Gifting these peaceful days with happiness!
Editors: Adam, BlitzBlast, Cannongerbil, chosenone124, Skythewood, Xenthur
They say that everyone has a time when they’re really popular.
“Could you come to my room tonight? I have something important to tell you.”
… And the fact that Megumin told me that must be proof that my time had finally come. Though the signs were already there.
That’s right. I’d already noticed that, from time to time, Megumin seemed to show signs that she liked me.
I’m not dense or deaf after all.
It’s just that if I were to rush things, my dignity as the older one will be at risk.
– That day.
It was dinner time; I was being my usual cool self as I sat at the dining table.
“Rejoice, everybody! While I was loitering around the shopping district earlier, somebody told me that I could take the leftover liquor from the thanksgiving festival after-party back home with me! Look here, this is an expensive top-grade brand! Let’s party till dawn!”
Sitting opposite to me, Aqua happily hugged a wine bottle and showed it off to everyone.
Unfortunately, I’ve got a prior engagement tonight. An important one.
But I can’t talk about it. So even though I wanted to retort with a “You really can’t read the mood at all, huh?”, I couldn’t.
Well, putting me aside since I’m so cool and composed, there’s no way some fine wine would be enough to tempt the others–
“… Hmm, it really is quite high quality. I was busy during the Goddess Eris Thanksgiving Festival, so I didn’t get to enjoy it with everyone else. So tonight, let’s hold our very own after-party.
“N-No, no, no, Darkness. Hold on a second. I think everyone should turn in early tonight. You’ve got to be tired after everything that’s happened, right?”
“Not particularly. Be it managing the festival or fulfilling my duties as the landlord, everything’s over with now. There hasn’t been anything tiring lately.”
Darkness, who was in the middle of laying out the cutlery, tilted her head in confusion.
I had an important engagement with Megumin tonight.
I didn’t have time to play around with these idiots till morning.
“Well look, I’m tired from fighting monsters day in and day out. So I’ll be heading to bed early tonight.”
“Are you joking? You didn’t even leave the mansion today, and you sleep more than twelve hours a day anyway.”
And then, while I was troubled over how to counter Darkness’s precise response…
“I think it’s a great idea too. Kazuma, let’s just party all night with everyone, okay?”
Megumin, the very person who made that engagement, said that while holding a heavy-looking pot in her hands.
Didn’t this girl know why I didn’t want to attend this party so much?!
“Look. We’re even eating your favorite, Onion Duck Hot Pot. And these aren’t farm-raised ducks either, they’re straight from the wild. They’re full of experience points so they’re twice as delicious.”
It wasn’t clear if Megumin understood how I felt as she placed the pot down with an awkward smile.
“Hey, Megumin, is this really okay? What about that thing tonight…?”
She chuckled lightly in response to my anxious whispering.
“Isn’t tomorrow night fine too? There’s still plenty of time.”
She didn’t understand! This girl didn’t understand at all!
Why would you postpone things now? She threw out such tempting words and then she just postpones it? What kind of joke was this? There’s no way I’ll be getting any sleep tonight! What was she even trying to do, leaving me hanging after filling me with so much anticipation?
“What’s got you so bothered, Kazuma? Your nostrils are widening. It’s the same expression you make when you spend the night outside every now and then.”
“I-I-It’s nothing! I’m just super happy my favorite Onion Duck’s on the menu tonight! Yum, this duck looks delicious, I bet I’ll be leveling up again!”
Aqua, who was only ever sharp during such pointless times, forced me to frantically start trying to hide my intentions.
And Megumin happily smiled as she watched me.
After the Goddess Eris Thanksgiving Festival ended, the town went back to normal.
Since Axel was the sacred ground where the goddess Eris herself had descended to the mortal world, the town became a pilgrimage site. But that trend had already subsided, so now pilgrims were only an occasional sight.
It was around this time that Megumin invited me to visit her room, but something kept coming up every single night. It was really troubling.
First, there was that night when Aqua said she wanted to party. Then, the next day, Aqua dragged Megumin to her room and played some games with her all night. The day after that, Megumin made a strange declaration (“Here in Axel, we’re high class ladies, so we should have an all-girls meeting every now and then”), then stayed out all night with Aqua. And every single day after that, she spent all her time with Aqua…
… Should I just tie her up tonight?
After finishing breakfast, I considered doing that while watching Aqua lovingly gaze at Emperor Zell on her lap.
Darkness, whose skill in brewing tea was the only thing I acknowledged her for, had gone to the kitchen to make some after-meal tea. Meanwhile, Aqua was caressing the chick on her lap with a satisfied look on her face.
She was probably imagining that she was stroking some high class pet like rich people do in movies, but Emperor Zell was just an angry chick psychotically pecking at the fingers reaching out to him.
“So. What’ve you been up to till now, Megumin? You’ve been messing around with something I’ve never seen before.”
“… This thing? It’s a Crimson Demon tradition, an amulet with magical properties. You stuff the hair of people with powerful magic into an amulet, then give it to a comrade. It might only be psychological reassurance, but I still want to gift you this for your birthday, since you die so often.”
It was true that I was always the one dying, but I get the feeling that accepting that amulet would only hoist my death flag even higher.
