A Breakout for That Boss
This room was larger than the ones I’ve gotten used to back in Axel.
However, because of the low ceiling and the lack of any windows, it felt more oppressive.
“Why am I in jail?”
By this point in time, being stuck in a cell doesn’t phase me at all, but the thing is that I just don’t remember why I’m here.
“If I recall, I got drunk, played a few games in the casino… and lost… then I noticed the dealer was a beautiful woman and started complaining and hitting on her, then the guards came in shouting something about ‘This is one of the guys we were warned about!’, but that’s all I can remember. I have no idea how I got here.”
“Isn’t that precisely why?”
A man’s voice responded when I started speaking out loud.
That voice came from cell directly opposite mine. It was dark, so I couldn’t see very well, but I could make out the silhouette of someone if I squinted.
“So there was someone else here? Did you run amok in the casino too?”
“No, no, I was merely enlightening those who lost at the casinos to the wonders of life. ‘If you are worried about something, just simply enjoy life. Stop holding yourself back and let yourself be swept away by your true desires.’ With that, I encouraged them to go for another shot.”
I feel like I’ve heard this line somewhere before.
“I was merely preaching about the doctrines, but the families of those who understood my words started flooding the city with complaints about me. ‘My husband became an idiot!’ ‘He lost everything in gambling and started saying some really strange things!’ and the like. All utterly baseless, of course…”
“It feels pretty grounded to me…”
“They most likely were just trying to pick a fight after seeing how respected I am by those who listened.”
I’m convinced after hearing his baselessly confident voice, I’m convinced.
This guy is definitely…
“You’re from the Axis Cult, aren’t you?”
“Oh, I’m glad you can tell. You must have a good eye for people.”
“Anyone would be able to tell that. How long have you spent in here?”
“Hmm, I would say it has been around two weeks or so. Still, it’s really great that you’re here. The guard only ever shows up when it’s time for dinner, and he never says much, so I’ve had nothing but free time on my hands. Neglect play is nice on occasion, but I’m more of a fan of the forward type. Female teachers are highly rated too.”
Nobody asked about your prefered type.
Still, this man has been here for two weeks? I didn’t expect that.
“I heard in town that there aren’t that many criminals here, so the jail has become a facility for holding onto drunks and the penniless. That’s why I went overboard back then. Dammit, they really got me this time!”
“I’ve heard the same thing, but apparently, this isn’t the place they use for petty offenders, but a special cell where they place frequent troublemakers. It seems like the prime minister had this place built in secret.”
I see. It wouldn’t be unusual for there to be people who start rampaging after losing their money, or those who come here seeking to prey on the rich and guileless. Elroad is well known for its riches, after all. There are plenty of people out there who’d seek to take advantage of it.
“Still,why are they treating me like some kind of heinous criminal? I just got drunk and hit on a girl. In Axel, they would just throw me into the cells for a day or two and give me a lecture.”
“Indeed. There’s a critical lack of compassion in this city. What a sad state of affairs. I must spread the teachings of the Axis Cult in this city and get everyone to live free and happy lives.”
“Don’t do that. We don’t need another city like Alcanretia.”
I really suffered when I visited the city that the Axis Cult are using as their headquarters, Alcanretia.
That city would drive you crazy just by being there long enough. Even if you paid me, I would never go back there again.
“Oh, you’re familiar with Alcanretia? You know, I’m the guy at the top of the Axis Cult that makes its base there. I’m Zesta. Pleasure to meet you.”
Saying that, the man walked up to the iron bars, revealing the Axis Cult robes that he was wearing.
So this guy really is the boss of that troublemaking group?
He looks just like a boring old man to me, but… Something feels off. I really doubt that his entire behavior so far has been just an act, but, how do I put it… No, no, I’m thinking too much. I’m probably just imagining it.
“You’re Zesta? There was a female priest looking for you, you know?”
“Is that so? That must be Cecily-san, or perhaps Tristan-san. Still, it would seem that my following has been quite worried about me after I vanished.”
Perhaps being touched, he clasped his hands together and offered a prayer to the heavens.
I think I’ll keep how she gave up on searching for him and lost herself in the casinos to myself.
“Worried, huh… It’d be one thing if I was just here for a day, but those guys will surely get up in arms if I were to be gone for a while. Sigh, when I make it back, Taylor and Lynn will definitely talk my ear off.”
“My people at the church are worried about me, so perhaps it’s time I considered breaking out of here. I’m starting to get bored of the place anyways.”
That said, I have nothing on me right now that would help me get out of a cell. I would like to confirm the situation with the guards, but the only person visible to me right now is this robe-wearing priest.
Seems like there’s nothing I can do at the moment.
Just as I thought that, the click clack of heels could be heard making its way down the corridor.
“Are you the one who was carried here last night?”
The one who appeared was a sharp-eyed woman who wore her red hair in a ponytail.
She’s certainly pretty, but she had that same aura as that prosecutor I ran into back in Axel in the past.
“Normally, you would’ve been thrown into a normal cell, but there were particularly many people who got drunk or caused trouble yesterday, so you were moved here instead.”
