Good Luck for this Goddess!
Editor: Striker, Ulti, Xenthur
“They aren’t coming!” x2
I’ve lost track of how much time has passed since we were sent here.
Aqua and I busied ourselves with word games, but it didn’t seem like anybody was coming at all.
“What’s going on? Did no one else fall for that high-IQ trap? No, no, there’s no way…”
I muttered as I rubbed my chin, with Aqua nodding along,
“…Maybe they didn’t even notice that high-IQ trap? Megumin only ever thinks about breaking things, and Darkness only cares about finding hard objects to bang against. They aren’t the most perceptive of people.”
…That makes sense.
“Wait, hold on, doesn’t that means they’ve gotten lost and now we have to go out and find them?”
“Seems like it. Seriously, I take my eyes off them for just a moment and they get themselves lost. Those girls really can’t get by without me. Honestly!”
Despite we being the actual ones who got separated from the others, we mouthed off about the people who aren’t present.
…But we can’t stay here doing this forever.
Still, how do we meet up with the others?
I searched the room while we were waiting, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a return magic circle on this end.
Noss said that this place is on the upper floors.
In other words, we are currently at the very end of the final dungeon.
“…Say, Aqua, which do you think is better? Exploring the Demon King’s castle filled with traps and danger lurking around every corner by ourselves, or just teleporting back home?”
“The ‘teleport home’ option has my support.”
We really are on the same page when it comes to such things.
“…I would really like to do that too, but Darkness and Megumin who are so in love with me would never give up on me and go home, so I’m a little conflicted.”
“Yeah… I don’t think the two of them who worship me will retreat without seeing me first.”
While saying things that would definitely make the people in question angry if they were present, Aqua and I continued to dawdle.
“Hmm? I think I heard some footsteps. Hold on a bit.”
I activated my Eavesdrop skill and focused on the area outside…
“Reinforcements! Call for reinforcements!”
“Get the guys from the upper floors to come down too! The intruders are going crazy out there! The guys who destroyed the barrier are coming up!”
“Nooo! I was told that being a guard at the Demon King’s castle was a safe and stable job! I think I forgot to feed my Neroid today, so can I go home!?”
Seems like Mitsurugi and Yunyun are causing quite the scene while looking for us.
…In that case, wouldn’t it be safer to wait here?
“Sounds like the others are on a rampage. They seem to be making their way up fast.”
“As expected of the legendary attendants I’ve chosen… The brave heroes that carve a path through the Demon King’s castle in order to rescue the goddess. Doesn’t it sound like it came straight out of a storybook?”
“To be more specific, rescuing a goddess who ran away from home, got lost, fell into a trap, and ended up trapped in the Demon King’s castle for no reason.”
Aqua disgruntledly poked at my shoulder after hearing my comment.
…Speaking of which,
“You should apologize to Megumin and Darkness when you see them. When we get home, Darkness will definitely give you an earful. And I know Megumin usually ends up in trouble along with you, but I don’t think she’ll defend you this time.”
“…Kazuma-san, Kazuma-san, I’ll give you a special, funny-shaped stone when we get home, so could you cover for me? I do feel a little remorseful this time.”
I do want to ask why just “a little”, but it wouldn’t do anyone any good to make her cry here.
Plus, I’m sure those two will be happy to pick up any slack I give her now.
──In truth, there were a whole bunch of things I wanted to say to Aqua after I caught up with her.
Like how the normally lazy me had to venture deep into a dungeon to gain enough power to chase after her, and how I spent most of my fortune in order to break through the barrier, and how worried the people back at Axel are for her.
Not to mention how even Wiz and Vanir, normally the enemies of goddesses, agreed to help her.
And how we ran into all sorts of troubles during our trip, and how utterly hopeless the Axis Cultists are.
There were plenty of things I wanted to complain to her about, but when I looked at her relieved face…
“Hmm? Why are you looking at me like that? Are you perhaps moved by seeing the beautiful form of a goddess after so long? If you’ve developed any bit of respect for me, you should make all my favourite dishes for dinner from now on… Ow-Ow-Ow! It hurts! Sorry for getting full of myself! Ah, but a part of me kinda missed this scene!”
Just as I pulled on Aqua’s cheeks, who despite being punished, seemed just a little happy…
“Alright, listen up! The large detachment led by the Demon King’s daughter to fight humans to the death has overwhelmed the knights at the capital! If she comes back to find that we, the custodians of the castle, were unable to stop a few intruders, it’ll be all on our heads! Search every room on every floor! Find the intruders and cut them to pieces!”
Those words reached my ears──
“──Hey, Kazuma, are you really going to do this? I’ve been through quite a lot so far, but I feel like what you are about to do is far worse.”
“What’s the point in saying that? If they find us here, it’s all over. I’m scared too, and you’re the one who wandered out to the Demon King’s castle in the first place. And isn’t this the best chance for us to defeat the Demon King?”
At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before we are discovered, so I formulated a plan to get us out of this…
“Sure, but, I don’t really care about the Demon King right now. I was really relieved when I saw you, and I kinda just want to meet up with the other two and go home.”
What a lousy goddess. Why did you even write that letter, then?
…But I know exactly how she feels.
“I don’t particularly want to face the Demon King either, but everyone is already giving it their all. What do you think would happen if the two of us went ‘yeah, the Demon King is too scary, so let’s just go home’ after all that they’ve been through?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we got stoned.”
“Right? So let’s get out of this room and meet up with the others. After that, I have a plan that will work as long as we can get into the Demon King’s room. I’ll show you my true special move.”
Saying that, I put on my helmet.
──The helmet came from the knight that I fought earlier.
