THE RED-HAIRED SERVITOR
Translator: Sine Nomine
Editor(s): Cannongerbil, Skythewood, Xenthur
Her shoulders shivered as she bowed her head, staying low without rising.
She just addressed me as “great master”.
What was happening? What was she talking about?
But if I asked ‘Who are you?’ right now, it would just spoil the mood.
And this felt pretty nice, so I’ll play along for a bit.
“So the reception is finally here…”
Hearing my soft voice, the woman raised her head.
She had a serious, yet beautiful face.
Her yellow, cat-like eyes stared from between her red hair.
She tilted her head in confusion and said.
“…When I heard that your seal has been broken, I rushed here from far away. Since the seal was broken only recently, it is possible that your memories have yet to be fully restored… Your loyal servant Arnes is here to pay her respect. From now on, I’ll be your arms and legs. It’s my honour to risk my life to defend you.”
Arnes bowed her head deeply once more.
—My seal was broken.
I couldn’t remember any such thing, but this loyal servant said that my memories may yet to be restored to the seal being broken only recently.
What was I?
No, I felt this before.
I always felt that I was different from the others.
My mana capacity and genius intellect were unmatched.
…Now, the mystery was solved.
This subordinate who called herself Arnes was no ordinary minion.
Her lowered hood was probably hiding something.
From the look of her actions and her gaze, she must be a fairly competent person.
“…You have been troubled to come so far. I’ll be in your care, Arnes.”
“Sure. Although I don’t know who you are, please leave my master’s affairs to me.”
“Am I not your master who was sealed?”
“No, not you. Did you have a reason for someone to seal you?”
Of course, there wasn’t any…
“Then, you said you wanted to welcome…”
“The one who is sleeping on your belly.”
“I’ve been living with this furball for half a year, so I have some feelings for it. I’d be very troubled if you say you’re here to take it away.”
“To call my great master a furball and have feelings for it… I’m grateful to you for taking care of my master so far, but shouldn’t you respect my master’s wishes?”
Arnes said to me with a serious expression.
Chomusuke, who was sleeping on my belly, glanced at Arnes and yawned.
“…It doesn’t look like it wants to go with you.”
“Ahh!? Lady Wolbach!?”
Chomusuke twisted slightly to the side and slept on my belly again.
I scratched the neck of this shameless furball who still intended to sleep under such circumstances.
“Well, this little one seems like it wants to stay here, so I will take care of this furball. You don’t have to worry.”
“Pl- Pl- Please wait! Uh, Lady Wolbach!? Lady Wolbach! It’s me, Arnes! Come, let’s go back together, okay?”
Arnes said hurriedly to persuade it, but Chomusuke merely purred and curled up as I stroked its chin.
“As you can see, this little one seems satisfied with its current life. Please go back.”
“Pl- Please wait! Please convince Lady Wolbach to go back with me! Even though it looks like this, it should still be able to understand our language!”
Arnes continued pestering me.
“This little one’s name is Chomusuke. How could it understand human language? This is just a normal cat.”
“Chom- Chomusuke? Chomusuke!? It doesn’t seem possible, but you can’t be referring to Lady Wolbach, right!?”
Arnes stared in disbelief and shouted.
Why couldn’t it be referring to my cat?
“Isn’t it a great name?”
“Please stop. You must address it as Lady Wolbach! Ahh… If Lady Wolbach actually believes this weird name is her name… What should I do? How do I fix this…”
Arnes was on the verge of tears as she saw her master responding to the name “Chomusuke” repeatedly.
She was so rude to call it a weird name.
I thought it was better than that Wol-whatever.
“This little one is not your master Wolbach, but my important family member Chomusuke. And it wants to stay here of its own volition, so please go back.”
“It’s Lady Wolbach… This is really troubling. Can you please hand her over to me? Of course, I didn’t come here empty-handed. Take this as a thank-you gift for protecting Lady Wolbach…”
Arnes said as she searched herself for something.
This was an insult.
Chomusuke is an important member of my family.
There is no way I can trade it away for money…!
“Let me see. Although I currently only have 300,000 eris…”
“No, no. That’s enough. Chomusuke, this person is your new guardian. Be good.”
I picked up Chomusuke and handed it over to Arnes.
Sensing what was happening, Chomusuke extended its claws to hold onto my clothes.
I engaged in an intense battle with Chomusuke who was unwilling to let go…!
“Hm, hm… It looks as though Lady Wolbach doesn’t want to leave. Or perhaps she needs some time to say goodbye. I’ll come by to pick her up tomorrow, so go ahead and enjoy each other’s company for tonight.”
Arnes suggested after seeing our situation.
She then handed over a heavy sack.
It contained a lot of eris coins.
I was dumbstruck. Arnes bowed her head to me.
“Then, please take care of Lady Wolbach. I will come to get her tomorrow.”
She said and left.
After Arnes left.
“Komekko, say goodbye to this furball today. It may be your last chance to do so.”
I said to Komekko as I ate my dinner.
Komekko was enthusiastically chewing on her food. Upon hearing that, her hamster-like face changed.
Komekko silently swallowed the food in her mouth and turned towards Chomusuke, who was eating her leftover fish bones. She placed her hands together as if in prayer.
“…Farewell, Chomusuke. I will taste you tomorrow morning. I won’t leave anything behind.”
“No! It’s not like that, Komekko! We won’t be eating it! It won’t be made into tomorrow’s breakfast!”
My sister was really scary.
To think that she would consider Chomusuke as breakfast without hesitation, even after living together with it for half a year.
Komekko tilted her head slightly.
“Then what? It has grown so big, yet we’re releasing it?”
