Finally, a Cheat for this Hiki-NEET!
Editing: Striker, Ulti
Coloured illustrations: Kasen
“Welcome back!” x2
When I opened the front door, Megumin and Darkness immediately greeted me.
They were seated on the carpet, and appeared to have been waiting for quite some time.
“You finally came back. I thought you would come back every few hours to rest between leveling, but you went and disappeared for over a day. I was really worried, you know?”
“Yeah! Seriously, this is why I should’ve gone with you to act as your meat shield. In the future… what is this?”
Megumin warmly welcomed me back, and Darkness grumbled about something.
However, she trailed off and curiously looked over the suit of armour I brought back.
“It’s a souvenir. I heard that it was a powerful set of armour that only Crusaders could use, so I brought it back with me.”
“Oh, a class-limited item. Items that are class restricted tend to be fairly powerful. Were you not able to find any items that you could use, Kazuma?”
“Ah, well, it is a little hard to find equipment tailor-made for Adventurers. It’s not that popular a class, after all.”
As Megumin and I talked away, Darkness accepted the suit of armour with trembling hands and hugged it close to her chest, her face red and tears gathering in her eyes.
“… Thank you. I’ll take good care of it.”
Those were simple words, but they were ones overflowing with feelings.
There’s no way I can tell her now that I decided to pass it on after finding out that it didn’t fit me.
“A jet black suit of armour, huh? It’d be a good fit for your name.”
“Yeah. Though, with the colour and the design, it does make you seem a bit like one of the Demon King’s bodyguards if you were to wear it.”
“Ugh, well… I do think it’s a little odd for a holy knight to wear a suit of jet black armour, but, well… this armour is quite beautiful, isn’t it? It’s enchanted with powerful magic, and will adjust its proportions to fit its wielder. I’m sure it’ll look properly knight-like while I’m wearing it.”
Darkness hurriedly carried the armour to the living room and started polishing it.
She seems like she’s having a lot of fun doing that.
Just then, Megumin tugged on my sleeve.
“So, did you get anything for me?”
“Er, well, n-no…”
— I had a light dinner before taking a bath.
When I got out, I couldn’t see Darkness anywhere.
She seemed pretty fond of that armour, so she’s probably trying it on in her room.
Megumin, on the other hand, was sitting on the sofa, seemingly waiting for me to emerge from the bath.
Despite the lateness of the hour, Megumin was wearing a black one piece dress instead of her usual pajamas.
“I’m going to sleep. I don’t know where you’re planning to go, but you should probably have an early night too, Megumin. Tomorrow will be a busy day.”
I plan on learning skills from the various adventurers that Megumin and Darkness reached out to while I was off grinding levels in the dungeon.
Once that is done, we’ll be setting off after Aqua.
The luggage for tomorrow’s journey is piled neatly in the corner of the living room.
It seems Megumin and Darkness had been getting ready while I was away in the dungeon.
“Is that so? Then, I should go to bed soon.”
With that, Megumin quickly got to her feet.
And, for some reason, she got behind me as I headed back to my room.
When I opened the door of my room, Megumin entered it like it was a matter of course.
“Umm, what are you doing? Weren’t you heading to bed?”
“I’ll go to bed… With you, Kazuma.”
–When I fell into a daze trying to process what Megumin just said, she walked over to my bed and patted the sheets as though she was testing the springs.
“This journey will be far more dangerous than any of our previous outings. That’s why… let’s make sure neither of us have any regrets.”
Megumin gave me a sly smile.
… … Wait, what?
“B-Being in this situation again i-is a little nerve-wracking, isn’t it? Are you okay? I-It’s not too tough on you, is it?”
“I-It’s fine, there’s no problem. Megumin, too, you shouldn’t push yourself.”
It’s a new moon tonight.
The only light streaming into this room came from the street lamps that the mages lit in the evening.
In this faint light, even Megumin’s pale skin is hard to make out clearly.
My Farsight skill only allows me to see the outlines of objects, much like a thermograph.
But the crimson glow of her eyes are clearly visible in this darkness.
Megumin laid on top of the bed and smiled at me.
Did she deliberately change into her favoured one piece dress just for this purpose?
I’ve been thinking about various things in order to distract myself, but my lower half does what my lower half wants.
To be honest, it’s becoming really hard to hold in my urges. I really want to do something about it as soon as possible.
Megumin seemed to have picked up that I was staring at her dress.
“This is the only piece of clothing I have that can really be said to be sexy… What do you think? Does it look good? Is it, um…”
“I-It looks fine. It’s very pretty, and, um, I’m turned on.”
“T-Turned on? Can’t you put it in… No, this is just like you.”
She let out another giggle.
Then, almost like she’s inviting me, she extended both arms and smiled at me.
“You can’t hold it in any more, can you? It’s alright, I’ll accept all of you. So that we don’t regret anything, so that we don’t leave anything behind, please do as you wish.”
I’m reaching my limit.
Anyone who wouldn’t make a move after hearing all this must really be shot in the head.
I moved on top of her, and, taking care not to rest my body weight onto her, wrapped her into a tight hug.
Now that my eyes have become accustomed to the darkness, I can clearly see that one of the straps of her dress has slipped aside, revealing her pale shoulder.
Come to think of it, I’ve only ever shared a kiss with Darkness, haven’t I?
Starting with a kiss here is only appropriate.
When I placed my hand on her cheek, she placed her own hand over it, and closed her eyes.
Just a simple gesture pushed my nervousness and excitement to the limit.
