Trading these true companions of mine away!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Xenthur, Boring bone
“… I want money!”
I groaned miserably.
I wanted money. And lots of it.
– I was in the tavern of the adventurer’s guild.
I hugged my head with both hands and buried my face on the table.
“Anyone would want that. It’s the same for me too… By the way, aren’t you being too useless? To let a goddess like me stay in the stables, don’t you know any shame? If you get it, let me live more luxuriously. Take better care of me!”
The one complaining to me was a beautiful girl with blue hair and eyes.
This girl who is only good for her looks is Aqua, and here I thought she was some kind of goddess–
“… Do you know why I crave for money so badly?”
“The elegant and wonderful me couldn’t possibly understand what a former hikikomori like you is thinking about. You’re after the funds you need to stay a hikikomori forever, isn’t that it?”
When Aqua heard what I said, she trembled and averted her gaze.
“It’s the debt, all right! Because of the money you owe, the reward from that quest was completely gone! My brows were frozen when I woke up in the stables this morning! The other adventurers are already renting rooms in the tavern to sleep! If we keep sleeping in the stables this winter, we’ll freeze to death! Get a grip, now is not the time to say stupid things like, ‘I’ll return victoriously after defeating the Demon King’!”
I slammed my hand on the table as I lectured Aqua who averted her eyes and cupped her ears.
– In this world, there were people known as adventurers.
They fought monsters that threatened the lives of people night and day, and preoccupied themselves day by day without worrying about the next.
Even adventurers who weren’t known for their long-term planning mulled their time away in the inn during the winter.
This was because the weak monsters had all hibernated; only the dangerous creatures were still active.
Our base was the town where novice adventurers congregated, Axel.
For adventurers who were just slightly stronger than regular people, taking up quests during the winter was suicidal.
At this moment, Aqua banged on the table and rebuked me.
“That couldn’t be helped! If not for my superb performance, this town would’ve been destroyed! How unreasonable to just throw the debt at us without a word of thanks! This is ridiculous! I want to complain to the counter staff!”
“Hey, stop that, don’t trouble the counter lady…! In the end, we did receive a large reward… It was just negated by the debts. Destroying a part of town wasn’t something that could be ignored.”
This town was attacked by a General of the Demon King named Beldia.
Indeed, that kind of Demon King.
The Demon King that existed in games and mangas sent one of his generals to attack us.
During the fight, Aqua summoned a large quantity of water, the enemy’s weakness. After the boss was weakened, I moved forward courageously and attacked, but–
“What’s with you!? Kazuma was just running away before I weakened him enough for you to use Steal on him! Praise me more! Respect me! Don’t stop worshiping me! Everyone in the guild should adore me as a goddess and respect me!”
“You annoying egotistic idiot! You’ll act all arrogant if I don’t put you in your place! Fine, I admit the incident was settled all thanks to you! So, you’ll get all the credit for it, are you happy now!? Then go clear the debts alone!”
“Wahhh, wait! Sorry, I was wrong, I apologize… Don’t abandon me!”
Aqua tried to stop me in tears as I stood up to abandon the goddess of debts.
At this moment, someone spoke to us.
“Really, making a scene so early in the morning. Everyone’s watching… They aren’t watching. The guys in the guild have gotten used to you two…”
“You two are up early. Did you find any good quests?”
The ones chatting with us were our companions, a Crusader with a masochistic personality and a chuuni Archwizard named Megumin.
Darkness had a great sword at her waist, wearing casual clothes as she sat while flicking her long blonde hair.
The Crimson Demon mage with an eye-patch sat beside her.
“Yo, are you two ready, too? We haven’t found any jobs, and I don’t think we need to rush. It’s fine to wait for you two to join us before we hunt for quests.”
I said as I surveyed the guild.
It was morning, but the adventurers were already getting drunk.
It was correct to say that this couldn’t be helped.
The reward for defeating the Demon King’s army boss had been paid out to the adventurers who took part in the battle.
The adventurers who had gotten a bit more well off lost all reasons to risk their lives hunting monsters in the winter.
In conclusion, the quests on the bulletin board were open for picking, but–
I approached the bulletin board, looking for any good quests.
“Let me see… The bounties are great for these quests, but there are no decent ones left…”
‘Hunt down the White Wolf pack attacking the farm, 1,000,000 eris.’
‘A ‘One-hit Bear’ has woken from hibernation. 2,000,000 to kill it, 500,000 for chasing it away.’
There was no way to take out the wolf pack.
It was larger and faster than most canine-type monsters and if they attacked in a group, we would be wiped out.
The bear was out of the question. Megumin and I would die with just a scratch from it.
And I didn’t want anything to do with a monster with a terrifying name like ‘One-hit Bear’.
“… Mobile Fortress Destroyer is approaching, recruiting scouts for reconnaissance regarding its route of advancement…? What? What’s this Destroyer?”
“The Destroyer is the Destroyer. The huge and fast mobile fortress.”
“It rampages around and is strangely popular among the kids.”
Oh. I didn’t get it.
I didn’t take Darkness and Megumin’s explanation to heart and continued browsing the quests.
“Hey, what’s this ‘Snow Sprite Hunt’? That doesn’t sound very strong.”
Each Snow Sprite had a bounty of 100,000 eris.
Among the monsters we had defeated, it had a rather high bounty, but the name didn’t sound as strong as the wolves and bears.
“Snow Sprites are weak monsters. They can be found in places with lots of snow, and will shatter when hit with a sword. But…”
I tore the notice down as I listened to Megumin.
“Hunting Snow Sprites? Snow Sprites aren’t dangerous monsters, but defeating one will allow spring to arrive half a day earlier. If we’re taking this quest, I’ll need to prepare.”
Aqua said ‘Wait for a while’ and went off somewhere.
Megumin didn’t have any problems with hunting Snow Sprites either.
Darkness mumbled to herself.
I thought this M-type Crusader who was always thinking about fighting strong monsters would object.
But Darkness seemed happy for some reason.
I was a little suspicious of Darkness’s behaviour, but we still left to hunt the Snow Sprites after Aqua returned.
– The plains far away from town.
It wasn’t snowing in town, but this place was dyed white with shiny snow.
And that had to be the Snow Sprites.
The palm-sized white balls that were floating all around the place.
They didn’t seem dangerous.
But why would such a harmless thing have a bounty of 100,000 eris?