“We’re going to sell it at a high price.”
“That’s my nee-chan! So resourceful! We can buy a lot of food!”
This kid was inhumane— although it wasn’t really my place to say.
Was she like me?
Maybe it would be better to have a bit more dignity.
I was troubled and looked on helplessly at Komekko, who was dancing in joy.
“Well. Today will be the last day to play with Chommy. Chommy, come here.”
Komekko hadn’t been putting Chomusuke in the pot lately, so it had been sticking closely to her. Chomusuke came over obediently into her arms.
Rather than “sticking closely”, it was probably “obeying subserviently”.
Komekko had just finished dinner, yet she was swallowing her saliva. Looking at her, Chomusuke shivered in her arms.
It would yield without resistance even when subjected to annoying things like having it’s ears and tail pulled.
Looking at Chomusuke, who had completely given up, I wondered if I was doing the right thing.
The reward of 300,000 eris was exactly the amount required to pay for a teleportation to Alcanretia.
This meant that I could go on a journey without working.
But I still have some feelings for this mysterious furball.
Yet if I left it at home, it would definitely be eaten by Komekko when I left on my journey.
If I brought this small furball along, it would probably be eaten by monsters.
I wanted to make it my familiar, but now that I had feelings for it, I was worried about its safety.
In many ways, giving it to Arnes was the best option.
Who was Arnes? And what was this furball?
Perhaps we might be dragged into a serious affair…
“Nee-chan, can a cat regrow its tail after it gets cut?”
“It’s not a lizard, it won’t regrow… so don’t eat its tail because today is the last day, okay?”
……What exactly was my little sister?
—The next day.
Since this was the last day, I gave a whole fish to Chomusuke as breakfast.
Komekko stared at the fish and brought her face so close that her nose could almost touch it. Chomusuke ate the fish nervously before her.
After breakfast, I held Chomusuke on my knees as I waited for Arnes. Then, someone knocked on the closed door.
Hearing the knocks, I exerted a bit more force on the hand carrying Chomusuke.
Perhaps because it was uncomfortable, Chomusuke cried out softly. I told myself that this was the best choice.
“…Goodbye then. Your name is not that weird Wolwhatever that she was calling you. You are Chomusuke. I went through the trouble of giving you such a cool name, so don’t forget it, okay?”
As if it could understand my words, Chomusuke cried out softly in my arms.
Good, this was fine.
I couldn’t feed it as an adventurer, yet I would be worried if it was left at home.
It would be better to give it to Arnes instead of finding someone to care for it.
She would take care of it.
“…Even if you recover your memories, you mustn’t seek revenge on my little sister, okay?”
I carried Chomusuke up to my face. It brought its face close until its nose was nearly touching me, and snorted.
Really, this cat was shameless.
Recently, it became more like someone I know. It didn’t react much even when something serious happened.
This cat might have a bright future.
The door was knocked again. I shouted, “Please come in.” to whoever was outside.
I listened to the sound of the door opening.
“This little one likes to stay in small, dark places and her favourite food is fish skin. Please take care of it.”
I handed Chomusuke over—
—To Yunyun, who was standing dumbly at the door.
“Eh? Wh- Why do I have to take care of Chomusuke… Hey, that hurts! Megumin, what are you doing!? Why are you hitting me!? Stop!”
Yunyun spoilt the mood after I resolved myself to sincerely say my farewell, so I vented my frustrations on her.
“What the hell are you doing here? I was just making my emotional farewell speech! Why are you here so early in the morning!?”
“What are you saying!? Why are you accusing me!? Didn’t we agree yesterday that I would help you with the work today!?”
Yunyun held back her tears with a bewildered expression.
Oh yeah, we made that agreement yesterday. I completely forgot about it.
I showed Yunyun the sack of coins given by Arnes last night.
“Look. I was lucky last night to have found 300,000 eris… Ow!”
Yunyun slapped me while I was speaking.
“You finally did it, Megumin! I believed in you! I thought that even if you had money issues, you wouldn’t commit any crimes! Idiot! Why didn’t you discuss with me first!?”
“Wh- What are you saying? I didn’t commit any crimes! This money came from a transaction made between two willing parties…!”
My cheek was so painful that I became teary.
I said as I held onto my cheek.
“Transaction? You said a transaction!? You have nothing valuable. How could you make 300,000 eris in one night……Ahhhh!?”
Yunyun suddenly thought of something and cried out loudly.
“Wh- What? Since just now, you…!?”
“Idiot! You finally sold your body!? I told you to value yourself more! Who was it!? Who was the person who accepted this foolish transaction!? Quick, tell me! I won’t forgive him!”
“Ah!? Ow, wait—!? ……Ahhh!”
“Ah…!? Ow, ow, ow—!”
After being slapped a few times, I finally couldn’t endure it any further and seized Yunyun tightly.
“Seriously, have some common sense! I won’t sell my body so easily! You would be easily deceived by any gentle guy, so why must you worry about me so much?! This money was obtained in a legal and mutually-satisfactory manner!”
“If- If he is just slightly gentle, I won’t be easy deceived! I already apologized! I only made such a mistake because you said something about selling your body yesterday…!”
After a great battle, we lay at the doorway, our bodies were covered with scratch wounds.
“It’s all because you suddenly earned so much money in single night! How did you earn so much money without committing a crime!?”
Yunyun collapsed on the floor in the doorway, stretching out her legs as if she had given up.
Chomusuke used to avoid Yunyun when it saw her. It seemed to have gotten used to her now, climbing onto her knees as if it belonged there.
Similarly, I stretched out my legs and lay down.
