The Troublemakers of Axel
I was enjoying a cup of tea with Aqua after having a late lunch, when a loud voice broke the tranquility of the afternoon.
“This is an announcement for adventurers. All adventurers, please gather in the guild hall. Repeat, all adventurers, please gather in the guild hall.”
The only reason why the guild would make such an announcement is because some troublesome matter cropped up again.
I met the gaze of Aqua who was in the middle of sipping tea like me.
“… Should we go?”
“… I just had lunch, so I don’t really want to exert myself right now.”
I feel the same way.
“Let’s just pretend we didn’t hear it. It’s not like we are the only adventurers in town.”
“Yes, let’s do that. There are plenty of other skilled adventurers in town. And it wouldn’t do for us to hog the spotlight too much.”
It’s just as Aqua said.
We’ve been taking out nothing but high bounty targets as of late, and it wouldn’t be surprising for a few adventurers to be jealous of our success.
Let’s give the others a chance to earn some glory this time. We could use the rest too.
I finished my cup of tea and laid down on the sofa…
“Repeat, all adventurers, please gather in the guild hall. Especially Satou Kazuma’s party, please report to the guild hall immediately. Repeat…”
… I once again met Aqua’s gaze and exasperatedly shrugged my shouldersー
ーWhen I opened the door to the adventurer’s guild, everyone present instantly turned towards me.
“… Hey, now, were you really waiting on me that badly? What a bother. Anyway, what kind of trouble crawled up this time?”
The crowd of adventurers parted before us and opened a path to the counter.
They must know just how big a deal I am.
I made my way over, and saw Megumin and Darkness already standing there.
“Oh, the two of you have already arrived. With the four of us, there’s nothing to fear. So don’t make such a worried face, just relax.”
In response to our words, the receptionist came forward.
“We’ve been waiting for you, Satou-san. Well, it’s certainly a troublesome matter. Allow me to explain.”
She looked really anxious when she said that.
For her to be this worried even after we arrived, we must be dealing with a really powerful target.
“I already know why you called us here. Are we dealing with a Demon King’s general? Or is it some gigantic monster that can only be defeated with Explosion Magic?”
Megumin asked with a confident smile on her face, and Darkness came up with a relaxed, tempered demeanour.
“Now, now, Megumin, there’s no need to get hasty. We may have been called by name, but we should still hear them out… Right, Kazuma?”
I nodded once to Darkness’s words.
“Yes. For us who’ve taken down so many powerful opponents to be called by name, I’m sure this would be a worthy opponent…”
“The person in question is the top brass of the adventurer’s guild.”
The receptionist interrupted.
“… Top brass of the adventurer’s guild? That means he’s some important person from the capital? So our abilities are valued that much?”
Caught off guard by this sudden development, I asked.
“I don’t know exactly why he’s visiting, but one such person will be paying this town a visit tomorrow. If a member of the top brass judges that you are not fitting of an adventurer, he may strip you of your qualifications… So adventurers who tend to cause problems or have a bad reputation should pay special attention…”
The receptionist subtly averted her gaze.
“Are you serious!? The reason why we are called by name is because we have a bad reputation as troublemakers!? … Yeah, that’s only natural. I’m really sorry.”
“Hey, Kazuma, why are you apologizing!? That’s basically admitting that we are problematic adventurers… I think so too, I’m terribly sorry.”
Seeing Aqua and I apologize without any prompting from the receptionist, Megumin gave me a wry smile.
“If you know you have a problem, you should start trying to rectify it. You should start by waking up earlier in the morning.”
“Yes, Kazuma, you should stop your habit of fooling around all night and only coming back in the mornings.”
Hearing the two of them say such things made my blood boil.
“Why are you two talking like this doesn’t concern you!? It’s astonishing how blind you can be! They called for Satou Kazuma’s party, so of course it includes all you troublemakers too!”
“W-Wait a minute, as the level and cool-headed mage, I can say that I have the most common sense in this party!”
“I-I’m just… I was raised as the scion of a noble family, so I’m just a little out of touch with the general public…!”
