Explosion spinoff 2: Chapter 3

TROUBLESOME CULT OF THE CITY OF WATER

Translator: Sine Nomine

Editor(s): Cannongerbil, Skythewood, Xenthur

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PART 1

I wore the equipment given by my friends.

I promised my sister I would become the strongest mage.

I felt I would not lose to anyone.

…I used to feel this way.

“—I didn’t think the adventurer’s guild had level limits…”

I used both hands to hold the staff supporting my body weight and sighed deeply.

—Alcanretia, the City of Water and Hot Springs.

The monsters near this city were rather powerful.

There were weak monsters like goblins and kobolds, but they usually were accompanied by monsters like Rookie Killers.

Thus, the adventurer’s guild in this city forbade low level adventurers from taking on quests.

I was confident that I could kill any powerful foe with my Explosion magic, but it wouldn’t help if I wasn’t allowed take on quests.

My destination was Axel.

I needed money to pay for the carriage to Axel…

Upon arrival, I immediately went to the adventurer’s guild, but this was the result.

“What should I do… I don’t know how much the carriage fee would cost, but the money I currently have is probably not enough. There is no doubt about this…”

I thought so and sighed as I looked at my money pouch while seated on a bench in the park..

Just then, there was a desperate cry.

“—Axis Cult! Please join the Axis Cult!”

“Don’t you want to worship Aqua-sama together? Revere her together? Serve her together? I guarantee your life would be dramatically changed in many ways!”

Axis Cult.

According to what I’ve heard, it was a religious sect that worshipped the goddess of water. Its members were very weird and it had a bad reputation.

Axis Cultists were shouting to persuade people to join.

“After hearing various anecdotes of Aqua-sama, you will be in love with Aqua-sama!”

“If you join the Axis Cult, you will become a master acrobat or possess unique traits such as being loved by the undead!”

…Master acrobat aside, being loved by the undead was a problem in itself.

The owners of those voices were two female cultists.

Although they were shouting with all their might, they don’t seem to be making much progress.

“Those people seem to be having a hard time…”

I looked away from the Axis Cultists towards the streets of Alcanretia.

Truly, this region favored veteran adventurers. The adventurers I had seen in this city were all equipped with high quality items. They looked really strong.

They didn’t look like they would accept a rookie like me as a companion.

“Ah, you there who look like you don’t have any friends! Look at your unlucky face! If you join the Axis Cult, you will be lucky really soon!”

“Un- Unlucky face… Uh, if I join, can I really make some friends… No, so- sorry. I’m looking for someone. Please leave membership issues for later!”

If it was like this, I would have to do low pay jobs to earn money…

“…!?”

I stood up roughly and quickly turned around. I seemed to have heard a familiar voice.

But the person whom I always argued with was not there.

There were only the Axis Cultists who continued to proselytize.

Was I relying on her mentally?

I felt slightly embarrassed as my face reddened.

…No- Not good.

I don’t have time to care about others. I must find a job first.

I couldn’t work properly in the Crimson Demon Village, but that was because the Crimson Demon Village was too special.

Because most jobs needed advanced magic as a prerequisite, I failed at them. However, I could manage work that did not require magic, such as harvesting vegetables.

And if Funifura didn’t come to make trouble, I could probably do the job at the restaurant as well.

There should be very few job that the genius of the Crimson Demons couldn’t handle.

After encouraging myself, I energetically left to find a job—

 

PART 2

“You’re fired!”

“Pleas- Please wait, shop owner! Firing is too much. There is a reason for this!”

“Fine. I will listen to your reason.”

I begged the shop owner in the employee’s restroom.

Since coming to Alcanretia, this shop was my 10th part-time job.

I couldn’t afford to be fired again.

“The truth is because the customer thought I was a kid who sneaked into the restaurant and said, ‘Little girl, you shouldn’t be here. Where did your mommy go?’ He tried to remove me from the shop.”

“I see. I see.”

The shop owner said, nodding his head.

…It looked like this wasn’t enough!

“Then, I said to the customer. ‘Hey, who are you calling a little girl? Why don’t you tell me what you were looking at to judge if I am a little girl?’ The customer replied unreasonably, ‘Height and breast size.’ So I used the hot food in my hands —“

“Fired.”

“Shop owner!”

—A week had passed since I arrived in this city.

After changing a few shops, I still couldn’t settle down to work properly.

Was I someone who couldn’t fit into society?

I was supposed to be a genius.

“It-It’s not over yet… The restaurants were all unlucky, but there should be other jobs…! Right, I’ve just been unlucky so far…!”

I mumbled to encourage myself as I walked wobbly along the road.

