PRELUDE OF THE EXPLOSION MANIAC
TL: Sine Nomine
Editing: Cannongerbil, Skythewood, Xenthur
I could hear the sounds of something violently looking through my run down house.
That was to say that, something was ransacking the house.
As to what that something was, naturally it was a monster.
And inside the house should also be—
“Ko-Ko-… Komekko… Komekko has been—“
“Meg-Megumin, calm down! Ca-ca-calm down!”
Yunyun grabbed and shook my shoulder as I stood unsteadily before the ruined door.
“Calm down! Megumin, just calm down!!”
Yunyun’s words snapped me out of my trance. My brain started churning rapidly.
True, I must calmly think in a time like this.
“No problem! My sister is the reincarnation of the god of gluttony, Ashtoreth! When she is in danger, her seal will be broken, and she will finally conquer the world with me.”
“I’m asking you to calm down! Pull yourself together, Megumin!”
After being slapped by Yunyun, I regained my composure.
“Ow, it hurts… No-Now isn’t the time to say such things, Yunyun! Komekko should still be in the house! We should sneak in and rescue her! That child is more well-versed in the ways of the world than me, so she won’t be so easily eaten by monsters! Come, stop dawdling, let’s go!”
“…Ho-How can she suddenly become so positive…”
Yunyun followed behind and drew her dagger from her waist as she muttered. The silver blade flashed in the darkness.
“Yunyun’s weird actions are only reliable in such situations. After all, I don’t have any weapons, so I’ll be relying on you if things get serious.”
“Weird!? What do you mean by weird!? Hey, am I doing something weird!?”
“Rather than weird— Only the weird Yunyun would bring a dagger to school because she likes it. No matter how much you like the dagger, it is still ridiculous.”
“Ugh…! I, I can’t refute that… That’s true! But what’s going on? I’ve been feeling a sense of unease for awhile now…!”
I put my index finger to my lips, signaling to the noisy Yunyun. I snuck quietly into the house that continued to be filled with “kada, kada” sounds.
There were no anguished cries of Komekko coming from the house.
The worst scenario flashed across my mind, but my sister was an amazing person, so she must be alright— I tried to convince myself to calm myself down…!
—Upon going through the front door, I came face-to-face with the monster.
A reptilian monster with a bird’s beak was directly in front of us.
“…Ah, ahhhh! Yunyunyunyunyun! Yunyunyun! Yunyun!”
“Wait. Don’t push me! And why did my name become so strange? Wait, wait!”
“It is intimidating us, just intimidating us, Yunyun. Please use your dagger to stab it!”
“Even if you ask me to kill the monster, I…!”
The monster raised its voice after seeing us arguing loudly.
Yunyun forcefully took a pose with her silver dagger, but there was no strength in her. Her cheeks were shivering, as if she might cry at any moment.
The monster seemed to think Yunyun was easy to deal with, and extended its limbs to grab us—!
I pushed Yunyun hard. The monster’s belly was pierced by Yunyun’s dagger, and it cried out in agony.
Yunyun screeched along with the monster as she stabbed it.
I took the dagger from the screaming Yunyun, and went towards the wounded monster which was rolling on floor near the door. Holding the dagger in both hands, I stabbed the monster in its throat.
“Ugghhh! Megumin! Meg-Megumin— Ahhh!”
“You, you are so noisy, Yunyun! We are Crimson Demons that even the demon king fears. How can you hesitate when driving out monsters…?”
There was something strange about the monster I stabbed.
After being stabbed in the throat, the monster struggled in agony for a while before vanishing in a puff of black smoke.
Why did the corpse vanish?
At that moment, I noticed that the house was silent once more.
It seemed like there was only one monster searching my house.
But there should be a lot of monsters coming in this direction.
And why did it search a poor household with barely any food?
No, the most important thing now is—!
“…Yes, Komekko! Komekko, where are you!? It’s me, your sister!”
“Ko-Komekko? Komekko, where are you!”
Yunyun and I searched the house, but Komekko neither replied nor appeared.
A close examination revealed no blood stains.
Which meant she probably escaped from the house.
Or was captured by monsters…
“Yunyun, she’s outside! My sister should be outside! I will go and find my sister. Yunyun, stay here just in case she returns home. Make a barricade out of the broken door and household items. Ah, lend me this dagger.”
I said and walked towards the door. Yunyun grabbed my collar.
“N-no! You aren’t physically inclined at all! If I let you go alone, you would only be eaten! I will go too!”
“Don’t get so arrogant just because you happened to win one match. Fine, let’s go. But my condition is that when monsters appear, Yunyun will take full responsibility.”
“Eh!? This, this… uh…”
We argued as we exited the house…
—And walked into a monster tearing at the school bag I left outside.
“Kuro—! You put Kuro inside the school bag!”
Yunyun cried in despair. The monster, which was tearing at the school bag, noticed us.
“Tha-That furball is a goner, let’s give up! It sacrificed its life for us, so I will erect a tombstone for him! No problem, that furball will always be with us. Yes, it will forever live in our hearts…!”
“It is still alive! Look carefully, that child is still alive! You are giving up too soon!?”
Yunyun said, pointing to the school bag, as she grabbed my collar as I turned to flee from the monster.
True, Kuro had crawled out from the torn school bag.
