SAVIORS OF THE CITY OF WATER
Translator: Sine Nomine
Editor(s): AMetroid, Cannongerbil, Xenthur, YuNS
The next morning.
Yunyun and I stayed with the cult. We walked towards the hall where the Axis Cultists gathered.
“Yunyun, you were only delivering a message for someone from the Crimson Demon Village, so there is no need to blame yourself. Face them confidently.”
“I-I understand! That’s right. I was just delivering a letter. Even if that old man was taken away for interrogation, that… ugh, hm… has nothing to do with me!”
After thinking for a while, Yunyun raised her head sharply.
Ever since Zesta was taken away, this kid’s been blaming herself…
“That’s the spirit. After all, if he didn’t behave so self indulgently all this time, he wouldn’t be taken away so easily. It’s his own fault. If he is proven innocent, he should be released soon, so there’s no need to be concerned.”
“Ye-Yes! I understand. Even if the cultists blame me— no matter what they say! I will remain strong!”
Yunyun made her decision and said, opening the doors of the church…!
“Oh, good morning, Megumin-san and Yunyun-san. Did you sleep well?”
Cecily was there eating breakfast with her hair still a mess.
“Good morning… Only onee-san is watching the house? Where did the other Axis Cultists go?”
“Everyone went out early in the morning. If this goes on, Lord Zesta will be removed as the highest ranking official, so we need to decide on a new person to take the post. This decision involves voting by Axis Cultists. In other words, everyone is busy preparing for the election.”
“Then… Before the election, will people be finding evidence in the city to absolve Zesta of his alleged crimes?”
“? Why would we do such troublesome and boring things? Don’t worry. If he didn’t commit any crimes, he will come back soon. If he doesn’t come back, that’s fine too. After our discussion, we concluded that we would be better without Lord Zesta, so just let him be…”
“Are you serious!? Cecily-san, as the one who delivered the letter, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but is this really okay? Is it really okay not to rescue him?”
Yunyun said worriedly as she shook Cecily, who was still eating an egg.
She said earlier that she would remain strong, but her sense of guilt was stronger.
“Eben if jou say bat… The police is still investigating. Lord Zesta is indeed responsible for the source of the hot springs. It is a fact that the repeated complaints are his jurisdiction. It is better to let them carefully investigate Lord Zesta and find out the truth.”
Cecily said as she continued eating.
She swallowed the food in her mouth.
“I heard that the powerful diviner from the Crimson Demon Village is always accurate in her predictions. According to what I’ve heard, she used suspicious diabolic power to see the future and perform intricate divination. That’s why even though everyone usually sleeps in until noon, they got up early in the morning to work today.”
“Soketto’s predictions are indeed accurate… but even so, someone should at least help in proving Zesta-san’s innocence… Ah, but you at least believe in him, right? After all, you remained here instead of going to get votes.”
“Me? I overslept because I was celebrating Lord Zesta’s arrest and drank too much last night. Of course, after eating, I have to go out as well…”
“That’s too much! Megumin, what should we do?! I didn’t think that delivering a letter would result in this…!”
Yunyun was panicking and almost in tears. But since the cultists had no intention of saving him, it couldn’t be helped.
Seriously, she even said earlier that this had nothing to do with her.
“No problem, Yunyun-san. Lord Zesta should be happily getting interrogated by that female knight right now. It wouldn’t be right to disturb him. Anyway, can you help me? I can offer you a pretty handsome compensation. Because of my past conduct, the citizens remember my face, so they’ll be apprehensive even if it’s just a casual conversation. Therefore, I would like you to…!”
“What can I do about that!? Hey, Megumin, you say something to her too…!”
“How much is the pay?”
“Let me think… 10,000 eris for every additional vote…”
“Wait, wait. I know! Yunyun, I know, so stop casting the magic!”
“On-onee-san will give you some bacon, so please calm down!”
After the hot-tempered Yunyun calmed down, we strolled in the city for an hour.
In front of us, Yunyun turned around as if she wanted to say something.
“…After running out of the Axis Cult’s church, you don’t have any place to go, so you don’t know what to do—right?”
Yunyun nodded in embarrassment.
“Megumin-san, please don’t be angry with Yunyun-san! Look, look at her red face! Ah, she’s really so cute! How adorable!! No problem. Onee-san is not a stranger, so you can be casual and call me Cecily onee-chan, okay!!”
Cecily, who followed us for some reason, was moved by what she heard and embraced Yunyun.
I said to Cecily.
“Then, onee-san. Are you free?”
“Call me Cecily onee-chan!”
“Onee-san, there is something I want to ask… The female knight said that this cult is responsible for managing the source of the hot springs and that the hot spring hotels were complaining since yesterday.”
“Yes. I decided I won’t dwell on the past, so I don’t really remember too well, but it seems there were such complaints.”
Is this onee-san really okay…
“A-anyway… I think we should visit the hot spring hotels that lodged complaints. Although there was an unnatural change in the hot springs, it might not be the same thing that was mentioned in the divination. We should first investigate what actually happened. It might not be a plot, but merely an accident.”