They said defeating one of these things would bring spring half a day closer, so the people who couldn’t wait for spring to come put up this huge bounty.
Even though the bounty was high, it didn’t mean the opposing monsters were powerful.
Monsters that were average in strength and harmless to humans, but fed on crops in the fields.
Monsters that were weak but actively attacked humans, aggressive in nature.
In such cases, defeating the weak monster that attacked humans would yield a higher bounty.
Although the bounty of the Snow Sprites was disturbingly high, I was more concerned with something else.
“… Hey, can’t you do something about your attire?”
I looked at Aqua who had an insect net and many small bottles, and was dressed like a kid catching crickets in the winter.
Aqua had a ‘What are you saying!?’ face, looking at me like I was a moron.
“I want to catch the Snow Sprites and put them into these bottles! If I put one together with a beverage in a box, I’d be able to drink ice-cold Neroid at any time! It’ll be like a fridge! What do you think? I’m smart, right?”
I could already see how this’ll end, but I guess I’ll let her be.
“Where’s your armour?”
“Still being repaired.”
Leaving Aqua aside, the tank in our party–Darkness–was wearing casual clothing, with only a greatsword on her back.
“… The armour was battered after the fight with the Demon King’s General … But is this equipment okay…? Well, I don’t think the Snow Sprites will attack us, though.”
“It’s fine, don’t worry. It’s a bit cold, but this is like a cold endurance contest. It feels nice…”
Darkness, who was only wearing a tight skirt and black shirt, was panting in her minimal attire.
Maybe perverts who were hot in the head had a high body temperature, too.
We focused on the task at hand and began hunting the Snow Sprites.
“Megumin, Darkness! They’re escaping your way, take care of them! Damn, they’re squirming all over!”
“They float around leisurely if you leave them alone, but they dodge agilely if you attack them.”
It was hard to hit these guys.
But the bounty for each one was 100,000, after all, so such difficulties were expected.
After taking down the third Snow Sprite, I took a deep breath.
“I caught a fourth one! Look, Kazuma! What a harvest!”
Following the source of Aqua’s cheerful voice, I saw her putting the Snow Sprite caught by the insect net into a small bottle.
… Should I try using an insect net, too?
If we didn’t manage to take down too many of them by the end of the day, I’ll kill the ones that she caught.
“They’re too fast, Kazuma. Darkness and I can’t get them… Can I use Explosion to blow up an area?”
Megumin said while panting. Chasing alongside Darkness, Megumin finally got one Snow Sprite with her staff.
I was worried about drawing the attention of creatures such as White Wolves and One-hit Bears, but I could keep a lookout with Enemy Detection, and run away if there were any reactions.
“All right, I’m counting on you, Megumin. Get them all.”
Megumin started chanting her spell–!
Megumin released her powerful spell that could only be used once a day.
The cold dry air trembled, and with a roar, the brown earth in the center of the snow-white plains exploded, forming a crater.
Megumin laid prone on the snowy ground after exhausting her mana, displaying her adventurer’s card proudly.
“Eight! I took out 8. And I raised a level!”
Oh, well done. You would’ve looked much cooler if you hadn’t said that while half buried in the snow.
With this, I took 3, Megumin got 9. Making it a total of 12.
Including Aqua’s catch, there were 16, so 1,600,000 eris.
Splitting it 4 ways, that would be 400,000 each.
That was a large haul for less than an hour of work.
What’s with this? Hunting in winter is worth a lot of money.
So why didn’t anyone take up this easy job with such a large bounty?
As if to answer my doubts, it suddenly appeared before us.
“… Ah, it appeared!”
Darkness looked at that thing as she took a stance with her great sword and smiled.
Because it appeared so suddenly, I couldn’t use Enemy Detection to escape.
Megumin who was just boasting of her victory was now playing dead.
“… Kazuma. Let me tell you why the adventurers don’t take on quests in the winter.”
Aqua took a step back as she stared at it.
– That thing which was the focus of our attention took a heavy step forward.
“You stayed in Japan in the past. When you were young you must’ve heard this name during this season in the weather reports and news, right?”
That thing with pure white, heavy armour released its boundless killing intent at us.
As a Japanese citizen, I could tell from a glance what Aqua was talking about.
Just that terrifying figure was enough even if Aqua didn’t explain. But I still waited for her to say it.
“The master of the Snow Sprites, and the symbol of winter itself…”
The Japanese-style heavy helmet matched the snow-white scale armour.
The masked armoured warrior breathed cold white smog as it stood before us.
– Aqua said with a serious face.
“That’s right. This is the Winter Shogun.”
<TL note: Winter Shogun, Japanese personification of winter, roughly analogous to General Winter or Jack Frost.>
“This is stupid! All the people, food, and monsters in this damn world are stupid!!”
The terrifyingly sharp blade glimmered in the sun–the Winter Shogun attacked!
Its helmet was pure white. It was a simple and dull color, but the elegance of the Warring States era armour was still prominent.
<TL Note: Warring states era, period in Japan in the fifteen hundreds. The traditional image of an armoured samurai is usually from that era.>
Its body was covered with scale armour of intrinsic designs.
Its blade emitted cold, white smog and were visibly sharp.
The Winter Shogun emitted a really strong presence as it took up a stance.
The white blade shined under the sun and slashed toward the nearest target–Darkness!
Darkness went to block with her greatsword, but–
With a crisp crack, the greatsword that withstood the blows from Beldia was easily broken.
“Ahhh!? My sword is…!?”
Aqua put some distance between her and the Winter Shogun as she said…
“Winter Shogun; one of the special monsters with a high national bounty. The Winter Shogun is the Fairy of Winter… Fairies don’t have a material body. It manifests itself according to the unconscious descriptions and images of the people it meets. The Fairy of Fire would turn into a violent salamander according to ‘the desire to engulf everything in flames’. The Fairy of Water reminds people of the young, beautiful and sensible goddess of water, so they would manifest themselves as a young girl… But the Fairy of Winter is a bit special, all right? In the winter with dangerous monsters all around, even adventurers won’t leave their homes, so few people have met the Fairy of Winter… That’s right, except for the bunch of cheaters who were transported here from Japan.”
She held onto the bottles containing the Snow Sprites as she elaborated on the Winter Shogun.
The Winter Shogun was breathing cold, white smoke from the mouth of its mask.
