Tailing That Noisy Bunch
“There’s no way I’ll hand over my cute little sister off to some man from who knows where! Maybe I can use Megumin’s Explosion to blow away the entire castle… No, wait, I could go behind Aqua’s back and enlist the help of the Axis Cult! No matter what methods I use…”
Sitting alone at the table, a drunk Kazuma was muttering some pretty dangerous sounding things under his breath.
I’m pretty deep into my cups myself, so I only heard about half of it, but it’s clearly obvious that he’s in a foul mood.
“Eh, it’s quite unusual to find you alone, Kazuma! Don’t worry, your best friend, that is to say, me, will have a drink with you today! There’s no need to restrain yourself. Bring on the beer! It’ll be my friend’s treat today!”
“It’s supposed to be the other way round! Don’t try and take advantage of me, you drunk! I don’t have the time to play with you today. And pay for your drinks, I’m not treating you.”
“Don’t be so petty~. Aren’t we the best of friends?”
“Nevermind friends, we are but acquaintances at best.”
“Come now, don’t be shy, you little brat~”
I pulled on the cheeks of Kazuma who said something utterly unthinkable.
“Cut it out, I’m seriously troubled right now. There’s no doubt that right now, my cute little sister is crying into her mattress as she waits for me to save her!”
He coldly stared at me as he pried my hands off. It doesn’t seem like this is a good opportunity to tease him.
Still, did Kazuma have a sister?
Oh, yeah, come to think of it, a certain princess did look up to Kazuma like a brother…
Hmm, could it be that the entire kingdom is embroiled in some big incident.
“Oh, sorry. Still, what are you troubled by? You’ve helped me a lot over the past few months, so feel free to tell me about your problems. If you do it right now, it’s free!”
“I’d be better off consulting with Aqua or the others than you… Though, Megumin seems like she’s jealous, Darkness is technically a noble of this kingdom, and Aqua’s flat out. Dust. Dush, huh~. There really are no decent folks around me. Sigh. Well, you probably won’t let me leave until I tell you, right?”
Kazuma let out a huge sigh and shook his head.
He knows me quite well.
“Haa… Say, if you had a sister… No, if you knew that someone really important to you is betrothed to someone you know nothing about, what would you do?”
Kazuma’s words sobered me up in an instant.
Someone really important to him is betrothed, huh. He must be talking about that princess. Come to think of it, she was bemoaning something about a betrothal back then, wasn’t she?
“H-Hey, what’s wrong? What’s with that serious expression of yours?”
“Hmm? I’m just taken aback after being asked such a question out of nowhere. Are you talking about the Explosion Girl or Darkness? Or that Party Priest… Nah, forget I said that.”
“No, no. Heck, even if they had such a partner, it’d be fine to leave them be. There’s no way anyone else will be able to put up with them.”
“That is true…”
A Crimson Demon that has to fire of one Explosion per day.
An utterly perverted noble.
And a priest of the Axis Cult good for nothing other than consuming wine, performing party tricks, and causing problems for others.
“I feel like cheering on anyone who would want to go out with them. Actually, I really want to see that.”
“Right? Besides, those girls aren’t that easy… Nevermind that. Anyway, what will you do, Dust? You got into a rough spot back when you thought Lynn was dating someone, right?”
“Please don’t remind me of that. I really don’t want to think about it.”
The incident Kazuma was referring to was that time I suspected that Lynn was being pressured by a nobleman and asked for his help in getting back at him.
Just thinking back to it sends a chill down my spine.
“Say, what happened at the end of the day? Did you really…”
“Of course not! I didn’t stay there very long afterwards! I-It’s true! Don’t look at me with that pitying gaze of yours!”
Kazuma placed a hand on my shoulder and made an expression that seemed to say “You don’t have to say anything, I understand.”
…He definitely did not understand.
“Anyway, back to your story, if the person that is really important to you is out of your reach, letting her go and praying for their happiness… would be for the best.”
I rested a hand on the sword I wore on my waist.
“That doesn’t sound like you at all, Dust! I was expecting you to say something like ‘I’d punch him and take her back!’ But, what would you do if that man turned out to be a fiend?”
“In that case, I would just punch him and take her back. Afterwards, I’d pull my revenge on him.”
Ensuring that the person who is important to me is happy is the absolute minimum requirement, after all.
After learning that she’s unhappy, it’s only natural to resort to forceful measures.
“Right!? I knew you’d understand. Right, it’s my treat, so feel free to order away! In exchange, lend me your aid. You’re great at scheming, right?”
“Oh, really!? Alright, leave it to me! I’ll teach you all the little scams and pranks you can pull while just staying out of the hands of the police!”
I drank wine like water and caused a huge ruckus with Kazuma, and just like that, the night passed.
“My head hurts…”
Seems like I really went overboard yesterday. Hangovers are the worst.
Forcing my eyes open, I noticed the sun shining directly above me.
“There’s no roof. Where am I?”
I thought the ground was a little too hard and cold. It seems that I fell asleep at the back of a road somewhere.
“I recall talking to Kazuma yesterday, but what did we actually talk about…?”
I recall it involving a woman at some point, but I’m at a complete blank when it comes to recalling specifics.
“Oh, well, it most likely wasn’t anything important anyways. I should go hit up my companions for a glass to wake me up.”
After getting up and working the kinks from my body, I hurried down to the adventurer’s guild.
Inside the guild, Lynn and the others were seated at their usual spots… along with someone else seated right opposite them.
Did they accept a quest while I was out and are getting more details from the client?
I couldn’t make out their features from behind, but they seemed to be dressed like a magician.
“Ah, Dust, come over here.”
Lynn waved me over, so I sat down at the open seat.
It was at this point that I noticed that the other person is the noble lady I met before: Rain.
She acts as the bodyguard and guardian of the princess of this kingdom, Iris. Lynn and I once worked together with her on a quest.
What’s she doing at the adventurer’s guild? It’s not another troublesome matter involving Iris, is it?
“Oh, if it isn’t the plain and poor noble. I ran into a few ways to make easy money just a few days ago, so, are you interested?”
“I did say to act natural around me the last time we met, but I am still a noble, so do please watch your words a little… Tell me more about those matters later.”
A vein popped on Rain’s temple as she forced a smile onto her face. It seems like she doesn’t agree with being called poor or plain.
“So, what’s going on? Just so you know, I’m not about to lend you money.”
“I think a noble would rather consider honourable suicide than owe someone like you money. Nevermind that, Rain-san asked for us personally for some kind of job. And it sounds like the rewards would be quite hefty too.”
“Dust-sama, Lynn-sama, thank you for your help the other day.”
Along with those words, Lynn went into a deep bow.
Unlike the other nobles that I’m familiar with, Rain is not above dealing with commoners. There’s another noble that frequently works with her, but she has the typical noble’s mindset, so we don’t get along very well.
“Dust, Lynn, when did you get involved with the nobles? You didn’t get her involved in some criminal activity, did you?”
“Hey, she’s quite a beauty. Though, she is a little plain for my tastes… but a beauty is still a beauty. You best tell me all about it later.”
Taylor and Keith crowded around me and whispered in hushed voices.
I casually waved them away and said “Later” under my breath before continuing.
“Quest, huh? Well, I’m fine as long as we get paid. So, what’s it about?”
“Yes. I can’t tell you the specifics, but I would like you to watch over Alice-sama’s escorts.”
“Watch over the escorts? Not act as her escort?”
I thought it was just a simple error, but it seemed to have caught Keith’s interest.
“No, it’s not a mistake. I would like you to watch over the escorts so that they won’t get up to anything unusual.”
“…You’re not saying that there’s a traitor amongst the escorts or anything dangerous like that, are you?”
If she didn’t misspeak, then that was the only situation I could think off.
Considering Iris’s position, it would not be strange for her retinue to be infiltrated by the Demon King or be subject to some kind of power struggles. Still, would they really come to us adventurers for such a serious matter like this?
They aren’t hiring us so they could have us silenced if it comes to it, are they? They are nobles, after all, and ones close to the royal family as well. I wouldn’t put it beneath them.
“Ah, no, that is not the case. In fact, I would like you to keep an eye on Alice-sama too so that she doesn’t get up to any stupid… unbelievable… err, strange behaviours while she’s with them.”
This woman just referred to the royalty of this kingdom as stupid just now. She tried to cover it up, but she can’t slip by me that easily. Incidentally, Alice is the alias that Iris is using.
“Hmm, I’m not quite sure what you’re asking of us. I know that Alice is the daughter of a high-ranking noble family, but, well… In the first place, is she headed off to somewhere?”
“Well, the matter of Alice-sama’s betrothal has been settled, so she’s headed over to Elroad to meet her fiancée.”
Betrothal? I feel like I’ve heard that term just a short while ago.
I think I talked about that with Kazuma over a few glasses of beer quite recently, but I can’t remember any specifics.
“Well, she’s at the age where such arrangements are normal. Still, she’s getting married to some rich noble, right? I really want to tell this to Luna. She’ll probably start crying tears of envy.”
“Don’t do that, Dust! If Luna heard that, she’ll definitely push some impossible quest upon us! You know talking about matters of romance is off limits around her!”
Luna has a good body and is quite popular as a receptionist, but she has absolutely no luck when it comes to romance, and she’s at the age where she’s starting to seriously fret about such matters. It’s not unthinkable for her to give us some really dangerous quest with a smile on her face if I were to tease her about that.
“So she has a fiancée at such a young age? I always thought nobles are quite carefree, but I suppose they have their troubles too. Still, I guess it’s nice not having to worry about finding a partner in the future.”
“You’re far too young to be worrying about marriage, Lynn. Besides, you already have the best possible partner right here!”
I stood up and jabbed my thumb towards myself.
Seeing that, Lynn let out a snort and went “Hah, that’s pretty amusing coming from you.”
“Ir…Alice-sama is a wonderful person. She is sensible and understands the position she has… At least, that’s how she used to be, but she’s been becoming quite wild lately after getting influenced by that person. Nowadays, she sneaks out from the cast- mansion almost every day.”
That person she’s talking about is Kazuma, right?
Come to think of it, Claire was complaining about him too, wasn’t she? Something about her learning all kinds of weird things and becoming better at sneaking out by the day.
“I’m just guessing here, but those escorts… they don’t happen to be Kazuma and his party, are they?”
The moment I asked that, my companions shot me questioning looks.
Yeah, it must seem like Kazuma’s name just came out of nowhere with what they know.
“That would be the case. Alice-sama looks up to Kazuma-sama like her own brother, so things might become troublesome. I did ask Dustiness-sama to try to get him to refuse to be her escort, but it remains to be seen if she is successful in doing so…”
So the reason why Rain is so worried is because of Kazuma, huh?
“In addition, Claire-sama is against the betrothal as well, so there is a possibility that she might hatch some scheme to sabotage the whole endeavour. If she and Kazuma-sama were to work together…”
Say, is it really alright for a vassal to work against the goals of their princess?
Claire is another noble who works as Iris-sama’s bodyguard and guardian, much like Rain.
She was quite smitten with Iris last I saw her, and I thought she was a pretty dangerous person, but to think that she’d put Iris over the country…
Elroad, the country where Iris’s fiancée comes from, provides massive financial aid to the Kingdom of Belzerg.
I recall witnessing Iris being distressed over them sending lesser amounts back when I accidentally spied on her through the power of Sir’s mask.
Getting involved in the betrothal of a princess, huh? To be honest, it sounds like nothing but trouble, so I really don’t want to get involved, but I can’t just refuse after remembering how she was that night.
“It will probably turn out fine, but it’d be a big deal if something were to happen to the princess, so I would like you to keep an eye on Kazuma-sama and his party. Just in case anything goes wrong.”