Forget about the carriage fee. I didn’t have enough money for food.

This was the second day I went without food.

My money was totally spent. I lived in the stables of the hotel.

…This was different from what I imagined the life of an adventurer would be.

Even so, I failed at all the jobs in the restaurants.

Was there some other job I could do…?

“…You sure are keeping yourself fed. I don’t know how you do it. Who’s been feeding you?”

I picked up Chomusuke, who was at my feet, and sat by the roadside.

I didn’t know who was feeding it, but it doesn’t seem like this furball was starving.

Could someone give me some food? Something similar to what Chomusuke was having would be fine.

As my thoughts swayed towards a dangerously inhuman direction…

Suddenly, a sharp scream echoed in my ears—

“—Ugh! Aren’t you ashamed to do such things to a gentle girl!?”

“Thi- This fellow…!”

“To say such shameless things! You better…!”

I rushed over after hearing the scream. There was a beautiful onee-san being caught by two young men.

This… This is!

I rushed over to intervene and flipped my cloak.

“Cease and desist!”

“!?”

The three people were stopped in their tracks by my sudden intrusion.

The onee-san recovered from the shock first.

“Please save me! These people said, ‘Are you seducing us with your cute face? For you to walk around in the streets with your coarse body, you can’t complain even if something happened to you, right?’ They want to forcibly take me away!”

“W- We didn’t say that!”

The men objected, but if I had to choose who to believe in this situation…!

“My name is Megumin! The top mage of the Crimson Demons, and the one who uses Explosion magic! Hmph! Since I’m here, I will not ignore this!”

“Hey, you’re a Crimson Demon!? Wa- Wait, you made a mistake! We’re the victims!”

“Ca- Calm down! Let’s talk this over!”

The men explained hurriedly.

“What a pity. Those excuses might fool some foolish people, but they will not work on my crimson eyes!”

“No, you need to have your crimson eyes checked!”

“Yeah, we are the Eris Cultists in this city… Ah!? This is bad!”

While we were talking, the onee-san made her escape.

…Eris Cultists?

“Hey, how are you going to compensate this?! That woman was an Axis Cultist! She drew graffiti on the statue of Eris-sama in our church!”

Wha- What should I do?

“Before that, she took all the bread that our cult prepared to feed the unfortunate!”

I remembered this city was the main base of the Axis Cult.

I heard that Axis Cult had a lot of weirdos, but I didn’t think they would be so unrestrained…

“That. Uh, I’m really sorry… I- I just arrived in this city recently…”

The two Eris Cultists intended to approach me as I was bewildered…

—At this moment.

“Policeman! These are the people!”

I suddenly heard a voice. I turned around and saw the Axis Cult’s onee-san who fled earlier.

And…

“Ah!? I was suspicious since this was reported by an Axis Cultist, but Eris Cultists are really seducing an under-aged girl…!?”

She even brought along a male policeman.

“Wait!? I don’t know what that Axis Cultist said, but we didn’t —!”

“Right! We just wanted to catch the Axis Cultist who vandalized our church…!”

Hearing this, the onee-san from the Axis Cult whispered into the policeman’s ears.

“Did you hear that? Not only the little girl, but they also want to take and do things to me as well.”

“Hey, you two Eris Cultists! Come with me!”

“Eh!?”

As the policeman approached the men, the onee-san came over to me.

“It’s fine! You must be scared. Now is our chance!”

“Eh! No, those Eris Cultists are…!?”

I was totally confused by the sudden development. The onee-san simply grabbed my hand.

“Ah!? The Axis Cultist and the little girl, please wait! I need to get the details from you…!”

The policeman said to the onee-san as she prepared to run away with me.

“Run! Escape now!”

“I- I don’t need to escape…!”

I glanced at the shouting policeman behind me as the onee-san ran and pulled me along.

“—Are you okay? Any injuries? …Phew. It seemed I managed to make it in time. So dangerous.”

“What are you saying? Why did it seem like I’m the one being rescued?! Besides, I didn’t do anything. There was no need for me to run away!”

After I was forcefully dragged along by the onee-san.

For some reason, we were hiding in a small alley.

“What are you saying? If I had left you behind, you would’ve definitely suffered at the hands of those evil Eris Cultists. After all, you’re such a cute loli! Since I rescued you, you should thank me to avoid retribution. Ah, by the way, if you want to thank me, you can sign this cult entry form…”

I grabbed hold of her hand as she spoke and attempted to retrieve some papers.

“No. Those people didn’t seem like bad guys! And I won’t join the Axis Cult! And why must I thank you…”

As I began to retort, my stomach growled.

…It had been two days since I last ate. I couldn’t be bothered with this onee-san.

