Demon King’s Generals are Busy Creatures
[Note: This story takes place sometime around the end of volume 4, so the status quo is a bit different from the more recent volumes.]
After defeating the Demon King’s general, Vanir, I cleared off all of our debts and now spend my days leisurely lounging about.
Megumin and Darkness usually pester me about working, but they headed off somewhere else early this morning.
Thus, I was lying in front of the fireplace, watching the flames dance in a daze…
“You know, Kazuma, I think the people of this town are really lacking when it comes to their sense of danger. I think we should let everyone know exactly what kind of danger this town is in right now.”
Aqua interrupted me, shoving me aside so she could wriggle herself into the warmest spot in front of the fireplace.
“Aqua, it’s getting squeezy down here, so stop trying to push yourself in. Today is my turn to bask in this spot.”
“The smart and gracious goddess is shivering in the cold, you know? Move over to your left a little, you shitty NEET.”
Having monopolized all the space in front of the fireplace, Aqua suddenly gave me a serious look.
“Kazuma, there are currently two demon king’s generals in this town.”
“Are you talking about Wiz and the former general Vanir? Pray tell, what about them?”
Aqua threw a fresh log into the fireplace, before letting out an exasperated sigh.
“Saying stuff like that is why you die at the drop of a hat. How many times has it happened already? What, did you convert into a follower of Eris and won’t be happy until you see her every time you go out?”
It’s true that I died many times, but hearing it from her makes my blood boil.
“I’m not dying because I enjoy it. Just where are you going with this?”
Aqua puffed out her chest like she was waiting for this exact line.
“Surveillance! We should put that masked devil under surveillance! Don’t you think it’s suspicious how that devil is more popular in this town than me, who’s lived here for quite some time? I’ve heard that he’s been really popular amongst the kids as of late.”
“Isn’t that just because they think his mask is cool? Children have a thing for masks.”
However, Aqua simply shook her head.
“I thought that was the case, so I made myself a mask that resembled an ogre king, but the children just started bawling and throwing stones at me.”
“Don’t whine because some kid didn’t like your mask… So, what exactly do you plan on doing? Even if he was involved in something shady, I’m not getting involved. He’s really strong when he gets serious. I’ll die to a single hit of his ‘Vanir-style Death Ray’ or whatever he calls it.”
In response, Aqua gave me a confident smile.
“Oh, how foolish, Kazuma. That’s why I’m here. Just what do you think I am? I’m a goddess, the natural enemy of devils. As long as I find proof of his wrong doings, I can attack him in town without the police getting mad!”
“You didn’t actually attack him in town, did you?”
Ignoring my question, Aqua suddenly stood up.
“… It’s still too cold. Maybe we’ll start after burning down this piece of firewood.”
“It’ll still be cold outside. Why not wait ‘till a warm summer’s day before doing this?”
She quickly sat back down and joined me in watching the flame dance in the fireplace.
A loud boom echoed across the plains close to Axel, and Megumin collapsed to the ground with a satisfied look on her face.
“Haaah~… I think today’s Explosion should be worth at least ninety points. Look at the debris thrown up by the explosion, floating in the crisp and clear air. If I had to put it into words, it’d be like seeing a rainbow sprout after a heavy downpour, a rare moment of transient beauty…”
“Yeah, yeah, it sure is beautiful. Today’s Explosion is surely worth quite a lot of points. Here, I’ll carry you, so hurry up and roll over already.”
Megumin rolled over in a practiced manner, making me think that perhaps I should start looking into a better way of carrying her.
“… What’s the matter? You look like you are thinking of something complicated. It’s fine to lift me up.”
“No, I’m just thinking if there’s an easier way to carry you around. Maybe I can talk to that construction chief and get a wheelbarrow built or something. No, wait, it’ll be too unstable, and if I’m building a wheelbarrow I might as well get a baby stroller or something…”
“Hey, stop saying creepy things! What even is a baby stroller!? It doesn’t sound like anything good!”
Megumin angrily protested, but it sounded like a pretty workable idea to me, so I ignored her.
Yeah, it’ll probably work.
