The Explosive Detective of Axel
Editor: Ulti, Striker
[Note: This story takes place sometime around Season 2, around Volume 3-4-ish, so the status quo is a bit different from the more recent volumes.]
On that day.
As I was quibbling with Aqua over who gets to sit in the special seat right in front of the fireplace, I suddenly heard some rigorous knocking coming from the front door.
It didn’t sound like any of the usual visitors, so Megumin and Darkness stopped playing their game for the moment and looked over.
“Pardon me, this is the residence of Satou Kazuma and his party, right!? I would like to have some words with you, so open up!”
The voice coming sounded quite urgent.
When we heard thatー
“Alright, that’s enough. Hurry up and go back already. I too would like to hear the crackle of the firewood from time to time.”
“I want to feed the fire too. Nothing is better in winter than sitting here watching the fires dance. Kazuma, just sit behind me. You can hear the crackles fine from there.”
“Megumin, I’ll definitely defeat you today! I move my Crusader all the way up to your Archwizard. With this, I’ll definitely be able to take it off the board next turn.”
The four of us decided to pretend as if we didn’t hear anything.
“Hey, I know you are all inside! I can hear you from here! Open up! Hey, hurry up… It’s snowing out here! It’s really cold, so hurry up and open the door!”
The person who came to visit us was a police officer.
After letting him warm up in front of the fireplace for a while, he took out a piece of paper and presented it before Megumin.
“Archwizard Megumin! You’re suspected to be involved in the serial explosions case that has been plaguing Axel! Please accompany me to the station!”
Megumin snatched away the piece of paper and threw it into the fireplace without the slightest hint of hesitation.
“Ah! How could you do that to such an important notice!?”
“Who cares about that!? What even is this ‘serial explosions’ case!? I don’t know what it is, but there’s no way I could be responsible!”
I feel like if I was in that officer’s place, I would’ve come straight here too, but Megumin seems to have no idea what this case is about and was offended at the sudden accusation.
“Now, now, calm down. In the first place, can you tell me more information about this ‘serial explosions’ case?”
After hearing Darkness’s words, the officer gave up on trying to rescue the notice from the fireplace and said.
“You see, recently, explosions have been going off almost every day in the area around Axel. They usually happen inside forests or up in the mountains… Because of that, the monsters that usually make their home in the woodlands end up running towards the plains, and the mountains see constant avalanches… As a result, both the mountains and the forests are now designated as restricted areas.”
“I took my eyes off you for an instant and this is what you get up to!? We’ll send you some gifts, so just accept your fate.”
I placed a consoling hand on Megumin’s shoulder, and she aggressively swatted it away.
“Wait, that wasn’t me! If I unleash Explosion up in the mountains, there’s a high chance of me getting swept away in the resulting avalanche, so I’ve never done that! Plus, I’ve been taking my Explosion trips together with Darkness recently, so I have an alibi! Right, Darkness?”
“Eeh? Er, y-yeah…”
“Darkness, why are you so hesitant!? That’s just going to invite misunderstandings! Don’t tell me you suspect me too!? Please deny it a little more confidently!”
In the face of Megumin’s fervent protests, Darkness averted her gaze.
“Well, let’s calm down a bit. I hope you don’t mind me asking a touch more about this incident. You say it happens every day, but how many times does it happen per day? This girl can only use Explosion once each day, so…”
“There’s only one explosion every day.”
The officer instantly answered my question.
“… And just to confirm, when do these explosions take place?”
“Those explosions always happen shortly after Megumin leaves town.”
“I’m sorry, this girl isn’t doing it on purpose! She just has a somewhat shorter fuse than most peopleー”
“Wait a minute, Kazuma, why does that make you think it’s definitely me behind it?”
Megumin grabbed my shoulders and started shaking me irately.
Still, there’s only one person who could do such a foolish thing, and that’s her.
“Don’t worry, Megumin, I’ll make sure to feed the black demonic furball every day while you are locked up.”
