Gifting this aristocratic lady with marriage!
Editor: Adam, Cannongerbil, Veritaum, Boring bone, Xenthur
“Hey Aqua, don’t make me waste my breath, just give up that seat. Since Darkness isn’t back, we won’t be doing quests today either. I need to design the merchandise to be displayed in Wiz’s shop, so get out of my way.”
Hearing me say that, Aqua, who was hogging the spot on the couch before the fireplace as usual, squinted her eyes as she yawned and said:
“Why are you so irritable? You’re too hysterical lately. You don’t need to act this way just because Darkness isn’t back yet. Enough about that… I heard that girl Yunyun said something to Megumin. You must pay the adequate price for everything. If you want me to give this warm place to you, you must give me something that satisfies me. Let me think, specifically speaking…”
Aqua paused and pondered for a moment.
“… If thou wish for the place where the goddess resides… Offer high-class wine to me. Warm light will then shine a path for the lost NEET.”
I should give her a tight slap.
Megumin too, why was she teaching her unnecessary things?
“Hey, fallen goddess, if you have the time to ask for wine this early in the morning, you should think of a way to make money. Really, why do I have to work so hard? I’ll work on the debts from blowing up the mansion of the landlord, and you take care of the reparations for the flood. If you feel any guilt at all, then move aside.”
Hearing me address her as a fallen goddess, Aqua looked at me with displeasure.
“Hey, stop giving me weird names, okay? Useless goddess, fallen goddess or whatever. If you keep addressing me as a fallen goddess, you’ll suffer divine retribution! Like this incident with the landlord, it might be your punishment for not taking care of me, the goddess. Kazuma, if you feel bad about the way you’re treating me, then say ‘Sorry, beautiful Aqua-sama’, and offer high-class wine to me. Go buy some, quick…”
Seeing Aqua continuing to hog the couch and hugging her knees, I reached out a hand and said that.
With the sound of coins rustling, Aqua’s purse appeared in my outreached hand.
“… What are you doing, you thief! What you are doing is a crime! If I send you to the station, the delayed court date will be cancelled. Hee–Kazuma’s a criminal–! Are you planning to buy wine with my money? What I meant was for you to use your own money…”
Before Aqua finished, I used Steal on her.
In my hand was one of Aqua’s socks.
Aqua continued hugging her knees, moving the toes on her one bare leg intentionally in protest.
“… What are you doing, I’ll feel cold. Return my sock to me, pervert. If you don’t return it to me, I’ll tell the police that a pervert was panting excitedly after stealing my sock. If you understand…”
I didn’t know why Aqua was keeping this on her.
After using Steal, some sort of seed appeared in my hand.
Aqua looked uneasy after seeing this.
“Hey, hey, Kazuma. This kind of prank isn’t funny. I also went a bit too far, and I’ll reflect on that. How about we both apologize and make up?”
I tossed the other sock that appeared in my hand onto the carpet.
I then said to Aqua slowly:
“… I’ll raise a large sum of money now. Didn’t you say your hagoromo’s a holy relic? Let me borrow it, I’ll sell it for you. If you don’t want me to take it by force, go to another room and take it off yourself… But you’ll probably say no, so I’ll just strip it away right here.”
I wiggled my fingers at Aqua to emphasize this, and she said with a stiff expression:
“What are you talking about? This hagoromo is proof of my godhood, how could you sell it? This kind of joke isn’t funny…”
“Ahhh Kazuma-sama, ahhh! I was wrong, it’s my fault, don’t, stop–!”
– Several minutes later.
“Woo… Sniff… Boohoo… Wahhh…”
Aqua was still curled up on the couch like a ball, burying her face between her thighs.
As for her appearance…
– Aside from her bare feet, it was the same as usual.
“Damn it, why’s your luck so strong during a time like this… Or rather, what are you doing with all this junk…”
The junk I stole from Aqua was scattered near my feet.
They looked like party trick items. Seeds, cups, marbles…
The carpet was filled with things you might find by turning out the pocket of a kid.
I wasted a ton of mana on this girl.
“Why are you so noisy this early in the morning? What’s happening?”
I was still standing before the sniveling Aqua when Megumin came down the stairs in adventuring attire.
“Hick… Kazuma, he… To pay back the debts… He says he’ll sell it… and strip me forcefully…”
“Hey, shut it, don’t say stuff that’ll create misunderstandings! Yes, it’s my bad. I apologize, and don’t look at me like that, Megumin! I only wanted to sell her equipment away!”
As Aqua continued to snivel, Megumin looked at me with disdain. This was a normal morning.
“Bad news, this is bad! Kazuma, bad news!”
Suddenly, a beautiful lady charged in and shattered the peaceful atmosphere.
Her dressing gave a noble impression. The expensive looking dress, white high heels, and her head of long braided hair flowed down her chest from one shoulder. She looked like a daughter of some noble family.
But her noble dressing couldn’t hide her alluring figure.
Even though we’ve never met before, this beautiful lady was calling me by name.
“… Who are you?”
“Huh…? Eh…! Kazuma! Now’s not the time to joke around! Can we play this game next time instead?”
The beautiful girl blushed said something out of place, and made me realize who she was.
“What, you’re Darkness? You made us worry so much, you’re finally willing to come back!”
Hearing me say that, Aqua who was sniveling cried out immediately.
“Wahhh! Darkness, Kazuma he–! Kazuma, he wants to strip me and sell my precious thing away…!”
“Hey! Putting it that way can easily cause misunderstandings, so shut it!”
As Aqua and I were squabbling, Megumin told Darkness:
“Welcome back Darkness. You don’t need to explain what happened. Here, go take a nice long bath to soothe your body and soul.”
“…? Bath? What are you saying Megumin? Anyway, I’m more interested in the special play Aqua mentioned…”
Darkness expectantly looked at me and Aqua.
“Are you still dreaming? Stop it with the dream talk; just rest for today. It’s great that you’re back. Listen to me, go take a warm bath and cry your heart out.”
“What are you talking about? Why do I have to cry? And what’s with the bath… What is it, Aqua? Why are you pulling on my skirt?”
Aqua, who stopped wailing and was tugging on Darkness’s white dress, confirming the material said:
“… This is definitely high-quality material. This must be the bonus reward the landlord gave you.”
“Darkness… You worked so hard… To save me, it must’ve been hard on you…”
I told Darkness emotionally.
“Stupid! What exactly did you think happened? The landlord didn’t do anything weird to me, this dress is mine! Why? You think I didn’t return earlier because I was being abused by the landlord?”
“What else could it be? We were thinking how terribly they were treating you… But if this wasn’t given to you by the landlord, then what’s with this expensive dress? You say this belongs to you, is it for a noble lady cosplay? Are you researching a type of play?”
“No! This… This isn’t cosplay! Sorry for making you worry, but that landlord didn’t have the guts to request anything rude from me… Forget about that, look at this!”
Darkness then handed an album-thin booklet to me.
Instead of an album-thin booklet, this was more like a…
“… What is this? Oh, a handsome guy? How unpleasant.”
Looking at the photo of a bright and cheery man, I unconsciously tore it…
“Ahhh! Look at what you’ve done to the marriage interview photo! If you tear it like this, how will I reject the matchmaking now!”
“Oh, sorry, I was careless! I don’t know why, but my hands moved unconsciously, I couldn’t control it… Wait, what matchmaking?”
I tilted my head, confused with the photo in my hand.
“That’s right! That damn Alexei, using cheap tricks like this! I did promise to do anything, but my father would reject him if it was too offensive. I knew that, that’s why I promised him back then, but…”
The panicking Darkness said.
“Wait, slow down and speak clearly. Who’s this handsome guy? And forcing you to marry someone you don’t like is clearly an unreasonable request, right? Also, how’s the landlord related to the handsome guy on this photo? Darkness, if you don’t want to, why not just ask your father to reject this? I’ll try to fix this photo. Aqua, could you get some rice for me?”
