Divine punishment upon this Harem protagonist!
Editing: Ulti, Deus Ex Machina, Xenthur, Keel the Swift
“Kazuma-san, Kazuma san! I have a little favour to ask of you.”
The next morning.
As I was relaxing with a cup of coffee after enjoying a late breakfast, Aqua, who had a shovel-like object slung over her shoulder for some reason, said that to me.
“What is it? I’m not giving you any more pocket money. I already gave you this month’s allowance, and you should’ve made a lot of money with the ore you got from the Treasure Island yesterday.”
“That’s not it. The favour I wanted is for you to lend me your strength as an adventurer.”
My strength as an adventurer?
“You sure are saying some dangerous things early in the morning. Just what are we going up against? Just to let you know, I’ve already resolved to live a leisurely and peaceful life as a rich man. I’m not going to pick a fight with anything dangerous. If you want to go hunt some undead or settle a grudge with a devil, then go put a request up at the guild.”
“I’m not asking you to deal with monsters. I’ve had my fill of dangerous places, and I too would like to live a leisurely life as a rich person.”
This girl really does think just like me.
If she didn’t do stupid stuff all the time, she’d be a great buddy to hang out with.
“For now, can you come out to the yard? I would like you to demonstrate your amazing powers out there.”
“I don’t really get it, but I’m fine with it as long as it isn’t dangerous. Very well, I’ll demonstrate the hidden power sleeping within me.”
Saying that, I rolled up my sleeves and followed Aqua to the yard.
“… You really aren’t growing much at all, huh?”
Chomusuke lazily laid in the yard, and next to it was Emperor Zell, nuzzling against the cat’s soft fur.
Chomusuke has been steadily growing recently, but in contrast, the chick was still as small as it ever was.
They say that the more magic power you have, the slower you’ll grow, so perhaps that’s why.
That black furball used to be wary of Zell, but it seems like they’re getting along fine now.
I originally planned on turning Zell into fried chicken when he grew bigger, but now that they are this close, it’d be a little cruel of me to forcibly tear them apart.
As I was looking at this heartwarming sight, Aqua tugged on my sleeve.
“There’s a plot over there, right? I would like you to scatter plenty of nutrient-rich dirt over it.”
“… You’re asking me to use my power to plow the fields? Me, who could be considered a hero?”
Right where Aqua was pointing, Megumin, dressed in a one piece sundress and a straw hat, was busy working up a sweat with a small gardening trowel in hand.
“You too, Megumin? What, are you two planning on creating a home garden or something?”
“Oh, Kazuma, you’re finally awake. Look at this fine plot. If you scatter some magically-created dirt over here, we’ll definitely be able to grow some wonderful vegetables.”
While saying something that made her sound like an obaa-chan out in the hicks, Megumin gestured at the dirt by her feet with a smile.
“I always wanted to have a vegetable plot in the yard. We have the space, and vegetables are expensive, after all. We’ll be able to save on household costs, and we’ll also be able to eat fresh vegetables at any time. I’ll let you taste some tasty vegetable curry once it’s done.”
“Well, I’m happy about that and all, but… Is it fine for us amateurs to grow vegetables? They won’t fly around and attack people like cabbages, will they?”
Hearing my words, Aqua and Megumin averted their gazes.
“… You can’t just grow vegetables as you wish, right? You need some kind of permit or something, right?! Actually, where’s Darkness? She’s part of the government, that’s why you guys waited till she’s out to do this, right?!”
“Calm down, Kazuma. Sure, you do need some qualifications to grow vegetables, but high-level adventurers are allowed to start a vegetable garden at home. It’s a special privilege. And we are high-level adventurers, so there’s no issue.”
“Exactly. My level is already above forty. A home garden or two is acceptable for me.”
When did her level get that high?
It was supposed to be easy to level as an Adventurer, so how am I the only one whose level is still in the teens?
“It’s a little surprising that Megumin’s level is that high, but there you have it. So, I would like you to create some nutrient-rich earth for the plot. I know you like using Create Earth to blind others or create mud for use as a prank, but this is what it’s originally supposed to be used for.”
“Come to think of it, I have heard something like that before. Oh, what the hell, Create Earth.”
I walked down the plot and started scattering the earth I created into it.
Aqua and Megumin followed behind me and started planting seeds.
“Just to be sure, what seeds are you planting?”
I got a sudden sense of unease and asked, and Aqua responded in a carefree tone.
“Komatsuna, potatoes, radishes, bell peppers, mackerel, and spinach. That farmer oji-san said that those vegetables grow well around here in this season.”
<TL Note: Komatsuna, Japanese mustard spinach.>
“… Say, was there something weird mixed in there just now?”
“Oh, you’re wondering why we are planting summer vegetables even though it’s almost winter, right? But this isn’t Japan. Vegetables are overflowing with vitality, so they’ll grow well even in winter.”
No, that’s not it, there’s something in there that isn’t a vegetable.
“… Phew. Finally, the sowing is done. I think we did pretty well. All we need to do now is regularly water them and give them a little massage here and there, and they’ll be ripe for harvesting by winter.”
“Hey, did you just say massage just now? We are growing vegetables here, right? We aren’t actually raising cattle or something, right?”
Ignoring my constant nitpicks, Aqua let out a contented sigh.
“We’re only planting some easily-cared-for vegetables right now, but we’ll definitely take on some tougher vegetables next year!”
“Yeah, let’s plant some cabbages or tomatoes in the spring, or even a mandrake or two next year!”
“I can’t ignore that! You said mandrake just now, right?! You want to plant a mandrake here?!”
Mandrakes are dangerous plants that scream when harvested and can cause anyone who hear their screams to die.
Just as we were fussing over that, someone appeared at the door.
