Gifting this polluted hot spring city with a Goddess!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Xenthur
– The morning after the hot springs in the city were seriously contaminated.
After having breakfast, we gathered in the girl’s hotel room.
“I think there are problems with the water source.”
Aqua who spent yesterday purifying the hot springs said.
The phenomenon of polluted water flowing out was temporary.
It was akin to a simulation test, coming out all in one go before stopping.
After Aqua received the report from the staff, she rushed into the city and cleansed the hot springs one by one…
“The water source? That should be the top of the hill behind the Axis Cult’s main base, right?”
That gigantic church was the Axis Cult’s headquarters.
Behind the church was this city’s source of life and finance, the hot spring mountain.
And of course, the place was heavily guarded. Normal people wouldn’t be permitted entry.
“Indeed, it’s difficult to poison the hot springs one by one. The other party must’ve been pressured by the manhunt order and decided to hit the source directly–that makes sense.”
It was true that attacking the source was much simpler than taking out the hot springs one at a time.
“But how did he infiltrate such a heavily guarded place…?”
“Kazuma, what are you eating? Give me one too.”
Darkness pulled of a piece of the pizza-like junk food I was eating and sent it toward her mouth.
“I’ve been feeling that recently you’ve been dumber than Aqua.”
The piece of not-pizza fell off before it reached Darkness’s mouth.
She had a surprised face and turned stiff.
“Hey, what do you mean by that? Are you implying that I’m usually behave like an idiot?”
“Not like an idiot, you are one! … Ahhh, enough! I apologize, I’m sorry! You’ve worked so hard and used your head this time! – I already apologized, so return my pizza to me!”
As Aqua and I were fighting over the pizza, Darkness stood up straight with a spring.
“… Source of the water, right? Hey Kazuma, how long are you going to play around? Time to go! Water source! We’ll head to the hill behind the cult’s headquarters to investigate!”
She announced in high spirits.
She was probably over conscious about the fact that aside from using her clan’s authority, she hadn’t done anything noteworthy yet.
“All right, let’s go to the water source and look.”
To the left of the Axis Cult’s headquarters was a huge lake, the source of the city’s water supply.
And on the hill above the church was the source of the city’s hot springs.
The path to the source was guarded by the city’s Knight Order.
“Hey, I’m an Archpriest from the Axis Cult! Look closely! Hey, look at my adventurer’s card carefully!”
Aqua shoved the adventurer’s card in the face of the knight on guard duty.
Our path was blocked at the foot of the hill.
“No, even if you’re an Archpriest of the Axis Cult, I can’t let you through.”
“Only the manager of the hot springs is allowed to go in.”
The knight who pushed Aqua back had no plans of looking at her adventurer’s card.
The two knights were probably suspicious after seeing how our group was dressed.
To prepare for any battle, we were all fully equipped.
A group of fully armed people suddenly wanted to pass through the checkpoint–it was only natural that the knights wouldn’t accede.
“Thou devoted Axis cultists… Hear me, this is a necessary action. A just course. If thou allow passage, this city shall…”
“Ah, I’m a believer of Eris”
“Why?! Why do you follow Eris’s religion even though you’re living in this city?!… Hey, please, let me go in! There’s big trouble at the source! This is for the sake of the hot springs city! I-I…! I just want to save this city!”
Aqua clung to one of the knights and started wailing.
I already had a plan in mind, but this looked fun… So, I decided to just watch for now.
“No means no! Go home!”
“Ah, wait! I suddenly realized that you’re handsome! Your profile’s just like a red dragon, dominatingly strong.”
“You mean my face looks like a lizard?”
After realizing crying wouldn’t work, Aqua started resorting to flattery.
“… All right, if you won’t let me through no matter what, I’ll make you Eris devotees taste some bitter medicine and run to the Axis church by the hill side to repent!”
“What nonsense are you saying?”
“Damn it, that’s why they say the personality of Axis cultists are so terrible! And your blue hair and eyes–you are not that person who was turning the hot springs into warm water, right?”
“No, that’s wrong! I was just purifying the hot springs…!”
“So, it is you! Even more reasons that I can’t let you through! Go back!”
Aqua, who switched to intimidation tactics, was stone walled.
“As I expected. You’re up Darkness, a rare opportunity for you to shine.”
“Rare? Hey, I contribute occasionally, okay! Stop, stop pushing!”
Beside me, Megumin seemed to realize what my plans were.
“Take a good look at who this great person is! She’s the daughter of the grand noble house Dustiness–Lady Dustiness ford Lalatina! This is an emergency and concerns the survival of this city!”
“That is so, you can treat this as an order from house Dustiness. The hot springs’ contamination incident that happened yesterday should be the result of someone poisoning the source. We’re here to investigate on the lady’s order.”
Darkness, who was being pushed to the front, grabbed the pendant in front of her chest tightly.
“This is an emergency, but if I abuse my authority like this…!”
I grabbed Darkness who wanted to say something from behind.
“Here my lady, please take out the pendant proving your identity that you’re hiding in your chest! My lady, please don’t resist…! Hey, cough it out my lady!”
“Kazuma, grab on tight! I’ll… Ahhh! That hurts, Darkness, that hurts! Wiz, Megumin! Use this chance to grab the pendant!”
“Wiz, you take her right hand, Aqua take her left… My lady, please stop your futile resistance!”
“So sorry! I’m sorry Darkness-san!”
“Stop it, all of you…! The Dustiness house won’t permit such abuse of authority…! Ahhh?”
Megumin forcefully took the pendant from Darkness’s hand and showed it to the knights.
“Here, look at this! You’ll grant us entry now, right?!”
“Please forgive us!”
