Sincere love for this Lich!
Editing: Ulti, Deus Ex Machina, Keel The Swift, Xenthur
Aqua came back in the morning.
“That Duke guy is really fun to be around. I had a really great time last night.”
And that was the first thing to come out of her mouth.
“A-A-Aqua has become an adult…”
“That’s not it, Megumin, Aqua has been an adult from the very beginning.”
Ignoring the two of them looking at Aqua in awe, I asked her about the events of the previous night.
“So, what happened last night? It turned into a drinking party before we knew it, so we gave up and went home. Coming back in the morning…. You didn’t get into an adult relationship with him, did you?
“What are you saying now? I’m a respectable adult, you know? Of course we played some adult games together.”
Is this girl serious!?
“We played the game where we rolled dice in a bowl and determined the victor based on what came up. I lost every game, though. We also played a card game that I didn’t really get. I lost every game, though.”
Is this girl serious?
“Oh, I didn’t have any money on me, so I paid off my debt with my body.”
“Are you serious!?”
I couldn’t suppress it anymore and shouted.
“Well, it’s more like I used my head to pay it off. I told him interesting things in lieu of payment.”
Aqua extended her right hand,
“I told him various things like which types of shellfish are good to eat or what kind of flowers have sweet nectar, but that wasn’t enough. So, Kazuma-san, it was a necessary expense, so could you give me the money to pay it off?”
“Stop saying things that can be easily mistaken. You really gave me a shock just now.”
I handed over a small bag filled with coins, and Aqua happily accepted it.
“… That’s the money to pay off your debts. Don’t say you’re going to win all your money back and gamble it all away.”
“… Kazuma, there’s a thing known as cycles when it comes to gambling. I’ve already lost a lot of games. That means that there’s no chance I’ll lose again. So leave it in my care.”
“Right, give it back to me. I’ll give it to Duke directly.”
Just as we started struggling over the bag of money,
“So, what do you think about that Duke fellow? He feels quite different from the earnest image I had of him a few days ago.”
“Hmm, well, I feel like he’s a mature man who understands the value of a good woman. He’s easy to handle for someone as experienced as me, but it might be a little too tough for a child like Wiz. But he hates devils and the undead, so he can’t be a bad person.”
“No, hold on, the fact that he hates undead is a major problem in itself. Is this really okay?”
Aqua let out a confident smile-
“It’ll be fine. Wiz might be an undead, but she’s especially hygenic and doesn’t reek of rot, so it wouldn’t matter to him.”
“I don’t know why, but… Kazuma, after hearing Aqua give her glowing recommendation, I just end up feeling more suspicious about that man.”
What a coincidence. I feel the same way.
“Still, all we did is investigate what kind of man he is. What comes next is up to Wiz. Plus, all he did was share a couple of drinks and get rowdy with Aqua. I often do the same thing with the female adventurers I know, so it doesn’t mean he’s an unfaithful or sloppy man.”
“That’s pretty unfaithful and sloppy from where I stand…”
Megumin stared at me with a displeased look, causing me to flinch.
“Duke gave me a message to pass on to Wiz when I told him I’m an acquaintance of her. Don’t worry, anyone who hates devils can’t be a bad person! Now, let’s head to the magic item shop!”
The strangely excited Aqua declared.
When we entered the shop, for some reason, the penguin was manning the counter.
“Sacred Highness Exorcism!”
“Stop purifying Zereschrute every time you come here! It’s not exactly easy to revive him!”
Vanir angrily screamed as he saw Aqua fire off her purification magic on sight once again.
Seems like Aqua has taken a liking to purifying that penguin.
“Nevermind such matters right now! I have a message for Wiz, so call her out!”
“If you’re looking for Wiz, she’s out back talking to a flower. To be honest, it’s disgusting to even look at her. Moi really wishes she can hurry up and settle this matter so Moi wouldn’t have to deal with this anymore.”
Vanir pointed to the back of the shop as he revived the penguin.
Aqua rushed over while holding what appeared to be a letter in her hand.
“Say, Vanir, you saw through that Duke guy, right? Why did you praise him so much back then? I thought he was a pretty manly person, but he said something about hating devils and the undead. What’s up with that?”
“It’ll spoil the fun if Moi were to tell you right now, wouldn’t it? Fuhahahaha! Moi does not tell lies. It’s just as Moi said. When that lovestruck shopkeeper responds to that man’s wishes, a man will experience delight and merriment to a degree never before seen in this world. There’s no mistake in that. Devils do not tell lies, so just look forward to it!”
Vanir seemed really happy for some reason. Just looking at him act like this gave me a serious sense of foreboding.
Duke is a man who’s praised by both Aqua and a devil.
Something just feels really wrong.
