Gifting the slacking adventurers with growth!
Editors: Adam, BlitzBlast, Cannongerbil, chosenone124, Skythewood, Xenthur, yuNS
Aqua sat on the rug with her arms around her knees as she looked at me.
Why has this girl been intently staring at me since this morning?
From my relationship with Megumin and Darkness, this was my period of popularity. Did this one fall for me too?
Could these be the eyes of a woman who likes a man?
I laid on the couch lazily and said to Aqua:
“… Why are you staring at me? Ah, you want this? You want to drink too?”
I said as I drank the entire champagne-like thing in my hand.
I wasn’t sure if I should describe it as fizzy or bubbly, the taste was weird.
According to Aqua, this wine was rather good. But I didn’t know how to appreciate wine, so I can’t really judge.
That might be so, but getting to drink such expensive wine in the morning was a privilege of the winners in life.
Aqua, who was staring at me, said:
“… Kazuma has become an amazing bum ever since the festival ended.”
Ara. So those weren’t eyes of admiration, but rather the gaze of someone looking at a bum.
But the me right now won’t waver or get angry because of something she said.
This was the magnanimity of a man who owns a huge mansion and made enough money to play for an entire lifetime at such a young age.
“Hey Aqua, what are you talking about? I’m a successful man, okay? What’s wrong with living a life that befits my station? I’ve got so much money in the bank that I can live off of just the interest alone, you know? Doing work is stupid. I’ll go adventuring when I’m in the mood and just play the rest of the time.”
After listening to what I said, Aqua mumbled “Oh, I see.”.
She then picked up the champagne I placed on the table.
“What you said seems to be true. I’ll have some high class Neroid too.”
“… Isn’t that champagne?”
“It’s Neroid. There’s no carbonic acid in this world. Basically, all fizzy beverages have Neroid mixed in.”
Aqua said as she went to fetch a glass.
Darkness and Megumin came over next.
… They were all dressed up and ready to go adventuring.
Darkness wore her full armor and Megumin held her usual staff.
When I saw this:
“Doing your daily Explosion? Be careful on your trip. By the way, can you buy dinner on the way back? I’ll give you the money after, I want something fried tonight.”
I said to them while I laid on the couch.
Megumin and Darkness stared at me.
Those were the eyes of someone looking at a guy they loved.
“… Darkness, what should we do about this man who’s drinking wine idly so early in the morning?”
“… Let’s find a place and throw him out.”
… Guess I was wrong again.
Those were gazes of someone looking at a guy they no longer loved.
“You people are really… I’ll make this clear: I don’t need to work anymore. Why do people work? To make money, right? But I’ve secured enough wealth to splurge my entire life. Then what’s wrong with indulging myself for the rest of my life? I’m not bothering anyone.”
I said as I snacked on the peas that went with the wine.
Darkness sighed deeply.
“How pitiful… Not working because you have money? If everyone thought that way, the world wouldn’t function properly. Even if you have enough money to live for your entire life, it’s your obligation as a person to contribute to the world.”
I mumbled to Darkness who said those grand words:
“You nobles spend your days in the same way too.”
“H-How Insolent! Don’t look down on nobles! You might think we’re not doing anything, but the nobles are giving it their all so the people can live peacefully. You have the power to do something for the citizens too, right? Don’t just think about the money, how about doing it for the people you love? Even just defeating monsters that are a threat to humanity will be better than idling here…”
I turned my back to Darkness who was saying such grand things and buried my face into the back of the couch.
Darkness shouted when she saw that, but I ignored her.
In her long aristocratic life, this was probably the first time she was treated this way in the middle of such a passionate speech.
My name’s Satou Kazuma.
A man who won’t bend before authority.
When Darkness who was part of the authoritative class told me to work, it was my obligation to resist defiantly.
Darkness was probably infuriated by my attitude and took large strides my way.
She then pulled the back of my shirt.
“Kazuma, enough talk, let’s go. Your skills will dull if you laze around every day. Let’s go together and… T-This guy! Hey, let go! Stop resisting!”
Darkness was serious about dragging me out as I grabbed onto the couch tightly…!
At this moment, Megumin stopped her.
“It’s fine Darkness, leave it to me… Kazuma, do show us your energetic side sometimes. Can you let me see your cool and reliable face during a crucial moment?”
Megumin squatted beside me as I was grabbing on to the couch and smiled gently.
I glanced at her.
Then turned my head to the couch again and grabbed on.
Megumin uttered a sound as if she’d suffered a heavy blow.
My name’s Satou Kazuma.
A man who won’t lose sight of the true nature of things because of a moment of impulse.
I won’t give in so easily. Not even if it is Megumin with whom things been progressing nicely.
My schedule for the day is very tight. For example, I’ll drink until I’m slightly dizzy and sleep until evening, then go walk around at night after dinner.
I tightly held on to the couch and looked at the two of them in such a position.
“… Monsters are a threat to humans, so we subjugate them when they’re discovered, but those that are beneficial to us are left alone. I hate such an arrogant way of thinking. Humans are intelligent beings; we can treat them in a gentler manner. I hope you two can remember the kindness you had when you were a child too.”
After telling the two of them that… I picked up a pea and popped it into my mouth, then turned to the back of the couch again…
“Y-you were also maniacally looking for high bounty monsters back when you were in debt! Don’t just spout pretty words during such moments!”
“That’s right! You’ve been so keen on buying the high class food Onion Ducks because they can raise your level without any effort recently, and you dare say this now? Darkness, you pull that side! Let’s pry him away!”
Darkness grabbed my legs while Megumin stuck closely to my back and grabbed my waist in an attempt to peel me off the couch.
I felt the body warmth of Megumin on my back and said:
“Hey, stick your chest closer to my back. If you do that, my hands that are holding on to the couch might loosen a little.”
“You’re the worst! This guy’s really the worst! Darkness, let’s tie him up and drag him to the guild!”
“H-How about we really find a place and dump this guy there…?”
The two of them said as they attempted to pry me away from the couch.
