Gifting our bright future with cheers!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Xenthur
I’ve been traveling around a lot lately, so the mansion I missed so much had collected a bit of dust.
Sitting cross legged in the center of the soft carpet, I thought back about the events that happened several days ago.
– The sacred ground of Archmages, the place that produced lots of excellent mages: The Crimson Demon village.
From that place came a letter detailing a man’s last words and reports of an attack by the Demon King’s army, which was delivered into the hands of a certain girl.
Although she knew she wouldn’t be of much help even if she went alone, that girl still made up her mind to return home.
Knowing that she wouldn’t be able to visit this town ever again, that girl confessed the feelings hidden in her heart to me, requesting me to become one with her before she headed toward certain death.
I rejected her resolution, and left the sorrowful girl behind and set off on a journey.
That’s right, in order to take out the Demon King’s army myself before that girl arrived…
Many things happened after that, but the Demon King’s General, something-or-the-other, was defeated because of my actions, and peace returned to the Crimson Demon village. However–
“… Kazuma’s been grinning by himself disgustingly for a while now. Well, it is spring now, so it can’t be helped if he turns dumb.”
After returning to Axel, we continued living peacefully.
Darkness and Megumin, and Aqua who said something demeaning about me, were sitting harmoniously on the couch in the living room, taking turns playing the portable game console we brought back from the Crimson Demon village.
Coming back to my senses, I turned to those three and said with a serious face.
“I want a younger sister.”
– After hearing what I said, the room became silent.
“Hey Darkness, we have to take turns, all right? I’m next, right? I will be the one to defeat the final boss.”
“No, wait, didn’t Aqua and Megumin take out bosses in real life? At least let me finish it in the game.”
“No, as a Crimson Demon, I won’t back down on the issue of dealing the final blow. And the final boss is definitely a powerful foe. If we let the bumbling Darkness do it, we will need to try several times again before defeating it.”
The three of them seem to be ignoring me as they squabble over the order they will play the game.
“Listen to me ahhhhh!”
“Waahhhhh! Stop it, we’re about to beat the game! Everybody spent so much time to finally reach this stage!”
I snatched the game and kept playing while dodging Aqua who tried to take it back…
“Here, I beat the boss with no damage! Are you happy now?”
“Not at all!! Why did you snatch it at the most crucial part!! How are you going to compensate all the effort we spent to reach this stage? It took us three whole days to make it here!”
“Shut up, just give me the game again. It will take me about three hours to arrive to the same point with no damage.”
“Stop, no! Don’t trample over our efforts!”
Aqua snatched the console back in tears.
“I thought your performance at the Crimson Demons village wasn’t bad, but deep inside, you’re still a jerk! Does mocking our efforts make you happy? Megumin, say something too!!”
When Megumin heard Darkness’ agitated speech, she replied:
“… Eh, well, he was the only one excluded, so that’s kind of pitiful for him. At the Crimson Demon Village or in the past, Kazuma would always be dependable at the very end. What happened just now was sort of like our style, right?”
Aqua and Darkness shrieked in surprise, looking back and forth between me and Megumin.
“Wait, Megumin, what’s wrong? You’re usually the first to pounce on Kazuma. What happened to the most violent delinquent in Axel?”
“Yeah, Megumin looks as if she has the most potential of taking the top-tier job ‘Berserker’ out of everyone here; there’s no way she would act like this. Hey Kazuma, what exactly happened in the Crimson Demon village?”
“The two of you are too rude! I’m an Archmage, known for calmness and maturity!… Anyway Kazuma, what’s with you all of a sudden? If you want a sister, instead of discussing with us, you should ask your parents, right?”
“I already told my parents plenty of times that I want a younger sister. And it must be a sister that is not related to me by blood, so they need to hurry up and divorce, and remarry with someone that has a daughter. That was the first time my parents beat me up.”
“They must be wonderful parents not to have chased out a son who said something like that.”
“Nevermind about my parents! I can’t even go back to my country anyway, so there’s no point talking about them. The important thing is –!”
Using an exaggerated movement, I turned my head to face the three of them who were unwilling to stick to the topic.
“The healing type big sister Wiz, the energetic girl Chris, the cold big sister type Sena, and the unlucky type Yunyun! There’s even the orthodox main heroine Eris-sama– I have met all types of beauties!”
“Kazuma-san Kazuma-san, what about me? What type of beauty am I?”
“You’re a complementary type or a pet type. Come on, this is the crucial part, so leave that till later!”
I shook off Aqua who pounced onto me and clenched my fist:
“… I realized something important. It is not complete yet. In the country I was born in, Japan, I sort of have a childhood friend too… So, you understand what else is missing?”
Megumin sighed deeply, as if she understood what I am saying.
“… You really are hopeless. So what you’re saying is, you want me to fill the role of your sister?”
“What are you talking about? Megumin, you’re the loli type.”
Next to Megumin, who was surprised for some unknown reason, Darkness shyly raised her hand.
“Um, what type of beauty am I…”
“You’re the one in charge of the erotic stuff.”
Ignoring Darkness and Megumin who seemed to be shocked by something, I stated my conclusion.
“You see, when we went to the Crimson Demon village, didn’t Megumin have a little sister? I felt back then that I should have a little sister too… You all know what I’m saying?”
“Not at all.”
The one who answered was Aqua, who listened obediently to the end.
– There was a proper reason why I am saying all this right now.
“The Princess… seemed to be younger than me, so maybe she is a younger sister type…”
That’s right. I have high hopes for the first Princess who sent that letter.
I heard the Princess was just twelve.
Her age was outside my strike zone.
But at the least, I hope to build a good relationship with that kid and have her call me Onii-sama.
I wasn’t sure if they knew what I was thinking after returning from the Crimson Demon village.
“… Hey Kazuma. It’s not too late to reject the invitation! Okay? The other party is one of the heads of the kingdom! It might be a meal together, but it won’t go as you expected. It will definitely be boring! All right? Everyone, just ignore this invitation!”
The uncharacteristically determined Darkness would try to convince me periodically.
Darkness had been pulling out all the stops to prevent me from seeing the Princess, but I felt her intensity increase after hearing what I said.
I remain seated steadily on the carpet and said:
“… You must be thinking that we’ll do something rude in the presence of the Princess, right?”
Darkness shook violently for a second when she heard me say that.
Her eyes wavered and before long her head slightly lowered:
It, it’s not something like that… Right?