It’s only natural to take all precautions for a princess that’s visiting a foreign country. Moreover, the people escorting her are Kazuma and his party. They have plenty of accomplishments under their belt, but if you ask me if Kazuma is well-suited to being a bodyguard… I might be his friend, but even I wouldn’t vouch for him on that front.
“Um, I’m happy that you would offer us such a job, but wouldn’t it be better to hire actual bodyguards rather than adventurers for this job?”
“I’m of the same mind as Lynn. If you really want to guarantee Alice’s safety, it’d be best to seek help from bodyguards.”
“It’s not like you’re lacking money like Dust here, right?”
I generally agree with what my companions are saying, but I kept my mouth shut.
Rain seem to hesitate for a moment before replying.
“T-That is true, but this trip is supposed to be a low-profile visit, so we cannot mobilize entire troops of soldiers to escort her. The bodyguards need to be small in number and not stand out. They would also be using dragon carriage to reduce the chances of running into enemies en route, and, in the first place, Alice-sama is quite strong…”
“Eh? Is she really that strong with how cute she looks? Still, a dragon carriage, huh? Those things are pulled by lizard runners, and I’ve heard that their speed is incomparable to regular horse drawn carriages.”
Lynn seems to have a hard time believing that Iris could be that strong.
The reason why Iris is strong is probably because she’s been eating high-quality food that provides experience points when eaten every day. It’s a common thing for noble families to do.
Plus, I’ve heard that the royal lineage of Belzerg traces their way back to many heroes in the past, and they are blessed with many abilities from the moment they are born.
“So, basically, all we need to do is to keep an eye on them to prevent Kazuma and his party from teaching her anything strange, ensure her safety, and prevent anything from interfering with the betrothal talks, right?”
“Yes, that’s the gist of it. Ah, but, when you reach the town, simply keeping an eye on Kazuma and his party would do. If anything happens, please write it down in this notebook. We’ll arrange for any necessary compensations afterwards. Oh, and, err, Alice-sama’s father is a fairly influential noble in this country, so she might end up visiting the royal castle. If that happens, please just wait at the gate!”
Rain was putting some serious emphasis on that last point. Well, I suppose it’d be problematic if Alice’s identity as the princess of this kingdom was exposed.
The rewards she offered were huge, and our lodgings would be paid for. On top of that, a dragon carriage would be prepared for us too, so that’s travel arrangements taken care of.
There’s really no reason for us to refuse such a good deal, so we eventually accepted.
Truth be told, I really don’t want to get involved with the royalty, but it’s a different story if I’m being paid to visit the country of casinos, Elroad.
We even got a nice amount of money up front, so I’ll be able to gamble to my heart’s content.
After Rain left the guild, Keith and Taylor started pressing me about the details of our relationship.
When I told them about the adventure I went on with Yunyun, Lynn, and the two nobles, Keith became overcome with envy and started drinking. It wasn’t long before he was sprawled out on the table.
“Why does Dust have all the luck with women?”
Keith mumbled while resting his head on the table. I think it’ll be best to let him be for now.
“So Alice, who those two nobles serve under, is on good terms with Kazuma, which is why she asked him to be her escort. Is that right?”
“Kazuma’s party is quite powerful, but all of them are too specialized. Being bodyguards don’t really suit their skills.”
“The Explosion Girl would retire after a single blast, and Darkness seems like she’ll happily ignore her ward and charge into a mass of monsters at the earliest opportunity. Well, that’s why they asked us to watch over them from the shadows. All we have to do is to pick up after them, so it sounds like it’d be a pretty easy job.”
“True. It’s dangerous to let your guard down, but it does seem like a pretty good deal. I’ll go secure the tools we need for our journey. You guys rest up.”
Seems like it’d be fine to leave the preparations to Taylor.
Lynn looks like she’d be staying here for a while longer, so I said my goodbyes and left the guild.
“I don’t really have anything to do right now… so I guess I’ll head over to Sir’s shop.”
Recently, I’ve been heading over to Sir’s magic item shop to kill time… Well, it’s technically the shop of the beautiful and eternally poor Wiz, but from what I can tell, Sir Vanir is the one who’s actually keeping the shop afloat.
“Sir, I came over to play~
As I opened the door, Sir Vanir, who was sweeping the floor, twisted his mouth into a grimace.
“You came here again? Unlike a certain delinquent, Moi is busy today. If you have no business here, it’s best you leave quickly.”
“Yes! Don’t get in Vanir-sama’s way!”
“Those words apply to succubi like you too.”
Loli Succubus was standing by Sir Vanir’s side.
Is it just me, or does she seem to spend more time in this shop than me?
“Hey, Loli Succubus, why are you lazing around here in the middle of the day? What happened to your job?”
“My job only starts at night. Besides, to think that Dust-san would say such a line… Did you bring a mirror with you?”
“I’m heading out on some long-term work tomorrow.”
“Hmm, it doesn’t seem like you are lying. Moi shall offer to divine your fortune for a discount if you accept it now. How about it?”
Sir is a devil that can see the future, and his predictions have a very high accuracy rate.
I myself made use of his power while planning that prank on that girl, so I am very much aware of how accurate it is.
“I appreciate the sentiment, but I’ll have to decline. Sir’s fortune tellings are more predictions than fortunes, and nothing good have come out of them thus far.”
His predictions were certainly on point back during the trip to the hot springs town, but Sir seems to find joy in omitting certain information in order to trip me up.
He’s a devil that feeds on dark emotions, after all. You’d just be setting yourself up for pain if you trust him completely.
“That’s not my fault, you merely reaped what you sown.”
“That’s right! Vanir-sama isn’t at fault at all! You should take a good look at yourself and reflect on your behaviour!”
T-This girl… She becomes really annoying whenever Sir Vanir is involved.
Why the hell are you getting more angry than the person himself?
“Oh shut up. What are you, my mother?”
“I wouldn’t want a child like Dust-san even if you begged for it.”
“Hey, I was plenty cute when I was a child!”
“Even if you were cute in the past, in the end, you still ended up like this.”
Loli Succubus glared at me with a disdainful look on her face.
“Don’t say that! Don’t point at me either!”
“Oh shut up! If you want to perform a comedy skit, go do it outside! You might even attract a few customers that way!”
“There’s no fun taking part in a comedy skit with her. Even if I accidentally touch her chest during a skit, there’s no enjoyment to be gained from a chest a flat as hers.”
I looked at Loli Succubus’s pitiful chest and shrugged my shoulders, and she narrowed her eyes.
“It’s really rude for you to be poking fun at a girl’s assets like that. It’s not like you’re packing anything big down there in the first place.”
She glanced down at my trousers and let our a meaningful grin.
“Hey, hey, what are you saying? You’ve never even laid eyes on my longsword.”
“I saw it back at the hot springs, remember? It really looked more like a shortsword to me. Ah, no, wait, that’s wrong, I think a knife is a better term to describe it.”
“Right, if you are going to go that far, I’ll let you confirm it again! Hold your eyelids open and take a good look at– Ouch!”
The moment I placed my hands on my belt, I felt a sharp rap against my head.
Turning around, Sir Vanir was there with a displeased expression on his face.
“Cut this out if you do not wish me to toss you out for obstructing business, ones who are poor in assets in the chest and trousers.”
“I-it’s not like that! Mine are still growing! I’m a late bloomer, that’s all! Please touch them and confirm it for yourself!”
“Seriously, mine isn’t small!”
Before Loli Succubus could remove her coat or I could undo my belt, Sir Vanir hit us on the head once more.
“Stop pulling out strange stuff in the middle of the shop! There are already too few customers as is. I’ll give you a fortune as a free service, so hurry up and leave.”
“No, there’s no need…”
Sir stared intently at me before I could voice my objection.
“Oh ho, my my. Good for nothing fool, Moi sees you losing big at a grand casino! Indeed, you seem to be blessed with the fate of drawing the weakest possible card during your most important game! Fuhahaha!”
“Seriously? I knew I shouldn’t have had my fortune told. Isn’t there a way to make sure I win big at a casino?”
“Anything beyond this isn’t free. If you really want to know, you best pay up. I heard about this from that brat, but this method is apparently a great way to make money.”
“What an underhanded method… I don’t have any money on me right now, so I’ll pass on that.”
I really want to know, but there’s nothing I can do about my lack of funds. Still, Sir’s predictions do occasionally end up being wrong, don’t they?
“Um, was there such a grand casino in Axel?”
“There’s no such thing in this town. We are heading off to Elroad that’s famous for its casinos. That part about me losing big must be taking place over there.”
“You’re heading off to Elroad!?”
“Y-Yeah, that’s the plan.”
Loli Succubus was looking at me with sparkling eyes.
Was it really that surprising?
“Please take me along with you!”
“You’re interested in casinos? Right, I’ll take you to a gambling den today. If you lend me some money, I’ll give you back twice as much.”
I thought that succubi didn’t care for anything other than Sir Vanir, but to think that she would have an interest in gambling. As her senior, I’ll have to teach her about the joy of gambling.
“I don’t really care about gambling.”
But she shot me down instantly.
“Then, why do you want to come with me… Ah, is that it? Sorry for noticing your feelings, but, I’m sorry, I just can’t see a kid as a woman.”
“I’m not interested in you! Even if it does feel bad to be rejected… Anyway, in the first place, I’m not a kid! I might look like this, but I’m older than you!”
“Yes, yes, that’s amazing~ I’m sure you’ll look very sexy once your boobs have grown.”
I pulled some random soothing words on a whim and patted her on the head, and Loli Succubus angrily stomped her foot on the ground.
“Graaah! Vanir-sama! This man is really infuriating!”
“This delinquent’s talent at getting on people’s nerves is the best in the world, so don’t engage with him. More importantly, do enlighten us on the reason why you wish to visit Elroad.”
“Well, you see, there are some plans amongst the succubi to set up a shop in Elroad. We’ve been planning to pay it a visit soon, and this seems like the perfect chance to do so.”
I see. In truth, this is the first I’ve heard that there isn’t a succubus shop in Elroad. Dammit, that’s one less thing to be looking forward to.
“Setting up a succubus shop in a town of casinos isn’t a bad idea. Once people have their wallets filled, they’ll naturally seek to fill their other desires. There’s no end to the greed of humans, after all.”
“It’s strangely convincing when it comes from someone who might as well be a mass of desires like you.”
Both of them nodded in unison, but I’ll just ignore that for now.
Loli Succubus, huh… Well, there’s no issue with just taking her along.
The only woman in our party is Lynn. She didn’t say anything, but it’s only natural to feel a little uneasy to be the only woman amongst men when taking a long trip.
“I don’t mind taking you along. The others probably won’t have any complains either.”
“Thank you very much! I’ll give you a coupon for the succubus shop as payment, so share it with everyone, alright?”
Oh, there’s ten of them. I’ll make sure to make good use of these.
After all, she wouldn’t be coming with us at all if it wasn’t for me!
“Do come over here for a moment. Allow me to give you a little piece of advice.”
“W-What is it!? Don’t tell me, it’s a confession…”
Just as I moved towards the door, Sir Vanir called Loli Succubus towards him.
I turned around to see Sir whispering something into Loli Succubus’s ear. I can’t make out what he’s saying from here, but judging from Loli Succubus’s expression, it’s definitely not a confession.
We gathered together on the outskirts of the capital on the day Kazuma’s group was supposed to set off.
The ones heading on this journey would be me, Taylor, Keith, Lynn, and, as a late addition, Loli Succubus.
“Once again, thank you very much for having me. It’s not much, but please help yourselves to these snacks.”
“Welcome aboard. There’s no need to stand on courtesy.”
Loli Succubus was welcomed with bright smiles as she repeatedly bowed and offered up a box of snacks.
We’ve been on the same party several times before, so they are already used to her.
