A Meeting with that Goddess
Editing: Ulti, Xenthur
Accompanied with a large spray of water, a gigantic eight-headed dragon emerged from the lake.
That’s the high bounty target, the Kowloon Hydra.
“Oh, wow, it really does deserve the high price set on it’s head!”
I excitedly yelled towards my companions as the Hydra reared it’s huge body, but they simply stared blankly at it.
I only came along because Kazuma was asking for help in the adventurer’s guild, but this is far bigger than I thought.
Apparently, Kazuma tried and failed to take the Hydra down with just his party before, so now he decided to try again with help from the other adventurers.
We aren’t the only ones to answer his call. Dozens of adventurers are participating in this fight.
The adventurers present had a grim look on their faces as they listened to Kazuma’s instructions.
“All thieves, you brought your steel wires, right? Archers, standby with your grappling hook arrows!”
The archers and thieves nodded.
I could hear the voice of the priest screaming “Hurry up! Hurry up!” as Kazuma explained everyone’s roles, but I’ll ignore it for now.
The basic outline is to let Darkness act as bait and draw the Kowloon Hydra away, before blowing it away with the explosion girl’s magic.
As expected of someone who deals with those three troublesome ladies every day, the instructions are precise and the overall plan isn’t bad.
“Even though Kazuma’s pretty weak in combat, he has a surprising amount of talent.”
“Now’s not the time to stand around being impressed! Keith, is the arrow ready!?”
“Yeah, leave it to me.”
Keith is currently attaching the rope to the arrow.
“Sadly, Darkness alone won’t be able to stop all the attacks of that Hydra. I’ll be protecting the rear guard!”
“Don’t do anything reckless, Taylor! If you take an attack head on, there wouldn’t be anything left of you!”
“Yeah, I’ll bear that in mind!”
Taylor and Keith ran over to where the rest of the rear guard was gathering.
Looking closely, I can see the nervous form of Yunyun amongst the mages.
Even in such a situation, she still couldn’t get over her unease when facing unfamiliar people.
On the battlefield, the heads of the Hydra were tied together by the thieves’ Bind, the grappling hook arrows were entangled in the steel wires that the thieves used, and those adventurers who were confident in their strength were pulling on those ropes in order to prevent the Hydra from escaping.
“Hey, what is Kazuma doing?!”
While Darkness was fending off the Hydra’s attacks, Kazuma climbed up onto the Hydra’s back and was doing… something up there.
Judging from the way the Hydra started violently thrashing around, that must have been some kind of attack.
Even so, that’s way too dangerous. I always knew that Kazuma was bold, but I didn’t think that he would go this far.
“Ah, watch out! Kyaaaa!”
Lynn let out a scream as she watched Kazuma get bucked off the Hydra’s back.
It’s great that Darkness managed to grab him before he hit the ground, but then the Hydra rolled over the both of them, covering them with it’s entire bulk.
If it was Darkness alone, between her prided toughness and the various support spells casted upon her, she could probably survive being crushed by the Hydra, but Kazuma would definitely die from that.
“Hey, you guys, don’t let Kazuma and his party hog all the spotlight! Come on, you’re all tough men, right? Put your backs into it!”
“I don’t need you to tell me that!”
“We can get things done tooooo!”
“I’m a girl, but don’t look down on me!”
Wishing to reduce the burden on Darkness by even just a little, one of the adventurers issued that challenge, and, with a loud scream, the surrounding adventurers redoubled their efforts in pulling the ropes.
Even though the Hydra seemed to be immobile, the other adventurers were too busy with trying to save Kazuma’s and Darkness’s life to launch an attack.
… Wait, isn’t this the perfect opportunity?
Killing an immobile Hydra is something even I can do.
“Look, isn’t the Hydra becoming really weak? And it can’t move, either! I’ll be taking the head of the large bounty target, Kowloon Hydra! The entire bounty can be collected by the one who finishes it off! I ain’t sharing it with anyone else!!”
I loudly declared before letting go of the rope and charged straight at the Hydra’s neck.
“H-Hey, what the hell are you saying right now?! Plus it only can’t move because it’s necks are tied together. If you let your guard down…”
I think I can hear Lynn’s voice coming from behind me, but I don’t have time to bother with that right now.
If I take the Hydra’s head right now, I’ll get entire bounty to myself and be able to bask in the envious gazes of everyone else!
Just when I got within reach of the Hydra’s necks, I noticed something.
Darkness, who was the focus of the Hydra’s attacks until just now, is currently protecting Kazuma under the Hydra’s enormous bulk. In other words, the Hydra doesn’t currently have a target…
Just when I realized that, a huge mouth filled with numerous sharp fangs appeared in front of me.
Just before my vision turned black-
“Ahhh! Dust! Dust!!”