Is she talking about Kazuma’s crew?
“Oh, so that’s why. You really scared me for a moment there. So, you’ll be releasing me soon, right?”
“Well, we’ll be questioning you, but as long as nothing suspicious pops up, that’ll be fine. This is a magic item that detects lies. We’ll be asking you questions, so please answer honestly.”
The woman placed a bell on the old beat up looking desk at the center of the corridor,
That’s the same annoying item that I’ve run into several times in the past. It rings whenever a lie is told in its presence, so it’s really annoying.
If she had such an item on her, then she must be a prosecutor like Sena.
“Getting interrogated by such a beauty is kind of a reward on it own…”
Zesta was saying something.
The prosecutor glanced at him, but said nothing. Though her face did scrunch up for a moment.
“Sure, go ahead. I have nothing to hide, after all.”
“I haven’t even asked anything yet.”
This damned magic item!
The prosecutor stared at me
“Ahem. Let’s start again. What’s your name?”
…The bell on the item trembled for a moment, but soon stilled.
“Huh? That’s a strange reaction. Is it a malfunction?”
This is why I hate this item.
“Couldn’t you ask other questions to see if it’s really broken?”
“I suppose so. Now then, you are the one who performed perverted and violent actions in that casino last night. That is correct, yes?”
“Hey, now, all I did was get up to some light skinship with that lady. It’s not uncommon to touch someone’s chest or hands by accident after having a few drinks. Have you never brushed up against someone else’s hand by accident?”
“Does that include repeatedly trying to lay hands on her?”
“…Wasn’t it just a coincidence?”
“According to the complaints from the victim, you touched her chest and butt several times.”
Dammit, why are all prosecutors such sticklers for details?
“Anyway, you’re making a big deal about the violence. I just shoved them once or twice with my fist. In Axel, they would just beat each other up and throw out the loser.”
The prosecutor glanced at the bell, but it remained silent.
“In Alcanretia, the police would just let you off with a lecture. It’s certainly nothing worth blowing up over.”
The prosecutor once again turned towards the bell after hearing Zesta’s words, but it still remained silent.
“…Is the town you come from considered a lawless area? The other people who we arrested told us the same thing about Axel just a short while ago.”
“That’s rude. Law and order is properly enforced back there. Even when an adventurer breaks down the walls or blows up the mansion of a noble, they would be properly brought in and charged.”
“A-An adventurer? Wasn’t that the work of the Demon King’s army?”
The prosecutor nervously looked towards the bell, but, once again, it remained resolutely silent.
It’s the truth, after all.
“Just what are the adventurers of Axel… W-well, it had similar strange results shortly earlier, so maybe it might really be broken. Anyway, Dust-san, was it? You only committed some minor crimes, so we’ll be moving you to a regular cell now.”
“Of course. I haven’t the slightest why you would keep me here!”
“Isn’t that great, Dust-san? By the way, how long do you intend to keep me here? I too was brought here because of some kind of mistake, so if you want to apologize, now is your only chance. If you admit your mistake, then step on me while apologizing like a tsundere.”
Zesta crawled on the ground as he made that request of the prosecutor.
The prosecutor herself hurriedly rushed to cover her skirt before taking a few steps back.
“Y-You’ve been put here under the direct order of Ragcraft-sama himself! I don’t know the details, but just what did you do?”
“Well, you see…”
“You don’t have the clearance for that information.”
As Zesta puffed his chest out and started to brag about what happened, a sharp dressed man suddenly interrupted him.
Where did he come from?
The prosecutor snapped to attention and gave that man a salute.
So this is the much talked about prime minister. From what I’ve heard at the casino, the king of the country is a fool, but the prime minister is fairly skilled. The one who’s really in charge isn’t the king, but the prime minister.
For such a man to pay a visit personally… Just what did Zesta do?
“I would like to have some words with this person, so please leave us.”
“Yes, of course! My apologies!”
With another quick salute, the prosecutor left down the corridor.
After confirming that the door has been closed, Ragcraft turned back to face Zesta.
“According to the reports, you are the head of the Axis Cult and a high level Archpriest. Of all things, it had to be the Axis Cult… sigh~”
I couldn’t help but sympathize with him when he let out such a deep sigh.
Nothing good ever comes out of meeting the Axis Cult.
“Do you remember when we met while I was inspecting the casinos?”
“Of course. I was soliciting followers like usual, when you came up to me and made some impossible requests of me.”
“I just asked you to stop soliciting inside the casino. It’s a simple matter… Leaving that aside, I won’t let you say that you forgot what you told me after that.”
They were having their own conversation while completely ignoring me, but I’m a little interested in where this is headed, so I kept quiet.
“Well, now, did I happen to say anything that got on your nerves? All I recall is proposing that the Axis Cult be made the state religion of Elroad.”
“That wouldn’t happen even if the heavens were to descend to earth, but nevermind that. Do you really not recall what you said after that? You’re not playing dumb, are you?”
So he’s just holding a grudge over some insult he made.
Sigh, it seems like all nobles really are such petty individuals. Well, apart from Darkness. She’ll probably be more happy if you insult her.
