Goddess’s short story
This short story was originally written for the WN after it’s conclusion. For the most part the WN ended in a relatively similar position to the LN, though there are some slight differences that I will point out if it becomes relevant. Anyway, enjoy.
“I’m thinking of doing some missionary work.”
Aqua suddenly said that, and everyone present fell into stunned silence, unsure as to how to react.
“How long are you saying in town, Chris? You’re free to room with us for as long as you need.”
“…Yeah, we left the room you were staying at as it was. We can drink together late into the night again.”
“Oh, thanks. Actually, it’s gotten a lot warmer out, so I was planning on renting a place in the stables.”
“We have a room free, so it’d be a waste not to use it. Shall we have dinner together?”
[In the WN, Chris briefly stayed with the party during the winter.]
Everyone greeted Chris who came to visit us warmly.
“Hey, listen to me! I’m talking about something very important here! Here, everyone who doesn’t have a religion, please fill this out!”
Saying that, Aqua placed a stack of papers on the table.
Those were all Axis Cult recruitment forms.
I snatched one of them, crumpled it into a ball, and took aim at the trash bin…
The Snipe skill doesn’t apply to thrown objects, but I shouted it just for the feel and the crumpled ball flew beautifully into the bin.
“What are you doing you shitty NEET!? You’ll get divine punishment!”
Aqua ran over to the bin and retrieved the crumpled up recruitment form.
“What made you talk about missionary work in the first place? You don’t normally act like a Priest, so what came over you?”
“Aah! You too, Megumin!?”
Megumin folded one of the recruitment forms into a paper airplane and sent it flying.
As Aqua chased after it, Darkness folded her arms and muttered.
“Mmm… I’m a Crusader who offered my sword to Eris-sama, so…”
“What? Even though you’re just a phony Crusader! Oh fine, I’ll go get recruits by myself!”
As Aqua prepared to storm off in a huff, Chris grabbed the stack of recruitment forms and stood up,
“Aqua-san, don’t forget this! And… I’m worried about you, so let me tag along, too.”
At those words, Aqua whipped around with a surprised look on her face.
“…C-Chris…! W-Waaaaah! I can’t believe you are my only ally in this house! Waaaaah!”
“Hey, Chris, don’t spoil that idiot too much. She’ll definitely let it get to her head and head off to do something stupid again.
Chris, taken aback, stroked Aqua’s hair as she tearfully clung onto her.
Seeing the two of them, Megumin whispered to me.
“Sorry, I’m a little worried about her, so can you stick with her too? I’ll have dinner ready for everyone when you get back, so…”
Next to her, Darkness sat gloomily on the sofa, seemingly shaken to her very core by those words.
[In the WN, hints were dropped as to Chris’s true identity, but that was one the plotlines that was dropped in the LN, so Kazuma never finds out that Chris is Eris in the WN.]
“Chris, as my only ally, it’s best that I reveal my true identity to you right now.”
I don’t know where she’s headed, but Aqua said that while making her way down the street with the stack of recruitment forms in her hand.
Chris, with a similar stack of papers in her head, nodded along as she followed behind her,
“Indeed, my true identity is the heartwarming and beautiful Goddess of Water! Aqua in the flesh! The other day, the greengrocer said ‘taking her name as well as dressing up as her, you sure are devoted to her’, but that’s not it at all! I’m the real deal! I’m a real goddess!”
Aqua suddenly spun around and delivered that speech to Chris.
So such a thing happened. This might be the whole reason why she suddenly brought up gaining more followers.
Still, even if you say that, I don’t think there’d be anyone in this world who’d believe you…
“Is that so? That’s amazing! Thank you for telling me.”
Chris said with a smile on her face…
“Eh!? You believed her that easily!?”
“Y-Yeah! Aren’t you going to start laughing, or say that taking the name of the god so casually will lead to divine punishment, or start throwing stones at me or anything? You really believed me that easily?”
Not only me, but Aqua seemed equally surprised.
Still, I can’t believe what she got up to without me knowing about it.
“Back when the Dullahan killed a large number of people in town, you were the one who brought them all back, weren’t you? I already knew from back then that you aren’t just an ordinary person.”
“Waaaaah! I knew it, you are my only true ally! Chris, won’t you join the Axis Cult!? If you join now, I’ll show you the legendary act of having boiling tea pour out of your navel!”
“N-No, I’m an Eris… Ah! Aqua-san, don’t cry! Come on, let’s work hard to gather more followers!”