I think I heard Lynn scream.
“Dust-san… Welcome to the afterlife. I’m the goddess that will guide you on your new path, Eris. Your life has come to an end.”
When my vision became clear again, I found myself in a white, palace like place.
And a woman who suddenly told me such inexplicable things was standing in front of me.
She was wearing an exquisite looking white hagoromo, with pure white hair and light skin, unblemished by the sun.
<TL Note: Hagoromo: That sash thing that Aqua wears. Commonly depicted being worn by Tennin, beings roughly analogous to angels.>
Her clothes are similar to the needlessly expensive ones that high ranking priests usually adorn themselves with. It nicely accentuates her moderate chest, though… it feels strangely unnatural somehow.
It came to me in a flash. Ah, I see. Her breasts are stuffed. I only noticed it because I often pay attention to women’s breasts and buttocks.
Well, as long as you look past her breasts, she’s a top class beauty. That top class beauty regarded me with sad, blue eyes.
I’m used to the women giving me disgusted looks after sexually harassing them, but I don’t recall anyone ever looking at me this way before.
“Did you fall for me?”
“Where did that come from?”
“Well, you were looking at me with the gaze of a maiden in love.”
“This is the gaze pitying you who charged head first into the jaws of a Hydra.”
This woman is really rude. It’s only our first meeting, too.
Come to think of it, she said some inexplicable things to me earlier. Could she be a religious solicitor?
This pure white room certainly seems like the type favoured by clergymen.
“Sorry, I have no interests in such matters. Especially if it is the Axis Cult. Please go somewhere else.”
“Eh? No, that’s not what I’m trying to do. If anything, I’d be an Eris Cultist, and this isn’t a religious solicitation.”
“That’s not it? My memories are a little fuzzy… Wait, don’t tell me, did I end up drunk and cause a ruckus again!?”
“Um, excuse me, could you please listen to me explain?”
“In such a luxurious looking shop… You’re planning on asking me to compensate a huge sum as payment, aren’t you? Well, sorry to say, but my wallet is empty. Too bad, I definitely won’t be done in so easily.”
It’s impossible for such a unblemished white empty room to be some kind of high class bar.
Did I step into some kind of secret noble’s store?
“Ripped off… You really are a friend of Kazuma-san. Seems like normal methods won’t get through to you.”
“Oh, you know Kazuma, do you? This will be simple then. Just put it on my friend’s tab.”
“This isn’t a drinking establishment! Please listen to me!”
Even though she looks calm and was speaking with a gentle voice, she suddenly shouted.
Huh? This voice and this feeling… Where have I…
“Let’s start over again, Dust-san… Welcome to the afterlife. I’m the goddess that will guide to your new path, Eris. Your life has come to an end.”
“Hey, come on, of all things, you had to proclaim yourself as the Goddess Eris. I thought you looked pretty decent, but you’re the same as Kazuma’s party-loving priest. Is proclaiming yourself a goddess the in thing to do nowadays?”
“Please don’t lump me in the same category as Senpai!”
“Ah, sorry, that was unsightly. Anyways, you’re dead.”
Boldly saying something like that… it seems like Self-Proclaimed Goddess Number Two has appeared.
Though, unlike Aqua, the beautiful nee-chan in front of me is strangely convincing. She has the appearance and demeanour that doesn’t make it sound like a joke even when she claims to be a goddess.
Could she be the real deal?
“Even if you say that, I have no recollection of it.”
“Everyone’s a little confused for a short while after they died. Please take your time and try and recall what happened.”
Prompted by her gentle voice, I racked my memories.
“I woke up early for once and went to the adventurer’s guild. Since I was both free and broke, I entertained myself by staring at Luna’s peaks at the counter, and she threatened to call the police.”
“… What are you doing bright and early in the morning?”
“I thought I’d try and find someone I know to sponge breakfast off of, then I ran into Kazuma…”
Unusually for him, Kazuma was working hard at recruiting people, so I decided to join in on the Kowloon Hydra extermination quest.
Apparently Darkness has some kind of grudge against that creature, but I don’t really care about the reason. A friend of mine needs help. There’s no reason for me to refuse.
Plus, my wallet was feeling a little empty.
Then, during the battle…
“Aargh, I got done in just as I was about to shine! Just a little more and I would’ve been able to hog the entire bounty!”
“You’re upset over that part… But it seems like you finally understand. Unfortunately, your short life has come to an end. It seems like you were quite infamous in Axel, and lead a life that caused trouble for a lot of people.”
Saying such things with a smile just makes you seem more scary.
There are so many things that came to mind that I didn’t know which one to start with.
“Well, I don’t really recall such things happening. At the very least, I didn’t end up committing any crimes, right?”
“You very much did. How many times do you think the police have taken care of you?”
