Gifting these gods lacking influence with sincere prayers!
Editors: Adam, BlitzBlast, Cannongerbil, Skythewood, Xenthur, yuNS
After everyone was assigned a room, I put my luggage into my quarters and started exploring the interior of the fort with Aqua to kill time.
The adventurers we passed by looked anxious. The battle didn’t seem to be going well.
A tense atmosphere loomed over the fort.
Out of curiosity, Aqua and I began meddling with the things inside the room labelled ‘Control Room’.
“Hey Kazuma. There are mysterious buttons and control sticks everywhere, it’s like they want me to press them.”
“They definitely want you to press them. Or rather, it would be strange for you not to press them when they are right beside your hand.”
“Did you people barge in here to mess around!? This is the control stick for the drawbridge, main gate, and traps, you absolutely cannot press them! You hear that? Absolutely not!”
After hearing the soldiers say things that a comedian would say, Aqua reacted as I expected.
“Since you said this much, it would be a shame if I don’t press them. First will be the button inside that glass cover…”
“That is the self-destruct button for when we need to abandon the fort, please don’t press it! Don’t press… Didn’t I tell you no?! Get out!”
We were chased out by the soldier who suddenly flipped out, and stood outside the room for a moment.
“We got chased out again. The people here are all very high strung.”
“It’s a fort at the frontlines, everyone is really tense.”
We fiddle with everything in the rooms we visit, and after being chased out of them, we finally ran out of places to go.
“It can’t be help. I think there is a free cookhouse, let’s freeload over there.”
“That sounds great, should I bring the wine in my luggage over?”
I was wondering why her pack was bulging so much, so she even brought wine with her.
At this moment —
“Aqua-sama!? Aren’t you Aqua-sama!?”
A familiar voice came from the other end of the corridor.
And the familiar looking man…
“Isn’t that Katsuragi? It’s been a while.”
“It’s Mitsurugi! Did you say it wrong on purpose!? Remember my name properly!”
It was the Sword Master who uses a magic sword, Mitsurugi.
“Aqua-sama, long time no see! You look well and energetic…”
“Yes, I’m always full of life. Magic sword guy, are you doing well? By the way, where are the two harem girls that follow you around?”
“Harem girls!? No, well, since the battle is going badly, it would be dangerous for them to stay here, so I had them retreat back to the capital… That’s right!”
Mitsurugi shifted his gaze from Aqua to me.
“Satou, why did you bring Aqua-sama to such a dangerous place? Do you know where this place is!?”
“I know. This is the foremost frontline in the war against the Demon King Army. The Demon King’s general will attack this place periodically, right?”
Mitsurugi showed an expression that says ‘why are you here if you know that’.
“We are here to help you hardworking people. The opponent proclaimed to be an evil god, right? Then it is time for me, a goddess, to do my part.”
Aqua did say that she couldn’t forgive the person who proclaimed to be an evil god without her permission, and said that reason naturally now.
“Aqua-sama wants to fight that woman!? T-This is… It’s true that Aqua-sama might be able to contend with her, but that woman is dangerous. She almost took down the fort by herself.”
Mitsurugi was worried about Aqua.
“The Demon King general is a woman, huh… even though the opponent proclaimed to be an evil god, there are several Japanese with cheat abilities here, right? And you, the magic sword user who lost to me but is more powerful than most people is here. Although you did lose to me, the enemy is but one person, so why are you all having a hard time?”
“Stop nagging about me losing, you’re the one who refused my rematch… Forget it, there’s a reason why we’re being pushed to the brink. Didn’t you see that?”
Aqua and I looked baffled.
“From your face, you probably didn’t. You’re free, right? Let me show you something nice.”
Mitsurugi started leading the way after saying that.
—— Mitsurugi led us out of the fort, and we saw that scene.
It was a portion of the outer wall that bore the fate of the fort.
One side of the tough outer walls was on the verge of collapse after repeated assault.
“Hey, could that be…”
And I was familiar with the traces of the powerful impact that covered it.
That’s normal since I got to see such marks every day.
My title of Explosion Connoisseur given by Megumin was not just for show.
