Stealing treasures (panties) with my right hand!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Striker
“Hey, there’s something I want to ask the both of you. How do you learn skills?”
The day after fighting the frogs.
We were having a late lunch at the guild’s bar.
Before me was the penniless Megumin, who hadn’t had a proper meal before meeting us and was focusing on eating her lunch, and Aqua, calling for the waitress to order more food.
Their appetites were too great for ladies of their tender age.
… Two women and a single man was still a harem party, but it totally didn’t feel that way at all…
Megumin raised her head while holding her fork and said:
“Learning skills? That’s easy, look at your card and choose one from the ‘Learnable skills’ column… Oh right, Kazuma’s job’s Adventurer. In that case, you need someone to teach you a skill. You need to see the skill in action and ask the user to teach you how to use it. It’ll then show up in the learnable column, then you can spend skill points to learn the skill.”
I remembered the counter lady saying that the basic-tier job, Adventurer, could learn any skill.
If that was the case…
“… That means if Megumin teaches me, I could use explosion magic?”
Megumin reacted strongly to my casual words.
“That’s right, Kazuma! The skill points needed would be absurdly high, but Adventurer is the only job other than Archwizard that can use Explosion. I can teach you if you want to learn. Or rather, there are no other skills that are worth learning except Explosion, right? Of course not! Come, let’s walk the path of Explosion together!”
Her face was too close!
“Wait, calm down loli! I only have 3 skill points, there’s no way I can learn it, right?”
Megumin was too excited to hold a proper conversation, so I asked Aqua instead.
“If an adventurer wants to learn the explosion spell, 20 or so skill points won’t be enough. You’ll probably need to train for a decade or two and invest all your points to learn it.”
“Who has that kind of patience?”
“Fu… To call me a loli…”
Megumin seemed stunned by me addressing her as a loli, dejectedly eating her set meal in small bites.
But the only good point about my job–Adventurer–was the ability to learn any skill. Of course I wanted to learn more skills.
“Hey Aqua, you should have many convenient skills, right? Do you have any easy-to-learn skills to teach me? I prefer those that don’t need a lot of points and are very useful.”
Aqua thought for a moment while holding her cup of water.
“… It can’t be helped–but I have to warn you, my skills are amazing! They’re not meant to be passed on lightly!”
I wasn’t happy about Aqua mouthing off like that, but I had to bear with it since I was asking her to teach me.
I obediently nodded my head and watched Aqua’s every movement.
“Well, look at this cup. Put this cupful of water on top of your head and don’t let it fall off. Here, try it.”
It was a bit embarrassing to do that in public, but I mimicked Aqua’s action and put the cup on top of my head.
Aqua then took out an unknown seed and placed it on the table.
“All right. Now use your finger to flick the seed into the cup; you must do it in one try. Something amazing is happening! The seed’s absorbing the water and sprouting…”
“Who asked you to teach me party tricks, you worthless goddess!?”
Aqua became as dejected as Megumin for some reason and rolled the seed around the table with her finger.
I don’t know what’s getting you so down, but can you remove the cup from your head? It’s drawing a lot of attention.
“Ha! That’s hilarious! Hey, you’re the party Darkness wanted to join, right? You want to learn something useful? How about Thief skills?”
Someone suddenly interjected.
I turned my head and saw two women occupying the neighbouring table.
The one talking to me was a woman wearing light, leather armour.
She had a small scar on her face and seemed to be street smart. She was a pretty girl with silver locks and a bright personality.
Beside her was a blond beauty in full plate mail.
The unapproachable cool beauty…
Indeed, it was the female knight that wanted to join our party yesterday.
The thief-girl looked to be about a year or two younger than I was.
“Um, what do you mean by Thief skills? How are they like?”
The thief-girl responded cheerfully:
“Good question. Thief skills are very practical–such as Disarm Traps, Enemy Detection, Lurk and Steal. They’re all skills that are worth learning. Your job’s the basic-tier Adventurer, right? Thief skills don’t require many points, so it’s a great offer! How about it? I’ll teach them to you for the price of a glass of crimson beer!”
That was how I felt. But when I thought about it, she had nothing to lose from teaching me these skills.
And I could just ask any other Thief if I really wanted to learn Thief skills.
“Okay, I’ll leave it in your hands! Excuse me, a glass of ice-cold crimson beer for this lady please!”
“Right, let me properly introduce myself. I’m Chris. As you can see, I’m a Thief. And this person with a moody face is Darkness. You met yesterday, right? She’s a Crusader and shouldn’t have any skills that are useful to you.”
“Hello! I’m Kazuma. Nice to meet you, Chris!”
In the open plaza behind the adventurer’s guild.
Chris, Darkness and I stood at this desolate and open space.
By the way, those two companions of mine remained sulking at the table while we were talking, so I left them there.
“Well then, we’ll start with Enemy Detection and Lurk. We’ll work on Disarm Traps next time, since traps are rare in such a crowded place. Hey Darkness, could you turn over there for a moment?”
“… Hmm? … Okay.”
Darkness turned away as instructed.
And so, Chris got into a wooden barrel some distance away and showed only the top half of her body.
I didn’t know what she was playing at, but she then threw a rock at Darkness’s head and hid into the barrel.
Could this be the Lurk skill?
Darkness, who was hit by the rock, moved silently toward the only barrel in the area.
“Sensing enemy… Sensing enemy… I can strongly feel Darkness’s anger! Hey, Darkness? You know I only did that to teach him the skills, I couldn’t help it! Please have mercy… Ahhh, stop! Ahhh!”
The barrel she was hidden in toppled over and Chris screamed as it rolled on the ground.
… Could I really learn new skills this way…?
