Burning the tyrannical fortress!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Xenthur, Boring bone
By the time I returned to the mansion, it was full of screams and chaos.
“We need to run! As far away as possible!”
The panicking Aqua said as she ran in circles, knocking over a lot of things.
Megumin, who had already packed her bag, placed it to the side as she sipped some tea with a resigned look.
“There’s no point in panicking now. Since everything including our home will be lost, we might as well challenge the Demon King’s castle directly.”
I was planning to gear up and head to the guild, but was lost for words as I looked at the two of them.
“Hey… What’s with the two of you? The guild issued an emergency broadcast, so let’s put on our equipment and head over.”
After hearing what I said, the two of them finally noticed my presence.
“Kazuma, what nonsense are you saying? Don’t tell me you want to fight the Mobile Fortress Destroyer?”
Aqua was shocked.
She was cradling a pillow with one hand.
Or rather, I just heard the emergency broadcast and had no idea what was going on.
From how tense the broadcasting voice was, I could tell that the thing that was approaching was bad news.
“Kazuma, the thing that’s approaching the town is renowned for destroying everything except devotees of the Axis Cult. The ultimate bounty target, the Mobile Fortress Destroyer. Taking that thing on would be reckless.”
“Hey, why are you speaking about my believers in such a way? Wiz said something like that too, why are you so afraid of my children? They’re all good and normal people!”
Leaving Aqua’s shrieks aside, I still didn’t understand.
I heard this name not too long ago, but what was this mobile fortress thing? From the sound of it, it was probably huge.
“Can’t Megumin’s Explosion take care of that thing? Its name seems to imply that it’s large, so it should be visible from afar. Just blow it away with magic.”
Megumin said in response:
“It won’t work, the Destroyer has a powerful magic barrier. It’d have no problems blocking a couple of explosion spells.”
Just what the hell was this Destroyer?
“Hey, my believers are really good kids! Listen to me, Megumin! The disparaging rumors you hear on the streets are spread by those black-hearted Eris devotees! Everyone beautifies Eris too much, but don’t be fooled, there are times when she behaves unruly! She’s even more unreasonable than me when facing devils, and her personality is rather free spirited! She might even go to the mortal realm to play in her free time! Axis Cult! Please support the Axis Cult!”
“Aqua, you’re not just satisfied with proclaiming yourself to be a goddess, now you’re even bad-mouthing Goddess Eris now. Beware of divine retribution.”
“It’s not self-proclaimed! Can you just believe me–!”
I looked around me and didn’t see Darkness.
“Weird, where did Darkness run off to? She should’ve come back before me.”
I asked Aqua who was shaking Megumin violently with a tearful face.
“She charged back into her room.”
Why were they all fooling around like this?!
I didn’t know what this Destroyer was, but I finally got my hands on a house in this town.
There were more shops I had started to frequent, and most importantly, there was something I needed to do in this town.
It failed because of the barrier Aqua set up, but next time I’ll…!
If it wasn’t for that reason, I would have run off somewhere else where I wouldn’t be bound by debts.
Indeed, the kind devils might not have a chance to set up their business in another town, and even if they did, it might not go as smoothly.
Anyway, I had to ready my gear and head to the guild…!
“… Sorry for making you wait! … Hmm? What is it Kazuma, hurry and prepare yourself. Going by your nature, you’ll definitely go to the guild, right?”
Darkness, who came down from the second floor, was wearing a set of heavy armor I had never seen before.
Aside from her full plate armor, Darkness also put on a heavy cape made of chains, with a detachable shield on her left arm.
But she still wouldn’t wear her helmet despite arming herself up like this. Guess it was something she refused to back down from as a woman.
She didn’t run back to her room to pack her luggage to escape, but to get her equipment.
As expected of a Crusader.
It was impossible for her to abandon the citizens and run away by herself.
“Hey, you two, learn from her! After living in this mansion and town for so long, don’t you have any attachment to it? Hurry, we’re going to the guild!”
“… Kazuma, why are you so hot-blooded today? The light shining in your eyes is too bright. And we’ve only lived in this mansion for just one day…”
“Oh! You’re here, Kazuma! I knew you would come!”
I walked into the guild fully geared, and saw Dust who was also equipped for battle.
“I had faith you would be here too.”
Keith, Taylor and Lynn were beside him.
I surveyed the interior of the guild.
All the adventurers present had put on the strongest armor in mind and rushed here.
They must’ve really loved this town.
It felt as though the ratio of male adventurers seemed particularly high, but that was probably my imagination.
I think that almost all the people I had met before were here.
I could see the wielder of the magic sword, Mitsurugi, in the distance.
He hadn’t noticed me yet, and I hoped he wouldn’t come over to bother me.
Keep a low profile to avoid his attention.
… And so, after most of the adventurers had arrived.
“Thank you everyone for responding to the emergency announcement today! We’ll now start the emergency quest to repel the Destroyer. There are no level or job restrictions, so we hope everyone will take part. When the guild judges the quest to be a failure, we’ll abandon the entire town and escape together. All of you here are the last line of defense for the town. We’re counting on you!”
The staff member loudly announced inside the noisy guild hall.
After that, the staff member pushed the tables in the bar section into the middle of the guild, setting up a temporary conference room.
Oh, the atmosphere was definitely different. How should I put it; it felt pressing and tense.
This meant the Destroyer was bad news.
“Well then, everyone, we’ll start the emergency war council. Please take a seat!”
We followed the instruction of the staff member and sat on the chairs just like the other adventurers.
But, just how many people were there?
The guild was vast, but there were several hundred people gathered here.
Sitting at the table, the other adventurers’ faces could be seen clearly.
… Eh, Mitsurugi noticed us.
He stared at Aqua who was sitting beside me, who has taken to playing with the water in her glass out of boredom.
“All right, I’ll brief everyone on the current situation! Um… First, is there anyone who needs me to explain what the Mobile Fortress Destroyer is?”
Hearing the staff member say that, several adventurers, including me, raised our hands.
The staff member nodded in acknowledgement and began.
“The Mobile Fortress Destroyer is a gigantic golem, built by the magically advanced nation Norse, to fight against the Demon King’s army. Using their national budget and depleting their vaults, they constructed a colossal spider-shaped golem the size of a small castle. Because it utilizes large quantities of magic metals, it’s far lighter than it looks, and can move faster than a horse.”
