Gifting Aid to this Stalking Victim!
Editing: Ulti, Deus ex Machina, Xenthur
“Then, Darkness said ‘….Ah, it seems I like you more than I thought…'”
“T-Then? What happened next? How did you respond, Kazuma-san?”
“I responded… ‘Sorry, I already have Megumin. You should give up on me.’”
“Wait, hold on! You and Megumin are an item!? When did you become this popular!?”
Ever since the party to celebrate Sylphina’s recovery, I’ve been showing up at the guild whenever I have some free time to boast about my recent popularity to the other adventurers.
“It’s only natural, after all, it’s me we’re talking about! The one who defeated many strong enemies and even got featured in a special article in the newspapers! Here, take a look!”
I proudly unfurled the newspaper and showed it to the two female adventurers who came to listen to my stories.
Live a humble and down-to-earth life?
I did actually defeat many strong enemies, you know? Receiving a little bit of recognition for it is only my just reward.
The two of them had a strange expression as they read the newspaper that had my name on it.
“… Hey, isn’t this the newspaper published in the capital?”
“Why would Kazuma-kun appear in that?”
I thought that they would start fawning over me, but for some reason, they instead turned gloomy.
“Why are you two so quiet? What, do you guys think that I’ve become unreachable because I’ve become a celebrity? Don’t worry, I don’t plan on leaving this town anytime soon. We’re friends, aren’t we? You can just casually call me Kazuma…”
“No, I don’t really care about that.”
“Yeah, that thought hasn’t crossed my mind at all.”
An instant refusal.
“Then why are you acting like this? Are you envious of me now that I’m featured in the news?”
The two of them traded looks.
“You’ll be targeted by other famous adventurers, you know?”
And said something that bode nothing but trouble.
“—So, yeah, a couple of adventurers I know told me that, but it’ll be fine, right? They won’t attack me or anything, will they? In the first place, a sudden assault is a crime, right?”
In the hall of my mansion.
Darkness was trembling with the newspaper in her hand.
Seems like she was concerned about the fact that we used the authority of her house to get this article published.
“Y-You… You used the authority of my house for all kinds of frivolous matters again… Hey, where do you think you’re going, Megumin?! I’m lecturing the both of you!”
Darkness caught Megumin as she tried to sneak off to the second floor with Chomusuke in hand.
At that time, Aqua tugged on my sleeve.
“Kazuma-san, Kazuma-san, please give me that article. Look at this, I’m described as the beautiful, blue-haired Archpriest.”
“I don’t want to, I want to keep a copy of my own special article too. Look, my introduction is the ‘strongest of the weakest class’. It really tickles my chuuni soul. Nevermind that, Darkness, it’ll be fine, right? The security of this town is good, right? If some rough-looking adventurers start spouting dangerous things, the police will cart them off, right?”
Darkness took a deep breath.
“Duels between adventurers are allowed by the Adventurer’s Guild. You fought with that magic sword user some time ago, remember? Anyway, even in the worst case scenario, Aqua can-”
“Revive me even if I die!? Don’t joke with me!”
This country has laws governing the strangest of things, so why the hell is it suddenly lacking at this most crucial point?!
Megumin, her collar firmly in Darkness’s hand, gave me a reassuring smile.
“Don’t worry, Kazuma. I’ll deal with any adventurers who come seeking a challenge, so you can rest assured and continue boasting as you wish.”
“Don’t spoil this man, Megumin! I feel like you’ve been excessively overprotective of him lately. Just what happened!?”
Megumin eyes started glowing as she turned around to face Darkness.
“What happened? You dare ask me that?”
In response to Megumin’s sudden confrontation, Darkness flinched and let go of her collar.
“It’s because someone had an affair and stole the first kiss of the man in my heart!”
“A-Affair!? Megumin, don’t make it sound so obscene…”
Darkness uneasily took a step back, and Megumin advanced on her.
“I thought you were a sheltered young lady, so I let you confess your feelings and settle things out of the goodness of my heart, but you! You aren’t satisfied by just confessing! Last night, too, you tried to seduce my man with that erotic body of yours!”
“I-I didn’t try to seduce… Hey, Kazuma, you say something too!”
Rather than that, I want to hear Megumin say ‘my man’ one more time.
Weren’t we supposed to be more than friends, but not yet lovers? Since when did I rank up to becoming Megumin’s man?
Suddenly, Aqua, who was watching this lover’s-quarrel-like scene unfold from the sidelines, slammed her hand on the table.
“Kazuma-san, you’ve changed! You are no longer the virgin NEET who had to rely on me to get through life! Since when did you become a harem protagonist?!”
Going from a virgin NEET to a harem protagonist is really leaping up high in life.
“Aqua, listen closely. There’s no such thing as simple friendship between a girl and a guy. Even if it starts out as such, eventually they’ll start becoming conscious of each other in a romantic way. And if a rich and talented and reliable man with a secure future like me is hanging around them… Yes, this is but the natural result.”
I leisurely leaned back on the sofa, and casually patted Chomusuke who escaped from Megumin’s grasp to laze by my side.
