The Advance of the Demon King’s Army
Editor: Striker, Xenthur
I was in the guild, enjoying a drink as I waited for the rest of the adventurers to gather.
Together with my companions, we were seated at the usual spot.
Normally, when we gather at the guild like this, the table would be filled with towers of piled up plates, but today we only had salad and beer on the table.
Our resident big eater, Faitfore, was taking a nap in her room after eating her fill.
“Is what she said earlier true?”
Taylor said with a frown, crossing his arms.
“Well, you wouldn’t say something like that as a joke.”
Keith said as he swirled his drink around in his mug.
“I heard some rumours about this, but I never thought it would be true. Sigh~.“
Lynn, the only girl in our party, let out a small sigh.
There is a reason why everyone in the guild is unusually quiet.
That’s because of the words that the guild receptionist, Luna, said just a short while ago.
She just made an emergency broadcast, and is currently waiting for everyone to gather before making an official announcement.
As I drank my drink in a daze, the adventurers in town slowly started trickling in.
Amongst them is Kazuma and his party.
Hmm? No, wait, it doesn’t seem like his entire party is here. The most cheerful out of all of them, the blue haired priest Aqua, isn’t with them. That’s rare.
The assembled guild staff seemed to be waiting for Kazuma to arrive, and started addressing the crowd the moment they popped in.
“Now, the reason we gathered everyone here is because of the rumours of the Demon King’s Army attacking this town. I’m sure everyone has already heard about it.”
The adventurers who heard this news reacted in one of two ways: either they fell completely silent, or they erupted into worried murmurs.
A mage girl asked if they could ask the Royal Knights for aid, but Luna told them that the main body of the Demon King’s Army is moving on the Capital as well, so we can’t expect any help from them.
Come to think of it, I think Princess Leonor said something similar.
In the chaos of the last few days, I completely forgot about that.
“Isn’t this pretty bad?”
Lynn whispered worriedly, and Keith and Taylor silently nodded in agreement.
“This town is a town of beginner adventurers. Most of the adventurers in town are rookies, with very few mid-level or exceptional adventurers. And the high-level adventurers in the other towns are headed over to the Capital to fend off the main body. It would be pretty tough for us to confront a Demon King’s Army attack-“
“So we can’t expect any help from the Capital or other cities, huh.”
Keith said such gloomy words, but his tone is casual.
His expression, aswell, is a far cry from being gloomy.
“Um, shouldn’t you have a little more urgency?”
Yunyun, who had made her way to the corner of our table without us noticing, voiced her opinion.
Yunyun isn’t comfortable with strangers, so I suppose the only place where she can feel comfortable in such a crowd is by our side.
“We faced down that Destroyer, you know? Compared to that, this is far better.”
I waved a casual, dismissive hand at Yunyun who is the only one amongst us that’s wound up.
“This and that are completely different things! Why are you so relaxed!? The Demon King’s Army could be attacking us, you know!? The town of Axel only has novice adventurers!”
What are you so angry for? Shaking your overdeveloped breasts like that…
“Oh, what about digging a large pit in advance?”
The mage girl suddenly shouted. It seems like she’s brainstorming ideas on how to defend the town of Axel.
The others too were offering their own ideas without a hint of despair.
My companions too were swept up in this atmosphere and started offering their own ideas, too.
“How about handing weapons to the townsfolk and forming them into a militia?”
Taylor said, crossing his arms.
Arming the townsfolk, huh? Well, there are quite a few interesting characters in town, and we also have a fairly large population of retired adventurers, so it might actually be a good idea.
“Not everyone who can fight is an adventurer, after all. Ah, I thought of a good idea! Why don’t we put the Axis Cultists who not even the Demon King’s army get along with in the front line and use them as our shields!?”
“Oh, that’s a good idea! I don’t think the Demon King’s Army would even be able to get close to them.”
I snapped my fingers and voiced my agreement with Keith’s idea.
“D-Don’t you guys have even a shred of conscience?”
“That’s way too far!”
Lynn and Yunyun stared at me like they were looking at something filthy.
“Why are you looking at me like that? Those guys do nothing but cause trouble every day, you know? Now is the time for them to actually be useful. If we tell them that this is the perfect chance to gain new converts, I’m sure they’ll hop right on board.”
I’ve gone through a lot of bad experiences at the hands of the Axis Cult, especially the time when I visited that hot springs town, Alcanretia. Honestly, I really don’t want to recall it.
“Victory comes to the swift. If we have Kazuma help us, this would be… Oh, yeah, Aqua-nee-chan isn’t here.”
She’s always the first to appear whenever there’s a commotion like this, so I guess I should ask Kazuma about her as well.
Just as I was about to stand up, someone else walked over to Kazuma.
He had two female companions behind him and had a handsome face that just seems to be asking for a good punch.
“I think I’ve seen that guy somewhere before.”
“You forgot again? He’s that famous swordmaster with the magic sword, Mi…Mi… What was his name again?”
Lynn started poking fun at me, but she herself couldn’t remember his name, and she put a finger to her temple as she fell into deep thought.
