CRAZY PRIESTESS AND THE WATER GODDESS
Translator: Sine Nomine
Editor(s): Cannongerbil, Nate, Xenthur, Veritaum, YuNS
The guild was noisier than usual this morning.
“The third party needs a priest! If any party has more than two priests, please send one over!”
“Any mages!? There aren’t enough magic potions here. We need a mage that can create potions!”
It was a week after we reported the devil to the guild.
In order for the guild to investigate, the adventurers were banned from entering the forest, thereby losing a good place to make a living.
At first, everyone was obediently hunting in the plains.
But the hot-blooded adventurers wouldn’t behave like that forever.
The guild was continuously pestered with questions about permission to enter the forest. Finally, the guild decided to take down the devil and recruited a hunting expedition.
The adventurers who were confident in their abilities came early to prepare as they were angry about losing the forest as a hunting ground.
I looked at the busy adventurers from the side.
“—We really caused a big problem.”
I whispered to Yunyun, who was nervously gripping her staff.
“W-Why are you so calm!? Megumin, you saw that devil! There wasn’t anything as scary even in the monster-infested areas near the Crimson Demon Village!”
Yunyun interrogated me while on the verge of tears.
“If you are so reluctant to go, you can stay behind. There are so many adventurers, so we shouldn’t lose. Even if there aren’t 100 participants, there must be at least 20 or 30 of them. Anyone who joins the expedition will receive a reward. Even if you just tag along, you can get some money. It’s not a bad opportunity.”
“N-No way…! I-If you’re joining, I’ll be worried…”
“What did you say? You just said something, right? Come. Say it again more loudly.”
“You heard that, right!? You wanted me to say it again because you heard it, right!?”
Yunyun blushed so hard that her ears were red. She sprawled face-down on the table. I laughed and shook her as I re-evaluated the situation in the guild.
According to Yunyun, who came here very early in the morning, a beautiful but pale onee-san had been distributing potions and other items to the expedition members.
That onee-san was sadly whispering, “At this rate, we’ll be reduced to eating bread crumbs and sugared water…”
With this many people and this much support, even a greater devil should be manageable.
“But my reason for joining the expedition isn’t merely for the reward. Think about it. If I can show off my skills during the expedition, and other parties would rush to invite me even if I don’t ask for recruitment. I must stir up a storm.”
Hearing this, the dark clouds on Yunyun’s face was swept away.
“Besides, there are two famous adventuring parties in this expedition. According to what I’ve heard, one party has a handsome guy with a magic sword, while the other…”
“Hey, hey. Are you little girls joining too? Spare us. This isn’t a picnic!”
“W-Wait. Rex, look closely. They are Crimson Demons. They might be more powerful than you.”
Suddenly, a man and a woman standing at the sides started talking to us.
The man was tall and had a huge scar on his nose. The woman looked pretty, but her eyes were sharp and focused.
If I remembered correctly, the party that they belonged to…
“Ha! More powerful than me? These two brats? Hey, stop joking. You say something too.”
“No. It is as Sophie said. Haven’t you heard of the Crimson Demons? I heard that they were all Archmages and everyone could use advanced magic. They are the elites among mages.”
“No way, Terry!? Hey, can both of you really use advanced magic!?”
Yes. They were the other famous adventuring party.
“No. We can’t use advanced magic.”
Yunyun nodded to agree with my reply.
Hearing my answer, Rex gave Terry a look as if saying “You see?”. He laughed.
“Eh!? No. This is really strange. I heard Crimson Demons should be like that…”
“Well, rumors tend to be exaggerated. Like that magic sword user who is supposed to be better than me. What’s his name again? … And that crazy mage that a person must definitely not get involved with. Those are all exaggerations… Forget it. If you want to earn a bit of money, it’s fine. Just make sure you little girls put in effort and don’t hold us back okay?”
Rex said and laughed like a child, then led his party away.
Was this the baptismal rite for rookie adventurers?
If it was the previous me, I would have started chanting immediately to scare him off, but since he was a member of the expedition, it would be better not to make a scene…
“Megumin, no. Calm down!”
“Eh!? W-What are you doing!? S-Stop it!”
As I was watching Rex leave, Yunyun hugged me from behind.
She must have thought that I would do something to Rex.
“I won’t do anything. Let me go! Even I have grown enough to not be provoked by this. Or rather, do you really think I’m that unreasonable of a person!? And don’t press your boobs on my back. It’s so uncomfortable! If you don’t let go, I’m going to grab those boobs that you are so proud of until I leave a mark and make them shrink!”
In the melancholic and dense forest.
Yunyun and I were in the group at the rear of the expedition.
Yunyun was crying next to me as she pressed on her chest.
“Stop crying already. We still have to guard the rear.”
“W-Whose fault do you think it is…!? Ugh. I thought they would be torn off…”
There were 10 teams joining this expedition.
Each team consisted of six to ten members.
I heard that the vanguard was led by the party with the handsome guy who had a magic sword.
As for the rearguard…
“Hey. We meet again! If monsters appear, both of you can just hide. But try and be quiet for now.”
Rex mocked us as his party vigilantly advanced.
Yunyun made herself smaller as she was reminded of her position.
Although Rex’s party was famous, all the members had frontline jobs.
Led by Rex with his greatsword, the others had spears, axes, or similar weapons.
“Speak for yourself. You don’t look like a mage. Do you know that there are slimes in this forest? When slimes that are immune to physical attacks appear, you should hide and let our Yunyun take care of them.”
Yunyun softly admonished me. Hearing my words, Rex grinned.
“Oh. You dare to say something like that. Let’s watch your performance then. It’s true slimes are troublesome, so if they appear…”
Before Rex finished his words, as if it was happening on cue, the advance party of the expedition sounded an alarm.
“Monsters are appearing!”
Hearing the cries of the advance party, Rex and the others cautiously watched the surroundings.
If the target devil appeared, they would scatter to surround the enemy and let the priests and mages in various teams initiate attacks.