The Destroyer seemed rather famous, since almost all the adventurers looked as though they already knew about it.
“Worth mentioning is its enormous body and attack speed. Even a large-sized monster would be turned into mush if it got stepped on by its eight agile legs. The torso uses the fruit of Norse’s accumulated technology to project a large magic barrier over it at all times. That means magic attacks are pointless.”
Hearing this part, the facial expressions of the adventurers became gloomy.
They were probably starting to understand how reckless it was to take on such an opponent.
“Spells are ineffective, so we can only attack physically… We’ll be squashed if we get near, so, we can only use ranged attacks like arrows and catapults… But the golem is crafted from magic metals, arrows would just bounce off. As for siege catapults, it would be hard to use them with the speed of the mobile fortress. To guard against aerial attacks from monsters, mid-sized golems are situated on the body of the Destroyer. Those use small ballistae to shoot down objects flying towards the mobile fortress. In addition, combat golems are also garrisoned on top of the torso.”
“The reason the Mobile Fortress Destroyer went out of control was because the director in charge of developing it occupied the mobile fortress. That researcher is still issuing orders from the heart of the golem till this very day… With its incredible speed and all terrain capability, there are no places on this continent which hasn’t been rampaged by it. As it does not discriminate between men or monsters, the rampaging mobile fortress is known as the Destroyer. Whenever the Destroyer draws near, the official procedure of the guild is to abandon the town, wait for the Destroyer to pass through, and rebuild the town. It’s being treated as a natural catastrophe.”
The adventurers that were chatting noisily moments ago turned silent.
“Right now, the Destroyer is towards the northwest of this town, heading straight for us… All right everyone, please give your suggestions!”
That was the common gamer phrase which immediately came to my mind.
… One of the adventurers raised his hand and said:
“… Excuse me, what happened to the magically advanced nation Norse? A country capable of creating that thing should be able to build something to fight against it, right? And they might know the weakness of the mobile fortress too…”
“It perished. When the Destroyer went berserk, it was the first country to fall.
“… Any other suggestions?”
The staff member prompted.
And so, another adventurer raised his hand.
“To deal with that thing, we should dig a giant trap near the town…”
“It has been attempted before. A certain place gathered a lot of ‘elemental masters’, summoning the spirits of the earth to dig a big hole, and the Destroyer fell in successfully. Everything was going as planned until this moment… But the Destroyer was highly mobile and jumped right out of the hole. Their plan included throwing down boulders to seal the hole, but they couldn’t execute that in time.”
A silence descended over the guild.
“… Any other ideas?”
Another adventurer raised his hand:
“How did the Demon King’s army handle the Destroyer? Is the Demon King’s castle safe from its rampage? How did they protect themselves from the Destroyer’s attack? They should be troubled too.”
“Their castle has a powerful magic barrier around it; the scale is beyond that of humans. Right now, the Demon King’s castle seems unharmed, so they have no plans on taking down the Destroyer. They aren’t concerned with wild monsters getting trampled.”
The staff member said calmly:
“Any other suggestions?”
Several other ideas were raised and shot down; the conference was proceeding badly.
Someone raised the possibility of using ropes and climbing tools to assault the fortress, but another person rejected it, stating the speed of the fortress made that impossible.
Someone brought up the idea of building a barricade bigger than the Destroyer. The staff countered by stating an example of the Destroyer going around the obstacle, turning around and flattening the town, returning the hall to silence.
Magic was ineffective, you would get stomped on if you drew near, and aerial attacks would be shot down.
And all its attacks were swift.
I understood now; no wonder Aqua and Megumin wanted to escape.
Perhaps frustrated by the rough pace of the meeting, Taylor, who was sitting beside us, said:
“Hey Kazuma, you’re quick witted, do you have any good ideas?”
He threw me such a curve ball.
It was useless to ask me that…
The only method I could think of was to get Megumin to blast it from a distance, but if spells were ineffective because of the barrier…
There was a barrier, so magic was useless.
I turned my head and looked at Aqua who was sitting beside me. She was drawing on the table with the water from her cup to kill time.
“Hey Aqua. Wiz said that with your power, you could break through even with 2 or 3 generals maintaining the barrier, right? In that case, the Destroyer’s barrier should…… Wahh! What’s this–!?”
As I said that, my gaze was attracted to the artwork Aqua drew on her table.
This could certainly be called a masterpiece. It was a drawing of a beautiful goddess playing with a flower in hand…!
“Right, she did say that. But I never tried it before so there’s no guarantee that I can really break the barrier.”
As she spoke, Aqua poured the water from her cup onto that painting without hesitation.
“Ahhh! What a pity! Why did you destroy it?!”
“Why are you shouting? I already finished it, that’s why I’m wiping it away and drawing a new one…”
As we were chatting about these things, the staff member yelled:
“There’s a way to break the barrier?! The Destroyer’s barrier?”
These words made Aqua and I the focus of the adventurers.
I waved my hand hurriedly.
“No, I just thought it might work, she said there’s no guarantee either.”
Hearing my panicked explanation, the entire hall turned rowdy.
“Anyway, could you please give it a try? If it works, we can attack with magic…! Ah, but low-level spells are useless against that mobile fortress. All the adventurers in this town are novices, our mages are lacking in firepower…”
The staff became troubled again and the place fell silent once more.
At this moment, a certain adventurer pointed out:
“Don’t we have someone with amazing firepower? The one with a screw loose.”
Once he said that, the guild became rowdy again.
“That’s right, the one that’s wrong in the head…!”
“We have that screwy girl…!”
“Hey, stop. If you’re referring to me, then use my name, all right? If not, I’ll prove right here how wrong my brain is.”
Seeing Megumin stand up with her staff in hand, all the adventurers averted their eyes.
Beldia, the General from the Demon King’s army had caused a lot of trouble.
Because that guy said Megumin was a ‘Crimson Demon clan girl with a screw loose’, that became the way the adventurers referred to Megumin.
Megumin who stood up from anger started blushing in front of everyone’s expectant gaze.
“Ughh… Even with my explosion spell, I might not be able to finish it off in one shot…”
She mumbled this and sat down immediately.
In that case, there needed to be one more person.