“Hey, come on, there’s no way I could possibly remember that. Can you remember how many times you’ve been arrested by the police?”
When I replied to her question with another question, the Self-Proclaimed Goddess Number Two looked down and trembled.
See? You normally won’t be able to remember such things.
“Zero times! Normally you wouldn’t end up in the care of the police at all! It’s because you lead such a life that you don’t have any good karma… Huh? Wait, what?”
She ended up being flustered as she read the piece of paper in her hand. Just what is written on it?
She repeatedly looked towards my face and back towards the piece of paper.
“It seems like you’ve quite a bit of good karma. Eh? Even though you lived as you will back in Axel? Did I mix up the paperwork? I had to go down quite often lately, so did I accidentally bring up a different file?”
She placed a finger on her cheek and pondered.
Seems like that piece of paper holds what I’ve done with my life.
Good karma, huh? It’s probably the stuff I did during that time.
“Say, did you do something for someone else’s benefit in the past?”
“Who knows? Still, if you know about that, then it seems that you really weren’t lying about being a goddess.”
I don’t really like talking about the past.
I suppose I should focus on the current situation. I didn’t want to believe it, but it seems like I really have died.
So I’m dead, huh? Maybe because it still hasn’t hit me, but it feels surprisingly abrupt.
A lot of things happened in my life, and to meet my end at the jaws of a subspecies of dragon… perhaps this is fate.
Even right at the end, I still couldn’t cut my ties with dragons.
It’s a little late to say this, but after calming down and observing her, this goddess Eris really does have a divine feel to her.
“You finally accepted it. You have more good karma than I expected, so you have two choices available after death.”
She started explaining, so I guess I should properly listen.
“Option one, that’s to be reborn as a human and begin your life anew. In this case, your current memories will be completely wiped.”
To be reborn, huh. Does that mean I will lose all memories of the days spent in that country and start fresh?
I wonder what Lynn and the others are doing now that I’m dead… It’ll be pretty galling if they feel relieved that I’d died.
“The other option would be to spend the rest of eternity in heaven together with the other dead souls.”
“What’s over there? There are gambling dens and bars over there, right?”
“There are no such things. Everyone exists as a soul over there, so there’s no need to eat, sleep, or want for anything.”
“If no one has a body over there, that means I can’t fondle breasts or pinch butts or do anything erotic!”
“Of course! People spend their days living peacefully.”
A world without alcohol or flesh, where everyone simply lives without doing anything.
… Isn’t that hell?
What’s so fun about living in a world where you can’t satisfy your desires? That leaves me with only one real option.
“You don’t have to rush into this. Choosing what path to go down is a very important-”
“Hello, hello? Can you hear me? Aqua-sama has revived you, so hurry on back home.”
A carefree sounding voice that emerged from nowhere interrupted Goddess Eris.
That’s the voice of Kazuma’s party priest, right?
Oh, yeah, she could revive people, couldn’t she?
“Oh, that means I don’t have to die, right!?”
“Sigh… Again? Recently, the rate of death amongst the adventurers of Axel have really fallen. She immediately revives them even if they die… It’s not a bad thing, but… The heavenly laws do allow you to be revived once, so you can go back to your world, Dust-san. I’ll open the gate now.”
With a huge sigh, she snapped her fingers.
As she did so, a white gate suddenly appeared in front of me.
“I don’t really get it, but I’ve troubled you today. May I have a question as a memento for meeting a goddess?”
“Yes, what is it?”
“Are those breasts real?”
I pointed at those unnatural looking bumps on her chest, and Goddess Eris simply opened the gate with a smile.
“Please try not to come back for a long time. We won’t acknowledge your resurrection next time.”
“But Kazuma keeps boasting about coming back numerous times-”
“Now then, please try and lead a life without regrets.”
The moment those words left her lips, I was forcibly pushed through the gate.
Lynn’s tear-stained face was in front of me.
Behind her, looking over with a worried expression, were Keith and Taylor.
“Dust! Duuust! You idiot! Why did you have to make me worry like that!?”
Lynn hugged me the moment I raised my upper body.
I couldn’t quite gather my strength, and with the awkward position she caught me in, I couldn’t do anything to prevent myself from falling to the ground once more.
I hit my head quite loudly on the ground and opened my mouth to voice my complaints, but those words died on my tongue after seeing Lynn’s crying face.
If you’re still here… Seems like I can’t die just yet.
Saying that, I lightly patted her on the head.
This is the first time I’ve seen her so emotional. I must have really worried her.
“Phew. Still, it’s great that you managed to be revived. Your body was in a seriously bad way, so I was really worried.”
“Yeah, even I thought it was impossible after seeing that.”
Keith and Taylor said something strange.
