Serving divine retribution to this handsome chivalrous thief!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Xenthur.
My plan was to drag out the investigation so I can freeload in the castle.
The next morning.
“Really, will it kill you to not get involved in troublesome things? You even dragged us all in. It can’t be helped, so I’ll assist you with this. Don’t complain about about it later. Really, Kazuma’s so much trouble!”
“That’s right! This way, you can’t keep saying that we’re troublemakers! Since you’re our comrade, we’ll help you out. We won’t abandon you!!”
The two of them who did nothing but eat at the party last night arrogantly said to me.
I didn’t ask them to help me catch the thief, but after explaining the situation to them, they used this chance to put me in their debts.
The job this time was to capture the chivalrous thief, so I didn’t really need these two. However, they were really motivated to do this, so I didn’t stop them.
Right now, we had arrived at the house of the number one target that would be hit by the chivalrous thief.
“– And so, you came to my place without any hesitation?”
This was the villa of Alderp, the tyrannical lord of Axel.
All the nobles who got hit had a bad reputation with the people.
Judging from this, it wouldn’t be strange if this guy was targeted. And so, we came here.
Alderp, who came to receive us with his guards, showed his displeasure, and without reservation, he looked over Darkness body as if he was stripping her with his eyes.
I admit that Eroness has a really erotic body; as a guy who’d look at Darkness when she finished her baths, I can empathize with him.
But staring at her body so rudely was too much.
Alderp probably noticed my gaze and threw me a cold look.
He then looked toward Aqua half-heartedly.
Aqua squeaked ‘Eek’ softly and hid behind me.
“… Oh… Oh! As expected of Lady Dustiness’s companion, how beautiful! If I’m to compare… That’s right! Your beauty’s just like a goddess!”
“What do you mean by just like a goddess, I am a goddess! I am one!”
Aqua poked her head out from behind me and protested.
“Ha, not only is your beauty exemplary, your sense of humor is great too!”
“Just wait for your divine retribution!”
Despite what Aqua roared, Alderp seemed to be treating that as a joke too.
His eyes moved on to Megumin…
“Oh, you’re really…”
When he was about to say something.
The male guard beside the lord whispered something to him.
I couldn’t hear it clearly as they were quite far away…
“… My Lord… Please be careful… With your words… That’s the legendary girl with her screw loose…”
“… So she’s…! Dangerous… Screw loose…!”
The Lord’s expression changed instantly as he conversed softly.
“Hey, why’d you avert your eyes away from me, explain it to me. If you’re lucky, I might personally show you if I’m just like what that man described.”
“No, no, um… Oh, you look really cute and pretty…”
“Oh, what else?”
Megumin pestered Alderp, who then looked at me for help.
“… Hey, aren’t you too stingy with your praise for the one who protects Axel every day? I’ll show you how powerful my explosion spell is, so let me borrow your courtyard.”
“No, I fully understand how outstanding you are!”
… I decided to not get involved for now.
“S-Still, Lady Dustiness, are you implying that I’m a notorious noble who might be targeted by the chivalrous thief? And here I thought you’d be unwilling to stay in my house, but you don’t seem to be against it. It pains me that the famous Lady Dustiness would believe the rumors against me circulating in the streets. If you think I’m someone that the chivalrous thief will go after, please, don’t hold back and stay as long as you wish.”
Alderp said sarcastically and smiled as he tried to keep us in check.
“No, we wouldn’t suspect you that way… This is just a part of the investigation…”
I walked past Darkness who was making excuses in a panic and entered the mansion.
“We’ve permission to stay as long as we want! I’ll be taking the largest guest room!”
“That’s unfair, Kazuma! I think we should decide after discussing it! I want the room nearest to the dining hall!”
“I want the room on the highest floor! I don’t mind living in the attic!”
After we entered the mansion, Darkness said a little sheepishly:
“… My apologies, sorry for troubling you…”
“Ah, it’s fine… Um, Lady Dustiness has it hard as well…”
Alderp said sympathetically in a soft voice.
– The rumored chivalrous thief seemed to be working alone.
He chose to only burgle the homes of nobles with a notorious reputation, and then donates the loot to orphanages, a typical chivalrous thief.
And according to witnesses that somehow caught a glimpse of him, he seemed to be rather handsome.
Darkness said with a worried expression:
“What the chivalrous thief is doing is a crime and not worthy of praise. That might be so… But I still feel bad about catching the rumored chivalrous thief…”
In the Alderp Mansion.
Everyone had gathered in the best guest room, which I had claimed for myself, to discuss the strategy to deal with that chivalrous thief.
“That might be so, but stealing is still stealing. I there is nothing I hate more than handsome guys who work under the fake banner of ‘friend of the weak’ and ‘savior of peasants in trouble’.”
When they heard what I said, Darkness and Megumin looked at me with strange expressions.
“… How should I put this… Your face isn’t that bad, so you don’t need to demean yourself that much. I’d been wondering about this for some time, but do you have some trauma with the term ‘handsome guy’? I’m willing to listen if you want to vent, all right?”
“I think Kazuma looks pretty good though. I think you need to be more confident.”
“D-Don’t do that, why are all of you treating me so gently? I’ll feel like I’m really petty, so stop… What is it Aqua? You look more serious than ever. What do you want?”
Aqua smiled gently at me.