“All right. Let’s try the skill I recommend the most, Steal. This is a skill that can snatch away one item possessed by the target. It can be anything, be it the weapon gripped tightly in their hands or the wallet secured deep in their pockets.The probability of success is dependent on the luck stat. You can take the weapon or treasure of a strong enemy and run, so it’s a great skill to have under any circumstances.”
After Chris recovered from the dizziness of being rolled around in a barrel, she explained Steal to me.
It sounded very useful indeed.
And it was dependent on the luck stat, which means my only high stat would finally be put to use.
“I’ll demonstrate with you as the target! Ready, Steal!”
Chris shouted as she reached her hand forward and a small item appeared in her hand.
“Ah! That’s my wallet!”
It contained all my cash, a thin and pitiful wallet.
“Oh! Jackpot! It’s used this way. Well of course, I’ll give the wallet back…”
Chris smiled deviously as she was about to return the wallet to me.
“… Hey… Let’s have a match, all right? Try learning Steal now. I’ll then let you steal one item from me. I won’t complain even if you steal my wallet or weapon. Your wallet’s so thin that my weapon or wallet will be more valuable. That means we’ll be trading in whatever items that are stolen… How about it? Want to try?”
This person suddenly said something amazing.
I thought about it.
My luck seemed ridiculously high…
I could steal one item from the opponent…
So I’d be getting something even if the skill failed.
… Let’s give it a go.
Such gambles seemed like the way rash adventurers would interact; just what I was looking forward to!
Indeed, I was finally experiencing something adventurer-like after coming to this world!
I looked at my adventurer’s card and saw a new box with learnable skills displayed on it.
I touched it with my finger and 4 skills appeared.
Enemy Detection – 1 point, Lurk- 1 point, Steal – 1 point, Nature’s Beauty – 5 points.
… Nature’s Beauty? The skill used by Aqua, the party trick of flicking a seed into a cup?
That party trick had such a flashy name! Eh? And it’s expensive!
Party tricks were cool in their own way, but I decided to learn Steal, Enemy Detection and Lurk.
I used up all my skill points.
I see, so that’s how you learn skills.
“I’ve learned the skill and I accept your challenge! Don’t come crying to me no matter what I steal!”
I stuck out my right hand as I spoke, but Chris just smiled fearlessly.
“That’s great! I like people who aren’t spoilsports! All right then, what can you steal? The special prize will be my wallet! The grand prize will be this enchanted dagger! This is a great item worth 400,000 eris! The consolation prize will be this piece of rock I threw at Darkness!”
“Ah! Using such a method is cheating!”
I protested loudly when I saw the rock Chris took out.
I was wondering why she was so confident; so that was the reason!
If she had more trash items, the probability of important items getting stolen would be lower, a sort of safeguard against thieves.
“This is my teaching fee. As you can see, no skills are all powerful. You learned something great, right? All right, give it a go!”
Damn, I was really schooled!
Looking at Chris laughing out loud, I felt foolish for falling for this trick.
This wasn’t Japan, but a dog-eat-dog world.
It was the fault of those who were naive enough to be tricked.
It was only a chance of failure, though; it wasn’t a total loss..
“All right, watch this! My luck has always been good! Steal!”
As I shouted, my outstretched right hand grabbed something.
She said the chance of success was dependent on the luck stat. To succeed in one try, my luck wasn’t too bad.
I opened my hand and looked at what I stole…
“… What’s this?”
It was a piece of white cloth.
I took the cloth with both hands and raised it to the sun for a better look…
“Yahoo–! It’s the grand prize, and it’s a big one–!”
“No–! Give me back my panties–!”
Chris pulled down her skirt as she screamed with tears in her eyes.
After learning the skills, I returned to the bar and found it to be lively.
“Aqua-sama, one more time! I’m willing to pay for it, so could you perform Nature’s Beauty once more?”
“Fool, Aqua-san prefers food instead of money! Right, Aqua-san? I’ll treat you to a meal, so please do Nature’s Beauty again!”
For some reason, there was a crowd around a troubled-looking Aqua.
“My performances aren’t things that can be performed whenever they’re requested! A great man once said that ‘a funny joke can only be told once’. Doing the same tricks repeatedly because they’re popular means you’re a third-rate performer! And I’m not a performer, so I won’t accept money for my performance! This should be the basic attitude of a performance artisan. And I didn’t perform Nature’s Beauty for you to see– Ah! Kazuma, you’re finally back. It turned out like this because of you… By the way, what’s with her?”
Aqua pushed through the crowd with an annoyed face and was curious about the sulky Chris standing beside me.
Before I could explain, Darkness said:
“Chris’s panties were removed by Kazuma, and then she lost all her money to him. That’s why she’s feeling down.”
“Hey, what’s this nonsense!? Hold up. Well, you’re not wrong, but hold on a minute.”
Because Chris was willing to pay any amount of money as she begged me to return her panties, I told her to decide how much her panties were worth.
I added that if Chris didn’t offer an amount that’d satisfy me, her panties would become my family heirloom.
In the end, she offered both her wallet and my wallet. So I agreed to the trade, that was all. But Darkness’s way of phrasing it sounded a bit wrong.
Aqua and Megumin were a bit surprised after hearing what Darkness said. Their gazes made me feel uncomfortable and Chris shook off her sulky expression at this moment and said:
“Even if I was stripped of my panties in public, I can’t keep on crying! All right, Darkness. I’m sorry, but I’ve decided to join a profitable dungeon exploration party! I’m penniless after my panties were taken hostage.”
“Hey, wait a second. The female adventurers aside from Aqua and Megumin are starting to give me cold looks, so please don’t speak anymore.”
The female adventurers nearby seemed to have heard the conversation.
