ZAP – Chapter 43: Fallen Angel Lord

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—The Dark Era more than 1,000 years ago. 

The Great Demon Lord controlled this world, and the people of the Mortal Realm were ruled by 9 Demon Lords. 

The people were kept like livestock by the Demon Lords and demons. 

And then, in year 0 of the Salvation Era.

The Great Demon Lord was slain by the True Hero Abel. 

The 9 Demon Lords were also defeated. Some escaped to the Demonic Continent, and some disappeared.

The Fallen Angel Lord Erinyes that ruled the South Continent was no exception to this. 

But due to how massively powerful she was, it took even the True Hero Abel his all to seal her in the Seal Prison using the mana of the Zenith Tower. 

Because of this legend, it is believed in the South Continent that the Fallen Angel Lord is exceptionally strong within the 9 Demon Lords. 

Unfortunately, I had no means to confirm this…until today.

“Kyaaaaaaaaa!!!” 

“H-Help……!!” 

The student council members had their freedom taken away one after the other by black ivies, and were being hung up.

As for Michelle-senpai who they were relying on…

“…Lightning Magic: [Lightning Dragon].” (Michelle)

Magic dragons that looked like giant snakes were dancing around Michelle-senpai.

Michelle-senpai was brandishing a lightning mana blade with lightning monarch rank magic. 

Erinyes was looking down at that with a composed face.

{…Sumire, I am borrowing your mana.} (Eugene)

I hold the hand of Sumire.

{……}

It seems like she couldn’t speak because of the miasma and mana of the Demon Lord, but she nodded over and over.

Sara had a pale face and hadn’t even unsheathed her Relic Sword. 

The Demon Lord Erinyes should be a mortal enemy of hers as a Holy Maiden candidate affiliated to the Goddess Church, but she is frozen in place from the fear.

{Sara, I count on you with Sumire.} (Eugene)

{…What do you plan on doing, Eugene? Are you planning on intruding in a Trial of Gods?! You are going to be punished!} (Sara)

{I am going to go help them since Michelle-senpai couldn’t match her. We can’t leave the student council members like that, right?} (Eugene)

All the exploration members aside from Michelle-senpai have been caught in the black ivies and have forfeited. 

There’s a lot of fainted ones. 

The result of Michelle-senpai’s victory or defeat will decide this time’s result of the Trial of Gods.

{Wait…if that’s the case, I will go too. Come…[Sword of Mercy].} (Sara)

The Relic Sword shines at the call of Sara.

And then, a copy of that sword fell. 

{Sumire-chan, hold this copy. It has a barrier, so it should repel the miasma.} (Sara)

{Ah, thanks…} (Sumire)

Sumire was trembling profusely as if she were inside an intense cold.

I am uneasy about leaving her here alone.

At that moment…

“Lightning Dragon Wave Blade!!!” 

A giant magic energy wave was shot towards Erinyes, attempting to split her apart. 

From afar, it felt as if that power could reach the Golden Knight Captain of the Empire…no, the top ranked Heaven Knight. 

*BOOM!!!!*

An explosion together with a squall and a cloud of dust covered our vision.

And then, our vision slowly cleared up.

“No way…” (Sara)

The voice of Sara reached my ears.

This sight was not a surprise for me.

As someone who normally mingles with Eri. 

“…U—Uh…Kahah!” (Michelle)

“Hmm~, I would say it hurt a tiny bit?” (Eri)

The full power attack that could be called the trump card of Michelle-senpai didn’t even scratch the black wings of Erinyes.

The neck of Michelle-senpai was being grabbed by Eri and it was making a jarring sound as the grip tightened.

(No matter how you see it, the match is over.) (Eugene)

“Explorer Eugene is challenging the Trial of Gods!” (Eugene)

I shouted this to the explorer badge and ran just like that towards the Demon Lord and Michelle-senpai. 

I noticed that Sara was following behind one breath later. 

The Angel Voice is still not sounding.

But if we take our time here, the student council members and Michelle-senpai are going to die. 

Just before the Demon Lord entered the range of the Twin Heavenly Resonance Style…

—I made eye-contact with Eris.

“ERIIII!!!!” (Eugene)

I unconsciously shouted this. 

