Untitled Party short story
Editor: Striker, Ulti
[Originally linked by Natsume from his blog on May 2nd, 2014, this story (and several more!) was never officially published. It might be that he dropped them, or that they didn’t make the cut (or maybe he just wanted to have fun?). In any case, this takes place around volume 4, so the status quo and character relationships are a little different from the later volumes.
Thanks to Striker for digging these up.]
ーAqua and the others were planning to surprise me as thanks for how I’ve been taking care of them every day.
I happened to hear that from an adventurer I know.
And the day after that exchange, Aqua called me up for seemingly no reason.
I wonder if this is what people feel when they find out that their friends are planning a surprise birthday party for them.
Stepping out into the backyard with my heart pounding in my chest, I found my companions playing a strange game.
“Out! Darkness, you’re out!”
“That’s impossible, I should’ve just barely made it safe!”
“From where I’m standing, you’re out. That means it’s Aqua’s turn next.”
From the sounds of it, they seem to be playing baseball, but none of them had any equipment.
Just then, Aqua noticed my presence and waved me over.
“You came at just the right time. Kazuma, you can be the referee. We can’t get a proper judgement with only the three of us.”
…You want me to be the referee?
“I’m fine with that, but what are you guys playing? It’s not baseball, right?”
I casually asked, but not just Aqua, Megumin and Darkness also gave me looks of surprise.
“Come on, Kazuma, you can already tell by the number of people present and this situation, right? You’ve been here for some time already, so if you still don’t know I’d be too embarrassed to show my face in public.”
“Cut it out, Aqua. Kazuma is obviously joking. There’s no way he doesn’t know.”
“Yeah, Kazuma is always out gathering information, so there’s no way that’s possible.”
Just what game are they playing?
More importantly, I have no idea what they are up to.
Is this pastime a common sight in this town, or rather, this world?
As I was racking my brains over how to answer, Aqua gathered the other two girls and whispered into their ear.
“Hey, does he really not know? If that’s the case, I’d be really disappointed in him.”
“No, that can’t be it. It’s Kazuma, you know? He’s not lacking in common sense like us…”
“For him who keeps treating us like problem children to not know about this…”
Despite the three of them whispering, I could clearly hear what they are talking about.
Is not knowing about this game really that big of a deal?
Crap, I’m starting to get nervous.
“O-Of course I know. More importantly, are you really fine with me being the referee? I mean, you know, I’ve never refereed before, so I’d like to see someone else do it…”
I pretended like I knew all about it.
I’ll keep up this act to fool them for now, and go look into it later.
Just as I thought thatー
“What are you saying? You need a guy to be the referee. It’s easy to referee, just take off your shoes and sit on your knees over there.”
Aqua said that.
I already know that this world is strange, but what is with that rule?
I took off my shoes as told and sat on my knees on the grass.
As I did so, Megumin and Darkness turned around and crouched. I could see their shoulders shaking from behind.
Did they start playing the game already?
”Looks like we’re all ready. Alright, let’s go!”
Aqua shouted before running at Darkness, gaining momentum before leaping over her.
Landing on her feet, she looked my way with a wide smile on her face.
“How was that? How many points!?”
I’m supposed to grade that?
“Hey, no fair, Aqua! You did that before everyone was ready, so it’s a no-go!”
“No, from what I can see, that was safe. Right, Kazuma?”
What’s with this out and safe and what not?
Even if you ask me, I have absolutely no idea!
As I struggled over forming a response, Aqua said.
“Oh, right, referee, we don’t have the juice for the final round. Could you go buy some for us?”
“Eh, I’m supposed to buy them!?”
What an unreasonable game!
ーStill, this is a good chance for me.
I can ask the people in town about this game while I’m out buying the juice.
As I started leaving towards town, Aqua and the others turned their backs to me and crouched. I think I could see their shoulders shaking from behind.
ーOh, right, I almost forgot.
I turned back and approached them, planning to ask if it needs to be a specific kind of juice or if any fruit juice will do…
“This is really amazing! I can’t believe Kazuma didn’t get that we were just teasing him and honestly went out to buy juice! After everything he put us through, this is really the perfect comeback for him! Hahahaha!”
“Did he not question why he needed to sit on his knees barefoot? Heh… Heheh, no, I can’t hold back my laughter… ”
“I-I’ve never seen Kazuma this obedient! What’s with that whole out and safe thing!? Anyway, let’s get all our laughter out before Kazuma comes back…”
While Aqua and Darkness were still laughing away, Megumin suddenly turned around while snickering and came face to face with me.
ーSeeing Megumin suddenly stiffen up, Aqua and Darkness also turned around to follow her gaze and froze up just like her.
“Alright, you three, let’s play a game I just thought up. When I say start… I’ll chase. You three run. I’ll use Steal. You three strip. Now then, take your places…!”
“Hey, why are you suddenly speaking in such stilted tones!? Communication is important you know! You’re joking! You’re joking, right!? Ah, wait, Megumin! Darkness too! Kazuma hasn’t said start yet…!”