Lightning over Alcanretia (Part 1)
[Thanks to Kasen for providing the coloured pictures]
The balcony of the most exquisite mansion in Axel.
At this place that overlooked the main street of the city, a beautiful blonde haired lady lounged lazily on a couch and said.
“It must really be hard to be a commoner… having to work hard from dawn till dusk…”
“Indeed, my lady!”
A blonde haired young girl dressed in a maid’s uniform enthusiastically agreed.
The blonde lady picked up a newspaper from the table.
“… Fufu, to think that he used to have trouble fighting against goblins, but now he’s put his face on the front page. He sure has grown a lot…”
“Indeed, my lady!”
After giving the paper a glance over, she threw it back onto the table and picked up a glass.
She brought it close to her nose, taking a moment to enjoy the smell of the expensive looking wine inside it.
And, as the maid besides her fanned her with a large ornamental fan, she took a sip from the glass.
“Are you alright, my lady!?”
Perhaps it’s because she’s not used to drinking wine, the lady broke into a coughing fit.
“Onee-san, what kind of game are you playing?”
“Ah, Megumin-san! Hey, you want to try putting on a maid uniform too? It’ll definitely look really well on you.”
The lady with the wine glass in hand is a priest of the Axis Cult, Cecily.
“Good morning, Boss! Lady Cecily said she wanted to pretend to be a rich lady, so she asked me to act as a maid…”
The maid next to her, who is still fanning Cecily, is Iris.
Seeing this reminded me of the time the NEETs back home started acting as though they were celebrities.
I wonder if there’s something wrong with the company I keep.
“… Onee-sama, if someone important were to see her dressed like that right now, your head will physically roll.”
“Authority is meaningless to us Axis Cultists. Still, Alice-chan, keep this a secret between us, alright?”
“Indeed, my lady!”
It seems like waiting on someone else is quite an enjoyable change of pace for Iris, who has been waited upon all her life.
“Actually, what are you doing here? Onee-san, you’re in charge of the Axel branch of the Axis Cult, right? Do you really have that much free time?”
“What are you saying, Megumin-san. Of course there’s plenty of work for me to do. I’m just pushing them off to hang out with some pretty girls instead.”
“That just makes it worse!”
–Despite it being the rainy season, the weather has been clear these past few days.
Hopefully, this is the result of the quest we went on the other day. Did Barton-san manage to go on a memorable date with the girl he’s pining over, I wonder?
It would at least make it feel like all my hard work was worth something…
“Oh, yeah, Boss, it might be a little strange coming from me, but what are you doing here today? Are we heading out on another adventure?”
“Eh, well, it’s a rare clear day in this season, so I wanted to take on a quest together with Yunyun… but it’s one of those rare times when she isn’t in the guild, so I thought that she might be here… More importantly, what are you doing here, Alice? You might be able to get here by using the teleport shops, but how did you get out of the castle?”
“There’s a secret passage that only members of the royal family knows about-”
“Right, right, I get it. I get it, so please don’t say anything more! I feel like my head will roll if you say anything more!”
As I hastily covered Iris’s mouth, Cecily tilted her head and said.
“Castle and royal family piqued my interest, but for me personally, there’s something else that sounds far more interesting. You said you wanted to go on an adventure?”
“Yes. Does onee-san want to come along too?”
The only ones here right now is me, an Archwizard, and the all purpose offensive tool Iris.
If Cecily, a priest, were to join us, it’d make a pretty decent party, but…
“Er, Megumin-san, you see, onee-san has a request…”
“If you stop fidgeting around like that, I wouldn’t mind hearing you out.”
“– Are there any good quest available? Ones that can be done with just a vanguard and a support.”
“… Well… there is this one, but…”
“Megumin-san, please, don’t abandon your onee-chan!”
After making our way to the adventurer’s guild, Iris and I browsed around for any decent looking quests on offer.
“Alice, what about this one? It calls for the extermination of the Adamansnails that have dug into the fields. Adamansnails are resilient creatures capable of fending off most normal attacks, but that shouldn’t be a problem for us. Apart from their hard shells, they are slow and have low offensive power, so it should be a fairly easy job.”
“Y-Yes, but, umm, Boss…”
“Aaaaah! And here I lent you a little bit of my aid when you were gearing to fight that demon!”
Oh, and this is yet another decent quest.
“Excuse me, I would like to take on this quest to kill the blood stink flying squirrels. One of those things peed on me in the past, so I have a score to settle.”
“I-I understand. Then, I’ll leave this quest in your-”
“You heartless fiend!”
“You’ve been really annoying for a while now! People are watching, so please shut up!”
Cecily clung onto my waist and wailed, so in the end, I had no choice but to hear her out once more.
On the whole, what Cecily asked of me isn’t really that big of a deal.
However, there is one small problem–
“I want you to come with me to Alcanretia and blow up the mysterious slime.”
“… I would’ve agreed without a second thought if you weren’t asking me to go to Alcanretia.”
Indeed, the destination is the problem.
“Boss, what kind of place is Alcanretia?”
