A Great Match for the Sake of That Succubus
“I’m sick of this…”
Just when I thought I’ve successfully managed to escape, I got thrown into a different jail cell.
Still, Ragcraft isn’t involved this time, so they’ll probably hear me out.
Speaking of, apparently, Ragcraft met his end at the hands of Iris.
From what I heard, Kazuma did something to drive him into a corner, and he ran into Iris while trying to force the issue with violence.
It’s an absurd way to close the curtains on him, but I suppose I can just be happy to learn that those people are safe.
“This place is much better compared to the cell I was in before, so I think I’ll just take it easy.”
Now that Kazuma and his party are safe and the conspiracy has been revealed, there’s no need to worry. I’ll just lean back until they come to let me out.
Unlike the previous cell, this place had an actual bed, so indulged myself by rolling around in it.
Just as I was beginning to get comfortable, a bunch of soldiers appeared before my cell and unlocked the door.
“Finally! So it took you this long to be convinced of my innocence… Hey, why are you covering my head!? Don’t tie me up too! Ow! Don’t pull on me! What kind of play is this!?”
The soldiers ignored my anger and wordlessly pushed me ahead.
Even if I wanted to resist, I couldn’t see anything, and my hands are also bound, so any such efforts wouldn’t amount to much.
After walking for quite some time, one of the guards forcibly grabbed me by the shoulder and made me sit down.
Then, they removed the blindfold and my bindings, and the first thing that greeted me was a light bright enough to make me see stars.
“Grah! It’s bright! Eh, why have you brought me to the casino?”
The took me out of the cell just to bring me straight to a casino. I don’t get it at all.
“You are Dust, an adventurer from Axel. Am I right?”
With an arrogant sounding tone, a brat spun around in his seat and looked at me.
The brat was wearing some stupidly expensive looking clothes. Standing by his side were several well armed soldiers, along with several hanger ons that seemed way too stiff for me to ever be able to get along with.
“Didn’t they ever teach you to introduce yourself first when asking for someone else’s name, young master?”
“Hey! What kind of tone do you think you are taking against Prince Levi!?”
The one who shouted wasn’t the kid, but a member of his entourage.
Oh, so this is the prince of Elroad that Iris was betrothed to, huh?
The reason he brought me here must have something to do with the Ragcraft matter. Either that or he found out about my connection with Kazuma. In either case, I don’t have a good feeling about this.
“So, what business does the prince have with little old me?”
“Still with that tone!?”
“It’s fine, step back. I can speak for myself.”
The man took a step back after one look at prince Levi’s face.
“First off, I should apologize. It seems like Ragcraft has unduly troubled you. While it’s true that you have committed some minor crimes, those aren’t serious enough to have you be locked up like that. I promise to release you after we are done with this chat. Give his stuff back to him.”
Oh, well, this is certainly unexpected.
They blindfolded me and brought me all the way out here just to see the prince of this country.
I put on a brave front, but internally, I was thinking that this would end up pretty badly for me.
I checked the bag that the soldier handed over to me, and everything was in order.
“Well, you’re a pretty sensible person. Anyway, seeya.”
I tried to stand up and leave, but the soldier standing behind me once again grabbed me by the shoulder and forced me to sit back down.
“That’s only half of it. There’s one other matter apart from the issue with the imprisonment. We caught a female devil. Does that ring a bell?”
At those words, Levi snapped his fingers, and from behind him appeared Loli Succubus, escorted by a pair of guards.
“Tsk. What the hell are you doing here? You are the one who ran and left me alone.”
“I’m sorry! But I couldn’t help it!”
Loli Succubus cried through teary eyes as the soldier behind her pushed her forward.
“Nevermind that. More importantly… Why are you dressed like that?”
“Please don’t stare at me too much. It’s embarrassing.”
Her cheeks were bright red and she’s fidgeting around. She’s seriously embarrassed.
I can’t help but feel a certain sense of wrongness seeing her like this.
She usually boldly parades about in clothing that might as well be lingerie. Compared to that, what she’s wearing right now is nothing to be embarrassed over.
Her current outfit leaves little skin exposed, though I suppose it’s small and form fitting enough to make out her full bodyline.
“Say, what’s so embarrassing about that outfit? Those are the same ones that the priest of the Axis Cult wears, right?”
“Yes, that’s exactly it! Wearing these clothes fills me with a sense of wrongness and shame that prevents me from using my powers! I never thought I’d be subjected to such humiliation!”
She was covering her face and shouting for me not to look at her, but to be honest, I really don’t get where her line is.
It’s tight enough that I can probably make out what size of underwear she wears if I squint, but even so, it’s far better than the kind of clothes that she usually wears.
“I’m being forced to wear the clothes of our natural enemy, the priests! Think about it the other way! A priest would be embarrassed if she had to dress like a succubus, right!?”
“Isn’t that line of reasoning a little off?”
I don’t really get the reasoning behind it, but at the end of the day, wearing the clothing of a priest seems to be really embarrassing to succubi. I’ll just nod along like I actually understand and move on.
“So you do know her. I’m sure you are aware that she’s working under Ragcraft as part of the contingent he brought from the Demon King’s army. Considering the circumstances, there’s no way we could just let her go. We’re considering either forced labour or throwing her to the Axis Cult.”
“T-Throwing me to the Axis Cult!?”
Loli Succubus was already teary-eyed, but now her face grew stark white and she started trembling.