“Thou hikikomori who’s at a loss. Don’t blame yourself too much… It’s the world’s fault that thou don’t want to work hard, it’s thy environment’s fault that your personality’s twisted, it’s thy gene’s fault for being ugly. Don’t blame thyself, just push the blame to others…”
“Don’t joke with me, my self-esteem isn’t that low! Looks aside, my character’s…! Hey, stop! Why are all of you smiling like that? My appearance can still be called average! Hey… Don’t come near me so gently!”
I shooed the three of them who were acting more gently than ever away, and begun formulating the plan to capture the chivalrous thief.
The chivalrous thief seemed to work between midnight and dawn.
After coming to this world and going through all of sorts of hell, my instincts told me that this villa will be targeted next.
I had a feeling that this would be a long battle.
– The day after moving into this mansion.
I came out of the room that I wasn’t familiar with and started wandering around the mansion.
This was to find out the chivalrous thief’s infiltration path and target.
I observed the exterior of the mansion by putting myself in the shoes of the chivalrous thief.
Hmm, the windows of the kitchen on the first floor were a little worn out.
Alderp was probably stingy about the repair fees and only amateurishly reinforced the broken window by nailing it down.
Yup, if it was me, I’d sneak in from here.
I returned to the kitchen and imagined what I’d do if I was the thief that broke in through the window.
I’d probably do it late at night.
The corridor would be pitch dark then.
The only ones who can learn Farsight that enables night vision would be those with Archer or Adventurer jobs.
Hence, the thief will only be able to move slowly in the dark by keeping to the wall…
While simulating the actions of the thief and moving in, I came to a quiet room.
It might look like a room that had nothing in it, but if I was the thief, I’d still go in and check it out.
I opened the door while thinking that…
“Hmm? Oh, it’s just you. What is it, there’s nothing here, all right? Don’t wander around the villa like that.”
For some reasons, Alderp was here.
Just like what Alderp said, this room had nothing except a large mirror on the wall.
But what’s this old man doing in such a room?
As I wondered, I realized that Alderp was cleaning this room from the bucket and towel in his hands.
He was cleaning it personally even though he had servants…?
I thought it was strange, and then a figure appeared on the giant mirror hanging on the wall.
“Huh? What’s with this mirror, a magic item? Like a magic mirror?”
A maid working in this mansion appeared on the mirror.
She seemed to be cleaning the shower room next door.
Although I could see the maid, she didn’t seem to notice me.
“Old man, are you here to clean this mirror?”
When he heard that, Alderp averted his face aside and said softly:
“… Want, want to watch together…?”
“There’s no way I can accept such an invitation. Really, you bought this mirror because Darkness is staying here? I can empathize with you as a man, but… Keeping this room a secret from my comrades is the best I can do. But in exchange, I’ll be staying in this room during our time here, all right? I need to stay here as a safety measure. Get out of here, hurry.”
When he saw me chasing him off with a wave, Alderp drooped his shoulders sadly and walked out…
And suddenly stopped.
“Wait. You want this room, that means…”
“Hey, stop your baseless speculations! Don’t think that I’ll act the same way as you! I’m just staying here to protect my comrades!”
“Then you don’t even need to stay in this room, you just need to keep an eye on me when your comrades enter the bath! You get out of here too! How can I let a brat like you see Lalatina’s naked body!”
“Too bad, I’ve already bathed together with Darkness! That aside, I don’t want to waste my precious time watching over an old man! Not just Darkness, do you want me to tell all the maids that there’s such a room? This is a win-win deal, so shut up if you don’t want to be hated by all the woman living in this mansion!”
“Tell the maids all you want! I pay them a good salary, and being sexually harassed is part of the maid’s job! But they look amazing when they strip, all right? Aren’t you interested? … How about it, want to make a deal with me? For some reason, I smell the scent of a comrade from you. In such a situation, shouldn’t we guys compromise and work together for our happiness?”
“… Are, are they that amazing?”
“Of course, they’re really amazing.”
I reached out my hand quietly, and when Alderp was about to shake my hand…
“What an interesting topic. Pray tell, what’s so amazing.”
At that moment, a familiar voice came from the door. Both of us withdrew our hands in a panic.
Before we even confirmed the identity of that person, Alderp and I pointed at each other.
“This guy’s planning to peek…!”
The magic mirror was smashed.
– Three days after we moved into the villa as guards.
The thief had yet to show up, and we lived a peaceful life just like we did in Axel.
Since they came to the capital, Aqua and Darkness had been going out frequently and I almost never saw them around.
Aqua said she wanted to chase out the church of Eris that had been throwing their weight around the royal capital and had been performing mischief in the name of preaching her cult.
Darkness received plenty of invitations from the nobles in the capital and had to socialize with them.
In the meantime, I–
“Oh, morning Kazuma. Although it’s already noon.”
I came to the dining hall after waking up and saw Megumin having lunch there.
“I got up late intentionally to keep watch against thieves breaking in. I’m not living a depraved life… And didn’t you stay up late every night when I wasn’t around?”
“? W-Well, I did do that! But I still got up early! Instead of that, any sign of the thief?”
Megumin, who was panicking more than usual, said with the bread she had bitten into in her hands.
What the hell, this was like a love comedy.
“Why are you panicking? Are you really worried about me, just like Darkness said? Aren’t you cute?”
I teased her with a devious smile, and Megumin blushed and said:
“… O-Of course I’ll worry. Kazuma’s really weak after all, and always gets dragged into trouble. And unlike the protagonist in stories, you won’t be saved in the nick of time during a crisis and might die at any time.”