If only there was one more person with powerful spells…
– Just then, someone opened the door.
“Sorry I’m late…! I’m the owner of the magic item shop, Wiz. Technically, I’m an adventurer, please let me help too…”
The one barging into the guild was Wiz who was wearing an apron on top of her black robes, seemingly in the middle of work.
From her attire, she looked like a girl that came to help in the distribution of emergency food rations.
When the adventurers saw Wiz…
“It’s the shop owner!”
“The impoverished owner is here!”
“Shop owner, thank you for taking care of me in my dreams!”
“The shop owner is here! We’ll win! We’ll definitely win!”
The cheering started instantly.
I knew Wiz was a lich.
But why were the adventurers cheering about ‘definitely winning’?
“Why is Wiz so famous? Why is she so popular? And don’t call her an impoverished owner all right, that’s so pitiful. Is her business really that bad?”
I asked Taylor.
“Don’t you know? Wiz-san was originally a famous mage. She was a renowned powerful Archwizard, disappearing for some time after retirement before suddenly showing up in this town to set up shop. Wiz-san’s business isn’t good because most of the adventurers in this town are novices who can’t afford the expensive magic items in her shop. She would have better business if her shop was in the capital. We don’t need to fight powerful enemies, so we have no use for pricey potions and magic items. Everyone drops by the shop just to see the beautiful shop owner, but nobody really buys anything.”
No, if you guys were there to see her, you should’ve bought something.
“Hello everyone, I’m the shop owner of Wiz’s Magic Item Shop, please take care of me… I’m the shop owner, please visit my shop. My shop is still in the red…!”
As we spoke, Wiz was acknowledging the cheering adventurers.
I-I would buy something next time.
“Shop owner of Wiz’s Magic Item Shop, it’s been a while! On behalf of all the staff in the guild, I welcome you! This way please!”
While ushered by the staff, Wiz nodded at the people around her, sitting at a table somewhere in the middle. After Wiz had settled down, the adventurers looked at the staff member chairing the conference in anticipation.
The staff member answered the hope of everyone and said:
“With the shop owner here, let’s continue our strategy meeting! Since she just arrived, I’ll summarize the current situation… First, the Archpriest Aqua-san will dispel the Destroyer’s barrier. Next the screw… Megumin-san will cast the explosion spell at the Destroyer. That’s the plan so far.”
After hearing this, Wiz placed her finger near her mouth and thought for a moment.
“… It would be better to target the legs with the explosion spell. The Destroyer has four legs attached to its body on either side, so Megumin-san and I will take one side each, is that okay? If we take out the legs of the mobile fortress, it’ll be easier to handle…”
The staff member nodded, agreeing with Wiz’s suggestion.
And as expected of a lich, she could even use Explosion.
That was right, by blasting off the legs, it would no longer be a mobile fortress, and the town wouldn’t be ravaged.
Though it would still be dangerous with the golems on the torso, there would be no need to send people to attack with this method.
After the Destroyer was immobilized, we could just keep watch over it. Megumin could cast Explosion on it once every day, and slowly take it down.
As for the supervisor who was controlling the Destroyer, if we blasted him with magic every day, he might just come out and surrender by himself.
After this, we finalized the battle plan with Wiz’s idea as the core.
But as a precaution, even though it wasn’t effective, we still included the plans to set up traps and barricades in front of town.
“Well then, the plan is to attack the legs with Explosion after the barrier is dismissed. In the event the legs aren’t destroyed, all the vanguard adventurers, please equip weapons such as war hammers and remain on standby around the path the Destroyer will be taking. Be prepared to attack the legs and take them out. The researcher who made the Destroyer is probably still in the fortress, so he might make a move too. To counter that, the guild has prepared arrows with ropes tied to them for the archers to use. Everyone with light armour, please be ready to invade the fortress!”
The staff member chairing the conference finalized the battle plan, giving out instructions to everyone.
Aside from the adventurers, the townsfolk were gathered in front of the town were also working nonstop to construct a temporary barricade.
The boss of the construction company who took care of Aqua and I when we first came to town was among them.
The designated area to intercept the Destroyer was the plains before the main gate of the town.
They knew it was useless, but the adventurers with the relevant jobs still set up simple traps.
Before the obstacle in front of town, a group of ‘Creators’ congregated there in heated debate as they drew magic circles on the ground.
“Hey Darkness. I’m telling you this for your own good, so retreat for now. I know how tough your defense is, but this is still pushing it. It wouldn’t do any good for you to stand here. Just let go of your useless fetish and wait at the side of the road with me, all right?”
Even further in front of the road block was me, desperately trying to convince Darkness who was resolutely standing there.
This perverted Crusader just stood her ground and wouldn’t listen to me.
Darkness stuck her new sword into the ground, resting both hands on the hilt, viewing the distance. She was watching for the Destroyer, which had yet to show up, without moving.
The silent and still Darkness finally said:
“Kazuma… I’ve always acted this way, so it’s only natural for you to think so… But do you really think I’m a woman who would be lost in my own desires even in such an emergency?”
“Of course, isn’t that obvious?”
Darkness paused for a moment, and then continued calmly with a slightly blushed face:
“… I’m a Crusader. And aside from that, I have other reasons compelling me to protect this town. I might share that reason with you one of these days.”
Seeing me nod from the corner of her eyes, Darkness continued:
“I can’t explain now, but I have an obligation to protect the citizens of this town. The townsfolk might not think so, but I believe it to be so. Hence, no matter how reckless this might be, I won’t take a single step away from this position.”
“You’re really stubborn sometimes.”
Hearing me say that, Darkness said with a troubled and uneasy expression:
“… Do you dislike stubborn companions?”
“A certain Archpriest frustrates me when she’s being stubborn, but the stubbornness you’re showing right now isn’t bad.”
I said casually.
“… I see.”
Darkness muttered softly and seemed to relax.
“I couldn’t convince her. To protect that rock headed pervert, we need to complete our assigned tasks.”
I squatted down next to the tense Megumin who was standing by at the side of the Destroyer intercept zone and reported.
“I-I-I understand…! I-I must do my best! I, I-I-I’ll definitely succeed…!”
“Hey, calm down. If things turn bad, I’ll strip her of her heavy armour with Steal and drag her away!”
