ZAP – Chapter 44: Eugene is requested

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“I have a request for your exploration party. Can you please gather your members?” (Uther)

The Academy Principal suddenly appeared and said this. 

“…What kind of request?” (Eugene)

“It is nothing big. I will explain when you 3 are here.” (Uther)

The Academy Principal just smirked and didn’t speak about the details.

Suspicious…

I was thinking about just searching the Academy randomly and telling him ‘I couldn’t find the two’, but I unexpectedly found them really easily. 

Sara was in the student council room and Sumire was with her. 

It seems like they were watching the state of the Zenith Tower from the screens.

That’s when I learned that the 2nd Knight Lloyd had been defeated by Erinyes. 

(Or more like, that Eri is still on Floor 100…?) (Eugene)

A normal Trial of Gods is said to take 2-3 hours at most. 

It has already been half a day since she was summoned.

What’s going on here? 

“Principal~, what business did you have?” (Sumire)

“King Uther…that was a sudden call.” (Sara)

Sumire and Sara were confused.

I am also confused though.

We 3 were gathered in the 9th training ground at the back of the academy. 

This is a training ground that professors use, so it is normally locked and students can’t enter.

“Now then, you are here.” (Uther)

Principal Uther looked at us. 

And then, slowly spoke. 

“Eugene, Sara-kun, Sumire-kun, I would like you to fight the Demon Lord.” (Uther)

“So it really was that.” (Eugene)

“…The Demon Lord.” (Sara)

“Eh?!” (Sumire)

The 3 of us had different reactions. 

Sara is looking seriously at the Principal. 

It seems like it was completely unexpected for Sumire, she was surprised with her mouth opened wide. 

“Fumu, Eugene and Sara-kun are not surprised. It is easy to tell that Sumire-kun is surprised.” (Uther)

The Principal brushed his beard. 

“Eeeeh?! We definitely don’t want to fight the Demon Lord!! Isn’t that right, Eugene-kun, Sara-chan?!” (Sumire)

“King Uther, is this an aid request to the Holy Nation of Caldia?” (Sara)

Hearing our reactions, King Uther made a face as if saying he expected this. 

“Of course, this isn’t forced. You can refuse if you want. Also, let me answer your question, Sara-kun. This is not an aid request to the Holy Nation, but a proposal from the academy. The 12 Knights are making preparations against the Demon Lord. It is planned to be executed in 2 days, but the schedule for the Demon Lord Erinyes will be open tomorrow. And so, I have spoken to you guys who have had your Trial of Gods suspended.” (Uther)

Principal Uther answered with no reservations.

“We are talking about the legendary Demon Lord. Aren’t there people more suitable for the job?” (Sara)

Sara made a logical question.

“The Dungeon Union has called the S Rank explorers, but it is hard to gather them, you see. As for A Rank, they are not going to provide a proper fight, so we are rejecting their challenges.” (Uther)

“We are B Rank though…?” (Eugene)

King Uther obviously knows this, but I at least mention it. 

“Hahaha! You are so modest for someone aiming for Floor 500. No need to be reserved, Eugene. For you, there’s nothing to fear about Erinyes, right?” (Uther)

“That’s…well, true.” (Eugene)

I personally don’t have a shred of fear towards Eri. 

But Sumire and Sara are a different story. 

When I looked at their faces, Sumire was shaking her head, and Sara seemed to be ruminating.

They at least don’t seem too into the idea.

“Principal Uther, my apologies, but we will be decli—” (Eugene)

“Now then, let me explain why your party is perfect to subjugate the Demon Lord!” (Uther)

King Uther speaks over me. 

“Perfect?” (Sumire)

Sumire tilted her head.

It hasn’t been long since I became a magic swordsman. 

Sumire came to this world just recently. 

Sara has a Relic Sword, but her sword skills are average.

It is not an exploration party that can fight a Demon Lord yet. 

Principal Uther snapped his fingers. 

When he did, a giant screen appeared in midair. 

“This is…footage of Floor 100.” (Eugene)

There’s a jet black forest shown on the screen.

The Demon Lord…is there.

She is sleeping languidly on a handmade hammock that’s on top of a tree.

She is mumbling in her sleep going ‘munya munya’ with a very comfortable look.

It is the usual Eri.