“You must be hungry. Then… Come with me. I won’t mistreat you!”

There was no need to mind such matters now…

“I’m Cecily, a priestess of the Axis Cult. Don’t be modest, just call me Cecily onee-chan. Let’s get some delicious food and we can chat!”

…I couldn’t resist the temptation set by Cecily as she smiled suspiciously.

PART 3

“Lo- Loli…!?”

“—It’s a loli. Our cult finally has a loli!”

“Call me loli again and I will seriously take offense! I’ll show you the true power of the Crimson Demons!”

Inside the cathedral, which served as the headquarters of the Axis Cult.

After I was brought here, everyone just labeled me as a loli.

“Okay, okay, Megumin-san. The guys in our cult were banned from approaching the kids in this city. Please understand their difficulties too.”

“What crimes did they commit to be banned from approaching kids?”

I stared at the cultists speechlessly. Upon Cecily’s orders, several cultists enthusiastically brought some dishes over.

“Come, please eat.”

“…After I eat this, you’re not going to say, ‘From this moment on, you are an Axis Cultist,’ right?”

“Of- Of course not. I swear to Aqua-sama that I won’t say such petty words.”

She obviously intended to say that.

I remained vigilant of my surroundings and ate. Then, a white-haired uncle came forth with a female secretary.

A smile was on his face, and he looked very amiable.

That man has an air of being different from the others.

“Oh, oh. What a cute guest. Welcome to our cult! I’m the Archpriest responsible for this cult, Zesta.”

This man who called himself Zesta said and smiled at me.

“Archpriest… That is quite impressive. I’ve heard that not many people can become priests, much less the advanced job of Archpriest…”

It looked like I was right that he was different from the others.

“No, no, no. I think that Crimson Demons are truly impressive to be born with the qualifications to become Archmage.”

Zesta said and smiled.

“By the way, miss. I heard you couldn’t find a job and are having some difficulties. If you are willing, you may stay in a room of the church until you can find a job.”

He made such a kind gesture, truly fitting for a priest.

This would be a great help.

“Thank you. I’m embarrassed to do this, but my situation is pretty grave, so I will take you up on your offer… If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.”

“Oh, did you just say anything?”

Zesta heard what I said and suddenly appeared very serious.

Oops. I spoke too soon.

Was he going to ask me to join his cult?

“Uh, an- anything I can help with. It’s a social obligation…”

“What should you do… Call me onii-chan… No, daddy… No, no. At this moment, it should be underwear first… No. Use me as a chair…”

“Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

Zesta kept mumbling some strange words. I felt speechless.

“Ah, ah. Great goddess Aqua-sama! Please guide me from losing my way!”

“Sorry, but can you tell me what’s up with this pervert?”

“He’s Lord Zesta, not a pervert. He is set to become the next high priest, the highest ranking person in the Axis Cult.”

The woman next to Zesta said as she looked at him hugging his head and trying to decide what to ask.

“This uncle is the next high priest? Is this cult really going to be okay?”

“It’s Lord Zesta, not uncle. Although he looks like this now, he can be serious when he needs to be… Uh, the cult will be okay, probably…”

Just as I was arguing with the woman.

“Lord Zesta. Sorry to interrupt your self-indulgence… But this is the report for our weekly recruitment. As expected, due to sabotages by the evil Eris Cultists, the results are not desirable…”

A cultist filed a report to Zesta, who was still deeply troubled.

“Ugh… This is truly troubling. If this continues, I’ll be too ashamed to meet Aqua-sama. It can’t be helped. I must make some trouble for that beautiful priestess in the Eris Church today as well. I can release some stress and hinder them at the same time…”

“No, no, no. Wait a moment. Do you people do such things all the time? So earlier, when we were being chased by Eris Cultists…”

I inadvertently grumbled, glancing at Cecily who brought me here. She looked upwards as if nothing happened.

These people weren’t bad by nature, right?

Although they were not bad people, something was obviously weird with them.

“Why don’t we change our recruitment methods? Pretend to be Eris Cultists and proselytize, then let them sign on Axis Cult recruitment forms instead…”

“Wait, they’ll just run away the moment they realize the switch. Why not…”

The Axis Cultists began to discuss some unethical things.

After finishing my long-awaited meal, I sighed in satisfaction.

I looked at them and interrupted.

“…You people are looking for an effective way to proselytize, right? Do you wish to use the great intelligence of the Crimson Demons?”

Hearing this, Zesta and the other cultists looked at each other.

 

PART 4

The next morning.

“Is this really okay, Megumin-san? It would help us a lot, but…”

“This is thanks for giving me food and a place to stay. It is much better than some other weird request…”

I was suffering from mental fatigue, but I still answered Zesta.