I wanted to invite Yunyun to join us to ensure a smooth journey, but her loner powers must have activated because I couldn’t find her anywhere, so I gave up on it.
“So this is a dragon carriage, huh? It’s really pulled by lizard runners. Though it seems a little plainer than I expected.”
“I was expecting something flashier for a noble’s vehicle. What say we spruce it up ourselves?”
“Don’t be rude, Keith. We are supposed to tail them from the shadows, so it’d be foolish to ride in a vehicle that stands out. I’m sure Rain removed the furnishings so that it’d blend in easier.”
Keith seemed somewhat disappointed when Taylor admonished him.
“Yes, ultimately, we would like you to keep a low profile, so the exterior is deliberately arranged so that it doesn’t stand out. However, while the exterior is stripped down, the furnishings inside are still fully intact, so rest easy. There aren’t any wheels, but…”
Rain, who came alone to hand the carriage over to us, moved her hands and muttered something at the carriage.
At this, the carriage began floating a short distance above the ground. With this, the weight will be reduced even further, and the entire vehicle would be able to move even faster.
“Ooh, it’s floating off the ground! How is it doing that!?”
“This is the first time I’ve seen it in action.”
“As expected of a noble.”
As I watched my companions start to fall all over themselves marvelling over the dragon carriage, I felt Loli Succubus pull on my sleeve.
“Dust-san, you don’t seem impressed at all. Isn’t this a rare sight?”
“Well, this isn’t my first time I saw something like this, after all.”
It’s rare for most noble families to own something like this, but it’s a common sight amongst royal families.
Rain then proceeded to explain the various things to look out for. I can leave matters like that to Taylor.
Soon after, she bowed and said “I’ll leave the rest in your hands.” before heading back to where Kazuma was.
From this distance, Kazuma and his party are but a small speck on the horizon, but that’s within my calculations.
“Keith, can you tell what’s going on over there?”
“Don’t worry, with my Farsight, they are crystal clear to me. ”
As an Archer, Keith has access to the skill Farsight, allowing him to see distant objects as though they are right in front of him.
“Wait, doesn’t Kazuma have Farsight too?”
Lynn’s innocent question stopped us in our tracks.
Come to think of it, he did mention that before.
“B-But, we have the map and know what route they’ll be taking, so it’ll be fine… probably.”
“Surely it’ll be fine if we keep our distance, right?”
“My Farsight is superior to his, so if we stay far enough back that I can only just barely see them, it’ll work out.”
Those responses don’t exactly put me at ease, but it’ll probably work out.
“It won’t do us any good to get all worked up over it. Look, they seem like they are about to set off, so hurry up and get on. I’ll be the driver.”
“Oh, thanks. The lizard runners seem to have taken a liking to you, so I’ll leave them in your hands.”
“Women constantly treat you like trash, but animals and monsters really do take a liking to you.”
“You’re not releasing any kind of strange pheromones, are you?”
“You little… stop waddling around and get on!”
After chasing my companions onto the carriage, I patted the lizard runner closest to me on the back before settling into the driver’s seat.
“I’ll be counting on you.”
“D-Dust! Don’t you think this is a little too fast!?”
“This is way too fast, eeep!”
“C-Can’t you slow down a little!? Isn’t this dangerous!?”
The wailing of my companions coming from behind me is quite annoying.
It seems like they’ve gotten a little freaked out by how fast we are moving.
“Don’t worry, have a little faith in my skills.”
“We can’t!” x3
It’s only at times like this when you all speak in unison. This kind of speed is nothing to write home about. It’s nothing compared to the speed of a dragon in flight.
I found it a little strange that Loli Succubus was the only one not freaking out, so I briefly looked back and found her glued to the window and happily seeing the world pass by.
“This is so much more relaxing than flying myself~”
I guess she’s less afraid of speed than my companions because she’s able to fly under her own power.
“Remember what Rain told us? There’s a powerful barrier placed on this carriage, so even if we get into an accident, we’ll be fine. Plus, if we slow down, we’ll lose sight of Kazuma.”
We’ve managed to keep pace with Kazuma’s carriage so far, but if we slow down for even a little, we’ll lose track of them instantly.
Just who is driving their carriage? It’d take a veteran not to lose their nerve when travelling at such speeds.
“Hey, Keith, can you see who’s driving Kazuma’s carriage?”
I grabbed the cowering Keith by the collar and pulled him up to the front of the coach.
“The wind! The wind is in my face! H-Hey, you! Don’t turn back while driving at this speed! Look forward! Forward!”
“It’s fine. So, can you see who’s holding the reins?”
Keith, his face a pale green of fear, narrowed his eyes on the carriage in the distance.
Though, his eyes quickly widened in surprise. Did he see something shocking out there?
“I don’t really care about the blue-haired one freaking out in the back, but… Darkness looks like she’s laughing it up out front. Is she alright in the head?”
“We already know that, don’t we? So that’s why they are running at such a breakneck speed.”
The only thing I can do for her is pray they don’t run into an accident. Though, Darkness will probably be happier if the carriage took a few hard knocks.
I put my hands together and muttered a soft prayer.
“Dust!!! Keep your eyes open! Don’t take your hands off the reins!”
“Oh, shut up. I can keep these guys under control even with my eyes closed. See?”
Keith’s face turned an even deeper shade of green, before seemingly passing out from fear and collapsing back in the carriage proper.
“Hey, Keith just went limp! Did something happen?”
“He’s out cold!”
More panicked voices came from behind me, but I merely casually waved back and said “He ain’t dead.”
Keith is surprisingly weak at heart.
The two of them forced their way to the front, seemingly intent on voicing their complaints, but one look at how fast the scenery was flying past seemed to drain out the fight out of them, for they soon went back into the carriage without saying a word.
Just as I was starting to enjoy the sudden peace and quiet, the carriage in front of us started slowing down before coming to a stop.
It wouldn’t do for them to notice us, so I pulled up by the road and brought my carriage to a stop too.
“Did something happen? Keith, don’t just laze around, take a look and tell me if you see anything.”
I grabbed him by the collar and forced him to face in the direction of Kazuma’s carriage.
“We finally stopped. I never knew steady ground could be so appealing. I think I’ll forget about chasing women and just chase the ground from now on… What, up front? O-oh!? There’s a horde of monsters in the way! Kazuma and his party have exited… Why is the lady being protected going out in front?”
Keith’s words sparked my interest, but no matter how hard I squint, I couldn’t make out a single detail.
I really want Farsight too. If I had that skill, I could peek all I want even from a long distance away.
“Wha– Hey, the young lady brought out a sword–”
At that instant, a bright light emerged from around where Kazuma’s party was.
I have no idea what transpired, but the shocked expression of Keith certainly did draw my interest.
“Hey, what happened? Don’t just stand there with your mouth open, tell me.”
“I-I’m not entirely sure either. When the young lady swung her sword, a bright light emerged from it and split all those cow monsters cleanly in two… Does she even need a bodyguard?”
I thought Rain was just being polite when she said Iris was strong, but it seems like that isn’t the case. The blood of heroes isn’t just for show.
“Well, that’s fine, isn’t it? It’d be easier on us if we don’t have to worry about them getting taken out by monsters.”
This scene repeated itself several times over the rest of the day. Any time they would run into a horde of monsters, Iris would get out and take care of them in a flash.
…The princess is being way too flashy. Wasn’t her identity supposed to be a secret?
Eventually, it started to get dark out. Kazuma’s carriage stopped and they started making preparations to camp out, so we brought our carriage to a stop too.
Thus, our first day of tailing them came to an end.
“Now, all we need to do is watch over them from afar. Alice probably won’t be staying up too late, so this is where we earn our keep.”
Just as I straightened up and spouted some cool lines towards my party, a flash of light came from behind me.
I hastily turned around to gauge what happened… and found a small mansion where Kazuma and co. were setting up camp.
“Was there always a mansion over there?”
“Hey, I saw a flash, and a mansion suddenly appeared!”
“W-What kind of trick is this?”
Lynn and the others were thrown into disarray.
Loli Succubus seemed surprised too, but she was far calmer compared to the other three.
“That’s a high-quality magic item. A portable mansion that can be taken with you on the go. If I recall, it also creates a monster repelling barrier when deployed.”
“Ah, that’s one of the items that Vanir-sama wanted to get his hands on. I thought it looked familiar. Dust-san, did you hear it from Vanir-sama too?”
The truth is that I actually saw a similar item in the past, but there’s no need to tell her that.
“Say, if they have something like that, do they really need us to be here?”
“I think so too, but that’s not such a bad thing, is it? We’ll be able to earn a lot of money without having to lift a finger. It’d be ungrateful to complain about that.”
We don’t even have to keep watch over them at night. This job is turning out to be far easier than I expected.
Now that there’s no need to worry about Iris’s safety, we started making preparations for our own camp too.
“Kazuma and his party are probably having a warm dinner in the safety of their mansion right now, yet we have to camp out in the open and cook our dinner over a fire…”
“Dust, stop grumbling. This is just what we usually do, isn’t it?”
“I’m looking forward to eating out in the open with everyone. It’ll be fun.”
Lynn and Loli Succubus are strangely optimistic.
Taylor silently started roasting the meat over the fire. As for Keith, I thought he’d join in with my thoughts, but he’s strangely quiet, simply staring at the mansion in the distance.
“You’re strangely quiet. What’s the matter?”
He was muttering something under his breath, so I leaned in closer to better make it out.
As I did so, I noticed the smell of alcohol in his breath. This guy broke out the beer and started drinking on his own. Now that I look closely, his face is also a little red.
“Graaaaah! This isn’t right!!!”
“Aargh, my ears! Don’t just start shouting out of the blue!”
“What’s wrong, Keith?”
“Did you eat something weird? It’s bad manners to start snacking just before we eat, you know?”
“What’s wrong? Please calm down.”
This isn’t good. If Keith keeps shouting like that, someone from Kazuma’s party might notice us. Not to mention it would also attract the attentions of monsters.
The four of us grabbed him and tried to get him to quiet down, but Keith continued shouting.
“Just calm down already. What’s the matter with you?”
“This is way too unfair! Kazuma is surrounded by beautiful girls in that mansion of his, while we have to camp out in the cold!”
Seems like all the little things Keith was keeping bottled up inside suddenly burst out all at once.
“We have women here too!”
“Ha! The only ones here are all Dust’s mistresses!”
And he suddenly said something unbelievable.
“Don’t say such ridiculous things! Who would be his mistress!?”
“Yeah! Dust might have helped me out a lot in the past, but ultimately our relationship is just professional! There’s nothing going on! The only person I have eyes for is Vanir-sama!”
That is true, but seeing them deny it so vehemently does piss me off a little.
“Taylor, you too have gotten along well with a woman lately, so why am I the only one left out! Damn it all!”
He let out an anguished cry, before collapsing to the ground and falling asleep.
So he was just drunk, huh? I could just leave him as is, but I kinda feel bad for him.
Lynn and Taylor lent Keith their shoulders and carried him off to a tent to sleep it off.
As they did so, I motioned to Loli Succubus and whispered into her ear.
“Sorry, but can you show him a good dream later? I’ll pay for it.”
“He’s quite drunk, so I’m not sure if he’ll actually see the dream, but I’ll give it a try… You have a kind side too, don’t you?”
“It’s just a dream. I would like him to at least see a good one…”
This isn’t kindness, but sympathy. Besides, if Keith were to continue to be in such a foul mood, it might end up affecting our job. We do need his Farsight, after all.
“Since Keith is knocked out, Taylor and I will take first watch. You two can go to sleep in the carriage. If you feel lonely, feel free to crawl into my bed and have some late night exercises–”
“There’s no need for that.”
“I wouldn’t mind if you never wake up again.”