Who is this?
“Hey, look me in the eyes, don’t use honorifics you’re not used to, and say it again. You’re worried that we’ll make some mistakes that would tarnish the reputation of the Dustiness family, right?”
“Is that right? You’re too much, Darkness! We know when to behave ourselves!”
“Unbelievable! Darkness, you think we’ll do anything that’ll be detrimental to you? We’re comrades! Please trust us a bit more!”
When they heard what I said, Aqua and Megumin chipped in.
“Ug… Ughhh… To be honest, I know you all too well, that’s why I’m worried…”
Darkness said on the verge of tears.
To Darkness who had an uneasy expression, I said.
“I know our difference in status and am aware of the basic etiquettes. I’m just excited to see a lady from high society, that’s all.”
“Hey hey, I’m a lady from high society too!”
I found it refreshing to see Darkness at a loss.
“That’s right, I need to buy a tuxedo. You all don’t have dresses, right? Let’s go and tailor some.”
“Great idea! I want to wear something other than a Hagoromo too! But can they complete it in time?”
“I want a black gown, of course. Something that has an air of maturity.”
Aqua and Megumin showed no signs of rejecting the invitation.
Seeing us like this, Darkness finally burst out in tears.
“You, you guys… She is the Princess of a kingdom, you know? You might lose your heads if you say anything wrong! Kazuma, warn them too…”
“Come to think of it, a tuxedo is too common. All right, to leave a good impression on the Princess, I’ll make a set of Kimono and Hakama…”
“Please, I’ll do anything! I’ll do anything I can, so don’t wear something weird to the event!”
Darkness pleaded with me.
“Well then, the week before the princess and her entourage arrives–since you went that far, I’ll leave all the household chores to you.”
The next day, after Darkness pleaded with me in tears.
“… I, I understand. I’m serious about what I said in the Crimson Demon village. It seems that I’ve underestimated you.”
Right now, Darkness was wearing a maid costume that I deliberately chose to be one size too small.
Darkness, with her special short dress, was sexy enough to match her title of ‘the one in charge of the erotic stuff’.
Darkness had a resigned expression as she stood before me.
Seeing Darkness drum up the courage to dress like that, I started getting cocky.
“At a time like this, you should say, ‘As you wish, master.”
“… Um … Ugh!! As, as you wish, master! I’m a dirty sow…!!”
“I didn’t tell you to go that far.”
I stopped Darkness, who was quivering with a flushed face.
– In exchange for not wearing a kimono and not doing anything rude in front of the princess, I fulfilled one of the wishes I always had.
That’s right. It was to make her wear a maid costume with a short skirt while working hard at her chores.
If I get too cocky, the future consequences would be terrifying. Hence, I didn’t go all out; but it should be fine to indulge occasionally.
“So, what should I do? To be honest, I’ve never done household chores before, so I don’t know where to start. Anyway, should I spill tea onto your pants right between the legs, and then rush over in a panic to wipe it?”
“Don’t brew tea anymore in the future.”
Just what kind of profession did she think a maid was?
“Er, just clean up the place for now. Don’t wash the plates and cutleries, you’ll probably break them. I’ve had enough of losing money in such cliche scenes.”
“… Eh… As you wish…”
Seeming depressed for some reason, Darkness dragged her feet as she left the living room.
Aqua and Megumin went off to Wiz’s shop.
Hence, it was just me and Darkness in the mansion right now.
Now that I think about it, Darkness had always been causing trouble for me.
So let me order her around today as I please.
… At this moment.
The scream accompanied the sound of pottery breaking.
Then Darkness charged over with the shattered pieces of something in her arms.
“I’m very sorry master! I broke master’s important vase! No matter what kind of punishment it is, I…!”
“I don’t have any vase and wouldn’t treat some shoddy vase like a treasure, but if you break something important to me, I’ll punish you by making you wear that maid costume to the adventurer’s guild.”
– Darkness cleaned the windows with no regard to the dust falling on her.
As for me, I was checking Darkness’s work.
If you ask why I was doing that, the answer was that I had nothing to do.
I slid my finger across the windows and looked at my fingertips.
However, it didn’t have any of the dust I was hoping for on it; she cleaned everything very well.
“… Ugh, you’ve always been of scant use, but you just have to pick this moment to clean it so thoroughly…! I wanted to pick a bone with you and order the Crusader Lalatina to parade around the adventurer’s guild in maid attire as punishment.”
“Fufu, I won’t be punished so easily. You’re still the guy who can guess what I hate the most… And please, stop calling me Lalatina.”
In terms of cleaning, I had no choice but to give the blushing Darkness a passing grade.
– However, even after that.
“… Ugh, I thought you would mix up the salt and sugar…!”
“If I read the labels carefully, I won’t make such a mistake. And as an adventurer, I can still do simple tasks like cooking meat.”
I muttered unconsciously while eating the lunch prepared by Darkness.
It was rice with salad and grilled meat. Judging from her choice of a simple meal that was hard to mess up, she really didn’t want to be punished.
Darkness had a smug face of victory.
“Hmph, I used high quality meat. How’s the taste?”
– Cleaning the toilet.
That was normally Aqua’s responsibility.
“… Um, is there really a need to clean the toilet?”
“… Pr-Probably not.”
It was probably the cleansing effect of the goddess of water.
She always did it so half-heartedly, but the toilets under Aqua’s care were the most sparkling places in the entire house.
No choice but to move on to the next phase.
“– Really? Is this really the most important job of a maid? You’re not bullying me because I’m unworldly? At least, my father didn’t ask the maids employed in my house to do this!”
“It’s true! In my country, maids who don’t do this aren’t fit to be maids!”
I kept entering and exiting the door into the mansion and made Darkness greet me with a smile and say, ‘Welcome home master.’.
“Hey, your smile’s too stiff! Why do you look so unfriendly? How scary! Give a cuter smile and say, ‘Welcome home!’.”
“W-Welcome home master!”
“Wrong! Your hands should be like this! Legs like that! Lean forward to emphasize your body parts! Isn’t your only strong point your erotic body? Quick, again!”
“Welcome home master! I might like to be teased, but if you go too far, my other strong point, my grip strength, will…!”
“Ahhh, it’s breaking, my head’s going to explode! Something’s coming out! I’m sorry!!”
I screamed an apology after my temple was crushed by her iron claw.
“Seriously. If the punishment or bullying were more exciting for me, I wouldn’t mind doing it to you.”
