Lightning over Alcanretia (Part 2)
Editor: Ulti, Makentosh
“Great, now people are giving me strange looks too.”
After leaving the church behind, we wandered aimlessly around the city.
“Oh, that’s strange. According to the rumours I’ve heard, Megumin-san is as famous in Axel as a renowned troublemaker, to the point where you’ve already become a household name. There’s a high chance that the people here have been giving you strange looks all this time, you just didn’t notice until now.”
“You’re quite famous, aren’t you?”
“H-Hold on, no, I mean, It’s true that I’ve been treated as a bit of a local attraction, but…”
To think that there’d come a day when Axis Cultists would call me a troublemaker.
Just as I’m reeling from the slight shock, Zesta continued.
“Honorary Advisor Megumin-san, unfortunately, it seems highly likely that the Eris cult isn’t guilty in this incident. Even so, there is still a dark presence in this city.”
“Did you just address me with a disturbing title there?”
Zesta ignored my question and continued with a deep frown.
“I recall feeling this same presence before. Yes, it’s the same feeling from when the erotic female devil infiltrated this city. And when the Demon King’s general, Hans, was trying to sabotage the springs…”
“You know, Kazuma mentioned this. Religious authorities claim that certain events are divine punishment or the will of the heavens or such after the fact. That’s how they gain credibility amongst the people to use to their own ends.”
“What are you saying, Megumin-san! Bring that man to me later, I’ll teach him about the glory of Aqua-sama.”
“Nooooo! S-Someone heeeeeelp!”
A sorrowful cry came from the inn just ahead of us.
When I leapt into the inn, I saw a woman who appeared to be a member of the staff kneeling on the ground.
“T-The snack that I was looking forward to…! Something clear and squishy grabbed it and disappeared into the pipe!”
That is definitely the work of a slime.
Zesta and Cecily looked at each other and nodded.
“This is definitely…”
“The Eris Church…”
“This has nothing to do with the Eris Church! If you are just going to get in the way, please go over there!”
After shushing those two and sending them away, I gave the clerk a smile in order to put her at ease.
“Are you hurt? It’s quite fortunate that the only casualty was a single snack.”
But the clerk, her face a visage of despair, covered her face in her hands and wailed.
“No, it’s over! I’m finished! If word gets out that this inn has slimes, no one will ever want to stay here!”
“Leaving aside cockroaches, no one will really mind a tokoroten slime or two showing up.”
Tokoroten slimes aren’t particularly regarded as disgusting, nor are they particularly harmful to humans.
But even so, the woman shook her head.
“But there are those people who are allergic to slimes… Ahh, this inn is finished…. I knew I should’ve accepted that offer as a chick appraiser instead of taking over this inn… But, there might be just one way for this place to survive…”
Saying that, she motioned me to come closer, almost as if she was about to share some big secret.
Though, to be honest, the bit that really struck my curiosity was the chick appraiser thing she mentioned.
“If I can have a cute mage girl like you work here from time to time, the number of repeat customers will… Ah, ah, wait! Please listen to me!”
Oh, yeah, this city is crawling with Axis Cultists.
After running out of the inn, I tried to complain to the two people in charge of the organization…
“Megumin-san, I heard a scream coming from that way too!”
“Stop fooling around and let’s go, Megumin-san! Protecting the peace of Alcanretia is one of the sworn duties of an Axis Cultist!”
“I’m not an Axis Cultist! Please don’t pull on me! I get it! I’ll follow you!”
And those two excitedly led me towards the next scene.
“–So, someone stole the panties you had left out to dry?”
“Yes… that was my favourite pair too…”
The next victim was a young and quite beautiful housewife.
It seems one of the underwear she left out to dry has gone missing.
“By the way, what colour were those panties? And if you don’t mind, could you tell me the size too?”
“I’ll ask about the details, so Zesta-san, please go over there for a bit!”
I tried to chase away Zesta who asked such a question with a straight face.
“Megumin-san, now’s not the time to be fooling around! The young women of this city are in trouble!”
“Huh!? S-Sorry, I thought for sure that you were…”
It seems like he was seriously concerned as he reprimanded me with a serious expression.
He oversees the operation of this city, after all. He might be surprisingly competent when it comes to such matters.
“Now then, I would like to see another pair for use as a reference. And if I could get a freshly removed pair for use as bait to lure the culprit out…”
“I take back my apology!”
I grabbed Zesta by the shoulders and started shaking him. Just then, Cecily, who has been conducting an investigation of the area, said.
“Zesta-sama, please take a look at this!”
The item that Cecily was pointing at was a letter nestled within the bundle of clothes placed next to the laundry basket.
