Glory for this adventurer!
Editor: Striker, Ulti, Xenthur
We found ourselves standing in front of a pair of lavishly decorated double doors that wouldn’t seem out of place as a door leading to the final boss room in a video game.
I had teleported us to the lowest floor of that dungeon.
The Demon King and I were standing in front of where that ancient vampire had been holed up just a few days ago.
There are no signs of any monsters on this level.
Back when I came here with Wiz and Vanir, the only creature we ran into on this floor was that vampire.
In other words, this is the perfect place to fight the Demon King.
──The Demon King quickly leapt backwards to gain some distance from me.
“…Where am I? I thought you would’ve teleported to a place where your friends are waiting for sure… Hmm, judging from the musty smell and the strong concentration of mana, we must be in a dungeon.”
I told the Demon King where we are as I slowly edged away from him,
“Bingo. We are at the lowest level of what is said to be the deepest dungeon in this land. If you want to get out of here, you’ll have to trek all the way up… Or teleport back.”
After hearing my words, the Demon King let out a snort and muttered,
“Right, I’ll be heading back to my castle. Did you really think the Demon King couldn’t use Teleport? There’s no need for me to remain in this musty place──”
Before he could finish his sentence, I interrupted.
“Of course I know you can use Teleport. But is the Demon King really going to run away from a one-on-one fight with a brave adventurer?”
I waggled my index finger as I said provocatively to the Demon King.
“……I see. I don’t know where you got this information from, but it seems like you did do your research on Demon Kings. It is true, if I were to run away from such a challenge, I would not be able to call myself the king of the demons any longer… However, you are a weakling who got done in easily by one of my underlings. A person of your measly strength is no worthy match for me. Go train for a few more years before coming back. You should be at least as strong as that Swordmaster with the magic sword before considering facing me.”
The Demon King sneered.
In response, I said──
“I am an Adventurer.”
In response to his condescending attitude, I returned with a sneer of my own.
“Indeed, Adventurer. I have the weakest class, Adventurer.”
I don’t know if this place is enchanted or if it is some kind of bioluminescent moss, but despite us being far below the surface, this level has always been lit up in a faint light.
“…You’re an Adventurer? Not an advanced class, or a vanguard, or even a spellcaster, but a plain Adventurer? That beginner of beginner classes…”
“Indeed. A weak Adventurer is challenging the Demon King to single combat… Oh? No matter how weakened you are by the goddess’s powers, I’m sure you’re not so weak that you need to run away from an Adventurer, are you, my dear Demon King?”
The Demon King’s lips twisted into a frown.
I almost pissed my pants upon seeing that, but I can’t afford to let the Demon King leave.
Now is the time to put the trolling skills that I’d honed during the time I was a shut-in back in Japan to good use.
However, the Demon King took a deep breath and calmed down.
“…I won’t fall for your provocations. I didn’t accumulate all these wrinkles just for show. So what if you are an Adventurer? …Ah, I see what you are up to. You’re not much use in direct combat, so your role is to teleport me away and keep me here to buy time for your friends to take care of my subordinates while they are cut off from my powers.”
He reasoned out loud.
“And once you’ve bought enough time, you’ll teleport away. If I teleport to the castle after that, I’ll be surrounded by your friends… That’s your plan, isn’t it?”
After saying that, the Demon King began making preparations to teleport back.
──Now is not the time to be impressed at his intelligence.
I whipped out a card in front of him.
“Now, now, there’s no need to get hasty. This is my adventurer’s card. It’s a little dim and there’s some distance between us, but you can see my level, stats, and class, right? Come on, look at my stats. They are pretty low even compared to mid-rank adventurers, aren’t they? You can come up with all the excuses you want, but at the end of the day, you’re just afraid of being defeated. Would you still run away from such a weak and tasty morsel in front of you? Is that what a Demon King would do?”
A vein started throbbing on the Demon King’s temple.
“……………Don’t provoke me, little boy. If I feel like it, a brat like you would be dead in an instant.”
“Oh, that sounds just like what a third rate mid-boss would say. I’m really disappointed in you. You call yourself a Demon King and put on airs, but you’re just a cowardly old man who would run away from a man with the weakest class!”
The faint sound of the Demon King grinding his teeth echoed through the empty level.
“…Save your breath. Knowing that you have the weakest class and are clearly a sacrificial pawn gives me even less reason to fight you. I now know for certain that you are only here to buy time. Farewell, big-mouthed little brat!”
The Demon King said through gritted teeth before going back to completing his chant…!
“──You know, I was the one who took out most of your generals. Who were they again? Beldia, Vanir, Hans, Sylvia, Wolbach and Serena. That was the sequence I faced them in, I think. And there was also Mr. Strongest who was guarding this castle whose name I didn’t manage to get… As the Demon King, at least try and avenge your subordinates.”
The Demon King stopped his chant, looked at me, and snorted,
“What a bad joke. Know that a fool like you couldn’t even stall for time! Cursed Lightning!”
The Demon King suddenly casted a spell at me.
Eh? Shit, I’m going to──!
“!?… Ah, that was close… Seriously, what kind of Demon King resorts to sneak attacks? But well, when you’re as good as me, seeing through an old man’s tricks is but child’s play. Hahaha!”
That really scared me.
The bolt of black lightning the Demon King sent my way passed through the place where my head had been just a second ago.
If my Auto-Evasion skill didn’t activate right then, I would be headless right about now.
As I slowly stepped back in fear, the Demon King tilted his head in confusion while still maintaining his spell-casting posture.
“…? You used a skill to dodge that, didn’t you? Normally, no one can react fast enough to lightning magic to dodge it. Well, it would seem that you’re a troublesome one.”
The Demon King let out a sigh and casually approached me.
Wait, I’m not prepared yet──
“Now, what do you intend to do next? You’re out of tricks, aren’t you? I may be getting up in years, but killing one measly adventurer is still…”
The Demon King instantly closed the distance between us and grabbed me by the chest, but he then suddenly stiffened up.
Then, a small column of smoke started rising from the hand he used to grab onto my chest, which was accompanied by the sound of sizzling.
The Demon King quickly let go of me and rolled around in pain on the ground, clutching at his hand.
I leapt back before looking down to realize that something was missing from my chest.
I’ve been cherishing it for quite some time…
“What is this!? A protective charm? A curse of some sort!? Uuugh, you’re full of petty tricks…!!”
The Demon King angrily tossed away the small pouch that he ripped off my neck.
── That was the Crimson Demon protective amulet that Megumin gave me some time ago.