The two knights opened a path hurriedly. Megumin seemed to enjoy the dramatic change in attitude she saw from the two knights.
“… Let me borrow this for a while.”
“Of course not, give it back now!”
Darkness snatched the pendant back and Megumin became a little depressed.
– At this moment, the knights said respectfully:
“Um, Lady Dustiness, I know you’re here to investigate, but the manager of the hot springs has already gone in…”
“The manager said he would investigate the cause and to not let anyone through…”
We looked at each other after hearing what the knights said.
Did the hot springs’ manager have the same thoughts as us?
… I’ll ask just to be safe.
“Is the manager a tanned man with short, brown hair?”
“No, he’s a blonde old man whose been managing the hot springs all these years.”
I guessed wrong… So, where’s that man now?
He had a very eye catching appearance, so it would only be a matter of time before he gets caught through the manhunt.
“There are wild beasts in the hills ahead. Please be careful if you’re going there, Lady Dustiness.”
Bashing through thick vegetation, we headed up the hill that still had remnants of snow.
I thought the vegetation would be sparse because of the sulfur from the hot springs, so I didn’t expect such a scene.
It was such a rare opportunity to go on a hot springs vacation trip… So why did I have to hike up a hill?
“By the way, I didn’t know Darkness-san is a daughter of the Dustiness house! Sorry for my impudence in the past.”
Wiz wasn’t told about Darkness being a noble, and lowered her head respectfully.
“No, I hope Wiz can treat me just like before. I’ll feel better that way.”
“Is that so? If Darkness-san insists…”
Wiz smiled gently, and Darkness was relieved.
“That should be the reaction of normal people… I’m relieved after seeing Wiz’s attitude. This bunch has been so mean to me…”
Darkness cleared the vegetation with a complicated expression, walking at the head of the group.
“You’re such a troublesome girl. Make it clear whether you want us to treat you like a noble or a commoner! – Eh, if you want us to treat you like a lady, then change your temper, crude language, and stubborn nature.”
“I’m not troublesome! And Kazuma has no right to say my language is crude! You’re younger than me, right? Not just me, you’re rude to everyone…!”
“That’s because I treat you–Darkness–as a comrade. That’s right. In my heart, you’re not the aristocrat lady Lalatina who’s older than me, but the dependable crusader Darkness.”
“… Is… Is that so. That, that’s great…”
Darkness’s face blushed as she walked ahead quietly. I mumbled.
When she heard Wiz, Darkness who was in a great mood turned back with a puzzled face.
“Anyway, we’ve been walking for quite some time. Aren’t there wild beasts living here? Um, will that manager who entered before us be okay? Isn’t he an old man?”
I asked casually.
As if it were answering my question, the sound of fighting came from the front.
“Really, Kazuma? Why are you saying something that’ll raise a flag?”
“I-I didn’t, stupid! I just thought about that suddenly…!”
“Stop fighting and let’s see what’s happening!”
With Wiz urging us on, we hurried to the source of the sound.
Before us was a bizarre scene.
“How… How can this be…?”
Megumin said in surprise.
When we arrived, the manager was nowhere to be seen. In his place was–
“This… Could it be a rookie killer…?”
Darkness approached the black object and observed it from a close distance.
There was no doubt that a battle happened here.
However, there were no traces of sword or magic damages, only the black skin of the rookie killer and large canine fangs.
These horrible remains seem to be the work of strong acids…
“This rookie killer isn’t the one we met yesterday. Was it defeated by a veteran adventurer? Although Wiz defeated one easily…”
Everyone knew what I wanted to say.
– Could an old man defeat a rookie killer?
“That hot spring grandpa’s really strong! Let’s meet up with him so he can protect us!”
… Only one person didn’t follow my train of thought.
“There are no grandpas in this world that can take out a rookie killer alone! This has to be the work of some inhuman monster!”
“W-What? Didn’t the butcher shop grandpa in Axel hunt toads and fire drakes alone?! A grandpa that can take out a rookie killer might exist too!”
“Don’t compare the old people in this world with the weirdos in that town! Just look at how that rookie killer died, there are too many suspicious points!”
That’s right, the carcass was melted thoroughly. Was this a kind of spell?
Was there such a vicious magic that could dissolve the body of an enemy?
“In short, we can’t let our guard down. That grandpa isn’t that simple.”
Everyone except Aqua nodded silently.
… Aqua muttered unhappily.
“The grandpa chef in Axel turned a ferocious brutal alligator into a main dish too…”
Why are you still harping on about this?!
After that, we walked for a long time. On the bright side, it wasn’t easy to lose our way.
To divert the water from the hill to the hot springs, there were six pipes channeling the water.
If you wanted to go to the source, all you had to do was follow the pipes.
However, walking on the road piled with snow sapped our stamina fast.
I thought everyone must be tired too. I turned back while thinking that…
“Hey Wiz, aren’t you a lich? Don’t you have any convenient lich magic to let us fly straight to the top?”
“Aqua-sama, liches aren’t all powerful. I did develop a few spells, but they’re all offensive oriented…”
“Ho, to develop spells on your own, that’s impressive. Don’t tell me they’re stronger than Explosion.”
“Eh… I’m on edge because I heard there were monsters, but we didn’t meet any… Why’s that so…?”
Everyone was so energetic.
“Hey, all of you! Wait, slow down! If we suddenly meet… The enemy… And are… Out of breath… How… Can we fight?”
I said while panting, and Aqua tilted her head and said:
“… I knew Kazuma’s stats were bad, but I didn’t know it was this terrible.”
Ughh, how infuriating!
“Anyway, what’s Kazuma’s stamina? Don’t tell me it’s the same level as an Archmage like me?”
