An Explosion for this Jeweled Beast!
[thanks to Kasen for the colored images]
I thought that it had been quite peaceful recently. I should’ve known that wouldn’t have lasted.
Bright and early in the morning, Megumin asked to consult me on something…
“Run that by me again.”
In the main hall of the mansion, I asked that of Megumin who was sitting on her knees in front of me.
I leaned forward to the edge of the sofa, and sitting next to me, Darkness froze with her mouth hanging wide open…
“Hey, Megumin, why didn’t you tell me that you were going after such a valuable monster? And I didn’t hear a word about your trip to Alcanretia either.”
Aqua, who was sitting on her knees next to Megumin for some reason, leaned over to her.
“Right, you, shut up. We are way beyond talking about that kind of stuff.”
I noisily cleared my throat and said.
“So, what was it again?”
“I went on an adventure with everyone yesterday… A lot of things happened, but at the end of the day, the necklace that’s a national treasure got stolen by a Crystal Liger. I’m going to get it back, so will you please come with me?”
I grabbed my head and collapsed onto the floor.
“This! This is exactly why I didn’t want to go out on an adventure! Why do you always cause nothing but problems? And here I thought you all were more sensible than before! Even Aqua has been behaving herself recently!”
And here I thought Megumin is far more mature now compared to how rabid she was back when we first met…
“No, actually, yesterday, Aqua…”
“Hey, Darkness, he finally said something good about me, so why must you open your mouth? I’ll just offhandedly tell him about it while we are taking care of Megumin’s mess. If you bring up a small mistake when taking care of a big mistake, the small mistake wouldn’t seem like such a big problem in the end.”
I couldn’t help but let out a cry after learning of yet another mess I have to clean up.
Then, Megumin, who has been oddly quiet for some time, raised her head and said.
“I did go on an adventure with everyone yesterday, but…”
“Why are you saying it again!? And what’s with the smile of yours!? What, do you think I will go easy on you just because you smile a little!? I’m not letting you get away with it this time! I’m sick of having to clean up after you every single time! Do you have any idea what I have to put up with, you useless piece of trash!?”
As Megumin’s smile faded, I heard the sound of clenching teeth from her.
“Here I thought to properly ask you for once and this is how your react! Yeah, I’m very familiar with how troublesome it is to run a party over the past few days! Yes, I know how hard you’re trying for us! Yeah, it’s really amazing! You’re really great! Thanks for everything you do! Are you happy now!? You’ll come along in the end anyways, so delaying any more is just a waste of time!”
“Oh you finally said it, you little brat! I won’t forgive this! I’m going to use Drain Touch to drain your mana every day from now on! Until you earn my forgiveness, you’re never going to cast Explosion again!”
“W-What are you saying!? That’s no laughing matter, you know!? There are some things that a human should never say, and you just flew across that line without the slightest bit of hesitation!”
Megumin immediately shot up and swiftly backed away, her fear only barely hidden behind her nervous smile.
I retrieved my binding wire and waved it in front of me in a threatening manner.
“My name is Satou Kazuma. I’m a man of my word who will do my best to keep any promises I make. I stand boldly in the face of the incongruities of the world and deliver justice upon cheeky Crimson Demon brats. I’ve been taking it easy recently, so you and Aqua started looking down on me. Seems like I have to show you what I can do when I get serious every so often.”
Megumin, trembling and covered in cold sweat, suddenly gave me a gentle smile like a switch just got flipped inside her.
“Calm down, Kazuma. I apologize for snapping at you, so please stop waving that wire around. The Kazuma that I fell in love with isn’t the kind of man who would do something so horrible. You might complain and grumble when dealing with our problems, but at the end of the day, you’ll still come to our aid. That’s the kind of man I fell in love with. Hehe, are you jealous because I’ve been heading out every day? Very well, I’ll stay with you in the mansion today, so–”
Megumin collapsed onto the carpet after getting hit by my bind.
“Kazuma! I get it, I’m sorry! I’m sorry for snapping at you and trying to strongarm you like this! I-I apologize, so don’t come any closer to me! A deal! I’m sure we can come to an agreement, Kazuma!”
“Aqua, watch closely! I’ll suck Megumin dry and seal away her Explosion! As for you, say goodbye to your collection of strange looking rocks and high end liquor you have in your room!”
“K-Kazuma-san, I won’t snap at you, so there’s no need for any punishment. But, well, yes, I might have taken you for granted recently. I’ll clean up the small mistake that I made yesterday on my own, so there’s no need to concern yourself with me.”
Ignoring Aqua who trembled as she hid herself behind Darkness, I brought my hand closer to Megumin.
“Kazumaaaaa! Please wait, I’m really sorry, please forgive me! I’m in the wrong, I was just a little sulky! You weren’t playing along with me at all so I had no choice but to go out with Yunyun and the others but I really wanted to go on an adventure together with Kazuma and the others, please forgive me, I’ll do anything!!”
Just as my fingers brushed against the nape of her neck.
“You’ll do anything, you say?”
I can feel the three of them staring me down with a withering gaze.
“… Er, well, I’m fine with it. I mean, we are already at that stage… Still, I feel really conflicted about your desires being your weak point every single time…”
Megumin said that with a sigh, but…
“That’s not it. I’m not going to ask anything erotic of you. Don’t think I’m that easy of a man that is driven by nothing but lust.”
“What’s wrong with you, Kazuma? Are you under some kind of strange curse or something?”
“My all seeing eyes don’t pick up on any curse affecting him.”
Ignoring those two who were whispering in the corner, I continued.
“Now then, in the name of Satou Kazuma, I shall now seal away your Explosion magic. In order to use your magic from now on, you’ll need to have… yes, permission from your master, me.”