“This guy is saying something strange again. Still, even though we’ve been together for quite some time, for some strange reason, I have never once regarded Kazuma-san in a romantic manner.”
“What a coincidence, I feel the same way. Every other girl I’ve been with has made my heart skip a beat at least once or twice, but you…”
Aqua and I struck up menacing poses and slowly approached each other…
“And what’s with the clothes you’ve been wearing within the mansion recently?! They are so thin that you might as well be a woman of the night! Do you really want to show off your body to Kazuma that badly?! You do, don’t you?! Every time you take a bath, you always hang out close to Kazuma for no apparent reason!”
Next to us, Megumin pressed Darkness about the lascivious sleeping gown that she was wearing.
Now that she mentioned it, yeah, Darkness has definitely been walking around with much thinner clothing recently.
“T-That’s not it… I-It’s because it’s getting hot!”
“It’s almost winter!”
Wait, could she be? Darkness said something about giving up on me before she kissed me, but is she actually trying to seduce me?
There was that incident last night, too.
“And you purposefully wear these kinds of clothes in front of him! Kazuma is a weak-willed man, so I definitely won’t allow you to tempt him like this!”
“I’m not trying to tempt him- Ow, ow, ow! Don’t pull on me, Megumin! You’ll rip my sleeping gown-”
“You’re wide open!”
Just when my attention was drawn towards Darkness, Aqua attacked me with a flying drop kick.
Receiving a kick to my stomach, I crumpled and curled up into a ball.
“I defeated the harem NEET!”
I’m going to kill this girl!
I couldn’t raise my voice due to the pain. Then, Chomusuke, who was laying next to me, raised her head.
She was motionlessly looking in a certain direction– looking at the window.
“What’s wrong with this little one? If she wants to go out, she would normally just jump over to the window and start pawing at it.”
“Ouch… Did you see something unspeakable? Is there a ghost over there or something?”
By the time I’ve recovered from the pain, Aqua has already moved to the window– and started shouting as she looked outside.
“Ah, hey, why are there so many stray ghosts in the city? I’ve been regularly cleansing the cemetery, so why are there so many of them here?”
At those words, everyone turned to face Aqua.
“… Hey, don’t think I’m at fault just because ghosts are involved. I really have nothing to do with this! These ghosts aren’t naturally occuring, someone summoned them here!”
… Summoned ghosts?
The only ones who can do that would be the rare holders of the advanced Necromancer class, and Liches that are hailed as the Kings of Undead.
There shouldn’t be a Necromancer in this town right now.
Aqua met my gaze and gave me a nod.
“I let her off because she serves me tea and snacks whenever I visit her store, but it seems like she’s finally shown her true colours! I’ve already taken a bath and changed into my pajamas, so I don’t feel like going out today, but I’ll go out early next morning to lecture her!”
No, you should go do it right now.
Megumin has been using the same lake as her target for her daily explosion trip ever since Aqua started clamouring to eat fish, but she left the house early together with Darkness today.
Seems like she has gotten tired of using the same lake as her target.
Thus, only Aqua and I went to visit Wiz’s shop.
“Is anyone here!?”
In high spirits, Aqua slammed open the door and marched into the store in a manner that suggested that she was ready to beat someone up.
“… If it isn’t the lonely woman who raises such a fuss so early in the morning. What business do you have with my store? Moi is a little busy right now, so if you’re here for something pointless, please come back at another time.”
Vanir was at the back of the store.
“I came here to settle the score with Wiz after she summoned all those ghosts, but where is she? Actually, what do you mean by lonely woman? If you’re praising the great Aqua-sama for standing alone above everyone else, I wouldn’t mind praying for you to be reborn as a paramecium instead of a devil when you finally run out of lives.”
“Moi is calling you lonely woman because even the easily-seduced harem brat wouldn’t fall for you… H-Hey, Moi is always ready to accept a challenge from you, but didn’t we agree not to turn the merchandise in this store into water!?”
The two of them started quarreling immediately, as expected. Still, the one we came to see isn’t around.
“Say, Vanir, where did Wiz go? We have something to discuss with her.”
“That prodigal storekeeper hasn’t been back since she left sometime last night. She has never had much luck with men, so it’d be a good thing if she found a nice guy to spend the night with.”
“Wait, you’re kidding, right!? She looks so mature, so how could she spend the night at a guy’s place like this!? First Kazuma and now her, everyone’s turning into a pervert!”
Just when I was sympathizing with Wiz who was being spoken badly of, a magic circle suddenly appeared on the floor.
And along with the light appeared the form of…
“Vanir-san, please help me-”
Seems like Wiz came here using teleport.
And screamed in response to Aqua’s sudden spell.
“What the hell do you think you are doing!? You really did a number on Wiz this time!”
“Calm down, you perverted NEET. This is just a little light punishment for summoning all those ghosts last night.”
You don’t use purification spells for light punishments!
“You finally came back. Just where did you fool around, you promiscuous storekeeper? Didn’t Moi tell you that there are new goods coming in early this morning?”