Just then, the penguin slowly inflated as he came back to life. Megumin regarded that scene with interest and said,
“By the way, why is that penguin manning the store? Did you hire him?”
“No, that storekeeper was useless in the first place, but she became even more useless after getting lovestruck. So, Moi thought to use Zereschrute with his cute-looking exterior to man the store, but… you can see how troublesome that ended up being.”
Hearing Vanir’s words, Megumin tilted her head.
“Come to think of it, I haven’t gave you my name yet, right? … My name is Megumin! The number one mage in Axel and wielder of Explosion Magic! Please be careful not to get purified by Aqua and lose your insides again.”
“Oh, greetings, young lady of the Crimson Demons. My name is Zereschrute. You seem to be a frequent customer of this store, so please take care of me.”
As Megumin shook hands with the tiny flippers of Zereschrute, a slightly displeased expression appeared upon her face.
“It’s Megumin. Don’t call me young lady, use my name. Or do you have something to say about this cool name of mine?”
“N-No, not at all, but… Names are very important to us devils, so we only address others by name if we highly respect them …”
The girl who’s always been sensitive about her name drew closer to Zereschrute-
“But didn’t you properly refer to our Darkness as Lady Dustiness?”
“T-That’s because I recognise Lady Dustiness as a respectable noble, that’s why…”
Darkness blushed with joy after receiving Zereschrute’s praise. At the same time, Aqua came back with Wiz and said in a tired voice,
Aqua seemed really drained for some reason.
And as for Wiz…
“Ara, welcome, Kazuma-san.”
She had a strangely dreamy yet joyous expression on her face.
“– I’ve been seriously thinking about it. Should I answer Duke-san’s feelings, or continue working hard at this store to make Vanir-san’s dreams a reality…”
“Moi has said it many times, if you get married, the store’s business will only pick up.”
Ignoring Vanir’s words, Wiz teared up and sighed in an exaggerated manner reminiscent of a heroine from a tragic romance.
“Aah, all I did was spend everyday peacefully managing this store, so how did it end up like this? Aqua-sama, what should I do? Vanir-san needs me, but…”
“What Moi needs is your magic, not your management expertise.”
Once again ignoring Vanir’s words, Wiz placed her palm against the window as she looked upon the scenery outside.
“But Duke-san doesn’t just need me, he can’t live without me. He even said that he can’t imagine life without me…”
“No, wait, I’m pretty sure he didn’t go that far…”
“He even said that! What should I do, Aqua-sama? Which path should I choose…”
Completely ignoring my response, Wiz clung onto the somewhat tired-looking Aqua and whispered.
“Erm, that person seems like a pretty good guy, so it’s probably fine to go with him.”
“Is that so!? Aqua-sama thinks he’s a good man too!? Why would such a man be…”
Wiz said while softly giggling to herself.
“What’s wrong with Wiz? Did you feed her something strange?”
“Don’t say such heartless things. Moi has been concerned about her current state, so Moi has been giving her some proper food recently… But for some reason, this crazy shopkeeper got this strange idea that Moi has been treating her better in order to keep her in the shop.”
You have it pretty hard too, huh?
“I see. So you left her alone and she ended up like this.”
“There you have it. Right now, she spends all day with her head in the clouds. Though, she doesn’t buy any strange goods in this state, so she doesn’t get in the way of business… To us devils, psychological attacks are more effective than any kind of magic…”
And the person in question seemed to be completely unaware of our conversation, instead shooting meaningful glances at Vanir as if she was signalling him to fawn over her.
The devil let out a very human-like sigh, and said towards the strangely festive Wiz,
“Shopkeeper in heat, that letter is asking you out to meet with him, right? Hurry up and go settle this, then return to the usual you and fulfill the contract you have with me!”
Hearing that, Wiz,
“… Does that mean, even though I am good for nothing but creating red digits, you still want me to continue being the shopkeeper?”
“You won’t listen even if I tell you to transfer the position over to me.”
Vanir had a scowl on his face as he said that, but this is the first time he has expressed his intentions.
He still wants Wiz to continue being the shopkeeper.
That can only mean one thing.
“You really are a tsundere, Vanir-san.”
“How could a genderless devil be a tsundere? Stop saying disgusting things and go. Moi is the devil that sees through all, but after knowing you for so long, Moi doesn’t need to use my power to know what choice you’ll take. You might face a tough struggle, but don’t worry, you’ll definitely win. Moi is going out to receive some goods…”
He probably already knows what will happen next and how this will end up.
This self-proclaimed devil that sees through all, the duke of hell with a twisted personality…
“Once I’m done with that, I’ll be sure to rush to the scene. Moi has grown quite fond of you, so go have fun today, then, wipe out all the red numbers that you created. You fought with me on equal grounds back when you were still a human. There’s no way you can lose to a man of his caliber… Now, hurry up and go!”
