Gifting this suspicious incident with aid!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Xenthur
The restaurant of the hotel was situated on the first level.
“This city’s crisis appears to be serious.”
As we were enjoying a healthy and delicious breakfast, Aqua said these dumb words.
What do you mean by, ‘Crisis is serious’, can’t you speak English?
“You’ve been acting this way ever since you cried the whole night. Aren’t your body traits the most dangerous thing for this city? Don’t you dare use any other hot spring except for the one that comes along with the room.”
Aqua slammed her hand on the table.
“Listen to me! I didn’t purify the hot spring because I wanted to! Even if you pour all the high-quality shower foam Darkness was keeping in the bathroom into the bath water, I can purify it in an instant. It’s normal for me to purify a hot spring.”
“What? You used all the shower foam? They were luxury items I ordered from the capital!”
Aqua ignored the crying Darkness and continued.
“But this is weird; I took a really long time to purify the secret hot spring of the Axis Cult. My purification power is beyond amazing… For example, …”
After saying that, Aqua poked her index finger into the coffee cup I was about to drink.
The black coffee turned into clear warm water in an instant.
Aqua tilted her head slightly under everybody’s gaze.
“… You see?”
“You see?! What are you doing? Get me a new cup of coffee!
Aqua licked the finger she dipped into my coffee and said to me as I placed the cup full of warm water onto the table:
“As you can see, I only need an instant to purify it. However, it took really long that time. This must mean that the hot spring was heavily polluted… I heard the water quality in all the hot springs was turning worse, right? That means the threat my Axis Cult will face isn’t a direct assault from the Demon King’s army, but a strike against the Axis Cult’s source of income–the hot springs!”
“Is that so? How amazing.”
“Believe me! I’m telling the truth!”
Darkness and Megumin gave a perfunctory reply. Aqua hit the table again from frustration.
The two of them were confused by Aqua.
“Anyway, it’s just the water quality of a few hot springs turning bad, right? Why would you link it to the Demon King’s army?”
“Indeed, the Axis Cult is weird, does dumb things, and is unpopular with people, but the Demon’s King army won’t do something so troublesome because of that, right?”
… Troublesome things.
Damn it, the man I met in the bath last night was certainly a minion of the Demon King.
He did say something about sabotaging the cult’s hot springs.
It was good that Aqua was taking precautions, but…
What do I do, should I tell everyone about this?
If I do so, it would definitely cause trouble for me.
If we report it to the adventurer’s guild in this city, they would ask for our assistance.
Our vacation would be ruined, and we would be forced to fight against people related to the Demon King’s army.
My instinct told me that the two I met in the bath last night were strong.
Just a single person is sabotaging the hot springs of the Axis Cult’s headquarters, and the other one was boldly using those hot springs.
A weak adventurer who fell from a tree and died during a fight with low level monsters was no match for them.
“I’ll fight to defend this city! I hope everyone can give me a hand!”
“I need to go sightseeing, I don’t have time for this.”
“I experienced how scary Axis cultists are already, so I’ll pass this time. I’ll follow Kazuma today.”
Megumin gave a straight rejection.
“Why? Something like sightseeing can be done any other day! Megumin too? Don’t hate my devotees! Hey, Darkness…”
“Eh… I, um… Well…”
“All right, all right, I’ll go! I’ll accompany you, all right! Don’t purify my grape juice!”
Seeing Darkness giving in to Aqua reluctantly, I remembered something.
“Hey, is Wiz still sleeping? Wiz can’t handle you at all, but she’ll follow if you tell her to.”
“Oh, after held onto Wiz and cried the entire night, I found her on the verge of dying because of my tears. She’s recuperating in bed right now.”
“Save Wiz first before you try and save the city! Wiz has been sleeping most of this trip because of you!”
After seeing Aqua dragging Darkness and setting off, Megumin and I thought about what to do next.
Even though we wanted to sightsee, there wasn’t anything fun in this hot spring city.
If we wandered around aimlessly, we would be ‘persuaded’ to join the cult by all kinds of people.
As I was troubled over what to do, Megumin tugged my sleeve.