“It’s a den of weirdos.”
“How could you say that!? Even if it’s Megumin-san, I can’t let that slide!”
Cecily slammed her fist on the desk after hearing my brief explanation.
“Then, why don’t you explain what kind of city Alcanretia is in your own words?”
“Very well, then, allow this onee-san to teach you about some of the wonderful things that exist in this world, Alice-san.”
Why does she always have to be this grandiose?
“Alcanretia is the headquarters of the Axis Cult. The Axis Cult is a religious organization that worships the goddess Aqua-sama. It used to be known for it’s hot springs, but that is a thing of the past. Now, Alcanretia is a holy land where holy water flows freely from the ground! Truly a city blessed by the goddess!”
“A city where holy water flows freely? That sounds amazing! Then, the people who live there must be pure hearted too, right!?”
Iris’s said with sparkling eyes, and Cecily averted her gaze.
“Onee-san, please continue. See, Alice is eagerly waiting.”
“Y-Yeah, I get it. The holy water that flows from the springs is not only extremely effective when used on the undead, it will also raise the quality of weapons when it’s used as polish, and it will also ward off diseases when it’s used to cook food. It truly is a wonderful substance with all manner of uses! ”
“Such a wonderful substance just springs forth from the ground!? That will surely be a help to a lot of people! As expected of a city of priests. Someone less magnanimous would surely make use of that to earn themselves a fortune…”
Cecily seemed like she was about to say something, but quickly silenced herself.
Then she shot me a pleading gaze that just seemed to say “Please do something!”
“… As they say, seeing is believing. Now then, why don’t we personally go take a look at what kind of city Alcanretia really is?”
“I’ll look forward to it, Boss!”
“Ow ow ow, my stomach! It suddenly started hurting! This must be the counterattack of the tokoroten slime I ate yesterday! I’m sorry, you two, it doesn’t seem like we can do that today!”
Cecily suddenly clutched at her stomach and started rolling around on the floor in an obviously exaggerated manner.
“Please wait for a while. I’ll go home and fetch my Archpriest whose skill in curative magic is-”
“No, wait, anything but that!”
The next morning.
“Onee-san, I’m begging you, please don’t make a scene in the shop, okay?”
“Megumin-san, just what kind of person do you think I am? I’m still a priest, you know?”
After meeting up with Iris and Cecily early in the morning, I led the two of them over to Wiz’s magic item shop for the next leg of our journey.
Iris was enthusiastically looking this way and that as we made our way down the street. She must not have many opportunities to go shopping like this.
Come to think of it, I think recall Kazuma saying something about Aqua going wild and causing a big ruckus when he first brought her to this shop.
“Promise me, okay? That person is way out of your league, no matter what you do, there’s no way you can beat her. So please don’t drag me in, okay?”
“Megumin-san, seriously, just what kind of organization do you think the Axis Cult is? Apart from undead, devils, and heretics, there’s no one we can’t get along with.”
The entire problem stems from the store being manned by nothing but devils and undead.
Iris, listing to our exchange from the side, curiously asked me.
“Boss, what kind of place is this shop?”
“It’s a den of weirdos.”
“That is really strange coming from your mouth, the joke mage of a joke race.”
Suddenly, Vanir’s voice came from behind me.
“Fuhahaha! Welcome, joke mage and my former young master! … H-Hey, what is with you!? My mask is not a plaything!”
Cecily grabbed onto Vanir’s mask, and the two of them started struggling against each other.
Judging from Aqua’s daily behaviour, the priests of the Axis Cult seem to have the ability to detect undead and devils.
In other words, Cecily figured out what Vanir really is the moment she laid eyes on him.
She’s a bit of a failure as an adult, but however rotten she might be, she’s still a priest of the Axis Cult.
Her eyes aren’t just for show.
“A handsome guy! I can detect the scent of a hunk coming from behind that mask! Masked man, nice to meet you! My name is Cecily!”
“Moi name is Vanir, nice to meet you, and goodbye! Grah, I have no business with you! This is why Axis Cultists are…!!”
No, I take that back. Her eyes really are just for show after all.
After prying Cecily’s hand off him, Vanir took a moment to straighten his bearings.
And then, he turned towards Iris, whose eyes lit up upon seeing him, and broke into a perfect bow.
“It has been some time, the granddaughter of the chirimen store. It seems like you’ve gotten stronger since we last met. Even Moi finds it hard to see through you now.”
Saying that, he broke out into a smile…
“Please don’t hate Axis Cultist that much! Come on, please show me your face! Just a glimpse, just a very brief glimpse would do! I’ll just watch, I won’t do anything!”
“Sorry for interrupting while you’re busy, but is Wiz around? I would like to request something of her.”
“Grah, don’t just talk all at the same time, you annoying little girls!”
Iris immediately surged forward to hug Vanir, who has been getting quite worked up since we met him a short while ago.
“So Hachibei worked at this shop! Ahahaha, it’s been a long time, Hachibei! Hachibei!”
Seems like these two have met sometime in the past.