An unblemished smile appeared upon Wiz’s face.
The place where Duke wants to meet Wiz is written in the letter.
That would be a cemetery outside of town.
No matter how you look at it, it’s not a place you would choose for a confession.
And there’s Vanir’s parting words. Those lines sounded more like he was sending Wiz off to the battlefield than anything else.
I thought back to Duke’s words as we made our way over.
Actually, I’ve been getting a feeling that something is off.
It felt like I’m missing a piece of a puzzle, or like a button has been left undone.
If I recall, Duke said this back then.
“Now, that’s enough talk! Ice Witch, let’s have a duel!”
And afterwards, he said this…
“Why? Isn’t that obvious? It’s to demonstrate my power to you and have you give up your current job!”
Yeah, that’s how he proposed to her.
Hold on a second.
Is that really a proposal?
Wiz got really frantic after she heard that. If I recall, she replied.
“Y-You want me to marry you…”
… He didn’t say it.
Wiz assumed that it was the case, but Duke didn’t say anything about that himself.
And, this should be what he said at the end.
“Leave your work to me! Then, let’s do this, you-!”
Wiz teleported at that very instant, so things were left unsettled.
… Doesn’t this seem off?
–We made our way towards the designated spot as I thought.
“Hey, Wiz, that Duke guy treated me to a drink yesterday.”
“Eeh?! W-What do you mean, Aqua-sama?! Didn’t everyone say that he’s a sincere and honest man?”
This is just a proposal.
It’s a simple confession.
“Well, I thought to test if he really is a sincere person. He couldn’t resist the invitation of the beautiful me, and we ended up drinking till morning. But don’t worry, he didn’t do anything that could be mistaken for sexual harassment, and I couldn’t sense any of the wickedness that constantly hangs around Kazuma.”
“I-Is that so… But I’ve already decided on my answer, so you don’t have to worry, Aqua-sama.”
Still, Vanir’s attitude is worrisome.
I’m pretty sure he said this.
“When you respond to that man’s feelings, a man will experience delight and merriment to a degree never before seen in this world.”
… Normally, you would think that it means Duke and Wiz will achieve happiness together.
But would that Devil honestly give out advice that would result in people being happy?
“Oh? Well, it’s only natural for any man to fall for my charms, but he did push the erotic Darkness aside when she tried to seduce him. He can be said to be pretty sincere based off that.”
“I-Is that so…”
“Hey, Aqua! Stop using me as a standard for erotic matters!”
Megumin poked me in the back.
“What’s wrong? You seem to be deep in thought ever since you left the shop.”
“… No, it’s just, I have a really bad feeling for some reason… It’d be nice if it was just my imagination, but it feels like it wouldn’t be surprising if this ends in a bloodbath…”
Hearing that, Megumin giggled, as if to say ‘you’re worrying too much.’
“It’ll be fine. I don’t know how strong that Duke fellow is, but haven’t we defeated all the opponents we faced? Plus, we have the overwhelmingly powerful Lich, Wiz, with us today. And…”
She smiled to disperse my worries.
“No matter what kind of enemy we face, I’ll blow them away with my Explosion. I’ll protect you, so don’t worry.”
I’m happy to hear her say that, but it’s a little different from what I’m worrying about…
At a cemetery some distance away from Axel.
Come to think of it, this was the place where we first met Wiz.
I guess you could say it’s a little romantic if seen through that lens…
“No, it really isn’t.”
“Where did that come from?”
Duke was already there when we arrived.
He was wearing that hooded robe he always wears. No matter how you look at it, it doesn’t seem like he’s here to propose.
Duke widened his eyes in surprise after seeing the people who accompanied Wiz.
“Leaving Satou Kazuma aside, there are quite a few people I recognise. There’s the Lady of the Dustiness family… and isn’t that the soulmate with whom I talked about Shelled Mirumirus until sunrise with…”
The hell is a Shelled Mirumiru?
And soulmate? You guys got real close to each other when I wasn’t looking.
Duke gave Aqua an amicable look, but he quickly picked himself up and turned his gaze back to Wiz.
Unlike Duke, Wiz was dressed up in the fashionable dress she wore the other day.
“It’s not really my place to say, but are you really fine with that dress?”
“I’m sorry to say that I’m not very well educated in such matters, but this is my best outfit…”
Duke nodded in response to Wiz’s embarrassed reply.
“My apologies. I was sure that you were looking down on me.”
“O-Of course not! You’re the first person who made me dress up like this… Umm, I’m not too used to it, so, sorry…”
Wiz slumped her shoulders and straightened her back, and a flash of surprise appeared on Duke’s face for an instant.