If the vanguard encountered the devil first, they would rush over immediately…! But—
“Damn. Why are there so many mob monsters!? Hey, finish them off quickly! If the vanguard encounters the devil, we must support them as soon as possible…”
Faced with a sudden influx of monsters, Rex and the other adventurers were anxious.
This was that kind of phenomenon.
When a powerful monster appeared, mobs monsters would scatter and flee. We went through the same thing when we fought Arnes.
In other words, that devil must be nearby.
Something aimed at Sophie’s head and dropped from the tree.
Yunyun’s magic hit the slime making a sneak attack at Sophie. It shivered a bit and dissolved.
Everyone looked up at the tree-top from which the slime dropped…!
A large group of green slimes were tightly packed in the canopy, as if they grew from the trees themselves.
“No! I can’t stand it! I want to go back to the Crimson Demon Village!”
“Yunyun, stop crying. Think of a way to get rid of them! I know it’s very disgusting, but if I blast so many slimes away, the surviving slimes would be blown away in all directions! Use magic to burn them up here!”
I urged the crying Yunyun and pushed her from behind.
“Stop it! I understand! I will get rid of them. Stop pushing me!”
“Hey, you’re a Crimson Demon too, right!? Can’t you use magic!? If she is so unwilling, then don’t force her…!”
At the moment when Rex was blaming me.
Even though she was afraid of the densely packed slimes, Yunyun used her magic at full power.
Accompanied by an explosive noise, the full-powered fire ball struck the trees, engulfing all the slimes in flames.
“Th-This is so amazing…!”
“That’s what I said! They are the elites among mages!”
“She’s that girl, right? The one who is always playing with poker cards in a corner of the guild…”
Both Rex and Terry, as well as the other adventurers nearby, exclaimed as they looked up at the burning trees.
“Well… Not bad, Yunyun. You’re truly a Crimson Demon… Wh-What are you doing!?”
After burning up the slimes, Yunyun was on the verge of tears as she pounced at me. Meanwhile, Rex and the others doused the flames on the trees.
“Ah, so sorry. I apologize for looking down on you. Can that shortie over there do the same thing?”
“No. My magic is more unique… Uh. It’s a trump card against powerful enemies. Using it here would be a waste…”
I stuttered an excuse. Rex listened and raised his eyebrow.
“… What? A mage who is all talk and no action.”
“What did you say!?”
“Wait, Megumin. Calm down! Didn’t you say in the guild that you have grown beyond such provocations!?”
As we argued, a noise echoed from the vanguard.
If I remembered correctly, the handsome guy with the magic sword was in the frontline.
They should be able to exterminate the monsters, right?
… As I thought about this, one of the frontline adventurers ran over.
“Hey, this is bad! We can’t win against that thing! The devil suddenly appeared and the hero with the magic sword was wounded by its sneak attack! That devil could even use advanced magic! That was the level of a general of the Demon King’s army! Retreat!!”
—Hearing that adventurer’s warning, we and the rest of the rearguard acted like bees after the beehive was attacked.
In the twilight, the entire expedition walked lifelessly as if we were all undead.
“Tsk… What kind of magic sword-wielding hero is that? He was defeated so quickly. If we were in the vanguard, we wouldn’t be so embarrassingly counter-attacked, right?”
We were on our way back to Axel.
In the weary expedition, Rex clicked his tongue and complained.
It seemed the hero with the magic sword was rather famous.
According to what I’ve heard, the devil launched a sudden attack upon the magic sword user.
The hero with the magic sword was famous even within the Demon King’s army.
… Hero with the magic sword.
Hero with the magic sword?
I seemed to recall hearing something like this before.
A hero candidate who owned a powerful magic sword…
Right. If I remembered correctly, it was when I was still a student in school…
“Even if you say that, he used his sword to attack the devil after being wounded. It seemed he sliced off a wing. We were able to easily escape because of him. After all, the enemy was at the level of a general of the Demon King’s army. We’ll have to wait for the guild to summon higher level adventurers from other cities.”
Sophie explained to Rex.
Only Rex was dissatisfied as he spat on the ground.
“—Adventurers, welcome back! We received the report. It seems the enemy is rather difficult to deal with…!”
The onee-san receptionist welcomed us back in the guild.
During this expedition, the magic sword user was badly injured.
In addition, more than 10 people were lightly wounded.
Priests used healing magic and potions, but the teams couldn’t fight any further for now.
After all, the main fighting force was forced to retired due to their severe injuries.
One of the adventurers shrugged.
“This can’t be helped. The enemy is a greater devil. It’s too strong for us rookies. Let’s wait for support from the high level adventurers from other cities. The support request has been sent, right?”
His casual statement brought a troubled expression to the onee-san.
… What was going on? I had a bad premonition.
“Uh. Everyone, please calm down and listen. According to our recent reports, a general of the Demon King’s army, Beldia the Dullahan, left the Demon King’s castle along with a ton of undead.”
These words caused a disturbance in the guild.
“Currently, Beldia’s goals and destination are unknown… But this town has only rookie adventurers and is strategically unimportant, so this is the only place that wouldn’t be his target. Therefore…”
The onee-san looked apologetic.
“Until the matter with Beldia is resolved, the other cities cannot afford to send anyone to support us. In other words… We can only rely on everyone in this town to deal with that devil…”
The mood in the guild was already weary. Now it was like a stagnant pool of water.
Sensing the mood, the onee-san hurriedly added.
“Wait. It isn’t just bad news! Although she’s an adventurer who registered only recently… There is an elite in this town who can banish devils, someone who has the rare job of Archpriest!”
Even among the advanced jobs, very few people took on this job.
As the natural enemy of devils and undead, it was truly the most suitable job for this expedition.
“Hey, wait. You said she is ‘an adventurer who registered only recently’… Isn’t that a Level 1 Archpriest?”
Right. If she’d just registered, her level must be low. Naturally, she couldn’t learn any reliable skills.
