’t be used strategically, so most professors in the academy won’t teach this. It is one of the magic effects of the one called the Love Contract, but the activation condition is simple. The ones who love each other mutually will have a smoother experience with Mana Link and spells done together.” (Teresia)

““I see.””

Leona-chan, who specializes in physical combat and doesn’t know much about magic, and I, a beginner in magic, raised our voices impressed. 

It seems like Leona-chan suddenly noticed something here.

“Then, what would happen if Teresia and I were to do a Mana Link?” (Leona)

“…Want to actually try? Please lend me your hand, Leona.” (Teresia)

“There’s no need to actually try it…” (Leona)

“This is an experiment. I know the logic, but actual practice is the best.” (Teresia)

“Uwaaah, I shouldn’t have said anything.” (Leona)

Leona-chan brought out her hand as if not wanting to, and Teresia-san grabbed that hand.

“Then, let’s do this.” (Teresia)

“Yeah yeah, do it already.” (Leona)

I was watching that nervously for some reason.

*Tzzt!*

A sound like that of an electric shock rang.

“Ouch!!!” 

“—!!!” 

Leona-chan screamed loudly and Teresia-san groaned lowly. 

The hand of the two was burned bright red. 

“Hey, Teresia, what are you doing?!!” (Leona)

“That wasn’t on purpose. I will cast healing magic first… I knew in theory, but it really happened, huh.” (Teresia)

Teresia-san casted healing magic on Leona-chan and then herself.

It fortunately was a light burn so it healed easily. 

“Uhm, Teresia-san, what was that just now?” (Sumire)

I nervously asked.

“The experiment result that Mana Link doesn’t work well between two people that don’t get along. It is as I imagined.” (Teresia)

“If you knew, don’t do it!” (Leona)

Teresia-san answered with a calm tone, and Leona-san shouted.

“There’s something that was made clear here.” (Teresia)

“What?” (Leona)

“It would be best if you don’t do Mana Link with President Sara, Sumire-san.” (Teresia)

“Eh?” (Sumire)

I was dumbfounded by the words of Teresia-san.

“Yeah, that’s true. It showed that much power even with mine and Teresia’s mana. The mana of both Sumire-chan and Sara-san are massive, so…” (Leona)

“It would turn terrible if it were to go out of control.” (Teresia)

“R-Really?! In the past, we talked about what would happen if Sara-chan were to clad my fire mana on her Holy Sword…” (Sumire)

“It would be better not to. The mana will most likely go out of control.” (Teresia)

“Scary!” (Leona)

I am glad we didn’t try it…

“Then, that means the only one you can do Mana Link with is Eugene-kun. And if she hugs him a whole ton, it will have even more effectiveness. Sumire-chan, go all out☆.” (Leona)

“G-Got it, Leona-chan!” (Sumire)

I rode on the fanning of Leona-chan.

This is for the sake of the exploration after all! 

There’s no dirty intentions here!

“By the way, you really hate me a lot, Leona. It makes me sad.” (Teresia)

“Oh, that’s not true. What about you, Teresia? You hate me, right?” (Leona)

“Fufufu, that’s not true. Aren’t we always good friends when in front of Claude-kun?” (Teresia)

“Yeah, you put on a mask when in front of Claude after all~.” (Leona)

“Oh my, aren’t you the one who acts all cutely in front of Claude-kun, Leona☆?” (Teresia)

“Stooop!! The break time is almost over, so let’s return to the classroom!” (Sumire)

Having a bad feeling here, I hurriedly entered in between the two.

—And so, I faintly remember the past, but I still can’t get a grasp of the current situation.

The face of Eugene-kun is covering my whole vision.

(H-Hm…? Am I being kissed by Eugene-kun?) (Sumire)

Moreover, not a light one, but an extremely deep french kiss!!

I was so flustered I flapped my arms. 