“…I see. But I’ll bet 10,000 eris that Lord Zesta is a criminal!”
“Mis-Cecily-san, this is too much!”
Yunyun shouted while she was still being embraced.
But which hot spring hotel should we start with…
“What’s happening? There’s some commotion over there.”
“Hm—? Oh, isn’t that our cult member?”
There was a man before us whom we had seen before in the church.
“—I didn’t think such things could happen… No, Lord Zesta truly has been a lot of trouble, but he wouldn’t ally with the Demon King’s army…”
“No, I can understand your feelings. After seeing the good conduct of our Axis Cultists, it is impossible to believe it easily— I can understand this feeling!”
“No, it isn’t unbelievable to that extent. How should I say this? I feel that if these are the people involved, then you can’t blame them, so I believed…”
We overheard their conversation. It seemed to be about Lord Zesta’s arrest.
But the contents were a bit strange.
“As a fellow Axis Cultist, I feel ashamed for Lord Zesta. The reputation that was ruined by Lord Zesta… no, Zesta. I will definitely restore it!”
“I feel that there won’t be much of a difference with or without Lord Zesta. By the way, can I leave now? I need to water the rice fields…”
It looked like an Axis Cultist intercepted a passing farmer and started indoctrinating him.
“Water the rice fields! Where did the water come from? …That’s right! It came from the rain blessed by Aqua-sama, the goddess of water. What kind of city is this? …That’s right! This is Alcanretia, the City of Water and Hot Springs! Aqua-sama’s patron city! In other words, it is only right for everyone in the city to join the Axis Cult! Come, you should join the Axis Cult too…!”
“Ah, as a farmer, I have always been an Axis Cultist. I have always been grateful to Aqua-sama.”
“Oh, is that so? That makes it simpler then. Actually, due to Lord Zesta’s arrest, there is currently a need to elect a new highest ranking official. This will be decided by votes. Every Axis Cultist will have the right to vote. So…”
The topic took a very strange turn.
“I have in my hands the panties of the pretty priestess from the Eris Cult, retrieved while it was being dried in the backyard… Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
“…You are such a jerk. Or should I say, you are truly an Axis Cultist.”
The cultist pulled on both sides of the panties to show the farmer.
“Hm? These panties…”
“Ah, is there an Axis Cultist who is worthy of my vote? …Oh, it must be fate to meet you here. What is your name?”
“My name… Ah, I have a pen, but no paper… Fine, I will write on this panties, so you can take it as a name card!”
“If it is a name card, then it can’t be helped! I see, I see… Okay, I remember! I have been waiting for someone like you to show up in the Axis Cult…!”
The cultist and the farmer shared a look and smiled.
“May Aqua-sama bless you!”
Cecily and I used all our strength to kick them from behind.
We originally came closer to merely to eavesdrop.
The two people fell down after being ambushed.
“Wh-What are you doing!”
“Damn it, is this an ambush by Eris Cultists!? What, Cecily!? What are you doing? This is a rare chance to get a vote!”
Both men got up and protested.
“It’s not what we are doing! Zesta-san was just arrested. What are you doing!?”
“Megumin is right! Isn’t that Zesta guy a comrade in your cult!? What are you talking about while holding on to a pair of panties! Rea-Really unacceptable! Quick, Cecily-san, say some…”
“Aren’t those my panties?! What was that about being the panties of the pretty priestess from the Eris Cult?! You better correct it, and say that these are the panties of the pretty priestess of the Axis Cult! And if you want those panties, you should vote for me instead!!”
Maybe it would be better to leave this person behind in the church.
As I watched Cecily grab the men’s collars, I had a bad feeling about all this.
“Please vote for Tristan! Please vote for the financial manager of the Axis Cult, Tristan! Please let your righteous vote go to the one who single-handedly managed the finances of the cult, Tristan!”
The bad feeling was on the mark.
Shouting in the streets before us was the onee-san who served as Zesta’s secretary.
“I promise everyone that when I become the highest ranking official of Axis Cult, I will do the following! Firstly, I will legalize polygamy! Secondly, I will bring the marriageable age even lower!”
The person who was supposed to be most loyal to Zesta—
“Thirdly, as long as there is love, it doesn’t matter if you are siblings…”
“What are you saying in front of the crowd?”
Yunyun and I rushed forward and subdued her.
“What are you doing? Don’t interrupt my election campaign… Ha, don’t tell me it’s the Eris Cult…”
“I’ve had enough of this! Or rather— I beg you not to create more problems!”
This onee-san, who was Zesta’s secretary, was the 11th person.
That is also the number of problem-making election campaigns that we stopped.
“If you want to host such strange events, please wait until Zesta-san is convicted. Everybody else has returned to the church. Please stay in the church for today.”
“…I think Lord Zesta is definitely guilty. If you don’t believe me, I’ll bet 10,000 eris on it.”
“I’ve heard enough of this! Please return to the church! …Ah, seriously. We can’t investigate like this!”
The Axis Cultists were using any means necessary to get votes in the city. The public order of Alcanretia had become unbearable.
There were people who bribed and people who threatened.
And even people who seduced and cheated.