Don’t look at me that coldly. Don’t flash that dagger at me either, Lynn. Why are all the women around me like this?
Keith must be really knocked in the head somewhere to envy me.
“Tsk, you girls really don’t understand a man’s kindness at all.”
“That isn’t kindness, it’s…”
“Why are you two so in sync!? Hurry up and go to bed already! We’ll be switching watches in the middle of the night!”
Loli Succubus and Lynn vanished into the carriage, leaving Taylor and I around the fire.
“So it’s just us two men, huh? How dull.”
“That’s my line. Still, don’t you think this is a little odd? These dragon carriages and that mansion are extremely highly sought after magic items that even nobles have trouble getting their hands on. Is she really just a noble?”
Of course he’d pick up on that.
Taylor was the one who had the most contact with Rain during this quest, and he’s the most perceptive, and most serious, out of all of us. It’s only natural for him to get suspicious.
“Well, Rain did say her family is fairly important. They must wield a lot of influence. That’s probably why she had us tail them from the shadows like this.”
“That’s true… In that case, it might be best not to pursue this much further. Getting the attentions of nobles tend to lead to trouble.”
“Let sleeping Axis Cultists lie and all that, right? All we need to do is tail them and get paid. But nevermind that, more importantly, Taylor, nothing happened between you and that girl, right? You didn’t make some sweet memories without us knowing, did you? You didn’t cross that line, did you? Did you?”
Taylor is a very straight-laced person, so I will be able to easily tell if he’s lying.
He crossed his arms, fell into deep thought for a moment, and let out a huge sigh.
“I don’t know what’s going through your head, but it’s just as I’ve said in the past. All I did was show her the ropes of being an adventurer. She was making good progress, but it’s really unfortunate that her mother took ill. I only hope they managed to meet up.”
It’d be easy to tell him that the girl was a con woman and he’s been had, but I can’t bring myself to do that.
I do think it’d be interesting to see his reaction, but I just can’t bring myself to stoop that low.
It doesn’t seem like anything erotic happened between them, so there’s no point in talking further on this matter.
“Nevermind me, what about you? Lynn and you are just the same as ever, but you seem to be getting along quite well with that Lolisa girl and Yunyun.”
“Ha! Leaving Lynn aside, the other two are just kids. I’m not a lolicon, so I’ll pass. Though, if they grew breasts as large as Luna’s, I wouldn’t mind copping a feel.”
“I really doubt that’s possible… Oh, sorry, my mouth slipped. Listen, this is just between us, alright? No matter what, never let Lynn know I said that. You got it?”
Seemingly realizing he spoke too much, Taylor turned away and started poking at the fire with a stick.
It’s really rare for me to talk with Taylor like this. Did something change in him after spending time with that woman?
I would much rather spend the night with a beautiful woman, but I guess I’ll trade some guy talk with Taylor tonight.
The next day.
We continued tailing Kazuma and his party.
They ran into monsters several times during their journey, but, just like yesterday, Iris made short work of them.
Keith was the only one amongst us who could see them clearly, but every time he would say they ran into something, a flash of light would emerge and the battle would be over.
It’s to the point where I’m beginning to doubt if they actually fought at all, but whenever we neared the sites of battle, there’d be the corpses of neatly bisected monsters laying all over it, so it doesn’t seem like Keith is exaggerating.
We had to endure the rocking of the dragon carriage for days, but apart from that, the journey was perfectly smooth.
Well, there was this one time where the Explosion Girl started catching crayfish in the river. We argued about what exactly she plans on doing with them, but that’s really the extent of it.
The only thing that concerned me was how annoying Keith’s endless mutterings and general sullenness was getting.
It seems like watching Kazuma being constantly surrounded by girls is making him more and more aware of what he lacks. Though, I can understand where he’s coming from.
“Ah, I can see Elroad!”
“Wow~ Is it bigger than the capital of Belzerg?”
Having gotten used to the speed of the dragon carriage, the two girls jostled for position out at the front of the carriage and excitedly pointed at the city rising in the distance.
I’m sandwiched between Lynn and Loli Succubus right now, but…
“If only they had a little more stuff up there…”
“Did you say something?”
“Nope, not a thing.”
Seems like I accidentally voiced out what I was thinking. I’ll need to be careful about that.
The city in front of us is surrounded by walls far larger and more impressive than the ones around Axel.
After we passed through the gates on the heels of Kazuma’s party, the sights of a bustling city jumped out at us.
“Ooh, it’s just swarming with people. And unlike Axel, a lot of the people here are dressed up. If there are so many people here, you might be able to pick one or two up. What do you think, Keith?”
“…Oh yeah! If there aren’t any women around me, all I need to do is get one in Elroad! There are plenty of great women here!”
I grabbed Keith by the shoulders to cheer him up, and Keith himself seemed to be quite taken with the idea too.
Looking behind Keith, I mouthed “Cheer him on too.” towards my other companions.
“O-Of course! There’s got to be one or two girls in this city who’d fall for you!”
“Yeah, yeah. You look fairly decent as long as you don’t say anything, so if you keep your true personality hidden and only communicate in writing, I’m sure you’ll be able to pick up a girl!”
“As long as you don’t anger them enough to get them thirsting for your blood, you’ll do fine!”
“…So the problem really is me…”
After hearing that, Keith curled up into a ball at a corner of the carriage and started drawing circles in the dirt.
The others are trying their best to sing his praises, but that definitely had the opposite effect.
“Now he’s even more depressed!”
“It was supposed to encourage him.”
“You can’t blame me, he has about as many good points as you, Dust, so there really isn’t much else to talk about.”
“There’s almost no chance that’ll happen, but if he does manage to successfully hit on a girl, my business will go down.”
Ah, great, now the lights have completely vanished from Keith’s eyes. I feel like I’ve been seeing him like this a lot lately.
“You guys need to be gentler! Even a trashy person would get hurt if you focus on their trashiness! Sure, Keith is an absolute piece of trash, but even so, he’s the kind of person who practices in front of a mirror every morning so he’ll be prepared when he gets hit on! And he makes sure to change his underwear each day so that he’ll be prepared to take a woman to bed anytime!”
Lynn and Loli Succubus immediately started shying away after hearing my words. Taylor gently placed a hand on Keith’s shoulder.
“I don’t need that kind of kindness, Taylor! And Dust, stop spreading lies about me! Dammit, just you wait! I’ll definitely find a girlfriend in this city and live a happy life together with her!”
Oh, he finally perked up. He’s been sulking non-stop about the lack of women in his life for the entire journey, so it’d be nice if he mellowed out a little after this.
After gaining his spirit back, Keith looked towards Kazuma and his party and noticed them entering a fairly expensive inn. Armed with this new knowledge, we decided to stay an an inn just a short way up the street from them.
“Seems like they’ll be able to take care of the carriage and the lizard runners too. Alright, let’s get down to work, shall we?”
After Taylor dealt with the business of renting two rooms, we headed upstairs.
The rooms were split by gender, and Keith, Taylor, and I gathered in our room.
“Anyway, just who is that Alice girl? I’ve never even heard of someone that strong. Is there even a reason for Kazuma and his party to act as her bodyguards? Ah, I guess that applies to us too.”
“Does it really matter who she is? Anyway, I’m heading out to take a look.”
Keith has started to get suspicious too, but going down that line of thought would just invite trouble on our heads, so I forcefully changed the topic.
We kept watch over the other inn from a nearby alley, and before long, Kazuma and his party came out.
“They seem to be headed off somewhere, but I don’t see Alice anywhere. Aren’t they her bodyguards? Is it really fine to leave her alone like this? What irresponsible people! Are they going to skip out on their jobs and go visit a casino?”
“They aren’t you, you know? They probably went off to sightsee to give that girl some time alone.”
“Well, the girl in question is waving at them from the window, so it doesn’t seem like they are trying to sneak away. It could be just as Lynn said.”
Keith said, raising a hand to his forehead to shield his eyes.
The Farsight skill really is convenient. I can only just barely make out the form of a human in that window from here, but he can see her well enough to make out what she’s doing…
“Say, Keith, can you teach me how to use Farsight?”
“There’s no way a warrior like you can learn it. It’s not like you have the adventurer job like Kazuma.”
Dammit, if I had Farsight, I would have been able to peek to my heart’s content! Wait, Keith and Kazuma aren’t off discovering new peeking spots together and enjoying majestic views without telling me, are they!?
“What the hell!? Don’t just start hitting me out of the blue!”
“Now isn’t the time for the two of you to be fooling around. I never expected that they’d leave their charge alone and split up like this. We can’t just ignore them.”
“So, what do we do? We can’t all go after Kazuma’s party. There has to be someone here to keep an eye on Alice.”
“In that case, I’ll stay behind. I’m not well suited to sneaking around, after all.”
Since Taylor volunteered, we left him here to watch after Alice’s safety. The rest of us went after Kazuma.
Kazuma and his party acted like stereotypical tourists as they walked down the streets, gazing this way and that at every new sight.
If it ended up as just a simple sightseeing trip, it’d be easier on us too, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.
“Oh, someone’s approaching them. Seems like it’s a group of three men.”
At Keith’s warning, we quickened our pace and positioned ourselves just close enough to be able to help out if needed, but far away enough not to be noticed.
Their attentions were taken up by the group of newcomers, so no one noticed us even though we crept quite close.
“The three men seems to be wearing some really fancy clothes. Most likely, they are just a bunch of rich kids.”
“Seems like it. Oh, quiet down. I can just barely make out what they are saying from here.”
The four of us cupped our hands over our ears and focused on Kazuma’s conversation.
“Oho? What beautiful adventurers. Hey, blonde-haired onee-san over there, why don’t you leave that boring guy alone and come with us?”
After hearing those words, we turned towards each other.
Everyone was sporting furrowed brows and frowns. It’s the same for me too, but it seems like none of us fully understood what that man was saying.
“Wait, don’t tell me… Is that man actually hitting on those three?”
“Hey, that’s not even funny as a joke, Keith. Just who would be that reckless?”
“There’s no one in Axel who would do such a thing.”
Just as we shared a chuckle over Keith’s tasteless joke, Loli Succubus spoke up.
“Wait a minute, they aren’t residents of Axel, so they won’t know anything about those three. And, as far as appearances go, those three are quite beautiful.”
“Oh, yeah, we know what kind of people they are, so there’s no way any one of us would hit on them, but they don’t know a single thing about them. If you don’t know their personalities, they really do just look like three beautiful girls…”
We were taken aback, but it seems like those three girls didn’t fully understand what’s going on either, if the way they are glancing around in confusion is anything to go by.
The residents of Axel pretty much treat them as pariahs, so having people call them beautiful like this must be a fairly novel experience for them too.
“You know, I kinda feel bad for them now…”
“Dust, you too, huh? Considering their appearances, it’s only normal for such things to happen…”
“I think I should pay more attention to my daily behaviour…”
Everyone present is sympathising with the three girls that are getting hit on. Your daily actions are really important things.
They are absolutely gorgeous if they keep their mouths shut, but their various actions in Axel have put it all to waste.
After finally realizing that they were being hit on, the three of them started hastily tidying themselves. Seeing such a sight brought tears to our eyes.
The Party Priest then gotten ahead of herself and said something which put the three men on guard. I didn’t need to hear what she actually said to get the gist of things.
Next, the Explosion Girl took a step forward.
“Basically, the three of you are saying that – ‘If we could go on a date with a super beautiful girl like you and these two beautiful girls, we’re willing to put our assets and life on the line. That said, why don’t we go on a date?’ – Is that what you wanted to say?”
“Not to that extent.” x3
The three men immediately refuted.
Seems like they finally noticed that they were playing with fire. The three men turned around and started discussing amongst themselves.
“Guess it’s a little too early for us to show up. It doesn’t seem like their attempt will go very well.”