“Yes. The Demon King’s general, Wolbach, can use explosion magic.”
Seeing my dumbstruck visage, Mitsurugi could only smile wryly.
After Aqua and I parted with Mitsurugi, I gathered everyone into a room.
“Alright. Let’s start deciding our future plans.”
I swivelled my head and looked at all of them, as I spoke while sitting on the bed.
“What future plans? I just met the commander of this fort and told him we have experience in defeating a number of Demon King generals, so he relinquished his command authority to us.”
After knowing that Darkness had stirred up more trouble when I wasn’t paying attention, I felt the urge to grab my head and scream.
To be frank, it was too much for us this time.
My original plan was to protect ourselves with the fort, and when the enemy showed up to do something, we’d launch a preemptive attack with explosion, the offensive spell with the longest range.
It doesn’t matter if the opponent is a spirit, god, or devil. Explosion can kill anything in this world.
Going by my original plan, this could defeat most of the enemy. But if the enemy could use the same spell, we will lose the advantage of spell attack range.
“No, actually, that general named Wolbach can use explosion magic.”
When she heard what I said, Megumin kicked her chair back and stood up.
She reacted to the term ‘explosion magic’.
“Explosion!? T-This is beyond my expectations… Thanks to Megumin, I know the might of this spell very well. To be honest, I don’t know how to defend against it…”
Yunyun apologetically lowered her head.
“It’s fine, leave it to me! I took the full brunt of an explosion before! I will be the bait. When the enemy shows an opening after casting her spell, use the chance to overwhelm her.”
“You don’t have your armour right now. Even with Aqua’s buffing spell, there’s no guarantee that you will be safe.”
Darkness’ armour was broken in the fight with the bone dragon earlier. She slouched her shoulders unhappily.
Aqua nodded in agreement.
“That’s how it is. Even though we made a trip here, I think we should let that person proclaiming to be an evil god off. I am not being lenient, just that I have never heard about a minor evil god named Wolbach before; she is rather pitiful, right?”
The self proclaimed goddess was the first to back off when she learned that our adversary knows explosion magic.
At this moment, Megumin, who was standing still, flicked her cape.
“I am Megumin! The number one mage in Axel, the one who pursues the ultimate explosion spell! The Demon King general who claims to be an evil god and is a user of explosion magic…!? That’s the worthy rival I’ve been looking for!”
For some reason, Yunyun was surprised by Megumin’s announcement.
“What do you mean by ‘huh’, only a user of explosion magic is worthy of being my rival. It would be just what I wished for if I die from her explosion magic! Yes, I would have no regrets if I go out in such a grand way!!”
When she heard Megumin’s incorrigible words, Yunyun pestered her with tears in her eyes.
“What nonsense are you saying!? Aren’t I Megumin’s rival!? Why did you promote a Demon King general you’ve never met before to a rival so easily!?”
“W-Why are you suddenly freaking out!? What a troublesome child, if you want me to acknowledge you as my true rival, then learn explosion magic. I will then take you along for my stroll every day.”
“I don’t want to learn explosion magic, and I’m fine even if you go on that kind of stroll without me! Our opponent this time can use explosion! Such an opponent…”
“How dare you say you don’t want to learn explosion!? Alright, I will treat this as a challenge against me and accept it! It’s been awhile since our last duel. If you lose, you will save your skill points until you can learn explosion!”
“I-I don’t want such a duel! A duel that will decide the course of my life, I will never… Wait, Megumin, your eyes are turning red! Are you serious!? Hey, are you really serious!?”
I ignored the squabbling couple and continued stating our plan from now on.
“Megumin did say some foolish things, but the enemy this time is still too dangerous. We might get wiped out with just one shot. If we get blasted to dust, Aqua’s resurrection magic won’t work. So let’s withdraw…”
“What the hell are you saying!? How can I run before such an opponent!? This is my destined rival, yes, there is no doubt about it!”
Megumin, who was burning up, put one leg onto the chair, her red eyes gleaming.
“The one who is targeting my familiar Chomusuke is the user of explosion magic, the Demon King general proclaiming to be an evil god! There is no other way but for me to defeat Wolbach, and take over her title of general and evil god!”