“Actually, there was someone who wanted to adopt this furball last night. She gave me 300,000 eris as a gift for transferring ownership.”
Hearing my carefree words, Yunyun shouted sharply in surprise.
Yunyun got up and hugged Chomusuke tightly as if to protect it.
“You mean you want to sell this little one!? This little one that you have been taking care of for so long!? Hey, this one is…!”
“It is just an ordinary cat. That’s right, just an ordinary cat. There’s nothing strange about it.”
For some reason, Yunyun was suspicious of Chomusuke’s true identity. She held her tongue.
“This is probably for the best. I’m going on a journey to become an adventurer. If I bring this kid along, it will be targeted by monsters since it’s so tiny.”
“Ugh… Bu- But…”
Yunyun hugged Chomusuke and looked at me with pleading eyes.
I said to Yunyun.
“Think about it. If this kid is left at home, Chomusuke will be alone with Komekko most of the time. Uh… Although it is hard to say… I cannot guarantee my sister won’t eat it…”
“You should educate her properly! Aren’t you the elder sister!? Now I’m starting to get worried about Komekko’s future as well!”
Although Yunyun seemed to tentatively agree with me, she continued to hug Chomusuke.
“If it’s someone who can take care of Chomusuke, it might be better to give it to her…”
At this moment.
“Not Chomusuke. It is Lady Wolbach.”
Arnes was there at the open door before we realized it.
Arnes was wearing a hood typical of mages. From between her red hair, her yellow eyes stared suspiciously at Yunyun.
I got up from my disgraceful position on the floor.
“Oh, you’re here. Yunyun, this is the person who will take over Chomusuke.”
“…Not Chomusuke, it’s Lady Wolbach. And it’s not taking over… Who is this person whom my master seems to like?”
Being stared down by Arnes, Yunyun guardedly hugged Chomusuke.
Seeing this, Arnes stiffened her smile.
“I’m the person who took in this little one together with Megumin. Why do you want this cat? And what is this about a master?”
“…I’m grateful to you for taking in Lady Wolbach, but it is better for you not to inquire further. Then, Lady Wolbach, let’s go.”
Arnes didn’t seem guarded towards me, but she seemed particularly sarcastic towards Yunyun.
Yunyun was never very assertive. She shuddered as she seemed to be overwhelmed by Arnes.
“Here, please hand it over to me.”
Although Arnes was polite, she had an air that tolerated no refusal. Yunyun fearfully handed Chomusuke over.
Arnes took Chomusuke and smiled.
“Thank you. I will protect Lady Wolbach, please don’t worry……Ah!? Lady Wolbach? Ouch, La- Lady Wolbach, please stop playing around!”
Chomusuke suddenly struggled and escaped from Arnes’ hands.
Arnes was hurt more by the rejection than by the pain of being scratched.
Upon reaching the floor, Chomusuke returned to Yunyun’s side.
“Uh, what should we do? It looks like it really hates her. But to return the money…”
“Return the money, Megumin! If you need money, just work! If this little one finds her so repulsive…”
Yunyun said to me as I struggled with the monetary issue. At this time—
“…So what if it finds me repulsive? Lady Wolbach has not recovered her memories, so she is naturally cautious of me. If she is with me, she will recover her memories soon. Come, please come here…”
Arnes said as she bent over to catch Chomusuke.
This action caused her hood to slide off, revealing her head.
—A pair of horns protruded from her red hair.
The atmosphere changed immediately.
Her polite attitude was gone.
“What should I do… can you two keep a secret?”
Hearing her, Yunyun and I hurriedly nodded.
This was a species that fed on human emotions. They ranged from cannon fodder like gremlins to succubi, who were very popular among males.
There were many different types of devil from low to high levels. Greater devils were particularly fierce and powerful.
Arnes was probably a greater devil. It would be difficult to defeat her without many mages using Advanced Magic.
Of course, neither of us could use Advanced Magic.
Yunyun could only use Intermediate Magic.
And my Explosion Magic could not be used within such a short range. More importantly, I would be killed before I could finish the long incantation to cast the spell.
“Wh- Why is there a greater devil here…?”
Yunyun mumbled to herself. Arnes smiled as she readjusted her hood.
“I said this before. It is best not to inquire further, right? Come, hand Lady Wolbach to me. I will spare both of you, if you keep my identity a secret.”
Yunyun was rooted to the spot. I picked up Chomusuke, who stuck to Yunyun and meowed casually without caring about the situation.
Even devils were involved now. If I continued to keep this little one, I would probably be dragged into all kinds of trouble in the future.
Therefore, this should be fine.
At least, it would be better than travelling with me. Or staying at home with Komekko.
For Chomusuke, this was probably the best option.
“…Well? Hurry up and hand it over.”
But I couldn’t move my hand.
I didn’t want to hand over this troublesome furball.
Seeing my hesitation, Arnes became impatient and reached out her hand…
Still sitting at the doorway, Yunyun suddenly unleashed a fireball at full power.
If the fire ball exploded in this close distance, we would definitely be scorched.
However, that fireball was probably a warning shot, as it flew pass Arnes’ head and exploded in the clear morning sky.
“…What is the meaning of this? I already said I will spare you… Do you have a death wish? Since both of you took care of Lady Wolbach, I didn’t want to harm you…”
Arnes narrowed her beast-like eyes, staring suspiciously at Yunyun who remained sitting in the doorway.
Despite being frightened, Yunyun stood up and placed her hand on the dagger at her waist, preparing for battle.
Oh dear. Given our current power, we would probably be instantly killed by this devil.
Arnes gave an ultimatum to me, who was secretly anxious.