At this moment, Aqua came over with a tray in hand, an empty glass, simple snacks and something like a lime on it.
“… Is this a new game? Tell me the rules.”
“That’s not it! We’re talking about taking on a subjugation quest together. But Kazuma’s throwing a fit and says he isn’t going… Aqua, don’t get poisoned by this man too…”
Darkness showed a troubled expression when she saw the tray that Aqua was holding.
… Saying I’m poisonous is rude. Or rather, Aqua’s always been like this.
Aqua tilted her head, then picked the lime on the tray and popped it into her mouth. She showed a really sour face.
“Is that so? I don’t mind going, but I think it’ll be really difficult to drag Kazuma out of the mansion, now that he is in his scum hikikomori mode after the festival ended. How about leaving the Kazuma who’s the weakest and has the worst job at home and going by ourselves?”
– She said something I couldn’t ignore.
I jumped up because of Aqua’s unintentional words.
“… Hey! You’ve got guts to say that, Aqua-san who has a top tier job. Think about it logically. I’m the strongest one in the team, and you’re still saying I have the weakest job? Even though it’s meaningless to compare who’s strong and who’s weak as we perform different functions in the team, it still irks me when the weakest top tier job holder says that about me.”
I turned around and decided to make this point clear.
Aqua was making a very sour face, but she still popped a second lime into her mouth.
“Ara. So Kazuma, you think you’re the strongest one here? Your skills might be convenient and can take down people like Darkness easily with Drain Touch… But have you forgotten? A lich skill like Drain Touch will only work if I’m not paying attention. Do you really think you can do anything to me?”
“Hey wait, I’m not that weak. In order to defend against Drain Touch and magic attacks, I’ve strengthened my resistance against abnormal status and increased my magical defense…”
Aqua, who had a lime in her mouth, said such provocative words.
I’d be an idiot if I fell for her taunt.
It might be moronic, but I still need to settle this.
“Hey Aqua, do you think I’m a man with just one weapon, Drain Touch? She might be tough, but a mob character like Darkness who can’t land her attacks isn’t a match for me anyway. I’m the great Kazuma who can use all kinds of skills, you know? I have all sorts of spells and skills, including long distance sniping and close quarter sword attacks. Do you think you stand a chance?”
“Hey! Even if I can’t hit anything, I’m confident of my stamina and endurance! If I drag out the battle, I won’t lose to you…!”
Aqua twitched her brow when she heard me.
She then placed the tray on her hand onto the table.
“Ara ara. Looks like you’re misunderstanding something, Kazuma-san. My job might be an Archpriest, but with my high stats, I can take on any job I wish except for mages, okay? You can use swords and bows a little? If I cast support magic on myself and fight hand to hand with you, Kazuma won’t even last a minute. Ah, also…”
Aqua flicked her long blue hair and continued confidently:
“I remember you learned something like Bind, right? Regrettably, only people on Darkness’s standard will be caught by that skill. I have a spell called Break Spell that can negate all magic and skills. I’ve spent a long time with you, Kazuma. Do you think your little tricks will work on me?”
“Hey… It’s true that I can’t move if I get hit by Bind. However, … By the way Aqua, if you can do that, shouldn’t you’ve used that spell when I was bound earlier…?”
I said to Aqua who was showing a fearless smile with no hesitation:
“… All right, let’s have a match.”
In the corner of my eyes, Megumin was patting the shoulders of Darkness, whose face had become red and depressed.
The adventurer’s guild I hadn’t visited for so long.
How long has it been?
I saw a few familiar faces, and they waved at me when they saw me.
I walked past the blonde delinquent who laid drunkenly on the table in broad daylight, and headed for the notice board where the requests were posted.
Aqua, who was beside me stared at the notice board, searched for a prey suitable for our match.
We couldn’t just fight like that, so we decided to compete to see who could hunt more monsters.
Megumin was the judge.
It’s a bit hard for Aqua who didn’t have a weapon to fight monsters bare handed, so a Darkness was given to her.
Darkness, who was given as a complimentary gift, was about to cry.
As it was a match of numbers, it was better to choose monsters that congregated in crowds.
It wasn’t their breeding period yet, so the frogs don’t surface often. Even if they did, they would be subjugated in no time.
In that case, a suitable quest would be…
At this moment, I heard Aqua mumbles:
“… Subjugating a pair of manticores. A request to repel a subtype of wyvern building its nest on a rocky mountain… They all lack impact…”
Looks like I have got to be the one to decide the quest.
… And then, I saw a notice.
‘Subjugation of Rookie Killer and goblins’
– Rookie Killer, a monster that had some history with us.
It’s said that only those who defeat this strong enemy can be called mid-level adventurers, and it’s an adversary that gave me a hard fight in the past.
But our levels were no longer that of a Rookie.
And we’ve fought enemies stronger than Rookie Killers several times.
This was a revenge match.
I was already a veteran adventurer, but I’ve yet to defeat this fellow.
I tore down the notice and showed it to them.
The three of them immediately frowned, their faces full of reluctance.
They probably had some deep psychological trauma because of it.
When they joined another team, it took them everything they had to escape from this monster.
“This thing will use a weak group of monsters as bait to lure in rookie adventurers, right? We’ll compete and see who can kill the most number of goblins that are protected by this thing. Also, the one who defeats the Rookie Killer will win huge bonus points, all right? We’re already veterans… How about we show it who’s boss?”
After hearing what I said.
The three of them smiled confidently this time.
– The place where the Rookie Killer was sighted.
A forest that was rather far from town.
A zone where there weren’t enough trees to call it a forest, a group of armed demi-humans seemed to be there–goblins.
A Rookie Killer was reported to be around the area, protecting them.
The sly monster that uses the weak goblin that gives high bounty as bait for rookie adventurers doesn’t seem to be around.
“The goblins are here! I can kill an enemy of this level in a second with my God Blow!”
As Aqua said, these goblins were digging at the roots of the trees to unearth yam-like things or hitting the fruits hanging on the trees as they forage for food.