I thought it was just a simple amulet with everyone’s hair stuffed into it, but…
“Hey, that’s very important to me, so don’t mess it up.”
“…What is this!? My hand is almost burnt to a crisp! Just what is in it…!? …Blue hair?”
The Demon King said as he cautiously prodded at it from above, and I said,
“It’s a charm stuffed full of a goddess’s hair.”
“I can’t believe I touched such a dangerous object! …Oh, right, I don’t have time to mess around with you. I thought you were small fry and went easy on you, but enough of that! If I don’t make it back to my subordinates soon…”
This old man! Even after going through all that he still doesn’t intend on fighting me!
Now that Aqua has weakened him, I’m sure this will work!
Eris-sama, please let me take something good!
I’ve relied tremendously on this skill ever since I first learnt it.
I looked at my hand──
“Ah, it was a dud…”
The item I stole from him was a single, intricately embroidered handkerchief that had a very handmade feel about it.
I casually tossed it aside, and the Demon King hastily leapt for it.
“…Was it something important?”
“…It’s my daughter’s handmade… No, it’s nothing…”
…My conscience hurt a little, but I unexpectedly managed to get my hands on something that’s really important.
I unsheathed my sword and raised it in front of me, abandoning my strategy to hold something important of his hostage and went right back to basics.
“You use a sneak attack when you think you can take your enemies out easily, and start running away when they turn out to be tougher than you expected. Is this really what a Demon King is made of? Ah-ah, and I even went out of my way to get my hands on a magic weapon to fight with the Demon King! I’m really disappointed in you!”
The Demon King glanced at the sword I was holding.
“…It’s certainly enchanted, and it seems really valuable, but I don’t think that weapon is meant to see actual combat.”
“No, no, this is a pretty impressive weapon. A good friend of mine found it on the corpse of a dead adventurer, so it’s a completely nameless magic sword with no achievements to its name. In other words, it’s more than enough to kill a cowardly Demon King── Wah!”
Perhaps my repeated provocations finally got to him, or perhaps he’s just angry that I casually threw away the precious gift he got from his daughter, but──
“Very well! If you want to die so badly, I’ll send you over to the other side right this instant!”
The Demon King charged straight at me!
“Wait! After all this provoking you’re just running like a coward!? What was it you called me just now? You are the one who’s cowardly!”
The Demon King screamed at me from a distance, but he can say anything he wants.
Hidden in the shadows of the dungeon, I took aim with my bow──
“You really are crafty to use those useless spells to blind me! Didn’t you challenge me to a proper duel!? Hurry up and come out, brat!”
I peered out through the darkness at the Demon King running around looking for me…
The arrow hit him right in his temple, and his head snapped to the side.
I blinded him with Create Earth when he charged at me and used that opportunity to gain some distance. It seems like that really pissed him off.
And having been caught off guard, the Demon King took a direct shot from my bow, but…
“T-There you are! Just how much do you intend to play around with me before you are satisfied!?”
The Demon King placed one hand over his temple as he dashed over in my direction.
What the hell, my attacks are barely working at all!
Does he take reduced damage from any weapon that isn’t enchanted!?
I kept my distance, moving deeper into the dungeon.
I’ll probably be done for if he manages to get into close range with me.
It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to defeat the Demon King with Drain Touch, and I have no desire to test it out.
Still, if I tried to chip away at him with my bow, I’ll probably run out of arrows before I can kill him.
“Don’t you think you’re pathetic after provoking me like that? That Magic swordsman came at me fair and square! And so did that Crusader! What are you compared to them!?”
Using my Enemy Detection skill, I could sense the Demon King slowly drawing closer to me.
I pulled out a paper cylinder from my bag and poured oil on it.
I slowly backed away, letting the oil drip on the floor like a fuse, before activating my skill.
“There you are!”
Hearing my whisper, the Demon King rushed down a fork in the labyrinth into a passage that led straight to me.
The Trap Creation skill that Ranger-san taught me really came in handy.
It’s a skill that increases the power and activation chance of any trap, even one hastily slapped together by an amateur. It’s a skill that perfectly fits someone like me.
I stood up and faced the Demon King who came charging my way, not even bothering to conceal my presence.
“Draw your sword, brat! I’ll put an end to this in an instant!”
I lit my lighter and let it drop onto the oil.
When he saw the oil catch fire, the Demon King took a large leap backwards.
Along with my voice, a loud boom echoed through the labyrinthine dungeon.
The walls and floors of the dungeon cracked, and pieces of them even came flying at me.
“…! What…! What is this!?”
My homemade imitation dynamite tore up the Demon King’s leg from the knee down.
Dammit, he took far less damage than I expected.
Is his damage resistance applying to this too, since it isn’t magic either?
Judging from the power, it should be more than powerful enough to tear his leg clean off…
In order to keep my inner worries hidden, I faced the Demon King who was on his knee after taking a wound, and slowly backed away while putting on a brave front.
“Heh, don’t think I am just a normal adventurer. As I said before, I’m the one who took out most of your generals. A single Explosion is easily within the grasp of my abilities.”
“You lie! That isn’t even close to the power of a true Explosion! I couldn’t detect any magic coming from you, so you must have used an explosive potion of some sort! You really are full of cheap tricks── Hey──!”
I turned tail and dashed away before the Demon King could finish his sentence, and he limped after me.
Despite being weakened, his physical stats are still far superior to mine.
Even with his injuries, he’s still easily keeping pace with me.
I wonder how far this level extends.
If I accidentally wind up in a dead end, I’ll definitely be crushed by him.
Rummaging through my bag, I pulled out my last stick of imitation dynamite.
Dammit, if Megumin didn’t hate these things so much, I could’ve made far more of them…
It’s a real pain to make them while keeping it a secret from Megumin.
If I could catch him in another blast, I could weaken him just enough that I can finish him off with my magic sword…
I sensed an extremely dangerous presence behind me.
This is a really bad one.
It’s not as powerful as when Megumin is preparing her Explosion, but the Demon King is definitely working on a powerful spell behind me.
Looking back, the Demon King was pointing at me.
I can probably make it out if my Auto-Evasion skill activates, but that’s relying too much on my luck. If It doesn’t activate, I’ll probably die instantly.
There’s about ten meters between me and the Demon King.
This is bad, his chant is longer than the lightning spell he cast earlier!
“I’m tired of playing around with you. I’m not getting any younger, after all. I was hoping to conserve my mana for when I returned, but… You will not be able to dodge this.”
Crap, something is coming! This is bad! This is really bad!
Do I have any defensive spells available to me?