Women really are scary.
I slowly drew closer to Megumin, and she gulped.
She seemed to have sensed me approaching.
This isn’t like the kiss with Darkness, this is one both parties purposefully went into.
My nerves are completely shot, and there’s also a pressing mood to hurry up with things.
After all, if I take my time, that idiot will definitely barge in to meddle with things.
Yes, just like always, that idiot will interrupt just as things are getting good…!
“… Is something wrong?”
After a while, Megumin narrowly opened one of her eyes, seemingly noticing my inactivity.
That idiot won’t get in the way.
She’s not here, after all.
In other words, this is my chance.
It’s a one in a thousand chance, but…
“… I’m sorry.”
“… Um, is it because I’m no good? They might not be as big as Darkness or Aqua, but I think they have a pretty good shape. Would you like to take a look?”
“I really want to… No, that’s not it. To be honest, I want to do it. I really want to do it. My lower half is raging at me to continue. So it is not because you lack the charms. It’s just…”
I’m wasting this chance.
I know this is a stupid thing to do.
“I really want to do it when Aqua and Darkness and everyone is in the house. Doing such stuff while worrying about them interfering. Sneaking off to your room and messing around in order to avoid their attention. Sure, they’ll interfere just when things are getting good, but–”
I was cut off by Megumin who placed a hand over my mouth.
She then wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me into a kiss.
Tasting her tongue in my mouth sent all of my thoughts flying.
I naturally wrapped Megumin in my arms and went with the flow–
“… I truly adore that part of you. I love it so much, I just can’t get enough of it.”
When I tried to move on to the next step, Megumin pulled away and pushed my head into her chest.
She let out a breath and gently stroked the back of my head.
With my face pressed flush against Megumin’s gentle softness, I don’t think I can hold myself back any longer–
“We’ll continue this on the night we bring Aqua back. That’s a promise, okay?”
Megumin whispered into my ear, before pushing me off and getting down from the bed.
… Wait, what?
I mean, I have no right to complain about this, but after french kissing Megumin, my body is all hopped up and ready to go.
At this point, I really couldn’t care less about Aqua.
I really want to continue.
Actually, I think I’m about to cry.
Megumin pressed her hands against my back, and let out a cheeky giggle.
“When you said sorry just now, I was really panicking inside until you explained yourself. So, I’m going to be a little mean tonight too. As payback.”
The so-called payback is to leave me hanging after I’ve gotten this worked up?
I don’t think this is on the level of mean anymore.
Even if I wanted to, the succubus shop would’ve stopped accepting customers by now.
When did she become such a temptress?
“Um… I’ll apologize, so isn’t there some way we can carry on…?”
“Y-You really are…! Can’t you appear cool until the very end? … Anyway… ”
Megumin moved, not towards the door, but towards my closet for some reason.
“So there you have it. Darkness, stop fooling around in there and go back to your room!”
Megumin opened the closet with a bang, and inside, in addition to my clothes, is Darkness, red faced and kneeling.
“H-H-H-How did you know–”
“How did I know you were there? You worked yourself into a frenzy when Kazuma didn’t come back home yesterday, but tonight you dissappeared into the second floor before Kazuma even emerged from the bath! Crimson Demons have high intelligence! It’s child’s play for me to figure out what someone with nothing but perverted thoughts in their head like you would do!”
“M-My brain isn’t filled with…! I-I-If you are going to say that much, then you yourself are also–!”
Darkness stuttered as she sat inside the closet, and Megumin dragged her out.
“I didn’t get a souvenir, so I came up here to claim my compensation… Knowing you, the excitement you felt after receiving the armour coupled with the sense of loneliness last night made you think welcoming him in his room is a good idea, right? Then, upon hearing my voice, you jumped into this closet in a panic!”
“How do you know my actions so…! I-I just wanted to give my thanks for the armour…!”
Darkness was blushing red all the way to her ears, and looked like she could break into tears at any moment.
“Giving your body in return for a present!? What a perverted girl! I’m content with simply embracing Kazuma, but you wouldn’t be satisfied with just that, would you!? You would’ve offered your body to Kazuma and confidently said ‘Here, this is your reward!’, right? Are you really that full of yourself!?”
“T-T-T-That’s not… That isn’t-! N-No, that’s not what I had in mind at all!”
“I’m sure you were getting excited peeking at me and Kazuma, that’s why you were seated like that! Isn’t that right!? What a perverted girl! Come on, stop wallowing in your fantasies and go back to your room already!”
“Wait, you went on ahead with Kazuma even though you knew I was there! You are just as perverted! Aaah, at least let me make an excuse…!”
Megumin, dragging Darkness behind her, left the room and disappeared down the corridor.
… Now, what do I do with all these pent up urges?
The next morning.
A large number of adventurers were waiting for us at the pick up point for the carriages.
Standing in front of them were Vanir and the Penguin.
“Kazuma, what are you spacing out for? You’re going to get hurt while learning new skills if you don’t pay attention.”
Right now, we are about to set off on our journey to chase after Aqua and take down the Demon King.
As I left the house, I wistfully looked back and caught something odd at the corner of my eye.
A girl was waving at me from the second floor of the mansion, almost as if she was wishing me a safe trip.
I wonder if that’s the ghost of the noble girl that Aqua said was supposed to be living in the mansion.
When I rubbed my eyes and went back for a better look, she was gone.
Perhaps it’s because of the short time I spent as Regina’s priest, but I’ve been catching glimpses of odd stuff lately.