Seeing how awkward I looked in their cold gaze, Chris laughed happily.
“This is acceptable as payback, right? Well then, I’ll be back after earning some cash, so have fun in the meantime, Darkness! I’ll find what quests are available!”
Chris ran to the bulletin board recruiting for members after saying that.
“Um. Aren’t you going with her, Darkness?”
Darkness sat down at my table so naturally that I had to ask.
“… No. Thieves are essential for dungeon exploration, so there are many teams that’d want to recruit Chris. On the other hand, vanguards like me can be found anywhere.”
I see. Aqua did say that Archpriests were rare and wanted by every party; so the treatment each job received was different, huh.
A short while later, Chris found a pick-up group and left the guild with a few adventurers.
She waved at us before heading off.
“It’s already evening, are they going to explore the dungeons now?”
“The best time to go dungeon diving is early in the morning, so most people would set off one day earlier like them and make camp before the dungeon. There are even merchants operating with these adventurers as their target market. So how was it? Did you learn any skills?”
Hearing Megumin say that, I smiled confidently.
“Humph, why not see for yourself? Here I go, Steal!”
I shouted and reached toward Megumin with my right hand, grabbing a black cloth tightly.
Indeed, they were panties.
“… What happened? After your level and stats increased, did you change jobs from an Adventurer to a pervert? Um… It’s a little drafty, so please give me my panties back…”
“Strange? It shouldn’t be like this… It should be a skill that steals something at random!”
I hurriedly returned the panties to Megumin under the increasingly cold glare of the females around me. Someone suddenly slammed the table.
It was Darkness, who had knocked her chair away and stood up.
Her eyes were sparkling for some reason…
“I was right! To strip the panties of a young girl with so many people watching, you really are the worst…! Please…! Please let me join this party!”
Darkness’s face turned red and her body trembled when she heard my immediate reply.
What should I do? I wasn’t very sure, but this female knight was certainly of the bad sort.
Aqua and Megumin seemed curious about Darkness…
“Hey, who’s this person, Kazuma? Was she the one who came for the interview while Megumin and I were in the bath?”
“Hold on, this lady’s a Crusader. There’s no reason to reject her, right?”
The two of them started talking nonsense as they stared at Darkness.
This was bad… And I remembered rejecting her yesterday too.
I didn’t want these two to meet Darkness…
… All right, I’ll have to use this method.
“Darkness, we might look this way now, but we’re serious about taking down the Demon King.”
Aqua who wanted to return to heaven aside, I’d already given up on that after finding out how harsh this world was. Even killing a toad was a chore.
Megumin, who had never heard of this before, looked surprised, but I ignored her.
No, wait. This might be a good opportunity.
“That’s right, you listen too, Megumin. Aqua and I want to take down the Demon King no matter what. That’s our goal as adventurers. And so our adventures will only become more dangerous, especially for Darkness. As a female knight, you might experience ‘that’ if you get captured by the Demon King.”
“That’s right! Since ancient times, getting sexually harassed by the Demon King was the job of the female knights! That alone would be worth the trip!”
“Huh…? What is it? Did I say something weird?”
Darkness, who expressed her strong agreement, made me shout in surprise.
… A-Anyway, I’ll settle that later.
“Listen carefully too, Megumin. The opponent’s the Demon King. Aqua and I are planning to fight the strongest being in this world, so don’t force yourself by staying in this party…”
I didn’t even finish.
Megumin knocked her chair away and stood up.
She flicked her cloak hard and said:
“I’m Megumin! The top mage of the Crimson Demons, the master of explosion magic! For the Demon King to overlook me and call himself the strongest, I’ll decimate him with my strongest spell!”
With the entire guild’s eyes on her, Megumin made a chunni declaration.
This fellow was hopeless too. Don’t make such an arrogant face so confidently!
Oh no, these two hopeless girls raised the tension even higher…
“… Hey Kazuma, Kazuma…”
As I dropped my head dejectedly, Aqua pulled at my sleeve.
“I was a bit scared when Kazuma put it that way. Is there a simpler way to take on the Demon King?”
… You should be the one most fired up since this is your quest…
… At that moment.
“Emergency quest! Emergency quest! All adventurers in town, please gather at the adventurer’s guild! I repeat, emergency quest! Emergency quest! All adventurers in town, please gather at the adventurer’s guild!”
The loud broadcast could be heard throughout the entire town.
It was probably amplified through magic.
“Hey, what are ‘emergency quests’? Are monsters raiding the town?”
I felt a bit uneasy, but Darkness and Megumin seemed elated. Darkness said joyfully:
“… Um, it’s probably cabbage harvesting. It’s the season for them.”
“Huh? Cabbages? Is that the name of some monster?”
After expressing my thoughts, Megumin and Darkness looked at me pitifully for unknown reasons.
“A cabbage is something round, green and edible.”
“It’s crunchy and refreshing, a delicious vegetable.”
“I know that! Then what’s happening? The guild said there was an emergency quest. So do the farmers need help from the adventurers?”
It seemed weird for me who was working as a construction worker recently to say this, but I didn’t come here to farm.
“Ah, Kazuma probably doesn’t know. Let me tell you, the cabbages of this world…”
Aqua adopted an apologetic pose and was about to tell me something when the guild staff interrupted her as she addressed the adventurers in the building.
“I apologize for gathering everyone on such a short notice! I’m sure everyone knows that the emergency is because of the cabbages! It’s time to harvest cabbages! The quality’s great this year and each one’s worth 10,000 eris! We’ve already evacuated the residents so please harvest more cabbages and turn them in here! Please take care of your own safety and don’t get hurt from the cabbages’ counterattack! Also, because of the large amount of people and bounty, the reward will be given out later!”