“You might say that now, but you’ll shirk away just before crossing the last line.”
After playing with Darkness for a while, we went for a stroll outside.
“However, you’re not too opposed to the maid costume. You should try wearing more frilly clothes sometimes.”
Because Darkness pleaded with me in tears not to make her wear her maid costume in the streets, I allowed her to wear her casual clothes today.
“… I know very well whether cute clothes suit me. That’s why, I want to wear casual clothes when doing house chores tomorrow…”
“I won’t give in on that.”
Darkness seemed troubled but was lowering her head happily. Shortly after, we arrived at the shop we were going to.
“Yo, sorry for the intrusion.”
“Ah, welcome, Kazuma-san! We’re just bringing in the fire-starting item invented by Kazuma-san!”
We came to Wiz’s shop.
Today, they would be selling all sorts of convenient merchandize from Japan.
Megumin, who was watching the developed merchandize, and Aqua, who was behaving herself after receiving tea snacks, were also inside the shop.
That guy who had the most impactful presence wasn’t here.
Noticing that I was here, Megumin took a lighter and shouted at me:
“Kazuma, Kazuma, quick, show me the power of this magic item!”
“This isn’t a magic item, I told you that this is a convenient tool from my country! Here, watch carefully.”
I took the lighter from Megumin and used it.
When they saw the fire I lit, Megumin, Darkness, and Wiz shouted in surprise.
“This, this is very convenient! Really, it’s just like tinder magic! Kazuma-san, this will definitely sell!”
Wiz was waving her hands around excitedly.
“The structure’s simple, but it’s unexpectedly useful. It’s hard to believe this isn’t a magic item. And if you use it sparingly, it’ll last a long time.”
Megumin was impressed as she observed the lighter from all sorts of angles. From her comment, she seemed really interested in this.
“I want one too. Flintstones don’t work well in wet places, and starting a fire wastes a lot of time too. Bringing flammable materials to start a fire’s troublesome, and keeping it dry is also a pain. This will solve all the problems I mentioned. Wiz, Kazuma, can you sell me one? How much is it?”
Darkness said as she dug through her purse for money.
Wiz smiled when she heard that.
“No need. After all, this is something Kazuma-san invented; we merely produced it. Everyone helped with the development of the merchandize too. Please pick one you like.”
When they heard Wiz’s words, Darkness and Megumin eagerly picked out lighters. Aqua, who was greedily eating her tea snacks, sneered.
“Really, what a bunch of hillbillies. Being happy over a lighter. It’s easy to make something like this. That’s why people who are behind the times…”
Aqua mocked Wiz and the others aloofly as she reached for a lighter…
I slapped away her hand.
“… What’s with you, Kazuma? Let me pick one too.”
“No, pay for it first.”
After I added, ‘It’s common sense to pay when you buy things’, Aqua got in my face.
“Ahhh? Why, why are you only mean to me? Wiz already said she’s giving them to us! Why’s it fine for Darkness and Megumin but not me, don’t just exclude me!”
“I’d be fine with it if you didn’t mock the three of them. Anyway, you were completely uninvolved in this, right? Wiz is the shopkeeper, Megumin shared with me her knowledge of how the Crimson Demons craft magic items, and Darkness introduced me to a lot of merchant wholesalers. While all this was happening, didn’t you just stay in the mansion eating and sleeping and eating again? If you want a share, then go outside and attract some customers.”
When Aqua heard what I said, she said these words with tears in her eyes and charged out of the shop:
“Wahhh! Kazuma, you unfair fellow! And I was thinking about keeping the fact that you sniff our laundry a secret!”
“Hey wait! I-I didn’t do that! Don’t talk such nonsense, hey! … Really! Megumin, Darkness, don’t look at me like that… Wait, why’s Wiz doing that too? No, I’m being framed!”
While I was trying my best to dispel this misunderstanding, Aqua, who had dashed out of the shop, poked her head back in.
“… If I attract lots of customers, can you give me one?”
“Fine, I will! And resolve this misunderstanding before you go!”
The entrance to the magic item shop was extremely crowded.
According to Wiz, this was the first time so many people gathered on this street.
It seemed that Vanir, who had yet to make his appearance, spread some news.
Maybe it affected this commotion too.
I spotted some people holding flyers within the crowd.
“… But, this is an amazing amount of people.”
I answered casually after hearing Darkness’s mumbling.
“… It would be great if all of them are customers here to buy the merchandize…”
I replied Megumin weakly.
I watched the center of the crowd.
Wiz had a troubled face and said timidly:
“… E-Even customers who were planning to visit us had been drawn over to her…”
“Dammit! Ahhh, what the hell’s that girl doing!”
Right before us, Aqua was performing her tricks and was showered by cheers and applause.
Even the customers who came because of the flyers forgot their objectives and were watching her.
I did ask her to attract customers, but I didn’t ask her to go that far.
Aqua had completely forgotten her original objective and was showcasing her tricks wholeheartedly.
“Next, from this piece of normal handkerchief! Suddenly, pigeons will fly out!”
Aqua said as she took out a handkerchief.
This was a typical magic trick.
Hiding a pigeon in your clothes, then making it look like the pigeon flew out from the handkerchief.
Aqua flicked the handkerchief, and from there…
A flock of pigeons numbering over a hundred flew out, shocking the audience.
“That’s too many! What, how did she do it? This is physically impossible!”
I started questioning my eyes and asked Wiz who was beside me.
“Who, who knows… I didn’t feel any mana, so it shouldn’t be summoning magic, and it’s not possible to hide the pigeons anywhere… Eh, so how did she…?”
Even Wiz, the expert in magic, placed her hand beside her mouth and started pondering.
“Ah, please don’t throw money. I’m not a busker, so no money please.”
Aqua solemnly rejected the tips thrown forth by the crowd.
She had a principle she insisted on upholding for her tricks.
By the way, she could make a living just by performing on the streets.
I was rendered speechless and before I knew it, I had mixed into the crowd because of Aqua’s wonderful performance.
“What, what’s with this terrible sight…?”
Vanir who came back suddenly stared at the crowd.
Aqua who was standing in the middle of the crowd took out a large quantity of potions that probably came from Wiz’s shop.
“Next, I’ll count to three and all these potions will disappear without a trace! Even I won’t know where it’ll go! Let’s start counting!”