There were even people soliciting votes from cats and dogs. I didn’t know how animals could possibly believe in religion.
—Yunyun and I sat on the bench in the park.
“Why are the Axis Cultists so energetic…”
“I really want to return to the Crimson Demon Village…”
Both of us lowered our heads and mumbled tiredly…
“Sorry for waiting! Cooling Tokoroten Slime! One taste of this smooth texture and you’ll be addicted! This is my treat! What will happen after you join Axis Cult… I don’t need to tell you, right?”
Cecily, who was prancing around energetically, came over with some drinks.
What is Tokoroten Slime?
This thing made people hesitate on drinking it.
Yunyun and I took it fearfully, but neither of us drank it. We seemed to be thinking the same thing.
“…Okay. We got side-tracked due to the unexpected hindrances. It’s time to visit the hotels for investigation. Let’s see what actually happened.”
After arriving at the hot spring hotel, we received an expected answer.
“That’s right. It’s Tokoroten Slime. It’s that smooth tasty thing that solidifies at low temperature. When we turn on the tap of the hot springs, Tokoroten Slime flows out.”
—That was the situation.
Turning on the tap will produce tasty drinks.
…What could I say, was this really a plot by the Demon King’s army’s to destroy this city?
At this time, the unmotivated Cecily suddenly came forward with her eyes glowing.
“I need to examine the scene. That’s right. As a member of the accused Axis Cult, there is a need for strict investigation!”
“Uh, okay… Then, please come this way…”
“By the way, what flavor is it? What flavor is the Tokoroten Slime!?”
“I-I think it’s grape…”
“Awesome!! Grape-flavored Tokoroten Slime is the best!”
Instead of being led, the excited Cecily seemed to be leading the hotel owner inside.
…Did this person lose sight of her goals?
“—This is too much, Megumin-san! Yunyun-san too!! It is every citizen’s dream to have Tokoroten Slime flow out of the taps! But you won’t even let me taste it!”
“The mysterious liquid from the hot spring taps is not drinkable. What if it’s poisoned? …By the way, what exactly is Tokoroten Slime? Is it a wild monster that tastes good when drunk?”
Cecily grumbled as we left the hotel.
The hotel owner brought us to the scene. It was really flowing with Tokoroten Slime.
I forcefully dragged the excited Cecily with us as we exited the hotel…
“Tokoroten Slime is a gelatinous matter composed of various edible slimes. After drying, it is grinded into powder, and then flavors are added. The mixture will be melted in hot water for a while to produce an incredibly sticky substance. After it’s cooled, it will solidify into the elastic substance.”
Yunyun and I looked at each other.
This shouldn’t be considered a plot anymore.
Someone added Tokoroten Slime powder into the source of the hot springs, intentionally allowing people to consume it anytime, anywhere by turning on the taps…!
…How insane did the person have to be to do this?
“I’m sorry. This is stupid beyond belief. Can I go home now?”
“Wait! I understand how you feel, but what if this really is the unnatural change Soketto predicted…”
True. Although this was ridiculous, Soketto’s predictions were beyond doubt.
In this case, the criminal who did this had to be Zesta…
“It can’t be helped then… Let’s take a look at the source of this city’s hot springs.”
—There was a mountain behind the city that was the source of the hot springs.
People used pipelines to bring the spring water into the city…
“This is where the waters from the mountain are supplied into the city’s hot spring hotels! And since this is controlled by the Axis Cult, we are allowed to do as we please in the city!”
“This cult is so insidious… It is only retribution when they are blamed for such incidents.”
Led by Cecily, we arrived at the huge facility that supplied the city’s hot spring waters.
The purification and cleansing process in this facility was usually performed by Axis Cultists in shifts.
But for some reason, yesterday, Zesta personally came to do this.
This was one of the reasons he was being suspected.
When we arrived, someone was already here.
“…Ugh, Axis Cultists. You’re late. The evidence was taken.”
There were a few policemen here.
They were holding on to big sacks.
“Is that sack containing Tokoroten Slime powder? Then, did Zesta-san really do this silly thing…?”
“Yes. Last night, there was an eye-witness who saw Lord Zesta bringing this sack into the facility. The evidence is piling up, so there will be no more excuses.”
…If there was an eye-witness, then it was game over.
“Why did Zesta-san do this silly thing? Honestly, turning the hot springs into Tokoroten Slime is really insane.”
“Yes. We can’t understand why he did this either. If he wanted to destroy the hot springs, he could’ve simply added poison. But since it was done by an Axis Cultist, everything can be explained away.”
I’ve got nothing to say.
If it was these weirdos, even if you asked them why they did such silly things, they would probably say it was because it was fun.
“Why did it turn out like this… I thought he was just a bit weird, but not evil to this extent…”
Yunyun said dejectedly as she desperately wanted to prove his innocence.
At this time, Cecily…
“If this facility is where the Tokoroten Slime was added, drinking from the taps here should be fine. Hey, does anyone have a cup? Then, can anyone use freezing magic?”
…This was why Axis Cultists were—
“In the end, we couldn’t do anything. I can’t believe Zesta-san would do such a thing…”
On the way back from the facility.