Her statistics should also be…
“Listen to me! Most of that Archpriest’s statistics are very high. And she is an excellent Archpriest who has learned all the skills!”
Her words shocked the adventurers in the guild.
“What kind of priest is she!?”
“Hey, is it true!? If that Archpriest is really so good, maybe she can deal with that devil…!”
“What does she look like! Describe that Archpriest for us!”
Among the excited adventurers, a bored man who was drinking beer stood up.
“… If that Archpriest is here, she can easily heal the hero with the magic sword, right? This way, in addition to the Archpriest, even the magic sword user can join the battle once more. That would definitely…!”
This speech caused the adventurers to look at each other.
“That Archpriest has watery blue hair and a goddess-like beauty…!”
The onee-san hadn’t even finished her sentence before the adventurers rushed out of the guild.
… Just the male adventurers at least.
“… Everyone has left. Should we go and search too?”
“… They are so enthusiastic. They should find her quickly. I feel really tired…”
“Is it? I intend to stay in the guild for a while. Look, uh… My magic was somewhat useful earlier, right? So, uh…”
She was probably referring to the scene where she defeated the slimes.
… I see. She wanted to wait and see if the other parties might be impressed by her performance and invite her to join.
But how should I say this…?
I looked around at the empty guild.
“Uh, then, don’t come back too late, okay?”
“I know! No problem. I will be back in the morning!”
“Co-Come back a bit earlier!”
The adventurers were running all over the town.
It was evening.
The workers had finished their jobs and were returning home.
The well-built adventurers were pushing their way through the crowd, hindering the traffic.
“Watery blue-haired goddess! Find that watery blue-haired goddess!”
There were shouts like that everywhere. Not long after, there was a girl’s cry of anguish, accompanied by a crashing noise.
It seemed one of the adventurers dashing about had ran over a pedestrian.
“Hey, watch where you’re going! Because you ran me over, my wages are all scattered on the floor! Pick them up quickly! My wages amount to 10,000 eris. If they don’t add up, you can compensate using your own money!”
“Yo-You…! Is this really okay!? After all, you are a… Ugh!?”
Hearing the two familiar voices, I turned to look and it was indeed them.
The girl with watery blue hair covered the mouth of her male companion with her hands.
“S-Sorry. I will pick them up now… But the money on the floor couldn’t possibly amount to 10,000 eris… Eh, you have blue hair!?”
“? What? I have watery blue hair. Do you have a problem with that? Whatever. Just pick up my money! If you’re too slow, I won’t make it in time for the first batch at the bathhouse. I did a lot of work today, so I want to hurry up and bathe!”
“Ah. S-Sorry! … Although her hair is watery blue… Is this really an super-excellent Archpriest…? As beautiful as a goddess… This must be a mistake. Her face is full of mud and dirt. And a high class sacred job holder wouldn’t resort to racketeering…”
“…? What? What did you say?”
“No. Nothing. I didn’t say anything. We are very busy now, so I will give you these. Please let me go. Goodbye!”
The adventurer handed over 10,000 eris to the girl as compensation and ran off.
“Fantastic! Look, this is how you do things! Quickly, pick up the money on the floor! …? Hey, why are you crying?”
“… You. Is this supposed to be an object of worship and reverence…?”
“What are you saying now? Isn’t it obvious?”
“It’s not obvious at all.”
The girl held her money tightly and started to argue with the guy.
—An Archpriest with watery blue hair and a goddess-like beauty.
… At least I knew that blue-haired girl was not the one we were looking for.
—I dragged my tired body back to my room.
Right. I had not done my daily use of Explosion magic today.
I would ask Yunyun to accompany me when she returned.
I thought about this as I reached for the door…
“Welcome back, Megumin-san. Do you want a bath? Or want to eat me? Or do you want to join the Axis Cult?”
I listened and then lightly closed the door.
Then, the closed door suddenly opened violently.
“Megumin-san is so shy! You are so irresistibly cute! You’re still just as much of a loli as before!”
The priestess I met previously in Alcanretia was before me.
It was the Axis Cult onee-san who dragged me into various affairs in that town.
“You can call me ‘Onee-chan ♥’ too.”
I lay on the bed in the room and pressed on my head as if I was having a headache. I looked at the onee-san who was sitting on the chair, smiling, and hugging Chomusuke. I spoke again.
“I have a lot of things to do, onee-san.”
“My name is Cecily. You can call me ‘Onee-chan’ or ‘onee-san’, but our relationship should be close enough for us to address each other’s names directly.”
“Onee-san, why are you here?”
I locked the door when I left this morning.
But I didn’t expect this person to enter my room.
Or rather, this person should be in Alcanretia, performing the acts of terrorism that they called proselytizing.
“Call me Cecily. Well… It’s a long story…”
Cecily looked troubled as she put her finger to her lips.
“It’s very troublesome to explain, so it’s fine to just consider it as a guidance of Lady Aqua.”
“It’s not fine at all! Anyway, the door was locked. How did you even get inside!?”
Faced with my forceful retort, Cecily suddenly looked serious.
“Actually… I have a request for you, Megumin-san. That’s why I’m here.”
“Even if you look serious, you still can’t fudge this.”
To summarize Cecily’s explanation—
As the highest ranking official of the Axis Cult, Zesta apparently heard the voice of the goddess Aqua.
According to Cecily, Zesta was one of the top Archpriests in the Axis Cult.
Apparently, he could even receive oracles from his goddess.
“I see. Although I always thought of him as nothing more than a pervert, he still has the ability to drive off a greater devil like Arnes. Receiving an oracle is still possible…”
I readjusted my impression of him, feeling that he at least seemed slightly like someone with a sacred job.
“Then, what exactly was the oracle about? Would there be a disaster in Axel? Or has the hero who would defeat the Demon King been born!?”
“Lord Zesta said that he received a divine telepathic message from Lady Aqua, coming from the direction of Axel. A few days ago, he heard a voice saying, ‘I’m Aqua. That’s right, the goddess Aqua worshipped by the religious order of Axis! If thou art a believer…! … May you give me some aid by lending me some money?’”