“Yeah, that’s it! You have the face of a cake that no man would take, so why did you suddenly start spending the night out? Judging from your personality, I’m sure you got tricked by some bad man! Someone like Kazuma-san!”
This girl, the moment you let her be, she immediately gets full of herself.
Just when I was thinking what kind of punishment I should bestow onto Aqua, Wiz frantically waved her hands.
“H-Hold on, you two! Why am I suddenly getting purified!? And why are the two of you saying such despicable things about me on top of that!?”
Wiz was on the verge of tears after being picked on by the two of them.
“Just ignore them. Anyway, what’s wrong? You seem to be in quite a panic.”
Wiz seems to be slightly transparent at the edges, but otherwise she seemed mostly fine. Guess Aqua really did hold back with her ‘light punishment’ spell.
Wiz tightly hugged her body as if to protect herself and screamed,
“I ran into a stalker!”
“—Here, drink some hot tea and calm down. It’s best to warm yourself after experiencing something scary.”
“T-thank you, Aqua-sama… But this tea makes me go numb whenever I drink it…”
The slightly transparent Wiz drank the tea and took a deep breath.
“So, what exactly happened? What’s this about a stalker?”
Seated on one of the chairs in the store, I once again asked Wiz for details after she has calmed down somewhat.
“Yes, a stalker! This happened yesterday evening…”
— There’s a restaurant that will throw out their leftover food around evening.
This happened when Wiz was returning from that restaurant after receiving some of their leftovers.
This store is situated in a back alley, so, of course, there wouldn’t be many people passing by that late at night.
As she made her way back, she ran into a man with a black hood pulled over his features standing in middle of the deserted street.
“Without removing his hood, the black robed man said: ‘My name is Duke. I’ve come from a faraway place to meet you… I’ve spent many years investigating you, and throughout all this time, my only thoughts are of you.’”
Hey, this sounds really dangerous.
Even Aqua had a face of disgust.
“He then said: ‘I’ve done nothing but train my body. Do you know why?’ Of course, I said I didn’t know, but then-!”
Wiz stumbled in her words. Seems like it was a really traumatic experience for her.
“He screamed: ‘It’s obviously so I can take you over!’ And threw away his robe. I quickly ran away… Afterwards, I was too afraid to return to the store, so I summoned a few ghosts and asked them to monitor the stalker’s movements…”
This guy is far more serious than I could ever expect.
It might have been in a back alley at night, but I would never expect a man to actually attack a woman in this town.
“I see, so that’s why the ghosts started gathering in this town. Ah well, guess it can’t be helped. Make sure you send them back to where they came from after this.”
“They aren’t stray dogs, Aqua. Actually, couldn’t you just send them to heaven right now? So, anyway, was the reason you didn’t come back until now because the stalker was hanging out near the store?”
I thought it was a pretty accurate guess, but Wiz shook her head.
“No, I don’t know where he is. I released a lot of ghosts into this city, but I couldn’t get a fix on him at all… Actually, it seems like most of the ghosts were exorcised by him…”
A stalker who can exorcise ghosts…
“So the culprit is an Axis Cultist?”
“Indeed, there’s no need to use Moi all-seeing eyes to determine that.”
“Hey, hold on! Don’t turn my precious children into scapegoats!”
Aqua strongly objected to the conclusion that Vanir and I drew.
Then, Wiz timidly said…
“Umm… Can you help me think of some countermeasures…?”
Oh, right, Wiz was in a serious pinch right now.
“But, we don’t even know where the black-robed stalker is right now, right? Hey, don’t you constantly boast about your all-seeing eyes? Why aren’t you putting them to use right now?”
“Moi does not need you to tell me that! Moi have been using my powers on him for quite some time, but Moi still can’t get a lock on him. It doesn’t seem like he’s an ordinary pervert. There’s a high chance that he is strong enough to fend off Moi all-seeing eyes.”
Strong and a pervert. The danger level just keeps rising.
Vanir suddenly slammed his fist into his palm.
“Unmarriageable Shopkeeper, perhaps you should change your way of thinking. It’s not often that you find someone who’s so madly obsessed with you. It might not be such a bad idea for you to get together with him, you know?”
“H-How could I!? He’s a man who would attack someone on sight! And please don’t call me Unmarriageable Shopkeeper.”
I think I’ve seen Vanir’s attitude somewhere before.
Oh, yeah, it’s the same attitude I took during Darkness’s arranged marriage meeting.
“Is Wiz-san here? There’s a letter for you.”
“Ah, thank you.”
The door opened, and a delivery man handed a letter over to Wiz.
Receiving a letter at such a time… I have a bad feeling about this.
Sure enough, after Wiz read the contents of the letter, her face turned gloomy.
“It’s a letter from that stalker, yes? Moi may be able to find out where he is if Moi uses my powers upon that letter. Do you want me to launch an attack on him?”
Vanir is surprisingly cooperative. Seems like he’s still concerned for the safety of someone he works with.
“Thank you, Vanir-san, but I’ll settle this by myself. This letter is calling me to meet with him outside town tomorrow.”
Wiz had a determined expression as she tightly gripped the letter.
