For the sake of becoming a worthy onii-sama!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Xenthur
– The next morning.
The capital was in upheaval after what happened last night.
That was expected, since the legendary chivalrous thief duo stormed the castle and robbed the princess’s magic item by force.
And there were many powerful adventurers in the castle that night.
Legends about the exploits of the silver-haired man and masked man exploded within the capital in an instant.
– And right now.
Something incredible was happening in the room I was in.
“D-D-Darkness, please, calm down! There’s a reason for this, ahhh! It’s cracking, it’s cracking, my skull’s going to explode!”
“Hey, listen to my explanation! After listening, you’ll understand that this is for a good cause! Please, listen to me first! I can’t take it if you use any more strength, I’ll die!”
“I’ll listen! I’ll listen, all right? Right, I’m listening! This is just preparation before I listen to your explanation! I’ll judge after listening to your explanation whether I’ll strangle you two to death!”
Chris and I were called to a certain room in an inn and were caught by her iron claw.
“Dark-Darkness! I can’t talk! I can’t talk like this!”
“Stop! I was coerced by Chris; the mastermind’s the Big Boss Chris!”
After grabbing our temples and lifting us up, Darkness showed a stern expression.
“H-How can you say that? Ow, ow! N-No, listen to me Darkness! Assistant-kun was really eager to do it! I was the one who proposed it, but when I wanted to withdraw after things blew up, Assistant-kun was the one who insisted we continue to break through!”
“That’s not right, Big Boss! I only joined the thieving group for one day! I’m just a minion with no status in the organization!”
“What thieving group? It’s just me and you! What hierarchy is there with just the two of us?”
Forced to kneel on the floor with our temples grabbed tightly, Chris and I tried with all our might to push the responsibility to each other.
The furious expression on Darkness’s face was not appeased.
Darkness said coldly while we were bickering.
“Spit it out.”
We told her what happened honestly.
“– You two are really… Why didn’t you tell me? If you just told me about it clearly from the start, you wouldn’t need to do something so foolish. I would’ve definitely helped the both of you.”
After hearing us out, Darkness sighed deeply.
“Even if you say that… That’s a divine relic that can swap bodies, all right? If used well, immortality would be possible. When I heard about this, I wanted to inform the big wigs too. However, Chris said the more authority a person has, the more they’d crave for this, and even royalty would abuse this divine relic…”
“I-I thought it’d be fine to tell Darkness! When I suggested asking Darkness for help, Assistant-kun said: ‘Hey stop! Darkness is a noble, if Chris’s real identity is revealed to the nobles, she’ll be placed in a bad situation.’. And so I changed my mind!”
“Ah! W-Why, you!”
Seeing us bickering again, Darkness sighed.
“It’s too late for that now. Luckily, only I know about the real identity of you two. Chris, your silver hair is too prominent, so you should leave the capital as soon as possible and return to Axel. Kazuma… Return to the castle with me immediately.”
“Hmm? … Ah, you grabbed me too tightly just now, it still hurts! Sorry, let me rest here for a while…”
“Stop acting dumb and follow me! We’re going to pick up Aqua and Megumin and bid farewell to Her Highness Iris.”
“Even if you say that, I don’t dare go to the castle now that it’s on high alert after last night…! There’s no guarantee that things won’t go wrong. If I’m suspected and they bring out that lie detecting magic item, I’ll be done for!”
Chris scratched her cheeks with a wry smile as she watched me being dragged away and said:
“Well, work hard, Assistant-kun! And the divine relic’s been sent to a place where it can never be stolen, so don’t worry. I-I’ll make a move…”
“… Wait, Chris.”
“? W-What is it?”
Chris’s shoulders shivered as she was about to leave in a hurry.
“Is that all of your secrets? Do you have anything else you want to tell me?”
“Seems like there is! So, what else are you keeping from me? I’ve known you for a long time, so I know your habits when you’re in a pinch! That’s right, you’ll scratch the scar on your cheek! Tell me quick! What secrets are you keeping from me?”
Forced into a corner, Chris looked toward me for help.
No matter how much you look… If I don’t know what other secrets you have, I won’t be able to help…
Chris pointed my way.
“Assistant-kun stole something other than the divine relic!”
“Ahhh! You traitor!!”
“You criminal scum! What else did you steal? Now you’re a real thief! Hand it over! What exactly did you steal?”
I gave up resisting and handed a book to her.
Darkness started flipping through it.
She sat down onto the floor weakly. At this moment, Chris muttered to herself.
“Ah… Right, he stole that too.”
“… Oh? Is there something else?”
When she heard that, Darkness stood up again and reached out her hand.
Did I steal anything else?
What else was there?