Iris looked up at Vanir with a smile while clinging onto his waist.
“It’s wonderful to see you well, granddaughter of a chirimen store… So, what brings you here today?”
“We want to head to Alcanretia today, so we are hoping we can make use of Wiz’s teleport. I think I recall her saying that she set that city as a teleport point after the last time she’s been there.”
Indeed, we aren’t here just to window shop.
If the princess were to go missing for several days while we made the journey to Alcanretia via carriage, it would definitely throw the capital into a panic.
Not that I have that kind of money in the first place…
“If you’re looking for the shopkeeper, she’s a charred husk in the back due to certain circumstances. She’ll come back to life in a short while, so you should go find somewhere to kill time while you wait.”
Seems like Wiz ordered something useless again.
Just then, I noticed that Cecily has been oddly quiet for the past few minutes.
Turning to look at her, she had both hands on her cheeks and was breathing heavily.
“He just called me a little girl. What should I do? I’m used to being treated as an onee-san, but this is a first for me. Even as experienced as I am, I’m still a little girl compared to Vanir-san…”
It seems like Cecily has become overjoyed over being called a little girl.
To a greater devil like Vanir, even a granny would be as young as a baby to him, but I think I’ll keep that to myself for now.
“W-Welcome back, Vanir-sama… Oh, we already have customers?”
The front door opened, and a giant stuffed penguin came out with a broom and dustpan in its flippers.
Seems like he came out to do some spring cleaning.
Upon seeing the cute looking former devil noble emerge from the store, Iris immediately threw herself onto him.
“Your highness!? What are you doing in such a place…?”
As a princess and one of the nobles who served the royal family, it’s a matter of course that they should know each other.
“Zereschrute-sama, right now, I’m but a simple daughter of a chirimen store that you can find anywhere! So, for now, please just address me as Alice!
“N-No, in the first place, what even is a chirimen store, and is it really that common…. In any case, as part of my station, I cannot simply refer to just anyone by name.”
“It’s Alice, Zereschrute-sama!”
Seemingly having taken a liking to the moniker of a daughter of a Chirimen store owner, Iris gazed up at Zereschrute with sparkling eyes.
If I recall, devils don’t refer to anyone by name unless they’ve acknowledged them.
“N-No, your highness, I…”
“It’s Alice! Oh, yeah, if I recall, Zereschrute-sama will only call people who are strong, or those who proved their skill in some way by their names. Fufu, I’m not the same girl that you played with all those years ago! Now, witness my growth with your own two-”
“Alice-sama, you’ve grown to become a very strong and beautiful lady! I, Zereschrute, is happy to see you grow this powerful!”
The penguin immediately conceded as Iris reached for her sword with a smile.
After getting involved with the various weirdos of this town, it seems like Zereschrute is finally running low on lives.
“So the Chirimen store’s daughter is familiar with Zereschrute. In any case, do come in. We are friends, after all, so Moi shall allow you to purchase my wondrous goods at a special discount!”
“Wow! Thank you very much, Hachibei! This is a magic item store, right? I wonder what items are available!”
Vanir, overjoyed with having some new customers, gracefully directed Iris to the door, and the chirimen store’s daughter didn’t suspect a single thing as she followed him into the store.
It would seem that this naive young lady still has need of an attendant.
“First off is this! A certain harem brat created this, the mysterious lifeform slinky spring-kun! It looks just like a giant spring at first glance, but behold! If you put it on top of a flight of stairs and give it a little push… It will jump down step by step like a giant caterpillar!”
“Amazing! I’ll buy it! How much is it!?”
“What are you even going to use that for!? You shouldn’t spend your money on frivolous things! The contents of your wallet is filled by the tax money of the people!”
Upon entering the store, Iris almost immediately gets suckered into purchasing some useless junk.
“Then, what about this!? The mysterious sandal that chirps whenever you take a step! Apparently, it’s a legendary item that is brought here from another world. It allows you to intimidate your enemies just by taking a step, and is a favoured relic of a certain famous warrior-”
“I’ll buy it! I’ll definitely buy it!”
“If you start making squeaking noises whenever you take a step next to me, I’ll pry it off your feet!”
Iris seems to be willing to buy just about anything that Vanir brings out before her, even if it’s completely useless.
“There’s a handsome man inside here, right!? I can tell, you know? It’s large enough for a man to hide within, after all!”
“N-No, that is a magic item… Ah-no, you cannot! Please stop trying to look inside of it!”
Cecily seems to be enjoying herself in a corner of the store with the penguin.
“No, I will not stop! Just what kind of shop is this place? First there’s the mysterious masked gentleman, and then someone in a cute looking penguin suit shows up! I can’t help but tease such a defenceless looking young man.”
“Like I said, there’s no one inside… Vanir-sama, this girl is really strange! Please send aid!”
Well, at the very least, this will keep her busy, so I decided to leave her be for now.
“This one is the perforated robe that the famous Crimson Demon, Emoguravin is said to have loved. It’s said to bring out the power of heroes within you upon wearing it.”