The Demon Lord looked at me and smiled faintly. 

“You must not. No cutting the line☆.” (Eri)

The Demon Lord said this and flapped her jet black wings. 

A black tornado rises.

This happened right at the center of the ring. 

The Demon Lord and Michelle-senpai in the center, the student council members caught nearby; they were all trapped inside the black tornado and couldn’t be seen.

“Kya!” (Sara)

Sara screamed.

“Sara, what’s the matter?!” (Eugene)

“I am okay… When I approach this tornado, it feels as if I have been cut by blades. Are you okay, Eugene?” (Sara)

“I am okay. I will cast healing magic on—” (Eugene)

“Wait, most importantly, everyone else…” (Sara)

Sara and I look at the black tornado that is slowly getting bigger. 

I don’t hear the Angel Voice.

(This is weird…) (Eugene)

Why is the Trial of Gods not ending?

“Explorer Eugene is challenging the Trial of Gods!!!!” (Eugene)

I once again shout to the explorer badge, but there really is no response.

“Sara, lend me your strength. I am breaking that black tornado.” (Eugene)

“Got it… Lend us your strength, Sword of Mercy.” (Sara)

The moment the sword of Sara began to release a strong light…

“Stop, you two!” 

My shoulder was suddenly grabbed from the back.

Sara and I undo our battle stances.

The one behind us when we looked was…

“Isolde-san?” (Eugene)

“7th Knight-sama?!” (Sara)

The one there was one of the guardian knights of the dungeon city, the Flower Knight Isolde-san.

“Eugene-kun, withdraw. The Trial of Gods this time around is strange.” (Isolde)

“But the explorer and students still caught up there…” (Eugene)

“Don’t worry! The party of the 2nd Knight Lloyd-dono is heading to Floor 100! Leave the dealing of the Demon Lord to Lloyd-dono.” (Isolde)

“The 2nd Knight-sama?” (Sara)

Sara raised her voice in surprise.

The 2nd Knight: Lloyd Gawein.

Also called the Shield of the King and a guardian of the Dungeon City. 

It is true that there’s no point in us intruding if he is going to be stepping in. 

“Understood… Sumire, can you stand up?” (Eugene)

“Y-Yes…” (Sumire)

I lend a shoulder to Sumire who still hasn’t been able to stand up.

The ring is not visible. 

I can’t tell what’s happening on the other side of the black tornado.

(Eri…Michelle-senpai…) (Eugene)

I left Floor 100 while still feeling reluctant. 

◇Dungeon City: Supreme Meeting◇

The ones surrounding the round table are 9 knights and the king. 

Everyone is making complicated expressions aside from the king. 

The highest position in this round table is as stated before. 

A number of empty seats stand out.

King: Uther Mercurius Pendragon.

1st Knight: Clair Lancelot. 

2nd Knight: Lloyd Gawain.

3rd Knight: Alistar Lionel.

4th Knight: Abram Galahad.

5th Knight: Charlotte Kay.

6th Knight: Vlad Ector.

7th Knight: Isolde Tristan.

8th Knight: Pylon Gareth.

9th Knight: Colin Bors.

10th Knight: Harrison Lamorak.

11th Knight: Daisy Palomedes.

12th Knight: Geoffrey Mordred.

WIthin those, the 1st Knight Clair, 2nd Knight Lloyd, and 9th Knight Colin are not present. 

“This is troubling…” 

“To think the 2nd Knight Lloyd-dono would be captured by the Demon Lord Erinyes.” 

“I knew all 12 Knights in the Dungeon City should have gone!” 

*Slam!*

The oldest of them, the 4th Knight Abram, slammed the table. 

“Even if you say that, Lloyd-dono is soon going to reach Floor 300. And he was also the one in charge of the surveillance in the Zenith Tower that day, so he moved quickly to save the explorers. We can’t blame him for being loyal to his duty.” 

“But we are talking about that legendary Demon Lord. He should have been a bit more careful.” 

“Anyways, to think he would be taken hostage… I thought Demon Lords were more prideful.” 

“The Demon Lord Erinyes was craftier than any other Demon Lord 1,000 years ago…or so it is said. It was a bad move to face her head on.” 