The two of them nodded to each other and opened it…
“I’m leaving this money here to pay for the underwear. If that isn’t enough, please contact me. Axis Cult priest, Klein… What is the meaning of this? I don’t understand it at all.”
“This case seems like a tough one to crack. Well, the culprit is most likely a slime, but.”
“I’ll head off to the police station… Hey, will you two let go of me!?”
Afterwards, we spent some wandering around the city, taking care of a few stray slimes in the process, before taking a break at a bench in the park.
“I didn’t expect the slimes to be spread this far throughout the city…”
Cecily grumbled with a somber expression.
“It would seem like we have underestimated how bad the situation is. Now then, what should we do…”
Zesta replied with an equally somber expression, and I said towards the two of them.
“Four of the five problems we ran into is the work of an Axis Cultist.”
After hearing that, Cecily gave me a gentle smile and said.
“… There are times in this world where everyone would be happier if you keep the truth hidden. Megumin-san, you too have pushed the blame onto someone else when you’ve done something bad, right?”
“Don’t make me out to be such a villain. I’ve never…”
Just as I was about to refute it, I remembered the time I passed the blame for the serial explosions incident back at the Crimson Demon Village onto that devil.
“… Well, the person who stole the underwear cried and returned it, so, as long as he properly reflected on his actions, I suppose I can pretend I didn’t know about it…”
“The reason why that man was crying is because he had no choice but to part with that pair of panties. The word ‘reflect’ doesn’t exist in the dictionary of the Axis Cult.”
“I’m trying to go along with you, please don’t ruin it.”
“The wyvern! The wyvern has been killed!”
A chorus of voices came from the direction of the city gates.
Wyverns aren’t as strong as true dragons, but they are still powerful monsters, large, capable of flight and possessing a stinger at the end of their tails that produce a powerful paralytic venom.
I heard that the monsters around here tend to be stronger than the ones found around Axel, but to think that it would also have such a fearsome creature…
“The ones who defeated it are a Crimson Demon girl and a blonde haired kid!”
–Turning my attention towards the gates, I saw the large body of a wyvern laying there.
A large crowd of curious onlookers surrounded it, and at the center of it all is of course…
“What are you two doing? Weren’t you supposed to be hunting down slimes in the city? How did you end up going after a wyvern that lives in the outskirts?”
“W-We couldn’t help it. We went everywhere in the city, but not a single slime appeared. Then, the Axis Cultist thief that was supposed to be helping us said that he detected the presence of a strong monster outside the city and…”
Not a single slime appeared?
That’s strange. We ran into several of them just by wandering aimlessly through the city.
No, wait, hold on…
“Say, Alice, can you tell me how high your level is right now?”
I pulled Iris away from the crowd that has formed around her and whispered into her ear.
“My level? I’ve been eating nothing but foods that are dense with experience points lately in preparation of the decisive battle against the Demon King’s army, so it’s somewhere north of sixty, but…”
I tuned her out around there.
Still, I now understand why Iris and Yunyun didn’t run into any slimes in the city.
Weak monsters will instinctively avoid approaching anyone too much stronger than them.
That means it’d be difficult for these two to help out in taking down the slimes…
“So, what were you doing while we were out hunting big game?”
“I was hunting down the tokoroten slimes in this city and cleaning up after the Axis Cultists. Hunting down slimes is supposed to be your job, you know?”
Why am I, the woman who has vanquished so many generals of the Demon King’s army, reduced to the pitiful state of hunting down slimes in a city?
“O-Ooh, I see. So the slimes appeared in front of you, Megumin. Ehehe, that means that our party is strong enough to scare away slimes, but Megumin’s party is–”
I aggressively squeezed Yunyun’s boobs after she said something that should never be said aloud.
“The one the slimes are afraid of isn’t you, but Alice! There isn’t that much of a difference between your level and mine! How dare you go wyvern hunting on your own! I wanted to take down a big target too!”
“I get it! I apologize, so please let go of my breasts!”
Yunyun screamed as I squeezed her unusually well developed breasts until they deformed.
“Megumin-san, Megumin-san, I feel like I just heard the word breasts come from the mouth of a beautiful young girl!”
“Yes indeed. You didn’t mishear it. Yunyun here shouted it at the top of her lungs.”
“Stop! I’ll apologize, so please stop encouraging Zesta-san!”
Well, that’s enough for now. Time to think about what to do next.
Our goal is to get rid of the tokoroten slimes within the city, but our current methods aren’t what I could call efficient.
“Onee-san, how much do you know about slime behaviours? Is there a way to get them all to gather at one spot?”
“Hmm, well, I have nothing to do with the slimes that are scattered all throughout this city, but I do know a thing or two about them. In short, slimes love beautiful girls.”