I stood beside Darkness who was holding her broken sword, and put up my guard before the Winter Shogun.
“… You mean this thing is here because those idiots from Japan thought ‘When you think about winter, you have to think about the Winter Shogun’? Why did they think such troublesome things? What should we do? Can we fight the fairy of Winter!?”
To be frank, I don’t think I can beat the monster before me.
It might’ve looked like a humanoid warrior in armour at first glance, but if that was the manifestation of a fairy, then my sword wouldn’t be effective at all.
And our trump card, Megumin, couldn’t use magic any more today.
After this fight, I will step on that girl who was playing dead.
Aqua opened the bottles to release the Snow Sprites she worked so hard to catch.
“Kazuma, listen to me! The Winter Shogun is a merciful being! If you apologize properly, it’ll let us go!”
Aqua said as she knelt in the snow-covered plains in a hurry.
“Prostrate! Prostrate yourself, quick! Everyone throw your weapons away! Apologize! Hurry up Kazuma, apologize!”
Pressing her head hard into the snow, the former something threw her pride away and gave a standard kowtow.
I felt a sense of awe from Aqua who prostrated without hesitation, and Megumin who was playing dead so perfectly.
And the Winter Shogun really did ignore the prostrating Aqua.
It turned its gaze toward me and Darkness.
I knelt in a hurry after it looked at me–!
… I realized Darkness beside me was standing there idly.
“Hey, what are you doing, hurry up and kneel!”
Darkness threw her broken sword aside and stared at the Winter Shogun defiantly.
“Ugh…! Even I have my pride as a Crusader! Even if no one is watching, as a knight, I can’t lower my head to a monster because of fear…!”
I grabbed Darkness’s head as she was saying some troublesome things and pressed her down forcefully.
“You’re always happily chasing monsters around, so why are you displaying your boring sense of pride now!”
“Stop! Ugh, I don’t want to lower my head, but because you so crudely forced me down, my face is touching the ground, what a reward! Hahaha… Ah, the snow is cold…!”
I pressed the head of the pervert who was offering token resistance down as I lowered mine too.
I peeked at the Winter Shogun and saw that he had kept his blade.
I relaxed and continued to bow–
Aqua shouted shrilly at me.
“Kazuma, the weapon! Throw the weapon in your hand away now!!”
I was pressing my head into the icy snow plains, and suddenly realized my right hand was still holding a sword.
I threw the sword in my right hand away in a hurry.
I was panicking, so my head left the snowy ground as I did so–
What I saw was the Winter Shogun holding the sheathed blade with its left hand.
The Winter Shogun pushed the blade out with the thumb of its left hand, revealing a glimpse of white steel.
This was known as the ‘Iai stance’.
The Winter Shogun’s right hand, which was empty, swung out in an instant.
I heard a clinking sound.
That was the sound of a blade being sheathed.
And for some reason, my gaze was falling towards the snowy ground–
– I remembered completely.
I was killed by the Winter Shogun.
“Um… Have you calmed down?”
“Ah… Sorry, I lost my composure. That was embarrassing of me.”
In the pure white shrine, I averted my eyes shamefully after crying pitifully before the goddess.
But the goddess who called herself Eris shook her head.
“This is nothing to be ashamed about. You lost your precious life after all…”
She said as she closed her eyes sympathetically.
Seeing Eris’s sorrowful expression, I felt sad as well.
“Um, may I ask? Do you know what happened to the monster that killed me?”
I was worried about those fellows taking on the Winter Shogun because I was killed.
“It’s fine, the Winter Shogun disappeared after cutting you down.”
Hearing that, I sighed in relief.
Eris looked at me sorrowfully.
“Satou Kazuma-san. You came from peaceful Japan and encountered something like this… Brave soul who came from another world, I will use my power to let you reincarnate in peaceful Japan to a wealthy family and live a free life.”
After hearing Eris’s words, I remembered.
You could either live in heaven after death, or reincarnate as a baby.
Transporting to this ridiculous world was an abnormality.
It was a short time, but it was a happy period in the end.
Not being able to see those troublesome people was a bit…
That’s right, just a bit lonely–
Maybe because of the expression on my face, Eris looked at me and lowered her gaze sadly.
And she reached her right hand out to me…
“Hurry and come back Kazuma! How can you be killed off so easily in such a place! It’s too early for you to die!”
I suddenly heard Aqua’s voice.
The sound echoed throughout the place where only Eris and I were.
“Wait, what’s happening!?”
But I was not the only one who was surprised.
“Wha–! This voice, Aqua-senpai!? I was thinking that Archpriest looked just like Senpai; could it really be her!?”
Eris opened her eyes wide in disbelief, speaking loudly in the void.
“Kazuma, can you hear me? I have cast Resurrection on your body, you can come back now. There’s a goddess before you, right? Ask that girl to open the gate back here.”
Aqua’s voice came again.
Ohhh…! So, you really were a goddess, you finally did something incredible!
Oh yeah, that girl did resurrect the adventurers killed by the Dullahan!
“Okay, wait for me, Aqua! I’ll be right there!”
I wasn’t sure if my voice would reach her, but I still shouted into the void and jumped happily.
“Hold on, wait a minute! No, no, I’m sorry, you’ve already been revived once. By the laws of the heavens, you can’t be resurrected again! The other side can’t hear us, unless Aqua-senpai is connected to your voice. Could you help me pass along the message?”
Eris said in a panic.
Hey, are you kidding? I was happy for nothing!
“Hey, Aqua, can you hear me!? She said that I’ve already been revived once, so I can’t be revived again because of some rules in heaven!”
I shouted into the void.
Followed by a moment of silence–
“Ah? Which goddess said such foolish things! Tell me your name! A goddess watching over such a far-off place should respect an elite like me who oversees Japan!!”
Hey, don’t do that.
The goddess who oversaw the far-off area looked awkward.
“Eh, it’s a goddess-sama by the name of Eris…”
I timidly said to Eris.
Which was followed by the heated voice of Aqua.
“Eris!? That flat-chested Eris that audaciously used her name as the currency unit, just because she was worshipped as the national religion of this world!? Listen, Kazuma, if Eris continues to prattle, you just go for the pads in her bra and–”
“I get it, I get it! I’ll make an exception this time! I’ll open the gate now!”