“Sumire, you have regained consciousness?!” (Eugene)

“…Uhm, Eugene-kun, what in the world did I…” (Sumire)

That’s when I noticed…

My surroundings are a complete sea of fire. 

It is just like the time when I first came to this world, when I was on the 5th Floor of the Zenith Tower…

Eh, did I do this? 

N-No way…

“That’s a relief… It looks like the mana dizziness has been cured. Color has come back to your face.” (Eugene)

“Mana dizziness?!” (Sumire)

“Yeah, I moved the rampaging mana in your body to mine. It is a relief that it went well.” (Eugene)

Eugene-kun smiled at me, relieved.

(I failed…) (Sumire)

I felt dejected at that reality. 

At that time, I noticed the abnormality in Eugene-kun’s body.

“Eugene-kun, that hair…” (Sumire)

“Hm? The color of my hair has gotten red?” (Eugene)

I muttered this after looking at Eugene-kun’s bangs.

“A-Are you okay?! Any problems with your condition?” (Sumire)

“No, this is instead—” (Eugene)

Just when Eugene-kun was about to say something…

“You bazztardzt!!! How dare you burn down my cute babiezzt! I will tear every limb!!!” 

The raging Killer Bee Queen commanded.

The still more than 10,000 Killer Bees remaining attacked us all at once.

My magic going out of control just now must have blocked the path of the monsters until now, but the fire has weakened now.

“Eugene-kun…” (Sumire)

‘Sorry, because of me’ -is what I was about to say, but a finger was placed on my lips. 

“Leave it to me, Sumire.” (Eugene)

The usual calm voice. 

And then, the usual face filled with confidence. 

My heart skipped a beat at Eugene-kun whose atmosphere changed with his now red hair.

The Killer Bee swarm is getting really close.

Eugene-kun raised his sword without hurrying. 

(Uwaa…) (Sumire)

Pressure that even a newbie like me can tell. 

The air is trembling. 

— “Twin Heavenly Resonance Style: Wind Style – [Swallow in Flight].” 

Eugene-kun swung down his sword.

*Fwoooom!!*

A sword wave in the shape of a giant fire bird appeared from the sword he swung. 

That sliced through the swarm of Killer Bees and sliced the queen in two.

W-Wow!!

The Floor Boss perished without even having the chance to scream.

The Killer Bees that lost their queen began to run away in all directions. 

The noisy flapping wings were now gone and Floor 70 turned silent. 

— “Congratulations~, it is the victory of the explorers~.” 

The Angel Voice of the Zenith Tower rang. 

…Isn’t it different from the usual voice? 

But I have something to say before that.

“Eugene-kun!” (Sumire)

“Sumire!” (Eugene)

We both called our names and our eyes met. 

I then recalled the kiss of before.

“……”

“……”

We both fall silent. 

I feel the passing of time awfully slow.

“Hey, Sumire…” (Eugene)

“Wahiyesh!” (Sumire)

I bit my tongue.

“I am sorry for before. There was no other option. But I will make sure something like this doesn’t happen again—” (Eugene)

“Eugene-kun!” (Sumire)

I cut off his words.

By the way, Eugene-kun’s hair is still red. 

“Right now you yourself have become enchanted by the Ifrit mana, right?” (Sumire)

“I think so.” (Eugene)

“I knew it!” (Sumire)

Eugene-kun gave a positive answer to my guess.

I don’t get the logic.

I was taught in my magic lessons that magic enchantment only works on weapons and armor. 

But I have managed to enchant Eugene-kun.

“Then, we can use this method.” (Sumire)

“Eh?” (Eugene)

“The problem is that my mana hits a time limit pretty quick! Gotta use it a whole lot from now on then!” (Sumire)

I felt my face heating up as I talked a storm. 

“Sumire, is that really okay?” (Eugene)

“Of course. We are partners, right? We have to face these challenges with our all to reach Floor 500!” (Sumire)

“…Got it.” (Eugene)

Eugene-kun nodded at the end even when still hesitant. 