“Er, don’t slimes have a sense of taste? Are tokoroten slimes carnivores? I think I recall hearing about them stealing vegetables before.”
“Megumin-san, what are you saying? When you talk about slimes, you think about beautiful girls. Upon sighting a beautiful girl, it’s a slime’s instincts to cover her with goo.”
Is this girl really right in the head?
“I see, as expected of Cecily-san. In other words, the plan is to put Megumin-san in one of the baths that are connected to the pipes as bait. The slimes would follow their instincts and start swarming to the place.”
“Exactly, Zesta-sama. Fortunately, there’s a rock sauna in the cathedral that Megumin created with her Explosion magic. We just use it to collect holy water for bottling right now, but let’s have Megumin-san and her friends take a relaxing bath there to lure the slimes into one spot.”
The two of them said that with a straight face. Seriously, are they really not insane?
“Then, as the highest level Archpriest in the Axis Cult, allow me to take on the responsibility of protecting Megumin-san and her friends while they act as baid.”
“No, Zesta-sama, what slimes are attracted to are beautiful girls. They will only be attracted by the prospect of a group of girls having fun in a steamy paradise. If a creepy old man is present too, they wouldn’t appear. So leave protecting them to me.”
“What are you saying, Cecily-san. If an old man wouldn’t work, then neither would a grown woman like you. But that’s of little concern. There’s plenty of beautiful girls here, so the bait will still work even if an old man or a woman or two were to be present.”
Somehow managing to say all that with a straight face, the two of them nodded and turned to me.
“That’s the plan we’re going with.”
“I was the one who raised the idea in the first place, so I will give it a shot, but you two will stay outside.”
In the Axis Cult Cathedral, there exists a large open air bath carved into the rock of the mountain.
I created this place with Explosion as a gesture of gratitude to Cecily, and now it’s an open air bath that overlooks the entire city of Alcanretia.
Under slightly different circumstances, this place would be heaven, but…
“Young lady, listen to me! Just tell me how much I have to pay!”
“Alice-chan! If you move from there, I’ll give you an Axis Cult baptism! If you want, I can give you the spot of the head of the Axis Cult!”
“We are the same gender, so please, let me iiiiiiin!”
The desperate wailing of the Axis cultists could be heard coming from the other side of the door.
Iris stood in front of the entrance that connected the pool to the changing room, preventing anyone else from entering.
I originally just wanted to put some distance between her and us to avoid having her scare away the Tokoroten slimes, but there’s no one else amongst us who could fend off the Axis Cultists.
“Peeking in the baths is a crime, you know?”
“Aaah, Iris-chan, don’t look at me with such pure eyes while saying such things! The darkness within me is screaming in pain!”
It seems like she’s trying to convince Cecily who is throwing a tantrum over being unable to join us.
“… Say, Megumin, is this really necessary? An open air bath is nice and all, but I just can’t relax in this place…”
“It’s not like we have any other ideas. I really doubt this will attract tokoroten slimes. Still, we are in Alcanretia, after all. The hot springs might be gone, but taking a bath in holy water sounds pretty luxurious too.”
Yunyun and I let out a small sigh as we submerged ourselves up to our chests.
For some reason, the source that used to supply Alcanretia with spring water now produces high quality holy water instead.
There was a short period of time where things seemed rocky for this city, before they switched to bottling the water and selling it. Now the city is more prosperous than ever.
“If I knew we would end up like this, I would’ve brought Chomusuke along. She has been really interested in taking baths recently.”
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, but that girl really isn’t a cat, is she?”
Just as she said that, the sliding door slid open.
And standing right there was Cecily, who hid her body behind the door and looked at us like she wanted to say something.
“… I started wailing, and Iris-chan said that as long as Megumin-san and Yunyun-san were okay with it, and let me in…”
I really don’t think an adult should be crying in front of a girl even younger than me.
“Well, as long as you swear not to do anything weird, I don’t mind…”
After quickly washing herself down, Cecily happily entered the pool.
Then, after soaking herself all the way to her shoulders, Cecily frowned.
“… Hmm? It feels like the effects of the holy water have weakened since the time I was dispatched to Axel…”
“If you ask me, it’s just the Axis Cult getting their long awaited upcomance for everything they’ve gotten up to over the years.”
“What are you saying, Megumin-san. Don’t be stupid. Still, this is definitely odd. It feels like something else is mixed into the water…”
Normally I would just ignore it, but the intuition of and Axis Cultist can be surprisingly sharp when it comes to such situations.
“All this holy water is coming from the mountains, right? Maybe something strange made its nest over there?”