“In the first place, why did Erinyes show up…? She should be sleeping in the Sealed Underground Prison.” 

The 8th Knight Pylon rested their chin on their hand as if finding this a real pain.

“The Dungeon Union has brought up a report about this. They assume the Snake Church that has been seen in the Zenith Tower for a while now is the cause of this. Their aim must be the revival of the Demon Lord.” 

“The Union theorizes that they might have used a Sacrificial Technique. To think they would sacrifice lives in order to call the Demon Lord.” 

“That said, it is not like they brought the Demon Lord back. They simply summoned her as a Beast of Gods. That’s a bit too lame to bet their lives on.” 

The youngest of the group, the 12th Knight Geoffrey, has a bad tongue.

“That might not be the case. There’s a lot of hidden Demon Lord believers in the South Continent after all.” 

“That’s right. Moreover, the beauty of the Demon Lord has been shown to everyone in the continent with the Satellite System. There’s no doubt the Demon Lord religion will be reinvigorated from here on…” 

“Yeah, that was a nice woman. If she weren’t a Demon Lord, I would have tried to seduce her.” 

“That’s immoral, Vlad!” 

“I am kidding. Kidding. Don’t get angry, Charlotte.” 

“Good grief.” 

Moving here and there. 

The meeting was disordered. 

King Uther was watching this state with interest.

“You have been able to contact the 1st Knight Clair-dono, right?” 

The topic changed.

“Yes, they were participating in the Great Demonic Beast subjugation under the request of the Blue Waters Federation, but we had them come back to the Dungeon City posthaste. However, they will be arriving the day after tomorrow…” 

“That’s too long.” 

“Even with the newest Flying Ship, it would still take 2 days at the earliest. There’s distance after all.” 

“What’s the Empire and the Sacred Alliance saying?” 

“The Empire is sending the 1st Division of the Golden Knights as reinforcement to subjugate the Demon Lord, and the Heaven Knight as the commander. On top of that, they are sending their only Hero here. Estimated time of arrival is 3 days.” 

“Oi oi, the strongest of the Empire all together? I am impressed that that Emperor gave them to us without reservations.” 

“I would say they aimed for this. There’s rumors that the Grandflare Emperor wanted to get involved in the administration of the Dungeon City after all.” 

“…So we would be giving him an excuse if we borrow his help, huh.” 

“As for the Sacred Alliance…there’s no need for me to even say it.” 

“That’s a religious state that worships the Holy God-sama after all. The Demon Lord is a mortal enemy for them. On top of bringing the elites of the Templars, this side is also sending their Hero while raising the banner of Demon Lord eradication. Estimated time of arrival is the same: 3 days.” 

“Same day as the Empire, huh…” 

“We share the same objective of defeating the Demon Lord. Isn’t it a valid option to wait for the Sacred Alliance to arrive and fight the Demon Lord together?”

“No…the 8 Holy Maidens that lead the Holy Nation are nasty in nature. We would be showing weakness here if we rely on them.” 

“Yeah, they would be butting in on the administration of the Dungeon City just like the Empire.” 

“They are already advocating for the joint administration of the gear and magic tools found in the Zenith Tower with the excuse that it is in preparation for the revival of the Great Demon Lord.” 

“It is going to become troublesome…” 

“We really have to deal with this ourselves.” 

“Also, we need the 1st Knight-sama to return…” 

“Oi oi, are you saying we can’t do anything without Clair-dono?!” 

“Even if you say that, Clair-dono and Lloyd-dono are matchless in the Dungeon City. With one of them having crumbled, us remaining 12 Knights should unite…” 

This is where King Uther spoke for the first time.

“Fumu…as expected, I should be the one stepping—” (Uther)

““““““““““That alone is definitely not allowed!!””””””””””

The 12 Knights that had their opinions scattered until now said the same thing at the same time. 

“Oi oi, it is not something to be so against, right?” (Uther)

King Uther made a deliberately sad face.

“If something were to happen to you, the Dungeon City would be done for!” 

“The reason why the Empire and Caldia can’t touch this city-state is because you are still present, King Uther.” 

“King Uther, please exercise restraint.” 