And so, my distance with Eugene-kun has shortened in one go! 

◇Sara’s POV◇

“Hnn~, I am finally seeing the finish line for the academy festival’s plans…” (Sara)

I stretched at the student council room. 

What’s in front of me are a mountain of documents that need the approval seal and the documents that were sent back.

“President Sara, good work. I have poured some tea.” (Teresia)

“Thanks, Teresia-san.” (Sara)

I thanked her and took a sip of the tea.

“Wonder what Eugene is doing.” (Sara)

The words that leaked out from my mouth were about my beloved.

In the past, it was a stage of 2, but now with Sumire-chan, it is a stage of 3.

But I have been slumped with work for around 20 days and have not been able to go with him.

When I heard that Eugene would be going up the Zenith Tower alone, I was a bit worried, but it seems like the stage has returned to a stage of two with Sumire-chan.

…That in itself worries me though.

No, I have formed a non aggression treaty with Sumire-chan.

She wouldn’t try to steal the march…

Even so, I was worried and turned on the big screen of the Satellite System that’s in the student council room.

The screen showed the state of the Zenith Tower.

“Oh…?” (Sara)

Within the many split screens, there was one that piqued my interest.

“There’s a party that’s challenging the 100th Floor…the Trial of God. Those clothes, are those academy students?” (Sara)

“It has been relayed to the student council. It is a raid party of the Swordsmanship Club’s 3rd Division and the Sun Magic Research Club’s 2nd Years. They are pretty motivated here.” (Teresia)

“I see… Ah! A Divine Beast has been summoned.” (Sara)

A giant beast was summoned from the magic circle shining rainbow.

“Double-headed wild dog…Orthrus.” (Teresia)

“They have drawn quite the vicious Divine Beast…” (Sara)

I pitied them.

The watchdog of the Divine Realm, the Double-Headed Orthrus. 

A legendary Divine Beast of pedigree whose name has appeared in the Divine Realm War.

“There’s a lot of them who are already weak on their knees.” (Teresia)

“This would be rough after all.” (Sara)

— “The Trial of Gods of Floor 100 has begun.” 

The Angel Voice rang. 

But the morale of the party on the screen has dropped sharply. 

A few minutes after that.

The raid party facing the Divine Beast was defeated unceremoniously. 

“The 100th Floor really is difficult. Even though they were so motivated.” (Teresia)

“Well, we haven’t reached Floor 100 yet either, so we can’t really talk.” (Sara)

Teresia-san shrugged lightly. 

“No…I was simply truly baffled by the fact that Eugene-kun managed to win against Cerberus who is the brother of Orthrus.” (Teresia)

“Right?! You think so too, right, Teresia-san?! Eugene is amazing!!” (Sara)

Yeah, I really do get happier when I think about Eugene.

I have recently even gotten an order from the Destiny Oracle-sama of Caldia to get along with the son of the Imperial Sword as much as possible.

Thanks to that, I can reject the party of my nation and be in the same party as Eugene.

Aah, I want to see Eugene quickly! 

Once the work in the student council is over, I will immediately go—

At that moment, the screen showing the Zenith Tower changed.

The footage of a party fighting the Floor 80 Boss.

The members of the party are people I know.

“Eugene and Sumire-chan?” (Sara)

I am surprised they have gotten all the way to Floor 80.

“Ah, crap.” (Teresia)

The low mutter of Teresia-san reached my ears.

Before I could ask ‘what’s the matter, Teresia-san?’, the footage entered my eyes.

“………Huh?” (Sara)

My brain went poof.

Just what am I being made to watch?

What was shown on the screen is…Eugene and Sumire-chan hugging and kissing in front of the Floor 80 Boss.

■Comment Response: 

>It is a shame that Sara didn’t come.

→Sara will be showing up a lot in the next chapter~.

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