“She looks like a cat.” (Sumire)

“That’s the legendary Demon Lord…?” (Sara)

I am used to seeing this, but Sumire and Sara were confused here. 

“…Hm?” 

The Demon Lord on the screen suddenly woke up.

“Tch!” 

She pointed ‘here’ with a displeased look and the footage cracked and disappeared.

“So she found out we were peeking.” (Uther)

Principal Uther shrugged his shoulders.

“Now then, I think you have already learned this from your classes, but Erinyes was once an Archangel serving under the Wood Goddess Freya in the Divine Realm. Because of that, she specializes in wood magic. The black forest you saw in the footage just now is a living barrier that uses wood magic. We can’t lay a hand on the Demon Lord as long as that black forest exists. The S Rank explorer Michelle-kun and 2nd Knight Lloyd-kun have been captured by the black forest and have been taken hostage.” (Uther)

“Uhm…are the hostages okay?” (Sara)

Sara asked, worried.

“There’s no issues there. The Dungeon Union and the 12 Knights are keeping an eye, and it has been reported that all of them are alive.” (Uther)

Sara and I were relieved at the words of Principal Uther. 

I had no confidence in being able to interact with Eri the same way as before if she had taken the lives of the students. 

“Now then, Sumire-kun, a quiz here. What is the weakness of wood magic?” (Uther)

“Uuuh, fire magic—ah!” (Sumire)

Sumire’s expression changes at the words of the Academy Principal.

“That’s right! Moreover, you are an Ifrit, Sumire-kun. The perfect person to burn down the black forest!” (Uther)

“Please wait, Principal. What about the hostages?” (Eugene)

I am quite familiar with Sumire’s fire magic. 

But her control of it is barely that of a newbie.

Honestly, I can only see a future where she burns down everything along with the hostages.

It would be nice if I could protect them with my barrier magic, but I unfortunately am good at protecting individuals, but not many. 

“That’s where Sara-kun comes into play. The Relic Sword that has the name of ‘Mercy’. That sword excels more in defense than offense. How many Swords of Mercy can you duplicate, Sara-kun?” (Uther)

“…20 is my limit.” (Sara)

“A past user I was acquainted with controlled 999 light blades freely. There’s 23 hostages. I want you to make up for those 3 remaining with guts.” (Uther)

“The one that freely controlled 999 light blades was the first owner of the Sword of Mercy! Could it be that you have met her, King Uther?” (Sara)

“Yeah. It is not like I was that close with her, but there was a time when she aimed for the Zenith Tower.” (Uther)

“I see…” (Sara)

Sara was speechless.

I don’t know much about Caldia, but she must be quite the personage. 

“Now then, your role is the most important, Eugene. When Sumire-kun and Sara-kun are saving the hostages, you will have to deal with Erinyes.” (Uther)

“…Uuh, you know who I am borrowing my mana from, right, Principal?” (Eugene)

The Fire Blade where I borrow the mana of Sumire. 

And then there’s the Dark Blade that I borrow the mana from the Demon Lord.

There’s no way I can win against the very person I am borrowing the mana from. 

“You have the wrong idea here, Eugene.” (Uther)

Principal Uther made a bold smile. 

“Listen here, you are not fighting the Demon Lord as a Hero. This is a Trial of Gods that was given to the explorers by the Zenith Tower. There’s no need to win. You just have to get your power acknowledged.” (Uther)

“That’s true, but…” (Eugene)

But how?

Principal Uther whispered in my ear to answer my question.

“I saw from the broadcast. It seems like you are used to the Mana Sword made from Sumire-kun’s mana, but isn’t your Demon Lord mana control still lacking? You were out of breath with just one swing, you know?” (Uther)

“…” 

It is exactly as he says, so I couldn’t say anything back.

“You have the chance here, so fight with the intention of bettering yourself. Also…” (Uther)

“Also?” (Eugene)

Is there anything else?

“I don’t know if the 12 Knights will be able to overcome the trial against Erinyes.” (Uther)

“No way.” (Eugene)

The guardians of the Dungeon City. 

If the strongest 12 Knights can’t do it, who can? 