Disheartened, the three of us walked on.
“…Yes. Did that old man really collude with devils? It doesn’t feel that way though…”
Although it was only a short while, Yunyun and Zesta have known each other.
If that person was involved with the Demon King’s army, she would be shocked.
Then, the most dispirited person among us, Cecily, mumbled sadly to herself.
“They say it’s evidence, so I can’t drink it… There’s so much right there, yet I can’t drink…”
This person was depressed for a completely different reason.
“That is how it is, so it can’t be helped. Although he is either a criminal or a Demon King’s minion, I still don’t think he is really a bad guy. After paying for his crime, he should return.”
“If I remember correctly, treason warrants the capital punishment…”
Hearing Yunyun’s serious explanation, both Cecily and I broke out in cold sweat.
—At this moment.
“I said this before! I’m an honest Axis Cultist! As the highest ranking official of the Axis Cult, how could I possibly assist the devils!?”
“I’m really sorry, Lord Zesta! Please let this matter rest…”
We were walking along the street when we heard this familiar voice from ahead.
In that place was…
“If an apology would be enough, we wouldn’t need you people anymore! If you ever get fired, please remember to join our cult… Eh, isn’t this Cecily-san? Why are you here? Ah, you were waiting for me to be released!”
The energetic Lord Zesta was brought along by a weary female knight.
“Lord Zesta? Why are you here… and released…”
Zesta pointed at the building he just came out from.
“What are you saying? This is the police station, Megumin-san. As for why I’m being released, of course, it is because my innocence was proven.”
“Why are you so surprised? How could I possibly commit such a stupid crime? Hey, you should confirm my innocence too.”
Urged on by Zesta, the female knight said in resignation.
“…Because of our negligence, we wrongfully arrested the honest Axis Cultist Lord Zesta. I’m truly sorry…”
What happened in the midst of the investigation?
“Hey, you lot, fall in! Lord Zesta is going back!”
“Ye-Yes! We are very sorry, Lord Zesta!”
“Th-This time, we were really too negligent…!”
At the female knight’s orders, a few policemen rushed out of the station.
Among them was the person who said that the evidence was piling up.
He so confidently said that the evidence was damning, so what exactly happened?
“That self-righteous, bespectacled interrogator who used the lie detector magic item— please thank her properly for me! Thanks to her, my suspicion was finally cleared! It was so enjoyable to witness that self-confident callous look break into tears!”
“Ugh…! Th-That person will soon be transferred to Axel. We have given Lord Zesta an unhappy memory. We are really sorry…”
Looking at the dissatisfied female knight bowing her head in apology, I thought I understood what was going on.
The police stations in large cities usually possessed lie detector magic items.
Lord Zesta was bragging in self-satisfaction. It seemed that was the reason.
“Oh dear. A transfer, huh? That is a pity! Please tell her for me: after going to Axel, please do not repeat this mistake of arresting an innocent man and subjecting him to false accusations.”
The female knight watched him come towards us.
“Then, let’s go. I have wasted much of my precious time. Really, how are you going to compensate? By right, I should lie beneath your feet and lick your toes one by one. But since I’m so generous, I will forgive you.”
“…Th-Thank you for your mag-magnanimity…”
Zesta got even more carried away as he used a fan-like object to pat the head of the female knight who was bowing deeply.
“Don’t just grow your breasts. You should grow a bit of brains too!”
He smiled happily and turned to leave.
The female knight grinded her teeth and glared murderously at Zesta’s silhouette…
On the way back to the church.
“I must have really worried everyone. I didn’t expect Cecily-san to welcome me personally.”
As our group increased to four people, we walked along the sunset streets in a cheerful mood, a stark contrast to just a short while ago..
“Of course! I, Cecily, was the first to believe in Lord Zesta’s innocence! I been waiting outside the station since early this morning!”
Cecily, who was celebrating his arrest last night, smiled as she lied through her teeth.
As if she noticed Yunyun and I staring at her, Cecily maintained her smile and held my hand. She secretly handed something to me and nodded.
Oh… hush money.
I was of the noble and unsullied Crimson Demons.
That’s right. Noble Crimson Demons.
I was not an easy woman who would be moved by such bribes, but I should at least check how much money there was…
“Uh, Cecily-san? Can you not push this Tokoroten Slime to me? I can’t understand what you’re thinking…”
Yunyun was puzzled at having something pushed into her hand. As I heard her words, I silently threw away the powder.
“Everyone, stop playing. Let’s go back early. Everyone in the cult should be quite worried. Oh dear, even though I was in the police station, I heard quite a few things! According to what I’ve heard, after my arrest, the people in the cult were causing trouble in the city, disturbing public order or something… They were protesting against my arrest, right? Really, although I’m happy at everyone’s good will, it’s still not good to cause trouble for others.”
Zesta said with a ludicrous attitude. His smile never left his face since we met him.
Yunyun and I looked away.
“That’s true. I can understand what everyone feels. After all, when Lord Zesta was arrested, I was drinking in depression until late at night!”
Cecily continued to lie shamelessly…
This onee-san… we should just let her be.