“Besides, it’s not like Kazuma would just let them go. There’s no way he’ll stay silent while his companions are being hit on right in front of him.”
Even if Kazuma sees them as more of a bunch of troublemaking children, I’m sure he’ll step in here–
“Please go ahead.”
In response to Kazuma’s unexpected response, both us and the people over there reacted in unison.
“He’s kidding, right? Ah, Kazuma just sprinted away!”
“He just left his companions behind!”
“Eh? Wait, what!? At this rate, we’ll lose him… Argh, I’m going after Kazuma! You guys tail the rest of his party!”
“Hey, wait a minute, Dust! Don’t push the troublesome ones onto us!”
I ignored Keith’s words and hurried to catch up to Kazuma who was running full pelt away from us.
It was a little surprised by his actions, but thinking on it, I do understand where he’s coming from. There’s no way he can enjoy this trip if he’s also having to take care of those three.
He’d rather not have to take care of them even after coming all the way out here. Those three will definitely cause some kind of problem.
In chasing off after him, I’ve also separated myself from some problematic people. This would be the perfect chance to sightsee and keep an eye on him.
It’s time to enjoy being here in this city of Elroad.
The place was drowned in cheering voices.
For some reason, Kazuma decided to visit a card game store and participate in the contest being held there with a deck of newly bought cards.
It’s a card game that I’ve never even seen before in Axel, but Kazuma seemed to be quite familiar with the rules. So familiar, in fact, that he brought his opponents to tears with all kinds of underhanded plays.
…Well, not that I’m in any position to care about him at the moment.
“How the hell did I lose!? Hey, you, pass your turn and let me attack you again! Or I’ll make it such that you’ll never hold a card in that hand again!”
As I threatened my opponent, a clerk hurriedly came over to stop me.
“Dear customer, violence is prohibited! Sir, you can’t do that! Listen to me! Everyone, hold this delinquent down!”
“Bring it on! I’ll attack each one of your faces head on! Your turn will never come up again for the rest of your lives! Come at me one at a time!”
“The hell are you saying!? You think you sound cool saying that!? Everyone, get him!”
I charged at the first clerk, but there were too many of them, and it didn’t take long for me to get overwhelmed and tossed out the back door.
“Grah, it stinks! Cough, cough. Dammit, you threw me into a garbage bag!”
I wanted to head back there and lodge a complaint or two, but as I rounded to the front door, I caught sight of Kazuma leaving the place, and hurriedly hid myself.
Kazuma seemed to be in a good mood as he headed off elsewhere.
“I get the feeling that he’d be fine even if I leave him alone, but I can’t actually do that, can I?”
Kazuma went to a restaurant to have lunch, and after he was done, he started wandering the streets seemingly without a destination in mind, before entering a gift shop that he passed by.
There was no way I could head in without getting discovered, so I stayed outside. Just then, a soft boom emerged in the distance, accompanied with a tremor going through the ground.
“Did that Explosion Girl let loose again?”
See, I knew following Kazuma is the right choice.
I faced the direction where I left my companions and gave them a salute.
Source @ CGTranslations.me
I tailed Kazuma as he went sightseeing around the city till evening, when he headed back towards where they first parted ways this morning. The three men were already there when he arrived… Or at least, two of them were. The last one was nowhere to be found, and the other two didn’t look so hot either.
As for Kazuma’s companions… Darkness’s face seemed strangely glossy as she carried the Explosion Girl on her back, who had a refreshed expression on her face. As for the Party Priest, she was sitting on the ground with a sour expression.
“…What did they do this time?”
“Do you want to know?”
“Graah! Don’t surprise me like that.”
A voice suddenly called out to me from behind the wall I was hiding.
Turning around, the one who tapped me on the shoulder was Keith. Standing behind him were a tired looking Lynn and Loli Succubus.
“So, do you really want to know? Do you seriously want to know?”
Please don’t stare at me with your empty eyes like that, they’re scaring me.
“N-No, it’s fine. I can pretty much guess anyway.”
“Yeah, of course. It was really horrible. I even started sympathizing with those guys… I’ve gained all new respect for Kazuma for taking care of them all this time.”
“Kazuma’s been keeping them in check all time, hasn’t he?”
“I’ll give him a special service the next time he visits the store.”
Lynn, Keith, and Loli Succubus took a deep sigh at the same time. They must have seen something really horrible.
On the far end of the alley, Kazuma and the other men seemed to be talking about something, before Kazuma and his party suddenly bolted for it.
“Just half would be fine!!!”
The other men shouted as they chased after him. After confirming that they were headed off in the direction of the inn, we too left and headed back to our own.
They probably won’t get up to anything else tonight, so I wanted to quickly fall asleep and get a good night’s rest in preparation for tailing them tomorrow.
“Right, they’re deep asleep.”
After confirming that Keith and Taylor are fully asleep, I got up from my bed.
Now that I’ve come to the city of Elroad that’s famous for its casinos, there’s absolutely no way I could just sleep without doing anything. That incident earlier today didn’t count.
On tiptoes, I snuck my way to the door, only to come face to face with Loli Succubus who was coming out from the women’s room at almost the same time.
We nodded in acknowledgement and proceeded to exit the inn.
“Right, let’s go hit up a few casinos and go wild–”
“We are not doing that. You promised to come with me today, didn’t you?”
And there goes my fun for the evening.
Well, I had almost forgotten about it, but I did promise to help her out in exchange for those coupons.
“To scout this city for a new succubus shop, right? But you guys haven’t decided on a location yet, right? In that case, wouldn’t it be best to visit a few casinos to get a lay on the types of customers you can expect to get?”
“That’s true… but no betting today. If you don’t help me out, those coupons will be void too.”
“Yeah, yeah, leave it to me. I’m the kind of man who always keeps my promises!”
I struck a pose, thrust my thumb towards me, and winked.
And Loli Succubus’s only response was a cold gaze.
“Then, please pay off your tab–”
“Right, let’s get going then!”
It’d be bad for me if she continued speaking, so I grabbed Loli Succubus by the shoulders and moved her out towards the night streets.
Source @ CGTranslations.me
“How could you break your promise so quickly!? Just what is inside your skull? Did you sell your brain to the debt king or something!?”
“Oh, shut up. In the first place, there’s no way I can talk to the customers without being a customer myself.”
The moment I entered a nearby casino, I bought some chips with the advance that Rain gave me and sat down at a table.
Loli Succubus was grumbling about something behind me, but it’s one of those thing where it’s best not to have it enter your head.
The person seated opposite me is a middle aged man covered in almost obscene amounts of fat.
His neck, fingers, and wrists are all covered in gold jewelry, so he must be fairly well off. He’s the very picture of a rich and creepy old man.
His eyes weren’t on me, but were squarely focused on Loli Succubus standing behind me.
Is he a lolicon like those three whom I’ve had the bad luck of running into recently?
“My, it’s really my lucky day today. Ufufufu. Say, young lady, why don’t you ditch that man and go get some dinner with me? One glance is enough to tell that he’s a good for nothing–”
“Uh, err, no thank you.”
Loli Succubus hastily mumbled those words and hid behind me, seemingly frightened by the man’s lewd gaze.
“Aren’t you a succubus? Someone like him should be a piece of cake to you. Why are you getting scared like this? Just flash him your panties or something and he should be under your control, right?”
I softly whispered, and she replied with a frown.
“Even I have people I can’t deal well with. Sure, succubi enjoy perverse people, but when someone thrusts their perverse intentions onto you without warning, it’s, er, how do I put it… It’s creepy. It’d be a bit like, there’s a difference between an author enjoying writing erotic stories, and the author themselves being a subject of of an erotic story, right? It’s something like that.”
“Ah, I think I kinda get it.”
Well, all she really does is create dreams, after all. It’s like a director enjoying directing a play but not being too fond of being on stage himself. Still, considering the kind of outfits she wears in the store, I didn’t expect her to have such sensibilities at all.
“Oh, my, I’ve been rejected. Oh well, let’s continue on with the game… Oh, it seems like you’ve run out of chips already.”
True, I no longer have any chips on hand.
Most of the money I got from Rain have already been used up. However, I’m not finished yet!
“Give me more chips!”
“Eh? Haven’t you already used up your money? I don’t have any money with me either, so don’t look at me.”
“I thought something like this might happen, so I got a bunch of money from the adventurer’s guild this afternoon.”
I took out a fairly large pouch filled with gold and exchanged it for chips with the dealer.
“How did you get this much money… You aren’t involved in criminal activities here too, are you!?”
“Here too?” x3
The others at the table and the nearby staff all reacted at the same time in response to Loli Succubus’s words.
“Hey, don’t call in security on the sly! These are from the monsters that we ran into on the way here. Most of the really expensive parts have already been taken, but for some reason, there were still plenty of valuable parts left amongst the corpses.”
“Doesn’t that mean you’re stealing the loot from Kazuma and his party…”
“What are you talking about? I’m just taking care of the corpses that they left behind. Even if they don’t thank me, there’s no reason for them to blame me either.”
I don’t know exactly why, but Kazuma’s party didn’t seem to have much interest in harvesting the monsters they defeated, so I’m just helping myself to what they discarded.
“As long as you have the money, I don’t really mind. Now, shall we continue our game?”
“Sure! Don’t come crying to me after you lose everything including the shirt on your back!”
Source @ CGTranslations.me
“Are you an idiot!? Hey, are you an idiot!?”
Loli Succubus screeched by my ear.
After just a few minutes, the only thing left on me were my pants and the sword I always carry around.
“Dammit! How could I have lost every round!? Isn’t it strange!?”
“I’m surprised too. To think that I didn’t lose a single round… I’m not trying to belittle you, but perhaps you should really consider quitting gambling.”
How the hell is my opponent feeling sorry for me?
I thought he might have been cheating or something, but judging from his reaction, that doesn’t seem likely.
Still, I really can’t win even a single hand. Has luck abandoned me?
Luck, huh… Yeah, the guys at the guild were surprised at how low my luck score is when I first went to get my adventurer’s card made. Though, there’s a priest that showed up recently who has an even lower luck than me.
Perhaps it’s because of that, but it’s an undeniable truth that I rarely win in games of luck.
On the other hand, Kazuma seems to have unusually high luck. He’s played several dozens of hands, but he’s never lost. I’ve tried several methods to try and imitate Kazuma’s successes, but none of them have worked out so far.
“There are some things men just cannot back down from! After losing this much, my next match will definitely be a win! This is how the world works!”
“That’s the thought process of a trashy human! You said the exact same thing just now and lost anyway, didn’t you?”
“I’ll admit your resolve, but you’ve run out of chips, haven’t you? Without gold nor chips, there’s nothing you can do.”
It’s just as the old man says. My wallet is completely empty, and there is nothing else I could offer as a collateral.
The only thing I have left on me is this sword. However, this sword isn’t something I can use as a wager on a bet.
“Sigh. Very well, I’ll stop here.”
“If you absolutely have to continue, you could listen to a request of mine. If you do so, I don’t mind lending you any number of chips.”
This perverted old man is definitely going to push some impossible request onto me. And it’s obvious what he’ll ask from the smile on this face.
Still, his gaze is squarely focused on Loli Succubus, so…
“Right, count me in!”
I immediately agreed.
“I-I haven’t even explained what I want yet. Are you really okay with it? Anyway, in exchange for these chips… could you lend that cute companion of yours to me for a night? Yes, I understand that I’m asking for quite a huge deal, so, let’s go with this. If you win our next game, you don’t have to–”
Loli Succubus and the old man both seem stunned by my answer.
Did they not hear what I said?
“Like I said, I’m fine with it, so let’s do this already.”
“W-Wh-What are you deciding on your own! I didn’t agree to any of this!”