That person milled about, seemingly hesitant to knock…
“Why are you turning back now after coming all the way to someone else’s house?!”
“Me-Megumin?! What are you doing out here?”
That person was Yunyun.
She was about to turn back without knocking when Megumin surprised her.
“I visited unannounced just yesterday, so it’d be pretty awkward to visit again so soon. I was thinking that it’d be better to wait a few days before coming again…”
“It’s fine to visit everyday if you are free! Why do you keep worrying about all those little details?! Anyway, you probably came here for a reason, right?”
Hearing Megumin’s words, Yunyun, who had a basket full of what appeared to be pastries in her hand, said,
“C-Can I really visit every day? Will you really not find me annoying? You won’t suddenly stop talking upon hearing that I’ve come to visit…”
“I don’t care about that! If anything, your current attitude is more annoying! Anyway, hurry up and get to the point!”
Facing the short-tempered Megumin,
“Actually, about that chieftain’s trial I talked about before…”
“— So, basically, the trial to decide the next chief of the Crimson Demons needs to be undertaken together with a partner, right?”
“Yes. In the past, the prospective chieftains would usually undertake the trial with an outsider swordsman as a vanguard, but… Well, Crimson Demons are stronger than any swordsman. Eventually, they realized that with two Crimson Demons as a team, they could just blow through the trial with pure firepower without caring about vanguard or backline positions.”
Crimson Demons really don’t care the slightest about romance.
Normally, it’d only be proper for a Crimson Demon to leave the village in search of a suitable partner for the trial, and the two of them will slowly fall in love over the course of the journey. That’s the proper way for this to develop.
Megumin, who had been listening intently, heaved a deep sigh.
“So, you couldn’t find anyone else, so you came to invite me, huh? … You really are hopeless. Very well then, let me show you my power!”
Megumin confidently declared, only barely hiding her smile.
“Eh? No, you won’t be of any help if you come along. You’ll just become a hindrance after a single blast. There are three stages to the trial, you know?”
Yunyun said such unexpectedly harsh words to her, causing her to stiffen up.
“Well, I agree with your assessment, but if that’s the case, why did you come here?”
After I said that, Yunyun nervously looked down and tightly gripped the hem of her skirt.
“Actually, I have a friend… guy… no, an adventurer acquaintance who would be suitable for a vanguard, but when I asked him, he went ‘Huh? I made a whole ton of money off the Treasure Island, so I don’t think I’ll work for awhile. Well, if you can introduce me to a busty Crimson Demon onee-san, I wouldn’t mind helping you’, and other such horrible things… ”
“I don’t know who that is, but he doesn’t sound like a decent person. It’s best not to associate with such people, otherwise folks will start thinking that you’re birds of a feather.”
“No, it’s more like we just happen to run into each other a lot, or more like someone who frequents the same store that I do…”
With a troubled expression, Yunyun raised her head with a determined glare.
“Umm, Kazuma-san! Would you accompany me to the Crimson Demon village and undertake the trial- Ow, ow, ow! What are you doing, Megumin!?”
Megumin suddenly started pulling on Yunyun’s pigtails in a fit.
“What am I doing?! What are you doing?! How could I possibly keep letting you use Kazuma as you please?! There’s no need to bother Kazuma with this! It’s just the trial of the Crimson Demons! I’ll be able to handle it!”
Saying that, she lifted the magic staff she placed by her side.
“Hey, Megumin, to be honest, if you come with me, it’ll just be a bother-”
“You can really say some mean things when you want to, huh?!”
Her eyes glowing bright red, Megumin looked over to me-
“I’m a high-level Crimson Demon! I’ll be a much better vanguard than a low-level swordsman like him! It’s just a few monsters, I’ll smash all of them up with my manatite staff! Right, Kazuma, I’ll be leaving the house for a while!”
Having thrown away even her identity as a mage, Megumin confidently declared as she twirled her staff around.
“Well then, I’ll be out of town for a while, so don’t do anything stupid while I’m away, okay?”
“Did you get the mistaken impression that you’ve become a sensible person recently? To tell you the truth, the most problematic person in this town might actually be you instead of Aqua.”
After flattering herself in such a way that made us all concerned for her, Megumin turned to Darkness and said,
“Darkness, please keep an eye on those two for me while I’m out. Apart from a heightened sex drive, you’re pretty normal, so please make sure that Aqua doesn’t do something stupid and Kazuma doesn’t do something suicidal.”
“D-Don’t say that I have a heightened sex drive! Megumin too, you have the shortest temper in this town, so take care not to pick a fight with anyone you come across. I’ll keep an eye on Kazuma and make sure he doesn’t start following any random pretty girls that show up.”
Hey, why does it seem like I’m the least trusted person amongst all of them?
“You are the one that gives me the most worries when it comes to the topic of women, but… Oh well. You two are the kind of people who chicken out when it actually happens, after all. Aqua, please keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t get up to anything inappropriate.”
“I got it. It’s a little early for them to start having children. If I hear any strange noises, I’ll make sure to remind them to take proper precautions.”
“You don’t get it at all! Ah, just make sure not to leave those two alone.”
Just how exactly do these guys see me?
“Hey, I know how to control myself, you know? I did properly reject Darkness instead of becoming the captain of two boats.”
“Oh, yeah, I suppose you did properly reject Darkness. Sorry, I should have a little more trust in you.”
“… Step out into the yard, I’ll teach you two a lesson.”
Averting her gaze from Darkness who was nursing a fist, Megumin waved to us.
“Well then, I’m off to blow right through that trial back in the Crimson Demon village. Please behave yourself while I’m gone.”
Saying that, she left the house with a smile.
“Right, now that Megumin is gone, lets settle the division of chores. She said she’ll be back in a few days, but we should still properly settle this.”