However, the monster didn’t harm Kuro. It merely silently watched the cat.
Furthermore, the monster noticed us a long time ago, but it doesn’t seem interested in us.
“Still, this is a rare opportunity! That furball must have aroused the monster’s protective instinct! We should take the chance to escape and find my sister…!”
“Wait! I know you are worried about Komekko, but please save Kuro too!”
“What are you saying? If we take Kuro from the monster that is so obsessed with it, the monster will pursue us! I know that will happen!”
Hearing this, Yunyun showed a look like a child begging her parents to adopt a stray puppy.
…Ahhh, how irritating!
“Prepare to run away! I will retrieve the furball my sister so dedicatedly fed.”
Of course, it was “fed dedicatedly” to become an emergency source of food— But it was better not to tell her this.
Yunyun’s expression bloomed like a flower. I held the dagger and circled around to the monster’s back…
—Simultaneously, the monster also acted.
It reached for Kuro with its claws and used both hands to carry it.
Kuro didn’t resist. It seemed really docile to the monster.
As the monster was about to spread its wings to fly into the sky…!
“My sister is really looking forward to seeing it grow! If that furball is taken, my sister will hate me! Taste my weapon toss skill!”
I exerted my strength to toss the dagger, which flew off in an unrelated direction.
“…Unbelievable. This monster is even protected by a wind magic barrier…”
“There’s no barrier! No matter I see it, it was Megumin who threw the dagger over to a weird place!”
“Now is not that time for this trivial argument! Kuro…!”
“True! What Megumin said is true! But I keep having this uneasy feeling—!”
As we were arguing, the monster took Kuro and flew into the sky towards somewhere…
—Watching Kuro being taken away, I said in a quiet voice.
“…That furball must be a messenger from Heaven. It merely returned to its original home, so stop crying and gently send it on its way…!”
“Don’t make up such a strange story and let Kuro die! What should we do?! Kuro was taken! The monster must be taking it to its lair to eat it! What should we do!”
Almost in tears, Yunyun recovered the dagger and said.
“Hm. Calm down first. Kuro didn’t struggle when taken by the monster, so it should be safe. That furball received my family’s Spartan style education, so it can sense danger.”
“Hey, how did you actually educate it!? Were you abusing it!?”
Yunyun grabbed my shoulders and shook me.
No matter what, Komekko was more important than Kuro.
“Leave Kuro for now. The important one is Komekko. My sister is very brave and experienced. I didn’t raise her to be the kind of naïve brat that will cry when something bad happens and then get killed. She must be hiding somewhere now…”
“T-That’s right! Hey, Megumin, do you know where Komekko might be!?”
A place where Komekko might go…
I couldn’t possibly have a clue.
But I felt that there was something worrying in what Komekko recently said.
What was it, what was it…
“I have no evidence, but I am a bit concerned about something. After all, when I was young, I was just like Komekko…”
I frequently snuck out of the house to play and made my parents scold me.
—As I was about to say this… A certain memory flashed across my mind.
I remembered when I was young, I once played with the evil god’s seal as if it was a toy.
“…? What is it, Megumin?”
Recently, when I asked Komekko where was she playing, she answered.
“I found a toy, so I kept playing! Does nee-chan want to play too?”
…Could this really…!
“Ahh… Ahhhh… Don-don-don-don’t tell me it…!”
“What!? Wha-What happened, Megumin? Why are you panicking…”
It all made sense. It finally all made sense.
My poor family has no toys.
But Komekko said she found a toy.
It was possible that my cute sister merely received a toy from a neighbor, but the most likely scenario would be…!
—The tombstone of the evil god was erected outside the village.
Lit by magic lamps, the tombstone gave off a sinister feel in the night.
Monsters continued to circle in the sky above as we arrived.
The monsters ignored us as we ran here. They seemed to be looking for something.
“Hey, Megumin, Komekko wouldn’t run to a place like this…”
I didn’t reply to Yunyun’s uneasy words. We hid in the bushes to observe the situation at the tombstone.
“…She’s really here.”
Komekko held the puzzle pieces and stood blankly before the tombstone. I didn’t know what she was trying to do.
I recognized the thing Komekko was holding as the seal fragments.
Why was this kid holding that in such a place?
As I pondered this, I followed Komekko’s gaze…
“…Great, Yunyun. That furball is fine too.”
“Why are you so calm!? Isn’t this situation really terrifying!?”
Komekko, who was holding the puzzle pieces, faced the monster, which was holding Kuro.
“Wha-Wha-What do we do now! And where are the adults in the village!?”
“Looking at the current situation, it is unlikely for new monsters to appear from the tomb. The adults must have confirmed this and dispersed to drive away the monsters inside the village.”
Since earlier, the villagers had been firing colorful magic into the sky.
If it weren’t for this situation, I would be watching the “fireworks” from my house’s window along with Komekko and Yunyun.
“Hm. Calm down. As you can see, there is only one enemy. It is concentrating on Komekko, so it should be fine if we proceed carefully. After all, we already killed one.”
“I, I see. You have thought this out well.”
Yunyun started to calm down as she looked at me.
Then, Komekko put the puzzle pieces down on the floor, suddenly raising both arms towards the monster.
“…What is Komekko doing?”
“Probably intimidating the monster. It looks like she wants to take Kuro from the monster.”