Aqua ran off, and to calm Darkness who was about to cry, I ushered her to the couch.
“The one on the photo is Alexei’s son. That damn Alexei, he probably knew if he was the one to propose, he would be rejected. But the only good point my father saw in Alexei was his son. How should I put this…? The one most enthusiastic about the marriage is my father. But I don’t understand why Alexei wants his son to marry me…”
Darkness said as she sat on the couch and stared at the messy coffee table.
Aqua returned with bits of rice and sat beside Darkness, placed the photo on the desk and started repairing it.
Aqua used a corner of the table, while my designs for the merchandise to be displayed in Wiz’s shop were scattered on other parts. Darkness picked one up and asked curiously:
“… Hmm? The sketching on it is weird. What is this?
Megumin who was putting on her boots near the entrance answered:
“While Darkness was away, we’ve been brainstorming about ways to earn more money. These are convenient tools Kazuma thought of. He’s planning on selling them in Wiz’s shop.”
“Oh? Well, Kazuma has high luck stats. He might be better suited as a merchant.”
“Speaking about my luck, I’m really doubtful about that. If my luck was so great, I would’ve been able to meet comrades that are more useful. I wouldn’t get into debts, get entangled in troubling incidents, and live a wonderful life.”
The three of them trembled when they heard me say that.
“I-I’m troubled by the matchmaking because I spoke up for Kazuma! No, I’m not asking you to repay me or anything! We’re comrades after all; the most important thing is to help each other! I’ve troubled you much, so it’s only natural for me to help you!”
Darkness explained, but a drop of sweat dripped down her cheek.
“I-I have a meeting with Yunyun later! Yes, that’s right! To prove Kazuma’s innocence, I’m going to think of a plan together with Yunyun…!
Megumin averted her eyes and said so before the entrance.
So that’s where she was going.
“I’ll leave clearing Kazuma’s name as a suspect to them and clean the toilet! I don’t think it’s dirty, but I’m concerned with the toilet! Kitchen and baths, leave places that use water to me!”
Stopping her work in repairing the photo, the goddess of toilets used cleaning as an excuse to escape.
– As everyone was planning on running.
Darkness waved her hands, gesturing for them to stay, and showed a sad face to us and said:
“What… What should I do? I went back these few days to stop the progression of the matchmaking session… I’m here because of that… The matchmaking will be this afternoon. There’s no time left. Pardon me, but is there anyone who’s willing to return with me to convince my father?”
“… In short, Darkness’s father wants her to give up the dangerous job of adventurer, so he sends her to matchmaking sessions whenever he has the chance. But Darkness doesn’t plan on marrying yet and rejected all previous attempts.”
Megumin who had put on her boots said as she sat near the entrance.
Aqua continued to repair the photo on the table.
I wanted to repair the photo I tore myself, but since Aqua was happy to do so and was doing a great job, I decided to let her be.
This girl really had all kinds of unnecessary talents…
“… Yes, you’re right. To be frank, I’m very satisfied with my current life. If I continue my career, an evil mage or a minion of the Demon King’s army might target me. I’ll resist until the very end, but still get captured by them in a miserable state. It’ll be terrible. I’ll be tied up in locks and chains, my clothes will be all tattered…! Ugh…! Stop… Stop…!”
“I think you should retire and get married soon.”
Darkness was lost in her own fantasy, squirming about with a blushing face, making me back away from her.
Megumin shook the staff in her hand and said doubtfully:
“I see, the previous matchmaking sessions were by the request of Darkness’s father, where you can reject. But this matchmaking session was raised by the landlord, and you’ve already promised him to do him one favor. Darkness’s father is eager and the landlord’s also eager, so you can’t reject it under such circumstances. But the landlord wants you by hook or by crook, so why’s he so obsessed with Darkness? I don’t get why he wants you as a daughter-in-law either. With his status as landlord, if he really wanted to, he could force Darkness to be his concubine.”
Hearing what Megumin said, Darkness lowered her head.
She put her hands together before her chest, rubbed her fingers for a moment and finally said:
“… My, my real name’s Dustiness ford Lalatina. I’m a daughter of a rather esteemed noble clan…”
Seeing our surprised expression, Darkness flashed a lonely expression for a moment, and seemed sad.
She must’ve surprised many people before when she introduced herself.
“Dustiness…! That’s not just rather esteemed, it’s a super powerful nobility clan! The top adviser in this nation, that Dustiness? In this town?”
Darkness answered the screaming Megumin softly:
Next, Aqua asked:
“What! So, if I become a child of the Dustiness family, I can slack around all day and live an extravagant life?”
For Aqua who missed the important point, Darkness replied with a slightly troubled tone:
“Yes… But, our family’s not looking to adopt…”
I retorted the most important point at the troubled Darkness.
“Darkness, you…! You’re always saying things like ‘Yeah’, ‘Sure’, and acting like a proper knight! But your real name is Lalatina! It’s so cute!”
“Don’t, don’t call me Lalatina…!”
Lalatina’s face turned red, and she shouted with tears in the corner of her eyes.
Megumin, who stood up because she was too surprised, sat down onto the carpet near the entrance and said:
“Well… This might be surprising, but Darkness is Darkness. For me, Darkness is a tough Crusader; an important comrade. That’s all.”
When she heard Megumin say that, Darkness said with a happy expression:
“… Yes, please take care of me from now on too…”
She then smiled with relief.
Seeing their interaction, Aqua pointed at herself cheerfully.
“… Hey, hey, I have something shocking to tell you, okay? Well, I’ve said this before but you didn’t believe me… Actually, I’m a goddess!”
“Wow, that’s great!”
“Why don’t you believe me–!”
Aqua grumbled as she started repairing the photo with rice again.
Seeing the three of them like this, I started thinking about something.
I see, a lot of things made sense now.
Like why Darkness knew less about the world than me and why she was wearing cosplay-like attire that was so out of place.
The reason why the landlord wanted his son to marry Darkness was probably because of political reasons.
There were people who wanted to at least live in the same house, even if they couldn’t get the girl themselves.
If I leave this alone, an important member in our party was going to be married off.
Important… Member… Hmm…
“We have to bring this photo back and convince Darkness’s father. Here, look at this. How is it? Isn’t the repair perfect?”
As I was deep in thought, Aqua handed the photo to me with a cocky face. The photo was as good as new. You couldn’t tell that it was torn before.
… Wait, Darkness is going to be married off?
This meant that a Crusader who couldn’t hit the enemy would have to leave the party because of marriage.
Retirement due to marriage… That’s right, a wonderful occasion.
I wasn’t treating her like a useless child and chasing her away.
I didn’t hate Darkness.
She has some weird habits, but she wasn’t a bad person.
But the prospect of our party wasn’t good and Darkness was an aristocratic lady, so was it fine tying her down as an adventurer?
– No, it’s not good.
If Darkness got married, her parents would feel at ease.
In all honesty, I was worried about Darkness too.
On the off chance we made it to the Demon King’s castle and ran into danger, this girl would yell enthusiastically something like ‘Don’t worry about me, just leave me here and go’.
After getting captured, she would be overjoyed, saying ‘Ugh…! Just kill me…!’ or something as she looked forward to her mistreatment.
That’s right! In other words, this was a great idea that would gift everyone with happiness!
“Sigh… I must come up with a reason and return this photo to the other party. I’ll then apologize using this excuse and try to convince my father… That’s why, I hope someone can accompany me to do this…”
Darkness looked at the repaired matchmaking photo in my hand and eased up as she requested us for help. And then…
I tore the photo in half.
“I have to meet Yunyun, so I’m going now. I have an ominous feeling about what Kazuma’s thinking about, will it be fine?… I’m leaving Darkness in your hands, all right?”
Megumin looked at me uneasily a few times, and left the place with a worried expression.
For me, it’s great that Megumin is leaving.
Among the three, the hardest to handle would probably be Megumin.
“Ugh… I worked so hard to repair it…”
Aqua sat on the couch, throwing a tantrum because the photo she fixed was torn up again.
