ZAP – Chapter 15: Eugene and Sumire move even further ahead

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I borrowed the power of Sumire and defeated the 10th Floor Boss. 

“Thank you! Thank you…! With this, our country will be sav—wuuuh…!” 

“It is a relief that you safely managed to defeat it.” 

The Captain-san of the Tormore Kingdom fell in tears. 

This person is really emotion rich. 

In the Imperial Military School, we were taught ‘separate your emotions and actions’.

As someone with that in mind the whole time, I can’t cry in front of others like this. 

In the first place, pops holds the strong opinion that ‘the tears of a man are not to be shown in public!’. 

My pops is a man that operates in emotional logic.

The footage of this is most likely being shown to many people through the Satellite System. 

“Eugene-san, Sumire-san, we won’t ever forget this debt. We will definitely be paying you for rescuing us from the Floor Boss, and the reward money for the assistance in the subjugation. This is the Goddess Memo.” 

“Got it.” (Eugene)

The Vice-Captain, who was calmer than the Captain, gave me a signed paper. 

This paper that has the crest of the Justice Goddess, Althena-sama, is a contract document imbued with magic. 

If you break the contract, you are apparently hit with divine punishment.

That said, seeing their state, I doubt they will be skimping on their pay. 

“Hey hey, Eugene-kun! There’s a treasure chest over there!” (Sumire)

“Eh?” (Eugene)

There’s a light brown treasure chest at the place Sumire was pointing at.

That’s…

“It dropped a Treasure, huh.” (Eugene)

When you defeat a Floor Boss, a Treasure appears on rare occasions.

This is my first time experiencing this, so I confirm the inside in excitement. 

What showed up inside it was a giant lump of metal that shone dully. 

“What’s…this?” (Sumire)

Sumire tilted her head.

“Hmm, I think it is a magic metal, but I am no specialist, so I don’t know…” (Eugene)

I would be happier with something easier to tell like a magic weapon or some type of gem. 

Well, this is as much as you would get from the 10th Floor. 

This looks heavy and we wouldn’t be able to carry it with 2 people, so I guess this is a pass.

“How about we go back to the academy now, Sumire?” (Eugene)

“Eh? We are not checking the 11th Floor?” (Sumire)

“We are advancing even further?” (Eugene)

“Seeing you there, I felt like I wanted to see more of what lies ahead!” (Sumire)

This girl is really adventurous. 

“Aren’t you tired for today?” (Eugene)

“I haven’t fought a monster once…” (Sumire)

“Hm…” (Eugene)

Now that she mentions it, that’s true. 

In the week that passed, I had her repeatedly learn the methods to deal with monsters when she encounters them. 

But the one who ended up fighting was me. 

This is her first exploration here. 

I would like her to experience actual combat. 

“Then, let’s go check out the 11th Floor. Just a bit, okay?” (Eugene)

“Okay!” (Sumire)

“A-Are you guys going to the 11th Floor now?” 

When I directed my steps towards the stairs, the Vice-Captain-san spoke to us. 

“Yeah.” (Eugene)

“What will you do about this Treasure?! Also, there’s the materials of the defeated Floor Boss. If you carve those out, I think you would get a decent sum…” 

“You can have both.” (Eugene)

“I-Is that okay?!” 

“Go ahead, go ahead.” (Eugene)

Having more weight on us would be more troublesome anyways. 

They will be paying us later, so it is technically a plus. 

(The biggest benefit from this was that I learned that I can fight against a Floor Boss…) (Eugene)

Of course, this is only with the special condition of borrowing the mana from Sumire though. 

What I gained here was outstandingly big. 

I am the one who is grateful to them. 

I don’t crave for the trouble of carrying the magic metal or carving the materials of the Floor Boss at all. 

This is my way of expressing my gratitude.

“Y-You really have helped us out in every single way… I don’t even know how to thank you.” 

Even the Vice-Captain-san began crying now. 

Looks like he was simply enduring the tears.

Are the people of the Tormore Kingdom all easily moved to tears? 

“Ah.” (Eugene)

That’s when I remembered what I borrowed.