After Megumin left, we discussed our future plans.
“I’m getting pretty tired of being put on toilet duty all the time. Please give me some cooking duties or the like.”
“No, every time you cook, you end up wasting most of the ingredients. You always end up turning a few bottles of seasonings into water. It’s too wasteful.”
“Then I’ll handle cooking. Darkness’s cooking is pretty plain, and Aqua’s out of the question. In return, Darkness will handle the cleaning, and Aqua will handle the toilets and the baths.”
“S-Say, is my cooking really that plain? I thought I’d have at least have a certain level of cooking skill…”
“Why am I always in charge of the toilets!? And isn’t it a little unfair to be only in charge of the cooking? We’ve got a new vegetable plot to take care of now, so you should at least help a little!”
Both of them raised objections to my proposal, and Darkness suddenly noticed.
“Vegetable plot? Hey, Aqua, why is this the first time I’ve heard about it? Did you make a plot in the yard!? It’s illegal for an amateur to grow vegetables, you know!?”
“You look pretty intelligent, but you are actually surprisingly dumb, aren’t you, Darkness? High-level adventurers are an exception to that law! Come on, take a look at my adventurer’s card! Now, lend me a hand! I’ll give you a few delicious vegetables too!”
Aqua proudly flashed her card in front of Darkness, before grabbing a bunch of farming tools and heading to the yard.
“Wait, Aqua, I have a really bad feeling about this, so please stop this home garden project! The only thing I can see down that road is our vegetables causing trouble for our neighbours!”
‘Growing vegetables at home will lead to causing trouble for others.’ This isn’t a concept you often come across in Japan.
Looking at Darkness chase after Aqua out of the corner of my eye, I grabbed the newspaper out of the postbox and collapsed onto the sofa.
There was a concerning headline on the newspaper I just opened.
New movements from the Demon King’s Army! Are they feeling the pinch after losing so many Generals?
We were heavily involved in reducing the number of Generals.
What do they mean by new movements? They didn’t place me on the top of their most wanted list or anything, did they?
I just want to live my new life peacefully as a rich man.
I understand if they feel threatened by me, but I would really like them to just let me be.
“That said, trouble always has a way of flinging itself at my door… Sigh, being a hero sure is tough.”
Suddenly, I noticed Chomusuke staring at me.
…Everyone went out, so I thought I was alone in the house.
It may be just a cat, but it’s still embarrassing to have someone hear me talking to myself. I flipped the page of the newspaper to hide my embarrassment…
My name was printed on the next page.
Oh, yeah, come to think of it, Megumin and I went to a newspaper to demand that they run a special feature on us back when we were living in the capital, didn’t we?
We used both the power of the Crimson Demons and the authority of the Dustiness family, and it looks like that article finally got published.
“Oho, ‘Exploring the mystery of the strongest of the weakest job, Satou Kazuma: The man who defeated countless high bounty monsters and Demon King’s Generals despite having the job of Adventurer’. Chomusuke, take a look. This is a newspaper. It’s a really big deal for your name to appear on it. Hey, don’t use it as a scratching post!”
After hastily lifting Chomusuke onto my lap to prevent her from destroying my newspaper, I went back to reading the article.
There were various things written about our party.
I’m described as the mysterious adventurer who, despite having the weakest job and being based out of the beginner’s town of Axel, has somehow managed to take down many high bounty targets and Generals of the Demon King’s Army.
An adventurer capable of using many different skills, with deep ties with both the nobility and the Crimson Demons.
Blessed with both riches and authority, strength and wisdom, and most of all, luck, he is definitely an adventurer to keep an eye on.
“Aqua! Aqua! Come over here quick! Take a look at… Wait, hold on.”
I started to call Aqua who was quarreling about something with Darkness in the yard, but I reconsidered after reading further on.
I was praised quite highly in the article, but I wasn’t the only one mentioned.
‘Of course, Satou Kazuma is not the only amazing one in the party. First off, there’s the beautiful Archmage who is capable of using the strongest offensive spell known to humans, Explosion. Secondly, there’s the gorgeous Crusader from the noble house famed for their resilience, Lady Dustiness. And lastly, there’s the mysterious and beautiful blue-haired Archpriest.’
“Right, these beautiful girls they are referring to are…”
Well, true, they are beautiful to look at.
Plus, my introduction was a little exaggerated as well.
‘The tough Crusader with strong attack power serves as the vanguard, and the Crimson Demon Archmage who can teleport them away in the event that things go south brings the firepower, and lastly, the rare and versatile Archpriest is in charge of support… With the Adventurer providing some kind of help from the backline, it truly is a wonderfully balanced party composition… ‘
“Hey, this is a little off.”
Reading further on, Megumin’s, Darkness’s, and Aqua’s achievements were valued very highly, but not much were written about my accomplishments.
They are treating me like some kind of commander or manager.
Well, they aren’t wrong, but it still makes me feel a little depressed…
They’ll probably end up rubbing it in my face, so I think I’ll pass on showing them today’s newspaper.
“Please don’t come all the way out to the frontiers to hunt me down. As long as you don’t pick a fight with me, I won’t cause any trouble for you.”
I cast a lingering glance at the headline ‘New movements from the Demon King’s Army’, before rolling up the newspaper.
— After completing her work in the yard,
“Let’s go on an extermination quest!”
Aqua enthusiastically declared while we were having dinner, sauce dripping off her cheeks like whiskers.
What’s gotten into her?
She didn’t awaken to the joys of being an adventurer back during the Treasure Island incident, did she?
“Killing monsters is the job of adventurers, so I don’t mind, but is it really okay with just us? Shouldn’t we wait for Megumin to come back?”
Darkness said while elegantly sipping tea.