I never found out what kind of monster Noss was, but his armour didn’t have the stench of an animal, so he might be surprisingly similar to a human.
It’s a little too big, but it was still light enough that I could move around while wearing it.
“What kind of special move!? Is it a beam? Are you going to shoot a beam for real this time!? Or could it be that you learnt my Party Tricks─!”
“Of course not. Enough of that, get ready. Cast that actor’s buff on me again. And I will… Kukuku… Seems like it’s finally time to make use of this…”
With a sinister smile on my face, I took out the potion that Assassin-san in Axel gave to me.
“Kazuma-san, Kazuma-san, I don’t think that is something that a hero trying to defeat the Demon King should use. My goddess instincts are telling me to purify that potion at once.”
“D-Don’t do that. Honestly, I’m not sure about it myself… The assassin who taught me my special move also gave me this potion. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty for the sake of the world. For the sake of my friends and everyone, I’ll give it my all so that I won’t have any regrets.”
While preventing Aqua from doing anything unnecessary, I poured the potion over the sword that Dust lent me.
“You’re saying some cool-sounding lines, but you are straying further and further away from the path of the hero. I really think you should choose your friends better.”
“I’m already hanging out with the patron goddess of the Axis Cult, so it’s a little too late to be saying that now… Hey, stop! It’s an expensive potion, so don’t purify it!”
I hastily sheathed the potion-coated sword.
“…Good. Are you ready? Then, let’s go.”
“I’m ready to go at any time… Kazuma, don’t go too far, okay? If your attitude is too annoying, I won’t be able to put up with it. I don’t mean to brag, but I don’t have a lot of patience.”
After spending all this time with you, I know better than anyone how short on patience you are.
Opening the door to the room, I shouted out in Noss’s voice.
“I found an intruder!”
A group of monsters clad in black armour surrounded us. One of them, a giant, goat-headed monster with a large double-headed axe on his back, shook his head and said,
“…It’s no good. Logia is as dead as a doornail. The man who left this woman behind must be very skilled. Look at Logia’s wound. It’s like he received a single fatal blow while he was completely defenseless.”
Well, it is true that he was completely defenceless when he received that blow.
Hearing the goat-headed monster’s conclusion, the lizard-headed monster who was currently pointing a weapon at Aqua angrily exclaimed,
“Dammit, revenge for Logia! Let’s turn this woman into minced meat!”
“W-What, you want to go!? I’m strong, you know!? The Axis Cult didn’t put their faith in me for nothing!”
Aqua struck up a stance to intimidate the lizard-headed man, and all the monsters surrounding her suddenly turned pale and leapt back.
“Axis Cultist!? This girl is an Axis Cultist!”
“Crap, I just talked to an Axis Cultist!”
“Don’t get any closer, I don’t want to catch it!”
“Hey, I’m not doing it! I don’t want to get involved with the Axis Cult!”
“Oh, wow, look at that blue hair. She’s definitely an Axis Cultist!”
After gaining some distance from us, the monsters started whispering that amongst themselves.
“Uwah! Hey, Noss, you keep a firm grip on her, you hear!?”
“That was close. I was this close to touching an Axis Cultist.”
Aqua wanted to jump at the monsters after hearing what they said, and the monsters all shrunk back in fear upon seeing her demeanour.
The mad dog of the Axis Cult… I mean, Aqua, is currently attached to me with the rope that I used for Bind that’s tied around her neck.
Aqua said that it’s better than having her arms or legs bound and being unable to move, but now that we are in this situation…
“Hey, Noss, just dump that thing outside the castle… Seriously, you might be skilled, but you really need to work on your smarts… She’s an Axis Cultist, you know? Noss, aren’t you afraid of her? Do you even know what the Axis Cult is?”
The goat-headed monster, which seems to be like their leader, asked me.
…Yes, me, who is currently passing myself off as Noss who “captured” Aqua.
Judging from what the goatman said, Noss really was a musclehead.
I remember his voice well enough, but I’m not quite sure what kind of tone I should use…
Putting my hand to my throat, I thought back to our brief encounter…
“No, no, sir, we can’t do that! This girl is our trump card against that guy who ran away! That Kazuma guy is a formidable opponent that’s skilled in both sword and magic. But as long as we have this girl as a hostage, our victory is assured! Let’s use her to draw out the intruders who are rampaging through the castle!”
For some reason, the monsters who heard me say those words in Noss’s voice shrunk back.
W-What’s going on?
I’m pretty sure I nailed the voice…
“H-Hey, Noss, did you hit your head during the battle? You weren’t all that smart to begin with, but now you speak like some low-born thug. Didn’t you use to conduct yourself like a proper knight? You said it’d make you seem more cultured…”
“And taking a woman as a hostage, too. You sure have picked up some bad habits…”
“I’m a little taken aback…”
As the monsters started whispering amongst each other, the goat-headed one placed a hand on his chin.
“…Hmm, considering that someone as strong as you is calling him a skilled foe, it’d be best to have a trump card or two when confronting him. Okay, Noss! Take that woman and follow us! Make sure you keep an eye on her! Don’t let her come near us, you hear!?”
After emphasizing that point, the goat-headed monster turned around…
And Aqua silently rushed over and patted him all over the back.
“Ah! Mammon-sama was touched by an Axis Cultist!”
“Geh! Mammon-sama, keep your distance!”
“Noss! I told you to keep an eye on her! Cut it out, Axis Cultist! Go over there! Shoo! Shoo!”
──We walked through the dark corridors of the Demon King’s castle along with the other monsters.
A few of them were carrying torches, so probably not all of them were capable of seeing in the dark.