– As I watched Megumin leave, I could feel a strong gaze on my back.
The gaze came from Darkness. She was glaring at me silently with tears in her eyes.
Aqua was also staring at me with tears.
How… How scary.
“Calm… Calm down. This is for the best in the future.”
Hearing the excuse, I made up on the spot, Darkness whose eyes were still teary asked:
I explained in detail to Darkness and Aqua.
Putting it simply, for her to continue her career as an adventurer, it would be better to attend a matchmaking session now.
It might be with the landlord’s son this time, but even if this one was rejected; Darkness’s father would arrange another one in no time.
Would Darkness need to reject them one by one?
If Darkness’s father couldn’t take it anymore, he might adopt tougher measures.
If that was the case, Darkness should accept it this one time and mess up the event utterly. That was my suggestion.
Although I suggest utter destruction, it wouldn’t do to tarnish Darkness’s family name. She just needed to force the other party to give up by themselves.
That way, Darkness’s parents would be more prudent about arranging the next matchmaking session.
After all, it would be embarrassing for the family if the other party rejected them every time.
And of course, Aqua and I would be accompanying her under the guise of servants.
We’ll assist Darkness secretly to make the other party dislike her.
And the target this time was the infamous landlord’s family after all.
Even though messing up this session to discourage Darkness’s father would have negative impact on her family name, it would be less damaging than doing so compared to matchmaking with a fine aristocratic clan.
– After the two of them heard my explanation…
“That… That’s it, Kazuma! Let’s use this plan! If this works, I won’t need to go home and beat down my father every time he arranges a session.”
I feel sorry for her father…
“I get it, this is a great plan! I thought you would’ve said ‘If one of the problem children marries off, I can find a new member and relax, yahoo–!’ or something like that!”
Aqua’s words made me shiver.
“No… No way! How could I bear letting such an excellent Crusader like Darkness leave?… Don’t do that, don’t look at me with such eyes, I’m half serious about this, all right…”
The building situated on the main street of town had an appearance befitting a grand aristocratic family.
“Is this true? Are you really fine with this, Lalatina? Are you willing to seriously consider this matchmaking session?”
Lalatina… I mean, Darkness’s dad held her hand as he said excitedly.
We are inside Darkness’s home.
Darkness told her dad that she was willing to go for the matchmaking session.
“It’s true, dear father. Lalatina wants to try it.”
When we heard Darkness say that, Aqua and I lowered our head.
“Hey, hey, Kazuma-san, Kazuma-san, she said ‘Dear father’.”
“Are… Are you stupid, Lalatina’s funnier, she called herself ‘Lalatina’.”
Looking at Lady Lalatina talking in a different manner than usual, Aqua and I whispered to each other. Our shoulders were shaking as we tried to hold back our laughter, earning the glare from the red-faced lady.
When Darkness’s dad saw us like this, he felt a bit suspicious.
“Lalatina, who are these two guests?”
Hearing him ask this, Darkness extended his hand towards Aqua and me.
“These two are my adventuring companions. For this matchmaking session, I wish to employ them as a temporary butler and maid to join me for the event.”
Her dad frowned and seemed uneasy about this.
“Um, about that…”
That won’t do.
I took a step forward, put one hand on my chest and stood up straight.
“Pleased to meet you. I’m adventurer Satou Kazuma, I’ve been in the care of Lady Lalatina. If the matchmaking’s a success, we probably won’t be able to meet Lady Lalatina because of our difference in status. I know we’re flaunting the rules a little, but for this very last moment, we wish to stay by Lady Lalatina’s side, and see for ourselves if we can entrust our important companion to the groom.”
Without any stuttering, I stated my piece fluently and bowed.
I’m so cool right now.
If I could marry the lady away, I felt I could achieve anything.
Seeing me act so differently, Darkness and Aqua were stunned.
– The maids brought us to the meeting room.
“Please wait for a moment. We’ll prepare the attire for our honored guests.”
The maids ushered us to sit at the couch and served us tea. After inviting us to ‘enjoy the tea’, they left the room.
As expected of a meeting room for a grand aristocratic family.
It looked plain at first sight, but it was obvious that it costs a lot of money to maintain the appearance of nobles.
We waited obediently for a while, but eventually got bored.
Unable to sit still, we wandered around the meeting room, picking up and observing the decorations.
I don’t have an eye for appraising things, but every one of these had to be expensive pieces.
For example, the painting hung on this wall.
At a glance, it looked like a child’s scribbling, but it should be those so called modern art pieces.
I rubbed my chin as I looked at the painting, mumbling a little as I acted as if I was appreciating this painting.
“Kazuma, you really like that graffiti, huh?”
Aqua who didn’t know about art told me when she saw me admiring the art piece.
“Hey, how uncultured. This is what you call modern art, those who understand will know how wonderful it is. It must be a work of a master painter.”
Listening to my bullshit, Aqua said on casually from the couch:
“But in the eyes of me who has learned about painting, that’s just normal graffiti.”
I shrugged and shook my head at Aqua.
“Well, being able to paint and the ability to appraise are two different matters. Look at this part. It might look like scribbling at first, but if you…”
As I was making up nonsense in my explanation to Aqua, Darkness walked into the meeting room.
“Sorry for the wait, you… Hey Kazuma, that’s a painting of my father by me when I was young. Father really likes this painting, so he hung it here to show it off to the guests. Don’t stare at it, it makes me feel embarrassed… Hey, what are you doing? Don’t pull my hair!”
As Aqua was laughing at me deviously, I tugged on Darkness’s plaited hair. At this moment, the maid entered the room carrying clothes for a butler and a maid.
“Kazuma-san, this is the attire for a butler. The size should be just right, please try it on.”
I received the clothes from the maid and followed her into the dressing room next door.
… Yeah, it fits perfectly.
“It looks good.”
Hearing me say that, the maid bowed and retreated to a corner of the room.
– I succeeded in getting Darkness’s dad to hire me as a temporary butler and returned to Darkness after putting the proper attire.
Aqua was already there, dressed as a maid.
Unexpectedly, the pure dressing of a maid suited her well.
“Aqua, you look nice in it. Right now, you look like a top-class minion.”
“You too Kazuma. You look just like a try-hard apprentice butler. It feels just like you’ll be bullied by mean senpais and will end up crying by yourself in a corner.”
“Ara, what an interesting way of putting it. If we weren’t in the mansion of a grand noble right now, I would’ve given you a piece of my mind… Well then, are you ready, Lady Lalatina?”
“Don’t… Don’t call me Lady Lalatina! Just addressing me as ‘my lady’ will do if others are around!”
Darkness hastily barked at me.
The meeting will be held in this mansion.
And Darkness’s dad asked for my help.
He asked me.
He asked for my assistance to stop his daughter from doing anything rude during the meeting.
Not just that.
He was also willing to pay me for my efforts if the meeting went smoothly.
Not only did our interests coincide, he even threw in a reward as a bonus.
It would be hard for me not to be fired up.
If the son of the landlord was incapable, I would join in the disruption of the meeting. But if he was just a bit annoying, I would still close an eye on that matter.
“The two of you, this way. Listen carefully! You know what to do, right? I’m counting on you!”
Darkness had an uneasy expression as she led us to the entrance to receive the other party of the matchmaking session.
With maids flanking her on either side, Darkness looked the part of a lady from a noble house.
On the way to the entrance, Aqua used her sharp eyes and searched for valuable exhibits.
“Oh, that one looks rather…”
Aqua looked at an urn with a handle as if she was looking at something special.
Be it the value of this urn or the worthlessness of the graffiti from earlier, this girl had great artistic sense.
I was curious about the urn Aqua was looking at and lifted it up.
It was heavy.
“Is this expensive? How much is this worth?”
“Hey… Don’t touch the things over here, that’s my father’s expensive urn…”
Darkness reached out for the handles of the urn I had picked up.
“According to my brilliant appraisal, this urn is…”
With a clear crack, along with our shout, only the handle remained in Darkness’ hands.