I took out one of the top grade manatite that Megumin gave me from my bag.
“Eat this! Inferno!”
I pulled on every last scrap of mana contained within that piece of manatite and created a large volume of earth in front of me.
“What! Ouch! Hot!”
I heard that shout from the other side of the earth wall.
He must have been burnt by the heat that was sent blowing back at him after being blocked from coming my way by the earth wall I created.
Still, this manatite really is something. I don’t think I’ve ever created this much earth in my entire life.
…Hold on a minute.
If that is the case…
“You annoying little brat! Are you trying to seal off this passage with dirt and run away!? In that case, then our little game of tag is over! I’m──!”
I took out another piece of manatite.
“Create Earth Golem!”
“Going… Back to… The castle…”
The soil moved and shaped itself into a vague humanoid shape.
Normally, my mana is only enough to create a flimsy earth doll, but…
“…You are capable… Of something like this…?”
With the mana contained inside a top-grade manatite, I could create a golem so large that it dwarved even the Demon King. In fact, the golem is so huge that it just barely scraped the ceiling.
I looked at the Demon King through the gap in the earth golem’s legs and smiled.
──This game of tag isn’t over yet.
“Time for round two!”
“Coward! What kind of Demon King turns tail and flees!? Fight me head on! What were you calling me earlier!?”
“You son of a bitch! You son of a bitch!”
As our roles have now reversed, I was the one chasing the Demon King around the dungeon.
“Wahahaha! The Demon King is so weak! All of your generals put up a far greater fight than you!”
“You fool! What are you expecting from an old man who’s already long past his prime!? In the first place, my true power lies in strengthening my men, not in fighting in the front lines! Not to mention I’m currently weakened!”
Not even the Demon King could defeat such a giant golem head on, or perhaps he is simply worried about me landing a sneak attack while he’s busy fighting it. In any case, he quickly turned tail and limped away.
It might seem like I have the advantage, but in truth, I focused all my mana into creating the biggest and strongest golem I could create, sacrificing operational time in the process.
If this drags out for too long, the golem will cease functioning, so I need to settle this as fast as I can.
“Eat this! Snipe! Snipe! Snipe!”
“Ow! Ah! Gurk! Y-You…!”
I shot a few arrows through the gap between the golem’s legs.
It’s nothing more than a mild annoyance, but it seems it’s more than enough to make the Demon King lose his composure.
If he teleports my golem away or something like that, it’d be over for me instantly, so I need to keep him from thinking straight.
…Ah, crap, I’m out of arrows.
The ideal situation is to have the golem tie the Demon King down while I finish him with my last imitation dynamite and my magic sword, but…
“…Pant… Pant… I can’t run anymore…”
The Demon King stopped in his tracks.
“Did you really take out my generals? …I’m sure you did… You might be using underhanded tricks, but even I have been pushed this far.”
What’s with the sudden conversation?
Is he trying to buy time until my golem ceases to function?
But the golem will continue to attack the Demon King until I stop him.
“How did they fare? Did they give you a battle they wouldn’t be ashamed of, like what a general should do? Did they at least give you trouble?”
“…Beldia was purified while he was wandering around in confusion after I stole his head. Come to think of it, taking him out is the reason why I first landed into debt.”
The Demon King took a deep breath, and his golden, raptor-like eyes flashed.
“Vanir was blasted to pieces with Explosion, but he turned up the next day happily working at Wiz’s store as her assistant. I’ve lost count of the number of times I got ripped off by him.”
The golem extended its hand towards the Demon King.
“Hans almost devoured me, and Sylvia also almost devoured me in a different way. Ah, but Wolbach seemed to have a pretty good head on her shoulders… And the last general we fought, Serena, turned me into a Regina worshipper and killed me. Well, I’ve been through a lot thanks to them.”
“……Seems like you’ve had your fair share of troubles too…”
I sighed, and the Demon King seemed to genuinely sympathize.
It seems like this old man went through a lot thanks to them too.
Suddenly, the Demon King created a large amount of Earth in front of me.
The amount of earth he created was comparable to the amount I created with the help of a top grade manatite.
The sudden appearance of the wall of earth blocked my golem’s hand.
“Wait, you’re not──”
“Create Earth Golem!”
At the Demon King’s voice, the mound of earth shivered and twisted into a humanoid form.
His golem was about a head smaller than mine.
I really shouldn’t be saying this, but the Demon King really is capable of anything!
“…Phew. Oh no, that took up more magic than I expected… Still, you’ve done quite well, brat. Against a swordsman, use a sword. Against a spellcaster, use spells. And against an adventurer, use whatever specialty they have demonstrated to crush them… But still, you’re the first one that forced me to resort to such a strange fighting style.”
The Demon King seemed genuinely impressed, but right now I couldn’t care less.
It’s true that my golem is bigger, but the Demon King’s ability is…!
“Now it’s my turn. But you truly are a man with plenty of interesting ideas. I wonder what you’re going to do next?”
The Demon King’s golem, bolstered by the Demon King’s aura, smashed my golem to dirt with a single punch.
“Now then, little brat, it’s time for round three!”
“Fuhahaha! Run, run! Why don’t you try creating another golem? You might actually win this time, you know!?”
The Demon King’s elated voice came from behind me along with the sound of heavy footsteps.
Three more pieces of manatite on me.
One last stick of imitation dynamite.
And a single magic sword and my sword with the strange name. Those are my only weapons.
“You know very well that if I create a new golem, it would easily lose to yours! Your personality is really twisted! Just as expected of the boss of all those guys!”
I shouted in return as I ran through the dark and twisting passages.
“Wha…! W-Wait! Those guys gave me a ton of trouble too! Beldia wouldn’t stop rolling his head into the baths, Vanir would constantly prey on my soldiers to harvest their dark emotions, and Wiz would take money and precious items from the treasury without asking and start selling them as practice for opening a real shop…!”
The Demon King spoke in a rapid-fire manner, as though he couldn’t stand to be lumped into the same category as them.
“Hans should properly ask if he wants to eat something, and not sneak into the granary and rub his poisonous body all over the food store there! Sylvia, stop saying you want to ‘become one’ to anyone who catches your eye! And Serena constantly runs around the castle asking people for money in the name of donations! Wolbach is the only decent one of the bunch…! So don’t talk as if I’m the worst one of them all!”
Y-You’ve really suffered, huh…
Despite my sympathies for him, I took out my last stick of imitation dynamite from my bag.
Non-magical attacks aren’t very effective on the Demon King, but if it was used on the golem instead…!
I turned around and threw the stick of imitation dynamite at the golem.