– I was more worried about…
“Woah, there’s smoke rising out from your head, are you okay? What skill is this? Are you doing party tricks?”
“No, Aqua-sama… It’s because the weather is very good today, so this is what happens after basking in the sun for too long…”
On the other side of the intercept zone, Aqua and Wiz squatted there, chatting about something.
Beside us were adventurers holding blunt weapons such as war hammers. Blunt weapons would be the most effective against golems.
The archers had nocked arrows with a hook at the head and rope tied to the end. They were ready to shoot ropes onto the fortress if there was a need to go in.
– The staff member’s magically amplified voice could be heard throughout the whole plain.
“Attention all adventurers, the Mobile Fortress Destroyer is about to appear before us. Citizens, please evacuate the town! Adventurers, please get ready for battle!”
– Mobile Fortress Destroyer.
It was said to be the same as the Winter Shogun, a name that was casually given by a Japanese gifted with cheat-like blessings.
I wanted to bash them for their cheesy naming sense, but those who had seen the Destroyer before felt the name was a good fit.
From behind the hills in the distance, I could see its head looming.
Along with a faint tremor.
It was light, but the earth was shaking.
“What’s with this, it’s too big…”
Someone was mumbling to himself.
It was large indeed.
Having been in a party with Megumin for so long, I had a clear idea of how powerful the explosion spell was.
That was why I had to ask.
This thing… Could Explosion really take it out?
“Hey, this is way too much. Will it be okay? This is impossible!”
Someone nearby started to panic.
“Create Earth Golem!” ×3
The creators created golems from the earth.
The golems they created formed a row behind Darkness who was guarding the town.
All the creators of this town were novices.
To create bigger, stronger, and more powerful golems, they had to cut down on the active time of the summons.
That was the reason why they waited until the Destroyer was so near to start creating.
“Big! And fast! It’s scarier than I imagined!”
In the face of the enormous object, the adventurers fell into disarray.
“Incoming–! Keep your head down! Don’t move in front of the Destroyer, you’ll get crushed!”
Someone yelled, but frankly, nobody was calm enough to listen.
That was how huge and imposing the mobile fortress before us was…
“Hey Wiz! It’ll work, right? Is it really okay?!”
Some distance from where Megumin and I were standing by, Aqua repeatedly confirmed with Wiz next to her.
“No problem, leave it to me, Aqua-sama. I’m a lich after all, one of the top-tier undead. If Aqua-sama can dispel the barrier, you can leave the rest to me! If we fail… We can return to dust happily together.”
“Are you kidding me? You’re joking, right?”
I couldn’t hear the contents too clearly, but seeing the two of them bicker, I said to Megumin who was standing stiff from the tension:
“Hey, relax. Even if it fails, no one will blame you. We just need to abandon the town and run away then, so don’t think too much about this.”
There was nothing I needed to do, so I said this casually.
“Don’t-Don’t-Don’t worry! I-I-I’ll use Explosion to blast-blast-blast it into dust!” Megumin stuttered.
But this was normal. Not just Megumin, all the adventurers here were novices.
“It’s coming–! Prepare for battle–!”
This voice was probably Taylor.
For some reason, the responsibility of commanding the group and giving Aqua the instructions to release her spell was left in my hands.
The guild’s staff even gave me a voice-amplifying magic item to help me issue commands.
The main coordinator of this battle was me; they said it was my duty as Aqua and Megumin’s party leader.
Taylor probably recommended me to the staff at the guild too.
Before we knew it, the Destroyer was just a short distance away.
If they didn’t entrust the command to me, and if Darkness wasn’t adamant on staying, I probably would’ve already fled.
The Destroyer was a gigantic golem with the appearance of a spider. The top of the Destroyer was as smooth as an aircraft carrier, with a fortress-like structure on top like the residence of a hermit crab. The sides of the torso were equipped with cannons.
– Mobile Fortress Destroyer.
Contrary to its comical name, the mobile fortress the size of a small castle shrugged off the countless traps we had set, noisily moving as it pleased…
“Aqua! Now! Do it!”
Aiming to ravage the town we were residing in, it charged into the intercept zone!
“Sacred Break Spell!”
Aqua cast her spell on my cue.
Complicated magic formations floated around Aqua and a white ball appeared in her hands.
Aqua aimed the ball in her hand toward the Destroyer and shot it out.
When the flying ball of light touched the Destroyer, a giant membrane appeared on its surface to resist the ball of light. But it shattered into pieces like glass shards.
Megumin looked at me uneasily, waiting for my go-ahead.
The membrane that was shattered just now was probably the magic barrier.
If that was so, magic should be effective now.
I shouted through my loudspeaker:
“Wiz, I’m counting on you! Please take out the legs on your side!”
After giving Wiz the instruction, I said to Megumin who was shaking nervously:
“Hey, is your love for explosion magic a lie? You keep talking about Explosion this, Explosion that; it would be ugly if you lost to Wiz. Is your Explosion a joke spell that can’t even blow that thing up?”
“What, what did you say!? What you just said was even worse than making fun of my name!”
The corner of Megumin’s mouth started cramping from anger and she stood up. Her nervousness was nowhere to be found, as she concentrated and chanted her spell…!
As the Destroyer passed by the place we were standing with a bang.
The one known as the strongest Archwizard in the past, and presently a lich who was troubled by the poor business of her magic item store.
And the one known as the ‘explosion girl with mental problems’, who devoted her all to one and only one spell, the top Archwizard of the Crimson Demon clan.
The strongest offensive spells of these two were fired at the bounty target said to be invulnerable.
The two of them fired at the exact same time, breaking all the legs of the mobile fortress.
Having suddenly lost its legs, the mobile fortress crashed into the ground with a big bang!
After its bottom part hit the plains, it slid toward the town with its forward momentum.
But the giant sliding object didn’t hit the barricade placed before the town, stopping right before Darkness who was standing at the very forefront.
The legs shattered into bits with the sound of explosions and rained down onto the heads of the adventurers.
The side Wiz was responsible for didn’t have anything raining down, her explosion having blown the pieces into dust.
On the other hand, there were several large pieces of debris falling here and there on Megumin’s side.
“Ugh… It’s regrettable… As expected of a lich. Seems my level isn’t high enough to win against Wiz’s explosion magic…”
Megumin, who was lying face down on the ground, mumbled, seemingly displeased.