“I see. A skilled adventurer would usually be approached once or twice, but… It seems like you’re too famous. After hearing the name of the Ice Witch, most adventurers would be too afraid to even approach you, nevermind offer a challenge…”
“Y-yes! Yeah, that’s exactly it! Everyone was so afraid of me… Even though I wasn’t like that at all…”
“O-Oh, I see… I don’t really get it, but you have your own troubles as well, huh…”
Wiz sounded like she was on the verge of tears, and Duke seemed to be at a little of a loss after hearing that.
I heard about it from Vanir, but Wiz got so famous back when she was an adventurer that no one dared to hit on her.
Duke regained his composure and gave Wiz a fearless smile.
“Then shall we get started? I’m sure there’s no need for us to exchange any more words. Or do you intend to run like last time?”
Hearing Duke’s declaration, Wiz, who normally seemed so unsure of herself, said,
“I won’t run away. I intend to properly respond to your feelings today.”
And placed her hands in front of her, staring at Duke with an unwavering gaze.
“I don’t wish to quit my current job. I have no intention of relinquishing my post. After all…”
In a slightly embarrassed tone,
“I made a promise with an irreplaceable, long time friend of mine.”
A confident smile appeared on Duke’s face as he heard that, and he returned Wiz’s gaze.
“The one known as the Ice Witch, and leader of the strongest adventuring party. Even after becoming undead, you still continue to pursue the path of magic. My name is Duke, the one who will eventually climb to the peaks of sorcery, just as you once did. King of Undead, Lich! I challenge you to a duel!”
He proudly named himself–
Blazing hot flames clashed against pure white fog in the open area next to the cemetery.
The fire magic unleashed by Duke collided with the ice magic unleashed by Wiz, and the results of that clash made some serious changes to the landscape.
Large parts of the ground were covered by white frost, and bits of the ground occasionally gurgled like they were being boiled.
Holy shit, this is an actual mage’s duel!
“Hey, Aqua, I’m really moved right now! Yes, this is what fantasy is! Vegetables flying around, catching mackerel in the fields, and monsters using erotic appeals to catch prey- those aren’t fantasy at all! This kind of actual magic is what isekai really is!”
“Hold on, Kazuma, you’re making it sound like Explosion isn’t real magic. Compared to such dull spells, isn’t Explosion much more amazing?”
I was so moved by this sight to the point where I started trembling, and Megumin threw a damper on things.
“The kind of magical battle I want to see is not the kind where you just throw a single blow at the enemy regardless of its strength.There’s no elegance in Explosion. There’s no balance or strategy, it’s just a massive gamble that hinges on if you hit the enemy or not.”
Megumin seemed to be angry, but I couldn’t care less about her right now.
I need to carve this fantasy-styled battle I always wished for into my memory!
“Hmph. As expected of the Ice Witch. Crimson Laser!”
“Crystal Prison! Duke-san, please wait! Please, let’s talk things out!”
The crimson ray that Duke unleashed scattered upon hitting the lump of ice that Wiz conjured in front of her.
I’ve seen many different kinds of advanced spells when I visited the Crimson Demon village, but seeing two mages ferociously cast spells at each other in a duel still makes my spirit burn.
While enjoying this anime-like scene brought to life in front of me, I suddenly heard a familiar chant and immediately restrained Megumin.
“What are you trying to do!? Why can’t you just behave yourself during such an important moment!?”
“You were the one who showed more interest in such amateurish spells than my Explosion, Kazuma! I feel a really strong ache in my heart when I see your eyes sparkle while looking at another mage’s spells! It didn’t hurt this much even when you were about to fall for Darkness’s seduction!”
“Just what is wrong with your sense of jealousy!? This is a duel between the two of them, so don’t interfere and just watch!”
She probably wanted to use Explosion to steal their thunder.
I forcefully grabbed Megumin as she started chanting and pushed her to the ground.
Duke and Wiz moved around, using the trees as cover as they continued unleashing their spells at each other.
Well, no, it’s not really accurate to say that they both unleashed spells…
“Why aren’t you seriously attacking me!? Are you looking down on me!? Lava Swamp!”
“Freeze! Fire Resist! Ouch!… I have no desire to defeat you nor do I have any desire to give up my current job! Liches have high magic resistance! I’ll withstand any attacks you dish out and make you give up!”
A pit of lava appeared underneath Wiz, which she solidified in an instant with freeze before using fire resist magic to escape from the area of effect.
Compared to Duke who simply fired offensive spells one after another, Wiz is far more adept at using her spells.
“Say, Kazuma, as a Crusader, would it be better if I were to stop their duel? Wiz doesn’t seem very keen on this duel, so should I…”
“Bind! Shut up and just stay there! You just want to experience what Advanced Magic feels like, don’t you!?”