Then I stuck out my hand…!
When the smoke cleared, the golem’s upper body was completely eradicated, leaving only a pair of legs that still slowly continued walking towards me.
That explosion just now was pretty big, and fragments of stone were starting to fall from the ceiling. I’m a little worried that this entire place might collapse.
The Demon King angrily growled as clumps of dirt from his golem splattered his face.
I responded with a victorious smile and declared.
“…Incidentally, that wasn’t Explosion. It’s just Tinder.”
“I know that! You even screamed ‘Tinder’ just now! In the first place, there’s no way a mere Adventurer could use top-tier spells like Explosion!”
The enraged Demon King chased after me once again.
Dammit, despite being the Demon King, he knows nothing about the common Demon King tropes!
I still have three pieces of manatite left. What should I do? Should I intercept him now?
As I was considering my actions, the Demon King extended his right hand towards me.
I grabbed a piece of manatite and…
I concentrated all the mana reserves contained within that piece of manatite into a bolt of lightning and shot it at the Demon King.
At the same time, the Demon King shot a bolt of black lightning at me, which deflected off of mine and brushed against my right shoulder.
“…Graaaaah! Not bad! Not bad, little brat!”
“… O-Oooooouch! My shoulder! There’s a hole in my shoulder!”
I clutched my right shoulder and howled in pain. At the same time, the Demon King crouched in place, cradling his right thigh.
I had a hole torn straight through my shoulder, but he doesn’t seem to have suffered a serious wound at all.
This is bad. Standing here trading blows with him is just going to result in my death. I need to retreat──!
“Trying to play a game of tag again? Sorry, brat, but I tire of that game. Cursed Lightning!”
While still crouched on one knee, the Demon King extended his hand and fired another blast of his deadly spell.
…I’m done for.
How is he able to fire such powerful spells in quick succession without chanting at all?
I subconsciously drew my magic sword with the hand that was pressed against my shoulder and moved it in front of me to cover myself…
──With a crisp sound, the magic sword that took the force of that spell head on, shattered.
“!? …You found a way to survive even in that situation. Just how lucky are you?”
With the weapon I’ve been relying on reduced to pieces, I desperately threw the hilt of the sword at the Demon King as I retorted.
“What do you mean by lucky!? If I was really lucky, I wouldn’t be in this place in the first place! Aaah… That bastard Dust, I can’t believe he gave me such a rubbish sword!”
“Y-You shouldn’t say that about something another person gave you… In the first place, a regular magic sword wouldn’t be able to fend off a spell like that…”
Ignoring the Demon King’s confusion, I pulled out my favoured blade from my back.
“In any case, you’re now out of options. How many manatite do you have left, and how many more times can you cast Lightning? You can’t cast Advanced Magic, can you? If you could, you would have used far more damaging spells than the intermediate spell, Lightning, that you’ve been using… So, what do you intend to do with that butter knife of yours? It doesn’t even look like it’s enchanted.”
The Demon King seems taken aback.
“It’s called Chunchunmaru. It’s not some butterknife, it’s called Chunchunmaru. After I defeat you, I’m going to donate this sword to a museum as the sword that slew the Demon King──”
My Auto-Evasion skill activated, allowing me to dodge the bolt of lightning that the Demon King sent my way.
“Bastard, just how long do you intend to keep this up!? This is the first time I’ve been vexed to this degree!”
I’m trying to anger the Demon King so he runs out of mana, but I think this is the only time this weirdly named sword of mine has come in handy.
I threw my sword on the ground, which couldn’t damage the Demon King anyway, and pressed my hand to my shoulder.
“…You can use healing spells too?”
The Demon King exasperatedly said.
Enduring the pain, I repeatedly casted recovery magic on my shoulder.
But the wound is too deep for my spells to do much good.
Clutching my still aching right shoulder, I stood up and turned my back on the Demon King once again,
“You really are good at running away, aren’t you? That’s enough, just give up. You did pretty well for an adventurer. I’m saying this from the heart. Out of respect for your performance so far, I’m willing to let you go. You still have a piece of manatite, don’t you? I’ll give you time to finish chanting your Teleport.”
The Demon King’s voice called out from behind me.
Ignoring his honestly very appealing offer, I turned around the corner and slumped against the wall, hand clutched firmly over my shoulder as I slowly sank to the ground.
…This is bad. I can’t stop the bleeding. And it really hurts.
He said he’ll let me teleport away…
What should I do? Have my companions back at the castle already taken care of the Demon King’s personal guards?
Well, I managed to hold out pretty well fighting the Demon King alone, so I’m sure he won’t be a problem for those guys.
More importantly, I need to hurry up and stop the bleeding.
“Say, brat, I don’t think I ever caught your name. In this kind of decisive battle, as the Demon King, I should make an effort to get your name. Why don’t you name yourself?”
The sound of the Demon King’s limping steps drew closer to me, and I pulled out yet another one of my manatite.
After the wound on my shoulder closed, I shouted over in the direction of the Demon King.
“My name is Satou Kazuma… What is your name?”
I’ve lost too much blood. My body is sluggish.
I know I need to stand up as soon as possible, but I just couldn’t find the energy to do so.
Listening to the Demon King’s soft voice, I…
“Yasaka? Demon King Yasaka? I was expecting you to have a much more terrifying name.”
The limping steps of the Demon King stopped after I said that.
It seems like the Demon King has stopped walking.
Then, I heard the sound of laughter coming from around the corner.
I couldn’t see his face, but it sounded like he was genuinely laughing.
“My name is Yasaka Kyouichi. Demon King Yasaka Kyouichi.”
“…Wait, wait, wait, what? Are you from Japan? Are you human?”
In response to my panicked voice, the Demon King replied jovially.
“No, I’m a simple Demon. I’ve never been to the place known as Japan, though I’ve heard rumours of that country. Come to think of it, you have the same name as a famous hero.”
“Hey, stop spouting things that make absolutely no sense! What, are you trying to confuse me so I will hesitate to finish you off? That’s really low, you know.”
“Who is going to finish off whom, I wonder? Heheh, you know, I always get plenty of interesting reactions from adventurers like you whenever I name myself… Do you want to know the origin of my name? And do you want to know why the Demon King’s army is attacking humanity? It should be the greatest unsolved mystery of the Demon King’s army.”
Saying that, the Demon King let out a bout of heartfelt laughter.
──Wait, what’s going on?
What’s with this strange development that often takes place during the final battle in games and comics and the like?
“I never said I wanted to know any of that. Why would you specifically offer to tell me about any of that?”