Faced with the advancing Komekko, the monster backed off.
Even Kuro, who was being carried by the monster, started shivering.
“It feels like the monster has been suppressed by Komekko. Although I want to watch how this develops… Let’s go, Yunyun. I’ll entrust you to be the bait.”
“O-Okay… Hey, wait! Why am I the bait!”
“Clumsy Yunyun couldn’t possibly kill it in one hit, right? So lend me that dagger… I won’t toss it this time. Quickly give it to me!”
“No, no! This time I will hit it, so Megumin be the bait…! Hey, ah!”
As we argued over the dagger, she suddenly looked up at the sky and exclaimed.
Looking closely, there were five monsters descending near Komekko.
“No-No problem, right!? Megumin must have thought of a plan, right!?”
“Of course. In such desperate situations, surely a hidden power will be awakened, or someone will come to the rescue. Therefore, we just need to shiver and scream like helpless girls…”
“Megumin, what are you saying!? And where are you looking at? Your eyes have become swirly! Hey, aren’t you really bad at handling sudden crisis!?”
Komekko didn’t notice me who was losing my grip on reality. She started making intimidating noises at the surrounding monsters.
“—Hey, Megumin. Will Komekko really be okay!? That kid is trying to fight so many monsters! And why is she not afraid?! Why does it seem like the monsters are getting scared?!”
My little sister might really be an amazing person.
Leaving aside Kuro who treated her as a natural nemesis, why were the monsters afraid of her?
It was as if they were infected by Kuro’s fear.
“Eh, now is not the time to simply wait! …I didn’t want to do this…”
I took out my trump card from my pocket.
Looking at it, Yunyun said.
“Adventurer’s Card? …Ah!? Megumin, you…!”
—Exactly. I had to choose the lesser of two evils.
If I had to choose between my sister’s life and Explosion magic, then of course—!
“Stop right there!”
Komekko and the monsters looked at me.
I held my Adventurer’s Card, jumping out of the bushes.
“My name is Megumin! The top genius of the Crimson Demons and wielder of Advanced Magic! Leave my sister alone!”
“Ah, nee-chan! They snatched away my meal!”
“Komekko!? What meal!? Do you mean Kuro!?”
Both of them just ruined my cool debut!
Yunyun held her dagger and emerged after me.
“…Hey, Megumin, do you really want to learn advanced magic? But you love Explosion magic so much…”
“A genius like me can easily regain the points by hunting a lot of monsters. No matter how long it takes— Even if it takes dozens of years, I will never give up on Explosion magic!”
…I said that, but my heart still felt heavy.
Even though I needed to confront the monsters now.
The monsters changed their targets, slowly surrounding and closing in on us.
One of them spread its wings, intending to attack us from the sky.
—My hand was shaking as it held on to my Adventurer’s Card.
After all, it was my childhood dream. It wasn’t so easy to give up on.
But there was no other way to save my sister.
…No problem. I just had to work harder from now on.
I convinced myself and took my Adventurer’s Card—!
“Your voice and body are shivering. You can’t bear to do it, right?”
Yunyun put her dagger back at her waist.
She held her Adventurer’s Card in her hands, just like I was.
“What are you—“
—trying to do?
As I was about to finish my question…
I was interrupted by Yunyun’s incantation.
I followed the star-like street lights, running as I held Komekko’s hand.
“Nee-chan, Yunyun is so powerful! The lightning went ‘boom’—!”
Perhaps she was excited, Komekko tightly clung onto my hand..
“Yes, it was very powerful. Yunyun has surpassed me now! I thought she will be at a loss while standing to the side…!”
I complained to Komekko as I ran to find the adult villagers.
—Yunyun learned intermediate magic.
After learning intermediate magic, she would have to graduate.
So she could no longer enjoy the privilege of being an immature Crimson Demon — an easy way to obtain the rare Skill Up Potion.
If Yunyun decided to learn advanced magic, she must fight monsters to gain experience and level up.
Learning intermediate magic consumed 10 skill points.
To regain these skill points, she must increase the same amount of levels correspondingly.
Also, the higher your level, the more difficult it is to gain a level.
Low-level Yunyun should level up very quickly.
But no matter how fast, it would still take at least one year to gain 10 levels.
For the next year, my rival would be seen as an incompetent Crimson Demon.
Even though she worked really hard as the chief’s daughter and always achieved excellent results.
“Nee-chan, are you crying?”
“I’m not crying! My frustration is just causing mana to flow from my eyes!”
Yunyun used lightning magic to attack the head of the monster holding on to Kuro, and said.
—I will save Kuro. You take Komekko and find the adult villagers—
Because I was indecisive about learning advanced magic, Yunyun had to graduate from being an apprentice wizard.
And that child, who disliked killing, could actually unleash magic without reservation like this.
Although normally awkward, she would come forth when someone needed protection.
My rival’s posture was really dazzling—
“…? Nee-chan, what is it? Too tired to run?”
Komekko was bewildered as she stared at me, who stopped moving.
My self-proclaimed rival was fighting monsters alone.
My self-proclaimed rival who never once won a match with me.
My self-proclaimed rival was a lonely person with no friends, and would pester me all the time.
—If I ran away now to achieve my dream, I won’t ever have the face to compete with my self-proclaimed rival again.