And if I make it sturdy enough, I can ram straight through any monsters we happen to run across on the way back while Megumin is strapped in. It might end up being a potent weapon in it’s own right…
“Kazuma, if you stay silent like that, it just makes me even more uneasy! Come on, carrying me isn’t all that bad, right? You get to be in close contact with a girl!”
“Yeah, but your body is hard in all the wrong places. If I have to, I’d rather carry a more curvy girl.”
Just as Megumin and I were arguing,
“Fuahahahaha! You seem to be in quite a spot of trouble, young man who despite saying that secretly looks forward to carrying her back home every day!”
“Where did you come from!? What are you saying!? W-Who is secretly looking forward to this!?”
I don’t know where he was hiding, but Vanir suddenly appeared out of nowhere with a hearty laugh.
He isn’t stalking us, is he?
“There’s no need to pay it much heed, there’s nothing wrong with being true to yourself. After all, Moi is here to partake in the delicious feelings of embarrassment that you produce.”
… Maybe I should sic Aqua on him after all.
“Uhm, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but could you please pick me up now? It’s really cold lying on the ground.”
Megumin said, raising both hands into the air.
“Oh, fine, I’ll carry you today, but I’ll get a wheelbarrow for tomorrow onwards. I don’t particularly enjoy carrying you.”
“I wouldn’t really want you to carry me around town like I’m a piece of luggage… Vanir, what’s the matter? Or rather, what are you holding in your hand?
At Megumin’s words, I too noticed that Vanir has something at hand.
“Well, this is why Moi came out here to speak with you. Carrying her on your back is tiresome, but you still want to enjoy the embrace and warmth of a developing girl. What Moi has here is the perfect product for your needs. So, how about it?”
“Hey, stop saying that. Every time you bring such things up, it becomes harder to meet the gazes of my party members… So, what is it?”
Vanir produced some kind of strap from his hand.
“It’s a back-mounted baby carrier.”
“Kazuma, don’t buy that! I don’t want to be carried around in a baby carrier at this age! You can go with the wheelbarrow instead! … Why are you opening your wallet!? Kazuma? Kazuma!?”
It’s been three days since I bought that convenient item from Vanir, and also three days since Megumin stopped talking to me.
“ーThere he is. Look, Kazuma, that devil is hitting on a girl.”
“You mean a housewife. And what do you mean by ‘hitting on’, they look like they are just having a conversation. Besides, hitting on a girl isn’t exactly a crime.”
Right now, I’m observing Vanir together with Aqua.
As for why we waited so long, well, there were issues with the weather and me spending my nights out, and various other difficulties that ended up with a few delays.
Megumin went off together with Darkness to fulfill her daily routine, so the only person available to play with Aqua was me.
Aqua, her head poking out from behind the corner, said.
“Oh, Kazuma, you fool. It’s a common devil’s trick to lure in unsuspecting folks with sweet sounding words only to brainwash them later on.”
“That sounds exactly like what your followers do.”
The small group of middle-aged women engaging in a conversation with Vanir seemed to be getting along well and occasionally broke out into laughter.
From the looks of things, I think Vanir has hit it off with the townsfolk even better than Aqua did.
“Hey, Kazuma, something is odd. That fruit-seller lady is smiling way too much. Every time I visit her store, she always gives me the stink eye.”
“That’s because you always haggle with her over prices. Oh, it seems like he’s going somewhere.”
After a long chat, Vanir bid farewell to the housewives and headed off towards the shopping district.
We followed after himー
“ーBehold, the wondrous Vanir doll! If you put this in your room, you will have nothing to fear from ghosts! If you buy it now, I’ll throw in a special offer to make its eyes glow and laugh in the middle of the night!”
Vanir set up a stall in the middle of the crowded street and started hawking his wares.
Arrayed on the mat in front of him was a large variety of the strange dolls that we fought against before.
“… Uhm, does it really drive away ghosts?”
A young girl nervously approached that store.
“Well, it’ll definitely work better than those dubious charms sold at the Eris shrine. Though, there is a risk of it being stolen by fad-chasing minor devils if you place it by the window.”