If we interrupted, something would be done to us later.
“But in the end, the problem isn’t resolved. There is still someone who added the Tokoroten Slime into the hot springs…”
Zesta tilted his head as if he was confused.
“True. The person responsible for this disturbance is still at large. I don’t know what happened, but I remember that the divination from the Crimson Demons said that it involved a minion of the Demon King…”
Yunyun said with a complicated expression.
“But will the dangerous Demon King’s minions do such idiotic things? We are talking about adding Tokoroten Slime into the hot springs here. If it is the Demon King’s minion, it should be a devil, right? Would a devil do something so childish…”
At this time, Cecily listened and said.
“Could this be a reward from Aqua-sama? After all, Tokoroten Slime flowing from the taps is my childhood dream.”
“…Are you the criminal, onee-san?”
“I wouldn’t do such a wasteful deed. If I had enough to throw into the hot springs, I would definitely hoard it all for myself!”
I was speechless. Zesta, who was walking next to me, showed a serious expression that I had never seen on him. He pondered in silence.
“…Demon king’s minion… Demon… Oh dear. There has been a slight stink in this city for some time. Is this the smell of a devil…?”
“Zesta-san. You’re frowning. You heard the word ‘devil’ and suddenly…”
Yunyun fearfully looked at the troubled Zesta, then looked behind us and became even more nervous.
I noticed Yunyun’s reaction and turned around…
There was someone standing there.
I said to Chomusuke who was at my feet.
“To be followed all the way out here. You are truly held in high regard.”
The person there was a deeply hooded devil— the faintly smiling Arnes.
Arnes smiled faintly and cheerfully looked at Yunyun and me.
I carried Chomusuke and backed off to Yunyun’s side.
“…It has been a while. Ah, thanks for the hospitality last time.”
“What is this situation!? Megumin-san, Yunyun-san. Who is this sexy lady!?”
As Zesta shouted words that didn’t fit the mood, Arnes smiled maliciously.
Yunyun retrieved her staff from her waist and held it before her warily.
I stood at Yunyun’s side and held Chomusuke before me, as if using her as a shield.
“…Boldly appearing in this city, do you really want my Chomusuke so much?”
“Megumin-san. What is your relationship with this lady with her remarkable twin peaks!?”
“It’s not Chomusuke. Call her Lady Wolbach… Your hateful companions won’t be helping you this time. I could just tear you apart, but if I simply finish off someone liked by Lady Wolbach—“
“Megumin-san, please answer me! Why did this person dress so indecently!? And to cover it up with a robe is improper! Simply improper! But while being improper, it is also beautiful in a well-tempered way. That’s right. To describe this, it is like wearing a coat over a swimsuit. It is that immoral feeling…”
“Shut up! What are you doing? Get lost!”
After her speech was interrupted by Zesta, Arnes waved him off in annoyance.
“Zesta-san. Don’t incite her too much. This Arnes is our enemy. She wants this furball, so she chased us here.”
“Oh, you want Chomusuke. You look stiff, but you have a romantic heart, Arnes-san.”
“Both of you stop it… She is looking more and more annoyed…”
Hearing Yunyun, I looked at Arnes. She narrowed her eyes and arteries were protruding at the side of her head.
She seemed annoyed by our unexpected lack of concern.
“Listen up. If you don’t want to suffer…”
“What can I do to receive your suffering?”
Yunyun ignored the mood and warned the overly bold Zesta.
“Such strange fellows. As you wish…!”
Arnes smiled and raised her hand quickly.
“I’ll let you taste a little suffering! Fireball!”
A fireball surged from Arnes’ hand towards Zesta.
“A female devil, huh…”
With a regretful sigh, Zesta reached towards the fireball.
Zesta suddenly created a wall of light, which bounced the fireball back.
Arnes dodged the incoming fireball and looked at Zesta in shock.
Her actions threw off her hood, revealing the horns on her head.
“…Oh dear. I thought you were just a weird old man. You’re quite capable.”
I couldn’t help but agree with Arnes.
I also thought Zesta was just a weird old man.
Zesta sighed deeply.
“Ah… Female devil… I can accept a beastman or an ogre, but female devils— Unfortunately, the Axis Cult’s doctrines forbid relations with devils. What a pity.”
He said and turned to face Arnes.
“Devil… I see. Devil, huh. It is indeed stinking of devils.”
Although Zesta was smiling gently, there was no smile at all in his eyes.
Even when faced with Zesta in this manner, Arnes was unmoved.
After a moment of confronting Zesta, Arnes showed a fearless smile.
“A stink of devils? You dare to say that. And? What can a mere human priest do?”
“—That man can totolly crush you.”
Arnes turned hurriedly. Nobody knew when Cecily circled around behind Arnes.
There was no sense of mischief in Cecily now.
Zesta was the same.
Although both of them looked the same as usual, there was no friendliness in their eyes.
But Arnes did not retreat.
“You are so eloquent! As the servitor of the great evil god, Lady Wolbach, I…”
“Sacred High Exorcism!”
Zesta interrupted Arnes’ speech and released his magic.
The magic did not hit Arnes, but passed by her head to strike at the road.
