ZAP – Chapter 64: Eugene challenged to a duel

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“Well then, regarding the duel between Eugene-dono and General Berthold, I will be the witness as a proxy of His Imperial Majesty.” 

The one who said this was Prime Minister Catherine.

We are in the tournament arena inside the Einherjar Palace. 

It is normally a historical place where official matches take place. 

The Emperor simply said ‘just tell me the result’ and left. 

But most people aside from him came here out of curiosity. 

This tournament arena isn’t that big, so it was completely full. 

The ruckus of the people is annoying. 

“Hey, Eugene-kun, a duel is just…scary.” (Sumire)

Sumire said uneasy. 

“It is okay, Sumire-chan. We are talking about Eugene here.” (Sara)

Sara was showing complete trust in me on the other side. 

“Well, it is not a deathmatch, so I will just take it easy.” (Eugene)

I answered.

…As for my duel opponent…

“What’s the meaning of this, Ber?! What compelled you to do this?!!” 

Airi was reproaching her fiance, General Berthold. 

“What about you, Airi, getting all weak-kneed here. The plan was to climb up the ranks in the throne succession right with the achievement of resealing the Great Demonic Beast. Are you planning on just watching in silence?” (Berthold)

“That’s…” (Airi)

The response of General Berthold was calm.

I see, so that’s the reason. 

“Hahaha! Isn’t that nice! Men gotta do what they gotta do. Berthold, do your best!” 

The one who laughed heartily and smacked the shoulder of General Berthold was a tall burly man. 

He had a greatsword the size of his body at his back.

He was releasing an overwhelming aura from his body, and despite looking completely neutral here, there’s no openings at all.

—Sword Hero: Edward J. Walker. 

The walker name is proof that they are descendants of the Sword Saint, Sieg J. Walker. 

That said, the sword style he is using is the one of the Grandflare’s imperial army instead of the one me and Pops use. 

He is a shining beacon together with the Imperial Sword and is one of the strongest fighting forces in the Empire. 

The greatsword at his back is a Treasure Tool of the Grandflare Empire. 

—Holy Sword: Calabrum.

It is said to unleash a light wave that can vanquish a hundred monsters in one sweep. 

My body stiffens at the thought of the Sword Hero-sama spectating this. 

“Alright! Then, I will be the referee!” 

The one who landed on the center of the arena and was standing there amused with arms crossed was the Imperial Sword…in other words, my Pops. 

“Oi, oi, Jubei-dono, don’t tell me you are going to give preferential treatment to your own son.” (Edward)

“Do I look like someone who would do that, Ed-dono?” (Jubei)

“Absolutely not.” (Edward)

“This spot is the best to spectate after all.” (Jubei)

“I see. You got me there.” (Edward)


I don’t know what was so funny about that, but Pops and the Sword Hero Edward-sama were chatting there.

The public calls them rivals or hostile towards each other, but it seems like the reality is that the Imperial Sword and the Sword Hero get along.

“Now then, both parties, to the front!!” (Jubei)

Being called by Pops, I went up the ring that’s in the center of the tournament arena.

The one at the other side of the ring glaring at me is General Berthold —the fiance of Airi.

I draw out the background of my opponent from my memories.

The name of General Berthold has gotten famous all of a sudden in just a year. 

He looks the same age as me and Airi, but I at least haven’t seen him in the military school.

To be more precise, the one I attended was the Central Military School of the imperial army that’s in the capital.

There’s also the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Military School, so he must have been in one of those. 

That said, I never heard of him in the school exchange spars and stuff like that, so he was by no means famous since those days.

What made him famous was the Selection Exam that happened when you are 15 years old.

What was revealed there was that Berthold had five color mana and has the Job of Hero Apprentice.

Moreover, he had compatibility with the Holy Sword Calabrum of Edward-sama. 

Holy Swords choose their wielders. 

Even if someone with no compatibility were to hold it, it wouldn’t show its power.

In other words, General Berthold has a bright future with his Ability and is in a position to become the successor of the Sword Hero, so that brings him to his current position.

(I learned of this after being curious about what kind of man was the fiance of Airi though…) (Eugene)

(Uwa, so delicate, Eugene. You went out of your way to investigate that?) (Eri)

(Oi, Eri, don’t just read my mind as you please.) (Eugene)

(You were mumbling non-stop in your mind, so I ended up listening~.) (Eri)

Shouldn’t it be fine for me to complain inside my mind at least?

General Berthold is wearing a fancy lightweight armor decorated in pure white and gold, matching Airi.