…If our cover is blown, I can put the torches out for a quick distraction.
I was walking at the back of the group along with Aqua.
Luckily, none of the monsters seem eager to avenge their comrades on Aqua, so everything is proceeding smoothly.
My current goals are to maintain this charade until we can meet up with Mitsurugi and the others, and if possible find out where the Demon King is.
Aqua walking slightly in front of me, whispered.
The monsters were treating Aqua like some kind of deadly pathogen, keeping their distance from us, but even so I didn’t feel comfortable talking to her right now.
“What? I told you not to talk to me, right?”
I whispered back, and Aqua said with a serious look on her face,
“I can’t take this situation for much longer. Why are they treating me like some kind of disease? This is no way to treat a goddess. I was expecting something more like fitting the image of a goddess captured by the forces of evil. This feels more like a rabies-infected beast getting cordoned away.”
“Put up with it for a little while more. With this many people here, even running away is a little… Oh, seems like we’re here.”
Aqua and I were brought to a large hall with weapons racked up everywhere. There were also over a dozen knights wearing the same armour as me standing in the room.
The entire place feels like a halloween attraction.
…Just as Aqua and I hesitated upon seeing that room,
“Hey, you guys, we caught one of the intruders! From the reports, it seems like the rest are scarily strong. Strong enough to rattle the entire castle to its foundations, and there is the fear that in a straight-up fight, we might not be able to protect the Demon King! However, Noss came up with a great plan to deal with them… Namely, using this girl as a hostage to wipe out all the intruders in one fell swoop!”
The knights in the hall raised their voices in unison.
Seems like Megumin’s little rampage really shook the Demon King’s forces quite badly.
…Well, it’s only natural. The barrier that had rendered their homebase and fortress secure for who knows how long has been violently brought down in just a few minutes, after all.
Plus, their strongest gatekeeper has been defeated, and intruders are now running freely throughout the castle.
“Still, using a girl as a hostage… I thought Noss was a decent guy, but to think that he could come up with such an idea…”
“It’s a little disgraceful to be taking hostages. Such tactics should be the domain of the middle management. We are the Elite Guard of the Demon King, you know? Should we really do something like this?”
As the Demon King’s knights started chatting amongst themselves, the goat headed-man headed deeper into the room.
There seemed to be some kind of magic item in the back.
He shouted into the cigarette-box sized object…
“This is the captain of the Demon King’s Elite Guard! We’ve captured one of the intruders! All units currently in combat with the intruders are to inform them of this fact! The one we captured is a priest of the Axis Cult! Tell them to surrender if they want to keep her alive!”
Mammon announced before sitting down on the chair with a smile.
The monsters nervously waited in silence.
Aqua has been surprisingly quiet so far.
…Actually, she just yawned, didn’t she?
Is she relieved because I can teleport us out if something goes wrong?
While I was at a loss for words by her lack of urgency, Mammon turned towards us,
“Hey, woman, how many intruders are there? Tell me everything you know if you don’t want to get hurt… In particular, tell me about that super-skilled Kazuma guy who ran away without you. What class is he? What about his equipment? His fighting style? Personality? Past accomplishments? Tell me everything you know.”
Perhaps to kill time until Mitsurugi and the others were captured, Mammon questioned Aqua about me.
This isn’t good. It’d be problematic if they caught on to what I’m doing if Aqua says something unneeded.
“I don’t mind telling you, but I’m getting a little thirsty, so bring me a cup of tea.”
One of the knights rose to his feet after hearing Aqua’s willful request.
…But Mammon stopped him with a wave of his hand,
“Go and brew some tea for her. It’s going to be her last cup anyways, so use some of the top-grade leaves.”
With the authority of the man in charge, Mammon commanded one of the knights to make some tea.
“…So, let’s start with the number of intruders, and the class of that Kazuma guy. So, what class is he? A Crusader? Or perhaps a Swordmaster? Judging from the wounds left on Logia’s body, I doubt he’s a magic-using class.”
“Including me, there are about eight of us. And Kazuma’s class is Adventurer.”
The room fell into silence upon hearing Aqua’s response.
Aqua and I were suddenly surrounded by raucous laughter.
“Adventurer!? The weakest class, Adventurer, you say!? At least try and keep your lies realistic! How would such a person make their way into the castle in the first place!? Bahahaha! …Ah, I see, so he’s your porter, huh? And then he placed all his skill points into sword wielding, is that right?”
Mammon said between bouts of laughter, but Aqua shook her head.
“You don’t get it. Kazuma-san can use the sword, but he’s also good with magic. He even learnt Recovery magic behind my back. He can also use Teleport and various others skills like the undead-exclusive Drain Touch… Ah, thanks.”
Aqua thanked the knight upon receiving the cup of tea.
As the room fell back into silence, only the sound of Aqua sipping her tea could be heard.
“Hey, this is just plain water.”
The cup in Aqua’s hand is, indeed, filled with just hot water.
“Hey, stop messing with her with such petty tricks. Do you intend to drag my name through the mud!? I understand your anger after losing Logia and Payne, but stop doing stupid things!”
At Mammon’s reprimand, the knight hastily took back the cup from Aqua and wandered off to pour a fresh cup of tea, scratching his head the whole while.
…Looks like she turned the tea to water. Cut it out, stop infuriating them for no reason.