“That’s exactly it! Megumin is in our party. Of course, that’s a good thing, but I just recently noticed something. Because Megumin usually deals the finishing blow, our levels barely rise. Of course, I’m already perfect, so my level going up wouldn’t mean much, but still, I’m like the figurehead of this party. If I’m not the highest leveled person in it, our reputation would suffer, wouldn’t it?”
“I don’t know when you became our party’s figurehead, but, yeah, I would like to raise my level too.”
Actually, other than me, everyone else has already leveled to the twenties and thirties.
I’ve been eating high quality ingredients worth plenty of experience points, so why is there such a large difference in our levels?
“I occasionally exorcise the ghosts at the cemetery together with Darkness, but it seems like stray ghosts just won’t cut it. They aren’t worth much experience points at all. So, let’s take this chance to gain a ton of levels. It’ll surely surprise Megumin when she gets back.”
“Megumin might throw a fit if she finds out we had an adventure without her, you know?… Still, she’s off in the Crimson Demon village undergoing some trial or the other right now, and it’d be bad if the gap in our levels continues to widen any further…”
Darkness seemed quite bothered by it, but, whether in stats or job or level, I’m in the worst position in this entire party.
“It’s fine to talk about closing the gap in our levels, but how exactly do you plan on doing so? The only one who gains any experience points is the one who deals the finishing blow, right? Neither of you have any methods of attack.”
Darkness can’t land any of her attacks, and Aqua can only attack undead and devils.
In response to my doubts, Aqua flared her nostrils-
“Don’t worry, I have a plan. Just leave it to me!”
And said that with a confident smile on her face.
I can’t help but get a bad feeling about this.
Aqua peeked her head out from a back alley in Axel.
“… I found it. Is everyone ready?”
I originally thought that Aqua wanted to hunt monsters outside the city, but her target was instead very close by.
“H-Hey, Aqua, you’re not going to…”
Darkness, who, like me, thought that we were headed out of the city and was thus in full armour, raised a puzzled voice.
“First, I’ll stop his movements with my attacks. Then, Kazuma, use Bind on him. Once he is immobile, we’ll surround it and beat it up.”
“A-Are you really a Priest?”
I softly grumbled to Aqua.
No, maybe it’s precisely because she’s a Priest.
Yes, Aqua’s target is…
“Oh, if it isn’t the acquaintances of Lady Dustiness. What a coinciden-.”
The penguin who was sweeping up dust in front of Wiz’s store collapsed weightlessly to the ground after receiving Aqua’s fist.
Judging from the sound it made when it hit the floor, it seems like the contents were erased yet again.
“Hey, penguin, get a hold of yourself! Vanir, are you here!? Your friend lost his life again!”
I called out into the store, and Vanir hurriedly rushed out.
“You accursed woman! Do you not feel content without making trouble at my store every day?!”
“Everytime you revive this pen-pen, one of your lives will be lost as well, right? Then that’s perfect. My boundless divine energy provided to me by my followers or your extra lives that are barely worth 30 eris each, I wonder which of them will be used up first?”
As Vanir breathed into the penguin, trying to resuscitate him, Darkness moved to stop Aqua.
“Hey, Aqua, don’t tell me the leveling target you were talking about is…”
“Of course, I’m talking about this pen-pen. He’s weak enough that I can easily vanquish him with a single blow, but I gained a level when I last defeated him. That means that he is worth a lot of experience points. So we’re using him to increase our levels!”
The resurrected penguin screamed as he heard Aqua’s words.
“–P-Please have some tea.”
Aqua strutted into the store after that, and the penguin timidly brought out tea for her.
The flippers that were sewn back on were trembling.
That was probably back from when Chris cut it off with her dagger.
Looking at that and his current state, I can’t help but feel a sense of guilt.
After receiving the tea from the penguin, Aqua took a small sip.
“… You sure have some guts to serve me hot water as tea.”
“W-Wha!? I’m pretty sure I served tea… I-I’ll go rebrew it.”
“There’s no need to put on another pot, Zereschrute! She’s just messing with you!”
After being picked on by Aqua and reprimanded by Vanir, the penguin dropped his shoulders and walked over to me.
“Young man, I may be a devil, but even devils can get depressed. Might you listen to a few grumbles of mine….”
“Seriously, it will really be best for you to get out of this town.”
As I tried to comfort the penguin, Darkness, who was looking around the shop, said,
“By the way, I don’t see Wiz around. Did she go somewhere?”
“If you are talking about that delusional shopkeeper, she started talking about strange things like feeling the presence of a challenger and the like after Moi had her work ceaselessly for a week. That doesn’t look good, and we’re in the black after that Treasure Island incident, so Moi had her resting in the back.”
Is Wiz approaching her limit?
“By the way, young man, why did you come here today?”
I remembered after hearing the penguin’s words.
Yeah, we’re here because of Aqua’s level increasing scheme…
I averted my gaze from the penguin who was looking blankly at me, and took Darkness and Aqua over to a corner of the shop to have a discussion.
“Hey, do you really intend to raise your level by repeatedly defeating that penguin? The friends I made back in the Crimson Demon village recommended a technique to quickly level by finishing off immobile monsters, and this feels just as unpleasant.”
“It’s really annoying that it looks so cute. Even if it is a devil, hearing him repeatedly scream does tug at my heartstrings. And here I thought it was a great idea. What should we do now?”
“Why don’t we just raise our levels like normal? Megumin isn’t here, but we should have raised our skills quite a bit by now. It’s a great chance for us. Normally, we would just let Megumin wipe out the monsters and call it a day right then.”
Hmm, can we really defeat monsters and level up normally with this party?
Come to think of it, while I had set out with Aqua and Megumin at one point, I’ve never tried fighting with just Aqua and Darkness.