“It has been peaceful for several centuries now. The South Continent is far from the Demonic Continent where the Demon Lords live. They will definitely be worked up in their first battle against a Demon Lord. I will have no choice but to step up if something happens, but if the king himself were to expose his strength, the Empire and the Holy Nation’s pressure will increase. If a student of the academy overcomes the Demon Lord’s trial, the Dungeon City will be stable.” (Uther)

Principal Uther was talking all casually here, but I felt something off.

“Principal…could it be that you are troubled?” (Eugene)

“Yeah, I am.” (Uther)

Him shrugging his shoulders looks like his usual aloof self. 

But it bothered me. 

He seemed to be…forcing himself a bit here.

Alright. 

“Understood.” (Eugene)

I owe the Principal a big debt. 

In the Lykeion Magic Academy’s entrance exam, I was on the verge of being rejected because I only had white mana. 

The one who told the person in charge of the exam ‘If I remember correctly, there should be a special exam’ was the Principal. 

Since then, eyes have gathered on me…and I was accused of favoritism or people got jealous of me, but he has been hearing me out when I consult with him.

I will pay good with good. 

“I am thinking about accepting the Trial of Gods against the Demon Lord Erinyes… If that’s okay with you, Sumire, Sara.” (Eugene)

“…I just have to burn the trees, right?” (Sumire)

“The ones held hostage are student council members. I won’t say no as the student council president.” (Sara)

Sumire said, slightly uneasy.

Sara nodded with a face that had strong resolve. 

“Ooh, you will do it?! As expected of Eugene!” (Uther)

He smacked my shoulders hard. 

“Alright, the trial is tomorrow. I will train you until then!” (Uther)

“““Eh?”””

We 3 asked again at the words of Principal Uther.

What did this person say just now? 

“Eeh, but there won’t be any change in just one day.” (Sumire)

“S-Sumire-chan?! Having King Uther teaching you personally is something unbelievable, you know?!” (Sara)

That’s Sumire for you…

She is unreserved even towards the Principal.

“I myself am also a mage, so I know. I shall lend you a magic tool I treasure, Sumire-kun. Something that will make any amateur into a magic master.” (Uther)

“Eh?! There’s something like that?! Yay!!” (Sumire)

Sumire is being all innocently happy here.

As for me and Sara, we are looking at each other with pale faces.

The magic tools that King Uther of the Dungeon City treasures. 

It is most likely the type that could buy a small country with its price. 

“Aah, but would I have to reimburse you if I break it?” (Sumire)

“Hahaha! Use it however you please. If it breaks, that just means it has reached its lifespan.” (Uther)

“Okay~.” (Sumire)

{Sara, don’t ask the price.} (Eugene)

{I-I know…} (Sara)

We whispered to each other and nodded.

It would most likely be a price that would freeze her in place. 

Or more like, I would be scared of knowing too. 

“Now then, with Sara-kun and Eugene, I guess I will have to take up the sword in a while.” (Uther)

Saying this, Principal Uther mutters words I have never heard before. 

A golden magic circle appeared in midair, and a magic sword that shined faintly rainbow appeared from inside.

The next instant…

(?!) (Eugene)

I gulped my breath.

I ended up taking a step back by reflex.

I felt goosebumps all over just from looking at it. 

That sword is bad news.

I can tell at one glance that my barrier definitely wouldn’t be able to block it.

“D-Divine Sword: Laevateinn…” (Sara)

I shuddered at the words of Sara. 

That’s the Divine Sword that comes up in myths?

“A replica. I don’t have the real deal.” (Uther)

Principal Uther said this as if nothing. 

“Why do you have something like that…?” (Eugene)

“If I remember correctly, I got it around floor 400, I think? Don’t really remember.” (Uther)

He told me so easily. 

No good.

My brain can’t compute this person.

Why is it that I always forget that?

“Now then, here I come, Eugene, Sara-kun. You can join in anytime you want, Sumire-kun. I will give you the magic tool later.” (Uther)

Saying this, a fearsome amount of mana swirled around King Uther’s body.

The training continued on till evening that day. 

■Comment Response: 

>Is the power of Eri ranked at the top of the Demon Lords?

The power of the 9 Demon Lords doesn’t have much disparity aside from the Ancient Dragon King. 

People of the South Continent: The Immortal King is strong.

People of the South Continent: The Fallen Angel Lord is strong.

The residents of the respective places would say ‘Our Demon Lord is stronger!’ after all.

The homeland ancestors were having a heated superiority contest.

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