Mammon cleared his throat and straightened his posture,
“Pardon my subordinate for his actions. Anyway, you said Drain Touch? That’s supposed to be a rare skill that only undead can use… Well, nevermind, let’s move on. Tell me about his equipment. Does he have some legendary-tier weapons that the black-haired, black-eyed people usually possess? In that case, I can understand how he took out both Logia and Payne. But we know how to counter those types. We just need to hit him with Steal…”
Mammon trailed off, and Aqua added,
“Kazuma-san’s equipment is just common gear you can buy in any town. He’s clashed with your Generals several times using just a cheap short sword he bought. Right now, he’s using an imitation Japanese sword with the strange name that he commissioned. He likes to swing it around in the middle of the night going ‘Judgement! Judgement!’ …Oh, thanks.”
Aqua accepted a fresh cup of tea, and the room once again fell silent.
Also, she noticed the secret sword practice I did late at night?
I really wish she wouldn’t reveal my embarrassing moments so easily…
──Then, one of the knights said.
“…I think I’ve heard about him before. That man named Satou Kazuma… If I’m not wrong, he’s the guy who has been taking out our Generals one by one… ”
As the room once again fell silent in response to his words, Aqua said,
“This is just hot water.”
Mammon slugged the knight who made the tea away as he closed in on Aqua with a tense look on his face.
“Is-Is that man the same Satou Kazuma who has been defeating our Generals?”
“He’s the same person. He’s involved in the defeat of most of your Generals. Beldia, Vanir, Hans, Silvia, Wolbach, and Serena. As far as I know, those are the Generals that Kazuma has defeated.”
Aqua eloquently listed my achievements.
“Apart from that… He took out the monster pretending to be Elroad’s prime minister, and is also the one who defeated the mobile fortress Destroyer, and many other high bounty targets as well.”
Apart from Aqua and Mammon talking, the room was totally silent.
In the middle of this silence, the sound of someone gulping could be heard.
Hearing that, Aqua, who seemed to be taking great enjoyment in scaring the knights, continued,
“What was your next question? You wanted to know his fighting style and his personality, right? He is, in a word, devious. He’s devious and underhanded, and has an extremely sharp mind. In combat, he will never fight you head-on. Instead, he would do something like using Farsight and Night Vision skills to observe you from afar before taking you out with Snipe, or hide from sight using Lurk in order to launch a sneak attack from behind.”
Just who are you calling devious and underhanded? I’m going to whack you upside the head later.
“Snipe and Lurk…”
Mammon nervously muttered to himself, and Aqua accepted the fresh cup of tea that the knight brought to her.
“Yes, Lurk. And he has the Enemy Detection skill, so even if you hide, he’ll probably still know exactly where you are… In fact… He might be in this very room!”
As the knights screamed out in fear at Aqua’s threats, I rested my hand on the hilt of my sword so I could cut down Mammon at any time.
Actually, why did you tell them about my skills? What’s the point of keeping them on high alert?
As Mammon nervously kept watch on his surroundings, Aqua carefully sipped from her cup.
“It’s hot water again.”
“Wait! That’s really strange! I really did brew tea… No, wait, Mammon-sama, you have the wrong idea! I definitely did pour her a cup of tea!”
Just as Mammon stood up and was about to lay into the poor knight who Aqua had set up──
“Mammon-sama, we’ve caught the intruders! One of them was a terrifyingly skilled warrior with a powerful magic sword, but he fell in line when we told him we had the blue-haired woman hostage!”
A knight burst into the room and reported.
Sighs of relief echoed throughout the hall, one of which came from Mammon.
He turned to the newly arrived knight,
“Great, bring them in! Well done! And, Noss! Your plan worked out! I’ll be sure to reward you later!”
Saying that, his goat face broke out into a smile.
A squad of armoured knights came in the hall, escorting a group of familiar faces.
Mitsurugi was in the lead, and following him was everyone else who entered the castle.
“Aqua-sama, you are unharmed!?”
Mitsurugi exhaled in a great sigh of relief upon seeing Aqua casually enjoying her cup of tea in the back.
Darkness, Megumin, and Yunyun’s expressions also seemed to soften a little upon seeing Aqua’s face.
As for Mitsurugi’s two hanger-ons, they simply stood there clutching their weapons in their hands.
When Mammon noticed that they still had on to their weapons…
“Oh, pardon me, but I’m going to have to ask you to put those weapons aside. I didn’t want to resort to such tasteless tactics, but after hearing this woman say such scary things about you, I have no choice. Hey, you over there! You are that Kazuma guy, right? Throw away your weapon and come here!”
Mammon pointed towards Mitsurugi.
“That’s not him.”
Aqua casually said while sipping tea.
“That man is the Magic Sword Guy. Kazuma-san isn’t with them.”
The knights in the room jumped up in panic upon hearing that.
Mammon, who had been relaxed before, started to warily glance around the room once again.
Just how scared of me is this goat-headed, mid-boss looking guy?
I even told her not to say anything unnecessary because it’d be less likely to work if they are on their guard.
This is all because Aqua decided to have some fun and scare them.
“Tsk, yes, the numbers don’t line up… Right, okay, just this woman is enough to serve as a hostage. Take care of the others. Don’t you dare resist now! Who knows what would happen to her if you resist…!”
Mammon said that clichéd line like a third-rate villain, and Mitsurugi gritted his teeth in an equally clichéd way.
Megumin and Darkness seemed to be considering their next move.
“Drop your weapons! You guys, surround them!”
…This isn’t good. At this rate things will just get worse and worse.
I stepped forward and sidled up next to Mammon.
“There’s no need to rush into this, Sir Mammon! Payne and Logia won’t rest easy if we give them such an easy death! Please, let me take care of this!”
“E-Er, I see. Well, you did know the two of them best. Then I’ll leave them to you… But seriously, do you intend to continue speaking like that?”
