ZAP – Chapter 27: Eugene speaks to the Academy Principal

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“Eugene, you formed a contract with the Demon Lord Erinyes, didn’t you?” (Uther)

Principal Uther pointed this out straight. 

The eyes he was looking at me with were sharp.

It is completely different from the bored eyes he had when reading the book. 

“…U-Uhm, there’s a variety of reasons for this…” (Eugene)

While I was hesitating on what to say…

“Pft… Don’t get so scared. I won’t tell anyone. Especially when it comes to the Holy Nation of Caldia. The people there hate Erinyes.” (Uther)

“Right…” (Eugene)

I have heard about that. 

If you worship a Demon Lord within the territory of the Sacred Union, you are instantly executed.

There’s no way there’s people who worship the Demon Lords! -is what I want to say, but there’s actually a Demon Lord religion that has taken root in the South Continent. 

The reason is the ruling policy of Erinyes 1,000 years ago. 

The political measures of the Demon Lord at that time were that of sloth. 

Laze about as much as possible and live the way you want. That was the ruling policy of Eri at that time. 

She didn’t slaughter humans and had a pretty ‘lukewarm’ ruling compared to other Demon Lords.

But she apparently didn’t show mercy to the ones that went against her though. 

It was written in the history books, and I heard that from Eri herself too. 

By the way, the teaching of the most worshiped Holy God in the South Continent is order and diligence. 

Basically the complete opposite. 

But the ones that find this asphyxiating would worship Eri.

Also, part of it might be because there’s legends saying that Erinyes has inhuman beauty. 

And I have confirmed that myself.

I kind of understand why she would be worshiped with beauty like that.

With that beauty…I kind of understand why there would be a religion of her. 

It is not like I worship Eri, but I most likely won’t come out unscathed if it is discovered that I made a contract with her. 

The investigations of the heretic interrogators at Caldia are said to be tenacious and cruel.

…Will it be alright? 

That must have shown in my face. 

“There’s no need to feel so down about it. Foreign countries think that the Demon Lord Erinyes is sleeping due to the seal. The only ones who know that she has woken up are you and me.” (Uther)

“The reason you are hiding this…is in order to not cause any unnecessary unease to the residents of the dungeon city, right?” (Eugene)

“Umu… There’s nothing good in having them know about the Demon Lord being awake after all. Also, the seal of the underground prison is tight. There’s no worries of her escaping.” (Uther)

“…Really?” (Eugene)

I know how sturdy the seal underground is, but even with that, my worries increase as someone who knows the Demon Lord closely. 

I feel as if Eri is always scheming something. 

“Don’t worry. I am the one who is responsible for the public order in this city. You don’t need to worry about it.” (Uther)

Principal Uther made his usual grin filled with confidence. 

“I thought I would be thrown into the prison together with the Demon Lord.” (Eugene)

“Hahaha! You say quite the interesting thing. Well, if you were to get controlled by Erinyes, I was considering it, but as of now it seems like there’s no need to worry about that.” (Uther)

The moment Principal Uther said this, his eyes shone silver. 

—The Sage Magic Eyes. 

You can’t hide anything when those eyes are locked onto you. 

“That’s all I wanted to say. I wanted to confirm with my own eyes that there were no abnormalities with you after making the contract with the Demon Lord. It doesn’t seem like there’s any problems. That said, the Demon Lord has taken a liking to you, so I thought she wouldn’t do anything that would threaten your life.” (Uther)

I was taken aback by those words.

“…So you were worried about me?” (Eugene)

“Obviously. The students of the academy are like my family.” (Uther)

“Thanks.” (Eugene)

I lowered my head politely.

“Don’t worry about it. More importantly, don’t you have something to ask me too?” (Uther)

“You really see through everything.” (Eugene)

I seriously feel like I wouldn’t be able to hide anything from the Principal. 

What I want to ask the most about is that matter.

“…Why did a Divine Beast appear in the 20th Floor?” (Eugene)

“That’s…still under investigation.” (Uther)

The Principal made a grim expression at my question.

This is rare for the usually aloof Principal Uther.

“Could it be that it has to do with a Fire Half-God like Sumire showing up in the Zenith Tower…?” (Eugene)

I tell him my own conjecture. 

I didn’t tell the person herself, but she is the Ifrit that turned the 5th Floor into a sea of fire. 

