A Proposition for this Adventurer!
Editor: Ulti, Xenthur
“Welcome home, master!”
I found myself in a very familiar white room.
The moment I opened my eyes, a cheerful Eris-sama was standing in front of me.
“… You seem to be enjoying yourself, Eris-sama.”
“You’ve gotten used to coming here by now, so if I didn’t do this, you wouldn’t have a sense of novelty, right? Though, sorry, I suppose it’s not really something I should say considering your situation.”
Saying that, Eris-sama gave me a wry smile.
“… Can you do that one more time?”
“It’s a little weird to say this since I’m the one who did it first, but I won’t be doing that again.”
And she’s always so agreeable whenever she’s Big Boss.
“… S-So what happened to everyone else after she casted Death on me?”
“Darkness punched her in a fit of fury, so both of them are out of it at the moment. Senpai is working on resurrecting you, and Megumin-san is attending to Darkness after tying up the Demon King’s General… Please be at ease. Everyone’s fine.”
I let out a sigh of relief after hearing Eris-sama’s words.
That means that it’s my turn to shine once Aqua revives me.
Honestly speaking, going back to level 1 is quite a heavy price to pay, but it’s the best way I can think of to render Serena powerless.
I’ve considered several other methods, but I really want to settle things with my own hands.
Feeling the tension bleed from me, I collapsed to the floor and sat crossed legged.
… Still, it’s been quite some time since I last died…
This unreasonable world holds no mercy for those that are weak, so such is only to be expected, but is there really nothing I can do to stop dying so often?
I can’t help but feel down after being killed so easily.
Getting used to dying isn’t something that brings me much joy either.
Eris-sama silently smiled at me.
Just seeing her stand in the center of the room with her hands clasped together made me feel revitalized for some reason.
It’s like I’m being released from all my worries.
I thought back to what brought me here.
Why do I have to fight against the Demon King’s Generals? Why do I have to deal with nothing but strong enemies ever since I came to this world?
Even after gaining a fortune, I still had to deal with the Demon King’s daughter planning an attack on the capital and a hit squad attacking the town and what not…
Ahh, what a pain…
Perhaps it’s because I just died, but I can’t help but feel depressed.
Still, I have to go back.
Right now, the only one who knows about the Demon King’s plans to attack the capital or the hit squad coming to the town is me.
And my level has gone back to one along with Serena’s…
Just thinking about what’s to come made me heave a sigh.
Eris-sama gave me a worried look.
“Are you alright? … Well, of course you aren’t. You’re dead after all…”
Saying that, Eris-sama crouched down to bring her head down to my level and stared at my face with that same worried expression on it.
“Big Boss really is cute, you know? Have you ever considered quitting your work as a goddess and eloping with me to a remote world somewhere?”
“You’re going out with Megumin-san. You’re going to get divine punishment if you say such things to a goddess while having a partner.”
Oh, right, Megumin!
“Eris-sama, you’re not pulling any kind of strange strings to make something get in the way whenever Megumin and I are about to cross the line because you harbour secret affections towards me or anything, are you?”
“Of course not! I wouldn’t do something that stupid! Ah! What’s with that expression? Do you doubt me!?”
Ah, just seeing Eris-sama react to my teasing is breathing life back into my battered soul.
“Kazuma-san! Kazuma-san! Everything’s done on my end, so hurry up and come back.”
And right in this calm moment, the voice of the goddess who isn’t the slightest bit calming broke into the room.
I don’t want to go back to that unreasonable world just yet, so I buried my face in my knees and covered my ears.
“U-Um… Senpai is calling you… I do understand how you feel, but…”
Eris-sama seems quite troubled by my attempts at running away from reality.
“… After dying so many times, I can’t help but be depressed. And when I think that I might die again, I just don’t feel like going back anymore. I’m thinking that maybe it isn’t so bad to get reborn into a new life.”
“That’s… Well, I suppose that’s only natural. Simply dying once is already a pretty big shock… Well, Kazuma-san has died fairly clean deaths so far, so the shock should be quite minimal…”
Eris-sama made a troubled expression for a moment, but eventually, she gave a me a warm smile.
“… But, you’ve found wonderful companions in this world and created a quite a few happy memories with them, haven’t you? Don’t you still have things you need to do? There, there, try and remember those happy days…”
I casted my mind back to the experiences I had in this world.
The harsh times I spent living together with Aqua in the stables back when I first came to this world.
The huge debts I got unreasonably burdened with.
Meeting companions who are good at nothing but causing problems, and cleaning up after them.
The town that’s full of weirdos…
And me repeatedly dying as a result.
There’s also the bit about how even though things have been going well with my companions, I still haven’t managed to cross the line.
“… I really think I’d like to be reborn again…”
Maybe I’d ask to get reborn as the pet cat of a rich person back on Earth.