Still, seeing that girl didn’t bring me any sense of dread.
Anyway, she’s been occupying my thoughts for the past few minutes, which is why…
“Brat… No, dear customer, I have confirmed the payment this morning. This is the biggest single sale the Vanir magic item shop has made since its opening, so to be honest, Moi cannot stop myself from smiling. Leave the house to me. Moi shall properly take care of that evil goddess and the raw chicken meat, so you may come without any worries.”
“Should it be go? … No, wait, what did you say just now? I understand what chicken meat is referring to, but what did you say about the other one?”
Vanir, holding both Chomusuke and Zell in his arms, sent me off.
Just as I asked him this vital question, Zereschrute patted me on the back.
“Young man, you have protected me from the depredations of the wicked goddesses many times over. If you lose your life on this journey, you’re welcome to visit my domain in hell. I shall extend my greatest hospitality to you.”
“I really wish you wouldn’t say such inauspicious words…”
He might have completely become a mascot of Wiz’s store by now, but he is still a devil. I suppose this is just how devils wish each other luck.
“Right, then, Kazuma, are you ready to learn some skills?”
Dust stepped out from the crowd of adventurers and pointed his sword at me.
It’s not like he’s trying to attack me or anything.
Right now, I’m about to learn skills from everyone.
I’ve become close to most of the adventurers in this town during the past year I’ve spent here, and most of them were present to see me off.
“You’re heading off to fight the Demon King mano a mano, so it’s only right for us to beat you… I mean, properly train you before you go. Think of it as our farewell gift.”
“You were about to say beat me senseless, right? And I’m not planning on charging at the Demon King and fighting him one on one! Truth be told, all I really want to do is bring Aqua back!”
As I strongly objected to Dust’s words, Megumin and Darkness were giggling like children a short distance away.
These two have every intention of charging the Demon King head on.
As for me, my highest priority is to catch up to Aqua. Anything else is an optional side quest.
For a coward like me, even going that far took a lot of guts.
Still, now that I’ve gained such a large number of skill points, I’m like the protagonist of a story that has awakened to his true powers just before the final act.
For the sake of my prosperous and peaceful future, I’m going to smash the Demon King’s army to little pieces.
The surrounding adventurers starting shying away upon seeing my evil grin.
“Say, Kazuma, maybe it’s best if you don’t go on this journey.”
“Yeah. You’ve always been a little weird, but you are acting particularly weird today.”
Those adventurers worriedly offered such words, but that’s only because they don’t know I’ve awakened to my true powers.
“I’m glad for your concern, but right now I’m one of the strongest people in this town. Leave Aqua and the Demon King to me, you guys just make sure to protect this town where my mansion is located.”
I let out a confident laugh, but for some reason, everyone else stiffened.
“Listen to this guy. What do you mean, the strongest people in this town? I heard about what you did! You went to the dungeons under Vanir-san and Wiz-san’s protection to power level yourself, right!?”
“How is that different from spending a ton of money to buy a set of high class equipment!? And you still dare brag about it?”
“Don’t get full of yourself. You’re still crawling to us to teach you skills!”
The adventurers raised their various weapons and aggressively lodged their complaints one after another.
Oh, they were worried about me just a while ago, and now they are getting angry?
“Right now I have skill points aplenty, and my level is above thirty! Having a level above thirty means I’m a veteran! I’m not like all you small fry who do nothing but laze around in Axel! Enough already, just teach me your skills!”
“You really got full of yourself just because you gained a few levels! If you want to learn my skills so much, fine! I’ll beat them into your body!”
“You are a small fry yourself! Just the other day, you were running away from a giant frog! If you want to see my skills so much, I’ll use intermediate magic on you!”
“Get him! If he falls here, he’s not a match for the Demon King anyway! Surround him and get him!”
The short-tempered adventurers made rude gestures and launched into a chorus of insults.
… These bastards!
“You guys will make a great warm up before u take on the Demon King! Show me all the skills that I haven’t learnt yet! My name is Satou Kazuma, I’ll take you all on!”
Hearing my challenge, the adventurers broke out into smiles and charged at me–
“Sorry, Kazuma-san, I was held up by something… W-What happened here?”
Wiz, bearing a large number of goods, said in surprise upon seeing the adventurers sprawled out around the pick up point.
“Ah, thanks Wiz. You didn’t need to bring it all the way here for me.”
“I don’t really mind, but, really, what happened here!? I thought you were planning on learning the skills from the other adventurers…”
Putting down the large rucksack filled with the goods I purchased, Wiz hesitantly asked.
“Don’t worry about it. We decided to settle things so that we don’t leave any regrets behind. Well, as you can see, this is the result.”
Wiz took one look around…
“Umm… Kazuma-san, you’re lying down too, so I can’t tell what the result is…”
“I’m just lying down to catch my breath. I was facing all of them with just myself, so it could be considered my victory.”
“Stop spouting nonsense, Kazuma! You were barely standing by the time you got to the third person!”
“Everyone decided to go easy on you because you looked like you were about to cry!”
Sore losers sure love to howl, but judging from the numbers disparity, I think this can be firmly said to be my victory.
The former adventurer Wiz seemed to understand what happened here after hearing our exchange.
“… Oh, I see, it’s the adventurer style farewell! Then, allow me to…”
“If I receive an adventurer’s farewell from you, I’ll die even if you hold back.”
I pushed my aching body up and gratefully accepted the items that Wiz brought.
These are the items that I promised Vanir that I’d buy.