“Right, let’s get some practice so we can perform a little better after Megumin’s exhausted her mana.”
Hearing my adventurer-sounding declaration, the two of them nodded.
Aqua ended up losing her temper and purifying the penguin again after Vanir shouted ‘so what did you come here for’ at us. Well, a lot of things happened, but eventually we left town and came to the plains.
“Frogs! Today is the day we take revenge on the frogs!”
“No, I don’t wanna! I can’t see frogs as anything other than my natural enemy!”
Perhaps because she remembered her past trauma, Aqua strongly protested and put us once again in the position of deciding which monster to hunt.
“But, Aqua, considering our combat strength, hunting frogs would be the best course of action for us… I’m wearing metal armour, so the frogs won’t eat me. This way, we’ll be able to avoid getting wiped.”
“That means that the frogs will definitely go after me! I have the ability to learn, you know? This will definitely end with me taking another dip inside a frog’s stomach!”
It’s only a little, but this girl has recently started being able to learn from past experience.
Even though her intelligence is already maxed out and shouldn’t grow with her level…
Is this what growing up means?
Seeing Aqua mature like this makes me feel a little happy, so I decided to support her.
“Fine, let’s choose another monster. How about going to the forest a little further away from town? Right now, there should be a lot of monsters that are stocking up in preparation for hibernation. If we go into the forest, I’m sure we’ll be able to catch them while they are eating-”
“No, I don’t wanna! There are a lot of bug type monsters in the forest. They’ll definitely be attracted by my beautiful aroma and make a beeline for me.”
Aqua made herself sound like some kind of insect-attracting flower, but, well, it was fairly likely for that to happen.
After listening to Aqua’s words, Darkness thought for a while before slamming her fist into her palm.
“Then how about this? There was that lake that Aqua purified before, right? The crocodiles that were deprived of their habitat should have moved to the nearby wetlands. They should still be near to the lake, so why don’t we go hunt them down and finish off the request from back then…”
“No, I don’t wanna! You say that, but it’ll just end up with me purifying the wetlands in order to draw out the monsters, right? In that case, the one who ends up attracting all the attention would be me! So I definitely don’t want to go back there!”
“Hey, I feel like it’s starting to get cold, and there doesn’t seem to be any leveling method more efficient than taking down that penguin. This is getting more and more troublesome.”
“Oh, you get it too, right? Sounds like Kazuma is getting tired of this too. Then, why don’t we call it a day for today and buy some ingredients for a hot pot on the way back?”
After making a pretty appealing suggestion, Aqua moved to leave before being dragged back by Darkness. Seeing that, I made an executive decision.
“Right, let’s just go with the frogs. Darkness, just bring her over to the general area.”
“I got it, I’ll be leaving the attacking to you. Well, against such huge frogs, even I might occasionally land a hit or two, so look forward to it.”
Only occasionally land a hit or two? Even against a giant frog?
“Nooooo! Why is this happening? This isn’t like you at all, Kazuma-san! Normally you would’ve happily agreed with me after I made such a lazy-sounding suggestion!”
“S-Shut up! Don’t think I’m a man who just lazes around all day! I’m a man who will get things done when he wants to! Stop grumbling and come along!”
Dragging Aqua who was crying and raising a fuss, I surveyed my surroundings-
“Kazuma is acting really strange recently! It’s abnormal! It’s like a long time NEET finally got the courage to go to work, and after receiving a little bit of praise on the first day, gets overconfident and starts thinking of himself as a man who get things done! Where did you get that baseless confidence from!? Is it because you kissed Darkness!? Did you cross the precipice of adulthood because you got kissed!?”
“S-Shut up, Aqua! Please forget about that already! And you, don’t steal glances at me like that! Actually, Kazuma, I can’t see any frogs at all!”
Perhaps remembering what happened when she kissed me, Darkness became flustered.
What Aqua pointed out isn’t completely wrong, but there’s a different reason for my confidence.
Yes, that would be the article in today’s newspaper.
How could the amazing Satou-san who received such fine praise give up just because it was a little troublesome? That would be a disappointment to his fans all over the nation, as well as an insult to all those bearing the name Satou who were working hard back in Japan.
I took out my bow.
“Right, Darkness, first, I’ll use my dynamite knock-off to wake up the frogs in the area. Then, you’ll use Decoy to draw the frogs over to you. They’ll gather around you at first, but once they realize that you’re wearing metal armour, they’ll start seeking another target. Their next target should be me, but I’ll take them out with my bow before they reach me.”
Saying that, I showed a confident smile to Darkness.
“S-Sure… What’s up with you today? You’re surprisingly bursting with confidence! It’s like a long time virgin entering an adult shop for the first time and, after receiving a little bit of praise, gets overconfident and starts thinking of himself as a man who can get things done…”
“Shut up! What’s up with you two?! Is it really unusual for me show some confidence?! Dammit, even if Megumin isn’t here to fawn over me, I’ll show you that I’m a man who gets things done! Tinder!”
I took out the dynamite knock off and threw it off into the distance.
The lighter I made was still a little unreliable due to it being handmade, so I decided to use Tinder to light the fuse.
I definitely wouldn’t be able to use this item if Megumin were here, but even after she told me to throw them out, I still continued making them in secret.
Seeing my actions, Aqua squatted down, covered her ears and closed her eyes.
A small boom resonated throughout the fields outside of Axel.
At the same time, the ground started rumbling and familiar creatures started to appear.
“Right, they’re here, Kazuma! The… frogs…”
No, there are definitely frogs there.
But it’s not just one or two frogs-
“Kazuma! Why are there so many frogs!? And why are they all looking at me!? What’s up with this!?”
Aqua wailed, her arm firmly in the grasp of Darkness.