“If there’s no good place to go, let’s head outside to cast Explosion.”
“We are on vacation, let’s take a break from that.”
In Axel, Megumin’s daily Explosion was already a fixture in the town, so there wasn’t much of an issue. However, if we were to cast explosion magic close to this city, the nosy residents would stir unrest.
This could be easily solved by going far enough from the city.
After I agreed to accompany her to cast Explosion, Megumin sucked on her fruit juice happily.
“Good morning… Ughh, everyone’s up so early…”
Appearing together with a lazy voice was Wiz, whose face was exceptionally pale and devoid of life.
“Good morning, are you feeling better? I heard you almost disappeared because of Aqua.”
“Yes, I even saw my teammates from my time as an adventurer waving at me from the other side of the river, shouting, ‘Don’t come over’… But I made it through in the end.”
Wiz casually said something frightening.
So, this was the so called near-death experience?
Even undead monsters can experience that?
“Wiz, do you have any plans for today? Megumin and I will be making a trip to the outskirts of the city.”
“I don’t have anything particular in mind… Do you two want to leave the city? The monsters around here are strong, all right? If you don’t mind, allow me to tag along.”
Wiz timidly suggested something I liked very much.
“Please do! Oh, it feels much safer being with a real Archmage.”
“Hey, tell me why I’m a ‘fake’ mage!”
Before casting Explosion, we decided to stroll inside the city since we had the chance.
We didn’t meet any Axis cultists soliciting us today.
Megumin walked happily in front with Chomusuke on her shoulder.
While looking at her back, I asked Wiz, who was walking beside me:
“Hey, Wiz, when you mentioned your teammates from your time as an adventurer, I wanted to ask you… Why did you turn into a lich? This might sound inappropriate–but I feel Wiz is one of the very few normal people residing in Axel. Why did the famous adventurer go against the will of the gods and become a lich?”
This had been bothering me for the longest time, but it was still very sudden to ask her this.
Aside from Wiz, the only other lich I met was in a dungeon.
That person said he became a lich to protect the one he cherished.
Wiz hesitated for a moment…
“That’s true… It’s a long story, but I’ll explain to everyone when Aqua-sama’s present too.”
She said with a gentle smile.
Hmm, since she said so… It would be better for Aqua to hear it.
I didn’t know why Wiz turned into a lich. But if she was forced to do so, maybe Aqua would change her perspective of Wiz.
“Let’s talk about it with Aqua present then”
After I replied, Wiz giggled.
“All right, let’s invite Vanir-san to hear it too. When I was still an adventurer, I had a deadly fight with him.”
Oooh, I want to hear about that!
I’m also curious as to why she befriended Vanir after that… By the way…
“Hey, how old were you when you turned into a lich? It sounded like a long time ago…”
“I was about twenty.”
“No wonder, your appearance is about that age too. How long have you been like this? Eh, how old are you now?”
“Twenty, my age won’t increase after becoming a lich.”
“…? No, that…”
“I’m forever twenty.”
“… Is, is that so?”
Feeling that the atmosphere was a bit heavy, I didn’t press further.
Asking a lady about her age was taboo.
Suddenly, Megumin who was walking in front–
“By the way, I have something to ask you… Aside from Wiz, is there anyone else in the Demon King’s army who can use Explosion? Um… Do you know of a big breasted onee-san who can use Explosion?”
Why was she suddenly saying that?
“No, as far as I know, I’m the only one who can use Explosion in the Demon King’s army. Also, it’s been a long time since I visited the Demon King-sama’s castle. Therefore, I’m not sure about newcomers who’ve joined after that…”
“I see, that’s great…”
Megumin was relieved.
Great your head.
“Hey, what’s this about a big breasted onee-san? Don’t leave me hanging, explain it clearly.”
“Why you… It’s nothing important. One of the reasons I visited Axel was because I heard there was a female mage that could use Explosion there. It seemed like that rumor was referring to Wiz.”
“Hmm? Then explain in detail what that has to do with big breasts?”
“At least say the whole thing. She’s a big-breasted female mage. I want to be just like her. One day, we’ll meet again…”
“You want to be just like her…? Do you mean the size of your breasts?”
