ZAP – Chapter 106: Darkness Bird Raum

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TLN: Two chapters today! Make sure you didn’t miss the previous one~.

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“““……”””

Captain Jacqueline and the holy knight apprentice Lily stopped talking since the moment we stepped into the Mountain of Death. 

I also followed suit and tried to not talk. 

I observe the surroundings instead. 

The ground is soft as if there’s ash piled up. 

The barrier at my feet breaks whenever I take a step, so I have to recast it every time. It is ground that has been cursed with the Curse of Death. 

The air is lukewarm to an unpleasant degree. 

It is most likely because the miasma that is contaminated mana is dense here. 

The trees that were most likely lush in the past have all withered, and only the trunk is sticking out from the ground like a needle. 

And what’s more unnatural is that the ground and rocks are also ashen like the trees. 

I can’t see any living creatures. 

We advance while trying not to make a sound as much as possible. 

“Kuh…” 

That’s when my classmate Lily fell on a knee.

“Are you okay?” (Eugene)

I say, but there’s no response. 

She is breathing roughly and her face is pale. 

“…The miasma is far denser than the last time I came here. Looks like I won’t be able to stay for long either… How about you, Eugene?” (Jacqueline)

I could see exhaustion from Captain Jacqueline as well. 

“No issues.” (Eugene)

The curses in the 7th Seal Prison were far harsher. 

“I…see.” (Jacqueline)

Captain was slightly surprised, and Lily was looking over here as if I was a monster. 

“Lily, return to the entrance of the Mountain of Death and wait for us there. If we don’t return even after half a day, head to the base alone and report to the other captains. Got it?” (Jacqueline)

“……Yes.” (Lily)

Lily said this as if squeezing it out and slowly staggered her way down the mountain. 

“Is it okay to let her go alone?” (Eugene)

“She is also a sword that protects Caldia, a member of the Holy Knight Order. I can’t treat her as a greenhorn.” (Jacqueline)

I see.

That’s true. 

“Right, let’s hurry then.” (Eugene)

“……Yeah.” (Jacqueline)

I aim for the summit with the Captain. 

The nest of Raum is apparently there. 

…Za…Za…Za…

Because the ground is soft like sand…or more like, ash, we can’t help but make noise. 

We can’t advance without taking big strides, so it saps our stamina. And most of all, there’s the miasma and curses that coil at you from the ground and the air. 

“Haah… Haah…” 

The breathing of the Captain is rough.

“I will carry your luggage.” (Eugene)

I thought she would refuse me even if I asked her, so I took the luggage of Captain Jacqueline slightly forcefully. 

She didn’t dislike it. 

“…Thanks. You are really energetic, Eugene-kun.” (Jacqueline)

“My feet are light after all. Want me to cast healing magic on you? Your stamina might return a bit.” (Eugene)

“Yeah, please do.” (Jacqueline)

“[High Heal].” (Eugene)

A faint light enveloped Captain Jacqueline.

I feel like it took away a bit of her fatigue. 

Captain Jacqueline stared at me. 

“It feels strange to be treated kindly by someone from the Empire.” (Jacqueline)

“You hate the Empire?” (Eugene)

I asked this and the captain smiled sadly. 

“My grandparents lost their lives in the war against the Grandflare Emperor 2 generations ago. I was raised with my parents telling me: ‘The Empire will invade again one day’. Also, there are a lot of people in the Goddess Church and the Holy Knight Order that have animosity towards the Empire… It was prejudice.” (Jacqueline)

“The Steel Emperor, Johann Grandflare…” (Eugene)

Emperor Johann has done invasions that caught the whole continent in its fire countless times. 

It is said that he died a natural death in the end, but theories are rampant that he was assassinated. 

He is the one responsible for the bad reputation of the Empire in this present day. 

“I was surprised when I heard the son of the Imperial Sword would be coming from the Legendary Hero Department. I was imagining a more brute person, but you are a gentleman. Sara has found a good person. Fufu…even though she was swinging the sword the whole time and was completely unconcerned about love.” (Jacqueline)

“You get along well with Sara?” (Eugene)

“I am a former Holy Maiden Candidate after all. I have also taught swordsmanship to Sara. She might have joined the Holy Knight Order if not for her compatibility with the Holy Sword.” (Jacqueline)

“I see…” (Eugene)

Speaking of which, Sara did tell me that she was originally not good at magic and was better at the sword within the Holy Maiden Candidates. 