As I continued panting, I handed my card to Megumin silently.
“… How should I put this? Kazuma has the lowest level here. Don’t worry, just train up from now on and your stats will grow.”
Megumin awkwardly averted her eyes from the card and started consoling me.
“Hey, you mean my stats are really on the same level as you, right?!”
“Let’s take a break! We walked quite some distance, but there’s no sign of the grandpa. Instead of dashing ahead at full speed, we should conserve our energy.”
“Hey, don’t tell me my stats are lower than yours! Is my strength and stamina really lower than yours?!”
Megumin didn’t answer and sat where she stood.
I-I should grind my level…
After the break, we started marching again. And finally, we reached the end of one of the pipes.
Before the pipe was the source where the hot spring water came from…
“Hey, the hot spring water’s completely black!”
“? This is poison! I’m absolutely sure!”
Aqua shouted as she dipped her hand into the completely black hot spring in a panic.
“It burns! Wahhh, it’s scalding! It’s scalding my hand!”
“You idiot! Why are you putting your hand directly into the hot spring source? Pull your hand out!”
“But, but! It burns!”
Although Aqua was crying, she still refused to pull her hand out.
I rushed to her side and cast a spell on her hand.
I cooled the water with my magic…
… But my frost magic was too weak, so it didn’t have much effect.
Wiz rushed over to help and used frost magic too.
Probably because our magic capacity and race were different, Wiz’s spell lowered the temperature of the source in an instant.
“Phew… Thanks Wiz, and Kazuma… I’ll be thanking you a tiny bit too.”
“Only a tiny bit?”
Wiz cast Freeze multiple times into the water Aqua was sticking her hand in.
As time went by, the black murky hot spring gradually became clear.
“That’ll do… But, I can’t purify the water in the pipes. It’ll take some time before this hot spring can be used again… Heal!”
After purifying the hot spring, Aqua cast healing magic on her scalded hand. That energetic idiot looked really depressed right now.
Seeing her like this made me feel uneasy too…
In any case, it was confirmed that someone was polluting the sources.
I don’t know how that man and the manager are related, but we’ll find out if we continue to investigate.
– We saw other pipes connected to the source too, and as expected, they were all contaminated.
Aqua cleansed them one by one; in just a short while, she had already cleansed four out of six of the pipes.
However, it’ll be a long time before this hot water becomes hot spring water.
And now, we had almost made our way to the peak of the hill.
Just when I was about to give up, throw my bags down, and leave, I noticed something that looked like a human figure in the distance.
I used Farsight to observe that figure.
“… Hmm? So, it’s that guy after all.”
The one I saw wasn’t the blond old man the knights had mentioned, but the man I saw in the bath that day.
“What’s the matter? Why are you suddenly stopping?”
Aqua looked at me, who stopped suddenly, in confusion.
I pointed ahead and told them that the wanted criminal was right in front.
“Ahhh, I can see someone there. What’s he doing there? Is there a hot spring source there too?”
“Probably. Look, that pipe is linked there… Wait, that guy’s…!”
Hey, he’s poisoning the source right now!
He seemed to notice us rushing over too.
When he saw us, he looked baffled.
“What are all of you doing here? This place is off limits to all except the manager, so how did you get here?”
Aqua pointed at the man nonchalantly asking for our purpose of visit and shouted:
“Hey, are you still playing dumb? How dare you destroy the hot springs in this city! I’ll purge you!”
“Destroy the hot springs? I’m the manager of the hot springs, okay? What are you saying…?”
The man lied boldly; Aqua looked at us haplessly to seek support.
If you weren’t confident on talking him down, then don’t start it.
“It’s useless to play dumb, okay? And what are you doing here? It’s too troublesome to poison the hot springs one at a time, so you’re going right for the source? The uproar of polluted water gushing out was probably your way of confirming that the source was actually linked to this city, right?”
“We saw that all the hot springs had been contaminated on our way here. Megumin already asked, so can you tell us what you’re doing here? I’m Dustiness ford Lalatina, with my authority as a noble, I would like you to come with us.”
In the face of Megumin and Darkness’s accusation, the man shook his head slowly.
“I already said I don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you want to search the things I have with me? You’ll never find anything poisonous… With me…?”
The confident voice of that man started breaking.
He was looking at…
“Hmm? Who’s that…? I think I’ve seen you somewhere…”
Wiz placed her hand on her chin as she stared at that man and pondered.
When he saw Wiz, that man turned around immediately.
“An-Anyway, I’m here to investigate the reason behind the pollution, um…”
“Ahhh! It’s Hans-san! Hans-san, right?!”
Wiz shouted the name of the man who was still making excuses.
“Who, who’s Hans? I’m the manager of the hot springs in this city…”
“Hans-san! Long time no see! It’s me, Wiz! The lich!”
The man who was repeatedly addressed as Hans tried to play it off, but his voice was shaking. Wiz chatted him up unhesitantly.
Hans glanced at Wiz who was staring at him.
“Lich… You mean those dangerous undead monsters, liches, right? I don’t know what you’re all saying… An-Anyway, I don’t have any means of poisoning, and you have no proof…”
“Ah, speaking of poison… I recall that Hans-san’s a deadly poison slime variant type! Did Hans-san release his poison into the source?!”
Hans’s excuse was torn apart by Wiz unwittingly.
She even rushed to Hans’s side.
“Hans-san! Why are you ignoring me? It’s me, Wiz! Hans-san, you can shapeshift too, right? You must’ve changed into the form of the grandpa manager to gain entry, right? Hans-san, hey, Hans-san?”
“Can… Can you calm down, I don’t know you…! Stop, don’t shake me, please!”