Then I’d leisurely sleep and eat my life away.
“Kazuma-san! Hurry up! Hurry up!”
Aqua’s irritating voice broke into the room again.
I gave it my all.
I really gave it my all.
Even if I head back, I get the feeling like I’d end up back here in a jiffy.
“I’ve decided to be reborn! I’ll leave the rest to you! Please tell the other two that I wish them happiness!”
Eris squeaked in shock as I shouted that to no one in particular, but she eventually fell silent.
“That man is saying stupid stuff again! Stop messing around. Why do you say such stupid things every so often? Do you really like troubling me that much? Are you stupid? Are you really stupid? Is that why you ended up at the beck and call of that priest?!”
Aqua’s reprimand cracked through the air.
“You stop messing around! For whose sake do you think I picked a fight with a Demon King’s General in the first place!? I kept fighting with that priest behind everyone’s backs to protect this town, you know?! I got brainwashed at the end of that intense battle—”
“Eh, wait, Megumin, what are you doing? Huh?”
“That won’t work on me anymore! I don’t care what kind of pranks or whatever else you do with my body! Unless you start crying and begging me to come back…”
“Megumin, what are you doing!? No, wait, what are you doing!? Kazuma-san! Kazuma-san! Hurry up and come back! If you don’t hurry up…!”
… I won’t be fooled so easily. No matter what you do with my corpse now…
Yes, those kinds of threats will no longer—
“Kazuma-san! Megumin is…! Megumin is saying something about taking your first time or whatever and is doing something really amazing right now! Actually, Megumin, you really shouldn’t be doing that sort of thing in broad daylight!”
You’re tempting me with erotism?!
Seeing me squirming on the ground, Eris-sama seemed to grow colder for some reason.
Ah, what should I do? If I don’t go back, I’ll miss the moment I become an adult…!
But if I go back now, I’ll get teased as an easy guy who fell for Megumin’s seductions easily… No, no, no, but…!
“Hey, Megumin, I don’t think something that big will fit for Kazuma-san’s first time. Kazuma-san’s Kazuma-san’s will definitely break.”
“Hey, by first time, you mean that!?”
“Megumin, you can’t do that! That’s food! You can’t do that sort of things with food! You’ll get punished!”
“Cut it out! Aqua, I’ll head back right away, so stop her right now!”
“Aaah! Megumin! Megumin! You can’t do that! He said he’s coming back right now, so hurry up and pull his pants—!”
I immediately stood up.
“Anyway, Eris-sama, I have some urgent business to take care of, so I’ll take my leave here.”
I rushed over to the gate and pushed it open…
“Ah, have a safe trip… Wait, no, Kazuma-san! Sorry to bother you when you’re in a rush, but there’s something important I need to say—”
“Right now!? We had plenty of time before this, so why did you wait till now to tell me!? Just come see me as Big Boss after I’ve made it back!”
“Megumin, why do you always do such brash acts!? Come on, he’s coming back soon, so hurry up and get rid of the evidence!”
I briefly turned back to Eris-sama.
She gave me an apologetic look and said,
“The truth is, that world is—”
“Megumin, don’t remove it, put it back on! Oh no, we don’t have enough time—!”
“Sorry, Eris-sama, I really can’t afford to stay right now! Aqua! Stop her! I’ll give you some pocket money later, so stop her!”
There’s just no way to maintain any sort of serious atmosphere with Aqua’s voice constantly breaking in like this.
“I mean, there’s a lot of stuff you can’t show to Kazuma…! Ah, Megumin, you can’t! You can’t! Aah!”
“Don’t give up! Don’t you dare give up, Aqua! I’ll head back right away!”
Eris-sama, her face bright red, shouted as I pushed through the gate.
“That world is currently facing a crisis! At this rate, it’s highly possible that the Demon King really will end up wiping out humanity! Please listen to me—!”
—The first thing I saw when I came to was Aqua and Megumin staring at my face.
“Ah! Welcome back, Kazuma! It really was a close one, wasn’t it?”
Megumin was blushing slightly and seemed out of breath.
Additionally, she also seems to be hiding something behind her.
When I looked into her eyes, she quickly averted her gaze.
My trousers are in disarray and seemed to be hastily put on.
That really isn’t something that puts me at ease.
And behind the two of them were Darkness and Serena lying unconscious across the yard.
“I-I’ll go continue seeing to Darkness, okay?”
Saying that, Megumin quickly moved to Darkness’s side, almost as if she was running away from me.
I turned my gaze to Aqua who was exceptionally fidgety right now.
“What? I stopped her, alright? The two of us looked at your little Kazuma-san, but we didn’t do anything, alright!?”
… This-This girl…
After calming myself, I said to Aqua.