“Satou… Satou Kazuma. I don’t see Aqua-sama anywhere. Where is she?”
The guy asked what I wanted to ask, so I decided to hang back and observe.
“… ? Oh, Yamazaki. Long time no see.”
Ah, right, that’s his name. Yamazaki.
“It’s Mitsurugi! Hurry up and remember my name already! That wasn’t even remotely close! You’re not doing this on purpose, are you!? …No, nevermind. More importantly, what happened to Aqua-sama? Is she not with you today?”
Oh, it’s Mitsurugi. Ah, well, I don’t really care about remembering a guy’s name.
Still, why is he addressing Aqua-nee-chan with “sama”?
Wait, he’s not an Axis Cultist, is he? Uwah, best to keep my distance from him, then.
“Aqua left behind a letter before running away from home.”
Seriously? She ran away from home? …Well, she probably did something selfish, made Kazuma angry, and ran away in tears.
“She wrote that she’s heading off to take down the Demon King before slipping off into the night. If she caught the midnight carriage, she’ll probably be close to Alcanretia by now. With the number of Demon King’s generals reduced severely, she feels like she can break through the barrier right now, or so she says.”
“Take down the Demon King!!?”
Take down the Demon King?
Mitsurugi’s voice echoed through the guild and overlapped with my own internal monologue.
Is she serious?
She’s an Archpriest of the Axis Cult, so I never paid much heed to her crazy actions and thought process, but to think that she’d try to take down the Demon King… I can’t believe her brain has rotted to such an extent.
It seems like I wasn’t the only one who was taken aback. The entire guild fell into silence upon hearing Mitsurugi’s outburst.
Shock and bewilderment were reflected upon the faces of the adventurers present.
Kazuma and Mitsurugi continued talking, but I’m in no state to pay any attention.
“Aqua-nee-chan left on a journey alone!? There’s no way she’ll survive.”
“It’s just as Dust said. She’s way too reckless. She barely has any common sense as it is. Can she even survive without her guardian Kazuma?”
“It’s a little harsh to say this, but it really does make me feel uneasy.”
“Yeah. I can’t see her doing anything else other than livening things up with her party tricks.”
My friends really look down on her, but at the same time I can’t say I disagree.
“B-But Aqua-san’s skills as a Priest are the real deal, so she might actually do really well on her own.”
Yunyun was the only one who had any good things to say about her in this situation.
After spending quite a bit of time hanging out with Kazuma and his companions, shouldn’t she have a good grasp on Aqua’s abilities?
“Well then, tell me what Aqua-nee-chan has managed to do on her own thus far?”
“Um, err… Party tricks?”
She embarrassedly whispered, as that seemed to be the only thing that she could think of.
The adventurers around me said similar things, seemingly on the same page as me.
Those words are harsh, but they weren’t making fun of her. Rather, everyone seemed to be genuinely concerned for Aqua.
“Aqua-san is really well liked in this town, isn’t she?”
“She is the life of any party, after all. Plus, she has this air around her that makes you not want to leave her by herself.”
Lynn and I met gazes and traded a bitter smile.
I don’t think there’s anyone in this town who genuinely hates her.
…No, wait, that might not apply to Sir Vanir.
“Calm down! Please calm down, everyone! …Has anyone here seen Aqua-san today?”
Luna’s voice rose over the guild, and the place fell silent for a moment.
I turned my gaze to my companions, but they all shrugged and shook their heads. I looked over the guild… And the results seem to be the same. It would seem that Aqua managed to leave town without anyone seeing her.
Seeing that, Mitsurugi made movements like he was about to dash out of the guild to chase after Aqua at any moment.
“T-That would be a problem! There’s a pressing need for experienced adventurers like you to assist in the defence of the Capital or this town…! I’ll send out an urgent notice to the other guilds to search for Aqua-san, so…!”
“Hey, if he wants to go, then just let him!”
Seeing Luna desperately beg to stop him, I couldn’t help but raise my voice.
Everyone’s attention seemed focused on me, so I went with the flow, put my feet up on the table and put on a pompous demeanor.
I can’t believe she said such pathetic things. Are we really that unreliable?
“We can handle the defence of this town with just the people here. Nee-chan, you might not be aware of this, but there are plenty of high-level adventurers in this town. There’s no need to beg this brat who is constantly surrounded by two women for help, just rely on us!”
There’s a cool line for you!
I bet the rest have fallen in love with my sharp tongue!
I surreptitiously cast a glance at my companions, and they were giving me a look halfway between suspicion and disgust.
Yunyun seemed taken aback by my statement, but she seemed at a complete loss for what to do. She had been fidgeting at the corner of my vision for some time now.
“Even if you say that…! How many adventurers do we have that are above level 20? I reckon most of the adventurers here have levels between ten and the low twenties at best. By convention, most adventurers would leave this town after hitting level 20 and move on to other towns surrounded by stronger monsters. We’d be very lucky just to have a handful of people here above level 20…”
Luna said that with a flustered expression… I can’t believe she doesn’t know about this despite being a guild staff.