“I-I don’t want to be dragged into trouble either, and I didn’t die because I wanted to! Hey, don’t do that, I won’t know what to do even if you put on a serious face to lecture me!”
When she saw how I was panicking because of her response, Megumin chuckled.
“Even so, you attempted to do things to me back in my village. Kazuma, you’re unexpectedly cute.”
As she said that, she smiled mischievously as if she was taking revenge on me for teasing her.
Damn it, she didn’t have any experience with love either, so why was I at such a disadvantage?
And just what was with our relationship?
Just what did Megumin mean when she said she likes me?
If I interpret it literally and say ‘I like you too’, she’ll definitely reply ‘I don’t mean it that way, I like you as a friend…’
Such cliché developments could be seen in mangas and light novels anywhere in Japan. The readers would feel anxious thinking ‘the feeling’s mutual between the two of them, just get together already’.
However, when you were the one in their position, it was hard to do so.
You’d be afraid of damaging the good relations the two of you have and hesitate about taking the next step.
In the end, what did I like about this girl?
Boys were naive during their youth.
Just holding hands or seeing some actions you like would make you conscious of a girl and fall for her.
Megumin finished her meal while I was thinking about all that.
“Kazuma, want to go on a date with me after you finish your breakfast?”
She said nonchalantly to me with a smile.
– Megumin’s voice echoed through the open hills of the capital.
I knew it would turn out this way!
After being invited to a ‘date’, I came to the outskirts of the capital in search of a place to cast Explosion with Megumin.
“Look at that Explosion just now! Be it destructive power or effective range, it’s really mighty today, super strong!”
“All right, all right, explosion spells are amazing. Hey, don’t fidget so excitedly, it’s hard to piggyback you this way!”
“Even if you say that, I couldn’t see the boulder being pulverized before I…!”
After she came back from the Crimson Demon village, Megumin’s passion for Explosions reached new heights.
Now that her Explosion had been strengthened with all her accumulated skill points, the magic power of this loli was catastrophic for humans.
For the residents of Axel, the daily Explosion boom was a part of the town’s scene, and no one was bothered by it anymore.
But that wasn’t the case for the capital; it seemed that people had been complaining to Alderp.
Even though she only came to the capital for just a few days, Megumin was already known throughout the city.
After I tweaked Megumin’s adventurer’s card in the Crimson Demon village, the troubles that had been weighing her down were all gone, and she lost what little restraint she had.
Why did I do that back then?
I muttered to myself with Megumin on my back.
“I should’ve made you learn Advanced Magic…”
“Did you say something I can’t just ignore? Kazuma’s words and actions moved me so much back then!”
I fended off the grumbling Megumin on my back as we headed back to Alderp’s mansion.
– A week after we moved into the mansion.
There was still no sign of the chivalrous thief.
“Hey! Don’t look down on the goddess of water, you can’t hide matters related to wine from me! Isn’t there high class wine in the study room? Hurry up and bring it here!”
During this week, Aqua drank all the wine Alderp had in his collection.
“… And then, my Explosion burst out! The pitiful Demon King’s General Hans was turned into dust! Next, I’ll tell you what I did during the fight with the Demon King’s General Sylvia…”
Not just the servants in the mansion, Megumin didn’t let Alderp off either, and talked about her heroic exploits to whoever she nabbed.
“Maid-san, Maid-san! Please give me the usual massage! Ah, I want to eat white beef sukiyaki for dinner tonight. Also, when the king size bed and soft and fluffy duvet I ordered arrive, please send it to my room!”
I made myself right at home here.
Recently, everyone had been lazing around together at the reception room.
If I can’t go back to the castle, it might be great to keep being a bother here.
… Alderp, who seemed to have gotten thinner these past few days, looked at us and said in a soft, tired voice.
When she heard him, Darkness, who was curled up like a ball in a corner of the room, shivered.
“Um, although I did say you can stay as long as you wish…”
“You don’t need to say anymore! We’ll move out right away!”
Darkness lowered her face shamefully on the verge of tears.
– Midnight, when most of the world was asleep.
“Oh no… I thought this mansion would definitely be targeted…”
It was also the period when the undead and NEETs were the most active.
I couldn’t sleep because I slept too much in the day, and headed toward the kitchen because I was hungry.
But this will be difficult.
What the hell, why wasn’t the notorious Alderp with such a terrible reputation being burgled?
If this goes on, my plans to catch the chivalrous thief and return to the castle will…
The ambush will end right here when I leave the mansion tomorrow.
Did he see through my ambush here?
And shouldn’t my luck be great?
Speaking of which, I heard Eris-sama was the goddess of fortune.
Maybe Eris-sama was taking revenge on me for bullying Darkness too much? She is a devoted believer of Eris, after all…
Or maybe that chivalrous thief’s luck was better than mine…
When I reached the kitchen, I sensed that someone was here before me.
I could sense a presence, but the light in the kitchen wasn’t on.
In that case, the one who’d be there at such an hour would be–
… Aqua, who had better night vision than me and a sleep cycle similar to mine.
If it was that girl, she was probably here for snacks to go with her wine.
I was about to call out to her…
“To not have a single sentry, am I overthinking this? To think that I’d been avoiding this villa because I had a bad feeling about this place…”
I heard a soft mumbling in the darkness.