“It’s almost time to leave! All customers who are taking the carriage to Alcanretia, please board immediately.”
Hearing the voice of the driver, we loaded our luggage onto the carriage and got on.
“… Say, I’ve been wondering about this since we left, but what happened to the armour?”
Darkness had a greatsword on her hip but was wearing her bodysuit without any form of armour in sight. In response to my question, she gently slapped the box she was cradling.
“It’s in here.”
“No, we are heading out right now, so put it on.”
“What are you saying? What would you do if it gets scratched or becomes dirty?”
“That’s my line. What are you even saying?”
It seems like Darkness has taken a liking to that armour.
Ignoring Darkness who was protectively hugging that box to her chest, I turned back to the adventurers who gathered to send me off.
“Now then, I’ll be heading off to bring that idiot back!”
“Yeah, go ahead! And take out the Demon King while you’re at it!”
“This is Aqua-nee-chan we are talking about, so she might have gotten lost and wandered into some weird place! She might have even gotten stuck in some hole somewhere, so bring her back even if you have to dig up half the country!”
“We’ll be expecting souvenirs, so don’t forget about them!”
“Leave this town to us. My newborn kid and my beautiful wife live here, after all. I’ll definitely protect it!”
The adventurers sent me words of encouragement after another–
— Which idiot was it that raised such a huge death flag just now?
“Darkness, stop messing around and put on your armour already! There’s the issue of protection, but seeing you cradle your present like that when I didn’t receive anything at all really grates on my nerves!”
“I’ll put it on when we get to an actually dangerous area, so let it rest already! The monsters around here won’t even faze me!”
The two of them argued about stupid things on the carriage.
Am I really about to head into the most dangerous region in this world with such unreliable companions?
Even though I’ve learnt a lot of skills, I suddenly started having second thoughts.
“Hey, Kazuma! That sword of yours, it’s just an ordinary sword without any sort of magic on it, right!? Just in case, you should take this with you!”
Dust, who was carrying a spear for some reason, tossed his sword up on the carriage.
Damn, that line was cool. Was he always this kind of person?
“That’s technically an enchanted weapon. It isn’t a legendary tier weapon that can only be equipped by a specific class, so even you should be able to make use of it. Just make sure you bring it back to me after you defeat the Demon King!”
With a wide smile, Dust said something really manly.
There are monsters in this world that can’t be harmed without a magic weapon, so I’m really thankful for this sword.
Still, I wonder what brought this about?
I might have to change my evaluation of that man…
“Oh, I see. In the one in a million chance that Kazuma actually defeats the Demon King, that sword would become known as the sword wielded by the hero, and be worth a whole lot more. Kazuma, I’m pretty sure Dust picked up that sword from the body of a fallen adventurer he ran across in a dungeon, so there’s no need to give it back~”
“Dammit, Lynn, how could you ruin my get rich quick plan!?”
Yeah, I knew it.
… Still, I’m relieved.
This is a town filled with nothing but troublesome residents, but I still quite like this place.
Once I bring back Aqua who has pretty much turned into this town’s mascot by now, I’ll be able to lead a happy and fun filled life even in this good for nothing world.
I watched Dust chase after Lynn with a wry smile.
Under the clear blue sky, our carriage set off towards our first and last proper adventure–!
“I didn’t see Chris amongst those adventurers. I really wanted to say goodbye before we head off to the Demon King’s Castle. She said she’d be busy for a while after hearing that the Demon King’s army is planning to attack the capital, and I haven’t seen her after that…”
“Oh, yeah, she wasn’t there, was she? Well, I can kind of guess why she’s so busy.”
The forces of humanity and the Demon King’s army are about to have a decisive clash, so there’s no doubt that it would create a lot of work for her.
“I really want to ask why you know such things, but… more importantly, look at this, you two. How do I look?”
“Like a subordinate of the Demon King.” x2
Darkness proudly showed off her armour on the swaying carriage, and we flatly responded.
Hearing Megumin and me say the same thing, Darkness’s expression fell a little.
“It makes you look like a dark knight of some sort. Like the kind the Demon King might employ as a bodyguard.”
“You don’t use a shield and fight with a two handed sword, so with that black armour, you give off a very aggressive impression.”
Darkness sullenly ran a finger down the lines of her armour.
The jet black armour has molded itself to hug closely to the lines of her body.
The black metal glows strangely in the sunlight.
How do I put this, rather than cool, it seems like beautiful is a more fitting word to describe it.
Though, it’s beautiful in sort of the same way that a cursed sword is beautiful…
“By the way, did you hear about the commotion that happened in town while you were away in the dungeon?”
Then, Megumin said something that caught my interest.
“The woman that Kazuma caught… The Demon King’s general, Serena, escaped.”
I spat out in shock after hearing Darkness’s words.
Just what are the cops in town doing?
“It seems like Serena managed to puppet one of the watchmen for a short time and had him help her escape. That watchman was saying something about Serena being an exhibitionist afterwards.”
“From what I’ve heard, Serena showed the people she puppeted something too.”
That something she is talking about is definitely panties.
I guess I gave Serena some unnecessary insights into her ability back then.
“In order to focus on the defence of the town, no search party was sent out after her. The guild put a bounty on her and sent a notice out to the other cities, but that’s the extent of it. Serena is probably heading back to the Demon King’s castle too. Since we are taking the same route, we might run into her along the way.”
“In that case, I’ll have to teach her a lesson if we run into her. I don’t really feel satisfied with how we settled things back then.”
Well, if we catch her, we’d probably get a pretty substantial reward.