… What’d this staff member say?
The sound of cheers erupted outside the adventurer’s guild.
I didn’t know what’d happened, so I squeezed into the crowd outside to look. Green objects were flying all over town.
As I stood on the spot amazed by the ridiculous sight, Aqua came over to my side and continued her explanation:
“The cabbages in this world can fly. When their taste ripens during harvest season, they fly through cities, over plains, across the continent and to the ocean, unwilling to be eaten. Because of that, we need to catch the cabbages and eat them while they’re still delicious.”
“May I go back to the stables and sleep?”
As I mumbled softly, the brave adventurers charged out in high spirits.
They were hot-blooded guys who were inspired by the cabbages that did their best to live for the moment.
As I watched the adventurers chase after the cabbages wholeheartedly, I prayed.
… What grave sin did I commit to fight to the death with cabbages here?
… I want to go back to Japan.
I took a bite of the fried cabbages sold here.
“Why does a mere cabbage taste so good? I don’t get it.”
The cabbage hunt quest ended and the entire town began serving dishes made from cabbages.
It was very profitable, so I ended up joining the cabbage hunt quest, but I still regretted it a little.
I didn’t come to this world to fight cabbages.
“You’re skilled, Darkness! As expected of a Crusader! The cabbages couldn’t break through your iron-wall defense no matter what they did.”
“No, I didn’t do much, I’m just really tough. I’m clumsy and slow so I can’t really hit my target; my only strong point is shielding others… Megumin has an impressive offence. You took out the horde of monsters that were chasing the cabbages right into town with just one explosion attack; all the other adventurers were shocked.”
“Kuku, no one could stand up to the power of my explosion magic… But Kazuma was the most active one, he picked me up after I exhausted my mana and carried me back.”
“… Yeah, when I was surrounded by cabbages and monsters, Kazuma showed up and captured all the cabbages attacking me. Thank you for rescuing me.”
“Indeed, erasing your presence with Lurk, grasping the movement of the cabbages with Enemy Detection and surprising them with Steal from behind. That was just like an outstanding assassin.”
Aqua finally finished her cabbages and casually placed her plate on the table.
The useless goddess who chased the cabbages without a plan and didn’t perform too well wiped her mouth gracefully and said:
“Kazuma, with my authority, I grant you the title of ‘Elegant Cabbage Thief’.”
“Shut up! I’ll slap you if you call me that! Ah! Enough, why’d things turn out this way!?”
I hugged my head and rested it on the table.
This was bad.
“Well then. I’m Darkness, a Crusader. Theoretically, my weapon’s a two-handed sword, but don’t count on it too much. I’m clumsy with my hands and tend to miss. But I’m good at being a tank, so please take care of me.”
We officially received another companion.
Aqua smiled leisurely, looking pleased.
“… Humph, our party’s becoming great. I’m an Archpriest, Megumin’s an Archwizard, and now we have the defensive specialist vanguard, the Crusader Darkness. Three out of four members having top-tier jobs is rare, Kazuma! Do you know how lucky you are? You have to be grateful, okay?”
A mage that could only use one spell a day, a vanguard that couldn’t hit anyone… And a cleric that was dumb, had bad luck and was totally useless!
During the cabbage hunt quest, Darkness, Aqua and Megumin hit it off, so they wanted Darkness to join the team too.
If she was normal, I would’ve had no reason to reject.
And she was also a beauty.
But Darkness couldn’t hit her targets at all.
Although she was a looker…
She put all her skill points into defensive skills, so normal skills learned by vanguards such as Two-handed Sword or skills that raised her proficiency with weapons were ignored.
She looked really beautiful too, so it really was a pity.
And this Crusader loved to charge into the midst of monsters for some reason.
As a Crusader who defended the weak, having a stronger calling than others to protect others was a good thing…
“Ugh… Ah, the feeling of being ravaged by cabbages and monsters is unbearable… I’m the only orthodox vanguard in this party, so don’t hold back. Use me as bait or as a shield. If it’s necessary, you can even cut me off as a sacrifice… Hmm! Just… Just imagining that made me tremble in excitement…!”
Darkness’s face was blushing as she shivered slightly.
… So that was how this fellow was.
A super masochist.
She looked like a cool beauty, but she was just a pervert in my eyes.
“Well then, Kazuma. I’ll probably… No. I’ll certainly be a bother to you, so don’t hold back and lecture me viciously. Please take care of me from now on.”
An Archpriest that could use all sorts of healing spells and an Archwizard that could use the strongest spell.
And a Crusader with an iron wall-like defense.
It seemed to be a perfect formation, but I felt things would be tough on me in the future.
My level was now 6.
This meant that I rose two levels during the cabbage hunt.
I only captured them but didn’t defeat them, so why’d my level rise?
And why do the cabbages yield so many experience points?
There were way too many things to complain about, but it’d be a pain to go through all of them, so I let it be.
You lost if you got too hung up with the peculiarities of this world.
One head of cabbage was worth 10,000 eris. The bounty was so high because eating fresh cabbage granted you experience points.
This meant rich adventurers could get stronger just by eating vegetables.
With the rise in level, my skill points also increased.
As for why such an RPG-like phenomenon happened with the increase in level, I decided to ignore it. Thinking too much about it will make me lose sleep.
I had to say it again, you lost if you took issue with such things.
I had 2 skill points.
I looked for the mage and swordsman from another party I met during the cabbage hunt and asked them to teach me the One-handed Sword and Basic Magic skills.
Each skill costed a point.
The One-handed Sword skill raised proficiency with one-handed swords.
My swordsmanship was now on par with normal people.
Although I used up my points, I’d always wanted to learn swordsmanship and, of course, magic.