Goblins, which were the mascot character for monsters, were performing such actions.
We hid in the shade of the trees to observe them and slowly closed in on them.
But there were only three goblins.
I said to the confident Aqua beside me:
“Weren’t you helpless against the frogs in the past?”
“The rubbery stomach of the frogs can absorb impact. Everything in this world has compatibility, you know? Kazuma, you don’t even know that? Are you stupid?”
I pulled Aqua’s cheeks and made her show a face on the verge of tears.
The goblins seemed to have noticed us.
Damn it, it’s all because of the noise from doing dumb things.
Two of the goblins looked fearful when they saw us fully armed, but still took a stance.
The remaining goblin let loose a piercing scream.
It’s better to finish them before the Rookie Killer shows up.
As I was thinking about that––
“All right. Goblin subjugation, begin!”
Megumin gave the signal and moved a distance away from us.
“Watch carefully, Kazuma! It’s just three goblins, I’ll finish them off easily!”
Aqua rambled noisily as she excitedly charged into the goblins.
Her body was glowing faintly, probably because she casted some support spells on herself.
Darkness chased after Aqua in her heavy gear, her armor clanking loudly.
I watched them go casually, then raised my bow…!
I sniped the head of the goblin that was about to attack Aqua.
As Aqua and Darkness were stunned…!
I was twenty meters away from the goblins.
From this distance, I shouldn’t miss if I use Snipe.
Aqua and Darkness charged first, but I finished off the three goblins before them.
“Hey Kazuma! What’s the meaning of killing the goblins that I was about to kill?”
Aqua started harassing me.
“If I kill off the monsters you lay your eyes on first, I’ll never lose.”
Aqua and Darkness yelled at the same time.
“How despicable!” x2
– Dashing through the trees.
“Ah, wait! I see a shadow there! You can’t escape from my eyes, Kazuma!”
I listened to the voice behind me.
“Stealing my prey every time! How annoying! Come out and fight properly!”
As I searched aimlessly in the forest.
The score right now was me 8, my opponent 0.
I hid behind them with Lurk and happily stole their kills. The two of them drew in the goblins while I sniped from a safe spot.
I adopted a perfect tactic, but my two opponents got mad for unknown reasons and were chasing me around in circles.
Resorting to violence just because they can’t win, how despicable.
Although she was wearing heavy armor, I couldn’t shake Darkness off my tail; she was probably strengthened by Aqua’s support spell.
It didn’t feel like much usually, but it was troublesome when support spells were casted on the enemy.
As I escaped using my Lurk skills, I spilled water on the floor with magic and froze it.
I then turned off my Lurk for a moment.
This might be a primitive trap, but…
“Ah, I found you Kazuma! You’re just standing there motionlessly, brace yourself…. Uwah!”
“T-There you are Kazuma! Hah… Hah… I-I’ll get my revenge today!”
I said to the two who slipped on the ice and fell hard–
“Serves you right!!”
I mocked them loudly, which caused Aqua to jump up with a fierce expression.
“Darkness, let’s surround this man! Beat him up! Surround him and give him a good beating!”
After hearing Aqua’s words, Darkness got up clumsily from the frozen ground.
“… We chased so hard, but we’re getting beat so one-sidedly… It’s vexing, but… I think it isn’t too bad. Am I weird…?”
Yes, you are.
“… Really, what are you all doing? Don’t forget about hunting goblins.”
When I heard what Megumin said, I activated my Enemy Detection skill and scanned for goblins in the vicinity…
“So you’re not running anymore, Kazuma? Anyway, apologize. I’ll think about how to punish you later, hikikomori dog!”
“Wait, we’re surrounded.”
That was expected.
We’d been yelling as we chased each other, after all. It was like saying ‘please attack us’ to them.
After hearing what I said, Aqua and Darkness seemed to realize this wasn’t the time to play around.
I could see goblins between the trees.
There were more than ten, not a number I can handle by myself.
On top of that…
The goblins surrounded us from afar.
A black beast seemed to be announcing that it was their protector as it swaggered toward us from the midst of the goblins.
– Rookie Killer.
We’ll defeat this thing that has some history with us and glamorously become veteran adventurers.
Even though we were in the midst of quarreling, our thoughts were in sync.
Darkness went in front to pull all the aggro to herself.
She took up the most prominent position, and used her ‘Decoy’ skill, turning herself into bait.
“All right Kazuma, I’ll reluctantly cast buffing spells on you.”
Aqua said as she cast magic onto me.
My body immediately emitted light and I could feel my physical abilities increase.
All right, this will work.
Darkness was on defense, and Aqua took care of healing.
And I was responsible for dealing damage.
Each of us had our own job.
There was no need to decide who was the strongest.
I should reflect on this for letting the heat get to my head.
I nocked an arrow onto my bow and stood to the back right of Darkness.
“Don’t worry, I won’t fire into your back. I’ll be counting on you, Darkness.”
“I’m the one counting on you. I won’t let any of them pass; I’ll leave the attacking to you.”
Darkness stabbed her great sword onto the ground, using it to steady her footing, and said all that without turning back.
Just looking at that reliable back made me feel that it wouldn’t be a problem no matter what kind of powerful enemy assaulted us.
“I’ll heal you if you’re hurt Darkness, so don’t worry! Go, we’ll definitely take out that beast this time!”
Aqua, who retreated to the back left of Darkness, puffed her chest out as if she were saying “this formation’s invincible”.
I turned to Megumin and said:
“Hey Megumin. You said at the mansion earlier that you wanted to see my amazing performance and my cool side during crucial moments, right? I’ll show it to you! If we work together, no matter who the enemy…”
With a loud boom, the shock wave radiated out to the surroundings.
Before I finished my cool lines, she abruptly unleashed her spell. That overly brutal force wasn’t satisfied with just pulling the goblins and the Rookie Killers in.
Darkness, at the fore of the formation, was blown away despite her heavy armor and stuck her sword onto the ground to stabilize herself.