I helped that frail body to get up, and Megumin, who had exhausted her mana, said with a pale face:
“I, I don’t want to lose… Next, next time… I’ll definitely…!”
“Good girl, you did great. Wiz is a powerful lich, it’s normal that she bested you. Just work harder next time. Look, we accomplished our objective, well done.”
I was planning to carry her to a tree for a rest, but the pale Megumin refused to let me go.
“Once more…! Another chance! I’ll definitely prove my explosion is the strongest…!”
“Let, let go, stop that! Don’t pull my pants! I get it, you’re the best in terms of explosion! It must be because of something, that’s right, because your condition wasn’t too good! All right, when you recover your mana, I’ll look at your explosion spell, so rest quietly in a safe place!”
I placed Megumin under the shade of a tree and laid her down. As the other adventurers were dodging the falling debris, Aqua and Wiz came to my side.
As for Darkness, she wasn’t fazed by the falling debris and didn’t move away, her eyes wide open.
When I raised my head to watch the gigantic body of the Destroyer, the fortress remained silent.
When the debris pelting down like rain drops stopped, the adventurers finally calmed down enough to grasp the situation, gasping in awe.
But we wouldn’t need to work so hard if things could be settled so easily.
At a moment like this, we had to be careful with our words, and avoid blurting out the cliché ‘Did it work?’ and raise a flag. We needed to be vigilant, surround the Destroyer slowly, and not…!
“We did it! What’s with that, I thought it would be powerful with an incredible name like Mobile Fortress Destroyer, but what a letdown. All right, let’s go back and have a beer! I wonder how much the reward for taking down such a target would be?”
“You idiot! Why do you like to act in such a clichéd manner!? If you blurt something like that…!”
Hearing what Aqua said, I did my best to stop her.
… But, it was too late.
“…? Wh, what happened, why is there a tremor?”
Wiz, who came over with Aqua, uneasily glanced toward the giant mobile fortress.
The tremor that was shaking the earth came from the Destroyer.
The adventurers were looking up at the mobile fortress uneasily too.
“This machine has stopped operation. This machine has stopped operation. Unable to expend unused energy and vent heat. Operators, please evacuate from the machine. This machine has…”
The mechanical recording from within the fortress repeated itself again and again..
“Look at what you’ve done! Why do you always have to drag us down after accomplishing something?!”
“Wait! Wait okay! This isn’t my fault! I didn’t even do anything this time!”
As the Destroyer kept on repeating its evacuation order, I gathered all the adventurers in the vicinity.
“Hey, what’s with that announcement? Would it be bad to continue staying here?”
One of the adventurers asked.
I thought so too. Or rather, everyone here felt the same way.
“It’s just a guess, but I think it’ll explode if this goes on.”
When they heard what I said, the adventurers’ expression stiffened.
If such a gigantic fortress were to explode, there was no telling how much damage it would do.
We didn’t even know where the fortress drew its power from, so we couldn’t do anything to stop it.
The only thing we could do was to run away as quickly as possible…
But would the stubborn Crusader in my party be willing to abandon this town and escape?
No, it wasn’t certain an explosion that was big enough to damage the town would happen.
If I could convince that stubborn girl with this excuse, then that would be great…!
“The, the shop… If this goes on, it would be disastrous for the town, the shop will, will disappear…”
Wiz sounded like she was about to cry.
She had to be referring to her magic item shop.
“This machine has stopped operation. This machine has stopped operation. Unable to expend unused energy and vent heat. Operators, please evacuate from the machine. This machine has…”
When the broadcast repeated, someone muttered:
“… I want to attack.”
I don’t know whose voice it was.
“… Me too. I remembered the reason why I stayed in this novice town despite being over level 30.”
… So, there were such people here too.
And I knew how he felt.
“That shop has been taking care of us with its low prices, if we don’t repay them back now, there won’t be a next time!”
In the complete silence, the only sounds were…
“This machine has stopped operation. This machine has…”
– I took up the loudspeaker and yelled.
“Those in favor of infiltrating the Mobile Fortress Destroyer, raise your hands–!”
All the adventurers raised their hands without hesitation. The archers pulled their bows and shot their hook-arrows onto the Destroyer!
The archers had a skill called Snipe.
The ability of the skill was to extend the range an arrow could fly and increase its accuracy.
The arrows that were enhanced by skills were not affected by the weight of the hooks and ropes, flying onto the deck of the Destroyer easily.
The hooked arrowhead caught onto the obstacles on the Destroyer.
The ropes tied to the arrows became taut with a pull.
The adventurers grabbed the taut ropes one after another and scaled the Destroyer.
I wanted to tell them not to climb up the rope while wearing armour, which was a superhuman feat. Even if they had such strength, it wasn’t necessary to go so far.
Finally, the first adventurer who climbed up the rope got onto the deck.
He was followed by many others. It was like all their training was just for this day; the morale was sky high.
The adventurers were like a bunch of bandits attacking a powerless village as they screamed and flowed into the fortress!
“Wahh… Kazuma, I’m a bit afraid of that group of people… From the looks of things, it should be enough to leave everything to them. Let’s go back, all right? We’ll return for now, and work hard from tomorrow onward.”
Seeing how hyped everyone was, Aqua started to fear the adventurers and tugged my sleeve.
But, I couldn’t do that.
We were comrades, and my comrades were fighting up there.
“How could we go back now, you moron? Can’t you tell how brave the heroes invading the fortress are!? Your job is just beginning. If you don’t want to be treated like a fake goddess, then heal these brave warriors properly.” I told Aqua and followed the adventurers into the fortress.
The archers who fired the arrows had scaled the fortress too.
I said loudly:
“Darkness, your armour’s too heavy, I don’t think you can climb up! Megumin, continue to rest! Wiz, please act according to your own judgement! Aqua, this is your fault, so follow me!”
“Wait! I have nothing to do with this!”
When I grabbed on to a rope, Aqua followed me while on the verge of tears.
Wiz also joined us and climbed up the rope.
After getting up on the deck, what we saw was…
“Surround those golems! Overwhelm them with numbers and topple them with ropes! Hammer them when they’re down!”
Judging from the scene before me, I couldn’t tell who the real invaders were.