Though, considering the Axis Cult’s reputation for hating Devils, I suppose that kind of fear isn’t entirely unfounded. My time with Zesta has told me that that reputation is not just empty words.
“Come on, could you not do that? Who knows what kind of state she’ll end up in if you hand her over to the Axis Cult.”
In response to my words, Loli Succubus aggressively nodded even as she was trembling.
“Of course, I’m well aware. And that brings me to my main point. Do you have any idea what the Axis Cult are doing in this country as of late?”
Prince Levi frowned and heaved a deep sigh.
“N-Not really. I’ve been stuck in a cell for quite some time, after all.”
“Siiiiigh. Those guys… With the guy who claims to be the head of the cult, Zesta, and a female priest leading them, those bunch have been conducting constant recruitment drives in front of the casinos and important government buildings! They keep saying stuff like ‘Reparations for being unfairly imprisoned! Make the Axis Cult the official state religion or we won’t leave!’ ‘If you don’t accept our requests, we’ll head to the casinos and hit on every girl who comes out every hour and every day!’ ‘I’ll focus on lolis and handsome guys!’ and so on!”
Zesta is probably venting all of his frustrations after getting locked up in that prison for so long.
As for the Axis cultists, they’re probably doing it partially because they find it enjoyable.
“As such, I’m planning to hand her over to them as a gift of appeasement.”
“Y-Y-Y-You can’t! Who knows what they’ll do to me if I fall into their hands!? I still haven’t risen to the top of the shop yet! W-Will they spare me if I join the Axis Cult!? B-But, Vanir-sama will hate me if I join them!”
Loli Succubus seems to be completely caught in the throes of panic. I never thought I’d hear those words come out from the mouth of a devil.
“Well, they do seem to have a weakness for little girls. If you deal directly with Zesta, it’s certainly possible that they will do as you ask. Though, she will suffer a fate worse than death…”
Zesta will definitely happily play with Loli Succubus. I know him that well.
“I’m sure they’ll push all kinds of chores onto me, and give me nothing but holy water for dinner. Ah, I can hear them now. ‘Oh? Are you saying that you can’t drink the water I graciously poured for you?’ And they’ll fill the bath with holy water and other such…”
It seems like picturing what would happen to her is too much for Loli Succubus to take, she seems like she’s on the verge of collapsing completely,
Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep well at night if I leave her like this.
“Can’t you do something about this? She might be a devil, but she has no connection to the Demon King’s army. If anything, she’s been very helpful to us humans so far. You can go ahead and bring out the lie detecting magic item if you doubt me.”
“If you are willing to go that far, I’ll take you at your word. But even if what you say is true, I think you understand that we cannot simply let a devil go at a whim… Hmm, well, if you want me to release the devil, I have a condition.”
I could’ve sworn I seen a smile on Prince Levi’s face just now.
I have a bad feeling about this, but I don’t have any other choice right now.
“A condition, huh? This is starting to sound fishy, but I’ll hear you out anyway. I do owe quite a bit to her after all. I can’t just abandon her here.”
Loli Succubus stared at me with wistful eyes, clearly touched.
“According to our research, you seem to share a close relationship to Kazuma-dono that Princess Iris seems to regard as a brother.”
“Yeah, he’s a close friend of mine.”
“In that case, tell me everything you know about Kazuma, especially any weaknesses he might have. Additionally, I would like you to regularly report on his actions and daily activities, especially when it comes to his relationship with Iris.”
“…Kazuma’s weaknesses? Really?”
I couldn’t help but say that after being confronted by something completely unexpected.
“We do owe him for revealing Ragcraft’s true identity and saving this country, but… Thanks to him, I’ve lost Princess Iris!”
Prince Levi angrily shouted through clenched fists. Seeing his anguished form, I couldn’t help but voice the first thing that came to my mind.
“What, did Iris dump you? Even though you two were betrothed?”
Prince Levi clutched at his chest and fell to his knees.
“Hey you, you’re being too rude! Try and imagine how our prince feels after toying with her with the intention of breaking off the bethroyal, only to unwittingly fall for her but get rejected anyways!”
“The woman he loved told him ‘Let’s be friends forever!’, you know! How could you even understand a fraction of the pain that the prince is going through!”
The entourage surrounding the prince immediately erupted, but Prince Levi seems to be suffering even more upon hearing their words. I think they are doing more damage to him than I am.
“T-That’s enough. I don’t think my heart will hold if this continues.”
Levi somehow managed to crawl to his feet while clutching his heart.
“Are you alright?”
“T-There’s no need for concern… So, let’s hear your answer.”
It isn’t a bad deal. I can save Loli Succubus just by telling them information about Kazuma.
“I ain’t selling out my friends. Especially not towards royalty or nobility.”
I haven’t fallen low enough to betray my close friends.
“So you’ll be giving up on the devil, then?”
Loli Succubus once again shivered in fear upon hearing the prince’s voice.
What are you making such a pathetic looking face for?
“Of course not. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t think twice about taking away other people’s stuff, but hate it when it’s done to me.”
I confidently puffed out my chest as I said to the prince.
“W-What a bold confession… But, I already have Vanir-sama, so, I wouldn’t mind being your friend…”
Loli Succubus started blushing. I think she’s misunderstanding something.
She’s muttering something while playing with her fingers, but her voice is too soft for me to make out.
“So, what about this? We were in the city of casinos, Elroad. It seems merely fitting for us to settle this with a game.”
