ZAP – Chapter 115: Great Demonic Beast Expedition – Part 2

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“We are being watched.” (Soran)

“…Yeah.” (Eugene)

I strengthened the grip on the handle of the white katana at the words of the beastkin Soran.

Hostility as if my skin is being licked all over.

When are the black mermaids going to attack…?

“Soran, Eugene, there’s no need to be that nervous. These guys are scouts. They found prey and are currently calling the main group, so they won’t be attacking yet. Relax.” (Leonhart)

Leonhart said with a bored voice.

“Really?” (Soran)

“You guys are so quick to battle.” (Leonhart)

Leonhart is confirming the stretch of his magic bow.

I once again direct my attention to the outboard.

I feel a slimy gaze, but there’s a lot of distance.

It is true that it is just surveillance.

(Being too tense would just tire us, huh…) (Eugene)

I sheathe the white katana.

Soran also went to a neutral stance.

The decoy ship is swaying with the waves while slowly advancing in the dense mist.

I don’t see anything around.

“The main body is in a far location, right?” (Eugene)

“Yeah, it must be on standby right at the corner of the Black Sea’s border.” (Leonhart)

Leonhart answered my question.

“We will regroup with the main group in the flagship after we deliver the human dolls to the black mermaids. Using this.” (Soran)

What Soran was holding was a big bird feather that’s clad in mana.

“A magic tool that allows you to temporarily use flying magic, the feather of a Roc, huh. If I remember correctly, the market price is several 100 thousand Gs.” (Eugene)

It is generous how every member in this decoy ship has been made to carry one of these.

“…Students of the Lykeion Magic Academy. Try not to be too confident in the magic tool. All of the members from the 1st party also had Roc Feathers. But they couldn’t come back alive.”

The one who spoke to us was the captain of this decoy ship.

He is apparently a veteran sailor that normally patrols the borders of the Federation for the navy of the Blue Waters Federation.

But even that veteran seems to be nervous about being inside the Black Sea and his face is stiff.

“Sailors, please retreat first. We will be staying as long as possible.” (Eugene)

That’s the plan.

The noncombatants will retreat first and the combatants will retreat afterwards.

We will be leaving behind the decoy ship together with the human dolls.

“Umu… But leaving you young people behind is…”

The expression of the captain, who is also from the military, was painful.

“No need to worry. We won’t die.” (Soran)

Soran answered powerfully and the expression of the captain softened a bit.

The old ship was creaking with the waves.

“By the way, how long until we arrive at the location?” (Eugene)

I asked the captain.

“With this wind and the height of these waves, it would take around 1 hour.”

“1 hour, huh…” (Eugene)

That’s unexpectedly fast.

The southern tip of the Black Sea.

There’s a lot of drifting objects gathering here because of the flow of the tides. This deserted island is called the Grave of the Seas.

It is the place where the 1st party was wiped out.

◇POV of the Bow Hero Candidate, Leonhart◇

“We are reaching the location soon.”

We nodded at the words of the captain.

The sailors and bodyguards had stiff faces of fear the whole time.

It can’t be helped.

—Kyahahahaha…

—Kusu…kusu…kusu…

—Humans…look tasty…

—Kusu…kusu…kyahahaha.

Creepy laughs were echoing within the dense mist.

We hear countless voices of black mermaids spinning around the ship we are on.

I have seen them from afar a number of times, but this is the first time I see these many this close.

For sailors, seeing a black mermaid means to change course immediately. The reaper of the seas.

The sailors probably have their mental health drained with just their presence.

Even I am faintly tense here.

“Hey, Eugene, I heard there are bare handed techniques in the Twin Heavenly Sword Style.”

“Technically. But I am bad at them. I always lose to my childhood friend who was a fellow student.” (Eugene)

“Alright. Let’s have a hand-to-hand match in class next time.”

“Don’t wanna. I told you I am bad at it.” (Eugene)

“Fuhahaha, that’s exactly why! I can say I won against the Legendary Hero that slayed a Demon Lord.”

“Don’t joke around. Also, I slayed no Demon Lord.” (Eugene)

Good grief.

The ones who are having a completely carefree conversation are my classmates Soran and Eugene.