Come on, even if you ask me…
“I told you! I definitely told you! This is why I didn’t want to deal with frogs! These frogs are definitely the creations of devils! Evil creatures they created to take on a goddess like me! WAAAAH! This is why I wanted to go home~!”
“Shut up! If you don’t want to die, stop crying and start casting some support magic on us! Anyway, it’s really strange for so many of them to appear! They didn’t appear because your bad luck drew them to us, right?”
The frogs are acting very different today. It might be because they were starving, but they rushed over to us.
Seeing that, Darkness seemed to have thought of something and said,
“Hey, Kazuma, this is probably because of the Treasure Island! These frogs must have hidden themselves underground in fear of the mana of that divine beast. They must be so afraid of the Treasure Island that they would rather starve themselves than surface, but your magic item woke all of them up.”
“Apologize! Apologize for blaming it on my bad luck! This whole thing is your idea this time, so take responsibility and do something!”
Aqua started hassling me after hearing Darkness’s explanation.
“I didn’t expect a single stick of dynamite to attract such large numbers! But I’ll apologize for suspecting you! I’m sorry, so accept your fate and get eaten together! Darkness will survive, so she can save us later!”
“Nooo! I don’t want to get covered in slime anymore! I don’t want to smell of fish or be defiled anymore~!”
“Fuhahaha! Bring it!”
Facing the fast approaching horde of frogs, I once again realized that this party is only fully operational if all of its members are gathered.
“Sob…sob… I don’t want to go outside anymore… I’ll stay inside for the entire winter…”
Aqua whined as she dripped slime on the carpet.
I would like to take a bath too, but I’ll let Aqua go first today.
After all, Aqua did get swallowed by frog after frog almost as soon as Darkness cut her out from one.
For some reason, the frogs seemed to prefer Aqua over me.
It’s probably due to our difference in luck, but even so, I’m a little more inclined to believe Aqua’s words when she says that frogs are the natural enemies of gods.
I grabbed the unsteady Aqua’s hand and brought her to the bath.
“Come on, I’ll heat up the water for you, so go ahead. I’ll wash up later.”
“Sob… This whole thing happened because you woke them up with your dynamite, but I really hate myself for forgiving you just because you showed me a bit of kindness…”
I pushed Aqua who was obediently following me into the bathroom, before pouring mana into the heater.
Afterwards, while still covered in slime, I waited for Darkness to return after reporting the extermination.
Darkness, who was safe because of her metal armour, stared intently at me after bringing back the rewards from the sale of the frog meat and the extermination of the frogs.
“Thanks. Please wait a while if you want to use the bath, I would like to go in after Aqua’s done… What’s wrong? Why are you staring at me like that…”
“N-no, it’s nothing. I was just wondering how it feels to be eaten by a frog after seeing everyone get eaten…”
I thought she was getting better as of late, but it seems like she will always be a masochist at her core.
“Welcome back, Darkness~ The bath is free, Kazuma~. Try not to drink the bathwater I left behind. It might be clean after I’ve purified it, but you might still get a stomach ache if you swallow any leftover frog bits.”
Having left the bath, Aqua walked over barefoot while dressed in her pajamas.
“Just what kind of man do you think I am, you slimy bitch? I’m still covered in slime, so if you don’t want to be forced to take another bath, you better apologize right now.”
“I’m sorry, Kazuma. I really don’t want to get slimed again, so please forgive me.”
Leaving Aqua who quickly prostrated herself before me, I hurried to the bath.
— After washing away the slime covering my body, I let out a sigh as I soaked.
It felt like I went through a lot of things, but it’s barely been a day since Megumin left on her trip.
It should’ve been easier for me with one less problem child to look after, so how is it that I encountered something so horrible and ended up so worn out?
I sensed someone standing outside the bath.
“Say, Kazuma, I’m quite tired, so I think I’ll skip dinner today. In place of that, I’ll help myself to some snacks and wine, okay?”
“Hey, by snacks, you’re not referring to the precious caviar I’ve been keeping, are you? I got that from a strange butler who mixed everything into miso soup back when I was living in the capital!”
I shouted towards Aqua who called out from behind the door, but she simply hummed a song and left.
I thought about pursuing her while still naked, but she isn’t the only one who’s tired.
I closed my eyes and soaked myself up to the shoulders-
How long have I been asleep?
When I came to, the lamp was out, and it has gotten dark outside.
The water in the tub has also become lukewarm. Looks like I was out for quite some time.
In other words, I was really that tired.
“Megumin really helped us out a lot…”
We struggled against a horde of frogs today, but if Megumin were here, she would’ve taken them all out in an instant.
Come to think of it, I only noticed Darkness’s importance back when she was about to be married off to that Alderp guy.
That means, the girl who’s currently stealing my precious snacks and constantly brings trouble every day is also-
“Nah, that’s definitely not possible-”
In the darkened bathroom, I started mumbling to myself.
Well, I suppose her skills in healing magic are worthy of praise…
And she’s also very effective when fighting devils and undead.
Actually, her ability to repeatedly revive people without issues could be said to be a cheat-like ability…
“No, wait, if she weren’t here, I would’ve gotten some proper divine treasures or abilities and wouldn’t have died in the first place…”
Well, it’ll be best to leave it at that.
I’ll probably cry if I say it out loud.
Plus, after living so long in this idiotic world-
Yeah, it isn’t too bad.
Just as I thought that.
I heard the sound of a door opening.
Now that the lamp has gone out in the bath, no one would think that it would still be occupied.
Aqua has already taken a bath, and Megumin is in the Crimson Demon village.
I remembered what happened back then as I listened to the slipping sounds of someone undressing.
I was in the bath just like this when I ordered the succubus service for the first time.
It’s the exact same situation.