“Oho? To think that you would propose the same thing as Kazuma-dono… It would seem it’s true that the two of you are close friends after all. Very well, I’ll promise to release the devil if you win. However, what are you betting? There’s no point to this game if we both don’t wager something of similar value.”
The prince smiled confidently. It doesn’t seem like he’s even entertaining the idea that he might lose.
His demeanour completely changed the moment I brought up the game. I guess it’s only fitting for the heir of a family who earned their fortune through gambling.
“Something to wager, huh? Something suitable to secure the release of Loli Succubus…”
There’s only one thing that I possess that has that much value.
“What about this sword?”
When I placed my favoured sword on the table, I caught a brief glimpse of surprise splash across Prince Levi’s face.
“Are you aware of the true value of your sword?”
“Seems like you’ve a good idea about it yourself. Of course, I’m well aware of its true value.”
I know better than anyone the value of this sword. That’s precisely why I brought it out as my wager.
“Very well, that sword will suffice. Let’s begin with our game.”
I got this very precious sword from that person. I was betting that Prince Levi, as royalty, would know its true value, and it seems like that paid off.
“W-Wait a minute! Dust-san, aren’t you really bad at gambling!? You’ve lost so badly every time you’ve played a game in this city, so where are you getting your confidence from!?”
“After losing so many times, my next round would be a victory, right?”
“That’s the way all those people who got destroyed by gambling think! P-Plus, that sword is very important to you, right? No matter how troubled by money you are, you never once tried to pawn it, so to wager it for a devil like me…”
I placed a hand on the head of the distraught Loli Succubus.
“You’ll be showing me erotic dreams in the future, aren’t you?”
“Dust-san… I’m really disappointed. Seriously, you have no idea what women want at all. You should be saying something much more touching here. I’ll give you another chance, so do it again!”
“Oh shut up. The great me is saving your ass, so just keep quiet and be grateful. Just make sure to tell the other succubi in the shop about how cool I am here.”
I gently patted the complaining Loli Succubus on the head.
“Do you remember, Dust-san? Thinking that girls enjoy getting patted on the head is the fantasy of a virgin, you know?”
“Yeah, of course I do. You were the one who told me that.”
I did it precisely because Loli Succubus told me that before.
Perhaps it’s just my imagination, but she certainly seems quite happy about it to me.
“So you’re fine with that, right? Let’s get more spectators before we get started. I can’t bring myself to get motivated without a crowd of onlookers.”
Prince Levi snapped his fingers, and from behind him appeared Lynn, Taylor, and Keith.
“What are they doing here?”
“After you went missing, they came to the castle and police station multiple times. It would’ve been troublesome if they realized that I had you in my custody and met up with the Axis cultists, so I had them confined to the rooms. There’s no need to add more fuel to the fire.”
So this is what Loli Succubus was struggling to say back when I asked her about my companions.
I thought that they would’ve gone back together with Kazuma and his party, but to think they’ve been under house arrest all this time.
“Hey, Dust, what’s going on here!? Who’s the kid? And what’s with all these soldiers!”
“We went looking all over the place after you vanished, but we ended up locked up in the inn and dragged all the way here on top of that! You better give me an explanation!”
“Say, what did you do this time? And why Lolisa dressed like a priest over there? I won’t get angry, so tell me the truth.”
My companions were really striking up a fuss behind me. It’s quite annoying.
I just brushed over Loli Succubus’s situation, and gave them a brief explanation regarding my imprisonment and explained away Prince Levi as a major noble of this country and Alice’s fiance. They seemed to be satisfied with that.
“So that means it’s all your fault, right? Sneaking out to a casino without telling is is your fault, and so is rampaging and getting caught. So isn’t it weird for us to be placed under house arrest too!?”
“Companions are meant to help each other, right? They talk about all for one and one for all in a team. I was stuck in a cell, while you guys were stuck in an inn. Even if we are in different places, we’ll always be together.”
I let out a little laugh.
And my companions reacted with their fists.
“Hey, cut it out! Ow! Learn to hold back a little!”
I dived under the table to get away from the barrage of fists thrown my way.
Those guys were really going at it…
The only one who didn’t join in, Loli Succubus, was standing on the floor, constantly gazing between me and my companions and at a complete loss for what to do.
“I don’t really know what Alice’s fiance is doing here, but, we don’t really care about this guy, so just let us go.”
“Dust, we weren’t able to complete the request because of you. There’s no way you’ll be able to cover the fees this time. You can slice him up or boil him alive or do whatever you want with him.”
“And to think I actually was worried over you. Just go spend a year locked up.”
Is there no one who even cared about my well being?
True, going on a rampage was my fault, and so was getting caught, and breaking out, but… wait. Don’t tell me, Loli Succubus’s current situation is also my fault?
“Incidentally, the reason I’m here is because this man damaged the casino that is run by my family.”
It seems like Prince Levi has decided that it wouldn’t be advantageous to him to reveal his identity and played along with my story.
“Huh? Don’t get the wrong idea. I’ll have a game with this guy to secure Lolisa’s freedom, but you guys are just spectators, so it doesn’t matter to you if I win or lose. Right, young master?”
“Indeed. It seems I wasn’t thorough in explaining things, but the only one who will be released if I lose this game is that… Lolisa, was it? Only that girl will be released.”
As expected of a prince, Levi is really good at reading the atmosphere and quick on the uptake.
“Eh, wait a minute, I never heard anything about this. Properly explain this!”
“I don’t care about Dust, but it’s a different story if we are talking about Lolisa.”