Most of the adventurers in town should be novices, but many of the smaller combat golems had already been destroyed by them.
“Asshole! You’re in there, right!? Open the door or I’ll smash it with my hammer!”
“Come out now! Get the one in charge out here right now! I’ll teach you a lesson!”
I looked at the place the shouts were coming from, and saw several adventurers attempting to break open the door of the building. That should be the place where the rumored supervisor of the fortress was shut in.
No matter how I looked at this, we were the invaders.
At this moment…
“A big one’s heading your way–!”
Hearing this sound, I turned my head and saw a combat golem.
It was large and bulky with a humanoid shape, like the robots in the world I came from.
As that golem was moving in our direction, the other adventurers rushed to our side, ready to lend us a hand.
But I had a secret technique against golems.
“Hey Aqua, let me show you something interesting. This should be the best way to use this skill.”
I flexed my fingers and reached toward the golem, my palm facing upwards.
The enemy was a golem.
In that case, it would be stopped by stealing its crucial parts away.
When I was still in Japan, a certain RPG game required the usage of this method to defeat robotic enemies.
That’s right, using Steal against machines was a one-hit kill!
I was improving myself every day too!
Aqua probably realized my intentions and tried to stop me…
But my outstretched hand had already robbed the golem’s head successfully.
After losing its head, the golem stopped moving immediately.
Just as planned…!
The heavy head of the golem was in my hands because of my skill. It obeyed the laws of gravity and crushed my hand onto the ground.
“… Hya–! My hand! My handdddd–!”
My cocky face turned into a crying expression as the adventurers nearby hurried to push the golem’s head away.
“Ahhh! Are you all right, Kazuma-san? When facing a monster carrying heavy objects, do not use Steal!”
Wiz was worried about me and Aqua was checking my right hand too.
“Aqua… It’s fractured right, it must be fractured.”
“There’s no fracture at all. I’ll heal you up, but don’t let it get into your head and act recklessly, okay?”
Ugh, how shameful!
The adventurers used their giant hammers to bash the door of the building in, and rushed inside.
Right now, they were fearless.
Everyone ignored the siren that was blasting and flowed in without regard to party make-up.
We followed behind the reliable adventurers.
There were a few golems inside, but the adventurers were taking them down efficiently.
… They had always acted as they pleased, but the adventurers were really scary when they were united.
We reached the deepest parts of the building and found a group congregating before a room.
All of them looked troubled, their heightened emotions gone.
“Oh, Kazuma, you came at the right time… Look at that.”
The one talking to me was Taylor, who was standing at the center of the room.
Taylor seemed to be a little down and unhappy.
Looking closely, he seemed to be pointing at something…
That was the skeletal remains of a human.
The researcher who took over the fortress was sitting in the chair in the middle of the room alone.
I called Aqua over and asked her to go in.
I pointed at the skeleton, but Aqua just shook her head.
“He has already passed on. He won’t turn into an undead, he had no regrets at all.”
No regrets at all?
“No, he should have had some reason to linger in this world. From the look of things, he must’ve died alone…”
As I was saying that, Aqua seemed to have found something.
A notebook that was buried in the messy documents on the table.
After Aqua picked up that notebook, everyone fell silent.
Under the watchful gaze of the adventurers, the only sound was the mechanical evacuation warning.
And so, Aqua started to read–
“– O month X day. The higher ups of the country gave me a tough problem, asking me to create a mobile weapon. Impossible. They wouldn’t listen to my protests, and ignored my apologies and requests. I wanted to resign, but they wouldn’t accept my resignation letter. I pretended to be retarded, streaking around in my underwear, but the female researchers simply asked me to take off my underwear too. This nation is going to end.”
… Everyone rested their gaze on the remains.
“– O month X day. The deadline for the design is today. What should I do? I couldn’t just submit a blank paper. Why did I start drinking out of desperation and spend all the funds away? As I was feeling frustrated staring at the blank design plans, a spider, something I absolutely hate, showed up on the paper. I screamed shrilly and picked something up to smash it. The spider is now stained onto the design paper… The economy is bad, and high-quality paper like this is expensive; I don’t have the money to compensate for it. Screw it, I’ll just submit this.”
… Ugh. The atmosphere was turning awkward as Aqua continued reading.
“– O month X day. That design was unexpectedly well liked. I don’t dare to tell them ‘That was the goo that spurted out when I squashed a spider, why are you touching it?’. And is it fine for the project to carry on like this? What should I do? The only thing I did was kill a spider, and they made me the director. Yahoo!”
… I was suspecting that Aqua was making up the content, but Aqua was reading it with a serious expression.
“– O month X day. I didn’t do anything and the weapon is still taking shape. I’m not needed at all, right? Whatever, just do what you want, I just want to live my life leisurely… When they came to ask me about the power source, I couldn’t be bothered. I said from the start that it was impossible, if you want a power source then get me that super rare legendary ore rumored to be able to burn for eternity–the Coronatite, or I rebuked them. That felt great! Bring it to me if you can.”
“– O month X day. They actually brought it to me. What should I do? They really did it. They’re even placing it in the power reactor, what should I do? What the hell should I do? I only said it because I thought it was impossible, and they actually did it. What if it doesn’t move? What would happen to me? Death penalty? If it doesn’t move, will I be sentenced to death? You have to move, please.”
Maybe our gazes were making her uncomfortable…
“– O month X day. They said the activation test would be tomorrow, but to be honest, I didn’t do anything. The only thing I did was squash a spider. This’ll be the last day I can sit on this chair so leisurely… I start feeling mad when I think about it. Forget it, I’ll just drink. This is my last supper, so I won’t hold back! There wasn’t anyone left in the machine today, so it won’t matter how much I drink or how drunk I get. I’ll start drinking the most expensive wine!”
As Aqua read, she felt a bit scared of the way we were staring at her.
“– O month X day. When I woke up, I felt a strong tremor. What’s happening? How much did I drink? I don’t remember anything. No, I don’t remember anything about yesterday at all. The only parts I remember was heading to the central zone and lecturing the Coronatite. No, wait. After that, I said I wanted to test its courage and flicked the lighted cigarette onto the ore…”
As she read, Aqua didn’t dare to look our way any longer.