“Kuh…! Using bind on me in such a situation, you really know how to tug at my heartstrings…”
After binding up Darkness who was talking about putting a stop to this battle, I turned towards Wiz and shouted,
“Wiz! You should hurry up and get serious! It’d be rude to Duke otherwise!”
Show me a more intense battle!
“What are you saying, you idiot!? Stop messing around with Megumin and Darkness and hurry up and give Wiz some support!”
Aqua shouted at me, but from what I can see, Wiz is the stronger out of the two.
Since there’s no need to worry about her losing, then, as a gamer who has played many different games, I should focus on absorbing every single detail of this scene…
“Even if you say that, there’s no way I can seriously attack a man who is so passionate about me…”
Wiz shouted back with a conflicted expression.
Duke, who had been desperately casting spells with a tense expression, nodded as though he had decided on something.
“You really are looking down on me! Very well, perhaps I should make you treat this seriously! How’s this? Sanctuary!”
As he said that, a huge magic circle, large enough to encompass the entire cemetery, appeared at his feet.
Wiz couldn’t prepare any defenses against the sudden attack and took it head on.
The softly floating motes of light produced by the magic circle flashed brightly whenever they came into contact with Wiz.
“Holy magic? Hey, Aqua, can Archwizards use Holy Magic?”
“Of course not! The only ones who can use Holy Magic are Priests, Archpriests, and Crusaders. But wasn’t he using Advanced Magic earlier? How could he use Holy Magic too?”
Ignoring our questions, Duke glared at Wiz and pointed a hand at her.
Seems like he was focusing on the magic circle, for more motes of light poured out as he did that.
“Uugh! … Duke-san, please remember! Think back to the day we first met! You suddenly threw away your robe and approached me like you were trying to show me your naked body…”
“Don’t put it that way! There are other people watching, so I can’t remove it now, but there is a reason for that!”
If I recall, whenever Aqua used this same spell on Wiz, it almost purified her pretty much instantly.
It doesn’t seem like the holy magic that Duke is using is on the same level.
Wiz continued speaking while withstanding the light from the circle.
“Duke-san… ‘There’s nothing in my mind except you. I’ve trained my body for so long just for you!’ you said this on our next meeting, didn’t you? And you also said ‘I know everything about you! You could say that I am the man who understands you best in this world’…! Even if it’s a little different from what I expected, but that’s still the first time anyone has said that to me…!”
“Just what are you saying!? Nevermind that, hurry up and get serious! Even if it’s you, you’ll still end up getting purified if this goes on!”
With a perplexed expression on his face, Duke tried to persuade Wiz who still refused to attack.
Wiz made an expression like she was addressing a petulant child,
“To be honest, it made me a little happy to hear those words. But no matter what you say, I have no intention of giving up my current job. Plus, I still don’t know you too well. So…”
While withstanding the light, Wiz shyly said,
“Can we start by being friends?”
A silence descended upon the scene.
Duke had an utterly confused expression on his face.
“Yeah! Well said, Wiz! Yeah, getting married so quickly would be too hasty, right!?”
Hearing Aqua’s jubilant cheers, Duke could only react blankly.
The magic circle that covered the cemetery faded away.
“Well, this is probably the best outcome… You’re Duke, right? What happened the other day was, er, me seducing you as a test, so don’t think I’m an easy woman. But it’s great that you aren’t rejected outright.”
Darkness said with a smile, and Duke responded with yet another blank expression.
“I think that Wiz is a determined person. But, Duke, was it? There seems to be some misunderstanding, but don’t worry, Wiz is no longer in charge of exorcism jobs from the real estate agent or purifying the ghosts in this cemetery, so you don’t need to worry about her.”
Megumin said with a wry smile, but Duke simply gave us a look of utmost confusion…
“What are you guys saying? What’s that about friends and marriage and don’t worry and what not? I really don’t follow at all.”
“What are you saying? This is what Wiz is saying: ‘Giving up my work or suddenly marrying is impossible, but let’s start by being friends and see how things go from there.’ Isn’t that great? Yeah, you did get rejected, but there’s still hope.”
Duke looked like he didn’t follow Aqua’s words at first, but then he slowly started trembling…
“W-What are you idiots saying!? Why must I be married to an undead Lich?! Where did that even come from?! And friends? What kind of joke is that!?”
Wiz let out a shocked voice upon hearing Duke’s words, and Aqua’s face fell as well.
“Hey, there’s no need to act like that just because you’ve been rejected! You were rushing things too much! It’s obviously too much to marry her right way! Just be happy that you can start as friends!”
“Like I said, why do all of you think I’m in love with this woman!? Is there something wrong with your brain!? This is only the third time I’ve met her, you know!?”