“I… This is the first time someone confessed to me, so I would like to seriously answer him.”
“–So, Wiz intends to give him her answer tomorrow.”
While we were having dinner back in the mansion, I summarized the events of today.
Darkness and Megumin both had a strange expression after hearing that.
“A stalker, huh. My self-proclaimed rival seems like she might lean a little in that direction, so I’m a little worried about her future… These kinds of people are really scary when they become desperate. There’s no telling what they’ll do when they snap.”
You’re talking about Yunyun, right?
“Still, to think that such a pervert would appear in this peaceful city… How could he cause trouble for the upstanding citizens of this town?”
Darkness passionately said as she elegantly chopped up the meat on her plate.
“… I didn’t think the day would come when I could hear the word pervert come out of your mouth.”
“W-What are you-!?”
Aqua, who has finished her meal and was currently feeding Emperor Zell on her lap, suddenly interjected,
“Wiz said she’ll settle it herself, but what exactly does that pacifistic girl plan to do? Does she seriously intend to accept his confession? Megumin and Darkness have been obsessed with perverted thoughts lately. If Wiz gets a boyfriend too, wouldn’t the number of playmates I have be drastically reduced?”
“Hey, Aqua, I’m not obsessed with perverted thoughts! I’m not like Darkness who dresses like a woman of the night to seduce men! I’m a pure maiden who hasn’t even kissed a man yet!”
The no-longer-pure Darkness started with a tearful expression.
I sunk into my thoughts.
Wiz is fundamentally a kind person.
She definitely won’t be able to refuse if she was pushed. It feels like all he has to say is, ‘Let’s start by being friends,’ and she’ll happily accept.
To be honest, she’s about on the same level as Yunyun who will happily follow anyone who claims to want to be her friend.
Is it really okay to let Wiz handle this alone?
My popular period has just started. It’s entirely possible for Wiz to end up joining my harem in the near future.
… No, wait, what the hell am I thinking?!
Get a hold of yourself, Satou Kazuma! What would you want to create a harem for?! Didn’t you just reject Darkness?!
But, this and that are different matters.
Wiz is a close female friend of mine. I don’t want to see her get snatched off by some unknown man hailing from who knows where.
“Hey, Kazuma-san? You have a really evil look on your face. What’s wrong?”
“At least say this is the manly face of a guy protecting his friend!”
Hiding in front of the store, I was amazed by Wiz’s attire.
Wiz was very gorgeously dressed today.
Perhaps it’s because I only ever see her wearing a frumpy robe or an apron, or perhaps it’s because I’m only surrounded by childish-looking girls, but it was really refreshing to see her like this.
“Hey Kazuma, now’s not the time to ogle her! Hurry up and activate Lurk.”
Darkness’s words snapped me out of my daze, and I hastily activated my skill.
Having concealed our presence, we crept after Wiz as she headed out of town.
“Hey, Kazuma, I feel like a stalker somehow. At this rate, will we end up becoming her second and third stalker?”
“Don’t say that, Aqua. This isn’t stalking, this is simply keeping watch over a friend who might be heading into danger from afar.”
“We call that ‘stalking’.”
Ignoring Megumin’s reply, I continued following Wiz.
And just as Wiz said, a black-robed figure was standing in the plains just outside of town.
Around him was an open, empty field, with no obstacles that we could safely hide ourselves behind.
There was a high chance of us being discovered if we moved any closer.
That said, we couldn’t hear their words from where we were right now.
I activated my Farsight skill and my Lip Reading skill to follow their conversation.
“Seems like you read my letter. I’m glad that you accepted my request.”
“… After hearing you say that to me, there’s no way I wouldn’t be here…”
Good, looks like Lip Reading works even at this distance.
“It has been too long… I’ve been searching for you for a long time. It really surprised me to hear that you opened a magic item shop in this town. But I’ve finally met you. This made it worth spending all the time on the road to get here.”
“D-Did you really travel such a long distance just to meet with me?”
The weighty words of the hooded man made Wiz falter.
Suddenly, I felt a series of sharp tugs on my clothes, interrupting my concentration.
“Kazuma-san, Kazuma-san, don’t just listen for yourself. Interpret for us too. What are the two of them saying?”
“I’m only listening in with my Lip Reading skill, so this is just my interpretation, but… It seems like that man traveled a long distance in order to confess to Wiz.”
Ignoring the surprised gasp of the three, I activated my skill once again.
“I’m sure you know why I called you out here. Just as I said the other day… I’ve always been thinking about you. I’ve trained my body so that I’ll be a worthy fit for you!”
“E-Even if you say that… And this is our first meeting, I don’t even know how to respond! And I don’t think it’s good to boldly perform such actions in the middle of town!”
Wiz furiously blushed in response to the man’s passionate declaration.
“Hey, Kazuma! Wiz seems to be blushing! Just what did that guy say?”
“He said ‘I’ve always been thinking of you,’ ‘I’ve trained myself just for you,’ and stuff like that. He seems to be the kind of guy who thinks that being strong will make him popular with the ladies.”
“It’s pretty much their first meeting! How passionate of him!”