“I’ll take one! Aaah, with this, I will be able to rest easy at night! My damn mother-in-law comes to visit me even after she’s died, spending every night making a ruckus on top of my bed! I’ll show her!”
Aqua and I observed the girl say such disturbing words while hidden behind a sign a short distance away.
“… Hey, that girl seems to be having some trouble with ghosts. Isn’t that supposed to be your job? Why is a devil filling in for you?”
“What are you saying? There is a good reason for that. That woman’s mother-in-law wants to apologize after reflecting on her past life.That’s why she’s dancing a song of apology each night on her bed. I wanted to exorcise her, but I stayed my hand after hearing her reasons.”
I feel like that ghost just wants to keep an eye on her.
“Still, I’m surprised something like that can sell. Maybe I should start making some Aqua dolls, too. With the power of the goddess of water, I can make them produce clean water whenever there’s a clear dawn. Don’t you think it’ll be popular with children?”
“The children who take that doll to sleep with them will end up with a minor catastrophe. I feel like they’ll all get scolded after their parents mistake them for wetting their beds.”
As we talked, the dolls quickly got sold out, until eventually the only thing left was an empty mat.
After folding up the mat, Vanir got to his feet and leisurely wandered off.
Aqua and I hurriedly got up to follow…
When Vanir’s head suddenly snapped a hundred and eighty degrees around to look directly at us.
“ーThat’s scary! I’m sorry for following you, but couldn’t you inform us in a less scary way!?”
“Yeah! A passing child even started crying! You should apologize to that child and me! Not that I’m scared or anything, but you should still apologize to me! I really wasn’t scared!”
After getting startled by Vanir’s actions, we were currently chewing the devil out.
“You were the ones stalking me in the first place, so how unreasonable can you become? Stalker goddess and cowardly brat, just what business do you have with me?”
“Errr, well, I’m a little concerned if you are getting along well in this townー”
“I was keeping an eye on you so you don’t do any wicked acts.”
Aqua immediately spilled the beans while I was still fumbling over my words.
“Telling a devil like me not to perform any wicked acts is like rebelling against the very core of my being, but worry not. Moi has matters to attend to in this town, so Moi would not do anything untoward. Anyway, thanks to a certain incompetent shopkeeper, finances are a little tight this month. Some part-time work would be necessary, or the store might be seized by the end of it.”
I don’t think I expected to see a general of the Demon King’s army run about trying to earn money to pay rent when I came to this world, but here we are.
“Only a fool would take a devil at his word. If you aren’t up to anything suspicious, then there’s no problem with us following you, right?”
Vanir’s mouth twisted into a truly ugly grimace upon hearing Aqua’s words.
“Just knowing that you’ll be following me gives me a really bad feeling… But, fine, as long as you don’t get in my way, you can do whatever you want.”
Saying that, he waved his hand and walked awayー
“ーWelcome, welcome, fresh potatoes for sale! Jumping and dancing potatoes! Freshly picked and lively potatoes for sale!”
“Tonight’s recommended side dish are these hourai carrots packed full of nutrients! You can fight with them, eat them, or sleep with them! How about some sexy-looking hourai carrots!?”
How did this happen?
Right now, Vanir and Aqua are manning the green grocer’s store, loudly hawking their wares.
“Hey, bargain woman, stop getting in the way of my job! The more carrots that are sold, the more money this job pays. Moi does not know why you decided to pick up a part-time job all of a sudden, but go somewhere else with your bothersome display!”
“Hey, don’t call me ‘bargain woman’. That makes me sound like some kind of product to be sold! I couldn’t help it. Seeing you trying to attract customers reminded me of my time as a part-time worker, and somehow I felt that I just can’t lose to you…”
Perhaps because she knew the store owner, when she saw Vanir hard at work, Aqua started grumbling about getting a job too, and is now doing the same right next to the devil.
“Don’t get in the way of my business just because of some puffed up pride! … Oh, adventurer on the road over there, I see hardship in front of you! But if you buy this carrot, you’ll be blessed with good fortune. If you keep it in your bag, it will jump out and act as a decoy while you are hard pressed in a battle with monsters!”