“Yeah. Though Dust can go hang for all I care.”
What’s with this difference in our treatments?
My companions completely ignored me and crowded around Loli Succubus with concern written on their faces.
“You really have no friends, do you…?”
“Don’t look at me like that, it’s embarrassing.”
Prince Levi was looking at me with a pitying gaze.
“U-Um, well, see…”
Loli Succubus repeatedly casted pleading glances at me. She’s still as weak under pressure as ever.
I guess I’ll just have to make something up to satisfy these bunch.
“Sigh, fine. I’ll just lay it out. Come here for a bit. Sorry, young master, please hold on for a while.”
I lead Loli Succubus and my companions over by one of the pillars.
I lowered my voice to prevent others from overhearing, and gave them the story that I worked out over in my head.
“The truth is, there’s a noble who has his eyes on her. In order to make her his possession, he tricked her into playing a few games and landed her into a ton of debt. I coincidentally ran across them when he was bullying Loli Succubus after she was unable to return the money, and I punched him in anger, which landed me in jail.”
“…Didn’t someone say you lost a game and ended up rampaging over it just now?”
“That’s, well, you know, we can’t just say that Lolisa ended up in debt because of gambling, right?”
“Er, ah, yes. I didn’t want you to learn about something so embarrassing, so I begged Dust-san to keep it a secret.”
Loli Succubus managed to catch where I’m going with this and started playing along. It ain’t too bad for something I cooked up on short notice, if I say so myself.
“So, about the person I punched… well, it’s really more of a light tap, but that person is… that kid over there.”
Not just my companions, even Loli Succubus was taken aback by that. Hey, come on, don’t waver now.
“This is just between us, but that brat got rejected by Alice. In place of her, he set his eyes on Lolisa who was about the same height and seemed easy to pick on. After binding her with debt, he was going to use her as a substitute for Alice and toy with her. Isn’t that right, Lolisa?”
“Y-Yes, that’s exactly it. He was saying ‘You are Alice’s replacement! Now, crawl up on stage and lick my boots while saying ‘I’m Alice, my fiancée is the best in the world” when Dust-san got involved.”
Heh, that wasn’t half bad. She’s pretty good at thinking on her feet at times.
“What a pervert! Taking advantage of your weakness to do something like that, as a fellow woman, there’s no way I can forgive him!”
“What a spoiled brat! Even I haven’t managed to do that sort of play!”
“Forcing a girl to do such a thing… Even if he’s a child, that’s over the line.”
My companions glared in Prince Levi’s direction after hearing that story.
…I get the feeling that I might have overdid it a little, but I’m really glad that my companions are so easily fooled.
We returned to our original spots, though this time, my companions were giving Prince Levi a glare of death.
“Say, why are those three glaring at me like that?”
“Sounds like what they ate this morning didn’t agree with them. They are having stomach aches right now.”
“…Oh fine. Let’s start the game, shall we?”
“I’m fine with it. Though, just to confirm one last time. If I win this game, you’ll release Lolisa. If you win, Lolisa becomes your sex slave. You’re fine with thar, right?”
“Wait, what were you saying?”
“Of course not!” x3
Levi’s surprised voice was drowned up by the angry sounding chorus that my companions raised.
My three companions rushed over to me.
“Stop interfering. You three just stay quiet and leave it to me.”
“No way!” x3
They are in perfect lockstep only in times like this.
“Aren’t you really weak when it comes to gambling!? I’ve never once seen you win! I don’t really care what happens to you, but Lolisa is on the line here!”
The other two nodded in agreement with Lynn’s words.
“Even I am a man who get things done when everything is on the line. Just leave it in my hands, I’ll steer us to safety.”
“When have you ever steered us to safety!?”
“Indeed, nothing good ever comes when you are at the helm!”
“If I’m ever in a boat where you are the captain, I’d probably be safer just jumping out and swimming!”
[The original line here is 大船に乗ったつもりで, which is a Japanese turn of phrase that means “having a stern foundation/ leave it to me”, but literally means “boarding a large boat”, which is then followed by them complaining what a shit boat Dust is. This is naturally untranslatable, so I’ve had to take some liberties.]
I tried to persuade my companions who raised all kinds of objections, but they didn’t seem to be of a mind to listen at all. At this rate, we won’t even be able start the game.
“It seems like the terms of this game have been altered somewhat, but nevermind. Anyway, it doesn’t look like your companions trust in your skills very much… Say, what about this? You and your companions can face me one at a time. If any of them win, I’ll release the girl. I’ll also pay a small compensation fee for all the troubles to the one who wins.”
Perhaps he’s tired of seeing us squabble, but Levi proposed a really ridiculous deal.
“Hey, hey, are you serious? There’s four of us here, you know? You need to win four games in a row, you know?”
“Of course. I have no intentions of losing in a gambling match. No matter what tricks you use, I will not go back on my word!”
Levi proudly declared.
People who act this confident usually have some kind weakness to exploit, but he doesn’t give off that impression. He’s just a kid, but I can feel a strong determination in his eyes. Was it just my imagination?
Just as I was thinking that, Loli Succubus scooted closer to me and whispered in my ear.
“I heard about this in the casino, but apparently, Prince Levi lost consecutively to Kazuma-san. Ever since then, he frequently shows up in the casinos to play games, and he’s never lost since.”
I see. So that’s why he’s so confident.
After losing to Kazuma, he’s rethought his approach, and has refined his skills at gambling, huh?