“Hmm, it’d take some really strong poison to be able to taint holy water like this…”
Just then, Yunyun, who was happily laying in the water, said,
“Could it be that the tokoroten slime that Cecily-san was keeping mutated?”
Cecily suddenly tensed up upon hearing that.
“C-come now, Yunyun-san. Tokoroten slimes are extremely harmless creatures, you know? They don’t eat meat, so they are especially pure and tasty. There’s no way my beloved tokoroten slime could…”
Cecily said with a laugh.
Still, the way she averted her gaze and her forced casualness made me think that something is definitely up.
“… Just in case, let’s go check out the source…”
— Standing next to a smiling Zesta, Iris gave me an apologetic look and said.
“Please take care on your trip. I’m sorry I can’t be of help…”
Behind the Axis Cult’s cathedral, I waved the two of them goodbye as we headed towards the source.
Iris would just scare away the slimes if she came with us, so she’s staying back here.
As for Zesta, he choose to look after Iris instead of coming along with us.
He’s been in high spirits ever since Iris started calling him Oji-sama some time ago.
“You be careful too, Alice-chan. If an Axis Cultist gets within three meters of you, feel free to cut them down regardless of their age or gender.”
“Uh, Megumin-san, I’m already within three meters of her.”
Despite saying that, Zesta doesn’t make any movements to distance himself from her.
“Just so you know, this girl is a unbelievably important person. Even if you are the head of the Axis Cult, if you do anything strange, your head is going to roll too. This isn’t a joke, so please don’t do anything stupid, okay?”
“Humans are strange and complex creatures whose desire to do something increases the more you tell them not to do it…”
Maybe it’ll be really for the best to just tie this old man up.
In the depths of the mountain that looms over the city, at the end of a steep mountain trail, lies the source that supplies holy water to the entire city.
“They really were here, the tokoroten slimes.”
Around the source are a crowd of the now familiar squishy forms of tokoroten slimes.
But that’s not all.
In the center of the crowd of slimes is a small black one, currently feasting on something in front of the water source
“Ah, wait, do you see that, Megumin-san!? They are offering it food! That mysterious slime that I’ve never seen before is bullying my slimes in order to extract tribute from them! That means it’s not my fault at all!”
“Really? Judging from how things went so far, it wouldn’t be strange if that black slime is connected to you too.”
Just as Cecily stiffened for a moment in response to my words.
The black slime that was happily accepting the procession of food that the tokoroten slimes are offering it turned its attention to us.
The black slime-like creature looked like it sucked in a surprised breath before taking on a very human like pose.
“Onee-san who knows a lot about slimes, is that thing really a slime? It seems like it’s pretty intelligent.”
“Well, it’s one of mine, after all. I modified it, so it wouldn’t be odd for it to develop some intelligence too!”
Even though she was saying something about having never seen that slime before just a while ago, Cecily extended her palm towards that creature.
And then, the closest one to being a proper adventurer amongst us, Yunyun, suddenly stiffened.
“Wait, a black, poisonous slime, could that be…!”
It would seem like Yunyun finally got in touch with her inner Crimson Demon.
“So you noticed it too, huh. Yes, that is the one talked about in the Crimson Demon Village, the legendary-!”
“What are you saying out of the blue!? That’s not it! That a particularly dangerous type of slime-”
I tried to play along with her, but she got angry instead.
At the same time, the black thing started moving.
“Oh? Young girl, do you know about me?”
“It spoke!?” x3
We can’t help but squeak in surprise upon hearing it speak.
“Onee-san, the tokoroten slime spoke! Just what on earth did you make!? More importantly, it’s a slime, so where is it keeping it’s brain?”
“The brain thing is a mystery too, but where is that voice coming from!? Still, my genius terrifies even me… To think that my tokoroten slime could evolve so far…!”
“That’s not the part you should be focusing on, you two!”
Yunyun drew her wand from her belt and put it between her and the slime-like creature.
“A non humanoid monster capable of speaking human languages must be a fairly high classed monsters. Just what are you?”
“… Well, to be honest, I have no idea exactly what I am either. However,”
“Yunyun-san, that’s one of my children! Something must have happened while I was away for it to be born. It’s a tokoroten slime subspecies… Choppy! Yes, from today onwards, it shall be known as Choppy!”
Cecily interrupted just as the slime was about say something serious, and gave it the name of Choppy.
But Choppy, after what seemed to be a moment of thought, said.
“No, I don’t have a lot of memories, but I don’t think my name was Choppy. And the name tokoroten slime sounds like some kind of joke…”
“You sure are a good joker, Choppy! Come on, stop playing over there and come home with me, Choppy! … Megumin-san, a talking slime is sure to fetch a great price amongst interested collectors. If things go well, onee-san is going to be rich. You wouldn’t mind going on a date with me then, right?”