“I will return your sword now. Thanks.” (Eugene)

“Eugene-san, if you are going to be using it in your explorations, I will gift it to you…” (Daniel)

“Is that okay?” (Eugene)

“Of course! You defeated the Floor Boss for us, and we are even receiving the Treasure and the materials! That’s pretty much what we can give you, so…” (Daniel)

“Thanks. I will use it with care.” (Eugene)

I decided to accept it without reservation. 

This is a commemorative gift from defeating the 10th Floor Boss. 

I sheathed the sword back and that weight on me felt nostalgic. 

“Well then, farewell, everyone.” (Eugene)

“Be careful old men.” (Sumire)

Sumire and I say our farewells to the explorers of the Tormore Kingdom.

“Thank you! Thank you! I won’t ever forget this debt!” 

“Please come visit the Tormore Kingdom when you are in the Blue Waters Federation!” 

“Eugene-san, Sumire-san, please take care!” 

“Wuuuuuh~~ Thank yoooou!!!!” 

The Captain has been crying the whole time. 

He isn’t as bad of a person as his first impression showed. 

We were seen off by the other members as they waved their hands and shouted loudly. 

It is a bit embarrassing.

“Hey hey, Eugene-kun, it feels good to do good, right?!” (Sumire)

Sumire wrapped her arms around mine with a smile on her face. 

This is a bit embarrassing too. 

But I re-think it. 

“Showing yourself being too nice is not good for an explorer though.” (Eugene)

“Really?” (Sumire)

There’s times when that kindness is taken advantage of after all. 

You have to be more calculative…is what I was taught in the academy. 

“But it is true that it feels good.” (Eugene)

“Right?!” (Sumire)

Well, I doubt anyone’s watching such a low floor like the 10th one. 

No problems.

We stepped into the 11th Floor. 

◇◇

Trees taller than us were growing thickly in the area. 

The 11th Floor of the Zenith Tower: Jungle Area.

“This is the 11th Floor… Gulp.” (Sumire)

I heard the voice of Sumire at my side. 

Her saying gulp out loud must mean that she still has leeway in her. 

“Trees grow thickly from here on, so the vision is a lot worse than in the 9th Floor. Be careful.” (Eugene)

That said, this is my first time coming here too.

My knowledge comes from watching from the Satellite System. 

*Rustle*

*KiKiKiKiKiKiKi*

*Kururu Kururu*

I can hear the sound of trees rustling and strange cries. 

The 11th Floor is the area where monsters even more dangerous than before begin to appear. 

The atmosphere is also very telling of this. 

Sumire grabbed my arm tightly. 

I held Sumire closer to me, and concentrate in order to cast barrier magic at any moment. 

Now, what kind of monster will show up? 

“…”

“…”

We waited for a while. 

“…The monsters…are not coming.” (Sumire)

“…Yeah.” (Eugene)

We were tense for a while, but…Sumire and I were simply sticking close to each other in the middle of the dungeon. 

“Shall we explore around randomly?” (Eugene)

“Okay~.” (Sumire)

Sumire doesn’t seem to be nervous anymore, she was looking around restlessly. 

Maybe we were too on edge because it is the first time we have come to this floor? 

No, there’s no being too careful when doing dungeon exploration. 

“Hey, Eugene-kun.” (Sumire)

Sumire speaks to me.

“What is it?” (Eugene)

“You defeated the Floor Boss just now with your Magic Sword. That was impressive.” (Sumire)

“Thanks. I have been taught since the time I remember.” (Eugene)

“Ooh! By the way, why does a sword have to be a Magic Sword? Wouldn’t it be fine to just cut normally without using my mana?” (Sumire)

“Aah, about that.” (Eugene)

The question of Sumire is heard often from people who don’t use swords. 

Yeah, it doesn’t work that way. 

With a normal sword…

“You have not attacked a monster with a sword, right?” (Eugene)

“I-I haven’t! In the first place, I haven’t cut anything!” (Sumire)

Sumire shook her head to the sides at my question. 

She has told me before. 

The world where Sumire was in had no monsters, and didn’t use swords or magic either. 