Last night was really terrible.

I bathed with that onee-san Cecily. She did various things to me in the bath, after which she came to my bed…

I felt she wasn’t a bad person, but she may have some weird kinks.

I shook my head to clear away the bad memories of last night. I hid in a small alley with Zesta and observed the situation.

—I made several suggestions on recruitment methods as a repayment for the food and shelter.

“Remember the plan? When a kind-looking person passes by, I will purposely scatter the apples in this shopping bag.”

Zesta listened and nodded.

“Then, as I hurriedly pick the apples up, the kind person will help me. As thanks, I will invite them to a café nearby. At this point, Mr. Zesta, you and the other cultists will pretend to be passing by and meet us as we chat idly. As my friends, you all will sit around the table and… persuade them to join.”

“This is great! Marvelous! It looks to have a high success rate!”

I put my finger to my mouth and went “Shhh!” to silence the excited Zesta.

“Look. A decent target is here.”

A kind-looking onee-san walked towards the alley where we were observing.

Good. Now to use this shopping bag and scatter its contents before her…!

At this moment.

Zesta grabbed my shopping bag and rushed towards the onee-san.

Then, he vigorously scattered the apples from the bag.

“Wait—!”

As I was momentarily shocked, Zesta was enthusiastically dropping the apples before me.

The kind-looking onee-san looked embarrassed, but still helped with the apples.

“Ah, so sorry, Miss! I must thank you properly! Conveniently, there is a nice café nearby!”

Zesta didn’t even look at the scattered apples as he panted heavily and thanked the onee-san.

The onee-san seemed to be his type.

“No, no need for thanks… Besides, the apples are…”

“The apples are fine as they are. Let’s go to the café! Come, let’s go!”

“Ah, no need, no need! No need for thanks! Since there isn’t any problem now, I’ll be leaving!”

The onee-san seemed afraid of the pestering Zesta and fled.

Zesta held on to the shopping bag and watched her leave. He said dejectedly.

“…Just one step short.”

“You better go back.”

—We changed our location and started our next battle.

“Next, we will form teams to prevent the weird situation earlier from happening again… But your pathetic uncle look isn’t charming enough for our next plan. What should we do…”

“Megumin-san. No matter how strong my spirit is, I can still get hurt.”

I ignored his protests and hid in the small alley.

“So be it. Next, we will target self-righteous males. Firstly, I will cry out pitifully to attract his attention. Then, you will approach me threateningly. Then, let the self-righteous guy save me. After that, it will be the same plot of thanking him…”

“I see. I understand the plan… By the way, for the part about approaching Megumin-san, I can get as close as I like?”

“If you lay one finger on me, I will report you to the police… Oh, speak of the devil!”

The targeted male passed by.

He looked decent and gave off a sense of valor.

“Not bad. That guy looks ideal! Then, I’ll get started!”

I rushed out of the alley and shouted to attract his attention.

“Sav- Save me! Somebody save me!”

The surrounding people were attracted by my anguished cries.

Of course, this included the self-righteous guy.

“That dangerous-looking uncle wants to forcefully take… me…?”

We arranged for Zesta to follow me out of the alley and approach me threateningly.

But he hid in the alley and looked away.

“Hey, what are you doing? I already attracted his attention! Hurry up, come over! Otherwise, I’ll be seen as a weird kid who cries out for nothing! Everyone is watching, they’re watching!”

As I spoke softly to Zesta, someone patted me on the shoulder.

“Hey, little girl. Can I have a moment of your time? This is my job.”

I fearfully turned around and saw the target— the self- righteous guy before me.

He was holding a black notebook.

That is…

“I’m a policeman on vacation. Can I ask what the disturbance earlier is about?”

“Thi- This, This is because… Ah!”

I looked to Zesta for help, but there was nobody there anymore.

“—Can I go back now?”

“Don’t say that! I’m sorry we left you behind, Megumin-san! I forgot that you came from another city. I didn’t think you would approach a policeman!”

After some entanglement with the police, I was finally released. Zesta was urging me to stay on.

“I better write down the methods on paper. It’s up to you how you want to do it. Otherwise, I feel like I’ll get into even bigger trouble.”

“Don- Don’t say that! Megumin-san, how about that roadside store? It’s selling some tasty grilled meat!”

“You really think I’ll be bribed by food… Well, I still have to eat though.”

As I ate the food treated by Zesta, Chomusuke pestered me at my feet. It probably wanted to eat too.

Zesta noticed this and bended down to reach out his hand towards Chomusuke.

“Oh, this is strange. This kid looks like an ordinary cat, but it emits an unnatural aura.”