“I’ll kill you.”
Megumin raised her staff to whack me on the head, but I grabbed her head to stop her.
“… Hmm? I think I have seen that person somewhere before…”
Wiz looked in the direction of the city where there was plenty of hot springs.
Following her line of sight, I saw–
“Hey Megumin, Wiz! Let’s hurry and cast the spell, then go sightseeing!”
After I saw that guy, I pulled the two of them along and left.
The guy Wiz said looked familiar…
Was the man who mentioned something about a conspiracy in the bath yesterday.
I’m sure of it.
Since Wiz knew him, that meant he was without a doubt a member of the Demon King’s army.
Hold it, I’m just a powerless person. I’m just an adventurer that was just a little bit stronger than regular people!
Don’t involve me in troublesome matters!
“That’s true, let’s get the routine work out of the way and enjoy the tour! Wiz is here today, so I feel very safe! Just find some monsters and cast Explosion on them!”
“Ahhh, Kazuma-san, you don’t need to rush!… Hmm, who was that man?”
I didn’t want Wiz to meet that guy.
My instincts told me that it would be bad.
Once we left Alcanretia, we could see the thick forests.
“Let’s go into the forest! There must be lots of monsters there! Let’s hurry and kill them all!”
Wiz and I warned the bloodthirsty Megumin to be careful as we followed her into the forest.
Using Enemy Detection, there indeed were a lot of monsters in the forest.
“Yup, there are tons of them, and they already detected our presence… So why aren’t they attacking?”
They were right there and yet, they didn’t want to come out.
“Because we came out from Alcanretia, they are wary of us. Most of the residents there are from the Axis Cult… I heard monsters tend to shy away from Axis cultists.”
Just how unpopular were these people?
“If there’s any other reason… It’s probably because I’m here too. They instinctively avoid me. I’m a lich, after all.”
Wiz said with a wry smile.
Ah, I forgot about that. Wiz was a ‘General’ of the Demon King’s army too.
But although she was a ‘General’, she didn’t seem to show the powers befitting one.
When powerful beings like Beldia and Vanir came near the town, the monsters became wary.
This situation was probably the same as back then–they were afraid of Wiz.
Despite living in Axel for so long, not once has the city been invaded by any monsters. Maybe this was because Wiz was living there.
“Ughh… It can’t be helped. Let’s settle this quickly. I wanted to cast it amid monsters and raise my level as well, but…”
Megumin said something dangerous as she started chanting explosion magic.
Huge amounts of mana gathered around Megumin’s petite body instantly.
Why was she casting spells requiring so much mana so meaninglessly? Is there a screw loose inside her head?
In this world, there had to be plenty of ways this spell could be used.
Before I knew it, Megumin completed her preparations.
The explosion spell flew towards somewhere in the distance, and the ground trembled with a huge boom. This girl was casual in choosing her target.
Trees were uprooted and the terrain deformed. A corner of the forest was destroyed beyond recognition.
Because of this act of violence, the birds flew away and the forest was in an uproar.
“Hmm… Let’s go back then. Kazuma, please carry me.”
The reason for this destruction was flat on the ground when she said that arrogantly.
I was thinking about leaving the thick skinned Megumin behind.
“Can’t you make things easier for me? It always turns out like this. I’ll share some mana with you, so walk yourself.”
I said as I gave her some mana through Drain Touch.
I could only spare her a little, but Megumin managed to stand up after receiving the mana.
She peeked at her adventurer’s card and smiled.
“Hoho, there were a few hidden kobolds who got caught in the explosion. The adventurer card says I defeated kobolds today.”
… That wasn’t good.
Thinking about it carefully, the lowest level member in the team was me.
I raised two levels from the lizard runners and hawkite runners recently. However, my level was still the lowest.
Due to the level-up, I gained more skill points. Should I learn offensive skills that’ll help me grind levels?
As I was pondering on what to learn–
“… Hmm? Something’s running this way. My Detect Enemy skill tells me that it’s really fast.”
“Oh? It’s coming even after hearing the sound of my Explosion?”
Something was charging here from the depths of the forest. Even with my Farsight skill, I couldn’t tell what it was in the dim forest.