Almost as if in response to my internal complaints, one of the adventurers stood up.
“I’m level 32.”
Luna let out a gasp of disbelief at those words.
As silence descended on the guild once more, another man stood up.
“Umm… I’m level 38….”
Following those two, several other adventurers stood up and announced their levels.
Most of them were above level 30, and there were even some that went past level 40.
Perhaps doubting their self-proclaimed levels, Luna went around checking everyone’s cards with a doubtful look on her face.
It only took a short time before that look was replaced with one of astonishment.
“…W-Why are all of you staying in this town even after achieving such a high level!? The monsters around here don’t provide a lot of experience points…”
It’s only natural for Luna to be surprised.
However, every man in this building knows the true reason. The reason why they stayed in this town… No, perhaps I should say, the reason why they can’t leave this town.
In response to that question, one of the adventurers scratched his head sheepishly and said.
“Isn’t it obvious? That’s because we love this town.”
Luna might be moved to the point of tears, but you can’t fool me that easily.
The adventurers who stood up are all regulars at the succubus shop! I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve met each other in the store!
The fact that everyone who stood up is a man is the ultimate proof. I’d really like to call them out on it, but I’ll probably be dragged into it if I did, so… I think I’ll keep it to myself this time.
In the completely rejuvenated guild, Luna took to her tasks in a flurry of activity.
The presence of mid-level adventurers seemed to have given her hope, and she’s currently busy splitting everyone into squads. The adventurers who already have parties remained in them, and the ones who don’t have enough members made them up from acquaintances and friends.
Soon, everyone had their own party… Except for a certain loner who remained by herself.
Needless to say, it was the embodiment of loneliness, Yunyun.
She seemed like she had nowhere to go, but she was sticking close to us like she was expecting something. She’s standing just far enough away that it’s hard to tell if she’s part of our party or not.
My companions were shooting me meaningful looks, so I had no choice but to call out to her.
“Hey, what are you doing? This isn’t your place.”
Hearing that, Yunyun’s face twisted into one of despair, and my companions widened their eyes in shock and started softly lecturing me.
Seems like my casual statement was completely unexpected to them.
“Umm… I-I’m sorry…”
Yunyun repeatedly bowed her head before slowly walking away, but I grabbed her hand before she could go too far.
I led her over to where Kazuma and his party were standing.
Yunyun gave me a confused look, seemingly not understanding what’s going on.
“In terms of combat prowess, you’re probably ranked first or second in this town, right? If a true Crimson Demon like you were to join forces with that irksome magic sword wielder, you might actually be able to face down the Demon King, don’t you think? Go hunt down that damned annoying Demon King and give him a good few blows in our place.”
“Hey, if Yunyun is a true Crimson Demon, what does that make me? Why don’t you make it clear right now?”
Someone petty in both chest size and attitude said something, but I ignored her.
“I’m a little worried just leaving these guys on their own. If it was just to get Aqua-nee-chan back, it’ll be fine, but it’s these guys we are talking about. They might end up getting dragged into fighting yet another troublesome enemy. It’d be safer to have a real Archwizard like you with them… Come now, you can cast Teleport, can’t you? If push comes to shove, you can just teleport back here on your own, no problem.”
After I said that with a smile, Yunyun looked at me with moist eyes for some reason.
Is she happy because she got a rare compliment for once?
“Hey, why don’t you tell me exactly what kind of Archwizard I am if not a real one!?”
Megumin barged in between the two of us and grabbed my shirt.
I just said the truth and this girl got mad at me!
“How are you this strong despite being so small!? Hey, stop shaking me! Don’t blame me if I puke on you!”
Don’t shake a man who has been drinking like this. I can feel the beer flowing back up into my mouth, so cut it out!
As I tried to drive Megumin off, I saw Yunyun smile in a corner of my vision.
“──I understand. I’ll be off to help Aqua-san! I-It’s only natural to help a f-friend in need…”
Oh, she made her own decision.
Seeing her smile, I couldn’t help but feel a little warm inside. For someone as shy and indecisive as her, that must have taken a lot of effort to do.
But now is not the time for that.
“Crimson Demons are a race that will never back down from a fight. Very well, I’ll take you on. Let’s take this outside!”
Megumin grabbed my shirt and started trying to drag me.
As I struggled with her, the conversation progressed without me.
I didn’t catch what exactly happened, but the Magic Sword Guy suddenly became depressed and needed to be comforted by his town hanger-ons.
That made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
“Dust-kun! Dust-kun! Look, the handsome hunk got rejected! He even extended his hand like he’s hitting on her! Seems like even hunks can get rejected!”
“Seriously? Well, that’s an interesting development!”
“Gyahahaha! Even the legendary loner knows how to pick her friends!”
As Kazuma and I broke out into raucous laughter, Yunyun blushed and said something to the two hanger-ons, but I couldn’t catch it through the laughter.
Eventually, the two hanger-ons chased me away, and I made my way back to my companions.
It seems like Kazuma and others are still discussing something, but I suppose there’s no longer any need for me to butt in.