After drowning out Aqua’s voice, Eris snapped her fingers while blushing.
At the same time, a plain white door appeared before me.
“Really, Aqua-senpai is still as unreasonable as ever.”
… After Eris grumbled, she said to me:
“This way, the gate to the mortal world… Really, this wouldn’t normally happen. By the rules, be it kings or big shots, everyone else only gets one chance… Really. You’re Kazuma-san, right?”
“Eh, ah, yes!”
I stuttered in reply upon hearing Eris ask for my name.
Compared to the laughable goddess by my side, this one looked more like a goddess-sama.
And she was an exceptionally beautiful girl, so I naturally became nervous.
The goddess who had a hint of sorrow in her eyes scratched her cheek.
Finally, she closed one eye like a playful kid and said in a soft, cheerful voice:
“Please keep this a secret, okay?”
I smiled awkwardly as I pushed the white door open–
– I could hear a sound from the distance.
“… zuma…! Kazuma, get up! Kazuma!”
The sound of Megumin lying on me sobbing.
What was happening, my right hand felt warm.
Shifting my gaze in that direction, I could see Darkness by my side, down on one knee as she held my hand in her hands. Her eyes seemed to be closed in prayer.
I could feel breathing at the top of my head and looked that way.
And I met the eyes of Aqua who was looking at me.
“… Ah, you finally got up? That child is so stubborn, really.”
I heard Aqua’s voice and realized the back of my head was nice and warm.
I was sleeping on Aqua’s lap.
When Megumin and Darkness noticed I had awakened, they wordlessly gave me a tight hug.
It was great that they were so happy about my resurrection, but this felt embarrassing…!
When Aqua realized I couldn’t move because of embarrassment, she smiled deviously.
Damn, I shouldn’t have come back to this lousy place, I should’ve reincarnated back in Japan and lived the life of a rich man’s son.
“Hey Kazuma, don’t get hung up on being embarrassed. There should be something you want to say to us, right?”
Aqua said with a mischievous smile.
Could I change this useless goddess with that cute goddess-sama I just met?
– I said this clearly to Aqua.
“I want a swap.”
“How dare you hikiNEET! If you want to see that child so much, I’ll send you there right now!”
“Stop, stop! Don’t rough up someone who was just revived, you violent goddess!”
Aqua screamed with veins popping on her forehead, pinning me down with her fist high, ready to beat me up.
As Darkness stopped Aqua while saying ‘Don’t mind’, I checked my body that was slashed by the Winter Shogun and got up.
“… Is your body okay? Does it feel weird anywhere?”
When I heard Megumin say that, I patted all over my body.
“It seems fine. By the way, how was I killed?”
Aqua told me:
“You were beheaded by the Winter Shogun. It was a clean cut. Thanks to that, it easily reconnected and the healed. I restored a bit of your blood, but not completely. You’ll feel weak if you do anything strenuous, so, you’re banned from vanguard duties. It’ll be over if you get hurt and bleed again, understand?”
I was speechless and unconsciously rubbed my neck.
No matter where I touched, I couldn’t feel a scar anywhere.
A part of the snowy plains was dyed red by my blood. It splattered on Darkness who was beside me too.
Although I was saved by Aqua, just the thought of dying still gave me chills.
The winter of this world was a season for monsters who could survive despite the shortage of food.
Which meant that there wasn’t any quest that could be easily completed by novices like us.
… Well, let’s call it a day and return to town.
We went straight to the guild to collect our bounty after returning to town.
“But getting 12 in an hour. 1,200,000… It was a decent haul, but not worth dying for. That Winter Shogun is said to be a special monster. How much is his bounty? To break Darkness’s sword in one blow, he seemed stronger than Beldia who was worth 300 million.”
“The Winter Shogun is a monster that doesn’t do anything if you leave the Snow Sprites alone. Even so, the bounty should be about 200 million. As a Demon King’s General, Beldia, had a high bounty because of how dangerous he was. For the Winter Shogun who doesn’t actively attack humans to have a bounty of 200 million… it shows just how strong the Winter Shogun is.”
Hearing Megumin’s explanation, I fell into deep thought.
– 200 million.
With that much money, I could clear the debts, buy a house, and live leisurely for quite some time.
“… Megumin, could you use Explosion on that?”
“The Winter Shogun can’t be defeated by Explosion. Although it had a shape of a human, it is still a fairy. Fairies are immaterial, an existence just like mana. If it was an existence like the Fairy King, its magical defense would be rather high. Although Explosion could deal damage to all sort of existences, it would still be hard to settle it in one blow… Also, I don’t want to cast Explosion on such a scary opponent.”
It was impossible. Looking at me feeling depressed, Aqua smiled deviously.
“Hmph, Kazuma, you look rather down. But I wasn’t just thinking about prostrating. Here, look!”
Aqua said as she took a small bottle from her clothes.
There was a Snow Sprite inside.
She didn’t release all the Snow Sprites back then, and kept one.
“Oh! That’s smart of you, Aqua. Okay, hand this over, I’ll crush it right now.”
As I praised Aqua who was surprisingly smart, I held the bottle up high.
“Wha–! No, this child is for my fridge!! To drink ice-cold Neroid in summer… No, don’t kill this child! I even gave it a name, so you can’t kill it! No, no!!”
Aqua hugged the bottle containing the fairy, squatting in defiance unexpectedly.
Damn it, a monster worth 100,000–
But Aqua did revive me today. It was a waste, but I’ll just let it go.
After finishing the errand at the guild, we divided the bounty that was severely lessened by the debts.
It was a bit early, but considering the huge profit we made today, we chose to rent a room in the inn and rest early.
I just revived, so I didn’t want to push myself too hard.
But… Today’s profit was great, but it was just a drop in the ocean of our debts. With the dim future before me, I thought about my meeting with Eris to escape from reality.
She looked like an alluring beauty from the outside, and her personality was also–
She looked so sorrowful just because I died. And the goddess asking me to keep it a secret with a smile when she made an exception for my resurrection.
This is the first time I met a girl who could be a love interest since arriving in this world.
As I thought about Eris’s face, the trip to the inn’s door was over in an instant.
“Hehe, I have to take good care of this child and make lots of ice in the summer. And I’ll sell shaved ice with this child on the roadside! I’ll sleep with it in the hot summer night…! … Hey, Megumin, do you know what this child eats?”