“So, what will you do? I don’t really mind what your companions offer as a wager… The sword that you are offering is just that valuable.”
That last bit was said in a whisper just loud enough for me to make out.
And here I thought that he was offering us such an advantageous deal. So that is what he’s after.
My companions, a little suspicious over this deal that seems too good to be true, huddled around to discuss amongst themselves.
“I offered this deal as a concession, so is there really a need to mull over it this much? …Good grief, I’ve heard that adventurers are a fearless bunch, but to think that they would be such cowards as to hesitate on such a low risk adventure.”
Prince Levi crossed his arms and said smugly.
He’s pretty good with his taunts.
“Heh, even if it’s a noble, if he’s willing to go that far, there’s no way I can back out now.”
“I don’t normally gamble, but I think I’ll make an exception for today.”
“I’m not like Dust, my rate of victory isn’t half bad. I’ll make you cry uncle today.”
My companions aren’t people who would back down after being taunted like that.
Well, as long as it increases my chances of victory, I’ll greatly welcome it.
I angrily raised my voice.
Sitting right in front of me are Keith and Taylor, dressed in nothing but a single set of underwear.
It’s fine to be enthusiastic about it, but the two of them were almost instantly taken out and lost everything they were wearing.
“Weren’t you saying something like ‘Hmph, there’s no need for Dust to show his hand here’ and ‘This will all come to an end at my hands’ just now? Why do you have nothing but your underwear now?”
“T-There’s no way I could’ve expected that I wouldn’t win a single round…”
“I almost never gamble, so I’m not great at it…”
The two of them lost completely without even seeming to turn the tables even once.
It’s partly because they are weak, but it’s mostly because Prince Levi’s skill as a gambler is top notch.
…No, it’s not just skill.
It was Levi’s complete victory. He always drew the best hand when playing cards, and the ball would fall in the most unlikely spot one hundred percent of the time.
This is not at the level of just luck. This guy is definitely cheating somehow. He’s working with the dealer, and on top of that, there’s definitely something up with the deck of cards.
There’s probably some kind of faint marking or design on the back of the cards that allowed him to tell what the value is without flipping it over.
I bought some similar items in order to beat Kazuma at his game, so I’m very familiar with them.
It’s impossible to see through exactly what method he’s using now. The cards have already been taken away.
Still, if my predictions are right, Prince Levi will be able to win as many times as he likes.
…To play dirty with me, you have some guts, don’t you?
“You guys just sit here and reflect. Leave the rest to me.”
The two of them stared at me with gaping mouths. It seems like they were taken aback by my uncharacteristically dependable words.
“There isn’t a person in this world less reliable than you! You’re the worst at gambling out of all of us.”
“If I have to rely on you, I’d rather join the Axis Cult and pray to their God for help!”
“You two sure love to yap. Maybe you should put all that energy into winning a few games instead!”
“What did you say!?”
I took up a guarded stance as Keith started coming to blows with me. Taylor too is also slowly closing the distance between us.
“Hey, don’t you guys ignore me! The game is not over yet!”
Levi shouted something towards us as the three of us turned our attentions away from the game to scuffle amongst ourselves.
Oh yeah, there’s still my match to go, and Lynn is currently in the middle of hers.
I stopped squabbling with Keith and turned back towards the table, but neither Lynn nor Loli Succubus could be seen.
“Hey, what happened to those two?”
“They lost instantly, so they are now in the dressing room.”
“Dressing room? Hey, wait, what did she bet?”
I have a bad feeling about this. Levi didn’t answer, instead merely looking down and fidgeting.
Keith and Taylor lost everything but their underwear, so…
“She didn’t bet to strip naked and serve you, did she?! You really are a pervert!
“Seriously!? Hey, Dust, Taylor, you won’t mind if I go over to their side, do you?”
“Stop messing around.”
Taylor smacked Keith on the head when he said such a thing with a straight face.
Seems like it hurt quite a bit, if the way he’s rolling around on the floor is any indication.
That was close. There was a moment there where the exact same thought went through my head.
“Don’t say stupid things! I-I still think it’s a little too early for me to be doing such things… Plus, the person in question…”
He’s surprisingly innocent, this kid.
“W-Wait, you’re kidding right!?”
“It’s fine, your important bits are properly covered.”
“It’s only just barely! How are you okay with this, Lolisa!?”
“I’m used to it.”
From the other side of the door, the panicked voice of Lynn and the strangely calm voice of Loli Succubus could be heard.
The door soon opened, and Loli Succubus confidently strode out of it, followed by a Lynn that’s desperately trying to hide her body behind Loli Succubus.
The two of them were wearing clothes that could barely be called such, only barely covering their important bits.
Keith and Prince Levi’s entourage let out an enthusiastic cheer.
Prince Levi and Taylor immediately turned away and tried their best not to look. Keith and I of course took this chance to look all we wanted.
“You know, there’s really nothing new in seeing Lolisa in such an outfit.”
“We are dressed in such embarrassing outfits, so at least try and be happy about it.”
She’s pretending to be shy, but there isn’t much difference between her clothes and the ones she wears in the shop, so it didn’t do much for me.
“Lynn, you should learn from Lolisa a little and come out.”
“N-No way! I’d rather die right now!”
Lynn’s face was completely red when she poked out from behind Loli Succubus.
It’s nice to see women confidently strutting their stuff, but I suppose this isn’t too bad either.
“I’m a little embarrassed too. It’s different from my usual outfit.”