TL Note: See Explosion Volume 2 Chapter 5 for the entire scene.
“This is way too suspicious.”
An oracle itself was a difficult thing to believe. It was even more so when the contents involved asking for money.
“We don’t really understand the meaning of the oracle, but Lady Aqua must have encountered some major problems. Even Lord Zesta would not take Lady Aqua’s name in vain to benefit himself… We don’t know why Lady Aqua wants money, so as the beautiful priestess of the Axis Cult, I was sent here to investigate further.”
“The Axis Cult really has nothing better to do.”
Questioning the “beautiful priestess” part was too troublesome, so I ignored it.
And which part of that mysterious oracle actually involved me?
“After coming to this town, I understood the meaning of Lady Aqua’s oracle. This town is currently under the threat of a certain devil, whose kind is the true enemy of the Axis Cult.”
Cecily continued to hug Chomusuke with a serious expression. She came closer to me as I sat on the bed.
“Yes. A devil appeared in the forest near the town, causing some problems for adventurers… Are you saying that the oracle is referring to this incident?”
Cecily maintained her serious look as she snuck into my bed.
… What was she doing while wearing such a serious expression?
“Yes. Axis Cult doctrines include an ironclad rule that ‘devils must be killed’. Lady Aqua wanted money in this town. Plus, Lord Zesta said that something was happening in this town… Yes!”
Cecily snuck beneath my blanket on her own and exposed her face to continue saying.
“The contents of the oracle is to use the money given to me by the cult to employ mercenaries to kill the devil that appeared near this town!”
“I-Is that so…? By the way, can you come out from there? This is my room. My bed is used for sleeping…”
Ignoring me, Cecily happily buried her nose into the bed sheet and sniffed heavily.
“When I arrived in this town, I thought of Megumin-san who I took care of before…”
“Hey. Whatever it is. Get off my bed first.”
When I tried to remove the blanket, Cecily put up an unexpectedly strong resistance.
She would be quite pretty if she would just shut her mouth. Why did Axis Cultists always make people feel regretful!?
“There are very few Axis Cultists in this town. They couldn’t even sustain the normal operations of a church, so it is impossible to find enough people! Thus, I have a request for Megumin-san!”
“I don’t care. I don’t care what you say! I don’t want to get involved with you anymore! And stop sniffing at my pillow!”
After I removed the blanket, Cecily maintained her lying position on my bed. She retrieved a heavy sack from her pocket.
“If you find the legendary Archpriest in this town, you get 5,000,000. If you defeat the devil, it will be 10,000,000.”
“I’ll do it.”
And so, I went to help out the Axis Cult again.
Cecily and I were walking along the street.
“Hey, how is it? Did you find her?”
“Nope. There isn’t any skillful and beautiful Archpriest with watery blue hair! There is only a drunk performer with watery blue hair! Damn. Beautiful Archpriest Lady, where are you…!?”
The adventurers were still running around and searching for that Archpriest.
“They’ve been searching for so long with no results. Can we really find her?”
Cecily listened to my question.
“Where exactly are they looking for her? It may be better to search in a different location. In your opinion, what are the places that an Archpriest would likely appear?”
“Places that an Archpriest would likely appear… Probably praying in a church or pacifying lost souls in the communal cemetery…?”
The person was supposed to be a skillful Archpriest.
She must have a strong faith and a noble personality…
“As a priestess of the Axis Cult, the things that I would do at this time… Firstly, I would rush to the public bathhouse to be the first to take a bath. Then, have a feast of frog meat and ice cold beer. After that, I would scold the drunk man who would be staring lustily at my voluptuous figure. Finally, I would go home in satisfaction after throwing rocks at the Eris Church.”
“What kind of holy person is that?”
Was that Archpriest also an Axis Cultist like her?
No way. According to the onee-san receptionist, she should be a goddess-like beauty with high statistics and great skills.
Then, the chances of her being an Axis Cultist should be astronomically low.
“Yes—… My intuition is very accurate. If we look in the places I mentioned, we can probably find that Archpriest. So how about it? The bathhouse should be quite empty right now.”
“You just want to take a bath, right? Let’s try the church first.”
“Ahhh… Megumin-san. We can search tomorrow. Why don’t we go and take a bath together now!? We can wash each other’s backs!”
“If you don’t want to search, I’ll go back now!”
—We went to the Eris Church first.
That’s what I intended…
But I regretted bringing Cecily along immediately.
“Hey, open up! I know you’re hiding the Archpriest who could defeat the devil here! Open up if you value your door!!”
Cecily was pounding and kicking the main door of the Eris Church.
“There’s no such person here! It is forbidden for anyone associated with the Axis Cult to enter this church! Please leave! Please leave!”
An agonized shout by an Eris Cultist was heard from within the church.
Cecily clicked her tongue when she saw that the cultists have no intention of opening the door.
“It’s your turn, Megumin-san. Please use magic to blow this church away on my behalf.”
“How could I possibly do that!? … It would be fine if you communicated normally at the start. Why are you doing this? Please don’t complicate matters.”
I sighed and walked over to the closed door.
“Uh. I’m an adventurer. Can we talk?”
“Are you looking for the Archpriest? Please leave. There is no beautiful Archpriest here! What is happening lately? Quite a few adventurers in town have come over…!”
… Everyone was thinking the same thing.
“Sorry to bother you. Actually, there a powerful devil has appeared near the town recently. Can you let that Archpriest help drive away the devil…”
There was silence on the other side of the door, as if someone was listening to me.
“The reliable and skillful adventurer was injured. We hope to find that Archpriest to help with healing that adventurer and opposing the devil…”
Right when I said this.
The church door opened.
“… There is no such Archpriest in this church.”
A tired-looking woman in priestly robes said to me through the slightly opened door.
I gave a bow, intending to leave.
“Although she is not in this church… The nearby orphanage frequently organizes events to give away food. I don’t know if she is there or not, but itinerant priests tend to participate in such events.”