“M-Master!? Why does it sound so cool!? But don’t think I’ll just play along because you start dropping cool sounding terms like Master and seal and what not!”
I laid my hand on the wriggling Megumin and drained away just enough mana to prevent her from casting Explosion.
“Kuh, an evil NEET who fears my power placed a power seal upon me… But be aware, when this seal is released, this world shall be covered in flames…!”
“I sealed away your Explosion because you say such stuff all the time. Now, come on, let’s go! I’ll lend you a hand as long as you’ll do anything I say!”
“See, Darkness, Kazuma-san really does give in easily.”
“Shh, your voice is too loud. … Say, Kazuma, there’s something I want to ask…”
After shushing Aqua, Darkness turned to me with an expectant gaze…
“I know what you’ll do to Megumin and Aqua, but what exactly would you do to me if I did something?”
“I’ll make you wear some frilly clothes and call the other adventurers over for a wine party–”
“I’m just asking out of curiosity, alright? I didn’t do anything!”
After collecting our equipment and leaving the house, I once again turned to Megumin.
“I know we are searching for a Crystal Liger, but do you have any plans as to how we go about doing it?”
“I have an idea I can put into motion when we reach the capital. Incidentally, it seems like high quality jewels are irresistible treats to Crystal Ligers.”
High quality jewels…
She cut me off before I could even say anything.
“This is where you’re supposed to shine. The only thing good about you is your family name, so I’m sure you have one or two jewels lying around.”
“I’m saying no because I don’t feel like I’d get them back! The only jewels that my family have are all ones with historical value!”
Immediately after hearing that, Aqua sped off in a hurry, followed shortly after by Megumin.
They are probably heading off to the Dustiness mansion.
“Hey, wait, where are you guys going… Wait, Kazuma, why do you have my family’s pendant with you!? What are you planning!?”
As the two of them ran off, I took out the Dustiness family pendant that I borrowed from Darkness some time ago and brandished it.
“Hey, give that back! There’s no reason for you to hold onto that anymore!”
“Come now, this has a lot of uses. My current kick is to wear it prominently on my chest as I parade myself in front of someone who looks like a noble.”
I’d get looks of envy, and occasionally even an offer to treat me or two, but she snatched the pendant out of my hand before I could say that.
“You really are…! No, wait, now is not the time for this. I need to chase after those two!”
“Now, now, my lady, let us just have some tea at that store while we wait for them to come back.”
“Cut it out already. We can do this sometime else! If I don’t chase after them… I see, so you’re trying to delay me. Very well, I’ll go after them after taking you out.”
“That’s some bold words, my lady. Do you really think you can best me?”
Darkness has still never once won against me, but she’s smiling really confidently today.
“Don’t think I haven’t gotten stronger at all, Kazuma. The only skill of yours that I need to be wary of is Bind. Don’t think you’ll be able to stop me by using Freeze or Drain Touch!”
Saying that, Darkness lowered her center of gravity and took up a guarded stance against me.
“Oh, my, it seems like you have matured at least a little since you were a naive, sheltered noble lady. If it were you in the past, you would’ve charged at me without a second thought, only to end up rolling around on the ground after eating my Bind. You’d end up looking really pathetic in front of the masses…”
“Save your breath, Kazuma. Such tactics won’t work on me anymore.”
Darkness casually brushed aside my provocations.
“You plan to excite my masochistic heart and bend me to your will, aren’t you? I might have fallen for that in the past, but even I will learn from my mistakes after stumbling so often! Don’t think you can keep leading me by the nose with sweet talk like getting humiliated and having amazing stuff happen and what not!”
Sweet talk, huh?
“Well, if you really wish for it, I wouldn’t mind gifting you some truly amazing memories, but you always get cold feet whenever such opportunities actually arise. Are you really a masochist or are you just pretending to be one for kicks?”
“P-Pretending!? Pretending, you say!? You’re provoking me with such words in order to better your own position, I see! But I won’t lose to such transparent sweet talk-!”
And, just then.
Aqua returned with an armful of glittering jewels in her hands, followed closely by Megumin.
“Good work, Kazuma! We managed to borrow some high quality jewels!”
“I told Darkness’s father that it was a request from his daughter, and he happily lent us his family’s treasured jewels.”
“Took you long enough… Is something wrong, Darkness? My role is done, so just count it as my loss. I don’t really mind.”
Darkness, who was so engrossed in our battle that she completely forgot about chasing after the two, hung her head low and said in a soft voice.
“… Nevermind, just count it as my loss…”
— Now that everything has been taken care off, we can head off to the capital…
“Are you kidding me!? Why am I still prevented from using the services of the teleport store!?”
“There’s no use complaining to me! The word from above said in no uncertain terms that Satou-san is to be refused if he attempts to use the shops services to go to the capital…”
We arrived at the teleport store in order to get to the capital quickly, but for some reason, I am still barred from teleporting to the capital.
The lady who’s manning the store seems troubled in the face of my questions.
“Please wait a moment. It’s true that this man is barred from stepping foot into the capital, but this is a special case. In the name of the Dustiness family, he will not cause any problems in the capital. This I swea… I swear …”
“Hey, hurry up and finish your sentence! Now is not the time to be uncertain!”
–Thanks to Darkness, we finally managed to make our way to the capital.
Upon our arrival, Megumin seemed like she had something on her mind.
“What’s wrong, Megumin? Is something up?”
“No, it’s just… After seeing you use your authority like that, I’m struck by the thought that you really do have an adverse effect on that girl’s education.”
Who is she talking about?
… Just then, Aqua pulled on the sleeve of Darkness.