She shook me by the shoulders, but I simply looked casually at my opponent.
“Ah-is that so? Perhaps you should take a little more time to think it over? She herself doesn’t seem to be quite on board with it. Furthermore, she looks quite young. Is she really of age? I do enjoy having a drink with young women every so often, but even so, it’s not too late for the two of you to talk things over before coming to a decision.”
You are the one who suggested it in the first place, why the hell are you getting cold feet now?
And where did that lecherous old man persona disappear off too? I didn’t misinterpret his intentions and he’s actually a decent person, did I?
“So all you want from her is to share a few drinks and see a good dream, right?”
“W-Well, essentially… Though the way you put it is… For some reason, I’m starting to feel a little guilty…”
Don’t scratch your cheek like that. You’re a grown man. It’s just disgusting when a grown man does that!
“You should be more confident! No matter what it is, you lose the moment you get cold feet. Just believe that you are in the right and act accordingly. Now, come on, puff out your chest and let’s do this again! Be more forceful in your words!”
“I-Is that so? Okay. Fuhahahaha! Get on your knees if you desire money, you pauper! Go ahead and lick my boots clean too! Gahahaha!”
The old man let out a hearty laugh and glanced over in my direction.
“Don’t just get carried away, you two! What about me!?”
“He just wants a few drinks, so it’s fine, isn’t it? He seems fairly rich, so if I manage to win, I might be able to get on the casino’s VIP list. Plus, if you strut your stuff and make an impression here, won’t your status be higher than the other succubi when you finally set up a branch here?”
“Ah, I see. In that case… I’ll do my best and cheer you on!”
Loli Succubus took off the villager’s dress she was wearing with a flourish, revealing the succubi lingerie she had underneath.
This girl has a strong desire to be recognised as a succubi, so she folds really easily when I play that angle up.
My surroundings erupted into cheers from the patrons who were keeping an eye on the game.
Seemingly not satisfied with the reactions she got, Loli Succubus smiled and started blowing kisses at a few of the closest patrons. Her bat-like wings are sticking out, but it seems like everyone thinks of it as just a costume.
“Hey, did you just say that you didn’t like putting yourself in the spotlight?”
“Did I say that?”
Don’t tilt your head like that. It might be cute, but you’re not fooling me.
Ah, well, nevermind that. The old man I was facing off against seems to be getting excited by what he’s seeing, so I doubt he’d be able to make rational decisions right now. I should be able to win easily in this case.
Right, here’s where the real show starts.
“How could this be!? I lost every match again!? You are cheating, right? You have some kind of trick up your sleeves, right!?”
“N-No, it’s just luck…”
Despite having decisively won, the old man seated opposite me was covered in cold sweat.
Next to him was Loli Succubus, pouring out a glass of wine with a smile.
“Please give it up, Dust-san. I’ll be having a lavish meal with him, so feel free to head back first.”
Halfway through the game, it was revealed the old man is quite rich and owns a fair amount of land in the area. The moment she learnt that, Loli Succubus switched over to his side and started cheering for him instead.
“What do you wish to eat? Go ahead and order whatever you want.”
“Kya~ That makes me so happy. Thank you for your treat!”
What obvious flattery! Hearing the two of them spout words laden with such obvious ulterior motives makes my skin crawl, though I suppose it might just be a side effect of me being clad in only my pants.
“I won’t accept this! There’s no way my luck is this bad! You must have pulled off some kind of trick!”
“Yeah, yeah! There’s something really strange with this place! They have to be up to something shady in the back! You’re planning on tricking a beautiful priest like me and going ‘Hehe, I’m sure you know what’s going to happen if you can’t pay up, right?’ and forcing me to do some erotic stuff! If you admit it now, repent, return my money back to me, and donate all your earnings to the Axis Cult, I might forgive you!”
Someone was saying some really strange things in an even louder voice next to me.
I turned around, and the source of that voice turned out to be woman wearing a blue nun’s habit.
…I think I recall seeing her before. She’s that crazy priest who tried to interfere back when I bought that magic sword from that Mitsu-whatever fellow.
I don’t know her name, nor do I want to, but I know for a fact that nothing good will come out of getting involved with her.
“Hey, what’s a priest doing in a casino in the first place?”
“The Axis Cult does not prohibit gambling. ‘Even if you restrain yourself and live a serious life, there’s no telling what comes tomorrow. Thus, instead of living for the uncertain future, you should live for the concrete present!’ This is written in the Axis Cult scriptures!”
It doesn’t seem like she remembers me.
“I mean, I kind of agree with that philosophy, but is that really something to be enshrined as doctrine…?”
I know full well that the Axis Cult is a problematic organization from living in the same town as that party priest for so long, but they really are a rotten bunch. It’s rumoured that even the Demon King’s army gives them a wide berth.
“H-Hey, who was the one who let such a problematic customer in?”
“I told you plenty of times not to get involved with the Axis Cult!”
“I’m sorry! She seemed pretty sensible at first, so…”
The dealers and staff started making a fuss upon learning that she’s a member of the Axis Cult.
“More importantly, you’re a poor victim of this malicious casino too, right!? Why don’t we join forces and defeat this evil together!? Let’s take back the money we lost through these unfair wagers! Actually, I won’t be able to afford tonight’s rent if I don’t get it back!”
“You bet the money you were counting on to buy accommodations? Come on, at least show a little bit of restraint.”
“…Do you want a mirror so you can take a good look at yourself?”
Guess that’s not too convincing when I’m clad in only my trousers.
“I’ll let you off this time, so just return my money to me. Otherwise, the budget I forcibly raised to go search for Zesta-sama who just vanished one day would be entirely gone!”
I have no idea who this Zesta is, but what kind of person would be gambling while they are searching for someone?
“If you don’t return me my money, I’ll turn this casino into a meeting spot for the Axis Cult from tomorrow! Everyone will be recruiting customers while picking up any coins that fall onto the floor! It’ll be fun!”
“That’s horrible! Please, anything but that!”
A man who seemed to be the manager started sweating profusely in the face of the Priest’s threats.
Should I join forces with her and stir things up too? They might be the fearsome Axis Cult, but everyone else will be scared if they were on my side.
…To be honest, I really don’t want to join forces with the Axis Cult, but it should be fine if it’s for just a short while.
“Yeah, yeah! This place will become a gathering spot for all kinds of weird folks! If you don’t want that to happen, give us back our money! And do something about all my games in the future. You get what I mean, right!?”
“Yeah, yeah! You say some pretty good things! I’m not doing this for you or anything, but I don’t mind giving you a special spot in the Axis Cult if you join!”
Why are you suddenly blushing yet getting angry at the same time?
And don’t push that recruitment form onto me.
“Huh? I heard that adopting such an attitude would make any virgin fall for you…”
“W-Who’s a virgin!? Just so you know, I’m the victor of a hundred conquests back in Axel, to the point where I’m constantly lacking sleep due to how much attention I’m getting!”
“Eh? Dust-san, don’t you make use of our store because you’re lonely? And you never have had any trouble sleeping either.”
This damn brat, she didn’t have to say that.
Just focus on keeping that old man happy!
“By the way, have we met before? I feel like I’ve seen that thuggish and sullen face somewhere before… If you were handsome, I would’ve remembered instantly.”
“Who cares about that? Anyway, what do you guys think? Either give us our money back or have this place turned into a gathering spot for the Axis Cult! Pick whichever option is more palatable!”
“And you can join the cult while you’re at it.”
Faced with our verbal barrage, the manager heaved a deep sigh, raised his hand, and forcefully jabbed it in our direction.
“Throw these two out of here!”
Before long, we were surrounded by black suited men who wordlessly tossed us out into a small hill of trash bags.
“Trash bags again!? I think I might have gotten used to the smell at this rate.”
“How could you throw such a beautiful girl out into the trash! You’ll definitely get your payback! …A dirtied beautiful priest sounds a little erotic, doesn’t it? Ah, this lunch box…. It’d be a waste to leave it out here.”
The priest looked happily the leftovers she found amongst the trash… She’s not going to eat it, is she!?
The Axis Cult really is a crazy organization.
“There’s nothing wrong with the smell. The lost delinquent wolf over there, if you are hungry, I don’t mind selling you this lunch box at a cheap price.”
“Are you crazy!? Who the hell would pay for that! You can have it to yourself!”
“There’s no way a clergyman like me could do that. Don’t you have any common sense?”
“A priest with common sense wouldn’t try selling leftovers in the first place! This is why I hate the Axis Cult!”
I felt this keenly when I made the trip over to the Axis Cult’s headquarters, but there really is nothing to be gained from getting involved with the Axis Cult. I know that, but I still got swept up and got involved with her anyway.
“By the way, why are you holding on to that sword even though you’ve been almost stripped bare? You could’ve gotten quite a bit of money for that sword. Ah, I thought of a great idea. Why don’t you leave that sword in my care? I swear on Aqua-sama that I’ll definitely pay you back several times over!”
“Of course not! Who the hell would trust a vow made upon your goddess!? Besides, this is a treasure bestowed onto me by a very important person! There’s no way I’ll hand it over to a woman like you!”
I protectively covered up my sword to prevent the woman from snatching it.
“That’s surely an exaggeration. That sword isn’t your lover, so there’s no need to hold it like that… No, don’t tell me, you bend that way too? The Axis Cult accepts homosexuality, familial love, and love between species, but love for objects is a little too out there, even for us.”
She seems to be misunderstanding something, but I can’t be bothered to correct her right now.
“I’ve completely run out of money. Should I search for a fellow Axis Cultist, or go harass the Eris church? Ah, what a dilemma.”
“Stop thinking about that. More importantly, didn’t you say something about coming to Elroad to search for someone?”
I don’t remember his name, but I think I recall her saying something about that earlier.
The priest folded her arms and tilted her head. After a brief moment, a spark of recognition emerged in her eyes and she brought her hands together.
“Of course I remember! I definitely didn’t forget about it! I came here to search for the man at the top of the Axis Cult, Zesta-sama!”
“You totally forgot about it, didn’t you?”
I leveled a questioning gaze at her, and she immediately looked away.
She definitely forgot about him entirely and went off to play.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I got information that Zesta-sama might be soliciting recruits from those who are at low spirits after losing a few games, so I started watching the casinos, that’s all!”
“Please stop recruiting people like that.”
“What are you saying? Not many people join up if we use normal recruiting methods, so we have to use more innovative methods.”
“Say, aren’t you guys innovating in the wrong direction…?”
“What do you mean? You say some really strange things.”
There are some parts of the Axis Cult mentality that I agree with, but I get the feeling that some part of me will die if I get recruited in such a situation.
“In that case, you should stop gambling and start searching for that Zesta of yours or do some proper missionary work.”
“To be honest, no one in the cult is particularly hurting without Zesta-sama. If anything, things actually run better without him. And if I want to recruit anyone, I would rather recruit someone handsome with a lot of money. That’s why I’m frequently hanging around the casinos!”
I already knew this, but this girl really is useless.
“Anyway, I don’t have time to talk with someone as poor as you. I need to find a rich person to recruit and replenish the money I lost today.”
The self-proclaimed beautiful priest, bits of dirt and trash still clinging onto her, disappeared into the streets.
There’s no way she’ll be able to solicit anyone while still smelling of trash, but I didn’t want to get involved with her any more than I already have, so I just let her go.
“…I guess I’ll head back.”
I’m tired and out of money, so, without anything else to, I headed back to the inn.
“Hurry up and get up already. Kazuma’s party is on the move.”
“It’s still morning, you know?”
“Morning is when you wake up.”
Taylor was saying something ridiculous.
I sat up in my bed and squinted at the early morning sunlight streaming through the window.
Also by the window was Keith.
“They sure are up early. And they are dressed up pretty well too. Are they heading off somewhere?”