The spot hit by the magic displayed a white magic circle, and bright light shone into the clouds.
Arnes saw this and opened then closed her mouth in fright.
That was a magic that I did not recognize, but it must be fatal to devils.
That was clear when I saw Arnes shiver as she stared at Zesta.
…I thought he was just a weird old man.
“I apologize for my late introduction, Arnes-san.”
Arnes heard Zesta’s words and trembled.
“I am Zesta, the Archpriest in charge of the Axis Cult.”
Arnes understood the meaning of this statement and broke out in cold sweat.
“In the Axis Cult that I’m responsible for, there is no arch priest who is higher in level than me.”
Arnes’ face turned pale and she retreated step by step.
“Same. I’m Cecily, the pretty priestess of the Axis Cult.”
Hearing Cecily’s word, Arnesshivered as she remembered there was someone behind her.
“Cecily-san. It looks like the culprit of this disturbance is this female devil.”
“That seems like it, Lord Zesta. The trouble you have gone through was at the expense of this devil, right?”
“Wh-What!? What are you saying!? I-I just came to this city and was searching for Lady Wolbach all this time…”
Arnes stuttered in denial, but Zesta was no longer listening.
As Zesta started running, Arnes turned and ran pass Cecily.
“She is escaping, Cecily-san! Chase after her! Everything is permissible since it is a devil! In the name of Axis Cult, let her regret being born a devil!”
“Roger! Lord Zesta! Devils should be hung up and beaten—!”
As they made their dangerous announcements, Zesta and Cecily charged towards Arnes, who was fleeing for her life in tears.
“…What is going on?”
“Don’t ask me. How am I supposed to know?”
After being left behind, we stared dumbly in the direction where Zesta had gone.
“…Okay. What does Yunyun want to do next? I’m going to stay here until I earn enough money. After that, I will go to Axel. I originally intended to go to Axel to find companions. Now, I’ve heard there is a mage who can use Explosion Magic as well.”
Although they might not be the same person, I had no other leads.
“I… I-I always intend to go to Axel and start training with the weak monsters…”
“I see. What a coincidence. Then you go on ahead. I will catch up after I have enough money.”
Hearing this, Yunyun looked troubled.
“B-But! I’m not in a hurry to leave. I think I can tour this city a bit before going to Axel…”
Yunyun widened her eyes and said uneasily.
At this time, Chomusuke slowly walked to Yunyun’s feet.
For some reason, Chomusuke looked at Yunyun as if demanding something, but Yunyun hurriedly looked away.
“By the way, someone has been feeding Chomusuke since I arrived in this city. Do you know anything about that?”
“I-I don’t know!? Chomusuke is a cat and can find its own food!”
She continued to stutter and look away.
Chomusuke remained at Yunyun’s feet as if expecting something.
“… It is looking at Yunyun with hopeful eyes.”
“Maybe it wants to play since we haven’t met for a long time! Th-Then, let’s return to the hotel! I’m staying in the hotel near the city entrance. If there is anything…”
“—Oh, Megumin-san. You are still here. Oh dear, that devil is really agile. It was too delightful to watch her crying face, so a few shots of fatal magic intentionally missed her. We accidentally let her escape.”
As if to replace Yunyun who was about to leave, Zesta returned in satisfaction and said in a long-winded manner.
“…You look rather happy.”
“What are you saying? It is regretful that she escaped, but it can’t be helped. Cecily-san is searching for that devil with the other cultists… If it is convenient, Megumin-san, please take this.”
Zesta took my hand and placed a small sack there.
“…? What is this?”
“This is the carriage fee to Axel City.”
I froze when I heard Zesta.
“The recruitment methods that Megumin-san taught us will be effective in the future. I won’t merely follow your recipes. Instead, we will experiment to improve on them. That’s right. We will develop our recruitment methods to the point of being a unique trait of this city. This carriage fee is just a little gift.”
Looking at Zesta’s confident expression, I started wondering if I really did something amazing.
“Then, Megumin-san. What will you do today? Stay with the Axis Cult? At this time, there should still be caravans heading for Axel. Do you want to go to Axel right away?”
Going to Axel right away.
…I wanted to go immediately.
I wanted to reach Axel as fast as possible and report to that person.
Then gather my companions and release Explosion Magic which I had not used for such a long time!
For some reason, Yunyun exclaimed after hearing my impromptu decision… Ah, that was it.
“Yunyun wanted to tour this city, so I will go ahead to Axel first.”
“Ho-How can you do this! I-I changed my mind! If Megumin goes to Axel first, it will widen the distance between us!”
“I see. Yunyun is so hard working.”
Acting strong, Yunyun looked away as I smiled maliciously.
Looking at us, Zesta seemed to understand something.
“Megumin-san. It is a rare opportunity, why not stay for another night before leaving? After all, there are probably some in the cult who want to bid you farewell.”
“What you say is true as well. What should I do?”
—After that, Zesta and I made fun of Yunyun for a while. When she finally couldn’t endure anymore and was about attack, the sky was already dark.
I exhaled deeply as I soaked in the open-air bath inside the Axis church.
