ZAP – Chapter 34: Eugene thinks about the Demon Lord

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“Hey hey, Eugene~, how long are you planning on sleeping?” 

My body was shaken and I slowly opened my eyes.

What entered my eyes was pure white skin like that of snow. 

And what was wrapped around me were black wings.

“Eri…?” (Eugene)

“You are going to catch a cold looking like that, you know?” (Eri)

“Looking like what…?” (Eugene)

I confirm my own attire while still half-asleep.

But there’s no attire. 

I have nothing on after all.

That was the same for Erinyes in front of me. 

“Eh?!” (Eugene)

I hurriedly jumped up.

Wa… Why am I in the underground prison…? 

“What’s the matter, Eugene? Still half-asleep?” (Eri)

“Aah…no, I remember now. I cleared Floor 50 and came to report to you that I have become a B rank explorer.” (Eugene)

After that, Eri shouted ‘Then, we have to celebrate!’ and drank alcohol. And then, she assaulted me and I got sleepy. 

I was at the limit of my stamina after the exploration ended, so it seems I ended up sleeping for a night here. 

“……”

“…What?” (Eugene)

Eri, who is watching me with a smile on her face, is astonishingly beautiful.

Eri didn’t answer my question immediately and caressed my body and cheek. 

“Your face has gotten better recently. Become an even better man just like this.” (Eri)

“…So I was a useless man before?” (Eugene)

“You are the man that caught the eye of the Fallen Angel Lord, you know? That’s not all you have, right?” (Eri)

“I hope that’s the case.” (Eugene)

I tried to stand up from the bed and Eri pulled my arm. 

“What, already leaving?” (Eri)

She was telling me not to leave yet with those upturned eyes of hers. 

“I have arranged to explore Floor 51 with Sumire and Sara today.” (Eugene)

“Aah, that Ifrit girl and the Holy Maiden apprentice, huh. Don’t those two get along terribly?” (Eri)

“…It has gotten better recently…probably.” (Eugene)

“Really? And so, when are you supposed to meet?” (Eri)

“Evening.” (Eugene)

“Then, you still have time.” (Eri)

She said this and pushed me down.

At that moment, something fell.

“Ah.” (Eugene)

“What’s this?” (Eri)

Eri took it before I could pick it up.

“That’s my exploration badge. Please give it back.” (Eugene)

“I see, this is a B rank explorer’s badge.” (Eri)

Eri looks at it as if finding it unamusing.

Is she saying not to get satisfied with something like this? 

If you pass Floor 50, you are a B rank explorer.

A rank if you pass Floor 100.

S rank if you get past Floor 200.

But our objective is far above that. 

However, as someone who stayed at D rank for more than a year, the B rank badge honestly made me happy. 

But the expression of Eri was for a different reason than I expected.

“It has the smell of an unknown woman… Moreover, two.” (Eri)

“…What are you talking about?” (Eugene)

I will try faking it for now. 

But it is most likely pointless.

“Hiding something from me is wasted effort. Spit it out already. So Sumire-chan and Sara-chan were not enough. You even put your hand on other women?” (Eri)

“That’s not it. It is the dungeon guide, Amaryllis-san, and Isolde-san from the 12 knights, who is helping me out.” (Eugene)

“Oh my, how cocky. Even though you are just a B rank explorer, you already have your personal dungeon guide?” (Eri)

“…Yeah, a lot happened.” (Eugene)

I reminisced about what happened just yesterday.

◇◇

“Wow☆Eugene-san, congratulations on getting through Floor 50! That was a splendid subjugation. But I didn’t expect you to have difficulty fighting a mere dragon, you know? Here, your B rank badge! I already had it prepared for you!” 

The moment I entered the Dungeon Union, Amaryllis-san rushed towards me. 

“So you were watching me, Amaryllis-san. Thanks.” (Eugene)

I can’t believe she is the same receptionist that was fiddling with her hair just the other day. 

“Hey, Eugene-kun, who is…that woman?” (Sumire)

“Eugene, can you please introduce me to that lady there?” (Sara)

The voices of my two comrades are cold.

Are they having a weird misunderstanding here?

