Rain for this Withered Land!
[This is the first short story that was released on the sneaker bunko site as a reward for the top three winners of the recent popularity contest. Megumin and Darkness both got their own short stories as well, which should be going up next week.]
That day, we paid a visit to the adventurer’s guild, and that was what the receptionist told us.
“Yes, we would like Kazuma-san’s party, no, Aqua-san to do a special job.”
Normally, adventurers took jobs by browsing the noticeboard and taking any quests that struck their fancy.
However, if you’re skilled or famous enough, it’s possible that someone might request you for a job by name.
On top of awarding more money in general, getting such a request is quite a mark of fame for most adventurers, so they are almost always welcome.
“Why would they ask for Aqua by name? The client must be planning to do something fishy.”
“No, it might be someone who just moved to town. Aqua’s class is an Archpriest, after all. If you don’t know anything else about her, she would sound like a really powerful adventurer.”
“You two, if you keep saying stuff like that, I’ll give you the divine punishment of being fated to run into Kazuma in the bath.”
Darkness and Megumin were just teasing Aqua, but they didn’t say anything that wasn’t true.
I’ll leave asking about that divine punishment of hers to a later date. Right now, I’m curious about that request.
The receptionist nodded along without raising any objections.
“Yes, about that, we confirmed it with the client multiple times. Are you sure you’ve got the right person, is that really okay, you’re fine with waiving compensation if the request fails, and so on… But it seems like he’s fully aware of what he’s doing when he asked for Aqua-san…”
“Onee-san, if you keep saying such things, I’ll give you a divine punishment where hot water refuses to flow only after you’ve shampooed your hair and is going to rinse it off.”
Even though she should have no idea of her true identity, the receptionist still seemed taken aback and hurriedly waved her hands.
“But, I understand why he did so after hearing him out. The request is–”
— The next day.
“Please leave the offerings over here. As for the wine, arrange them in order of pricing.”
At the fields close to town, a large number of adventurers are making preparations for the rain-calling ritual under Aqua’s supervision.
The request turned out to be for Aqua to call down rain around this region. Well, things related to water is the one thing she’s good at, so I suppose it’s not surprising.
“… Say, will this really call down rain? Actually, can’t we just have Aqua use Sacred Create Water here instead?”
There hasn’t been any rain recently, so it seems like the fields around town are starting to experience a shortage of water.
However, magic exists in this world.
They could just get a few magic users here and solve the problem with a few applications of Create Water.
“Kazuma, magic doesn’t create water out of nothing, you know? Create Water and similar spells just gathers up water from the area using magic. If you use Create Water to water the fields, it’d just take away water from the atmosphere, so it wouldn’t solve anything in the long-term.”
… Yeah, if you can create an infinite amount of water from nothing, the amount of water in the world would steadily increase until it eventually turns the entire planet into a ball of water.
This world is under the guidance of a goddess, after all. I’m sure they set up such limits to prevent the world from being destroyed so easily.
“I see… Ah, wait, then, what about Create Earth? Is it drawing earth up from deep beneath us too?”
“How would I know anything about earth? It probably came from some mysterious space or something.”
What the hell is this mysterious space? I regret feeling admiration for her for even a moment.
“Aqua, I can just leave the offerings here, right? There seems to be quite a lot of alcohol amongst the offerings. This isn’t for your personal use, right? You aren’t messing around with the ritual, are you?”
“What are you saying, Megumin? All creatures associated with water love wine. This is a sacred ritual to gather the spirits of water in the region. I’m borrowing just a small portion of their power in exchange for all this wine.”
Aqua, with a rare serious expression on her face, explained. Just then, Darkness showed up carrying a large, expensive looking bottle.
“Should I start scattering this wine around? I heard that they especially love wine as offerings, so I brought with me the most expensive bottle my father had in his collection.”
“What are you saying, Darkness? It’d be a waste to scatter such expensive wine around. Leave that expensive wine over there. This is part of the ritual. Yes, it’s a very important part of the ritual.”
She’s definitely planning on keeping the expensive wine for herself.
Just then, the adventurers who were busy with the preparations for the ritual called out to Aqua.
“Aqua-san, we’ve finished arranging the offerings!”
“Is there anything else we need to do?”
The wine bottles have been lined up neatly around the area, and the people who’ve come to witness this rare ceremony have formed a large crowd, busily chatting away in anticipation.
“Oh, well, isn’t this is a nice sight? Very well, I’ll begin the ritual now. I need to show everyone what a goddess can really do every so often.”
In front of the rows of bottles, Aqua happily looked up into the sky–
“Oh, my kin who live in this world… the Goddess of water, Aqua, calls you…”
Just like back during the battle with Beldia, Aqua gave off a very solemn aura–
“… Ah, ah! Wait a minute! I haven’t told you to do anything yet, so don’t start gathering on your own!”
Something unexpected must have happened, for Aqua suddenly shouted in a panic.
Actually, I can feel the humidity sharply increase.
She’s probably seeing something that we can’t see, but…
“You got it? I’m commanding you as a Goddess, but don’t make it rain right away. Eventually, I will say ‘It seems like we need more offerings…’ and motion to them to get more wine. Then you can make it rain… Do you understand?”
Aqua shouted to empty air, but everyone understood that they didn’t actually need any offerings.
Just as the adventurers started discreetly taking sneaking bottles of wine away, Aqua cleared her throat.
“In the name of the goddess Aqua… Hey, I told you not yet!… Huh? You want an offering? Okay, fine, I’ll give you some wine later… Ah, not that one! Pick a cheaper bottle!”
Even though she hasn’t started asking for rain yet, thick rain clouds have already gathered across the fields.
“Why are the spirits of water in this world so wilful!? Ah! Wait! I had my eye on that one!”
It seems like the spirits of water have personalities very much like someone we know.
“Waaaaah! My wine!”
Eventually, we fled from the massive downpour that descended over the fields and praised Aqua who managed to be useful for once–
A few days later.
The Axis Cult gained a new follower after Aqua gave him a teruteru Aqua, that she made while she was bored, that could call down rain by being turned upside down, but that’s a story for a different time.