The day before leaving the mansion, I finally hit the jackpot.
Thank you very much, goddess of fortune Eris-sama!
“…? I sensed a weird presence just now…”
Oh, no good. The opponent was the chivalrous thief, he definitely had the Thief job.
He might’ve detected me by using Sense Enemy.
I activated my Hide skill without thinking, stuck close to a wall in the darkness, and remained still.
“Just my imagination…?”
With a soft mumble, the infiltrator started groping around in the dark.
From the way he was moving, he didn’t seem to have night vision.
I followed behind the infiltrator and noticed something after closing the distance.
“Well then, Detect Treasure… Good. Hmm, so it’s this way…”
The infiltrator who kept mumbling was–
I felt a soft sensation when I grabbed the infiltrator.
That’s right, the thief was a woman.
“– Okay, keep still! Wahaha, the thief disrupting the peace in the capital, you picked the wrong opponent! You might’ve been able to get by those mediocre people, but don’t even think you can escape from me, who has fought the Generals of the Demon King’s army directly!”
“Stop…? Wait–? This voice, can it be…!”
What was going on? I felt that I heard the thief’s voice somewhere before.
“Is it Kazuma-kun? Hey, wait– Hey, you’re grabbing a strange place!”
“No, I’m just catching a burglar… Hmm, are you…?”
I couldn’t see the face with my night vision, but I realized the identity of the infiltrator.
“It’s me! I’m Darkness’s good friend, I even taught you a skill before…!”
She was Chris, her mouth covered by a cloth.
It’s a pity, but I let go of Chris’s hands.
Using the lighter I got from Wiz’s shop, I lit a light in the darkness that revealed Chris holding her own body tightly with tears in her eyes.
“Ughh… I’ve been violated… I can’t marry anymore…”
“It couldn’t be helped, I thought you were a thief. I don’t have a skill to capture a target. Even if you take this to court, I’m confident I’ll win the suit.”
“I’ll teach you the convenient Bind skill next time…”
I observed the sobbing Chris once again.
Chris wore tight black pants and a matching shirt, and even covered her mouth with a black cloth.
She broke in wearing such an attire, which meant…
“So Chris is the rumored chivalrous thief, huh?”
“That’s right. By the way, what are you doing here?”
After hearing my explanation, Chris’s expression stiffened.
“D-Darkness is here? Oh no, oh no, she’ll be mad if she knew I was doing this!”
“It can’t be helped. Even though you’re a chivalrous thief, what you’re doing is still a crime. Anyway, Darkness will be on your side. If you apologize properly, you won’t lose your life at the very least. You do the crime; you pay the time.”
“Wait! You got it wrong, there’s a reason for this!”
Although Chris was desperately saying that, my hands were tied too.
What I needed now was merit.
And since she was Darkness’s friend, she won’t be executed so easily.
The money stolen from the nobles were gotten through dirty means, so it’d be hard to officially pass judgement.
I felt that things could be resolved under the table by using this fact.
While I was thinking that, I heard sound of people rushing over.
We made too much of a ruckus.
At this moment, Chris, who’d resigned herself to her fate and was sitting down on the floor, meekly raised her head.
“It can’t be helped; I’ll tell you the truth. Darkness will understand and help me after she hears me out.”
When I saw her determined expression, I had an ominous feeling.
That’s right, this development was–
“Actually, there’s a reason why I’d been burgling the nobles’ houses. That’s…”
I was about to be dragged into trouble again! It’s definitely the usual development!
“Wait, stop, I don’t want to hear it! And don’t tell Darkness either!”
Chris tilted her head confusedly as I stopped her in a panic.
It’d be troublesome for me if she did inform Darkness.
If the stubborn Darkness knew something big was happening, she definitely wouldn’t leave it alone.
I really want merit right now, but doing things safely with minimum risk took precedence.
After being dragged into trouble numerous times, my instincts told me terrible things would happen if this went on.
“Don’t! Get out of here before someone else comes, I’ll let you go!”
I pushed Chris to the kitchen as I told her that.
“No, no, um… Like I said, I need your help for something…”
“I don’t want to hear it! And have you thought it through? The one rushing here’s the notorious landlord known for his lechery! If he sees the captured Chris, he’ll…”
“I-I’ll retreat for now! I’ll find you next time to discuss that matter!”
“You don’t need to! Ah, bind me before you go! That’ll give me an excuse for letting the thief go!”
“I-I got it! I’m off then! Bind!”
Chris grabbed a rope and shouted, and my body was bound just like that.
She then dashed out the window and disappeared into the night.
“– Kazuma, are you all right?”
The first one to reach was Darkness, who was holding a lantern.
Aqua and Megumin were right behind her.
“This is…! Kazuma, you got hit by a Bind! Where did the thief that broke in go?”
“Regrettably, I let him slip away just when I was inches from capturing him! I was too careless…!”
I roared in frustration in my bounds.
“He escaped… But that can’t be helped. After all, the opponent infiltrated the heavily guarded residences of nobles repeatedly. Nevermind that, are you hurt? What kind of person was the thief?”
Darkness squatted down beside me and tried her best to undo the ropes. However, she didn’t succeed, as the Bind was done with a skill.
“The thief’s a man wearing a strange mask. He’s incredibly strong, probably stronger than a Demon King’s General.”
“H-He’s that strong?”
Megumin shouted when she heard that.