Even I, who was behind her, couldn’t do anything about the shockwave and was pressed onto the ground.
… Lying face down on the ground, I lifted my head and looked toward the miserable sight.
The goblins and Rookie Killer were gone.
Darkness probably hit her head when she was blown away and was lying motionless, her eye whites showing.
“Bleh… Bleh… My mouth’s full of sand…”
Aqua, who was lying prone next to me, whimpered.
And beside me, the mastermind who created all this mess was lying on her back.
The culprit said without remorse:
“I couldn’t resist the Crimson Demon instincts of stealing the limelight. Now, it’s confirmed that I’m the strongest in the team, right?”
“You little-! I was thinking that you’ve been really docile recently, then you pull this stunt! Aren’t you the judge?”
On one of the days where we were spending our time as usual.
The morning rays shone through the window and the dust in the air sparkled.
“It’s a rare sight seeing you up at such an hour. What’s the occasion? Going on a quest?”
In this refreshing morning, Darkness was holding a book as she drank tea at the dining table. She sounded surprised as I descended the stairs to the living room.
“I just haven’t slept yet, it’s hot nowadays after all. During such times, it’d be best if I made the room really cold and slept until evening.”
“I-Is that so? It’s great that you’re the same as usual. By the way, it’s the same as the time you went to that mission; recently, you haven’t done any maintenance on your weapons or armor at all. You’ve completely lost the bearing of an adventurer.”
To be frank, I think I was looking less and less like an adventurer as the days passed.
“Personally, I think it’s fine even if I retire. The next step will be working as a merchant of all sorts, living an easy life from the margins I make in business.”
“Will it kill you to not periodically utter nonsense? I’ve never heard of anyone retiring from adventuring in their teens without taking an arrow to the knee.”
Megumin, who was sipping on her after meal tea, said resignedly.
Ignoring what she said, I pulled out the newspaper sticking out from the mailbox at the entrance.
“Whatever. In the end, an accomplished adventurer like me will read the newspaper and take note of world events while recharging my batteries; this is for the good of the town.”
I sat on the couch and flipped the newspaper open as I said that–
“Hey Kazuma, let me read it first. I just want to read the comics, I’m curious what happened to the Winter Shogun who was chasing after the abducted snow fairies in the last issue.”
“Wait, I’m curious about that comic too. I came downstairs just for that, all right?”
Megumin was dumbstruck as she watched Aqua and I fighting over the comic, as if she had something to say.
At this moment, I saw a piece of news.
“‘The Demon King’s general moved to the frontlines, the battle is intensifying. The capital is in danger’–? Hey, that’s dangerous. Will my sister Iris be okay?”
“Don’t treat Princess Iris as your sister, impudent fool! – Crisis in the capital? Let me read that.”
I handed the newspaper to Darkness, who read it with an expression more serious than I’ve ever seen.
“It seems that the forward fortress near the capital’s being attacked by a general of the Demon King’s army. The paper says that the general is an evil god that can use terrible spells.”
Megumin stood up when she heard Darkness’s words.
“What’s the matter Megumin? …. Ah, the term evil god must’ve tugged on your heart strings. After all, you did say something stupid about you being an evil god in your past life.”
“I was probably an evil god in my previous life, but that’s not what I want to talk about! It’s that I probably know that evil god…”
Right then, Aqua, who snatched the newspaper from Darkness to read the comics, frowned.
“I don’t know what this evil god is, but anyone proclaiming to be a god will receive divine retribution.”
“Aren’t you proclaiming to be a goddess too?”
As I took on Aqua who threw the papers my way and pounced on me, Megumin picked up the newspaper and said softly:
“The Demon King’s general who drastically changed the battle, evil god Wolbach–”
The next morning.
During the cool night when I was about to sneak into my blanket and sleep, someone came and disturbed my blissful time.
“Kazuma, are you awake? The sun just rose, so you should be, right? Come, let’s go to the capital together, Kazuma! It’s now time for us to make an appearance!”
Megumin, who was in high spirits early in the morning, opened my door.
I poked my head out of the blanket and said:
“… Are you acting up again? Just having a weird name and acting weirdly should be enough. What do you want to do in the capital? I’m not bragging, but it’ll be terrible if I go to the capital. I can’t say why, but if I can go to the capital, I would’ve already moved there to be near my sister.”
“You’re talking nonsense about your sister or something… No, forget about that. That’s right, this concerns your sister Iris! If this goes on, she’ll be in danger! Kazuma, is this the extent of your love for your sister?”
When I heard Megumin saying such unexpected passionate words, I couldn’t help sitting up.
“I thought you didn’t get along with Iris. But that’s not actually true, is it? You’re talking about the news on the papers yesterday, huh? I’d be lying if I say I’m not worried about Iris, but the opponent is a general. Even if I go…”
And it’s an evil god on top of that.
Unlike the generals we’ve fought in the past, this one truly had the feeling of a final boss.
Then again, I knew the capability of that person proclaiming to be a goddess, so it might not be a big deal.
When she heard what I said, Megumin said something unrealistic with ragged breath:
“I’m very bothered by the general of the Demon King’s army known as an evil god. You see, didn’t I tell you about Chomusuke’s true identity last time? It’s just my gut feeling, but I think Chomusuke’s that evil god.”
“I just saw that evil god of yours being chased around by a chick.”
I didn’t believe her in the slightest, and Megumin said with a serious expression:
“I’m not asking you to fight with the Demon King’s general, Kazuma. Please, I need to resolve this. You just need to accompany me and stay by my side.”
“Absolutely not, why must I go to such a dangerous place? Do you really understand? Just being in the frontlines is dangerous. And on top of that, the enemy is an evil god, you know? It’s not something like the slime or undead we’ve faced. An evil god’s in the realm of final bosses.”
In response to my immediate answer–
“… I know; I already knew Kazuma would say that. We did spend so much time together, after all. I’m already very familiar with this well before we took the Rookie Killer quest.”