“You know, couldn’t you not make a scene everywhere you go?”
“Did you see that hunk’s face? I haven’t laughed that much in a long time.”
I said to Lynn, and she gave me a wry smile.
Taylor and Keith were off with the other adventurers discussing plans on how to counter the Demon King.
Lynn leaned in close to my ear and whispered.
“Aren’t you going to fight the Demon King, too? If you bring Faitfore along and use your true abilities, I’m sure you’ll be of great help.”
Lynn said that because she knows how strong I am as a Dragon Knight, right?
“Probably, but being in the spotlight like that doesn’t suit me. I’m just a fool who abandoned a promising life to hang around here. Defeating the Demon King is not for me.”
Plus, there are people here that I need to protect, too.
After that, the adventurers got busy discussing strategies to repel the Demon King.
I don’t dislike these guys who are still this upbeat and optimistic despite the dire circumstances.
I drank my beer while observing their conversation. It seems like the handsome guy, his party, and Yunyun are to set off to chase after Aqua and defeat the Demon King, while Kazuma and his party are to stay back in Axel.
I don’t disagree with Kazuma’s assessment of his own capabilities, but at the same time, it doesn’t seem like him.
He might complain a lot, but my true friend is someone who would put everything on the line for the sake of his friends.
Even if Kazuma agreed, I’m even more surprised that the Explosion Girl and the Masochist Crusader agreed to go along with this. I thought they would’ve dragged him along with them even if they had to tie him up in order to do it.
“They sure are a cold-blooded bunch, huh.”
“You don’t get it.”
Lynn chuckled in response to my mutterings.
“What do you mean?”
“Why don’t you take a good look at their faces?”
I did as I was prompted, and both the Explosion Girl and the Masochist Crusader were giving Kazuma an expectant smile.
It’s been a few days since then.
The adventurers who usually laze around busied themselves with training or hunting monsters to gain levels.
According to the information that Princess Leonor gave me before she left, the Demon King’s Army sent quite a large division to attack this town.
Why would the Demon King’s Army devote so many resources against a town of novice adventurers? There are several reasons.
First off, without a town of beginners, there would be no way to raise new adventurers. In particular most of the heroes with cheat like abilities started their journey in this town.
Thus, if this town was destroyed, there would be no more new heroes. I’m sure that’s what they’re thinking.
And there’s also the factor of Kazuma’s achievements.
He’s defeated several of the Demon King’s generals, and even put down that mobile fortress Destroyer. Of course they would be wary of him.
“In that case, perhaps I should be serious, too.”
In the forests just a short distance away from town, I was training with a stick that was just a little shorter than myself.
I kicked a nearby tree and stabbed at several of the leaves that floated down.
I’ve been using a sword ever since I left my home country, but even after all this time, a spear still feels better in my hands.
“Dust is better with a spear than a sword.”
Faitfore happily said as she looked up at me while she was seated on the ground.
“Heh, don’t fall for me now.”
As I flipped my hair and spun my stick around in quick circles, Faitfore animatedly clapped her hands in joy.
“What are you doing?”
A stern voice suddenly burst into the clearing as Lynn appeared from a tree behind me.
“What, you were watching?”
“I thought it was suspicious that the two of you were sneaking out together, so I followed you, but I never expected you to be secretly out training. And here I thought you finally awakened your inner lolicon and was about to report you… Did you come down with something?”
“I told you I have no interest in brats. Ow! Hey, don’t bite me!”
I quickly refuted, and Faitfore immediately bit me on the ankle.
Dammit, don’t start eating my leg just because you’re hungry.
“I’m just working up a bit of sweat because I haven’t been active lately, that’s all.”
I thrust my stick against the ground and casually leaned against it.
“You don’t need to hide it or anything. Still, to think that even you are going that far… Isn’t this pretty bad?”
“You worry too much. There are quite a few high-leveled people in town, and we have Sir Vanir and Wiz. We’ll manage somehow.”
“Ah, right, those two are here. But Vanir is a devil, right? If he had to pick a side, wouldn’t he fall in with the Demon King’s Army?”
“Ah… Come to think of it, you’re right. Maybe we should go ask him directly.”
As I disposed of the stick that I used as a spear, Faitfore came over, clambered onto my back, and tied the piggyback rope onto me as usual. She’s gotten really good at doing that.
“Hmm? He’s not in.”
“He seems to have gone out. Where could he have gone?”
We paid a visit to Wiz’s magic item shop, only to find it empty.
Fairfore drooled the entire way here. It seems like she has been conditioned to expect a snack every time she visits here thanks to Sir Vanir’s efforts to make her feel welcome.
“Hmm, maybe Sir is keeping an eye on Wiz while she’s out shopping. Let’s come back here tomorrow.”
Just as I was about to leave, the door to the store opened.
What emerged from the store is a weird stuffed animal looking creature resembling a strange bird.
“Ah, a cute thing came outside.”
“It doesn’t look tasty at all.”
It seems like it really caught their eye, Lynn and Faitfore immediately started making a fuss.
“Are you customers? What are you looking for? Tell me if there’s anything you want.”