Darkness’s face flushed out of excitement. The man probably got worked up as well; we could faintly hear his voice even from over here.
“Yes, now that I think about it, it might have been a bit too hasty of me to do that in the middle of town. I chose a deserted alley, but…”
“Just because nobody is there to see it doesn’t make it okay! That sort of thing should wait till we know each other better…!”
Holy hell, he isn’t just a regular pervert. He’s an amazing man.
He’s completely different from me who becomes completely inept in the face of Darkness’s and Megumin’s advances.
Still, I don’t think I want to become that kind of man.
“… I see. Yes, it is indeed a little unfair only for me to know about you. Seems like there’s a need for me to say a little about myself…”
“Y-Yeah. After all, I don’t even know your name…”
After thinking for a while, the robed man removed his hood.
Underneath the hood was an androgynous but extremely handsome face.
Perhaps Wiz didn’t expect the man to be so handsome, but the blush on her face deepened.
“My name is Duke. My specialty is fire-aligned Advanced Magic. It’s the complete opposite of you, who specializes in ice-aligned magic.”
“Y-You don’t even intend to hide our lack of compatibility, I see. I’m quite fond of honest men, but… To think that you even know about that…”
Such stalker-like declarations seem to have spooked Wiz a little.
But Duke simply laughed, as though he was proud of it.
“Of course! You were known as the Ice Witch back when you were still human, after all.”
“W-Wait, you know that I’m not human!?”
Duke’s unexpected remarks took both Wiz and me by surprise.
“Hey, Kazuma, don’t stop interpreting! Wiz seems surprised, just what happened!?”
Aqua shook me by the shoulders.
“He knows that Wiz is a Lich, as well as the types of spells she specializes in. He really did his homework. Seems like he’s quite serious about her.”
“He’s not just a regular stalker, but an extreme pervert!”
“For the sake of the world and all of its inhabitants, it might be better to just evacuate Wiz and blow him up with Explosion right here!”
Duke continued speaking.
“I know everything about you! You could say that I am the man who understands you best in this world! Now, I’ve told you about myself, so let’s get back to the original topic!”
“W-W-Wait! I’m not emotionally prepared yet! D-Does that mean that you traveled all the way here even after learning that I’m undead? Aren’t you afraid of me?”
In response to Duke’s relentless advances, Wiz took a step back.
“Are you making fun of me? What’s so scary about a Lich?”
“T-That’s… If you put it that way…”
Holy hell, just how gutsy is this man!?
“Hey, this is bad! I think Wiz has been moved! That bastard said something like ‘Who cares if you are an undead!? I’m not afraid of a lich!'”
Hearing my words, Darkness trembled.
“He doesn’t care even though she’s a being hailed as the King of Undead… This is true love! W-What should I do, Kazuma!? I feel like I really want to support that man!”
Seems like birds of a feather really do flock together, Darkness seemed to have some kind of weird sympathy for that pervert.
“What are you saying!? Saying undead can be loved too is nothing short of blasphemy! Sure, Wiz is cooling and it’s comfortable to sleep while holding onto her in the summer, but that girl is just a moving corpse! Holding feelings of love towards a corpse, just how depraved is he!?”
“W-Well, calling her a moving corpse isn’t exactly wrong, but… Don’t ever say that in front of her, Aqua. She’ll cry.”
Ignoring the fuss my companions are making, I nervously continued observing the two.
“Now, that’s enough talk! Ice Witch, let’s have a duel!”
“Ehh? W-Where did that come from!?”
“Why? Isn’t that obvious? It’s to demonstrate my power to you and have you give up your current job!”
“Kazuma, come on, interpret for us! What happened!? What did they say!?”
I turned towards Aqua who was repeatedly shaking me and said in a low voice,
“That bastard challenged Wiz to a duel. If he wins, he wants Wiz to quit her job.”
Darkness appeared to be seriously shocked upon hearing that.
“Wiz’s job is as the storekeeper of her store, right? And… she used to regularly accept jobs from the real estate agent to exorcise the undead in the graveyard and the surrounding houses, right?!”
“Is he telling the one he loves to stop taking on dangerous work? Seems like he doesn’t know that the job of managing the cemetery has already been transferred over to Aqua. Still, this is…”
Yes, if he is saying that…
“Y-You want me to marry you…”
Yeah, that’s probably it.
I’ll protect you, so you don’t need to take on such dangerous work anymore. Just wait for me at home.
What a passionate proposal.
He’s a real man.
I feel ashamed for even thinking about interfering with my half-baked emotions.
“Leave your work to me! Then, let’s do this, you-!”
Duke started chanting something and grasped his robe.
And just as he was about to throw away his robe, Wiz, blushing furiously red, cast a spell at the same time.
This extremely passionate proposal stunned even us who were watching from a distance.
It seems like it’s too much for Wiz, inexperienced with matters of romance as she is, to bear. She cast her spell and fled from the scene–
“Wiz didn’t come back today either. There’s nowhere for me to play now. I’m really bored~”
It’s been three days since Wiz fled the scene.
I’ve heard that Duke was still hanging around town, so it doesn’t seem like he has given up yet.