“Let me introduce you. This person is…” (Eugene)

“Yes~☆nice to meet you. I am the dungeon staff, Amaryllis Fiore! I am normally working as a receptionist in the Dungeon Union’s HQ! You must be Sashiogi Sumire-san who came from a parallel world, and the top candidate for Holy Maiden-sama in Caldia, Sara Iglesia Lodis-san, right?! I have heard many things about you two!!” (Amaryllis)

She greeted the two before I could introduce her. 

Looks like she has also investigated my party members. 

“Y-Yes…nice to meet you. I am Sumire.” (Sumire)

“I am Sara…nice to meet you.” (Sara)

Sumire and Sara are being pushed by the vigor of Amaryllis-san.

“I asked Eugene-san whether I can be his dungeon guide the other day! And so, I was thinking about greeting you two!” (Amaryllis)

“Guide…?” (Sumire)

“Can you please tell me in detail about this?” (Sara)

Sumire was confused and Sara’s eyes got sharp.

It seems like this is the first time Sumire has heard the word dungeon guide.

I gave her a simple explanation of what that job entails. 

“Hmm, I see. So she would be the personal dungeon staff of our party?” (Sumire)

“There are dungeon guides who would make a contract with several parties, but I personally am not looking at other parties, so it is okay to think of me as being exclusive to you☆.” (Amaryllis)

Amaryllis-san shows a big business smile. 

I see. 

So she isn’t looking at the other exploration parties, huh.

“Amaryllis-san, you normally get a dungeon guide after becoming an A rank explorer, right? Why did you speak to Eugene who just got through Floor 50 just recently?” (Sara)

Sara directed eyes of suspicion towards Amaryllis. 

Well, that bothered me too.

Looks like Sumire also had that same question.

“About that…” (Amaryllis)

“Yes?” (Sara)

We waited for the words of Amaryllis-san.

“Fufufu… Of course, it is because Eugene-san is an explorer that can earn.” (Amaryllis)

Her eyes glowed with the money symbol and she made the shape of a gold coin with her fingers. 

…Eh? Money? 

“The materials of Cerberus the other day were sold at 200 million G, and he is close to His Majesty Uther, right?! There’s no dungeon guide who would think twice!” (Amaryllis)

It was a more monetary driven reason than I expected.

Or more like, it is exactly that.

That left a good impression on me.

“I think it is good that the reason is so easy to understand. What do you two think?” (Eugene)

I asked Sumire and Sara.

“Hmm…so the reason is money…” (Sumire)

“Is that really all there is to it?” (Sara)

Sumire and Sara’s expressions were not favorable. 

Amaryllis-san pushed even further here. 

“Fufufu…there’s no need for you two to worry. If need be, you can add the condition in the dungeon guide contract that if I were to put a hand on Eugene-san, the contract will be annulled instantly.” (Amaryllis)

“Wa?!” 

“Eh?!” 

“Oi!” 

Her words not only surprised me but the other two, too.

But Amaryllis-san was dumbfounded by the surprise of the two.

“It is famous in the Dungeon Union, you know? Outstanding student explorers that managed to get through the 50th Floor with just 3 people. But their teamwork is the worst. The reason being the lovestruck battle for the leader.” (Amaryllis)

“““……”””

Seriously? 

It is to the point where it is talked about in the Dungeon Union.

But it is true that Sumire and Sara have been fighting in front of the Satellite System.

When I glanced at the two…

Sumire and Sara were looking at each other terribly awkwardly. 

The only one with a smile was Amaryllis-san.

“Fufufu, even with the worst teamwork, you managed to defeat the Floor Boss of Floor 50 without any issues. I would like to support you as a member of the Dungeon Union!” (Amaryllis)

Amaryllis-san is a bit pushy here. 

Sumire and Sara, who were showing their disapproval, were silent now, so she might have thought of this as a chance.

I am personally fine to have Amaryllis-san as our dungeon guide. 

However, I tried asking one thing that I was curious about.

“Why do you need money?” (Eugene)

It may be a bit of an insensitive question, but I tried asking just in case.

By the way, in the words of my Pops: ‘If you know the way they use their money, you will know who they are as a person’.

I don’t know if that’s true though. 

“…Actually…” (Amaryllis)

The face of Amaryllis-san, that was all smiles the whole time, clouded a little bit. 

After hesitating for a bit, she took off the dungeon staff hat. 

On top of her bright light brown hair, there are cute beast ears.