“Umm, Megumin, the prisons around this time of year tend to be pretty cold, so make sure you wear something warm before heading out. I’ll make sure to send in some warm food every day.”
“You two too!? Oh fine, I’ll follow this investigation or whatever to the very end! Officer, you should have a lie detecting magic item at the station! We’ll use that to see if I’m really telling the truth!”
Megumin, agitatedly waving her staff around, followed the officer back to the station.
“I’m terribly sorry! To think we actually suspected an innocent person…!”
“Yes, exactly! In the first place, why do you immediately suspect me whenever there’s an incident involving an explosion!? Why don’t you give me a satisfactory explanation!?”
After the interrogation, Megumin was escorted back from the station by what appeared to be someone pretty important amongst the police force.
Seems like the lie detecting magic item didn’t respond at all.
“Come on, your name has already been cleared, so just let it go. Well, I had faith from the very start that it would turn out like this.”
“I believed you too, of course. Megumin isn’t a girl who would do that sort of thing. I didn’t do anything that would make me feel guilty, but you can have the special seat by the fireplace if you want.”
“Megumin, you must have been cold after spending all that time outside. I’ll buy some high quality ingredients and cook a good meal so you can warm yourself up.”
“Hey, you three sure change your tune really quickly. Why don’t you tell me exactly what kind of person you think I am?”
After giving one last apology to a still clearly aggravated Megumin, the police officer turned and gave us a bow.
“Once again, I’m deeply sorry for this incident. You’re Satou Kazuma-san, yes? I’ve heard many great rumours about you. It seems like you played a huge role in taking out the Demon King’s general Beldia and the mobile fortress Destroyer…”
Saying that, she gave me a smile.
She was quite a beauty, seemingly in her twenties, and wore her chestnut coloured hair in a long ponytail.
“No, no, I didn’t set out to do such things. It was just my pride as an adventurer that prevented me from running away…”
I boasted, and the police officer’s eyes sparkled.
“You’re selling yourself short, Satou-san! I’ve heard that this mansion is also owned by you… It must be thanks to the huge bounty you received after defeating the Destroyer and Beldia! Ah, my apologies, I’ve yet to introduce myself! I’m said to be really erotic without my armour, the deputy police chief Lorielina. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
For some reason, Lorielina started to draw closer to me as she said that.
Well, I could be said to be the hero of this town, so I suppose this kind of treatment is just a matter of course.
“P-Please to meet you. Well, I can see why you might think that, but the truth is, a lot of other things happened after that, so I landed myself in quite the debt, too. Still, if you want to hear about the deeds I did back thenー”
“I’ve taken up enough of your time. Megumin-san, my apologies”
The moment she heard the word debt, Lorielina abruptly switched back to a business-like attitude.
… Well, I suppose this is also a matter of course.
“Lorielina-dono, do you have any idea who the true culprit is?”
“Er, well… No. We didn’t think there would be anyone apart from Megumin who would go out in the countryside and set off random explosions, so…”
“Hey, why do you all think of me whenever there’s a problem involving an explosion!? Hurry up and tell me!”
I really wanted to explain to Megumin whose eyes were glowing bright red what the phrase “You reap what you sow” meant.
“Well, whoever it is, at least we’ve proven that it has nothing to do with us. It’d be really troublesome indeed if we end up getting dragged into every little incident that happens in this town.”
Just as I said that,
“Yeah, that’s right. This is just the work of some other explosion maniac. Still, for their actions to cast suspicion onto Megumin, he must be fairly accomplished in the use of the explosive series of spells. He might even be more skilled at using Explosion than Megumin.”
The useless thing seated in front of the fireplace that has never once been able to read the mood said such a thing.
The next day.
“Let’s start with investigating those related to the incidents. I’ll use my Crimson Demon intelligence to suss out who the culprit is.”
I, who has been forced to get up way before any sane person should be awake, followed behind Megumin blearily.
Right now, we are headed towards the adventurer’s guild.
Thanks to Aqua’s unnecessary words, Megumin developed a grudge against the culprit and made a declaration on the spot that she’ll catch them.