“… Say… Do you still want to return to heaven?”
“Kazuma! Come on, wake up! It’s morning! Hurry up and wake up!”
The next day.
Without even a single knock, Aqua cheerfully bounced into my room and started pestering me.
I lazily poked my head out from under my blanket, and noticed it’s still dim outside my window.
“… What time is it…?”
“It’s just before five.”
It’s too early for this…
When I crawled back under my blanket, Aqua leapt onto my bed.
“Why are you crawling back into your bed!? Come on, wake up! Get dressed and we’ll head to the guild to pick up some quests and raise your level!”
“Spare me~ I was up late drinking last night, so I really want to sleep until evening today… I was celebrating taking down another Demon King’s general yesterday.”
—Yesterday, after I passed Eris-sama’s message to Aqua, I proceeded as planned and reduced both Serena’s and my levels back to one.
I then left the unconscious Serena with the police and told them about everything I knew, but…
Now that she’s been weakened, Serena should no longer be able to cast all those strong curses she was using in this town.
The Knight said that she’d be thoroughly interrogating her.
They’d also be coming up with countermeasures against the Demon King’s daughter’s invasion plans and the sneak attack on Axel and what not.
I received quite a sum for capturing a Demon King’s general and stopping her plans.
… That said, now that I’ve been reduced back to level one, there really is nothing more I can do.
There’s nothing I could’ve done about the attack on the capital anyways, and the adventurers that Serena puppeted were released from their state, so her plan of helping the invasion force from the inside is a complete non-starter now.
Without aid from the inside, it’d be quite difficult for this town to fall to hostile forces.
Plus, now that the mastermind behind the plan, Serena, has been taken out, it’s quite possible that the entire operation would be scrapped.
So that’s why I put myself at ease and celebrated my success until the wee hours of the morning…
“Wake up! Wake up! Come on, hurry up and wake up! For the sake of humanity, and for the sake of the future, we’re going after the Demon King!”
But Aqua starting saying such things before the sun has risen while repeatedly slapping me on the back.
Defeating the Demon King.
There’s a reason why she suddenly started saying such stupid things.
Yes, it’s the message from Eris-sama.
“Some hero chosen by the goddess will take care of the Demon King before long… Anyway, good night…”
“The goddess is right here, you know!? I choose you as the hero, so hurry up and wake up!”
—The crisis that Eris-sama mentioned is the same thing that I heard from Serena: The fact that new potential heroes have stopped appearing in this world.
It was originally Aqua’s job to give the people from Japan cheat-like powers and send them to this world.
However, ever since the angel took over, it seems like there hasn’t been a single person who accepted that deal.
Apparently, the new angel is far too honest and doesn’t attempt to dress things up at all.
She tells them about the fate and survival rate of the people who have been sent over, the possible side effects of learning the language, how hard life is in this world, and all kinds of other details.
… In other words, it’s only because the person handling the recruitment is Aqua that anyone would accept the deal to be transported to this world.
“You were the one who sent people like me here without explaining everything. I’m sleeping till the afternoon to protest!”
“You always sleep till noon anyways! Come on, a goddess is making a request of you! A beautiful goddess is making a tearful request of you, so why don’t you ever listen to me!?”
There are a lot of threats in this world.
Even if the Demon King weren’t here, there would still be plenty of threats to humanity.
It seems like heaven realized the value of a goddess that’s good at scammi— no, I mean, persuasion, and wants her back as soon as possible.
“Say, is heaven really that short on manpower? Couldn’t they just grab a goblin from somewhere to do your work?”
“I won’t let things slide if you keep poking fun at me. I’ll use voice mimicry magic to imitate that strange devil’s voice and laugh for an entire day by your bed.”
It’d be one thing if it was back during my time in the stables when I wanted to get her out of my party as soon as possible, but now that I’ve gained a measure of stability, what possible reason could I have to go after the Demon King?
More to the point, it’s way too reckless.
The only reason why I managed to foil Serena’s plans and defeat her was because of multiple coincidences conveniently working out in my favour.
And she’s considered one of the weakest amongst the Generals.
Not to mention, even as weak as she was, I still got killed at the end.
And you’re telling me to go attack her boss in his castle filled wall to wall with his powerful underlings?
Are you an idiot?
I turned my head to look at Aqua who was still straddling me and repeatedly hitting me on the back.
“… We’re talking about the Demon King, you know? There’s no way I can defeat someone like him. Do you really think I look like someone who can defeat the Demon King?”
“Of course not. Even I’m not that delusional.”
… This girl.
“Then what do you want? Even if I raise my level and we head off to the Demon King’s castle, if we aren’t taken out by strong monsters on the way, we’d be surrounded by his forces the moment we reach his castle and get taken out. You, Megumin, and Darkness will end up in a really bad way at their hands. The only one who’d be happy with that is Darkness, you know?”