It seems like she intends to sell Choppy off to some collectors.
At the same time, Cecily invited me on a date.
When that happens, I’ll have her treat me to some delicious food.
“You are being annoying, woman! My name isn’t Choppy, it should be something more along the lines of Rance or Vans!”
Choppy raised a voice of protest, and its small bun like body shook as he did.
“Why not, Choppy sounds so much cooler! Megumin-san, what should I do? Choppy suddenly entered his rebellious phase!”
“I don’t really get what is going on, but please calm down, Choppy-san. I think that name is really cool.”
“Having my name be praised by a Crimson Demon doesn’t make me happy at all! … Crimson Demon? Oh, yeah, Crimson Demons!”
Choppy, who got all indignant all of a sudden, made a sound like it just suddenly realized something.
“Both of you, get behind me! You can’t touch that slime! There’s no doubt about it, that is a powerful monster that has poison strong enough to kill you on contact coursing through it…!”
Perhaps it’s because her Crimson Demon blood finally awoken, but Yunyun has been working herself up for a while now.
Though, Yunyun isn’t the only one getting worked up.
“Why do I know of the Crimson Demons? Why do I know that the Crimson Demons have a strange naming sense…? Just what am I…”
Choppy turned away and started questioning himself.
“What have you done, Yunyun-san? Now Choppy has already picked up the strange habits of Crimson Demons.”
“But a slime that acts like a Crimson Demon sounds cool. But, Yunyun, the story you’ve come up with is really bland. You should’ve given it a more impressive sounding power. Something like being able to increase in size or fire beams, or even adopt the form of a human.
“Will the two of you please be serious!? This slime is really dangerous!”
As Yunyun admonished us with glowing eyes, Choppy once again shook as though he made some kind of new connection.
“I am dangerous…? Yes, I used to be strong in the past. Just as the Crimson Demon girl said, simply touching me will forfeit your life. Everywhere I go, everyone would react with terror and open a path… ”
“Megumin-san, I know we are getting worked up too, but maybe it’s best if we do something? Choppy just said something like he used to be like an unsheathed knife in the past, so we should probably do something before it becomes an embarrassing memory for him.”
“Shh, it’s just starting to get good, so let’s just keep watching for a while. I’m sure they’ll come up with something like they used to be hated foes that fought in fierce battles all the time or something.”
And thus we decided to watch them from the sidelines as Yunyun and Choppy continued facing off against each other.
“So what am I doing all the way out here? Why am I getting slimes to gather food for me? I feel like… I feel like I’m on just the verge of remembering something…!”
“I don’t really get it, but I can’t let something as dangerous as you remain here! If you swear never to harm humans and go back into the forest, I’ll let you go!”
Watching the two of them maintain this serious atmosphere, I somehow get the feeling of being left behind.
Choppy stiffened for a moment, before saying.
“I cannot obey your words. I have some business at this place where hot water gushes out from the depths of the earth. I don’t fully understand it, but I know that my mission is to taint this place. Plus…”
Despite being a slime, Choppy puffed out his chest.
“Plus, there’s no way I can let you go now that I know that you are Crimson Demons! There’s nothing I hate more than Crimson Demons and Axis Cultists!”
And spat such caustic words at Yunyun.
This thing sure has some guts for being a weak and useless tokoroten slime.
“Megumin-san, did I make a mistake in raising Choppy? He just said he hates Crimson Demons.”
“It said it hated Axis Cultists too. It must be because of your neglectful parenting.”
“Oh, yes, now I remember why I hate Crimson Demons and Axis Cultists! I remember everything!”
Choppy raised itself up like it was about to make some grand speech and said.
“I am a deadly poison slime and a general of the Demon King! Yes, my name is-!”
“I am the strongest mage in Axel and a Crimson Demon! Yes, my name is Megumin!”
“… I guess you just got caught up in the flow, huh, Megumin-san? Still, you shouldn’t steal other people’s spotlight like that.”
“Sorry, I let my Crimson Demon instincts get away from me… Chappy-san, you can continue now.”
“What is wrong with you!? If you are just going to get in the way, please go somewhere else! … No, wait, I remember you!”
Perhaps because I interrupted it earlier, but Choppy seems to be directing its attentions towards me now.
“Onee-san, maybe I should join in too? It’s pretty haphazard, but what do you think about me and Choppy being rivals in a past life?”
“That’d be pretty insulting to your current rival Yunyun, wouldn’t it? Why don’t we have Choppy be your long lost father instead?
“But I have a father. He lives in the Crimson Demon Village… Choppy-san, what do you think?”
