Gifting this upstart adventurer with peace!
Editing: Adam, Cannongerbil, Xenthur
– We received a summons from the adventurer’s guild sometime after returning to Axel.
“Well then, adventurer Satou Kazuma-san. The reason for calling you here today…”
At the adventurer’s guild counter, the staff onee-san smiled cheerfully at me with a heavy bag in her hands.
“The payout was delayed because of the amount we needed to prepare… This is the bounty for the Demon King’s general Sylvia: three hundred million eris! This is the fourth Demon King’s general subjugated by you! Kazuma-san, you’re the ace adventurer of Axel’s adventurer’s guild! … Please accept this!”
The adventurers watching us burst out into cheers.
I smiled calmly at the crowd as I reached for the heavy bag.
“Hey, take it easy everyone. This isn’t the first time I’ve taken out a huge bounty target, right? Really, just a mere three hundred million eris is… Hmm? Onee-san, you can let go now. I’m holding the bag really tightly, so it won’t drop. Really, hey…! Hey, let go! Let it go!!”
I struggled with the staff who was unwilling to give me the bag.
“But Kazuma’s team has already defeated four Demon King’s generals. I was worried that they might get wiped out some day, but they’ve really made it big now.”
“That’s right. They were a team that couldn’t even take down frogs not too long ago, but that Kazuma-kun’s now one of the few wealthy and successful guys in town. Truth is stranger than fiction, huh?”
Voices came from all corners of the guild.
“No, I’ve always felt that Kazuma was a guy who’d make it big when the time was right.”
“Weren’t you going on about a bet about when Kazuma’s team would get wiped out? … But they’re just amazing. Kazuma has the weakest job of Adventurer. He doesn’t have outstanding equipment, but he still managed to fight on par with the Generals of the Demon King’s army; that’s the incredible part.”
After finally wrestling the bounty over and hugging it carefully in my arms, I turned my face toward those guys who were still yapping.
“Really. Hey, you won’t get anything from praising me like that, you know? … At most, I’ll just treat you to the best wine in the house!!”
When they heard my cocky words, everyone in the guild cheered.
“Ohhh, Kazuma’s so handsome!!”
“Hyaa–! Kazuma’s the boss! Marry me and feed me for life!!”
“The number one upstart adventurer in Axel!”
“As expected of Kazuma whose only strong point is great luck!”
“Hahaha, even if you flatter me… Hey, who’s the one that said I only have luck!? I’ve got many other strong points besides luck!”
It has almost been a year since I came to this place, and now I’m finally experiencing such a moment.
That’s right, this is the coming of my era.
“– Really! How could you do this, Kazuma? We were so worried about you after you didn’t come back after so long, and here you are having a party here without us? And I even came here to check on you!”
In the guild that was rowdier than usual, Aqua, who was seated opposite of me, complained.
“I’m partly at fault for not returning, but you’re the one who asked me to come alone, saying that nothing good could come from the guild summoning our entire team. Oh, here it is, the ice cold beer I ordered. For you.”
I placed the beer I ordered for myself before the pouting Aqua.
“Really, if you think my mood will turn better just by giving me some beer, you’re dead wrong. Megumin was pacing around the house and mumbling, ‘He’s still not back yet…’ every five minutes. Darkness was muttering, ‘Is it because of that? Did princess noticed the real identity of the chivalrous thief after all? Ah, what should I do to…?’ and something like that with her head in her arms! … Hah–! Hey, give me another beer!”
Rapping the table in frustration, Aqua downed the cold beer in one go and asked for a refill.
Megumin, who was taking small sips beside me, said:
“I’m relieved that we were called for good news for once. Aqua wanted to bet on whether it was good news or bad news. She even said, ‘I bet three thousand eris that Kazuma committed a serious crime and has been arrested.’.”
“She also said that we should pack our bags and be prepared to run if you really got into deep trouble. The bags by Aqua’s feet are the evidence.”
After hearing that from Darkness, I checked for the bags by her feet and picked on Aqua:
“Are you kidding me? What the hell are you so worried about!? What’s with that bag? Hey, give me that refill!”
“Don’t wanna, order another if you want one! And it’s true that I was worried about you! You see, wouldn’t it be terrible if you weren’t with us? For example, …! Like…. Like…? Hey Darkness, how would we be troubled if this guy wasn’t with us?”
“Stop your nonsense! How many times do you think I’ve cleaned up after all of you? I’ll give you a good whooping, get over here!”
“Ah, where are you pulling? The divine relic’s getting stretched out, stop! Stop!!”
Aqua slapped at my hand that was grabbing her hagoromo.
“Really. Why’s Princess Iris so concerned about this noisy and uncouth man…? Hmm, personally, I think it’s because he’s a rare sight and she did so on a whim…”
Beside Aqua, Darkness was enjoying the fragrance of the wine in her wine glass as she murmured to herself.
A lot of things happened in the capital.
Like routing the attacking Demon King’s army alongside other adventurers.
Protecting the property of a noble from a thief that disrupted the peace of the capital.
Resolving a national crisis in the dark without letting anyone know about it.
And more importantly, Iris became my cute sister…
“I wonder how Iris’s doing. I’m worried about her getting lonely and crying at night… Right, I should ask Vanir to make a doll that looks just like me. That guy did say the Vanir doll that laughs in the middle of the night’s a top seller. Let’s get him to make a Kazuma doll that’ll laugh in the middle of the night for Iris. That way, she won’t feel lonely at night anymore.”