Megumin’s cheek blushed a little and she looked at me sitting on my bed.
“Really, it can’t be helped. How about this, if Kazuma comes with me… Um. When everything’s settled, I’ll spend a night in your room…”
After she said that in a barely audible voice, she shyly pulled down her hat to cover her face.
“All right, all right. I want to sleep now; we can discuss this tomorrow.”
Maybe because she was really confident, my reply hit her really hard and her face turned stiff.
My answer was probably out of her expectations; Megumin started panicking.
“W-Wait. I just resolved myself and said something incredible.”
“… How many times did you think I had been fooled? Do you think that I’m that easy to tackle? Just like Darkness who wanted me to fight a high bounty monster with just a kiss, all of you overestimate yourselves too much.”
Megumin’s expression turned stiff with surprise.
“Don’t think that I’m a normal virgin in puberty. You two might have the looks, but your personality’s a huge minus. If you’re aware of that, then you should provide better service.”
After what happened recently that night, I won’t be fooled again.
After hearing my firm reply, Megumin started trembling.
“What, you’re still holding a grudge about that night? You were so eager when I flirted with you a little recently, and you’re putting on a strong front now?”
“I-I-I’m not that eager, you’re just imagining it! When did I ever say I that I have a thing for you?”
Men were creatures that’d fall for the other party when they see girls express interest in themselves.
That’s right, that was the condition I was in recently.
I was almost tricked, but I’m not such a simple man.
She was just part of the group of regrettable girl who only had looks.
“You’re really the worst! What do you mean by that? Did you plan to spend the night with a girl you don’t like in the slightest? You were so excited back then!”
“T-T-That’s not it, moron! I thought there’d be some kind of trick back then and never expected anything from the start, so don’t think too highly of yourself, you loli!”
Megumin pounced on me!
– After Megumin and I strangled each other for a while, my head was completely clear, and I gave up on sleeping, opting to lie on the couch to read the papers from today.
“Kyouya Mitsurugi is the number three in the adventurers ranking? What kind of joke is this? That trash is ranked so high but I’m unranked? Which news company published this? I want to protest!”
Darkness, who was cuddling Emperor Zell together with Aqua, showed a taunting smile and said to me who was raging about being unranked:
“That’s the ranking for adventurers who’re active in the capital. It’s impossible for someone like you who shuts himself in this town to make it in. The only way to make the rankings is to be active in the front lines. How about going there to help? I’m bored with all the paperwork I’ve had to do recently and don’t mind coming along, you know?”
Seems like this girl was in cahoots with Megumin.
After Darkness made her obvious taunts–
“That’s right, what Darkness said is true. You want to make the rankings? You want to be famous? Then let’s head to the battlefield and defeat the general of the Demon King’s Army!”
Megumin grabbed the opportunity and said.
I ignored them and threw the topic to Aqua, who was attempting to train Emperor Zell by saying ‘Shake! Emperor Zell, shake!’ but was pecked in the hand.
“Hey Aqua, talk some sense to these two. They said they want to protect the fortress at the frontline. We never meet anything good when we go on trips, but they’ve yet to learn this lesson. You oppose fighting the Demon King’s general, right?”
Unlike the two who were all hyped up about fighting powerful foes, this girl was just like me definitely understood my thinking.
But my assumption was overturned by unexpected words.
“I’m okay with that. The general’s troubling others, right? How could the beautiful and impartial Aqua-sama abandon the people in the mortal world who’re seeking salvation?”
What’s wrong with this girl, did she eat something weird?
Megumin and Darkness were surprised too, and looked at Aqua worryingly.
“What’s with you all of a sudden? Normally, you’re the first one to refuse in tears when we encounter such things.”
“That’s only natural; monsters that can be seen anywhere don’t require my presence, right? The opponent this time is an evil god, an arrogant being that dares proclaim to be a god without even sending me a greeting. As the founder of the Axis Cult, I have to teach him a lesson.”
Looking at Aqua who was sprouting the lines of a delinquent whose territory had been disturbed, I felt that things were really bad.
“I won’t do it, definitely not. The opponent’s always a general of the Demon King’s army, who can take on such a thing? In the end, there are tons of adventurers more powerful than us, right? Why not leave the capital to those guys? Why are you so eager to seek your death?”
“Don’t be so difficult; stop being stubborn and accept your fate. It’ll be fine, I’ll finish it in one shot! You don’t need to worry this time, just come along just in case!”
“Don’t you think our formation doesn’t have a ‘just in case’? Think about all our past experiences; if you’re sure there won’t be any problems then go! … Hey, don’t look away, look at me!!”
I grabbed the chin of Megumin who turned her face away, trying to force her face this way even if I needed to do it forcefully. At this point.
The door at the entrance opened after a timid knock.
“H-Hello everyone… Um, I found this child so I brought it back…”
At the door was Yunyun, holding Chomusuke.
“Please have some tea.”
“Th-Thank you… Um, Aqua-san. This…”
“It might be cheap, but the tea tastes nice, right? I’ve been drinking this recently; I bought it with the allowance Kazuma gave me.”
“Ah… Yes, um, this is tasty…”
Yunyun held the tea Aqua made for her and nodded with a baffled expression.
I took a glance and found the water to be clear…
No, this was just hot water.
Although Aqua brewed tea as a show of hospitality, she turned the tea into water by accident.
Yunyun was probably concerned about the feelings of the satisfied-looking Aqua and finished the water in the cup to destroy the evidence. She then picked up the motionless Chomusuke with both hands and gave it to me with a troubled look.
“Um, when I was taking a stroll in the park nearby, I found Chomusuke caught and being bullied by kids, so I took it into custody…”
The mysterious fur-ball that had a pair of small wings was the perfect toy for mischievous kids.
Seeing the still Chomusuke, I whispered to Megumin beside me:
“Hey, your evil god was chased by a chick, and now it’s being bullied by kids.”
“Y-Yunyun, you came at the right time! It’s not a big matter, but the situation’s now a little bad!”