“Komekko, do you like Nee-chan?”
Komekko smiled and answered.
“…Even if nee-chan can’t use the most powerful magic, and can’t become the most powerful wizard?”
“I will do it in nee-chan’s place, so no problem!”
Komekko continued smiling..
At her young age, she was already aiming to become the most powerful. Truly, she would become an amazing person.
“…Komekko, I am going to save Yunyun, so you…”
As I was saying, I looked at the sky, searching for the nearest battle location.
There were a few flashes of light shooting from the ground up close to me.
I squatted down to Komekko’s eye level and said.
“You run to where that light was. The adult villagers should be there. The flying monsters seem to be searching for something, so they won’t be hostile to you. You were able to safely arrive at the tomb in the midst of this confusion, so you would be fine. Avoid street lamps and similar things so you wouldn’t stand out, and stealthily—“
“Don’t want! I want to be with nee-chan!”
“…Listen properly, I’m going into battle, but no matter how strong or cool I am, there is a chance of losing. So—“
As I attempted to persuade her, my sister clenched her fists and said roughly.
“I want to fight too! I will take back my stolen meal!”
She said these worrying, yet reliable words.
—I turned back on the road and repeatedly instructed my sister.
“Listen properly! You must not leave my side!”
“Do not charge the monster which had taken Kuro! I will help you recover Kuro! You understand?”
“Okay! I will try to not charge at it!”
“Not try, you absolutely must not!”
Was this really okay? Honestly, I felt uneasy…
But driving away the persistent Komekko might be even more dangerous.
…I made my decision.
I will not give up on Explosion magic. Even if I had to spend a few years or a few decades, I would absolutely learn it.
This was just a slight detour.
Right, just a slight—
“Blade of Wind!”
Yunyun shouted and slashed down her hand, creating a blast of wind.
The wind became a blade and cut down one of the monsters in the sky.
Normally, intermediate magic was unable to deal so much damage.
This must be because of Yunyun’s naturally strong magic power. She was truly the one whose power was second only to me.
As we returned to the scene, we watched Yunyun fighting desperately.
“Nee-chan, aren’t you going?”
“Wait, Komekko. Your clever sister suddenly realizes something. There is no need for advanced magic. It is enough for us to just survive this encounter.”
I said as I watched the battle.
…I was not backing out from my decision.
If intermediate magic was enough to fight off these monsters like Yunyun was currently doing, why waste points to learn advanced magic?
Yunyun was already gaining the upper hand.
Since the monsters didn’t leave their corpses behind, it was impossible to determine how many she had killed. But when I was running away, there should be six of them.
Now there was only one left.
Yunyun stood in front, leaving Kuro protectively by her feet.
“…But this is terrible. Yunyun is going to defeat all the monsters.”
“? Isn’t it good if Yunyun defeated them all?”
“Of course not. If so, my decision to return would be…”
At this moment.
My wish was granted. Seven monsters descended from the night sky.
Good, I would coolly debut and save her, repaying everything she was due!
“My name is Komekko! Watching the house is my job. I’m the Number One Femme Fatale little sister of the Crimson Demons!”
Komekko interrupted me and presented herself first.
“Komekko! You… Why do you keep interrupting my glorious debut!”
“I won’t apologize!”
“Hey! Why are you two still here!? I told you to run away!?”
Yunyun fixed her gaze on the oncoming monsters, as she shouted at us.
I said to her.
“You think I will owe my self-proclaimed rival a debt of honor and run away by myself?!”
“It’s about time you drop this ‘self-proclaimed’ prefix! After all, I am now a true mage after learning magic! I’m different from the fake mage Megumin!”
“F-Fake mage!? Ho-How dare you, you intermediate magician!”
“Don’t call me an ‘intermediate magician’ like I’m a substandard Crimson Demon!”
While we were arguing, one of the monsters who descended earlier suddenly pounced at Yunyun.
Even though she was arguing with me, Yunyun was still watching the enemy’s movements. She picked Kuro up, and quickly rolled out of the way to avoid the attack.
Then, she drew her dagger with her other hand and threw it at the monster.
Maybe it was just luck, but Yunyun’s dagger hit the monster’s throat.
The wounded monster let out a sound like a lute, and collapsed while holding its own throat. It then vanished in a puff of black smoke.
Seeing this, the remaining monsters rushed at Yunyun!
“Looks like you are in danger! Intermediate magician Yunyun! Now is time for the advanced magician Megumin to take care of these trash in one go!”
“Eh!? Megumin, what are you saying!? Why did you think I learned intermediate magic…!”
Yunyun got up quickly and raised one hand to the sky.
“From now on, I will not say ‘self-proclaimed’ anymore. I will treat you as an official rival! And I don’t intend to owe my rival a debt of honor! What were you thinking? You wanted to graduate first and widen our distance? You said you wanted to graduate with me together, now we can…!”
Yunyun didn’t let me complete my speech. She unleashed a fireball at the oncoming enemies.
This magic must have been infused with all her mana.
The monsters suffered a direct hit, creating such a huge explosion that nobody would believe it was an intermediate magic. A loud boom echoed through the sky.
Seven monsters fell from the sky, instantly reduced to ashes.
At the same time, Yunyun knelt down on the floor after confirming all the enemies were defeated, possibly due to mana exhaustion.