Seeing Hans denying it to the end, Wiz grabbed Hans’s shoulders and shook.
“Did you really forget about me? I’m Wiz, back when we were in the Demon King castle we–”
“Ahhh! I just remembered I have something urgent to do! I found out the reason behind the contamination after the investigation! I must rush back to the city… Farewell everyone… Can you let me through?”
Aqua: “Where are you going Hans?”
Darkness: “You shall not pass, Hans!”
Megumin: “You think such an excuse will work, Hans?!”
The three girls stepped in front of Hans to stop him.
Hans showed a stiff face and backed away.
“Stop struggling and come clean, Hans.”
“Don’t keep calling me Hans, Hans, you bunch of worms! What’s Wiz doing here?! Didn’t you say you’ll open a small shop after leaving the Demon King’s castle? Stop fooling around in the hot spring city and go back to work!”
Hans finally revealed his true nature and retaliated, retorting Wiz.
“How, how mean! I did work hard! For some reason the harder I work, the more losses I make. But I’m still working hard every day!”
Wiz replied in a strange manner. Now’s not the time to talk about that.
Hans sighed deeply and shook his head.
“Sigh… Why did it turn out this way? I spent years to investigate this city, and only decided on this course of action after everything was in place… Wiz, I remember that you don’t provide help to the Demon King’s army in any form aside from the maintenance of the Demon King’s castle barrier. However, you shouldn’t be working against me. We shouldn’t disrupt each other. So, why are you in my way?”
“Eh? I-I got in Hans-san’s way? I only greeted Hans-san since we haven’t met in a long time!”
“That was enough to disrupt my work! Thanks to you my identity has been exposed!”
Was she stupid, or just playing dumb?
Now that he’d been exposed by Wiz, Hans lowered his body posture into a battle stance.
“What are you going to do, Wiz? Fight me? Or let me through?”
Hans was only wary of Wiz alone.
That was normal; according to Wiz, this guy was a mutant of a deadly poison slime.
Deadly poison sounds scary, but it was just a slime after all.
As a lich, Wiz was far ahead in the monster level standings.
I thought I met a powerful foe in the bath back then, but to think it was just a slime.
“How could I do that…? Hans-san is my friend. Um, I’ll be troubled if you destroy the hot springs… Can’t we resolve this through discussion?”
Wiz said apologetically. Hans laughed out loud.
“Hahaha! The way you think is just like before! You’re a lich, but you’re so naive! When you were an Archmage, killing us off left and right, you never thought about saying ‘resolve through discussion’, right?”
“Ugh… Back, back then, I was still immature…”
As Wiz said so, she started to fidget embarrassingly.
Was the gentle Wiz a violent woman in the past?
After returning to town, let’s find a chance to talk about the past together with Vanir.
But to do that–
“Hey, sorry for interrupting your reunion… You’re Hans, right? I’m Satou Kazuma, the one who directed the battles against the Demon King’s general Beldia and the Mobile Fortress Destroyer. Just recently, I even defeated the devil of foresight, Vanir.”
– I had to solve this commotion quick and return to Axel!
“What? A man who looks as terribly weak as you?… Even your equipment’s so bad that I don’t even want to look at you, and you defeated Beldia and Vanir?”
The state of my equipment’s none of your business.
“How mean of you to say I’m terribly weak. I might look this way, but I’m a man who walked the thin line between life and death several times.”
“Well, he did die several times.”
Aqua mumbled softly behind me. How unnecessary.
“I knew from the start that you’re a minion of the Demon King’s army. Do you still remember me? Several days ago, we met in the bath of a certain hotel, right?”
“…? Ah! You’re that man with the lecherous gaze!”
What, what do you mean by lecherous?! How rude.
“I heard you talking back then about destroying the Axis Cult or something! I also knew you were wary of me in the hot spring; I only stared at that big breasted big sister to make you lower your guard!”
“Hey, you didn’t say anything because you didn’t want to be dragged into a troublesome incident, and yet you’re shamelessly boasting about it.”
Darkness retorted behind me…
Why were the people behind me so noisy?
Hans started backing away after hearing what I said.
He was wary of Wiz alone earlier, but now, the one he was most wary of was me.
“To not back down while facing me. I see, so you’re quite capable.”
Hans said as he glared at me.
What do you mean by backing down, why do I need to do that before a slime? Don’t flatter yourself.
He might look like a strong and well-built man, but he was just a slime.
The trash monsters that appeared in all sorts of games.
From the name ‘deadly poison slime’, his main weapon should be poison. But we have Aqua who could cleanse away the poison, so that was nothing to worry about.
In summary, I don’t think I’ll lose.
“Just surrender! Wiz, he and you were ex-colleagues, right? I don’t think you would want to fight him, so back down for now; I’ll go.”
“K-Kazuma-san? I might be overthinking it, but… Will you be fine? Um, Hans-san is…!”
Wiz who was backing away shouted anxiously.
I drew my sword, the polished blade gleaming under the sunlight.
To think that the first thing that I’ll cut down with my new sword will be a slime.
Aqua and the others were already prepared to fight, taking up stances with their weapons.
Beside me, Darkness drew her greatsword and stared at the enemy cautiously.
“… Seems like all of you really want to fight. Good! It’s been a long time since any adventurers dared to challenge me! No matter who it was, they would cower before me and beg for mercy after learning my true nature. You have guts to fight me head on!”
Hans said something a final boss would say and raised his hands.
“I’m Hans! A general of the Demon King’s army, a variant type deadly poison slime!”
“… What did you just say?”
What did this slime just say?
I think I heard the term ‘general of the Demon King’s army’.