“If that’s the case I recommend you buy one of my potatoes! Potatoes have high attack power, so if you use it well, it can even serve as a vanguard, not just a decoy!”
If you are going to sell vegetables, sell them as ingredients.
Once again, I was reminded of the incongruity of this world.
Soon enough, the vegetables that they had sold out.
“Seems like I sold a lot more. Well, I suppose this is to be expected. Is this what they call karma?”
“However, Moi brought in more profits. Hourai carrots are far superior to potatoes in terms of taste, price, and fighting power.”
I really wanted to ask them what’s the point of comparing fighting power of vegetables, but the owner of the store came in, completely ignoring the petty pissing match the two of them are having.
“Man, you two are a great help. Would either of you consider working here full time? Being a salesman is definitely your calling, I guarantee it!”
They are a goddess and a devil, though.
“I’m grateful for your offer, but there is something that Moi must attend to. Working part time every so often is fine, but…”
“Hmm, well, personally, I wouldn’t mind pursuing the art of salesmanship myself, but the one billion Axis cultists all over the world would cry if they were to learn of it…”
Why do you sound so reluctant?
The next morning.
“That damn devil sure is putting on a fine act. I couldn’t see his mask slip at all.”
Aqua, laying on the sofa with a sour look on her face, said.
After knowing the joys of a day’s hard work yesterday, Aqua continued to work hard at the store, and before she knew it, a whole day had passed.
“I think you are looking too much into things. He might be a nuisance at times, but he probably wouldn’t do anything actually harmful. Are you going to follow him today too?”
“Is that so? Well, if I were to exorcise him before he does anything, I’ll be treated as the bad guy. I think I’ll give investigating him a rest for today. I worked hard yesterday, after all. It’s important to rest after doing manual labour.”
I wanted to say something about her taking a vacation day after just a single day of work, but personally, I’m thankful that I don’t have to follow her on some strange hunch, so I let it slide.
I threw a log in the fireplace and started burying some of the potatoes that Aqua received from her job yesterday in the ashes to roast them.
If I had some aluminium foil, I could put them on top of the fire instead, but unfortunately no such thing existed in this world.
When the smell of roasted potatoes started filling the room, Aqua headed off to the kitchen to get some butter and soy sauce.
Incidentally, Megumin, who has been avoiding me since I bought the baby carrier from Vanir a few days ago, suddenly appeared and took a seat beside me.
Valuing pride over food, she crouched down in front of the fireplace and patiently waited for the potatoes to be done.
Just as I retrieved one of the potatoes from the ashes, Darkness came down from the second floor.
“It’s rare for you to be the last person to wake up. The potatoes are just about done. Do you want one?”
Rubbing her eyes sleepily, Darkness gave me a nod.
“I’ll have one. Sorry, I was out late because of a mysterious incident I was investigating.”
… Mysterious incident?
“ーYou see, recently, the adventurers who are staying at the inn are complaining that they’re being plagued by nightmares.”
While helping myself to a piece of buttered potato, I tilted my head in confusion.
“A nightmare could happen to anyone. How does that make it an incident?”
Darkness seemed somewhat embarrassed, but she responded,
“I thought so too… But, every so often, screams would come from the room the adventurers were sleeping in. When the innkeeper went up to check, they all said that they’ve seen a nightmare… It happens often enough that the innkeeper suspects it might be the work of some kind of monster, so we are looking into it.”
Megumin, her cheeks stuffed to bursting with buttered potatoes, said,
“Speaking of nightmares, there is a monster called a Nightmare that takes the form of a pitch-black stallion. However, there’s no way such a monster could be in this town without anyone noticing…”
Yeah, if a horse was walking around the town at night, someone would’ve noticed.
Then, Aqua suddenly slammed her fist against her palm.
“Hey, Kazuma, this must be my reward for my good acts!”
She said as a dribble of soy sauce rolled down her chin.
“What, food tastes better when you hear tales of others’ misfortune? If you keep saying stuff like that, you’ll get divine retribution.”
“That’s not it, you shitty NEET. Who’s going to punish me in the first place? Anyway, you know that strange devil was selling those weird dolls, right?”