His blonde hair and blue eyes, coupled with his elegant face that oozes nobility, was picturesque to an annoying degree.

“Eugene Santafield! Come at me at any time!” (Berthold)

General Berthold had already drawn his sword, and the blade had green mana clad on it from Enchant. 

It is not only his sword. There’s green mana swirling around his body too. This is most likely…

(Wood Element… Wind Mystic Sword, huh.) (Eugene)

It is a Mystic Sword that has a good balance of offense and defense.

(Wait, Mystic Swords are allowed? …This is troubling.) (Eugene)

I am using the iron sword for duels that was given to me. 

This isn’t too reliable against a Mystic Sword.

That said, if I use my White Mana, the sharpness of the sword drops and has zero attack power. 

“Eugene-kun!” (Sumire)

“Sumire?” (Eugene)

Sumire ran my way.

“What’s the matter, Sumire-chan?” (Jubei)

Pops asked.

“Eugene-kun can’t use a Mystic Sword for attacks, so can I give him my mana?!” (Sumire)

“Aah, it is not allowed to get help in a duel, but if it is just giving mana, it should be okay. What do you say, Ber-kun?” (Jubei)

“Hmph, fine! You are one pathetic guy, needing to borrow the help of a woman to be able to fight!” (Berthold)

He said with a snide, but he agreed to it. 

“Thanks, Sumire. Helping m—” (Eugene)

I was about to thank her, but stopped.

Sumire hugged me tightly. 

And then, the Ifrit mana flowed into me.

“Eugene-kun…” (Sumire)

Sumire whispered in my ear in a low voice.

I thought she was going to cheer me on in this duel, but…

“…Beat him up to a pulp.” (Sumire)

What an awfully radical request.

“Leave it to me, Partner.” (Eugene)

I answered her with a chuckle. 

Sumire separated from me after the Mana Link and told me ‘do your best’ before jumping down the ring. 

Sara runs to where Sumire is. 

“That’s not fair, Sumire-chan!” (Sara)

“You could have hugged him with me, Sara-chan.” (Sumire)

“I can’t show my power in a place filled with people from the Empire!” (Sara)

“Also, my mana and yours collide, so we can’t do it together~.” (Sumire)

I hear the conversation of Sumire and Sara.

I can’t show a pathetic sight to these two -just when I was thinking that, I felt a strong gaze.


My childhood friend was glaring at me with a super pissed look.

Is she angry after seeing me and Sumire? 

But you can just do that with your fiance Ber-kun, right? 

(But, you know…Airi and General Berthold don’t feel like a couple…) (Eugene)

I don’t know the reason.

Is it because I heard from Airi about them just being engaged as a formality?

“Ready, you two?” (Jubei)

The tone of Pops acting as a referee turned serious. 

“No issues, Imperial Sword-sama.” (Berthold)

“Ready here too.” (Eugene)

I direct my attention solely to my opponent. 

The chatting of the surroundings, the conversation of Sumire and Sara, the gaze of Airi; I ignore them all.

I often had duels like this in my military school days. 

It is a practice that’s not present in the Lykeion Magic Academy, so it feels nostalgic.

“The winner of this battle will decide the vanguard for the Great Demonic Beast subjugation.” (Catherine)

The Prime Minister announced this with a voice that carried clearly in the arena. 

Right, the result of this duel decides the details of the Great Demonic Beast subjugation. 

I nodded while still having a clear mind. 

“Begin!” (Jubei)

Pops gives the signal.

The next instant…

“Wind God Sword: [Wind Espada]!!!” (Berthold)

General Berthold became a gust of wind and rushed my way. 

He could have sliced down someone in the time it took for them to blink.

That’s how fast it was.

The Wind Mystic Sword being swung down approached me. 

I still hadn’t moved… I couldn’t move.

I might have lost if it had been me in my military school days.

That’s how skilled he is in his sword.


(Compared to Cerberus…) (Eugene)

It is so slow I could yawn.

I shifted my body one step to the left and avoid the Wind Mystic Sword…and at the same time, I sliced off the blade of General Berthold’s Mystic Sword with my fire sword.

A low *kiiin* sound was made.

General Berthold still hasn’t noticed that his attack has been avoided and that his blade was cut. 

I do a sweeping strike towards the neck of General Berthold with my fire sword and…

“That’s it.” 

The katana of Pops stopped my fire sword.

I was planning on stopping my sword partway, so it hasn’t hit the katana of Pops though.

Anyways, this signals the end of the duel.