“Who cares about that!? More importantly, do you really not remember!? My size has changed, but you waged a fierce battle with me back then, didn’t you!?”
Choppy angrily shouted, its body quivering with rage.
“So you prefer the rival scenario, then?”
“I prefer the long lost father scenario, though. I wanted to see Megumin-san falling into darkness after learning that she’s the daughter of a slime. Then, my prayers would bring her back to her senses, and she’d live with me for the rest of her life.”
I quite like the sound of falling into darkness, but I don’t really fancy where it ends up.
“What do you think?” x2
“Y-You little… That’s enough…!”
At Yunyun’s voice, a field of fire erupted from the earth, engulfing both Choppy and the small horde of tokoroten slimes that surrounded it.
Cecily let out a tearful cry.
“S-Sorry, Cecily-san… But, that slime is…”
Yunyun apologized in a small voice.
Still, it was someone who she exchanged names and talked with. Even if it is a tokoroten slime, one couldn’t help but form some kind of attachments after that.
I patted Cecily on the back to comfort her after she fell to her knees in tears.
“… He would’ve sold for a lot of money… Choppy was going to make me rich… And I would’ve gone on a date with Megumin after I got rich… And all those tokoroten slimes too were lost in an instant…”
“Your words are making Choppy turn in his grave, you know? Also, those tokoroten slimes have been in the pipes and who knows where else, so it’s best if you don’t eat them.”
At this point, the flames that Yunyun conjured started to go out.
Only, there’s a cracking sound coming from the blaze.
The sound of something stepping on the ground that has been turned to glass by the heat of Yunyun’s spell.
“As expected of a Crimson Demon, that was some crazy power. Of course, as a Demon King’s General, I, Hans-”
“It’s alive! It’s alive, Onee-san! Choppy didn’t die!”
Cecily and I clasped our hands and jumped in joy.
“Why are you two cheering!? I’m begging you, please be serious!”
“Shut up and let me introduce myself already! You know what, nevermind! I’ll start with you who attacked me! Then, I’ll move on to that chibisuke who once rendered me to pieces!”
Could that Chibisuke it’s talking about be referring to me?
To think that there’d come a day when a tokoroten slime would pick a fight with me.
“To be able to withstand an Inferno, it seems like you are not just an ordinary Deadly poison slime! Then, how about this!? Lighting Strike!”
At Yunyun’s words, a series of lighting bolts descended from the sky directly onto Choppy.
It caused Choppy’s body to sparkle and smoke, but even after taking such an assault, Choppy still seemed as fine as ever.
“That’s some impressive power for one so young. However, just one or two advanced spells are nowhere near enough to defeat the likes of me!”
The moment it finished saying that, Choppy launched itself towards Yunyun like a thrown ball.
Yunyun threw herself to the side, narrowly avoiding making contact with Choppy.
“Megumin-san, Megumin-san! Yunyun and Choppy have started a really impressive looking battle!”
“It may be a slime, but after having gone so long without making a single friend, I’m sure she’s happy to finally find one she can play with.”
“That’s not it at all! Can’t you see how serious this is!?”
Something as small as Choppy wouldn’t cause much damage even if it were to collide with someone, but it seems like Yunyun is keeping true to the setting where a single touch with Choppy is instantly lethal.
Choppy came around for another pass at Yunyun, which she fended off by hitting it with her wand.
“Ooh, that’s really far… You must be really enjoying yourself, Yunyun.”
“Yeah. Isn’t it great that you found someone to play with, Yunyun-san?”
“Stop watching and help me already!”
Yunyun spluttered between gasps as she readied her wand yet again, and Choppy came flying back towards her.
“Onee-san, don’t you think Choppy is a little too strong? Yunyun is the next chief in line for the Crimson Demons, and she’s also my self proclaimed rival. It’s really strange for her to have this much trouble with a single slime.”
“The slime powder has been hidden in the Axis Cult cathedral for quite some time, so maybe it received some of Aqua-sama’s protection.”
“So that means Choppy is an Axis Cultist, right? Now I understand why it’s so stubborn.”
“Hey, don’t just make me an Axis Cultist! Actually, remember who I am already!”
Choppy turned its attention towards me the moment I mentioned the Axis Cult, and taking advantage of that opening-
“Cursed Crystal Prison!”
Yunyun unleashed a spell at Choppy, encasing it within a solid block of ice before it had time to do much more than gasp in surprise.
… This is giving me deja vu. I feel like I’ve seen something similar to this before…
“You let your guard down! As someone who bears the name of the Crimson Demons, I won’t let myself be defeated so easily!”
“Haha, and here I thought you were just a brat! Before we fight to the death, why don’t you name yourself!?”
I’m a woman who doesn’t care much for the past.