“Ah, now that I think about it, I did say ‘All the money lost in this place is going to the Demon King’s army’, and ‘You’re a part of the Demon King’s army’, didn’t I?”
“So you do remember. The people present merely took it as the ramblings of an Axis Cultist, so nothing came off it, but I suppose I should be praising you. To think that the leader of the Axis Cult could deduce my true identity.”
…Did he just say something weird? ‘My true identity’?
What the hell is this Ragcraft guy saying?
“True identity? …I’m simply blaming the Demon King for any lost games in a casino. Though, this seems quite interesting, so let’s keep going with it.”
And now what is this seedy old man muttering? I don’t think Ragcraft heard the words that he was muttering under his breath, but I definitely heard them loud and clear.
“Thank you for your praise. It would seem that our teachings are not mistaken after all. It’s a core doctrine of the Axis Cult that any misfortune can be blamed squarely upon the shoulders of the Demon King.”
“It’s because you people keep saying that that bad rumours of the Demon King continue to spread! The Demon King isn’t that sort of person at all!”
Ragcraft seems to think quite highly of the Demon King. It’s almost as if he has some personal connection to him.
Combined with those words he said earlier… don’t tell me, this is actually a conspiracy?
No, wait, hold on, I have a really bad feeling about this. If my deductions are right, hearing anything further would be really dangerous!
“Oh, my, is it really okay for someone in your position to make such a statement? It’s almost as if you really are a member of the Demon King’s army.”
Zesta has been smiling all this while, but this time, his smile didn’t reach his eyes.
“It seems like there’s been some kind of misunderstanding, but the Axis Cult really are a troublesome bunch. Very well, allow me to enlighten you. You’ll be spending the rest of your life in this cell, after all. The truth is…”
Hey, wait a minute, don’t say anything more!
“I’m the leader of the Demon King’s information department, the doppelganger Ragcraft!”
I hurried to cover my ears, but I didn’t make it in time.
I just learnt something really dangerous. I never asked for this!
“I knew it, my eyes weren’t mistaken! Everything up till now has been an act to draw that line out of you! I knew you smelt of demons!”
He was striking a cool pose and pointing triumphantly at him, but that’s definitely a lie! Just looking at that self satisfied face of yours makes it completely obvious! You just wanted to say that!
“Not bad, Archpriest of the Axis Cult. It doesn’t seem like that skull of yours is completely stuffed with cotton. Sadly, I’ll have to leave you there for now. A more pressing problem has arisen that I have to deal with. But sit tight, I’ll come back to deal with you once that has been taken care of.”
After saying that, Zesta turned around.
And, right in his path was me, so of course, our eyes met.
His eyes widened in shock, and I waved and smiled as a greeting.
“Crap, there was someone else being held here? Well, you just have bad luck, it seems. There’s no way I can let you go free after hearing all of that.”
After hearing such words, my cheerful smile turned into a wry one.
And seeing that, Zesta gently smiled at me and said.
“Don’t let it get to you.”
“Stop fucking with me! It’s your own careless mistake, so why are you making me pay for it! I’m not involved in this at all! Let me out!”
“…Well, err, I’m terribly sorry that you found out about my true identity, but… Farewell!”
Was all Ragcraft said before he beat a swift retreat.
“Don’t run away! Klutzes aren’t cute at all when it’s a guy! Hey, come back here!”
My voice echoed off the walls of the empty corridor.
Are you serious? I didn’t even want to know this in the first place, and you’re really going to drag me in because you couldn’t stop yourself from monologuing?
“I really didn’t expect to uncover such a secret just by playing along with what he’s saying. This must be the guidance of the great Aqua-sama.”
“She just seems like a goddess of misfortune to me! What should we do? To think that the prime minister of Elroad is actually a member of the Demon King’s army… ”
I didn’t want to know this, but now that I do, I can’t just pretend I never heard it.
I took a few deep breaths to calm myself down.
“Well, it wouldn’t do any good to panic.”
After calming down, the first thing that came to mind was the safety of Kazuma and his party.
If the supposed fiancée of Princess Iris really is someone under the control of the Demon King’s army, it’d be a really dire situation indeed.
That “more pressing problem” that Ragcraft mentioned is definitely referring to Princess Iris.
I’m not exactly in a good spot either, but Kazuma is in an even deeper trouble. I really should do something, but what?
“You seem to be troubled. Would you care to share your thoughts? I’m used to listening to confessions and guiding others onto the path of repentance.”
“And whose fault do you think it is?! The one who should be repenting is you!”
Zesta was looking at me through the iron bars with sparkling eyes. He seems to be enjoying this situation, but I must be imagining it.
“You are acting as though this doesn’t concern you, but your position is even worse than mine, you know? At this rate, you’ll definitely be killed.”
“If I die, I won’t be able to continue my mission of spreading the Axis faith. I still haven’t had my fill of life yet, so this wouldn’t do. Plus, there’s no way I can let a demon go free… Say, this just leaves us one course of action. That’s right, it’s time to stage a jailbreak!”