“Wa, cat ears-san!” (Sumire)

“They are not! These are tiger ears!” (Amaryllis)

Amaryllis-san corrects Sumire-san who let out her voice in surprise.

“So you were a beastkin…” (Sara)

“Yes… I come from a small island in the Blue Water Federation. I had a whole lot of little sisters and little brothers, and I had to send them money as their elder sister. But there are no A rank explorers who would make a contract to be their dungeon guide as a beastkin…” (Amaryllis)

“That’s why you targeted us B ranks, huh.” (Eugene)

“Is that…a no?” (Amaryllis)

Amaryllis-san looks up at me with an upturned gaze. 

This can be said about the South Continent as a whole, but most countries are human centric. 

The culture and religion is different depending on the species of the beastkin, so it is hard to group together. 

As a result, even if there’s no clear discrimination, you will find that humans are normally the ones with the higher standing.

That seems to be the case in the dungeon city too.

“I don’t mind though.” (Eugene)

“I am fine with it too.” (Sumire)

“There’s no way we would be bothered by something like that.” (Sara)

Fortunately, there’s no one who finds that to be a problem.

—And so, Amaryllis-san safely became our party’s personal dungeon guide. 

◇◇

“So this is…the residence of one of the 12 Knights, Isolde Lismore-sama.” (Eugene)

Sumire, Sara, and I went to the 1st District of the Dungeon City, also known as the Noble District. 

The reason being that we got a message that said ‘Please come when you feel it most convenient’.

I decided to do so at once before I forget it.

By the way, there was no need for Sumire and Sara to come, but the two said ‘I am going with you!!’ and were stubborn about it. 

I told my name to the gatekeeper and had them act as an agent. 

We had the appointment made through Amaryllis-san. 

A butler came out from the residence and we were led to the reception room.

A few minutes later, Isolde-san came in a rough appearance different from her armored look of before. 

“Heya there. I didn’t expect you to come this soon, Eugene-kun. Also, nice to meet you two at the back. I am Isolde Lismore. I am being called the guardian of the Dungeon City, but today is my day off, so you can relax.” (Isolde)

“I have come from the Holy Nation of Caldia. My name is Sara Iglesia Lodis. It is an honor to meet you.” (Sara)

Sara kneeled without hesitation and Sumire was about to do the same after hesitating a bit. 

“N-Nice to meet you. My name’s Sashi—” (Sumire)

“Oi oi, let’s keep the formalities out.” (Isolde)

Isolde-san got to the back of the two in an instant and had them stand by grabbing their shoulders. 

She then had them sit on the reception room’s sofa just like that.

I sat by the side of the two. 

“I heard you had something to talk about.” (Eugene)

I asked Isolde-san.

“Yeah, that’s right. You must be tired from the dungeon exploration, so I will make it short. First of all, congratulations on clearing Floor 50.” (Isolde)

“Thank you very much.” (Eugene)

Leaving aside the dungeon staff Amaryllis-san, I didn’t expect Isolde-san to know too.

“Seeing your battle with the Floor Boss, I did think it was a bit dangerous, but you also had leeway too. I could feel that you were hiding some sort of trump card.” (Isolde)

Sharp.

It is true that I didn’t borrow the power of the Demon Lord in the 50th Floor. 

“Well, asking about that would be boorish. Today’s topic is a different one.” (Isolde)

Isolde-san lowered her tone of voice here. 

“We have learned of what might be the reason why the Divine Beast Cerberus appeared in the 20th Floor all of a sudden.” (Isolde)

“““?!”””

Those words made me, Sumire, and Sara change our expressions. 

How to defeat the Floor Boss is an eternal homework for the explorers of the Zenith Tower. 

And the Floor Boss normally appears matching the strength of the explorers to a certain degree.

That’s because the almighty Gods of the Divine Realm created the Zenith Tower as a trial for the residents of the Mortal Realm.

However, the rules crumbled when the Divine Beast appeared in the 20th Floor. 

The explorers are currently praying that a Divine Beast won’t appear when a new Floor Boss shows up. 

“Just why?” (Eugene)

“The reason is still not certain. What we know is ‘who did it’.” (Isolde)

Isolde-san lowered her voice here.

“…Do you 3 know about the Snake Church?” (Isolde)

“Yeah, the people who worship the Demon Lords, right?” (Sumire)

Sumire answered the question of Isolde-san.