The woman said and smiled at me.
“…! Thank you very much for your…”
As I was thanking her, there was a sound of something breaking in the church, followed by an anguished cry.
I turned to see what was happening…
There was a pile of rocks at Cecily’s feet. Facing the broken window, she made a victory pose as if she had accomplished her goal.
—On the way to the orphanage.
“Are you stupid!? Why are all the Axis Cultists so stupid!? What is that ‘Good Ball’? I know your relationship with Eris Cultists isn’t good, but what caused you to do something like that!?”
“Actually, it is a bit strange. Since coming to this town, my mood has been unusually high. It’s like, my form is better than usual. Perhaps it’s a blessing from our great Lady Aqua?”
“If your excited mood is really a kind of blessing, I would punch goddess Aqua when I meet her after I died.”
“Phew… But it was so dangerous. I didn’t expect that demure priestess to freak out and pounce over…”
“Exactly! Even such an amiable person became so angry. What exactly were you trying to do!? I was really shocked when that gentle priestess suddenly changed her mood!”
It was evening now, so dusk was setting into the surrounding.
As dinner time approached, the taverns and food stores along the road became crowded.
As we passed by a certain tavern, there was an exceptionally loud cheer from within.
Hearing the cheer, Cecily staggered over like a moth attracted by the flame…
“Hey, where are you going!? We have no time to play. If we don’t hurry to the orphanage, tonight’s charity event will be over!”
“Even if you say that— That tavern is full of happy cheers…! As an Axis Cultist, my intuition tells me that the Archpriest is inside that tavern…!”
“What would that Archpriest be doing in that place!? That tavern is where performers congregate. Why would a powerful and noble holy person be in that place!?”
“But Lord Zesta, the top holy man in our cult, would go to even more disreputable taverns every three days…”
“Please don’t treat that old man as a holy man. It will make other holy people freak out!”
I dragged the resisting Cecily along and approached the location for the charity event.
—We arrived at the orphanage as the charity event was happening.
“(Gulp)… I see. She’s not here either… (Gulp)! Another bowl please. Fill it to the brim!!”
Cecily was stuffing her face with the food meant for the poor. She was seriously thinking about something as she demanded another portion.
There should be a limit to one’s willfulness.
Were all the Axis Cultists like this?
“Correct. No such person participated in the charity events. But ‘watery blue hair’… There is a girl with watery blue hair who frequently comes to eat our food… Could she be who you are looking for…?”
A powerful and beautiful Archpriest probably wouldn’t be eating food meant for charity.
It seemed it was a wasted trip.
I thanked the person helping out with the charity event. Cecily said as she pressed on her bulging belly.
“Phew… Thanks for the treat. Megumin-san. I always feel sleepy after eating. The Archpriest should be in dreamland now. Let’s go back and sleep, okay?”
—The last place to search was the cemetery.
The surroundings were completely dark. An unspeakable mood permeated the communal cemetery on a hill far away from the town.
By the light of my lantern, Cecily and I stood in the middle of the communal cemetery. The wide cemetery was completely lifeless.
It was unacceptable for me to say it myself, but would there be an Archpriest in this kind of place?
At the moment when I entertained such doubts.
Cecily suddenly shouted, and I followed suit!
I nearly dropped my lantern as I looked around in panic.
“W-What happened!? Did undead appear!?”
I said as I became more alert and covered Cecily who was behind me…!
“(Giggle)! Megumin-san really went ‘Woahhhh’! She even made a ‘Woahhhh’ sound! That’s really so cute! Ouch! Ouch! Sorry, I’m just joking. I won’t do it again. Stop it already! Spare me!!”
I smacked her angrily with my staff. Chomusuke, who stayed close to my feet since we came from the town, suddenly raised its head to stare at a point in mid-air.
It was staring right behind Cecily and I.
I looked at the unmoving Chomusuke as it continued to stare…
“… Onee-san. Uh. Since you are a priestess, I have a request for you.”
“W-What? Let me say it first. I can only use simple healing magic. I didn’t practice much with turn undead, and I can’t remember the incantation well too.”
What should I do? This person was totally unreliable.
… Just then, under the moonlight, another shadow fell at our feet from behind.
The shadow was about the size of a will-o’-the-wisp. It had a dangling motion…
“… Let’s turn around at the count of three?”
“… I agree. If there’s something there, we fight it together, okay?”
“Fine. Then, ready?”
I took a deep breath.
At the same time, there was a sound of something stepping on the ground.
“One, two, three!” X2
As we shouted, Cecily and I both starting running without looking back.
“Wait, Megumin-san. This isn’t what we agreed!”
“That’s my line! You’re the holy person here! You should stay behind to let a girl who is much younger than you escape!”
We argued as we ran next to each other. We ran all the way to the town without looking back!
“I’m your employer!”
“I didn’t receive the money yet. Besides, your request is to find a person, not to protect you!”
“W-Wait a moment…”
There seemed to be a weak and lonely voice speaking to us as we fled.
“—To-Too much… Ha… Ha…! To think that the naïve and cute Megumin from before would twist her personality to this manner?”
“I grew wiser after falling for your traps several times.”
When we arrived at the town gate, we panted and sat on the ground.
“By the way, I think I heard a female voice when we were running away… Could that have been the Archpriest we’re looking for?”
Cecily fanned her face with her hand and replied.
“Nope. I peeked once before we left the cemetery. I saw a beautiful woman with long wavy hair and a face as pale as the undead. Under the moonlight…!”
“I understand. Stop saying it! I get the point, so please don’t continue!”
—The morning after Cecily and I searched the town fruitlessly.
Yunyun had waited in the guild until morning. She sprawled on the table, crying.
“(Sob)… (Sob)… B-but…all the people who saw my performance that day… I was hoping that maybe someone would come and find me. Just wait a bit more. If I wait a bit more…!”
“In that case, you should’ve calculated the time that they would return instead of waiting until morning. How shy can you get!?”