… I met this fellow before.
I remembered there was a ferocious monster that coexisted with herds of weak monsters such as goblins and kobolds.
Simply put, it was a sabre-toothed tiger with black fur.
The nemesis of beginner adventurers, the Rookie Killer.
“Wiz, Wiz! Quick, think of something!”
“Kazuma use Snipe, Snipe! It’s still far away, so shoot it with Snipe!”
“I left my equipment at the hotel!”
“How could you be so careless? That’s why your level is so low!”
“You jerk, who do you think attracted all the monsters here?! Do you want me to drain all your mana and leave you behind?!”
“I’ll take care of it, so the two of you calm down! Leave it to me and get back!”
Wiz stood in front of the two of us who were bickering.
I made some sand with Create Earth and prepared to support Wiz.
Megumin stuck close behind me.
… The rookie killer gradually drew closer, but Wiz showed no sign of casting any spells.
“Hey Wiz? Hey, hey–Wiz!”
The rookie killer pounced on Wiz who stood her ground before our eyes.
Wiz was easily pressed onto the ground by the rookie killer that was as strong as a bull.
Megumin screamed while I grabbed the sand and prepared to blow it into the eyes of the rookie killer with wind magic…!
The rookie killer on top of Wiz suddenly foamed at the mouth and passed out.
Wiz who got out from under it didn’t have a scratch on her. When the rookie killer pounced on her, she should’ve been hit by its claws…
“… Oh right, other than attacks from weapons enchanted by magic, all physical attacks against a lich are harmless. Also, liches have Drain Touch, which absorbs their opponent’s life force, and can causes all sorts of abnormal status effects–poison, paralysis, sleep and curse, with a touch. For Wiz, she can defeat the enemy without using magic.”
Liches were strong.
The scene of her being bullied by Aqua and Vanir all seemed so unreal.
“Phew… Let’s return to the city.”
Wiz sighed, dusted herself, and smiled.
When we returned to the city, we found a group of people gathered on the bustling street.
“What’s happening? An event of some kind?”
“This is a tourism city after all, maybe they invited some celebrities to perform and entertain the visitors.”
Megumin and I were curious, so we walked in that direction.
“… It’s Aqua-sama. What’s she doing?”
In the middle of the crowd was Aqua.
She was standing on top of a wooden crate with a megaphone-like device in hand. Beside her was Darkness. Her embarrassed face was beet red. What were they doing?
I recalled that was a magic item that utilized wind magic. She must be up to something.
At this moment, Aqua started shouting.
“My beloved Axis cultists! Right now, the Demon King’s army is conducting destructive attacks on this city!”
Darkness lowered her head embarrassingly when she heard that.
“By destructive attacks, I’m referring to the poisoning of the city’s hot springs! I’ve already confirmed that many of the hot springs were hit!”
That girl, did she inspect all the hot springs this morning?
“I’ve never heard of that. I just bathed in that hot spring there and it seems to be fine.”
One of the audience member commented.
Aqua nodded in agreement.
“That’s because I purified the poison in all of the hot springs. Yes, all the hot springs in the vicinity have been purified by me. However, we can’t let our guards down just yet! Everyone, please don’t visit the baths before this incident is concluded!”
The people around her started wavering.
Aqua then poked Darkness who was standing beside her.
Darkness trembled, showing a face as if she were going to cry, but remained silent.
An old man pulling a cart said:
“This is the city of hot springs, priestess-san. If you forbid the customers from visiting the hot springs, how can we conduct business?”
“That’s right, and why would the Demon King’s army poison a place like this?”
The other audiences supported him.
“They did this to cut off the tourism income for this city and crush the source of income of the Axis Cult! That’s right, the Demon King’s army fears the Axis cultists! I won’t allow them to stir any trouble just because they’re jealous of our hot springs! Please, faithful believers of the Axis Cult–”
At this moment.
“Ah! So, there you are! Hey, what did you do to my hot spring? It’s just warm water now!”
Probably the owner of a hot spring somewhere.
The owner glared at Aqua some distance away from the crowd.