Contrary to his cute appearances, he sure speaks quite pompously.
The fact that it’s moving and talking means there’s someone inside of it, right?
“Oh, yeah, I heard that this store got a mascot. Is that you?”
“That’s just rude. You’re a brash and rude person. Ah, that dusky blonde hair, are you the thuggish and eternally poor adventurer that Vanir-sama was talking about?”
“It doesn’t make me angry when Sir Vanir says it, but hearing this guy say it doesn’t sit well with me.”
Hearing this stuffed toy prattle on gets on my nerves, so I vented my frustrations by kicking him a couple of times.
“How rude! Do you know who I am!?”
“You’re just an attendant at this store. And you’re wearing something weird, too. Can I pull down on this zipper? Come on, get out here!”
“Hey, stop pulling on my zipper! Cut it out! Dammit, I can’t go wild in a place that Sir Vanir has made his stronghold. Girl on his back, can you stop this boorish man?”
“Dust, there’s a weird smell coming from that zipper. It smells a lot like the guy who gives me treats.”
Faitfore pointed at the stuffed toy and frowned.
The one who gives her treats is Sir Vanir, right? If this guy smells the same, could it be…?
“Are you a devil?”
“Indeed, my name is Zereschrute. I’m a noble known as the Lord of Brutality and a devil.”
The stuffed toy arrogantly puffed out his chest.
Lord of Brutality, huh. I’ve heard that title back when I was still a knight. He was a character shrouded in mystery, but I never expected him to look like this.
“Humph, are you afraid… Why are you giving me such pitiful looks?”
“There are a lot of weirdos amongst the nobles and devils, aren’t there?”
“Considering Darkness and Vanir-san, I’ll have to agree.”
Rather than being surprised, this just affirmed my view on them.
Well, there is a shop run by a masked devil. I guess it wouldn’t be unexpected for there to be a devil wearing a mascot suit as part of the nobility.
“Well, whatever. Anyway, Lord of Whatever, where did Sir Vanir and Wiz go?”
“Your attitude remains unchanged even after knowing my identity. I don’t know if I should praise you… The two of them accompanied a young man named Kazuma to the dungeon. They said they’ll be away for a few days.”
They went out with Kazuma at such a time?
“What did Kazuma go out to do?”
“I don’t mind telling you, but I am a devil. There will have to be some terms agreed to if you want that information. Indeed, as a devil, the emotions I like the most are──”
I silently grabbed Zereschrute’s head, forced him to bend over, and slightly opened his zipper.
“Let your saliva drip into this.”
Faitfore let her accumulated drool that she has been holding back since she expected a snack here spill out into Zereschrute.
“Cut it out! It’s getting everywhere… Ugaaah!? It hurts! Why does this saliva feel so hot!?”
Zereschrute tore himself away from me and rolled on the floor in pain.
I was going to laugh at his exaggerated reaction, but then I remembered something.
Fairfore is a White Dragon, which is a creature with sacred attributes. It wouldn’t be surprising if her saliva has sacred attributes, too.
To a devil, this might be even more painful than getting doused with boiling water.
After spending quite a bit of time rolling around on the floor, the stuffed mascot shakily got to his feet.
“What a scary human. To think that you would have a White Dragon at your beck and call… Okay, okay, I’ll tell you, just keep that girl away from me. I recall them saying something about helping the young man level up.”
Ah, I see. He told that pretty boy in the tavern that he’ll leave Aqua to him, but he actually intends to chase after her after he’s gotten stronger. It’s just like Kazuma to be this dishonest.
If Sir Vanir is helping him, that probably means that he has no intention of helping the Demon King’s Army.
“Sorry for disturbing you. Right, let’s go home.”
I got what I came here for, so I headed to leave, but Zereschrute grabbed me by the sleeve.
“Hold on a moment…”
Crap. I got taken in by his ridiculous appearance, but he is a devil, too. Did he lose his top over what happened earlier?
I placed a hand on my sword and took a step in front of Lynn, but Zereschrute simply stepped aside and pointed one of his wings towards his back.
“If you are leaving, could you please take that girl along with you?”
That girl would be referring to Loli Succubus, sitting in the corner of the store despondently muttering “Vanir-sama isn’t here, Vanir-sama isn’t here…” to herself, right?
Lynn decided to head back to the guild first, so I decided to carry Loli Succubus back to the Succubus shop by myself.
“So what were you doing there?”
“I longed for Vanir-sama’s scent, so I went to the store to help out, only to be told that he won’t be in town for a while.”
This girl pays a visit to that store almost every day. Sir Vanir has no interest in romance, so he treats her fairly cold, but I suppose I can praise her determination for not letting that get her down at all.
“Both Sir and Wiz are out training with Kazuma.”
“Is it true that the Demon King’s Army is targeting this town?”
“How do you know about that? Luna told us it was strictly forbidden to spread the news outside the guild to avoid worrying the residents.”
Don’t tell me… she has a connection to the Demon King’s Army?