The adventurers who rushed out of the guild back then have not returned to the guild. They dispersed after searching.
Cecily, who was enthusiastic yesterday, stayed in the room out of exhaustion.
When I woke Cecily, who was sleeping in my room, she said she was too worried about my personality change to sleep, so she wanted to take a nap. She went back to sleep.
Even if she said it was my fault, I knew that Cecily had been drinking in the tavern on the first floor of the hotel through the night.
Axis Cultists were really too carefree.
Didn’t they understand the concept of rules and precepts?
Never mind. Since I accepted the request, I couldn’t just stand around doing nothing.
But to deal with that devil, there were no other options except to wait for the magic sword user to recover or find the legendary Archpriest.
… I didn’t know what to do, so I remained here with Yunyun, who was still sprawling on the table.
“Oh. The mage who is all-talk, what are you doing here? Didn’t you join in the search for the Archpriest?”
Rex, who was drinking beer early in the morning, taunted me.
“Oh. Isn’t this the master adventurer who fled with the mage who is all-talk after witnessing the defeat of the magic sword user? What are you doing here? Are you so afraid of the devil that you’re drinking early in the morning to drown your fears?”
“Oh…!? A little brat like you dares to say this!?”
“Hey, who is a little brat? Make it clear. Depending on your answer, we may need to have a word outside!”
“Wait, Megumin. Don’t fight within a minute of meeting each other! Sorry. She has been a bit frustrated since yesterday…!”
Yunyun hurriedly pacified us. Rex frowned.
“Ah, no… I should be the one who is sorry. I’m rather frustrated too. Ah. I couldn’t find any lead to that Archpriest. So I was picking a fight out of frustration. Sorry.”
Even master adventurers like them couldn’t find her.
Or rather, every adventurer in the town couldn’t find her.
Maybe it might be better to assume that the Archpriest had left for other cities.
“Oh, right. I’m not just here to pick a fight. This is the main topic… Actually, we received some good news about that devil. I don’t know about your skills, but I have seen the power of that little girl over there… How about it? Want to join?”
Rex said with a grin.
—On the mountain road far from the town, there was an eyewitness report about a certain monster.
This was probably Rex’s “good news”.
“It’s about time you tell us. What monster is it?”
“Hehe. It’s a difficult monster for rookie adventurers. Go back now if you are scared. It’s not impossible for the three of us to deal with it anyway.”
Yunyun and I followed Rex’s party towards the foot of the mountain.
Terry was holding some ropes, while the horse was pulling a huge cage.
“The clue is a large black monster. You were the ones who reported about the devil, right? I heard that the devil is looking for a large black magical beast, right?”
Hearing Sophie’s explanation, my face turned pale.
Yunyun stopped moving. From her look, it seemed she was also thinking of the same thing.
“Uh— So the monster that we are looking for now is…”
“Oh. It seems you have guessed it. Yes. It’s the Rookie Killer.”
Yunyun and I made a right turn and went back the way we came.
True to its name, it was a monster said to be the bane of rookie adventurers.
“Hey, hey. Aren’t you Crimson Demons the elites among mages!? I did say that you should go back if you are afraid, what are we going to do if you really go back!?”
“It is exactly because we are the elites among mages! A Rookie Killer is cunning and very agile. Its intelligence is very high and it occasionally sets up ambushes. And it has the habit of attacking the weaker targets first. It always goes for the mages first when it’s encountered.”
“It’s agile and can appear before you in a blink of an eye. Even having a rearguard is pointless. And we are low level rookies…”
Thus, it was a troublesome monster for mages.
Yes. As low level mages, we were the ideal prey for the Rookie Killer.
“No problem. We have hunted Rookie Killers several times. We just want you to use some magic after we capture it. We will protect you. Don’t worry.”
Rex said it so casually, but could this muscle-brained guy really defend against the ambush of a Rookie Killer…?
“—In other words, I just need to use sleep magic when it is being captured, right? But what do you intend to do after capturing the Rookie Killer?”
Rex pointed to the metal cage with his thumb and said.
“Of course, we are going to bring it back to the town after trapping it in a cage. That devil is looking for a large black magical beast. At the same time, someone witnessed the appearance of the Rookie Killer here. We can probably conclude that the devil is looking for it? This should be that devil’s pet.”
In other words, the captured Rookie Killer could be used as bait or a bargaining chip.
“After banishing the devil or driving it away from the forest near the town, we can share the reward provided by the guild. How about it? This is not a bad deal, right?”
Rex said with a grin.
A Rookie Killer frequently hides near a community of mob monsters like goblins or kobolds.
Goblins and kobolds were attractive targets for rookie adventurers to gain experience.
So the Rookie Killer uses goblins and kobolds as bait to lure those adventurers out.
In other words, if we wanted to capture a Rookie Killer…!
“Blade of Wind!”
“Well done! That’s the Crimson Demons for you. So powerful! Good. You guys join in!”
Rex swung his two-handed sword and charged into the midst of the goblins.
Sophie followed closely behind with her spear. Only Terry remained to protect us with his battleaxe.
They seemed to deserve their reputation as master adventurers.
In the blink of an eye, Rex and the others finished off more than 10 goblins and switched to a defensive position.
A Rookie Killer would habitually stay near the goblin community to bait adventurers.
After an attack on the goblins, if there was a Rookie Killer nearby…
“Behind you, Terry!”
As Rex shouted, the bushes behind us moved violently and a black shadow pounced over.
The black shadow charged at Yunyun, but was immediately blocked by Terry, who moved in front of her.
“C-Come at me!!”
As Terry confronted the Rookie Killer, Yunyun speedily finished her incantation…!
She pointed her staff at the Rookie Killer. The huge black body lay down on the ground without resistance.
Rex and the others cheered for the easy successful capture.
They surrounded the unmoving Rookie Killer.
“Your name is Yunyun, right? You are really capable! Do you want to join our party?”
“Yes. Such a powerful mage is quite rare. How about it? I’m present, so this isn’t a male-only party. It shouldn’t be that uncomfortable, right?”