I narrowed my eyes in the same direction Keith was looking at, but the only thing I could make out were dots.
As I headed over to the girls’ room to wake them up, I ran into a bleary-eyed Loli Succubus.
Ah, yeah, of course. It’d be stranger still for such things not to happen when you put a succubus and a perverted old man together.
I lowered my voice to make sure that we couldn’t be overheard and asked her about what happened yesterday.
“Did you have fun last night?”
“Yes, he was really kind. It seems like he has a grandchild that looks similar to me, but he can’t dote on them because they don’t live close to each other, so he doted on me instead! I gave him a sweet dream where he played with his grandchild as a free service!”
“Oh. Well, that’s good, then.”
That was completely different from what I imagined.
“Wait. Don’t tell me you were worried about me?”
“Of course not! Don’t elbow me while smiling like that!”
Who would be worried about a succubus? I’m just a little concerned that something bad might have happened because it was partly my fault, that’s all.
“Yes, yes, stop fooling around and let’s go.”
Lynn, grumpy from having just been woken up, pulled on us, and together, we exited the inn.
It seem like Kazuma and his group were headed straight for the castle.
They seemed to raise some kind of fuss at the gates of the castle, but they soon quietened down.
It’s been a few minutes since then.
“It doesn’t seem like they are being chased away, but they aren’t being welcomed in either.”
Taylor said with crossed arms.
That’s strange. It’s only proper to invite the princess of a neighbouring country inside when she has come to visit. It wouldn’t be strange for her to treat being forced to wait outside like this as an insult.
Or could it be that they are deliberately provoking her? But the relationship between Elroad and Belzerg should be fairly cordial, and there would be nothing to gain from doing something like that.
“A red-haired brat came out, and a whole bunch of other people too. Huh, he seems to be picking a fight. Ah, he just provoked Megumin and Aqua. What an idiot. Why would anyone want to give a reason to either of them?”
Keith chuckled as he described the events he managed to see through his Farsight skill.
Crimson Demons can’t take jokes. This doubly goes for that Explosion Girl. In addition to having a short fuse, her destructive power is second to none. Picking a fight with her is akin to suicide.
And Aqua is an Archpriest of the Axis Cult. In other words, nothing good can come out of getting involved with her.
“Oh, now an important-looking man managed to calm everything down and led everyone inside. What should we do? I can’t see through walls.”
“Rain said it’d be fine to leave them if they entered the castle, right? So we have some free time now. Good work everyone–”
“Of course not!”
Lynn grabbed me by the collar and dragged me back as I tried to leave.
Tsk, and here I thought I’d be able to have some fun.
“We’re keeping watch here until they come out.”
Following Taylor’s instructions, we set up camp nearby until Kazuma and co. came back out. Even from this distance, it’s quite obvious that Iris doesn’t seem too happy about what happened inside.
“That girl came here to meet her betrothed, right? Did she have a fight with him or something?”
“Who knows? All we are hired to do is watch over and protect them. Her family situation or marriage prospects are none of our business.”
In response to my flippant answer, my companions shot me a cold gaze.
It’s your business if you want to sympathize with her, but this isn’t something that we can interfere in. I am a little worried, but Kazuma is with her, so it should be fine to leave it to him.
“…He could’ve phrased it better, but it’s just as Dust said. Let’s continue tailing them.”
The party grudgingly accepted Taylor’s words and moved out after Kazuma.
In the end, nothing particularly noteworthy happened today, and we returned to the inn without any incidents.
On the next day, only Kazuma and Iris went to visit the castle. The other three were left to their own devices.
Loli Succubus went out with the rich old man to tour the city, so she wasn’t with us today either.
“Right, we don’t have much time, so let’s get this over with. Whoever wins in this game of rock-paper-scissors gets to decide who to follow. Everyone’s fine with that, right?”
Everyone nodded in response.
And thus, the game to decide the fate of this entire day began.
“Yes! That means I’ll go with Kazuma for today.”
Taylor, the first one to win, said with a smile.
“Dammit, the easiest one has been taken right off the bat. That leaves the other three… Aren’t they all duds?”
“Dust, even amongst those three, there are ones that are better than others.”
“I have a really bad feeling about what will happen if I don’t win the next round.”
Keith and Lynn seemed more serious than I’ve ever seen them before.
True, out of those three, one of them is a little strange, but at least has a shred of common sense.
“Right, let’s do this! Rock, paper…”
Mine was paper. Keith’s also brought out paper. And Lynn… brought out scissors.
“Yes! Yes! I’ll be taking Darkness, then!”
“Damnit! Now the best of the worst has been taken too!”
“Great, now the only ones left are the Explosion Girl and the Party Priest… It feels like a rock and a hard place…”
Lynn jumped up in joy, while Keith and me grew sullen.
Darkness is reckless and an unabashed pervert, but outside the battlefield, she’s fairly sensible. As long as something doesn’t trigger her masochism, she’s a pretty normal person.
“It feels like it doesn’t really matter who wins or loses this match.”
“What a coincidence, Keith. I feel the same way, but… There is still a slight difference between one who creates one big problem, and one who creates a lot of little problems in succession.”
“So it’s like a choice between taking one big hit, or swallowing a poison that does minor damage over a long time…”
To be honest, neither of them appeal to me much.
And the result of my match with Keith is…
“The Explosion Girl, huh…”
The only one left was the Explosion girl.
Incidentally, even though Keith won, he didn’t seem particularly happy either.
“Where is she even heading to?”
The Explosion Girl seemed to have a destination in mind, and walked down the streets of the city without paying the slightest attentions to any of the various casinos or street vendors lining the side of it.
After exiting the city and walking for quite some distance, she came to a deserted plain rich in greenery without a single man-made building visible.
There’s a river flowing nearby, but I know she’s not the kind of person who would travel all the way out here just to frolic in its waters.
“That Kazuma, he really shouldn’t be leaving such a problem child alone without supervision.”
“You just don’t get it. Lolis are cuter if they have a wild side to them. She seems quite energetic today too.”
I was surprised to hear someone suddenly whisper by my ear, and hastily turned around to find that priest I met the other day.
She had a dangerous look in her eyes and was drooling.
“W-Where did you come from?”
“I’ll be wherever Megumin-san goes. I’ve been waiting for a chance to be with her alone ever since I saw her this morning! Now, there isn’t anyone else around here, so it’ll be fine if I greet her and grope her at the same time, right?”
“Hold on a minute.”
I grabbed the hand of the priest as she started walking in the direction of Megumin.
“Eh, you’re hitting on me in this situation? I don’t hate forceful people, but I’m not in the mood for it right now. Besides, I have no interest in anyone who is neither handsome nor rich.”
“Who the hell would do something that ridiculous? I’m tailing her right now, so if you went out there, I’d be exposed immediately.”
“Eh, you’re tailing a young girl… Are you a pervert?”
“Have you ever considered looking into a mirror? Anyway, judging from what you said just now, you’re familiar with the Explosion Girl, right?”
“We are close enough to get in the bath together. I suppose it’s not an exaggeration to say that we are sisters connected in both body and soul!”
She seemed really confident when she said that, but everything about her sounds fishy.
I mean, in the first place, there’s no one in this world that would take what an Axis Cultist says at face value.
“I don’t really know anything about sisters, but you two know each other, huh… Say, would you mind waiting a little longer before you greet her?”
“Why? I want to hug her right now and replenish my stocks of lolinium!”
I always knew she was dangerous, but I never expected her to be this far gone.
Personally, I don’t really care to pry too much into who the Explosion Girl associates with, but it’d be really bad if our presence is made known to Kazuma.
I’ll just have to think of an excuse to stop her.
“If you really must go, I won’t stop you, but are you really okay with that? Where do you think she is right now? She’s alone by a river… You know what I mean, right?”
“D-Don’t tell me, she’s going to relieve–”
“She’s going to play in the water.”
I forcibly interrupted before she could say something even more perverted.
“That does change things. Okay, I’ll swallow my sadness and bear with it.”
I really don’t think this is worth gritting your teeth and clenching your fist over, but as long as she stays here, I don’t really care.
As the two of us continued to observe the Explosion Girl, she proceeded to move further up the river.
Not too long after, we sighted a small fence in the far distance
“Oh, there’s a sign. Let’s see… Onion Duck ranch ahead, it says. Come to think of it, I think I heard that this place is one of the famous sightseeing spots in this city. Hmm? Say, is she fighting with the ranchers?”
“If something’s happened, we should go out immediately!”
While being wary of the priest next to me, I focused my eyes on what was going on.
The Explosion Girl was met by what appeared to be ranch workers when she tried to approach.
I thought that we should move closer in order to make out what they are saying, but before I could move, the screams of the various ranch workers made their way over to me.
“She came here again! Everyone, hold her down!”
“Someone get the rope! And gag her too!”
“W-What are you doing!? Stop!”
They seem to be trying to restrain her, but she’s putting up a pretty decent fight too.
“She might look like a kid, but she’s really strong! Ah, ow! Stop struggling!”
“Don’t think of her as a child! Treat her like you would a blood-lusted beast!”
A young girl being surrounded by a bunch of grown men. Normally, seeing such a sight would make one think to help the girl, but… Knowing her personality, there’s got to be a reason why they are reacting like this.
“What are you doing to my Megumin! Hey, let go!”
I grabbed the hem of the priest’s robes to prevent her from jumping out there.
“Don’t jump in now. If you want to save her, wouldn’t waiting for her to be in a proper tough spot before jumping in make you look cooler?”
“The beautiful priest who appears whenever you’re in danger. That does have a pretty good ring to it. I like the way you think.”
I wanted to say something about a priest that acts only to serve her own selfish interests, but she’s an Axis Cultist. By this point, there’s really not much I can say to her.
Still, why is the Explosion Girl getting treated like this?
If I had known this would happen, I would’ve ask Keith for more details about what she did yesterday. Even if I wanted to save her, I couldn’t without revealing that we’re here.
“Let’s observe for a little while more before doing anything.”
We moved closer until we are able to clearly hear everything they were saying.
“I can’t believe you would dare show your face here today too! After killing the onion ducks that we put our heart and soul into raising…!”
“It’s only common sense to unleash an Explosion on a herd of onion ducks if you see them!”
“I’ve never heard of such a ridiculous idea before!”
I see, so that earthquake and boom I heard yesterday was the Explosion Girl unleashing her spell on this ranch, huh?
Onion ducks taste good and are rich in experience points, so they are indeed the best sort of prey for an adventurer, but still, one wouldn’t normally attack onion ducks that others are raising.
“Are these onion ducks not raised just so that they could be defeated? In that case, rather than being defeated by nameless nobles or adventurers, to meet their end at the hands of The Wielder of Explosion Magic, The Great Mage Megumin is something to be celebrated!”
“They are definitely crying in the other world!”
The Explosion Girl flared her cape and proudly boasted even though she was in the wrong. Well, I guess she wouldn’t change her personality just because she came to another city.
Right, I’ve decided, there’s no need to bail her out.
No matter where you are coming from, the ranch workers did nothing wrong. Just leave her be.
“If you are asking for compensation, that man should’ve paid up already.”
“Ah, yeah, that man was sniffling when he forked over the cash…”
So that guy who tried to hit on her ended up with the bill, huh? Those guys sure have it tough.
“Please just go home already. We don’t want to get involved with you any further.”
“Hmph, are you sure you should be saying that? I got some pocket money from Darkness today, so I have enough to pay for a few onion ducks.”
“You’re still unsatisfied even after blowing away so many ducks yesterday… You know what, nevermind, just do as you wish. Once you are done, never come back here again.”
After being reluctantly released by the ranch workers, the Explosion Girl happily started chasing after the surviving onion ducks.