“Kazuma-san! Even among the Generals of the Demon King’s army, Hans is a monster with higher than average bounty! He’s very strong, so be careful…!”
Even if you tell me that now…
I held up my sword and shifted backwards.
“Hey, Darkness, slimes are weak monsters, right? They’re just small fries, right?”
When Darkness, who was taking a stance, heard my question–
“Slimes are weal monsters? Where did you hear that nonsense from? Leaving small ones aside, slimes above a certain size are powerful adversaries. Firstly, physical attacks are useless. Their magic defense is high too. They eat anything, so it’s over if they stick on to you. They can seep through the gaps in your armor, touch your skin. and dissolve you with digestive fluids. They can also block your mouth and suffocate you to death.”
What’s this, so scary… But… wait?
Could it be, I did something dumb?
“Don’t touch the deadly poison slime, Kazuma! It has poison potent enough to contaminate the entire city! It can harm so many people even after it’s diluted; you’ll die instantly if you touch it!”
“… In-Instant death?”
After hearing Megumin’s warning, my heart started beating wildly.
“No problem, Kazuma! With me around, it’s fine even if you die! But don’t get swallowed whole! If you do, your entire body will dissolve, then it won’t matter how powerful my resurrection spell is!”
When I heard what Aqua said–
“Now, come at me, brave adventurers! I’ll make you re-… gret…?”
I turned my back on Hans and ran as fast as I could.
I bashed through the vegetation and slid down the slope of the hill.
The branches scratched my face.
“Wahhh, Kazuma! Wait! Wait!”
“Hurry up idiot! Or I’ll leave you behind!”
Oh shit, oh shit!
This fellow was the most powerful foe I’d ever faced!
I would die from just a touch, would be dissolved if I got caught, and resurrection wouldn’t even work!
“Darkness, run quick! This is bad, we’ll die! Don’t think too much, just run!”
“Ahhh… The slime… The slime will…!”
Megumin tugged the hand of Darkness who was reluctant to leave the slime and followed behind me closely.
Darkness, who had an abnormal interest in the gooey body of slimes, wanted to fight Hans alone, but we didn’t let her do that.
She might be able to tank the attack of the slime, but she lacks any means of attacking.
“Ka-Kazuma-san, you kept panting while climbing the hill, but you’re fast when running away…!”
At the tail of the group, Wiz ran hard to chase us.
And behind Wiz–
“Are you mocking me, human? After saying all that before me, you still ran away in the end? You’re not living your life correctly! You’re an adventurer after all, don’t you feel shame?!”
Hans whose face was red from anger chased us at full speed.
“Of course, I’m an Adventurer! The weakest job of all, Adventurer! How can I fight a general of the Demon’s King army head on?”
“What, weakest job? You even…! … What?”
Hans suddenly stopped.
Following his lead, we stopped too.
“You’re an Adventurer? The weakest job, Adventurer? Not the general term adventurer, but the job name like Archmage and Archpriest… Adventurer?”
“Yes, that’s right; what’s the problem?”
Hans’s eyes turned red immediately. He then closed his eyes gently and sighed.
He was a slime, but his actions were just like a human.
“I’ll let you off this time. Scram, small fry!”
After Hans spat out these words, he turned and headed back toward the hot spring source.
“… Phew, it’s finally over.”
“It’s not over! Hey, he’s going back to destroy the hot spring source!”
Aqua refused to let me go, but frankly speaking, this fellow was too hard to handle.
“Then tell me how we can beat that guy. Wiz will feel bad if we ask her to go. I don’t know if Darkness can handle his poison. We can only ask Megumin to do a sneak Explosion attack from range.”
“Um… If you cast Explosion on Hans-san, his body will scatter and pollute this whole place. Slimes have high resistance against magic; if you don’t get it all, it’ll be hard to destroy him…”
Doesn’t that mean we can’t do anything?
“I’m not exaggerating, we really can’t do anything this time. If physical attacks were effective, I was planning to try out my new sword.”
“We’ll postpone the debut of Chunchunmaru to the next volume. But if we leave him be, the hot springs will be in danger. Then, a Demon King’s General will get his way.”
“Don’t call my sword by that weird name, I’ll never call it by that name… Sigh, what a pain. Hey, Aqua, shall we give up on this hot spring? We can develop other means of business in the future. Honestly, there’s no meaning in the existence of the Axis Cult, right?”
As expected, she pounced and strangled me when I told her the truth.
As I was wrestling with Aqua, Hans’s figure got smaller and smaller.
“I got it… Hey! I’ll go and purify that slime!”
Aqua proposed a bold plan.
I chased Hans back to the hot spring source and found him soaking his right arm in the water.
From afar, we could see the hot spring gradually growing murky; it seemed like a large amount of poison had been pumped in.
And of course, the pipes transporting water were full of poison too.
“That guy, didn’t he think about destroying the pipes directly?!”
Contaminating all the water sources was like looking for trouble.
But, then again, the pipes could be repaired if they’re destroyed. However, if the source was contaminated, there would be no way to salvage it.
He must be planning to destroy this city completely.
And there were few priests that could cleanse such potent poison.
“The pipes seem to be made of magic metal, and aren’t easy to break. It’s the financial lifeline of this city, after all, so they spared no expense.”
That was true, I agreed with Megumin. At the same time, Aqua, who was purifying the polluted hot spring, was getting anxious.
“Hey! Can you be more serious about this? It’ll be bad if this goes on! If the last remaining water source gets polluted, it’ll be a long time before the hot springs will be available in this city again! The Axis Cult in this city will disband!”
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
The voice of the three of us rang out in harmony. Aqua threw herself into Wiz’s arms and cried.