“That sounds nice. Will anyone’s hair do? And is it the type where the more you put in, the more effective it gets…?”
Darkness had come back. She poured the water she just boiled into the teapot.
Megumin was focusing on stuffing the hairs into the amulet as she explained to Darkness:
“Yes, it’ll be more effective. That’s why we gave the people who went out to defeat the Demon King an amulet filled with the hair of the entire village. There was so much hair that it was on the verge of bursting, so that amulet must’ve definitely worked. And by the way, this amulet does more than just protect its owner; it also has the excellent effect of ensuring that your luggage won’t ever be stolen. And if you ever lose it, someone will give it back to you immediately.”
I think it’s more that seeing an amulet with hair sprouting out of it would disgust any potential thieves out of stealing, and that if anyone were to pick it up they’d be afraid of strange things haunting them, so they’d want to return it as fast as they could.
At this moment, Darkness pulled out a strand of long, blond hair.
“May you put this in for me too? I don’t have powerful magic, so there probably won’t be much of an effect.”
She said as she offered the hair to Megumin.
Megumin took the hair and happily stuffed it into the amulet.
Everyone then naturally shifted their gaze toward Aqua.
Aqua, who was in pain after getting her fingers pecked by Emperor Zell, noticed everyone staring at her and looked around uneasily.
“…? What? Are all of you so insolent that you’d ask for the hair of a goddess like me? Listen carefully, the hair of a goddess’s sacred and rare-”
“Cut the bullshit, read the mood and hand it over! The festival’s already over, and you’re still saying that you’re a goddess?!”
“I don’t wanna–! Okay, I get it, don’t pull my hair like that! It hurts, at least use some scissors to cut a strand off!”
I forcefully pulled a hair off of Aqua’s head, then handed it to Megumin for her amulet.
The Japanese also had a tradition of putting hair inside amulets, so I was familiar with the idea.
Darkness smiled wryly as she watched Aqua and me, then poured tea out for everyone.
“Okay then. Kazuma, please take this. It’s only for mental comfort, so you can just stuff it somewhere in your belongings.”
“Oh, all right, thanks.”
I took the amulet from Megumin but kept it on my person instead of leaving to put it in my bag in my room.
“My hair has powerful effects, so you’d better cherish that amulet. Or else you’ll receive divine retribution.”
“Will having this on me drop my intelligence or attract the undead?”
“… Hey Darkness, you promised, so help me build a pet house for Emperor Zell.”
“Hey, tell me! Will I attract the undead if I have this on me?!”
Aqua ignored my question, grabbed Darkness’s hand, and rushed outside.
I sighed after being left behind in the living room. Megumin smiled happily as she watched me.
“What’s with that devious smile on your face? Are you thinking of something indecent?”
“No! I’m not thinking about anything weird, and this isn’t a devious smile! It’s just a gentle smile!”
Megumin responded loudly as she sipped the tea in her cup which she was holding with both hands.
And then I finally noticed the situation I was in.
Although there were all sorts of obstacles lately, right now the two of us were all alone.
What was the important thing Megumin wanted to tell me?
“Why are you so quiet all of a sudden? Are you nervous because it’s just the two of us?”
As if she were reading my mind, Megumin teased me.
What, am I the only one feeling restless here?
Am I the only one feeling conscious of the fact that the two of us were the only people in this huge room?
“I’m just a little bothered by what you said earlier, that you had something to tell me. Erm, no, I’m not really bothered, all right? I don’t have any weird expectations or anything, there’ve been plenty of times where you built up my anticipation then just left me hanging after all.”
I raised my voice to defend myself.
Megumin lifted her cup to her mouth and giggled.
Why is such a trivial matter making my face heat up?
What’s going on with me? Was I just more conscious of Megumin because she’d been showing signs that she liked me every now and then?
Damn it! What kind of man was I, getting toyed around like this by a loli…?
Ignoring my inner turmoil, Megumin’s gaze wavered a little.
“What I wanted to tell you was…”
Just when she was about to say it…
“Sorry, Megumin! Aqua’s calling for you. Could you come over for a bit? She said that I was too clumsy and useless, so she wants you to substitute for me…! I-In her words, ‘I didn’t ask you to destroy the pet house, I asked you to help build it! Just get Megumin over here and deal with that slacker Kazuma so he won’t get in my way!’…”
Darkness charged through the door on the verge of tears.
… How should I put this? That was some terrible timing.
No, maybe I should say it was perfect?
“Shouldn’t this be my time to shine? I’m the expert with crafting skills, so why’s she asking for Megumin?”
“No, I told her that too. But she said that you’ll definitely do something unnecessary and shape Emperor Zell’s house like a stove or something.”
She knew me well.
“I’ll be right back then. Please keep an eye on Kazuma, Darkness.
“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean? If anything, it should be the other way around.”
Megumin left with a smile as she listened to my protest.
Ugh, what’s with this situation?
I felt like I was being toyed with.
“… Hey Kazuma, what’s going on between you and Megumin?”
Darkness, who’d been watching my conversation with Megumin from the side, suddenly blurted that out.