Anyone would’ve wanted to learn magic after coming to a world of magic.
With basic spells, I could use elemental magic like fire, water, earth and wind, although they were simple spells.
By the way, Basic Magic didn’t have offensive spells, so most mages would skip them and save their skill points for Intermediate Magic.
But it’d take 10 points to learn Intermediate Magic .
Since it’d take that many points, I should give up learning offensive magic. My magic stat was low anyway.
Some talented people were naturally born with skill points.
It wasn’t strange for such talented people who could choose top-tier jobs right off the bat to start with dozens of skill points.
Aqua aside, Megumin and Darkness were probably privileged from the very start.
But in contrast, I had 0 skill points at level 1.
… I’ll get more depressed if I think about it too much, so I should stop.
After learning skills, I looked more like an adventurer.
What was left was getting some proper gear.
I’d sometimes wear clothes purchased in this world, but my current equipment was just the gym clothes I started out with and a short sword.
I wanted some armour even if it was just leather.
“… Why do I have to tag along and shop with you?”
I brought the complaining Aqua along to the armour shop.
“No, you should prepare some equipment too. I might only have my gym clothes, but you’re in the same boat, right? Your only equipment’s that flimsy hagoromo, right?”
Aqua was dressed the same way as she was when she first came to this world with me.
The light-purple, translucent hagoromo complemented Aqua’s blue hair and eyes. It was the only equipment she wore over her clothes.
After changing into her pajamas, she’d use a bucket of water to wash her hagoromo. I’d seen her sunning the hagoromo along with the hay that was drying in the sun.
Aqua said in surprise:
“Don’t be stupid–I think you’ve forgotten that I’m a goddess! This hagoromo’s a holy relic. It can defend against abnormal statuses and has great durability. It’s a heavily enchanted precious artifact! There’s no other equipment better than this!”
I felt like telling her not to dry it along with the hay.
“That’s great news. If we really can’t make ends meet, then we can just pawn off your holy relic… Oh. This chest armour looks neat, although it’s made of leather.”
“… Ka-Kazuma, you’re joking, right? This hagoromo’s proof of my divinity! Y-You won’t really sell it, right? No! I-I won’t allow it!”
“… Oh, I almost couldn’t recognize you.”
“Whoa–Kazuma finally looks the part of an adventurer.”
As we met up in the adventurer’s guild, Darkness and Megumin commented on my attire.
If I didn’t look like an adventurer before, did I look like a suspicious person…? I felt like finding out.
Right now I was wearing the attire of this world, with leather chest armour and metallic gauntlets and shin guards.
Aqua complained that my gym clothes clashed with the fantasy feel of this world, so I bought some new ones a couple of days ago.
I was told that it’d be more convenient to leave one hand free to use magic skills.
Even though it was just basic spells, I still learned magic. So I decided to forgo the shield and use a single-edge sword in the style of a magic swordsman.
I used half of the money I won in the bet against Chris, and the remaining money would be enough for me to get by for another week or two.
Now that I’m properly prepared with skills and equipment, I felt like taking on a quest.
I told everyone my thoughts and Darkness nodded in agreement.
“It’s the giant toad mating season, and they’ve been showing up near town. How about…”
Darkness was rejected by Aqua and Megumin.
“… Why not? Toads fear blades and are easy to take down, their sole mode of attack’s grabbing prey with their tongues, and the meat of toads can be sold for easy money. I’ve heard that you might get eaten if your equipment’s too weak, but since toads hate metal, Kazuma should be safe with his current equipment. I’ll protect Aqua and Megumin.”
“Eh… The two of them were eaten by toads before, so they’ve got some psychological trauma about it. They were eaten head first in one gulp and ended up covered in slime, so it can’t be helped. Let’s find another quest.”
Darkness’s face turned slightly red after hearing my explanation for some reason.
“… Eaten head first in one gulp… Covered in slime…”
“… Did that make you excited?”
Darkness averted her eyes and answered with a red face, making me uneasy.
Would she hunt toads alone if I took my eyes off her?
“The emergency cabbage hunt aside, this is our party’s first quest. Let’s pick something easy to complete.”
Megumin and Darkness went to the bulletin board after hearing my suggestion.
Aqua seemed to be looking down on me after hearing what I said.
“What an introverted hikiNEET… Only Kazuma has the weakest job, so I understand why you’re being cautious. But including me, the other members have top-tier jobs! We should take on a bunch of high-difficulty jobs and make lots of money, level up like crazy and take down the Demon King easily! That’s why we should take on difficult quests!”
“… I really didn’t want to say this, but… You haven’t been of use so far.”
Aqua was stunned by what I said.
I ignored her and carried on:
“Normally, you should be giving me powerful abilities or equipment, allowing for me to live here without worries. I know that this is a free service provided by the gods, so I didn’t want to complain. I was blinded by rage back then, but choosing you instead of an ability was my fault! But you’re here in place of those abilities or equipment, and are you performing on par with those special abilities or equipment? Are you? You were acting so great and confident in the beginning, but you’ve totally not been of use, you former something.”
“Ugh… No, not former. Um… In principle, I’m still a goddess…”
Aqua looked down but she still argued with me, my voice turned louder.
“Goddess!? What should a goddess be doing!? Guiding the hero to fight the Demon King and sealing the Demon King before the hero’s strong enough to take him on! And what’d you do during the cabbage hunt!? You did grab a lot toward the end, but you were spinning around because of them and threw a tantrum on the floor, right? Even vegetables can make you cry! Are you really a goddess!? Are you really qualified to call yourself a goddess!? Your only contribution’s getting eaten by a toad and party tricks!”