“… This urn is now a piece of trash.”
“What… What should we do? This is my father’s precious collection, what should we do?”
Darkness started to panic with the broken handle in her hands.
“Calm… Calm down! Your dad isn’t here right now! There are two solutions! First is to admit it when the matchmaking people are here. That way, your father won’t become angry before the guests! Number two! Use rice or something to make emergency repairs, and place the urn in a position that will easily fall if your dad picks it up!”
“I… I got it, we’ll do that! As expected of Kazuma, how quick witted! Even if I admit it before the guests, he’ll still lecture me after they leave! We’ll do temporary repairs. Put it in a position that’ll fall easily and instruct the house help not to touch it, that’s the best way!”
When she heard my conversation with Darkness, the Dustiness maid said:
“… Excuse me, honoured guest… Please don’t teach our young lady such things…”
– The servants formed a row before the entrance with Darkness and her dad right in the middle.
Aqua and me stayed on either side of Darkness.
I suddenly noticed that I hadn’t seen Darkness’s mom, but now’s not the time for that.
The other party will be arriving soon.
“But… To think that you would agree to this matchmaking. I’m really happy… When Alexei said he had something to discuss with me, I was worried about it. He was confident you would not reject too. Leaving Alexei aside, his son is a good man. You’ll have a wonderful life with him, Lalatina.”
Darkness’s dad said to her happily.
But Darkness replied:
“How mean, dear father. Lalatina only said she would seriously consider the marriage, fufufu… After thinking it through, I think it’s still too early for me to marry, but it’s too late now. I agreed to the matchmaking session, but I didn’t say I wanted to marry! I’ll mess up this meeting! I’ll destroy the matchmaking meeting! Hmm… Hahaha!”
Darkness felt there wasn’t any need to act anymore and revealed her true nature!
Her dad turned pale as he realized our true intent…
“Could… Could it be the reason the two of them are here is to…?”
Her dad looked at us in fear.
Oh no, Darkness was so excited that she forgot about keeping her family name untarnished.
At this late juncture, she probably didn’t care anymore.
If that was so, I had no need to continue acting.
“… My lady, your choice of words is too crude, please don’t speak in such a way.”
When they heard me say that, Darkness and her dad looked at us in surprise.
Aqua seemed to like her maid attire a lot, swaying her skirt around happily as she ignored the tense atmosphere.
After understanding my true intent, Darkness’s expression turned sour. Her father blinked away tears of joy, looking at me as if I was the messiah.
“Kazuma, you… You…! What is this, are you planning to betray me?”
“There’s no betrayal to speak of, my lady. Right now, I’m Dustiness’s butler, and my greatest wish is for my lady to achieve happiness.”
Her father sighed in relief and replied:
“You… You’re Kazuma, right? Even if this session fails… At least, don’t let Lalatina do anything disgraceful before the other party! I’ll reward you well! So… So…!”
Before her father could even finish, I bowed deeply.
“Please leave it to me, old master. I’ll aid my lady with all I can…”
– At this moment.
The door of the mansion opened with a crack, and the man I saw in the photo appeared at the door.
He had an entourage with him.
Darkness was bent on making the first move, crossing her arms and glaring at the other party as she said loudly:
“You’re the brat who’s meeting with me, right? I’m Dustiness ford Lalatina! You can call me Queen Dustiness…”
“Ara, watch out my lady! There’s a bug on the back of your head!”
I delivered a strong blow to the back of Darkness’s head!
After I stopped Darkness from making a scene.
We excused ourselves, saying that we wanted to check if the bug stung the lady and moved to the room next door. Darkness’s father accompanied the guest to buy time.
“Hey, what are you thinking? Are you not here to help me?”
Darkness grabbed my back collar and dragged me to the corridor.
Aqua who still didn’t understand what was happening followed beside Darkness. She seemed to like stroking Darkness’s plaited hair, toying with it in her hand.
– Right now, Darkness was interrogating me.
“Anyway, calm down my lady. You had forgotten about something important.
“Don’t call me lady when it’s just the three of us!… What’s that important thing?”
Darkness regained her composure, her attitude had softened enough to listen to me.
“You forgot the part about not tarnishing your family’s reputation. If you make too big a mess, you’ll be the one who’ll be hurt the most.”
Darkness frowned when she heard me say that.
“How would I be hurt? If the negative news spread, I won’t be able to marry and can continue my adventuring career without worries! The worst case would be my father disowning me, but I’m already prepared for that… After being disowned, I’ll feel uneasy about my uncertain future… Despite that, I’ll still do my best to survive and take on jobs too hard for me. In the end, my body won’t be able to take it and I’ll get captured by the minions of the Demon King’s army, and be ravaged…! … I want to live a life like that.”
“So, you finally admit it.”
After expressing her wish that was incredible in some ways, the young lady continued:
“And that guy’s not my type. The guys my father wants to set me up with are all bad.”
I was confused when she said that.
But that guy was a handsome guy.
“Is that guy as bad as you say? According to your father’s description, he sounds like an okay guy. But I only know what he looks like though.”
Darkness replied to my question:
“That guy’s Alexei Barnes Walther. He’s talented and looks nothing like the landlord. The citizens give rave reviews about him, he’s a cheerful man.”
Aqua gave her comments too:
“Speaking of Walther from the Alexei family, everyone in the town of Axel has nothing but praise for him. He distributes items to help the poor. I’ve even received it a few times too.”
Hearing Aqua say that, Darkness said unhappily:
“That’s not good! My father doing that is enough! How can a noble who wants to marry me do such a thing?”
“Is… Is that so? Ah, could it be that he does charity on the surface, but does evil deeds in the dark? If that’s so, I’ll feel bad even if I didn’t know about this…”
He was that landlord’s son after all, I was too rash. As I was feeling a bit remorseful, Darkness said:
“There’s no such thing! First, I heard that guy has excellent character. He won’t get angry with anyone, and won’t lecture his staff when they make mistakes. He’s a weird person who would think together with them as to why such mistakes occur…”
…? That sounds like a great guy.
“And he’s very hardworking, studying every day to help the people with his knowledge. He’s smart and great in swordsmanship, the youngest knight ever in history. I’ve never heard anything negative about him, a truly perfect man. He also advises his father often, pleading him to change his harsh policies.”
“Hey, from what I’m hearing, isn’t he the perfect man? Which part are you unhappy about, Darkness?”
Aqua asked confusedly.
“Which part am I unhappy about? Everything! First, nobles should act like nobles and always wear a sinister smile! Why does he have such clear and forthcoming eyes when we met? It should be more like… Like Kazuma’s lecherous gaze when I walk around with loose clothes in the mansion. Eyes that want to rape every inch of my body!”
“N-no, wait, I’m not! I-I-I’m not looking at you with such eyes!”
As I was soothing my guilty conscience, Darkness continued.
“He doesn’t get mad when his staff screws up? Is he an idiot?! If a maid makes a mistake, then he should do this and that to her using that excuse, that’s the proper way for a noble! That man doesn’t know anything! His staff makes mistakes because they want to be scolded! As a noble, he should have the guts to make all of the maids pregnant!”
“You’re the only one that thinks that way!”
But Darkness ignored my words and tightly clenched her fist, before embarking on a passionate tirade.
“Simply put, the type I like is the total opposite of that man who’ll achieve great things, even if I leave him alone! He must not be too eye catching, either too fat or too skinny. It would be best if he loves me but has a weak will, lusting after other girls if they’re a bit kind to him. Some mandatory criteria will be having a lecherous look and is horny all year round. If he looks down on the hardships of life and just wants to live his life easily like trash, that would be great. If he has debts, that’s even better! He also must drink all day and refuse to work, always grumbling that ‘This is the fault of society’. He’ll then hit me with empty beer bottles and tell me: ‘Hey Darkness, use your slutty body to earn back some cash!’… Hmm…!”
After speaking her mind, our lady Depravetina blushed and trembled.