Not just him, but a group of menacing people were glaring at her.
“Ah, that’s her all right! She dares to show her face around here! Hey–everyone! Grab her! She’s turning the hot springs in this city into warm water, how evil!”
“Yeah, she might be a dog of the Demon King’s army sent here to destroy the Axis Cult!”
What an unexpected development.
She said that she would be the one to protect the hot springs, but she was the one destroying them.
“No, wrong! There’s a reason for this, let me explain! The hot springs I purified were poisonous! I admit that some of the normal hot springs might’ve been purified too, but this was for the sake of everyone…”
“If this is true, then you should’ve told us earlier! And even if you did purify the hot springs, it’s still impossible to purify such a large number! You must’ve sneaked in when no one was around, right? Using that chance, you drained all of the hot springs’ water away and replaced it with warm water for showering, right?!”
“That, that’s not–! Because if others saw me perform the purification, my real identity would’ve been exposed! That would cause a huge commotion…!!”
Ah, this was bad!
She’ll say something she shouldn’t say.
“Hey Megumin, Wiz! Let’s get out of here before she notices us! We have to pretend we don’t know her, understand?!”
“Hmm? She’s already made this big of a mess and you’re planning to abandon her?! It can only be settled if you intervene. Kazuma, hurry up and do something!”
“Aqua-sama’s going to cry, you know? Kazuma-san, if this goes on…”
As I listened to their pleas, I glanced at Aqua who was some distance away.
At this moment, one of the hot springs’ owner shouted:
“Is rumor-mongering all you can do?! The situation’s serious now! And who are you anyway? Are you really a minion of the Demon King?”
“Eh? No, I’m not! Hey Darkness, don’t just stand there, say something! And say the lines like I told you to– ‘Axis Cult, Axis Cult’s depending on you!’ Say it, don’t be shy, go on!”
“A-Axis Cult… Is… Depend…”
With the crowd staring at her, Darkness mumbled, her face red.
… My condolences.
“Ahhh, really! All right, I’ll tell you who I am! Devoted Axis cultists, my name’s Aqua! That’s right, the object of your worship, the goddess Aqua! My beloved believers, I’m here in the mortal world to save you all!”
Aqua stood on the wooden crate as she finally said that out loud.
The audience turned silent.
“… Okay, let’s go, quick! Megumin!”
“… This is bad. It might’ve been salvageable earlier, but it’s a gone case now. Let’s run!”
“Wait, wait–Kazuma-san! Megumin-san! What about Aqua-sama and Darkness-san…?”
Megumin and I decided to make our escape. Suddenly, angry voices started erupting.
“Don’t joke about this you heretic!”
“Do you think you can impersonate Aqua-sama just because you have blue hair and eyes?! You’ll receive divine retribution!”
“Death penalty! Tie her up and throw her in the lake! If she really is Aqua-sama, then she won’t die even if she’s thrown into the water!”
“Wahhh! No!! I’m telling the truth, I’m really Aqua!!”
“Ahhh! No, don’t throw stones…! No, no…! Aqua, hide behind me quick!”
“Hey, where are the two of you going off to? Aqua-sama, she…!”
Megumin and I left Aqua and Darkness, who were being pelted by stones, and ran away.
– We took a roundabout route back to the hotel. Aqua was already back before we returned.
She kept wailing.
I think she had been crying nonstop since coming to this city.
“A-Aqua-sama, I brought you some warm milk. Take a sip and cool down…”
Wiz kept consoling Aqua, who was sobbing in the middle of the room.
Darkness seemed beaten up, but her face was still flushed as she drank tea with satisfaction.
They were cursed and pelted with stones after that. However, she seemed to like this city full of weirdos.
Let’s leave this one here too.
“That’s so cruel! I-I worked so hard for everyone! Why must I be pelted with stones by my own believers? Wahhh!”
“Aqua-sama, please… Please calm down! Or else, your aura when you’re upset will cause me to disappear–!”
The hapless Wiz offered hot milk to Aqua.
Aqua looked at the milk, sniffed, and said:
“… I want to drink wine.”
“You’re not upset at all, right?”