Ignoring the Explosion maniac and masochist, I gave the receptionist an understanding nod.
“In this case, all we have to do is hole myself up in the mansion along with these three, right? Alright, you three, lets go stock up on supplies for an extended stay at home. We’re staying inside for an entire month to make sure we won’t accidentally run into that big shot, so make sure you get some recreational items too.”
“Hey, Kazuma, I really don’t want to stay indoors for such a long time.”
“And what would happen to my daily routine while we are stuck indoors? We might as well just go on an adventure until that person leaves town.”
The receptionist interjected before I could reply.
“Your accomplishments and name are quite well known in the capital, so if you guys aren’t around, they might arrange for another visit. Running away and hiding isn’t an option… I won’t request that you do anything impossible, just behave for a few days! Just go on a normal adventure!”
… It hurts me to say it, but going on a normal adventure might be a little difficult for usー
ーThe next day.
We made our way over to the adventurer’s guild first thing in the morning.
For some strange reason, my companions seem to be in really high spirits for all the wrong reasons.
“Hey, Kazuma, how does this look? It’s a traditional priest robe of the Axis Cult. What do you think? Doesn’t it just look perfect?”
“It looks kinda stupid.”
Aqua was wearing a really odd-looking robe with a long, conical headdress.
She wasn’t the only one who was dressed strangely today.
At first glance, Megumin looks to be dressed the same as usual, but for some reason, she wrapped several times as many bandages on her leg than normal, to the point where it’s clearly getting in the way when she walks.
“That’s a really elaborate outfit you have. Are you turning up your noble aura to the max to compete with the big shot from the guild?”
Darkness was wearing a set of sparkling, ostentatiously decorated, some would say garish armour.
With her jet black cloak lined with flecks of gold and her ornate greatsword that seemed more like a work of art than a weapon, she’s a far cry from the clumsy and inept image that she usually has.
“… I thought it over with a cool head after getting back home. Why would someone who can strip the qualifications of troublemaking adventurers come all the way out here? I hate to admit it, but… Our party is mostly troublemakers and ineptitude.”
“It’s not mostly, it’s pretty much all of us.”
Darkness sputtered at my words, but she quickly schooled her face into a serious expression.
“I owe a lot to you. As someone specialized in defence, I don’t normally get a chance to show off, but… My job is to protect. In order to achieve that, I’m prepared to use the full extent of my authority!”
“That sounds really cool and all, but don’t forget you are one of the troublemakers too. Don’t charge straight into a horde of monsters when that big shot is watching.”
In the first place, what the guild lady said about behaving has nothing to do with your outfit and everything to do with showing more enthusiasm about taking out monsters. Not to mention avoiding doing anything unnecessary or unleashing Explosion Magic or charging into a writhing horde of monsters.
“Hey, Kazuma, that person over there must be the guy we are talking about. The guild lady is emphasizing her chest more than usual.”
Following Aqua’s finger, I saw the guild lady talking to a man in a suit at the far end of the counter.
“Her chest is always sticking out. It’s a famous sight amongst the adventurers of Axel… Though the man she’s talking to certainly does look the part.”
I’ve lived in Axel for quite some time now, and I’ve never seen that man before, so he must be a newcomer.
The man shot us a glance from behind his glasses, looking just like a disciplinarian coming to see a bunch of famously troublesome children in person.
Seeing that, a pair of adventurers I know slipped up behind me and started whispering.
“Hey, Kazuma, that official is really staring at us. Even though I didn’t do anything wrong, I can’t help but feel uneasy. Do you have any good ideas for how to deal with him?”
“Yeah, Kazuma, please share a little of your underhanded wisdom with us.”
“Sigh, you guys always come to beg for my aid in such situations… Did you just call me underhanded?”
I was briefly distracted by the backhanded praise, but I pushed that out of my thoughts to focus on that man.