She might say that, but she seems really happy to be able to get out from that priest’s outfit.
“That’s three victories. The only one left is you.”
“I’ve grown tired of waiting. It’s time for the main event.”
I got up to the seat, and Lynn and Loli Succubus moved to stand behind me.
Is Lynn planning on using me to cover herself up even more?
I moved to look behind me, but a pair of arms grabbed me by the head and forced me to look forwards.
“Gwah, my neck! It hurts! What’s the big deal, it’s not like you’d lose a pound of flesh or anything.”
“No way! The next time you turn around, I’m going to gouge out your eyes!”
“That’s scary. Even if it’s to cover up your embarrassment, there are better ways to go about doing it… Still, how did you end up wearing that anyway?”
“Umm, you see, Lynn-san said ‘Why don’t make the loser wear an embarrassing outfit!’ in a pique, and I got wrapped up in it…”
“I couldn’t help it! Lolisa went through so much because of him, so it’s only fair to make him go through a similar experience!”
Seriously, she’s always lecturing me about not acting rashly, but when it comes down to it, she’s the one who ended up like this.
After losing to a kid and wearing such an embarrassing outfit, it feels like Lynn might faint out of embarrassment at any time.
I don’t really mind looking at Lynn dressed like this, but thinking of the other people who are also observing her ticks me off somehow. I should get this over with quickly so she can change out of it.
I took off my jacket and offered it to Lynn, before turning towards Prince Levi.
“Sorry for making you wait. Let’s start the true match.”
“It’s not much fun playing against them when I win so quickly. I hope you’ll be able to entertain me.”
Prince Levi is really putting on airs after winning three times in a row. Well, it’s only natural to win when you’re cheating.
Unlike my usual games, there’s no way I can afford to lose this match.
“If only Vanir-sama was here, he could use his future sight to ensure a victory…”
I’m of the same mind as Loli Succubus.
If I got Sir Vanir to divine a path to victory for me, even if my luck is bad, I’d still be able to draw the winning card every time.
“Still, I’ve heard that Sir’s powers of foresight will lead to no good end if used to satisfy his own desires. He told me when I suggested that he would be better off using his powers to win games of luck and chance.”
I thought that he would be able to win every time if he can see the future, but it seems like the world isn’t this easy to cheat.
Still, if I had access to Sir Vanir’s powers in this situation… Wait a minute.
“Come to think of it, Sir told me something when he was divining my fortune a week back. I get the feeling that it’s important…”
“Have you still not decided yet?”
Prince Levi said with an annoyed voice.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time chatting with Loli Succubus, after all.
“…Say, why don’t we settle this with a card game?”
“Do tell me more details.”
“Let’s keep the rules nice and simple. We’ll put the the cards numbering one through to thirteen on the table, and each of us will draw one card. The one who drew the highest value card wins. However, an ace will beat, and only beat, a king. What do you think? Even a dummy can understand these rules, right?”
I grabbed the deck of cards next to me, shuffled them, and placed thirteen cards on the table.
After listening to my explanation, Prince Levi crossed his arms and looked intensely at the cards.
“How many rounds are we going for?”
“Let’s do it like men. We’ll have one round that decides everything.”
“Very well. All I have to do is draw a single card, yes?”
He seemed like he was seriously mulling it over, but he instantly drew one without hesitation.
That means it’s my turn, then.
I glanced at Loli Succubus standing behind me.
She had her eyes closed, her hands clasped, and seemed to be fervently praying. I’m a little curious as to what exactly a devil prays to.
If it would really help me win, I would probably pray to the goddess Aqua-sama that the Axis Cultist are so devoted to, but it probably wouldn’t work. In the first place, praying to the goddess of luck, Eris, would be more fitting.
“I actually met her in person, so maybe it might actually work… Nah, forget it.”
I have an almost fatal lack of luck.
Thus, it’s frustrating, but I’m pretty hopeless when it comes to gambling.
It’s way too late for me to turn to the gods for help, so that’s why…
“I choose this card!”
The only way I can achieve victory is through skill!
“I’ll reveal my card first. You are fine with that, I presume?”
“Go right ahead. I’ll let you make the first move.”
The number on the card that Prince Levi flipped over is — a king.
Seeing the card in his hand, Prince Levi put on an arrogant smile, completely certain in his victory.
Now I know that he’s been cheating.
“H-Hey, Dust, isn’t this bad!?”
“Don’t panic, Keith. Learn from Taylor and just calmly sit there.”
Taylor was seated cross legged on the floor, silently observing the events without uttering a single word.
“B-But, the card he drew is the strongest card, a king! The only way you can beat him is if you drew an ace out of these twelve cards! Do you know what probability is!? It’s a one in twelve chance, you know!”
“You don’t have any luck in the first place! Do you really think you can win!?”
Keith and Lynn crowded me on both sides and started yammering away at me.
As for the other two, Taylor was silently praying, while Loli Succubus was looking up towards the ceiling with her eyes tightly closed.
These guys… They don’t have even the slightest bit of confidence in me.
I ignored the noise that my companions were making, crossed my arms, stared at the table, and imagined what is going to happen next.
Pulling a surprise victory in such a situation. Only someone who can pull that off can be considered a true gambler.
After taking a deep breath to calm my nerves, I raised my head and met the eyes of the brat opposite me. He had a confident smile on his face.
It’d be fun to watch that face break out into tears.