“Swords drop their sharpness really fast when you use them even once. Especially when you cut the bone of a monster, and it will corrode if you slice an undead. There’s times when goblins and orcs would hold weapons, and if you clash with them, the blade will obviously be smashed. The sharpness continuously drops.” (Eugene)

“I see… That’s true.” (Sumire)

“Explorations -especially in this Zenith Tower- tend to have you in action for long. It would rarely happen in low floors like the 11th Floor, but as you go to the high floors, you can be attacked by close to 100 monsters which is called a Stampede. In those scenarios, a sword that hasn’t been enhanced with magic won’t be of use.” (Eugene)

“Right… Then, don’t they sell swords that have magic on them already?” (Sumire)

The questions of Sumire don’t stop.

“There are. There are Mystic Swords or even those called Holy Swords which are Magic Swords with ‘eternal enchantment’.” (Eugene)

“Did you not consider using one?” (Sumire)

My pops is a swordsman of a decent standing in the Empire, and he owns a number of magic weapons. 

When he learned that my Ability is White Mana, he lent me a Mystic Sword he liked and I tried to use it, but…

The 3 million G market price Magic Sword’s eternal enchantment was broken due to the White Mana and had turned into garbage. 

—I can’t forget the sad face of my pops at that time.

He said ‘don’t worry about it, Eugene…’, but since then, I have stopped seeking Magic Swords or Holy Swords. 

Even a 3 million G Mystic Sword didn’t like my White Mana. 

All eternal enchantment swords are expensive without exception.

There’s no way I could just break them as I please when I am simply a student. 

“So something like that happened… Hm? Then why is it okay with my mana?” (Sumire)

“Probably because of your Ifrit mana. It must be special.” (Eugene)

“I-I see. My mana is special…” (Sumire)

Sumire was looking at her own palm in wonder. 

I watched that, finding it endearing, and formed a hypothesis. 

The reality is that what Sumire is using is most likely not mana but something close to ether. 

We refine the magic stream permeating the air, and use it to activate magic. 

What’s above that power is ether. 

It is said it is a power that’s mostly used by the Angels of the Divine Realm, but it wouldn’t be strange for an Ifrit to be able to use it. 

If we go even higher than ether, it would be anima, but I doubt that’s the one.

It is said that anima is only used by Gods. 

Anyways, Sumire’s mana is different from that of normal people. This is the conclusion I have arrived at after being together with her for 1 week. 

I am not a specialist in this, so I don’t know exactly though. 

(I should ask Principal Uther next time.) (Eugene)

I am sure he will answer with glee. 

The problem is that that principal is way too busy, so I don’t know if he will make time for me though. 

While I was thinking that…

“Gya! Gya!” 

A small humanoid monster with green skin showed up.

“Sumire, a goblin!” (Eugene)

“This?!” (Sumire)

The goblin was holding something that looked like a rusted adze.

The monsters until the 9th Floor were all beasts, but the monsters from the 11th Floor have increased intelligence, and they would use weapons or attack you in groups. 

You need to be really careful. 

“Gya! Gya! Gya!” 

The goblin shouted and showed its teeth as if intimidating us. 

(…Goblins hunt in groups. If you see 1, assume there are 10.) (Eugene)

The basics of dungeon exploration. 

I didn’t immediately attack the goblin and increased my wariness of the surroundings. 

The goblin was simply provoking us and not attacking. 

“…Eugene-kun?” (Sumire)

“Sumire, don’t lower your guard.” (Eugene)

“O-Okay.” (Sumire)

After a while…

*Rustle Rustle Rustle Rustle…*

Around 5 goblins hidden in the thicket around came out as expected. 

There’s fewer than I thought. 

We were not separating, so they must have run out of patience and came out. 

I switched places with Sumire and stood in front of the 5 goblins. 

I instead leave the 1 goblin on the back to Sumire. 

“Sumire, I will be taking a bit of Red Mana, okay? I will defeat them, so just think about protecting yourself from the goblin!” (Eugene)

“Okay!” (Sumire)

I hold the hand of Sumire.

—Mana Link.

Mana is flowing into me from Sumire. 

“Magic Sword: [Flame Blade]!” (Eugene)

My sword shines red. 

Alright, I can cut goblins with this! 

“Fufufu, my debut in dungeon battle finally begins! I will block you~, I am so blocking you~.” (Sumire)

Sumire is raring to go. 

She readied the shield provided by the academy. 

—The Red Mana must have reacted to Sumire’s emotions, it amplified. 