“I don’t know what Snow Sprites feed on. Really, what do they eat?”
“It looks light and fluffy, probably tastes good if you dip it in sugar and put it in your mouth…”
The three behind me were talking about boring things.
I placed my hand on the door of the inn and turned to face the three of them.
And I thought of the elegant Eris.
Then I looked at the faces of these three again.
The three of them looked confused and stared back at me.
I sighed as I listened to the uproar from the three and pushed the door open.
– It happened a few days after I was killed.
“Hey, say that again.”
In the silence that pervaded the guild, I tried to restrain my anger as I challenged that man.
After I died for the second time, I spent the next few days resting.
Fast forward to today. I was prohibited from strenuous activities, so I was looking for simple quests on the bulletin board, such as carrying luggage–
“I can say it as many times as you want. You mentioned a luggage-carrying quest? In a party full of high-tier job members, can’t you take on a harder quest? You’re the dead weight holding them back, right, man with the weakest job?”
The man dressed like a warrior said as his companions at his table laughed with him.
I had to bear with it.
I can handle this maturely; compared to the usual insults from Aqua, the taunts from a drunkard you could find anywhere weren’t worth mentioning.
But this man’s words made some sense.
My companions might’ve had some issues, but they all had high-tier jobs, just as he said.
If they could be utilized better, we could achieve great results.
And my ‘Adventurer’ job was indeed the weakest.
Right now, I had nothing to rebuke him.
– But, that man thought I was afraid of him because I kept quiet.
“Hey, say something, weakest job holder. Really, bringing three pretty ladies around, are you planning to create a harem? And all of them have top-tier jobs. You must be creating wonderful memories everyday with these onee-sans, right?”
Hearing this, the guild exploded in laughter.
But there were some who knew of our exploits. They were frowning and trying to warn that guy.
I couldn’t help clenching my fists, but I felt that with these people in the crowd, I could get over this.
Megumin, Darkness, and Aqua came over to encourage me.
“Kazuma, don’t bother with them. I won’t mind no matter what they say about me.”
“That’s right Kazuma, ignore those drunkards.”
“Yeah, that man is just jealous that Kazuma has us. I don’t mind, so just leave them be.”
Correct, the man before us was the typical troublemaker you would find in mangas.
There was no need to be concerned with him.
I gritted my teeth, but the next sentence from that man made me lose my cool.
“Being surrounded by top-tier classes is so blissful. How envious it is to not know suffering! How about switching places with me, bro?”
“I’ll gladly switch!!”
I shouted out loud.
The adventurer’s guild turned silent again.
The warrior who was harassing me held his beer with one hand and made an awkward sound.
“I said that I would switch with you! Hey, you think I’m a pushover because I didn’t say anything, right! Ahhh, that’s right, I have the weakest job! I’m fine with that… But you! What did you say after that, you jerk!?”
Aqua timidly approached me when I suddenly got mad.
But the man who backed off a little because of my sudden outburst spoke before she could say anything more.
“After that part? Um, bringing three pretty ladies and creating a harem…”
I slammed my fist on the table.
The sound made everyone in the guild tremble.
“Pretty ladies!? Harem!? You said harem!? Hey, are those things in your eye sockets made from glass!? Where are the pretty ladies!? My eyes are bad and can’t see any pretty ladies, all right! Why don’t you change your glass eyes with my lousy ones!!”
When these three heard what I said, they pointed at themselves and gasped.
“Hey, you! Tell me! Pretty ladies? Where, where are they! You said you envy me, right? Ahh? You said that, right!?”
While I was grabbing that man by the collar, a timid voice came from behind me.
“Well… About that…”
That was the soft voice of Aqua, who was representing the three of them, raising her hand.
But I ignored her and carried on.
“And after that? Being surrounded by top-tier classes is so blissful? How envious it is to not know suffering!!!?”
“… Um, well, sorry… The alcohol got to my head… But! The grass might look greener on the other side, but your situation is better! You said you want to change with me, right? Just one day. How about just switching with me for one adventure? Hey, you guys are fine with that, right!?”
The man whose collar was grabbed by me said as he turned to his companions for confirmation.
“I-I’m fine with that… The quest today is just hunting goblins.”
“I’m okay with it too. But Dust, don’t say you don’t want to rejoin the party because it’s too comfortable there, all right?”
“I have no problems, either. Even with a rookie, the goblins are no big deal. As compensation, I hope you bring some great stories back.”
The companions of the troublemaker added in.
“Hey, Kazuma. Um, you guys seemed to be chatting happily, but aren’t you going to ask for our opinion?”
“No. Hello, my name is Kazuma. It might just be one day, but please take care of me!”
The three companions of the troublemaker awkwardly acknowledged me.
The man equipped with heavy armour and a sword observed me and said:
“I’m Taylor. I’m proficient with a one-handed sword, and I am a Crusader. I’m sort of like the leader of this party. It is just temporary, but you’re still part of our team. Please listen to my instructions, all right?”
“Of course. Or rather, I was always the one issuing the orders. Following your instructions should be a refreshing experience. Please look after me.”
Taylor seemed shocked to hear what I said.
“What? That party of top-tier jobs is led by an adventurer?”
I nodded casually and the three of them couldn’t say anything.
Next was a girl who seemed rather young, wearing a green cloak.
“I’m Lynn. As you can see, I’m a mage. I can use Intermediate Magic. Anyway, nice to meet you. And don’t worry, I’ll protect you, rookie! Goblins are a piece of cake!”
That kid was treating me like a young junior and smiled.
I felt that I was probably older, but a proper mage was dependable. Please let me rely on her.
“I’m Keith. Archer. I’m confident with sniping. Anyway, pleased to meet you.”
The lean man with a bow on his back said with a smile.
“I’ll be in everyone’s care. I’m Kazuma. My job is adventurer… Eh, should I talk about things I’m good at?”
The three of them burst out in laughter when they heard that.
“No, no need. By the way, weren’t you looking for a quest carrying luggage? Kazuma, just help us with our bags. A simple quest of hunting goblins will be fine with just the three of us. Don’t worry, the bounty will be split equally 4 ways.”
Taylor was a bit sarcastic, but that didn’t matter.
Some might’ve said I was surrounded by beauties, but I felt that getting paid just for carrying luggage was a great deal. Really, wasn’t that fine?
Well, since these guys said that themselves, I would take up their generous offer.