“A sudden proposal is really too tough for a person inexperienced with love to deal with. The matter of romance really is complex. Even one as popular as I hasn’t grasped all of its intricacies.”
“You know, you’re still a virgin NEET. Don’t let it get to your head just because you’ve become slightly more popular.”
Aqua said such inflammatory words, but after changing jobs to a chad, I wouldn’t get angry over such cheap provocations.
“I’m going out for dinner, so you don’t need to make my share. I’ll probably be staying out tonight.”
“Say, you occasionally stay out for the night, but where do you go? If you’re going drinking, I would really like it if you could take me with you.”
Aqua expectantly looked at me as I stood next to the door, fully dressed for a night out.
“I’m having a drink with the guys, so sorry, no can do. I’ll give you some allowance, so go buy some good wine and share it with everyone.”
“How wonderful, Kazuma-san! I’ll properly watch over the house while you’re gone!”
Aqua beamed after receiving a little bit of money.
It’s true that I’m going out drinking with the guys, but that’s not the only thing I’m doing.
It’d be really difficult to accomplish my actual objective if Aqua were to tag along.
As for what my actual objective is, well, that should be obvious.
Even though things have been progressing well between Megumin and me lately, my needs still need to be met.
If anything, it’s only proper to take precautions to avoid losing control at a critical time. That’s what being a gentleman is all about.
After Aqua saw me off, I headed downtown.
“—Hey, Kazuma, what’s wrong? You’ve been staring at that guy for some time now. Do you know him?”
At a pub that I occasionally visit, the blonde-haired delinquent adventurer, Dust, asked me.
“No, it’s not like we know each other…”
Whenever I stay out for the night, I usually round up a few of the guys and kill time at such places until night falls, that is, until the succubi start making their rounds.
“Oh, I haven’t seen your pretty face around before. My name is Dust. I’m a little famous around these parts.”
“… Why did you suddenly come here for? Do you have some business with me?”
The moment I said I didn’t know him, the blonde delinquent immediately ran up to cause trouble.
“I already named myself, so shouldn’t you name yourself too? Don’t you know what courtesy is? Eh?”
“… My name is Duke. I’ll ask again, do you have some business with me?”
The man was the same hooded man who proposed to Wiz.
I did think of stopping Dust, but I recalled that Duke guy saying that he can use Advanced Magic.
That means he must be a high-leveled adventurer. There’s no need for me to bail him out.
Whatever ends up befalling Dust is just him reaping what he sowed.
“You’re a new adventurer here, right? I just said it, but I’m a little famous around these parts. It’ll save you a lot of trouble down the road if you treat me to a drink.”
“Ho, you wish to extort money from me? … I see, there really are all kinds of folks out there. It’s not often I experience something so interesting.”
Saying that, he stood up and released an intense pressure.
Yeah, he’s a man who challenged Wiz to a duel. A drunk, small-time delinquent like Dust wouldn’t be a match for him.
Then, Dust let out a friendly smile and extended a hand to Duke.
“Heh, you passed. Yes, that’s how adventurers should be. For us, it’s all over if we get looked down upon. That’s why I frequently call out to newbie adventurers like this. If they are the kind of cowards who honestly fork over the money, I’ll tell them that they aren’t suited to be an adventurer and go back to their mother. And for someone like you, how about a drink?”
“… Is that so? You’re quite interesting indeed.”
Duke shot him an amused look before sitting back down.
Dust ordered a drink for Duke, bid him farewell, and backed away from the table at the first opportunity.
After he casually made his way back to me…
“Hey, Kazuma, what the hell is he?! If you knew he was such a dangerous person, you should’ve told me! I ended up having to treat him to a drink!”
“Y-You… Anyway, how strong do you think he is?”
As far as personality and way of life goes, this man could be said to be hopeless, but his strength as an adventurer is pretty well acknowledged by the residents of this town.
If he could grasp Duke’s abilities, I might be able to let Wiz handle him…
“That guy is dangerous. He’s head and shoulders above anyone else I’ve faced. You could say he’s on the same level as a Demon King’s General or a high bounty target.”
“So… you’re saying that he’s strong enough to tangle with me.”
How could this be? Could it be that he’s dangerous even for Wiz?
Dust seemed like he still wanted to say something, but I ignored him and approached the robed man.
“– Hey, do you have a moment? My name is Satou, yes, the one hailed as the strongest adventurer in this town, Satou Kazuma.”
“Here comes another stran… Satou? Satou Kazuma?! That Satou Kazuma?!”
Has my name really spread that far?
Well, that isn’t unexpected. I’m famous enough to appear in the news, after all. It isn’t unusual for other strong adventurers like him to know my name.
I gave him a confident smile.
“Yes, I’m that Satou Kazuma. The one who took down many high bounty targets and Demon King’s Generals-”
“The Satou Kazuma who simply gives orders to his companions and holds very little power himself!? The very same Kazuma who would lose in a fight with Kobolds!?”
I fell silent and felt a little like crying, and Duke regarded me with a slightly amused gaze.