“Wait… Ev-Everyone! Stop joking with Aqua-sama! The important thing right now is…”
I wasn’t joking.
It would be great if that annoying cult was destroyed.
“What, are you all here again? No matter, there’s only one source left; the deed will be done once I contaminate it. Finally! I can finally destroy this damn city!”
This general of the Demon’s King army must’ve suffered greatly because of the Axis cultists while he was undercover in this city.
“Hey, how long have you been staying in this city?… Ah, by the way, you changed your form into that of the hot spring manager to get in, right? Where’s the real manager? He should be a blonde grandpa, he…”
“I ate him.”
Hans replied casually.
… Ate him?
“What, what did you say?”
“I said, I ate him. I’m a slime, isn’t eating an instinct? Anyway, my shape shifting ability only works if I devour–”
– The target.
When Hans was about to say that–
“Cursed Crystal Prison.”
A cold, calm voice echoed in the snowy hills.
With a cracking sound, Hans’s right arm and the contaminated source froze in an instant.
His right hand frozen with the hot spring, Hans let out a cry.
I looked toward the owner of the voice.
The one emitting an aura that befits the strongest undead, lich–was Wiz. The gentle Wiz I was familiar with was nowhere to be found.
Wiz looked at the screaming Hans with an expressionless face.
“My condition for staying neutral–not interfering with the Demon King’s army–is ‘the guarantee that, adventurers and knights aside, the Demon King’s army won’t harm civilians who are non-combatants’, right?”
“Wiz, stop! Undo your spell! Wiz!”
Wiz didn’t respond to Hans’s cries.
“It’s inevitable for adventurers to lose their lives in battle. They take the lives of monsters every day; that’s their livelihood. They must’ve made the resolve of being killed by monsters. It’s the same for knights; their salary is paid by the people, and in exchange, they must protect the citizens. It couldn’t be helped if they had to sacrifice their very lives…”
“Wiz! You really want to fight me? If we go at it for real, this area will be contaminated…!”
Before Hans could finish.
“But, the hot spring manager grandpa was innocent.”
Wiz said with a pained expression.
Someone was pulling the corner of my shirt. I looked back and saw Aqua and Megumin sticking close to my back.
… So, this is the serious Wiz; she was totally different.
Even I felt a bit afraid.
Darkness lowered her stance beside me, ready to cover Wiz at any moment.
Damn it, even the usually gentle Wiz was so serious about this.
I should also–!
“Wiz! Sorry, but I don’t plan to fight you! Let me finish my chores and leave!”
Hans said as he broke his frozen right arm before our eyes.
The frozen arm shattered. Immediately, a translucent arm grew from his stump.
Hans gave up his right arm and charged towards the last water source!
We gave pursuit to Hans relentlessly.
By the way, we’ve been running back and forth non-stop for a while now! What happened to my hot spring vacation? I wasn’t here to train; I came here to recuperate!
“Kazuma! That slime’s fast! Shouldn’t slimes be those soft, cute gooey monsters that move slowly?!”
It seemed like Aqua had the same impression of slimes as me.
Or rather, it was strange for slimes to be sentient.
If that was so, where was this guy’s brain?!
“Hans-san, I won’t let you destroy the hot spring! Cursed Crystal Prison!”
“!! Shit, I don’t match up well against you!”
Wiz froze Hans’s lower body with her spell. Right now, he was about ten meters away from the last water source.
A slime that had high resistance to magic, and a mutant boss level slime at that, was being subdued easily by Wiz. As expected of a lich.
“I still have this ace in the hole! You’re as naive as you were in the past, Wiz!”
Hans tore off his right arm and threw it at the hot spring.
Everyone except Hans and I watched helplessly as that arm flew in a beautiful arc toward the water source.
As for me…
I pulled my bow and used Snipe to hit the arm in the air away.
Hans stared, eyes wide open in surprise, looking back and forth between me and the water source.
Gritting his teeth, he tore pieces of his lower body and threw them at the water source.
The accuracy of Snipe was dependent on the user’s agility and luck.
But no matter how high my luck stat was, I couldn’t handle this many targets!
“Aqua, use that magic that improves luck, the one you used during rock-paper-scissors!”
“Eh? O, okay!”
When we were deciding who should sit in the cargo compartment during the carriage ride, Aqua used a spell named ‘Blessing’.
Let’s use that to raise my luck stats!
The moment I received the buff spell from Aqua, my arrows’ accuracy and range were enhanced, hitting the targets without fail.
Seeing this scene, everyone aside from me and Hans sighed in relief.
“What, what’s this? Are you kidding me? What terrifying accuracy is this?”
Hans roared in anger.
“Don’t look down on this man’s luck! His stats might be weaker than a mage, but he’s survived fights with powerful foes thanks to his strong luck!”
“Hey, are you praising or mocking me?!”
I squabbled with Megumin while looking at the frozen Hans.
I didn’t feel nervous anymore.
Instead of not being nervous, it was more like carelessness.
Hans struggled painfully as he threw another body part out…
“Kazuma, shoot it down, shoot it down now!”
Aqua placed both hands on her hips with an easy smile on her face.
“Leave it to…! … Ah.”
“Huh? What is it, Kazuma?”
Aqua asked confusedly.
With a splash, one of Hans’s body parts fell into the hot spring.
Including Hans, everyone except me made a surprised noise.
“… I ran out of arrows.”
“– Wah, wahhh!”
Aqua rushed to the source and went to stick her hand in.
“Aqua-sama, don’t do it! A part of Hans-san’s body fell into the hot spring! This is on a different level from the contamination earlier!”
Aqua ignored Wiz and stuck her hand in without any hesitation.