“Don’t do that, thee imbecile!! What in the heavens art thee doing? Art thee not satisfied with sprinkling holy water on the handles of our shop? Art thee finally disrupting moi business openly?”
That girl, so that was what she was doing when she was wandering outside.
“Don’t get in my way you odd masked man! This is a public road; do you have any problem with me performing here?”
“Of course, thee twat! Moi bet the future of this shop on this day that commemorates the sale of our new products! Moi don’t have time for thee to obstruct moi business!”
Wiz ignored the two of them, who were yelling without regard for the customers, and shouted:
“Dear customers, we have plenty of convenient items in stock! Please have a look!”
This was the first time I saw Wiz acting like a shop owner!
– Although all sorts of things happened.
“Come, come, welcome! Customers who make purchases amounting to ten thousand eris will receive a Vanir doll that laughs at night as a gift! Customers who make purchases five hundred thousand eris and above, be amazed–! Thou shalt receive a Vanir mask that’s similar in design to mine as a complimentary gift! … Ara, young boy, moi mask isn’t for sale. Sorry, take this shiny card with you … This way, welcome!”
The suspicious, vigorously shouting shop attendant was unexpectedly popular with the kids.
“Thank you for your patronage, thank you for your patronage! Ah, two lighters and a Vanir mask, right? Thank you for your patronage!”
The convenient Japanese product was selling like hot cakes.
The merchandize was really flying off the shelf. If I knew it could sell so well, I should’ve started doing business earlier.
“Let me go, Darkness! He’s implying I’m stealing his customers, this is so vexing! Let me perform!”
“Calm down Aqua, you forgot your objective! Here, be a good girl and come here!”
Darkness restrained Aqua while Wiz and Vanir busied themselves with entertaining the customers.
When the number of customers finally dropped, the excited Vanir came to our side.
“Fuhahaha! Moi can’t stop laughing at this situation! Look, it’s still some ways to go before the shop closes, but the merchandize is almost sold out. Allow moi to thank thee once again, brat who enjoyed a great atmosphere with your companion during the trip, but feels uneasy because there wasn’t any development at all in the end!”
“Hey, are you talking about me? Is it really me? D-Don’t joke with me, I-I-I’m not uneasy, not at all! W-What, Megumin, don’t keep glancing my way!”
“I-I’m not glancing, not at all! Don’t waver Kazuma, how can you be so fooled by this devil’s lies!”
The thing I was most concerned about after returning from the village of the Crimson Demons was picked up so easily!
“It’s fine if thou two get married and make babies, but it’s annoying to see the two of thou stealing glances at each other. So just go to an inn or somewhere dark and get it down– Hmm, instead of that.”
This guy was really… Should I get Aqua to finish him off?
“If this goes on, the three hundred million eris thou deserve will be ready by the end of the month. This isn’t much, but consider this a compensation from moi for making thee wait for so long.”
Vanir said as he passed to me a black mask that was slightly different in design from the one he was wearing.
“This is one of the top sellers in our shop, a mass-produced Vanir mask that’s really popular in society. If you wear it in a moonlit night, your mana will increase, your metabolism will enhance, and your skin will have a silky luster because of the mysterious power of the devil. This is a rare black mask among these products, so you can flaunt it to the kids.”
I-I don’t want it…
Will I be cursed if I wear this…?
From that day forth, Wiz’s shop was uncharacteristically crowded.
“And so, all of you understand, right?”
That’s right. Today was the day we would be eating together with the princess.
When Darkness wasn’t in the living room, I told Aqua and Megumin that we can’t dishonor Darkness’s name.
“Of course. This is a rare chance. I won’t embarrass Darkness, so let me use the party trick I’ve been holding back all this while to hype up the crowd! … Kazuma, I want to take a tiger out from a hat, but there isn’t one. Using a Rookie Killer as a replacement will do, so can you catch one for me?”
“I’ll use an extravagant appearance in the style of the Crimson Demons to give the princess a pleasant surprise. Kazuma, I’ll need something that’ll produce lots of smoke and fire powder. Where should I buy these?”
… Darkness’s worry was warranted.
– The Dustiness mansion.
The largest mansion in Axel town was being guarded tightly.
The small number of house help had increased in number, probably to give the appearance of grandiose.
It was to be expected.
The first princess of this country, Iris, had already moved into this mansion yesterday.
At the entrance of the Dustiness mansion.
Wearing a pure white gown with her long blonde hair braided beautifully and hanging over her right shoulder, Darkness appeared before us.
It was a white and pure gown, but it looked lewd because of the one wearing it.
“Satou Kazuma-sama and ladies. We’re honored by your visit. Today, I, Dustiness ford Lalatina, will be your hostess. Please treat this as your own home and enjoy yourselves.”
Darkness, totally looking the part of an aristocratic lady, led the house help behind her and bowed to us after her formal greeting.
After the ceremonious welcome, we weren’t sure how we should react.
I bit my tongue right off the bat.
When she saw my mistake, Darkness, who was smiling gently, lowered her head suddenly with a blushed face.
Her shoulders were quivering; she seemed to be holding back her laughter.
This, this jerk…!
Damn, I shouldn’t do something I wasn’t used to.
“Hey Darkness, stop laughing and lead the way. These clothes are uncomfortably tight.”
I was wearing a black rental suit from the tailor shop.
It was something that should be worn with a bow tie, but Aqua and Megumin laughed loudly at me when I tried it on, so I decided to never wear it again.
Aqua and Megumin didn’t have enough time to have dresses made, so they were going to borrow from Darkness.
“Everyone, this way please.”
Darkness’s shoulders continued to quiver as she led us into the mansion.
“– Please wait here for a moment. The young lady’s choosing the dresses.”
The house help brought us to a reception room.
We settled down on a couch over there. The house help brewed tea for us and left the room so we could enjoy it in peace.
Shortly after, Darkness came in with some other house help holding dresses. They bowed to us and stood near the door–
Darkness then gestured for Aqua and Megumin to come to her.
Aqua and Megumin followed behind Darkness and entered the room next door, and then…
“Darkness, the waist is really loose. Is there one that’s tighter?”
“That, that piece has the slimmest waist… It can’t be helped, Crusaders need muscles…! What’s the matter, Megumin?”
“… How should I put this… It slipped right off. The waist and chest are too loose. Is there anything smaller…?”
I heard the three of them talking next door.
“Well, I do have others… But that one was from when I was a child… Ow-ow-ow! Megumin, don’t pull my braid!”