Since this bath belonged to the cult, I was a bit worried about peeping. But Zesta, the most dangerous person, was struck by lightning released by Yunyun after she was teased beyond her limits.
After that attack, he shouldn’t wake until tomorrow.
Since it was the open-air bath of Axis Cult which worshipped the goddess of water, I expected it to be the size of a swimming pool. The truth was different, however.
Although you could stretch your legs, it would be very cramped if a few people entered.
“Today’s hot spring is not bad, Megumin-san. Heheh… Bathing with a loli… Heheheh…”
“I’m sorry, but your laughter is really scary.”
—Even now, it was already somewhat cramped.
“Please understand. For some reason, this cult has very few females, so there is little opportunity to bathe with someone of the same gender.”
“Onee-san, your eyes have been like those of a predator since the start, so I don’t have the feeling of bathing with the same gender. After all, you sexually harassed me last night.”
I was bathing with Cecily, who was the reason I became involved with the Axis Cult, but…
“Hey, it’s already very cramped. If you keep leaning over…”
“This can’t be helped; after all, the pool is small! That’s right. I think even if my finger climbs onto Megumin-san’s soft skin, that is also inevitable!”
“I will retaliate if something weird is done to me! Don’t think I will let you do whatever you want like last night!”
I moved away from Cecily, who was leaning really close, and lowered myself up to my mouth into the water.
“But I haven’t been this happy for a long time. I feel like you are quite compatible with Axis Cultists. I heard that you want to gather companions in Axel City? If you’re getting a priest, please select an Axis Cult priest! I think it will be a good match!”
“I-I’d rather not. I want a serious Eris Cultist… Seriously, you should move away a bit…”
“The pool is so small, so I can’t help it. Even a bath of this size costs a lot of money. I heard it was made by a powerful mage using Blast magic. Look, the pool’s shape is a beautiful circle, right?”
“Blast magic, huh…”
I touched the edge of the pool and felt its smoothness. It was probably created by a blast of powerful magic.
“That’s right. Since there are very few people who learnt Detonation magic, it was very hard to find one. Originally, we intended to find a mage capable of using Detonation magic.”
The onee-san soaked her neck into the hot spring and exhaled comfortably.
This bath inside the church was created from a crater in the flat bedrock blasted by magic.
Using Detonation magic here should enlarge the pool without causing harm.
…Then, what if Explosion Magic was used?
“What? If possible, don’t call me ‘onee-san’. I will be very happy if you can call me ‘Cecily Onee-chan’ while lisping.”
“Onee-san, do you want a more spacious open-air bath?”
“I do. Besides, this bath gets its water directly from the mountain, so no matter how big it is, it won’t lack water… Why are your eyes glowing?”
The bigger, the better.
If I used my staff to release the magic, the entire bedrock platform would be destroyed.
But what about if I cast the spell empty-handed?
Since it was empty-handed, the magic power would be reduced by half. Such an Explosion should create the largest pool in this city.
I still don’t quite understand why they gave me the money for the carriage, so it would be nice to leave a parting gift.
“…I can use Explosion Magic.”
No. No more excuses.
It wasn’t a gift. I merely wanted to use Explosion Magic here to create a large pool.
“I will use Explosion Magic to create the largest pool in the City of Water and Hot Springs. Is that okay?”
“Of course! The doctrines of Axis Cult include ‘Do as you will so long it is not a crime.’ Follow your heart and use magic without care!”
…Although it was only for a brief moment—
The thought that “joining Axis Cult might not be that bad” flashed across my mind.
“Call me onee-chan!”
“On-onee-san, please step back! It’s dangerous! …Then, I’ll begin! This is the Explosion Magic that I have been holding in since I came to Alcanretia!”
I got out of the bath with onee-san and aimed at the bedrock…!
Today, I used Explosion Magic.
More than the usual disturbance caused by Axis Cultists, more than the appearance of a mysterious female devil, and even more than a large fire… My Explosion stupefied the residents of this city—
At the waiting area for the public carriage.
Yunyun and I were sent off by Zesta and the others. We were about to board the carriage for Axel.
“Oh dear. I didn’t know you could use Explosion Magic. I really can’t thank you enough. A pool that large could easily contain every member in the cult.”
“A mixed bath is out of question, Lord Zesta.”
“A mixed bath is the best way to strengthen the bonds between comrades.”
“A mixed bath is out of question, Lord Zesta.”
“…Uh, no matter what, that open-air bath will become the private hot spring of the Axis Cult. Please come and take a look when you return to this city.”
“That’s true. After I find my companions, if everyone wants to go on a holiday trip, I will come here first.”
“We will look forward to that day. At that time, we will show you our true strength. We will definitely stuff your pockets full of Axis Cult recruitment forms!”
I smiled at Zesta, who was making some dangerous speeches, then boarded the carriage.
…At this moment, Zesta suddenly did something unexpected.
Zesta made a prayerful pose as if casting magic.
“—May the goddess Aqua bless you with a safe journey! Blessing!”
I received Zesta’s magic and bashfully lowered my head.
I felt like this was the first time I saw this man act like a priest.