Wiz rushed downstairs to find wine. Aqua lifted her face, which was swollen from all the crying.
“No matter what, there’s definitely some sort of sabotage being conducted. Many of the hot springs I visited had been seriously contaminated. If the customers were to have visited these baths, they would’ve definitely fallen ill.”
“Since Aqua, whose only saving grace are her priestly powers, said so… Then it must be true, right? But we can’t find the culprit this way.”
“That’s true. Let’s just go to the adventurer’s guild and the hot springs’ management to make a report, and we’ll leave the rest to them.”
Aqua ground her teeth unwillingly.
This involved the Axis Cult, therefore she wanted to resolve it through her own hands.
They might’ve been the devotees she cherished, but there wasn’t any need to risk being beaten up and cursed.
“Wooo… But if this goes on, my cute believers will…”
Aqua grabbed the corner of the table tightly with her face full of tears.
There was no helping it then.
“I’ll give you a hand tomorrow… But I won’t participate in any fights, all right? If we can find the culprit, we’ll hand it over to the adventurer’s guild to resolve it. Will that be fine?”
When she heard me, Aqua’s face lit up.
“Well then, I’ll wait in the hotel. Please be careful.”
The next morning.
Wiz saw us off as we headed for this city’s adventurer’s guild.
I left Wiz behind to be our point of contact.
She’ll collate the intelligence and tell us if anything pops up.
Leaving Wiz in the hotel, the four of us headed toward the hot springs.
“Anyway, how will we know who the culprit is? Even if we find someone suspicious, we’ll have to catch him in the act for it to be convincing.”
I had an idea who the culprit was.
It was probably the tanned-skin, brown-haired man I met in this hotel’s hot spring.
I haven’t seen that man or the onee-san since then.
The onee-san said she couldn’t recuperate in this hot spring anymore, meaning she has probably left the city.
If that’s the case, then only the man would be working in the shadows…
“Hehe, leave it to me! I’ve already thought of a way to find the culprit! Listen, the culprit will visit several hot springs in a day. Visiting as a customer will be the least suspicious way of doing it.”
On this rare occasion when Aqua was using her brain, she said arrogantly.
“We’ll then ask all the managers of the hot springs which customers they had the deepest impression of–I’ve already distributed survey forms to them…”
“You’re really working hard on this…”
She really cherished her devotees. It would be great if she normally had this kind of drive.
“I see… No matter how much someone loves the hot springs, bathing several times in one go would be suspicious. By collating the customer that frequents the most from the managers, we can lock on to the target, right?”
The smart Megumin agreed with a nod.
“Also, if something happens to the hot spring that person frequents, it means he must be the culprit.”
Darkness was impressed.
“That’s the idea! Come, let’s collect the survey forms back.”
I hope she can maintain this attitude from now on.
I was surprised by Aqua’s efficiency once she got serious.
We split up to collected the survey forms from the managers.
And gathered in a garden, tabulating the results on a bench.
“– The results of the survey are out! The features of the most frequent customer are…”
“A woman with blue hair and eyes, wearing a light-purple hagoromo.”
“So, you’re the culprit.”
“Wrong! Wait! I did visit a lot of hot springs, but that was to purify the water! Let’s look at the survey about the water quality turning bad, the last one to visit is the most suspicious!”
Following her directions, we compiled the features of the customer that last entered the hot spring before the water quality dropped.
“A woman with blue hair and eyes changed the hot spring water into warm water as a practical joke…”
“… Isn’t that also you?”
“Why? What’s going on? This is useless!”
“No, hold on!”
The raging Aqua was about to tear up the survey forms when Megumin stopped her.
“Look, this ‘man with tanned skin and brown hair’ was second in his visit frequency to Aqua. Does he like hot springs that much?”
Hoho, as expected of the Crimson Demons that are known for their high intelligence.
“So, he’s the criminal, as expected. He’s a tall man with bulging muscles.”
I said unwittingly as I took the survey forms from Megumin…
“… Hey, wait, what do you mean by ‘as expected’? Do you know someone like that? Were you secretly worried for me and investigated, even though you kept saying it was troublesome? Is Kazuma a tsundere?”