I originally intended to let her go on her own if she wanted to play detective so badly, but I had to change my plans thanks to a certain other person.
“I’m counting on you, Megumin-san! The deputy police chief is behind you, so don’t worry about the small stuff when doing your investigations.”
Behind Megumin and me followed the deputy police chief, Lorielina .
“… We’re just doing this on a whim, so there really is no need for you to accompany us.”
“No, even if you are adventurers, there’s no way I can let ordinary people chase after what could be a very dangerous user of Explosion magic. And, call it my detective intuition. I get the feeling that I’ll be able to get to the bottom of this matter if I stick with you. I’m not following you because I still suspect Megumin-san. It’s just that, if I render assistance to you two, I’ll be able to gain the favour of Lady Dustiness!”
Rather than spinning some excuse, Lorielina laid all her true intentions bare in front of us.
Still, I’d definitely bet money that she is still suspicious of Megumin.
If I leave Megumin alone with the police chief to run amuck around town, I get the distinct feeling that she’ll end up behind bars before the day is out.
Thus, I dragged myself along to render aid…
“Well, I guess that’s fine. Let’s start by asking a few questions.”
Before I knew it, we were standing in front of the guild.
Incidentally, Darkness also decided to investigate through her own contacts, and left the house early just like us.
As for the one who riled Megumin up with her unnecessary words, it doesn’t seem like she has any intentions of leaving the fireplace, and she can’t contribute much anyway, so I decided to just leave her be.
It was still fairly early in the morning, so there weren’t many people around we could talk to. Instead, we made our way over to the counter.
“Excuse me, can I ask a few questions? There are a few things I would like to ask about regarding the recent explosions that have been happening.”
“Oh, good morning, Satou Kazuma-san. The recent explosions… eh? Ah!? You’re the deputy police chief! And even Megumin-san is… Explosions… Megumin-san… Police. Ah, I see, I understand what you’re trying to ask now. I also think that Megumin-san is the most likely culprit.”
“Hey, why don’t you tell me exactly what kind of misunderstanding you have!? I’m all ears!”
Megumin immediately snapped at the receptionist, but Lorielina immediately stepped in to clear things up.
“No, I understand why you’d think that, but that’s not the case. We have already interrogated her. For some reason, the lie detecting magic item didn’t react at all.”
“Really? Could it be that the magic item is defective?”
“No, that’s impossible. The item we used is the newest set we had in the station, and it’s been working without issues before yesterday. What we thought would be an easily solvable case suddenly became an impenetrable riddle…”
“Hey, if you’re picking a fight with me, I’ll gladly take you on!”
Ignoring Megumin whose eyes started glowing again, I broached upon the topic that originally brought us here.
“The main reason I’m here is to confirm how many users of the explosive series of spells there are in this city? Is there anyone like that in the guild?”
There were three spells in the explosive series, Blast, Detonation, and Explosion.
Blast is quite a powerful spell that’s capable of cracking solid rock, and has a fairly reasonable mana cost. And Detonation, in exchange for a much higher mana cost, is powerful enough to take out almost any monster with a single hit.
“Spellcasters skilled enough to use the Blast spell will usually leave this town after gaining a few levels, and there aren’t that many people who can use Detonation in this country. During the festival season, some of those people might be invited to town to use their talents for fireworks, but they wouldn’t be around in this season. So the only people in this town that can use explosive magic right now should only be the owner of the magic item shop and Megumin-san…”
“… I have to ask, is it really not you?”
“Do you really have to ask again? Haven’t you already proven it isn’t me!?”
Seeing Megumin get angry with Lorielina again, I fell into deep thought.
The only person in this town other than Megumin who can use Explosive magic is Wiz, but it’s pretty hard to imagine her doing such things.
I just can’t think of anything that would motivate her to do such things.
“Oh, right, motive! This could be the work of someone who bears a grudge against Megumin and is trying to frame her. Hey, Megumin, do you remember angering anyone recently?”
“Of course not. I can say that I’m the most amiable person in this party.”