“Our party is full of muscular fools who have frontline jobs. It would be great if we can have a mage!”
“Eh!? A-Are you talking about me!?”
After being praised, Yunyun blushed and behaved suspiciously.
She had been waiting for an invitation for so long. Now that she was being officially invited, she panicked.
Yunyun looked to me for help, but this was truly a form of training.
Just leave her be.
“Never mind. We can discuss the party issue later in the town. Firstly, we must bring this thing back.”
“Right. If it is locked in a cage near the town, the devil would take the initiative to negotiate, right? If it is a greater devil, it should have high intelligence and can probably communicate. Megumin spoke to that devil before, right?”
“Yes. How should I say this? Now that I think about it, that devil seemed rather friendly, but…”
We had successfully captured the Rookie Killer.
Now, we just had to return to the town and wait for the devil to come.
“What? Is something wrong? … By the way, I haven’t seen you use any sort of magic during our last expedition and this mission. Can’t you contribute anything?”
Rex grinned and mocked me.
Hearing this, I was so enraged that the arteries on my head were about to burst. Being impulsive and easily provoked was a bad trait of mine.
And I was still a bit concerned.
The opponent is a greater devil. Even if we had the pet that it was searching for, would things really develop so smoothly?
… Or rather, I felt that something was wrong.
The black magical beast might not be referring to the Rookie Killer…
“Never mind. Whatever it is, let’s go back to the town to celebrate our success…”
As Rex ignored my discomfort and continued speaking…
“I found it——!!!”
A voice loud enough to drown out Rex’s words surrounded us.
For the moment, I couldn’t comprehend what that loud voice was.
As everyone stood still, it suddenly appeared.
“You people! What did you do to Lady Wolbach!?”
It was a huge pitch-black and glossy body.
It should have two bat wings, but there was only one left now.
With an air of misfortune, its horns and teeth left a deep impression.
There was no mistake. It was that greater devil from before.
That devil from the forest charged at us in rage!
“Hey! Hey, wait. The Rookie Killer is still in our hands… Ugh!?”
The three people surrounding the Rookie Killer were knocked off their feet by the devil that suddenly emerged from the forest at the foot of the mountain. They didn’t even have the time to draw their weapons.
Or rather, as someone who wasn’t proficient in melee combat, I couldn’t even tell what happened to them.
The three of them were scattered into the distance and collapsed on the ground motionlessly.
The devil kneeled beside the Rookie Killer—
“Lady Wolbach! Please wake up, Lady Wolbach!!”
It kept calling this familiar name.
“Say, Megumin. This is a crisis, right? What should we do? Will he just let us go…?”
As I was about to recall that name, a trembling Yunyun pulled on my sleeve.
“Shh. Let’s watch what happens next. Maintain a defensive position and slowly move away.”
Step by step, we increased the distance between us and the devil who was still trying to wake the Rookie Killer.
At this moment, the devil suddenly had a bewildered expression on its face.
Since its form looked so fierce, that behavior seemed extremely strange.
“Hey… Hey, hey, hey. This is just a normal Rookie Killer. What’s going on?”
The devil mumbled to itself and stood up. Its glass-like, lifeless eyes turned on us.
As our eyes met, I felt fear like never before.
This fellow was bad news, really bad news.
I knew that with just a glance.
It was even more powerful than the greater devil Arnes that I fought previously.
Suddenly, I remembered.
“Hey, both of you. What’s the deal with this guy? I caught the scent of Lady Wolbach and rushed over… Damn. From a distance, I thought it was Lady Wolbach.”
The name Wolbach was mentioned by Arnes several times…
“Anyway, why is Lady Wolbach’s scent on you? What is your relationship with Lady Wolbach?”
As we slowly retreated, the devil before us crossed its arms and began to ponder.
… There was no mistake.
This devil was after my familiar, Chomusuke.
I wanted to say that was my familiar, but now wasn’t the time to be happy.
We must find a way out of this situation somehow…!
Just when I held onto my staff and slowly started my incantation…
The devil closed the distance between us with a speed that should be impossible for its size.
“… Hm. The scent is extremely strong on you. And it’s fresh. It should be from about this morning.”
The devil sniffed at my clothes.
Its scary face came close to me, making me want to flee in fear.
As the devil sniffed all over my body, I remembered Chomusuke was climbing all over me this morning.
When I return, I should bundle that fur ball up.
“Hey, say something. By the way, I think we’ve met before. You are the Crimson Demons I encountered in the forest, right?”
Hearing the devil’s question, Yunyun and I did not answer, but merely nodded.
The devil saw our reactions and nodded in satisfaction.
“Is that so… The seal was previously in the Crimson Demon Village and you are both Crimson Demons. Yes. This is possible. This is definitely possible!”
I didn’t know what was possible, but if that fearsome face came close again, I’ll cry, so please stop.
Or rather, Yunyun was already on the verge of tears beside me.
“Hey, you! Since you are a Crimson Demon, you should know about Lady Wolbach, right? Don’t tell me otherwise. You should have met her this morning.”
Feeling the killing intent of the devil, I sensed that our lives were in danger.
“Wh-Why do you all keep calling my Chomusuke a weird name like Wolbach? You must have made a mistake. Let me find a cute black kitten for you. Please don’t bother my Chomusuke anymore!”
“Ch-Chomusuke? What the heck is Chomusuke… No, wait. I’ve heard this name somewhere before. Where was it? … Oh, right. It was that brat…!”
Who was that brat?
As Yunyun and I were paralyzed by fear, the devil seemed to have resolved its confusion. It shook its head several times and sighed.
“If possible, I don’t want to antagonize Crimson Demons… Otherwise, that brat might pounce over to bite me… Now, listen up. Bring Lady Wolbach here. If you don’t know who Lady Wolbach is, bring everyone you were in contact with this morning. How about it? I will make a deal with you. Bring Lady Wolbach to me and I will not harm any of you. Of course, it includes everyone in that town too.”