“What are you going on about… The risk is too high this time. We would be at a disadvantage if this turns into a gamble where the first one to attack wins.”
“There is no disadvantage at all. The spell I like is explosion magic. My hobby is explosion magic. If you talk about me, it’s explosion magic. That’s right, I am the explosion magic user from Axel. Ever since I learned this spell, I have been using it every day without fail. Be it speed, accuracy, or destructive power, I am confident that no one in this world is better at explosion magic than me!”
After Megumin said all that, she confidently breathed out.
“Didn’t you lose to Wiz when we fought the Destroyer?”
“That’s history now. Since I’ve leveled up, I learned all sorts of skills related to increasing the power of explosion magic. Wiz and I compared the power of our explosion spells some time ago and won. I am the number one in Axel right now.”
She even did all that while I wasn’t paying attention.
“It will be fine. When I couldn’t sleep at night, I will chant explosion magic until I doze off. No matter who my opponent is, I will finish my incantation before them!”
“What the hell!? You did something so dangerous!?”
As I was about to lecture Megumin.
The entire fort shook with a deafening boom.
The ceiling of the room began to crumble, and everyone – except for Megumin – braced themselves.
I listened to Megumin’s explosion every day, so it was impossible for me to mistake that sound.
What shook the fort just now was definitely explosion magic.
Amidst the alarm that rang through the entire fort, Megumin muttered to herself with a troubled expression.
“Ugh, that tremor is quite powerful. Adding the mana wavelength that was released before the spell was cast, this is definitely a well executed explosion. This spell wasn’t learnt to show off or during a moment of stupidity.”
“Why are you giving an evaluation?”
But as an explosion connoisseur, I could tell the quality of this spell was high.
If I was to judge it, I would give it more than 90 points.
“Anyway, hurry up Megumin. Now is the chance to defeat the attacking Demon King general!”
“Huh? W-What’s with you Kazuma? Your attitude flipped 180 degrees.”
I slapped on my chest plate and armour, then stood up with my weapon in hand.
I then said to the others who were shocked by my actions ——
“Since she cast explosion just now, it means she won’t be able to cast explosion again today.”
Even if the enemy was a general, it was still impossible to cast explosion twice in a day.
After all, even Wiz, who was also a Demon King general, would exhaust most of her mana after firing one explosion.
Since the opponent’s mana was used up, we didn’t need to worry if we appeared before the enemy.
I dashed out of the room, confirmed that the others were following, then headed to the damaged outer wall shown to me by Mitsurugi.
When we reached the scene panting,
After taking a shot of explosion on top of the previous damaged cracks, a part of the outer wall had been reduced to a pile of rubble. Along with that, a huge crater has been blasted into the ground.
There were other adventurers and knights who rushed here just like I did.
I found a familiar face and approached him.
“Hey, where did the Demon King general go? Wouldn’t it be easy to defeat her since she’s out of mana?”
I asked Mitsurugi, who was staring blankly at the site of destruction.
And the answer was ——
“Wolbach is long gone… This is the reason why we are having so much trouble. The evil god Wolbach will show up suddenly, cast explosion from afar, then retreat via teleport before we can get near her.”
“The elites of the Demon King Army are standing by in the forest near the fort. She probably escaped there, and will return after recovering her mana. Not only do they have great numbers, the forest is the home ground of the monsters. With the opponent having the advantage of terrain, we will definitely lose if we fight outside the walls of the fort. But if we keep on defending the fort, once the outer wall is completely destroyed, the elites that had been standing by will use the chance to launch an attack.”
The situation just now had probably happened many times. The people nearby all weakly lowered their heads.
If we go after the general who cast her explosion, we will be hampered by their elite forces. If we wait inside the fort for them to attack, we would be blasted by explosion magic.
Laying siege to the fort, then forcing the people out with explosion magic. This was just a brute force attack, but it was super effective.
After Mitsurugi finished.
“We can only do something if either Wolbach or the Demon King Army elites are gone…”
He gripped the hilt of his magic sword and closed his eyes with frustration ——
“—— Okay, let’s escape.”