“Oh, ahhh! And this thing too! Back then, I used Steal on Iris…”
I handed the thing I got from Iris to Darkness.
It was a ring Iris was wearing.
When she was preparing to take on me and Chris, the ring glowed. It should be some sort of magic item.
Darkness frowned as she stared at the ring on my palm. And then–
“…? Y-Y-You…? You actually stole that from Her Highness Iris?”
“Yes, yes I did… What, don’t be so alarmed, your shocked expression is scarier than your angry face! This isn’t anything important, right? Hey, are you trying to intimidate me?”
After staring at the ring for a while, she returned it to my hand gently.
“Listen well, Kazuma. Don’t ever lose this ring, you hear me? And don’t let anyone know about this. Take it to your grave.”
“Hey, don’t say that! S-Since it’s something so important, I’ll just say that I happened to find this on the street and return it, okay?”
“You fool! This is something the children of royalty will wear all the time, and will only be removed as a gift for their partner in marriage! Lying about it being picked up by an adventurer on the street after it was stolen, this preposterous lie’s too…! … Even if you return it out of goodwill, you’ll most likely be killed to keep the news from leaking out.”
“What the hell, that’s scary! Ah, Chris! Where do you think you’re going? Take responsibility for involving me in this troublesome problem! Sneak into Iris’s room and return the ring!”
“That’s too scary! I don’t wanna! Why do you always steal something you shouldn’t with your skill? And Darkness, you’ve changed. You’re actually thinking of hiding this? You were so inflexible in the past… Are you more flexible in handling matters…? But I’ve got a feeling you’ve been deeply poisoned by Assistant-kun!”
“What…? W-Wait! I don’t feel that way! Did I really change? Is it so bad that I don’t have time to worry about how much Princess Iris’s been poisoned by Kazuma?”
Ignoring Darkness, who looked as if she suffered a huge blow, I held the ring under the sun.
“… Can’t be helped. I’ll bury it on the way back to the mansion so no one will ever find it.”
“Don’t talk nonsense! That’s something so important that Her Highness Iris keeps it with her all the time! No matter what, you have to keep this ring on you and cherish it, and also make sure no one ever finds it!”
“What kind of punishment game is this? Sigh, I understand. Then return that book to me. You can’t return that thing to the castle now anyway.”
The two of them looked at each other when they heard that, not knowing what to say–
– I was a walking corpse after the hellish suffering I went through when I arrived at the castle together with Darkness.
“Hey, walk properly! How can you be so dejected before Princess Iris?”
“Eh… Oh… What…? There’s no need to burn it… That was the only reward I got from silently saving the kingdom…”
“Stop complaining! How unsightly. The lighter you invented was put to good use back then. That’s a great item.”
“I didn’t invent the lighter for that… Ugh… Ugh… My precious…”
The book I was planning to keep as my ultimate treasure was burned by these two. That’s why I was so dejected.
Chris will probably leave the capital before they start their manhunt for the silver-haired thief.
She mentioned that she would return to Axel if she felt like it. We’ll definitely meet again.
Well, I had fun working together with Chris this time.
If my identity was exposed and I became a wanted criminal, I might consider forming a thieving band with her.
I thought about that as I walked behind Darkness. Finally, Darkness stopped in front of Iris’s room.
“… If I bring you in when you’re in such a condition, I think you’ll screw things up. I’ll explain about the divine relic, so you only need to properly stand there.”
“… Then why’d you bring me along? My mental condition isn’t stable right now, so if you leave me alone, I might just do something in the castle.”
“Are you a kid? It can’t be helped, so you better not do anything unnecessary! I’ll explain the danger of that relic, and act out a scene, suggesting the idea that ‘the objective of the chivalrous thieves was to save Princess Iris!’ That’ll be enough! Don’t create any more problems!”
I pushed Darkness who kept reminding me about that and opened the door wide.
“Moron! Can’t you even knock? … Your Highness Iris, this is Dustiness here! I’ve something urgent to consult with you!”
When I entered the room with Darkness, inside was–
“Hmph, with me around, there’s nothing to worry about! That dangerous divine relic’s been sealed by me and can’t be used! So rest easy! And that thief really targeted something amazing, huh?”
“As a magic item expert of the Crimson Demons, I can guarantee that no one will be able to craft a divine relic of that level. This means that the incident is resolved!”
Megumin and Aqua who didn’t really do anything kept talking arrogantly.
“As expected of Aqua-dono and Megumin-dono, we can finally rest easy! When I heard about the true powers of that magic item from Aqua-dono, my face turned green!”
Rain sighed in relief and smiled gladly.