“Hey Kazuma, don’t ever send such a creepy thing over! I can post letters for you, but not that! They’ll think you’re a terrorist!”
Another week has passed after receiving the bounty from the guild.
After going on plenty of trips recently, we finally enjoyed some peace back in Axel.
“– Hey, who’s the one that made this dish? Tell the head chef that adventurer Satou Kazuma, the talk of the town and the one who subjugated many bounty targets, is asking for him!”
“Tell him that the Archpriest Aqua’s here too!”
After striking it rich overnight, Aqua and I had been visiting the various restaurants in Axel in search of delicious food.
The one who was probably the main chef came to the corner of the shop that we were hogging.
“M-May I ask if you have any feedback? Does something displease you?”
The chef who was summoned out of the blue observed our expression timidly.
“No, I just wish to thank you and offer my compliments for the delicious meal. After enjoying the dishes in the capital, not many chefs can impress my godly tongue.”
“T-Thank you for your compliment.”
As the troubled head chef lowered his head in thanks, Aqua wiped the corner of her mouth with a napkin and added:
“You used grape wine in this stew, right? The bitterness is that of a red wine. The brand’s… That’s right, a thirty-year-old Romanee-Continue… Am I wrong?”
“It’s vinegar on sale that was just purchased.”
“… Is that so? To bring out such a taste with cheap vinegar, that’s amazing.”
“I’m truly thankful for your compliment.”
Once he learned that we wouldn’t pose a danger to him, the head chef regained his composure and bowed to Aqua.
In response to the polite head chef, I showed him the half eaten meat on my fork.
“The stew’s delicious, but my favorite would be this. This meat’s really soft. That’s right, if I had to use an analogy… This is like sneaking into the room of the girl you like, but when you open her cabinet with a pounding heart, it turns out to be a treasure chest mimic. That intense, unexpected impact… So, do you get what I mean?”
“Is that so? Anyway, it’s superbly delicious. I, adventurer Satou Kazuma, give this restaurant three stars.”
“I’ll give this restaurant three stars too.”
“Thank you. I’ll work hard to achieve four stars next time.”
I handed several eris notes to the chef who was smiling cheerfully.
“Ha, you have a way with words! The meal’s splendid; I’ll come again… As thanks for the delicious dishes, please keep the change. Thank you for the meal.”
“Thank you for the meal!”
“Although you paid the exact amount, I’ll look forward to your next visit. Thank you for your patronage.”
The chef was courteous to the very end and watched Aqua and me politely until we exited the restaurant.
– After getting the bounty from defeating Sylvia, we lived a lavish life.
The four of us divided the three hundred million eris from subjugating Sylvia equally. And for me, I’ll be getting a large sum of money from the business deal with Vanir on top of that.
With that much money, I could live the rest of my life without working even if I splurge a little.
I’ve made it to the winner group in life.
After all the hardships I’ve endured, I finally made it into the ranks of winners among the adventurers.
Aqua and I patted our full stomachs as we returned to the mansion that befits our status as first class adventurers.
While discussing which restaurant to visit for dinner, we opened the door…
“Really, what a perverted Crusader! Here, you want this, right? Don’t endure it anymore, just give up…! … Ah.”
“I won’t submit for something like that! My honor as a Crusader is on the line, so I can take it even if it’s for an hour or two… Ah.”
Darkness was rolled up with thick blankets and rolled to the entrance.
Megumin was squatting before Darkness and waving an ice cube in front of her.
Both of their cheeks were flushed, and Darkness was even panting.
After meeting their eyes, I gently closed the door.
Megumin then opened the door with a bang and dashed out.
“Don’t close the door! It’s not what you think!”
“No, no, it’s fine, I get it. Aqua and I’ll come back after dinner, so please carry on. If you want, we can spend the night outside.”
“The Axis Cult accepts love between members of the same sex. Do you need a blessing spell?”
“You completely misunderstand! This is, that, Darkness, she…”
Megumin grabbed Aqua and my hand, working hard to stop us from leaving.
“Ugh, to think there’d be an additional shame play…! Even if Kazuma and Aqua see my shameful appearance, I still won’t give in!”
“You’re making things more complicated, so shut up!”
After Darkness, who was squirming around in the blankets, became quiet, I noticed that hot air was coming out from the opened door.
It was almost summer, but these two had lit the fireplace.
“This isn’t any special play; Darkness is just asking me to help her train for the endurance competition. She’s apparently the winner in the annual Summer Endurance Competition in this town.”
Megumin, her face all red, pressed the ice cube onto the forehead of Darkness, whose face was equally flushed.
“I feel both down and relief at the same time… But if you want to train, do it in Darkness’s house. You’re making the living room all hot and stuffy.”
Darkness exhaled blissfully when Megumin pressed the ice onto her head and said:
“Actually, my father’s not feeling well recently. If he sees me doing this, he’ll be worried about what his daughter who has yet to marry is doing. I have to be considerate about his feelings…”
“Is your father unwell because you turned on the heater at home?”
Her strange mood probably subsided because of the ice applied onto her–
“Phew… Kazuma and the others are back, so let’s call it a day. Thanks to Megumin, I discovered that raising my adventurer level will also improve my resistance to heat. I’ll definitely win again this year. Hey Kazuma, help me untie this.”
She said as she wriggled in the blankets.
“You know, you look really similar to how I was when I was hit by a bind magic in Alderp’s villa right now.”
“…? Is that so? Maybe that really is. Er, let’s talk about this later. Untie me first. The blanket’s soaked in my sweat; I want to take a bath now.”