– At this moment, a familiar voice came from the quest bulletin board.
“Hmm~ repel the goblins? Why did those things appear around the town? Can’t we take a quest with a higher reward? We need to let Kazuma know just how valuable we are.”
The troublemaker was being pressured by Aqua.
“No, I know you all are very capable, but I can’t match up with you all. Archpriest, Archwizard and Crusader. With such a formation, any adversaries would not be a match. But please pick a simple one this time… By the way, I see that you don’t have a weapon or armour, are you planning to go just like that?”
“No problem. I’m confident of my toughness, and my weapon wouldn’t hit anyway.”
“Wouldn’t hit…? No, that…? Never mind, it would work…”
That guy conversing with Darkness wanted to ‘pick a simple one this time’; was he expecting to do this again?
I was fine with that, too.
While I was preoccupied with the situation over there, Taylor stood up.
“I didn’t plan to work during winter, but we managed to obtain this simple goblin hunting job. In summary, we’ll be hunting the goblins at the foot of the mountain path. If we set off now, we can make it back by night. Well then, rookie, let’s get going.”
A mainstream monster that was known to everyone in both this world and my own.
These guys didn’t seem very threatening in games, but to my surprise, people see them as dangerous beings in this world.
They weren’t much alone, but they moved in groups, and could use weapons.
They seemed to be wild demi-humans: agile, short, violent, and known to attack humans and livestock.
Although they usually lived in the forest, for some reason these goblins were camping at the mountain path leading to the next town.
We leisurely walked across the grass plains leading to the mountain.
“Anyway, why are the goblins staying at such a place? Not that I’m complaining. Thanks to that, we got this great quest of hunting goblins!”
Defeating one goblin would yield 20,000 eris in bounty.
I didn’t know how strong the goblins were, but they had to be easy since Lynn said so.
I could get a share of the reward just by following behind these three with their bags.
This might’ve been the first time I got such an easy quest without any tension.
Normally, my companions would create some trouble along the way, but we reached the mountain safely today.
It was a mountain, but not a lush mountain like those in Japan; it was a brown rocky mountain without vegetation.
There were just a few sparse trees. It was baffling why would the goblins move to a place that wasn’t blessed by the bounties of nature.
If it was the usual party, I’d feel uneasy about whether the quest would proceed smoothly. But today, I felt really secure.
That had to be because this was a proper party.
Taylor stopped and opened his map.
“The goblins were spotted at the top of this mountain path, just as it starts leading down the slope. There might be goblins living in the caves beside the path, so be on guard from this point onwards.”
I felt a bit moved by Taylor’s instructions.
This was it, this is what a proper conversation between adventurers should be like.
Wanting to charge into the middle of the enemy; suddenly wanting to chant Explosion; wanting to go back early to drink beer. Those conversations were the weird ones.
The whole team looked at each other and nodded silently.
There were no divergent paths on the mountain. The narrow trail snaked between the treacherous mountain face.
The path was wide enough for 5 or 6 people to walk side-by-side, but one side was a wall while the other side was a cliff.
We walked quietly along the path, and I suddenly noticed something.
“Something’s coming from the mountain path ahead. My Enemy Detection skill picked it up. But it’s just one.”
There was only a single ping on my Enemy Detection skill.
Didn’t goblins move in groups?
The three of them turned around in surprise when they heard what I said.
“… Kazuma, you have the skill to detect enemies? And it’s just one? That shouldn’t be a goblin. There shouldn’t be strong enemies that can move alone here… This is just a straight path, we’ll be discovered even if we hide among the trees there. Should we fight?”
Taylor lifted his shield and said…
“No, I have the Lurk skill, so we won’t be discovered even if we hide. This skill is effective on party members that are touched by the user, so let’s hide in the trees first.”
After hearing what I said, the three appeared even more surprised, but they still hid in the woods.
As expected of a veteran adventurer team.
When you weren’t sure what the opponent was, the first thing to do was to avoid battle and observe. That’s the basics of the basics.
There was nothing to be ashamed about in being careful. But there was in dying due to carelessness.
If it were my usual teammates, would they hide so straightforwardly? As I was thinking about that–
Simply put, it was a feline beast.
That thing was bigger than tigers and lions, covered in black fur all over. It had giant fangs like a saber-toothed tiger growing out of its mouth.
That thing suspiciously sniffed the ground of the mountain path we walked on earlier.
When Lynn saw that thing, she covered her mouth in panic.
She almost screamed from fear.
The three who were touching me with their hands tightened their grip on me.
For these three to be this nervous… this must be quite a dangerous monster.
– After that thing sniffed around the area, it finally headed off in the direction we came from, moving towards the town.
“… Wah! How, how scary! Rookie Killer! That was a Rookie Killer!”
Seeing Lynn say that with teary eyes, it seemed to be a formidable opponent.
“My heart, my heart almost stopped! We’re saved…! I get it, the goblins moved to the mountain path so close to town because they were herded by the Rookie Killer.”
“Ah, that’s it… But this is troubling. It moved in the direction of our home. We can’t escape back to town that way.”
Keith and Taylor said.
“Um, was that thing really that scary?”
When the three heard me, they looked at me with eyes of disbelief that were saying, ‘You didn’t know?’
“That’s a Rookie Killer. It hangs around creatures like goblins and kobolds, weaker monsters that are easy for rookie adventurers to handle, and preys on those adventurers in turn. This means the goblins are bait to lure adventurers. And to keep the goblins from settling at one place, it’ll herd the goblins to change its hunting grounds. A cunning and dangerous monster.”
There are such intelligent monsters living in this world.
I felt like letting Aqua taste how powerful the Rookie Killer was.
“Anyway, why don’t we complete the goblin quest? The Rookie Killer would usually protect the goblins that are used to lure the adventurers. If we kill the goblins and hide their bodies in the woods along the mountain path, it might ignore us like it did just now, and follow the scent of the bloody goblins instead. Even if it got close, we could rely on Kazuma’s Enemy Detection. We can’t just keep hiding here since we don’t know whether the Rookie Killer will come back. Let’s head for our destination.”
We accepted Taylor’s proposal and got out of the woods.
… At this moment, Lynn took some of the luggage I was carrying and said:
“If we encounter the Rookie Killer and needed to run, it would be better if Kazuma has a lighter load. I’ll take some too. As compensation, I’ll be counting on your Enemy Detection and Lurk skills, all right?”