“You say that like it’s a simple matter… But I suppose that’s the only thing we can do. If we can prove that Ragcraft is involved with Demon King, we’ll most likely be forgiven for breaking out of jail. It’s a chance worth betting on.”
The two of us started examining every nook and corner of our respective cells.
There aren’t any windows, and the only thing in the cell is a toilet. The iron bars are rusty, but they still seem pretty tough. No matter how much I pull or push on it, they didn’t budge an inch.
“You know, there’s an old trick where you piss or sweat on the iron bars in order to get them to rust and weaken. Ideally, I’d get a girl to do it, but… do you prefer sweat or piss?”
“Both methods will take way too long! And stop telling me about your fetishes! In the first place, we don’t have the time to fool around. If I don’t get word to Kazuma soon, their lives would be at risk.”
“Did you just mention Kazuma-sama just now?”
Zesta pressed his face up to the iron bars and asked with a serious expression.
The carefree demeanour that he was sporting up till now was nowhere to be found.
“Y-Yeah. Do you know my friend, Kazuma?”
“I’m very familiar with that name. More importantly, did anyone accompany him here?”
“There’s Alice, and then there’s just his usual party. The Explosion Girl, the Masochistic Crusader, and the Party Priest.”
“Is… that so? If Aqua-sama is involved in this matter, then it seems that I must treat this matter seriously.”
The priest placed his hands together and started muttering something incomprehensible while sporting a serious look that doesn’t suit him at all.
I can never tell what this man is thinking, so it’s best not to expect too much from him.
I started systematically tapping on the walls in hopes of finding a weak spot to break through, but it turned out to be extremely boring work.
“So, what are you doing in Elroad in the first place? Just to spread the Axis faith?”
To ease my boredom, I started a conversation with Zesta who was crouched on the floor and doing something I can’t make out right now.
“Well, that’s part of it. You see, the Axis Cult has someone that we are secretly observing… watching over… protecting from the shadows. We received information that that person would be heading to Elroad, and I volunteered to head out here because I thought I could play all I want at the casinos that this country is so famous for.”
“It’s a little hypocritical coming from me, but you really are true to your desires…”
“That’s what the Axis faith is.”
Hearing him proudly say that, I was momentarily attracted to the Axis Cult.
Still, who is this person that the Axis Cult is secretly keeping watch over? For such a haphazard organization to be worried about them, they must be either a really strange or really pitiful person.
After that, we examined every bit of wall and floor that’s within our reach in silence, but I found nothing that could be of help in getting us out of here.
It’s hard to tell how much time has passed since the sunlight doesn’t make its way down here, but several hours must have passed, for someone delivered food to us.
The guard who brought it had a mask of complete stoicism on his face.
“Say, isn’t there any way you could let us go? That prime minister is an underling of the Demon King, you know? If you continue aiding him, you’ll be treated like a member of the Demon King’s army and dealt with as such.”
Any normal person would be given pause at hearing those words, but he didn’t react at all. He didn’t even look at me as he passed the food through the door, and no matter what I said, he simply stood there silently.
“Oh, fine, I’ve really got to respect you dedication to your work. If you hear me out, I’ll introduce you to a store where some pretty ladies can make your wildest dreams come… Hey, where are you going!? Listen to me!”
The guard ignored my yells and left.
“Dust-san, you’re wasting your effort. That person seems to be a demon too. It’s best to think of this entire prison as Ragcraft’s personal territory. More importantly, tell me more about those ladies that’ll make my wildest dreams come true!”
“Why are you falling for it instead!?”
“Is there really such a store that can make men’s dreams come true!? My dream is to be surrounded by women of all stripes, other than demons, and have them look at each other with jealousy while fighting for my affection! Can they really give me such a harem-like dream!?”
Zesta excitedly pressed himself up against the bars, and some of his spittle fell into my cell as he ranted.
“Don’t get that excited! What I said just now was just a bluff! If there really is such a great place, I wouldn’t be here right now!”
Introducing a priest to the succubus shop probably isn’t a great idea.
“Y… Yeah, of course…”
He immediately slumped his shoulders like the life just got knocked out of him.
“Well, getting worked up isn’t going to help our situation, so let’s eat up. I don’t quite feel like starving to death.”
The food they delivered was unexpectedly decent, so I decided to dig in, but a thought occurred to me just before I could shovel the first spoonful of food into my mouth.
“They didn’t poison this food, did they?”
“Even if they did, I can nullify poison, so rest assured.”
“Ah, yeah, of course. Priests sure are convenient… Hey! Why are you digging in first!? If you collapse, who’s going to nullify the poison!?”
Zesta’s cheeks inflated like a squirrel’s as he happily dug into his plate. It’s almost like he hasn’t even considered that possibility.
“Like I said, stop eating already!”
“Oh, my apologies. However, I don’t detect any abnormalities, so it should be fine. More importantly, I just noticed this, but isn’t my plate and yours quite different? There seems to be a lot more dishes on your plate than mine.”
Now that he mentioned it, yeah, there does seem to be a greater variety of food on my plate. They even threw in a dessert. My plate is definitely superior in both quality and quantity.