I suppose if we run into her along the way, we can try to apprehend her.
She’s been reduced to level one and severely weakened, so we’ll probably be able to manage that even without Aqua here.
I turned back to look at the carriages trailing behind us and muttered…
“There really aren’t that many travellers today, huh?”
Perhaps because of the uncertainty brought on by the rumours that the Demon King’s army is planning to attack this town, but there are scant few travellers on the road right now.
Some of the residents have moved away to other cities, but by now even the stream of refugees have dried up.
Apart from our carriage, all the others were transporting trade goods, and in total there were five of them.
Other than a handful of adventurers who were serving as escorts and the merchants and drivers, there was no one else present.
If there are too few carriages, even weak monsters might get bold enough to approach.
For us who are trying to catch up to Aqua who had a considerable head start, this isn’t good news…
“Oh yeah, Kazuma, how many skills did you pick up? Darkness and I just reached out to any adventurers in town who seemed strong or had useful skills, so I don’t know exactly what skills are available.”
Darkness soon took off her armour and started polishing it, and Megumin, struck by a strange competitive spirit, was cleaning her staff as well when she asked me that question.
“In terms of magical skills, I picked up Teleport and Intermediate Magic.”
At this, Megumin let go of her staff which fell to the ground with a thud.
“I-I-I see, Intermediate Magic. W-Well, you didn’t take Advanced Magic, so I guess that’s okay…”
Megumin, trying her best to regain her calm facade, bent down to pick up her staff…
“Advanced Magic requires complicated gestures and long chants to cast. Learning the skill seems like it’d require me to memorize all of it, and I don’t have the time for it right now. Wiz offered to teach me Advanced Magic when I get back, so–”
Megumin came up to me with her staff in hand.
“You aren’t satisfied with just learning Intermediate Magic, but you want to learn Advanced Magic too!? Even with an Archmage like me in the party!? Give me your card for a bit! …Ah, you have just enough points to learn Explosion Magic! I’m dumping it all–!”
“H-Hey, cut it out! I’m saving those for Advanced Magic and other useful skills! If you feel inadequate, then go learn some other skills! Don’t mess around with other’s adventurer’s card!”
“You messed with my card too, so how dare you say that now! … Ah! You learnt Golem Creation and Recovery Magic too! Are you trying to become a mage or something!? Your magic power is less than a tenth of my own!”
“You learnt Recovery Magic too? Won’t Aqua cry if she finds out?”
— This is the same route that we took to Alcanretia back during our first trip there, but for some reason, we made much faster progress.
Back then, Darkness, because of her hardness, attracted the attention of the Running Hawkites who were in the middle of their mating ritual, and Aqua managed to attract a bunch of zombies in the middle of the night. It was a real ordeal.
At our current rate of progress, we should be able to reach Alcanretia before noon tomorrow.
“Our escorts will be keeping watch during the night… We normally end up attracting undead whenever we camp out overnight, but things should go well this time.”
Megumin seemed to have been reminded of our past journeys too, as she said in a tone that’s both wistful and somewhat lonely.
“… Yeah. Even though our numbers are small enough that it wouldn’t be surprising for some enterprising monster to come knocking, we seem to have a much easier time of it… It’s a far cry from our past trouble-filled adventures.”
Darkness sounded a little bored when she said that.
Now that the sun has gone down, we set up a slight distance away from the merchants and got a small campfire going.
If you don’t start a fire, there’s a chance that some monsters might attack us.
Of course, if we were traveling with a certain someone, even if we set a fire, we’d still be surrounded by a horde of undead.
Just as Darkness said, this journey is going well.
If anything, it’s been going too well.
To think that our journeys would go this smoothly just because a certain person with especially bad luck isn’t with us.
It’s good that we aren’t getting into trouble, but I can’t help but find this journey a little boring.
I haven’t gotten used to attracting trouble, have I?
“Now, it’s about time you told us about it, don’t you think?”
Megumin suddenly said after dragging her luggage over.
Next to her, Darkness was lying down, gazing up at the starry sky while hugging the box containing her armour close to her chest.
“Oh, yeah, I was in the middle of going through the skills I picked up.”
I spread a blanket on the floor while chucking a few twigs into the campfire.
“No, that’s not what I’m talking about. We’ll have plenty of chances to see your skills on the rest of the journey, so we can leave that till later. What I’m talking about is what Vanir mentioned, about you having come here from another world.”
… Ah, that.
Darkness also turned to face me.
Their expressions were unusually serious.
“No, it’s not that serious of a matter… Well, it’s pretty much what it is. I wasn’t born in this world. I came here from another world far away from here. Then, I died. After that, I went to the afterlife and the goddess gave me three options. Either be reborn in my original world as a baby, head on to heaven… or to go to another world.”
After hearing this fanciful tale, neither of them laughed, nor did they react in shock.
“I see. Was the goddess you met Aqua?”
“Yep. She was really arrogant when we first met. I wanted to knock her down a peg, so I brought here with me on a whim… ”
“Megumin, I thought you didn’t believe that Aqua was an actual goddess? Even when she would declare herself as one, you would always throw a few half-hearted platitudes her way…”
At my question, the two of them looked at each other and shared a giggle.
“I didn’t believe her at first, but there were just several things that stuck out. Normally, each person can only be brought back to life once, and getting revived is a high level miracle. But you’ve been brought back several times now. Plus there’s no priest in the world who can purify water with just a touch, survive without issue at the bottom of a lake, and fight a lich and a great devil on their own.”