“Y-You want us to trust the words of a devil!?”
Yunyun, who was scared out of her wits, tightly gripped her staff after knowing that the enemy’s target was Chomusuke.
“Hold on, we devils do not break our contracts. This is an unbreakable rule for us devils. And I intend to communicate with you people in a very friendly manner… Although I did make that strange magic sword guy suffer, but that was inevitable. That guy was on our hit list after all.”
I reached out to stop Yunyun, who was about to start her incantation.
“Hit list? You mean the famous magic sword user in the town is wanted by name among devils?”
The devil answered my query.
“Yes. I haven’t introduce myself. My name is Hoost. I’m the aide of Lady Wolbach, the greater devil Hoost. A magic sword user who could destroy gods would be considered a dangerous target anywhere, right?”
Yunyun pulled the reins of the horse.
“Hey, are you going to deal with that devil?”
“… I haven’t decided. But if giving that furball away could solve the problem, it might not be such a bad option.”
After all, the opponent wasn’t an ordinary greater devil, but an aide to the evil god.
If we made matters worse, we would surely end up like that defeated magic sword user.
Yunyun fell silent after hearing what I said.
Rex and the others were still sleeping in the cage that was being pulled along by the horse.
The two of us couldn’t move them to the town by ourselves, so we could only put them in the cage.
The three of them were still unconscious.
Master adventurers were instantly defeated without being able to counter-attack.
The deal was to give it Chomusuke and it wouldn’t harm us and the town.
In other words, if we didn’t accept the deal, even the innocent people in the town would be harmed.
This time, we couldn’t expect someone to help out at the right time, like what happened in the Crimson Demon Village or Alcanretia.
Even Rex’s party was defeated, the people in Axel who could oppose that devil were—
The horse pulled the cage along as its wheels made a rumbling sound.
As we were about to reach the town gate…
Yunyun said with an unrepentant look.
“Hey, Megumin. Let’s ignore what that devil said. It’s a devil, so it might not keep to the agreement. Besides, even if they are rookies, there are still a lot of reliable adventurers in town, so…”
Yunyun made a rare opinion this time. She was a kind and righteous person who would help others even if it caused harm to herself.
She must have accumulated quite a bit of experience and grown.
Let’s leave aside whether it was in a good way or not.
She was a bit wiser now about the ways of the world, but I was still worried that she would befriend delinquents in the future…
I didn’t reply. After passing through the main gate, I glanced to the side of the road.
The two people that I often run into were happily swinging their picks today.
If I ran away, this unreliable duo at the town gate, who were living happily and peacefully every day, would surely be dragged into the mess.
—My hand that was holding the staff unconsciously strengthened its grip.
INTERLUDE: SCENE 3
—A Lonely Girl Who Was Awakened—
Previously, an unusual event finally happened— even an Axis Cultist rejected me when I offered to join their cult.
If it was the old me, I would’ve been depressed when something like that happened. Now, I merely stayed at my reserved spot in the corner of the Adventurer’s Guild…
“In other words, do not try to solve a problem in a single move. It is better to investigate the causes of the problem and remove the obstacles one by one, right?”
“That’s right, my disciple. If you desire speed too much, you won’t reach your destination. Work at it steadily and things will be unexpectedly easy to resolve.”
And received a lecture from someone I now regarded as a mentor.
“But, mentor. I don’t even know what the reasons are…”
My mentor gave me a calming smile as I remained moody.
“Leave it to me. Let’s think about it together. No problem, it’ll be successful… I’m thirsty after talking so much. Can I have some beer?”
“Yes, go ahead!”
My mentor ordered a mug of beer and happily finished it in one gulp.
“…Ha— Where were we? Ah, right. You couldn’t find any companions.”
“Yes. I can’t take the initiative to talk to strangers… How can I be like you? To be able to talk casually with anyone!?”
My mentor was rather famous in the guild, or at least a lot of people would recognize him.
“Well, you can do it while drunk. Alcohol is a good thing. Alcohol can bring delights to life, my disciple. Can I have another mug?”
“As you wish! But, mentor, I think I’m still too young to drink beer… Is there any other way?”
My mentor ordered his Nth mug of beer for today. He took a sip and breathed out.
“Other way, huh? Okay, wait a bit. I think I will have a good idea after finishing this mug.”
“Mentor, have another mug!”
—An hour later.
“—I can’t drink anymore…”
“Mentor, can you tell me now? How can I make friends and companions!?”
I shook my drunk mentor. He said while still sprawled on the table.
“Even if you ask me that… Right! Little girl, you look well developed. If you wear clothes that exposed more cleavage, using sexiness…”
My mentor raised his head and grinned, then his entire body suddenly shivered.
“No, no, no. It’s a joke. I’m just joking! I saw that you are earnestly listening to me, so I wanted to test if you will really accept my opinion…! Of course, it’s also a little joke that I will teach you if you buy me a drink! I will pay for my drinks. I will even pay for yours!”
“That doesn’t matter!”
“Eh! S-Sorry! Don’t be so angry. Your eyes are turning red! I was overdoing it. I’m really sorry!”
As I slammed on the table, my mentor said fearfully.
But this wasn’t what I wanted to ask!
“That doesn’t matter! Mentor, please tell me how I can make friends and companions! Please, I’m very frustrated. I implore you!!”
“E-E-Even if you implore me like this!”
As I was getting emotional, my eyes had already turned crimson, but I couldn’t care about that now.
It was so hard to find a consultant, so I wouldn’t let him escape!
“Uh… On the notice board…”
My mentor whispered in significant shock.
“Make a post on the notice board to say, say that you are looking for friends and you will pay for your friends’ expenses… or such… I-I’m joking. I will think seriously. I’m very sorry!”
Before my mentor could finish, I pulled on his sleeve causing his voice to reach a higher pitch. He was on the verge of tears.
“Thank you very much for your guidance. This is not a bad idea! I will try it out!!”
After coming up with such a good idea, my mentor cried out in surprise for some reason.