“It’s decided then. I will make a bed for Emperor Zell after going back to Axel. One that is more comfortable than that evil husk, a high quality bed Emperor Zell would be happy with. It’s fine, the likes of Demon King generals will be killed in an instant after Emperor Zell grows up.”
After returning to my room, Aqua and I made preparations to go home.
Darkness said frantically after seeing that.
“W-Wait Kazuma, I have been forced to take command of this fort. If I say ‘I’m quitting and going home’, it would be a little…”
“Why did you take on such a troublesome job in the first place!?”
“It’s your fault for using my name to intimidate them!”
As I was squabbling with Darkness.
“Hmm? Where did Yunyun go? Wasn’t she with us just now?”
“If you are looking for Yunyun, she is using magic to help with the repairs of the outer walls.”
“I see, as expected of a capable Crimson Demon. I will check if anybody is hurt.”
“Do tell me who the ‘incapable’ Crimson Demon is.”
Aqua said something befitting her role as a priest on this rare occasion and ran away from Megumin, whose eyes were glowing.
Darkness nodded as she watched this scene.
“Aqua and Yunyun are helping in their own way. Amazing, as expected of veteran adventurers. Hey Kazuma, we are already veteran adventurers, right?”
Darkness, whose eyes were sparkling from excitement in such an emergency, irked me.
Seemed like she admired heroes and the like.
It would be impossible for her to abandon the fort when it’s going through such a crisis.
As I was wondering how to convince the hard headed Darkness, Megumin, who was beside her, showed an apologetic face.
“Hey Kazuma… I know this is dangerous, but can you give me a chance? Everyone can just wait in the fort. I will wait for Wolbach who might show up anytime, and throw an explosion into her face once she appears.”
It was rare seeing her lower her head with a complicated expression.
… Really, all of them were trouble.
“… I have Enemy Detection, Farsight and Lurk skills, so the chance of our ambush working will increase if I go with you. I will just accompany you, but it will be up to you when the enemy shows up.”
Megumin’s eyes widened when she heard what I said, and then her mouth slowly curled into a smile.
“Leave it to me!”
Megumin, who was all smiles with her eyes glowing red, looked really reliable when she puffed her petite chest like that.
The next day.
Inside the vast forest beside the fort, I climbed onto a tree to surveil the area around the fort.
“The Demon King Army is already this close.”
A group that seemed to belong to the Demon King Army was setting up formation in the forest a few kilometers away from the fort.
I couldn’t make out what type of monsters were there, but there were tons of them.
If they assault the fort after the outer walls and traps were gone, it would only be a matter of time before the fort falls.
I got down from the tree and relayed the situation to Megumin and the others.
“According to the people in the fort, Wolbach comes alone when she uses explosion magic. I came up with a plan around this point.”
I looked around at everyone here and continued:
“First, we will use my Lurk skill to sneak into the vicinity. Megumin will cast her spell before they notice us. If the other party detects us, Yunyun will use refraction magic to conceal Megumin, and Aqua will cast support spells to buff Darkness, who will then rush forth to get their attention. Aqua and I will cover Darkness and create an opening. When Megumin feels that the time is right, you can fire your spell at the enemy… Does everyone understand?”
I confirmed the plan with everyone again, and saw that they were all hyped up…
“Kazuma Kazuma, I think someone needs to protect this little one. How can we expose such a small and cute creature to danger… Hey, that hurts. You’re fine with everyone else, so why do you keep scratching me?”
Aqua frowned in pain when she tried to pick up Chomusuke.
The furball who was usually docile has been excited since early this morning, and kept following us.
It would be dangerous for it to come with us, so I left it in the room, but it kept following.
After handing the especially energetic Chomusuke to Yunyun, I said to Aqua and Darkness:
“Alright, we’re all set. We just need to wait for that bitch Wolbach to come.”
“Hey Kazuma, my legs are wobbly.”
“Weren’t you bragging before we set off?”
—— Just how long did we hide in the forest?
In the forest, near our hiding spot, the general of the Demon King Army I had been hearing about appeared.
She wore a large hat and a plain robe to cover her body, and headed for the fort at a leisurely pace.