“Because those are the questions the people with strange names like yours would ask upon meeting me. There is a popular fairy tale amongst your kind about the hero that became a Demon King… So, do you want to hear the truth of the matter that no one else knows?”
[See Explosions spinoff 2: Epilogue for that famous fairy tale]
Saying that, the Demon King let out a chuckle.
“…Um, so, can you tell me about the origin of your name? You can tell me why the Demon King’s army is attacking humanity later…”
“If you want to know that, you’ll have to defeat me first!”
T-This guy is really infuriating!!
“Wahahaha! Did that get on your nerves? It did, didn’t it? Ah, it feels nice to finally get you back after suffering so much at your hands!”
This old man is acting just like a little child!
“…Still, it’s been some time since I named myself like this. So far, I’ve only ever given my name to those who are about to die. But I shall allow you to take this knowledge of my name home with you. Call it a gift in recognition of the fact that you pushed me this far in a fight all by yourself.”
After saying that, the Demon King once again began limping towards me.
If I don’t teleport out of here right now, he’ll probably finish me off.
I only have one piece of manatite left.
I don’t have enough mana right now to teleport home by myself.
If I want to go home, I would have no choice but to use this.
“Say, are you really going to go back to your castle? My companions would probably be waiting for you when you get back. After all the time we spent down here, your personal guards would probably all be dead by now.”
Hearing my words, the Demon King replied,
“Well, yes, against those guys, I suppose all my subordinates would’ve long since been defeated by now… I suppose I’ll take a little break after I kill you or you run away. Then I’ll make my way through this dungeon and recruit a few powerful monsters to my side. By the time I return after my rest, my daughter should be coming back to the castle with the main army.”
It just occurred to me that if the Demon King’s daughter returned with her army, that would result in the worst possible outcome.
I could teleport back to Axel, recover my strength, and teleport back alongside a few of Axel’s strongest adventurers…
No, no, I don’t have enough mana left to teleport here, and this piece of manatite is my last.
I could get a few of the adventurers to share their mana with me with Drain Touch, but they should be involved in a defensive battle right now.
Even if I asked, how many adventurers would actually be willing to abandon the town in their time of need to tag along with me?
The sound of the Demon King’s footsteps closed in.
…What would happen if I go home without defeating him?
Would those three troublemakers obey my instructions to me and run away if the Demon King comes back with a bunch of monsters in tow?
…No, they’ve never listened to me to begin with, so why would they start now?
Could I get the Demon King to pass on a message that we fought to a tie and I went back to town ahead of them?
But there’s no way they’ll believe him…
“Say, if I said I want to go back to the castle with you, would you give me a lift?”
“…I see no reason for me to aid you. Though, you are quite talented, you know? Have you considered coming to work for me? I’ll have to put a curse on you that prevents you from betraying me, but if you are fine with that, I can take you back to the castle.”
Yeah, of course.
Wait, couldn’t I let him put his curse on me and bring me back to the castle, then have Aqua break the curse?
…No, no, if it is a curse to prevent me from betraying him, it might even prevent me from speaking about it to Aqua.
As his footsteps drew ever closer, I sat down and pulled out two things from around my back.
In my right hand I held my adventurer’s card, covered in stains after spending such a long time with me.
In my other hand, I held my last piece of manatite.
…Honestly, this doesn’t suit me.
I always thought that stuff like this should be left to the people who want to be an ally of justice.
Or perhaps those who want to become a hero, or those blatantly overpowered folks.
It really shouldn’t suit someone who only wants to be a NEET that lazes around until noon every day, drinks late into the night, is waited on by beautiful girls and enjoys a life of wealth and luxury.
“So, are you done with your preparations for casting Teleport? I did say I’ll let you go, but I can’t promise I can hold myself back the moment I lay eyes on your detestable face.”
As the Demon King drew ever closer, I thought…
──Those guys will probably get mad at me.
But if I don’t this, they’ll probably lose their cool and do something really stupid.
I reached out to my adventurer’s card, and the Demon King’s footsteps came right up next to me..
“──Please don’t turn the corner, don’t get angry, and hear me out. How about we call it a draw right here? You can send me back to the Demon King’s castle first.”
At my words, the Demon King’s footsteps came to a complete stop.
“After you give me a lift, I’ll go back to town with my companions. You can take as long a break as you want. Or, even if you want to go back to the castle without resting, I promise my friends won’t lay a finger on you.”
The dungeon is completely silent.
“…Heh… Hahahaha. A tie? What are you saying? It seems you have some kind of misunderstanding. You lost. It’s only by my whim that I allow you to walk away…!”
The Demon King turned the corner, and immediately froze in his tracks.
His eyes fell on the ball of Explosion Magic shining between my hands.
“………I see, a draw, huh? Very well, adventurer. I’ll send you back to the castle first. Would that be acceptable?”
“That won’t do. I told you, didn’t I? Don’t turn around the corner, and don’t get angry. There’s no way I can trust you now that you’ve seen this. What would I do if you sent me to some deep crater out in the middle of nowhere? I would be on the losing end then, wouldn’t I?”
Without taking his eyes off the ball of light I hand in my hands, the Demon King gulped.
“…I understand. So, what should we do? If you unleash Explosion Magic at this distance, neither of us would be safe. No, even if you fired it from outside the blast radius, it would definitely cause this entire dungeon to collapse. I’m sure you’re well aware of that, which is why you didn’t use it until now, right?”
Well, you could say that.
“In the first place, how can you, who couldn’t even use Advanced Magic, cast a top tier and most complex spell like Explosion? Just what are you?”
“…I wonder. I’m not sure of that myself. I’m not even sure of my place in the world. Am I their… Guardian? Lover? Owner? Master? Friend? Companion? Roommate? …I wonder which of these terms best fit me?”
Seeing me suddenly become pensive in such a situation, the Demon King nervously looked down at my hands while breaking out in cold sweat.
“There’s a girl I know that loves this spell. She would drag me along and randomly blow things up with it every day. After spending so much time going along with her daily routine, it seems that I’ve become so familiar with the incantations and movements of the spell that even an Adventurer like me could learn it.”
The light between my hands is blazingly hot, to the point where it feels like my hands are being burnt.
It feels like it would go off if I relaxed for even a moment.
I can’t believe Megumin is able to control such a dangerous thing every day.
“If you fire it from this distance, someone as weak as you would be reduced to ashes and dust. But I’m still a Demon King. A single shot of Explosion fired from an adventurer might not be enough to kill me, you know?”