At this moment, Aqua, who’d been quiet all this while, moved to my side in a hurry.
“… Kazuma, seeing how you’re tied up like a bagworm, you can’t move, right?”
She squatted beside me and asked.
“It’s obvious, right? I was just one step from subduing him, but I took a hit from his Bind skill when my guard was down. Oh, your magic can dispel this, right? Your magic can undo things like barriers, correct?”
“Who do you think I am? Of course I can dispel this.”
Aqua said with a chuckle.
“As expected of Aqua, so dependable during critical moments! Free me please, it’s uncomfortable like this.”
I had a bad feeling about this and pleaded with Aqua with a friendlier tone than normal.
“Hey Kazuma. This is probably not the time for this, but I want to apologize to you for something.”
“… What, just tell me.”
A really bad feeling.
“Do you know? Since you didn’t come back for a long time, I ransacked your room to kill some time. Then, I played with the figurine you were making and broke it.”
What did this bitch do the merchandize I wanted to sell? I’ll beat her up after my bounds are undone.
But the situation was to my disadvantage right now, so there was no other way.
“That, that’s fine, I can just make another one. I won’t mind since you apologized so frankly. Instead of that, my bounds…”
“You forgive me? Well then, I’ll say the rest too! Actually, I thought that no one was using the room anyway and drank in Kazuma’s room. You know, isn’t it a hassle to clean up the bottles and snacks if you drink in your own room? And so, I broke some other things when I got drunk.”
Aqua said casually with an insincere, apologetic expression.
“I’m sorry ❤!”
I really felt like slapping her into the ground.
From the way she was apologizing when I couldn’t move, she was doing this on purpose.
However, I don’t know what she’d do to me if I lost my temper right now.
“I-It’s okay. Aqua and I are great friends, right? It’s also my fault for not going back! So instead of that, hurry and do something about this bounds…”
At this moment, Darkness and Megumin shoved Aqua aside.
“Yo, I just realized…!”
“This is a really amusing situation!”
Their expressions, illuminated by the lantern’s light, were twisted into evil smiles.
– Having heard the commotion, Alderp rushed into the dim kitchen with his guards.
“What’s going on! Did that thief break in…? W-What happened here?”
And he froze after seeing my pitiful sight.
I screamed when I saw Alderp.
Darkness looked down at me and, with pure, unfiltered joy, said:
“Not ‘save me’! Say it! Say ‘I’m very sorry for being so arrogant lately’! Say, ‘I deeply regret troubling you all the time’! Say, ‘I apologize humbly for shaming you’!!”
“I’m sorry! Sorry for troubling you! Sorry for shaming you!!”
“I want to hear Kazuma say that line again! Quick, say that cool line you said back then! How many points? How many points is my Explosion?”
“Don’t do that! The feeling’s only there if you say such lines once! Don’t make me say it so many times, I’ll feel really embarrassed!”
“Come on, say it quick! Hurry up, don’t be shy!”
“Wahaha, it’s great to reverse the roles every now and then! Next will be…!”
I cried at the man I despised deeply:
– The next morning.
We came to the castle to report yesterday’s incident.
This was the deepest part of the castle known as the ‘Audience Hall’.
“I see. Despite your confidence in apprehending the thief, you failed.”
Claire said sarcastically to me.
As the stand in for the king who was away on an expedition, she sat on the throne that was at the very back of the audience hall.
I couldn’t tell them that the chivalrous thief was an adventurer I knew, so I gave a fake account of how the thief looked.
And so, the thief was a strong bandit wearing a strange mask.
“No, it wasn’t a complete failure! If not for me, all the treasures from old man Alderp’s house would’ve been stolen!”
This caused an uproar among the nobles.
The content of their whispers were ‘he’s no big deal after all’.
“… Hmm, let’s say that’s true. Since this is Kazuma-dono who fought with the Generals of the Demon King’s army, we won’t need to use the magic item that detects lies. That’s right, seems like that chivalrous thief’s a hard opponent to beat.”
This woman was definitely doubting my words.
When she heard Claire’s belittling words, the atmosphere around Megumin, who was behind me, changed.
In a panic, Darkness restrained Megumin, who was planning to do something. At this moment, Iris stood up from her throne.
“Um… No matter what, thank you for your hard work! This wasn’t a failure in capturing the chivalrous thief, but a success in preventing his theft. No one has the right to blame you!”
She clenched her fists and said with a blushed face…
While I was feeling moved by Iris’s speech, Claire said with a bitter expression.
“The generous Princess Iris has spoken. You uttered such boastful words before so many nobles but failed; normally, you should be punished. Be grateful to Her Highness Iris for her mercifulness… Since you failed to capture the thief, there’s no reason for you to linger in the castle, so leave at once!”
– On my way out of the audience hall, the maids and butlers showed a cold attitude toward me.
They seemed to have learned of my failure.
News of me not being a big deal had spread.
“Sigh, don’t be bothered by this incident. You’ve done well. Like Princess Iris said, it’s true that you stopped the criminal. But we’ll be going back, all right? No one will ask you to work for a while back in town. Aren’t you going to get a huge sum of money from that fellow Vanir soon? I think you should relax for a while.”
“Kazuma, you’ve played enough, right? Let’s go back to Axel. Even if you don’t stay in the castle, isn’t lazing around at home in Axel fine too?”
Darkness and Megumin consoled me.