“Say, Darkness, can you give me a crest of the Dustiness family like the one Kazuma has?”
“N-No way. Besides, Kazuma doesn’t have a crest anymore. I took it back earlier.”
In response, Aqua simply tilted her head.
“Your crest isn’t the only thing that Kazuma has, you know? I’ve seen him flash around a different looking crest when he visited an expensive seeming restaurant the other day. I too want to flaunt my authority like that.”
“Hey, Kazuma, what’s the meaning of this!? You had another family’s crest too!? Since when did you get your hands on something like that!?”
“I got it from a lady named Claire some time back. That thing is really convenient, you know? I can walk into those noble only establishments wearing my jumpsuit without them tossing me out.”
Ignoring Darkness’s incredulous looks, I hurried ahead to catch up to Megumin who’s taking the lead.
Eventually, we arrived at the capital’s adventurer’s guild.
In both the building itself or the quality of the adventurers within it, there’s a stark difference between this place and the adventurer’s guild back in Axel.
With a silent prayer not to get involved with any scary looking adventurers, I entered the guild.
Megumin, on the other hand, strode over to the receptionist’s table with a practiced ease and sat herself in front of the counter.
“Young miss, I’m here about that matter. Can you please call that person over?”
“Understood, Megumin-sama. I’ll fetch him right away.”
What the hell, Megumin is talking to the receptionist the same way a veteran adventurer would.
“Hey, Megumin, since when did you become a regular of this place? And the other adventurers seem to all be staring at you.”
“I might have gotten some famous achievements as of late, but even so, they still shouldn’t stare so blatantly. Seriously, what a troublesome bunch…”
Megumin said that with a casual exasperation, seemingly completely unfazed.
“Hey, why did we leave Megumin alone all this time? I don’t know exactly what she has done, but it feels like she created some kind of strange misunderstanding.”
“I wouldn’t know anything about that. Aren’t you supposed to be her caretaker, Kazuma?”
My and Aqua’s whispered words caused Megumin’s ears to turn red.
Darkness gave Megumin and gentle smile and said,
“Megumin, you’re putting on airs, aren’t you? Don’t worry, pretty much everyone around your age goes through a similar phase.”
“T-that’s not it, I am a regular of this place! Errr… Ah, isn’t that Max over there?”
Megumin, blushing bright red, hastily looked around the guild before calling out to a man with a scar across his nose who has already started drinking this early in the day.
“My name is Rex, not Max.”
The man lifted up a large drinking cup as he corrected Megumin. I get the feeling that he’s somewhat hurt by the mix up.
Next to him, a strong looking and beautiful girl and a man with a large axe resting on his shoulder gave Megumin a hearty wave.
“H-Hey, Kazuma, Megumin is talking really naturally with those veteran adventurers!”
“Kazuma, this is really odd. Megumin is seeming more and more like a veteran adventurer, even to me.”
“Calm down, you two. Those two are just plants. They were paid in advance so that they will act familiar around her.”
“What are you saying!? Why would I do something so stupid!? Those three are people who once invited me to their party in the past!”
After hearing Megumin’s outburst, I mentally relaxed.
“Now, now, saying that you have been scouted by another party is stretching things a bit too far, don’t you think?”
“Yeah. I’m feeling really relieved somehow.”
“M-Megumin, I really don’t recommend telling those sorts of lies. It’s going to result in some real trouble later on, you know?”
After hearing our words, Megumin pulled on the large man named Rex and directed him towards us.
“Now, properly explain it to my companions!”
“Eeh!? N-No, I mean, sure, I did try to recruit her into our party some time ago. After all, she’s a Crimson Demon who can use Explosion, so I thought she might want to come make a name with us at the capital.”
At first glance, it doesn’t seem like he’s lying…
“Say, they aren’t selling any mind controlling magical items, are they?”
“No, no, she must be threatening them…”
“No, she must have a hostage…”
“Right, why don’t the three of you step outside with me!?”
Just then, the receptionist lady returned with another person in tow.
“Thank you for waiting. I’ve brought Barton-san with me”
The person was a middle aged man sporting a pair of square spectacles.
“It’s been some time, Megumin-kun! Are those three your companions? My name is Barton, I’m a leading authority in the field of biology, and the author of a best selling book. Would you like my signature?”
According to Megumin-kun’s story, that necklace was stolen while they were handling the quest that this man issued.
By rights, the loss of any of the adventurer’s personal equipment while on a quest falls squarely on their own heads, but…
“Megumin-kun has been a great help to me on the quest we went on the other day and many other occasions besides that. Anyway, it would be easier to track down the Crystal Liger if I tagged along.”
“Seriously, Megumin-kun? Just what have you been doing behind our backs?”
“Thank you, Megumin-kun. Thanks to you, I got the signature of an old man that I don’t know.”
Right now, we are heading to the depths of the forests near the capital along with Barton. He said that he felt some amount of guilt over losing the necklace, so he’s willing to help.
“… B-by the way, how far away is the destination, Megumin-kun– Ow! Aaah, why only me…!?”
Seemingly being unable to stand being referred to as Megumin-kun any longer, Megumin-kun started wailing on Darkness.
“We went into it around here the other day, but Crystal Ligers are the same type of monsters as Rookie Killers. They are extremely crafty, so it might have already changed its hunting grounds…”
Megumin surveyed her surroundings as she held Darkness is a nelson hold.
“Yes, indeed. Well, this is what I’m here for.”
Saying that, Barton took out a black lump from his backpack.
“Oh, do you have some kind of plan, mister?”
“It’s not mister, call me Professor Barton.”
“Understood, Professor Barton!”
I’ve only known him for a short while, but I’m getting the distinct impression that he is a weirdo too.