Where is she getting that confidence from?
Then, the lady at the counter bashfully said.
“Umm… Well, there have been several complaints regarding Megumin-san lately… There was this one where she unleashed Explosion on a group of goblins just as another team cornered them, not only stealing their kills, but also almost getting them caught up in the blast… And Explosion changed the course of the river, so please get her to stop using it to catch fish… And other similar complaints…”
Hearing what the guild lady had to say, Megumin covered her ears and turned away, but the lady continued.
“And, as an adventurer, please stop picking a fight with regular people just because they mocked your name.”
“I’m sorry, but can you please arrest her?”
“Yes, perhaps it is for the best to get her off the streets for a few days.”
“Please wait, I have properly reflected on my actions! A-Anyway, there are a surprising amount of people who hold a grudge against me! That means the true culprit must be amongst the people here!”
Saying that, Megumin suddenly grabbed the adventurer who was at the counter next to us.
“H-Hey!? M-Megumin!? What are you doing! Cut it out!”
“You were the one who picked a fight with me yesterday, so you are suspected to be related to the serial explosions case! Let’s have a nice long chat at the policeーOw!”
After prying Megumin off and pushing her into a rough bow, I did the same towards the other adventurer.
“I’m really sorry for what this idiot has done. Still, may I ask you a few questions? You had a fight with her yesterday, right? May I ask what exactly happened?”
The adventurer rubbed his throat where he had been grabbed and shook his head.
“Well, it wasn’t really a fight. I was busy reading one of the notices on the board when I accidentally ran into her, so I said ‘Sorry, I was reading a notice, so I didn’t see you there’. Then, she went “So you’re saying I’m short!?” and suddenly attacked me.”
“So you’re just picking fights now!?”
“Ow-ow-ow! N-No, I’m only doing that because adventurers mustn’t afford to be looked down uponー”
Maybe it would really be best to have her arrested.
“Besides, the serial explosions case didn’t start yesterday, right? So this person doesn’t even fit the profile we are looking for.”
“That’s true… Then, you should arrest Maribelle who fought with me last week after comparing the size of her chest to mine.”
“I already told you not to just name random people! And you’re just naming people you don’t like! There’s a limit to how impudent you can be!”
Lorielina, standing some distance away from the two of us as we started quarreling again, seemed to suddenly remember her job as the deputy police chief and took out a notebook.
“Megumin-san, can you tell me the names of everyone who might have a grudge with you? If there are a lot of them, I can get the other officers to help investigate.”
Looking at Lorielina’s serious face right in the eye, Megumin started rattling off a list of names.
“There’s Maribelle that I just mentioned earlier, and then there are the various shopkeepers that I haggled with back when I didn’t have money until they collapsed in tears, like the owner of the weapons shop, the owner of the magic items shop, the grocery seller, and… There are way too many adventurers who might bear a grudge against me, so there’s no way I can list them all.”
“… Is there really no way you can put her behind bars for a while?”
“Oh, very well. We aren’t a daycare for problem children, but I suppose we don’t have a choice in this case. Now, then, Megumin-san, please tell us more details back at the stationー”
“Wait a minute! Please wait… Ah!”
Megumin, who seemed this close to being dragged away by Lorielina, suddenly shouted.
“I know who the culprit is! Follow me, you two!”
The person she was looking for ended up being at the town library.
Despite the large number of empty seats available, she chose to read her book at the table at the furthest corner.
“So here is where you’ve hidden yourself! Yunyun, you are the true mastermind!”
“Eh!? M-Megumin!? What’s going on!?”
Of course, the person she’s looking for is Megumin’s self-proclaimed rival, and a fellow Crimson Demon, Yunyun.
Megumin’s appearance destroyed the tranquility of the library, and she flared her cape and named herself…
“My name is Megumin! As the most intelligent truth seeker in Axel, I shall reveal the truth! My rival Yunyun! As long as my eyes are red, your evil schemes shall never work on me!”