Damn, this woman was beyond redemption.
In this uneasy atmosphere, Aqua and I silently stood in place.
“… Enough! I’ll destroy this meeting myself! Kazuma, be prepared for the consequences if you get in my way!”
After saying that, Darkness walked out of the room angrily.
Aqua and I remained silent for a while.
Finally, Aqua said to me accusingly:
“… Kazuma, what are you planning?”
I said to Aqua:
“You saw her dad’s face too, right? He’s really worried about his daughter’s future. You heard how the other party’s reputation was, right? This isn’t a political marriage, but a father who wishes for the happiness of his daughter; a carefully planned meeting.”
“What then? Even if it was Darkness’s father, he has no right to decide her life…”
Aqua said strongly.
But I didn’t let her finish.
“Darkness is a noble. Isn’t it normal for her not to be able to decide her own marriage? For aristocrats, they live a life of luxury and receive elite education… Though we can’t really tell from Darkness’s behavior. Since they depend on the taxes of the commoners for a living, it’s normal for their life to have less freedom. Living a luxurious life from birth and wanting the freedom to decide their own life, that’s just being willful… She already had it good living such a carefree life all this while. And the one she’s marrying is a perfect man. If you still want to be picky about it, it’ll incur the wrath of the people.”
After hearing my long speech, Aqua seemed unconvinced.
“… But! That’s still too much!”
“That’s not all.”
Aqua stopped when I said that.
I gestured for Aqua to squat down.
I then asked her with a very serious expression:
“Aqua. Our objective’s to defeat the Demon King and return home, but what are Darkness’s wishes?”
Aqua squatted down like me. She didn’t think I would ask her this so seriously, confusing her.
“Well, um… To not marry and continue adventuring with us…”
Aqua gave a harmless answer which made me shout.
“Wrong! I don’t want to listen to such pleasantries! You know the truth! Hurry! Don’t be shy, say it! Say it out loud! I want you to say it! Let me see what expression you’ll make when saying it!”
“To… To be kidnapped by a strong monster she couldn’t win against and let the enemy do erotic things to her!… Ka… Kazuma, that’s sexual harassment, right? Hey, is this sexual harassment?”
I continued saying to Aqua who was on the verge of tears:
“This isn’t sexual harassment! Listen well. If you’re a moron, then that girl’s a super moron beyond redemption! Her dream’s to be kidnapped by monsters and have perverted things done to her? That idiot! Go, tell her dad about this! Do it if you can! Tell him his daughter has a grand dream, so he must forget about marrying her off and let her realize her ambition. Explain it to her dad right now!”
“I’m sorry! I can’t say it! Sorry!”
Aqua apologized in a panic.
“But… But are you certain the right choice is for her to marry that person? Darkness should have her own preference for the type of men.”
“Are you are saying something stupid, like the other party is pitiful because he isn’t her type? Darkness said what type of men she likes, you heard it too. If Darkness found her ideal partner and he’s exactly as she described, what are you going to do about it? Listen, just force her onto that Walther character… He’s a good guy after all, so we can trouble him a little. Darkness can be rash at times, so we should let that guy tie her down and watch over her. From what I just heard, Walther is a warm and gentle person far different compared to his father. If that’s so, he might agree to Darkness going out for adventures occasionally. We can then accompany her and do quests from time to time. Her dad would be at ease and I can relax. Darkness won’t partake in quests that are too dangerous. More importantly, I can get rid of one of the three problem children.”
“The three problem children you just mentioned, are you referring to me?”
I lift my fist and stood up.
“In the end, adventuring’s not a career you can do forever! This is a job that borders on the edge of the abyss, if I can quit then I should quit! Or rather, I’m ready to quit anytime! Let’s make it clear, that girl is an idiot! I’ll support her if she wants to continue being an adventurer, but I must emphasize that she’s an idiot! Others shouldn’t interfere in her family matters, but my goal is for Darkness to marry off successfully! If that doesn’t work, I’ll aim to at least protect the reputation of the Dustiness clan so she can marry and retire at any time!”
“Wait Kazuma! Answer my question!”
“Pardon me for the long wait.”
When Aqua and I returned to the entrance, Darkness and her dad were still chatting happily with Walther. Darkness was glancing uneasily at us who was standing beside her.
“I know how Kazuma feels about this. I also wish for Darkness to marry someone she likes. But after hearing what you said, I think it would be terrible if that happened.”
“I’m glad you understand. Listen, you just act by your own judgment. Try to help from the side so Darkness can leave a great impression on the other party, okay?”
I wasn’t sure if Darkness heard what we said. She lowered her voice and whispered into my ear:
“… Hey, for your own good, give it up. If not, you’ll experience something so bad that you will wish you were dead.”
What’s she talking about, that’s too scary.
But threats won’t work on me now.
Because I have the backing of someone more powerful than Darkness.
“Pardon my interruption, old master. Could we start the meeting between the young lady and master Walther? The young lady has been looking impatient for a while now.”
Hearing me say that, Darkness ground her teeth in protest to my proposal.
Her dad didn’t notice Darkness’s reaction, accepting my suggestion readily.
Darkness’s dad didn’t seem to mind me whacking the back of Darkness’s head to shut her up.
He seemed to think I did a good job and sighed in relief.
This meant that I had the approval of her dad, and wouldn’t get lectured if I went a bit too far.
“Well then, Mr. Walther, this way please. Lalatina, come with us too. Let’s go to the meeting room.”
Darkness squatted down when she heard her father say that.
“My heels seemed to have broken… Mr. Walther, can you lend me a hand?”
Darkness reached out to Walther as she said that.
She probably wanted to avoid me hitting her head as Darkness spoke in a normal, lady-like manner.
But this is strange, she must be up to something.
I reached out immediately.
“Young lady, allow me. No matter how much you admire Master Walther, you aren’t engaged yet, so you can’t trouble him like this. My apologies Master Walther, the young lady is happy… Ahhh, ow, ow, ow… It’s breaking… Breaking… Please don’t joke with me… Wait, stop. Please stop! I’m telling you to knock it off young lady!”
I blinked away the tears after I shook off the hand that was crushed by Darkness with her full strength.
This… This girl. If I hadn’t stopped her, she would’ve done that to Walther!
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
Seeing me squatted down while favoring my right hand painfully, Walther was worried and asked.
What a great guy. Please, just marry this mad dog and take her away.
“Fufufu, it’s nothing. Let us be off, Mr. Walther.”
Darkness moved away briskly. I could only see her off while squatting down, waiting for Aqua to heal me with magic.
When her father saw us, he put his hands together and lowered his head in apology.
“– Well then, let me once again introduce myself properly. I’m Alexei Barnes Walther, son of the Alexei family. My job is to assist my father in managing the territory.”
Darkness and Walther sat facing each other with the white coffee table of the guest room between them.
Walther was a cool and stylish man.
He was one head taller than me.
He probably trained regularly. His solid muscles were visible through his clothes, and he was adequately lean.
Walther smiled gently as he looked at Darkness.
Aqua and I were beside Darkness, a little bit too close to her.
Walther seemed bothered by us. But since Darkness’s dad didn’t say anything, he didn’t say anything about it.
“I’m Dustiness ford Lalatina. I don’t think I need to introduce my family. Even the son of some upstart landlord should know… Ahhh!”
Darkness who was speaking ill right from the get go trembled with her face red.
“Are… Are you okay?”
Walther asked with concern, but Darkness continued.
“I… I’m fine… It’s just that seeing Mr. Walther’s face is making me uncomfort- Nnnhhh–!”
Before finishing, Darkness lowered her head to the table with her ears red.
“Young lady Darkness’s tummy has been acting up since morning. Isn’t that right, Darkness?! Don’t push yourself if your stomach hurts.”
“Huh? No, I’m not…!”
Darkness denied as Aqua tried to make an excuse for her.
Leaving Aqua who was making matters worse aside, I said:
“The young lady was eager to meet Mr. Walther since early morning, she was a little too excited. As you can see, the young lady is so shy that her face is all red.”