Aqua being able to get along with him so easily is the most definitive proof.
“So what do you think this is, Aqua-kun?”
“From what my unclouded eyes see, this is definitely a pile of poop.”
Aqua prodded at the black lump with a stick she found off the ground.
“That’s pretty perceptive of you, Aqua-kun. As you’ve said, this is the poop of a Crystal Liger. We are going to use this to lure it in!”
“My powers of perception are impressive indeed, but that’s not the only thing impressive about me. I already know what you plan to do with that. You want to let Kazuma take a whiff in order to track down it’s scent, right?”
“Just what kind of creature do think I am?”
Barton wrapped the droppings in a handkerchief and held it high in front of us.
“Ligers as a species are extremely guarded and take care to avoid leaving traces of themselves in the open. We found this poop buried under the ground back when we were here the other day. Now then, a question for you, Aqua-kun. What do you think would happen if we were to leave this out in the open?”
“It’d be too embarrassed to have other people see it’s poop, so it would hurry back to take care of it.”
“It’s a little off, but that’s the general idea. It’ll come back to get rid of it’s poop.”
Somehow, I’m starting to lose faith in those two after hearing them repeatedly use the word poop without any reservation.
“Say, Megumin, is this man really okay? Is he really a wildlife researcher? He’s not just some ordinary middle aged man, is he?”
“I have my reservations too, but he’s never been mistaken when it comes to monsters.”
“Our goal today isn’t to vanquish the Crystal Liger, but retrieve the necklace that it took. If it appears in front of us, all we need to do is dangle our high quality jewels before it. It would surely take it back to its lair, and we will be able to find out where it is by following it.”
Barton, who seemed to be on the same wavelength as Aqua, pushed up his glasses after saying that.
“–It really came…”
An hour later.
We were whiling the time away by listening to Barton ramble on about monster trivia, when my Enemy Detection skill activated.
I cast my gaze in that direction and activated my Farsight, spotting a jewel covered giant feline gazing intently in our direction.
But for some reason, it’s staring towards Megumin instead of its own droppings…
I pretended to observe my surroundings in order not to alarm the liger as I whispered to Barton and Darkness who were close by.
“Hey, the Liger is here. Don’t make any sudden moves, it doesn’t know that we’ve seen it yet. Just act like you were.”
“In other words, from a biological standpoint, it’s the right choice for monsters that imitate the female body to look erotic! Why do female knights wear bikini armour that have low defenses? That’s because playing on the enemy’s desires will increase their survival chances! Between a person in full armour whose gender can’t be determined at first glance, and a woman wearing bikini armour who is clearly a woman, any enemies would clearly make efforts not to kill the bikini armour wearing knight and capture her instead!”
“Don’t make up such vulgar reasons for why female knights wear their traditional bikini armour! The reason why monsters imitate the female body is to lure men to be their prey! Bikini armour exists for proper, respectable reasons, such as to raise the morale of their own troops and take care of the nobility at night…!”
Barton and Darkness completely ignored my whispers as they steadily got more agitated in their conversation.
Just what the hell are these two talking about?
“So it is for those kinds of purposes after all! In the first place, bikini armour provides almost no protection for the wearer at all, so it’s ridiculous to call it armour in the first place! Besides, if bikini armour is so versatile as you say, then why aren’t you wearing bikini armour yourself!?”
Darkness’s face blushed a deep red upon hearing those words.
“No, that’s…! I’m the party’s shield, so being well protected is more important than being sensual…”
“Who the hell said that protection is more important than being sensual!?”
Just then, Megumin pulled on my sleeve, and I turned around to face her.
“Kazuma, isn’t the liger already here? What are you doing getting involved in their silly argument too?”
“It’s not silly, it’s a very important matter.”
There was something in there that I just couldn’t ignore.
“Right, Darkness, come over here.”
“W-W-What are you planning to do!? As a noble scion, there’s no way I can wear bikini armour…”
“Nevermind that, just come here! No, it’s an important topic, but what I mean is, come over here and take out those jewels.”
Immediately understanding the situation the moment I mentioned the jewels, Darkness stared straight at me and said.
“Where’s the liger?”
“It’s behind you. It’s observing us, so don’t look back. Listen up, make sure you act natural when you take out your jewels. We can’t let it pick up that we are baiting it.”
Darkness shot me a look of acknowledgement.
“Phew, talking with you really wore me out… I’ll soothe my soul with my daily routine of admiring my jewels.”
Just what kind of daily routine is that? Put a little more thought into your act, will you?
Megumin fought to stifle her laugh as she said.
“I didn’t know Darkness had a daily routine too. That’s just like my one explosion a day routine.”
“Y-Yeah, I guess we are the same!”
With a strained look on her face, Darkness retrieved the jewels and started staring at them in plain sight.
“I didn’t know you had such a strange hobby, Darkness. I need to tell everyone when I get back to town.”
“Aqua, I’ll talk to you later.”
Just as Darkness admonished Aqua for saying such unnecessary words,
“Crap, it’s fast! Hey, Darkness, behind you!”
The liger, that was so far away just a moment ago, closed the distance in a flash and snatched away the jewels that Darkness had in her hands.
As it swooped by, I caught a glimpse of an obviously very valuable necklace shining around its neck.
Just as I was feeling slightly impressed over a monster being able to put on accessories, the liger, jewels in its mouth, shot me a glance…
“The Liger is escaping! After it!”
“Just as planned.”
Everything is going just as I expected so far.
Just as we planned, we started chasing after the liger.
“Say, Kazuma, doesn’t the liger seem really fast? My legs are like those of an onion duck, but even I don’t think I’ll be able to catch up with it.”