“Judging from his serious looking glasses, he is most definitely dispatched here to trim the fat. Thus, coming here without accepting a quest is out of the question. That said, taking on some high-difficulty quest just to impress him is a risky idea. All we need to do is prove our competence by completing a quest without any issues… Now that I’ve said that much, it’s obvious what we should do, right?”
The two adventurers nodded, understanding what I’m getting at.
A safe and familiar quest.
“Exactly. We’ll all go hunt frogs today. It’s a safe and guaranteed way to prove our competence.”
I don’t know what criteria that big shot is using to judge us with, but if all of us were to hunt the same frogs, none of us would appear obviously superior or incompetent compared to the others.
And if the frog hunting grounds are crawling with adventurers, it’d be hard to notice if any one of us did something odd.
“We just have to work together. As long as none of us mess up too badly, there wouldn’t be any grounds for him to dismiss us… So, how about it?”
However, the two of them gave me uneasy looks.
“We’re fine with fighting frogs, but…”
“Aren’t frogs your natural enemy?”
“Hey, how many high bounty targets have we taken out already? Isn’t it rude to say that frogs are our natural enemy?”
Eventually, the two of them spread the word to the other adventurers, and everyone in the guild took a frog hunting quest todayー
“ーThere they are, our natural enemies. Listen up, Kazuma, someone important is watching us today, so we can’t afford to mess up!”
At the plains not too far from town, Aqua said as she faced down a number of giant frogs.
“Why do you like raising death flags so much? Are you setting up the punchline on purpose?”
And why are you treating the weakest monster, the Giant Frog, as your natural enemy?
“Are you trying to say I’ll end up getting eaten again? Even I am not that much of a fool. I can’t keep letting those frogs look down on me. That’s why I brought their natural enemy with me today!”
… Natural enemy of frogs?
“You’re not talking about the snake you have in that basket you’re holding, are you? Just what are you expecting a snake that small to do against a frog that huge?”
Aqua let out a snort like I just said the most foolish thing in the world.
“Oh, Kazuma, there’s no way a snake this small can win against those frogs. But all living things have something that they instinctively fear. Just like how undead react with fear upon seeing a beautiful goddess. In other words, the frogs that lay eyes on this little one will be paralyzed with dread!”
ーIgnoring Aqua who was swallowed by a frog while still clutching her basket for a moment, I looked around my surroundings to take better stock of the situation.
With the observer here, I would like to avoid doing anything that would draw attention to us.
That’s why I issue a restraint order onto Megumin to prevent her from blowing our cover with a single shot of Explosion, but…
“Ahh, wait! There’s a delicious Crusader over here, so come over this way! … Argh, this guy is surprisingly agile for being a Giant Frog! I can’t hit him at all!”
“Darkness, please do something! Why are you all going after me!? Do I look that tasty!? Does my overflowing mana and high experience points make me look tasty to frogs!?”
Megumin ran around the field, trying to keep her distance from the giant frog that has singled her out for some reason as Darkness tried ineffectually to draw that frog’s attention towards her.
After a short period of time running around, the other adventurers managed to intercept the giant frog and took it out.
It’d be difficult to fail a quest to take out a few giant frogs as long as you are properly equipped.
Apart from my party, I doubt any of the other adventurers are at any risk of having their adventurer qualifications revoked.
… Actually, I’ve been feeling that suited man’s gaze on me for quite some time now.
“Waaah… The new priest robes that I borrowed are all sticky… Will they ask me to compensate for damages…”
Even after I rescued her, Aqua still clung onto her basket with a death grip.
To be honest, if we don’t get some kind of accomplishment soon, we’ll probably be done for.
… Just then.
“Let’s put an end to this farce right now. My eyes aren’t just for show.”
The suited man who had been observing the scene said in a soft voice that still somehow managed to carry itself across the plains, and all the adventurers present stopped moving.
“I’m one of the senior members in charge of the guild. I’m well aware that this is not representative of how the guild is normally like.”
Dammit, has our party’s bad reputation spread that far?
I motioned to Darkness to stop chasing frogs already and come over here.