Lynn shouldered her own bags and said nervously.
Hearing Lynn say that, Taylor and Keith also hurriedly took their bags from me.
“We… We aren’t relying on Kazuma, okay?”
Oh, tsundere mode.
As the Rookie Killer seemed like it wasn’t coming back, we hiked up the mountain path and came to the downward slope area marked by Taylor’s map.
This seems to be the place where the goblins were sighted.
Taylor turned to the side.
“Kazuma, how is it? Any reaction from Enemy Detection?”
Of course. There were plenty.
“There are a lot hiding around that corner. There is no sign of the Rookie Killer from the way we came from.”
But the reaction was too many. It wasn’t just ten or twenty.
So many that I couldn’t count them clearly.
“If there are many, then that must be goblins. The goblins live in groups.”
I looked uneasily at Keith who was putting it so easily.
“I’ve never fought goblins before, but are there really supposed to be this many? How many are there in a normal group? I’m sensing way too many for me to count.”
Maybe it was because she saw how I looked, Lynn was also starting to get uneasy.
“Hey, are there really that many of them? Since Kazuma said so, why not peek at how many there are, and go in when…”
As Lynn was saying that.
“No problem, no problem! How could we let Kazuma hog the spotlight! All right, let’s go!”
Keith shouted as he charged around the corner down the slope where the goblins were.
Taylor followed behind, and both yelled.
“Woah! So many!!”
When we heard their yell, Lynn and I turned the corner, too.
– There were way more than 30 goblins.
So these were the famous goblins! I see, they were tiny imps!
Their height was about that of a grade schooler, but all of them had a weapon and faced our way.
It was a little intimidating.
Seeing that, Lynn tensed her face and yelled.
“Didn’t I tell you!? I already told you! Didn’t I say we should peek and see how many there were!!”
Taylor took a step forward to protect Lynn and the archer Keith.
“There would normally be only a dozen or so goblins! Damn, if we run back, we might get caught between them and the Rookie Killer! There’s nothing to this, let’s do it!”
Hearing Taylor’s shout, Lynn and Keith had solemn faces as they prepared to attack.
The goblins saw the situation and let out weird screams, charging at us along the mountain path!
“Chi, chi, chi! Chi-, chi-!”
We set up our formation on the slope.
“Ouch! Shit, I’m hit by an arrow! Hey! There’s a goblin archer! Lynn, cast wind-defense spells, quick!”
“Lynn is still chanting, she won’t make it! Everyone, try to dodge!”
As Taylor and Keith were shouting.
I shouted beginner wind magic and blew the arrows coming at us away.
“Ka-Kazuma! Good job!”
As Taylor lifted his shield and shouted his praise at me, Lynn’s magic was completed.
At the same time, wind blew around us.
Indeed, this was magic!
This was the proper way for mages to cast support spells!
It must’ve been a spell that could deflect arrows.
As I was moved thinking ‘This was a real mage’, I shouted.
“With this terrain, this will work! Create Water!”
I chanted Basic Magic, creating large amounts of water with lots of mana.
The water flowed down the slope before Taylor.
“Kazuma!? What are you…”
As I listened to Lynn’s doubtful voice, I shouted,
I used all my might to use beginner ice magic!
The other three shouted in surpise; the ground beneath the goblins’ feet was frozen.
I used this tactic against the Demon King’s General. The goblins slipped on the ice and fell everywhere.
Taylor stood firmly on dry ground, effortlessly slashing at the goblins who were struggling to stand.
We might even make it through without injuries!
I drew my sword and stood beside Taylor…!
“Taylor! We’ll handle the goblins trying to get back up! Leave the goblins staying at the back to the ranged attacks from behind!”
I shouted a little happily as I felt the emotion of working together with teammates.
“W-Well done Kazuma! Hey, let’s go everyone! The numbers are no longer a problem, let’s finish the goblins!”
“Hahaha, isn’t this easy! Watch me shoot holes through them!”
“I’m going! I’ll cast my powerful magic into their midst!”
With heightened emotions, we attacked the goblin group!
On our way back after finishing off the goblins…
“… Hahaha, I’ve never heard of anyone using magic in such a way! Is basic magic really that effective?!”
“Really! I was taught at the magic academy that Basic Magic was just a waste of skill points! Haha, hahaha, what’s with that!”
“Wahaha, oh my, this is the first time I enjoyed hunting goblins this much! Ara, I thought we were doomed when I saw that large tribe of goblins!”
We talked about the battle just now as we returned to town, walking along the mountain path.
They were still chatting about that fight with heightened emotions.
“Hey, the battle’s over, hand your bags over. Shouldn’t those with the weakest job, adventurers, carry the luggage?”
I teased them with a smile.
“Ah, sorry, we were mean to you and I apologize! I won’t look down on you again just because you’re an adventurer!”
“Sorry, Kazuma! Anyway, why is the one with the weakest adventurer job the most active! This is too strange!”
“Hey, Kazuma, give me the luggage! You’re the MVP today, so I’ll help you carry them!”
Seeing the three of them flustered, I burst out in laughter.
Seeing me laughing, the three noticed I was joking and laughed too.
Ahh, this was nice.
This felt like a real adventuring party.
“Ugh… That hurts…”
Taylor frowned as he applied pressure to his arm.
Taylor, who got hit by an arrow in the battle just now, pulled it out.
“Hey, are you alright? I can learn recovery magic on the spot, but there are no antiseptics here, so it’s better to not seal the wounds before going back to town. Do clean the wound in town.”
Hearing me say that casually, Lynn and Keith gulped for some reason.
“Kazuma, you can learn recovery magic…?”
“Recovery magic… Our team finally has someone who can use recovery magic…”
Taylor cut the two of them off.
“Hey, stop it. Kazuma has somewhere to return to. He has a team that’s full of top-tier job holders… Really. Now I understand why Kazuma is the leader in a party of top-tier job members.”
Taylor said as he smiled at me.
Even I myself was not sure why I had to take care of the problem children in my party, but Taylor seemed to know why.
I ought to ask him next time.
We got down the mountain and walked onto the vast plains leading to town.
– And we remembered.
We realized that there was something we needed to be careful of.
“Hmm? Is there something charging at us?”
As expected of an archer, his eyesight was great.