Duke agitatedly said, and Megumin gave him a mocking laugh.
“You have the gall to say that after you stalked Wiz!? And weren’t you the one who proposed that she quit working at the magic item shop and come live with you!?”
Duke thoughtfully looked upwards for a moment, before burying his face in both his hands.
“… The job I want her to quit is her position as a General of the Demon King’s Army…”
In response to Megumin’s questioning expression, Duke replied in an extremely soft voice,
“Like I said, the job I was referring to is her position as a Demon King’s General. It has nothing to do with the magic item shop…”
With an extremely tired expression, Duke moved to remove the robe he was wearing.
Everyone other than Aqua and me averted their gaze. Just then, Wiz let out a scream.
“Aah! T-That’s the Demon King’s…”
An unfamiliar crest was tattooed upon Duke’s chest.
Wiz seemed to be shocked by that mark, but our attention was drawn to a different location.
“Aah! Hold on, you were a fallen angel!? Here I thought you were a rare good person who hated devils and undead like me, but you’re just another fool who defied the word of the gods!”
“S-Shut up! And what about you!? I thought you were a great friend who shared my hatred of undead and devils, and even cheerfully spread bad rumours about Goddess Eris with me until the morning, but what’s with your clothes!? You were a priest!?”
A pair of black, feathered wings extended from Duke’s back.
If Aqua were to be believed, he was originally an angel.
If that crest on his chest is the mark of the Demon King’s, then that means that this angel has fallen and is now an underling of the Demon King.
Aqua let out an expression more prideful than anything I’ve seen before and proudly thrust her chest out at the fuming Duke.
“You really are an idiot. Who do you think I am? A mere fallen angel should hurry up and kneel before me! My name is Aqua! The one worshipped by 20 million Axis cultists all over the world! Yes, Goddess Aqua herself!”
Duke widened his eyes…!
“Great, so she’s just insane…”
“Hey, hold it right there!”
Aqua sounded like she was on the verge of tears, but then she seemed like she suddenly remembered something.
“So that’s why you could use Holy Magic! How could you do that!? You fell after going against the word of the gods, but you still dare to call upon their powers the moment you get into a pinch? Do you have no shame!?”
“S-Shut up! We angels get run ragged by the gods! It’s only fair that we get a little power as payment! If anything, I’m just collecting a little bit of late payment for my services! You probably don’t know this, but the goddesses are all…”
At that moment.
“FU HA HA HA HA HA! FU HA HA HA HA HA!”
An arrogant and evil mocking laughter filled the area.
It came from within the graveyard, but when did he get here?
“Welcome to this remote town, one who dreams of becoming a Demon King’s General. You were originally a servant of the hateful gods in the first place, but it seems like you just got more pathetic after falling!”
It was a tall man clad in sharp tuxedo and a mask covering the top half of his face.
The devil that sees through all and duke of hell, the great devil Vanir, stood atop a tall structure within the graveyard.
“Seems like I made it in time for the best part! Oh, to think that I almost missed such an amazing event!”
Vanir seemed quite joyful, but what does he mean by amazing event?
He was originally a Demon King’s General too. Are they acquainted or something?
“… Vanir-dono, this is between me and Wiz. You may be a former General of the Demon King, but please do not interfere.”
Duke probably recognised the threat that Vanir poses. He slowly backed away, not bothering to hide his wariness.
“… So you deceived me?”
Completely ignoring the new arrival, Wiz softly said, her head kept low.
“What do you mean deceived? It has always been my intention to challenge you for the position of the Demon King’s General. I tried to remove my robe when we first met, didn’t I? That was so I could show you this crest and explain things to you.”
Duke honestly explained, but Wiz kept her head down and continued.
“… I-I thought it was a proposal… This was the first time someone confessed to me…”
“I-Is that so? That’s most unfortunate. Even so, this is still way too huge of a misunderstanding. This is but the third time we’ve met. There’s no way I would propose so soon.”
That made sense.
It certainly made sense, but right now, Wiz is in no state to hear such things.
“I-I, I’ve been spending day and night seriously considering if I should really give up running the store… But I thought it’d be too pitiful for Vanir-san, so I came here to turn you down… Is it really that fun to toy with the heart of a Lich?! I won’t forgive you! This is the first time I’ve been so thoroughly humiliated! It was more humiliating than when I clashed with Vanir-san back when I was still a human! I even thought it was a proposal! I can’t believe you…!”
“Fuhaha~! Fuhaha~! Fuhahahaha~!”
Ignoring the indignant Wiz, Vanir continued laughing in an extremely hearty voice as he rolled around on the floor, as thought this was the funniest thing he had seen in centuries.