… I wasn’t that insistent about being a hikikomori in the castle.
However, despite being a twelve-year-old kid, Iris, who wasn’t willful and had been holding back–
I was just concerned about Iris, who had to spend her days alone in the castle that had no virtue other than being large and vast.
… But for me who had a large difference in status and had no important business here, what could I do for that child…?
Regrettably, I couldn’t think of any feasible methods.
Looking back at the imposing castle behind me, I could feel my powerlessness acutely and sighed.
“… Let’s return first…”
When they heard what I said, Darkness and Megumin showed a relieved expression.
“Hey Kazuma, can we go back tomorrow? It’s a rare chance for us to come here, I want to buy some souvenirs to bring back. The capital has plenty of good wine. Hey, you’re very free, right? Accompany me to go shopping.”
Aqua who couldn’t read the mood as usual said suddenly.
“The wine in the capital isn’t as great as the rumors made it to be. Compared to their standard, the ones in old man Mike’s shop back in Axel are better.”
“Who’s this old man Mike? And the acquaintances you know in the town are increasing. The butcher even delivered high quality meat to the mansion some time ago. He said it was a gift for healing him.”
I was forced to shop with Aqua in the capital due to her willfulness.
Darkness and Megumin went to search for the inn we would be staying in for tonight.
I really wish this bumbling girl could learn from Iris, who was always careful not to trouble others.
“Hey, this is the first time I’ve heard of this. I don’t remember receiving any meat from you.”
“You and Megumin were out at that time. Because we hadn’t had lunch, I asked Darkness to cook it and the two of us finished it off.”
The two of us pushed against each other with our hands grasped.
“Oh? What a coincidence to run into Aqua-sama here!”
Someone called us from behind.
The one standing there was the sword master who uses a magic sword.
It had been a long time since I first met this strange fellow…
I remember his name was Matsuragi, a man who came from Japan just like I did.
He always had two girls along with him, but seemed to be alone today.
Aqua suspiciously said:
“… W-Who are you?”
She was the one who sent him here, but she seemed to have forgotten.
When Katsuragi heard what she said, he smiled happily.
“Aqua-sama, you like to joke as usual.”
However, Aqua hid behind me instinctively.
“Hey, Kazuma, who is this person? He’s acting really familiar…”
“Um, it’s me. The person you bestowed a magic sword to, and chose to save this world. The sword master…”
“This is Katsuragi-san. We met him before, remember?”
“W-Who’s that! I’m Mitsurugi! Can’t you at least remember my family name?”
Mitsurugi roared at me, the veins popping up on his head.
Aqua didn’t seem to remember even after hearing his name.
Even though we did meet during the battle with Destroyer.
“You can’t remember just by the name Mitsurugi? The one who uses the magic sword?”
Her memory was probably jolted by my words, and Aqua clapped her hands together.
Mitsurugi finally realized that Aqua wasn’t joking and really had forgotten.
“… Why. Hey, Satou Kazuma… Did you really remember my name wrongly? To confirm this, can you say my given name?”
“We’re not so close that we address each other on a first name basis.”
“I’m Kyouya! Just honestly tell me if you can’t remember! Mitsurugi Kyouya, remember that!”
After raising his voice, Mitsurugi placed a hand on his temple and shook his head.
He finally calmed down and, after exhaling, said.
“… Really, seems like we need to determine who’s stronger. My abilities have risen since that time; I won’t lose shamefully now! Come, let’s–”
“What the hell are you talking about? We already had a match, and I won. And I won’t accept any more challenges. So let me retain my record of winning against you as a rookie adventurer.”
Mitsurugi’s expression seemed a bit lonely, but I had no chance of winning if I fought someone with a high-tier job possessing a magic sword head on.
“… Never mind. Instead of that– It’s good that we met here. I’ve something to tell both of you.”
He seriously said.
– Aqua and I sat opposite of Mitsurugi in a cafe in the city.
“All right, back to the topic… So, before that, I have a gift for Aqua-sama.”
Mitsurugi took something out as he said that.
It was a small box that had been wrapped beautifully.
Mitsurugi offered it before Aqua, who was concentrating on folding a napkin, and said:
“Aqua-sama, from what I see, you don’t normally wear jewelry, right? You’re charming even if you don’t wear it… But if it pleases you, please take this…”
He even said such a cliché line.
I was certain that this guy was a chad back in Japan too.
“…? What? A present for me?”
“Yes, please accept it. It isn’t expensive, so I’m not sure if it’ll fit Aqua-sama’s tastes…”
Mitsurugi replied with a refreshing smile.
He was really a handsome guy.
That irked me.
“What happened to your two minions? Is it fine for you to flirt in such a place?”
“They’re not minions, they’re my important comrades! They’re grinding their levels in the neighboring country. If we’re together, I’ll always be the one that defeats the most enemies. That’s why I’m staying here to fend off the occasional attacks from the Demon King’s army.”
Aqua ignored our conversation and opened the box, taking out a tiny ring from within.
No matter how I looked at it, it was a high class ring that didn’t look cheap.
Although he humbly mentioned that it was cheap, he definitely spent a lot on this.
But, did he know Aqua’s ring size?
Just when I was wondering about that.
“…? The ring’s too small, it won’t fit.”
Aqua gave up quickly after trying it on her fingers.
Mitsurugi said with a wry smile.
“This is enchanted with magic; you can adjust the size here…”
When he was about to say something.