“Ahhh, it hurts, hot! Heal! Heal! Wiz, help me, the pipe of the last water source is going to be contaminated!”
Aqua endured the scalding water and healed her hand with magic as she asked Wiz for help.
“A, Aqua-sama! … Light of Saber!!”
Seeing this scene, Wiz chopped with her hand, using light magic to cut a part of the contaminated pipe.
She only sliced the part containing the polluted water off.
In that case, it can be repaired in just a few days.
As I was feeling relieved.
I heard cracking sound coming from Hans–the sound of something breaking.
“Kazuma, Ka, Kazuma…!”
Megumin made a frightened sound as she looked over there.
Hans–no, the shapeshifting slime that was Hans–
“This…! What a cute slime! Such a pity! If it wasn’t poisonous, I would bring it home as a pet!”
Darkness, whose brain probably melted, said some nonsense.
That slime expanded to the size of our mansion.
“That’s too big–!”
Unable to maintain its human form, the slime ballooned into a ball and crushed the trees around it, absorbing them into its body.
“Oh no, Hans is getting serious! Wiz, take care of that guy! Use that freezing spell from earlier! End this battle with that spell!”
We started scrambling out of the way while screaming. We kept dodging to avoid being absorbed by Hans.
“That spell isn’t big enough to cover Hans-san! He’s too large now! If I don’t drain some mana from someone…!!”
Wiz pleaded with me for help. Right now, the only one who could supply Wiz with mana was…!
“Megumin! Now’s your time to be the sacrifice! My mana isn’t enough, and draining Aqua’s mana will give Wiz unhealthy side effects!”
“Me? No, no, don’t wanna! I would rather blow that guy up with Explosion!”
“Don’t do that! You’ll pollute the entire hill!”
Aqua stopped Megumin sternly. Darkness started noisily taking off her armor.
“What are you doing? Why are you taking your armor off…?”
“If the opponent’s a slime, armor is useless. I’ll give them an opening, so I’m better off without it.”
Darkness took off the armor she treasured so much and returned to her casual wear. Her brain has certainly turned to mush.
“And I like this armor. You repaired it for me, so it’ll hurt me to see it melted or destroyed.”
After saying that, Darkness also threw her sword aside.
Physical attacks were useless against slimes.
Since it was useless, there was no need to hold on to this heavy weapon.
“Hey why are you stripping? Run!”
I grabbed Darkness’s hand and pulled her in the direction of the source.
And over there was–
“Wahhh! Kazuma! Kazuma-sama, help, ahhh!”
In the face of the approaching Hans, Aqua continued sticking her hand in the water source while wailing, refusing to flee.
“What are you doing, moron? Don’t bother with that now and run!”
“But, but! If I don’t defend this place, my believers will…!”
Darkness stood in front of Aqua, who, despite the pain, insisted on cleansing the hot spring.
The steely faced Wiz seemed to have resolved herself and came to Aqua’s side.
“Kazuma, what should we do? You always have dirty tricks up your sleeves! Hurry up and deal with this!”
“Why, you…! What do you mean by dirty tricks? Damn it, I’ll come up with something! So, you just do your thing!”
“Do, do my thing?”
Megumin hugged her staff and asked a little frantically.
“The only thing you can do! Deal the final blow to the General! Prepare your spell and standby near that guy!”
After giving my instruction, I left Megumin, who was lifting her staff up, and headed toward Hans.
The squirming gigantic block of black pudding wasn’t satisfied with the vegetation, and even swallowed the rocks and sand too.
After releasing its human form, it was probably being driven by its instincts.
Hans didn’t attack us; it just devoured the things around it and headed slowly toward the source.
The weapon in my hand and the skills that I had couldn’t harm it at all.
You could say that I was helpless before it.
Even if I used Freeze on it, it wouldn’t have any effect.
And Hans was too near to Aqua and the other’s position; too close to use Explosion.
We could just flee if Aqua gave up on the hot spring. However, the usually cowardly Aqua chose this time to display her guts.
I used up all my arrows, so I can’t even attract Hans’s attention…
… No, wait.
If the current Hans was moving according to its instinct…
If I use that thing before it…
“Aqua-sama, even if I exhaust all my mana, I won’t be able to freeze Hans-san at his current size! Let’s withdraw! Everyone in the Axis Cult wouldn’t want Aqua-sama to be hurt too!”
“No! If I don’t step up, who’ll protect my cultists? If I can’t even protect the homes of my devotees, then what would be the point of my existence? Also, cast some Freeze for me!”
Aqua refused to listen to Wiz’s pleas, and even asked her to cast Freeze.
There was Megumin who had prepared her spell and was ready to cast it, and Wiz who was shaking her hand and bracing herself.
Darkness placed her treasured armor and sword by her feet, along with the gifts she bought at the local specialties shop together with me.
“Darkness, bring those things beside your feet to me!”
“? Those things? – The specialty gifts?”
She obediently brought the gifts and ran to my side.
I flipped through my backpack and took the share I bought out too.
The Arcane buns and meat buns I bought from the round ear elf and the clean-shaven dwarf.
I threw those at Hans.
“Ah! What are you doing, such a waste! You’ll receive retribution for wasting food, Ka… Zuma…”
Darkness wanted to criticize my actions, but was dumbfounded after seeing Hans’s action.
Hans happily ate the snacks I threw.
It seemed that slimes were like humans; compared to vegetation and rocks, they prefer things that had proteins and high calories.
I grabbed all the gifts Darkness brought with her…!
“No, you can’t Kazuma! I’m planning to give these to my dear father and the servants…!”
I ignored Darkness, who sensed my intentions, and threw them in the direction away from the hot spring.