“Vanir-san! Just what is so funny!? You didn’t foresee this, did you!? …Ah! ‘The devil that sees through all so declares! When you respond to that man’s feelings, a man will experience delight and merriment to a degree never before seen in this world.’ You weren’t referring to this when you said that, were you!? That man that will experience delight and merriment, that was referring to yourself after you’ve tasted my dark emotions!”
“Fuhaha~! Fuhahahaha~! This is superb! These are dark emotions of the highest grade that Moi has not tasted in some time! They’re delicious! They are delicious indeed! Fuhaha~!”
Wiz tearfully screamed at Vanir.
“W-Well, I apologize for that! But I have my complaints too! If you didn’t live in this town, I wouldn’t have to hide my crest, and this misunderstanding wouldn’t happen in the first place. Yes, it’s because you ignored your duties as a general to live in this town. I just couldn’t leave things in the hands of such a klutz!”
Hearing Duke’s retort, Wiz suddenly raised her head.
“I’m not a Demon King’s General because I want to be! I’m only doing this because there’s no one else that’s magically skilled enough to maintain the barrier and the Demon King begged me to do it! How could you call me a klutz…!”
“You are a klutz! The number of generals have reduced to the point where even the barrier itself is at risk! Furthermore, our fortresses at the frontlines have fallen, and even that scheme that has been in the works for a long time in the shadows has fallen through.”
“After some investigation, I found that all of those incidents have something to do with that weak-looking man over there. I let my guard down thinking that he’s a weakling that would lose to a kobold, and this is how things ended up… Yes, you, Satou Kazuma!”
Somehow, the topic shifted over to me.
“‘I’m willing to support you.’ You said this when we met in the bar, didn’t you? You said that to make me let my guard down, and now you’ve even brought Vanir-dono over to surround me. Kukuku, you’re a pretty good schemer, aren’t you?”
Duke seemed to have some kind of misunderstanding about me.
But, well, it’s not like it’s a bad misunderstanding.
Should I play along and say something like ‘I’m surprised you noticed.’?
“I’ve already sent a report about this to Demon King-sama. This town will eventually become a priority target for the Demon King’s army.”
“Are you serious!?”
What the hell did this guy do?!
And here I thought that everything has calmed down and my harem life is about to begin…!
Ignorant of my inner turmoil, Duke let out a fearless smile,
— and was forcefully blown away just as he was about to continue.
I didn’t catch what happened, but when I looked at where Duke went,
His body was embedded deep inside one of the tombstones.
Duke shakily got to his feet and gazed in a certain direction.
At the other end of his gaze was Wiz, her hand pointed at Duke as she chanted. She probably blasted him with some kind of silent spell earlier.
“This town will become a priority target?… Are you going to attack this town?”
Wiz coldly said, and I felt someone tightly grip the hem of my clothes.
Turning back, I saw Aqua fearfully hide behind me as she peeked out at Wiz and the others.
“H-Hey, Kazuma, isn’t this getting a little dangerous? I really don’t think I have the luxury to enjoy this kind of play right now, so can you please undo this Bind?”
Darkness said while struggling with her binds, but I don’t really have time to care about her right now.
I recall seeing Wiz lose her temper once before.
“S-So you finally got serious. Still, as expected of a Lich. To be able to cast such a powerful spell without chanting… Your age really isn’t just for sho-”
Before he could finish, an invisible force once again smashed into Duke and slammed him back into the tombstone.
She’s already pissed off, and you choose to taunt her about her age? This guy might be dumber than I thought.
“Kazuma, things are getting a little suspicious. Being tightly held down like this by someone I like isn’t too bad, but I’m not Darkness, so can you please let go of me? I want to make preparations so I can cast my magic at any time.”
“If I let you free, you’ll just ignore the mood and steal her kill, right? Don’t worry, now that Wiz has snapped, we can leave it to her. Just watch.”
I kept my eyes focused on Wiz and Duke while answering Megumin.
Yes, that was when she learned the hot springs manager was eaten by a Demon King’s General back when we were in Alcanretia.
If I recall, one of her conditions for not attacking the Demon King’s Army was for them not to lay a hand on regular people. She really made a mess out of Hans, that Demon King’s General back then.
Just as I excitedly gripped my fist in anticipation of the events to come, Vanir, who somehow made his way to my side without me noticing, said,
“Brat, it’s best that you don’t take your eyes off this. The devil that sees through all so declares, thou shalt see a most amazing sight.”
I let out a wry smile as I heard the joy in Vanir’s words. Seems like he was enjoying this.
This guy’s been pushing for Wiz to get married, and now he’s describing the sight of Wiz standing up to Duke to protect Axel as amazing, huh?
Sounds like this guy has trouble being honest, just like me.
“Cursed Crystal Prison!”
Wiz coldly encased Duke in a block of ice before he could complete his chant to release his flames.