“That Ragcraft bastard, is this meant to make up for him accidentally dragging me into this…?”
“Dust-san, there’s something I haven’t told you. I have a rare disease where if I don’t stuff myself to bursting with food, I’ll die. And my body grows lethargic unless I have a dessert too.”
“Is that so? My condolences… Oh, this is actually not bad.”
I ignored Zesta who was staring enviously at me and dug into my plate.
After having my fill, I laid down on the dirty floor and stared at the ceiling.
“My belly is full, so I’ll leave the thinking to tomorrow.”
I told myself that it’s important to recover your spirits in this situation and drifted off to sleep.
It’s been a few days since then.
“I’m starting to get bored of counting the stains on the ceiling.”
“Indeed. It’s not like anything has changed. Plus, this entire place smells of demons, so my sense of smell has gotten dulled too.”
At first, I diligently scoured every inch of my cell in order to look for a way out, but after not finding even the slightest hint, I eventually gave up and settled into this.
At this point, I was just rolling around on the dusty floor without even the motivation to find a better position to sleep.
“You’re an Archpriest, right? Cast some high level magic and get us out of here already.”
“If I could use such spells, I would’ve been acting much bolder than I did before.”
“You… You were restraining yourself? You’re kidding, right?”
The only person I had for company here is Zesta, so we had a few chats in my time here, but he’s been spilling stuff that even took someone like me aback.
His life so far has been the very definition of a free spirit, but even then, he’s still holding himself back…?
“Plus, there seems to be some kind of enchantment placed on this place. I can’t use any of my priestly magics at all.”
I suppose demons would like to take precautions against a priest’s abilities.
“Well, I guess that means we can’t… Wait a minute, didn’t you tell me that you could cure me if I get poisoned a while ago?”
“Hahaha. It’s a good thing there isn’t any poison in it, right?”
I’m never trusting this guy again.
A priest that can’t use magic is pretty much worthless. Seems like I have to do something by myself.
“So we are completely out of options, huh? If someone were to bust in here and save me right now, I would’ve rewarded them with a passionate kiss.”
“I don’t need that.”
“Don’t put on a girly voice. It’s disgusting.”
“How rude! If you are going to be that way, I’m just going to leave you here.”
That voice is… could it be!?
I sprang back up into a seated position, and standing beyond the iron bars was Loli Succubus smiling at me.
“Oooh! A goddess has descended in this hell! Dust-san, if you know this girl, I must insist that you introduce us!”
Loli Succubus jumped back in shock as Zesta pressed his face against the bars and excitedly shouted.
Well, I suppose anyone would react similar upon seeing a face twisted in ecstasy like that.
“She looks innocent, but there’s an extremely erotic side of her hidden beneath the surface! I can tell! Now, come sleep with me and tell me all of your hidden desires! I swear, we shall accept you no matter what kind of deviant interests you’re hiding inside!”
“W-W-What!? Dust-san, just who is this person!?”
Loli Succubus pressed herself against the bars of my cell in order to get as far away from Zesta as possible.
“He isn’t a bad guy, he’s just a pervert. Don’t worry about it.”
“How could I not worry about him!? Um, sorry, just who are you?”
“Oh, my apologies. I am a fervent believer of the most beloved goddess in this world, and an archpriest of the Axis Cult. The name is Zesta, pleased to make your acquaintance, beautiful little lady.”
His choice of words was a little strange, but if you didn’t know him very well, his smiling and gentle demeanor would make him look like an exemplary priest.
Though, the blood drained from Loli Succubus’s face almost instantly.
“An archpriest of the Axis Cult!?”
“There’s no need to be that surprised. The kind and benevolent Axis Cult holds no ill will towards any humans.”
Yeah, they’re just a troublesome bunch to anyone that isn’t one of them.
Loli Succubus crouched and waved at me to come closer, so I moved up to the iron bars.
“Dust-san, make sure you don’t let him find out about my true identity!”
“The Axis Cult is famous for their hatred of Devils and undead. Didn’t I tell you this before?”
Oh, yeah, she mentioned something like that when we headed off to Alcanretia.
I think I recall the Axis cultists there saying something about “Devils must be destroyed!” too.
“Zesta threw this entire conversation out of whack, but, Loli Succ-Lolisa, what are you doing here?”
“I’m here to help you. Do make sure to thank me.”
“Normally, this would’ve been a moving scene, but I just can’t get worked up after what happened just now…”
I could only greet her with a wry smile right now.
Still, I’m grateful that she came for me.
“Still, how did you sneak in here? And how did you find out where I was being held in the first place?”
This place is a secret prison. Just finding out where it is would be a significant challenge.
To be honest, I find it difficult to believe that Loli Succubus is this good at gathering information.
“You should thank Vanir-sama. He foresaw that you would end up in such a situation back when he saw your fortune, so he told me about it in advance. That’s why I’ve been observing you from the shadows all this while. I’m a succubus, so the lack of sleep wouldn’t matter to me.”
“As expected of Sir! I’ll follow him to the end of my days!”
“Seems like he’s doing this as thanks for that time you helped him pawn a defective item onto a girl.”