“Megumin, what are you saying after suddenly appearing out of the blue!? I have no idea what you’re talking about! What do you mean by evil schemes!?”
Yunyun frantically got to her feet and started bowing and apologizing to the people nearby who shot them disapproving looks.
After that, I started explaining the situation.
“You see, there’ve been several unexplained explosions close to town over the past few days.”
“Megumin you idiot! It’s not enough to do it in the Crimson Demon Village, now you have to do it in Axel too!? You still didn’t learn your lesson even after causing such a big ruckus back home!?”
“Ah!? S-Stop! What are you doing!? Get off me!”
Yunyun grabbed onto Megumin and started screaming at her through teary eyes the moment I said that, cutting me off.
Then, Yunyun finally let go of Megumin’s clothes and once again turned towards us.
“I’m sorry! Megumin’s supposed to be pretty smart, she just never thinks about consequences before doing anything, but she definitely isn’t a bad person! I’ll go with her to apologize to the people affected, so please go easy on herー”
“You too!? Why does everyone automatically assume I’m the culprit with just a little bit of information!?”
“Kyaa, it hurts! Cut it out!”
Just as Megumin grabbed onto Yunyun’s temples, Lorielina placed a finger to her chin.
“Please wait a moment, you said something about the Crimson Demon village earlier, right? Did something similar happen back in the Crimson Demon village?”
“Y-Yes, back then, she managed to avoid trouble by blaming it on a devil that happened to be passing by, so I’m thinking that she may have done the same thing here, too…”
Wait, did she just say ‘blaming it on a devil that happened to be passing by’?
I’m kinda curious about what happened in Megumin’s past.
[See: Explosions spinoff 2]
“T-That and this are different things! No, it really isn’t me this time! Please don’t look at me like that… Anyway, Yunyun.”
Even as Lorielina was staring at her with a suspicious gaze, Megumin pointed a finger at Yunyun.
“You’re currently suspected to be involved in the serial explosions case. Please come with me to the police station.”
Yunyun screamed after hearing Megumin spout such incredulous words.
“There’s of course a reason for it. First off, please state what kind of relation the two of us have.”
Yunyun suddenly blushed and started glancing between Megumin and the floor.
“Yes, you are my rival! Isn’t that right!?”
“T-T-That’s right! Indeed, I am your rival! What about it!?”
Yunyun shouted at Megumin through teary eyes after she interrupted her.
“So you admit it! As I said, Yunyun is my rival. In other words, she has the motivation to try and cause harm to her rival!”
Megumin ignored the shocked look Yunyun is giving her and continued.
“Additionally, you are second only to me in the Crimson Demon Village! Because she wishes to surpass the genius spellcaster who is capable of using Explosion, it wouldn’t be strange for her to pick up a few spells from the explosive series!”
“What kind of reasoning is that!? That doesn’t make sense at all!”
Megumin cooly regarded Yunyun as she wailed.
“Then let me ask you, were you with anyone when the explosions happened?”
“… I, I was alone…”
After hearing that, Megumin let out a smile as though she was confident of her victory.
“I see, so you were alone. That means, there’s no one who can vouch that you were within the town at the times when the explosions happened, right?”
“… … Yes.”
Yunyun hesitantly replied.
“As you can see, she has the motive, the means, and no alibi. Lorielina-san, I’ll leave the rest to you.”
“Then, please accompany me to the police station…”
“Wait! It really isn’t me! I’m innoceeeent!!”
“ーAnd here I thought for sure that it would be Yunyun. Maybe we were wrong about the whole revenge thing….”
On the way back from the police station.
Megumin and I headed to the outskirts of the city.
“You know, she’s your friend, right? Even if you are rivals, I really doubt that someone like her could pull off something so devious.”
“Do you really think so? Pretty much all the Crimson Demons I know have been driven to tears after trying to compete with me.”
“…Yeah, I still think it’s very likely that someone is trying to take revenge on you.”
We exited the town and started searching for today’s Explosion target.
Yes, the reason why we are heading out of town is because this idiot here insists on performing her daily routine, even under such circumstances.