So these two have been aware of it for a long time, huh?
Actually, them not changing how they treat Aqua at all even after knowing she’s a goddess is pretty amazing in itself.
Unlike me who grew up in Japan watching gods get turned into waifuable characters in manga and anime, the people of this world are much more devout.
It’s possible that most of the people in Axel are well aware of her true nature as a goddess by now.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of existence she is, Aqua is our precious party member. She cries easily, recovers just as easily, constantly messes up, gets into trouble, and causes problems for Kazuma… but she’s also quick to laughter and brightens up any place just by being there… Yes, no matter what she actually is, Aqua is Aqua, our precious companion.”
Darkness, still lying on her blanket, said that.
Megumin let out a satisfied smile before straightening up and looking right into my eyes.
“Kazuma, why does Aqua want to defeat the Demon King so badly? What would happen to Aqua after the Demon King is defeated?”
— She’d return to heaven.
Those words came to my mouth, but I couldn’t spit them out.
After a long silence, Megumin broke it.
“Kazuma, you aren’t going to say you’ll go back to your world after defeating the Demon King, right? You told me you had no intention of going back to your old country, right? After this journey is over, we’ll all go back to town together, right?”
Under the starry sky, Megumin’s glowing red eyes shone brightly in the dark.
Those eyes revealed the depths of her unease.
Darkness remained silent, resolutely gazing up into the sky.
“… There’s no way I would go home. This world might be weird in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day, I have friends, acquaintances, a house, and enough riches not to be troubled by money in this world… Plus, there’s also, well, umm…”
I glanced at the two of them.
And they immediately broke out into giggles.
“What is it? What are you trying to say?”
“Go ahead and say it, Kazuma. There’s no need to be shy. What exactly do you have in this world?”
Not only Megumin, but Darkness too got up from her blanket and pressed me.
— Dammit, I got swept up in the atmosphere and said some unnecessary things!
The next morning.
I probably shouldn’t have thought that this journey was going so smoothly that it was boring yesterday.
“A-Adventurers! Monsters have appeared! It’s your time to shine!”
With the cry from one of the drivers, the escorting adventurers leapt out from the carriages.
What impeded us was a horde of man-eating ogres just like the ones I ran into back in the dungeon.
They were almost three meters tall and gave off the same impression that running into a gang of pissed off yakuza would.
“What is a horde of Ogres doing in a place like this!?”
One of the escorting adventurers shouted.
I don’t know exactly how strong an ogre is because Vanir and Wiz took care of them while I was in the dungeon, but judging from everyone’s reactions, this might actually be a pretty dangerous situation.
In total, there were five ogres.
Additionally, all of them were bearing a weapon of some sort, and the only one that was bare-handed was a head larger than the others.
Seeing that, I followed the other adventurers and got out of the carriage.
“Megumin, Darkness, we’re lending them a hand too! What kind of aspiring Demon King slayers we are supposed to be if we cower before a few ogres!?”
“Fine by me! I’ll turn them into dust on the wind in an instant!”
“Ah, w-wait a minute! Leaving the bare-handed ogre aside, I should really put on my armour if I’m going to be facing armed ogres…!”
This is why I asked you to wear your armour!
Darkness hastily broke her armour out of the box and started putting it on, while Megumin and I went down to face the ogres.
We might be adventurers, but right now we are traveling as customers.
This is a little unfair to Megumin who’s raring to go, but I want to preserve her Explosion for now.
So providing backup should be enough.
“Dammit, I really do smell the stench of ogre blood!”
“Which of one you bastards killed our friends!? Show yourself if you have the balls!”
“It’s the weak-looking thin man in the back! The smell of ogre blood is strong on him!”
The ogres howled.
It’s a little difficult to make sense of it, but I think I understand their meaning.
The weak-looking thin man who killed their friends is me, isn’t it?
It doesn’t seem like our escorts were prepared to face down ogres. They had their weapons drawn, but their faces are pale, and they didn’t take a single step forward.
“We’ll take care of the four small ones, so I’ll leave the big bare-handed one to you, Leader!”
“M-Me alone!? Y-Yes, I understand! Don’t die out there!”
The one who seemed to be the leader of the adventurers yelled before drawing his sword and charging at the largest ogre.
He didn’t even get close. The ogre sent him flying with a single backhand before he could even get a hit in.
That same ogre took one look at the man sprawled on the ground and snorted.
“Megumin, Megumin, that man got taken out really quickly!”
“Don’t avert your eyes! In the natural world, the party that averts their gaze first loses!”
I followed Megumin’s example and stared right at the ogres.
“Hey, thin man, what are you staring at!?”
I immediately looked away.
“Why did you give up so quickly!? Now they think we are all a bunch of weaklings! See, they are getting closer!”
“I-I can’t help it! Their faces are really scary!”
There’s no point in seeking help, the other adventurers are busy trying to protect the carriages and their occupants.
But I’ve awoken to my power as a chosen hero.
Now’s not the time to panic just yet!
“Look closely, Megumin! This is my true power! Eat this! Fireball!”
I raised my hand and unleashed one of my newly learnt spells on the ogre charging towards me.
“… Ouch, that’s hot. You have some guts, weak man…”
However, the ogre easily crushed the ball of fire in the palm of his hand and blew on the slightly charred skin that the fireball left.
Seems like my fireball is only strong enough to make people go ouch.
“Hey, my magic isn’t working! What’s going on!? Are ogres supposed to be this strong!?”