“Er… Well, her face is really red… It’s a little embarrassing…”
I stepped harder with my foot and whispered in a volume only Darkness could hear.
– I twisted my foot that was stepping on Darkness under the table.
“… Hey young lady, I’ll step harder if you say any more nonsense.”
I wasn’t sure she heard what I said, but Darkness’s face became red and she started panting as she said softly:
“… What, what a wonderful reward…”
Our young lady was acting as usual.
When he saw the way his daughter was acting, Darkness’s dad seemed to understand what the situation was like under the table.
Since he could grasp the situation, it meant that he knew about his daughter’s fetish.
I wanted to scream at him for letting her daughter go astray, but there was no time for that now.
To cover for me and Darkness, her dad brought up a topic to chat with Walther.
“Mr. Walther, I heard your mansion was destroyed not long ago. Where are you living right now? How about bunking in my place? Of course, you’ll have to sleep in a different room from my daughter.”
Darkness’s father said half-jokingly, and Walther answered with a smile.
“Hahaha! No, if I’m to live under the same roof with the beautiful Lady Lalatina, it would take tremendous self-restraint to stop myself…”
And so, as Darkness was trembling with a blushing face, the two of them conversed idly…
– After saying ‘An old man staying around would only be a hindrance’, Darkness’s dad took his leave.
As he was leaving, he whispered in my ear, ‘I’m counting on you.’.
Right now, Darkness and Walther were strolling in the family courtyard with Aqua and I in tow… And it was grand, as expected of a famous aristocratic clan.
The vast courtyard had a pond, and colorful flowers were blooming despite it being winter. These were probably high-quality breeds.
Aqua whistled and clapped when she saw the fish in the pond.
I was curious about what she was doing and looked, and saw the school of fish gather towards Aqua…
… That’s amazing, I’ll get her to teach me later.
“Lady Lalatina, what are your hobbies?”
As I was focused on the pond, Walther asked something that was obligatory and harmless during matchmaking.
“I hunt Goblins when I’m free…. Ugh!”
When Darkness said something thoughtless, I elbowed her waist from the side.
Walther smiled wryly, tilting his head as he asked me who was unnaturally close to Darkness.
“… The two of you seem to be really close.”
My face turned pale and I thought that this was it.
Oh no, I overdid it. I became a factor that dragged Darkness’s image down.
It must feel awkward to see the butler and the lady so close together during a matchmaking session.
As I was thinking about how to tide this over, Darkness who noticed this smiled at me deviously.
What was this girl scheming…?
“I’m very close to this butler, Kazuma. We spend every day together. Be it meals or bathing, even sleeping at night is… Is… Ugh…”
Darkness who said something foolish on impulse couldn’t continue and blushed.
Really, what was it with your standard for embarrassment?
“The young lady loves to joke. That’s the way she is, a cute girl who gets embarrassed by the things she herself is saying. Right, young lady Lalatina? What’s the matter, young lady Lalatina? Your face is getting red, young lady Lalatina.”
“Ugh… You, I’ll get you for this…”
Hearing me repeat the cute name Lalatina, Darkness ground her teeth as tears welled in her eyes.
Good, she won’t act up for a while.
Seeing our interaction, Walther had a slightly lonely smile.
“… You’re close to each other… It’s making me envious.”
“Please don’t joke with us, Mr. Walther. This is just a mistress and her butler playing around a little…”
Darkness suddenly stepped away from me when she heard me say that.
“I don’t want to beat around the bush anymore! I can’t take this!”
I don’t know what she was thinking when she tore the skirt of her dress.
Her white thigh was visible from the torn portion, showing Darkness’s alluring body in plain sight.
Lewdness tore her skirt to an easy to move length. She then tore a line up the side of her skirt.
Walther couldn’t help averting his eyes as Darkness shouted at him.
“Hey, you’re called Walther, right? Since you’re a knight, you should know how to use a sword! My job’s a Crusader, let’s go to the dojo. I’ll appraise your capability there. Come, follow me!”
Darkness acted impulsively suddenly and I couldn’t stop her.
“… Walther, take a good look at that man. As a noble, you should learn that from the lecherous eyes of Kazuma and use it every day!”
I-I-I, I didn’t look!
I only glanced over a little because of curiosity!
“We fight until one party surrenders. Just try to make me say ‘I can’t fight anymore’, or ‘Please stop hitting me’! If you can do that, I can marry you or follow you anywhere!”
Darkness brought us to the dojo.
In the center of the dojo, Darkness tossed a wooden sword to Walther.
Walther caught the wooden sword and swung it with a troubled face, saying:
“Um, Lady Lalatina, I’m a knight. Even if this is just training, I can’t point a sword at a lady…”
Hearing Walther say that, Darkness frowned and said unhappily:
“What a gutless fellow. Kazuma who’s standing right there claims to be a gender equality advocate. He even announced that he would not hesitate to drop kick a woman. You should learn from him.”
Walther looked at me when Darkness said that. His gaze felt painful.
Then, Walther seemed to have made up his mind, and said with a sigh:
“… I understand. To be honest, my father forced me to come, and I’m here to reject the marriage… But after seeing you, I changed my mind. You’re different from the other daughters of nobility, as expected of the only daughter of the national chief adviser. You seem to have a bold personality, but get embarrassed by your own words. That’s cute. Your way of speaking is straightforward and isn’t haughty towards the butler serving you, treating him as an equal. I’m very interested in you… Prepare yourself, Lady Lalatina!”
After the sudden confession, he slashed at Darkness!
The quick slash disarmed Darkness’s wooden sword and hit her shoulder.
Seeing that the attack was a success, Walther sighed in relief thinking that victory was a sure thing.
But Darkness picked up her wooden sword and said nonchalantly:
“Very good, next. Come at me!”
– After more than thirty minutes.
“Enough! The match is obviously over! Why aren’t you giving up?”
Despite Walther having the advantage, it sounded as if he was forced into a corner.
In terms of capability, Walther was dominating.
Since the start, Darkness’s wooden sword couldn’t touch Walther. Darkness was hit multiple times and was bruised all over.
But other than being out of breath, Darkness was fine and her eyes were full of life.
Her fiery red cheeks were covered in sweat, and Darkness yelled.
“What’s the matter? Don’t be shy, attack with everything you’ve got! Show me your determination to persevere to the end!”
Seeing Darkness act this way, Walther tossed his wooden sword away.
He then raised both his arms in surrender.
“… I give up, Lady Lalatina. It’s my loss. Even if my skills are better than you, I’m not as strong as you mentally… I can’t attack you anymore. You’re a strong person.”
Walther looked at Darkness with a dazed look and smiled.
Darkness seemed unsatisfied and shrugged.
“… That’s it? Boring. Come back after you train more.”
Hearing Darkness say that, Walther laughed out loud.
He was laughing happily with no regrets.
Walther then said in a volume Darkness couldn’t hear…
“… I’ve really fallen for you…”
– On the surface, it was a beautiful story of Darkness winning over Walther with her determination.
But I knew how Darkness really was, so I couldn’t feel good about this…
In Walther’s point of view, Darkness with her panting and red cheeks looked like a Crusader enduring incredible pain.
Darkness was still out of breath as Aqua came to her side to heal her wounds.
I sighed deeply, but Darkness picked up the wooden sword Walther tossed aside…
“Come, Kazuma. Show Walther your merciless and despicable side. Let him learn.”
After saying some dumb stuff, she gave the wooden sword to me who was sitting at a corner of the dojo.
… What’s this girl saying?
No, she just had a fight with Walther. She was probably still feeling the adrenaline rush.
What a joke, I don’t want to deal with her.
“… I too wish to see how does one trusted so much by Lady Lalatina fights.”
Walther added unnecessarily.
Aqua who had healed Darkness grunted ‘Oh?’, and was very interested in the turn of events.
… What’s with this?
“Sigh… never mind, I get it. The matchmaking’s a failure anyway, and you probably won’t spread disparaging rumors about the young lady.”