“I know. I just wanted to say it… What a shame.” (Uther)

He may have said that with a joking tone, but all 12 Knights knew that he would have challenged the Demon Lord if they hadn’t stopped this wild and free king.

“But what do we do? Clair-kun won’t be coming back until the day after tomorrow. We can’t do anything until then?” (Uther)

The 12 Knights fall silent at the words of King Uther.

“We have made a Demon Lord subjugation request through the Dungeon Union for S Rank explorers…” 

“Normally, they are a bunch of daredevils that would happily take on the challenge, but the request was too sudden this time around. It is from tomorrow on after all.” 

“The high ranked explorers are all a bunch of weirdos that would dive the Last Dungeon when they have time, and would only take breaks when they are injured.” 

“There’s no fool who would challenge the Demon Lord when they are not in perfect condition, huh…” 

“Even the S rank Michelle-kun couldn’t put a dent on the Demon Lord.” 

“That was because she was distracted by the students that were her requesters. The normal Michelle-kun wouldn’t have been that off-guard.” 

“Are there no good candidates?” 

“There’s a number of A rank explorers, but they honestly lack the ability to challenge Erinyes. Within the A rank explorer students, there’s brave ones that want to fight the Demon Lord, but their challenge has been stopped by the judgment of the Dungeon Union.” 

“Even if we were to challenge her blindly, we would only be increasing the number of hostages…” 

There’s no conclusion being made here. 

This is where the 7th Knight Isolde spoke to King Uther.

“Excuse me…King Uther.” (Isolde)

“Fumu, what is it, Isolde-kun?” (Uther)

“I have heard that you have many acquaintances even outside the continent. If we can’t borrow the help of the Empire and the Holy Nation, how about relying on those?” (Isolde)

The eyes of some of the 12 Knights change. 

King Uther nodded lightly at those words.

“Actually, I have received contact from the Great White Sage-dono of the Sun Country in the West Continent.” (Uther)

“The Great White Sage-sama!!” 

“A descendant of the party member that defeated the Great Demon Lord?” 

The Round Council grew noisy. 

The Great White Sage is called the strongest mage of the West Continent, and it is said to be as strong as King Uther. 

It is true that they might be able to do something about Erinyes with her assistance. 

“But the Great Sage-dono is the strongest fighting force of the Sun Country. If we were to take her, the Highland nobles and great nobles wouldn’t stay silent.” (Pylon)

The logical 8th Knight Pylon pointed out. 

“Excuse me, King Uther. Did the Great White Sage-sama give out a condition of some sort?” 

“The person herself has not said anything. That Great Sage-dono is a person that lacks desires after all. But…it seems like the higher ups of the Sun Country are saying a variety of things. She told me that if we are in a situation where we can’t do anything about it, to give her a call anytime.” (Uther)

“So it is our last resort, huh.” 

“Yeah. She won’t hold back in cooperating against a Demon Lord, but she did say that the restrictions are a pain.” (Uther)

“Hmm…” 

“Any other candidate…?” 

“Excuse me… How about the Crimson Witch-dono that graduated from the academy?” 

“Ooh, Rosalie-dono?!” 

“Just to correct, she didn’t graduate. She dropped out.” 

“She destroyed the Zenith Tower in the graduation exam, and got banned from the Last Dungeon.” 

“She has experience in fighting Demon Lords. She would be the perfect candidate.” 

“King Uther, can you contact the Crimson Witch-sama?!” 

“I have actually tried contacting her a number of times with transmission magic, but no response. No idea where she is.” (Uther)

“…No way.” 

“Our lifeline…” 

The faces of the 12 Knights turned grim.

The Round Council continued after that, but there were no effective decisions.

They eventually ran out of suggestions, and the meeting ended. 

“Now then, let’s resume.” 

The most senior of the 12 Knights, the 4th Knight Abram Galahad, looked around the round table.

“The 9th Knight Colin is currently keeping an eye on Floor 100. We 12 Knights will keep watch of the Demon Lord in shifts. However, you must not fight her alone. The decisive battle will take place the day after tomorrow when Clair-dono returns. We will subjugate Erinyes with all 12 Knights. Any objections?” 

“““““……””””

Everyone there nodded lightly. 