“Soran, Eugene, I did say to relax, but you are relaxing too much.” (Leonhart)

I warned the two.

“Even if you tell me that, Leon…” (Soran)

“There’s nothing to do.” (Eugene)

Soran and Eugene responded with the same vibe.

These two…

It seemed like those two were somewhat tense when entering the Black Sea, but they are totally at home now after just 1 hour.

Leaving aside Soran who is bold and brash, I didn’t expect this from Eugene who looks like a serious knight-like guy.

I imagined the people of the Empire to be more serious and strict.

At that moment…

*Zazan!*

A big wave hit the ship.

The ship tilted a bit.

The moment our attention was taken by that…

“Shaaaa!!”

A shadow approached one of the sailors while raising a shrilling cry.

“Hiiih!”

The sailor that screamed was about to get dragged into the sea.

The one that wrapped its long black hair around the body of the sailor and was trying to jump into the sea was a Vepar with blue skin.

“Leon!” (Soran)

“I know!” (Leonhart)

I already had my bow ready by the time Soran called me with his impatient voice.

I narrowed my aim onto the head of the black mermaid, and at the very moment I was about to release the arrow…

— *Plop*

The head of the black mermaid dropped.

“Are you okay?”

“Y-Yeah, thank you very much!”

Eugene Santafield was standing there by the time I noticed.

The white katana that probably sliced off the head of the black mermaid had been drawn already.

(I couldn’t…see it at all?) (Leonhart)

Eugene should have been talking by the side of Soran just now.

When did he move?

When did he cut off its head?

“Nice, Eugene. I ran late there.” (Soran)

Soran seemed to be vexed by this.

“I was also late in noticing. To think it would hide within the waves to attack us.” (Eugene)

Eugene said this while looking at the Black Sea that has bad vision because of the mist as if having fun.

His bored eyes of before have turned into those of a beast hunting its prey.

(I see, so this is his real nature.) (Leonhart)

The guy that fought off two Divine Beasts, defeated a Demon Lord, and faced the Great Demonic Beast in the Holy Union alone.

He came to the Blue Waters Federation despite that.

Did he want achievements that much?

I thought the people of the Empire didn’t have much desire for climbing up in life.

But I was wrong.

“I am winning in the number of monsters hunted.” (Eugene)

“I will catch up in the blink of an eye, Eugene.” (Soran)

Eugene and Soran were talking as if they were innocent children.

(You damn battle maniacs…) (Leonhart)

These two alone look like they are having the time of their lives in the very center of the black mermaids’ turf.

“Captain, this ship will drift to the Grave of Seas island because of the tides even if left be, right?” (Leonhart)

“Yeah, that’s right. It will just drift there on its own after coming this far.”

I confirmed with the captain.

“Then, please begin retreating. We will see through that the decoy ship performs its duty until the very end.” (Leonhart)

“That’s… No, I got it.”

He wanted to say something, but he immediately understood.

The bodyguards will have a harder time with sailors who have low combat power just like what happened just now.

It may sound harsh, but it would be better for deadweight to withdraw.

“You rascals, use your Roc Feathers! We will be regrouping with the main team in the flagship! Well then, Hero Candidate-sama, we leave the rest to you.”

“Yeah. Also, only the bodyguards that can defeat a black mermaid alone should stay! All the other ones can retreat!” (Leonhart)

I tell everyone this in a loud voice.

Honestly speaking, the combat power of almost everyone that has undertaken the bodyguard mission in the 2nd party isn’t that high.

It is remarkably so when compared to the members of the Legendary Hero Department.

They seemed to be hesitating at first, but when I said ‘Bodyguards don’t bodyguard bodyguards’ they evacuated as well.

The sailors retreated first.

Then the bodyguards departed from the decoy ship with flying magic.

Only 3 remained on board.

“So it is only 4 people now, huh.” (Eugene)

Eugene muttered this.

“4 people?” (Soran)

Soran looked in wonder, so I looked up at the sky.

It is hard to see with the mist, but there’s a single wyvern flying slowly with the sun at its back.