“Of course I know that. I’ve put some thought into it myself too, you know? All I need you to do is to raise your level enough to bring me close to the castle, that’s all.”
“Well, if you have a decent plan of some sort, I don’t mind hearing you out.”
“Listen well. There was a time when we wanted to head straight for the Demon King’s castle, didn’t we? But then they told us that there’s a barrier around the castle. A barrier maintained by his generals.”
Was there such a thing?
I didn’t feel like it concerned me back then, so I didn’t really pay attention.
Taking my silence as understanding, Aqua continued her explanation.
“And you neutralized another General yesterday. A level one General can’t possibly maintain the barrier. That means that the only generals left supporting the barrier are… how many of them are left now?”
“… There were originally eight of them, right? The first one we encountered was that dullahan Beldia. After that, there’s Vanir, Hans, Sylvia, Wolbach, and now Serena… So, including Wiz, that just leaves two of them.”
“Yes, there are only two generals left! With my amazing goddess power, I can probably destroy a barrier maintained by only two generals if I put some effort into it! It’d be best if I can take down the barrier entirely, but even if that’s impossible, I should be able to open a hole big enough for someone to go through.”
“Well, that’s good and all, but how exactly are we going to defeat the Demon King?”
Aqua confidently replied.
“Once the barrier is down, the rest is simple! I’d recruit the help of my precious Axis Cult, the Crimson Demons, and the people running this country! We’ll use those connections you forged in this world and tell them that the barrier around the castle is down!”
So she intends on leaving the hard work to others.
But, well, it’s true that without the barrier, the Demon King would need to station a large amount of his forces around the castle for defence.
Just that alone would heavily shift the tides of battle.
“But what happens if you can’t break the barrier entirely?”
“Then I’ll have to leave it to you.”
“Tell me more about that.”
“Using Enemy Detection and Lurk, you can sneak right up to where the Demon King is sleeping and assassinate him.”
Ignoring the fuss Aqua is making, I once again covered my head with the blanket.
I was having lunch together with Darkness and Megumin in the hall of the mansion.
“Hey, Kazuma, can I have a moment?”
Aqua, a serious expression on her face, slid up to me with her hands behind her back.
It feels like she’s about to tell me something important.
“… What’s wrong? You have a really serious look on your face.”
I looked up from the leg of roast duck I was eating and met Aqua’s gaze.
“Please listen to me! I really don’t think it’s good for us to remain like this!”
She gulped before suddenly saying that.
I’m still chewing on the roast duck, but I suppose I should hear her out.
“What do you mean by that?”
“This self indulgent lifestyle! Are you really okay with this? Sleeping until noon and doing nothing but eating and sleeping! You’ve changed! You really have changed, Kazuma-san!”
Where did this come from?
Megumin and Darkness put down their utensils.
“This man has pretty much been this way since forever.”
“Yeah, that’s how he was. Besides, haven’t you been living the same way, Aqua?”
“Yeah, he might have been the same way before, but I really want the old Kazuma back! The one who was burdened with debts and worked hard every day to earn just a little bit of money!”
“Right, come at me. I’ll turn you into my experience points.”
I stood up with fork in hand, and Aqua guardedly took up a boxing stance.
“What’s wrong? You normally laze around just as much as Kazuma, so where did this come from?”
“The fuss from that priest just got resolved not long ago, so I understand not wanting to go on any quests for a while… Just what brought this on, Aqua?”
Aqua gulped when faced with the questions of those two.
“That’s… well, you know, the duties and responsibilities of an adventurer…”
“… Or something…”
Aqua trailed off in the face of our disbelieving stares, practically withering as she did.
“As adventurers, we have a responsibility to the people of the world… Gurk… Waaah!”
Being unable to stand our gazes any longer, Aqua wailed and ran away.
“—What’s up with Aqua?”
After finishing her meal, Megumin asked as she helped herself to some after lunch tea.
Darkness was also hanging around, surreptitiously wiping her mouth with her napkin.
“Don’t worry too much about it. She just got bitten by a strange bug that made her want to defeat the Demon King, that’s all.”
The two of them shouted the moment I mentioned the Demon King.
“The Demon King, huh? Very well, in order to cement my status as the strongest, let’s go defeat the Demon King. You pretty much defeated Serena on your own, and the battle against the Ninnin was over too quickly. Plus, the victory felt somewhat hollow anyways.”
Since when did you become the strongest?
And don’t propose doing something like that in the same tone of voice you would use to ask someone to pick something up at the convenience store.
“… The Demon King, huh… He must have a really strong attack… Perhaps strong enough to destroy my precious armour in a single blow…”
And this pervert is staring off into space with a dreamy expression and flushed cheeks.