Not everyone looked convinced, but there were no better ideas in the end.

“We will keep the request for explorers. However, the only ones who can challenge her will be S rank or higher. Since we wouldn’t be able to coordinate properly, they won’t be participating with us in our battle against her. We have to deal with this before the Heroes of the Empire and the Sacred Alliance arrive 3 days later!” (Abram)

The 12 Knights nodded at the strong words of Abram.

“In the case we are wiped out?” (Alistar)

The 3rd Knight Alistar said amused. 

It seems like he is the only one who is not feeling much of a threat here.

Abram frowned for a moment but turned his expression back.

“If that happens…King Uther, we will leave the decision to you. Whether you will borrow the help of the Empire and the Sacred Alliance…or ask for the help of another continent…” (Abram)

“Fumu, understood. Well, I hope that doesn’t happen.” (Uther)

The serious face of Abram contrasted the light words of the king.

“““““““““Yes m’lord!!”””””””””

The 12 Knights put a hand on their chest and responded.

Just when it was thought that the  meeting was going to end…

“Aah, can I say one thing before the meeting ends?” (Uther)

The king raised his hand with a face as if he thought of something.

“““““““““……”””””””””

All the 12 Knights had a feeling here. 

The king doesn’t say anything decent at times like this. 

“What is it, King Uther?” (Abram)

Abram asked as everyone’s representative.

“The parties that will be challenging the Demon Lord have not been decided yet, right? Of course, it is not assured that S rank explorers won’t be showing up.” (Uther)

“That’s right.” (Abram)

“Isn’t it a waste? The legendary Demon Lord has gone out of her way to appear in Floor 100. I would like to nominate an exploration party.” (Uther)

“Excuse me for saying this, but we have spoken to all exploration parties that have the skills. You are not planning on nominating A Rank explorers, are you?” (Abram)

“Hm? I don’t think they are A Rank. If I remember correctly, he is B Rank.” (Uther)

“B Rank?! You want to make someone, who hasn’t even gotten past Floor 100, fight the Demon Lord?! That’s reckless!” (Abram)

“King Uther, the one who you are speaking of…” (Isolde)

Only Isolde had an idea of who this explorer might be. 

“Don’t worry. This is my own arbitrary decision and not an order. If the person himself doesn’t want to, I won’t force him.” (Uther)

King Uther stands up and several small magic circles float around. 

It is the Teleport spell.

“Then, the meeting is over. I will show my face at the Academy, so if you have business with me, come anytime.” (Uther)

King Uther said this and disappeared. 

The 12 Knights left there sighed heavily. 

◇Eugene’s POV◇

(…Is Michelle-senpai alright?) (Eugene)

I was swinging my sword at the training grounds of the Academy. 

We returned to the Academy together with Isolde-san, and after that, we were told that we should stay on standby and not go to the Zenith Tower. 

The 2nd Knight-sama is apparently heading there to save the student council members and Michelle-senpai. 

I have not spoken to him personally, but I heard he is the 3rd strongest in the Dungeon City. 

I am sure he would easily get through the Trial of Gods in Floor 100.

However, it is a bit worrying that the enemy is the Demon Lord though.

(That Eri, what is she thinking…?) (Eugene)

I checked the Underground Prison just in case, and the Demon Lord’s cage was empty. 

She still hasn’t returned. 

(I can’t relax…) (Eugene)

I was swinging my sword with something far from a clear mind. 

After I finished 1,000 swings, I was thinking about doing 1,000 more but…

“You are so motivated, Eugene.” 

“?!” 

Someone spoke to me suddenly from behind. 

I hurriedly looked back and ended up swinging my sword by habit. 

Even if I was tired, my full power side slash was stopped with a single hand.

“Principal?” (Eugene)

“Good swordsmanship.” (Uther)

He praised me, but I could only show a bitter smile at having it stopped with one hand. 

“What’s the matter?” (Eugene)

“Rejoice, Eugene. I have come here with a good offer.” (Uther)

“……” 

I have a bad feeling. 

I know this face of the Principal. 

The memories of when the Academy Principal gave me an unreasonable request on the day I enrolled resurfaced in my mind… I could tell my face turned into a frown there.

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