“Kazuma Kazuma, look here quick.”
Aqua said as she covered the ring with a napkin.
She pulled the napkin away with that sound effect.
And so, the ring that was there disappeared without a trace.
“… Amazing. This is amazing, but where did the ring go?”
Aqua replied to me:
“…? It vanished, even I don’t know where it’s gone.”
Mitsurugi made a stunned sound.
… I felt a bit sorry for him.
“Even though it was a cheap item that didn’t fit, it could be used in a performance. Thank you~”
Mitsurugi was speechless when he saw Aqua’s innocent smile.
“No, no need…! I’m happy to be of help for Aqua-sama’s performance.”
Mitsurugi laughed dryly as he said that.
… My condolences.
– Aqua continued humming, folding her napkin as if nothing had happened.
After Mitsurugi watched Aqua with gentle eyes, he turned to me.
“I’ll get to the point. This is something that concerns you too.”
This was the summary of what Mitsurugi said.
According to him, the first Demon King’s General was dispatched to Axel because the prophet in the castle of the Demon King said that a bright light had descended there.
The Demon King wasn’t very convinced when he dispatched Beldia.
Beldia was then defeated, and Vanir who was sent next went missing in action.
Even Sylvia, who was attacking the Crimson Demon village, was recently subjugated.
There was a rumor circulating among the Demon King’s army that all these incidents were done by a certain adventurer team.
And now, the Demon King had turned his attention toward this adventurer team.
He might attack Axel, which the team was using as a base, or send more minions over.
… Hey, was that team referring to us?
“But, the bright light descending on Axel is…”
I unconsciously turned to look at Aqua, who was making something.
Mitsurugi’s gaze turned to her right after.
“… I think that was referring to Aqua-sama too. At first, I thought that the bright light the Demon King was wary about was me… D-Don’t look at me like that…”
Mitsurugi noticed that my gaze seemed to be implying ‘Ughh’… What’s with this laughable narcissist?
At this moment, Aqua said to Mitsurugi–
“It’s done. For you, a gift for the ring. The theme of this work is Goddess Eris transforming into a combination robot. The chest armor is detachable and there are three forms it can change into.”
Aqua said something weird as she presented her folded napkin.
Mitsurugi took it from Aqua with a wry smile.
“Ha, thank you Aqua-sama. I’ll carefully keep…”
He said while receiving the napkin with a smile.
Mitsurugi and I glanced at it for a moment.
The folded napkin that gave the impression of Eris-sama was beyond the realm of paper folding and was a piece of art.
“… Hey Aqua, make one for me too.”
“Don’t wanna, I won’t make the same thing again. A mobile suit Winter Shogun would be fine though.”
“M-Make that one then.”
After taking my request, Aqua started folding the napkin silently.
Mitsurugi stood up with a smile when he saw that.
“Satou Kazuma. Until I become stronger, please protect Aqua-sama… Well then, goddess-sama, I’ll excuse myself. I’ll treasure this paper folding.”
When Aqua heard what Mitsurugi said, she raised her head with a ‘Hmm?’.
“…? Ah, goodbye… Say, Kazuma, is transforming necessary?”
“It’s necessary, please do the usual.”
Mitsurugi looked at the both of us with a slightly lonely expression.
“You and Aqua-sama really get along well with each other.”
After saying that, he bid farewell and left.
– On the way back to the inn.
“By the way, it’s been a long time since I was addressed as goddess-sama. That Katsuragi person might be a good guy after all.”
If you really think that, you should at least remember his name.
Although, I was partly at fault for calling him Katsuragi in the first place.
I pondered while watching Aqua, who was saying that cheerfully.
The Demon King was cautious about this ‘thing’?
… No, that’s not possible.
“By the way, what’s for dinner? Compared to Axel, the capital’s a battleground, so large amounts of meat from powerful monsters can be purchased here. Bringing ingredients to the restaurants in the capital seems to be common sense here. I heard that we can request the staff at the inn to use our ingredients to cook delicious dishes that gives plenty of experience points… I feel like eating something heavy today. Let’s get some high class meat for the inn to grill them for us.”
“I want to eat something light. I want to eat something with vegetables that goes with wine.”
Although Mitsurugi said that I got along with Aqua, our opinions clashed immediately.
“Let’s have a match then. Thanks to Mitsurugi, I remembered that you’re actually a goddess. I’ll give you a special handicap then. If you can win once against me in three rounds of rock-paper-scissors, I’ll make the dish you like.”
“Hmm? What? You’re really confident, Kazuma. In that case, you might as well just listen to me straight. Let’s go! Rock-paper…!”
Together with the goddess who lacked the ability to learn and completely forgot how strong I was in a game of chance, I returned to the inn with high quality meat.
– That night.
I woke up from my slumber in the hotel when I detected someone’s presence.
“… Get up… Hey, get up quick.”
In the darkness, a figure was looking at me as she whispered in a familiar voice.
“Wahhh! Wait, it’s me! Hey, I’m Chris! Stop! Where are you touching, stop! Darkness! Darkness, save meee~!”
After grabbing the intruder, I realized she was Chris.
“Oh, so it’s Chris. If you barged in so late at night, you have something you can’t let anyone else know, right? Still, why are you calling out to Darkness for help?”
“You, you jerk! Didn’t you grab me after confirming that it’s me? You wouldn’t need to touch that place if you wanted to subdue someone, right?”