Even though she tried to obscure her body shape, I was certain she was a woman.
She was relaxed in her movement because she could cast explosion from a long distance away. Even if our side tried to intercept her, she could make the first strike at any moment.
And after casting her spell, she just needed to escape with teleport.
“What an annoying tactic. Can’t she just face us in a proper fight?”
“If that general heard what you said, she will definitely say ‘I don’t want to hear that from you’.”
Darkness made a proper retort after hearing my complaint.
While Darkness was receiving buffs from Aqua, the robed woman stopped in her tracks.
The fort was probably right at the edge of her range, and she stood some distance away from us.
“Hey Megumin, start quietly chanting your spell now. There is no need to talk to the enemy, just finish this with a pre-emptive strike.”
“You just talked about a proper fight a moment ago. What a sly tactic… but never mind, I will listen to you this time. I have to try to avoid letting Darkness tank an explosion spell.”
Darkness looked really excited as if she was thinking ‘I might be taking a really big hit later.’ I felt concerned for her, but we should finish this quickly and go back.
At this moment.
The robed woman seemed to notice something and looked straight in our direction.
Did she see through my Lurk skill?
She was still for a moment, then started walking this way…
“She found us! Megumin, chant your spell openly! Shoot it in her face before she can cast hers!”
“Leave it to me, Kazuma!”
Megumin started her incantation.
“Hya, what’s wrong Chomusuke!? Why are you writhing about all of a sudden!?”
Chomusuke, who was in Yunyun’s arms, was struggling mightily to jump out.
I don’t know why the furball was acting up, but I don’t have time to care.
Before Megumin finishes her incantation, we have to draw the enemy’s attention!
“Darkness, Aqua! Stall for time!”
I shouted to the two of them as I leaped out of the woods.
The Demon King general, who was tilting her head in confusion as she approached us, stopped in surprise when she saw me suddenly appear.
“Hey Kazuma, I should stay behind in case of an emergency. After all, no one can revive the party if anything happens to me! You hear me!?”
“Stop blabbering and follow me! I will be blown to smithereens if I get hit by explosion anyway. This wasn’t part of my plans, but the only one who can rival a self-proclaimed evil god would be you!”
I dragged Aqua who wanted to run away along, and faced down the Demon King general.
Darkness caught up after a moment and stood in front of us.
… I thought the robed woman would attack immediately, but she stood in place with a shocked face.
“… What’s the matter? You looked surprised to see us. Are you feeling afraid after seeing me, who is famous in the Demon King Army?”
“Maybe she is surprised after seeing your weird and funny face.”
I was thinking how to punish Aqua who rained on my parade when the robed woman took her hat off and revealed her face.
—— Under that hat was that Onee-san with short red hair and cat-like yellow eyes.
That’s right, the Onee-san who bathed with me a few times.
At the same time, Yunyun’s surprised gasp came from behind.
“… What are you doing here?”
“That should be my line. Aren’t you that Onee-san who likes to bathe?”
To be honest, I already had a faint suspicion.
I already knew that she was related to the Demon King Army.
Back in Alcanretia, she didn’t use honorifics when speaking with the general Hans. I think Hans called this Onee-san by name, but it was quite some time, so I couldn’t quite recall.
Now that I think about it, I never tried to find out who she was because I don’t want to be an enemy with the Onee-san I bathed with. She was someone that doesn’t feel like a stranger.
The onee-san… No, the Demon King general said:
“By the way, I haven’t introduced myself. My name is Wolbach, one of the generals of the Demon King Army. The patron goddess of sloth and violence, Wolbach.”
She made an intimidating announcement as her cat-like pupils narrowed.
… What a pain. Do I really have to fight her?
“… Well, I actually didn’t know that Onee-san is related to the Demon King Army. But I have something to ask you. You don’t look like a bad person to me. Why did you become a Demon King general?”
It was simply a curious question of mine.
“Why, you say? According to tradition, this should be my reply, right?”
She showed a sinister smile.
“—— If you want to know, you will have to defeat me.”
She then revealed a lonely and empty smile.
Damn it, so we still needed to fight?