I’ve gotten so used to living in this town that it completely slipped my mind, but Succubi are devils as well. It wouldn’t be surprising for them to favour the Demon King’s Army over us humans.
“Why are you looking so scary all of a sudden? You’re not thinking anything weird, are you? I’ve had a few of my regulars tell me ‘I’ll protect you even if the Demon King’s Army attacks us, so can you please give me a discount?’ or something like that, that’s all.”
So it’s because some people wanted to look cool in front of the succubi.
“Sigh~, they really are hopeless people.”
“So it really is true.”
“…Yeah, it is. What are you guys planning to do? Wouldn’t it be dangerous for you guys to oppose the Demon King’s Army?”
“Hmm. We are not part of the Demon King’s Army. All the Succubi say they’ll stay in town. If Vanir-sama tells us to support the Demon King’s Army, we’ll obey, but I don’t think he’ll order us to do something like that.”
She tilted her head with a finger on her cheek.
It doesn’t seem like she’s lying.
Honestly, I’m glad that the succubi are staying in town. All those high-level adventurers who are in town mostly stayed here because of the Succubus shop.
If the succubi choose to side with the Demon King’s Army, I’m sure more than a few of them would decide to switch teams.
“Do you think we have any chance of winning?”
While I’m still carrying her, Loli Succubus gave me a serious look.
“Hmm, I wonder.”
Having received the information from Princess Leonor beforehand, I know that the Demon King’s Army is planning to send a sizable force towards us, so I can’t be optimistic about our chances.
“For you to make such a serious face, it seems like this situation really is grave. But…”
Saying that, she closed her mouth and looked up at me.
“W-What is it?”
“But, Dust-san will protect us, won’t you?”
Saying that, Loli Succubus gave me a reassuring smile.
I put her down and patted her on the head.
“Who knows. If you’re scared, you should go hide somewhere.”
“You say that, but you are going to do it anyway, right? You cheeky little.”
Stop poking me with your elbow.
“Yeah, yeah, say whatever you want.”
“Right, I’ll do that.”
After escorting Loli Succubus to her store, I decided to take a walk down the main street, and my eyes met with the owner of a certain general goods store.
“Give me money.”
“You’re being way too abrupt! Can’t you say anything else?”
I told him in a simple and straightforward manner, but he lost his temper for some reason.
Normally, I would’ve dropped by to pick up the goods that he couldn’t sell, but I would always have to sell them off eventually, so I thought I’d be polite and skip the middleman this time.
“Sigh, you’re still the same as ever. Aren’t all you adventurers supposed to be busy right now?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Isn’t the Demon King’s Army targeting this town?”
Wait, the old man knows about it too? Whatever happened to keeping it under wraps?
“Where did you hear that from? You’re not trying to spread some scary information in order to drive up the price of weapons and food, are you? …No, wait, that actually sounds like a good idea.”
A good idea popped out of my mouth.
“Hey, don’t slander me. Information is vital to a salesman like me. Serious happenings like this spread almost instantly through everyone in the business.”
It kinda irks me how he’s stroking his chin and lording that information over me. Still, what kind of secret is this supposed to be? Just about everyone I run into already knows about it.
“Sigh. Well, there’s no point in hiding it from you. Yeah, that seems to be the case. Are you planning on packing up and running?”
“Don’t make fun of me. How much do you think I went through in order to open this shop? This is the castle that my late wife and I worked through sweat and tears to create! The Demon King’s Army aren’t customers, so I see no reason not to chase them all out.”
He flexed his muscular biceps and let out a fearless laugh.
It doesn’t seem like he has any intention of running away.
“You know, old man, you might end up losing your life here.”
“I don’t need a young man like you to remind me. Sure, life is precious, but everyone has things that are more important than life, right?”
He naturally said that, it doesn’t seem like he’s putting on a brave act for my sake.
“Well, it’s none of my business anyways, so just do as you wish.”
“Yeah, I’ll do as I wish… Hey, Dust.”
“Take this with you.”
Saying that, he tossed a spear towards me.
“What are you thinking? I don’t use a spear. And this is a pretty good weapon… If you’re giving it to me, I’ll take it, but don’t ask for it back. I’ll find a place to sell this and have some fun with the ladies tonight!”
“I gave it to you, so you can do whatever you want with it.”
Normally he would be yelling at me, but he’s not even offering a single complaint this time.
“You’re more used to using that than a sword, aren’t you?”
This old man likes to boast about being an amazing adventurer. I guess he wasn’t lying about that.
“Just don’t regret it later.”
“I won’t… I’m expecting great things from you.”
As I shouldered the spear and prepared to leave, those unexpected words from the old man made me turn back in a panic.
But the old man simply waved at me before disappearing back into the store.
Afterwards, I paid a visit to the bars and gambling establishments that I frequented whenever I had money to spend, and found that almost everyone knew about the Demon King’s Army’s attack.
Even when I passed by the police station, one of the officers called out to me, saying “Dust, please do your best to protect this town.”
They normally chase me around like a dog running down a meal, so hearing them say that now kinda gives me the creeps.