“The power of heroes…”
“If you go to the Crimson Demon Village, you can buy such items for chump change.”
“Stop getting in the way of my business, joke girl! Chirimen girl, this is a special item just for you. Simply twist it between your palms and it’ll fly, a magic item known as a bamboo dragonfly-”
“I already have one of those! It’s not a magic item, but a toy you can buy anywhere, right!? Hachibei is just saying the same things Onii-sama said to poke fun at me!”
And, just then.
The front door of the store flung open, and a familiar face emerged.
“Vanir-san, I did my best! Look at this! As you can see, it’s the shell of an adamansnail…M-Megumin!?”
The person was Yunyun, who carried a large number of shells in a basket strapped to her back.
To collect so many shells by this time, just how early did she set out to the fields?
“What have you been doing since morning?”
“Eeh!? I-I received a request from Vanir-san and have been collecting the shells of Adamansnails to be used in creating magic items since yesterday…”
So she’s been working at it overnight?
“You have worked hard, good friend of mine. Just leave the basket over there. Moi shall personally prepare some delicious tea as a reward for all your hard work.”
Despite being worn out, Yunyun’s face broke out into a wide smile the moment she heard the word friend.
“… You’re not working for free just because he’s calling you his friend, are you?”
“What are you saying? Do you take money from your friends in exchange for favours? Haggling over money is unbecoming of true friends. Is that not right, good friend of mine!?”
“Ehehehe… Yeah. You can’t buy friendship with money, after all.”
Seeing my self-proclaimed rival get easily bought out with a cup of tea makes my head hurt for some reason.
“You used to pay for your classmates food and offer me your packed lunches as tribute because of that very same line. Have you really not learnt anything…”
“The packed lunches weren’t tribute, I lost them to you!”
It was at this point that Yunyun started settling in and took a good look around the store.
“By the way, what are you doing here? Cecily-san and Alice-chan are here too…”
“We’re headed out on an expedition to another city.”
Hearing that, Yunyun carefully placed down the cup of tea on the table and stretched in an exaggerated manner.
“I-Is that so~ Say, may I ask what’s the quest you intend on accepting?”
“… It’s nothing major, just killing a mysterious slime that suddenly appeared-”
“Slime!? You’re talking about the same slimes that have squishy bodies that most warriors can’t even damage and resistant against most kind of spells, right!? And not knowing anything about the slime’s characteristics just makes it worse! Are you sure you’re okay taking on that quest!?”
Yunyun suddenly interrupted before I could fully explain the quest details.
“… I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. For starters, we have Alice here who is not exactly your average swordsman, and me who can use the strongest offensive spell known to mankind. A slow moving slime would just be a sitting duck.”
“Y-You can’t do that! As an adventurer, bad things will happen if you let your guard down like that! Plus, the composition of your party is…”
“Alice as the Vanguard, and me and Cecily as the backline. Yeah, it’d be nice to have another frontliner in the party.”
“… Y-Yeah! By the way, I’m a high level Crimson Demon, so I’m fairly tough, and I can fight on the front lines with this dagger!”
… … …
“Well, normally I would ask you to come along with us, but it seems like you’ve been up all night working on that quest Vanir gave you, so just rest for to-”
“I was thinking of going for a jog after this, actually! Hunting Adamansnails don’t actually provide me with much exercise, after all! … Come to think of it, Adamansnails are supposed to be resistant to magic and physical attacks like slimes are, but it sure was a breeze dealing with them…”
Hearing Yunyun come up with an excuse every time I said something, I lost my patience.
“You really are a troublesome girl, you know!? If you want to come with us, just say so! In the first place, I was looking for you ever since yesterday! What were you doing hunting Adamansnails throughout the night! You should’ve expended quite a bit of mana, so are you really okay!?”
“Of course I’m fine! I’ll just buy a few pieces of manatite! Vanir-san, please give me a few intermediate stones!”
“Thank you for your business!”
“I know I was the one who brought it up, but you really didn’t need to go that far! It wouldn’t take much time at all to deal with the slime!”
“Have you come to an agreement? I’m ready to go anytime you want.”
I thought she was being quiet, but Cecily must have being trying various ways to look into the box.
At the same time, a carefree voice came from the back of the store.
“… Oh? We have a lot of customers today, haven’t we!? P-Please hold on for a moment, I’ll go bring out the tea…”
“We are fine with tea, so please don’t push yourself! You’re looking kind of pale!”
Wiz, who seemed kinda fading around the edges, walked floatily into the store.
Seeing her, Cecily’s eyes suddenly widened as though she received some kind of shock.
“A-Ah… how could this be…”
I guess even Cecily would notice something is wrong upon seeing someone who seemed to be slowly vanishing.
Her body started trembling, and her gaze focused squarely on Wiz.
“Onee-san, please calm down. Please don’t cause a scene here. She might look like that, but…”
“Tsk, so this is what you meant when you said ‘That person is way out of your league, no matter what you do, there’s no way you can beat her.’ before we came to this store! Such beauty! Such huge tits! And her devotion to making tea! It seems like an illusion that might vanish at any moment…”
It is true that Wiz seems like she’s about to disappear, but it’s not because of that.