“I see, it’s just as the rumours said. I can definitely feel the aura of a small fry from you. The reports of the Demon King’s Generals falling one after another to a party operating under the orders of a NEET must be mistaken somehow…”
“Hey, are you picking a fight?”
I came over here in good faith, but this bastard just keeps shooting his mouth off!
“…Hmph, I came to this town for a woman, but… Very well, I originally wanted to wait till my business with her is concluded, but there really is no reason to wait. I might as well take care of you right now.”
“Don’t make it sound like you’re taking care of a small errand while out buying dinner. What, you want to go? I’m stronger than you think. I didn’t just bumble my way into taking out all those Demon King’s Generals! And I have the backing of the great noble house of Dustiness! You’ll regret it if you carelessly pick a fight with me! And I have a lot of strong friends too!”
I properly showed off my strength to Duke who was looking down on me. I definitely did not bring up Dustiness and my friends because I got scared after Duke narrowed his eyes.
“… Hmph, right now there’s a person that I need to give my fullest attentions to, so I’ll let you go for today.”
“I-I’m a man who’ll get things done when he needs to! People call me Kazuma-san who becomes really strong when he gets serious! It’s just, I’ll get serious tomorrow!”
Right, I properly told him off.
It sounded a little like something a sore loser would say, but at the very least I wouldn’t be looked down upon as an adventurer.
Still, I almost got dragged into a duel with him.
Those girls told me that other famous adventurers will target me now that my name has appeared in the news. Is this what they were talking about?
That was really close. It might be a little too late, but I’ll try and keep a low profile from now on.
“So I’ll let you…”
I was going to say ‘go for today’, but then I remembered.
No, wait, this isn’t what I originally came here for!
“Say, that person you need to give your fullest attention to… you’re talking about Wiz, right?”
Duke’s reaction was instantaneous.
Before I realized it, he had a black knife at my throat and was staring daggers at me.
“How do you know that? What’s your relationship with Wiz?”
“C-C-Calm down! Please calm down! I’m a friend of Wiz! She’ll definitely be torn up if you kill me!”
In the face of Duke’s sudden change of attitude, my voice became shrill.
“… I don’t know how much you know about Wiz, but you shouldn’t get too close to that girl. She isn’t someone a small fry like you can handle.”
Saying that, Duke sheathed his dagger.
Just saying Wiz’s name made him snap. Just how much does he care about her?
“I know that you’re aiming for Wiz. Actually, I’m willing to support you.”
“What did you say?”
Duke widened his eyes in surprise upon hearing my words.
“… Weren’t you a friend of Wiz?”
“It’s precisely because I’m her friend. I don’t think she’s very well suited for her current job. And…”
I lowered my voice.
“Even if she is a Lich, she has the right to seek her own happiness. I’m thinking that it’d be nice for her to retire and live a happy life afterwards.”
“… You still continue to associate with her even after knowing she’s a Lich. Seems like I need to revise my assessment of you.”
Duke seemed to slightly relax his guard after saying that.
Yes, if he is this passionate about her, then I can feel safe entrusting Wiz to him.
Honestly, it’s not a good feeling to see a friend I’m familiar with be snatched away by some unknown stranger.
But Wiz is getting up in age.
It’s about time she found someone to settle down with.
“I’m of the same mind. I too do not think she’s particularly suited for her current job. It may have been a different matter back when she was still being hailed as the Ice Witch, but her current state is just too pitiful.”
“Well, she was a pretty famous adventurer in the past. She might’ve been a little more capable back then than she is currently…”
Yeah, if she was still adventuring, she might be more in tune with the needs of adventurers and brought in some goods that are more useful to them.
But, right now, she’s an airhead that even Vanir couldn’t bail out.
“Still, you should stop trying to seek a fight with her. Couldn’t you peacefully talk things out and get her to give up her job that way?”
“…? What are you saying? There’s no meaning in doing things that way. In order to take over for her, I need to prove my strength.”
Duke is probably still under the impression that Wiz is still accepting dangerous work like purifying the undead.
True, in order to take over the job of purifying the undead, it’s necessary to prove your strength to the people around you.
It’d be easy to tell him that Wiz is no longer in charge of such dangerous jobs, but considering how much he cares about her, should I really tell him that?
And, having Wiz marry someone might actually be a good thing for the magic item shop.
“Say, can I ask something? Um… Do you intend to take on all of Wiz’s current responsibilities?”
“Of course! There’s no better person fit for her job than me! After doing so, I’ll definitely turn this sorry state of affairs around.”
This guy is pretty confident of himself.
To so confidently declare that he’ll turn that store that not even Vanir, with his all-seeing eyes, could prevent from being on the verge of bankruptcy, just what kind of man is he?
…Hold on a second.
“Wait, isn’t there a serious obstacle standing in the way of that? If you know so much about Wiz, I’m sure you know about Vanir too, right? It’ll be one thing if you are just getting Wiz to give up her place, but if you wish to replace her afterwards, I don’t think he’ll accept that.”
Yes, Vanir’s goal is to earn a lot of money through Wiz’s magic item shop, and then use that money to build a massive dungeon.