Chomusuke wasn’t afraid of Zesta and sniffed at his finger.

I thought he was just a weird uncle, but he was an Archpriest after all.

Perhaps, he might be quite powerful.

“This kid is just a normal cat. Its name is Chomusuke.”

“That’s a good name… Well, it doesn’t look very dangerous.”

Zesta ruffled Chomusuke’s head and said.

“By the way, why are you on a journey alone at your age? Though, since you’re a Crimson Demon, there shouldn’t be too much danger.”

“…Actually, I’m looking for someone. But the only clue I have is ‘the person is a beautiful onee-san with big breasts that can use Explosion magic’.”

I finished the meat and said.

I didn’t think I could easily find that person with such a vague description.

…But Zesta gave an unexpected reply.

“A beautiful mage with big breasts who can use Explosion magic… I think I’ve heard of her.”

“Eh!?”

Hearing this unexpected response, I brought my face closer to Zesta and asked.

“What is it? Details! Please tell me the details!”

“Oh, your face is so close, Megumin-san. Want me to lick you? Jus- Just joking! It’s a joke so please don’t point your staff at me.”

Facing me as I held my staff in alert, Zesta seemed to be recalling something as he stroke his chin.

“Ah, I remember. Her location is the town of Axel. According to what I’ve heard, in the rookie town of Axel, there is a beautiful, well-respected mage with a voluptuous body who can use even Explosion magic. She operates a magic item shop. Yes, because she is beautiful and has big tits, I remember it well. I love big tits too.”

I heard something I would have rather not heard, but secretly I was very happy.

So lucky!

Right, Axel. Exactly where I intended to go!

I couldn’t be sure it was the same person, but there shouldn’t be many mages who could use Explosion magic.

…This was rather promising.

“I got some useful information in addition to the food. As thanks, I will help out again.”

Zesta smiled happily as I regained my enthusiasm.

 

PART 5

—Roars and invectives echoed in the streets of Alcanretia.

“Over here! Those Axis Cultists stole all the toilet papers!”

I listened to the complaints from behind as I fled with Zesta.

“Mr. Zesta! Why did you steal all the toilet paper in the toilets!? I really can’t understand what you were thinking!”

“I left the recruitment forms there as a replacement for the toilet paper! That’s right. When the lost sheep descend into despair at the lack of toilet paper, the glorious recruitment forms for the Axis Cult come to the rescue! What do you think those people will do when faced with such divine offer of salvation?”

“I think they will use the forms to wipe their asses.”

“…Wouldn’t they sign up on the forms immediately to pray to Aqua-sama for a miracle…?”

“I think not. Or rather, those forms that were left behind will only become evidence that this was done by Axis Cultists, increasing the cult’s disrepute… Ah, we’re surrounded!”

Unknowingly, Zesta, who was still holding on to the toilet paper, and I were surrounded.

“You two over there! Stand still and stop resisting!”

The police came from all directions and slowly shrank the circle around us.

At this moment, Zesta strengthened his resolve and pulled my sleeve.

“Megumin-san, now is the time to display your power. Quickly, let them witness the true power of the Crimson Demons.”

This uncle was asking me to use magic to blow them away?

“Impossible. My magic cannot be restrained. The entire neighborhood would be ruined. I cannot use my magic in the city!”

“No problem! I got good stuff here!”

Zesta took out the stolen toilet paper with great confidence.

“Use this to cover your face…”

“Are you stupid? Are you really stupid!? That wouldn’t work!”

—On the road, after being lectured at the police station.

“I think your cult membership isn’t increasing because you people always do such things.”

“I think if we recruit serious people using normal methods, the cult will be very boring.”

This guy was hopeless.

“Seriously, this is so unlucky. Let’s go back.”

“Me- Megumin-san, just one last time! Please do what you suggested earlier! The one about a girl falling down on the street and waiting for a passer-by to help!”

“Eh—…”

Zesta put his hands together in supplication as I looked on with reluctance.

“Please! …Ah, coincidentally, here comes an unlucky but kind-looking kid! I feel like this kid surely wouldn’t ignore Megumin-san! Please!”

Seriously.

We agreed that this would be the last time and hid in the alley to prepare.

“Megumin-san, now!”

At his signal, I rushed out of the alley and fell down naturally.

“…Ah! Ugh, ugh… To fall down on flag ground, I’m so…!”

I maintained my fallen pose and lay there without getting up.

Hurry up already, help a weak little girl like me!

“…Ugh, ugh. I scraped my knee. It hurts so much that I cannot move…!”

Come on, hurry up.

“…The wound will get infected and I will suffer from tetanus…”

“What are you doing?”