“I suppose it’s best to retreat for now… But, Vanir-san, we might have only known each other for a short time, but we are still friends who’ve shared close contact with each other, so I would like to ask for just one favour… ”
“It feels like it would only further damage my honour, but if you promise to leave afterwards, Moi supposes Moi can hear you out.”
Cecily traced a heart shape with her fingers onto Vanir’s chest and said.
“I would really like to see what you look like beneath that mask…”
“… … Sigh…”
With a deep sigh, Vanir motioned Cecily to follow him, and the two of them disappeared out the back of the store.
And shortly afterwards…
“Fwah-! Wait, hold on!? I thought I was attracted towards shotas and lolis, but this is really making me question my type! Ah, no wait, just a little while more!”
Eventually, Vanir made his way back into the store, followed by Cecily who was positively beaming.
And everyone who was in the store said at the same time.
“Can I also-” x5
“Cecily-onee-san, just what did Hachibei look like under that mask!? Please tell me about it!”
“His face was refined, like the perfect image of a gentleman! … Ah, no, come on, Cecily, get a hold of yourself! You like little girls, don’t you!? That’s right, I’m going to get married to a rich and handsome man and hire a lot of little girls to act as my servants! Don’t be led astray by his devilish charms!”
Cecily grabbed onto her head and started mumbling to herself. Just what is she fighting against?
“Well, leaving that aside…”
After finally having calmed herself down, Cecily looked at the rest of us with a smile.
“Welcome to the capital of water and holy springs, Alcanretia!”
— Afterwards, Vanir quickly got Wiz to agree to send us to Alcanretia, almost as if he’s chasing us away.
“Ehe, Ehehehe… I thought we might end up here. Someone like me being invited to go on a trip with everyone… But it’s better than spacing out alone like usual…. I never wanted to come back to this city again, but it might be fun with everyone here…”
“… Megumin-san, my heart is starting to hurt a little.”
“I didn’t tell her that we were going to Alcanretia, after all. Just so you know, the reason why the life suddenly left her eyes like that is all because of onee-san and her Axis cult.”
Ever since we arrived in the city, Yunyun have had a lifeless dead expression that’s halfway between a sob and a smile.
Next to her, Iris, who is visiting this city for the first time, glanced about every which way, taking in all the sights.
“What should I do, a beautiful girl’s crying face…! Crying…! Hey, Megumin-san, don’t you think a girl is beautiful even when she’s crying?”
“You aren’t apologetic at all! More importantly, don’t you think it’s time to tell us? Why did you take an interest in some strange slime all the way in a distant city?”
A request from Cecily to take out a slime.
She’s the person in charge of the Axel branch of the Axis Cult. She normally wouldn’t have had anything to do with a monster that appeared in Alcanretia.
“Say, Megumin-san, we’ve known each other for quite a while, right? Our bond is like a parent and child, right? So… Please don’t get angry when you hear it.”
“All I can say is that I’ll be even angrier if you don’t tell me the truth.”
Cecily stiffened up under my stern gaze.
“… Megumin-san, you’re a Crimson Demon, so you’re really smart, right? So I’ll start with giving you a hint, okay?”
“No, I don’t really care for playing some strange quiz, so just tell me why you want to kill that slime…”
Cecily raised a finger in response.
“Slimes are mysterious monsters. Nobody even really knows how they come about. However, this is the holy headquarters of the Axis Cult. Even though it’s a holy land, and overflowing with holy water on top of that, a monster still appeared here. This is a grave matter.”
“I understand that it’s a grave matter, but what does that have to do with you?”
Cecily clasped her hands in front of her chest like she was about to say a prayer.
“This is just something I’m saying to myself, alright?”
… I have a really bad feeling about this.
“Do you remember that time when I had a large amount tokoroten slime go missing from the freezer along with vegetables from the field? Indeed, the slime that I bought can revive itself even after it has been reduced to powder.”
“That did happen, but… what does that…”
Have to do with this situation.
… The answer came to me before I could complete my sentence.
“That’s not it!”
Cecily hastily denied before I even said anything.
“There was an incident in this town where Tokoroten slime instead of water came sprouting out of the springs, right?”
“Yes, a sabotage attempt by the Demon King’s army. That really was a headache… and for some reason, the tokoroten slime that I so treasured was stolen by someone…”
“That incident, and this current incident all happened because of you-”
“Don’t say anything more! That is all speculation! It could very well all be just one big coincidence! As for the previous incident, there’s no doubt that the Demon King’s army stole my precious tokoroten slime! But in this case, it might very well be the result of some of the slime I left away for later coming back to life, escaping, and somehow evolving into this mysterious slime. Or it could be something else entirely. The only thing I can say is…!”
A gracious smile appeared on Cecily’s face.
“The people of Alcanretia are troubled by the appearance of this new slime. Is it really so wrong for me to lend them a helping hand?”