Or more like, I was the healer when we were a duo party despite me being a swordsman. Sara, the sister, was the one in charge of the attacks. It makes me nostalgic. 

We were approaching the summit even while we were having that conversation, and the miasma and curses were getting denser. 

Captain Jacqueline’s steps are heavy. 

“Can you walk? Want me to lend you a shoulder?” (Eugene)

I asked her this and…

“If…I collapse, please leave me behind and move on.” (Jacqueline)

“I will carry you and return for now when that happens. Also, look, we are almost at the summit.” (Eugene)

“So we somehow managed to get there.” (Jacqueline)

Captain Jaqueline looked relieved. 

The summit of the Mountain of Death was originally a volcanic crater, so there’s a big cavity. 

The nest of Raum is apparently inside that. 

We poke our heads inside a bit to check the state of it. 

The cavity that was the size of a small lake had a lot of bones from animals and monsters lying around. 

(No, that’s not all there is to it…) (Eugene)

There’s also a lot of bones that are most likely from people. 

And at the center…there’s the Great Demonic Beast with eight pitch black wings.

“Wa!” (Jacqueline)

Captain Jacqueline let out her voice lightly. 

I didn’t let out my voice, but I couldn’t hide my surprise either. 

 

What was on the summit of the Mountain of Death was…Raum with its 8 giant black wings protecting an egg.

“Is it trying to make…the egg hatch?” (Eugene)

“No way… I haven’t heard of a Great Demonic Beast raising a child.” (Jacqueline)

A Great Demonic Beast may look and act like a living being, but it is far from the common constraints of a living being. 

They don’t have a physical body. Their body is composed fully of mana and miasma, and they take actions like that of a living creature because they are assimilating the ‘thoughts’ of other creatures after they die. 

Eri and Rita-san taught me that they are close to ghosts. 

If I asked the students in the magic academy ‘do ghosts give birth?’, everyone would answer ‘there’s no way’.

It is common sense. 

But the impossible is right in front of my eyes. 

“I would like to investigate in detail, but it would be dangerous to get closer than this…right?” (Eugene)

I confirm with Captain Jacqueline.

“Yeah, the most dangerous demonic beast is a parent that protects their child. Also, the Darkness Bird has probably already noticed us.” (Jacqueline)

“Really…?” (Eugene)

I observe the Great Demonic Beast.

Its 3 eyes are closed, and it only looks like it is sleeping. 

“It normally wouldn’t let out this strong of a curse and miasma. It will most likely make us food after we collapse from the Curse of Death -just like the hunted Griffin the other day.” (Jacqueline)

“Makes sense… The bones of monsters around Raum seem to be awfully new. It seems to be actively hunting.” (Eugene)

“It is hunting monsters to supply mana to the egg…? No, Raum is a Great Demonic Beast that spreads death. It might be feeding it life itself…” (Jacqueline)

The complexion of Captain Jacqueline while she was thinking was getting worse and worse.

It is most likely because of the Curse of Death of the Darkness Bird. 

“We now know why Raum has gotten more active. It seems like further investigation will prove difficult, so let’s move away for now.” (Eugene)

“Right. Let’s urge for orders from above.” (Jacqueline)

The Captain and I nodded lightly and went back the path we came from. 

Fortunately, the Great Demonic Beast didn’t chase after us. 

The miasma and curses softened the more we got down the Mountain of Death. 

Captain Jacqueline’s steps were getting lighter.

We finished our investigation and managed to get down the Mountain of Death safely. And then, the person that we should have regrouped with…there was no sight of my classmate from the Legendary Hero Department, Lily Whitewind. 

■Comment Response:

>Isn’t Eri way too competent? Isn’t the Goddess that made her fallen way too negligent? 

-Eri is indeed competent. 

Most of the young Destiny Goddesses have gotten coaching from Eri. 

■Author’s Comment: 

I announced it on twitter, but…

The manga version of Zero Attack Power will start March 15th! 

Also, I am feeling super bad, so I am off to sleep. 

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