Of course, me and Sara also know this.

It is common knowledge in this world. 

“In the South Continent, the Fallen Angel Lord, Erinyes, is the one being worshiped. That said, no nation allows the worship of Demon Lords, so there’s no one who reveals they are from the Snake Church.” (Isolde)

“They are the ones who called the Divine Beast…?” (Eugene)

Isolde-san shook her head to the sides at my question. 

“No. There have been records of the Snake Church having challenged the 100th Floor. But they didn’t fight the Divine Beast and used Teleport on it instead. I don’t know the reason though.” (Isolde)

“Does that count as having cleared Floor 100?” (Eugene)

No.” (Isolde)

“Then there’s no point.” (Eugene)

“That’s right… Hence why we don’t know the reason.” (Isolde)

Isolde-san seems to find this strange too. 

I thought that was a hidden trick to get through the 100th Floor, but it seems like that wasn’t the case.

“And where are they now?” (Eugene)

“They are wanted criminals. But they are good at hiding. It will most likely be difficult to find them.” (Isolde)

“I see…” (Eugene)

It hasn’t been solved.

“Why tell us about this?” (Eugene)

“You will most likely be challenging the 100th Floor in a not so distant future.” (Isolde)

Isolde-san stated firmly. 

There was also Amaryllis-san saying that. We really are being overestimated. 

We have to match those expectations. 

“Be careful. The Snake Church is getting even more sensitive because of the times, and there’s no knowing what they will pull. If there’s any problem, please consult with us. If you have a topic to discuss, I don’t mind opening a Round Council.” (Isolde)

“T-That far…?” (Eugene)

A Round Council is the most important of meetings where King Uther acts as the chairman.

Of course, I haven’t participated in it or even seen it. 

(…Isolde-san really is a central member of this city.) (Eugene)

It made that seep in me. 

By the way, I am actually closer to the superior of Isolde-san, King Uther, but he is so casual with me that I end up forgetting he is actually a big-shot.

Anyways, the talk of the Snake Church hasn’t been made public yet. 

The Snake Church is not anywhere on the surface, so it seems they worry that the populace will end up becoming doubtful from publicizing things without care. 

She told us to keep this talk between us. 

We of course could only tell her ‘okay’ and we left. 

◇◇

“What the matter, Eugene? Making a complicated face like that.” 

“No, it is nothing. I was simply thinking.” (Eugene)

I was remembering my conversation with Isolde-san.

Cerberus showed up in Floor 20 because of the Snake Church.

And in order to fight the Divine Beast, I made a contract with Eri. 

Was that a coincidence?

I can’t read anything at all from the cute face of Eri who is straddling on top of my body and looking down at me. 

The face of Eri approaches slowly. 

I didn’t avoid it and my lips were stolen.

“You shouldn’t do that. When you are with me, you have to think of me♡.” (Eri)

(But I was thinking about you.) (Eugene)

I can’t really say that.

She is cute right now, but she is the Demon Lord that ruled over the South Continent 1,000 years ago. 

According to what I have heard, I doubt she would reveal anything by mistake even if I tried. 

And so, my job right after waking up was being the ‘partner’ of Eri.

By the way, I left the Underground Prison around past noon.

◇Zenith Tower – 1st Floor◇

(…My body feels sluggish.) (Eugene)

Eri was intense today as well. 

I came to the meeting place early and began to move my body lightly to warm up.

And then, right when the time hit, I saw two shadows running here. 

Sumire and Sara.

(If only those two got along better…) (Eugene)

Is what I think, but I am the reason for it, so it is hard to say it. 

But the monsters in Floor 51 and up have a drastic jump in power. 

We have to be more careful than before -that’s what I vowed internally.

I direct my gaze at the two…

“Eugene-kun, sorry for the wait~☆.” (Sumire)

“Eugene! Sorry for the wait.” (Sara)

“Sumire, Sara, today……Eh?” (Eugene)

I looked at the two and opened my mouth wide.

“What’s the matter, Eugene-kun?” (Sumire)

“Eugene, you are making a weird face.” (Sara)

Sumire and Sara look dumbfounded. 

No, you ask me?

No matter how you think about it, this is weird.

Sumire and Sara were at their throats the whole time, and yet…they showed up while holding hands all friendly.

What in the world happened?

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