She must be talking about that time I tricked that woman who was planning to trick Taylor.
Sir Vanir might be a devil, but his sense of duty is strongest out of anyone I’ve met.
“I’m glad that you came here to help me, but do you have a key?”
Loli Succubus cheerfully produced a ring of keys from her pocket, with which she unlocked the gates to my cell.
“Phew, I’m finally out of that cell. Thanks, you really helped me.”
“It’s Vanir-sama’s order, after all. If you want to save that Axis Cultist, please do it yourself, Dust-san. I don’t really want to get close to him.”
She handed the bundle of keys over to me, so I opened the door of Zesta’s cell.
It’s only natural for succubi to be wary of Axis Cultists, but it seems like Loli Succubus holds some reservations about the man himself. Well, considering his personality, I suppose it’s only natural to be a little wary around him.
“I’m thankful that you saved me, but how did you get in here?”
“Err, um, Dust-san’s companions helped me out and located a small entrance to the prison. It’s a very small gap, so only I could fit through it. So, you two won’t be able to exit the same way either.”
Loli Succubus was almost falling to pieces as she tried to explain. She’s as bad at telling lies as ever, but it doesn’t seem like Zesta has picked onto it.
“The beauty of women truly is blinding after being cooped up with men for quite some time. The Axis Cult has a critical lack of little girls, so what about it? You could join up as a mascot for the organization.”
“Er, umm, I’ll consider it…”
“What’s there to consider? Such half-hearted placating replies won’t work on any member of our organization. Now, come on, put your name on this registration form! W-Well, they took away all the forms I had on hand, so put your name on my boxers instead!”
“You just want to show it off! You’re scaring her, so cut it out.”
It’d probably be a first if he really did end up recruiting her into the Axis Cult. Succubi don’t exactly get along with religious orders.
I grabbed Loli Succubus by the shoulder and pulled her away as she tried to hide behind me.
“Leave this stuff to after we’ve gotten out of here. The tough part has yet to come. If we can’t get out the way you got in, there’s no choice but to force our way out the front. There are a few demons working under Ragcraft in this place.”
“Err, when I was watching the entrance, I think I saw several dozen people dressed as soldiers coming and going.”
“Hmm, that might be a little troublesome.”
Zesta crossed his arms and pretended to fall into deep thought, but his gaze never left Loli Succubus for an instant.
I took Loli Succubus a little further from Zesta and crouched down besides her.
“So, how did you actually get in? That gap thing was a lie, right?”
“Eh, you noticed? It was actually really easy. All I had to do was to reveal my true form in front of the guards and tell them that I was sent by Ragcraft to give you a sweet dream, and they let me waltz right in.”
Ah, I see. Well, I suppose it’s only natural for a demon to trust a devil. There’s no way they would’ve suspected that she was on my side.
“I originally wanted to bring in your sword as well, but as expected, bringing in a weapon is really pushing it.”
“I see. Well, it can’t be helped.”
It would really help a lot to put me at ease if I had that sword with me, but I suppose I should be happy enough that it wasn’t taken away. I’m really glad I didn’t bring that sword with me back then.
“Say, I’ve noticed this for a while now, but you really like that sword, don’t you? You don’t really care about the rest of your dressings, but you treat that sword like a treasured heirloom.”
“That’s, well, you know, a warrior’s weapons is something they have to entrust their lives to. It’s only natural to take good care of them.
Seemingly unconvinced by my explanation, Loli Succubus stared at me with a doubtful look in her eye.
She’s surprisingly perceptive when she wants to.
“Nevermind that, seriously, what should we do next? All I can think of is sending you out to draw the attentions of the guards somehow before we charge out when they are distracted.”
“Yes, there are way too many guards out there. There’s no way you can take them out in a straight up fight.”
“I left all my weapons and tools at the inn too. There’s nothing I can do with just my bare hands.”
As Loli Succubus and I were deliberating on what to do next, I heard a clattering sound coming from behind me. Thinking that Zesta might be up to something again, I turned around… only to see him unlocking the door at the end of the corridor and opening it.
“Wait, Wait, Wait! Didn’t she tell you that the entrance is swarming with soldiers!? Listen to me!”
“I am well aware, but the soldiers here are all demons, right? Then, there’s nothing to worry about.”
“What are you talking about!? There’s plenty of stuff to worry about! Fighting against humans would be… behind you!”
Just as we were talking, a horned demon suddenly appeared behind Zesta and raised a sword.
Zesta immediately turned around and–
“Sacred Highness Exorcism!”
A sudden magic circle appeared beneath the feet of the demon, and a pillar of light sprang forth from it.
The demon that was engulfed by the light was almost instantly turned into a charred husk.
So Zesta wasn’t just a pervert who talked a big game…
Just looking at Loli Succubus’s blood-drained face as she clung onto me is enough to tell me just what kind of firepower that old man is packing.
“I am the highest leveled Archpriest in the Axis Cult. As long as I can use my magic, demons, devils, and undead are but child’s play to me.”
For the first time, I thought that Zesta seems like someone I could rely on.