Seeing Aqua hide her face on the table crying out loud made me feel satisfied over the fact that she was looking down on me.
But Aqua didn’t want to give up.
She raised her head and retorted with pride.
“I-I’m useful, all right? Like healing spells and healing spells or healing spells! What, you’re just a hikiNEET! If you continue to play around, how long do you think it’ll take to defeat the Demon King? If you’ve got something to say, spit it out!”
Aqua raised her head and glared at me with tearing eyes.
I sneered at Aqua.
“I’m a professional gamer who didn’t go to high school at all, you think I have nothing to say about this situation?”
“You’re a pro gamer?”
“… It sounds better this way, so listen up, Aqua. I don’t have the special power of the protagonists in stories, but I have the knowledge of Japan. So I want to sell Japanese products that can be created easily and aren’t available in this world. Think about it: my luck stat’s so high that even the counter lady suggested that I should become a merchant, right? So I think I shouldn’t force myself to take on the work of adventurers, but find another way. It’ll be easier to gain experience points if I have more money, right? There are ingredients that make you stronger just by being eaten, like those cabbages.”
The other Japanese had the same knowledge as me, but unlike me, they had special powers granted by the gods.
Those people wouldn’t need to do something as bothersome as starting a business; they’d stick to the basics and earn a living through quests.
What I wanted to say was that it was hard for me to earn money as an adventurer.
The only quests I took on were hunting toads and cabbages. But judging from the contents of other quests, the rewards were too small and not worth the effort.
I felt the value of life was too low in this world.
I did mention the Demon King before Aqua, but to be honest I’d given up on that. That was why I’d been wondering what the easiest way of earning money quickly was.
“That’s how it is, so you think about it too! Think of a business that can earn cash easily and teach me your only good point which is healing magic! I want to learn healing spells after getting more skill points!”
“No–! I won’t teach you healing magic! No way–! Don’t snatch away the reason for my existence! You’ll be fine without learning it with me around! No, I don’t want to–!”
After this, Aqua put her face down onto the table crying that I shouldn’t take away the only reason for her existence.
At this moment, Megumin and Darkness returned to us.
“… What are you two doing…? The attack power of Kazuma’s words are strong. If you don’t hold back and shoot your mouth off, most girls would cry!”
“If you accumulate too much stress… I could take Aqua’s place and endure your scolding, so lecture me all you want. Don’t hold back… As a Crusader, suffering for others is a merit.”
The two of them looked at Aqua, who was crying on the table.
She probably knew she was the center of attention. Aqua would peek at me through her fingers from time to time, which irked me.
“Ignore this fellow for now, but…”
I took a glance at Darkness.
“… Darkness-san, you look thinner when you wear your armour…”
Darkness wore a tight black skirt and tank top with leather boots.
With a giant sword on her back, she looked more like a swordswoman than a knight.
She was surrounded by monsters during the cabbage hunt and her armour was damaged, so it was sent in for repair.
I became polite toward Darkness who was wearing so little.
Darkness had a great curvaceous figure.
Simply said, she was rather sexy.
And with Megumin beside her, it accentuated her body type and size.
I couldn’t help but think that with such a pretty face and great figure, maybe I could close one eye to her fetish…
“… Hmm? Did you mean to say, ‘Are you trying to tempt men with your body, you sow!’, right?”
I glanced at Aqua and Megumin…
… I confirmed once again that no matter how pretty her face was, it was the personality that was the most important.
“Hey, what’d you mean with that glance? I want to hear it.”
“It doesn’t mean anything, I’m just glad I’m not a lolicon.”
“Crimson Demons would gladly take on anyone wanting a fight. Good, let’s take this outside.”
Megumin tugged hard at the sleeves of my gym clothes, attempting to pull me outside.
“Back on topic, how about choosing a quest that can help Aqua level up?”
“What do you mean? Is there such a quest?”
For Aqua, the skills she needed had been learned from the very beginning, so there wasn’t any need to grind her level.
“It’s normally hard for clerics to level up, they lack offensive spells after all. They won’t fight on the front lines like warriors or defeat enemies with powerful magic, so the best monsters for clerics to grind are the undead. Undead are a race that go against the nature of the gods, so the power of the gods will cause opposite reactions on them. Using healing magic will make their bodies break down.”
Ah, I did hear something like that before.
This was common knowledge in many games.
Healing magic had the same effect as offensive magic against the undead.
But this useless goddess wouldn’t amount to anything even if we grind her levels…
… I had a stroke of inspiration.
When I leveled up, all my stats got higher.
What about Aqua?
The idiot pretending to cry and sneaking glances at me from time to time might get smarter after leveling up, which was the best way to improve our combat potential.
“Yes, that seems great. The problem is that Darkness’s armour isn’t ready…”
Darkness crossed her arms and announced frankly:
“I’m fine with it, my full set of defensive skills aren’t just for show. Even without armour, I dare say that I’m harder than an adamantoise. And it feels better without armour when I get hit.”
“… You just said it feels great to get hit.”
“… No I didn’t.”
“Yes you did.”
“I didn’t… The only question is whether Aqua’s willing…”
Darkness looked at Aqua, who was lying face down on the table.
“Hey, how long are you going to cry? Participate in the conversation, we’re talking about your level…”
I reached out and patted Aqua’s shoulders…
… But I realized before patting her.
Aqua got tired from crying and was sleeping.
Is this goddess a 3-year-old kid?
On a hill, far away from town.
There was a public cemetery for poor and homeless people.
The dead were buried in this world.
A hole would be dug and they’d be covered with earth.
Our quest this time was defeating the undead monsters that were emerging from the cemetery.
It was almost evening.
We set up a tent near the cemetery and waited for night to fall.