Hearing this familiar voice, I shivered.

“…”

“Hey, seriously, Megumin. What are you doing?”

Hearing my name being called, I was certain that she was definitely who I thought she was.

I broke out in a cold sweat on the floor, wondering if I should just fake it.

“What in the world are you doing!?”

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“Ah, Yunyun, stop! My knees really hurt. Stop already!”

Yunyun, who appeared out of nowhere, shook me vigorously as I lay on the floor.

 

PART 6

In a remote park of Alcanretia.

“Seriously. You are still my rival, so don’t do such embarrassing things. Why are you doing such silly things? What are you planning to do after falling over and letting a passer-by help you up?”

I sat up straight before Yunyun and received her lecture.

For some reason, even Zesta was sitting straight next to me.

His face was full of expectation as he sat uneasily.

…He wished to be scolded by a pretty young girl.

explosion axel.jpg

“If you want to know what I was doing, you should ask this guy instead.”

“Please ask me.”

“Uh.”

Hearing our dialogue, Yunyun showed a serious look.

“…I’ve been curious about this for awhile, but who are you? What is your relationship with Megumin?”

“A comrade who has been traveling around town with Megumin-san… I guess you could say that we are not merely friends.”

“Eh!?”

“Hey, this kid takes things seriously. Don’t say stupid things.”

“Comrade… friends…”

Yunyun mumbled with a serious expression.

I asked Yunyun something that had been bothering me.

“By the way, Yunyun. Why are you here?”

“Ah!? Well…”

Yunyun was suddenly at a loss. Her lecturing mood was gone.

“Did you come because you are worried about me?”

“N- No! Training! That’s right. I’m a trip to train myself! Since Megumin is becoming an adventurer, I must train outside to catch up! Besides, the monsters near the village are too strong, so I couldn’t defeat them by myself…!”

Yunyun hurriedly searched for excuses, but that last part was somewhat true.

Yunyun could only use intermediate magic.

As she is now, Yunyun couldn’t handle the monsters near the Crimson Demon Village by herself.

“Well, the area near the Crimson Demon Village is dangerous even to high level adventurers. I couldn’t find a job and was taken in by the Axis Cult, so I was helping them with recruitment.”

“That’s right. Megumin-san taught us many excellent recruitment methods.”

“You- You are doing such things. But isn’t the Axis Cult…”

Yunyun looked at Zesta and backed off slightly in fear.

She probably heard of the Axis Cult’s disreputable reputation.

And then Zesta—

“I am so lucky to be able to admire the fearful look of a young girl…”

He said such hopeless words and sighed happily.

Could we just destroy this cult?

“I- I say, Megumin. I feel like there are some issues with staying in this city… Aren’t you going to Axel?”

“Yes. But I need money to pay for the carriage fee, so I had to stay here for now and find a job.”

Zesta, who was sitting next to me, shook my shoulder.

“Megumin-san, Megumin-san. Who is this unlucky-looking girl? Please introduce her to me.”

“Unlucky-looking! I- I may not have many friends, but I still don’t want to hear this from an uncle I just met!”

“This kid who looks like she would always draw the shortest straw is a fellow villager and mage called Yunyun. It seemed she was inspired by me to go on a training trip.”

Zesta nodded.

“It is an honor to sit straight like this before a girl, but based on my experience, the people who witnessed this should be calling the cops soon. Before the police come, let’s return to the church and chat.”

He said and smiled gently.

 

PART 7

—Zesta said as he opened the doors of the cathedral.

“…What kind of play is this?”

“No-Not a play! Highest ranking official of the Axis Cult, Lord Zesta. My superiors summon you. Please come with us to the police station.”

A female knight leading a lot of police welcomed us back to the church.

Two police officers grabbed Zesta from the sides, trying to take him away.

Zesta could not respond in time.

“What are you doing? You’re taking him in without announcing his crimes? This is too unreasonable. This guy was with me all this while. I can be an alibi if needed.”

I protested and blocked the exit…!

“Lord Zesta! What crimes did you commit again!? We told you so many times that you shouldn’t get carried away!”

“Is it because of the sexual harassment of the pretty priestess of Eris Cult?”

“Some time ago, he shouted in the general office, ‘Who is more suitable to be the lifeguard at the swimming pool than me, who serves the goddess of water!? Under-aged girls! Let me protect those under-aged girls!’ Maybe that was it?”

“Or maybe it was because of that sermon about ‘It is fine for a woman to buy men’s underwear, but if a man buys women’s underwear, that is seen as obscene! This is gender inequality!’”

Hearing the cultists’ discussion, I moved quickly to the side to make way.

“Please go ahead.”