Somebody go get Kazuma…
“Megumin-san looks like she’s having fun. Fufu, maybe I should join in too.”
“You’ll just make things more complicated, so don’t. Also, weren’t you looking for someone?”
“Ah… but, rather than searching for Zesta-sama, don’t you think it’s more important to burn Megumin-san’s frolicing form into my brain?”
“I don’t think so at all. I’ll tell you the inn that she’s staying at, so if you want to pay her a visit, please do it later. That blue-haired priest from the Axis Cult is also staying there.”
If she were to make contact with her now, it would make it hard for me to continue tailing Kazuma’s party, so I made such a suggestion to her.
When I did so, her eyes lit up in response.
“Aqua-sama is here too?”
“Yeah, she is. So you do know her after all. Well, there aren’t that many people in the Axis Cult.”
“That’s a different story… I’ll go look for Zesta-sama!”
She immediately gave up on the Explosion Girl and vanished somewhere.
I really don’t get what goes through the head of an Axis Cultist.
By the time the Explosion Girl was satisfied with taking out the remaining onion ducks and headed back to the inn, Kazuma and the others were already there waiting for her.
According to Taylor, Darkness was wandering around town asking about something, while the Party Priest blew all her money away at a casino.
The didn’t seem to be up to anything at night, so we managed to rest up too.
After that, Kazuma and Iris made regular trips to the castle, leaving the other three to their own devices. Nothing of particular note happened since then, and thus, the days passed.
…Though occasionally, cheers and screams and roars could be heard coming from the castle.
And, just as I was getting used to this hassle-free, tourist-like life, on a day much like the few that preceded it, Kazuma and Iris returned back to the inn.
“Kazuma seems to be in a really foul mood. I think he’s saying something like ‘I’ll never forgive him!’ And the little lady seems quite depressed. Even when Kazuma is talking to her, she still seems to be a million miles away.”
Keith, who’s in charge of observing Kazuma for today, said as he stumbled through the door.
“Say, is she really just here to meet her fiancée? Doesn’t this seem suspicious to you?”
“That’s what our client said, so we don’t have a choice but to trust her, do we? Even if there’s something deeper to this, it’s not like we can do anything about it. More importantly, what should we do after this?”
Our job is to keep an eye on Kazuma and his team and protect Iris. Even if this incident turns out to be vital to the Kingdom of Belzerg, there’s no reason for us to interfere.
There’s not much a mere adventurer can do anyways. Keeping an eye on the Princess at night is the extent of what we can do.
Besides, she seems like she already has someone in her heart, so all I can do is leave things in the hands of my good friend.
“Kazuma occasionally does something ridiculous, so to be honest, I’m a little worried about him.”
“He normally acts pretty sensible, but when he wants to do something, he really doesn’t hold back.”
I can see why Taylor and Lynn would be worried.
He did destroy the walls of Axel and blew up the mansion of a noble in the past. Not to mention that stunt he pulled stealing Darkness away just as she was about to be married to Alderp.
It wouldn’t be surprising if he pulled off something equally amazing here. Actually, he has already done some pretty amazing things.
“Why don’t we have someone sneak into the other inn and snoop around for some information?”
“In that case, how about I go? I haven’t thanked you guys for bringing me all the way here, after all. My magic might not be off much use in combat, but I think it’ll be off great use in this case.”
I wanted to leave everything to Loli Succubus who enthusiastically volunteered herself, but for some reason, I ended up going with her.
“Why do I have to sneak in here too?”
“That’s because you’ve been sneaking off to the casinos while you were supposed to be on watch duty these past few nights. And you even used up the funds we were planning to cover our return trip.”
I grumbled while standing in the shadow of the expensive-looking inn that Kazuma and his crew were staying at, and Loli Succubus exasperatedly said.
“I couldn’t help it! It’s the casino’s fault for being there!”
“Don’t you have any self control at all?”
“Not at all! Just do what you want, and skeeve on what you don’t want! That’s how a man lives his life!”
“Apologize to all the men in the world!”
Ignoring Loli Succubus who’s raising a fuss, I looked up towards the building.
It definitely looks several times more opulent than the inn that we are staying at.
“They tell me to sneak inside, but this doesn’t seem like it’d be an easy place to get into unnoticed. Now, what should I do…? Ah, I know, let’s set a fire somewhere further away and sneak in while they are distracted. I’ll leave that to you.”
“No, I am not doing that!”
I left the most important part of the operation to her, but the person in question raised her fist and angrily objected.
“I already have something in mind, so leave it to me. This will get us inside in a snap, so just follow me.”
Saying that, she confidently walked up to the front door and entered.
“H-Hey, they’ll throw you out!”
Before the echoes from my voice even faded, a bunch of men that seemed to be acting as security for the inn appeared in front of us.
See, I told you!
But Loli Succubus simply greeted them with a cheery smile on her face. Just what is she thinking?
“Oh, there you are. Did you go out to play in the city today too?”
The walls behind those men parted, revealing the old man that I got into a fierce battle with back in the casino the other day.
Was he staying here too?
“Yeah, I was. I brought my friend Dust-san together with me today. Is that okay?”
“No, I don’t mind. I’ll welcome any friend of yours, Lolisa… Oh, that guy who was at the casino, huh? This old man doesn’t think highly about hanging out with delinquents. Lolisa-chan, you should learn to choose your friends better.”
Don’t look at me with such a distasteful gaze.
“Yes, I’ll keep that in mind. Have you been sleeping well lately?”
“Yeah, thanks to you. Every time I talk with you, I always end up having a good dream, so I’ve been sleeping like a baby lately. Thank you for your concern.”
The way he’s smiling and his gentle tone makes him seem just like a grandpa interacting with his granddaughter.
When did they get this close?
“Dust-san was whining about wanting to see the insides of such a big mansion up close, so do you think you can let him take a tour?”
Loli Succubus placed a finger on her cheek and asked in an exceedingly cute voice.
I really want to say something, but it’ll jeopardize my job, so I simply kept silent.
“Of course, of course. I’ll have a talk with the owner of this inn, so feel free to poke around. I’ll give you some pocket money too.”
“Thanks, uncle! I love you!”
The old man’s face practically melted when Loli Sucucbus hugged him.
Even as she is, she’s still a succubus. I’m honestly quite impressed by how easily she’s able to wrap men around her finger.
Now that we are given leave to freely explore the place, we naturally wandered over to where Kazuma’s room was and placed our ears against the door.
They seemed to be having a fairly loud argument, so we had no issues making out their words from the door.
“–So, that’s why I want to show that shitty brat what for.”
“Well said, well said, Kazuma. The only thing Elroad is good for is earning money, so where to they get off looking down on Belzerg!? I’ll beat that kid to death for exposing Iris-sama so such humiliation!”
That’s Kazuma and Darkness. They don’t sound very pleased.
I think I managed to piece together most of what’s happening by listening at the door.
Iris was originally engaged with the first prince of Elroad, Levi, but he broke up the engagement on his end. On top of that, he was also planning on stopping the financial aid that Elroad was providing to Belzerg. And he also made comments mocking Iris, which really pissed Kazuma off.
The chancellor was saying something about them being low on funds, but from what I can see in the city, they certainly don’t seem to be a country that’s going through any sort of financial hardship.
…There seems to be something deeper going on in the background, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with us.
“U-Um, from what they are saying, Alice-san’s true name is actually Iris, and they are speaking of her as thought she is royalty, but… there’s no way that can be the case, right?”
“You aren’t mistaken at all. Keep this between us, alright?”
I hastily covered Loli Succubus’s mouth before she could let out a squeak.
“We really don’t want to get involved with international matters, so don’t tell anyone else about this, alright? If things go really wrong, our heads might roll.”
She nodded repeatedly, so I judged that it was fine to release her.
“Dust-san, did you know? …You’re not about to blackmail them to pay you money to keep that secret, are you!?”
Stop fearfully edging away from me.
“I’m not foolish enough to make an enemy out of the kingdom. I learnt about this when I got involved with her a while back. Well, I’m pretending like I don’t know. You probably should too. It’s for the best.”
“Yeah, of course. I never wanted to know this.”
Now then, what should I do?
These guys get up to stupid stuff on an almost daily basis, but normally, Kazuma is there to stop them from going too far. But this time, Kazuma himself is on board with it, which makes things especially dangerous.
“Right, let’s go back to where the others are.”
We quickly left the inn and met up with my companions, where I quickly conveyed the important points of what they were up to.
“So Kazuma and his party are about to lose it because the little lady’s fiancée looked down on her, right? It’s not like I don’t get where they are coming from, but even so, isn’t this going too far?”
“They are planning to unleash an explosion at midnight so Kazuma can make use of that distraction to sneak in and threaten the prince? That’s absolutely a crime, isn’t it?”
“We really should stop them, but if they learn that we are here, we would be going against the requirements of the quest.”
My companions hurriedly discussed amongst each other. Still, something has been bothering me for a while.
Yeah, I’m worried after hearing about their plan, but it’s not quite the same thing.
“If we were back at Axel, casting Explosion at midnight would just make everyone a little angry…”
It finally clicked after hearing what Loli Succubus grumbled under her breath.
“Oh, yeah, of course. This is Elroad. It’ll probably be fine.”
My companions shot me some extremely doubtful gazes as I said that.
Source @ CGTranslations.me
From our vantage point near the gates, Keith used his Farsight skill to observe Kazuma and his party at a distance as they headed outside the city.
“Those guys just moved to the top of a small hill. Hey, are they really going to do this? Megumin’s starting to chant!”
Following Keith’s gaze, I spotted a strange shimmering light shining in the dark.
That’s the light of Explosion magic!
“Cover your ears!”
Just as I managed to move my hands up, a loud boom resonated in the distance, followed by a shockwave that buffeted both us and the walls of the city.
“W-What was that!?”
Just as the soldiers by the gates started milling around in a panic, I adopted a frantic voice and demeanour and called out to them.
“H-Help me! There’s some crazy people throwing some really powerful magic around just beyond that hill!”
“What!? Where exactly!? Tell me more details!”
I directed the soldiers towards where Kazuma and his party were.
As I looked out over their backs, for some reason, Kazuma’s party came charging back towards the city, followed by a large horde of undead creatures.
“See? There’s nothing to worry about.”
I turned towards my companion who were watching everything unfold with stony expressions and said.
“This isn’t Axel. If you unleash an explosion at night, of course the guards would sally out. Though I don’t know why that horde of undead is chasing them… Anyway, if they get thrown into jail, they won’t be able to get up to any stupid things, so let’s go back and get some sleep.”
My companions soon fell asleep, mentally drained by the chaotic night that just unfolded. Once they did, I snuck out from my room.
I’ve been staying put since I didn’t have any money on me, but it’s fine to go out for some fun today, right?
In Axel, most stores would close once the sun goes down, but that’s not the case in Elroad.
The city of casinos never sleeps. Even though it was the middle of the night, the streets still shimmered with the lights of a thousand buildings.
“I’ve got plenty of funds here too.”
In my hands was a small bag of gold coins. The old man that was so smitten with Loli Succubus gave them to me, asking me to pass it on to “Lolisa.”
If I use this as seed money and increase it by several times before passing it on, Loli Succubus wouldn’t complain.
“Well, I kinda feel sorry for Kazuma and the others who got thrown in jail, but I’m going to have some fun now! I can’t go back to the casino I used before, so how about here?”
If I win big, I’ll go secure us some better accommodations after giving Loli Succubus what I owed her.
The floor beneath me is made out of cold stones. In front of me lay a row of rusty iron bars.
The only things in this musty smelling room is a chain that connects to the wall and a dirty toilet.
I stared blankly at the lights shining from beyond the bars as I tried to clear the pounding from my head.
“…What the hell is this!?”
Right now, I’m in a jail cell.