Even if she asked me that… All Megumin did was thank me and say that she liked me in an obviously teasing manner…
So in conclusion…
“That’s impossible! If there’s nothing between you two, then what’s going on with Megumin’s behavior?! I’ve already heard from Aqua, she said that you’ve been looking for Megumin at her room every night. Did you do something to her there? You attempted to lay your hands on her back at the Crimson Demon Village, after all!”
Out of nowhere came a rebuke.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but just what kind of person do you all think I am? Watch it, or I’ll make you cry with my Steal. And I’m not lying. I don’t know exactly what you’re implying, but whatever you’re imagining didn’t happen.”
After listening to what I said…
“… I-I’m talking about, you know, that… You know very well what I mean, but you’re still making me say it? That… Kissing Megumin or something… And groping her breasts…!”
Darkness bashfully responded.
I still don’t get what her standard for shame is.
“No, there wasn’t any kissing nor any groping. You’re looking down on me too much. Look into my eyes, does it look like I’m lying?”
Darkness stared into my pure eyes and gradually started showing an awkward expression.
“… Ugh. They look murky, but… It seems that you aren’t lying. My apologies, so there really was nothing. But after seeing Megumin act like that, I was sure that something had to have happened… No, it’s nothing, forget it. I’m truly sorry…”
Embarrassed, Darkness lowered her voice.
She then stood up, pulled herself together and crossed her arms which had the effect of emphasizing her chest.
“Recently, Megumin and you’ve been acting strangely. I was just worried that you two had crossed the line.”
Darkness said as she took large strides to the couch and sat down.
She then poured tea into her cup.
As if her heart had been relieved of a huge burden, Darkness happily drank her tea.
Feeling left out because of how much she was talking to herself, I softly muttered:
“… Yeah, well I don’t want to hear that from someone who kisses other people without consent. I’m pretty normal compared to a perverted aristocrat lady.”
When she heard what I said, Darkness spat tea out her mouth.
“Hey…! What are you doing, you got it all over me!”
I took off my shirt now soaked in tea and started roughly shaking it.
“Cough! Cough! Cough! Cough…!”
Darkness stood up coughing and wiped her mouth with her handkerchief.
“W-Why you! What are you saying all of a sudden? What an impudent accusation…! That’s completely… baseless…”
Though she started out angrily yelling, Darkness gradually grew quiet.
Probably knowing full well what I was talking about, she averted her now teary eyes and coughed to the side.
“Oh. So you got what I meant, you pervert. Of course you did, you’re the one who does all sorts of strange things while panting heavily after all! You always say things that aren’t suitable for children to hear, but when those things actually happen you get cold feet, don’t you? Hey! If you want to refute anything, then speak up!”
I said in an imitation of a certain someone’s tone. Darkness sat down on the couch with both palms on her face.
She was probably trembling from shame.
But after moving her hands away, her face showed a calm expression that was a bit red but otherwise the same as usual.
In the past, she would’ve ran away and shut herself in her room by this point in our conversation. But over the long time we’d spent together, Darkness had grown.
She nonchalantly poured another cup of tea for herself, sipped it slowly and said:
“It’s my fault. I apologize for mistakenly labeling you as a sexual harasser. Also, I’ll act more like a lady from now on, so… Please forgive me.”
“Oh, uh, sure… Sorry, I went too far. Let’s just forget about it…”
The Darkness who once was only capable of hiding her face and running off in shame had matured a little.
“By the way, there’s a package for you. It’s that crate beside the entrance.”
As if she were hiding something, Darkness drank her god knows how many cups of tea and changed the topic.
She might look calm on the surface, but she was probably wavering on the inside.
“Oh, so it came. I’ve been eating extravagant food full of experience points recently, so my level has gone up. That’s why I ordered some new equipment, fit for a veteran adventurer… By the way, if you keep chugging tea like that, you’ll be making friends with the toilet soon.”
“C-Can’t you say that more subtly…?”
While basking in Darkness’s hateful gaze, I rummaged through the crate and took out some light yet solid gauntlets, leg guards, and chest armor.
“Oh, here it is! This looks great!”
I said while taking out the last thing in the crate, a rope.
– I had a skill named Bind.
It had become my main skill lately. If the skill successfully went off and if the rope was tough enough, it could trap any opponent.
Its success rate seems to be based off of luck, so its mechanics were practically designed just for me.
I’d been using a special wire rope up till now, but knowing full well that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure, I custom ordered a rope with the highest level of toughness.
This mithril alloy rope could even bind astral bodies; it was an excellent product.
“Is that a bondage rope? Th-That glow! Is it made out of mythril?”
While I was holding the rope with a satisfied expression on my face, I received an excited question from a pervert who started blushing as soon as she saw the custom-made rope.
And this pervert, who was enviously staring at the rope, started fidgeting.
“Erm… Kazuma, I’m deeply familiar with the Bind skill. So how about it? Why not try out your new rope? And now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced your Bind before. As fellow party members, isn’t it important that I know how powerful my comrades’ skills are?!”
The pervert kept alternating her gaze between my face and the rope.
“Didn’t you just say that you’d ‘act more like a lady from now on’? And you should be able to tell that this is for binding super strong monsters. If you want a Bind so much, just use the thinner ropes in the cabinet.”