“You simply lack magic power! Your class doesn’t provide any sort of boost to your spells, and your magic power is pretty low to start with, so even against an ogre with low magic resistance, that’s the best you can do!”
As Megumin said that, she started the chant for her Explosion spell.
“Now it’s my turn! Come fight me fist to fist if you have the balls!”
“I’m the brainy type, so I’ll have to refuse!”
After that exchange, I moved in front of Megumin and placed my palm on the ground.
I’ll give up on using offensive magic.
In the first place, my forte isn’t in pure combat strength, but coming up with underhanded tricks.
Yes, like, for instance–
“Create Earth Golem!”
I created a golem to serve as a shield.
I can hide behind this guy and fire from behind cover, and if I can buy enough time for Megumin…!
“… Hey, isn’t this a little too small!? This guy barely comes up to my waist! Unlike that fireball, I put a lot of mana into this spell!”
“You just plain don’t have enough mana! It’s fine, I’m done with my chant! I don’t practice my Explosion every day for no reason! Here I go!”
I worked my butt off to learn all those skills, but I can’t even make use of even one of them!
I thought I could go from being an ordinary person to one of the strongest people in the world just by learning enough skills, but this is way too far from what I imagined!
I raised my bow and decided to rely on the skills I’m familiar with, which is to say, Snipe.
Megumin said she finished chanting, but just in case!
“Waaaah, I’m done for!”
As I readied my bow, I heard a scream come from the direction of the other adventurers.
Megumin swiveled her staff in that direction, and after a short pause–
Fired her Explosion at the ogres that were about to attack the drivers.
She detonated it in midair to minimize the damage to the other adventurers as much as possible, but they were still sent flying by the shockwave, and most of them ended up unconscious.
But they were still alive.
Compared to the alternative, getting knocked unconscious is a small price to pay.
Of course, the problem is–
“Dammit! Darkness! Darkness! Are you not done yet!?”
Keeping Megumin who collapsed due to mana exhaustion behind me, I let an arrow loose at the ogre.
Even though I let it loose at close range, the ogre slapped it away with its bare hands before it could reach its eyes.
“It’s basic strategy to go for the eyes when facing something stronger than you!”
“This is why intelligent monsters are–! Go forth, Golem! Your name is–”
I sent the golem I was using as a shield forward, but it was crushed underfoot before I could even name it.
“They really are utterly useless!”
Right now, the ogre has its attention focused squarely on me.
In order to avoid having it crush the defenceless Megumin underfoot, I ran towards it, aiming to slide between its legs.
The ogre responded, of course, and just before its fist made contact with my face–
My body gracefully moved around the blow that I would normally have no chance of ever avoiding.
That’s the skill I learnt from a monk, a class that fights with their bare hands.
It has a high chance of activating when faced with an enemy attack. It’s a perfect fit for me.
The ogre, whose attacks hit empty air, turned around with a surprised look.
I drew the magic sword that Dust gave to me. The edges of the blade glowed with a strange light of its own, making it look like it was made out of silver.
Even though I drew my blade, there’s no need to fight this guy head on.
After all, I’m not alone here. All I need to do is buy enough time.
My level is quite high right now. Even if I take a blow or two from that ogre…
“Please run away! Even a veteran warrior was taken out in a single blow! You weren’t particularly sturdy in the first place, so if it hits you, you’ll definitely suffer a grievous wound!”
Megumin gave me that warning upon seeing me take on a combat stance.
Without Aqua here, there won’t be an easy way to recover from severe injuries.
In order to prevent me from dodging its next attack, the ogre came at me with both arms outstretched.
“O-Okay, let’s talk. We can understand each other, so we should be able to come to an agreement.”
“What is there to talk about when you’ve drenched your entire body in the blood of my brothers!?”
The ogre gave me a glare that seemed way too much like that of a yakuza. I think I might’ve wet myself a little.
“Aah, I should’ve gone all the way with Megumin last night instead of acting cool! I don’t want to die a virgin!”
“Y-You really are…! How could you say such things right now!?”
Just as the ogre charged at me–
A solid looking black mass slammed into the ogre from the side, sending it sprawling.
The one who appeared in my moment of crisis is, of course…
“You’re late! This is why I told you to wear your armour!”
“B-But, I was worried it might stink if I wear it all the time…!”
Darkness blushed as she said that.
Raising her greatsword, she turned back to face the ogre that she sent flying with a tackle.
That ogre has strong offensive strikes, but Darkness with her armour would be able to hold him off for quite some time.
If I manage to wake up some of the other adventurers while Darkness holds it off…
“I’ll kill you!”
Not long after I thought that idea up, Darkness spouted such a threatening line and charged at the ogre while making wild swings from her greatsword.
The ogre easily dodged her blows, of course, but Darkness relentlessly continued with her attacks.
“Darkness, you don’t need to press the attack, all you need to do is buy me enough time to wake up the other adventurers–”
Just then, I noticed something off about Darkness.
“K-Kazuma, something is really odd with Darkness! She’s not usually this aggressive!”
It’s not like Darkness to keep on the offensive like this.
Where has her usual masochistic personality gone to?
Even when the ogre counterattacked, she barely paid them any heed, letting her armour absorb the blow while maintaining her relentless pressure…
“Hey, Darkness, why are you laughing like a certain devil!? It’s the armour, isn’t it? That armour is the cause!”
The jet black armour that Darkness was wearing glowed with a strange light.
I don’t know if it is a curse or a blessing, but that’s definitely why she’s acting so oddly.
Well, we can worry about the armour later, right now the important thing is that ogre.