I stopped my act before Walther, spoke like I usually did and stood up.
“Great, that’s the spirit Kazuma! I had always wanted to spar with you! A despicable man who dares to steal the underwear of a girl you just met! Unscrupulous, using all sort of dirty tricks! Come at me, and don’t hold anything back!”
After hearing what Darkness said, the gaze from Walther felt even more painful.
I had no intention of fighting this excited moron in such cold weather.
– I reached my empty hand out…
And poured water on top of Darkness’s head.
Walther sounded surprised, and I asked in confusion:
“?… What’s wrong?”
Walther answered in a panic:
“… It’s… It’s nothing, just that a match with wooden swords usually would not allow magic…”
Huh? I see.
When Aqua saw Darkness’s appearance, she said:
“… How strong–as expected of Kazuma-san, who’s the best in sexual harassment. He’s good–”
Prompted by her, I looked towards Darkness. Her underwear was visible through her soaked clothes, couple that with her torn dress. This is really… candy for the eye.
As for Walther, he couldn’t look at Darkness anymore. He lowered his head, not daring to lift it up.
“Fu… Fufufu… Observe, Walther! In a spar with wooden swords, he’ll suddenly humiliate me with such tricks. Witness how this man really is!”
The soaked Darkness said something that might cause misunderstanding.
“I… I didn’t mean to do that…! Ah–I don’t care anymore!”
She wanted me to not hold back? Then I’ll do everything I can.
I already used magic, so doing it again should be fine!
I cast freezing magic, making the soaked Darkness turn pale and hug her shoulder.
“De-Demon…! Deep in the winter, you not only soak her with water but you freeze her with magic too…?!”
“That’s normal–The people in town call him Scumzuma or Trashzuma for a reason.”
Shut up, audience!
“Fu… Fuhahaha! This merciless style! This… This is…!”
Before she finished, Darkness slashed at me!
This was bad. It would be worse if this dragged on.
Facing me who was looking anxious, Darkness seemed to be mocking me as she raised her sword up high.
Her attacks were powerful, but she was either facing the wrong way or misjudged the distance. She could only attack in a straight line, so it was easy to dodge.
“What’s the matter Kazuma? Your breathing is getting ragged!”
Darkness was shivering from the cold, but now her skin was turning red as she sweated and laughed happily.
I already struck Darkness several times, but she didn’t even make a sound.
“Darkness, that’s it! The skinny Kazuma doesn’t have any stamina. He isn’t suited for a dragged-out battle!”
Damn it, that audience is noisy!
“Fufufu… Your movements are getting dull! Well then, it’s about time to decide this.”
After hearing what Aqua said, Darkness smiled arrogantly. She threw her useless sword away and pounced on me.
This is bad, I’ll lose in a match of pure strength!
“All right Darkness! Grab him, strangle him! The weak Kazuma will never beat you in a wrestling match!”
Shit, why was she cheering Darkness on? I’ll strangle that girl after this is over!
As I was building a grudge against Aqua, Darkness spread out her arms and ran towards me to bear hug me.
I threw my sword away too, I held my hands up and took a stance to take Darkness head on.
“You think you can win me in strength? You’re underestimating me!”
Darkness shouted as she happily grabbed my hands.
“I don’t know what you’re planning, but the difference in strength between a Crusader like me and an adventurer like you is… Ahhh!”
Darkness who was grabbing my hand calmly suddenly screamed.
She wanted to pull her hands back, but I held on tightly and said:
“What’s the matter? Aren’t you confident? Hey Darkness, say something! Wahaha… There’s no way I’ll fight you head on; you don’t understand that after partying with me for… Ahhh!”
I thought my victory was ascertained, when I screamed due to my hand being squeezed.
Darkness who was squeezing my hands laughed in a shrill voice.
“Fu… Fufufu… This… This is Drain Touch, right…? But before you drain me of my strength, I’ll break your hands first!”
“Kukuku… You can try if you can… Ahhh! It hurts!!!”
I absorbed the stamina of Darkness with Drain Touch while she planned to overpower me with brute force.
Neither of us were giving in.
Darkness overwhelmed me with her strength bit by bit, but she had a pained expression at the same time.
Damn it, I was siphoning her stamina with Drain Touch but her vitality seemed endless…!
“Ugh, hey Darkness! Let’s make a bet! You wanted to fight me because I did a lot of things that pissed you off, right? So, let’s make a deal. The winner can ask the loser to do anything…”
I gritted my teeth to endure the pain while Darkness leaned her entire weight over as she said:
“You… You want to make a bet…? Fu, fufufu, stalling for time…? You’re on! If I win, you’ll have to prostrate…!”
– A chance!
“Deal…! No… No take backs…!”
“Yeah, of course…! You’re done! Surrender! Or your hand will really…!”
I was being suppressed bit by bit, but I still said with a confident expression:
“I’m serious! Don’t regret this! Promise! After I win, I won’t back down even if you come crying to me!”
Despite being in a disadvantage, I smiled arrogantly at Darkness.
She must’ve been confused because she lessened her strength.
“…? What… What are you planning to do if I lose?”
“I’ll make you go red from ear to ear, something that’ll make you cry and beg…! Hehe, it’s a bet! Let’s decide the match! I can already see you begging for forgiveness after my victory…! You just wait for your fate of screaming for my mercy!”
Darkness shivered when she heard that.
Her power turned weak.
“Ugh…! What… What are you scheming…? Tell me! Hurry!”
“Fuhehe, it’s something you can’t even imagine, something even more overboard…!”
“Wha…! Stop…! Ugh…! Even… Even if I resist, my strength’s being sapped…! Why’s this happening, if this goes on…!”
Drain Touch should only be absorbing vitality, but Darkness’s power grew weaker and she dropped onto one knee.
“Hah… Hah…! You, what do you want to do to me…! Hah, hah…! Ahhh… I’ll lose if this goes on…!”
The breathing of the blushing Darkness became heavy as sweat dripped from the back of her neck down her collarbone.
“I’ll keep sucking your stamina until you faint! Look forward to your miserable sight when you wake up!”
“Ahhh! You…! Ugh… I might lose this fight, but no matter what humiliation I suffer, my heart will not give in…! And… What’s that terrible thing you’re planning…?”
Darkness was still grabbing my hand as she knelt onto the ground of the dojo. Her face red with expectation and her strength draining away.
Walther shouted in surprise.
“Bringing up a bet on the verge of victory, how merciless…! The name Trashzuma is really adequate…!”
“That’s… That’s rude!”
Seeing Darkness collapse, Aqua rushed in to take care of her.
– At this moment.
“I heard you were in the Dojo, so I brought some beverages…”
Darkness’s dad appeared at just the right time.
And the basket full of beverages fell hard onto the ground.
As I was thinking what was happening, the house help behind him was also dumbstruck.
I followed their gaze and…
They were looking at Darkness, who was bruised all over with her dress torn. She was wet, making lots of places visible. Darkness, who was in a pitiful state, was being treated by Aqua.
… Walther and I looked at each other.
And Aqua pointed at the both of us and said:
“… They did this.”
“All right, drag them out and execute them.”
“No, this is a misunderstanding!”
Walther and I shouted at the same time.
After Walther and I desperately explained, we managed to make things clear and got over this mess.
But as a result, Aqua and my real identity were discovered by Walther.
Still, Walther seemed to have noticed that I wasn’t a butler from the very beginning.
Darkness, who was the culprit for our crisis, was still sleeping because of my skill.
After being brought to the meeting room, we stayed beside the slumbering Darkness. The maid helped her change into the usual casual clothes she wore for adventuring, which was a tight black skirt and shirt.
Finally, Darkness’s dad spoke with his eyes on his daughter.
“My girl isn’t good with people… Even with ones who are close with her. Kazuma, you’re in the same party with my daughter, right? She refrains from talking about herself, right?”
Hearing him say that, I tilted my head and thought.
– It’s hard to say.