I said that while moving to take out the ropes from the storage cabinet off to the side of the living room…
“No, it has to be this one! … That is to say, this one will do. You say that it’s for use against powerful monsters, but how useful will it be if it can’t even stop me? Not very, I’d imagine. So try tying me up first.”
The pervert stopped me as she said that, then gazed at me in anticipation with an excited, blushing face.
Even if she says that, I can restrain a powerful monster like the Kowloon Hydra with steel ropes a full grade lower than the one in my hand. There was no need to test anything.
But that pervert didn’t even wait for an answer, she just stood in the living room with an excited look on her face.
“… By the way, didn’t you just say ‘it has to be this one’?”
“No I didn’t.”
“No, you definitely did.”
“No I didn’t. … And that doesn’t matter now, hurry up! Are you trying to tempt me by showing off that tough, hard, and heavy looking rope?”
Faced with a pervert who didn’t give a damn about hiding her fetish, I reluctantly stood up.
I tugged at the rope to confirm its strength, then turned toward Darkness.
Incidentally, I took off my soaked shirt earlier. So, right now I’m just wearing some shorts.
On the other hand, Darkness was wearing an open-collar shirt that accentuated her figure as well as a tight-fitting skirt. She looked more like a Japanese office lady than an aristocrat.
A bystander would probably find this pretty indecent.
Seeing me holding a rope with my upper body bare, Darkness’s face took on an awkward expression.
“H-Hey Kazuma, can you at least put a shirt on? Just thinking about being tied up by you in that get-up feels very unpleasant…”
“What the hell are you saying now?”
I held up the rope against this pervert who was completely beyond salvation in every possible way.
“It’ll be a hassle, but I’ll be using most of my mana to make the Bind last longer. Then I’ll throw you and your nonsense-spewing mouth off to the side.”
“What? So tying me up with a tough rope isn’t enough for you, you want to throw me down to the ground too?! What about the ball gag? Won’t you need one? What’ll you do if I end up screaming in pain from the bondage?”
“You’re disgusting, bitch.”
Like always, our team’s pervert was in top form.
I should just tie her up and push her aside, then go check on Aqua and Megumin.
Or rather, go make their lives harder.
I pointed the ropes toward Darkness–
I shouted as I threw them.
The ropes in my hand flew toward Darkness and bound her up.
“What…? T-This…! Ugh… Ahhh!”
The now bound-up Darkness shouted.
I was just as frozen as her.
Or to be more exact, I was totally spellbound.
Or to be even more exact, I was looking at something amazing.
“… Hah, hah… Hah…! W-Why you…! Why are you always doing things that go beyond my wildest expectations…?”
The rope tying Darkness up left her breasts completely untouched, which only accentuated them as she panted lewdly.
With both her hands bound, Darkness was weakly kneeling on the carpet. It was probably because the binding was too strong.
Darkness was tied up from her shoulders to her waist. Her breasts were strongly emphasized as she lay collapsed on the floor with a burning blush on her face. She was so lewd that she wouldn’t be out of place on the covers of those kinds of magazines.
This was bad.
If they saw Darkness like this, Aqua and Megumin would definitely stare at me with empty eyes.
This was so terrible that it was beyond words.
I didn’t plan to tie her up in a way that accentuated her chest. But considering how I always get panties when I use Steal on girls, and how Bind acted now, I got the feeling the skills I was learning were steadily deviating toward the dark side.
I squatted down and spoke to Darkness, who was squirming and heavily panting.
“Hey, are you alright? I’m not sure how to put this, but I was actually holding back with that Bind…”
“This… Is after you held back…? Erm, Kazuma… I’ll pay you next time. I’m willing to pay, so don’t hold back.”
Darkness uttered something stupid. And then…
I felt something coming from behind me.
This was probably an alarm from the Enemy Detection skill I’d been honing up till now.
It should only sense monsters or enemies with hostile intentions.
But this skill I’d been relying on all this time might be warning its master of impending danger.
I immediately followed my instincts…!
– I heard the sound of the door opening.
“Phew, that was exhausting. Let’s take a break. Good work, Megumin!”
“You say you’re tired, but weren’t you just playing with Emperor Zell the entire… Hmm?”
And at the same time, I also heard the voices of Aqua and Megumin.
“Huff… Huff… Huff…”
Still tied up, Darkness roughly blew air into my hand.
“Kazuma and Darkness aren’t around. Where’d they go?”
Megumin’s baffled voice sounded out.
“From what my clear eyes tell me, they must be playing board games in one of their rooms.”
So too did Aqua’s voice as she ran off somewhere.
She probably went to check our rooms.
The sound of earthenware clanking could be heard from the living room. Megumin was probably drinking tea on the couch.
I’d grabbed Darkness and hid into the cramped storage cabinet in the nick of time. I could feel the warmth of her body as I considered what to do next.
Actually, compared to the situation earlier, being discovered right now would be much worse.
Why’d I even hide?
I didn’t do anything wrong.
I just complied with Darkness’s request.
… No, that’s not true. I got excited after seeing Darkness’s orgasmic expression.
I probably hid because I was feeling guilty.
It’ll be fine, Megumin will understand.
Darkness wanting to be tied up should be within her range of expectations.
And me being topless should be a common sight.