I hurried over to her side.
“This way… Megumin doesn’t need to learn advanced magic…!”
She said with an expression that was flaunting her victory.
“…But what about you? And didn’t Yunyun object to me learning Explosion magic? Why did you change your mind!”
I said as I laid her head down on my shoulder.
“I-I haven’t changed my mind… Even now, I object to you learning Explosion magic, but I feel it will be a pity to give up your dream for this reason… P-Plus! It took so much effort to make you owe me one. I won’t let you repay me so easily! I never had such an opportunity to make you owe me a favour!”
“Then since you are unable to move due to mana exhaustion, if I send you home, it would cancel my debt of honor, right?”
As I decided to forcefully carry Yunyun home, Komekko rushed forward and carried Kuro.
I really hoped that the reason why she fixed her gaze on the cat with shining eyes was because she was happy to see Kuro unharmed.
“Hey, Megumin! I learned intermediate magic to help you! How could just carrying me home cancel the debt. This is too much!”
“You sure are noisy. You can’t move due to mana exhaustion. If I abandon you here, you would be eaten by the next wave of monsters, right? In other words, I’m your savior… See, this is similar to you saving me earlier.”
“This is sophistry! I risked my life to fight all these monsters, yet Megumin…”
Yunyun was grabbing me tightly. She suddenly stopped her protests.
I followed her gaze and was dumbstruck as well.
“Nee-chan, so many of those winged things are coming! Hey, are they edible? Can I eat them?”
We watched the swarm of monsters darken the sky, as Komekko said and jumped for joy.
It felt like I was running around everywhere today.
“Meg-Megumin, it hurts! My tip of my shoes are about to be grinded off!”
Yunyun tearfully complained on my back.
“Don’t be so willful! I’m short, so I can’t help it! Who asked you to grow so tall! If it hurts that much, then pull it up yourself.”
“Then I will carry Yunyun’s feet!”
We fled along the dark road as I took Komekko and carried the exhausted Yunyun on my back.
“Ow, it hurts! Komekko, wait! If you lift my legs like this, my posture will be like a fried shrimp…!”
“This is such a desperate situation, so what the hell are both of you doing! Don’t move about on my back, or I will dump you right here!”
As I grumbled, several of the monsters that were covering the sky passed over us.
…Why have so many monsters congregated here?
As if to answer me, magic flashed towards the sky one after another. Without us noticing, the amount of magic we were seeing had increased.
It seemed we had shortened the distance with the magic-using villagers.
In other words, these monsters were not congregating, but were being driven here.
“It seems most of the monsters are using this place to regroup.”
“In other words, the evil god’s minions are gathering at the evil god’s tombstone!? Why are they doing this… Is it because there are too many monsters, so they want to drive them here and seal them all at once?”
…So that was it. The adults were probably intending to seal them all in one go, or simply use super powerful magic to destroy them.
If so, we must quickly leave this place.
Although the situation was urgent…
“…Yunyun, now is a good time for that famous phrase. You can loudly say classical quotes like ‘Just leave me behind. You go ahead first!’”
“No, no, no, don’t abandon me! Megumin said earlier that carrying me home would repay the debt of honor!”
Why did I say such unnecessary words…!
Amidst the monsters’ disgusting roars, I gave my all to drag Yunyun and escape.
Even if I learned advanced magic, it would be impossible to deal with this many monsters.
I silently prayed that we wouldn’t be seen and hid in the shadows by the street lamp.
At this time.
Kuro cried while being held in Komekko’s hands.
—The cry was so soft, yet the monsters circling in the sky started heading for us.
The monsters’ behavior finally granted me an epiphany!
“Komekko! Throw that furball into the sky!”
“What are you saying!? Megumin, what are you saying!?”
“It took so much effort to snatch back my meal, I can’t just throw it away!”
“Komekko, you too! What are you saying!?”
…How did things come to this.
Why did I notice just notice this?
The reason the monsters attacked my house was probably Kuro.
There was the time we had field training too.
That monster ignored other students and charged at me who was carrying Kuro.
Recently, Komekko had been running out to play with the evil god’s seal fragments.
And she suddenly brought this furball back one day.
At the same time, the villagers started catching sight of the evil god’s minions.
There was only one conclusion that all these clues pointed to—!
“Ahh, my head! If I think any more, my brain’s self-defense mechanism will be activated!”
“Hey, Megumin, what nonsense are you spouting!? Stop avoiding reality, okay?!”
Hearing Yunyun’s words, I recovered my wits and reevaluated the situation.
It looked like all the flying monsters were fixing their gazes on us.
I wanted to abandon Kuro and run, but…
“Nee-chan, this is a good opportunity! Let’s catch one home!”
With the aura of an amazing person, Komekko carried the shivering Kuro and said with a grin.
I looked my sister with her sparkling eyes and put Yunyun down from my back. I gazed at the sky and took out my Adventurer’s Card.
Yunyun asked uneasily.
Not far from here, magic continued to blast into the sky.
I must learn advanced magic to buy some time.
If I unleashed advanced magic here, the adult villagers would rush over immediately.
“Nee-chan, what’s wrong? Your eyes are much redder than usual?”
Of course, they would be red.
After all, my emotions were surging.