“Not bad, little lady! Your abdominal muscles seem quite hard too! Would you like to become my woman?”
“Right, I’m going to slice you into eight pieces!”
In her current state, Darkness immediately fell for the ogre’s provocations.
At this rate, things might actually go badly for her.
I abandoned my efforts to wake up the other adventurers and rushed to provide back up.
Support fire from a bow is nice, but in this situation, it’d be best to use the spell I just learnt–
“Eat this! Flash!”
A bright flash of light emerged from my hand moment I shouted that spell.
It blinded the ogre that was currently in combat with Darkness, and–
“Gyaaa! M-My eyes!!!!”
“W-What are you doing!? How did you blind yourself with your own spell!?”
Me, standing right next to the source of light, was also blinded.
Dammit, I shouldn’t have used skills I wasn’t familiar with!
I should’ve properly tested them instead of waiting to show off how powerful I am after I awakened!
“Graah! You dare- urgk…!”
As I rolled on the ground, covering my eyes and waiting for the pain to subside, I heard the ogre’s anguished cries coming from nearby.
It seems like Darkness finished it off.
“Kazuma, I really can’t tell if you are brilliant or stupid.”
I felt Megumin pull on my hand as she said in an exasperated tone.
As for me–
“This is all because of that idiot who ran away from home! She better watch out when I find her!”
Useless Goddess Interlude 3
It’s been about an hour since I got on the carriage to Alcanretia.
“Say, Cecily, it’s really boring out here.”
“I feel the same way, Aqua-sama. Let us head back.”
Cecily instantly replied.
“Normally, I would’ve agreed with you instantly, but we can’t do that now. Otherwise, the people of this world will continue suffering under the Demon King.”
I did seriously consider going home for a moment.
“As expected of Aqua-sama. But I understand why you would find this journey tiresome. Why don’t I talk to the driver and call for a little break?”
“… We can’t do that, Cecily. We haven’t traveled very far from Axel. We already set off late, so if we keep taking breaks like this, Kazuma will catch up easily.”
Cecily brought me to the pick up point, but she had to bring quite a substantial amount of luggage from the church, so we couldn’t catch the earliest carriage.
“I’m sorry, Aqua-sama. Good women take a lot of time to get ready.”
“It can’t be helped. There are only good women in the Axis Cult, after all.”
In order to make myself seem like a good woman, maybe I should purposefully be late whenever I’m leaving the house in the future.
“Still, this carriage is moving quite slowly, don’t you think? Back when I traveled to Alcanretia with everyone, we didn’t have the time to admire the scenery like this.”
Cecily, who was looking out the window, let out a smile upon hearing my words.
“That’s because this is the carriage tour meant for sightseeing. Ah, look over there, Aqua-sama! There’s a herd of crabs over there! They are using their tough shells to protect themselves from predation and the heat of the sun! It’s not breeding season yet, so they are probably competing over territory.”
“You are knowledgeable, Cecily… Wait a minute, this is a sightseeing tour? But I want to get to the Demon King’s castle as fast as possible.”
The crabs interest me, but I feel like this isn’t the time to be looking at them.
“Aqua-sama, there is a reason why I choose the sightseeing carriage. High-end sightseeing tours usually shell out for strong bodyguards in order to ensure the safety of their high paying customers. If something were to happen to an Archpriest as skilled as Aqua-sama, it’d be a loss for the entire world. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so let’s take it easy for this journey.”
“I see. Well, having strong bodyguards is a good thing. Let’s take our time, then.”
As expected of Cecily, she’s amazing.
“And the Axis Cult will be paying the bill, so it’s fine to go with an expensive carriage.”
“That’s good. It’s nice to ride inside an expensive carriage, they don’t make my butt hurt.”
“Dear customers, we’ll be stopping the carriage for a while. It seems like a band of ogres are hunting the crabs right now, so we’ll stand by here until they move along.”
Looking over at the driver’s words, I noticed several ogres chasing after the horde of migratory crabs.
“Say, Cecily, aren’t ogres supposed to be man-eating monsters?”
“I suppose ogres too occasionally find themselves in the mood to have some crab meat.”
“I kind of feel like dining on crab too now.”
“What a coincidence, Aqua-sama, I feel like I’m in the mood for some crab too. After all, a whole herd of crabs is right in front of us.”
We gave the driver a meaningful glance, and rolled his shoulders with a wry smile.
“With that many crabs out there, I’m sure the ogres won’t get angry if you take one or two with you. We have some fairly skilled adventurers in the other carriage, so, what do you say to getting a little closer and grabbing a crab or two?”
Hearing the driver’s idea, I thought of an even more inspired course of action.
“There’s no need for us to get close. I’ll get the crabs to crawl over with their own legs.”
“Aqua-sama, might you care to enlighten your humble servant Cecily on what exactly you intend to do?”
As I prepared my spell, I responded to Cecily.
“I plan on luring the crabs over here.”
“Aqua-sama, that doesn’t tell me anything about what you’re about to do. It’s just my priest’s intuition, but I have a bad feeling–”
I completed my spell and let it loose before Cecily could finish her sentence.
“Using this spell brings back memories! We’ll have a great harvest today! False Fire!”
“Not a great harvest!”
And the horde of crabs, and the ogres that were hunting them, came charging towards the ball of blue fire I shot above my head.
“Waaaaaaah! This development brings back memories too, but Kazuma-saaaaan!”
“I can’t help but like this part of you, Aqua-saaamaaaaa!”