They then spoke to the house help who were probably tailoring the dress on the spot…
Finally, Darkness brought the two tired girls out of the room.
Hearing me gasp, Megumin shyly lowered her head.
As her shoulders were bare, her porcelain white skin was exposed. Thanks to the black dress that contrasted with her skin, she looked very elegant, quite different from her usual loli appearance.
Aqua followed right behind, wearing a white dress.
“Kazuma, look, look. How is it? This is what it means by ‘clothes make the man’.”
This wasn’t really a compliment, but it fits Aqua right now.
It wasn’t her usual blue attire and hagoromo, but a pure white dress. She was so beautiful that as long as she kept her mouth shut, it wouldn’t be a surprise if anyone worships her.
“Really Kazuma, with so many beauties before you, you won’t lose anything by complimenting and worshipping us a little, right?”
Really, if she would only shut her mouth.
“Yeah, it’s very pretty. But the important thing is still the princess. She’s been here since yesterday, huh?”
Hearing me asking so expectantly, Darkness had a genuine expression of unease.
“… I’m serious, don’t do anything rude, all right? After all, you tend to blurt out incredible things sometimes. As an adventurer who fights constantly as a career, you’ll be given more leeway, but you might still lose your head if you say the wrong things.”
My expectations grew after listening to what Darkness said.
Her royal highness.
That’s right, the royal princess.
Beautiful and demure, a princess that loves butterflies and birds.
No, since she likes stories of adventures, she might be unexpectedly lively.
Our team which seemed to fail at everything had finally risen to the point that royalty would come to visit us.
It couldn’t be helped if I get a little carried away.
“Hey, let me say this first. I really don’t want to leave this mansion. I’ve lived here for so long and really like it here, but… If the princess were to ask me to be on her escort team or something, I’ll consider moving out. So, all of you should prepare yourselves mentally.”
“How did things go so far? Didn’t I tell you it’s just a normal dinner?”
With Darkness leading the way, we walked toward the place to meet the princess.
And finally, we reached a huge room used for the dining event.
Darkness turned to us once again.
“Okay, listen well. She’s a princess of a nation… Kazuma, you might have many flaws, but you still have common sense, so I won’t need to worry about you too much. And I even dressed up like a maid and served you, so don’t think you can get away if you screw this up. Aqua, don’t go overboard with your performing, especially those dangerous ones. Those tricks are banned. And Megumin… I’ll search you right now!”
“Eh? Wait, wait a minute Darkness, why just me? What’s there to search, we even changed in the same room…! Ahhh, wait, Kazuma’s looking! Kazuma’s using the chance to stare at me!”
I looked at the two of them wrestling before me and asked Aqua:
“What trickery are you going to show?”
“What do you mean by trickery? How rude. It’s a rare chance to meet with royalty, but it’s boring just for the princess to see this. I planned to make a painting on the spot… Specifically, a sand painting. I would then gift it to her.”
“Huh. You really know all sorts of things…”
As we were conversing…
“Hah, see! What’s this, Megumin? A smoke bomb to disperse monsters and a potion that’ll explode once it’s opened! What are you planning to do with these? That’s why your chest’s so suspiciously big!”
“You’re pretty good Darkness, but I still have a second and third way of making a grandiose introduction…!”
Seeing the two of them continue to wrestle, the house help who had been with us since they chose the dresses sighed deeply.
“… Will we be implicated too…?”
I felt the same way.
“… Well then, we’re going now. Listen, I’ll handle Her Highness Iris, all of you just need to eat and nod. I’ll explain everything to her.”
Darkness said as she led the way and opened the door.
It was a vast, high-class dining hall that wasn’t overly extravagant.
The hall was illuminated by candles and was well lit.
Several servants surrounded the table quite some distance away, waiting quietly.
The floor was covered in red carpet.
A large table with all sorts of fancy dishes sat in the middle of the carpet laden room. At the head of the table was a girl who was dressed in white, just like Aqua and Darkness.
On either side of the girl stood two young women.
One wore a black dress and was unarmed, and looked a little plain.
Judging from the rings with sharp edges shining on her hand, she was probably a mage.
The other woman wasn’t wearing a dress, but a white suit. A short haired beauty with a sword on her waist.
It was probably inappropriate for the young princess to have male knights as guards, which was why her attendants were women.
Darkness slowly led us toward the three of them.
“Sorry for the wait, Princess Iris. These are my friends and my adventuring comrades, Satou Kazuma and his team. This way, my friends. This is the first princess of the kingdom, Her Highness Iris. Please introduce yourselves with the adequate etiquette.”
She said while gesturing to the young girl in the middle.
She was just what I expected a young princess to be.
Semi-long golden locks and clear blue eyes.
Giving off a sense of regal quality, an orthodox beauty with a dreamy air about her was right there.
How precious, this was a rare exception where this fantasy world didn’t betray my expectation.
Elves wearing fake ears, beardless dwarves, cat-eared orcs, and a disappointing lich.
After seeing all sorts of weirdos, I was wary about a weird princess appearing.
While I was feeling moved and stopped thinking, Aqua gently lifted the corners of her skirt and did a perfect curtsy.
When we saw her like that, not just me, even Darkness tensed up–
“I’m an Archpriest, Aqua. Please to meet you… All right, allow me to present a performance as a greeting…”
Aqua was about to show some tricks when Darkness grabbed her hand.
“E-Excuse for a moment, Princess Iris. I have something to tell my companion…”
Aqua pulled on Darkness’s braid in protest while she was being restrained.
Using the chance while Darkness was distracted by Aqua, Megumin reached into her dress,and quickly took out a black mantle.
She seemed to have tied it to her thigh to sneak it through Darkness’s body search.
After opening the mantle with a flick and donning it on her shoulders, Megumin prepared to introduce herself, but was stopped by Darkness grabbing her hand.
With one hand grabbing Aqua and the other holding Megumin, Darkness tried to smile as Aqua happily stroked her braid, but she looked as if she would burst into tears at any moment.
Aqua seemed to be enamored by how the braid felt in her hand, and didn’t plan to stop.
… At this moment, the princess looked at me as she whispered to the white-suited female attendant.
She was probably shy.
“Lowly plebeian, don’t leer at royalty with such lewd eyes. Normally, it’d be impossible for you to meet and dine together with royalty because of the difference in status. Lower your head, don’t meet my eyes. Hurry up with your greetings and tell me about your adventures… The princess said.”