“Yunyun, run away with Komekko.”
I gazed at the sky and accumulated all the mana in my body.
Even if I never used magic, I could still control the flow of mana in my body due to the nature of Crimson Demons.
The evil god’s minions in the sky didn’t descend, probably thinking we were using Kuro as a hostage.
But I felt they wouldn’t just keep waiting. After all, they had an overwhelming numerical advantage. Given an opening, they would attack all at once.
—For example, if I unleashed a spell— This would definitely create an opening.
No problem. I already made my decision.
“Meg-Megumin. I feel that they are just observing us. Let’s just wait for the adults to arrive…!”
I won’t regret it. I would simply work harder in future.
“Nee-chan, your eyes…!”
Still carrying Kuro, Komekko worriedly looked up at me.
I patted her head gently and told her I was fine.
Then, I made my final stand and took out my Adventurer’s Card to learn advanced magic.
—I looked at my card and froze.
At the same time, I broke out into uncontrollable laughter.
“Wh-What is it!? Megumin, have you finally gone crazy!?”
“Nee-chan has broken!”
“Ho-How rude! What are both of you saying!”
Even as I rebuked them, my eyes didn’t leave my Adventurer’s Card.
—I had enough skill points.
I had enough skill points to learn Explosion magic.
I knew it was a foolish move, but I still insisted on learning this magic.
“Nee-chan is making crackling sounds!”
“Megumin, Megumin!? What is it, what is it!? What advanced magic are you using!? When the villagers used their magic, there was never such a phenomenon! Hey, what is this spell!?”
Since I was young, I memorized the incantation and practiced chanting this magic daily.
The surrounding atmosphere changed along with my gathered mana and the incantation I was chanting.
With me at the center, the surrounding atmosphere was filled with static electricity and became hazy.
After all, this wasn’t just my first time using magic. It was also my first time using Explosion magic, known for its highest difficulty.
I could not completely control its power, so some of it seeped into the surrounding and interfered with the environment.
—As I chanted the incantation for Explosion magic, I remembered many things.
Things that happened after I was just one point short of learning Explosion magic.
After I fought Yunyun in the park, I strangled a wandering Onion Duck.
At that time, my level had increased, and my skill points were sufficient.
As if sensing the uneasy mood, the evil god’s minions cried out in disarray.
I could feel my mana being consumed for every line of incantation I chanted.
Even though I was confident in my amount of mana, I still broke out in sweat.
Since Explosion magic consumed a vast amount of mana, if the caster didn’t have enough mana, the spell could not be used even if it was learned.
The sentences from the textbook flashed across my mind, but as a Crimson Demons, it was impossible that I didn’t have enough mana. I shook the troubling thoughts out of my head and continued the incantation.
Finally, the magic incantation was completed—
There was a small ball of light in my hand.
…It was done.
I worked so hard for so long just to create this ball of light. I finally succeeded.
I still didn’t have a magic staff to boost the power.
To unleash Explosion magic like this, the power would probably be about half of what it should be.
But, even so,
“Yunyun, Komekko. Get down.”
I was still confident that I could wipe these monsters out in one strike.
Yunyun dragged her weakened body next to Komekko and hugged her as she lay down on the floor.
It looked like she understood what I was about to do.
The glowing light in hand gave out warmth, like I was holding a ball of fire. The pressure from the compressed power was comforting.
No problem. I would surely control this properly.
I silently encouraged myself, gazing at the sky.
The Explosion magic I always wanted to learn.
The Explosion magic of my dreams.
The Explosion magic that I staked everything on.
Neither dragon nor demon, neither god or Demon King, would survive a direct hit. This was mankind’s most destructive spell.
The scene from my childhood was still as clear as yesterday. This time, I would personally—
“My name is Megumin! The top genius of the Crimson Demons, and wielder of Explosion magic! I have— I have finally attained the magic of my dreams! I, I will never forget this day! …Eat this!!”
I opened both my eyes and lifted the ball of light in my hand into the sky, then shouted.
The light from my hand shot towards the center of the monster swarm.
The light disappeared as if swallowed by a monster.
One second later, a flashy and glorious firework bloomed in the night sky—!!
“Hahahaha! This is it. This is what I wanted to see! What a glorious explosion! What destructive power! What an uninhibited feeling!”
While hugging Komekko, Yunyun cried out in despair. I ignored the violent winds and the explosive roar, and laughed aloud.
The shockwave broke the trees beneath the explosion. I was pushed onto the floor.
The monsters in the sky were devastated by the magically powered explosive winds and routed by the irresistible, overwhelming destructive force. All of them had vanished.
I lay on the floor, gazing at the sky.
I could not move due to mana exhaustion, so I could only watch the smoke slowly clear.
When the smoke finally cleared, the vast quantity of monsters had all vanished.
“…Wha-What is this… This is Explosion magic…? This is beyond the description of ‘powerful’ or ‘strong’… It’s so powerful even without the control and boost effect of a magic staff. No wonder it is called the most powerful spell… I can somewhat, somewhat understand why Megumin is so obsessed with Explosion magic.”
After witnessing the destructiveness of Explosion magic, Yunyun sighed.
I didn’t intend to respond, and merely lay there.
A single use exhausted my entire mana reserve, and even consumed my physical stamina.