After saying that, he picked up the sword that clattered onto the ground and handed it to me.
“It seems like you are more used to fighting with another weapon, but make do with this for now.”
This man… He never even saw me in combat before, but he managed to figure out what kind of weapon I’m specialized in just by watching my movements and gestures?
This man really shouldn’t be underestimated.
“Well, it’s a different story if we have a powerful priest with us. I’ll leave the vanguard to you. Lolisa, it might get dangerous, so follow us from way back over there.”
“Hmm, you know, if there’s a young girl cheering me on, my courage will be increased a hundredfold. If you would call me onii-chan, daddy, or papa, the power of my spells will be increased even further.”
You’re trembling all over, but you can still answer firmly on that point, huh?
Afterwards, Zesta pretty much cleaned everything up by himself.
This prison is staffed almost entirely by demons and the occasional devil or two, so there was nothing that could really stand up to his magic.
I would run out and get them to bunch up before Zesta released his spells. The spells he used only affected demons and the undead, so I could stand right in the middle of it without getting hurt.
“So it really doesn’t affect you at all, Dust-san. I was a little worried that it might purify you too considering how tainted your heart is.”
“Of course! In the first place, if it does harm people who aren’t pure at heart, Zesta would’ve self-destructed the moment he tried to use it.”
“True… He would’ve been purified by his own power.”
Loli Succubus looked coldly at Zesta as he happily chased after a female devil.
“Aah, I feel a cold and disdainful gaze upon me!”
Instead of getting depressed, he seems to become more excited instead.
He is almost like Darkness in that sense, but in his case, he’s not just limited to that. He also enjoys going on the offensive.
“Come on, come on, if you don’t run faster, the spell will hit you!”
“Why are only my clothes being burned off!?”
“That’s the results of my training! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to only target the clothes soaked in devilish essence while leaving the rest untouched!? This makes all the time I spent working on it worth it! Humans are creatures that grow through effort!”
“Why did I have to run into such a perveeert!?”
The female devil that screamed that was running around with her clothes in tatters, while Zesta chased after her shooting spells every so often.
…If you do this on the surface, you’ll definitely be arrested.
“I can’t let him find out. I can’t let him find out. There’s no telling what he’ll do if he finds out…”
Loli Succubus, frightened by this sight, repeated those same few words over and over as she clung onto me. Well, I suppose I can let her do that for now.
Zesta is all the way up in front, so there’s no need to worry about him overhearing.
The female devil seems to have escaped after Zesta toyed with her a little too much, but in her place, a small squad of skeletons showed up.
They were holding a variety of weapons in their hands, so they’d be a fairly troublesome opponent to go head to head with, but…
“Hmph, there’s no flesh on your bodies, and it isn’t interesting at all if you can’t speak. I’ll just make it quick. Turn Undead!”
Zesta’s spell took them all out in an instant.
“Well, this is easy. His personality is a little out there, but this is really making me want a priest in the party.”
“Then, should I send someone from the Axis Cult?”
“I refuse! What I wish for is a sensible, normal priest. I’ve yet to meet with a decent Axis Cultist! Every single one I meet is shot in the head somewhere!”
There’s Kazuma’s Party Priest, and the woman that I reunited with in this town. Plus, the guy at the top is Zesta.
“And here I thought you would be a good fit for the Axis Cult. What a shame.”
“In what way am I a good fit?”
“The two of you are quite similar, you know? I think you guys don’t get along because you’re too similar.”
“Don’t lump me together with him!”
Loli Succubus said something ridiculous.
Sure, I’m a free spirit, but I’m nowhere close to the kind troublemakers that the Axis Cult are.
“If you are interested in the Axis Cult, feel free to visit at any time. Our doors are always open… Oh, my, this could be troublesome.”
Despite saying that, Zesta had a smile on his face.
I thought it would be a huge problem if he was reacting that way, so I turned to follow his gaze.
What greeted me was a large mass of rocks arranged in a crude humanoid form.
“Wow, that looks tough…”
“I don’t have any problems dealing with devils or the undead, but golems are a poor match for a priest. Can I leave this to you?”
Zesta retreated to a short distance behind me.
Oh well, I suppose it’s my time to shine.
“Sure thing, just sit back and watch. I’ll take care of this in no time!”
That thing is almost three times larger than me, but golems tend to move sluggishly.
I’ll just have to use my speed to dodge it’s attacks while taking out the joints.
The golem slowly raised its arm.
Its movements are large and exaggerated. It would be child’s play to dodge that attack and head for the thighs.
I easily stepped around the golem’s fist as it brought it down–
I first noticed something was wrong when I heard the sound of the wind. The golem’s arm suddenly shot forward, aiming for Loli Succubus who was standing at the back of the party.
I immediately jumped towards her.
“Y-You’re molesting me here!?”
After just barely managing to dodge the blow, I rolled along the ground with Loli Succubus in my arms.
“My ears! And my arm too! Dammit, I think I got nicked.”
My sleeves are torn up and my arm is a bloody mess.. I thought I managed to avoid it, but with its prestigious strength, even a near miss ended up opening a few wounds.