“…Eh?” (Berthold)

It seems like General Berthold has finally noticed his own state. 

The Mystic Sword has been cut off from the very base.

There’s a red fire sword pushed onto his own neck.

If Pops hadn’t stopped me, his head would have been lopped off -is what he must be thinking. 

His face is pale white. 

Ber-kun fell on his butt.

(Why didn’t you kill him?) (Eri)

(There’s no way I would!) (Eugene)

(Eeh, that’s so boring. You should just end him in a jiffy.) (Eri)

Eri asked me as if she didn’t understand this. 

Don’t ask with such plain honesty. It is scary. 

“Winner: Eugene!!” (Jubei)

Cheers rang loudly in the tournament arena at the declaration of Pops. 

It was so brief it turned into a boring duel, but it is not like this was a show to begin with. 

I turned towards Sumire and Sara, tightened my fist, and raised it to declare that I won.


Sumire and Sara hugged each other.

At that moment, a burly man approached me.

The Sword Hero, Edward-sama.

“Splendid job! I expected nothing less from the son of Jubei-dono. Want to have a duel with me next? Of course, no Holy Sword!” (Edward)

“Eh?” (Eugene)

“Wait a moment! Actually, I still haven’t fought Eugene when he has his fire sword. Alright, Eugene, fight me too.” (Jubei)

“Oi, Pops.” (Eugene)

For some reason, I was challenged by both the Sword Hero and the Imperial Sword.

“Alright, alright, Jubei-sama and Edward-sama, Eugene-kun is tired, so the dueling today is over. This is an express order from the Prime Minister. Eugene-kun, please rest well for tomorrow.” (Catherine)


Pops and the Sword Hero raised their voices in dissatisfaction at the order of the Prime Minister.

Are you children?

I now know the reason why these two get along.

They are both sword idiots. 

“Thank you very much, Prime Minister.” (Eugene)

“That was a great display. We will be counting on you tomorrow.” (Catherine)

I thanked Catherine-sama and she smiled kindly at me. 

I glanced at General Berthold, and he had both hands on the ground and was groaning. 

Airi is smacking the shoulder of her fiance and cheering him up.

General Berthold seems to be out of it, he is not reacting. 

After calling him for a while, Airi’s expression turned into an annoyed one. 

“You are so irresolute for a man… Get up already!” (Airi)

Airi kicked the butt of General Berthold. 


He is being whipped -is what I thought as I left the Einherjar Palace.

—On the way back home. 

“Sorry, Eugene. I have to welcome the Destiny Oracle Orianne-sama who will be coming to the imperial capital.” (Sara)

“Got it. That can’t be helped.” (Eugene)

“Well then, I am heading off. You were cool in that duel just now♡.” (Sara)

Sara hugged me and gave me a kiss on the cheek before leaving. 


Sumire seemed to want to hug me too, our eyes made contact.

“Shall we go back, Sumire?” (Eugene)

“Y-Yeah, let’s.” (Sumire)

She didn’t in the end though.

Exhaustion assailed me once I got back home.

Now that I think about it, I haven’t slept since yesterday. 

I laid down on the bed as soon as I got back.

“Good night, Eugene-kun. Have a good rest, okay?” (Sumire)

Sumire closed the door and, despite the outside still being bright, I was hit with drowsiness almost immediately. 


“……Who is it?” (Eugene)

I woke up to the presence of someone entering my room.

The outside is pitch black.

What time is it? 

“Sorry, did I wake you up?” 

“But sleeping too much will dull your body.” 

The ones who entered the room were Sumire and Sara.

“Good morning…I guess?” (Eugene)

“It is still late in the night, Eugene-kun.” (Sumire)

Sumire giggled.

“Are you not hungry? We brought tea and food.” (Sara)

Sara brought food on a tray. 

There’s a number of hand-molded rice with salt to give it taste. 

There’s grilled sausage and boiled eggs at the side too. 

“I made them together with Sara-chan.” (Sumire)

“The dish called onigiri was made by Sumire-chan. It is tasty.” (Sara)

“Thanks, Sumire, Sara.” (Eugene)

I quickly chowed it down in hunger. 

Sara lit up the lamp while I was at it. 

She held back the intensity, most likely because it is late.

“Thanks for the meal. It was tasty.” (Eugene)


I finished eating and put both hands together.

Sumire and Sara were staring at me. 

“……I-Is something the matter, you two?” (Eugene)

I was taken aback by this strange atmosphere. 

Now that I look closely, the two have a different attire to the one in the morning. 