“You know, I think it really would be best to lay off your Explosions for the moment.”
“What are you saying? That would just be as if I lost to the true culprit… No, perhaps this is the culprit’s goal all along! To stop me from casting Explosion…! Then, could it be the work of the construction crews who fill in my craters every time? But, no, they thanked me for what I’m doing because that meant they always had work to look forward to… Ah!? Could it be the work of the Demon King’s army!? Perhaps they are afraid of my power… ”
After listening to the stupid things that Megumin is mumbling to herself, I really can’t believe that this girl is supposed to have high intelligence.
“Alright, this far is fine. It’s really cold out today, so just let it off here and be done with it.”
“There isn’t much snow piled up here. I think we should pick a spot where more snow has accumulated. It’ll definitely look amazing to leave my mark on a canvas of pure white snow.”
“… I see, so it’s similar to how I feel the urge to pee on it whenever I see a pile of freshly fallen snow.”
“Of course not! Don’t compare the sublime instincts of the Crimson Demons with your vulgar bodily functions!”
While fending off Megumin’s temper tantrums, we arrived at the edge of a deep forest.
“If I fire an Explosion into the forests, the woodcutter’s guild and the hunter’s guild will get angry. So let’s do it around here.”
“Why is your life so bitter? Do you have to make an enemy every day? Can’t you find a more peaceful way to live your life?”
“I walk the path of destruction. I care not for that kind of life. Right, here I go! Behold my power!”
Megumin started chanting her spell.
A giant fireball erupted at a clearing next to the forest.
ーAt the same time
I felt like I heard a faint boom coming from a different direction.
The next day.
“Thus, we request for Megumin-san to stop casting Explosion for the time being. You may not be the culprit we are looking for, but please restrain yourself until we find the true culpritー”
Lorielina paid us yet another visit and is currently talking to Megumin.
Perhaps it’s to be expected, but during the time we were out of town yesterday, a large explosion was sighted near the forest.
From what we know now, the culprit will cast his own spell at the same time Megumin unleashes hers.
I was with her yesterday, so I was able to vouch for her innocence, but they still issued an order for her not to cast Explosion anymore until the case is resolved.
“You might as well be asking me to die! Crimson Demons as a race are constantly overflowing with magical energy. We’ll die if we don’t regularly release our excess mana as spells. Indeed, if I don’t cast my Explosion for several days, my mana would go out of control and might even destroy this town.”
“Stop spouting such obvious lies! If that were true, the Crimson Demons would’ve died out as children before they learnt magic!”
Just as Megumin turned to me and was about to say something after I interjected between her and Lorielinaー
“Emergency Quest! Emergency Quest! All adventurers, please report to the adventurer’s guild immediately!”
The sudden announcement that resonated through town cut her offー
“Adventurers, thank you for coming! Here’s the situation; a group of One-Strike Bears that have just woken up from hibernation have wandered close to the town. There are over ten of them, and the few crops available in the fields would not be able to satisfy them. As such, they will most likely head towards the town in search of food. Adventurers, please arm yourselves and prepare to intercept them!”
After gathering our equipment and making our way to the guild, we saw the desperate-seeming receptionist addressing the crowd of adventurers.
One-Strike Bears are, as their dangerous sounding name suggests, famed for the great strength of their forelimbs that they use to deliver devastating blows. They are capable of taking down even veteran adventurers if they get lucky.
Why would a group of them appear around these parts?
“A group of One-Strike Bears… How could this be!? There are only newbie adventurers in this town! If we take them on, there’ll definitely be casualties!”
Lorielina, who came along with us, turned completely pale.
The adventurers who heard that turned to her and said,
“As you said, there’ll definitely be sacrifices amongst us. However, fighting for the peace of this town is the duty of us adventurers.”
“Yeah, that’s precisely why we became adventurers. We’ve long since come to accept that we might lose our lives someday. Isn’t that right, everyone!?”
“Yup! Young lady, just leave it to us. We’ll share a few drinks if we come back alive!”