After hearing what I said, Aqua and Megumin bent down toward Darkness who was squirming around.
The two of them realized my intentions and were smiling deviously.
Darkness looked up at us a little uneasily.
I repeatedly opened and closed my fingers and said:
“We’ve been together for quite a long time, so you should understand my character by now. That’s right, I’m a man who’ll pay whatever is done to me back ten times… Hey, Darkness-san who toyed with me for a long time when I was immobile in the capital? You look really interesting today!!”
“Ugh! Just kill me!”
Struggling with a blushed face, Darkness said something Crusader-like for the first time.
“– Sigh. My steaming, immobile body’s going to be toyed with by Kazuma…”
“Hey, watch your words. It sounds really lewd when you put it that way.”
After everyone gave Darkness a good tickling.
Darkness might’ve complained, but her body was glowing with satisfaction.
“I plan to train tomorrow too. So Kazuma, do you want to play the role of the one flaunting the ice before me while I endure the heat?”
“Don’t wanna… I already said no, don’t look at me with such expectant eyes.”
After I chased Darkness who was wearing an expression of pity to the showers, I looked at Aqua sitting barefoot on the couch, her legs crossed.
“Really, where did the awe inspiring Darkness in the capital go? Last night, I went to the public cemetery to purify lost souls, all right? Everyone should learn from me who contributes to society every day.”
She said that, but she forgot about her promise with Wiz to periodically purify the cemetery, and only rushed over when she heard about the recent increase in the amount of mischief caused by the spirits.
… No, let’s leave that aside for now.
Rather, I’ve been concerned about something else since earlier.
“… What’s that thing you’re cradling near your stomach?”
A piece of towel was laid out on Aqua’s lap, and a small egg was placed on top.
When we went out just now, she was fidgeting with something inside her pocket too.
“Ara ara, you noticed so soon, Kazuma? All right, let me tell you. Don’t be surprised, okay? This is a dragon egg.”
Megumin and I blurted out in surprise as Aqua said with an arrogant face.
“When I was house sitting some time ago, a merchant who heard about our exploits visited. He said, ‘it’s an honor to meet you! I’ve been searching for powerful adventurers who can fight on par with the Demon King’s army! Allow me to present you with my precious collection, just for your team that fights tirelessly without regard for your own safety against the Demon King’s army!’ He also mentioned that we’ll need a familiar like a dragon to prepare for our fight against the Demon King’s army. I think that’s a good point.”
Heard about our exploits?
Hmm… This feels suspicious.
Did he hear that we earned a huge sum of money?
Aqua didn’t notice the awkward look on my face and started talking about that dubious dragon egg.
“Listen well, all right? I’ll tell you since you’re an idiot without common sense: a dragon egg is difficult to obtain. Even when it appears on the market, some nobles or rich people will buy it immediately. Since someone’s willing to sell it to us, we have to buy, buy, buy, right? This is a dragon; you know? Aren’t you excited?”
… To be honest, I’d say I’m not excited, but the more I hear about it, the more suspicious I get.
“… How much did you pay for that egg?”
Aqua said happily when she heard my question:
“Oh, he actually told me that it’d be fine to exchange all the money I had for it! Dragon eggs wouldn’t go for less than a hundred million, so I asked him why it’s so cheap. He said that he doesn’t want the dragon to be a symbol of wealth, but to contribute to the fight against the Demon King!”
I felt an oncoming headache as I stood before Aqua, who was carefully cradling the egg with both hands.
“… And so, you bought it?”
“I bought it. I’ve already decided on the name. He’s Kingsford Zeltman. Since I’ll be raising it, it’ll be the emperor and a king among dragons. You can address this child as Emperor Zell.”
Aqua said as she covered the egg in her palms, showering it in gentle light.
I wasn’t sure if she was maintaining the temperature with magic or using her goddess powers to promote its growth.
But no matter how I look at it, this was a chicken egg.
“In conclusion, I won’t take part in any quests before the egg hatches. Hey Kazuma, I can’t take my hands away now, so bring my dinner over and feed me.”
All right, let’s have fried eggs for dinner.
“– I’ll be back in a jiffy… Sorry for making you do this, Megumin.”
“It’s fine. Aqua refuses to go out if I don’t do this. And it’s true that only Aqua can fight on par with that devil.”
The next day.
With Aqua and Darkness in tow, I headed for Wiz’s shop.
Megumin will watch the house.
Despite the hot weather, she lit the fireplace and sat before it to incubate the egg that was bought by Aqua.
Aside from the temperature, the egg also needed to be periodically rotated, so it was troublesome in all sorts of ways.
This was the compromise made for Aqua who didn’t want to go because she wanted to incubate the egg.
Together with Aqua and Darkness, I came to a humble shop far from the main streets of the town.
“Open the door! Open the door!! I say open up, it’s already morning! Your biggest clients are here! Quick, open up, open up!”
Aqua had gotten used to visiting Wiz’s shop and was banging on the door early in the morning.
As Aqua was yelling, heavy footsteps came from inside and the door was thrown open.
“Don’t make so much noise early in the morning! Think about the neighbors thee public nuisance woman! There’s still some time before the shop opens, so come back after thou wash thy face!”
The one who charged out was a clerk in a weird mask.
The arch-devil Vanir roared when he saw us.
“We’re not here as customers today, but have some other business! You’ll be busy when the shop opens, right? You should be grateful to us for coming early for your sake. Hurry up and thank me.”
Aqua sneered, facing Vanir head on.
The shop was more prosperous than ever thanks to the new products I developed.