… No, this isn’t going to work.
I leaned toward Darkness and whispered into her ears:
“Hey Darkness, things only got this troublesome because you asked me to do something so weird! It’d be awkward if they saw us like this. You get that, right?”
Hearing that, Darkness nodded with tears in her eyes.
What the hell, I feel like something similar to this has happened before.
Oh, right. When I sneaked into House Dustiness and pressed this girl down on her bed.
Why am I covering her mouth like I did back then?
“All right, let’s think about how we should handle this. Listen. I’m letting go, all right?”
I said as I moved my hand away…
“? Ow! Y-You…! Why’d you bite my hand, let go! That hurts, moron!”
As I was planning to let go, I was bitten. I swung my hand side-to-side to shake Darkness’s head off.
“What are you doing?! Look! There’s teeth marks here!”
“… I can’t… Hold it… If I don’t bite something…”
Darkness said something insane between sobs.
What was it with this girl? I hope she doesn’t gain any more traits.
As I was wondering if she was turning stranger because she was being pressured to her limits―
I realized that the red on her face wasn’t the lewd shade she had before.
It was a red of shame, as if she might cry at any moment.
“I want to go to the bathroom…”
“What did I tell you? If you drink that much tea, you’ll be making friends with the toilet!”
The scene was a cramped and dark storage cabinet.
The bound-up Darkness was turning red.
And it wasn’t her usual blush of excitement.
“K-Kazuma… Ka– Kazuma…! What should I do? This is bad, this is truly bad! This isn’t a joking matter anymore; this is awful…!”
Whispered Darkness, whose entire upper body was tied up.
This cabinet was so cramped that I was stuck right on top of her.
“This is all because you didn’t listen and kept drinking tea! I’ve been thinking about this since we first met. You’re actually pretty dumb, aren’t you?! Is your brain all muscle? Seriously, sometimes you’re as dumb as Aqua!”
After hearing that, Darkness glared at me with gritted teeth.
It seemed like she wanted to say something, but I decided not to press her since this wasn’t the time.
It’d be useless to lecture her here.
“I guess there’s no other way… Let’s get out of here and just talk things out. Megumin isn’t an impulsive moron like you, she’ll understand if we explain things to her. There’ll be less trouble in long run if we just come out now.”
“I want to have a nice, long chat with you about just how you see me, but that can wait. Erm… You might not know this, but I actually talk about all sorts of things when I’m alone with Megumin… A-Anyway, it’d be bad if she sees us like this, so let’s wait a bit more!”
Just what do they talk about when I’m around?
Now that I think about it, Megumin also mentioned that she talked about me a lot with Darkness.
“… No choice then. We’ll just have to wait a bit longer.”
“Hey, give me something to bite. I need to grit my teeth to endure this!”
I understood that the situation already looked pretty bad, but I still stuffed a handkerchief in place of a ball gag into Darkness’s mouth.
And then we waited in the dark storage cabinet.
I remembered that Aqua and Megumin said they were taking a break.
If that’s the case, then we just needed to wait for them to finish and leave.
The sound of someone running could be heard on the other side of the room.
“They’re not here. Putting aside the guy who revealed his hikikomori powers after the festival ended and changed jobs to trash, even the person who was supposed to be keeping an eye on him is gone.”
I’ll remember this. I’ll definitely modify her chicken coop tonight.
I might’ve been idling my days away recently, but she’s still got guts to call me trash.
“What happened to them? It isn’t that strange for that lazy Kazuma to go loiter around somewhere, but Darkness vanishing without a word after I asked her to watch over him is strange…”
Do they really think I’m some irresponsible person that’ll just wander and play around…?
“… Mgh! … Mgh!”
Darkness groaned quietly as if she wanted to say something.
Now that I took a closer look, the sight of Darkness drenched in sweat, heavily panting, and crammed inside a tiny storage closet was really lewd.
A drop of sweat fell from her neck.
Being in a situation like this inside a closed room was no joke… Whoa!
“Hey, hey, what’re you doing? Don’t squirm around!”
I whispered to Darkness who’d started moving all of a sudden and took the handkerchief out of her mouth.
“… Ah! I, I can’t…! It’s more serious than I thought…!”
“Come on, try harder! Those girls are just taking a break, they’ll get back to work before you know it!”
It’s all Darkness’s fault for not enduring things properly inside this cramped, hot storage cabinet. That’s why the two of us were drenched in sweat with our faces flushed, making things look even worse.
“Didn’t I tell you?! That’s why I said that it’d be better to just go out earlier, right?”
“I, I’m sorry…! B-But…!”
I stuffed the handkerchief back into Darkness’s mouth without giving her the chance to say anything.
It might’ve been fine earlier, but with the way Darkness was now, I couldn’t let her go out.
The sweat was making her open-collared shirt stick to her body. Even if the two of them understood that nothing had actually happened, they’d still look at me with scorn for tying Darkness up in this kind of situation.
There’s finally a good mood between Megumin and I; how can I let this moron spoil all my efforts!?
As I was thinking that, Darkness seemed to have reached her limit. She started struggling intensely below me, trying to break out.
I panicked and held her back and whispered in her ear:
“Hey, calm down! Things will be fine if you just hold it. In the end, it’s your fault for not listening to my advice! So stay still!”