Still, I feel like I’ve heard Choppy’s voice before…
“My name in Yunyun! Archmage, wielder of advanced magic, and the next chief of the Crimson Demons! … I always thought naming myself before a battle was embarrassing, but… It doesn’t seem too bad…”
“Haha, that wasn’t too bad! I see, so you are the next chief in line. So that’s why you’re so strong! Very well, I shall respond in kind! Allow me to tell you what I’ve been done before my revival! And how I managed to survive after taking an Explosion head on! You see-!”
Even if it is a tokoroten slime, there’s no way a Crimson Demon can simply sit idly by when someone is picking a fight with them.
I pointed my staff at Choppy and–
“What are you dooooooing!?”
After taking care of Choppy, we headed back to the Axis Cult cathedral to make our report.
“So, this is all because of Cecily-san’s tokoroten slime undergoing some kind of mysterious mutation, right?”
“Megumin-san, wait! Now that I think about it, Choppy really doesn’t seem like one of my children! I mean, it could talk! And it was rebellious too!”
“I definitely won’t forgive you! How could you be this bad at reading the mood! Aah, my decisive battle with Choppy….!”
Ignoring the two of them, I turned towards Iris.
“Did they do anything to you while we are away? There’s no need to keep quiet, I know a very competent prosecutor in Axel. She’ll definitely help you, and I’ll lend you any aid I can too.”
“Don’t worry. Boss. Other than oji-sama asking me to help inflate some balloons because his lungs aren’t as good nowadays, there isn’t much to report.”
Zesta, who was cradling a balloon like it was a precious porcelain vase, ran away before Iris finished speaking.
In place of me who had trouble moving after exhausting my mana, Yunyun chased after him instead.
After being chased into a corner of the church, Zesta, with a resigned expression, brought his face to up to the balloon–
“Light of Saber!”
The blade of light that Yunyun unleashed at the balloon faded away an instant before it touched Zesta’s outstretched hand.
“Zesta-san, please stop acting so dangerously! That spell can slice through anything depending on how strong the caster is! You might end up losing your hand!”
“I don’t want to hear that from you who casted such dangerous spells at other people in the first place! This divine artifact that contains the breath of a young girl shall be the relic of the Axis Cult. Damned heretics, get out!”
“How could you call me a heretic after all the help I gave you today!? That’s it, I’m definitely taking that from you!”
Saying that, Yunyun unsheathed her dagger and brought it to bear.
“… Seriously, I think Yunyun might have an even shorter temper than I do. It’s fine, isn’t it? You and Alice got to take down a wyvern today. All I managed to do was chase down a few tokoroten slimes.”
While slumped in a chair, I offered those words to calm Yunyun down, but Cecily interjected.
“Megumin-san, Megumin-san. Let me give you something nice as thanks for your efforts today in hunting down the tokoroten slimes.”
“N-No, it’s fine. There’s no need for that. We are pretty close, after all, so there’s really no need for this!”
After expanding all of my mana, I can’t put up any kind of resistance no matter what she attempts to do.
Cecily extended her right hand towards me with a smile…
And casted a spell on me.
“… Er, is this what you mean by something nice?”
“Yes. May only good things await you in the future! Or, wait, were you expecting something strange? Ah, Megumin-san, you’re so cute!”
“Aaah, my body feels really sluggish right now, so please don’t cling onto me like that!”
Cecily suddenly wrapped me in a hug and gave me a bright smile.
“Megumin-san, today’s adventure was really fun!”
… Well, I don’t think this can really be counted as an adventure, but…
I would be lying if I said it wasn’t fun heading out with everyone today.
“Boss, I also had a lot of fun today! Let’s head out together with everyone again!”
Seeing Iris join in with an unblemished smile of her own, I couldn’t help but smile in response–
“–Don’t try and pass this off so casually! I definitely won’t forgive you until you change your thinking!”
Finally managing to pop the balloon after chasing Zesta around a whole bunch, Yunyun came up to me with her hands on her hips, clearly still angry.
And Zesta is running around trying to collect the pieces of the popped balloon.
Seeing him cradle the pieces while saying stuff like “indirect kiss with a young girl” made me think that it might really be for the best if he was properly locked away for a while.
“I do feel sorry for stealing away your prey, but Choppy was the one who picked a fight with me. If anything, you should blame yourself for dawdling around so much.”
“What do you mean by dawdling? If anything, the right thing to do back then is to properly hear Choppy out!”
I thought she finally awoken to the Crimson Demon within her blood, but it seems like Yunyun still has a ways to go.