Aqua’s words reminded me of those ghost repelling dolls that Vanir was selling yesterday.
“Amulets! I’m going to sell Axis Cult protective amulets! Nightmares are a type of low-ranking devil that bestows nightmares onto others in order to feast on their dark emotions. If I get serious, no weak devil would be able to draw close to any amulets I create! If things go well, I’ll be able to make money, the reputation of the Axis Cult would go up, and nobody would see any nightmares anymore! It’s a great plan that would benefit everyone!”
Aqua actually suggested a decent idea for once, and all of us gave her suspicious looks.
“Is something wrong? Did you mix something strange into the butter?”
“You will get divine retribution if you keep saying that. Even I will come up with a good idea every so often.”
So she’s actually aware of her tendencies.
“Hmm, in that case, I’ll help you out too. Your skills as a priest are reliable, if nothing else. Any charms you create will surely be effective.”
“Hey, Darkness, did you just say ‘Your skills as a priest are reliable, if nothing else’?”
“Indeed, leaving everything else aside, your skills when it comes to fighting demons are the real deal. If I can do anything to help, feel free to ask.”
“Megumin, did you just say, ‘leaving everything else aside’?”
ーAnd thus, in order to resolve the mysterious nightmares incident, we started selling Axis Cult branded amulets in town.
“ーHmm, they aren’t selling.”
At a corner of the adventurer’s guild, Aqua set up a booth that sells amulets.
Aqua nagged the guild staff and managed to get permission to set up a stall after quite a bit of wheedling, but…
“A charm that repels devils isn’t something bad to have on hand. I’ve heard that only men suffer from the nightmares, so why are they so stubborn about this?”
Darkness said, hand on her chin as she puzzled.
“They are adventurers, mind you. Perhaps they are too embarrassed to admit that they fear devils so much that they would buy a protective amulet.”
“… Say, Aqua, that devil repelling amulet will prevent any succubus from getting close, right?”
“Of course it would. There’s no way weakling devils like succubus would be able to get through any barrier I create. Speaking of which, you were attacked by a succubus once, weren’t you? Did that leave a scar on you? Oh, you’re so hopeless. I’ll give one to you, soー”
“I don’t need it.”
I immediately rejected her.
“What, I’m giving you a protective amulet for free, you know? Just be honest and accept itー”
“I don’t need it.”
I cut her off.
Anyway, now I know why these amulets wouldn’t sell.
If you have a charm that repels devils on you, you wouldn’t be able to make use of the succubus service.
In fact, just having them on you might even earn their ire.
“Yo, Kazuma. What are you doing here?”
The ones who called out to me are Dust and Keith, adventurers famous for being delinquents in this town.
“We’re selling devil-repelling amulets. Well, they aren’t selling at all.”
The two of them gave me a knowing smile.
At that point, I noticed that the two of them seem to each be clutching a ticket protectively in their hands.
“Hey, what are you holding? It looks like the tickets that the store usually gives out, but the colour is different.”
Dust and Keith smiled and moved to a table some distance away from the girls before beckoning me over.
“…? Just what is going on?”
I went over and asked, and Dust leaned in close to my ear.
“The store just started a special service recently. This ticket is a trial ticket. If you go to the store now, you can get this service for free.”
As I started getting jittery over the thought that the tickets might be sold out if I don’t pay the store a visit soon, Keith leaned in close and said,
“And apparently, there are some winning tickets amongst them as well.”
“What do you mean by winning? Is it some amazing dream? But, something that is better than seeing a custom made dream…”
I started seriously speculating at what the prize would be, and Keith, wearing the same serious expression, said.
“Well, we are talking about a succubus, so maybe it… Won’t be a dream?”
I immediately left everyone behind and rushed to the store.
After getting back and withstanding the barrage of questions that Aqua and the other shot at me, I quickly excused myself and went out.
“It’ll be fine, I’m really lucky, after all. There’s no way I wouldn’t win.”
I told them I’d be out drinking with Dust and the others and quickly rented a room at the inn.
“I took a bath and brushed my teeth. I even cleaned down there just in case, so it’ll be fine.”