Darkness listened to my words obediently, then closed her eyes in resignation.
It won’t be funny if we’re discovered like this, so I took the handkerchief in Darkness’s mouth out again and said:
“Hey, don’t just close your eyes like that! Ugh, you were like this back when I sneaked into your mansion too! You give up way too easily at times like this! Listen up, I’ll explain this to you since you’re so dumb. If you charge out of the closet right now, it’s going to be really awkward. If Aqua sees you, she’ll definitely tell all the people in the guild, ‘Breaking news! A topless Kazuma and a bound-up Darkness were hiding together in a storage cabinet, drenched in sweat! I’ll let your imagination fill in the gaps!’. Yeah, something like that.”
As I listened to Darkness’s sobbing groan, I used the remnants of my mana to cast Freeze and cooled down my own overheating head.
The storage cabinet was stuffy, so Darkness looked at me enviously. But she didn’t ask for a Freeze too.
She seemed to understand that it’d be dangerous if she were to suddenly cool down in a situation like this.
Then, squirming, Darkness said:
“… H-Hey Kazuma… Even though things are like this, I’m actually enjoying holding back my bladder. Am I weird?”
“All right, just stop talking. Try to keep your mouth shut.”
While I was scolding this hopeless pervert, the sound of a conversation came from outside the cabinet.
“What’s going on? Megumin, how many amulets are you going to make? Are you planning to stuff Kazuma’s bag till it’s full or something?”
“No, these are for everyone. This one’s Aqua’s, this one’s mine… And this sturdiest one is for Darkness, who’s always protecting us with her body.”
When she heard Megumin’s touching words, Darkness stopped squirming.
… At that moment, Darkness’s thoughts and mine were one.
We had to avoid disappointing Megumin by letting her see us like this.
Still right below me, Darkness whispered:
“… Hey, can’t you think of a way to resolve this? Being quick-witted is one of your strong points, after all. Any ideas?”
Even if you say that–
I searched this storage cabinet that could barely fit two people to try and find if there was anything I could use.
… And I found something.
My luck really was great.
“Rejoice, Darkness! The biggest problem has been solved!”
I exclaimed as I showed Darkness what I found!
A beverage bottle.
“C-Cut it out! Don’t just headbutt me with no warning like that!”
She seemed unhappy about the bottle I was showing her.
“Tch… You’re the one who asked if I had any ideas. I really can’t handle this aristocratic lady with too much pride…”
When she heard my casual comment, Darkness lifted her head back up.
“Wait, what did you just say? I didn’t reject it because of my pride as a noble, I rejected it because I’m a woman! My pride as a woman’s something I can’t give up! Where in the world are there people who’d use this, you pervert?”
“In my country, some of the fiercer people who work as security in their own homes would use plastic bottles similar to this when they couldn’t leave their post.”
As we continued our idiotic conversation, opposite to us…
“– Hey Megumin. You really look happy making those; I’m feeling happy too just watching you.”
Came Aqua’s leisurely voice.
“Of course. These amulets all hold my wish, that everyone will stay together forever… I’m grateful to you too, Aqua. Let’s always be together.”
“M… Megumin! This is… I’m so touched! I understand, I can’t go back to heaven anyway, so I’ll just ditch my job as a goddess and spend my time here happily! Kazuma will deal with the issue of money somehow, so let’s play together as much as we can and enjoy our time with everyone!”
“So you’re still talking about goddesses and heaven? Well, fine, as long as we’re all together…”
And while they were having a cheerful and heartwarming conversation in the living room…
“I’ll be honest; I’ve always felt that you were one erotic noble! You’ve got a slutty body and a seductive aura, but your defenses are way too strong! But even though you have such a lustful body, you’re always shy about the weirdest things! What’s wrong with you? Are you a perverted slut or a pure and innocent maiden? Make it clear! What’s with being both a virgin and a pervert you half-assed girl?!”
“Okay, I don’t like abusing the powers of a noble, but I’m not going to hold back against you! I’ll execute you for the crime of slandering a noble!”
Darkness, who was still curled up in a prone position inside the storage cabinet, was leaning my way with her hands still tied.
While keeping that posture, she kicked at me. And in this cramped space, I had no room to avoid.
“Go for it! Do it if you can, young lady! You’re just a Crusader who can’t even beat an Adventurer, the weakest job. Oh, so you want to rely on your daddy’s power just because you can’t beat me in a duel? Wow Lady Lalatina, you’re so cool!”
“Someone’s awfully cocky! As soon as those two leave, we’re dueling. I’ll kill you!”
“Did you actually just do that? To think an aristocratic lady would kick other people in the face, what kind of education did you have?! And even the way you speak changed, you sure are a young lady!”
“Ah, s-stop! Don’t push my stomach! If I can’t hold it in, you’ll suffer too!”
The situation was dire, but we forgot about it and started quietly fighting.
Compared to the harmonious talking in the living room, it was clear how small-minded the two of us were.
“– Hey, did you hear a knocking sound?”
“Really? I didn’t hear anything. Anyway, let’s get back to work. How about we finish before dinner and eat some grilled meat? The two of them should be back by then.”