It’s been some time since I was last reminded of this, but, yeah, these are the sort of people these two are.
“I’ll just say this up front, I’m not heading out to fight him. Don’t misunderstand me just because we happened to take out a few of his Generals. If I have to say, our party is more on the useless side, so… Even if you give me those puppy dog eyes, I’m still not heading out.”
“—Seriously, what’s up with her?”
I was laying in my room, using my hands as a pillow as I mulled over things.
Seriously, just what is she thinking?
Sure, I forcibly dragged her into this world, so I can understand her wanting to go back now that it’s a possibility.
Still, I’m a little taken aback by how quickly she came to this decision.
Is our relationship really that shallow?
… Well, from what Megumin told me, it seems like she got really depressed recently after the actions of the puppeted adventurers made her feel unneeded.
I’m sure that has some influence on what she’s trying to do now.
She’s an idiot, but even she’s not that carefree…
Or perhaps she’s just blinded by how heaven needs her and hasn’t thought about how she won’t be able to see us again if she goes back.
Well, goddesses have their own thought processes and values.
She might be that way, but she’s still technically a goddess with ardent believers of her own.
If she puts her mind to it, even a Demon King…
A Demon King…
… Nah, that’s impossible.
How long was I asleep for, I wonder?
I heard a voice coming from quite some distance away.
“… Chosen… goddess…”
That was a very calming voice.
It felt like it brought strength flowing out from the bottom of my heart…
“Chosen of the goddess, the legendary…”
Yes, I’m the chosen of the goddess, the legendary…
I opened an eye.
As I did so, I felt someone’s breath tickle my ear, along with a fair amount of whispering.
“Chosen of the goddess, the legendary hero Satou Kazuma… The fate of humanity is in your hands… Now, rise up against the Demon King… Grant the wish of the beautiful goddess!”
Turning my head, I came eye to eye with Aqua who was creeping around and whispering something into my ear.
“… What are you doing?”
“… I-I wanted to see Kazuma-san’s cute sleeping face…”
I leapt out from my bed.
“Darkness, Megumin, come quick! Aqua came here on a night raid—!”
“Waaaah! I’m sorry! I was trying to brainwash you!”
“Hey, Kazuma, please take a look at this.”
It’s been three days since Serena was captured.
From what I’ve heard, it seems like they managed to wring some information out of her and are planning on transporting her to the capital’s prison.
Also, I finally remembered where I’ve heard Regina’s name before.
She was the same goddess that the ghost we were hired to vanquish that time, Lucy, looked up to.
Lucy thought she was the last worshipper of Regina, but to think that there was still one amongst the Demon King’s forces…
I’ve now defeated two of Regina’s followers. I really hope she forgives me for this, if nothing else, at least because I was also her worshipper at one point.
Right now, I’m sitting cross-legged on the sofa in my mansion as I sorted through my equipment.
I’ve been buying scrolls and potions to bring with me whenever I set out on an adventure as of late, but I haven’t had the chance to use them once.
Even back when I was on Earth, I was the type of person who’d hoard powerful healing items in games and not use them even when I was facing down the final boss.
Just when I was thinking of a way to make good use of the forbidden potion set that Vanir foisted onto me, Aqua, walking by Darkness who was sitting next to me and looking at my items with interest, gave me a piece of paper.
I stopped working on my stuff and took piece of paper off her hands.
Darkness joined me as well.
The title was written with elegant penmanship.
“What do you think of the Demon King? Survey results.”
“… The title of Demon King sounds kinda cool (Baker). Seems like the sort of person who’d feed stray dragons while keeping it a secret from his underlings (Pet shop owner). Nevermind that, I’d rather you just lend me money (Delinquent). When I told him I’d be leaving the castle to set up a shop, he said it was a good idea and lent me some money (Pale-looking Shopkeeper). Nevermind him, Moi is stronger (Obvious). My god is the Demon King (Tired-looking man).”
“What the hell is this?”
“Ahh! That’s not the right one! That’s the one with the answers that shouldn’t be shown to you!”
Can you really call it a survey then?
“Look at this one! This one holds the opinions of the residents of this town who are suffering and fearful of the Demon King!”
Saying it, Aqua shoved another piece of paper into my hands.
“… We set up a store in this town, but business just isn’t picking up. I don’t really understand why, but the Demon King probably has something to do with it (Owner of a skeevy shop). I’m too afraid of the Demon King to sleep at night, so I have no choice but to sleep during the day. I can’t hold down a proper job thanks to that, and it’s all his fault I’m still living with my parents. (NEET). Because the Demon King exists, our god just isn’t popular at all (Worshipper of the god of destruction). Yeah, yeah, he’s totally scary. He’s just as scary as a cup of chilled neroid (Person in the theatre). It’s the Demon King’s fault that I can’t get together with her (Middle-aged man). It’s the Demon King’s fault that I can’t get a boyfriend (Guild lady).