After receiving Mammon’s permission, I pulled on the rope around Aqua’s neck.
I was signaling her to keep an eye out for a chance to run towards Mitsurugi and the others.
“I’m trying to change my image, Sir… Alright, take a good look at this, you fellows. At the end of this rope is your companion, trembling in fear!”
“She’s drinking tea.”
At Megumin’s rebuttal, I turned back to see Aqua calmly seated in her chair sipping tea while holding the rope around her neck in her hand.
I really want to give this idiot who couldn’t read the mood even at this stage a good smack.
…Dammit, change of plans.
“Hey, Crusader girl!”
I suddenly called out to Darkness, who jumped up in shock with her greatsword still raised.
Sorry, Darkness, but I need to put this Mammon guy off his guard first.
“First off, throw away your weapon. If you don’t, you know what would happen to this girl casually drinking tea over here…”
“…Understood. I wouldn’t be able to hit anyone anyways… There. Would this be fine?”
Darkness threw her sword on the ground just as I instructed.
As she said herself, she’s just as effective barehanded as she is with her sword.
And seeing one of the intruders throw away their weapon, Mammon and the other knights naturally relaxed just a little.
Instead of urging the others to disarm too, I focused on Darkness and said.
“Next… Well, I’ve taken quite a liking to that wicked-looking armour of yours. Let’s get you out of it.”
“What!? T-This armour is…! N-No! This armour, this armour is…!”
I thought she would follow my instructions, but Darkness is surprisingly stubborn.
“You won’t take your armour off!? Don’t you know what situation you’re in? What happens to a female knight who is captured after entering the Demon King’s castle… I’m sure you understand what is going to happen, don’t you? Now, take off your armour in full view of all these people!”
Darkness blushed and clenched her teeth, and, for some reason, the knights around me suddenly let out an incredulous voice.
“I can’t believe it. Noss, I’m really disappointed in you.”
“I never expected you to be this vile… So you were putting on an act all this time…”
“H-Hey, Noss, I did say I’ll leave it to you, but this is a little…!”
It’s a bit of a shock to see that all the other knights including Mammon were taken aback.
I focused on Darkness and gave her further instructions,
“Heheh… I’m sure you have a very ripe body hidden beneath that armour…! Now then, this is for the great cause of saving your friend’s lives, so hurry up and strip!”
“G-Great cause…! N-No, I’m not the kind of person who can be brought to heel by a man I don’t even know…! Aaah… What is with your enthralling gaze and irresistible aura…!? Just who are you, to be such a perfect match for my desires…!?”
Flushed bright red all over, Darkness muttered to herself as she fumbled with the straps holding her armour together.
Eventually, the pieces of her armour fell to the ground, revealing her pale shoulders.
[Thanks to Kasen for the colouring]
…Whoops, I raised my voice along with the other knights without realizing it.
“I-I… I won’t let this embarrassment get the better of me!”
Darkness, her face completely red, looked straight at me with expectation in her eyes.
Though I’m a little concerned at how Megumin was giving the stink eye.
…Megumin might be sharp, but there’s no way she saw through the disguise, right?
“Stop! I can’t let you get away with this! You might be a part of the Demon King’s army, but you’re all still knights, aren’t you!? Aren’t you ashamed of treating a young maiden like this!? Don’t you have the guts to face me head on!?”
Mitsurugi yelled through gritted teeth, misreading the mood completely.
Mammon straightened his posture, as though hearing those words were a slap to his face.
Dammit, why did he have to interrupt the fun?
A disappointed sigh echoed through the room from the other knights.
…Actually, I think Darkness looks the most disappointed of us all.
──Mammon took a step forward.
In doing so, he exposed his defenceless back towards me.
Mammon’s yellow goat eyes glinted in the dark…
“Hey, Noss, there’s no need to go any further! We already have her as a hostage, so such acts are unnecessary. Now, everyone, surround them! I’ll deal with the magic sword guy myself. If Kazuma isn’t here, this will be a cakewalk!”
The moment he spat that out, he placed both hands on his giant double-headed axe.
“Kazuma? Are you talking about Satou Kazuma? Compared to him, I’m far stronger! My name is Mitsurugi Kyouya. I’m the reasonably famous Swordmaster with the magic sword!”
Mammon lowered his stance, facing Mitsurugi who described me like I was some small fry.
The tension in the room slowly rose.
“Oh? Are you that afraid of our Kazuma?”
At which point, Megumin, her staff at the ready, said in a tone that seemed more suited to making small talk than anything else.
“What? Who’d be afraid of some sneaking coward!?”
Darkness, who was scrambling to pick up and reattached the pieces of her armour that she discarded, said,
“Don’t underestimate that man. After all, almost every enemy that has gotten involved with him has met an unseemly end… Of course, you are no exception.”
Darkness said while looking directly at me. Honestly, it’s hard to tell if that was a compliment or an insult.
Just so you know, the same applies to almost everyone that’s gotten involved with you.
“Shut up! Shut up! My name is Mammon! I’m the captain of the Demon King’s Elite Guard that protects this hall leading into the Demon King’s room! In a straight up fight, not even the Generals would be a match for me! There’s no reason to be afraid of a man who hasn’t the guts to even show his face!”
The knights raised their weapons to Mammon’s declaration, and Mitsurugi slowly unsheathed his sword.
Yunyun held her wand behind her back, her eyes shining bright red as she took up a position to be able to start chanting at any time.
Seems like they are all ready to go.
I grabbed the sword at my waist and eyed Mammon’s openings──
“Really? You were so jumpy just a short while ago. Are you really not afraid of Kazuma-san? He might even be right next to you, you know?”