Since the deal I made was from selling my intellectual property rights, no matter how well the merchandize was selling, I won’t make a single cent more.
That might be so, but as the inventor, I’ll feel happy seeing the merchandise sell well.
“Hearing that thou who can’t read the mood is being considerate for moi is nerve wrecking. It makes one wonder what thou is scheming… Never mind, moi knows why thou art here. It’s for the payout of that upstart brat over there. Come in and wait, moi will bring it here shortly.”
Aqua continued to pester Vanir who entered the shop.
“Say your thanks to me! Say, ‘I’m very grateful that you made time for a useless devil like me’!!”
“Moi already said thou art noisy! The shop owner who stayed up working for consecutive nights is sleeping, so be quiet! If thee tarnish the reputation of moi shop by being rowdy, moi will curse thee with aloe growing from thy butt!!”
“Just try it if you can! You think a curse from a small fry devil like you will work on me? Are you dumb? You said the mask’s your true body, so then where’s your brain?”
“Hahaha! Hahaha!! As expected, moi has to settle things with thee. All right, let’s take it outside!”
“Don’t bicker every time you meet! And what’s this about Wiz working consecutive nights? Is business that good?”
I separated the two who were pulling at each other and asked Vanir.
“Yes, this is what it means by laughing all the way to the bank. Since production’s equal to sales, moi made the shop owner work in the counter during the day and manufacture the goods at night for about two weeks without eating or sleeping. Recently, she started crying and laughing for no reason and was emotionally unstable. Since she couldn’t attend to customers, moi allowed her to rest.”
In response to the dumbstruck me, Vanir came back with a bag full of money in one hand.
“Moi had an epiphany. A way to deal with the shop owner who’ll mess up and run into debt if moi leaves her alone. After observing her recently, moi realized that woman will do something unnecessary if she’s idle. And so, moi tried making her work 24 hours without even time to eat, and it was very effective.”
Vanir told me something chilling as he handed the bag to me.
Even an undead lich deserves a break.
I don’t know who’s the owner and who’s the employee anymore.
“Speaking of which…”
At this moment, Vanir turned and faced Darkness.
“Hey, the one who’s been free all this while. The lust is accumulating in thy mature body over time. Even though thou art a virgin, every night–”
“What are you saying?!!”
Darkness charged at him with a roar.
Vanir dodged nimbly.
“… Yes, the top notch negative emotion of shame are delicious indeed… Armor girl, thou have the ‘sign of destruction’ upon thee. Probably due to the brilliance from the annoying glowing woman beside, moi couldn’t see thy future clearly. In order to repay thy help in formalizing this huge deal, moi will tell thy fortune.”
He had a sinister smile that befitted a devil when he said that.
“Hey, is that ‘glowing woman’ referring to me?”
Aqua kept tugging on Vanir’s shirt.
“… Sign of destruction?”
Darkness asked with a nervous expression, and I…
“Nevermind that, tell me what you were about to say regarding what Darkness is doing every night!”
Her ears red to the roots, Darkness pounced on me with tears in her eyes.
I think my front teeth are loose.
“Well then, let moi take a look. Little girl who has a strange sense of obligation from being a noble, but doesn’t have the capability and only wastes her time. Here, this way.”
Darkness reluctantly sat opposite of Vanir.
Nursing my face after being punched by Darkness, I watched them.
Aqua refused to heal me, saying that I deserved it, so I had to use freeze to ease the swelling.
I’ll ask Vanir for the details later.
“Hey Darkness, don’t trust in the divination of a devil. Instead of that suspicious thing, the advice from the elegant me will definitely be more beneficial.”
“Hmm. Moi divination isn’t something vague that can be explained in all sorts of ways like the will of the gods. As the devil who can see through everything, moi divination won’t lose to a professional diviner… All right, moi will ask thee some questions for now. There might be some questions that will be difficult to answer, but please answer truthfully.”
“I-I understand… But why’s an Eris devotee and Crusader like me getting my fortune told by a devil…?”
“It’s free, so there’s no harm listening. You just need to answer a few questions, right?”
When she heard what I said, Darkness muttered that what I said was true and faced Vanir.
“Hmm, so thou art ready? First, place one hand on this crystal ball… After that, thou just need to wait for a little while. So, please answer moi following questions honestly.”
“Ugh… I-I got it…”
Darkness placed her hand on the crystal ball as instructed by Vanir.
“Well then. Pray tell, why did thou, a Crusader who values defensive power and requires weight to stand firm and resist attack, start reducing the weight of thy armor?”
When she heard what Vanir said, Darkness quivered violently.
“… T-That’s… B-Because I’m not agile, so I was thinking about reducing the weight of the armor so my attacks can land easier… I-I… Think…”
In response to the stuttering Darkness.
“Moi already told thee to answer honestly.”
Vanir said quietly.
“… I’m bothered by my abs becoming more and more defined, so I… reduced the armour’s weight…”
Darkness embarrassedly lowered her head and said in extremely soft voice.
… They became defined, huh?
…… She seemed really bothered by that.
Vanir nodded, satisfied after hearing her answer.
“True, true… Pray tell. Why did thou pose in the mirror with thy mage companion’s one-piece dress from the laundry basket and mutter a little happily, ‘Ah, this won’t do, it doesn’t suit me.’? Also, pray tell why thou were smiling so brilliantly with thy head tilted unlike thy usual solemn face, despite saying that that dress didn’t suit thou? And pray tell, why did thou check the surrounding with a blushed face and place the dress back in the laundry basket.”
The devil-sama who could see through everything was absolutely the strongest.