In the end, most of the residents already know about the Demon King’s Army’s attack, but not a single one of them are making preparations to escape, and all of them seem intent on staying here.
“Everyone is saying they won’t run away.”
Faitfore said as we sat down on a bench by the park to let Faitfore finish off the sticks of roasted meat that a dewy-eyed street merchant handed over to her.
“This town is just full of easy-going idiots. They do say that the only cure for idiocy is death. Or was it that even death can’t cure idiocy?”
“Dust, you’re not running away?”
Faitfore probably asked that question with no ill intent, but hearing it caused me to stiffen up.
Come to think of it, I could run away too.
That option never even crossed my mind until now. I went around asking everyone if they are planning to run for it, but I never realized that it was an option for me as well.
“Well, I’m an idiot just like them, I guess.”
I stood up from the bench and rested my hand on the sword hanging from my waist.
“You are my Knight, so from now on, don’t use your spear unless it’s to protect me or someone you really want to protect. Do your best with that sword instead.”
That was the promise I made with Leonor when we parted.
For the sake of someone I really want to protect.
That would of course be Lynn.
And I suppose I could add my friends, companions… And all the lovable idiots who live in this town to that list.
In the plains a short distance away from town, I stood across from Keith and Taylor with my weapon── a spear, in hand.
“Why the sudden change of heart, Dust?”
“I can’t believe you of all people would ask us to train with you. And why a spear?”
The two of them didn’t even bother to raise their weapons, instead barraging me with complaints.
Lynn and Faitfore were seated on a nearby rock. It seems like they only intend to observe us.
“I want to retrain myself in preparation for the Demon King’s Army’s attack.”
“That spirit is admirable, but can I really take it at face value?”
“Don’t be fooled so easily, Taylor. I’m sure you know by observing Dust’s daily activities that he is not a man to be admired. And seriously, why a spear?”
Taylor crossed his arms and nodded in response to Keith’s words.
“Did you commit a crime so grave that you have no choice but to silence us under the guise of training? It pains me to say this, but as your companion I shall have to put a stop to you right now.”
Hey, don’t raise your shield and sword now!
“It’s regrettable to do this to a friend, but this is for the sake of the world and everyone in it. By the way, did they already put a bounty on your head?”
Don’t cry crocodile tears while nocking your bow!
“What are you talking about!? Don’t make me sound like a vicious criminal without proof!”
They just keep thinking about worse and worse things. Just what is with that imagination of theirs?
“I really want to regain my skills with a spear. And there’s also a few things I need to talk to you about.”
Lynn already knows, but I haven’t yet revealed my past to Taylor and Keith.
The reason why I have a spear in my hand and my past.
And Faitfore’s secret.
I decided to tell these two everything.
“Taylor, Keith, please listen to me.”
I told the two of them about my past, Faitfore’s true identity, and everything else that seemed related.
The two of them listened to me without a single word, only to let out a huge sigh at the very end.
I prepared myself for any responses they might have, but they stayed silent. Their expressions also seemed the same as usual, without a hint of surprise at all.
“Don’t you guys have anything to say?”
“I’m just thinking that you finally came clean with it.”
“Actually, did you really think you kept it a secret all this time?”
These guys knew about my past all this time?
“Since when did you know?”
“Well, I’ve always had some inkling, but it’s only until recently that I became certain of it. You seem just like a regular old hoodlum right now, but back when we first met, you had the air of a well-educated person. There were quite a few rumours about you being a former knight or a runaway nobleman.”
“Yeah, that’s it. And your way of speaking was weird, too. It’s quite obvious that you’re forcing yourself to speak this way. Plus it’s really suspicious how bad your skills with a sword are despite your high physical stats.”
So they already knew about the secret that I tried so hard to hide from them.
Sometimes I wonder why I even bother trying.
“So, what you just told me is not entirely a surprise… Though, the fact that you were that rumoured Dragon Knight really was outside my expectations. As for Faitfore… There’s no way a normal young girl would be able to eat that much food.”
“Yeah. There’s something just fundamentally strange with that appetite of hers. Plus, she did show up just as the White Dragon sighting rumours started flying around town.”
I felt a little relieved that I was worried over nothing, but there’s still a little bit of grumpiness within my heart. Sure, it’s great that they accepted my explanation easily, but if I knew this would happen, I would’ve just come clean at the start.
“Sigh~. Well, I guess it’s a good thing that you two are so quick to accept it.”
I felt much lighter after letting out a sigh, as if all the guilt and weariness I felt for hiding things from my companions vanished at once.
“Dust, we are companions. That much I’m sure of.”
“Yeah, so there’s no need to hide all this stuff from us.”
Companions, huh. Yeah, I suppose. I should put a little more faith in them from now on.
“So, you already knew about when Lynn and Princess Leonor swapped places?”
At those words, their expressions changed drastically into ones of complete shock as they twisted to look at Lynn.
“Eh? Y-Yeah, of course. There’s no way we could mistake one of our companions for someone else. Right, Keith?”
“O-Of course. Doesn’t that go without saying?”
The two of them gave me a very suspicious smile as they let out a forced laugh.