“Thank you for your cooperation.”

As the female knight thanked me and intended to leave the church…

“Megumin-san. Abandoning me now is too much! Aren’t we comrades who enjoyed the novel play of being lectured in public together!?”

“Don- Don’t say such misleading words! Please don’t call me a comrade. This is really troubling!”

After breaking free of the police, Zesta pestered me and turned towards the female knight.

“What are you doing anyway? Arrest is limited to once per day. That is our old tradition! I already received a lecture from the police today.”

“Since when was that our tradition!? …Lord Zesta, please take it seriously. You won’t get away with just a lecture this time.”

“In other words, it’s a prison play?”

“Ah. Really! Talking to you drives me insane!”

The female knight shook her head in rage.

“The management of this city’s hot springs is handled by the Axis Cult, which worships the goddess of water… Since yesterday, there have been repeated complaints from the hot spring hotels concerning the water quality.”

She said and glared at Zesta coldly.

“…? Oh, there was something like that in the mountain heap of reports. As I was busy with sexual harassment… hindering the pagans and saving the lost sheep, I set that aside… But fine, let’s investigate the source of the hot springs.”

Hearing Zesta’s words.

“That won’t be necessary.”

The female knight said bluntly and flashed a piece of paper.

“Please look at this. You are accused of aiding an external enemy!”

“Raping and external infamy…? What is with this despicable accusation?”

“Read what is written! …Two days ago, the top management of this city received a report from our close allies, the Crimson Demons. There is a very powerful diviner in the Crimson Demon Village. You know this, right?”

A powerful diviner in the Crimson Demon Village.

…That should be Soketto.

“The diviner predicted, ‘Disaster will descend upon Alcanretia. When the hot springs suffer unnatural changes, take note of the manager of the spring waters. That man is a minion of the Demon King.’ The current situation is exactly ‘when the hot springs suffer unnatural changes’. The current water manager is you, who are thus accused of plotting with the demons to harm this city!”

“What you are saying, young woman?! Our church doctrines are ‘exterminate the devils’ and ‘defeat the Demon King’. We are plotting with the demons!? Is this the mouth that said such stupid words!? Let me kiss it!”

“St-Stop! Or I will add ‘hindering the police’ to your crimes! St-Stop! You guys, take this man away, quickly…! Ah, stop, nooo!!”

After Zesta pushed down the female knight, he was suppressed while other Axis Cultists demanded explanations from the police.

After being released at the last moment, the female knight had tears in her eyes and quickly put some distance between herself and Zesta.

“Ha… ah…! As I said earlier! The prediction from the Crimson Demon Village has never been wrong. Considering the usual behavior of your people, there is no need to say more. In summary, we need to inquire about the current situation from this perverted manager. Depending on the interrogation, we may have to interrogate other people as well!”

Cecily pestered the female knight who was starting to calm down.

“Please wait! Lord Zesta is indeed a hopeless pervert. Every time he excitedly peeks at the bathroom, I wonder if smacking his head would cure him! But leaving that aside, are you accusing us of betraying Aqua-sama’s words and allying with devils? This is impossible, you cow-tits woman! I will cut off those two soft lumps of excess fat!”

“Stop! Wh-Why are you lot so prone towards sexual harassment?! Hey, hurry up and take this pervert away! You lot, listen up. Before the interrogation of this man is over, honestly… Hey, stop! Rea-Really, enough. Let’s leave this place already… Ah, stop it! Stop!”

“This is a plot by Eris Cultists! Don’t be deceived! Eris Cultists are afraid of my leadership qualities and set a trap for me by manipulating this brainless woman…!”

The female knight looked like she was about to cry as Cecily pulled on her blouse, yet she successfully escaped with Zesta, who was still protesting loudly—

 

PART 8

After Zesta was taken away, the remaining cultists stood uncertainly in the church.

“What should we do… Without Lord Zesta, what will this cult become?”

Cecily frowned as she mumbled to herself.

“Zesta-san is the highest ranking official, right? Will there be any problems without him? I will help out. Until Zesta-san returns, let’s protect this church, okay?”

I patted Cecily’s back to encourage her.

“Bu- But… That’s true. It can’t go on like this. Let’s divide up Lord Zesta’s usual duties among ourselves…! …I say, what duties does Lord Zesta usually do?”

With her spirit slightly lifted, Cecily asked the other cultists.

“…Confessions are handled by specialists. Is it the cult’s financial management?”

“Finances are handled by the secretary. Healing the wounded… That’s also handled by specialists. Lord Zesta basically just wandered around. I’ve never seen him use magic.”