“I will say it one last time. Hand Lady Wolbach over to me, or I shall tear the both of you to pieces.”
Her penetrating glare was overwhelming.
Next to me, Yunyun still drew her dagger.
This girl really became reckless whenever she wanted to protect someone.
She was like this when I was being chased by the evil god’s minions.
Now, she was full of spirit in order to protect the furball in my arms.
She was just a brat who even lacked the initiative to approach others for conversation, yet whenever this happens…
“You want this furball, right? Then catch it; please be careful not to let Lady Fulbach fall on the ground.”
“She’s not a furball! Also not Lady fulbach! She is… Ah.”
I threw Chomusuke towards the stiff Arnes.
Chomusuke went along the angle of projection, passed by Arnes, and flew out of the doorway…!
At the last moment, Arnes managed to catch it as she was sliding along the ground with all her might.
Her drastic actions caused her hood to fall off again.
Panting heavily, Arnes stood up and glared in my direction.
“You- You- You…! Dare…”
As she was about to reprimand me…
A beam of light flashed pass her cheek just as she was standing up.
The beam of light easily pierced into my house from outside, creating a hole in the wall.
“My- My wall! I just repaired it after it was damaged by the evil god’s minions!”
As I cried out, Arnes slowly turned to look behind her. Blood seeped from the wound on her face.
“We saw the explosion and came to see what was happening… A devil in the Crimson Demon Village. What is your business here?”
“You’re holding Megumin’s cat, right? What are you doing, cat burglar?”
Several Crimson Demons appeared.
Bukkoroli the NEET was also among them.
Arnes narrowed her yellow eyes as if she was a beast about to attack a prey.
“…Who cast that spell on me just now?”
Arnes asked softly with barely contained anger.
But the Crimson Demons, who rushed over here, didn’t even care.
…Ah, could it be?
They must be the so-called Anti-Demon King Army Guerilla Unit.
This self-defense force was composed of jobless villagers who came together to patrol the region.
Then Bukkoroli said.
“I’m the one who cast that spell earlier. What of it? …By the way, are you the Explosion Maniac who’s been disturbing the village? Your characteristics were just as Megumin described. A voluptuous female devil with horns, right?”
Hearing this, Arnes lost her impetus and said in confusion.
…The characteristics I had described?
Ah, I did say something like this.
Back then, I just made something up to cover up my usage of Explosion Magic.
“And Megumin said she escaped after a fierce battle… I see. You must have come here to seek vengeance on Megumin.”
“…Aha! You took Megumin’s cat to use it as a hostage! How underhanded of a devil…”
Confronted by these sudden accusations, Arnes was at a loss.
Arnes, who had started to stand up, froze midway, Chomusuke still in her arms.
She was doubtlessly a greater devil.
It was said that the higher level a devil was, the more intelligent it would be.
Therefore, to defeat Arnes, many mages with Advanced Magic were necessary.
“I say, you’re really brave to repeatedly unleash magic in the middle of the night. We had to go on late night patrols because of you.”
Arnes looked around in confusion at this opportunistic racketeering. Before she knew it, she was surrounded by many newly arrived Crimson Demons.
Correct. Normally, many powerful mages were needed to defeat a devil like Arnes.
“Hey, I’m talking to you. What did you think this place is?”
“I don’t know your identity, but you’re really brave… Even the generals of the Demon King’s army wouldn’t dare to come to this village alone… Hey, release Megumin’s cat now.”
Slightly trembling, Arnes let go of Chomusuke as if she still didn’t comprehend the situation.
She was probably at a loss about what to do, but she understood that if she didn’t let go of her master, her life would be in danger.
After being freed, Chomusuke swaggered over to me and lay down at my feet.
Arnes reached out to Chomusuke.
“This is the Crimson Demon Village that even the Demon King’s army fears.”
Arnes’ mumblings were interrupted.
Yes, this was where Crimson Demons gathered, where Advanced Magic was common – the Crimson Demon Village.
“A devil who dares to casually walk into this village must either very confident or very stupid…”
Hearing this, Arnes broke out in a cold sweat and glanced around.
She remained in her half-bending pose.
Her expression froze and her eyes became teary as she saw the Crimson Demons casting Advanced Magic simultaneously.
—After Arnes fled in tears from the chasing Crimson Demons, we completed many tasks, including wall repair.
“Really. What was that devil about? But it’s good that she left. Chomusuke is fine too.”
Yunyun said as she caressed Chomusuke at her feet.
Arnes escaped, leaving this furball behind.
If it remained here at home, she would return to take it.
“……Yunyun, I want to ask a favor of you. Can you keep Chomusuke at your home?”
“Eh!? Where did that come from!?”
I said to the surprised Yunyun.
“Well. I didn’t know that Arnes is a devil, but it is good to have someone take in Chomusuke. I said it before, but I can’t take this furball along when I become an adventurer.”
“Bu- But! Since the devil has fled, the deal…Ah!?”
As she was about to say something, Yunyun saw the sack full of coins that I brought out.
“The financial situation is as you can see. It appears she has forgotten about it. I will use it to pay the teleport fee.”
“W-Wait, isn’t that stealing? Is this okay!? Hey, is this really okay!?”
Yunyun grumbled on, but the money gained from defeating monsters could be spent freely. It had always been like this.
I didn’t actually defeat Arnes, but this could be considered as reward for my good deeds, so I would use it gratefully.
Yunyun was still mumbling about “Is this really okay”.
“In summary, Yunyun, I intend to go on my journey tomorrow.”
“So soon!? Isn’t it too rushed!? You should slow down so our classmates can send you off or something!”