Just how much do you know, Vanir-sama?
“… B-Because, because cute dresses don’t suit me, so it’s embarrassing to buy them or ask someone to buy them for me. That’s why I’ve never touched them before… I saw it by chance and tried it on a whim… I-I’m sorry that an un-cute muscle woman like me posed with it… Sorry…”
Darkness covered her flushed face with both hands and apologized in a trembling voice.
I didn’t think she needed to apologize so seriously just for posing with Megumin’s clothes, but Darkness was really embarrassed; her mental resistance was almost zero.
“I think Darkness would look good in a cute one-piece dress! After all, you’re always wearing the cool type or mature type of dresses! You also wore an aristocratic lady style of dress before, so trying a cute one-piece is nothing much! There’s nothing wrong with Darkness trying out a cute dress in secret!”
Aqua, not meaning any harm, clenched her fists as she encouraged Darkness.
It was another blow for Darkness, who laid onto the table with her face in her arms, her ears completely red.
Vanir looked at Darkness and nodded with a pleased look.
“All right, the last question. Thou knew that the man who lives under the same roof as thee would look at thee with lewd eyes, but pray tell why thee wandered around the mansion in an attire that accentuates the curves of thy body–”
“What! What does this have to do with the divination?”
Darkness stood up with a face that was on the verge of tears.
Vanir was puzzled and tilted his head.
“Moi didn’t say the divination couldn’t be done without asking questions. Moi merely asked thee out of curiosity. The divination only requires thee to place thy hand on the crystal ball. Moi was just killing time with moi questions while waiting for the divination results… Hey, hey stop! Why art thou touching moi mask as thee please? Don’t attempt to unmask moi in tears!”
– She was probably unhappy about being played with; even though Darkness had her hand on the crystal ball, she refused to look at Vanir. Vanir stared at the crystal ball and told her:
“… Hoho, I see. Yes, the sign of destruction. Thy family and father will meet with misfortune in the future. And then, thou who is stupid will think everything can be solved by sacrificing thyself, and take reckless actions. No one will be happy about that. Thy father will live in frustration and regret for the rest of his life. A good way to avoid it would be to…”
After hearing Vanir’s words, Darkness had a very serious expression.
“… Ho, in conclusion, thou can’t do anything with thy strength. It’d be best to abandon everything and go. In a faraway place thou can start over with that man who’s thinking, ‘If I’m a bit more forceful, I should be able to do it with Darkness, right?’, but is too scared of crossing the line and compromising the current relationship.”
“Hey, hold it right there. Really now. Every time you open your mouth, my teammates’ trust toward me turns negative.”
Darkness stood up silently.
I shivered, but she didn’t seem to be angry.
That was expected; I just thought forcing myself on her might work, but hadn’t done anything yet.
“… Vanir, thank you for your divination. No matter what happens, I won’t run away… Well, I’ll believe half of what you said. Kazuma, you won’t be going out for quests any time soon after getting so much money, right? I’m not bothered by the divination, but I’m planning to return home to visit my father after being away for so long.”
Darkness said as she exited the shop.
“Hey useless devil, can’t you be more specific? And you were just saying that the signs from the gods are too vague. Tell my fortune too. Try divining what sort of dragon Emperor Zell will be. Would he have the power to rule over the dragons? Ah, also– I ran out of money after buying Emperor Zell, so teach me a way to easily earn money. You can see through everything, right?”
After Darkness left the shop, Aqua said that.
Vanir’s mouth twisted with unfiltered disgust.
“This is moi first time seeing such an uncouth goddess. If moi had an easy way to make money, moi would’ve told the debt ridden shop owner and saved up the funds to build moi dungeon. Moi ability is to see what someone has done and what’ll happen to that person in the future. Nothing good will come of using this skill on thy greed… Thee don’t even understand this. Art thee really a goddess?”
Aqua sneered at Vanir.
“In the end, you’re just a self aggrandizing devil. Hah– How useless. Let’s go back, Kazuma. I’ll continue incubating Emperor Zell. After that child hatches, I’ll turn this devil into that child’s food.”
“… Oh, moi sensed a revelation. Thou can rename Emperor Zell to Teriyaki. It’ll be loved by everyone during dinner tonight.”
Vanir and Aqua stood up with cold smiles on their face.
“Ara ara, what’s with that name? The one hatching from the egg’s a dragon, all right? I spent loads of money to buy it. Why should I give it a name that sounds so delicious?”
“I bet moi name, the devil Vanir who can see through everything, that the thing that’ll hatch from the egg favored by the cockeyed goddess will be delicious chicken meat…”
I decided to ignore the two of them who were staring at each other and stood up, holding the money carefully in my hand.
In order to not lose it to thieves or carelessness, I decided to bank it.
I was in a great mood after getting a huge sum of money, and, ignoring the two who were staring at each other and left…
“Wait, the brat who wants to make a booking at that shop and spend the night outside after getting a large amount of money.”
I stopped in my tracks.
Please don’t see through the part about my booking tonight.
“Dost thou remember what moi said to thee the first time we met in this shop?”
“… What you said? What about it?”
How would I remember something he told me so long ago?
“To forget such important advice, thy memory is as bad as a goddess… Never mind, moi will give thee a new advice. Thou shouldn’t rest on thy laurels, and should continue to develop more merchandise. Thou think thou won’t be troubled by money anymore? I said to the Crusader girl just now that she can’t do anything with her strength… However, depending on the effort thou puts in, it might not be hopeless.”