“After Aqua has weakened you, there’s probably no chance that you can survive it. And besides, this entire dungeon would come down anyway. Even if you manage to survive somehow, it wouldn’t do you any good if you were buried alive.”
At those words, the Demon King once again fell silent.
I feel light headed. Seems like I’m still suffering the effects of blood loss.
──It’s best to end this as quickly as possible.
“…Aren’t you afraid of dying?”
“I’m super scared of dying. I’ve already died several times, so that makes me even more afraid.”
I’m scared of dying.
Honestly, I feel like I’m about to start crying anytime now.
When I think about all those people that I won’t be able to talk to ever again, my chest hurts. It really hurts.
“…If I die here, many things that are unknown to humanity would vanish forever with me…. Don’t you want to know the origin of my name? And why the Demon King’s army is──”
“I don’t care.”
I’m sure they are expecting me to find a way out of that too.
My body felt weightless, and it felt like I was floating.
Actually, I couldn’t see or hear anything.
But then, I felt like I heard a voice calling me from afar.
I turned towards where the voice was coming from.
Just by willing myself to move, I somehow started floating towards the source of that voice.
It feels like I’m dreaming, or perhaps floating on a cloud.
I wonder what this strange sensation is?
As I drifted in the direction of that voice, I eventually came face to face with a pillar of light──
“──Welcome to the afterlife. I am the goddess who will guide you on your new path, Aqua. Satou Kazuma-san, you’ve lost your life at the bottom of the dungeon. Unfortunately, your life is now over.”
I found myself in a familiar white room.
I jumped into the pillar of light after discovering it, but for some reason, Aqua is standing in front of me.
And standing next to her is Eris.
…The fact that she’s here means that the Demon King was defeated, right?
Actually, what happened after that?
Was she sent here the moment I defeated the Demon King?
“Hey, Aqua, what happened after I teleported the Demon King away?”
I asked her, but for some reason, she refused to look me in the eye.
Her hair covered her face, so I couldn’t make out her expression from here.
“…There are a few choices available to you.”
Aqua said those words in a flat monotone.
“…Do you want to be reborn as a baby in this world?”
“…Hey, Aqua, start by explaining the situation. What happened to everyone after I left? And you should look at someone while you’re talking to them.”
I asked her again, but Aqua simply ignored me and bluntly continued on.
“…Or would you want to be reborn as a baby in peaceful Japan?”
“Hey, listen to me. I’m asking what happened after I left. If you keep avoiding me I’m going to stick my fingers up your nose.”
Finally, Aqua lifted her head, and said in a wavering voice.
“…Or would you rather live in peace in Heaven, where you will be free of dealing with troublesome companions, crushing debts, getting arrested, or other such hardships…!”
Her shoulders were shaking and tears flowed down her cheeks.
…She’s really crying.
Eris gently placed a hand on Aqua’s shoulder.
Aqua buried her face into Eris’s chest, trembling and choking.
Seeing her like this, I managed to catch on to what’s going on.
The fact that she’s crying like this probably means that I can no longer be revived.
I went into it fully knowing that this might happen, so it wasn’t a shock to me.
…I thought I would feel more conflicted over this, but I’m surprisingly calm.
Perhaps it’s because I did my utmost and achieved what I set out to do.
──Which is, to bring her back here.
I looked down at my body, and everything below my chest is transparent.
Eris, holding the sobbing Aqua gently in her arms, said to me while stroking her hair.
“…Kazuma-san, thank you for your hard work. Everyone who was there has safely defeated the Demon King’s underlings and are currently waiting and praying for your safety. The moment you defeated the Demon King, Senpai was transported here. And everyone who saw that, seemed to understand that you succeeded in your mission.”
I let out a sigh of relief.
“Right now, they are tending to their wounds after that fierce battle. They seem to be in some confusion upon seeing Senpai disappear, but…”
…Come to think of it, they don’t know that I died in that dungeon, right?
Well, nuts, what if Megumin and Darkness go out searching for me?
Actually, I feel like the people of Axel would join in with this searching expedition too.
It might actually end up being a pretty major operation…
…Yeah, unlike me, those guys would do a proper search for me, wouldn’t they?
…It really is hard to leave everyone behind without being able to share a few last words with them.
I’m really glad I don’t have a body right now.
Otherwise, I would probably be crying as hard as Aqua is right now.
──My thoughts must have shown up on my face somehow.
Eris turned towards me with a gentle smile and said.
“…Now, Satou Kazuma-san, as the hero who died defeating the Demon King… I’ve been allowed to offer you another option in addition to the ones that people are normally allowed to take.”
Aqua sharply raised her head at the news.
“Option one, as mentioned previously, you can choose to live a leisurely life in Heaven.”
Eris raised a finger to her lips and smiled.
“Option two, I can grant you a body and return you to Japan. If you choose this, I can offer you enough money that you’ll never need to worry about financial matters for the rest of your life. And I can arrange for you to meet your ideal spouse… Hey, Senpai!? Y-You’re too close! Your face is too close!”
Aqua wiped away her tears and listened to Eris with rapt attention.
Eris cleared her throat and continued,
“And, option three, which would be to get your body back, and once again return to that world.”
──Aqua broke out into a wide smile upon hearing those words.
…What’s with that stupid smiling face?
She’s smiling like she already knows which option I would choose.
It’s a little too early for me to be heading to Heaven.
But, living in Japan is an appealing option.
Not only will I have enough money to live the rest of my life in peace, but there’s also what Eris said about my ideal spouse and what not…
In other words, if I return to Japan, I’ll be able to enjoy a life free of hardships or unreasonable situations together with my lovely wife.
“Now, which one will it be?”
Eris waited for my response with a smile.
What even is there to consider?
Just how much trouble did I go through in that world?
It’s full of strange creatures and incorrigible people.
It’s a world where people with common sense are considered rare, a garbage world that’s rotten to the core.
If I go back to that world, I’ll definitely see no end of hardships in the future.
That’s why I said that there’s nothing to consider.
“Please send me back to that good-for-nothing world that I hate so much.”
Hearing my unhesitant reply, Eris broke out into a smile.
“Well, now that you’ve made your decision, we should hurry up and go back to everyone! Eris, do what you do with this and that, and send us back to the Demon King’s throne room. I’m sure they’re worried about me after I suddenly disappeared, so I need to go back to them!”
Aqua said that as she excitedly pranced around the room.
However, Eris furrowed her brow.
“…Um, Senpai, I’m sorry to say this, but, now that you’ve already returned to Heaven… As the goddess in charge of Japan, for you to go down to this world to play is a little…”
Aqua grabbed Eris by the shoulders before she could finish, and rapidly shook her head as tears gathered around her eyes.