It’s not rushed at all.
I already waited for more than half a year.
To be honest, I was holding myself back from rushing out of the village to start my adventures immediately.
But I still needed to make some preparations and arrangements for Komekko.
“I will leave tomorrow morning. There is no need for a send-off. A Crimson Demon is a mighty and lonely existence. Besides, if it is predestined, we will meet again elsewhere.”
“What are you saying? Wait! I will gather everyone now. I won’t let you leave so abruptly!”
Yunyun said and ran off.
Yunyun, who couldn’t even approach someone to say “hello”, was actually going to gather people.
It looked like she would be fine even without me.
As I thought about this, I picked up Chomusuke who was lying at my feet.
I didn’t know where Yunyun went.
Then Yunyun returned and dragged me over—
“I didn’t think you would leave the village. As impulsive and argumentative as you are, can you really become an adventurer?”
“It looks like you will have a hard time finding party members!”
The ones who said these rude words were Funifura and Dodonko.
Why must these two always say such things?
“Megumin will be fine. After all, she is the only one I never managed to win against.”
Arue, the classmate with the eye patch, said.
“Eh? I- I didn’t lose to Arue either…Ah!?”
Yunyun was about to say something to Arue, then cried out suddenly.
“In the last exam before both of you graduated, isn’t your ranking lower than mine, Yunyun?”
Hearing this, Yunyun lowered her head dejectedly.
Back then, Yunyun intentionally lowered her ranking so she can graduate together with me.
Well, you reaped what you sowed.
Unexpectedly, Yunyun clenched her fists as if she was unwilling to concede defeat. Meanwhile, I was busy stuffing my mouth with cake.
Funifura and Dodonko exasperatedly said to me.
“…Seriously. It’s your last day here, so stop eating so much and chat with us. Don’t you have a bit of human emotion?”
“You’re still a girl, right? Instead of eating, you should pay more attention to how you dress up.”
They could say whatever they liked.
I didn’t even know if there would be a proper meal after starting on my journey.
Eat while you can, rest while you can. This is the fundamental knowledge of being an adventurer…
“…We’re not asking you not to eat, but at least do it after we are done with our farewells.”
Yunyun said as she carried Chomusuke—
This was the biggest house in the Crimson Demon Village, Yunyun’s home.
My send-off was currently in progress.
It seemed Yunyun only invited the classmates I was close to in school.
Dishes and cakes were set on the table in Yunyun’s room.
“An adbendurer should eat bhile she can, rest bhile she can…”
“Swallow before you speak!”
Yunyun grumbled. For some reason, she seemed extremely excited.
“Ah, Arue, want some more fruit juice? Funifura wants grape, right? Megumin, you will choke if you don’t drink something.”
Yunyun enthusiastically served everyone drinks.
It looked like she was really excited about having friends to visit her home.
When we arrived, Yunyun’s family members were shocked.
This was probably the first time she had friends coming over.
“Hey, Yunyun, you should calm down a little.”
“Yeah, what happened? You’re so excited.”
Her sentiments had soared to the point where Funifura and Dodonko would comment on it.
“So- Sorry! This is my first time hosting a party…”
“I- Is that so? Then it can’t be helped, right!?”
“It can’t be helped! L-Lets have a party during Yunyun’s birthday too!”
…Yunyun must be trying way too hard for these two to be concerned about her.
Arue, who was just eating her cake so far, suddenly said.
“By the way, where do you intend to use as a base? I feel you should be capable of taking on areas with powerful monsters right at the start.”
“No. I intend to start with the basics and go to the town of beginners, Axel. After all, I’m still a rookie, so it’s better to join a party with other rookies.”
“Eh— So you can be humble too.”
“If you showed such humility more often in school, you could’ve made a lot more friends.”
As I was considering how to deal with this sarcastic duo…
“Megumin. This is my present for you.”
Funifura suddenly said and handed over a staff.
“…Uh. What is this? A farewell gift? It feels like it’s really easy for mana to flow through this when I touch it.. Isn’t it expensive?”
For a mage, a staff is an important item that could raise one’s spell power.
A staff of this quality must be really expensive.
“No. It wasn’t paid for. This staff was made by Funifura’s father, who’s a magic item artisan. By the way, the base materials were collected by these two.”
After Arue explained, Funifura and Dodonko proudly added.
“We went to the forest near the village and selected a tree that was full of mana.”
“Yeah. It was a simple task anyway… If you’re grateful to us, bring some handsome studs back to the village after your journey.”
Arue glanced slightly at the self-satisfied duo and simply said.
“Well, these two haven’t learnt Advanced Magic, so I went with them to the forest. They screamed every time they ran into a monster…”
After Yunyun and I graduated, Arue also successfully learnt Advanced Magic and graduated.
Since Arue’s mana capacity was just slightly less than that of me and Yunyun, I thought she would become a magic item artisan or something similar.
But she announced that she was going to be an author and stayed at home all day. I really didn’t know what she was thinking.
I hugged the staff I just received and said.
“Thank you. I will treasure it. Honestly, I didn’t think I would receive something like this from you two. Is this the so-called tsundere?”
“No, it’s not! I just don’t feel like owing you a debt!”
“The potion you created was really effective. Deep down, Funifura is really grateful to you.”
“Wait, Funifura’s brother was really sick back then? I thought that was just an excuse to scam some money from Yunyun.”
“I know my personality isn’t good, but even I wouldn’t do something like that!”
“Funifura may be a hardcore brocon, but she isn’t that wicked!”
As Funifura and Dodonko argued, Yunyun remained quiet.
Or rather, she wanted to say something but couldn’t say it.