At this time, Yunyun, who was sitting next to me, said to Zesta uneasily.
“Uh, uh…! Zesta=san, give me that magic too…”
Zesta spat on the floor, as if answering Yunyun.
After taking a hit from the lightning last night, he found out Yunyun was the one who delivered Soketto’s letter and caused the disturbance. He was probably still bearing a grudge.
Even though he was the high priest, he was still so childish.
I consoled Yunyun who was grinding her teeth, and smiled bitterly at Zesta and the others.
Cecily reluctantly and secretly handed something to me.
It was a heavy sack.
That must be a parting gift.
“I didn’t do much. I can’t accept this thing…”
“It’s nothing. It will become a necessary item for you… Just accept it. Kids shouldn’t stand on ceremony!”
…I thought she was a weird onee-san, yet she did this in the last moment.
I opened the sack in guilt, and saw a pile of paper like I expected.
…Eh, this doesn’t look like eris monetary notes…
Feeling curious, I examined the papers.
“Axis Cult Recruitment Form”
“Use them properly when you get to Axel!”
I threw the papers at the onee-san.
“—Attention, all passengers. The carriage to Axel is about to depart!”
The man at the driver’s seat shouted.
—The town of Rookie Adventurers, Axel.
Firstly, I would use that as a base to find companions.
Preferably, a party that could match my advanced job.
A reliable and brave leader.
An unwavering frontline fighter.
A compassionate healer.
Plus me, who could analyze the battle with my intelligence and kill with a single hit.
I dreamt of that kind of future…
“Public carriage heading for Axel, departing!”
I started on my journey towards Axel, the town of Adventurers—
INTERLUDE: SCENE 4
—Aqua-sama, I Was Truly Blessed!—
In the kitchen of Axis Cult.
“Cecily-san, what happened? You look very happy.”
Lord Zesta asked with a grin, as I was washing the dishes and smiling like a goddess.
“Your usual criminally cool smile is especially disgusting today.”
“Lord Zesta, I’m about to spray detergent into your eyes… Heheh. Do you want to know why I’m so happy today? Do you want to know? Should I tell you~”
“…I’ll go take a bath. You finish up the dish washing.”
“Lord Zesta, this is too much. You’re the one who asked the question.”
I grabbed hold of Lord Zesta’s sleeve as he prepared to leave.
“…Actually, I have a date with Megumin-san to bathe together.”
Hearing my special announcement, Lord Zesta halted and swallowed his saliva.
“…Cecily-san. You mean, you are going to bathe with that loli mage girl and wash each other’s back?”
“That’s what I mean. This is Aqua-sama’s reward for my daily persistence in disturbing the Eris Cult!”
For some reason, Lord Zesta smiled scornfully at me as I excitedly announced that.
“Cecily-san, it seems you have forgotten! Who is responsible for cleaning the source of the hot springs today? …That’s right. It’s you, Cecily-san!”
Lord Zesta’s words instantly sent me to hell.
“An honest cultist like me is the one most worthy of Aqua-sama’s reward! Since Cecily-san is busy and can’t make it to the date, I will go to the bath in your place…”
“Your logic is too weird, Lord Zesta! If you do that, you’ll be arrested! Ri-Right, Lord Zesta! Do you like Tokoroten Slime? Actually, I have been hoarding a huge amount of grape-flavored Tokoroten Slime…”
I retrieved my secret cache of Tokoroten Slime from the kitchen, planning to use it as bribe to let someone else take on the cleaning duty for me.
Lord Zesta raised his hand to stop me as I lifted the sack of Tokoroten Slime.
“Cecily-san, let’s make a deal.”
“Deal, huh? …You want my voluptuous body…!”
“I’m not interested in your body, Cecily-san. That’s not what I mean… Since you are bathing with Megumin-san— You understand what I’m saying, right!?”
I looked at Lord Zesta who was itching for a try, and understood what he wanted.
“…I see. Leave it to me!”
“Cecily-san, your insight is remarkable! Leave the cleaning duty to me! I’ll make it spotlessly clean! In return— You know, Cecily-san. Megumin-san… the state of that and that… the details of every nook and cranny… ”
“I know, of course I understand, Lord Zesta! No need for details. I already understand your intentions fully! Then, I, Cecily, will proceed to battle!”
I gave Lord Zesta a deep bow.
“It’s up to you, Cecily-san! …Ah, right, Cecily-san, I have never cleaned the source of the hot springs before. Where is the detergent used for cleaning…”
I couldn’t contain my emotions any longer, and simply ignored Lord Zesta.
“Megumin Megumin Megumin Megumin Megumin! You must wait for me. Onee-san will definitely clean every corner of your body…!”
“Ce-Cecily-san, the detergent… Is it this!? This is the sack, right, Cecily-san!?”
I ignored Lord Zesta and flew out of the kitchen.
Really, I didn’t think Lord Zesta was also interested in counting the ceramic tile patterns on the floor.
I thought I was the only one who would count the floor pattern when I was cleaning the bath.
After bathing, I would tell him the number of patterns I counted.
—Aqua-sama, I Was Truly Blessed!