Despite still being a hostage, Aqua casually and fearlessly taunted the giant goat-headed man.
…She probably thinks that I’ll find a way to get her out if something goes wrong.
I need to have a good, long talk with her if we make it safely back to town.
“I told you, I’m not afraid of him! Hey, Satou Kazuma, can you hear me!? You damned coward who only knows to sneak around! You must be on this level, right!? If you can hear me, come out right now and name yourself!”
I took off my helmet and plunged my sword into the back of Mammon’s head.
“Yes, Kazuma the Coward here. Nice to meet you.”
Quickly pulling my sword that shallowly stabbed into Mammon’s head, I leapt back to put some distance between us.
The skill that I learnt from Assassin-san, Deadly Backstab, has a small chance of instantly killing the target if used from behind while they aren’t aware of my presence.
There are a lot of conditions that need to be fulfilled for it to be usable, but it’s a perfect fit for me.
I don’t know if it is the effects of the skill or the poison, but Mammon fell forward after flapping his mouth like a goldfish.
Having someone that they thought of as an ally suddenly turn out to be me threw the knights around me into chaos.
“He killed Mammon-sama!”
“How despicable can this man be!? He’s lower than a beast!”
“Eh!? W-What!? How could this happen! Are you still human!?”
To their credit as the Demon King’s Elite Guard, the knights quickly regained their composure, and three of them came charging at me.
“Light of Saber!”
On the opposite end of the hall, Yunyun unleashed her signature spell to cut a knight in twain.
Taking this as a signal, Darkness rushed straight for me, paying no heed to any of the attacks the knights in her way sent towards her.
Mitsurugi followed her after a moment’s pause, and the hall quickly turned into a pitched battle.
“That man is dangerous! Surround him and get him together!”
The knight in front of me said while taking up a guarded stance, and the knights on either side of him wordlessly nodded.
I pointed my sword at the three of them and said.
“Oh, going three on one with me? You guys really bring shame to the title of a Knight. I can’t believe these are the much vaunted Demon King’s Elite Guards!”
“Y-You’re not one to talk! I don’t want to hear that from someone who stripped their female friend at swordpoint and killed Mammon-sama by surprise!”
“I-I can’t believe the nerve of this guy…!”
“That’s enough. There’s no need for us to go along with this man’s pace─”
And, the moment the last knight showed the slightest opening…
“!? Eh? Wait!”
Interrupting him in the middle of his sentence, the rope in my hand coiled up like a living creature and shot towards him.
“Ow-ow-ow! Hey, Kazuma, it hurts!”
…And reeled in Aqua who still had the other end of the rope around her neck.
“Guah, dammit! Not only does he sneak attack Mammon-sama, but he also has no qualms about catching his companions in his attacks! What a scumbag! I let my guard down! The rest is up to you guys!”
Being called a scumbag hurts, but there’s no way I can tell him that I honestly forgot that Aqua was still attached to the other end of the rope.
“Kazuma-san! Kazuman-san! This guy’s armour is so hard that it hurts! Can I use my magic to dispel this bind!?”
“Hang in there for just a short while! I’ll take care of these two right away!”
I replied as I carefully raised my sword to face the other two knights.
Seeing that, the two knights lowered their center of gravity.
“He might be a scumbag, but he still neutralized one of us in the blink of an eye. Don’t let your guard down. We go on the count of three.”
“Leave it to me. One, two, three, right?”
As the two knights discussed tactics in front of me, I focused on the voice of one of them…
“No, I think we should go with just one signal. Or maybe it’d be best to count to ten…”
“Eh? Eh? Which one is it?”
“Cut it out! Stop imitating my voice, you bastard!”
As I was sowing chaos between the two of them, we were interrupted by a shouted warning,
“The Crusader is heading your way!”
The two knights facing me glanced over…
“W-W-What is this!?”
“S-Stop her! Don’t let her get over to them!”
“This girl is unstoppable! No matter how we cut her, it doesn’t phase her at all!”
Completely ignoring the blades and fists getting sent her way, Darkness rushed over the length of the hall with two knights clinging onto her waist, futilely trying to stop her.
“Kazuma, Aqua, I’m here to help! …Kuh, h-hey, Kazuma, give me a hand! These two just won’t let go…!”
“What kind of help are you trying to give by dragging two knights over here!? Now it’s two against four!”
The two knights let go of Darkness and, together with the other two knights, formed a small semi-circle around us.
──Just then, I heard a triumphant voice.
“Heheh, then, what about turning this into a three versus four?”
The person who said that was Aqua, standing there with a huge smile on her face after dispelling my Bind.
Of course, dispelling my Bind means that the knight who was bound together with her is now free…
“S-Say, Kazuma, I feel like the situation suddenly turned against us. Is it my imagination!?”
“Why do I have to face down five knights with a useless Crusader and Priest!? Are you guys idiots!?”
While we were having that exchange, all five of them pointed their swords at me and me alone.
It seems like Aqua’s flowering of my reputation worked a little too well, and the knights agreed to focus on me first.
This isn’t good, if five Demon King’s Elite Guard were to attack me at once, I’ll definitely die!
I wanted to hide behind Darkness, but the knights immediately charged at me the moment I made the slightest move.
The knight’s blades suddenly shifted towards Darkness.
The blades left shallow scratches in her armour, along with scattering several strands of blonde hair to the wind.
The knights that were aiming at me seemed taken aback by the fact that their blades found Darkness instead.
“I-I can’t believe I was affected by a Decoy skill…”
“Dammit, this Crusader is stirring up my abusive instincts… I feel itchy all over if I don’t stab her with my sword…!”