“What’s wrong? Are you getting cold feet now? If your prostrate yourself before me and accept my request, I wouldn’t mind reconsidering our terms.”
“Come now, as if I could do something that pathetic–”
“Hey, hurry up and prostrate yourself! Put your forehead all the way to the ground! It’s a cheap price to pay for Lolisa, isn’t it!?”
“I’m so sorry for the troubles our resident idiot has caused for you. Hurry up and lick the young master’s boots clean!”
“You idiots, don’t get in my way!”
Lynn and Keith grabbed me by the back of the head and tried to forcefully push me down.
After managing to shake them off, one the prince’s bodyguards grabbed Keith for obstructing the game and dragged him over to where Taylor is.
“Hey, what are you doing!? Let me go… No, I mean, I’m a pacifist.”
Keith considered fighting back for a moment, but one look at the size of the bodyguard’s fist seems to be enough to dissuade him from doing so, and he quickly fell silent.
“He has the strongest card, doesn’t he!? That means there’s no chance of winning! Our loss is almost assured!”
And the person at stake, Loli Succubus, grabbed onto my neck and started shaking me with teary eyes.
“Are you trying to kill me!? Our defeat isn’t set in stone just yet!”
“But, but, he has a king! There’s no way you can beat him!”
“Didn’t you hear the rules? A king might be the strongest card, but there’s one card that can beat it!”
Her crying expression was replaced with a dazed expression upon hearing my words.
“Of course I know! The only one that can beat it is the weakest card, an ace… Ah, the weakest!”
Seemingly recalling the fortune that Sir gave to me before we left, Loli Succubus’s eyes widened to to the largest I’ve seen them.
“I’m not blessed by the goddess of fortune, but in place of that, I have the backing of a great devil behind me!”
The card that I confidently turned over is – the weakest card, an ace.
“W-What!? How could you pull out an ace here!?”
Prince Levi, who was so confident in his victory earlier, leapt to his feet, his king falling from his grasp.
I knew that I would be victorious from the moment that he drew a King. After all, the result of this match has already been decided.
After all, Sir Vanir’s fortunes are never mistaken.
“Indeed, you seem to be blessed with the fate of drawing the weakest possible card during your most important game!”
The moment I remembered those words, I came up with a way to ensure a victory in this match.
After all, I’m fated to draw the weakest card in this game. And, I’ve learnt from the previous games that Prince Levi will always draw the strongest possible hand and instantly defeat his opponent.
With that in mind, all I had to do was to include a rule where the weakest card can defeat the strongest.
Thanks for the help, Sir Vanir!
I thrust my fist into the air and looked back… and my companions were happily jumping towards me.
“You really pulled through!”
“You looked really cool at the end, you know!?”
“You did it! You did it, Dust!”
“Kyaa! That was amazing! You are amazing, Dust-san!”
An overjoyed Loli Succubus wrapped her arms around my neck.
She was wearing almost nothing, so even her pitiful body felt really soft when she’s hugging me this closely.
“If only there was a little more flesh there…”
“Did you say something?”
“No, nothing at all.”
Her smile kinda scares me, so I think I’ll just leave it there.
“I lost again. I pulled out all the stops and dirty tricks I had, and still lost to Kazuma-dono’s friends… Maybe I’ll just ban gambling in this country.”
Having lost every shred of his confidence, Prince Levi collapsed against the table, completely motionless while muttering something to himself.
“This kinda makes me feel like I’m picking on a kid. Well, you know, gambling is a matter of luck. You shouldn’t get so depressed over it.”
Seeing Prince Levi like this was just too pitiful, so I couldn’t help but offer some words of encouragement.
Come to think of it, he got completely beaten by Kazuma to, didn’t he?
Feeling sorry for him, I placed a shoulder on Loli Succubus’s shoulders and took her a short distance away from my companions.
“Hey, go cheer him up. I’ll teach you a magic phrase that will instantly revitalize any down-in-the-dumps man who hears it.”
When I whispered those words into Loli Succubus’s ear, the attitude of admiration that she had towards me disappeared completely.
She gave me an exasperated look.
“I’m a succubus too, so that’s child’s play for me, but, oh well, I show you what I can do.”
After flashing me a confident smile, she wandered over to Prince Levi.
“Young master, young master.”
“What do you want? You are already free to go anywhere you want. I intended to release you no matter if I win or lose, but to think it ended up like this… Maybe I’m just a loser after all.”
Towards the listless Levi, Loli Sucucbus struck a pose that emphasized her breasts.
“Are you alright? Please cheer up? Would you like to touch my breasts?”
Breasts are the perfect remedy for depression!
Such a technique would be especially effective against a brat that’s in the midst of puberty.
“…But there’s nothing to touch is there?”
“H-Hey, you shouldn’t say that!”
Hearing such cruel words brought the tears back to Loli Succubus’s eyes once again, and I hurried to restrain her before she could punch him.
“Cut it out! If you hit him, things will just get complicated again!”
“Even a kid made fun of me! Waaaaaaah!”
With a crying and struggling Loli Succubus in tow, we left the building.
“Still, that was a really amazing reversal you pulled back there! Though I still don’t get how you won. But who cares about that, right!? Gyahahaha!”
Keith, in a good mood, happily said as he raised a mug full of beer.
We too raised our mugs to celebrate our victory.
Right now, we are having a small drinking party at a bar in Elroad.
We received quite a bit of money as compensation for what happened, more than enough to make up for having failed the quest.