“I’ll give you a piece of advice too. All the money you worked so hard to earn will all be recklessly squandered by Wiz in just a matter of days… How is it? How is it? This is the future the Aqua who can see through everything divined for you.”
– With the sound of bottles breaking, explosions, and the voices of those two arguing behind my back, I set off on the trip back home.
I thought about the words Vanir told me as I was leaving the shop.
According to Vanir, Darkness’s father and her house will meet with misfortune.
Darkness will sacrifice herself with a stupid way of solving the problem.
Whether these problems could be resolved would be dependent on my efforts.
He told me to invent products that will sell like hot cakes to prepare for this.
… What did he mean?
One day, when I’d almost forgotten about Vanir’s divination.
Without any warning or even knocking, the door to the mansion suddenly opened.
A man wearing the attire of a butler entered without permission, wearing a solemn expression on his face.
“My apologies for intruding during a meal at such an hour. I’m here for Lady Dustiness because of a very pressing matter… Pardon me, may I take some of your time?”
After the man finished without even introducing himself, he stared at us coldly while we were having our dinner.
Darkness looked displeased, and, while holding a fork that had some vegetables on it, said.
“Since you’re addressing me as Lady Dustiness, that means you’re an envoy from some aristocratic house… I’ll humor you then. What’s this about?”
When he heard the annoyed reply, the man acknowledged softly:
“My master, Alexei Barnes Alderp, seeks your presence. It’s not convenient to talk in a place like this, so I’ve prepared for a carriage outside. We can discuss the details in my master’s mansion. This way please.”
The man arrogantly referred to our mansion as ‘a place like this’ and gestured outside without any sign of remorse.
In response to this man’s attitude, the fork in Darkness’s hand twisted with a creak.
I was worried that the short tempered young lady might say something scary and pounce on him, but Darkness simply placed the twisted fork onto the table.
“… I’ll be going out for a bit. If I don’t return after it has gotten late, lock the door… Well then, I’m off.”
She said and left with the man, before we could keep up with the sudden development.
“… What’s with that guy?”
“He mentioned Alderp. That’s the name of the landlord old geezer, right? I’m not certain, but did she get involved in something weird?”
I hope the situation won’t become weird… We fell silent as a gloomy cloud covered our faces.
“If Darkness is going out, I’ll take the rest of her hamburg steak. Hey Megumin, can you feed me today? Kazuma’s terrible at feeding. He even shoved a spoonful of stew into my nose yesterday.”
And of course, there was someone who couldn’t read the mood and refused to let go of her egg.
– The next morning.
“It’s almost summer and you still won’t shed. You’re not like a cat at all… Hey, what do I need to do to return you to your original form? You’re in that situation, right? Your cat appearance is just a disguise, correct? You’re actually a beautiful cat-eared girl who ends her sentence with ‘nyaa’, am I right?”
Sitting crossed-legged beside the living room window and basking in the sun, I brushed the fur of Chomusuke as I talked to it.
I’d been trying to talk to it for a long time now, but I’d yet to receive any reply. It showed responses that seemed to imply it understood human speech, but it didn’t revert to its original form.
I was certain this was no ordinary cat.
Going by the development in mangas, it’ll definitely transform into a beautiful girl…
“Let me make this clear first: I don’t hate inhuman beauties, and won’t dislike you no matter if you’re human or not. Even if you transform into a pretty girl and I find you in my blanket naked in a cold morning, I won’t panic at all. And of course, you can keep staying in this mansion even if you’re not human, so don’t worry. Not just that, I’ll grill delicious fish for you every day too.”
When it heard the word fish, Chomusuke, who was enjoying its fur being brushed, raised its head and sniffed.
“Oh, you reacted to the word fish, glutton? Listen up, Chomusuke. If you transform into a human, your size will increase and you can eat more fish. You understand?”
After meowing in reply, it meowed at me as if it was asking me to brush its fur some more, snuggling its forehead against my hand that was holding the brush.
“Good, good, good, you’re a cutie after all. Stay this way after assuming a human form, all right? Don’t join the ranks of those regrettable heroines. If you stay good, I’ll treat you to the meat of a chicken that just hatched.”
When I was ready to start brushing again after saying that, the door to the mansion suddenly opened.
“Kazuma! Let’s go hunt a bounty monster!!”
The queen of regrettable heroines that had me worried after not returning last night said something stupid when she came back in the morning.
“… What are you saying after playing outside until morning? It’s none of my business who you choose to fool around with, but you’re still an unmarried daughter of a noble house, so don’t go too wild, okay?”
“Moron, I didn’t spend the entire night raving! I thought it’d trouble all of you if I came back in the middle of the night, so I went back to my home! Anyway–!!”
Darkness came to my side and shoved a piece of paper to me.
“Hurry, look at this!”
“… Bounty monster Kowloon Hydra? … What’s this, a monster like the Orochi?”
<TL Note: Legendary Japanese monster with eight heads and tails.>
Darkness showed me a drawing of the bounty monster known as the Kowloon Hydra, with detailed information such as its habits beside it.
After I took the paper reluctantly, Darkness tilted her head and asked:
“Kowloon Hydra. This fellow lives in the hills near Axel, a big bounty target that usually lies dormant. It’ll hibernate in the bottom of the lake after exhausting the mana inside its body, and will absorb mana from the land around it. The hydra will need ten years to replenish its mana as it hibernates. The last time it did so was about ten years ago.”
Which means this fellow will be waking up soon?
From the details written on this piece of paper, its size was, in a word, enormous.
It was about the size of a house.
And it looked scary.