As the knights voiced surprise at their actions, a certain red-faced pervert who was breathing heavily even as several swords were thrust at her opened her mouth,
“Kuh, as expected of the elite of the Demon King’s army, you have a good thrust…! But I alone shall withstand all your attacks! Now, unleash all your wild savagery upon me! Come on! Hurry up! Hurry up and stab me!”
The knights, perhaps taking Darkness’s eagerness as some kind of trap, warily backed away.
Then, one of the five suddenly collapsed to the ground.
“Aqua-sama, are you alright!?”
I looked over to Mitsurugi, and found that all the knights apart from the ones that surrounded us have already been taken out.
One of the knights swiftly turned to the new intruder and lashed out with a wild slash, but…
“!? What… M-My demonic blade is…!?”
“This magic sword is a legendary weapon bestowed upon me by the Goddess herself! There’s nothing it cannot cut!”
Mitsurugi cleaved the knight’s sword in twain as easily as slicing through some vegetables, and his second stroke reduced the knight to a similar fate.
“This man is far more dangerous than that scumbag over there! We need to take care of him─ Ah!”
The knight who said that met a similar fate at Mitsurugi’s sword.
Seeing that, two of the knights attacked at once, but…
“Rune of Saber!”
Mitsurugi’s sword glowed brightly, and he cut the two of them down with a single stroke.
“This man once again did something unnecessary…”
Darkness dejectedly muttered after Mitsurugi protected her.
…I have to say, this guy’s magic sword is really unfair.
Do all the Japanese sent to this world apart from me have a similarly broken cheat on them?
Mitsurugi sheathed his sword with a flourish and took Aqua’s hand in his own.
“Aqua-sama, are you hurt?”
“I’m fine. More importantly, I need to heal Darkness’s wounds…”
Aqua looked at Mitsurugi with a troubled expression on her face.
“Ah, m-my apologies!”
“…I don’t really mind, but if you are going to commit sexual harassment so casually, you’re going to end up just like our Kazuma.”
Looking around, I said to Mitsurugi as he hastily pulled his hand back at Aqua’s warning.
“You are really strong. Couldn’t you defeat the Demon King by yourself with that strength?”
──The bodies of Mammon and the Elite Knights were scattered around the hall, and most of them were taken out by Mitsurugi’s blade.
“You got an even greater cheat than I recieved.”
Mitsurugi glanced at Aqua.
…An even greater cheat, huh.
I followed his gaze, and Aqua, who was busy healing Darkness’s wounds, awkwardly looked away.
As Megumin and Yunyun came over with relieved expressions, my attention was drawn away by the massive door at the end of the hall.
I’m pretty sure Mammon said that this hall leads to the Demon King’s room.
The knights who were hanging out in this hall were probably the final defence against any intruders.
Aqua and I managed to reach this place through a shortcut, but there can only be one thing beyond this door.
The people on the other side have no doubt noticed us making such a ruckus out here.
Now that everyone is gathered in one spot, I opened my mouth,
“Now, then, we’ve achieved our original purpose of bringing Aqua back. We could just use Yunyun and my spell to teleport back home, but…”
At those words, Mitsurugi shook his head, with an expression that all but said ‘What kind of idiocy are you spouting?’
“What are you saying after having come this far? The Demon King, the enemy of all humanity is right before us. With the majority of the Demon King’s army away attacking the capital, there’s no way we will get another chance like this. We can put an end to the war between the Demon King and humanity right now.”
…So he says, but what is going to happen to the Demon King’s daughter who is currently leading the larger half of the Demon King’s army?
Even if we defeat the Demon King here, I get the feeling that his daughter would simply take his place.
“Ouch! Ow-ow-ow-ow! It really hurts! Hey, why are the two of you pulling at my cheeks? This is an emotional reunion, so shouldn’t you be hugging me and saying stuff like ‘I was so worried about you’!? Ow-ow-ow, it really hurts!”
[Thanks to Kasen for the colouring]
Aqua’s yelps drew my gaze towards her, where I saw Megumin and Darkness silently pulling on Aqua’s cheeks.
While looking at Aqua who seemed to be enjoying herself despite her protests, I said,
“Well, listen up. The barrier that surrounded this castle was blasted apart by Megumin. Thanks to her, we can attack this castle at any time. Let’s leave the rest to the Belzerg’s knights, the cheat-holders, and the Crimson Demons.”
I casually said that, and Yunyun reacted with a gasp of shock.
“You destroyed the barrier? Megumin, you took down the barrier that the combined efforts of the entire Crimson Demon Village couldn’t take down?”
“That’s right. You felt the castle shake under the force of a barrage of explosions, right? That was actually fired by Megumin with the help of a ton of manatite─”
“K-Kazuma, don’t say anything more…”
Megumin hurriedly interrupted me, but…
“S-So that wasn’t an attack by the Demon King, but you… Megumin, you let loose with your magic despite knowing that we were in the castle…!”
Yunyun’s eyes teared up and trembled.
Crap, I completely forgot about that.
“You’re horrible! Are you really my friend!? I can’t believe you tried to bury us along with the Demon King!”
“T-That’s not it! It’s just, I got a gift back then, and various other things happened, so I got a little too excited…!”
“Hey, Darkness, I don’t mind you rubbing my head. I really don’t mind, but it kinda hurts when you do that while wearing gauntlets! I apologize for running away from home, so please forgive me!”
As the four of us messed around in ways that are most unfitting for a room right before the Demon King, one of Mitsurugi’s companions, the spearwoman, crouched down with a tired look.
“So, what are we going to do? Are we going ahead? Well, I’ll follow you wherever you go, Kyouya.”