When I heard the white-suited woman say that, I froze.
After a moment, I understood.
During the times of samurai in Japan, because of the status difference between the lord and his vassals, they wouldn’t dine at the same table and would eat at different times.
Getting the white-suited woman to speak in her place was probably to avoid conversing with people of a lower status.
I felt at ease with aristocrats because of Darkness and her father, but this was the norm for nobles and royalty.
I see, I got it… I simply said:
“Your Highness Iris, please wait for a moment! My comrades are tense because of their excitement, allow me to speak with them for a moment…!”
Darkness dragged me by my hand to a corner of the hall.
“Y-you idiot! What the hell is ‘change’? Why do you think I suffered through all that humiliation to serve you? This isn’t what we agreed on!”
Facing Darkness, who wanted to strangle me, I protested by pulling on her braid.
“‘What the hell’ and ‘not what we agreed on’ should be my lines! All those talks about the princess filled me with expectations, but what’s all this? The development I was looking forward to being was… ‘I yearn for the world outside! Brave adventurer-sama, please allow me to hear your tales of adventures!’ What kind of dining together is this? Are they looking down on me?”
“Hey, shut up now…! Ughh, why’s everyone pulling on my hair today…? Um… No-not in a place like this, these types of things should be done when the two of us are alone…!”
I pointed in the princess’s direction and said to Darkness, who was spouting nonsense:
“By the way, something seemed to be happening. Is it fine to leave her alone?”
In the direction I was pointing at, Aqua was painting on a piece of paper with glue and then sprinkling sand on top of it.
Completed in no time was an incredibly high-quality sand painting.
It was a work that could be mistaken for a black and white photo from far…
“To commemorate the day we meet the princess, I present you with this. I even replicated the disgraceful bit of sauce at the corner of the lips perfectly…”
When the princess heard Aqua’s unnecessary words, she wiped the corner of her mouth frantically.
“Your Highness Iris, I’ll chase this insolent fool out, please wait a moment!!”
Darkness screamed as she lifted the edge of her dress slightly off the ground and charged.
When the princess heard her scream, she whispered to the white-suited woman beside her.
“Because the princess saw the rare sight of the calm and quiet Lalatina acting so frantically, she won’t pursue the matter. It’s normal for adventurers to be a little crude. Instead of that, hurry up and tell your stories of adventure, the princess said.”
As the white-suited woman repeated the princess’s word, Her Highness looked at Aqua doing her best to protect the sand painting in her arms from Darkness and smiled happily.
Darkness bowed deeply toward the princess–
“My deep apologies, Princess Iris! How should I put this, the three of them are also the most problematic bunch amongst the adventurers!”
While Darkness was doing her best to explain, Aqua presented the sand painting to Her Highness and said, “For you.”
When the princess saw the sand painting, shock came over her face, and she whispered to the white-suited woman.
“To draw such a perfect sand painting in so little time…! Amazing, simply amazing! A reward for you! The princess said.”
The white-suited woman said as she took out something from her pocket and offered it to Aqua.
It was a small gem.
Even to my untrained eyes, I could tell that gem was valuable.
Aqua took it and held it between her thumb and index finger, appraising it happily in the light.
Lowering her head embarrassingly, Darkness sat to the right of the princess.
Megumin and Aqua sat to the side of Darkness.
The princess gestured for me to sit to her left.
As I sat down as instructed, Her Highness stared at me and whispered to the white-suited woman.
“Are you the one the brave magic sword user Mitsurugi mentioned? Let me hear your story, Her Highness said… I also want to hear about how you defeated that Mitsurugi.”
Was Mitsurugi famous in the kingdom?
And what exactly did that guy say about me?
I basked in the gaze full of expectation from the white-suited woman and the princess and started recounting my memories…
“I had a stroke of inspiration and set a trap. I undid the seal to lock Sylvia inside! And so, I managed to buy time for the Crimson Demons to regroup!”
“Amazing! I’ve heard of all sorts of adventuring stories, but you’re the first person I know of that fights like this! Also, this is the first time I’ve heard such a touching story full of surprises! The stories of the other adventurers simply detailed how they elegantly wiped out the monsters, or how he defeated the dragon on the mountain with just a sword… The stories told so far were amazing, but they were all how the heroes defeated the monsters one-sidedly…! That’s what Her Highness said.”
The princess listened to my adventure tales with sparkling eyes, just like a kid.
A person with high standings was listening to my words expectantly.
In such a situation, it couldn’t be helped if I acted a little arrogantly.
“… Really, that guy’s spouting nonsense.”
Aqua’s furtive voice came from across the table.
I wasn’t bothered by the audience and continued:
“Your Highness, that’s because the other adventurers subjugated opponents they could take on. I’m not saying that’s bad, but they’re obviously different from me who fought with foes that are stronger than me as I strived to better myself every day.”
“How exemplary! Since you’re constantly working to improve yourself, how do you spend your time…? The princess is curious… As am I, how does a person like you spend your days…?”
I said to the princess and the white-suited woman, who were impressed:
“Right… I usually rest at home during the day and venture out when night falls. I’d then patrol the town quietly and help maintain law and order.”
I drank my beverage while I explained, but didn’t touch the extravagant food much.
From the other side of the table, the soft mumbling of Megumin could be heard.
“Aqua, this guy idles the entire day and calls his depraved life of wandering around patrolling.”
“Shh, just watch. You know this guy will get too cocky and dig his own grave.”
I heard what Aqua said, but I wasn’t an idiot either.
I only said these things after observing the expression and reaction of the princess.
When I looked at Darkness, she was lowering her head shyly for some reason as Megumin stroked her braid.
Megumin liked the feeling of Darkness’s braid too.
Darkness noticed what they would behave when they were playing with her hair, so she let Megumin do as she pleased.
The princess sighed after hearing my words and whispered into the ears of the white-suited woman.
“What a strange adventurer. You’re completely different from all the adventurers I’ve met so far. What did you do before you became an adventurer? Says the princess.”
My previous job, huh…
I reminisced about my life in Japan and said:
“Before I came to this country, my job was to guard the home of my family. I trained my skills every day, protecting my home from crisis and disasters. A miserable job that no one would understand nor appreciate…”
When they heard what I said…
“Hmm, so it’s something like the castle guard in the capital? … They’re the same, they don’t receive much credit. But the guards being idle was proof that the capital was peaceful… So, you too were anonymously protecting your hometown from harm.”