Looking down at my body, apart from a piece of cloth around my waist, I wasn’t wearing anything.
“You guys didn’t pull some kind of prank on me while I couldn’t resist-!”
“As if!” x2
“Then why am I naked?”
“That’s because you took a really long dip in the Hydra’s stomach.”
“You looked like a piece of cheese after being roasted over a fire.”
I thought that my body felt strangely slimy and sticky… so you’re saying that these are the remnants of gastric juices?
If my clothes have melted completely, that means… it’s best not to think about that.
“Dust, be sure to thank Aqua-san. If she didn’t repair your body and revive you, you would’ve been dead for sure..”
“Ah, right, I need to properly thank her later.”
Aqua’s voice reached me even on the other side.
She brought me back from the dead. No matter how many times I thank her, it wouldn’t be enough.
I can’t see her right now, but I’ll properly thank her after we’ve returned to the guild.
After returning to the guild, I managed to get my hands on a replacement set of clothes and was finally able to bid farewell to walking around half naked.
I only had a piece of cloth around my waist. It was really drafty down there and felt disgusting.
From what I’ve heard, I was the only one who died there, and since I got revived, the task was completed without any casualties. Taking down such a large bounty target without any sacrifices made the guild staff very happy as well.
“We are surprisingly capable, aren’t we!? Though, we wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without Kazuma’s party.”
“Yeah! Kazuma’s really amazing! We originally decided to split the rewards from the Hydra extermination quest evenly, but Kazuma’s group really should get a bigger share. There’s an idiot who said, ‘The entire bounty can be collected by the one who finishes it off!’, so they should take that idiot’s share with them.”
It’s fine that Keith and Lynn are raving about Kazuma’s abilities. I think the same way, after all.
But don’t just offer them my share.
That’s what I wanted to say, but the truth is, I don’t have a leg to stand on.
I didn’t do anything great in this fight. If there’s one slight silver lining that came out of this incident… well, I suppose meeting with Eris counts as as a good thing.
I’ll be able to use it as a topic of conversation for quite some time, and the Eris cultists are sure to jump on it. If I play my cards well, I might even be able to make some money from this.
Oh, before that, I need to go find Aqua. I still haven’t properly thanked her yet.
Looking around, I found her quite some distance away from Kazuma’s group.
When I drew closer, I noticed that she was making a truly marvelous painting on the table with water.
She’s seriously talented. Couldn’t she make a living with this?
“Do you have a moment?”
“What? It’ll be completed in just a while, so please hold on for a moment if you have some business with me.”
It’s the words of my saviour, so I obediently waited, and she ended up painting a picture of a hydra that seemed like it could jump out at any moment.
It’s really regrettable that it will vanish after a short while.
“So, what is it? Actually, who are you?”
“I’m the guy you revived, Dust! We went on an adventure together, didn’t we!? Ah, nevermind. You saved my life, so let me express my gratitude.”
As I said that, the suspicious, furrowed expression that Aqua was regarding me with suddenly changed.
She broke out into a wide smile, thrust her chest out and glanced at me as though she was trying to send me some kind of signal. Is she asking me to praise her more?
“I can’t thank you enough. To think that a priest capable of casting Resurrection would be in this town. I thought that in a different meaning before, but you really do exceed my wildest imaginations.”
So I flattered her. She should be satisfied with this, right?
Just as I thought that and raised my head, she nodded her chin at me as if to say, “Praise me more, praise me more.”
… Well, I do owe her my life, so I suppose that’s fine.
“I always thought that you were an amazing person, but I didn’t expect you to be this amazing. You really opened my eyes there. There probably isn’t a priest as capable as you. You really are the most beautiful priest on the continent.”
How’s that? I pulled out all the stops. With that…
What’s with that gaze? What are you expecting from me? Isn’t that enough?
“I’m really grateful to you. Right, I’ll see you around.”
As I turned around and started heading back, I felt something grab my sleeve.
Fearfully turning around, I saw a gaze filled with desire starting up at me.
“Isn’t that… enough?”
“Not yet! It’s nowhere near enough! Everyone’s been treating me like a fool ever since I came here, so praise me properly! Say it louder so that everyone can hear!”
I’ve been caught by a really troublesome person. I’m grateful to her, but anything more would just be troublesome, so I shook her off and hurried away.
And of course, her footsteps chased after me.
“Come on, show more reverence to me! Say that you’re very grateful to Aqua-sama for reviving you! Praise me more!”
“Ah, you’re so annoying!”
Her guardian! Where’s her guardian!?
Happily drinking while being surrounded by everyone… There he is!
“Hey Kazuma! I’m thankful for being revived, but the priestess from your party’s really annoying!”
I managed to push Aqua who was clinging onto me with a death grip to Kazuma, before making a quick escape.