After using this magic, the caster would be completely helpless.
This meant that to become an adventurer, I must have companions who could defend me when I am completely exhausted.
I always thought I would be fine by myself.
But there were things I could not do alone.
I must remember today’s experience. I must definitely treasure my companions.
I heard voices from afar. The adult villagers sounded very anxious. I imagined the appearances of my future companions whom I have never met…
“Ah!! Nee-chan blew away all the bird meat!!”
—A few days later.
After the adults who saw the Explosion magic arrived, the situation became very chaotic.
After all, the chief’s daughter and me were lying on the floor, while Komekko was carrying Kuro and standing nearby.
I was carried home unconscious. The next day, Yunyun and I reported what happened to the homeroom teacher.
As for the other adults, I told them that after reaching home, I found the door broken, Komekko missing, and brought Yunyun along to find Komekko.
As a result, there was a new question circulating among the villagers.
“…Hey, Megumin, what do we do now?”
Yunyun expressionlessly asked. I had no answer.
The homeroom teacher said the school would have a graduation ceremony for us on the weekend. We just needed to go to school then.
We had nothing to do these few days, so we spent our time in the nearby park.
Since she called me, I turned to look at her.
She shoved her face right up to me—
“…Megumin …What are we going to do?!”
I shut my eyes, cupped my ears, and squatted on the floor.
“Now is not the time to pretend you didn’t hear anything! What are we going to do! Bukkoroli-san said the seal on the Nameless Goddess of Vengeance was also broken! The seal location was exactly when Megumin used magic on! The released goddess is currently missing! What do we do!? Hey, what are we going to do!?”
Yunyun forcefully shook my shoulders as I continued to pretend I didn’t hear anything.
Although I wanted to just avoid the issue, I heard a line that must be corrected.
“Yunyun, wait. The way you said it will easily give other people the mistaken impression that ‘I’m the one who broke the seal’.”
“That isn’t a mistake, right!? Bukkoroli-san said many dangerous things were sealed in that place! Unleashing the powerful Explosion magic in the sky above that place will cause the seals to break!”
I said to Yunyun, who wouldn’t stop pestering me.
“But the adult villagers have a different explanation. The released evil god fought the awakened goddess. In the end, the goddess won and wiped out the evil god’s minions in one big explosion. Thereafter, she flew off somewhere…”
“This is completely wrong! It was the fault of Megumin’s magic!”
None of the villagers thought it was Komekko who broke the evil god’s seal.
And they didn’t know I learned Explosion magic.
Only the homeroom teacher knew what we learned.
If the adult villagers knew I learned Explosion magic and Yunyun learned intermediate magic, they would be very disappointed.
The homeroom teacher understood this, so it was kept a secret from the villagers.
It seemed the homeroom teacher, whom I always thought was hopeless, still cared about the students.
“Yunyun, today can’t I…”
“No! Why do you need to ask!? Everything has finally calmed down, so are you trying to create chaos again!? You have not used Explosion magic these few days, so you can endure it, right!? …Ev-Even if you make such a sad face, it is still impossible! I’m doing this for your own good!”
Yunyun said that even though she was wavering a little.
It has been a few days ago since I tasted the feel of Explosion magic.
Thereafter, Yunyun banned me from using Explosion magic.
The reason being that releasing the magic nearby would cause another disturbance in the village, after the homeroom teacher managed to cover it up.
Yes, I understood the reason.
Even though I understood…
“Yunyun, you should know how much I love Explosion, right?”
“Yes, I do. I understand that Megumin’s love for Explosion is, in other people’s eyes, an obsessive mania.”
If she knew this much, then it should be easy.
“Listen, Yunyun. To explain how much I love Explosion magic— If I had to choose between ‘Use Explosion magic and eat one passable meal per day’ and ‘Eat three meals plus dessert without Explosion magic per day’, I would gladly choose to eat one passable meal and use Explosion magic. After which, I would eat the remaining two meals plus dessert. I love Explosion magic this much.”
“Eh… Megumin the glutton would actually say…? Eh, huh!? Hey, can you repeat what you just said? I feel that you just said something very strange!”
Yunyun hurriedly interrogated me, but I did understand that using Explosion magic would create a lot of trouble.
I scratched the head of the furball at my feet.
“Hm. I will endure it for some time. Once I can’t endure it anymore, I will travel and use Explosion to devastate the world beyond the village.”
“You, you better not do that! Don’t even joke about it!”
I stood up and decided to change the topic.
“It is good that nobody was injured in the incident. Although what the villagers thought happened was different from the truth, it’s fine if they can accept it.”
I picked up the furball at my feet.
Yunyun looked at Kuro in my arms and asked with mixed feelings.
“…Hey, Megumin. What is Kuro exactly? Why does Kuro attract all those monsters? Is it related to the evil god? And how was the evil god’s seal broken? Is it really like the villagers said? That a passing tourist pulled a practical joke…?”
Yunyun didn’t get the whole story..
After all, nobody would think that the seal was broken by a child out of curiosity.
If I hadn’t done the same thing when I was young, I would never have suspected Komekko.
After interrogating her thoroughly at home, I found out it was indeed Komekko who broke the seal.
I wanted to scold her, but I couldn’t do it when she innocently took out the seal pieces and asked me if I wanted to play.