“I’ll repeat what I said, what the hell is this?”
Aqua reacted with obviously feigned shock and surprise.
“How could you say that!? Kazuma, do you really not feel anything ever after hearing about all the troubles the people in this town face because of the Demon King!? That’s why people are calling you the gigolo NEET of that shameless woman!”
“H-Hey, I can’t ignore that. Is that the nickname they gave me when I was being puppeted by that woman?”
Aqua ignored my words and thrusted a finger at me.
“Don’t you feel any shame as an adventurer? Even as you are fooling around with Darkness here, the people the world over are living in fear of the Demon King! Apologize! Apologize for calling yourself an adventurer! Apologize to everyone in the world!”
“W-We’re not fooling around or anything, I’m just curious what Kazuma is doing with those items!”
At Darkness’s words, Aqua seemed to finally notice what I’ve been working on.
“What are you doing?”
“Those are the set of forbidden potions that Vanir gave me. This potion causes monsters to attack you for the rest of your life, this one heavily increases your magic power but kills your hair follicles in exchange, this one makes your levels shoot up in exchange for reducing your mana to zero, and there’s this one that attracts the opposite sex but makes you smell like a goblin. I was just thinking if there’s any way to make use of them.”
The only one that seems useful is taking the level up potion along with the balding potion.
If I use both of them in that order, I’ll be able to gain a lot of levels at once while still having magic power.
Of course, I’d end up bald as a result.
I wonder if healing spells works on the hair follicles destroyed by that potion…
Just as I was thinking that, Darkness shoved her face in front of me.
“Hey, Kazuma, can you sell me the potion that attracts monsters—”
Shortly afterwards, we received a request to escort Serena to the capital.
However, it seems like it will take some time before the preparations and paperwork for her transfer would be finalized.
With such a reason in hand, I could go back to my NEET life without any shame at all.
… Or at least, that’s the plan.
“No, Emperor Zell! You shouldn’t make noise right now! That man has been saying a lot of stuff about turning you into dinner as of late! He’ll do it! A man as brutish as Kazuma-san will really do it! So please go back to your quiet and gentle self! Seeing your unruly side is quite beautiful too, but you can’t make such a fuss this early in the morning. We need your power as a dragon to take down the Demon King, so before you grow big enough to fly us all the way to the Demon King’s castle, you need to quietly build up your power.”
“No, Emperor Zell, please be quiet!”
“Oh shut up! What are you doing so early in the morning!? Keep it down already!”
I leapt out of my bed and yelled through the window.
Directly below my room is the coop where we keep Zell, and it’s at that place where Aqua and Zell are currently making a ruckus.
“Wasn’t he supposed to take a long time to grow up because of his high mana!? When did he suddenly become a rooster!?”
“Emperor Zell is a lifeform steeped in mystery! He’s a dragon, after all. He must have gotten fired up over fighting the Demon King and awakened to some kind of mysterious power!”
Zell has somehow changed jobs from a chick to prime chicken meat.
“What kind of nonsense are you saying!? If you don’t shut that chicken up, I’m going to turn him into dinner!”
“Emperor Zell, I’ll stop that fiend here, so hurry up and run! Don’t worry about me, just run! Live free and grow strong! Once you’ve fully grown, we’ll go fight the Demon King together! Be careful of the butcher on the third street!”
“Aah, Emperor Zell! Are you saying you won’t leave me alone? Very well, let’s face down that fiend together! As your mother, I’ll definitely protect you!”
After saying some strange things, Aqua took Emperor Zell from his coop and hugged him close to her chest.
“I don’t care what you do, just let me sleep in peace. Seriously, I’m begging you.”
“Then, will you promise not to say stuff like turning him into dinner and such?”
“Yes, yes, I won’t say that anymore. In exchange, please move his coop to someplace else.”
Saying that, Aqua held Zell in front of her and said something about getting Darkness to help her move the coop later.
“… Still, are you still going on about the Demon King? Just give up on him already. The last General, the Demon King’s daughter, is still hanging around his castle, and so are a whole bunch of elite monsters. Just leave that kind of dangerous stuff to the actually strong people and enjoy our lives here. Don’t worry, someone will definitely take care of it. We should be enjoying our lives now that we have fame and fortune.”
Aqua hugged Zell and shook her head in an exasperated manner upon hearing my words.
“This is why Japanese that are used to peace are… Why do you always think of this as someone else’s problem? It’s because of your naive way of thinking that you end up dying more often than a guy playing spelunker.”
Aqua looked at Zell and went “Right~?”.
This girl… The main reason I die so often is because of you.