“You can buy gifts anytime! I’ll shop together with you! Stop being depressed and run!”
I tugged Darkness, who showed a sad face momentarily, and linked up with Aqua and the others.
Hans seemed interested in the gifts and squirmed in that direction.
“Wiz, after blowing Hans into pieces, can you freeze it?”
“If Hans-san is about half his current size, I should just barely manage with my remaining mana…”
Just barely… Good!
“Aqua, Wiz will freeze Hans when he blows into pieces; can you purify the hot spring alone?”
“I-I can! This is an emergency! I’ll show you my true ability!”
“I just need to protect everyone from getting hurt by Hans when it explodes, right?”
“Yes, I’m counting on you.”
At a time like this, we could only depend on Darkness’s strong body.
Aqua owned a holy relic that protects her from abnormal status like poison. She and the muscle-headed Darkness should be able to defend against the poison of the Demon King’s general.
I remember this girl spent a lot of her skillpoints raising her resistance against abnormal status.
The advantage of her concentrating on defense could only be seen in a crisis like this. I had no choice but to trust her.
Hans was still enjoying Darkness’s gifts before our eyes.
Immune to physical attack, high resistance against magic.
Just a single touch will kill you with poison, and defeating it will pollute the environment.
Why did I meet such a troublesome adversary?
What went wrong with my hot spring vacation?
I still felt my luck couldn’t be that good.
“Kazuma, how long do I have to wait? I’m ready to deal an elegant blow!”
Megumin, who had taken off her eye-patch, yelled excitedly, her red eyes shining.
After finishing the gifts, Hans finally came at us.
Maybe it was searching for new prey, or maybe he was driven by the remnants of his former self.
I lifted my hand toward Wiz.
“When I say go, Wiz will drain my mana away–just don’t let me die.”
I heard Wiz yelp.
“… Well then, do it, Megumin– Go!”
“Leave it to me! Eat my huge explosive magic! Explosion–!!”
I witnessed Megumin blowing Hans to pieces with Explosion, and its pieces flying all over.
As Darkness protected us, I could feel my mana disappearing and my consciousness fading.
I’ll leave the rest to my comrades, who were only dependable during such a crisis–
– Several days later.
As the heroes who saved the city–
“Uuuu… I-I worked so hard…! I-I really gave it my all… But…!!”
Together with the wailing Aqua, we made our way back to Axel.
“How should I put this…? For once, I actually feel sorry for Aqua…”
Megumin consoled Aqua on the rocky carriage.
Aqua kept looking out the window and sniveled from time to time.
– We destroyed Hans. Darkness did her role as a tank, protecting us from getting hurt by the debris from Hans. After that, Wiz, who had drained mana from me, froze all the remnants.
“… I wonder if dear father and the servants will like this…”
Darkness held the newly bought local specialty gifts and mumbled to herself expectantly.
This girl had a rather serious dad complex.
I shifted my eyes away from the cheery Darkness and said to Aqua:
“… Don’t you know there’s such a thing called moderation?”
“It can’t be helped, I thought the water source would be contaminated if I didn’t give it my all…! Wahhh, I worked so hard! This is too mean, ahhh!”
I ignored the wailing Aqua and looked at Wiz who was devoid of life.
Her already pale face was becoming transparent, as if she would disappear at any moment… Hey, that’s bad–!
“Hey, she’s going to disappear again! She’s disappearing!”
“Darkness, share your energy with her! Transfer some of it to Wiz, quick!”
“I-I understand! Come, Kazuma, take it!”
I frantically grabbed Wiz in the carriage.
I used Drain Touch on Darkness, who had the most vitality out of all of us, and transferred her energy to Wiz.
When we saw Wiz, who was on the verge of disappearing, recover, we breathed a sigh of relief.
At this moment.
Aqua, who was facing the window the whole time–
“I only tried to cleanse the hot springs with all of my powers! Why are they so angry?”
She started wailing because of that once again.
– After we reported to the adventurer’s guild that we defeated the Demon King’s General Hans, we received a lot of gratitude as the ones who resolved the contamination incident.
… Until they realized the fact that the hot spring water wouldn’t flow anymore.
After I was drained of my mana and lost consciousness, Aqua used all her might to purify the hot springs.
In the end, she turned all the water in the source into regular warm water.
As a side effect, the pitiful lich was almost purified because of this powerful cleansing magic.
In summary, the Demon King’s army’s goal of cutting off the financial lifeline of the Axis Cult had been accomplished by Aqua.
The main tourist attraction of the city was now gone.
Normally, we would be forced to pay a heavy compensation.
However, since Aqua did so to save the cult–as well as the city–, everyone forgave her. And so, the entire bounty from taking down Hans was forfeited.
We were supposed to teleport back to Axel via Wiz’s spell, but her condition wasn’t good, so we opted to take a carriage back instead.
“Listen to me! Both of you, listen to me! Please, just hear me out!”
“What is it? The carriage’s already shaking, can you not shake me even more?!”
“Go on, I don’t mind listening.”
Looking at Megumin and Darkness, Aqua said:
“The reason this incident turned out this way is because my powers are too strong. Even the clumsy Darkness and screwy head Megumin… That hurts! Lis-Listen to me to the end! The two of them must realize my true identity now, right?”
Aqua, who was subdued by Darkness and Megumin, didn’t give in.
“It’s about time for you to believe that I’m a real goddess, right?”
After hearing what Aqua said, the two of them turned silent.
“… Kazuma, let’s go to a more effective hot spring next time.”
“That’s right, a hot spring that can heal mental problems.”
“Why don’t you believe me?”
The carriage was really noisy.
Especially Aqua’s wailing.