Aqua said while looking at me with expectant eyes.
“No, the first day we came to this city… I met this guy by chance in the hot spring saying, ‘That damn cult’s finally going to be destroyed. The work in destroying the secret hot spring’s complete; the progress in the other hot springs are also proceeding smoothly. Now, we just need to wait. For us who have long lifespans, waiting a decade or two’s no big deal.’… Wahhh! What are you doing? Stop!”
After hearing what I said, Aqua started strangling my neck!
“Why didn’t you say so earlier? If you had told me earlier, I wouldn’t have needed to work so hard!”
“Hey, stop it! I’m here to bathe in the hot spring and recuperate! Why must I be dragged into troublesome matters all the time?! Why would I plunge my head straight into trouble?”
“This man finally admitted it! Do you not have any pride as an adventurer?! No matter how you look at it, that’s the scene of the Demon King’s army scheming!”
“Aqua, I’ll hold this trash down. You beat him up good!”
“Hey wait, stop! You really want to go? Don’t blame me for not holding back!”
“Wooo… I was ravaged… He actually fought back…”
After losing her mana from Drain Touch, Megumin laid on my shoulder and said grudgingly.
“What a petty man…”
Darkness, whose face was covered in mud because of a combination of Create Earth and Create Water magic, added tiredly.
At this point, Aqua, whose hair had patches of frost due to Freeze, showed a piece of paper to us.
Right now, we were in this city’s adventurer’s guild.
Aqua sketched a portrait that eerily resembled the real thing from the survey results and my testimony.
We were in the adventurer’s guild to request for them to arrest this man.
“It’s troubling to suddenly ask us to do that. We can’t simply arrest this person with just your one-sided account. It might be a different story if it was Adventurers with good reputations who’ve been active here for a long time making the request, but it’s hard to believe some unknown adventurers we aren’t familiar with… At least give us some evidence…”
The receptionist at the guild looked troubled.
Aqua shifted close to this receptionist.
“Hey, since you live in this city… You must be an Axis cultist, right? Look at my face, does it look familiar?”
“…? I’m not an Axis cultist… Hmm, now that you mention it, I did see… Ahhh! In that shop downtown, the second most popular–!”
“Wrong! Say any more and you’ll receive divine retribution! I’ve never worked in such a dirty place before! And why is it second most popular? How infuriating!”
Hearing Aqua, who took the bait after hearing some nonsense, I remembered–
Compared to this goddess who wasn’t recognized in this city full of her devotees, we had someone even more famous.
“Hey Megumin, back me up.”
“Back you up? What do you want–?”
While talking to Megumin, who was on my back, I shared some of my mana with her through Drain Touch, allowing her to stand by herself.
After letting Megumin down, I pushed Darkness to the front.
“Look closely at who this noble person is! She’s the daughter of the Dustiness clan, the great noble family known as the ‘Beloved Shield of the Kingdom’–Lady Dustiness ford Lalatina! How impudent to say that she’s some unknown adventurer!”
Darkness and the receptionist yelled at the same time.
Megumin who instantly knew what I was planning went to Darkness’s side.
“My lady, please show the item that proves your identity as a member of the Dustiness family for the block-headed staff to see!”
“Hmm? E-Even Megumin? Uugh… To think I’ll use my clan’s name for such a thing…”
While she probably didn’t want to use her authority, she apprehensively took out a pendant.
That was the pendant I saw during my criminal trial.
This was probably as powerful as a master ball was to a Pokémon.
“This is really…! M-My apologies! We’ll put this man on the wanted list immediately!”
The pendent was super effective. The receptionist took the sketch from Aqua in a hurry.
“As expected of Darkness! That’s how you use the authority of a noble!”
“Ah, Aqua! Don’t say such ill sounding things so loudly!”
“– W-We’ve started a manhunt for that man as instructed by Lady Dustiness; we’ll contact your hotel if we receive any news!”
“Ah yes, sorry for troubling you.”
As the guild staff saw us off with a bow, Darkness guiltily shrank her body.
I added to the staff from behind Darkness.
“Ah, by the way, please charge all necessary expenses for the manhunt to the Dustiness family.”