“That sounds really delicious. Are you sure you don’t mean to say onion deer?”
“I-It’s fine. Kazuma must have a plan for this eventuality. This is within your expectations, right?”
I nodded at an uneasy sounding Darkness.
“Yeah, I just need a little time to figure out what to do now.”
“Those are one of my family’s greatest treasures!”
With an expression on the verge of tears, Darkness charged off after the fast receding liger.
After losing track of the liger, we took a short break to regain our energy.
“We lost all traces of it. But don’t worry, I have another plan.”
“Really!? You do have one, right!? If those go missing, father will definitely scold me!”
Apart from Barton who seemed entirely out of breath, it seems like everyone else can still push on for a while longer.
“Oh, Darkness just said she’ll be scolded by her father. She really is a daddy’s girl, isn’t she?”
“To think that she’d be afraid of getting scolded by her papa, it seems like Darkness has her cute side too.”
“Gurk…! Kazuma, hurry up and tell me your plan! Just what should I do next!?”
Darkness blushed in the face of Megumin’s teasing, but she didn’t even bother to shoot back and instead frantically pestered me.
“Now, now, calm down. The next step is up to Barton-san. As a wildlife researcher, I’m sure he can identify where the liger went by picking up on its traces.”
Hearing that, Darkness shot an expectant gaze towards Barton.
Barton nodded a couple of times and said,
“Hmm, I would like to say leave it to me, but there’s no way I would be able to do something like that.”
“That’s what he said.”
“What should we do!? Those are my precious family jewels!”
Darkness aggressively shook me by my shoulders.
“Oh, fine… I don’t really want to do this, but…”
Even though I’m sure this will just result in more trouble coming our way, I activated my Enemy Detection skill–
“What the hell is this idiot doing!? Hey, Darkness, I’ll cut the vines, so pull Aqua out of there!”
I followed my Enemy Detection skill to regain the trail, and the closest response turned out to be…
“This is a new mimic type monster! Rejoice, Aqua-kun! You’ve just allowed me to discover a new monster species! As the person who ran into it, I’ll allow you the opportunity to name it!”
“Wait a minute, Barton-san. I want to give it a name.”
“Stop saying stupid stuff and help me! Kazuma, your skills as a swordsman is just average, right!? And I don’t think I’ve seen you use that sword of yours very often before!”
The moment I said: “There’s a monster nearby”, Aqua went and plucked a fruit from a nearby tree.
At that instant, a vine extended and wrapped itself around Aqua, leading to this situation.
“It’ll be fine, trust me! I’ll make sure to close my eyes while I cut away! With my luck, it’ll definitely work out!”
I performed a vertical slice with my chunchunmaru, and the vines fell apart.
“Kuh, normally, it would be my turn to get tangled up, but right now, chasing after the liger is more important… Aqua, you’re okay, right? Kazuma, let’s go towards the next target!”
A strangely serious seeming Darkness pulled Aqua to her feet.
“I want to go home already…”
“P-Please bear with it, Aqua. And don’t carelessly touch anything around you.”
As Darkness consoled Aqua, Megumin slowly opened her mouth.
“Let’s name this monster the Creeping Aqua. The name came to me after seeing how it elegantly wrapped around Aqua.”
“A Mimic that takes the form of a tree, Creeping Aqua. Very well, I’ll register the monster once we get back to the city.”
“If you register it with that name, the capital shall be washed away in a heavy downpour.”
Ignoring Aqua as she threatened Barton, I activated my Enemy Detecting skill once more.
— On the way to the next target that my Enemy Detection skill picked up.
“There’s no need to be afraid, Aqua-kun! That Tentacled Dorcus is just being curious.”
[Dorcus: A specific genus of stag beetle.]
A giant stag beetle appeared out of nowhere and captured Aqua.
“True, it’s not reacting to my Enemy Detection skill. That means it doesn’t hold any hostility towards us.”
“I suppose it’s similar to play biting, then.”
It doesn’t seem to have any hostile intent, so we decided to just quietly wait till it leaves, but…
“Hey, hurry up and let go of Aqua! We can’t chase after the liger like this! If you want to grab something so much, then grab me!”
“Darkness, wait a minute, I feel like I’m starting to forge a connection with this child.”
An agitated Darkness made to pull Aqua out, but it doesn’t seem like Aqua herself is in any hurry to be extracted.
After Aqua and the stag beetle both had their fill and parted ways.
“I got some sugared water at Wiz’s shop earlier, so maybe that’s why it took a liking to me.”
“Enough! Kazuma, let’s go already!”
— A short distance after we parted ways from the stag beetle, my Enemy Detection skill reacted towards something in the trees above us.
“There it is…”
Megumin, her eyes glowing a bright crimson, whispered to me.
A small bowl made out of branches lay in the trees, and on top of those branches is a pile of jewels.
And, laying beside the pile of jewels is…
“It doesn’t seem to be too on guard. I wonder what’s going on…?”
Barton stared unflinching at the liger as he muttered.
True, the liger lying on top of the tree definitely has spotted us, but it made no efforts to scare us off.
Still, the fact that it triggered my Enemy Detection skill meant that it certainly didn’t have any friendly intentions.
Just then, Aqua, whose eyes started sparkling the moment she noticed those jewels, said.
“The only thing we need to return is the necklace, right? That means we can keep the other jewels, right?”
“Aqua, don’t forget about my family treasures.”
Still, why is that liger so completely relaxed?
“It’s not taking any actions even after we’ve seen its nest. It might be a trap.”
Liger type monsters tend to be fairly intelligent.
I see, it intends to get us to lower our guard, and use that chance to…!
“No, it seems like it just doesn’t think highly of us.”