From the name and appearance, it reminds me of the final boss in a game.
“You say you want to hunt this thing…? It might be foggy outside, but stop dreaming. And what was with that butler yesterday? Megumin was worried that the unworldly Darkness would just follow some weird nobles to some place and have bad things done to you.”
“Last night…! Last night’s incident has nothing to do with you all. It’s just some squabble between the nobility, so don’t interfere unless you want to be dragged in. Anyway, where’s Megumin? She’ll definitely be hyped about this, right?”
“Megumin and Aqua went out. They wanted to prepare a cool collar for the dragon that’s going to hatch.”
“Aqua asked me to help her build a small house for the dragon after it hatches, but no matter how I look at it, that egg…”
I said to Darkness who had a complicated expression:
“It looks like a chicken egg… Anyway, I won’t hunt something like that, all right? If you want, just go with Megumin and Aqua. I won’t go even if you cry and make a scene as usual.”
“When did I ever make a scene? … Actually there’s been reports that there was something wrong with the lake a few days ago. It seems that weeds have started growing out of the barren land around the lake. This means that the Hydra doesn’t need to absorb mana from the land anymore, which is a sign that it’s awakening.”
After pausing for a moment, Darkness said loudly:
“… Listen well, Kazuma. The only ones who can save this city is our team that has taken down the generals of the Demon King’s army! You’re also an adventurer in this town, right? You want to protect this land, right? … The hero who defeated numerous Demon King’s generals, Satou Kazuma! See, now’s your chance to shine!!”
Standing before Darkness, with her eyes sparkling and her fist clenched, I snickered.
“You think I’m a moron who’ll charge forth after someone swoons over me and calls me a hero? You should at least understand this much after spending so much time together with me. Don’t you have anything else that’ll motivate me? By the way, I’m not talking about money, all right? I’ve got plenty of cash anyway. Think about it, there are other ways to get my attention, right?”
After hearing what I said, Darkness lowered her head for a moment.
Finally, she clenched her fists and said with her cheeks flushed.
“… I-I get it… I’ll give you a reward that’ll make you happy after defeating the Kowloon Hydra. Erm…. A k-kiss to your cheek.”
“Are you retarded? I’m not a kid. Who’d risk their life for a kiss in this day and age?”
She probably steeled herself before deciding on this proposal, but my unexpected cold rejection left Darkness dumbfounded.
“Just the thought that a mere kiss has such an exaggerated value irks me. Or rather, just how highly do you see yourself? Did the flattery from the nobles in the capital get to your head?”
“Why, you, you…!”
I picked up Chomusuke from my lap and said to it before the trembling Darkness:
“Hey Chomusuke. This onee-san thinks that there’d be a guy who’ll risk his life for her, huh? Just how highly does she see herself? Really, isn’t there a better way to entice others?”
Chomusuke purred as if it was replying to me.
“Oh, I see, you think the same, huh? That’s right, there are plenty other ways. right?”
“Don’t be cocky! Put the cat down, I’ll kill you!”
I enjoyed the sensation of Chomusuke’s soft fur in front of Darkness, who was shaking her fist with murderous eyes.
“Oh? What is it, is brute force the only method you know? I have the skill Bind now. If I use that, you’ll be tied into a dumpling in an instant. Do you want to experience ticklish hell again? If that’s what you want, bring it on!”
Before my arrogant taunts, Darkness’s cheeks started turning red for an unknown reason.
“… Bind, huh? You even learned that skill before I realized it. O-Okay. No problem, let’s spar then. If you can bind me, I’ll let you do as you wish just like that time a few days back. But I won’t give in just because you tie me up and toy with me a little!”
“What are you so happy about? And I don’t need to go anyway, all right? Just bringing Megumin along. No matter what that is, one shot from Megumin’s spell will finish it off. If that doesn’t work, just run away. In the end, Hydras are a subspecies of dragons, right? The scales are tough, so the powerless me can’t do anything…”
As I was saying all this.
Darkness didn’t lose her temper or pounce over.
She suddenly turned silent with a dejected face, which made me speechless.
… She wanted to defeat that bounty target that much, huh?
“S-Say… Will you really not help?”
Darkness squatted down and looked up at me with sad eyes.
… Using puppy-eyed attacks, this girl was getting good at coercing others!
– After journeying half a day south from Axel, we came across a small hill.
Traveling deep into the hills, we reached a murky green lake.
“Hey, what if we fail to defeat the Hydra? If we attack now, won’t the worst case scenario be us aggravating a docile monster?”
“No! I don’t want that!!”
Darkness replied to my question:
“That isn’t a problem. The way to fight the Kowloon Hydra in the past was to surround it with an army and make it exhaust its mana by rampaging around. After depleting its mana, it’d hibernate again. And of course, the capital’s keeping track of it’s schedule will be sending a Knight Corps over soon.”
“I don’t want this Hydra or whatever!! Why must Darkness aim for this bounty monster? Kazuma occasionally mentions this, but are you really an impoverished borderline noble? I’ll smash the piggy bank containing the money I worked so hard to save and lend it to you, so can you just bear with it a while more?”
I see, so there was the insurance of the Knight Corps even if we fail.
“But the Hydra has awakened before the Knight Corps is scheduled to arrive. Also, the Knight Corps can induce the Hydra into deep slumber, but they can’t finish it off. In that case, the root of the problem remains unsolved. That’s why you’re asking me, who’s defeated countless foes, correct?”
“Let me go back! Hey, please let me go back! I’ve got a bad feeling about this!”