…I have a really bad feeling about this.
“Right, then, let’s get going!”
As Aqua took the lead once more, I followed behind Chris and whispered to her,
“Hey, Chris, I can already see her messing up and ending up in tears, so why don’t we just go grab some tea and hurry back home?”
“Y-You don’t really have much respect for gods, do you… Aqua-san is a really powerful and important goddess, you know? No one can live without water. Everyone takes getting fresh water every day for granted, that’s why no one respects her very much.”
Chris said that in reply.
“Hey, Chris! It may not be particularly useful to you, but I’m going to teach some good methods to gain the faith of the people and increase your followers!”
Aqua walked along with a spring in her step, perhaps being overjoyed that Chris has acknowledged her.
Seeing her like this makes it hard to think of her as a powerful water goddess…
“Ah, over there! There’d be a lot of people in trouble over there!”
That was a small store tucked away in a back alley.
Just as I was wondering what kind of store it was, a blonde, thuggish-looking adventurer with scary eyes came out of it with a few wads of eris bills in his hand.
…Actually, I know that guy.
Looking closer, that’s actually a money lending shop.
I never knew that there existed such a store in Axel until now.
…How did Aqua know about this store?
Aqua boldly walked up to the store and sat down in front of it.
Seeing that, the owner of the store, a rugged-seeming middle aged man came rushing out.
This isn’t good, I should get Aqua out of here before it becomes a fight…!
“…Hey, come on, Aqua-san, I’ve told you numerous times that I can’t lend you money, haven’t I? We can’t lend money to people who have no ability to pay. And I don’t want any trouble with the Axis Cult, so lending to Axis Cultists is strictly off-limits.”
So they know each other.
“Hey, why are you so mean towards Axis Cultists? When those children are in trouble, I would really like it if you could lend money to them without discrimination! …Anyway, I’m not here to borrow money or harass you. I’m not particularly troubled by money right now.”
“…Just by sitting there, you’re already harassing us by quite a bit… So, why are you here today?”
“I thought I’d give advice to people who are in so much trouble that they’d visit your store not to borrow from such stores.”
“So you are here to harass us! Stop getting in the way of our business! Seriously, just give me a break. This is why Axis Cultists are so troublesome. Here, I’ll give you this bottle of wine as a donation, so please leave.”
As Chris and I watched from a distance, Aqua returned to us with a bottle of wine in her hand.
“Don’t give me that! What did you even come out here for! Stop giving people trouble and start doing some missionary work already!”
“Aqua-san, that wasn’t missionary work, that was just plain blackmail! You really shouldn’t do that kind of stuff! The Axis Cult’s reputation will fall even further!”
──After leaving the shop, we had a strategy meeting at a corner of the street.
“Oh, fine, I’ll just have to think of a couple good ways of soliciting new recruits for you.”
“With the underhanded,sly and surprisingly silver-tongued Kazuma-san on my side, this thing is as good as done!”
“You’re kinda reckless in your plans, so I’m a little uneasy…. Ah, don’t bully Aqua-san, you’ll get divine punishment!”
As I pulled on Aqua’s cheeks in revenge for her words that sounded like insults through praise, Chris hurriedly rushed over to stop me.
She really shouldn’t coddle her that much…
“Right, so here is the plan. That plan you had of approaching people who are in trouble isn’t bad, the issue is that you choose the wrong store. The only people who’d visit that store are people desperate for money, so you’ll have to practically pay them to listen to you. I’m sure you don’t want to buy new followers with money either, right?”
“I don’t mind at all.”
“Aqua-san! You can’t do that! Faith is a very precious thing!”
Chris immediately started lecturing Aqua after hearing her say that with a straight face.
…I always thought of her as a rambunctious, happy-go-lucky tomboy, but she seems to be quite pious despite being a thief.
“Well, anyway, we first need to find someone in need. Aqua, go take the toilet paper from all the toilets in the park. Then we’ll set up a stake out near the toilets.”
“I see, you’re targeting people who rushed to the toilets in their time of need! As expected of Kazuma, you really are reliable in such times!”
“You two have it completely backwards! What is the point of getting people into trouble!? This is why the Axis Cult gets such a bad rap!”
“Hey, Chris, is this really going to work? Wouldn’t it be better for me to put on an act, then get people to sign on the paper if they want to see the rest?”
In the middle of the most crowded street in Axel, Aqua, holding a stack of papers in her hand, nervously said to Chris.
Chris’s plan was to honestly preach their doctrine to passersby and gain new recruits that way.