“If you don’t tell me the truth, I’m going back home”
After a short period of silence.
“Yeah, it’d be really problematic for me if it becomes known that I had something to do with it, so I want to get rid of the evidence before that happens! Ah! Ah! Megumin-san! Please, don’t abandon your onee-san!”
A voice came from the other side of the door.
“I’m heading over to the Eris Church to complain! Don’t you think it’s bad to make their goddess look that sexy!? Anyone who wants to come with me, raise your hand!”
“I’ll go with you!”
Hearing this retarded conversation made me hesitate to open the door.
“Go right ahead. The Eris Church Priestess will probably come here all red in the face to yell at me again, but that’s good too! Go with my blessings.”
That familiar voice is the voice of the leader of the Axis Cult and the one who oversees all cult operations in this town, a middle aged man named Zesta.
“The beautiful Eris head priest will soon come charging into here. I shall remove my coat and lie down by the entrance in order to intercept her. Someone prepare a magic camera! I want to capture the moment she realizes she just stepped on a naked me! She shall go back in tears, and I would receive a great reward out of it too. Afterwards, we shall distribute the picture with the caption ‘Eris Church priest steps on a naked Axis Cultist!’ and further damage their reputation!”
“What a wonderful plan! As expected of Zesta-sama! Please allow me to take part in the trap too!”
“No fair, I want to be stepped on by a beautiful priest too!”
I really didn’t want to do this after hearing everything they are discussing, but I reluctantly opened the door.
“!? A beautiful girl! A lovely girl has descended to our cathedral!”
“Hey, you will scare her away! All you bastards please go somewhere else! Only us women shall receive them!”
“That’s not fair! I too want to breathe in the same air as a young girl!”
“I too want to enjoy the scent of a lovely young girl!”
The scene before me is a scene from hell.
This is Alcanretia, the headquarters of the Axis Cult.
The moment Yunyun and I set foot inside the cathedral, we were immediately surrounded by Axis cultists.
The men seemed to be holding back a little, but the women held no reservations about getting as close as possible.
Yunyun was enveloped in the arms of an unfamiliar woman who had no reservations in running her hands through her hair, and seemed to be completely overwhelmed.
Just as I’m thinking of a way to shake off the Axis cultist who were clinging onto me…
“Megutan, I love you!”
“Why are you joining them too!? You should be trying to stop this! And stop calling me Megutan!”
I pushed Cecily who suddenly glomped onto me away and pointed towards the door.
“Seriously, I’m really glad I walked in first. Don’t do anything rude to the person who is about to enter, got it? Especially nothing like this. If you offend her, the guy in charge might lose their head.”
“Zesta’s head will fly…! Well, I don’t really have a problem with that.”
“If anything,this city would become even more peaceful.”
“If Zesta-sama is gone, I’ll be able to take the top seat…”
“Very well, I might be getting on in years, but I’m still got some fight left in me! Bring it on!”
Just what should I do with these eccentric people?
“Say, Megumin-san, don’t you think you should learn from how your words had the opposite effect on us?”
“I really don’t want to learn anything from your mindsets… Actually, can we get Zesta-san out of here? I’m really afraid that he will do something outrageous the moment he lays eyes on Alice…”
The door to the cathedral opened slightly, and Iris poked her head through.
Zesta stared at her for a moment–
“W-What is going on!? Boss, this man suddenly collapsed…!”
Iris said in a slightly panicked voice as Zesta fell over and fainted on the spot.
“And an even more beautiful girl appears! Is today my death day!? Did I use up all of my luck and am fated to die today!?”
“A blonde haired young girl! I can’t take it anymore! Young lady, I’ll give you some snacks, so please let me hug you for a while!”
The Axis cult ignored my earlier warnings, and Iris was surrounded in an instant.
“W-What are you saying!? Can someone please cast healing magic! This man has collapsed and isn’t moving!”
Saying that, Iris rushed over to Zesta’s side and knelt down beside him.
“Are you alright!? Please get ahold of yourself!”
“… Alice, please step back from that man. He is just pretending to be sick so he could have a young girl care for him…”
After hearing my words, the Axis cultists around me started collapsing one after another.
“W-What is going on!? Boss, everyone’s collapsing! Is it some kind of curse or disease!?”
“They just want you to fuss over them. If they are going to continue lying down like this, lets just walk right all over them.
Upon hearing my words, the Axis cultists all closed their eyes and tilted their head upwards slightly.
Almost as if they are saying “Please go right ahead.”
“Megumin-san, that would just be a reward to them, so I don’t think that will work. Zesta-sama, the girls are in trouble, so please wake up. Everyone’s idol and the branch manager of Axel, Cecily has returned.”
Even as he was still lying down, Zesta turned his head to the side and spat on the ground.
“… Cecily-san, I don’t really feel much joy from you stepping on me. I’ll get up now, so please move your heavy legs off me.”
After Cecily started stomping all over Zesta, he quickly got to his feet.
