Categories: Zero Attack Power

ZAP – Chapter 104: Eugene meets the Bird of Death

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(That’s…) (Eugene)

I looked up at the sky, dumbfounded. 

—The ruler of the Tarsis Mountain Range, the Darkness Bird, Raum. 

This is the first time I see its strange appearance. 

Its size is like that of a small dragon. A lot smaller than I imagined. 

But the size of the 4 pairs of wings it has are abnormal. It feels like they easily have 100 times more volume than its body. 

That unbalanced appearance made me think of it more as a black butterfly than a bird. 

The tail is long and waving in a creepy manner. 

And what’s the most weird is…

(It is not making any sound at all.) (Eugene)

8 gigantic wings big enough to cover the sky. 

I don’t hear the sound of the wind at all despite them flapping slowly.

This mysterious sight made me feel like it was out of this world. 

(Right!) (Eugene)

I hurriedly ran to the colleague of Sara, Ulrika-san, who I was talking with just a moment ago. 

It seems like she is exhausted, but still breathing.

“[High Heal]!” (Eugene)

I deploy a barrier in the surroundings and use healing magic on her. 

Ulrika-san is a Holy Maiden Candidate, so she has curse resistance like Sara. 

That’s why, if she recovers her stamina, surely…

“Hn…hm…? Eu…gene…-kun?” (Ulrika)

She woke up. 

Half of the holy knights accompanying us had collapsed, and the remaining half were on their knees. 

A number of people have cast barriers to block the curse and are healing their comrades just like me.

“I…I… What…happened…just now…?” (Ulrika)

“Ssh. It is okay.” (Eugene)

I speak briefly to Ulrika-san, who doesn’t seem to be fully conscious yet, and draw the sword on my waist. 

Raum slowly landed on top of the demonic beast corpse right in front of my eyes. 

(Should I carry her and run away…? But there’s also the other knights. I can’t run away alone…) (Eugene)

Lifeless black eyes and a red eye on its forehead; those are the same traits as the Colossal Beast Haagenti. 

It is looking around with cute movements that contrast its creepy appearance. 

The Darkness Bird looked over here for a while, and then grabbed the griffin with its long claws, and slowly ascended once again. 

There’s no sound. 

But there’s a lukewarm wind that mixed with miasma when it flapped widely, and black feathers danced in the surroundings. 

Raum flew high in the sky and slowly disappeared deep into the mountain range. 

◇◇

“Are these all the seriously ill ones?!” 

“Yes, there’s no one whose life is being threatened!” 

“But a third of the whole expedition team won’t be able to fight for a while.” 

“We need high ranked healers. The holy capital has sent them, right?” 

“Yes, a squad will be arriving by tomorrow!” 

“Alright, we will prepare for the attack of Raum and strengthen the barrier!” 

We returned to the base. 

More than half couldn’t even walk, so I had to walk down the mountain range, carrying two people, and used quite a lot of stamina. 

On top of that, I ran around casting healing magic on the exhausted ones. 

“Haah…” 

I am tired.

Both my stamina and mana are empty. 

(Let’s rest…) (Eugene)

I staggered my way to the tent we set on the camp. 

Sumire and Sara are most likely there. 

“Eugene!” 

“Eugy-kun!” 

When I entered the tent, Sara came running towards me and Sumire was still lying down, but her complexion was far better than yesterday. 

“I am back, Sara, Sumire. I came back sooner than expected.” (Eugene)

“I heard you were attacked by Raum! Are you okay?!” (Sara)

“You look extremely tired, Eugy-kun!” (Sumire)

“We didn’t get attacked. We simply encountered it when it was hunting a demonic beast that wandered nearby. The reason why I am tired is because I was carrying the collapsed people and using healing magic.” (Eugene)

That’s right. The Great Demonic Beast didn’t harm us. It was simply nearby. 

And yet, we were on the verge of losing half of the holy knights. 

“The future’s looking bleak…” (Sara)

“Or more like, isn’t this place also in danger…?” (Sumire)

I told them as cheerfully as possible, but the two of them looked uneasy. 

“Speaking of which, I met a girl called Ulrika-san. I heard it is an acquaintance of yours, Sara.” (Eugene)

“Ul?! She accompanied the investigation team?!” (Sara)

“Yeah, we came back to the camp together since she was with me. I think she is resting in her tent right about now.” (Eugene)

“I will go check her state for a bit! Counting on you with Sumire-chan!” (Sara)

Sara left with quick steps.