“– O month X day. I finally realized what was happening; I’m doomed. The mobile weapon is running amok right now. What should I do? They would certainly think it was my doing, so I’m probably a wanted criminal right now. They wouldn’t forgive me even if I cried and begged… How irritating… They would probably destroy the mobile weapon, drag me out and execute me. Damn the king and the officials, and that female researcher who smirked after taking off my underwear, they’re all scum! It’s fine for such a country to fall. Enough, I’ll just drink and sleep. Fortunately, the food and wine are plentiful, I’ll think about this after I wake up.”
Towards the end, the sound of someone clenching their fists tight could be heard.
“– O month X day. The nation has fallen. Oh no, it has fallen, it’s really gone! The citizens and high officials have all fled. But I destroyed my home country. Oh no, this feels great! I’m satisfied, I have no regrets. All right, I’ve decided. I’ll live out the rest of my life in this machine, I can’t alight or stop it anyway. The one who made this thing must be retarded… Oh wait! The one in charge of creating this thing was me!”
Reading the final entry, Aqua said with a troubled expression:
“… That’s, that’s all.”
“Are you kidding me!?”
Everyone aside from Aqua and Wiz shouted in unison.
“This is the Coronatite. So, how do we take this out?”
This was the central area of the mobile fortress.
Having too many people in here wouldn’t help, so Aqua, Wiz and I became the representatives for everyone and walked into this room.
In the center of the room was a small stone surrounded by a steel fence, the Coronatite.
– That rare ore was continuously emitting a fiery red light.
But, what should we do? No matter how you looked at it, the ore that was fenced in couldn’t be taken out.
… I see, this was the last line of defense.
It was easy to light up the ore through the gaps, but removing it wasn’t simple.
“What should we do…? Ah, right, I remember there was a guy with a magic sword, what was his name again…?”
Before Aqua finished, I had an idea.
“Hey, we don’t need to cut the fence open, this’ll work fine. If it’s this close, the fence won’t matter… Steal!”
Wiz seemed to be shouting something, but as I expected, the Coronatite went through the fence into my hands.
– And it was still burning.
“Heal! Heal! Hey… Are you an idiot? Kazuma’s usually quick witted, but you’re doing the same thing even after the incident with the golem!? You’re actually stupid, right?!”
Ugh, I hate to say this, but I couldn’t say anything to refute that!
The Coronatite was on the floor; Wiz had helped me cool it down and knock it away, but not before it burned my hand and almost took my arm.
Even though it was frozen momentarily, it turned fiery red again…
“This is bad, there’s no time; it’s about to blow. What should we do with this thing…?”
As Wiz was troubling over this, the Coronatite by her feet was glowing brighter.
Before we realized it, the mechanical warning announcement had stopped.
The thing powering this fortress was this ore.
But we had no way of handling it.
No, this thing was clearly too dangerous for any adventurer to handle.
Who could handle this burning ore, which had the power to move such a large fortress… That’s right, if you encountered any problems you couldn’t resolve, you just needed to ask the gods.
“Hey Aqua, do you have any way to seal this thing? Isn’t it the norm for a goddess to seal the power of evil or something!?”
“I know what you’re getting at, but that’s just a game trope! Hey Wiz, you have a way to deal with this, right!?”
This self proclaimed something pushed the issue to the lich she was always bullying without hesitation. I didn’t think Wiz would have a solution, but she said…
“There is a method… But my mana is insufficient. Sorry Kazuma-san, I need your help!”
As she said so, Wiz pushed her serious face before me.
“What, what is it?”
Wiz looked desperate, putting both hands on my cheeks, her thumb lightly touching the corners of my lips.
She then said with no hesitation:
“Can you let me suck a little?”
“It would be my pleasure.”
I wouldn’t say something cliché like ‘Suck what?’
Or something like ‘At a time like this?’
I wasn’t a dense character who would panic or pretend to be retarded at such a juncture.
“Thank you! Well then, I’ll start sucking!”
Wiz’s lips closed in before my eyes, I couldn’t ignore it even if I wanted to.
Dad, Mom. I’m going to become an adult in an alternate world…?
“Kazuma-san, pardon me! Drain Touch–!
“Stop, stop! If you take any more Kazuma will become a mummy!”
Aqua restrained Wiz in a hurry, and Wiz released my hand before I lost consciousness.
What a disappointment.
No, I already had a hunch it would turn out this way!
“Now, I can use teleportation spells! But… The problem is where to send this thing to… The places I can teleport include Axel, the capital, and the dungeon. Which one should I choose…”
This meant she was planning to teleport the ore somewhere else?
“In that case, wouldn’t the dungeon be fine?”
“But… The dungeon I registered as a teleport marker is a place I’ll visit to collect magical ingredients, the world’s largest dungeon… Right now, that place is a tourist attraction with the dungeon as the main selling point…!”
“That’s just looking for trouble! Hey, this is bad! The ore is going beyond red and turning white!”
As Aqua and Wiz were panicking, I cast Freeze on the ore even though it wouldn’t help much.
“Theoretically, there’s another way! There’s a spell called Random Teleport, which sends things to an unspecified place! But we won’t know where it would be sent to. It would be fine if it was sent to the mountains or sea. But if it was sent to a place with a dense population…!”
Wiz said with a frown, she sounded like she was about to cry.
“Don’t worry! The world is huge! Compared to a place with lots of people, the chance of it ending up somewhere with nobody around is higher! Don’t worry, I’ll take all the responsibility! I might look this way, but my luck is incredibly good!”
Hearing me say that, Wiz nodded and chanted her spell loudly.
“How was it? Where did the Coronatite go? Is it nearby?”
Wiz and Aqua looked at each other when they heard me say that.
No matter what, we needed to leave this place first.
After exiting the room, we found out that the other adventurers had defeated all the golems on the deck, and the alarm had stopped. Everyone was getting ready to withdraw.
They rappelled down the ropes, and it was just us up here.
Looking carefully, the guys had carried the remains of that researcher down and placed it in a box.
They were probably planning to bury him in the public cemetery back in town.
We climbed down too, heading towards where Darkness and Megumin were.
I carried Megumin who was resting in the shade, passing through the adventurers who were immersed in the victorious atmosphere and came to Darkness who was standing tall in front of the town.