“… Now then, Megumin-san, Yunyun-san, it has been some time. Welcome, beautiful young ladies. We are happy to welcome you here on this blessed day. So, are you here for a baptism? Or perhaps a confession? If you want to sign a marriage contract, I’ll be happy to help.”
“Zesta-sama, you’ll just complicate things, so please keep quiet. These girls are here to take out the slime that came out of the holy springs.”
Zesta’s expression immediately changed upon hearing Cecily’s words.
“Oh? Just for a simple slime? Well, I am grateful, of course, but why have Cecily-san and Megumin-san come all the way out here?”
“Of course, it’s because I love this city! This city is not only a holy site, but is also the headquarters of the Axis Cult! I am confident that I am second to almost no one amongst the Axis Cult in terms of devotion to Aqua-sama and in terms of beauty!”
Zesta took one look at Cecily who was brazenly spouting such obvious lies and said.
“There’s a few things I’d like to say about the beauty part, but I like your spirit! Very well, I, Zesta-sama, shall come along with you. I’ll shall personally witness how much Cecily-san grown in the time she spent in Axel!”
“Then, I’ll be leaving Alice in your care. Try and make sure she doesn’t pick up any bad habits from the Axis Cultists, alright?”
“… Something so important… It’s fine. I get to adventure together with Iris-chan, so that’s fine…”
It seems like quite a number of slimes have been springing forth from the holy springs.
They’ve been using the pipes that connect the various springs to raise havoc all over the city.
“Now then, boss, we’ll be heading out for the sake of the people of this city and the Axis Cult!”
I tasked Iris and Yunyun to get rid of the slimes plaguing this city.
Being that I can only cast one spell per day, my task in this quest is to find the cause or culprit behind the slimes.
“Let go of me, Cecily-san! A pure young girl is leaving! Ahh, I wanted to be your observer precisely so I could see them in action!”
“I’m not giving those angels to you, Zesta-sama! Being able to fool around with them everyday is the exclusive privilege of the head of the Axel branch!”
I’m also in charge of taking care of these two.
It might have been a measure taken to protect Iris, but truth be told, I’m not entirely confident that I can handle taking care of two Axis Cultists at the same time…
“Well, if it really comes down to it, I’ll just say I saw a slime and blow them all up…”
“Megumin-san, I heard that! I’ll give you a traumatic experience before you can finish casting your spell!”
“Megumin-san, Zesta-sama will definitely take the first spot in a flash stripping tournament, so please don’t forget that. And you shouldn’t point that staff at people, alright?”
Plus, even if I wasn’t surrounded by two troublesome people, I really don’t feel motivated in going through with this at all.
“I was really looking forward to it at first when I heard that we were going after slimes that an entire city fears, but we already know who is the person to blame, right?”
“Megumin-san, what are you saying? Just because the slimes that are running around happen to be tokoroten slimes, you still shouldn’t just to conclusions!”
It didn’t take much asking around to determine that the slimes that were crawling out of the holy springs are tokoroten slimes.
I think we have more than enough information to determine who exactly is the cause of these events…
“And things are playing out exactly as they did in Axel…”
“Please don’t say that!”
The only things the slimes did was steal food.
It’s the exact same thing that happened back when Cecily’s tokoroten slime came back to life in Axel.
“Have you figured out the mastermind behind this incident?”
“Wait! Not yet! It hasn’t been determined that this is my fault yet!”
I rubbed my staff into Cecily’s cheeks after she protested.
“Then, did you find the tokoroten slime powder that you left behind in this city? It wasn’t there, right!? Then there’s no other possibility! Why are you always…!”
“But I am always careful to keep the slime powder in a safe place! There’s no way they can come back to life if they aren’t exposed to water! Please believe me!”
Then, Zesta, who was listening to our conversation, said.
“Hmm, there was an incident in the past where the Demon King’s army threw a load of tokoroten slime into one of the springs. Back then, I was treated as a prime suspect and went through a whole lot of trouble, but could it be that-”
[See: Explosions spinoff 2]
“That was the plot of the Demon King’s army.”
Cecily said without hesitation.
Actually, now that I think about it, it is pretty suspicious…
“Anyway, while Yunyun-san and Alice-san is out hunting down the slimes, we’ll get to the bottom of this incident! It’s just my instincts as a priest, but I sense an evil power within this city…”
Cecily turned towards the mountains that contains the source of the holy springs of this city and offered a sincere prayer.
“Your instincts have never once hit the mark, have they?”
“Why are you so harsh towards me today? Are you entering your rebellious period?”
Just as Cecily started shaking me by the shoulders.
“True. It’s faint, but I have been detecting a faint evil presence in this city as of late.”
Zesta, suddenly adopting a serious expression, said.
“I think the evil presence in this city is you, Zesta-san.”
“Megumin-san, shhh! He actually bought it, so let’s just sit back and watch for now!”
Seemingly paying no heed to my retort, Zesta suddenly broke out into a run.
“Cecily-san, follow me! I sense an evil presence in this direction!”
“Understood, Zesta-sama! Evil must be vanquished immediately~!”