“Sounds great to me! Summer’s barbecue season after all. And I want to drink some ice cold beer too! Let’s ask those two to buy the ingredients after they get back!”
Chatting cordially, the two of them left the mansion again.
And as soon as they did…
“I can’t believe you out of all people are looking down on me! You’re just a meat shield whose only strong point’s her exoticness! Why don’t I tell you your sole purpose in life?!”
“Bring it! You always get cold feet at critical moments like this, so do it if you can!”
Darkness and I forgot our original objective and kept squabbling in the cramped storage cabinet even after Aqua and Megumin left.
– I panted heavily as I dragged Darkness out of the storage cabinet and stood her up.
“Damn it, we wasted all that time because of something as stupid as that… What the hell are we doing…? Forget it, just go to the bathroom already… Ugh, I’m tired, I’ll go take a nap in my room.”
Darkness looked at me with an equally tired face.
“Really, I’m the one who wasted my time here. Go and sleep then, lazy bum. After I go to the bathroom, I’ll stay in my room until the Bind wears off. And after that, I’ll be having a serious match with you. I won’t stand for being underestimated so much, understand?”
With those words, she left for the toilet with her upper body still bound-up.
… This woman was really…
I hope she could learn even the tiniest thing from the more magnanimous Megumin.
I watched Darkness walk unsteadily to the toilet, then headed to my room on the second floor.
When I climbed into bed with relief after overcoming that crisis, I heard a knocking sound on my door… Or rather, the sound of someone kicking it violently.
I opened the door curiously and was confused by the person I saw behind it.
It was a troubled Darkness on the verge of tears.
Did the incident just now bother her, so she came to apologize?
Arguments between people with low boiling points was a common sight in this house, so there wasn’t any need to apologize now…
The moment I thought of that, Darkness rubbed her thighs together and said:
“P-Pardon me, Kazuma-san… Erm, I can’t use my hands to open the toilet door…”
Time for round two!
The toilet nearest to my room was on the second floor.
It was pretty far away from the front door, so there’d be enough time to react even if Megumin and Aqua came back suddenly.
“Hurry up, hurry up! Oh no, this is really bad!”
Darkness, looking as if she was about to cry, urged me.
She was probably asking me to hurry and open the toilet door.
… We just fought earlier, so I think I’ll stall a little.
“What’s really bad? Be clearer.”
Darkness squirmed before the door.
“You, you, why you little…! Doing this kind of play at a time like this. Just how accommodating are you acting for my sake…? Ah, really. It’s my fault! I was wrong, okay, so help me open the door! I’m not in the mood to enjoy this play right now!”
She was on the verge of tears and her breathing was very hard.
“No way around it then. Oh, but I’ll have to duel you after you solve your problem… Man, what a pain. Just the thought of it is making my hand hesitate…”
Darkness glared at me as I refused to let the matter rest.
“I went too far, sorry! Stop crying! Hey, that’s cheating, it’s cheating for a woman to cry!”
The teardrop rolling down Darkness’s cheek made me open the door in a hurry.
“… Enough. I’ll just let myself go here and then tell Megumin and Aqua all about this.”
“I was wrong! Really, it’s my fault! I was too arrogant and went too far! I apologized, so please forgive me!”
It was my turn to show a crying face as I backed away from the now open door.
After Darkness, whose hands were still tied, entered the bathroom, I closed the door and sighed in relief.
There won’t be any more problems now.
“Hey Kazuma, my underwear! Oh no, I can’t take them off! Ah damn it, this is… What should I do…?”
Darkness’s crying voice came from the toilet.
How’d this even happen? These ‘extraordinary circumstances’ that gave an excuse for everyone involved to walk away happy.
“All right, leave it to me. I’ll take them off for you.”
As soon as she saw me open the door, Darkness yelled out in panic.
“Hey, wait, wait! …Ugh, damn it, isn’t there any other way…? Hey Kazuma, at least shut the window curtain! If it’s a little darker, it won’t be that bad…!”
“Sorry, but I have a skill called Night Vision…”
“Ugh, really, why are things so convenient for you?! But I guess that’s why you’re so reliable during crises, so thank you very much!”
Having fallen into confusion, Darkness, who’d started crying for no reason gave up and thanked me.
She must be at her limit.
At that moment, inspiration struck Darkness and her expression brightened up.
“Steal! Kazuma, use Steal on me from across the door! Your sexual harassment-styled Steal will definitely snatch my underwear! You’ll end up seeing my underwear, but that’s much better than you reaching directly into my skirt and taking them off!”
I see, that was a good idea.
“I used most of my mana on your Bind, and after casting Freeze in the storage cabinet, I’m completely out.”
“I take back what I said about you being ‘reliable during crises’ and my thanks! Ahhh, really, you’re so…!!”
In the end, the plan turned into me tugging her panties down a little, then Darkness doing the rest against a wall.
The sound of friction was bothering me a lot, but I didn’t have to stay here any longer.
But just when I was about to leave…
“K-Kazuma! Kazuma, wait, don’t go! It, it’s not coming out…! What should I do? It’s not coming out…!”
Darkness’s pained voice came from inside.
No, that’s not something I can help her with.
Her body probably wasn’t working well because she held it in too long.