Then, the thief girl who had been quietly standing next to Mitsurugi said,
“I came here for Kyouya’s sake, too. We’ll die together, Kyouya. I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth…”
Those cool lines sound just like the ones a group of close companions would say on the verge of the final battle.
…I’m so envious.
Whether it’s his cheat-level magic sword or the atmosphere he had with his companions, I’m totally jealous of Mitsurugi.
My companions are just messing around as usual, without the slightest hint of tension or romance.
Megumin has started wrestling with Yunyun, while Darkness had Aqua in a headhold.
Just how did Mitsurugi and I end up with such different circumstances?
“Aqua-sama, what do you think we should do?”
Mitsurugi asked Aqua, who was still trapped in Darkness’s headlock and having her hair ruffled by her.
“Me? …Well, if we could easily take out the Demon King, I would do it, but after meeting up with everyone… Umm… I kinda don’t feel very motivated…”
Aqua trailed off, her last words so soft that they were almost inaudible.
…I see, she lost her nerve now that she’s right before the Demon King.
But I understand her feelings very well. I feel like going home too.
“Right, let’s go home then. We can come back next time with better preparations and a better plan. For starters, now that the barrier is down, I can set a teleport point in front of the castle and bring Megumin here every day to launch an Explosion on it─”
“Wait, Satou Kazuma, there’s no reason for the Demon King to remain in this castle now that the barrier is down. There’s a high chance that he will hide out in a dungeon somewhere and waylay knights and adventurers until he gathers enough Generals to establish the barrier. With that in mind, I really don’t think we should let this chance slip by.”
Mitsurugi gave me a vehement refusal just as I was about to lay my conclusion.
He gave the two girls at his side a light pat on the head before separating from them.
…I recall patting Darkness on the head while smiling once, and all she did was get angry over me messing up her hair.
Seriously, just what is the difference between us?
I looked towards Darkness as that memory swam in my mind, and our eyes met.
“Hey, Kazuma, I’m done with chastising Aqua, so now it’s your turn! I can’t believe you embarrassed me like that in front of so many people! What is with that ill-fitting armour! Hurry up and strip already!”
“Oh? It looked like you were enjoying it… Ow-ow-ow-ow! Stop it, I’m sorry! Don’t trap me in a joint lock while I’m wearing armour, my bones are creaking!”
Just then, Mitsurugi, his face deadly serious, said to me just as Darkness had me trapped,
“You were the one who dragged Aqua-sama to this world, right? Despite that, you’re giving up on taking down the Demon King? Isn’t it only proper for you to risk your life to take out the Demon King and deliver her back to Heaven? That should be your responsibility.”
He’s as bad at reading the mood as Aqua is, but there’s not really anything I can say in response.
It’s true that because I dragged Aqua here, no more Japanese have been appearing in this world…
Mitsurugi lowered his gaze and whispered in a voice just loud enough to be heard by me,
“And I can’t entrust the person I love to you if you remain like that…”
It’s probably a very important confession for him.
I replied in a similarly soft whisper,
“You have really bad taste.”
…Mitsurugi grabbed my collar in a most uncharacteristic rage, and I retaliated with Drain Touch.
“Dammit, you’re still like this! And here I thought we would be able to become friends and reach an understanding if we defeat the Demon King together! H-Hey, what is this skill!? I feel like I’m losing strength…”
“I have plenty of male friends in Axel! I would only come off as a sidekick if I hang around someone like you! Go somewhere else!”
… As I gathered the mana I needed for casting Teleport from Mitsurugi, Aqua hesitantly, and uncharacteristically for her, got between the both of us.
“Umm, I’ve been having fun every day since I came here, and I don’t mind being here at all you know?”
She said with an anxious look on her face, like she was trying to hide something──
“─Then, why did you leave town?”
At Mitsurugi’s words, the look on Aqua’s face became conflicted once more.
Then, she looked at me apologetically and said.
“I just wanted to feel what it was like to run away from home…”
I could instantly tell that she was lying.
“…You know, I kinda wanted to punish those who’ve forgotten how important I am by leaving town for a bit. So how did it go? What did the people in town say about me? Were they worried?”
Aqua asked Megumin with far more excitement in her voice than usual.
“Of course they were worried about you. You still get lost in that town even after living there for more than a year, so there’s no way you can travel alone.”
“Before we left town, the adventurers told Kazuma to make sure to bring you back before teaching him all of their skills. If it weren’t for the attack that the Demon King’s army had planned for Axel, I’m sure most of them would have come with us.”
“Oh, is that what they call ‘tsundere’? They always act so cold, but now look at them… Well, I guess there’s no helping it! Let’s go home, Kazuma!”
Aqua said brightly before turning to me and flashing me her smile.
I only picked up on this because I’ve spent so much time with her, but,
That same ridiculously bright smile that Aqua showed me is, just a little, just a little bit clouded.
“…Very well, if Aqua-sama says so, this time, we will…”
At Mitsurugi’s words, his two companions let out a sigh of relief.
In response, Yunyun took out her wand and started chanting.
“…Do you know what ‘opportunity makes a thief’ means?”
I muttered as everyone started making preparations to go home.
Hearing that, Megumin and Darkness happily turned around, like they knew I was going to say that.
Stop grinning at me like that. I’m not a tsundere.
I’m not doing it for Aqua’s sake. I have my own reasons for taking down the Demon King!
“After trading almost my entire fortune for manatite, I’m almost broke.”
We’ve known each other for a long time.
There’s no need for long winded speeches. Just one sentence would do.
“I wonder just how much the Demon King’s head is worth?”