The Divine Beast Cerberus trampled down the 20th Floor. 

They are all abnormal situations that happened in low floors. 

I thought they might be related somehow. 

“No, they are probably unrelated.” (Uther)

The Principal easily denied my opinion. 

“Really?” (Eugene)

“Yeah, Sumire-kun was probably…caught up in the mass otherworlder summoning that happened in the West Continent.” (Uther)

“M-Mass otherworlder summoning…?” (Eugene)

What’s with that?! 

Aren’t otherworlders supposed to be rare to the point that there’s only 1 every few centuries?

“The influence of the Divine Realm Goddesses is stronger there than that of the South Continent. Looks like they acted in preparation for the revival of the Great Demon Lord. They most likely want to turn the otherworlders that have strong skills into the trump card against the Great Demon Lord. The West Continent is geographically close to the Demonic Continent where the Great Demon Lord will be revived after all.” (Uther)

“…The legendary Great Demon Lord that ruled the world 1,000 years ago? Is he really going to revive?” (Eugene)

It is being rumored, but it doesn’t feel real. 

“Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. But that’s not something you need to worry about Eugene. Just leave that stuff to the top dogs of the nations.” (Uther)

“Aren’t you a king, Principal…?” (Eugene)

“That’s why I am worried about it. I am properly gathering information and everything, right? And so…about the reason for the Divine Beast appearing in the 20th Floor…it is still purely speculation inside me, so I can’t explain it right now.” (Uther)

“I see.” (Eugene)

I obediently withdraw.

If the Principal doesn’t know, no one does.

That’s when I suddenly noticed.

“Could it be that there might be acquaintances of Sumire within the group of otherworlder summoned in the West Continent…?” (Eugene)

“Yeah, I thought that too, so I told this to Sumire-kun.” (Uther)

“Doesn’t she want to meet them?” (Eugene)

Meeting her acquaintances would be for the best. 

But Sumire didn’t say anything about this when we talked before. 

“She is apparently not going to go meet the otherworlders in the West Continent.” (Uther)

“…Why?” (Eugene)

Even though it is her chance to meet acquaintances.

“She has lost her memories after all.” (Uther)

“…That’s true. But she might be able to regain her memories if she met them.” (Eugene)

“But Sumire-kun is currently an Ifrit. There’s a chance they won’t notice she is an acquaintance.” (Uther)

“…I see.” (Eugene)

Sumire is not a human. 

She has reincarnated into a Fire Half-God.

I don’t know how much of her previous appearance she has inherited, but there’s the chance that it is completely different. 

“It seems like she is scared of meeting them when she is not a human and doesn’t have memories. Well, I do understand how she feels here. It would take several weeks to get to the West Continent, and you wouldn’t want that to all just be wasted effort, right?” (Uther)

“…Yeah.” (Eugene)

The standing of Sumire must be far rougher than I am thinking. 

If only I could be of help to her in some way…

“By the way, I heard from Sumire-kun…” (Uther)

The Principal grinned here.

“She apparently doesn’t feel lonely lately because she has you and Leona-kun. She said the Lykeion Magic Academy is fun. Looks like you are fulfilling your duty as a guardian.” (Uther)

I felt a bit prickly at the words of the Principal.

Sumire said something like that? 

“I am glad to hear that.” (Eugene)

“Her face would turn especially bright when talking about you, you know? She has taken quite a liking to you.” (Uther)

“…You could say that.” (Eugene)

Sumire is pretty straight in her display of emotions and easy to understand. 

I am aware that she likes me to a certain degree.

“Won’t put a hand on her?” (Uther)

He said something outrageous.

“I won’t! I am her guardian!” (Eugene)

How can he say something like that with such aloof. 

“I also know how diligent and serious you are, Eugene. That’s why I left you the job of being her guardian.” (Uther)

“…Thanks, I guess.” (Eugene)

“But after studying abroad because of a broken heart, the only woman you have put your hands on is the Demon Lord Erinyes after all the trouble of entering the magic academy. You even broke up with Sara-kun who is a Holy Maiden candidate, right? You are a student, so how about enjoying your life with a bit more romance?” (Uther)

“I didn’t go out with Sara to begin with.” (Eugene)

This conversation has derailed heavily. 

What’s this? 

Why am I talking about love with the Academy Principal and King?