Barton straightforwardly said.
“… No, no, it was staring at us in fright when we ran into it the other day. And, earlier too, it immediately ran away the moment it got its paws on Darkness’s jewels.”
“It was afraid of Iris-kun, not us. And as for today, it seems like he doesn’t think there’s any need to take us out, so he simply left us be…”
Megumin started chanting her spell.
“Wait, Megumin, the necklace and my family treasures are over there too!”
“Yeah, Megumin, you can’t cast your Explosion in front of that pile of gems! They would all be destroyed!”
The two of them hastily moved to restrain Megumin, but they needn’t have done that at all.
After all, Megumin is under a seal right now.
“Calm down, you three. It isn’t looking down on us, it’s being wary of us. As a cat lover, I can tell. It has no intention of tangling with us.”
Yes, there’s no need for this to end in a fight.
The only thing we need are the necklace and the Dustiness family treasures.
Ligers are smart creatures.
That means that they should be able to understand our intentions.
Laying in the tree, the necklace wearing liger seems to have taken a great liking to the Dustiness family jewels, rolling it around between its paws and playing around with it.
I gave it a casual smile in order to put it at ease and said.
“It’s fine, there’s no need to be afraid. Come, I have something far better than jewels for you. Do you like dried meat? Or what about some fruits? But, in exchange–”
Just as I slowly approached the liger, it suddenly leapt towards me.
I managed to just barely avoid its claws, and it stared down at me with Darkness’s family jewels in its mouth.
“That guy attacked me! Dammit, and I was trying so hard to be friendly too! … Ah, that bastard, it just yawned!”
“It’s looking down on you, Kazuma-san! It’s definitely looking down on you!”
Just then, Darkness suddenly ran in front of me…
“I’ll be taking back my jewels! It sounds like you’re a rare species, so I won’t kill you, but if you resist–!”
Darkness is probably trying to scare it into giving up, but the liger quickly leapt back up into the trees, out of the range of Darkness’s sword.
The liger then leapt onto Darkness, dodging her blows and pinning her to the ground with a single paw.
“Aaaah!? Dammit, a mere beast…!? S-Stop!”
“If you are going to say such things, don’t get defeated in a single blow! Don’t start enjoying it either! Hey, Megumin, I’ll release your seal now!”
Hearing my words, Megumin trembled in excitement.
“My time has finally come… Seems like you’ve resolved yourself, Kazuma…”
My words made it sound really grandiose, but all I’m really doing is restoring her mana using Drain Touch.
“In the name of Satou Kazuma, I command thee! Anti Demon King Army artificial human, Crimson Demon Megumin! I now release the seal on your Explosion magic!”
“Oh, very well. It’s only this once that I acknowledge you as my master and follow your orders, okay? O, long restrained power of mine, now is the time to manifest yourself upon this world!”
“You two seem like you’re really having fun. Let me play with you too.”
The beast that will vanquish the world in fire, Megumin, has been unleashed, and immediately started chanting her magic.
“Hey, Kazuma, the Liger seems scared all of a sudden. I think it’s afraid of Megumin after she got her mana back.”
After hearing Aqua’s words, I turned back to the liger, and it certainly seemed to be shocked stone still while staring intently at Megumin.
Monsters have trouble telling the difference between individual humans, but they can detect mana and use that to gauge relative strength.
After sensing the mana that Megumin is emitting when she is chanting her spell, perhaps it finally recognised her as the adventurer that drove it into a corner the other day.
“Darkness, grab the necklace on its neck! Once you do that, Megumin can use her explosion to blow it away!”
In order to accomplish our first objective to retrieve the necklace, I shouted those orders to Darkness who is still pinned beneath the scared stiff liger.
“I-It has both my hands pinned, so I can’t do anything…”
“Don’t sound so happy when you’re saying that! You better be actually putting effort into resisting!”
In order to give Darkness support, I dashed over to the liger’s feet.
“W-Wait a minute! Megumin-kun, you understand, right? That is a species on the verge of extinction…!”
“It got away because you said that the last time! This time, I’ll definitely finish it off!”
Barton and Megumin were arguing about something, but there are more important things occupying my attention right now. I turned towards Aqua.
“Aqua, can you distract it for a moment!? Just a short while would do!”
“Understood! Just leave it to me!”
Hearing her unusually confident voice, I know for sure that this will end up in failure.
“I’m going to use steal on it! I’ll most likely get the necklace, so the moment I do, Megumin, blow it away!”
Hearing that, Barton let out a surprised scream.
“Wait, if you do that, Darkness-kun will be-!”
I dashed next to Darkness, and the liger’s gaze turned towards me.
“Wait a minute, Kazuma. Sure, it’d be great to secure the national treasure that is the necklace, but what about the Dustiness family treasures-?”
“Just give up on them! If you father gets angry, I’ll just give him the Satou family treasures as a replacement!”
Saying that, I drew the strangely named sword that is, as of now, the Satou family treasure, and–
“Instant kill special trick, Ephemeral beauty!”
[TL note: the original skill name is Kyouka Suigetsu(鏡花水月) This is similar to Kachou fuugetsu/ nature’s beauty, except in this case the meaning of it is “the subtle and profound beauty of poems that cannot be described in words.” Obviously this requires a little bit more creative interpretation to translate properly.]
Ignoring whatever party trick that Aqua tried to use, the liger immediately leapt backwards.
Even though the liger executed an evasive maneuver, I managed to catch it with Steal just before it managed to leave my effective range.
An expensive looking and heavy, in all senses of the word, necklace appeared in my hand.
And, since the liger leapt backwards from Darkness, there’s now a slight, but significant amount of space between us.