The only damage to my house was the front door. It wasn’t serious, so I just kept quiet.
—The question was, what to do with this fellow.
“This furball is so shameless. A kitten should act cuter.”
Kuro, who was sought out and carefully carried by the evil god’s minions.
Its true form was probably…
“Hey, Megumin. Are you going to keep it at home? Uh, uh… Komekko’s look is very…”
Yunyun stopped speaking half-way.
Yes, of course I understood what she wanted to say.
“What do I do. Seriously, if I leave it at home, Komekko may actually eat it one day. But at this moment, neither giving it to someone else nor letting it go is a good idea…”
I carried Kuro with both hands and lifted it to my eye level. It didn’t resist.
Yunyun looked at Kuro and thought of a plan.
“Right! Why not officially establish a familiar contract? If it is sister’s beloved familiar, Komekko probably won’t…”
She deflated as she spoke.
Of course, I understood what she meant.
For my little sister lived by her instinct, such reasoning didn’t apply.
“…A wizard who controls an evil god… It doesn’t sound bad.”
“? Megumin, what did you just say?”
It looked like Yunyun didn’t hear what I just mumbled to myself.
“I said letting it be my familiar doesn’t sound bad.”
I offhandedly glossed it over.
And smiled at this furball with a grand background.
Yunyun relaxed and heaved a sigh of relief. Suddenly, I thought of something.
“Yes, if it is to be my familiar, this temporary name is no good.”
“Eh!? Can’t you use Kuro as the official name!?”
“No, it’d be too pitiful for it to have such a tasteless name.”
I ignored Yunyun who was in shock. I thought hard about its name.
At this time, Kuro suddenly turned its body.
As if it was saying, “Kuro is fine.”
“Look, Kuro seems to like his current name. And this kid is still a kitten, changing its name randomly would confuse it.”
Yunyun insisted that the name she gave was better, but I already thought of a good name.
I said confidently. Conversely, Yunyun looked uneasy.
“Hey, Megumin. Kuro is a female cat, okay? Consider this fact and give it a cute name…”
I interrupted her.
I looked at my familiar before me and announced to it.
“—Your name is Chomusuke. That’s right, Chomusuke.”
The familiar that usually swaggered about, and possibly had a very terrifying true form—
Shivered like never before
INTERLUDE: LAST SCENE
—Greater Demon And Demonic Girl—
I stood before the evil god’s tombstone. At this moment, Hoost flew over with something in its hands.
“We haven’t met in a while… Yes, what is the matter? It seems the area around the tomb is really messy. There is even a region where the trees were flattened. What happened here?”
“I heard the evil god revived, which then woke up the nameless goddess. They fought and the evil god was destroyed.”
Hoost dropped whatever it was holding onto the floor.
It was a cage containing a chicken and a few small chicks.
“You, You must be joking!!”
“That is what the adults said.”
Hearing this, Hoost dejectedly lowered its head.
But I was more concerned about the clucking chicken in the cage.
“Why would Lady Wolbach’s seal be… What is this. In just the time I was away…But this is very strange. If Lady Wolbach’s other half was destroyed, I wouldn’t be able to remain in this world…”
I sat by the cage and looked into it. Hoost suddenly shouted.
“That’s right! Lady Wolbach’s other half must have survived! It must be hiding somewhere. I must find it quickly and protect it…!”
Hoost looked over to me.
“…Uh, that. That’s how it is. I must go. I probably won’t ever see you again… I don’t need this offering anymore. You can have it.”
“I will eat the mother hen. Chomusuke can eat the little chick.”
“Don’t eat it! Wait, this is not good for the kid’s moral and emotional education. I better bring it along. By the way, what the heck is Chomusuke?”
“A black magical beast about this big. Want to see?”
“Who cares? It’s probably just a cat, right? At least give it a proper name… Seriously, what’s wrong with these Crimson Demons…”
Hoost spread the wings on its back.
“……Are you leaving?”
“Ah? Didn’t you hear what I said? I need to find Lady Wolbach… What, don’t look so sad. This can’t be helped, and uh, you are a Crimson Demon, right?”
“I have a strong feeling that you will become a great mage. If my contract with Lady Wolbach ends… If that ever happens, and if you can summon me, I will establish a familiar contract with you.”
“You would have to summon me first! Hm. But the chance of successfully summoning a greater devil like me is very low. You might not be able to summon…”
Hoost was hovering in the air with its wings. It tilted its head and hesitated, then dropped back on the ground. It squatted down to my eye level.
“That is how it usually is… But I feel you have the potential to become a devil specialist. Who knows, you might actually be able to summon me.”
“I will work hard at it!”
Hoost said, “Still not possible, right?” to dampen my enthusiasm, then he roughly ruffled my hair.
“Then, goodbye, Komekko! You must do your best to become a great mage! My name is Hoost! The greater devil who attends to the Evil God Lady Wolbach, Hoost!”
“My name is Komekko! Watching the house is my job. I’m the Number One Femme Fatale little sister of the Crimson Demons! And soon-to-be master of Hoost!”
I flipped my cloak and made a pose at Hoost.
Hoost laughed loudly, spread its wings, and flew away from the village.
I watched my first friend, who frequently grumbled yet always brought me food, flew away.
I waved my hand until his silhouette vanished beyond the horizon.