“Yunyun, isn’t it time for you to bring it out?”
“Yes. You went through so much effort to prepare that, right?”
Then, Yunyun took out a paper bag.
And forcefully shoved it over.
“For you, Megumin. You’re still using the school uniform as your casual wear, right? You don’t seem too particular about what you wear, so I bought a mage’s robe for you. How is it…?”
The paper bag contained a robe, a cloak, and a hat.
Truthfully, this was a blessing.
My school uniform was already torn and tattered.
“Thank you. I will treasure it.”
Hearing this, Yunyun exhaled in relief.
At this time, Funifura maliciously said to Arue.
“Arue? Hey, didn’t you prepare a gift?”
“Yeah. We already prepared the staff and whatever. Didn’t you have anything?”
As usual, this duo had terrible personalities.
Arue nodded. Until now, she had been concentrating on her food.
“Then, allow me to give you my most treasured item.”
Arue said and took off her eye patch, which she had never taken off during her school days.
“This is the first time I’ve seen Arue without her eye patch!”
Arue ignored the duo and gave me the eye patch.
“This is a high quality item filled with great power. Wearing this will strengthens one’s mental fortitude and resistance against mind control, charm, and similar magic. It can also restrain one’s mana. I was born with a vast amount of mana. To keep my magical power under control, I have been wearing this since I was young.”
Arue’s past was finally revealed.
Nobody had a clue what Arue was thinking. It was unthinkable that she had something like this.
“I- Is it really okay to give Megumin something so important?”
“Yeah, aren’t you worried your power would go out of control?”
Arue answered Funifura and Dodonko with a smile.
“No problem. I don’t need to wear this anymore. Although I learnt magic as my family wished, my dream is to become an author. I want to be an author who writes things that will make people happy. Since Megumin is becoming an adventurer, please tell me about your adventures sometime. I want to write about the adventures of Megumin’s little party.”
She said something so cool.
The other three people started to become uncomfortable.
“Ah, what should we do? We only gave a staff.”
“Our staff, uh, was made from scratch, so we can consider it as being full of good will…!”
“Wh- What should I do? I bought my gift directly from a shop!”
To the three mumbling people—
“They are fine as they are. I will treasure all of them. Thank you all.”
I smiled and said.
“Ye- Yeah! The most important thing is good will!”
“Right! …Ah, Arue, if Megumin wears the eye patch, won’t her mana be sealed? Won’t that reduce her magical power?”
“Ah… If she wants to use her full power, she can just take off the eye patch…”
As they chatted, I was preparing to wear the eye patch…
At this time, Arue took out a beautifully wrapped box and said without looking me in the eye.
That box contained a new eye patch.
“Ah, no problem. Actually, there is no such effect. When I was young, my grandfather bought me the eye patch for the look. It is worn out now, so I just bought a new one. Didn’t I say my goal is to become an author? It is normal for an author to make up stories…”
I threw the eye patch I was about to wear at Arue and snatched her new eye patch.
After the sending off party ended, everyone left.
Yunyun said she wanted to see me home.
Was she treating me like a kid who would get lost that easily?
On the darkened road.
Yunyun said softly.
“Megumin. Will you come back to the village after meeting that robed onee-san?”
Her voice was somewhat stuttering, as if she was forcefully trying to be cheerful.
I said to Yunyun who was walking next to me.
“No. I won’t return to the village. After entering the world outside, I must become super strong along with my party. I might as well defeat the current Demon King and become the next Demon King. At that time, I will let you become a leader of the Demon King’s army.”
“I don’t want to! Why must you become a villain!? In the first place, it’s impossible since you can only use Explosion Magic.”
I didn’t want to hear such realistic words.
“…I will leave the village tomorrow morning. So if you want to send me off, wake up early.”
“Why must I do such things?! Hey, are you really leaving tomorrow? Komekko is so little…! If it is her, she would probably be okay…”
“That kid is more independent than me. I already made arrangements with my neighbors. My parents are not always away from home as well.”
“Can I pass this furball to you? I still feel it is not a good idea to bring it along on dangerous journeys.”
Chomusuke was sticking to my shoulder and reluctant to move. I tried to push it to Yunyun.
“…After giving it such a name, you now want to give it away……”
Yunyun caressed Chomusuke in sympathy.
“But isn’t it very close to Megumin? I feel that there are very few places more dangerous than the Crimson Demon Village. You might as well bring it along.”
“…Well, it can be used as bait or emergency rations, so it isn’t as if it is useless…”
“Don’t do that! Why are your thoughts always so savage and vicious!?”
As we argued on, my home came into view.
If Yunyun wouldn’t come to send me off tomorrow, we should say our farewell here.
“Yunyun, will you take over as chief after learning Advanced Magic?”
“Yes. But I won’t do it immediately after learning Advanced Magic. I think that would be in the distant future…”
Yunyun seemed troubled as she mumbled.
As if she lacked the courage to speak up, she made several attempts to say something and gave up midway.
What did she want to say?
…I arrived at the door.
“Then, Yunyun. As my self-proclaimed rival, please work hard. If you take too long, I will become the Demon King who rules the world. It would be too late to say you want to be a leader at that time.”
“I won’t say something like that! If you become the Demon King, I will defeat you!”
Yunyun grumbled as usual.
As I stood at my door, I felt relieved to hear her said that.
I gave a very normal farewell to Yunyun.
I felt Yunyun’s eyes on me as I turned my back.
I opened the door.
“Welcome home, nee-chan! Let’s eat dinner!”
Komekko ran lightly over. I would be apart from her for a while.
Would my sister cry?