With this, even if Megumin unleashed her Explosion, we wouldn’t be too badly hit.
“Megumin, do it!”
Just as those words left my mouth.
“Please wait! Megumin-kun, you know about this! Crystal Ligers are almost all but extinct!”
Megumin briefly glanced at Barton, before turning her attention back to the Crystal Liger–
“Crystal Ligers are gentle creatures by nature! It naturally prefers a herbivorous diet, and enjoys eating wolfberries! There’s no need to finish it, we just need to scare it off…!”
Barton desperately pleaded, but the person he’s talking to is someone who would mercilessly kill a family of cute onion ducks for the sake of gaining more experience.
After coming this far, the Explosion mage of course has no intentions of restraining herself-
It must have detected the huge wave of mana that was released when Megumin activated Explosion.
The liger, staring petrified at Megumin, couldn’t move a single muscle—
“Waaaaaah! The jewels!!!”
Aqua’s screams echoed throughout the forest.
The magical ball that Megumin shot out blew past the liger, impacting the nest some distance behind it, and enveloped both it and the pile of jewels that it contained in a burst of fire–!
On the way back to the Capital.
I was being lectured by Aqua while Kazuma carried me on his back.
“Seriously, Megumin, I’m at a loss for words. The only thing you have is your Explosion magic, so how could you of all people miss? If you remove Explosion magic from Megumin, the only part left would be the Min part!”
“There are a lot of things I want to say, but most of all, I can’t agree with equating Megu with Explosion magic. If anything, there should be at least a couple more letters added on.”
“With that, the name Megumin would refer more towards Explosion magic than you yourself, you know?”
After its nest was destroyed, the liger spent several long minutes observing us.
Then, just as a desperate seeming Barton started trying to reason with it, the liger suddenly tossed the Dustiness family treasures that it held in its mouth towards us and fled.
“Still, that Crystal Liger really has a unique demeanor. It’s almost as if it could understand us!”
Barton happily said, presumably because he was able to accomplish all his goals without killing the liger.
Still, it really did seem that the Liger understood us.
Given the proximity to the capital, it will eventually be hunted down.
And no harm would come to it if it returned the jewels it took from us.
Even as it listened to those words, its gaze never strayed away from me.
“I feel like I’ve seen it somewhere before… Well, we did have quite a bit of fate with Rookie Killers in the past, so maybe it’s just the familiarity from seeing a similar Liger-type monster.”
Kazuma tilted his head and muttered to himself.
“Kazuma-san, there is a limit as to how open-minded you can be. You are already familiar with Devils and the undead, and now you’re interested in making friends with a wild monster too?”
“The only one who would be interested in wild monsters like this is Darkness.”
At Kazuma’s words, Darkness, while clutching her family treasures tightly, said,
“I-I’m plenty satisfied just by retrieving my family treasures today… Actually, I’ve had some pretty good experiences today. I might be the one who received the most in this adventure.”
“The only things you did today was get stepped on by the liger. Well, I suppose it’s better than Aqua who didn’t do anything.”
Being able to talk about the adventure with my friends made even the fatigue from exhausting all my mana worthwhile.
“Wait a moment, I probably deployed my party skills and got attention. Darkness was staring at my performance all that while.”
“Who asked you to attract Darkness’s attention in the first place?”
“Even if you say that, Kazuma, her performance was truly a wonder to behold. It’s best if she can show it to everyone when we get home.”
Perhaps it’s because of my mana exhaustion, but I’m steadily getting drowsy.
“Still, I should offer my thanks to you, gentlemen. Very much still remains a mystery about the Crystal Liger, but now there is reason to suspect that it can understand human tongue. That’s a huge discovery even on it’s own!”
Following Darkness, a jovial Barton happily chimed in.
“Say, Professor Barton, the treasure that we were looking forward to got lost, so please give me your signature when we get back to the capital. I’ll hear you out in exchange.”
“Very well, very well. If it’s just a signature, I’ll give you as many as you want when we get back! I see, so you want to hear my stories! Very well! The reason why the droppings of Crystal Ligers tend to be black is tied deeply to the color of the fur beneath their crystal growths!”
After receiving Aqua’s flattery, Barton happily launched into one of his lectures.
“Hey, Aqua, didn’t you already get a signature?”
“He seems pretty famous, so getting a whole ton of them wouldn’t hurt, right? They might be worth a lot of money, you know?”
Hearing their conversation, I thought back to why I couldn’t land the finishing blow with my explosion back then.
Ah, yes, it was the wolfberries.
When Barton said that Crystal Ligers prefer eating on wolfberries, I was reminded of the herbivorous Rookie Killer that I once gotten close to.
Back then, it was held in a cage in Axel on the orders of a noble, and, after a series of events, I helped it go free…
I wonder how that crimson-eyed rookie killer is doing right now?
For some reason, the liger we ran into today reminded me a lot of that Rookie Killer.
They liked the same foods, so perhaps they might have the same demeanour too.
“By the way, when are we returning this necklace to Iris? I don’t feel secure trusting just you guys to handle it, so I’m coming with you too.”
“Save that for when you are finally authorized to enter the capital. I’ll handle returning the necklace to Iris-sama.”
“Ah, I’m not letting you take all the credit! I’m definitely coming along! I want to hear Iris praise me as her onii-san.”
Letting the arguments of my companions flow past me, I once again thought back to the events of today.
Aqua ended up crying, Darkness ended up breathless, and Kazuma got angry.
It’s just like one of our usual adventures.
Going out with Iris and Yunyun is fun too, but it seems like this dysfunctional party is more suited to my tastes.
Plus, there’s no way this party would be able to function without my support.
“Still, this party really can’t function without me, huh? You best give me a greater portion of the rewards when we hand the necklace over.”