Megumin passed the newspaper to Yunyun as if she wanted to muddle through my comment.
Yunyun showed a cautious face to the term ‘bad’ and took the papers reluctantly.
“Let me see… The daily serialization comic of Jack Frost’s journey. Pen pal recruitment column? Hey Megumin, could you give me this newspaper if you don’t need it anymore? Just giving me the pen pal recruitment will be enough.”
“Just what are you looking at? Here! Look at this article!”
Megumin snatched the papers and flipped to the report in question for her.
Although skeptical at first, Yunyun suddenly had a dramatic reaction.
“Hmm–? W-Wait! Megumin, this is…”
“Y-You’re reacting too much this time, Yunyun! The article’s not that bad!”
“No, I’m not overreacting at all! The evil god Wolbach is the one that was sealed in our village–”
“Shh! You’re too loud!”
“I think I heard something incredible just now.”
“You misheard, Kazuma. This girl will say weird things sometimes, that’s why she was ostracized in Crimson Demon village.”
Megumin averted her face when she heard what I said. Yunyun became agitated because of her words.
“W-Wait! You’re the one who’s weird, Megumin! Never mind that, listen to me Kazuma-san! This evil god Wolbach was sealed in our village in the past. The seal was undone one day and Megumin willfully made that evil god into her familiar behind everyone else’s back…”
“S-Stop! Don’t spread the ills of the Crimson Demons, we need to subjugate the fake one that is proclaiming to be the evil god and making a ruckus in the capital, then pretend nothing happened!”
I watched as Megumin frantically tried to cover Yunyun’s mouth, and said to Darkness, who was pressing her temple:
“Hey Darkness, use your connections to borrow that magic item which will ring when it detects a lie from the police station.”
“I-I’ll be right back. Ah, I hope we won’t unearth more incredulous facts…”
“I-I didn’t do anything wrong! Lawyer! I demand a lawyer!”
Megumin, who was subdued by Yunyun and Aqua, yelled as Darkness walked out with an expression on the verge of tears.
– A few hours later.
After getting the lie detecting magic item, we surrounded Megumin whose hands were tied as she knelt on the rug.
“All right. Please answer honestly… So, why’s the evil god Wolbach mentioned in the news?”
“Actually, Yunyun and I have had some run-ins with this evil god. That’s why we were concerned and researched on the evil god in the village… Wolbach seems to be the evil god that’s the patron of Sloth and Violence.”
Hearing these unbelievable words, I looked at the magic item.
But the magic item didn’t ring. Yunyun, who was also a Crimson Demon, seemed to know about this and kept quiet.
“Why’s something that incredible sealed in the Crimson Demon Village?”
“A long time ago, our ancestors fought the evil god in an intense battle that lasted over several days and succeeded in sealing it. After that, they brought the evil god to the Crimson Demon Village to guard over it.”
The magic item rang immediately.
“… Someone said ‘the place where the evil god’s sealed sounds cool’, so they wilfully kidnapped the evil god that was sealed by people in the past, resealed it in a corner of the village, and made it a scenic point.”
The magic item didn’t react to her explanation.
In response to my words, not just Megumin, even Yunyun averted her eyes.
Darkness who’d been holding her head all this while said:
“That doesn’t matter, we can’t do anything about the past. Now we know how the evil god was sealed in the Crimson Demon village. Anyway, why did that seal break? Who undid the seal?”
“It was probably the evil god who manipulated its minions to undo the seal so it could regain its original power and destroy humanity…”
We gazed at her wordlessly and Megumin lowered her head as if she’d given up.
“… My sister undid it while playing.”
“Wait? Hey Megumin, this is the first time I’ve heard of this!”
Yunyun screamed when she heard Megumin’s confession, but…
Megumin was surprised that the lie detector rang for some reason.
But she understood it shortly after–
“That’s right! The seal of the evil god was undone twice. I undid it by accident the first time, and things worked out so well because of the help of an onee-san who happened to pass by. My sister broke the seal the second time.”
After she said that and confirmed that the magic item didn’t ring, Megumin nodded in satisfaction.
“What is this!!”
“W-What are you doing? S-Stop! I’ll answer honestly, so calm down!”
“You Crimson Demons are always making a mess.”
I sighed as I watched the two demons wrestle on the floor. At this moment, Aqua excitedly picked up the magic item for some reason.
“Megumin, Megumin, do you like the Axis Cult or do you hate it? Cecily from my church said that you have some history with the Axis Cult and might join if I push you more forcefully.”
“I won’t join no matter how much you pressure me! Cecily-san’s always giving me trouble and I don’t want anything to do with that mob of problematic people. If you ask me, of course I hate…”
Aqua’s expression blossomed the instant she saw the magic item ring, while Megumin shyly averted her gaze.
“… The cultists did take care of me in the past, so I don’t really hate…”
After seeing Aqua use the lie detector in an awesome way, I felt moved.
I always thought she was an idiot, but she might actually be a genius.
“Hey Megumin, what do you think about us? Answer in terms of like or hate.”
“Yeah, I want to ask too. You even made amulets for everyone the other time, so how do you feel about us?”
“… W-What, there’s no need to answer these sort of questions… Hey, don’t look at me with such a devious smile!”
Seeing us toy with Megumin with the magic item, Yunyun stroked Chomusuke’s back and said as if she just remembered something:
“Um. This little one should be the sealed evil god, but the news stated the name Wolbach, so what’s going on…?”
I turned to look at the magic item. It didn’t ring like I expected.
“Wait, I just heard something incredible. This thing is that evil god? Chomusuke’s the evil god?”
“I already told you. This little one is an evil god and also my familiar. I was wondering what the Demon King’s general is thinking, pretending to be this little one.”
After Yunyun, Megumin also said something to the same effect, but the magic item still remained dormant.
“Hey, this cute thing here’s actually the evil god? Is the magic item broken?”
As a cat lover, I hope Chomusuke that I’d been brushing and playing with wasn’t such a horrific existence.