What should I do if she cried and pestered me not to leave?
“Komekko, I have something to say before dinner.”
I sat up straight before her.
At the same time, Komekko also sat up straight on the floor.
I said to Komekko as she looked bewildered.
“Komekko. I will be leaving tomorrow on a journey.”
“Komekko, it’s a journey. Nee-chan will be away on a journey. Of course, I won’t be back for some time. You won’t be able to see your beloved sister for a long time.”
“I know! I will endure it!”
What a strong kid.
“If you feel sad, you can try a bit to make me stay. Of course, I already made up my mind, so I won’t be persuaded. It would be useless to do so.”
“I understand! I won’t say useless things!”
“Komekko. Nee-chan is happy that you are so strong, but I’m also a bit hurt.”
“Nee-chan is so tsundere.”
—After bathing with my sister, I invited her to sleep together.
“Nee-chan is a willful brat.”
“Ko- Komekko!? Where did you learn such terms like ‘tsundere’ and ‘willful brat’!?”
“Bukkoroli next door taught them to me.”
“That blasted NEET huh.”
I should beat him up before leaving tomorrow.
Komekko deftly made her bedding in the living room.
After sneaking under her blanket, she didn’t mention ‘willful brat’ anymore and quietly slept with me.
What was happening? I felt our roles were reversed.
As the elder sister, I wished she would be slightly willful.
In the dark room.
I held her hand tightly under the blanket. Komekko returned the grip.
“…Komekko. If anything happens when I’m not around, tell the adults nearby immediately.”
“Yes, I know.”
My sister was very reliable, but she was still small.
I should entrust her to my neighbors tomorrow.
“Although he isn’t reliable, you can discuss matters with Bukkoroli, since he is basically free every day.”
“I know. I will find him when I’m out of food!”
Did that NEET have such capabilities?
“If you’re lonely, you can go to Yunyun’s house. She will happily take care of you. Or rather, she would be lonely by herself, so go visit her sometime.”
“Okay. I understand…”
Komekko’s voice was getting softer.
Her voice sounded sleepy.
“…I will leave a note for our parents. When they return, remember to pass it to them. I told them that I would leave after saving enough money, so they won’t worry even if they don’t see me.”
Komekko sounded like she was about to sleep.
I hugged her little body as I listened.
I might be a siscon.
I should take this chance to stock up on some siscon energy.
…At this time, Komekko said.
“…? What is it?”
As I hugged her, Komekko tightly hugged me back and said softly.
“Come back soon.”
…I didn’t mind being a siscon.
I hugged Komekko until morning.
—The next morning.
I quietly got out of bed without waking Komekko, who was still sound asleep.
I put on the robe given by Yunyun.
Then, I wore the eye patch given by Arue and stood before the mirror.
…Eh, not bad. This eye patch looked quite nice.
Next, I put on the hat and picked up my staff.
I was charmed by my own image in the mirror.
“Nee-chan, what are you playing?”
I made a pose in front of the mirror. Komekko suddenly showed up and copied it.
After breakfast, I carefully checked my luggage.
It didn’t seem like there was anything missing.
Or rather, there was barely anything for me to bring along to begin with.
As I was about to leave the house.
“Nee-chan, you forgot something!”
I checked thoroughly, yet Komekko ran after me with something.
“What is it?”
Komekko pushed the brick-sized item into my hands.
…It looked like she prepared a packed meal for me.
There were a lot of rice balls inside.
Komekko did something like this before I left. It made me consider if I should cancel the trip and live happily with Komekko.
“Also, I will give you this, so that willful brat Nee-chan won’t be lonely.”
Komekko said rudely as she handed me the picture book she frequently asked me to read to her before bed.
This should be her treasure.
I smiled bitterly as I put the picture book into my luggage.
Komekko saw this and smiled in satisfaction.
“Nee-chan, work hard! You must become the strongest!”
“…I know. I promise you I will become the most powerful mage one day!”
I acted cool in front of my sister and flipped the cloak Yunyun gave me.
This wasn’t too bad.
Yunyun really gave me something good.
Komekko held up her small fists.
“You must defeat the Demon King!”
“De- Demon king? I said something like that before, but…”
“…I will work hard at it.”
I replied forcefully. Komekko smiled in satisfaction.
Outside, the sunlight was so glaring that it hurt the eyes.
It was a good day for travelling.
Before leaving, there was somewhere I had to go.
“Good morning. Is Bukkoroli around?”
“Oh, Megumin. Welcome. My son is still sleeping.”
I came to my neighbor’s shoe shop and asked the shop owner to help my sister in times of need.
“No problem. Your parents asked me to take care of both you and Komekko before! Leave it to me. Megumin, you too. If there is any problems, just say so.”
I felt relieved after hearing this.
“There is something troubling me.”
“Oh? What is it?”
I frowned and gloomily said.
“Actually, Bukkoroli has been teaching my sister some bad words. I hope he won’t do that anymore…”
“Ba- Bad words!? What was it…”
“It’s hard for a girl to say it out loud.”
The shop owner shouted Bukkoroli’s name as he rushed upstairs.
This was good.
After this lesson, he wouldn’t teach Komekko strange things for a while.
I left the shoe shop and carried my luggage to the teleport shop.
A single trip ticket to the City of Water Alcanretia cost 300,000 eris.
That was almost all the money I had.
If I didn’t find some work there…
No, I could become an adventurer immediately.
Even though I could use magic only once per day, as long as I used it wisely, I definitely wouldn’t lose to anyone..
It would be good if I could meet a party that could make use of me effectively…
As I thought about this, I arrived at the teleport shop.