“Fumu, I am sure you will be having troubles with your female relationships.” (Uther)

“…What’s that all of a sudden?” (Eugene)

“Nothing really, just a hunch. Don’t worry about it.” (Uther)

The Principal laughs with an evil ‘kukuku’.

His eyes are shining silver as usual. 

(If I remember correctly, the magic eyes of the Principal can see the future too…) (Eugene)

Did he see something? 

I am getting chills here. 

“I-I will be taking my leave now.” (Eugene)

“Umu, sorry for calling you here.” (Uther)

“No, I am grateful for everything you have told me.” (Eugene)

I lowered my head and was about to leave the principal’s office. 

But then…

“You are aiming for the 500th Floor, right, Eugene?” (Uther)

Just before I opened the door, he spoke to me. 

When I looked back, Principal Uther was reading a different magic book from before. 

“Yes, together with Sumire.” (Eugene)

“Do your best. When you clear the 100th Floor, let’s celebrate by telling you the tales of my adventures.” (Uther)

“…That would be great. I will do my best.” (Eugene)

Principal Uther is the Record Holder in 2nd place with his record being the 451th Floor. 

A chance to hear stories about that doesn’t come often. 

The record of me and Sumire is the 20th Floor. 

It would be insulting to even compare them. 

But he directed words of encouragement towards us. 

Then, I have to answer that expectation.

I bowed once more and exited the principal’s office. 

◇Next Day◇

“Yo! Ho! Like this, Leona-chan?” 

“That’s right! You pick up fast, Sumire-chan!” (Leona)

The 5th training ground of the Lykeion Magic Academy. 

Sumire and Leona are learning martial arts there.

By the way, Leona practically brute forced her way into having Sumire join the martial arts club. 

There’s a lot of female members in the martial arts club and they are all pretty openminded. 

I think it is a good environment for Sumire who doesn’t have much acquaintances. 

“Sorry, Leona. For having you teach Sumire personally.” (Eugene)

I give her my thanks as the partner of Sumire.

“What are you saying? If you hadn’t shouldered the pay for the Resurrection Drop, I would have fallen into debt hell… I can’t go against you at present. How about I begin calling you Eugene-sama?” (Leona)

“Please spare me from that.” (Eugene)

“Ahaha, just kidding.” (Leona)

Leona laughs. 

I confirmed my own sword while I observed the training of Sumire and Leona. 

At times…

“Hoi!” 

Sumire unleashed a spinning kick in midair. 

Sparks flew in the air. 

(Hm?) (Eugene)

The next instant, *whoom!!* a giant arc of fire was drawn in the air.

“Wawa?!” (Leona)

Leona avoided it slightly flustered. 

I could have blocked it with barrier magic even if it did hit, but I avoided it just in case. 

“What was that just now?” (Leona)

“Fire just comes out whenever it wants…” (Sumire)

“Being able to activate fire magic just by moving your body is impressive.” (Leona)

Leona crossed her arms as if in admiration. 

Sumire seemed to be dejected in contrast though.

It looks like she thought she caused trouble here. 

“An Ifrit most likely has a massive amount of mana internally, and that is leaking out. Let’s take that as a separate topic and learn how to use mana as a mage.” (Eugene)

“O-Okay!” (Sumire)

Sumire nodded with strength at my words.

She is my partner in my explorations. 

She is working hard for the sake of that. 

But…

“Don’t push yourself too hard.” (Eugene)

“It is okay. I want to explore together with you quickly!” (Sumire)

“Wow, so hot in here. You are really showing off here.” (Leona)

“T-That’s not it, Leona-chan!” (Sumire)

She would sometimes tease Sumire like this. 

I got a bit embarrassed there myself. 

It is by no means because I hold strange feelings towards Sumire, but the Principal said something weird to me…

It was at that moment…

“Oh, is that Eugene? Didn’t expect to see you in the training grounds.” 

Someone called my name. 

A familiar voice.

“Claude, you training too?” (Eugene)

“Yeah, the weather’s good after all. Gotta move your body everyday or it gets rusty.” (Claude)

The owner of the voice is Claude Percival.

An elite of the Legendary Hero Department from the Lykeion Magic Academy, his Job being Hero. 

“Oh, the girl there is the rumored girl that came from a parallel world? Nice to meet you, I am Claude Percival. I have been close friends with Eugene for a year. I would be happy if we were to get along too.” (Claude)

He shows his bright teeth and does a refreshing smile. 