Thanks to that money, I am able to enjoy our last night in Elroad together with my companions.
“I still don’t believe how someone as unlucky as you actually managed to win.”
“I have the luck of a devil, after all!”
The truth is that it’s only because of Sir Vanir’s fortune, but there’s no need to tell them that.
“Basically, I won thanks to my genius level intellect!”
“Yes, yes, you just happened to win back then.”
“I’ll praise you just this once. You did pretty well, even if it’s you.”
“Yeah, the way you won was really impressive.”
I’m surrounded by nothing but dishonest companions, but just for today, I think I’ll let it slide. This has been the best day of my life, after all!
After that, we drank right into the middle of the night, and my companions retired one by one.
I went out of the bar to sober myself up a little.
“Oh, it’s a full moon tonight.”
The moon shone brightly in the sky, and the night wind felt great on my flushed skin.
“The moon is really pretty tonight, isn’t it?”
“What are you doing?”
I turned around and spotted Loli Succubus looking down at me while sitting on the roof of the building.
My heart skipped a beat upon seeing her tonight. She had a certain bewitching feel that was a far cry from how she usually carried herself in the store.
“Dust-san, did you know? Succubi get their spirits raised during the full moon, so we are much more excitable on those nights.”
She leapt off the roof with a flip and landed in front of me.
Then, she placed a finger on my chest and started tracing circles on it.
“Why did you wager your precious sword for me? Don’t tell me… you value me… more than the sword…”
The full moon was reflected in Loli Succubus’s damp eyes when she stared up at me.
I gently placed a hand on her back and stepped to the side.
Just in time to avoid the stream that came out of her mouth.
“You pushed yourself too far. If you do any acrobatics after having drank that much, this is just the natural result.
After gently patting her on the back to get it all out, I turned around, briefly considering piggybacking her to her room, but I reconsidered.
Instead, I placed my arms beneath her knees and her back and lifted her up.
I failed the quest to watch over a princess, but I can at least treat you like a princess in her place. At least for tonight.
It’s finally, finally, finally the release of the fourth volume!
I really get more and more attached to Dust as a character the more I write about him. It’s really fun as a writer to have a character who’s allowed to do scummy things, so I have him do something crazy every time.
In the third volume, Dust got involved with Iris, but what if in the fourth volume, Dust was keeping watch over Kazuma and his party as they visited Elroad? If we do that, we could have a third party observe just how carefree their actions are in the main story.
Apart from that, I also planned on giving Keith and Taylor some more time in the spotlight, since they have had relatively few appearances despite being part of Dust’s party. So please look forward to seeing their achievements(?)
Speaking of the spotlight, there’s also some time given to what might possibly be the number one pervert in Konosuba. I originally planned to have him appear in Volume 2, but I thought that he might end up overshadowing Dust and his party entirely if he were to appear alongside the Axis Cultists, so I didn’t go with that.
Thus, I had him go a little bit wild in this volume. I quite like this character, so it made me really happy to finally be able to include him in the story.
Oh, and we can’t forget Loli Succubus AKA Lolisa in this volume. She plays off really easily with Dust, so she’s one of my favourite characters.
Right, let’s leave talking about the contents of Volume four here and talk about something else. I was able to attend the recording session for the Drama CD!
Ah~ I was totally blown away by the performances of the Seiyuu, and was completely overwhelmed from start to finish.
Dust was completely Dust, Lynn was so very Lynn it even surprised me, Loli Succubus is the same lovable Loli Sucucbus, Taylor is the same hardheaded Taylor, and Keith is the same flippant Keith (Forgive my inadequate vocabulary.)
I was so nervous that I don’t remember much of anything I said, but it was a very precious experience.
I’m extremely thankful to Akatsuki Natsume-sensei for allowing me a free hand to write what I wish in every volume. This came into my mind when I was writing, but Elroad seems really likely to collapse now that Ragcraft is gone… Do your best, Prince Levi!
Mishima Kurone-sensei, the illustration of Yunyun in Volume 14 of Konosuba is the best! Kazuma and the main cast are amazing, of course, but seeing pictures of Yunyun who appears quite a bit in this spinoff makes me happy.
I enjoy looking forward to seeing Yuuki Hagure-sensei’s erotic and cute illustrations every time. Large breasts are nice, but I think that modest chests like the ones Loli Succubus has are pretty amazing too. (*Cough* One of us *Cough*)
Being able to browse through Mishima Kurone-sensei’s new book and being able to see the illustrations that Yuuki Hagure’s draws makes me feel really happy.
Everyone in the Sneaker bunko editorial department, Mr M who helped me out a lot to this time, and the various people who helped in getting this book to the shelves. And everyone who help blow life into the characters in the Drama CD. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And thanks to everyone who picked up this book!
And that concludes Dust Volume 4. There were some low points in the middle, but I think it ended up in a pretty good spot. I do wish Hirukuma would stop writing chapters that merely serve as a bridge between two interesting points, but, oh well.
Anyway, as usual, I’ll be taking a break to work on the next volume, which would be Continued Explosions 2: Selfish Busters, during which time I’ll be releasing the short stories from this volume to fill the air. I can’t promise a solid release date, as unlike the previous times, I’ve yet to make any serious progress on the next volume (I’m literally typing this less than 2 days before it goes live), but I’m aiming for a release around the beginning of May, which I should hopefully be able to meet assuming nothing goes wrong. As usual, Patreons will be able to get access to them a week earlier.
Now, then, till we meet again!
Short story 2