I felt a dull pain in my chest when I saw her smile. As I was thinking about how I could avoid this battle…
“—— Hey, even though you said such deep words and built a mysterious atmosphere, I still have to cut you off here. I could sense some godly aura from you, but the patron goddess of sloth and violence? If you’re not honest, I will sue you for bending the truth. Just say that you are an evil god.”
In a blink of an eye.
Aqua, who was acting all cowardly just now, suddenly destroyed the solemn atmosphere.
Wolbach seemed troubled after someone she met for the first time said something so mean.
Did Aqua say Wolbach had some godly aura?
So she wasn’t just making baseless claims, but was a real evil god?
“I might govern sloth and violence, emotions with unfavourable impressions, but I’m still a proper goddess. I’m not exaggerating.”
“You’re lying! Hey Kazuma, this woman is talking nonsense! The goddesses that are officially recognized in this world are just Eris and me! Apologize! Proclaiming to be a goddess and sullying the name of pure, beautiful, and respectful real goddesses; apologize for doing that!”
I always called Aqua a self-proclaimed goddess, but she was using this chance to make a scene.
Wolbach, who was just troubled in the beginning, raised her eyebrows in anger after hearing that.
“Hey, what are you saying all of a sudden!? I am a proper goddess, it’s just that after I joined the Demon King Army, the crazy Axis cultists called me an evil god on their own, so I had no choice but to roll with it! And I don’t need a priest I never met before to lecture me on that!”
“You say my devotees are crazy!? How dare you treat the world renowned Axis Cult like idiots; are you really a god? Do you have any believers? Puhehe, I have never heard of a minor god called Wolbach!”
Wolbach started trembling because of Aqua’s mocking.
“H-How dare a mortal insult a god! Don’t think you can get away with this! A priest like you should treat other gods with respect!”
Aqua flicked her hair as she looked at the agitated Wolbach.
“Mortal? You say I’m a mortal? I’m calling you out on proclaiming to be a goddess because your eyes are blind!”
I felt like saying ‘You bought a chicken egg in place of a dragon egg, aren’t you the blind one’.
Aqua puffed her chest out as if she wanted to show off her hagoromo.
In a more forceful manner than she usually was, Aqua stated her name to Wolbach.
“I am Aqua. That’s right, the goddess of water worshipped by the Axis cult! A mere minor god that I have never heard of before dares to lecture me? Know your place!”
Wolbach was dumbfounded, and stared at the arrogant Aqua.
“… You will receive divine retribution if you impersonate a goddess, you know?”
“Apologize! Apologize for that right now!”
The goddess Aqua who wasn’t even acknowledged by an evil god angrily stomped forth and grabbed Wolbach’s robe.
“Hey, stop that, you impudent fool, I will give you divine punishment! I will make you roll around tiredly in bed on your precious day off and waste your vacation!”
“Try it if you dare! I will curse your toilet to not flush even though there is someone waiting for you outside!”
“Goddesses don’t use the bathroom, so that won’t scare me!”
“I live every day like a holiday, so I’m not afraid of you!”
What should I do?
The two of them were goddesses, right? But they were fighting so childishly even though they’ve just met.
I thought goddesses were a greater and more respectable existence.
“Hey Kazuma, can we leave them alone?”
“I’m of the same mind, but the opponent is still a general, so we can’t ignore them…”
As I was whispering to Darkness, Aqua, who was being grabbed, couldn’t stand it anymore and reached for the heavens.
A fog appeared on her beckoning, and they slowly turned into orbs of water.
… That idiot, she forgot her objective was to taunt and stall the enemy!
And what was Megumin doing, she should be done by now!
“Seems like I have to let you have a taste of the prowess of a water goddess when she gets serious! How dare an evil god like you act so haughtily! You don’t even have devotees who are pure, just, and free like mine!”
“A, a retard like you is really the goddess of water? But it’s your problematic believers’ fault that I am called an evil god! I have believers in the Demon King Army too!! And you are just a super minor god compared to Goddess Eris anyway!!”
“Sacred Create Water!”
Aqua, who had flipped out, cast her spell and summoned a huge amount of water —— !