I nodded deeply after hearing what the white-suited woman said.
“I had to deal with people forcing me to sign contracts, telling me that ‘it’ll just be for three months’. I fended off people eyeing my wealth too, lots of things happened.”
That’s right, newspaper vendors and television fee collectors.
The surprised white-suited woman whispered to the princess:
“Forcing him to sign a contract… He must’ve defeated a devil… Wealth… Those were probably bandits…”
Aqua, who was listening all this while, looked at me as if she had something to say.
Even though I turned my face to avoid her gaze, she still persistently looked at me.
Please, I’m not lying. Don’t look at me like that.
Everyone was enjoying their meal and the chattering stopped momentarily.
The white-suited woman suddenly said to me, who was getting arrogant:
“To think that you won against the hero with the magic sword, Mitsurugi… Pardon my impudence, but may I look at your adventurer’s card? I wish to use Kazuma-san’s skills as reference for myself…”
She said something incredible.
My problematic adventurer’s card couldn’t be shown to others.
I’ll be in hot soup if they questioned where I learned the skills of a lich from.
Megumin noticed my anxiety–
“Um, for us adventurers, such information is sensitive– even for the attendants of a princess… Ah, instead of that, Aqua, the party’s simmering down, so it’s about time for you to show your secret party tricks…!”
She tried to divert the topic to cover for me.
And Aqua would…!
“…? I drew something great today, so that’s enough. Megumin, you really want to watch my performance, huh? Can’t be helped then, I’ll show it to you when I get in the mood tomorrow. Hey, more wine, more wine.”
Aqua was splendidly ignorant of the mood today too, and was even rushing the servers for more wine.
The white-suited woman tilted her head suspiciously.
“We’re not adventurers like you, but the nobility of the kingdom. We won’t carelessly reveal Kazuma-dono’s details. Referencing Kazuma-dono’s skills will improve the combat potential of the kingdom’s army, which will ultimately help in defeating the Demon King. May you please aid us in strengthening the fighting prowess of the kingdom? Or is there some reason as to why you won’t let me look at it?”
It was true that there was a reason I couldn’t let others see this.
At this moment.
“That man has the weakest job, Adventurer. He probably has a complex about it and doesn’t want others to know. May you let it go on my account?”
Darkness asked the white-suited woman with a smile.
“Yes, that’s right. I didn’t mention this earlier, but I have the weakest job. Oh, this is embarrassing, I got found out.”
Seeing me scratch my head, the white-suited woman’s attitude changed with disappointment.
“So, you have the weakest job… Are you as good as you say? You mentioned about winning against Mitsurugi in a fight, but is that true? If it’s so, pray tell us how you won against him.”
She was polite, but the content showed her obvious doubts.
I won against Mitsurugi by stealing his sword and using sneak attacks; I couldn’t tell them that I won through such an inglorious way.
… The princess then tugged at the shirt of the white-suited woman.
And whispered into her ear while glancing at me…
The mouth of the white-suited woman moved as if she was troubled by what she heard.
“… Um… It’s hard to believe the handsome Mitsurugi would lose to someone with the weakest job. Are you lying to me, a royal? Even the common people on the streets know about the Swordmaster who wields a magic sword. It’s unfathomable for him to lose to someone with the weakest job in the beginner town, since he’s handsome… That’s what Her Highness said… I think so too, since he’s handsome.”
“Hey, are the two of you asking for a beating?”
After hearing their implications that I couldn’t be considered good looking, I said that to the white-suited woman.
That’s right, I even forgot about the other party being royalty and said so with my casual tone.
The white-suited woman became agitated when she heard that.
“Insolent fool! How dare you say that in the presence of royalty?”
She shouted as she drew the sword on her waist.
Oh no, shit!
“My humble apologies, my companion said something rude…! He’s a man who doesn’t even know basic manners, please forgive him on my sake…! It’s a fact that this man achieved great merits, and it would be inadequate for Your Highness Iris who invited him to a meal to hand down punishment…!”
Darkness lowered her head in an apology in my stead.
The princess whispered to the white-suited woman when she heard this.
“… Her Highness Iris says she won’t pursue the matter on the account of the Dustiness house. who’s contributed tremendously to the kingdom. However, her mood has been spoiled. The reward for the stories of adventures will be paid out as usual. That con man with the weakest job over there, be gone after taking the money.”
Ah, what stinging words!
But thanks to Darkness, I was saved.
However, they were speaking in a manner just asking for a retort. It’s completely unreasonable for them to get angry.
As I was thinking about hurrying and leaving…
“Ow, ow! Hey Megumin, what are you…?”
Darkness suddenly screamed.
It seemed that Megumin was venting her anger by tugging on Darkness’s braid, which she had been stroking softly all this while.
Leaving Darkness who noticed this aside, even my face was turning green.
In our team, Megumin was probably the one who cherished her comrades the most.
When we were escaping from Sylvia in the village of the Crimson Demons, when she heard we’d be implicated even if we fled, Megumin chose to face the Demon King’s General in battle.
She once said, ‘If you’re hit, hitting back the only correct response.’ Megumin, who had the shortest temper among us, couldn’t just ignore this situation…!
Megumin stroked Darkness’s braids a few more times.
Her wrath seemed to dissipate and she released the braid and went back to her food.
I was worried that she might say something like, “You wench, try saying that again!’ or something like that, but she didn’t.
The princess was as surprised as was the white-suited woman, and the baffled Darkness asked Megumin:
“… Megumin, you’re really well behaved today. I thought you’d cause a commotion…”
Megumin quietly sent food into her mouth, chewed it and then swallowed.
She then finally said in a soft voice:
“I wouldn’t be able to bear it if I’m alone. But if I rampage here, Darkness will be troubled.”
Darkness looked at Megumin, who was eating quietly.
After a moment of silence…
She stood up suddenly and said to the princess with her head bowed:
“My sincere apologies, Your Highness Iris… Please take back your words about this man being a con man. He might exaggerate a little, but he didn’t lie. He might have the weakest job, but he’s a man who’s more reliable than anyone else during a pinch. Princess Iris, may you correct your speech from earlier and apologize to him?”
The white-suited woman turned furious when she heard Darkness.
“What are you saying, Lady Dustiness? You want Her Highness Iris to beg a peasant for forgiveness…?”
The princess stood up and spoke clearly in her own voice:
Even I could hear it.