The lamp was blown out by chance, and I fell asleep in the bath.
I thought it was a dream back then, but now I’m deadly certain that this is reality.
Through the glass door that separates the changing room and the bath, I saw a white silhouette.
It’s totally a repeat of that night.
The glass door opened, and the person who came in is, of course, Darkness.
Darkness seemed a little bigger in certain places than what I remembered, and the moment her gaze met mine-
A high pitched scream echoed throughout the bathroom.
“—W-W-What are you thinking!? Why are you screaming instead of me? Isn’t this odd?”
Darkness frantically rushed over to my side and covered my mouth to block out my scream.
Yes, the one who screamed was me.
I was the one who screamed.
I pushed away Darkness’s hand.
“I’m not going to be treated as a sexual offender because I happen to chance upon this situation! I firmly believe that if a man stumbles onto this kind of situation by accident, the woman has no right to be angry! I’m the one who was here first! If our sexes were reversed, you’d be the one branded as a sexual offender! Why must the blame always fall upon the guy!? This world is the one that’s screwed up!”
“I-I get it, you aren’t at fault! I didn’t have any intention to blame you in the first place-”
I ignored Darkness who was frantically trying to say something and continued,
“In the first place, why is a woman’s word enough to brand a man as a sexual offender!? Isn’t that odd!? If we were on a train together and you touched my butt, even if I raised a fuss about you being a pervert, no one would even raise an eyebrow!”
“Hey, wait, why would I touch your butt… what’s a train in the first place?”
I steadily got angry as I continued speaking.
Yes, the world is screwed up.
If you really care about gender equality, sexual offenders shouldn’t just be determined by the word of a woman, even the word of a man should be trusted for that!
“When I become prime minister, I’ll arrest both men and women equally! I’ll definitely not allow false charges! Cameras will be placed in all carriages, and anyone who makes false charges will be severely punished!”
“O-Okay, I get it, so please just quiet down a little! What would you do if Aqua comes to investigate!? Actually, what are you even saying!? I’m not following you in the slightest!”
Darkness seemed on the verge of tears as she made a shushing sound with her finger to her lips, but I couldn’t care less!
“But if the pervert is a beautiful lady, there wouldn’t be a crime unless the other party reports it! When I go back to Japan, I plan to run for office with that as my platform-!”
And after I worked myself up so far, I finally noticed Darkness’s appearance.
She is mostly naked, but she still had a bikini-like outfit on her.
On top of that, she wore a large towel, and was holding a smaller towel meant for washing up in her hand.
Perhaps because she noticed my gaze, Darkness blushed bright red and, with an embarrassed expression, said in a soft voice,
“… I thought I would wash your back…”
The sound of dripping water could be heard in the dark bathroom.
It created a different sort of atmosphere than the rowdy one we usually have.
“D-Darkness, p-please focus on this part next…”
“I-I got it…but Kazuma, umm…”
Darkness, who has been blushing red ever since just now, stuttered. She’s probably affected by the unusual atmosphere too.
“Pant, Pant… Darkness, I, I can’t…”
“Kazuma, I can’t take it anymore, this is…”
With a scream, Darkness finally-
“What are you making such lewd noises when I’m just washing your back!? You are making it sound like we are doing something obscene!”
Flung the towel she was using to wash my back onto the back of my head.
I took the towel and started cleaning up my front.
“I can’t help it. I thought it was a dream the last time you washed my back, so I didn’t get the chance to properly enjoy it.”
Thinking back, I really wasted that opportunity back then.
I thought it was a dream that I could view at any time, so I rushed her to move on to the next step.
“That’s scary in its own way. Does that mean you act boldly and do whatever you want to me in your dreams?”
Darkness mumbled as she poured water on my back to wash off the soap.
“Of course, it’s my dream, after all. Did you know? In a dream, no matter what kind of extreme situations you experience, it won’t run afoul of laws or copyrights. A woman I highly respect said that.”
“Who the hell told you such stupid things!?”
Darkness angrily poured warm water down my head.
“Seriously, I’ve been concerned about the company you keep for quite some time. Who is this highly-respected woman? This is the first time I heard that you had such a friend.”
“She’s a gentle woman who is above you in both personality and body.”
“That isn’t something you should boldly say when a man and a woman are alone together!”
It’s disrespectful to even compare that person with Darkness.
Obviously, the person I’m referring to is one of the wonderful succubi who tirelessly provide sweet dreams to comfort the lonely adventurers in the town of Axel everyday, reducing the crime rate in the process.
“Anyway, what made you think of offering this service in the first place? You’re not seeking some more allowance like Aqua, right? How much money do I have to pay for this service in the future?”
“Hey, I worked up a lot of courage to do this. Don’t call it a service. This is just thanks for saving Sylphina. I already properly thanked Megumin, Aqua, Vanir, Wiz, and the other adventurers, but I haven’t properly thanked you yet, so…”
After saying that, Darkness dumped a basin of water over her head, as if to cool down her blushing face and overheating brain.
“That’s cold! Can you step further away before splashing water on yourself!? Unlike you, I don’t like getting splashed with cold water after soaking in a warm bath!”
“I don’t act like that 24/7, you know!? It’s because you keep saying stuff that makes people embarrassed!”
Saying that, she moved in front of me with her head kept low.
“H-Hey, are you serious? How far do you intend to go? Is it really okay not to pay an extra fee for this?”
“Just shut up already! Ah, come on, make sure you properly secure that towel. This isn’t like one of Aqua’s jokes, you hear? I’ll wash your body thoroughly, so stay still.”
With her gaze averted, Darkness started scrubbing my chest.
“Okay, okay, I get it. We’ve known each other for some time, after all. I know you’re not entirely satisfied with this.”