“You can’t do that, Aqua-san. That wouldn’t solve anything at all… Why are you soliciting in the first place? To bring salvation to those in need, right? …Even if no one listens to you, there’s no need to feel down. If someone was guided by your voice and joined the faith, that means you’ve saved someone in trouble. If our voice doesn’t reach anyone, that simply means that no one is in trouble. If no one joins, that just means that not a single person you met today is suffering. In other words, it’s a wonderful day.”
Chris said with a gentle smile on her face.
“…What’s with you, Chris? You sound just like a Priest with those cool lines.”
“Yeah. It’s a little off for me to say this, but I think Chris might be more suited to become a Priest than even me.”
“!? Ah, no, that’s not it! You know, I think Darkness said something like that a while back! I’m just passing it on!”
The phony Crusader actually said something this cool?
Aqua grabbed her stack of papers with a look of fresh determination.
“Well, nevermind. Yeah, it’s no good being uncertain before it even starts! I’m going to convert all the Eris cultists in this world into Axis Cultists and turn the Axis Cult into the dominant religion!”
“I-I really wish you wouldn’t do that…”
Chris muttered under her breath as she saw Aqua charge off.
──A few minutes later.
“Axis Cult! Axis Cult! Please join the Axis Cult! Is anyone in trouble!? Is anyone at a loss!? Please think of the Axis Cult when you’re in trouble! Please think of the Axis Cult when you’re unhappy! …Young man who seemed troubled by the look of your face, would you be interested in having a word?”
Aqua, who had rocks thrown at her because she occasionally says such unnecessary things, seemed completely undeterred as she threw them back and raised her voice once again.
“Please consider the Axis Cult!”
──One hour later.
“Umm, how about joining the Axis Cult? Umm, something good will befall you. Aren’t you interested at all? You’ll become better at your craft, and, umm, you’ll definitely hear a lot of happy voices in your future, you know?”
Aqua’s sales pitch seems to be going in strange directions as people continued passing her by without paying her any heed.
Chris watched on with clenched fists.
“Umm… I’ll teach you a wonderful act that will definitely liven any room up…”
Don’t lose your direction!
Keep at it! Keep at it for just a while more.
── Three hours later.
“…Axis Cult… Sniff… Axis Cult… Is anyone… Sniff… interested?”
Seems like this is her limit.
I got up from my seat to collect Aqua who was sniveling as she said her sales pitch…
──But Chris grabbed the hem of my shirt.
Then, Chris walked straight over to her.
“Sniff… Axis Cult… Axis Cult… Ah…”
When she noticed Chris’s presence, Aqua’s face twisted like she was about to finally break into tears.
Chris placed a comforting hand on her shoulders and said in a stern voice,
“Aqua-san, good work. Your efforts today aren’t in vain. After all, it simply means that none of the people that you’ve met today are troubled. If you think of it as evidence of yet another peaceful day, doesn’t it feel like a good thing that you couldn’t recruit a single person today?”
“…Not at all…”
It didn’t seem like Chris’s words got through to Aqua as she cried into Chris’s chest.
“…Ah, there’s tomorrow! Let’s work hard again tomorrow, okay? I’ll help you every day. Let’s extend a helping hand to the people in town who are in trouble and need help tomorrow!”
At Chris’s encouragement, Aqua tearfully nodded.
…Well, she’ll probably perk up after going home and eating the food that Megumin has prepared.
“As expected, an Eris church member sure is different! Well said!”
“It really is! It’s even making me want to give it my all tomorrow!”
“The Eris Church really is different. You look really cool.”
“This is why the Eris Church is so reliable! You know, I’ve heard that devout Eris worshippers can get loans without any security or interest!”
“I’m joining the Eris Church!”
The people who happened to be passing by suddenly exploded into praises for Chris.
They probably figured out she was a member of the Eris Church from the shining pendant she was wearing.
“Eh!? No, eh, t-that’s…! I… I… That’s not what I’m trying to do…!”
As Chris was thrown into a state of confusion from the sudden outpouring of praise, Aqua shakily got to her feet.
“T-The Eris Church is my enemy~! Waaaaaah! What is so good about that padded goddess!?”
“A-Aqua-san!? Don’t shout that at the top of your lungs while running through the street!”
As Aqua shot off in tears, Chris hasilty chased after her.
Of Course, Aqua being Aqua, she was in a good mood again by the time dinner was served.
Incidentally, it seems like the Eris Church gained a few more followers that day.