“Even if you give me those eyes, there’s nothing I can…! Ah, please stop! Senpai, please don’t try and rip out my pads! Really, even if you do that there’s nothing I can do!”
As the two goddesses started struggling in front of me.
“…Can I ask a few questions?”
I scratched at my cheeks with my half transparent fingers.
“I seem to recall some talk about granting me a single wish of any kind if I defeat the Demon King.”
I asked Eris a vitally important question.
The two goddesses stopped moving the moment they heard that.
“Hey, Eris, what should we do? I told him that because I thought that there would be no way he could defeat the Demon King. This guy is the kind of person who might seriously ask to become a god or own the universe.”
“I-I know he’s Kazuma-san, but even so I don’t think he will… Ah, but he might wish to live a harem life with all the beautiful girls he’s met…”
The two of them started whispering to each other, but I could clearly hear each and every word.
And seriously, the prize was a lie? The goddesses here are really useless!
Forming a harem with the girls I know is really tempting, but I’ve already decided on my wish.
“Please give me a cheat since I didn’t really pick one when I first went to that world.”
Eris chuckled upon hearing that.
“I agree to your wish. The Demon King might be defeated, but that world is still filled with strong monsters, so if you want to continue living in that world, I suppose you can’t go without that…”
Eris gave me a mischievous smile. It seems like she figured out where I was going with that.
Aqua extended her hand towards me after letting out a gasp of realization, but quickly retracted it as if she had second thoughts.
After all that’s happened, it seems like she’s a little too embarrassed to call herself my cheat.
Just the fact that she realizes that she is a handful of a goddess is a tremendous leap in her self-awareness.
“Now, what cheat do you want? A powerful weapon? A strong body? Or perhaps an exemplary talent?”
Eris excitedly said, while next to her, Aqua was uncharacteristically silent.
It’s rare to see someone as assertive and headstrong as her silent like that. If only she was like this more often, I wouldn’t have had so much trouble.
I said to Eris.
“Does a Goddess count as a cheat?”
Eris gave me a smile from the bottom of her heart.
And next to her, Aqua broke out into the brightest smile that I have ever seen her make.
“Eris! Eris! Hurry up and revive Kazuma! Quickly! If we take too long, the others at the castle would’ve finished resting and gone back to town!”
“Yes, yes, I understand, so lend me some of your strength too, Senpai. We are reviving someone who has lost his body, after all… Now, then, Kazuma-san, this is a very special exception. It won’t happen again, so be sure to value your life in the future──”
“Enough about that already! Come on, let’s go!”
“Ah, Senpai! Oh, fine… Right, let’s go…!”
I felt a burning heat deep within me after receiving the powers from the two goddesses.
My body felt heavy again, and a slight chill went through my feet as they touched the ground.
Then the two goddesses suddenly turned around.
“S-Senpai! This is all because you rushed into it! Hurry up and find some clothes or something…!”
“But-but I couldn’t help it! I completely forgot about it! Hey, Kazuma-san, you’re very bold right now!”
I was standing completely naked right now.
“P-Please wait a moment, I’ll get some clothes…! Here, Senpai, you hand it over to him! You’ve already seen it countless times, haven’t you!?”
“I don’t wanna, I feel like I’ll be devoured! Kazuma-san, you used to be so cute, but I guess you’ve really grown up now…”
“Oh, cut it out and just give me my clothes already! Just how long do you plan on keeping me stark naked!?”
After I got dressed, Eris turned around to face me.
“…Now, after this, you’ll be able to freely come back to Heaven at any time. Though, it doesn’t seem you have any intentions of returning anytime soon.”
She said as she looked at Aqua excitedly bouncing on the balls of her feet next to me.
“Yeah? Everything turned out alright in the end! If I didn’t promise to grant you a wish, the Demon King wouldn’t have been defeated anyway… Oh? Wait, couldn’t it be said that Kazuma was guided by a goddess to defeat the Demon King? I did weaken the Demon King, so I think I acted pretty much like a model goddess this time, if I say so myself… Thinking about it that way, aren’t I kind of like the MVP?”
Aqua, maybe because she’s overly excited, or perhaps because her ability to learn from experience is still critically low, got carried away and spouted out all this nonsense.
“…Hey, are you insulting me? I was the one who defeated the Demon King. Do you get that? Kazuma the Hero did it. I’m the one who is going to become a legend. You are just the useless goddess who ran away from home and had to be rescued by me. So what are you even saying?”
“Oh? Do you realize that a beansprout NEET like you would’ve had no chance of taking out the Demon King without my help? In fact, I should be taking a larger share of the bounty on his head for my efforts. Yeah, 90 to 10 sounds about right. Also, now that I’ve returned to Heaven, I’ll be able to use the full extent of my goddess power from now on. So you better watch how you treat me, otherwise you might receive divine punishment.”
Aqua confidently flipped her hair and spouted out such shameless lines.
Eris watched the both of us with an amused look on her face.
“I hope Darkness and Megumin aren’t worried to tears after seeing me vanish in front of their eyes. We should hurry back so I can reassure them!”
Aqua continued on, saying such flippant words.
“Now, then, Kazuma-san… It’s time for you to voice your wish…”
Eris placed her hands together in prayer, and also seemingly expressing thanks for defeating the Demon King.
Seeing her give me such a godly smile really makes her seem like a proper heroine.
Compared to her…
“Hey, Kazuma, I want a glass of ice-cold Crimson Beer when we get back to town! Please be prepared to cast Freeze a lot on my mug. I want to hurry back and see Emperor Zell! He’s probably grown into a great dragon by now!”
I repeatedly shifted my gaze between Aqua and Eris.
“…? What’s with that strange expression? You’ve always looked a little strange, but now you look even worse off than usual. Do you want me to cast Heal on you?”
I told Eris my wish──
──After a moment of dizziness, I found myself standing in a familiar place.
This is the Demon King’s throne room.
As proof of that, the bodies of the Demon King’s personal guard are strewn about all over.
My sudden appearance seemed to leave everyone present stunned for a moment. But then,
“Kazuma, welcome… Back…”
Darkness and Megumin rushed to welcome me back, but their words trailed off as they looked at me in confusion.
Now that I have the chance to take a good look at her, Darkness is practically covered in grievous wounds.
It doesn’t seem immediately life threatening, but it’s clear that she’s been in a fierce battle.
Yunyun and Megumin are completely dumbfounded, but they don’t seem to have any injuries on them.
…On the other hand, Mitsurugi has collapsed on the other side of the room, and his two followers are hovering around him.