Aqua remembered something and abruptly said:
“Hey Kazuma, I’ve always thought that you’re a wonderful person with a gentle heart, and I’ve always felt deep gratitude for you.”
“Hey, what are you saying all of a sudden? Are you trying to get on my good side because my period of popularity here? Even if you compliment me so exaggeratedly, I won’t give you allowance…”
Aqua gave a satisfied nod as she looked at the ringing magic item.
“No problem, the magic item’s working just fine.”
“All right, let’s take it outside. You’ve been looking down on me recently, looks like I need to teach you a lesson.”
As I stood up, ready to grab Aqua.
Megumin who’d been kneeling on the rug suddenly lowered her head and said:
“… Kazuma, sorry, but I need your help. Could you go with me? Actually, Chomusuke has been a kidnap target plenty of times, and I think the person in the news won’t let this go so easily. As its owner, I want to dispose of the self-proclaimed evil god calling itself Wolbach.”
The hot tempered Megumin who doesn’t like to ask for favors lowered her head as she pleaded.
The opponent was a general of the Demon King’s army who was powerful enough to change the tide of the battle alone.
To be frank, I don’t want to go. Even so…
“… Can’t you go?”
When I saw Megumin looking up at me timidly with red eyes that had a flicker of uneasiness.
I felt that I was too much of a pushover.
This was the only reply I could make.
“You really are helpless without me!”
The day after I accepted Megumin’s request:
I needed some time to make preparations for the long expedition and told everyone that we would set off tomorrow. I then sat on the couch cross-legged, using my crafting skills to make something.
Darkness also sat on the couch and watched me, intrigued. Aqua, who sat on my other side, said:
“Hey Kazuma, what’s that?”
“Something I bought from Wiz’s shop, a potion that’ll explode on impact.”
Darkness got up in a panic after hearing what I said and took a step back together with Aqua.
My materials were laid scattered on the table.
There was paper, a dropper, and a special type of soil that can absorb a lot of liquid and ignite easily. It seems to be formed from the decomposing matter of a certain plant.
I’d been using the dropper to transfer the potion that’d explode on impact onto the soil on top of the paper.
Aqua backed away slowly as she uneasily asked:
“H-Hey… Why are you making something so scary? What do you plan to do with that?”
I gently positioned the bottle in my hand away from me.
And placed it gently on the floor.
“I always thought that this was something like a potion, but it’ll explode when it touches fire too. A single drop will explode when exposed to fire, so I was thinking if this is similar to nitrates.”
We’ll be going to a dangerous battlefield where a Demon King’s general was.
The frontlines where even the adventurers with cheats couldn’t get any advantages.
When Darkness was forced to marry the landlord Alderp, I thought about reproducing a certain thing in this world.
But I couldn’t find anything to replace nitrates back then, so I had to make a replica that only looked similar.
And the replica was thrown away by Megumin after I finished it.
I said to Aqua and Darkness who were looking at me with a confused look:
“I can make something with this. What kind of enemy will we face at our destination tomorrow? If I can make this, it’ll become our trump card in the future.”
After she heard me, Aqua looked at the materials on the table and seemed to have figured out what I was making.
That’s right, it’s that famous…
“I see, it’s summer now. The Japanese blood in Kazuma’s body is urging you to make sparklers.”
Darkness asked confusedly:
“Sparklers? Dynamite? I’ve never heard of them. What are they used for?”
I handed the three sticks I completed to Darkness, who was tilting her head in confusion.
The one I almost completed was thrown away by Megumin, but I still tried making a few when I was bored. Right now, I was rushing to finish it for the expedition tomorrow.
Aqua picked up the imitation dynamite I just completed and inspected it curiously.
She then covered it with both hands.
Aqua placed the imitation dynamite on the table.
It was obviously two sizes smaller…
I snatched the dynamite shrank by Aqua. This wasn’t like the magic of some comedian on variety shows; it really physically turned smaller.
“You…! I spent so much time making it. What did you do to it? What can I do with this? Can you turn it back? And can this still be used?”
“It definitely can’t be turned back.”
Aqua, who performed this trick out of nowhere, showed no signs of remorse when she said that.
“Do you understand? I’m making this for the expedition tomorrow. You’re quite good with your hands, make one to compensate for the one you spoiled.”
“If I make some… For every three sticks, one will turn small, okay?”
“Why? Are you hiding a shrinking gun on you?”
I couldn’t bear throwing the miniaturized dynamite away either, so I tried stuffing it into my pocket. It was small and convenient, which irked me even more.
I’ll have no complaints if it can still be used like this.
Darkness, who was observing the finished product, ignored our arguments to pick one up and curiously asked:
“So, what exactly is this thing?”
“I’ll show it to you after lunch, you’ll definitely be surprised. Especially Megumin.”
I confidently said.
“Time for lunch, tidy up the table and wash your hands… What’s the matter? Why’s everyone staring at me like that?”
Megumin who was cooking today brought out lunch on a tray and had a baffled expression.
– Far away from the city, on a hill with lots of boulders.
This seemed to be the spot recommended by Megumin for her Explosion strolls.
“What a rare sight, everyone came along for my stroll. If I’d known, I would’ve made lunch boxes instead so we could picnic outside.”
Megumin waved her staff along happily; she was probably elated that everyone was accompanying her for her daily Explosion spell.
Megumin chanted her spell…
With a boom, the surroundings were hit by shockwaves.
The strongest spell that can disintegrate everything shattered the targeted boulder easily.
Darkness nonchalantly stood in the hail of debris to protect us while we kept our heads down.
I supported Megumin who was about to fall from mana exhaustion, then injected just enough mana through Drain Touch so she could walk by herself.
“Ho, that’s a high score today.”
“Right? I think the effect’s really nice. Phew, I’m satisfied. Let’s go back… Kazuma, what’s that?”
Megumin was intrigued when I took out two sticks of imitation dynamite.
I wrapped several layers of paper around the soil soaked with the exploding potion to stabilize it, with a fuse soaked in the same potion placed into its very center. That’s how simple this dynamite was.