Cecily chased after him with those dangerous sounding words on her lips.
“I have a bad feeling about this…”
As I chased after them, for a brief moment, I wondered if this is how Kazuma usually feels.
Just what do I do with these people.
“The evil presence is coming from here.”
“As expected of Zesta-sama. I feel an evil presence coming from this place too.”
“If you keep saying stupid things, even I will get angry.”
Of course, the place he led us to was the Eris Church.
“Alright, Cecily-san, I’ll be the bait to lure them out. You hide behind this door. When they come angrily rushing out, you jump out and restrain them.”
“Understood, Zesta-sama. Just leave it to me.”
[Once again, thanks to Kasen for providing the coloured pictures]
“Are you insane!? Are you really going through with this!? No, wait for me!”
The two of them proceeded into the courtyard without paying me the slightest heed.
Then, while keeping an eye on the crowd that started to gather in anticipation of something happening, Zesta raised his voice.
“Pardon me! Is the small chested Eris priest present!? I’m here about the confession I received the other day.”
Along with an anguished scream, the sound of someone angrily stomping on the floor could be heard from within the church.
“Why would you say that at the top of your lungs!? There are things you should and shouldn’t- Kyaaaa!”
“Heretic! Go to hell!”
Cecily immediately pounced on the priest when she emerged from the church.
After tackling the priest to the ground, Cecily got onto her back and pinned her down.
“Wonderful work, Cecily-san. To tell the truth, I had some faint suspicions that you were behind the tokoroten slime incident way back then, but on account of your work here, I’ll let it go.”
Zesta approached the priest with a victorious smile on his face.
“You fell for it, foolish Eris Priest! I’m a man who likes chests of all sizes, but the answer to confession is no!!”
“Oh my, you got rejected!”
“Wait!? Why am I getting rejected after getting ambushed out of nowhere!?”
The priest blustered, still reeling from the shock of being suddenly knocked to the ground.
Zesta placed a finger beneath the priest’s chin and raised her face up towards him.
“Despite all of the Eris church’s peculiarities, their priests are as beautiful as always. Out of consideration of your passionate feelings, I wouldn’t mind spending just a night with you…”
“You always get up to strange things, but you are especially harsh today! Aah, please don’t believe him! I didn’t…!”
Before the priest could finish her words, Zesta interrupted.
“It wouldn’t do for you to look down on me! Your constant lectures and complaints are but a tsundere’s cry for attention! So I’ll make myself clear! I don’t want to go out with you, but a purely physical relationship is fine by me!”
“Isn’t that great?”
“It’s not great at all! And who are you calling a tsundere!? The reason I keep lecturing you is because you guys keep creating trouble for us… Will you Axis cultist just please stop causing problems for us…?”
The Eris priests in this city must live really hard lives if stuff like this happens almost every day.
“Accursed Eris priest who can’t be honest, is this the mouth that is spouting blasphemy!? Allow me to seal it off with my own!”
“Zesta-sama, go right ahead!”
“Eris-sama, grant me your blessing! Power!”
After getting her strength boosted by magic, the priest threw Cecily off her and knocked Zesta back with a punch.
As I watched what were supposedly holy people start a street brawl, I managed to catch a glimpse of the interior of the church through the open door…
“…? Wait a minute, did something small and black just…”
I caught a glimpse of something running swiftly into the depths of the church, so I turned around and…
“I won’t let you off today! Prepare to meet your goddess!”
“So you finally reveal your true colours, Eris priest! It’s just as the scriptures said! The Goddess Eris might look meek and gentle, but she has a terrible violent side just lurking beneath the surface! Just looking at her worshippers, one can tell those words are true!”
Just as I’m considering leaving them be and going home, Cecily approached me with a curious expression.
“Megumin-san, what’s wrong? Did seeing how violent the Eris Priests can be scare you? Don’t worry, onee-san will protect you.”
“Just who are you calling violent!? … You’re a new face. For an Axis Cultist, you seem pretty normal… no, you’re a Crimson Demon, I see…”
“Hey, if you have something to say about Crimson Demons, why don’t you go ahead and say it! … No, nevermind. More importantly, are you keeping a pet or something in the church? I just saw something run towards the back.”
Things won’t progress if I end up in a fight with her too, so I asked about the creature I caught a glimpse of earlier, but…
“There’s no one apart from me in this church. And there’s no way I can keep a pet here. Dealing with the antics of the Axis Cult is taking up all of my energy as is. I can’t even go about my daily business without them making a mess of things…”
“Please don’t look so sad. I only have a bit of money, but I’ll make a donation later! … Still, I definitely saw something black moving in the back…”
Something small, black, and somehow shiny.
It wasn’t a cockroach. If I had to describe it, I’d say it looked like a very agile slime…
“As expected of the brains of the Axis Cult, Megumin. This is all a plan to scare this priest who lives alone in this church, right?”
“As expected of Megu.”
“That’s not it, I wouldn’t do something so pointless… Ah! No, wait, it’s true! I really did see something black moving in the back, so please stop giving me that doubtful look!”