– After preparing for the manhunt, on our way back to the hotel.
“You jerk! Jeeerrrrkkk!!”
Darkness was still angry.
“What? I said I’m sorry already, right? Let Aqua pay for the manhunt expenses then.”
“Eh? It’s on me?”
“That’s not the point! My family name isn’t to be used so lightly…!”
“Hey Aqua, the Dustiness house has their hands full raising this pervert… So, pay for the bill, all right? Isn’t this for the sake of saving your cult anyway?”
“Ahhh… All right, all right. I get it, it can’t be helped. The Dustiness house has it hard, huh? I’ll pay then.”
“Wahhh! You, what, stop it!”
I dodged the pouncing Darkness deftly and took a defensive stance.
“Really, how long are the two of you going to fight? There are people watching. Darkness, you’re a lady in name. Act like one…”
“What do you mean by ‘in name’? I’m a proper lady! Ahhh really…!”
I shushed the resigned Darkness and said to her:
“Just like the time we fought the Destroyer, you’re useless most of the time. Now that you have a chance, you should do something that befits nobility!”
“That’s none of your business! Damn it, you’ve been playing me like a monkey since just now!”
“Hahaha, your attacks are too easy to read! How can your clumsy attacks ever hit me?!”
“I’ll kill you!”
“Stop being noisy, what are you two doing in public?”
With a yell from Megumin, Darkness who was being bullied by me and spouting curses finally calmed down.
“Forget it; People who don’t change their attitude even after knowing I’m a noble are rare.”
Darkness said with annoyance.
“Everyone always says that they don’t mind, but will still be slightly afraid of me…”
She must be feeling glad for not changing our attitudes toward her, even after finding out she was a noble.
“I don’t care about nobles or peasants. Darkness is just Darkness, I’ll always treat you the same. The Crimson Demons doesn’t fear authority and will treat royalty and aristocrats the same, okay?”
“In the country I was from, there were plenty of people who complain about politics. I’m not concerned about status or gender and I won’t show bias toward a weird noble like you.”
“Even Kazuma… No wait, did you say weird noble?”
Darkness grabbed the back of my collar angrily.
I didn’t answer her, turning to look at Aqua who was at the tail of the party.
“Hey Aqua, tell her what you think too. Don’t let her flatter herself and be conscious about her status as a lady… Hey, what are you doing? What is that?”
I stopped. Aqua was nimbly creating something small as she was walking.
It was something like clay; I didn’t know where she got it from.
She was focused on making it.
“This…? Ah, this is a fake of the pendant Darkness took out just now. Look. It looks the same, right? With this, I can claim to be a child of the Dustiness house and say anything I want… Ahhh!”
Darkness grabbed the clay from Aqua’s hand and threw it out.
“– Welcome back! Any progress?”
Wiz came out from the hotel to receive us, and we reported what happened to her.
Since the guild had handed out wanted notices to the hot springs, our quest was complete.
That man won’t be able to get near a hot spring or wander around this city anymore.
We just needed to stick to the original plan and enjoy the hot spring in the hotel.
“We did something incredible again. It’s great that we stopped the schemes of the Demon King’s army… Hey Darkness, you’re a sheltered lady so you might not know this… But there’s a custom among commoners that a man and woman who go on vacation together must visit the mixed bath together. We’ll be going back tomorrow, so let’s get it done tonight.”
“? I-I’ve never heard of such a strange custom!”
“I already said it’s a custom among commoners. You’re a noble, so there’s no way you could’ve heard about it. If you want to break the gap between you and real commoners like us, you’ll have to follow the ritual at least once.”
“So, there really is such a custom…?
“As if we have such a custom!”
When she heard Megumin’s retort, the red-faced Darkness attacked me again and I dodged it deftly. Suddenly, someone knocked on the door to the room hastily.
“Coming, who is it?”
Aqua opened the door and found the staff member we had met at the adventurer’s guild. He must’ve ran here since he was out of breath.
“What… What happened?”
I asked that person, an ominous feeling welling in my heart.
“Terrible news! The hot springs…! Contaminated water is flowing out from the hot springs everywhere in the city…!”