“There’s Claude, right. He is good at erasing his presence as always.” (Soran)

“He is apparently the number one rider in the Dragon Country after all.” (Eugene)

And he is also an expert in the spear within the Blue Waters Federation.

He is a Hero Candidate like me, but Claude’s evaluation is higher than mine.

The result being that he attracted the selfish princess of the Gold Country is pitiful though.

“I can see the island now.” (Leonhart)

“That is…?” (Eugene)

“That’s right. The Grave of the Seas. It is one of the places where the black mermaids have made their nest.” (Leonhart)

A small uninhabited island was ahead of our vision.

I heard a few natives were living reserved lives there.

But they were swallowed by the Black Sea and it is now an unlivable island.

Body Magic: [Far Sight].

I cast a spell that temporarily strengthens my vision and check the state of the deserted island.

…I felt chills run down my spine.

I saw what’s most likely more than thousands of black mermaids.

“Leon, what did you see?” (Soran)

Seems like Soran could tell something from my face since we have known each other for a long time.

“A horde of black mermaids… But there are more than I thought.” (Leonhart)

We haven’t known the total number of black mermaids for a long time now.

Some say there’s a couple thousand.

But there’s clearly more than ten times that number on that island.

Moreover, if the speculations of the headquarters is correct, the one leading that horde in the island is the Old Queen.

The New Queen of the next generation should be in a different place.

“How many black mermaids?” (Eugene)

“Most likely in the thousands.” (Leonhart)

I answered Eugene’s question bluntly.

The expression of Soran and Eugene cloud.

“If I remember correctly, the explosion magic that was cast on the human dolls is expected to kill around a hundred black mermaids each.” (Eugene)

“We brought 50 human dolls with us. I think it is cutting close at least.” (Soran)

“No. It was originally expected for the Graves of the Seas to have only a few hundred. Our plan was to bring enough human dolls. The plan has failed the moment it is cutting it close.” (Leonhart)

(What should we do…?) (Leonhart)

I was hesitating here.

Black mermaids are intelligent.

The black mermaids will learn that the human dolls have explosion magic cast on them and the same plan won’t be possible again.

We can’t afford to fail here.

(It can’t be helped… Let’s do this some other time. But how…? The sailors are not here anymore. Bringing back the ship is…) (Leonhart)

I was getting a headache here.

“Then, let’s reduce the numbers.” (Eugene)

“Oh well, that’s the only choice.” (Soran)

“…Eh?” (Leonhart)

I couldn’t follow what Eugene and Soran said for an instant there.

What did these guys say just now?

“How are we telling Claude?” (Eugene)

“He should be able to tell on his own after seeing what we do.” (Soran)

“True.” (Eugene)

“W-Wait! What are you two planning on doing?!” (Leonhart)

I hurriedly asked.

“Land on the deserted island and slice black mermaids.” (Soran)

“They aren’t that scary of an enemy if it is on land.” (Eugene)

Soran and Eugene answered.

“Do you understand what’s going on here?! We only have 4. We are estimating at least 4,000 here!” (Leonhart)

I ended up shouting.

A difference of a thousand.

I can only think of them as insane.

“Doesn’t seem like there’s any other option.” (Eugene)

“Umu, let’s just brace ourselves, Leon.” (Soran)

The two already seemed determined.

(You guys are more of a hero…) (Leonhart)

I mutter this in my mind.

The decoy ship slowly approached the island where the black mermaids are by riding the tides.

“Listen here, you must use the Roc Feather to immediately retreat if you feel like it is getting dangerous. That’s the condition.” (Leonhart)

I finally hardened my own resolve because of these two battle junkies.

■Comment Response:

>Claude was blessed with a good master.

>How did he become a playboy?

-The Dragon Country is a militaristic nation, so it is a physical centric country.

Claude was a serious soldier in his homeland.

He was super popular in the Lykeion Magic Academy because of being a Hero Candidate, so he ended up becoming a playboy though.

The students of the Legendary Hero Department are mostly composed of men and women who are extremely popular.

Eugene doesn’t notice it that much in his POV though…

■Author’s Comment:

The Resurrection of Lelouch was being aired, so I watched it, and that made me want to rewatch the original.

Lelouch really is cool…

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