I don’t really remember, but now that he mentioned it… I didn’t really know much about Darkness.
Or rather, she didn’t really like to talk… And she didn’t say anything good when she did.
“Even as a Crusader, my girl was always alone… She went to the church of Eris every day, praying to Goddess Eris, wishing for comrades she could adventure with. One day, my girl came back from the church and told me she met her first comrade and made a friend. She was so happy as she told me about her female thief friend…”
… Oh, as expected of a real goddess. Goddess Eris really does good work.
“As for our family, my wife passed away when Darkness was young… I didn’t remarry after that, raising her as a single father. I was always doting on her and always bore her freedom in mind… I probably spoiled her that way…”
Darkness’s dad said in remorse.
He was probably referring to Darkness’s fetish.
Because she had too much freedom growing up, that’s why she craved to be tied down?
No, I think that’s just in her nature, Darkness’s dad.
“I think Lalatina’s a charming girl and at the same time is as capable as any man. If not for Kazuma, I would definitely want to take her as my wife.”
Walther said something incredible out of the blue.
What’s this guy saying suddenly?
Darkness is just my comrade.
She seemed alluring to me at times, but that’s a separate issue.
I wouldn’t stand by if someone like the landlord were to ravage her, but if a good man was willing to cherish her, I would gift them with my blessing. That’s how our relationship was.
“… I’m sorry, I don’t really get what you’re saying.”
Hearing me say that, Walther adopted a ‘I know everything, you don’t need to hide it’ attitude and said:
“It’s fine, you can make Lady Lalatina happier than I can. I can see how deep your trust for each other is. Your feelings for each other must be the real thing, right?”
“All right, get your ass over here. I don’t care if you’re the landlord’s son, I need to give you a good beating.”
“Stop, Kazuma-san! Or do it somewhere I can’t see! Or I’ll get arrested too!”
Aqua restrained me from behind while I struggled against her, trying to use Drain Touch on Walther.
Darkness’s dad suddenly laughed out loud.
What now? So many things happened today, I’m reaching my limit.
Please don’t give me any more trouble, okay?
“Yes… I understand! Mr. Walther, if no one wants to marry my girl, will you please take good care of her then?”
Facing the sudden question from Darkness’s dad, Walther said with a troubled face:
“Well… I’m fine with this, but…”
Walther seemed to have something to say to me, but Darkness’s dad cut him off and continued:
“Eh? Me? Yes, anything I can do for you?”
The sudden change in topic confused me.
“Please take good care of my girl. Please watch over her, and don’t let her do anything foolish. I’m counting on you.”
What was this old man talking about?
He meant as an adventurer, right?
It would be fine then, that was what I had been doing anyway.
“… Hmm? Ugh…? Meeting room?… Ahhh… Right…”
Darkness regained consciousness.
She seemed to recall what happened before she blacked out and said:
“… Ugh, is it over already? After losing consciousness, what filthy things have been done to me…?”
“Nothing, I didn’t do anything! Don’t say things that’ll cause misunderstandings, all right? It was already tense enough when you were sleeping!”
Hearing me say that, Darkness looked around her and smiled deviously at me.
… What was she thinking?
I remembered what Darkness said before the matchmaking began.
You’ll experience something so bad that you will wish you were dead.
Relax, it’s fine.
No matter what Darkness says, there should be no problems.
Calm down, I’m super cool today.
I can get through anything if I keep a cool head…
“Dear father, Mr. Walther. Please pretend this meeting never happened. I’ve been keeping this from you… I’m already pregnant with Kazuma’s child…”
“What are you saying about a virgin like me? Ahhh!! I didn’t do anything, and you have my child? Do you think you’re Mary? You’re a virgin too! Watch out or I’ll punch you in the belly!”
Seeing the interaction between Darkness who couldn’t say anything good and me, Walther was amused.
“I see, since you’re bearing Kazuma’s child, I have no choice but to give up.”
After finishing, Walther stood up.
… Damn that bitch Darkness.
You didn’t know because you were sleeping, but you didn’t need to say such nonsense anymore.
“I’ll tell my father that I rejected this marriage proposal. That should be for the best.”
After finishing, Walther bid farewell with a smile and left.
… What a great guy.
Please take Darkness back with you…
Seeing Darkness who was smiling mischievously thinking she had succeeded, I sighed heavily.
I guess I’ll have to adventure with this girl a while more…
Darkness and I noticed at this moment that two persons were acting strange.
“Grandson… First grandson… My… My cute grandson…!”
“Ahwahwah… So Kazuma and Darkness reached that stage before I realized it…! I-I need to tell everyone…! I need to tell everyone in town…!”
We had to spend thirty minutes clearing the misunderstanding with Darkness’s dad who was crying, and the confused Aqua.
“Really, I would’ve rejected this matchmaking session if I knew that would happen.”
“That’s what I wanted to say. I’m grateful to you for protecting me from that landlord’s defamation, but please stop sacrificing yourself from now on. We were so worried while you were away.”
“What are you saying, Kazuma? You were planning to push Darkness to that Walther guy, and now you’re pretending nothing happened and painting a picture of a happy ending? Your character is too rotten!”
“That’s right, you dare say you were worried about me? You were planning to leave me behind in the confusion…! Aqua too, you seemed eager in marrying me off, right?”
Hearing Darkness say that, Aqua and I covered our ears.
Darkness sighed heavily and seemed to remember something and said:
“Right, Kazuma! That was your win just now! So, what do you plan to do to me? You were saying something more terrible than I can imagine…!
Darkness then looked at me with a blushing face full of anticipation.
Well, I did say that.
What should I do to her then?
No… Isn’t this a good chance?
“A-Aqua-san, why are you standing so close to me?”
“… I’m just thinking, what kind of request will Kazuma make? Are you going to ask Darkness to do something terrible? Hey, I know you were frustrated because Darkness made us so worried, but don’t go overboard, all right?”
With the pincer attack of Darkness’s anticipation and Aqua’s accusatory gaze…
“A-about that, let’s discuss this after we return to the mansion…”
I stalled for time and opened the door to the mansion.
“Boo…! Sniff…! That’s too mean–! Megumin’s a meanie–!”
“It’s about time you stop crying! Kazuma and the others should be back soon, they’ll think I’m at fault if they see this… Ah!”
– What we saw was Yunyun sniveling near the door of the mansion.
As I locked eyes with Megumin who was consoling her, I closed the door softly.
Someone pulled the door open forcefully.
“Don’t pretend you didn’t see anything, I can explain this!”
“No, it’s fine. I already know you like to bully others.”
I said calmly to the panicking Megumin who was rushing out of the door.
“That’s wrong! To be honest, when Yunyun and I were classmates…! No, that’s not important right now! It’s not the time to be so worked up over Yunyun…!”
Megumin said as she waved her staff around in a panic.
“Not important! You, you say I’m not important…! No need to get worked up over me…! Wah, wahhh–!”
“Ahhh! Enough, you’re troublesome…! Excuse us for a moment, the two of us need to talk!”
Megumin said as she closed the door, and she talked with Yunyun in the mansion about something.
Not long later, the door opened again and Yunyun left while sniveling.
“I-I’m sorry for disturbing everyone…”
Yunyun bowed deeply and walked away.
… What was with that?
We looked at each other, and could only watch as the sorrowful Yunyun left.
Entering the mansion again, we saw Megumin sitting tiredly on the carpet.
When Megumin saw us, she stood up immediately.
“Kazuma, bad news! This is bad news!”
“I know. From what I just saw, there’s plenty of bad news.”
“That’s not it! Never mind Yunyun for now! That was just a squabble between us, don’t mind it! I’ll explain it to you when we’re free!”
No, I’m really concerned about what happened just now.
But Megumin was still acting as if now was not the time to be doing this.
“It really isn’t the time to be talking about this! The situation is bad, it’s that prosecutor! That one called Sena is on her way here! She declared that she’ll definitely arrest Kazuma this time!”
She told me with a pale, panicking face.