Chris was panting heavily in the darkness.
I thought Darkness would rush over after hearing that scream, but no one showed any signs of waking up.
“Really, I can’t let my guard down at all… It’s really regrettable that you’re the only one I can ask.”
“You came all this way to night raid a guy’s room, so why are you shouting after I touched you a little? Is this some kind of badger game?”
“This isn’t a night raid! Nor a badger game!! I already told you that I’d explain the reason for breaking into that mansion later! Ah, wait! Hey you, don’t pretend you didn’t hear that!!”
Chris pulled at me as I attempted to hide inside my blanket with my hands over my ears.
“Didn’t I tell you I don’t want to listen to your circumstances when we were in Alderp’s mansion? My mood’s terrible right now after parting with the princess! Tell me next time! Specifically speaking, sometime next year!”
“Why can’t I tell you now? Listen to me! There’s a good reason why I broke into the homes of the nobles…!”
Chris explained to me as I continued to resist and hide in my blanket–
In this world, there were powerful magic items and equipment known as divine relics.
They were called divine relics, after all, so it wasn’t easy to obtain them.
However, all the possessors of these relics had one similarity.
They all had black hair, black eyes, and weird names.
“This means, normally only people with weird names like you will be able to get these items known as divine relics.”
“Don’t tell me my name’s weird. I’m not a Crimson Demon.”
My resistance didn’t work, and I heard a weird explanation from Chris as she peeled my blanket off me.
Aqua explained these divine relics to me a long time ago.
It meant those cheat-like items from the ‘power you can obtain’ catalogue I was shown before coming to this world.
“However, I don’t how it came to be, but two of these lost divine relics have been bought by a certain noble.”
Simply put, if the owner of the divine relic dies, it’ll be left behind in this world.
One of them was an item that could summon and command monsters without needing to pay any price.
The other divine relic seemed to be able to exchange the user’s body with someone else.
Being able to summon and command monsters seemed powerful and easy to understand, but what was the person who asked for the body swapping relic thinking?
With no regard for my doubts, Chris sat on the bed with her legs swinging off the edge and said:
“Among my thieving skills, there’s one that can sense the location of treasures, known as Detect Treasure. And so, I used that skill to search each of the noble houses in the capital.”
“You mean only notorious nobles with more money than they could ever spend would collect those rare treasures, huh?”
“That’s right! But I couldn’t find the relics even after I snuck in. I’d always wanted to do something thief-like, so I swiped some of their ill gotten money while I was in!”
So this girl only became a chivalrous thief at the spur of the moment.
“After that, I sensed a powerful treasure from the mansion you were residing in and snuck in.”
“I see. Yup, I understand why you snuck in. But I still don’t understand why you’re collecting the divine relics.”
When she heard what I said, Chris scratched the scar on her cheek and looked a little troubled.
“The reason why I’m collecting the divine relics… Well, I just might tell you when the time comes. … And so, did you see any strange treasures in the mansion? Did the old man called Alderp use any magic item that seemed really powerful?”
“Aside from the magic mirror he installed in the bathroom, there weren’t any special magic items… By the way, might the powerful treasure you sensed be Aqua’s hagoromo? She’s been boasting that her hagoromo was a divine relic or something since the beginning.”
When she heard what I said, Chris lowered her head, depressed.
“A-All right, it’s fine then… And so, there’s a reason why I snuck in here.”
See, it’s here!
“Shut up, I don’t want to be dragged into troubles! And this feels like a really terrible matter!”
“Ah, hey! Don’t be such a bother and listen to me! Actually, I could sense a powerful treasure in the castle’s direction. And it’s the same level as the one I felt in the villa, the presence of a powerful treasure!”
“… I think it’s natural for powerful treasures to be inside the castle… So?”
“Well, I remember you have the night vision skill Farsight! I also taught you Hide and Detect Enemy! Using these skills, you can sneak in together with me…”
“Don’t try and make me your partner in crime! I had a bad feeling about this since you told me you wanted to discuss something with me in Alderp’s villa; why would I help you?”
“Hey, don’t reject me so quickly! At least hear me out properly! It’d be terrible if I don’t recover these two divine relics!”
“Ask someone who’s more hero-like than me for such an important matter! Right, there’s a guy in this city called Mitsurugi! If it’s that guy, you just need to tell him ‘the world will fall into chaos if the lost divine relics falls into the wrong hands…!’ and he’ll definitely help you!”
“So cold! I just want you to help me! Enough, I’m going to wake Darkness and ask her!”
“Hey stop! Darkness is a noble! If Chris’s real identity is revealed to the nobles, she’ll be placed in a bad situation!”
“All right, hurry up and go home, go home! If you don’t go, I’ll use the Bind skill I learned after you it cast on me to tie you up and sexually harass you! I suffered so much because of that yesterday!”
“Wait? I-I understand; I’ll withdraw for today! I’ll discuss this with you tomorrow!”
“I already told you not to come here! Bi…”
“I-I’ll be going now!”
After opening the window, the shrieking Chris jumped out and disappeared into the city that was on the verge of dawn.
Really, she wanted to give me even more trouble, just spare me.
Honestly speaking, where did my supposed good luck go?
The goddess of fortune Eris-sama, I’ll convert to the church of Eris after returning to Axel if you bless me with peace.
I prayed as I hid in the blanket…
– And the alarm woke me up as if it were waiting for this moment.