“You’re so slow. After you put on airs and told everyone wait for you early in the morning.”
Someone called me from behind as I was about to enter the shop.
I turned around and saw my classmates with Funifura, Dodonko, and Arue in the lead.
They seemed to be here to send me off.
“…Everyone is so free.”
“Will it hurt for you to be thankful at the final moment!?”
Funifura blushed and complained.
Just then, I noticed that someone was missing.
Seeing me looking around, Funifura lazily said.
“Yunyun won’t be coming. She said she had something important to discuss with her family.”
“I- I didn’t say anything!?”
Funifura and Dodonko smiled viciously.
…Ugh. If I wasn’t leaving today, I would definitely make them cry.
As I was grinding my teeth, Arue pointed at my eye patch and said.
“It suits you.”
“I will treasure it.”
I said my farewells to my weird friends.
“The teleport to Alcanretia will start shortly. Each trip is limited to four people. The next trip will be in the afternoon. If you wish to teleport, please hurry.”
Hearing the shop owner’s announcement, I waved my hand and turned my back on everyone.
In the end, I didn’t get to see Yunyun.
She said before that she wouldn’t be sending me off. Since she didn’t have any friends, she would be very lonely. If she came, she might want to leave with me, so it was better this way.
There was a certain reluctance to leave…
I handed the sack of silver coins to the shop owner and stood on the teleport platform along with other customers.
Using a magic platform could reduce teleport accidents and mana consumption.
The destination was the City of Water and Hot Springs, Alcanretia.
It was impossible not to be nervous on my first trip outside the village.
But anxiety was accompanied by a similar expectation.
As I was now, I would not lose.
I promised Komekko.
A promise to become the strongest mage.
“Okay, let’s get going. Please relax and don’t resist the magic.”
I relaxed my body and closed my eyes.
And then, I thought of my classmates who came to send me off.
My body was naturally filled with strength.
My mind imagined the unknown world.
“Then, have a good trip. Teleport!”
I gave myself in to the teleport magic—
INTERLUDE: SCENE 2
—Aqua-sama, I Will Not Admit Defeat!—
I plotted to get a treat from the handsome youth who wielded the magic sword, but he managed to escape.
I cried and begged him not to leave, but he vanished in the morning, leaving a letter behind.
The letter mentioned strange things like “using the power granted by the goddess to save the world”. I wished he would save me from poverty before saving the world.
I thought he would become a devout Axis Cultist…
Since he was already gone, it couldn’t be helped.
I had to think of a way to get a meal…
What about putting a donation box near the school?
Naïve children may put their pocket money into the box.
…But I felt that I would lose something important if I did that.
Or perhaps make some money using my beauty?
…No, no, no. Since I’m famous as the beautiful priestess of the Axis Cult, doing this would bring disrepute upon the cult itself.
If it carried on like this, I could only eat Tokoroten Slime for every meal.
No matter how much I liked it, I would still get sick…
Then there was only that move—
“—It’s Cecily! Cecily is here! The precept-breaking priestess from the Axis Cult is here again!”
“Hey, Cecily! Why are you here!? There aren’t any more of the young Eris Cultists that you love so much here. Because you always make trouble here, those Eris Cultists who brought their children have left for other cities! Because of you, the Eris Cultists in this city are rapidly dwindling! If you still insist on doing something stupid, then let me be your opponent!”
Two men stood before the Eris Church, blocking my way and said such rude things.
“Don’t make it sound like I am responsible for your loss of believers! I merely told those poor ignorant kids how great my cult is! Is there a law that forbids preaching to the pagans?”
“You and your cult’s doctrines are having a bad influence on the kids! ‘Axis Cultists are good people, so when things go wrong, it’s not your fault. It’s the world’s fault!’ And ‘Instead of stiffly suppressing yourself, relax and live without care. Who knows what tomorrow may bring? Instead of expecting the void of tomorrow, enjoy your life today!’ The children who went over to play at your side always return with weird perspectives! I will say this bluntly, your very existence is trouble! Don’t come near those kids again!”
As the famous beautiful elder sister who loved kids, I was being scolded by Eris Cultists.
“…It’s true I come here frequently, but to think that was how you thought of me… Although we have different religions, I believed that as fellow priests, we could come to understand each other one day…”
Being assaulted by harsh words, I lowered my head, clenched my fists, and spoke in a trembling voice.
“…Ce- Cecily? Hey, don’t play this trick. I suddenly feel like I’ve done something wrong… Are you joking? You are just pretending to be hurt… right…?”
“No, no. We were too harsh! It was too much to say you are trouble and ask you not to get close to the children. We don’t mean it like that. Because of your usual behavior, we wanted to ask you to…”
I lowered my head and walked past the two pale-faced people who were hurriedly explaining themselves. For some reason, there was a sack full of bread at the entrance of the Eris Church. I grabbed the sack.
“Eh? Ce- Cecily? What are you doing…”
“…Hey, hey, that is…!”
I raised my head angrily.
“For bullying the cute and beautiful priestess, Eris Cultists can all go to hell!”
I took the sack of bread and ran.
“Hey, wait! Don’t leave! That bread was donated by everyone to feed the poor……!”
I glared at the man who intended to pursue me.
“First the handsome youth with the magic sword escaped, then I was bullied by you people. Am I not poor!? Why are you being so gentle to me now? Don’t make me stay! Just ignore me! Don’t come over!”
I ditched my two pursuers.
I offered a prayer to Aqua-sama, who must be watching over me right now.
—Aqua-sama, I will not give in to defeat!
“Stop messing around! Who wants to keep you?! The important thing is the bread! Leave the bread behind!”