Sumire and I were left in the tent. 

Sumire stared at me. 

“Is it okay to not sleep?” (Eugene)

“Yeah… Sara-chan was with me after all. I was talking to Sara-chan about how I might be able to join the 2nd Division’s investigation team though…” (Sumire)

“With how things went today, the plans are probably going to be changed. I think they will be revising it.” (Eugene)

“They won’t suspend it…?” (Sumire)

“Who knows. There were no deaths, and the Great Demonic Beast subjugation has been spread widely in the countries of the Holy Union, so they probably can’t abort the mission so quickly.” (Eugene)

“But we can’t resurrect like in the Zenith Tower.” (Sumire)

“There’s a lot of Resurrection users in the Holy Union. There won’t be deaths as long as nothing major happens.” (Eugene)

“I see… There really are a lot of clerics. We have a lot less to worry about then.” (Sumire)

“You could say that.” (Eugene)

That said, I don’t want Sumire to face Raum when she is not in perfect condition.

It seems like Sumire wanted to say something to me while I was thinking about this. 

“Were you fine with the curse of the Great Demonic Beast? Is your fatigue not really because of the curse?” (Sumire)

It seems like she is worried about the Curse of Death from Raum. Looks like she heard a lot from Sara. 

That said, me being tired is only because I was carrying people on the way and using healing magic. I haven’t been affected by the curse at all.

“The curses and miasma in the 7th Seal Prison were far denser, so there’s no issue.” (Eugene)

I answered. 

“…Hey, the 7th Seal Prison is where the Demon Lord Eri-san is sealed, right? It is a place that’s worse than a curse even a Holy Maiden Candidate can’t endure?” (Sumire)

“…Hmm, now that you mention it…” (Eugene)

I got used to it completely, but now that I think about it, that’s a pretty tough environment. 

“It is a chaotic place where there’s the cursed magic tools Principal Uther gathered from a variety of places, and weird mythological creatures that he summoned and sealed.” (Eugene)

“It can’t be helped if it is the fault of the Principal…” (Sumire)

Sumire sighed as if convinced. 

Looks like she has completely been dyed in the common sense of the academy. You shouldn’t get bothered by every single thing Principal Uther does. 

I chatted with Sumire for a while and Sara returned…together with Ulrika-san.

“Welcome back, Sara. Also, Ulrika-san, is it fine for you to be moving already?” (Eugene)

“Welcome back~, Sara-chan.” (Sumire)

“Thanks for before, Eugene-kun! Also, nice to meet you, Sashiogi Sumire-san. I am the Holy Maiden Candidate, Ulrika.” (Ulrika)

“Sorry but, Eugene, can you come together with me?” (Sara)

Sara suddenly said this. 

“Alright, but that’s sudden. Leaving Sumire alone is…” (Eugene)

“That’s why I had Ul come. I am sorry, but I want you to stay with Sumire-chan. I have to bring Eugene to the place of the knight captain. I don’t want you to go alone.” (Sara)

“Yeah, leave it to me. Pleasure, Sumire-san.” (Ulrika)

“Y-Yes, it is my pleasure as well!” (Sumire)

I am worried about the condition of Sumire, but Ulrika-san is an old friend of Sara, so there should be no worries. 

“Let’s go, Eugene.” (Sara)

“Got it.” (Eugene)

Sara’s tone is somewhat tense. 

It is most likely because the expedition this time around is not looking good. 

The Empire often retreats immediately after unexpected trouble happens. 

That’s just what makes sense. 

But the orders of the Holy Maidens are synonymous to the words of the Goddess in the Holy Union, so they can’t be taken back.

They will most likely push on until they have ‘obtained some sort of result’.

(I just hope it doesn’t turn into trouble…) (Eugene)

Sara and I exited the tent and arrived at the big tent in the center of the camp. 

There were knights wearing silver armor lined up when we entered. 

“Nice to see you have come, Eugene Santafield-kun. I am grateful that you helped our comrades.” 

The one who said this was the knight captain of the 3rd Division.

“Don’t worry about it…” (Eugene)

I answered vaguely and looked around the inside of the tent lightly. 

There’s a big and long desk and chairs lined up. 

I think this place is used for strategy meetings, but…the empty seats stand out.

“I am sorry to say this after coming here just now, but…I would like to hear your opinion. Take a seat there.” 

“Yes.” (Eugene)

“Excuse me.” (Sara)

Sara and I took our seats next to each other.