It is thin lace indoor clothes.

This is the first time I see clothes like that.

“Hey, Eugene-kun, you are going to be the bait for the Great Demonic Beast tomorrow, right?” (Sumire)

“That’s right. That’s why I was thinking about swinging my sword for a bit and taking a break—” (Eugene)

“No, there’s something more important you have to do.” (Sara)

Sara cuts me off. 

“Something I have to do?” (Eugene)

Tomorrow is the Great Demonic Beast subjugation. 

I have been told that headquarters will be providing all the equipment, weapons, and magic tools. 

The only thing left would be to come together with the Ifrit Sumire and the Holy Maiden Candidate Sara.

…Is there anything else?

“Eugene-kun, you know that if me and Sara-chan do Mana Link, the mana collides and it doesn’t go well, right?” (Sumire)

“Yeah, that’s why the plan is for Sumire to give me the mana directly, and Sara will send the mana to my weapon…” (Eugene)

That’s how we discussed it. 

That’s how it should have been. 

“There’s a better method.” (Sara)

Sara placed a hand on my cheek. 

By the time I noticed, Sumire and Sara placed a knee on the bed and approached to a degree where their hands could reach.

It was so dark I didn’t notice before, but at a closer look, their clothes are slightly transparent and I could see their skin. 

A sweet scent unlike usual was coming from the two of them.

“There’s the method that this Destiny Oracle-sama person taught to Sara-chan.” (Sumire)

“A method to not only avoid the collision of mine and Sumire-chan’s mana, but on top of that, strengthening the Mana Link even further.” (Sara)

“T-There’s a method like that?!” (Eugene)

Mother and Eri didn’t mention anything about this. 

No, maybe it is a secret method that only the Oracle-sama knows since she can hear the voice of the Destiny Goddess-sama?

I silently waited for the two to speak.


“Hey, Eugene-kun…” (Sumire)

“Can you embrace us?” (Sara)


“……Excuse me?” (Eugene)

Did I hear wrong? 

I asked back and then noticed.

I could tell Sumire and Sara were bright red even within this darkness. 

“Uhm, Sara-san? Sumire-san?” (Eugene)

“Orianne-sama said so! Eugene can secure even more safety by strengthening the Body Contract!” (Sara)

“S-Seriously…?” (Eugene)

The Oracle-sama said something like that? 

“I-If the 3 of us do it together, the mana won’t reject each other…apparently. Uuh… T-This is so embarrassing.” (Sumire)

Sumire’s face turned even redder. 

“This is for your sake, Eugene! Also, the Oracle-sama said: ‘There’s the shadow of an evil woman on Eugene, so you have to get him back’.” (Sara)

“Evil woman?” (Eugene)

I immediately had an idea of who.

The one who said that just recently was…

(Most definitely Mother…) (Eugene)

(So this is the doing of Laila-senpai, huh.) (Eri)

I mutter this in my mind and I heard the thought transmission of Eri. 

“Hey, Sara-chan, is this Charm Scent really working? Eugene is the same as usual, you know?” (Sumire)

“This is weird. The Oracle-sama said that any man would fall in one-fell-swoop if they smell this.” (Sara)

“That’s what this scent is about?!” (Eugene)

What a thing to ready, Destiny Oracle-sama.

—The Holy Maidens of Caldia are wicked.

The rumors were true.

“Eugene-kun…♡.” (Sumire)

“Eugene…♡.” (Sara)

Sumire and Sara get even closer. 

I am half pushed down here. 

Their embarrassed faces had changed slightly into intoxicated ones. 

And then, I was pushed down just like that…and couldn’t resist.

(Aah, even though Eugene was mine alone.) (Eri)

I heard that baffled voice.

That night, I was eaten by Sumire and Sara.

■Comment Response: 

>Reading a protagonist that’s completely opposite to the previous work (not a late grower) is interesting. 

-I made the protagonist with the concept of ‘let’s make him the complete opposite of the previous work’.

>Thanks for bringing Eri out!! 

-I gotta bring Eri out more. 

Even though she is the poster girl here.

■Author’s Comment: 

The ones with in-depth knowledge probably know.

The Holy Sword that showed up this time around, the Calabrum, is another name for Excalibur. 

However, there’s no Excalibur element to it. 

I simply borrowed the name. 

I brought out the Callibourne in the previous story, but it didn’t have much of a spotlight which was a waste. 

Callibourne is apparently not the same as Excalibur though. 

I should have had King Uther hold it.

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