“The only thing you did was party tricks. If you are talking about this, the one who’s really indispensable to this party is me. You should be more appreciative of me in the future.”
“I-I might not have done anything flashy today, but as the one supporting everyone from behind, I feel like I’m more than pulling my weight!”
… It’s just like Yunyun said.
The more problems one creates, the more likely they are to think of themselves as the most normal of the bunch.
But, well, going on adventures really is what an adventurer ought to do.
By doing so, one will encounter countless happy and surprising events, much like today.
And amongst them would also be moments that would be remembered fondly in the future…
“What is it? Actually, I’m fine with you sleeping back there, but don’t drool on me, you hear?”
“I won’t drool on you. I was just thinking that all of us could go on an adventure tomorrow…”
“No way. In the first place, are you really in the position to say such carefree words? You remember, right? That you promised to do anything I say? I hope you know what you should do when we get home. Oh, and it doesn’t seem like you’ve noticed yet, but there’s about a 30% chance that you’ll end up drooling whenever I carry you like this.”
And here I was trying to express my gratitude. Why is this man just so gifted in destroying the mood?
“By the way, I wonder why that liger was staring at Megumin so much? It was staring at her like it was examining some curious specimen or something…”
Knowing nothing of my thoughts, Kazuma muttered something to himself.
Oh well, I did manage to get him to come with me on an adventure, so I guess I’ll let his complaints and grumbles slide for today.
I’ll have to return the borrowed necklace tomorrow, then–
“Say, Darkness, do you think Kazuma-san is in a good mood right now? Maybe this is the best time to tell him about what I did yesterday.”
“Hold on, Aqua, it’s best to wait for a while more. The best time would most likely be after we handed over the necklace to Iris-sama, when he’s basking in her praises.”
“I heard that. Now that you mention it, I do recall you saying something about Aqua getting into trouble again this morning!”
“Speaking of Crystal Ligers, I recall hearing something interesting about them a while back. It’s merely a fringe theory that has little support amongst the leading scholars, but… according to those tales, a Crystal Liger is what develops from certain rare specimens of Rookie Killers who eat wolfberries, after they have eaten enough for the seeds to start crystalizing within them…”
“Say, mister, all this liger talk is really starting to bore me.”
As I was clinging onto Kazuma’s gently swaying back.
While thinking of the amazing adventures I would go on tomorrow, I gently fell into slumber.
Thank you for picking up “Continued: Gifting this Wonderful World with Explosions! 2”
First off, allow me to apologize to my readers.
About the Crystal Liger that appeared in this book, it’s actually the evolved form of the Rookie Killer that appeared in a store exclusive short story “The Crimson Eyed Rookie Killer” that came out quite some time ago.
Those who haven’t read that exclusive short story might have some trouble following along, so my apologies for that.
Basing this volume on the contents of a short story might not be a very good practice, but that was a particularly favourite side story of mine, so I apologize for doing so.
To briefly summarise it, a special herbivorous Rookie Killer got captured by a noble, and Megumin, who was attracted by its unique appearance, visited it in its cage every day and formed a bond with it, eventually helping it escape.
Rookie Killers aren’t capable of speech, but they are smarter than Aqua, so it must have hid itself in the depths of the forest in order to live a peaceful life.
Now then, allow me to put up some advertisements.
The title of the Konosuba Movie has been decided as “Crimson Legend”.
As the name suggests, this movie is about the activities of a certain tribe with the word “Crimson” in their name.
Additionally, the Konosuba TRPG will be releasing on March the 20th.
Included is a small play session involving several well known authors, so if that perks your interest, please do pick it up.
Movie, concert, and now a TRPG. Konosuba is really starting to be a truly multimedia franchise.
The crossover work “Isekai Quartet” that involves “Overlord”, “Youjo Senki”, “Re:Zero” and “Konosuba” has already started production, so please look forward to it!
Additionally, one of my other works, “Kemonomich”, has been confirmed for an anime.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a story about a Masked Wrestler who is summoned to another world.
It would make me really happy if unfamiliar readers would to give it a look.
— How do I say this, there have been so many developments lately that it feels like even I as the author am having trouble keeping track of it all, but I would be really grateful if everyone would continue following Kazuma and co’s journey.
Though I don’t know if the day would come when they will go on a proper adventure like what Megumin wants…
Now then, allow me to give my thanks to the people who worked hard to make this volume ship out successfully.
First off, there’s the illustrator, Mishima Kurone-sensei. Thank you for the wonderful illustrations you provided for this volume.
Then, there’s the producer in charge, I-san, the designers, the editors, the salespeople, and all the other people whose efforts made it possible for this book to land in your hands, I’ve caused a lot of problems for you all for this time too, but allow me to thank you for your efforts and as a way of apology.
And lastly, to all my readers who picked up this book, by deepest thanks!
Right, and that does it for Continued Explosions 2. Sorry for the extreme delay, the original book came out at a really bad time for me and I had to scramble to get everything done, which is why there’s a four month delay and a lot of what Natsume promoted in the afterword is now out of date.
Still, it did bring my schedule in line with the new announcement, so I guess there’s a silver lining in that.
Speaking of which, If you haven’t heard yet, the release date of Volume 16 and Dust 5 has been confirmed to be the 1st of August, as mentioned in this post. Tentatively, I’ll be able to start putting out chapters around September, so there shouldn’t be as much of a wait this time.
As usual, I’ll be putting up the short stories over the coming weeks. Additionally, I’ll be filling the weeks between the release of Volume 16 and when I get it TLed to a satisfactory degree with the rest of the BD short stories, so look forward to that.
Now, then, till we meet again.