“Slow down, Kazuma, I saw that meat first! Here, the vegetable on this side’s done, so eat this instead!”
“After the cabbage hunt, I don’t like eating vegetables anymore. I’m afraid of the vegetable flying off somewhere if I grill it.”
We set up a hot plate some distance away from the cemetery, barbecuing as we waited for dusk.
We spent the time leisurely, even though it was a hunting quest because the target was a small fry known as a zombie maker.
It was an evil spirit that controlled zombies, possessing high-quality corpses while manipulating several zombies as minions.
This monster could be defeated by a novice party, so we took on this quest.
So even though Darkness didn’t have her armour, it wasn’t too dangerous for her.
After finishing our meal, I poured coffee powder into a mug, added water with Create Water, and used the Tinder spell to heat the mug.
This was Basic Magic taught to me by a mage I met during the cabbage hunt.
As its name suggested, Tinder was a spell to light a fire and posed no offensive threat.
But, to me, it was an important spell that could replace a lighter.
Megumin looked at me with a complicated expression and held out her cup.
“… Excuse me, please give me some water. I feel that Kazuma’s more proficient than me in using magic. No one uses basic spells, but you make it look convenient.”
I cast Create Water into Megumin’s cup.
“Is that so, isn’t this the way to use basic spells? Oh right, Create Earth! … Hey, what’s this spell used for?”
I showed Megumin the dusty earth on my palm.
There were all sorts of basic elemental spells, but I wasn’t sure how to utilize this earth elemental magic.
“Well, the crops grown from magically created earth are high in quality… That’s it.”
After listening to Megumin’s explanation, Aqua beside me burst into laughter.
“What, Kazuma wants to plow the land? Are you changing jobs to a farmer? You could use Create Water for the plants too! This job’s a great fit for you, puhehe!”
I faced Aqua with my right palm and raised my left hand.
“Puhe, ahhh! Ah–! My eyes!”
A gust of wind blew the dust onto Aqua’s face; the goddess rolled on the ground after the sand got into her eyes.
“… I got it, so that’s how you use this spell.”
“No, normal people don’t use it that way! And why are you using basic spells better than a mage!?”
“… It’s getting cold. Hey Kazuma, our quest’s to take down the zombie maker, right? I have a feeling it won’t be a small fry, but a big shot undead.”
It was late at night and the moon had risen.
Aqua had commented suddenly.
“… Hey, don’t say such ominous things. What if you really jinx the quest? Our quest for the day’s to defeat one zombie maker and return the zombies to dust. We can then go back to the stables and sleep. We’ll also go back immediately if anything out of the ordinary happens. Understand?”
Everyone nodded and agreed with me.
It was about time.
We walked toward the cemetery with me in the lead as I’d learned Enemy Detection from Chris.
Aqua’s words made me worry. But this goddess always said unpleasant things, so it shouldn’t be a big deal.
“What’s this, I feel a strong presence. It should be the effect of Enemy Detection. Enemies ahead. 1, 2 3, 4…?”
… Strange, there were too many.
I heard there should be just 2 or 3 zombie minions around a zombie maker.
But this was still within the margin of error…
As I was thinking that, blue and white lights suddenly shone from the middle of the cemetery.
… What was happening?
That white light seemed evil and fantasy-like.
The clearly visible blue light was a giant magic circle.
At the edge of the magic circle was a figure in black robes.
“… Hmm? I think… That isn’t a zombie maker…”
Megumin said unconfidently.
Beside the black-robed figure were several fluttering shadows.
“Are we going in? Even if that isn’t a zombie maker, anyone staying in the cemetery at this hour’s probably an undead. If that’s the case, then it wouldn’t be a problem with Archpriest Aqua around.”
Darkness took out her sword and appeared anxious to move on.
Calm down, you.
Aqua made an exaggerated action now.
I didn’t know what the suddenly shouting Aqua was thinking as she charged at the robed figure.
“Wait! Hey, wait up!”
The charging Aqua ignored me and rushed toward the figure, pointing at it with her finger.
“How dare you show up here, lich! I’ll take care of you!”
On par with vampires, they were top-tier among the undead.
High-level mages could desert their mortal bodies through magical arts and become the immortal known as the ‘overlord of death’.
Unlike the undead monster that rose because of strong grudges, a lich twisted the order of nature and were existences which defied the gods.
A powerful monster akin to a final boss…
“Stop, stop–! Who are you? Where’d you come from and why are you destroying my magic circle? Stop! Please stop?”
“You’re noisy, shut up undead! You must be thinking of using this suspicious magic circle for devious means, I’ll stomp it! Stomp!”
The powerful monster grabbed onto Aqua’s waist in tears, attempting to stop her from stepping on the magic circle.
The minions beside the lich didn’t move in to stop the two of them wrestling with each other and just blankly stood there, watching them.
… Eh–what should I do?
In any case, she didn’t seem to be a zombie maker.
Aqua claimed that the person she was entangled with was a lich, but the way I saw it, she was just a pitiful passerby being picked on by a hooligan.
“Stop–! Please stop–! This magic circle’s used to send the wandering spirits to heaven! Look! The spirits are floating from the magic circle toward the sky, right?”
Just as the lich said, lots of wisp-like, bluish-white objects that came from nowhere drifted into the magic circle and were rising up into the sky along with the light of the magic circle.
“You’re acting too arrogant for a lich! An Archpriest like me will perform such benevolent acts, so just scram! You’re taking too much time, watch me purify the whole cemetery along with you!”
“Eh? Wait, stop!”
The lich started to panic when she heard Aqua’s words.
But Aqua ignored her, opened her arms and shouted:
A white light encompassed the entire cemetery with Aqua in the middle.