“Even when he preached on the streets, it wasn’t to spread the cult’s doctrines. It was usually about using gender equality as an excuse to implement a law to enforce mixed gender baths.”

The cultists said one after another, then remained silent for a moment.

“…I say, what does Lord Zesta actually do?”

As Cecily mumbled to herself, the remaining people expressed doubt.

“Megumin-san. The problem is solved. Even without Lord Zesta, there won’t be any major issues. Thanks for your concern.”

“Is-Is this okay!? Isn’t he your representative!? And that female knight is putting suspicion on the entire Axis Cult. Is this really okay?”

The Axis Cultists were about to disperse. Hearing my words, they frowned.

“That’s true. It’s common for Lord Zesta to be arrested. That isn’t a major problem. But it is distressing to be accused of helping the devils that Aqua-sama hates. Given our usual good conduct, why would we suddenly be suspected?”

Hearing Cecily, Yunyun trembled for some reason.

Seeing her expression, I could understand somewhat.

“…Yunyun?”

“Wh-What is it!?”

I said to Yunyun, who was stuttering and looking away.

“…Even if you cannot accept Mr. Zesta physically, you can’t accuse an innocent man, okay?”

“I-I didn’t! I didn’t make any accusation. Besides, even if I can’t handle that uncle well, I don’t hate him to that extent…!”

I suspiciously looked at the panicking Yunyun.

“Then, why are you trembling? Your current expression is exactly like my sister when she wanted to quickly learn fire magic to destroy the evidence of her wetting the bed.”

“Komekko intended to do something like that!? No-No! That… I mean…”

Yunyun put her hands together to play with her fingers.

“…Actually, when I left the Crimson Demon Village, the diviner Soketto asked me for help. Well… She said she saw disaster befalling this city in the future. Since I’m going to Alcanretia, she asked me to deliver a letter containing her predictions… After that…”

She said this and lowered her head in apology—

 

INTERLUDE – SCENE 3

—Aqua-sama, I Will Not Admit Defeat! 2

— Something major happened today.

Today, I drew graffiti on the statue of the goddess Eris for amusement as usual. While I was being chased everywhere by the evil Eris Cultists…

A magical loli suddenly appeared and rescued me when I was about to be captured by the Eris Cultists.

What was happening?

Was this a reward for my persistence in vandalizing the statue of the goddess Eris?

“My name is Megumin! The top mage of the Crimson Demons, and the one who uses Explosion magic! Hmph! Since I’m here, I will not ignore this!”

The mage girl said and made a cool pose. She was the type I liked.

So cute. She was like an angel, and right in my strike zone.

What was this kid? An angel?

“Hey, you’re a Crimson Demon!? Wa- Wait, you made a mistake! We are the victims!”

“Ca- Calm down! Let’s talk this over!”

The two Eris Cultists hurriedly searched for explanations…

“What a pity. Those excuses might fool some foolish people, but they will not work on my crimson eyes!”

I thought she may be an angel. It seemed she really was an angel.

She believed me unconditionally. I was so happy. I want to take her home!

No, oh dear, oh dear. I could barely stop myself from embracing her in public!

I was warned by the police just last week. It wouldn’t go well if I simply pounced on her.

I must calm down.

“No, you need to have your crimson eyes checked!”

One guy grumbled. Yes, now is the moment!

“Yeah, we are the Eris Cultists in this city… Ah!? This is bad!”

I pushed away the hand that was grabbing me and escaped into the alley.

Luckily, those two Eris Cultists didn’t follow.

I peeked from the alley and discovered that the loli who rescued me was panicking.

How cute.

“Hey, how are you going to compensate this! That woman was an Axis Cultist! She drew graffiti on the statue of Eris-sama in our church!”

After being scolded by the angry man, the loli trembled.

Next time, I will pour a lot of Tokoroten Slime into that guy’s mail box.

“Before that, she took all the bread that our cult prepared to feed the unfortunate!”

I was unfortunate, so I had the right to eat that bread.

The real misfortune was my love life.

Since the handsome youth with the magic sword left me, I hoped this loli could love me.

“That. Uh, I’m really sorry… I-I just arrived in this city recently…”

The two Eris Cultists approached as the panicking loli explained.

At this moment, I turned to look at the other end of the alley.

After all, I was very experienced and knew his route well.

At this time, that guy would definitely be patrolling this area… There he is!

I grabbed his hand and made my accusation with tears in my eyes.

“Please help! The Eris Cultists who were chasing me suddenly started abusing a little girl…!”

“Eris Cultists!? No, they won’t do such things…”

I ignored his suspicion and pointed in the direction of those Eris Cultists.

“Policeman! These are the people!”

—Aqua-sama, I Will Not Admit Defeat!

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