“… I won’t apologize. If those weren’t lies, then let that man explain how he won against Mitsurugi-sama. If he can’t do that, then that means this man’s a weakling who’s all talk–?”
The princess’s words were interrupted midway.
Darkness silently slapped her in the face.
“What are you doing, Lady Dustiness?!”
Agitated, the white-suited woman stood before the princess, who was stunned after being slapped, and glared furiously at Darkness.
“Ahhh! No, don’t…!”
The princess said hastily.
Before her voice could reach, the white-suited woman swung her sword down at Darkness…!
With a dull thud, the sword cut deep into Darkness’s wrist.
Red blood sprayed onto the clothes of the princess, Darkness, and the white-suited woman.
The white-suited woman remained still.
Or rather, she couldn’t move.
She probably swung with the intention to slash off the wrist.
But that blow only tore through Darkness’s skin and a bit of her muscle.
Darkness didn’t even glance at the shocked expression of the white-suited woman, and turned to face the princess silently.
The Crusader who was the pride of our team was tough.
She was probably the toughest in this nation.
“Your Highness Iris, pardon my impudence. However, that shouldn’t be something you should say to someone who did their best and achieved numerous merits. He also has no obligation to explain how he defeated the magic sword user. Also, not explaining doesn’t mean he should be lectured.”
Darkness used her still bleeding hand to caress the cheek of the princess that she slapped, speaking in a calm and soothing voice as if she was educating a child.
The princess looked blankly at Darkness.
I stood up.
“… I understand. My comrade covered for me this much, so I shouldn’t keep it from you… I’ll show you how I defeated Mitsurugi. Let me say this first, it’s nothing glamourous, all right?”
I said to the white-suited woman who still had a stunned expression.
She composed herself when she said that, pulled her sword back, and took a stance.
“Enough, that’s enough! Claire, I’m fine!”
The princess shouted miserably.
I couldn’t feel the intense pressure from the princess right now.
What was with this sudden change?
Maybe her nature wasn’t bad?
“… Since you’re agreeable, I have no objections. Go all out Kazuma. You won’t say that you’ll lose, right?”
Darkness covered her wounds with her other hand as she provoked me with a smile. I reached a hand out at the woman in the white suit–
“Of course, think about all the opponents I faced! From magic sword users to the Generals of the Demon King’s army, even the Mobile Fortress Destroyer! I’ve always been fighting with such people! Take this, I’ll start with Steal!”
I shouted at the white-suited woman who was watching me cautiously!
I’ll steal her sword and…!
… I didn’t settle it.
I apologized to her softly.
“My bad. This… I’ll return it to you…”
“…? Eh, ahhh…! Hyaa?”
I timidly offered the white panties in my hand to the white-suited woman, who had let go of her sword and was grasping at her lower abdomen.
“You-why! Why do you always drop the ball at the crucial moment?”
“Um, my apologies for letting things turn out this way…”
The white-suited woman apologized to us.
The princess beside her hid her face behind the white-suited woman as if she was hiding.
Darkness said to the white-suited woman with a smile.
“Please don’t mind it. We’re partially at fault too. As you can see, the wounds have healed without any traces, so let’s forget about the matter.”
The white-suited woman blushed with embarrassment at the sight.
Be it the princess or the white-suited lady, they didn’t seem concerned about how I won against Mitsurugi.
“… But, to instantly heal that wound without any scars… What a powerful Archpriest.”
The white-suited woman said as she looked at Aqua, who was lying face down on the table.
I was wondering why she was behaving herself. So she drank too much and was asleep all this while.
We woke her up just now by hitting her to treat Darkness’s wound, but she fell asleep again immediately after doing so.
She’ll only spoil the mood if she’s awake, so it’s better to let her sleep.
The white-suited woman continued:
“And Lady Dustiness’s toughness… The lady with crimson eyes who seemed to be a Crimson Demon… With a team formed with such members, it’s understandable that you all could defeat a General of the Demon King’s army… Eh, but Kazuma-dono…”
For some reason, the white-suited woman was only looking at me with doubtful eyes.
She was probably bearing a grudge because her underwear was stolen.
At this moment, the fidgeting princess turned to the other woman.
That woman hadn’t spoken so far, or even moved at all. The princess whispered into the ears of the big sister mage that I forgot existed.
“Your Highness Iris. I think it would be better if you say these words personally. It’s fine; I’ve been observing all this while, and Kazuma-dono seems to be the type that dotes on girls of your type, Princess Iris.”
Oh, someone I’ve never met before was accusing me of being a lolicon.
The princess came before me with her head held low.
“… I’m sorry for calling you a liar… Will you tell me stories about your adventures in the future too?”
She lifted her head a little shyly.
“I would be glad to!”
“– Well then, we’ll be returning to the castle. Lady Dustiness and everyone. Sorry for troubling you.”
The big sister mage said to us.
Unlike earlier, the princess beside her had a lively smile befitting her age.
“We should be the ones thanking you for accommodating our shoddy reception… Your Highness Iris, let’s talk again the next time we meet at the castle. I’ll tell you all sorts of adventure tales when I visit.”
Darkness said with a warm smile, and the princess smiled back shyly.
These two looked just like a caring elder sister and a younger sister who admires her older sister.
The big sister mage looked at the two of them serenely and started chanting teleport magic.
“Well then, the Kingdom will keep your grand accomplishments in our history books. We’ll present you with this to acknowledge your merits.”
The white-suited woman said as she passed a plaque and a bag of something to Darkness instead of me.
… That’s fine with me!
“I’m flattered… Princess Iris, please take care of yourself…!”
Darkness held on to the items and smiled warmly; at her side, Megumin was waving goodbye too.
“Your Highness, I’ll visit you some other day and share with you my tales of adventure.”
As I was saying that and went to wave at the princess.
The big sister mage completed her chant and the princess pulled my hand.
“What do you mean?”
The princess had a confused expression.
With the voice of the big sister mage, I, the princess, and the others were engulfed by light, and I closed my eyes.
When I opened them…
The princess was standing before a huge castle and smiling at me innocently.
When the princess grabbed my hand, I seemed to have been brought to the castle along with them.
The white-suited woman and the big sister mage yelled at the same time.
“Didn’t you promise that you’d tell me more stories of your adventures?”
The princess said with a smile.
As expected of the big boss of the nobles– Royalty really didn’t give a shit about others.