The first to notice was Keith.
After that, Enemy Detection went off.
We noticed–the black beast running at us while we were in the middle of the grassy plains at dusk.
With my shout as the cue, the four of us ran towards town.
“Ha… Ha…! Damn it, we have to face that in the end!”
Keith cursed while panting.
“Hah, hah… Oh no, it’s catching up!”
As if she was answering him, the teary-eyed Lynn said through heavy breaths.
The Rookie Killer was right behind us.
There was still some distance from town. We wouldn’t make it if this continued.
At this moment, Taylor who was running in front turned and took a stance with his sword.
“Lynn! We’ll get caught if this goes on! Escape to town with Kazuma! I’ll stall it, and Keith will support me! Get help once you reach town!”
“Oh!? Th-Th-That’s right! Le-Le-Leave it to me! Kazuma belongs to another party after all, but he performed the best! It’s our time to shine!”
Why are you saying such cool lines?
Don’t say things like ‘Leave this to me, you guys go first!’.
“I-I understand! Let’s hurry, Kazuma!”
Lynn called out to me as she took my hand and prepared to run.
– But even if it was just for a day, I was still part of this party.
There’s no way I could abandon them and escape by myself.
The Rookie Killer was right before us.
Its target was Taylor, who was blocking its way.
“Hey, wait Kazuma!? Aren’t you running!?”
I flicked off the hand grabbing me as Lynn uttered in a panicked voice, baffled by why I was just standing there. I chanted in a soft volume, careful to not let the Rookie Killer notice.
A small amount of dirt appeared on my palm.
“Hey Kazuma! It’s dangerous, run!”
I ignored Keith’s flustered voice, crushing the dirt in my hand, positioning myself behind Taylor stealthily.
“Warghh! Bring it on, fur ball!”
The Rookie Killer pounced on Taylor.
I aimed the dirt in my palm at the Rookie Killer and chanted.
The Rookie Killer was hit in the face with the dirt; its eyes irritated by sand, it fell onto the ground.
It couldn’t see, but it still growled at us.
Taylor and the others didn’t understand what was happening.
“Hey, now’s our chance! Run!!”
– A short distance from town.
We couldn’t feel the presence of the Rookie Killer anymore.
I heard it was a cunning monster, so it wouldn’t have chased us all the way to town.
“Did, did we lose it?”
Taylor asked in a rugged breath.
“Hah… Hah… I, I think we did?”
Lynn stopped and kept checking behind her.
“… Huff… Huff… Fuhehehe…”
Keith couldn’t take it anymore and let out a soft laugh.
Hey, what’s up with him, did the fear make his mind break?
– But as if they were influenced by Keith’s laughter.
“Ha… Ha, hahaha…!”
“Aha… Ahahaha… Ahahaha!”
Before I realized it, I was laughing along with them over the fact we escaped in the face of a strong adversary.
“Hey, what was that, man?! Kazuma, what did you do!? Wahahaha!”
Taylor patted my back strongly, but that impact felt nice.
I happily knocked back at Taylor’s armour.
“It’s Basic Magic, Basic Magic! It took me a lot of points, but as an adventurer, I could learn Basic Magic! Wahahaha!”
“How could there be such an adventurer! Ughahaha! My belly, it hurts from laughing! Alive, we encountered the Rookie Killer and lived!”
“Unconventional! This man is unconventional, in all sorts of ways! How high is his ‘intelligence’!? Hey, Kazuma, let me see your adventurer card!”
I did as Lynn said and gave her my card.
“Ah… Hmm? Intelligence is normal. The other stats too… Oh, what the!? This person’s luck is very high!!”
Hearing what Lynn said, the other two also looked over.
“Wah, what is this!”
“Oh, hey, was the quest proceeding smoothly because of Kazuma’s luck? Both of you, pray quick! You might receive some blessing!”
No, I think this had nothing to do with luck.
The counter lady also said that luck wasn’t necessary to live as an adventurer.
And if my luck was good, I wouldn’t need to form a party with those people, yeah.
But after Taylor finished, the three of them put their hands together and prayed to me.
“Please, please don’t do that, don’t pray to me… How about getting some coffee instead? I can create clean water and fire too.”
I took out the mugs as I smiled at the three of them.
By the time we reached the doors of the adventurer’s guild, it was already midnight.
Apart from claiming the reward for the quest, we also needed to report the appearance of the Rookie Killer.
According to Taylor, since the goblin group was wiped out, the Rookie Killer would wander away from human civilization and look for a new goblin group.
“We’re here! That felt like a big adventure today!”
We listened to Lynn’s words with a smile and pushed the door of the guild open–
“Boo… Boohoo… Hoo, boohoo… Ah, Kazumaaaaa…”
Seeing the wailing Aqua, I gently closed the door.
“I genuinely understand how you feel, but please don’t close the door!”
Opening the door, I saw the crying face of the man who picked on me this morning.
I think his name was Dust, the new leader of Aqua and the others.
It was a terrible sight.
Megumin was carried on Dust’s back, and Aqua was carrying Darkness who had lost consciousness and was showing the white of her eyes as Aqua wailed.
Looking closely, there was a huge bite mark on Aqua’s head, and she was covered in saliva or something.
“… Eh, what happened? No, I pretty much get it, so I don’t really want to hear it.”
“Listen to me! Listen!! It’s my bad, all right? You know, I asked everyone what skills they had when we left town. So, this kid told me she could use Explosion and I praised her for her abilities. And she said, ‘Let me show you my power’, and suddenly used all her mana on an empty grass plain to cast her explosion spell…”
I plugged my ears pretending to not hear Dust who was complaining to me.
“Hey, listen to me! After that, we encountered the Rookie Killer! Maybe it heard the explosion and rushed over. And the important mage was down at this critical juncture. I already said we should flee, but that Crusader charged at it despite not having armour, and the result was…”
“Hey everyone, this guy will probably report the incident with the Rookie Killer to the guild, let’s eat something and rest. Cheers to the formation of the new party!”
Hearing what I said, Taylor, Keith, and Lynn exclaimed with joy.
“Wait! I apologize! I can kneel before you or anything, but please let me return to my original party!”
I sympathized with Dust from the bottom of my heart, and said to him.
“Work hard in your new party from now on.”
“I was wrong, all right!! I’ll apologize for this morning, so please forgive me!!”