“They are just a few bears, what’s there to be scared of? I won’t let a single one of them step foot in this town!”
Lorielina looked at the adventurers like they were a band of legendary heroes.
And those same adventurers casted confident glances at the person next to me.
Yes, they were looking at Megumin, even though she didn’t have her staff with her.
“You guys sure are in high spirits. Guess there’s no need for me to interfere today.”
Hearing those unexpected words from Megumin, who would usually hasten to steal the spotlight, left all the adventurers agape.
“No, no, Megumin, it’s precisely at such times that you should play your hand. We might be able to handle it somehow, but there’ll definitely be some sacrifices without you. But if you were to do your thing…”
“Y-Yes, that’s exactly it! We can handle it by ourselves, but you’ll wipe them all out in an instant!”
“One-Strike Bears can’t even hold a candle to you! If anything, the name of one strike mage would fit far better on you! Isn’t that right!?”
“Megumin-san, this is your time to shine! Besides, I really want to see your cool side!”
It seems like all the adventurers were counting on Megumin’s Explosion to take them all out in a snap, which is why they were acting so confident earlier.
“There’s so many adventurers here, and all of them seem so motivated, so it doesn’t seem like I’ll be needed either. Hey, Kazuma, I have the important job of keeping the fire back home going, so I’m heading back first to tend to it. See you when you get back.”
And Aqua, leaving those words before exiting the building, left the adventurers agape yet again.
It seems like being abruptly woken up from her nap in front of the fireplace has left her groggy and in a bad mood.
The adventurers who were counting on Aqua’s resurrection magic if the worst happened started to turn pale.
Then, Megumin spread her arms out like she’s directing a stage play and addressed the adventurers gathered here.
“In the first place, I’m suspected to be the culprit behind the serial explosions incident by Lorielina-san here, so I’ve been forbidden from casting Explosion. I really want to unleash my spell on a worthy target for once, but it really is a pity. Yes, what a pity.”
Lorielina let out a surprised squeak as Megumin pushed the blame to her.
Of course, all the adventurers in this room started staring daggers at Lorielina.
“E-Er… Megumin-san, this is an emergency situation, so we will temporarily lift the restriction on casting Explosion…”
Withering in front of the gazes of so many people, Lorielina uncertainly said those words.
Upon hearing that, Megumin exaggeratedly shrugged her shoulders.
“Only temporarily? That’s to say, after putting my life on the line to repel the One-Strike Bears, I’ll be prevented from casting Explosion again? Just hearing that makes my motivation go…”
“Aaaaah, okay, fine, I get it! The ban on Explosion is rescinded, so please help defeat the One-Strike Bears!”
On the snowy plains, a group of bears let out a guarded roar.
And the person facing off against them is the self-proclaimed strongest spellcaster.
The other adventurers, me included, took up position behind Megumin to observe and fend off any stragglers in the unlikely event that any survived her spell.
As we looked on, Megumin started to chant.
After hearing her chant so many times in the past, I quickly noticed that this chant appeared far slower than usual.
It’s almost like she’s putting on a show for her new audience.
As she concluded her chant, Megumin proudly raised her staff.
“Behold my power! Explosion!”
A ball of light streaked towards the group of One-Strike Bears and exploded amongst them.
When the dust cleared, all that remained was a large crater blasted into the earth.
The adventurers let out a cheer as Megumin collapsed from mana exhaustion.
“A-Amazing… So this is Explosion magic…”
Lorielina, the only person present who has not yet become used to this sight, said in an impressed tone.
She came along with us to lend a hand if needed, but she was completely blown away by the power of the spell Megumin unleashed.
Seeing her awestruck reaction, Megumin, as I piggybacked her off the ground, asked with shining eyes.
“This is my Explosion spell… so, what do you think? Were the other explosions from the serial explosions case this impressive?”
Saying that, she let out a tired laugh.
Lorielina closed her eyes and slowly shook her head.
“… No, there’s never been such a large crater left at any of the previous incidents… Megumin-san.”