He’s still breathing, so he’s not dead yet.
Pointing at the person standing next to me, Megumin timidly asked.
“…Who is she?”
The person she’s pointing to is the goddess, Eris.
I waved my hand over to Eris, who was nervously looking around at a complete loss for what to do.
“This is the famous goddess, Eris-sama. I brought her with me as my reward for defeating the Demon King.”
Megumin, Yunyun and Darkness let out a surprised yelp and stepped back.
Then, Darkness got down on one knee…
“O-Oh, Eris-sama! You look just like the sculptures in… The church…”
Darkness lifted her head and slowly trailed off as she examined Eris’s face.
Eris quickly averted her gaze.
A sudden pillar of light appeared in the room, and from within popped out Aqua.
“Ah! How did you come down here by yourself!?”
“S-Senpai!? What are you doing!? You can’t come down to a world outside your jurisdiction without permission! Don’t blame me if you can’t get back to Heaven again!”
Hearing both our voices, Aqua broke out in tears.
“Waaaaaaah! K-Kazumaaaaaaa! Waaaaah! Aaaaaaaah! Bwaaaaaah!”
“You really a pain in the ass, you know that!? I left you back there because you were getting full of yourself! I was going to go get you back after a while, so why did you do this you idiot!?”
Seeing the familiar sight of Aqua crying up a storm, Megumin and Darkness let out a sigh of relief.
“Hey~! I don’t really get what’s happening, but if the priest is back, please save Kyouya!”
“Yeah, he’s really hurt!”
Almost as if to drown out their voices, Yunyun suddenly screamed,
“Aaah!? The Demon King’s army is teleporting back one by one! Wait, isn’t that the Demon King’s daughter!?”
Yunyun, standing on the balcony, nervously looked back towards me.
Wait, seriously, they’re already back?
We already achieved our objective, so it’s time to get out of here.
“Hey, stop crying, we’re getting out of here! I can’t help that you’re already down here, so we’ll just deal with what comes next later…”
“…Um… Darkness…san? Why are you looking at me this closely…?”
“…No, it’s just, I thought you resembled a friend of mine… ”
As Darkness stared at Eris, and Aqua bawled her eyes out, Megumin chanted a spell.
Megumin, her rucksack full of manatite still on her back, unleashed a burst of Explosion Magic from the balcony.
“Megumin!? W-What are you doing!?”
Yunyun hurriedly rushed to stop her.
“Stop! Megumin, stop! You’re bleeding! Your nose is bleeding!”
I rushed over to the balcony to stop Megumin from exerting herself anymore, and happened to glance outside.
The Demon King’s army that were gathered outside are now running away in a panic after suddenly receiving a barrage of Explosion spells.
There’s a girl running away with tears in her eyes while being protected by the other monsters. I wonder if she is the Demon King’s daughter.
“Fuhahahaha! I am the Demon King Megumin! I have taken over this castle and became the world’s strongest Archwizard! Worthless fools who dare approach my castle, witness my great power and begone!”
“Megumin, calm down! We just defeated the Demon King, so why are you bringing another one into being!?”
Seriously. Can’t we just stay out of trouble from now on?
──Anyway, it’s time to go.
“Yunyun, I’m counting on you for Teleport. I’m completely out of mana.”
“Eh, erm…! I have enough mana for two trips, but… With the number of people here…”
Teleport allows for four people to be transported at the same time.
But after I brought Eris here, there are currently nine of us who need to be teleported out.
“Oh, very well. Kazuma, please use this.”
Megumin handed me a piece of manatite as she wiped the blood from her nose with her other hand.
“…You really shouldn’t push yourself like that.”
“I received such a valuable present from you, so I really want to give you something in return too… Of course, there seems to be someone who couldn’t care less about that.”
“Eh? Ah…! Me? Are you talking about me!?”
Saying that, Megumin dragged Darkness into the conversation.
Wait, is she planning to gift me this castle as repayment for the manatite?
That’s way too big as a gift of gratitude.
In the first place, what should I even do with a monster-infested castle like this?
“Erm, everyone, please gather around. I’ll start teleporting everyone out!”
At Yunyun’s words, everyone started gathering in the center.
“Hey──! Heal up Kyouya before that! His pulse is getting weaker!”
“He’s barely breathing…!”
“…Eris-sama, have we ever met before…”
“O-O-Of course not! …Actually, what should I do from now on…”
As everyone created a ruckus, Yunyun teleported the first batch of us out.
Eris, Mitsurugi, and his two hanger-ons were warped out, leaving the five of us behind.
“Sniff… Sniffle… Sniffle…”
Yunyun placed a hand on the sniffling Aqua.
Megumin stood next to her, along with Darkness who was busy wiping the blood off her face.
“Now, then, let’s go. Kazuma-san, I’ll see you in Axel!”
As the light faded from Yunyun’s spell, for some reason, Aqua’s snivelling form was still visible in this room.
“Eh!? What’s going on!? Why didn’t the Teleport work on you!?”
“Because… Sniffle… I resisted… Sniffle…!”
Aqua said that as she sniffled.
“You… Why are you always like this!? Even at the very end!”
“T-That’s not it! It’s not like that, listen to me!”
Aqua frantically tried to string words together while suppressing her tears.
“I wanted to say something to you! It’s just, with everyone watching, it’s a little…”
“What is it? And now isn’t a good time to be having a conversation! Right now, countless enemies are flowing into the castle. There’s no telling when they’ll reach us…!”
With a slight panic setting in, I hurriedly tried to get Aqua to voice whatever she was holding back, but she remained quiet while tears streamed down her cheeks.
At the same time, I think I could hear footsteps in the distance.
There might actually be a proper secret passage that led directly to the throne room that wasn’t the “shortcut” Aqua and I used.
As I impatiently waited for Aqua’s words, she wiped the tears from her eyes.
“What!? Hurry up and spit it out! I’m sorry I left you behind, but I really did have a plan to pick you up later!”
Aqua shook her head.
“Um… You know, umm… I’m not very bright, aren’t I?”
“If you want to bring it up, you are pretty stupid. But what of it?”
Aqua gritted her teeth for a moment in response, but her expression soon softened.
“…Well, I can’t find the right words to say this, so I’ll just say one thing.”
“Seriously, what are you trying to say!? Hurry up and spit it out already! You can hear footsteps, can’t you!?”
The footsteps heading this way are getting louder.
As I panicked, Aqua raised her head and gave me an unblemished smile.
……I never once thought that there would come a day where my heart would skip a beat because of this person.