It’s already late in the night, and the taverns have started to close up.
“She’s a professional, so it’ll be fine even though it’s my first time. She won’t laugh, it’ll be fine. It-it’ll definitely be fine!”
After crawling into bed, I repeated that mantra to myself.
Dammit, I’m too excited to sleep.
No, maybe it’d be best to remain awake.
No, no, if I didn’t win, then I’d end up with the worst outcome where I couldn’t even see a sweet dream.
Yeah, it’s the kind succubus ladies I’m talking about. If I win, they’ll definitely gently wake me up.
So I should hurry up and find a way to sleep…
Just then, a great idea came to me.
After being unable to get to sleep, the succubus who came to give me a dream took pity on me and decided that she might as well do it for real…
I should request a dream like that next time.
“Aah, why didn’t I think of this earlier!? I wouldn’t need to lay awake in bed like this…!”
Perhaps I should request that of the succubus that shows up.
No, wait, would that be considered sexual harassment?
No, no, I’m sure the kind hearted succubus would laugh it off.
She might even start teasing me over it.
Yeah, I’ll do that. Aqua might get suspicious, but I’ll request this dream tomorrow.
Just as I made that decision…
“Customer, are you still awake?”
A soft voice came from the window.
When I heard that voice, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest.
“I-I-I’m awake. Sorry, I couldn’t quite get to sleep.”
I shot up from the bed and whispered to the window, and heard a soft giggle in response.
“It’s fine, customer. There are plenty of people who get too nervous to fall asleep. Especially for those who are using our service for the first time.”
I felt a slight relief upon hearing that, and also secretly thankful for the kindness of the succubus.
I looked towards the window, and standing in front of it was Loli Succubus who somehow managed to sneak inside without me noticing.
“But what should I do? Even if you go to sleep right now, it’ll probably be morning just as we get to the good parts…”
The succubus gave me a troubled look.
“No, I was the one who didn’t go to sleep on time, so there’s no need to blame yourself. And besides, I caused you some trouble when you came to visit me in my mansion back then, so just consider the matter cleared…”
I hastily started, but she stopped me with a giggle.
“Come to think of it, you saved me back then. I didn’t get the chance to properly thank you yet.”
Saying that, she took a step closer to me.
“No, it was my companions who captured you in the first place, so it’d feel a little weird if you thank me…”
I slowly said in order to prevent my excitement from turning my voice shrill.
“I was really glad when you used your body to protect me.”
She took another step towards me.
“Well, it’s only natural for an adventurer to help a girl in trouble…”
The succubus placed a finger on my lips, cutting off my panicked sounding voice.
“You see a devil like me as a girl? … I’m happy.”
Partially shrouded in darkness, the succubus said in a gentle voice…
“Customer, if you can’t sleep, can you allow me to properly thank you?”
“Aquaaaaa! Aqua, Aqua, Aquaaaaa!”
I barged into the mansion and started shouting for Aqua.
“W-What is going on? I’m right here.”
A startled-seeming Aqua rose up from her spot in front of the fireplace, staring at me in shock.
“Aqua, let’s kill that bastard! I’ll never forgive him! Let’s kill him and salt the ashes!”
“Calm down, you are starting to sound like Darkness. Just who are you talking about? What happened while you were out drinking last night?”
In response to the unusually calm Aqua, I started crying about the events of last night.
“ーEr, the girl who was giving you thanks turned out to be Vanir, and you won something? I don’t really get what you’re saying.”
“Never mind what happened to me! Just remembering it makes my blood boil! The innkeeper ended up scolding me for screaming in the middle of the night too! Anyway, let’s just go kill that bastard! You always say that devils are the enemy, right!?”
As I screamed through tears, Aqua seemed somewhat afraid of me as she said,
“Um, you see, Darkness told me last night…”
Doing her best impression of Darkness, she announced,
“Yes, Vanir has become known for deeds like taking out the trash and chasing away the crows, and has become quite respected amongst the townsfolk. So… I’m thinking of officially welcoming him as a resident of this town…”
On that day,
I swore to myself that I will wipe out all devils and Demon King Generals from this world.