The air was trembling and the ground was shaking as if resonating with her. 

(Oh?) (Eugene)

The shield of Sumire began to shine red. 

*…Sst Sst*

The ground is burning.

Hn?

A pattern is showing up from the burned ground… Is that a magic circle? 

Sumire has only learned basic magic, so there’s no way she would be able to make complicated magic circles, but…

“Now, bring it on!!!” (Sumire)

A giant pillar of fire broke out from the body of Sumire as she shouted this. 

“Huh?!” (Eugene)

W-What is that?! 

“Hm?” (Sumire)

Sumire has not noticed the phenomenon she herself created. 

The next instant, the giant fire pillar bursted in every direction and created an explosion. 

(T-This is…a High Tier Fire Spell, Firestorm?!) (Eugene)

Moreover, the power is outrageous. 

It doesn’t fall behind an imperial court mage. 

“““““GYAAAAAAAHH!!!!”””””

The death cries of the goblins surrounding us rang.

“Eh? Eh? Eeeeh?!” (Sumire)

Looks like Sumire finally noticed that explosive fire was spreading out from her own body. 

By the time the fire had subsided, the goblins were already charcoal.

““……””

Being the only two remaining, the atmosphere got awkward. 

“W-What did I do?!” (Sumire)

Sumire shouted loudly. 

(I am the one that wants to ask…) (Eugene)

Looks like high tier magic activates on its own when her emotions rise. 

Speaking of which, she did unconsciously turn the 5th Floor into a sea of fire.

No good. 

I thought I understood Sumire, but I didn’t at all. 

There’s a whole bunch of unexpected things here, but there’s one good thing. 

“I am glad your clothes are fine.” (Eugene)

“Eh? …Ah! Was this fireproof explorer clothes?” (Sumire)

“The budget was technically unlimited when it comes to the equipment for an otherworlder, so I chose the highest quality.” (Eugene)

It served its purpose really quickly. 

It would be terrible if her clothes were to be gone in a place like this. 

“A-Are you okay, Eugene? Are you burned…?” (Sumire)

“Well, I am a Barriermancer, so…” (Eugene)

I have blocked the fire of Sumire before. 

It might have been dangerous if others were here though. 

Wouldn’t this really narrow down the people who can form a party with Sumire? 

“…”

“…”

We looked at each other. 

My Magic Sword is shining red light without anywhere to release it.

I undo the fire Magic Sword that had no turn this time around. 

The blade returned from red to silver. 

“This is your first dungeon monster subjugation. Congratulations.” (Eugene)

“…Y-Yeah.” (Sumire)

My congratulations sounded really sarcastic. 

Sumire had a face as if having a hard time finding words. 

I confirmed whether the fire of Sumire would burn the 11th Floor just in case, but the Firestorm was only activated for a short period of time, so I don’t think it is going to cause a fire. 

“Let’s go.” (Eugene)

“Okay…” (Sumire)

We decided to advance in the dungeon. 

After that, we encountered small monsters like goblins and kobolds, but we got through them without any dangers. 

And then, after walking for a while, we found the stairs for the 12th Floor. 

(…This is as far as we get.) (Eugene)

I told Sumire that we should return. 

Sumire seems to have the same opinion. 

This is quite the successful dungeon exploration for her first time. 

There’s no benefit in going further on. 

We didn’t advance to the 12th Floor and headed to the Dungeon Elevator. 

We carefully advance through the forest area. 

The location of the elevators stick out like long pillars, so you can tell pretty quickly. 

The vicinity of the dungeon elevators is safe because there’s a monster repelling barrier set around it. 

Because of this, this is the place with the highest chance of meeting other explorers. 

The doors to the dungeon elevators were slowly coming to sight. 

(Hm?) (Eugene)

A group of close to 20 explorers entered our line of vision. 

The Lykeion Magic Academy crest was showing on their clothes. 

In other words, academy students.

They had a number of tents set there, and were cooking on a campfire. 

Looks like they plan on camping here and passing the night. 

A number of them have noticed us and directed their gazes here. 

Sumire and I bowed lightly and tried to pass by them. 

At that moment…

“Oh? Aren’t you academy students?! Ooi!” 

A female student within the people camping approached us. 

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