How long has it been since I have held a sword?
I chuckled from thinking back on it.
(…That’s obvious. It has been since the day I was abandoned by my childhood friend, Airi.) (Eugene)
Since then, I grew further and further away from the path of the sword which I placed so much effort on.
I really am pathetic.
But I have taken the sword again today.
I tightly hold the sword of the Federation explorer that’s slightly lighter than that of the average sword of the imperial army.
And then, I whispered to the explorer badge that had the letter D written on it.
“Eugene Santafield will challenge the 10th Floor Boss.” (Eugene)
The explorer badge is in itself a magic item, and it has dungeon magic cast on it.
My voice passed through the explorer badge and was sent to the Dungeon Administrator.
—The challenge of the explorer Eugene has been acknowledged. Godspeed.
An inorganic voice rang inside the 10th Floor.
At the same time as it did, a shining white line appeared.
The Challenger Border.
By the way, the voice just now is apparently the voice of the administrator of the Zenith Tower.
The administrators of the Zenith Tower are said to be the subordinates of the Holy Gods, the Angels.
I have not seen them before, so I don’t know if that’s true.
Anyways, the admin has acknowledged me as a challenger.
I see… After more than 1 year since coming to the academy, I have finally managed to become a Floor Boss challenger.
I got a bit emotional there.
The Troll roared, seeing me enter its Territory.
The ground shook each step the Troll took.
Me and the Troll are still far apart.
But it is so big I already have to look up.
The eyes of the Troll that are almost as big as the head of a person seize my figure.
(…So big.) (Eugene)
I have fought an Ogre before, but that was in training at the Imperial Military School.
It was a joint endeavor with other trainees, and an instructor from the imperial army assisted us.
In this battle, I will be alone.
But for some strange reason, I didn’t feel fear.
What surfaced in my mind was a memory of my past sword training.
(…Speaking of which, what did my pops say before?) (Eugene)
The words of dad, who was also my sword master, surfaced in my head.
— “Listen well, Eugene. When fighting, don’t just look at the enemy in front of you. You always have to keep your eyes on the whole battlefield.”
— “Hey, Pops, I only wanted advice for my next sword tournament though? Why are you talking about the battlefield here?” (Eugene)
— “The Twin Heavenly Resonance Style is a swordstyle for the battlefield after all. A victory in a one-against-one bears no meaning in a battlefield.”
— “But you know…my grades will be affected if I don’t win the tournament…” (Eugene)
— “Who cares about that? What’s important is surviving, and whether you can protect your lord. In the battlefield, there will be assassins aiming for you or you could get shot with poisoned arrows. What would you do?”
— “As I said…there are no assassins and poison arrows in a sword tournament.” (Eugene)
— “How do you know? Your childhood friend Airi-chan is an Oracle. She might get targeted by bad guys. At that time, you must protect her.”
— “Yeah yeah.” (Eugene)
It wasn’t advice that served any use in the military school sword tournament.
In the end, I somehow managed to win the tournament though.
The giant body of the Troll approached right in front of me.
Sumire and the other explorers are outside the Territory of the Floor Boss, so they are watching.
The plain area of the 10th Floor has good vision.
I could see an herbivorous animal that looked like a deer observing our situation from far away.
(…It is that, I guess.) (Eugene)
Looks like I am calm.
Even when this is my first Floor Boss fight, it doesn’t seem like I am getting worked up.
I could hear the growl of the Troll as if it were trying to intimidate me.
“Now then…” (Eugene)
The Troll lowered its stance as if wary of me.
I thought it would charge at me, but that wasn’t it. It threw a rock that was by its feet.
A rock the size of a child was coming at me at high speed.
I set a barrier without any hurry.
— Barrier Magic: [Light Shield].
The rock shattered while making that sound.
The pieces of the broken rock flew to the spectators at the back too.
Is Sumire okay?
I face my back for an instant.
Fortunately, it seems like it didn’t fly to where Sumire is.
She was holding both hands and praying for me.
…Looks like I can’t lose here.
I returned my gaze to the Troll and it was raising its arm again to throw another rock at me.
(Let’s do this at close range.) (Eugene)
We shouldn’t let the spectators get injured.
— Twin Heavenly Resonance Style: Wind Form – Sky Step.
The way to make the distance between your enemy turn into 0.
I entered the bosom of the Troll by using this.
The Troll let out a voice of confusion and raised its fist high.
And then, swung it down just like that.
The punch of the Troll made the ground quake heavily.
The arm of the Troll that’s as big as a pillar was piercing the ground.
I then made a sweeping slash one breath later at the arm of the Troll.
There was no sound.
I managed to finish the swing of my sword so smoothly it didn’t even feel as if I cut anything.
The next instant…
The right arm of the Troll rolled on the ground.
A scream echoed.
The Troll driven mad by anger tried to grab me with its remaining arm.
I avoid that and confirm the remaining mana of the fire Magic Sword.
I only slashed once, but the red radiance had already been halved.
(Only one more attack, I would say…) (Eugene)
The Troll raised its leg in burning anger and tried to stomp me.
*Thung!!! Thung!!! Thung!!! Thung!!! Thung!!!*
The Troll was persistently stomping as if throwing a tantrum.
—Twin Heavenly Resonance Style: Wood Form – Willow Flow.
I continued avoiding it with ease.
The Troll had lost one arm and was bleeding.
The smart choice would be to take distance and wait for the monster to run out of energy.
I glance at Sumire.
She is raising short screams like ‘Hih!’ or ‘Kya!’ each time the Troll stomps.
…Let’s finish this quickly so I don’t make her worry.
I measured the timing for the next attack of the Troll to match a counter as I lowered my stance and readied my sword.
The Troll’s leg the size of a large tree closed in.
I avoided that with a paper-thin difference and released a slash.
—Twin Heavenly Resonance Style: Fire Form – Dance of the Lion.
I make my body and sword spin like a dance performance.
The blade of fire sliced the body of the Troll.
The death cry of the Troll echoed through the floor.
Not long after, the Troll collapsed flat on the ground and stopped moving.
I waited warily for the Floor Boss to get back up, but it didn’t no matter how long I waited.
Did I…do it?
While I was hesitating whether to judge this as a victory…
— “It is the victory of the explorer Eugene. Congratulations.”
The inorganic Angel voice announcement resonated in the 10th Floor.
The happiness from victory unexpectedly didn’t well up from me.
Confusion was winning over it.
Did I really…win against a Floor Boss…?
The Red Mana that Sumire shared to me is almost all gone now.
Looks like the effect of the Magic Link runs out in two hits.
I let out a short sigh.
I was about to say ‘I won’, but I couldn’t finish it.
My head was grabbed by both of her arms and I couldn’t breathe for a second.
I gently held the back of Sumire.
“You won! Congratulations!” (Sumire)
She congratulated me with a dazzling smile.
“Yeah, it is thanks to you, Sumire.” (Eugene)
A smile leaked out from me.
I finally feel it now.
How long has it been since I have been able to smile from the bottom of my heart?
By the time I noticed, I was hugging Sumire.
“Wawawa, Eugene-kun?!” (Sumire)
“Ah, sorry.” (Eugene)
“Ah, no, it is okay. Ehehe…” (Sumire)
Sumire got bashful here with her face faintly red.
And in this way, I succeeded in defeating the 10th Floor boss.