He seems quite happy to see Wiz marry off, but will he have the same attitude to someone else taking the spot of shopkeeper?
There’s no way that twisted devil will stand by and let that happen.
“Hmm, Vanir-dono, huh… True, he will be most troublesome, but this is between Wiz and me. Even if it’s Vanir-dono, I can’t afford to back down!”
Duke’s words gave me an unprecedented shock.
Just how gutsy is this guy?
Even I don’t want to ever be at odds with that cheat level devil.
In other words, he’s willing to go that far for Wiz…
“Even if you say that, he’ll definitely get in the way. However…”
Then I’ll ready my resolve too.
I raised a mug to Duke-
“I don’t dislike guys like you…”
And smiled at the man amongst men who wouldn’t back down even in the face of Vanir.
“Thus, I’ve decided to support him.”
“I don’t really get what you’re saying.”
Having come back early in the morning, I relayed the events that took place with Duke to the others over breakfast.
“Like I said, that Duke might be a little stubborn, but I feel like he’s a very manly person and, overall, isn’t a bad guy.”
After receiving the so-called harem treatment from Megumin and Darkness, watching Duke’s pure and straightforward love was like having a bucket of cold water dumped over my head.
Even though things were progressing well between Megumin and me, a little bit of seduction from Darkness was enough to make me dive right for her.
Looking back, all my recent actions have been extremely trashy, even by my standards.
It’s a complete contrast to Duke, who was prepared to brave anything for Wiz.
As a fellow man, there’s no way I can resist cheering him on.
On top of that, I feel like trying to live in a manner that will allow others to call me pure and upright with a straight face.
“… Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a good thing for the women around Kazuma to get hitched, so I don’t really mind…”
“Ho? You were referring to me as ‘your man’ earlier, but you’re still worried about that? You have a pretty cute side, don’t you?”
“…I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but that act is giving me the creeps, so please drop it.”
Just then, Aqua, who was poking at her egg with a fork, said to me as I was nodding to myself,
“Are you really fine with letting a man with such an unclear background take Wiz away? Knowing your personality, I was expecting you to say something like ‘Megumin and Darkness aren’t enough, Wiz, Yunyun, Iris, Eris, Chris, and Komekko are all mine!'”
“Just what kind of man do you thin… Hey, hold on, isn’t that last one a bit strange!? Even I have a line I won’t cross, you know!? I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again: I’m not a lolicon!”
Come to think of it, pretty much all the bad rumours that led to me being called Lolima and such are pretty much all started by her.
Just when I was about to stand up to teach Aqua a good lesson,
A blushing Darkness suddenly slammed her hand on the table and stood up.
“I’ve really changed my opinion of you, Kazuma! Yes, that man’s love is a very precious thing indeed! He loves her even if she is a Lich! Yes, he cannot even be compared to a certain weak man who can’t even resist a little bit of seduction…!”
“Hey, are you referring to me? You’re the one who seduced me in the first place!”
Ignoring my words, Darkness excitedly continued.
“Kazuma, I’ll help you! All we have to do is to stop Vanir from getting between the two, right? Just tell me what to do!”
Darkness looked at me with expectant, sparkling eyes.
Well, I’m happy that you want to help, but…
“Both of you, calm down. First we need to confirm how they feel towards each other, right? Unless you are a mature adult who’s well versed with matters of romance like me, most women will become flustered in the face of Duke’s passionate pleas. In the first place, Wiz is still missing. Things can’t exactly progress when one of the parties isn’t here.”
“Since when did you become a mature woman who’s well versed with matters of romance, you little brat? The only person that can be described as mature here is an experienced man like me.”
I proudly boasted, and Megumin cheek’s puffed up in anger.
“… Then, shall I show you what a mature woman I am? I’ll be heading over to your room tonight.”
She flashed me a knowing smile, as if she was thinking ‘I know exactly what you are going to do.’
“No, I’m not in the mood for such stuff tonight. I just saw what it means to be a real man yesterday. It’ll be some time before I fall for your tricks again, nor will I be lured in by your somewhat lacking sex appeal.”
Seems like Megumin was pretty confident in herself earlier; she let out a confused gasp after hearing my response.
“What? Did you think I’m a simple man who’s raring to go at any time?”
“Err, no… It’s just… I thought things were going well between us, so I was sure you would go for it…”
Aqua leaned over to the confused Megumin and said,
“Right now, Kazuma won’t be moved by anything you say. He spent the night outside yesterday, right? You see, whenever he spends the night outside-”
“Aqua, what happened to the allowance I gave you yesterday? Did you spend it already? How did the wine taste?”
I grabbed Aqua as she was about to say something unnecessary and planned to drag her outside…
“The wine was quite delicious, but why are you dragging me off? Wait, I haven’t eaten my dessert yet! Where are you taking me? Stop! Darkness, Megumin, in this town, there are succ-!”
“I’ll give you some allowance today, so come with me for a bit! I have something very important to discuss with you!”
Because they once again failed to include any pictures of Duke’s face, here’s an image I picked up off the net that will give you a decent idea of what he looks like.