She’s saying whatever she wants because she thinks I can’t touch her from the second floor.
“Leave such thoughts back on Earth. Right now, this world is at war. The Demon King’s daughter is about to lead a large army against the capital, right? And there’s still a chance that they will attack this town…”
Even if you say that, I can’t help it. I just don’t get that sense of urgency.
Perhaps it’s because spent my entire life growing up in Japan…
“What’s wrong? Why are you opening and closing your mouth like that? Are you imitating a fish now? If it’s some kind of party trick, it doesn’t look impressive at all, you know?”
Aqua hastily returned Zell to his coop.
“That’s not it! Yes, right, the Demon King! Kazuma, now’s the perfect time to take down the Demon King!”
She’s still going on about that?
“Ah, ah, wait! Don’t go back to sleep, Kazuma-san, please hear me out! If the Demon King’s daughter is leading a large force to attack the capital, that means that the castle is empty! And if they attack this town on top of that…! They have the barrier, so they feel safe sending such a large force out! If we attack them while their armies are out, if we are lucky, there might only be the Demon King in the castle! After all, there’s no need to keep a powerful force in reserve when they have that barrier of theirs, right!? This might be the perfect chance to launch a raid on his castle!”
… True, it certainly does seem better than attacking while he has all his forces in the castle…
“Even if you say that… Ah, I’ve been meaning to ask you, but can healing magic cure baldness?”
“Leaving aside cases where the hair has been burnt off, that normally wouldn’t work… I’m sorry I can’t help you, Kazuma.”
“I’m not going bald yet! There’s a potion in that forbidden set that increases your magic in exchange for turning you bald, right!? I was just thinking of drinking that along with the potion that increases your levels in exchange for your magic, that’s all!”
I quickly explained myself to prevent any misunderstandings, but…
“There isn’t one.”
“… Huh? What do you mean?”
Aqua picked up Zell and raised him high as though she was showing him off.
“I gave the potion that increases your levels in exchange for your magic to Emperor Zell. Look at his beautiful body. At this rate, it seems like he will be able to eat the Demon King in a single glup in about ten years, don’t you think?”
… That means…
“What!? You used that potion that could’ve been my trump card on him!? Why!? Why are you so stupid!? Why do you always ruin my plans!?”
“W-What, you don’t have to get that angry! I just thought that if Emperor Zell gained a few levels and grew larger, he’d be able to do something against the Demon King! Come on, look! Don’t you think he looks a lot stronger now?”
I looked at the chicken that Aqua was holding in her hand.
“—What are the two of you raising such a fuss about so early in the morning? Kazuma, breakfast is ready, so… Y-You look like you’re having fun…”
After entering my room, Darkness said such carefree things.
“Cut it out! You’ll let mosquitoes in if you break a hole in the window! If you break it, I’ll use your room until the window is fixed! Wind Breath!”
“Using magic is cheating! If you don’t want your window broken, then help me out with taking out the Demon King!?”
Aqua picked up a rock from the yard and threw it up at me, which I intercepted with my wind spell.
However, it’d be bad for me if things continue like this.
A ball of water appeared above Aqua’s head and splashed down on her.
But, even though she was soaking wet, she seemed completely unperturbed and looked triumphantly up at me.
“So you’re giving the goddess of water a refreshing shower now? Did you forget? I can be completely submerged in water and it wouldn’t do a thing to me. Even if it’s getting cold out, this is but a reward to me—”
Before Aqua could finish her sentence.
“Wait, no, stop-”
I threw a shower of dirt at the soaking wet Aqua.
—After satisfying myself with Aqua’s cries, I went down to the hall.
Sitting right on the sofa was Megumin, sipping a cup of tea. She was dressed in her Crimson Demon robes and had her staff by her side.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Kazuma. Would you mind heading somewhere with me once you’ve finished breakfast? There’s something I need to do, and I would like you to be my witness.”
After being smothered in mud, Aqua is currently in the bath, and Darkness is helping her wash her hagoromo…
“Well, I don’t mind… But witness? That makes it sound like you’re headed off to a duel or something.”
“But aren’t we friends!? Aren’t we bosom friends!? We just declared an eternal rivalry in the Crimson Demon Village not to long ago, so why did it turn out like this!?”
“It’s precisely because we are eternal rivals! You were the one who gave me the letter to meet you in the forest because you had something important to talk about! Now come on, bring it!”
The forest close to the town.
Megumin was guarding herself with her staff as she faced off against a frantic looking and teary eyed Yunyun.
“And here I was wondering what was going on… So Yunyun challenged you to a duel again?”
“That’s not it! That’s not it at all! It’s not a duel! I just had something to discuss with Megumin!”
As the two of us had this exchange, Megumin waved her staff around in a threatening manner.