“… Speaking of which, what could the motives of these thieves be? From their reputation, they don’t seem to be people who’d misuse the divine relic… Hmm? Lady Dustiness… And even this guy’s here?”
Claire was as cold as ever.
It seemed that Aqua already explained the dangers of the divine relic to them.
“After their investigation, everyone knows how dangerous the divine relic is… We don’t need to act anymore.”
Having realized this, Darkness, sighed in relief before Iris and the others.
“… Maybe the two of them were here to save me? They knew about the danger of that necklace, but were afraid that someone might target that divine relic if they told someone about it…?”
Iris, who was standing in the middle of the room surrounded by everyone, said that. For some reason, she was staring straight at me…
… Could it be… She noticed my real identity as the thief?
“Princess Iris, that’s unlikely. The citizens might hold the chivalrous thief in high regards, but they wouldn’t take the risk to break into the royal castle for such a noble reason.”
Claire said as she vexingly shut her eyes.
“… If that’s true, the two of them deserve our respect…”
She softly said afterwards, with just a hint of respect mixed in.
My friendliness value for Claire that was rock bottom spiked up instantly.
“Speaking of which, just who are the two of them? I thought I had a good grasp of powerful adventurers, but I don’t know where they came from. Especially that masked man… I only faced off against him for an instant, but he broke my staff from a great distance in that short moment.”
Hmm, what was this feeling? Her words really made me happy, maybe…
“That masked man, huh? He’s really cool, right? And that mask and all black clothes! It really moved me! Next time we meet, I’ll ask for his autograph!”
“Me-Megumin-dono, he’s still a criminal… Still, but that masked chivalrous thief’s really strong… He subdued Mitsurugi-dono in an instant, despite being unarmed; I heard he took out half the knights in the castle…”
Megumin and Claire sighed.
Oh no, what should I do? I really felt like telling them that cool guy was me!
“What’s the matter, Kazuma? Why are you laughing so disgustingly?”
Aqua, who was cradling the bottle just like yesterday, said.
It seemed about time to take that bottle from her.
Claire glared at me at the same time.
“That’s right, what’s with your stupid grin? Such a pity, your chance to catch the chivalrous thief is gone… But even if you had the chance, you’d be no match for that masked man, sigh… Really, why’s that masked man working as a thief? If he wasn’t a criminal, I would’ve taken him in… We’ll meet again one day…”
Toward the end, Claire’s face turned slightly red. This was the first time I saw her acting like a woman.
I really wish to know whether this person was praising me or speaking ill of me.
Next to me, Darkness had a weird expression as she kept quiet.
… At that moment, Iris looked my way.
“That chivalrous thief’s really handsome!”
She said while staring straight at me.
Was my real identity…?
“The following’s my assumption: The two of them only took action because they were worried about me… Maybe, I’ve fallen for that chivalrous thief…”
All right, I’ll confess my identity!
When Darkness realized that I was going to take out my mask from my backpack, she glared at me and restrained my hand.
To stop her from bothering me, I prepared to use Drain Touch…!
“Where could he be right now…? That silver-haired leader…”
… I lowered my hand.
I knew this would happen!
After seeing my suspicious actions, Iris lowered her blushing face, her shoulders shaking slightly.
… Hey, was she laughing right now?
Finally, Iris stopped trembling and lifted her head, looked at me straight in the eyes as I was feeling petty, and in a slightly quivering voice,
“… O-Onii-sama, I have a request.”
“Y-Your Highness Iris?”
Claire, who felt that something was wrong, didn’t know what to say.
Aside from forcefully bringing me to the castle, Iris had never made any willful request–
As if she had made up her mind, she clenched her fist and had a serious expression.
Just when she was about to say something–
“Princess Iris, please allow me to make a request first.”
Darkness who was beside me suddenly interjected.
Everyone turned their gaze to Darkness who fell on one knee and threw me a glance.
“This Satou Kazuma has indeed defeated many Demon King’s Generals. He might even be the one who defeats the Demon King. Doing so will be very difficult, not something anyone can do… May you give some words of encouragement to this brave one who’s taking on this highly impossible obstacle?”
Me, defeat, what?
“… Defeat the Demon King? Really? Onii-sama, are you planning to defeat the Demon King?”
You too Iris, why ask such a question with a serious face?
This sort of thing was of course…
“Eh, ah, if there’s a chance, I might consider subjugating… The Demon King…?”
As I looked into her eyes, my answer started to waver…
From behind me, I could hear the sneer of Claire.
“Is that so…? Onii-sama can surely do so. Please work hard in subjugating the Demon King… May onii-sama be victorious in all your battles!”
Iris smiled cheerfully as she said that, and everyone fell silent.
– No, someone still wanted to say something.