With his upper body encased in ice, Duke’s face rapidly turned blue as he repeatedly smashed himself against the ground.
But the ice remained intact, and Duke slowly started losing strength…
“Do you surrender?”
Wiz asked in a soft voice.
I wonder if Duke could even hear it while being encased in ice…
Duke looked at Wiz with bulging, lifeless eyes and lightly nodded.
-Duke collapsed to the ground after the ice vanished, sputtering and coughing.
Aqua happily rushed over to Wiz.
“Way to go, Wiz! This really is a fitting revenge for dumping you!”
“Wait, Aqua-sama, I didn’t do this for revenge!”
Aqua’s carefree words caused tears to well up in Wiz’s eyes.
Seeing her turn back to normal, I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
“Hey, Vanir, why didn’t you tell us that Wiz had a misunderstanding? We would be able to finish this with a battle without having to go through such an ordeal if you told us.”
“Yeah! Hey, Vanir! I had to seduce that man because of you, you bastard!”
Vanir cheerfully laughed upon hearing Darkness’s and my complaints.
“What does Moi care about that? In order to taste the most exquisite dark emotions, Moi is willing to do anything. Yes, this harem brat who’s getting full of himself because the two of you are fighting over him. If, for instance, the two of you get disgusted and dump him, Moi will be able to experience some delicious dark emotions indeed.”
“C-Cut it out. No, seriously, please stop… I’ll go take some useless goods off your hands in the near future…”
Vanir smiled upon hearing my pleas.
“By the way… Things aren’t over just yet.”
I anxiously looked back towards Duke…
“W-What is he doing!?”
I couldn’t help but cry out.
While we were busy with our own antics, Duke had hastily created a magic circle and thrusted his black knife into his own heart.
“He actually did it! Look, brat! That man pretended to surrender, only to use that chance to perform one of the taboos of sorcery– yes, that’s the ritual to become a Lich! Fuhaha~! He willingly turned himself into an undead that he was bashing just a short while ago in order to attain power! Fuhaha~! This is way too amusing!”
What’s so funny about this situation?!
Duke was already fighting on par with Wiz. If he became a Lich…
“You let your guard down, Wiz! Gurk… Behold this overflowing mana of mine… Ah, power is just overflowing from the wound I made with my dagger! I can feel the cells in my body slowly dying off and turning into an undead existence! I might have fallen, but I was still originally an angel. I didn’t want to do this if I could avoid it, but I have no choice… Now, let’s have an eternal battle as fellow immortals-”
If he became the strongest undead…!
“Sacred Highness Exorcism!”
Yeah, that’d happen.
The moment he became a Lich, Aqua, ignoring the mood as usual, blasted him with her purification magic.
Wiz sadly extended a hand to the slowly fading Duke.
“W-W-W-What is this…! I should have become the strongest undead, a Lich! What on earth…!”
“You ended up like this because you got involved with me… At the very least, I’ll grant you a painless death… Drain Touch…”
Duke became even fainter as his mana was sucked away by Wiz.
“Wait-Stop! No, don’t! Wait! This is a misunderstanding! It’s all a big misunderstanding!”
Facing his imminent death, Duke pinned his hopes on the most gullible one in our party, Wiz, and pleaded.
“Misunderstanding? After turning into a Lich, what’s there to misunderstand?”
Wiz answered in a stern voice. Guess even she isn’t kind enough to be fooled in this kind of situation.
“That’s the misunderstanding! T-The reason I became a Lich is… Yes, it’s not because I wanted to take revenge on you, but so I can be together with you for eternity as a fellow unaging undead!”
Facing such haphazardly put together excuses, even the kind and gentle Wiz will-
“T-That’s… Y-You can’t fool me! Such flowery words won’t…”
Actually, no, it seems like it’s quite effective on her.
Even Duke seemed surprised by how effective it is, but he immediately gathered his wits and…
“I-I’m not deceiving you! I fell in love with you during our battle! Of course, I won’t suddenly propose that we get married off the bat, but… just as you said earlier, I would like to request that we start by being friends!”
“S-Start by being friends…”
Crap, this is bad. To that Lich who is unfamiliar with matters of romance, that fallen angel who seemed like he’d fit right into a boyband might as well be her natural enemy.
Just when I was considering asking Megumin to blow him away before things get any worse,
Vanir excitedly said something to Wiz while desperately trying to conceal his smile.
“Kind and gullible shopkeeper, allow Moi to tell you something. Fallen angels and the angelic race are similar to devils in that they have no gender.”
Hearing that, Wiz violently pushed Duke away and started loudly chanting.
Wiz tearfully unleashed her Explosion, cutting Duke off.
And Vanir rolled around on the ground, laughing until he was completely breathless-