“You don’t get it! You don’t get it at all! Nevermind that, just stay still!”
Seems like she couldn’t keep up with my banter; Darkness hmphed and poured warm water down my body.
“Sigh… I can’t believe I got seriously nervous over this. I feel like such a fool… Hey, I told you not to move! Are you purposely showing it off to me!?”
Hearing Darkness say such things rife with hidden meanings, I suddenly thought-
“Hey, you aren’t going to say this is the end of it, right? After coming this far while dressed like that, do you really think a healthy young man would be satisfied with just a backrub?”
“Huh!? But, don’t you have Megumin…”
Darkness hastily said with a flustered expression,
“Yeah, things have been going pretty well between Megumin and me lately, but are you fine with that? Are you really fine with that!? Didn’t you say something like ‘Ah, it seems I like you more than I thought’ to me a few days ago?!”
“I-I said that, but…”
“I was really happy back then.”
Hearing my honest words, Darkness sucked in a gasp.
“I was really happy when you told me that. Yeah, I did reject you, but men are troublesome creatures, you see. We’ll still feel a little disappointed if the other party obediently gives up just because we rejected them once. But this is the case for you women as well, right?”
“T-That means, instead of Megumin, you…”
“Ah, that’s impossible. I’m a pretty faithful man. Now that we’ve progressed to this point, there’s no way I can leap into the arms of another woman. I’m aiming to be a decent man, after all.”
At my words, Darkness shot me a questioning gaze.
“Wait, hold on, you’ve already chosen Megumin, but if we keep going like this, won’t we end up in an extremely risque situation…?”
Seems like Darkness is quite confused by all this.
“Is this too difficult for you to follow? Very well, I’ll put it in simpler terms. I want to become a proper, decent man. But it’s not like I can’t understand your feelings of love that are so overwhelming that you just can’t restrain yourself anymore.”
“It’s not like I like you to that extent… No, it’s nothing.”
Darkness, who was about to say something unnecessary, shut up upon meeting my gaze.
“Basically, this is what I’m saying. I’ll definitely resist you if you try and get me to cheat on Megumin. I’ll resist, but be it be my level or stats, there’s no way I can successfully fight you off if you were to do anything lewd to me. But I’m the Kazuma-san who highly values my companions. No matter what you do, I won’t hate you because of it.”
“W-W-What are you saying!? People call you Kazutrash or Scumzuma, but that doesn’t even begin to describe you! Why did Megumin fall for such a man!?”
Darkness suddenly started angrily lecturing me.
“S-Shut up! You were saying you liked that sort of man too! In the first place, there’s no way for a healthy man to resist after being flung into these kinds of erotic situations one after another! If anything, you should be praising me for not having crossed the line up till this point!”
“Who would praise you for that!? How stupid! Ah, nevermind, I was the fool! I’m feeling unwell today, so you can handle the rest on your own!”
She just said something really amazing for an ojou-sama!
“Oh, you’re leaving now? You haven’t even finished washing my front yet! What kind of thanks is this!? You keep saying that I’m gutless, but you’re pretty gutless yourself, aren’t you?! What was it, a member of the Dustiness family will never yield? Don’t you dare flatter yourself with such words!”
A vein started throbbing on Darkness’s temple.
“Fine, I’ll wash you! But that will be it! I won’t go any further! I’m not that easy of a woman that I’ll fall for your cheap provocations!”
“Enough with the words, hurry up and get to it! That is, if you have the resolve to go through with it! Aqua’s dead drunk after eating my high quality snacks and Megumin’s in the Crimson Demon village! In other words, there’s no one left to interfere! Don’t think someone will conveniently barge in just like what happened the last time.”
Darkness angrily picked up the towel and started scrubbing me.
“Hey, that hurts! If you want to thank me, then be more gentle!”
“You really complain a lot for a man! I’m just going to hurry up and get this over with!”
Perhaps she’s getting angry to hide her embarrassment. Darkness, her face bright red, has been staring at a certain spot for quite some time–
“Can’t you do something about that?! I can’t help but be bothered when I see your towel rise like that!”
“That’s just a little party trick. I took out a few frogs earlier, didn’t I? I gained a couple of levels and learnt the party trick skill.”
“As if there exist such a useless trick! Seriously, what kind of man are you… You really aren’t a match for the pure and straightforward Megumin! Hurry up and break up!”
How could she say such a thing?!
“Too bad, Megumin’s already head over heels for me! Who in hell would listen to you!? I think I’ll go find Megumin when she gets back and have her properly pamper me!”
“You really are the lowest form of trash… Oh, I know. I should’ve done this from the start.”
An inexplicable smile appeared on Darkness’s face.
“I’ll make something happen between us before telling Megumin exactly what happened. I’ll let her understand exactly how weak of a man you are and make her give up on you. It wouldn’t hurt Megumin if she gradually gives up on you of her own volition. If you can escape from my clutches, I’ll accept that you are a fitting man for Megumin!”
Saying that, she suddenly lunged at me!
How could this girl say something so wicked…!
“I-Megumin… Don’t think it’ll go exactly as you planned! Let go of me!”
“You say that, but you aren’t using any skills or resisting at all! You’re actually looking forward to this, aren’t you? Now, I’m sure you know what comes next…”
Darkness excitedly said some lines that wouldn’t seem out of place as part of a villainous monologue.
“Just what exactly comes next?”
That was Megumin’s cold voice that I’m so used to hearing by now.
At this point, Darkness and I were pretty much naked and hugging each other.
Both of us looked towards the door.
Standing behind the glass door was Megumin, a mask of disgust on her face and glowing eyes.
Before Darkness could say anything,
“Help me! This woman barged into the bath to attack me!”
“Y-You bastard! You really are the trashiest of men!”