Since the Knight Corps was coming, we could just follow them and take out the Hydra together. Why’s Darkness so anxious about subjugating the Hydra?
At that moment, Megumin, who was full of spirit, took off her eye-patch with a laugh.
“Fuhaha, leave this to me! Hydras might be a subspecies, but they’re still lesser dragons. After defeating it, I can call myself a dragon slayer! I wanted the title of dragon slayer in the past, so I blew up a wyvern, which is also related to dragons; but it was a youngling, so it wasn’t recognized as a kill. I’ll take the title of dragon slayer for sure this time.”
<See: Megumin the Dragon slayer>
After hearing Megumin’s reliable words, I nodded and looked toward the center of the lake again.
“All right, first off…”
“I still need to go back early to witness Emperor Zell’s birth! Waaahhhh!!”
“Oh, shut up and stop griping! A chicken egg needs twenty days before it hatches, so it’s still early! And it’s about time you give that up. If you go back, who else can wake the Hydra?”
I couldn’t take it anymore and lectured Aqua, who’d been making a fuss all this while.
“Why would a chicken hatch from a dragon egg? And why must the important Emperor Zell be entrusted to that sort of place?”
The egg Aqua bought was placed in the care of Wiz’s shop.
“We had no choice, we couldn’t ask someone else to do something as stupid as incubating an egg. If we’d asked an adventurer we know to do that, there’s a high chance it’d be eaten.”
Now that I thought about it, I was a bit concerned about Wiz gulping when we handed her the egg.
“But, but, how can I pass the egg to a lich and a devil? I’m worried about them negatively influencing Emperor Zell who’s about to hatch! Dragon eggs will have higher mana and take more traits from their parents the longer they’re held! I’m hoping the child will be a holy white dragon, but wouldn’t it be affected by dark powers and hatch into a black dragon?”
“Even if it’s black, it’ll just be a crow. If you’re that worried, then help us take down the Hydra quickly and go back. If we can’t beat it with Megumin’s magic, there won’t be any other way. We’ll just have to run then.”
Aqua finally accepted it and calmed down. At that moment, Darkness drew her sword.
“All right, are you ready? Well then, let’s begin, Aqua!”
The plan was simple.
Amphibious monsters tend to hate clean water.
So it was time for Aqua, whose strange body type was usually useless, to shine.
“You guys can’t do without me, huh? Personally, I don’t hate the act of purifying water… I’ll be back in a jiffy! If Megumin’s spell doesn’t work, you have to escape immediately, all right?”
Aqua then jumped into the murky lake without hesitation.
Swimming in the lake, she took some water with her hands and splashed it around like a crazy woman.
Megumin muttered as she watched this scene from afar.
“… She’s purifying the water? Isn’t she just playing in the water because it’s too hot?”
Indeed, she looked just like a retarded girl playing with water by herself, even though she was doing her job of purification properly.
Watching from afar, we saw Aqua floating on the water with her eyes closed. She probably got tired of cleansing the vast lake.
“… Hey Kazuma, Aqua’s taking a nap right on top of the place where the high bounty target’s hibernating. Is that really fine? I’ve been thinking for a while now, why can Aqua purify water even without any chanting or gesturing to cast her spell?
“I’m bothered by that too. I thought it was just another one of her party tricks, so I didn’t comment on it.”
“According to her, the reason is because she’s the goddess of water.”
I said that, but the two of them didn’t believe it at all, just as I expected. In the meantime, the goddess of water was drifting to the center of the lake because of the wind.
I was thinking about tying her with a rope so she wouldn’t drift away, but it was too late.
The three of us didn’t feel tense despite the surreal scene. Just when we were yawning from boredom.
When small ripples appeared on the surface of the water, the dozing Megumin opened her eyes wide–
“This is…! It’s here, it’s here! I can feel powerful mana clearly! The source’s coming from the bottom of the lake!”
As Megumin was urgently shouted, a growing shadow appeared right under the sleeping Aqua.
Something unbelievably big was surfacing.
“Aqua! Stop sleeping and get up! It’s coming from below! Megumin can’t cast her spell with you floating there!
Aqua woke after hearing my cries and deftly paddled the water even though she just got up. She stretched and looked around her.
She probably realized the situation and swam our way in a panic.
“Hey, this is larger than what I was told! It was supposed to be the size of a large mansion, but this is much bigger than our home!”
Darkness and Megumin’s expression froze in the face of the shadow that was growing in the lake.
When I heard it was the size of a large mansion, I figured that Megumin’s spell should be able to work.
But with its size right now, she won’t be able to blow it away in one shot.
“K-Kazuma, Kazuma! Something humongous is chasing after me!”
The gigantic shadow finally took form, and its eight heads could be clearly seen under the water.
The heads were reaching right for Aqua…!
“It’s coming! Megumin, ready your spell! Darkness, stand before Megumin and defend us if anything happens! I’ll secure our retreat route!”
“Leave the defense to me! But there are no other monsters, so securing the retreat route’s unnecessary!!”
“I-It might be larger than expected, b-but I’ll settle it with the power of my explosion magic! Watch me destroy the entire ecosystem of this lake!”
“Whatever, just hurry up!”
With no regards for our confusion, it appeared.
I seemed to be underestimating the bounty monsters because of my recent success.
Eight giant serpentine heads slowly emerged, dripping with water.
The Hydra’s roar shook the air, unleashing unspeakable terror.
Half of its back surfaced to the lake, the size of a small island.
Looking up at the snake head that rose high into the air, I muttered to myself:
“I can’t deal with this shit.”