She looked back to Megumin once more.
“I’m really sorry for suspecting you in this incident. Once again, I apologize.”
Saying that, she fell into a deep bow.
It seems like this has completely wiped away any lingering suspicions she has regarding Megumin.
“Haha, as long as you understand. I’m happy enough to be cleared of suspicion. Plus, I’m in a good mood after taking care of all those bears, so I’ll forgive you.”
Hearing Megumin’s words, Lorielina let out a smile.
“I-I’m, err, I’m sorry for suspecting you too! Yeah, even Megumin wouldn’t constantly do nothing but seek trouble. I’ll bring some nice snacks to your house next time as an apology, so…”
“Haha, it’s a small matter. There’s no need to go that far. Yunyun, you should really learn a little from Kazuma and trust me a little more. And, Kazuma…”
Megumin sounded somewhat shy as she turned back to me.
“Thank you for believing in me all this time.”
She said with a wide smileー
“ーWhat happened here!? Hey, Kazuma, just what happened while I was out!?”
Darkness, at the head of a small group of soldiers, emerged from the mountains and shouted to me upon seeing the crater.
Those people must be the guards employed by the Dustiness family.
“Hey, Darkness, where did you go? They put up an emergency quest after a bunch of One-Strike Bears woke up early from hibernation. If it weren’t for Megumin, this would’ve turned into a disaster.”
“I-Is that so!? Hmm, they must have been woken up by the serial explosions. There was one in the forest yesterday too, so they must have woken up around that time.”
Come to think of it, the serial explosions case that we’ve been chasing all this time hasn’t been resolved yet.
“So this is the work of that explosion maniac too? I’ll definitely resolve this incident tomorrow! You’ll all get to see first hand the high intelligence of the Crimson Demons tomorrow!”
Seeing Megumin, who suddenly got to her feet even though I was carrying her just moments ago, Darkness gave her a wry smile.
“Ah, that’s… About that case, Megumin, the culprit has already been found.”
At those words, one of the armoured men besides Darkness produced a small mushroom from his bag and presented it to us.
It was a sooty black mushroom covered in thorns. Just seeing it gave me the feeling that I was in the presence of something dangerous.
“This is called a mine mushroom. Under certain circumstances, they will explode violently. These are fairly common around the mountain paths and summit. We’ll have to send a few people to gather and properly dispose of them. Also, it seems like there are quite a few growing in the forests too. We’ll take care of those as well.”
After hearing that, we let out a deep sigh.
“So all that ruckus was caused by a mushroom? Why did we even go through all that hassle in the first place?”
“Really, I ended up getting suspected by a lot of people thanks to these shrooms. I’ll use my Explosion to take care of them all at once. Darkness, I’ll leave the gathering of them to you, but allow me to get rid of them once they’re gathered.”
Hearing my and Megumin’s words, Darkness averted her gaze.
“That’s, umm… I really don’t recommend that Megumin be involved in getting rid of them. We’ll properly take care of that, so…”
Seeing Darkness’s reaction gave me a bad feeling.
“… Hey, you said that these mushrooms will explode under certain circumstances, right? … So, what are those circumstances?”
After a short period of silence, Darkness said.
“They’ll explode in the presence of strong magic.”
Hearing that, Megumin quickly averted her gaze.
… … …
“… Wait, so, that means, if someone were to cast Explosion next to a forest where a bunch of these mushrooms are growing…”
“They will explode.”
“… And if someone casts Explosion near the mountains…”
“Of course, they’ll explode.”
“… N-No, wait, that’s not…”
Megumin broke out into cold sweat and stuttered.
Just what exactly is she trying to say, I wonder.
Lorielina produced a set of handcuffs, and Megumin loudly shouted.
“Oh, okay, fine, when you think of Explosion, you think of me! When you think of me, you think of explosions! Fine, feel free to blame it on me if something similar happens in the future! But, if I may say something, if you are going to accuse someone, you should first gather evidenceー”
“What good does it do to say such things now!? I was a fool to believe you in the first place!”