“Now then, about the attack…or more like, the abnormal action of the Great Demonic Beast. Raum has almost never come out from its territory that is the Mountain of Death for a decade, but it has suddenly become active. I requested the Destiny Oracle-sama to use Clairvoyance, and it is apparently hard to predict the detailed actions of a living calamity like the Great Demonic Beast to begin with. It is like predicting the weather.” 

“Uhm…can I speak?” (Sara)

Sara nervously raised her hand.

“Umu, I allow it, Upcoming Holy Maiden-dono.” 

“Couldn’t it be that we stimulated the Great Demonic Beast with our actions?” (Sara)

That sounds possible. 

An expedition with 3 divisions of holy knights stands out. 

The Great Demonic Beast must have noticed these numbers too.

“We can’t really say it is.” 

The one who denied the statement of Sara was another holy knight. 

“We come with an expedition of the same scale as this one to scout and investigate the Great Demonic Beast every year, but there’s rarely any instance where Raum would leave its nest.” 

“The trait of the Darkness Bird is that it won’t react as long as you don’t attack it…” 

“I see. I understand now.” (Sara)

Sara nodded at those words.

“Then, what is the plan from here on?” (Eugene)

I asked this and everyone’s eyes gathered on me. 

Hm? 

Did I say something weird? 

“About that… The Curse of Death from the Great Demonic Beast has become extremely strong. If we were to head to the nest of Raum with a big team like before and get found, we could be wiped out at worst. The encounter of before was fortunate in the sense that it was close to the base. We managed to retreat at once after all.” 

The captain speaks heavy words and the knight next to him (the vice-captain?) takes over. 

“We are currently gathering the holy armor with curse resistance and personnel from the whole capital to create a new formation, but it will take time. We can’t form a strategy without checking the state of the current Great Demonic Beast. And so, we plan on creating a special scout unit with the bare minimum personnel so that it won’t catch the eye of Raum.” 

“I see.” (Eugene)

That makes sense. 

You can’t think of a strategy without information.

“But…there’s a big problem.” 

The wrinkles between his brows grow deeper. 

“There’s barely any people who can endure being exposed to the curse of Raum for long periods of time.” 

Without pushing themselves. Most of the people who saw Raum in the investigation team before are recovering. The only ones who can currently move are almost all the people who remained in the base.” 

“…” 

I see where this is going.

“…Eugene.” (Sara)

I had no doubt after seeing Sara’s expression filled with unease and discomfort. 

“Eugene-kun, how much do you think you can move inside the curse of Raum just now? Please tell me honestly…to a degree where you are not pushing yourself.” 

“Eugene.” (Sara)

Sara told me with her eyes to not answer stupidly honestly. 

(Hmm…) (Eugene)

If I consider the Curse of Death of the Darkness Bird as being on the same level as the 7th Seal Prison, I would be able to stay there for 3 days. 

I have been together with Eri for around that long at the time when I made her angry after all.

But I wouldn’t like taking 3 days investigating the Darkness Bird.

Let’s be a bit conservative here. 

I thought about how to answer for a bit.

“Let’s see… I would be fine for around half a day.” (Eugene)

I lowballed it quite a lot there. 

“How about it, Eugene-kun? The one with the strongest resistance to curses said that they can somewhat last for 1 hour. If you……………hm?” 

“………Eh?” (Eugene)

The knight captain and I look at each other’s faces.

“Did you just say half a day?” 

“…Yes.” (Eugene)

“…Idiot.” (Sara)

I heard the mutter of Sara.

“Eugene-dono!! I know this isn’t something I should be asking of a student from the Lykeion Magic Academy, but can you please investigate the state of Raum?!! There’s no need for you to fight! It is fine for you to do this until the reinforcements from the holy capital arrive. Please!!” 

He lowered his head deeply. 

The other members of the Holy Knight Order did the same.

(This is not an atmosphere I can refuse…) (Eugene)

The orders of the Holy Maidens are absolute for the Holy Knight Order. They probably have to accomplish something no matter what. 

And I am currently a helper from the Legendary Hero Department of the magic academy. 

“Understood. I accept.” (Eugene)

And so, I ended up joining the scout unit of the Darkness Bird Raum. 

■Comment Response: 

>I thought a new character showed up, but she retired soon after! 

-She is alive!!

>Is this the local wife of Eugene-san in the subjugation?! 

-She isn’t!

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