“Stop it with the ‘onii-sama, onii-sama’! You already have your own blood related onii-sama! Why are you so intimate with him? You’re weakening my reason for existing if you keep using that term! I’ll bury the Demon King then! No need for Kazuma to go!”
Getting angry for some reason, Megumin suddenly said something stupid.
“O-Onii-sama’s onii-sama! What’s wrong with me calling onii-sama as ‘onii-sama’? And it’d be meaningless for you to defeat the Demon King! I want onii-sama to be the one who defeats him!”
“I told you to stop it with the ‘onii-sama’ and you start repeatedly saying it, are you looking for a fight?”
“W-Wanna go? R-Royalty are very strong!”
Darkness hastily separated the two who were in each other’s face.
“Hey Megumin, stop! You had such a good relation with the princess just yesterday, but you’re quarrelling with her now? What are you trying to do?”
“Your Highness Iris, please calm down! You’ve never quarreled with anyone before, why are you doing that so suddenly?”
In order to get back on topic, I said to Iris, who was panting hard:
“… Well then, what’s your request? You can ask for anything.”
I had some hope for this request.
From her reaction just now, did she want me to continue staying in this castle…!
“Request… My request is…”
She was the one who was making the request, but she seemed very hesitant.
“We’ve yet to settle the match for our game. Please do so with me one day, okay?”
Smiling just like a child pulling a prank, she really looked her age right now.
The greedy noble and the broken devil!
In the musty cellar, the panting sound ‘Yee– Yee–’ could be heard intermittently.
No matter how many times I heard it, it still sounded disgusting.
“Hey, Max… Get up Max!”
After being kicked hard, the one who was panting got up nonchalantly.
“Yee– Yee– W-What is it, Alderp? You looking for me? Ah, your emotions are tasty today too, Alderp!”
Those words sounded like he was toying with me, so I subconsciously kicked the devil before me.
That’s right, the disgusting man here was a devil.
If you look closely, he seemed to be a very handsome youth, but there were no emotions on his face as he kept pouting, giving an eerie air about him.
“If not for my problem, who would come to you… There’s a job for you. My divine relic has been stolen by a thief and sealed. You’re to get it back and unseal it, understand?”
“Yee– Yee– Alderp, Alderp! This is impossible, Alderp! I don’t know where the divine relic is, and it’s normally impossible to seal them. If it’s sealed, I can’t do anything about it…?”
I used all my strength to kick the devil who kept finding excuses.
“You can’t even do this, you piece of trash? Just when are you going to grant my wish? Lalatina! You should’ve brought Lalatina over by now! Why can’t you even do something so simple?”
“Yee– Yee– Yee– Yee–”
After being kicked a few times, the devil hugged his head and panted disgustingly.
Is this devil an idiot?
What a hopeless idiot.
He doesn’t have the ability to remember things and will forget the orders given immediately.
Ah… No matter the price, I’ve got to get that divine relic back.
Things had been progressing too smoothly, so I got careless.
If I knew, I wouldn’t have aimed for the prince’s body so aggressively.
– After setting up a marriage pact between Lalatina and the prince, I planned to take control of the prince’s body and take everything I wanted into my hands.
The chance to grasp everything slipped away just like that.
In the end, a thief stole the divine relic out of nowhere.
Originally, I just needed to hand the relic to the prince, chant the key phrase, destroy this body, and the plan would work.
I regretted missing my chance, but the pressing matter right now was to find the relic.
Ah, I should’ve swapped bodies with my son Walther…
If I don’t get the relic back, the entire reason I adopted that kid will be gone.
I worked so hard to find a handsome and smart kid.
If the matchmaking with Lalatina would’ve worked back then, there wouldn’t be a need to take such a big risk…!
“Lalatina! Lalatina! You are mine, Lalatina! Do you know how long I’ve been watching you? Lalatina!”
In the dim cellar, I shouted because of my fury of losing the divine relic.
“Yee– Yee–! Yee– Yee–! You’re the best, Alderp! I really like the way you’re true to your desires and your cruelty! I really want to fulfill your wish as soon as possible and collect my price, Alderp! Come, give me work to do, Alderp! Tell me your desires quick, Alderp! Alderp!”
The disgusting devil started yelling.
What was with this guy?
He couldn’t retain his memories at all. No matter how many times I repeated my wish, he’d forget about it.
If he wasn’t such a ‘free lunch’ provider, granting my wish without paying the price, I would’ve summoned another devil long ago.
The rock in my hand…
The divine relic that can summon and command random monsters was held in my hand.
“I’ve only one wish! Bring me Lalatina! She belongs to me!”
I shouted my wish for the umpteenth time to the disgusting devil.