It was enough for prototype number one.
“After obtaining the weapon known as wealth, I wondered if I could kill my opponent with money and tried making prototype number one. Watch carefully.”
I stuck that behind a boulder in the vicinity, shifting the fuse toward me so I could easily see it.
“… Wait, I think that thing Kazuma made looks familiar…”
Megumin said something, but I didn’t answer and just pulled some distance away.
I ignited the fuse from far away.
Sparks flew out from the fuse…
An idea struck me and I reached my hand out toward the boulder and shouted:
With a boom that covered her shout, the makeshift dynamite exploded, and a crack appeared on the boulder.
The power still couldn’t match those used for demolition, huh?
But it was more than adequate as a weapon.
Megumin was trembling beside me while Darkness clenched her fist with a flushed face.
“A-Amazing Kazuma! When’d you learn explosion?”
“Humph… The hardworking me has been leveling up in secret while all of you were sleeping.”
I casually said to the excited Darkness.
Megumin made a soft sound and started shaking a lot.
At this moment, Aqua tugged at my sleeve and said:
“Kazuma, Kazuma, give me one too. I want to try using Explosion.”
“This is a prototype; I’ll give you one after I make a dynamite with a longer fuse. I was worried and ignited it from afar.”
“Fine, remember to let me play with it after you finish.”
“That’s fine, but the potions are expensive and the supplies are limited, so you can’t just play with it.”
“I-If I use that, even a Crusader like me can use Explosion? Or did you learn magic for real? H-Hey, if you make a new one, I want to try too…!”
I was bothered by Megumin, who’d been deathly quiet, unlike the hyped up Aqua and Darkness.
I thought she’d have the biggest reaction, but she’s just been making quiet noises and shivering.
I stood before Megumin and made a pose with one hand stretched out.
“I’m Kazuma! Number one adventurer in Axel, the one who controls Explo–”
Before I finished, Megumin grabbed my collar and shouted:
“That thing! That thing’s not Explosion magic! The power’s only at the level of Blast magic! That thing! That… That…!”
“Hey, I get it. Calm down, wait! That’s just a tool, I’m kidding, kidding!”
I explained frantically, but Megumin who was grabbing my collar while screaming snatched the last stick of dynamite from my hand.
“Ah, hey! It takes a lot of money and time to make one, give it back!”
“No! With me around, there’s no need for this thing to exist! This, this thing!”
Megumin yelled as she threw away the thing I spent a lot of effort to make.
“I’ll throw it away if I see that again! That’s a deviant thing! I won’t acknowledge that fake!”
“I know, I know, I know all right… Really, I only made this to accommodate your willfulness.”
“It might be useful, but no!”
I’ll secretly make it in my room behind Megumin’s back then.
… I reached for the dynamite Megumin threw far away.
Using the chance while Megumin was still fuming, I chanted a spell softly.
I covertly chanted the spell and ignited the fuse.
It was a pity to throw away the thing that took so much effort to make, so I simulated the Explosion spell for the second time today.
Megumin didn’t speak to me until dinner.
– The next day.
I wore my new equipment and slotted the katana with a shameful name onto my belt.
Donning the cape that was the trademark for adventurers, I shouldered a backpack that had enough food to last for a few days.
“Weapons check, food check, equipment check! All the items are ready!”
Although we’ve fought many generals and bounty monsters, the circumstances this time were different than before.
This time, we were the ones picking the fight.
The trump card I made yesterday might’ve been refuted, but I found plenty of magic items from Wiz’s shop that might be of use, prepared ourselves well and thought up several tactics.
“Kazuma, you were so unwilling just a while ago, yet you’re so eager now. What’s the occasion?”
I wondered what Aqua stuffed inside her backpack to make it so full.
By the way, Emperor Zell was still a newborn and needed to be cared for, so she forcefully pushed it to Wiz early in the morning.
“Because I thought about the battle this time and found that our chances are quite good.”
We’ll be heading to the fortress near the capital at the very frontlines.
Right now, the strongest forces of this nation had been gathered at that fortress.
On top of the kingdom’s Knight Corp, there were many adventurers with cheat like powers there, so they wouldn’t be losing if the general of the Demon King’s army hadn’t joined the fray.
With a bunch of cheaters defending the fortress, we just need to repel the general with Megumin’s Explosion.
– I think this was a simple and effective plan.
Compared to the fights before this, we could defeat the enemy in a safer manner, and the rewards would be much greater too.
“Furthermore, Yunyun who can use Teleport will be coming along.”
I said as I looked toward Yunyun, who was inspecting her luggage beside Megumin.
Yunyun, who’d risen her level through hard work and learned Teleport, said she wanted to go with us.
The places Yunyun registered were the capital and Axel Town.
Being able to return to this place at the first sign of danger was a great advantage.
“I-I’ll work hard! I’ll carry the luggage, make the food, keep watch at night and storm the front, I’ll do anything!”
“Oh, all right then, I’ll be counting on you. We’ll feel more at ease when we encounter powerful monsters during the journey if Yunyun’s with us.”
Yunyun, who was always by herself, seemed really happy about going on a trip with everyone.
She’d been fidgety since just now.
“Is everyone ready? Did you forget anything? I have handkerchiefs and toilet paper, just tell me if you need any!”
“Please calm down, we’re not kids going on a field trip.”
I looked at the rare sight of Megumin calming Yunyun down, looked at everyone to confirm they were all ready, and then nodded.
“We’ll be in your care, Yunyun. We’ll teleport to the capital first, then walk to the fortress from there. It seems that veteran adventurers can reach it in about two days. There are accommodations available along the way, so we’ll head there first.”
“Okay, I’ve prepared all manners of board and card games for our stay outside, so don’t worry!”
So that was the reason for Yunyun’s huge luggage.
She seemed to be looking forward to staying outside with everyone.
Maybe this was the first time she’s taken a trip together with others.
As I was sadly thinking that she could have just invited us out to play, Yunyun finished chanting her spell.