Darkness seemed to quickly understand the situation the moment she noticed me and rushed over…
“From the reports I’ve received from this town, the town of Axel normally hunts far more powerful prey. So why did you all decide to host a giant hunt for the weakest monster today?”
“Now, show me what you can do! You should be capable of taking on far stronger enemies! I would like very much to invite the strongest of you to bolster the forces at the capital!”
The suited man said in a passionate voice that didn’t fit his calm and collected image in the slightest.
“What’s going on, Kazuma? Wasn’t this supposed to be my chance to shine?”
Darkness, clutching her family crest pendant in her hand, looked between me and the suited man with a look of confusion.
“Don’t ask me, this situation is new to me too…”
What’s going on? Wasn’t he here to deal with troublemakers?
Hushed whispers started flowing up and down the plains as the adventurers took everything in.
“A recruiter for the capital? R-Right, let’s do it! I’ll show you what I can really do!”
“If I recall correctly, accommodations will be provided if you are recruited directly by the guild! This is my chance! I ain’t got time to be hunting frogs!”
Such whispers could be heard throughout the plains, and the atmosphere took on a distinctly different tinge.
… No, wait.
Listening closely, it seemed like only the women that are really excited by this offer.
Of course, my party members are no different.
“Let’s do this, Kazuma! To be specially scouted by the capital means that we are elite! We’ll be able to count ourselves as elite adventurers who get mobbed by adoring fans the moment we step foot in the guild!”
“True, if we are scouted by the elites of the capital, the way people see us will surely change…”
Aqua and Darkness’s words tugged at my heartstrings a little.
“Sorry, but I’m not interested. I’ll stay in this town.”
At my words, the suited man gave me a look of stark disbelief.
“W-Why? Normally, after achieving a few levels under their belt, adventurers would leave this town in order to seek fights against stronger monsters. The reason why I came to this town is because the number of adventurers leaving this town have fallen dramatically as of late. The world is running short of adventurers. Why do you not seek advancement? Glory and riches should be what all adventurers dream of!”
The suited man passionately made his statement, but I simply inclined my head.
“I have no need for such glory. I have a mansion in this town, and plenty of people who took care of me… Yes, I love Axel.”
Yes, this place is where I first took my steps in this world and the place I’ve come to regard as my home.
No matter how high my level might get, I have no intention of ever leaving this town.
“Exactly! Well said, Kazuma! No place in the world can replace this town!”
“I plan to stay here forever! The people in this town are like family to me!”
My heartfelt speech must have struck a chord with the other adventurers, they immediately rallied behind me.
The suited man seemed completely taken aback by this reaction.
“Hey, Kazuma, why are you so stubborn? It would be better to go to the capital and enjoy what they have to offer! I’m going to go find a strong monster to defeat!”
“Don’t you have any attachment to this town? It’s best to keep a shred of humanity alive inside as you live your life. I for one can’t imagine leaving this town behind.”
After all, the only town in the world with a succubus service is Axel.
The adventurers who echoed my words probably did so for the same reason.
After all, they are all regular customers of the succubus shop.
I turned towards Aqua who was still holding the basket protectively in her arms.
“Besides, even if you want to, it’s not like a strong monster would convenientlyー”
Pop out in front of us.
Before I could finish my sentence.
“A Frog Killer is here!”
An adventurer quite some distance away pointed at the forest.
A Frog Killer is a huge snake that usually hangs out deep in the forest or in large bodies of water.
The plains around Axel play host to large numbers of giant frogs, so it occasionally comes around to prey on them.
In other words, it’s the natural enemy of frogs.
Of course, such a powerful creature doesn’t only feed on frogs.
Capable of covering ground with surprising speed, and with a large muscular body capable of crushing a giant frog to death, the Frog Killer has no problems with doing the same to even a mid-rank adventurer, and it’s not unheard of for them to attack any adventuring parties they come across.
The standard procedure for the adventurers of Axel is to run away and seek shelter within the walls upon seeing one.
“Good for you, the strong enemy you wanted just appeared.”