So, the only thing I can do was…!
I clapped my hands in a light beat and yelled:
“Go, go Darkness– Go, go Darkness– You can do it, Darkness–”
“Moron, what are you thinking?! It’s the paper! I can’t pull any toilet paper out!”
Oh, so that’s what she meant. Well, it’s an easy mistake to make.
The toilet paper in this world was usually made of things like rags or low-grade paper.
Paper in this world was expensive after all.
If I remembered correctly, only the richest of the rich used real toilet paper.
While wondering what the point of pulling out toilet paper was when she can’t use her hands anyway, I shouted:
“I’m opening the door then!”
Before I’d realized it, Megumin and Aqua were standing before the toilet.
“– Really, that’s so dumb of you two… We’ve stayed together this long, you know? We wouldn’t misunderstand even if we saw that.”
Megumin said exasperatedly. She’d understood everything after a simple explanation.
I really wish the other two would learn from her comprehension and sensibility.
Darkness slumped her body and muttered quietly when she saw Megumin:
“Ugh… I have no words…”
Started Megumin, as she passed amulets to Darkness and Aqua.
“Also. Messing around randomly like this is just our style, isn’t it?”
She smiled happily from the bottom of her heart.
Darkness and I smiled naturally too…
But this warm and harmonious atmosphere was frozen by Aqua, who just couldn’t read the mood.
“By the way, did you make it in time?”
Though I was curious about that too.
“She’s still not here yet…”
Megumin said she’d be coming to my room tonight, so I was anxiously waiting there.
Steeling my heart, I had bought some expensive wine for Aqua, the one who’d been spoiling my plans lately.
As for Darkness, I had bought high grade manatite, cast a powerful Bind on her, then knocked her down in her room.
With the way she was shouting about how much she should pay for this play while squirming around with a flushed face, she probably wouldn’t be able to move till morning.
As I was waiting uneasily, I heard a soft knock.
“Kazuma, are you there?”
“Oh, of course! P-P-Please come in!”
I was so nervous I started stuttering, but it seemed that Megumin was the same.
She was hugging the motionless Chomusuke to her chest, maybe in place of a pillow.
She gulped after entering my room.
“P-Pardon the intrusion… By the way, this is the first time I’ve come to your room at this hour.”
“Y-Yeah, that’s right! Even though we’ve lived under the same roof for over a year!”
Megumin didn’t get right to the point, she looked around my room instead.
It’s good that she’s interested in the things in my room, but it’ll be bad if she discovers that by accident. I hope she won’t touch anything inside my closet.
Megumin, who seemed a little unnerved, fell into silence.
Both of us felt a little awkward, so the silence continued for a while.
“I came at a time like this in order to tell you about that thing I mentioned before…”
Megumin seemed to have made up her mind; she hugged Chomusuke in her arms a little tighter.
She didn’t pay any attention to how weak Chomusuke was. Even her ears were turning red, and a crimson gleam was shining in her eyes…!
“What I want to tell you is…”
“What you want to tell me is?!”
I gulped and unconsciously leaned closer.
“Y-You’re too close, Kazuma! Hold on, there’s no need to rush!”
“I’m not anxious about this. And the distance doesn’t matter, just keep going!”
I urged her onward.
“What I want to tell you is… T-That’s right! I-It’s about this little guy!”
Megumin said as she handed Chomusuke over to me…
“I wanted to tell you this guy’s true identity in secret.”
“No you didn’t! You already came this far, you wimp! You keep talking about how incompetent I am and how I always get cold feet, but you’re a total wimp yourself!”
“I-I never said you were incompetent! And I really did want to tell you about this guy!”
“Liar! Megumin, you’re such a liar! You should be talking about something sweeter; why’d you leave me stewing in anticipation for so long?!”
After trying to push Chomusuke over to me, Megumin forced the topic with a flushed face.
“I never told you this before, but actually, this guy isn’t a normal cat.”
“I know that already! I saw this thing breath fire and fly!”
“… What are you talking about? It might not be a cat, but that doesn’t mean it can breathe fire or fly.”
“I’ve been saying it all this time, I saw it! D-Don’t look at me with pity like that! Ah, whatever, it’s fine either way!”
That’s right, instead of this cat of unknown origin, the matter of Megumin’s heart was much more important.
“Think carefully, isn’t there something else you want to tell me?! Hurry up and muster some courage!”
Megumin backed away toward the door bit by bit while I just as gradually moved toward her.
“Just say it! You’ve already said most of it, haven’t you?! You’ve already told me several times that you like me or you love me or something!”
“I didn’t mention love at all, don’t exaggerate!”
Feeling pressured by me, Megumin wasn’t just blushing out of agitation; even her eyes had a crimson glow.
She looked like she wanted to say something, but she swallowed it back.
In the end, she forcefully stuffed Chomusuke into my hands and said:
“You already did all of those things with Darkness during the day, how immoral are you?! Please just sleep with this guy for now!”
After countering with that line, she dashed out of my room.
During the day she acted like she didn’t care, but wasn’t she actually slightly bothered after all?
Sleep with this guy for now. Does that mean that one day I can sleep with someone aside from this little guy? Wait, no, the more important thing is…!
“You left me hanging again! Ahhh!”