“Then why did you call me out to such a deserted place!? If you had something to discuss, you could just pay me a visit!”
“Eh!? B-But… If I walked in when you and Kazuma-san were having a good moment, you’ll definitely tell me not to come back… Friendship between women is as flimsy as tissue paper when romance is involved… I read that in a book…”
Yunyun’s voice slowly faded as she went on.
“We’ve been interrupted a lot of times by loads of different people by now, so I wouldn’t get angry over just that! Plus, if you really did come in at a bad time, I’d just chase you out for that day, that’s all!”
I think what Megumin said just made things worse.
“So, anyway, what was the thing you needed to discuss with Megumin?”
At my words, Yunyun offered a letter to Megumin.
“This is something the Crimson Demon villagers sent…”
Megumin received the letter and started reading out loud.
“… The Demon King’s army is marching on the capital in force. All Crimson Demons, in preparation for when the Kingdom calls us to their aid, please gather at the village… Fufu, so the time has finally come when my power is needed. Very well! Yunyun, let’s go show the Demon King’s army what we can…”
Megumin, who started out so confidently, suddenly trailed off as she continued reading.
Yunyun seemed somewhat uncomfortable as she said.
“Umm… They wrote to show the letter to you too, so…”
I moved over to Megumin who has frozen and looked over her shoulder.
“… Oh, so Yunyun is in charge of the first squad. As expected of the future chief. Now, Megumin is… She’s at the corner of the second squad. Substitute is written next to her name…”
“Megumin can’t use advanced magic, so that’s probably why she’s benched-Aaah!”
Megumin folded the piece of paper into an airplane and sent it flying into the forest.
“What are you doing!? I still have to show that letter to the other Crimson Demons!”
Yunyun angrily shouted at Megumin, but the person in question seemed to pay it no heed.
“Who cares about that. More importantly, what are you going to do? You just came back to Axel recently, so are you heading back to the village again?”
Yunyun started to say something, but she bit her lip before she could.
It seems like she has something to say, but is too afraid to spit it out.
Just as she started nervously glancing around,
“Seriously, you’re going to be the next chief, so why are you still so hesitant!? If you have something to say, just say it!”
“Ow ow ow! I got it! I’ll say it, so please stop pulling on my hair! … U-Um… I’ve heard that minions of the Demon King will be coming to this town too… I’ve made a few f-frien… acquaintances in this town recently…”
Yunyun, glancing at the ground and fiddling with her thumbs, said in a soft voice.
… Ah, I see.
“The people back home are calling you back to the village, but you have friends in this town too, so you want to stay and protect the people of the town, right?”
“Eh! A-Ah, yes… Friends… I’ve made a few friends in this town…”
By friends, does she mean those people?
I’ve heard that Yunyun has been spending quite a bit of time with a certain blonde delinquent and a certain masked assistant of a magic item shop.
They probably aren’t exactly what I would call good company, but, well, I can’t really say anything about that.
After nodding to herself several times, Yunyun finally raised her head, her face shrouded with pensiveness.
“But a gathering of the entire village is not something that happens often. As the future chief of the Crimson Demons, I can’t possibly ignore the summons when the village calls for a gathering…”
… I see, so she came to talk to Megumin to figure out what she should do.
And the person she came to consult with, Megumin, was facing in a completely different direction…
Wait a minute!
“Hey, Megumin, what are you—”
Before I could complete my sentence, Megumin called out.
And sent a blast of Explosion right into the woods, in the same direction where she sent the letter flying a few minutes ago…
“Ah! What are you doing, Megumin!? There are still people I haven’t shown that letter to! What should I do!? What should I…”
Yunyun grabbed her head and started panicking.
Megumin, after unleashing her spell, collapsed to the ground and flashed me the smuggest grin I’ve ever seen on her.
When I gave her just enough mana to stand, she shot right up and confidently declared.
“Did you see that, Kazuma? This is the true power of a Crimson Demon that is worthy of being placed in the first squad!”
Yunyun screamed at her with tears in her eyes.
“W-What should I do!? Really, what should I do now!? Why do you always keep causing trouble for me!?”
“Oh, stop panicking, you spineless girl! Just say the delivery man got captured by orcs on the way or the letter got eaten by your pet Goat Devil or something! You want to protect this town, right? Rather than spending time thinking about such useless stuff, you really should be bolder!”
Megumin said some completely irresponsible things, but Yunyun blushed and made a strange expression that seemed like a mix between being troubled and joyous.
It seems like she’s a little happy that the letter has been destroyed beyond repair.
Well, I do think that Yunyun could stand to learn a little from Megumin’s brashness.
I do think that, but…
I walked up behind her.
“You just don’t want her to go back just because you aren’t happy with how you’re treated, right?”
And Megumin stiffened in shock.