It could be mistaken as him trying to flirt with her, but this is how he normally acts with women. 

“Uhm, my name is Sashiogi Sumire. I am the exploration partner of Eugene-kun and—” (Sumire)

Sumire responds nervously since this is their first meeting and…

“Oh my, oh my, already making a move on a girl? You are the same as always, Claude.” 

A chilling voice cut her off.

The face of Claude stiffens at that voice.

“L-Leona…?” (Claude)

“It has been a while.” (Leona)

The cold voice of Leona was contrasted by her smile. 

It seems like he didn’t see her because Sumire and I blocked the view. 

““……””

Sumire and I looked at each other’s face at the really asphyxiating atmosphere.

“Y-Yeah. Doing good?” (Claude)

“You are the one who was having fun with a whole lot of girls and forgetting about me, right?” (Leona)

“That’s a misunderstanding. I actually wanted to meet you sooner, but I am prohibited from going to the martial arts club right now.” (Claude)

“You have been prohibited entry to the swordsmanship club and archery club too!” (Leona)

Claude…what did you do? 

No, I can somewhat tell it is something deplorable. 

Claude was avoiding the questioning of Leona with a smile. 

That said, there’s sweat flowing down his forehead though.

We could only watch that state of theirs silently. 

The conversation of the two continued for a while.

And then, it seems like Claude gave up on staying here. 

“Sorry, Eugene. I wanted to hear about your rumored battle against the Divine Beast, but…I will leave it for next time. Sorry for the intrusion, Sumire-chan.” (Claude)

Leona was harsh with Claude to the bitter end. 

But Claude didn’t falter.

“Leona.” (Claude)

“W-What?” (Leona)

“I will come see you again.” (Claude)

“…Liar.” (Leona)

“I am telling the truth. See ya.” (Claude)

Claude left while waving his hand.

What are his nerves made of?

“““……”””

An awkward atmosphere covered us 3 for a while. 

Even when I am dense to the love of others, I can at least tell that Leona and Claude had something in the past. 

But I can’t just act tactlessly. 

While I was thinking that…

“Hey hey, Eugene-kun, was the person just now a friend of yours?” (Sumire)

Sumire threw the topic to me. 

“Yeah, a friend of mine since I enrolled. He is a Dragon Knight and I am looking after his wyvern.” (Eugene)

“Ooh, a Dragon Knight! That sounds impressive!” (Sumire)

“…It is not impressive at all.” (Leona)

Leona entered the conversation.

“Leona-chan, you know the person just now well?” (Sumire)

“A-About that…” (Leona)

Ooh! 

Wow, Sumire, it is a bit forceful, but she managed to swerve the topic to Leona’s relationship with Claude.

“…We dated a long time ago. Just for a bit… We broke up already.” (Leona)

“I see, so that’s how it was! Aah…but then…it wouldn’t be good to have you tell us about it.” (Sumire)

“No, I don’t care about it anymore! Listen about it, Sumire-chan.” (Leona)

Saying this, Leona talked about the beginning of her romance with Claude and what happened after.

Looks like she wanted to open up about this with someone. 

I would feel bad getting in the way of the conversation of two girls, so I decided to swing my sword a bit further away. 

“…He really is the worst, you know!” (Leona)

“But he looked cool and you and him seemed to be a good pair.” (Sumire)

“Stop that! …Well, he is indeed cool.” (Leona)

“…You still like him?” (Sumire)

“Not at all!” (Leona)

“Really?” (Sumire)

“…”

I could hear the conversation of the two even from afar. 

Girls really like love talks.

Now that I think about it, Airi would also talk passionately to me about people who got together or separated in the military school.

It probably doesn’t change no matter where you go. 

The training that day had a hard time resuming.

◇Two days later◇

We came to the entrance of the Zenith Tower.

Sumire has learned physical combat to a certain degree. 

There’s still worries in her mana control though…

But we can’t just take all our time preparing to aim for the 500th Floor. 

“We are back, Sumire.” (Eugene)

“Yeah, we are beginning from the 21th Floor!” (Sumire)

We defeated the Floor Boss of the 20th Floor, so we can go all the way there with the dungeon elevator. 

—We resumed our challenge of the Zenith Tower.

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