“Kazuma said that only a third rate would start to talk about themselves in the middle of battle. Someone who starts talking all about their master plan as a final gift to those who are about to die always end up getting foiled in the end. If I run into someone who starts monologuing in the middle of battle, I’ll use that opportunity to launch a surprise attack, or so he says.”
“I think it’d be nice if Kazuma-san gets properly lectured every once in a while.”
With his eyes turning completely bloodshot after crying his heart out, Zesta came over to us.
“Leaving aside that heretic, Megumin-san, you did well today. As the head of this cult, allow me to properly thank you.”
“No, it’s fine. It was pretty fun after all.”
Besides, the people here aren’t complete strangers to me.
Some of them, no, most of them are weirdos of some sort, but I don’t think the Axis Cultists are fundamentally bad people…
As I gradually lost my confidence in that statement, Zesta casually asked.
“By the way, Megumin-san, that Archpriest that is in your party… is she spending her days well?”
“Aqua? Yeah, she’s spending her days so well that she spends almost half of it asleep. She certainly seems to be having fun each day.”
And she often ends up crying after getting too full of herself.
But I think I’ll keep that to myself to avoid damaging Aqua’s good name.
“Is that so. That’s good.”
A relieved smile appeared on his face
The way Zesta is acting reminded me of a grandfather asking about the condition of his favoured grandchild.
After a short moment, he gave me a gracious smile and said–
“May good fortune be with Megumin-san, and the rest of your party–”
“Waaaah-! How many times do you want to win before you’re satisfied!? You must be cheating somehow! You can’t fool my divine eyes so easily!”
Aqua’s wailing was the first thing that greeted me when I returned to the mansion.
“Oh, welcome back. You’re out pretty late today. Where did you go to play?”
Pushing Aqua away who was clinging onto him, Kazuma looked away from the Jenga tower and said to me.
“We went to Alcanretia today. We had a little adventure there.”
At those words, Aqua froze mid wail.
“Hey, Megumin, why didn’t you take me with you? Alcanretia is the city of water, and when you think of water, you think of me, right? Sit right there with Kazuma, I’m going to lecture the both of you.”
“Aren’t you forbidden from stepping foot in Alcanretia?”
Aqua patted the sofa in front of her, trying to get me to sit down.
Then, Darkness, who was sitting on the carpet playing with Chomusuke by dangling a finger above her, said,
“I kind of want to pay that city a visit too. To be honest, I quite liked being swarmed by that strange cult back then.”
Just which part of that is any way likable?”
“Hey, Darkness, don’t call my children some strange cult. Cecily told me, you know? That there are far stranger people than the Axis Cult or the Crimson Demons amongst this country’s nobility.”
“W-What are you saying!? Aqua, bring that Cecily to meet me! I’ll dispel whatever strange prejudices she has about the nobility!”
Darkness suddenly stood up, revealing that noble lady side of her that I almost never get to see.
“Oh yeah, now that I think about it, why am I playing with Kazuma who is good at all kinds of games when Darkness is here? Hey, Darkness, let’s play Jenga together. Whoever loses gets to swap trash duty for one day.”
“Oh, so you think you can defeat me just because I’m clumsy? Games like this relies more on brain power than physical dexterity. Very well, I’ll take you on!”
After accepting Aqua’s challenge, Darkness moved to sit in front of the Jenga tower.
“You accepted it, Darkness. Leaving Kazuma who is cheating somehow aside, there’s no way I can lose to Darkness. After all, I have a secret plan.”
“Very well, show me that secret plan of yours. You’re not going to add some really amazing tasks I have to do if I lose just like Kazuma usually does, are you?”
“… Hey, Darkness, I’m going to arrange these jenga blocks artistically, so maybe we should call off the game?”
“Not a chance.”
Ignoring the two of them as they started on their game of Jenga, I dragged my lethargic body over to the sofa and collapsed next to Kazuma.
“You seem quite worn out today. Well, considering that you went to Alcanretia, I can probably guess what you went through today.”
“… Oh, you want to hear my tales of adventure so badly?”
“Not that badly.”
“… Say, Aqua, why do you keep going after the most difficult blocks?”
“I don’t get it either, it’s just that pulling out the more difficult blocks make my entertainer’s blood boil… Ah!”
“Thank you for taking out the trash today.”
Ignoring the two of them and their game, I picked up Chomusuke from the carpet and started recounting the events of today to Kazuma.”
“We hunted down tokoroten slimes in Alcanretia today. They might be slimes, but they are surprisingly tenacious, and one of them…”
In order to stroke the desire for adventure in his heart so that he’ll agree to go out with me tomorrow–
“Wait, Darkness, one more time! Ah, no, wait, there’s a reason for that! You see, the ghost of the young girl that lives here keeps waving her fingers through the tower…!”