“A-Are you alright!?”
“This is but a scratch!”
I casually waved my uninjured arm in Loli Succubus’s direction to reassure her I’m fine.
I’m putting on a strong front, but to be honest, this is pretty bad. There’s the risk of bleeding out, of course, but the major problem is that my arm is rendered almost useless now.
“Heal! How is your arm?”
A warm light covered my arm, and the wound closed almost instantly.
“Oh, not bad, Zesta!”
To be able to heal such a wound instantly… Yep, he really is reliable when it comes to his abilities.
With Zesta supporting me, I can afford to play a little more aggressively. I charged in, dodging a couple of blows, and thrust my sword straight into the golem’s knee.
“Grah!? It’s tough! Even the joints are well-fortified. And that speed too. It seems like this golem has been upgraded quite a bit.”
A normal golem would’ve had its knee destroyed and collapsed under its own weight by now.
“Dust-san, the best way to defeat a golem is to damage the character on its forehead!”
“I know that, but I can’t reach it!”
Loli Succubus needn’t have told me that. The weak point of a golem is fairly common knowledge amongst us adventurers.
Most golems have a magic rune engraved on their forehead, and destroying part of it will deactivate it. However, it’s hard to accurately target such a small spot while the golem is moving around, so most adventurers tend to rely on going for the joints instead.
This golem is large enough that there’s no way I can reach his forehead with my sword.
“Dust-san, please use this!”
Hearing Zesta’s shout, I turned around to see a sharp point headed for my eye.
“Graah! T-That was close! It would’ve stabbed me right in the eye if I wasn’t fast enough! Look where you are throwing things!”
“Sorry, I got a little too ahead of myself. Still, will you be able to defeat him with that?”
The weapon that I barely managed to grasp was a spear. It was one of the weapons that the skeletons was using.
Zesta really did see through what weapon I was specialized in.
I really don’t want others to see me using a spear, but I suppose a perverted priest and a succubus is fine… Though she’ll probably be mad if she finds out.
“D-Dust-san, watch out!”
Loli Succubus’s shouted warning was welcome, but unnecessary.
I slammed the butt of my spear into the ground and used it to propel myself up, neatly avoiding the fist that slammed into where I was just moments before.
At the apex of my jump, I corrected my posture and thrust my spear directly at the golem’s forehead, that was now at my eye level.
With the flick of my arm, the speartip cut right through one of the runes, and the golem immediately collapsed.
“Well done, Dust-san.”
“Yeah, thanks to you.”
I don’t really feel like getting too close with a man, but I could at least pay him a compliment.
It seemed like that was the last of the enemies, for nothing else came out to stop us after the golem.
After reaching the end of the facility, we climbed up an extremely long spiral staircase before finally reaching the surface.
“Oh, it is night out.”
After pushing the thick iron gates open, we found ourselves in the middle of the city. Looking up, the stars of the night sky glittered down at me.
This looked like a back alley, but still, to hide the entrance to a secret prison in a place like this… Seems like Ragcraft is quite a bold man.
There was a pair of demons standing guard outside the entrance, but Zesta took both of them out without a word.
“Say, what were you planning to do if they were human?”
“Hmm, that was a possibility, wasn’t it? Still, there’s no need to worry. That spell wouldn’t have any effect on humans, so the only ones that would be destroyed are demons and devils.”
Zesta said that to Loli Succubus with a smile, and she hastily nodded.
…Say, did Zesta figure out her true identity? It’s certainly possible for Zesta to be deliberately teasing her to see her terrified reactions… Well, as I long as I don’t know for sure, there’s really nothing I can do.
“Pwuah, the night air feels great.”
“That line fits you really well, Dust-san.”
“Leave me alone. By the way, do you know what happened to Kazuma and the others?”
I too felt a little guilty for not thinking about them until now, but I had my hands full.
Though, considering that Ragcraft hasn’t yet come to dispose of us, Kazuma and his party must still be alive.
“Kazuma-san and the others? The already left Elroad and headed back to Axel.”
“…Eh!? Hey, are you serious? Say, I don’t think they would do this, but Lynn and the others didn’t abandon me and head back on their own, did they?”
When I asked that of the shaking Loli Succubus, she glanced off to the side and placed a finger on her cheek.
“H-Hey, you’re joking, right? They wouldn’t do something as heartless as to leave their companion behind and head home, would they!?”
“W-Well, about that–”
Just as she opened her mouth with an apologetic expression–
“The light came from over here! This is where Ragcraft built his secret prison… Could they be his underlings!?”
A small squad of armed soldiers rushed into the alley.
They seemed to have been drawn here after seeing the light from Zesta’s spell.
“Aren’t you making some kind of mistake? We were just prisoners who were locked up here.”
“We? There’s no one else but you here!”
“Come now, what are you saying? You guys say something too.”
Saying that, I turned around… and saw a distinct lack of Zesta and Loli Succubus.
The only things I saw was the fast retreating back of Zesta as he ran down a side alley, and the winged form of Loli Succubus growing every smaller as she flew off into the sky.
“You guys abandoned me!”
“Not this again!”