Unlike the adventurers who were cheering, Darkness was the only one staring at the fortress seriously.
“Hey Darkness. We already stopped the heart of the Destroyer, it’s over. Ah–I’m dead tired, let’s go back to the mansion, we’ll eat something good tonight.”
Darkness replied softly:
“It’s not over yet. I can smell a strong enemy and the stench of danger… That thing is still a threat!”
In response to Darkness’s words, the fortress trembled with a loud jerk.
Hey hey, I already tore out the heart!
“What’s happening now? What’s going on with that thing?!”
“Calm, calm, calm down! At such a time, it should be something like this! You have to cut the red wire or white wire, right?!”
“No, you’re talking about a bomb! We’re discussing why the Destroyer is still moving even though the core has been removed!”
Not just us; the other adventurers realized something was wrong and fled from the Destroyer.
“What, what should we do!? It’s probably the heat accumulated inside being vented! I can’t teleport something so big! And look at the front of the Destroyer, there’s a crack due to the power of the explosion spell, right? Heat’s escaping from there! If this continues, the heat will spray into the town…”
“I don’t want to hear this! Kazuma-san–Kazuma-san–! Quick, think of something–!”
Aqua interrupted Wiz and made an unreasonable request to me.
No, there was no way I could think of anything…!
“Ma-Mana! Can someone share some mana with me! If I cast an explosion spell at that crack, it would neutralize the impact!”
Wiz started canvassing the adventurers around us.
I grabbed Wiz in a hurry and whispered into her ears.
“Hey, Wiz! What are you saying! The other adventurers don’t know you can use Drain Touch! What would you do if they discovered that you’re a lich! As a human, I can let them inspect me even if I use lich skills, but if they found out that Wiz wasn’t a human, it would be the end!”
“But, I can only stop that explosion by absorbing mana…!”
I extended my hand and stopped Wiz right here.
“I can use it too. So, I’ll absorb mana from someone else and transfer it to Wiz. It’ll take an additional step, but that’s the only way.”
Drain Touch could absorb mana and transfer it away too.
The fellow with the most mana among adventurers would be…!
“Hey, Darkness, don’t say such stubborn things, let’s escape! As far as we can go! And we’ll start over… Wait, thinking carefully, our debts are being cushioned by the guild in this town, so if this place gets destroyed…!”
“Hey, the one that proclaims to be a something, get over here.”
I dragged that woman who was loudly blurting out her schemes over. I felt that she had the most mana among all of us.
“Hey, what are you doing?! I don’t have time for you Kazuma. Let’s just, hyaaa–!?”
Aqua couldn’t resist my sudden Drain Touch and shrieked.
“You hikiNEET, what are you doing to me during an emergency!?”
“I’m only doing this because it’s an emergency! Listen carefully! I’ll be transferring your mana to Wiz later, to let her cast Explosion at the Destroyer! That should resolve the crisis!”
“I don’t wanna! Why must I share my mana with an undead! And Wiz will definitely be purified if large quantities of my holy mana are transferred to her!”
Hearing what Aqua said, I turned and looked at Wiz, who nodded repeatedly with a pale face.
“Um… When I absorbed just a bit of Aqua-sama’s mana the other time, my physical condition deteriorated…”
Something like eating food that didn’t agree with you.
What Aqua said seemed to be true.
In that case, what was left would be–
“The main character’s turn.”
Megumin got off my back and stood up.
“Are you listening to me? Don’t absorb too much, okay? Don’t absorb too much!”
“I know, I know, this is the request of the goddess of parties, right? Don’t worry, leave it to me!”
“No! I’m not joking here!”
Aqua was sitting in a seiza in front of me, ready for her mana to be absorbed at any moment.
<TL note: Seiza: Sitting on one’s knees, with back straightened. One of the traditional, formal ways of sitting in Japan. >
Megumin was standing beside her, pointing her staff at the Destroyer, ready to unleash her spell.
“Kazuma-san, choosing places where the skin is thinner allows for you to absorb and transfer more mana! And the source of mana is the heart. So, the closer it is to the heart, the more efficient it’ll be!”
Wiz instructed me with a serious face. I see, a spot where the skin was thinner was necessary.
That was why she touched the corner of my lips when she absorbed my mana just now.
I couldn’t do that, it would give me false hope.
… No, wait.
“I’m ready, you can start anytime! Two explosions in one day, today is really–wahhh!”
I stuck my right hand into Megumin’s back, making her scream and lean backwards.
“What are you doing so suddenly?! Putting your cold hands on my back, I thought my heart was cramping! What is this? Sexual harassment? At a time like this?”
“No, you idiot! Didn’t you hear what Wiz said? This isn’t sexual harassment, it’s the most efficient way to transfer mana! A place near the heart where the skin is thin, that would be the back! … Ah, wait, hey! Aqua, don’t resist! I have a grand and proper reason of saving this town! You should be thankful I didn’t put my hand in front!”
Hearing me say that, Aqua resisted even more; she didn’t want my hands on her back at all.
“Everyone, there’s no time!”
Wiz cried out loud.
After a compromise, I grabbed the base of Megumin and Aqua’s necks.
I drew out mana from Aqua and sent it to Megumin.
“Amazing, this is amazing! Aqua’s mana is super amazing! I can sense that this will be the strongest explosion spell to date!”
“Megumin, isn’t this enough?! I can feel a lot of my mana has been taken!”
Just as Aqua said, a considerable amount of mana had been injected into the petite body of Megumin.
As expected, no matter how rotten she was, she was still a goddess.
No matter how much I absorbed, there seemed to be no end to Aqua’s mana.
“Just a bit more! A bit more! Ah, this seems bad…”
“Hey, what do you mean by bad?! What’ll happen if it exceeds your capacity? You won’t explode, right?!”
Megumin who said something dangerous tore off the eye-patch on her left eye and chanted magic with her staff raised.
It was the explosion spell I was very familiar with, echoing among the adventurers watching from a distance.
“Other things don’t matter, but I can’t lose to anyone in terms of an explosion spell! I’m ready! My finest spell of destruction!”
Megumin’s staff was aimed at the crack at the front of the Destroyer that was spewing heat and might explode at any moment.
– Her crimson pupils shone, the Archwizard who refused to lose chanted her magic so loudly that her voice was almost breaking.