“Hey, Kazuma, you don’t think I said that just to set up a flag, did you? That isn’t true, okay? I didn’t want to summon something this dangerous!”
Normally, I would be running towards the town right now, but there are way too many adventurers around today.
And the suited man is here, too. Under his gaze, the various adventurers gathered here started preparing to intercept it.
“But this is odd. Frog killers shouldn’t normally approach a large gathering of people like this… There’s no shortage of giant frogs, after all. Rather than going after humans who are dangerous on top of being slim pickings, it’d be a better idea to go after more delicious and easily caught food…”
Hearing Darkness mutterings, the gathered adventurers all turned to look at Aqua.
I turned towards her too, and my gaze immediately fell on the basket in her hands.
“That’s not it.”
She’s why that thing is here.
“I found this little one when I was relaxing by the lake. In the first place, there’s no way I would’ve known that this thing is a young Frog Killer.”
“Hey, the suited man is watching. He might be here to scout for promising adventurers, but he also has the authority to strip your qualifications away. So be careful what you say.”
Under the sharp eyed gaze of the suited man, one of the female adventurers raised a yell.
“I-I do love this town, but I want to make a name for myself in the capital someday! That’s why… I’m sorry, everyone, but that frog killer is ours!”
Perhaps encouraged by her words, another party of female adventurers readied their weapons too.
“Yeah, lets go! This might sound callous, but I want to shoot for greater heights!”
She sounded a little apologetic, but the male adventurers who heard that gave a wry smile.
“It’s fine, this is what adventurers are supposed to be like. We’ve just lived in this town for a little too long. Now, go and show him what you got! And gain some glory at the capital in our place!”
As the female adventures traded determined looks with each other and readied their weapons, the suited man raised his voice.
“W-Wait a minute! There should be some high-leveled adventurers living in this town! I won’t give up! Until I can recruit some people to go to the capital with me, I’ll stay in this townー!”
And Megumin, covered in slime, swooped in and stole their kill from right under their nosesー
“ーHere is the prize money for killing the Frog Killer. Thank you very much, Megumin-san!”
After returning to the adventurer’s guild, the usual receptionist welcomed us.
“Hey, the one who killed that frog killer was a member of my party, so that cancels out how I was the one who brought it towards us, right?”
“Don’t remind me. Isn’t it great that you defeated the frog killer!? No, wait, why are we even trying to cover it up? Darkness is already dressed for the occasion, so let’s just have her turn on her noble aura and have a short talk with him afterwards and make him forget all about it.”
“N-No, that’s not really what I meant when I said I was prepared to use my authority… But still…”
Darkness, with a somewhat troubled expression, turned to look at the suited man.
“N-No, I heard that there were several high-leveled adventurers living in this town, so I came here to scout them…”
“Wait, what? Are you saying our levels aren’t high enough for you!?”
“Take me to the capital with you! For some reason, most of the men in this town are herbivores! I can’t get a date at all!”
Who is currently being mobbed by the female adventurers who’ve yet to give up.
Just then, a single mage approached him.
“So, you’re scouting for adventurers for the capital, right? The strongest person in this town is me, the very same people who took out the Frog Killer. And my level is pretty high too, right? If you really need my power that badly, I suppose it wouldn’t be a bad idea for all of us to go to the capitalー!”
The next day, the suited man went back to the capital…
And that concludes Yorimichi. There were quite a few fun stories in there, and it was fun to get all the special short stories in one place. I hope you enjoyed it.
As usual, I’ll be posting the short stories that came with yorimichi, however, before that, a special drama cd was released to accompany the popularity poll, which my team and I tled and animated at great cost, so that will be released next week. The short stories will follow on the week after next.
Of course, I’ll be taking a short break to get my affairs in order for the next release, which will be the sixth volume of the Dust spinoff, A Knight’s Vow to you. From what I’ve read, this seems to be the conclusion to his personal saga, so I hope you are as excited as I am to see his tale reach its conclusion. With how long it’s been dragged out, this should be good.
A Knight’s Vow to you! Should be releasing sometime at the end of April or early May, so see you then.