The light seemed to be gushing out from Aqua’s body, and caused the zombies around the lich to vanish upon contact.
It was the same with the spirits gathering at the magic circle of the lich, they disappeared when Aqua’s light reached them. The lich was also basked in that light…
“Hya–! My, my body’s fading! Stop, my body’s disappearing! I’ll be purified!”
“Ha, foolish lich! Your existence goes against the law of nature, an undead which defies the will of the gods! Disappear, be vanquished by my power!”
“Hey, stop it!”
I stood behind Aqua and knocked the back of her head with the hilt of my sword.
“…! That hurts! Why’d you hit me!?”
Her focus was broken when the back of her head was hit and she stopped emitting light, held her head and scolded me with tearing eyes.
Darkness and Megumin caught up to us. I ignored Aqua and spoke to the lich, which was trembling while curled up in a ball.
“Hey, are you fine? Um… May I address you as ‘Lich’?”
Looking closely, the feet of the lich had turned translucent and were on the verge of disappearing.
Her feet slowly became opaque again and the lich stood up unsteadily with teary eyes.
“I-I-I’m fine… Thank, thank you for saving me from that crisis…! Um, you’re right, I’m a lich. My name’s Wiz.”
After that, she took off the hood she was wearing. Under the moonlight, she seemed to be a beautiful, brown haired woman around twenty years of age.
I thought a lich would have a skull-like face.
Wiz wore a black robe in the style of an evil witch.
No, since she was a lich… She was an evil witch, right?
“Eh, Wiz? What are you doing in this cemetery? You said you wanted to send the spirits to heaven… Now, I don’t want to agree with Aqua, but that shouldn’t be what a lich like you should be doing, right?”
“What are you doing Kazuma!? Be careful or you’ll get contaminated and turn into an undead! Let me cast Turn Undead on her!”
Aqua became agitated after hearing what I said and wanted to cast a spell on Wiz.
Wiz hid behind me with a troubled and terrified expression.
“B-Because as you can see… I’m a lich, the overlord of the undying. As the overlord, I can hear the voices of the spirits wandering in the world. Most of the spirits in this public cemetery don’t have money and didn’t have a proper burial, so they couldn’t move on to the afterlife and haunted the cemetery every night. Since I’m an overlord, I’d visit periodically and send the children on their way.”
… My eyes were tearing up.
What a good person.
Apart from the counter lady, she was probably the first normal person I met since coming to this world.
Ah, though I guess she was technically not a human.
“I think that’s a wonderful thing, but… Although I’m not Aqua, wouldn’t it be better to leave this to the priest in this town?”
In response to my query, Wiz was hesitant to speak as she peeked at the unhappy Aqua, finally saying:
“B-Because… The priests in this town are materialistic… Eh, no. I mean… The rites for those without money would be pushed down their waiting list… Something like that…”
It was probably hard to say it in the presence of the Archpriest Aqua.
“You mean the priests in this town are people who worship money? The public cemetery which is full of poor people is basically ignored by them, right?”
“W-Well, that’s how it is…”
Everyone gazed at Aqua silently while she averted her eyes from everyone.
“Since that’s the case, then it can’t be helped. But could you stop animating the zombies? We’re here because of a quest to defeat the zombie maker.”
Wiz was troubled by what I said.
“Ah, I see. But I didn’t animate them, the corpses that are intact would rise automatically due to my magic every time I come. Um, I won’t have any reason to visit if the spirits in the cemetery don’t wander anymore and return to heaven… So, how should we resolve this?”
We left the cemetery and were journeying back to town.
“I can’t accept this!”
Aqua was still fuming.
Dawn was just about to break.
“It couldn’t be helped; she was such a nice person. You couldn’t bear to kill her, right?”
We decided to let that lich off.
At the same time, we came to a consensus for the idle Aqua to purify the cemetery periodically.
Fortunately, no matter how bad Aqua was, she still was a goddess. She knew that purifying the undead and wandering spirits was her job.
But she threw a tantrum because her sleeping time would be reduced.
Megumin and Darkness were hesitant about letting a monster off, but they agreed after learning Wiz had never attacked a human before.
I looked at the paper Wiz gave to me and said:
“But for a lich to live normally in town, the security’s really lacking.”
The piece of paper had Wiz’s address on it.
That lich seemed to be living life as a normal human in our town.
She even said she was running a small magic item shop.
I told her my impression of liches dwelling in dungeons and she replied that it wasn’t convenient and there was no reason to live there.
Liches were once humans too, so I knew what she meant.
I did understand, but since coming to this world my fantasies about alternate worlds have been shattered.
This wasn’t the kind of world I was hoping for.
“We were lucky things turned out so well in the end. Even with Aqua here, the opponent was still a lich. If we really had fought, Kazuma and I would definitely be dead.”
Hearing Megumin say that nonchalantly, I was stunned.
“Eh, are liches such dangerous monsters? Would it have been a tough fight?”
“It’s much worse than that! Liches have a high magic defense, so nothing can harm her except enchanted weapons. She can trigger all sorts of abnormal statuses just by touching her enemies, and she can also drain their life and mana; she’s a legendary immortal monster. What surprised me was that Aqua’s Turn Undead had such a great effect on such a powerful being.”
I almost lost control of my bowels.
That was right, she was the boss of the undead after all.
When I heard she was willing to teach me the skills of a lich, I took her name card gleefully. When I visit her to learn new skills, I must remember to bring Aqua along.
“Kazuma, give me the name card. I want to set up a holy barrier around the home of that woman and make her cry.”
“Please let her go.”
On second thought, it’d be better not to take Aqua along…
As we were thinking about that, Darkness said quietly:
“By the way, what about the quest to defeat the zombie maker?”