“Oh? Then tell me when we were switched. You’re my companions, so I’m sure you know that much, right?”
Lynn stepped in, asking the two of them with a wide smile on her face.
“That’s an easy question to answer. Keith, I’ll let you do the honours.”
“Hey, don’t dump it onto me just because you don’t know the answer!”
“Come on, hurry up an answer~!”
Lynn jumped off the boulder, and approached the two of them with a wide smile.
Oh the other hand, the other two slowly backed away.
Taking in the entire scene, and Faitfore who was lazily gazing at them from the side.
I couldn’t help but break out into laughter.
I was prepared to be cast out of the party upon revealing my past to them, but I never expected such an outcome.
“Stop laughing and placate Lynn already!”
“Oh, fine. Come here, I’ll give you a warm hug, so let them off… That was close! Don’t just start blasting magic at me! I could’ve died!”
Facing Lynn who was slowly approaching with her staff in hand, the three of us struggled to use each other as human shields.
“I could tell right away. After all, your chest──”
“You’re not thinking stuff like ‘the imposter has bigger breasts’ or ‘having great assets sure is a sign of elegance’, are you?”
“Not at all!” x3
We frantically blurted out one excuse after another until Lynn lowered her staff.
After that, I started training with my companions.
“Pant, pant… You fight like a completely different person.”
Taylor, his butt flat on the ground, said between breaths as he tried to regain his composure.
A short distance away, Keith threw his empty quiver to the side as he collapsed to the ground.
“Seriously, not even a single arrow hit?”
I soundly defeated the both of them, but I’m not satisfied with that.
When I put my all into fighting with a spear, it’s clear to me that my skills have regressed. Sure, I’m more agile and my blows hit harder than if I was wielding a sword, but it’s a far cry from when I was in my prime.
“Keith, Taylor, thanks. You guys really helped me out a lot. Right, Faitfore, why don’t we take a walk and go for a little training in the meantime.”
It’d be pathetic for a Dragon Knight to not be able to ride a dragon.
Lynn hurriedly rushed in front of Faitfore as she enthusiastically started taking off her clothes, blocking her from our sight.
“Hey, turn around.”
I don’t have the slightest bit of interest in a little girl’s body, but the last time I said that, Faitfore bit me, so I quietly turned my back to her.
“It’s fine now.”
Turning back around, I saw a large White Dragon before me, with Lynn seated on her back.
“Hey, why is Lynn riding on her?”
“It’s fine, isn’t it? She’d get more practice with two people riding on her than one. Now, come on, hurry up and get on.”
She’s saying some reasonable things, but I bet she’s just looking forward to taking flight again after that nighttime flight she had a while back.
“Oh, fine. It’ll be a little heavier than usual, is that okay?”
I said as I stroked Faitfore’s neck, and she rubbed her face against me. Seems like she’s fine with it.
I sat in front of Lynn, and she wrapped her arms around my waist.
“We’ll be flying around for a while, so you two get some rest.”
“I see. Then I’ll take you up on your offer.”
“Take as much time as you need. I’ll go take a nap.”
Taylor and Keith lay on the ground as they waved me off.
Faitfore flapped her wings, and my body was overcome with a feeling of weightlessness as we started rapidly ascending.
“It was dark out the other day, so I didn’t really notice, but this is actually quite scary, isn’t it?”
Lynn suddenly tightened her hug on me, pressing her body against mine. I could feel her breasts hitting my back, but… If only she had a greater volume…
“You were thinking of something rude just now, right?”
“Don’t strangle me! If we fall, you’ll die too!”
I almost fell off, but I managed to regain my position in time.
We quickly gained altitude to avoid anyone seeing us from the ground, but then I noticed something flying ahead of us. Several somethings, in fact.
“What is that? Lynn, can you see it?”
“Eh? Where is it?”
I pointed it out to her, and she narrowed her eyes.
“Hmm, all I can see is a dot.”
“Should we get closer?”
Those things were flying lower than us, so we can probably afford to get closer without them seeing us.
As we got closer, it became clear that it wasn’t a flock of birds.
“It’s… A winged human?”
“It’s probably some manner of devil.”
It has large, black, bat-like wings, the same as the ones on the Succubi or the demon Perrier that I fought against just the other day.
“Don’t you think it’s strange for there to be a bunch of devils flying all the way out here?”
“Yeah. Could they be scouts from the Demon King’s Army?”
In large scale battles, information is just as, no, more important than combat ability.
The importance of good information was drilled into me by my captain back when I was still a knight.
“Food can be obtained on the road, and lack of strength can be made up for by strategy, but it’s vitally important to obtain good information in advance. After all, in order to acquire food or develop good strategy, one must first have good information. Don’t forget that.”
He made such a deep impression on me that I can still remember every word.
Should I wipe them out here?
There are few enough that we can take them on if we pounce on them from the sky. Plus, we have Lynn’s magic with us.
No, wait, taking them out here might not be the best course of action. If they don’t return, it would just raise the guard of the Demon King’s Army, and they would send out scouting parties in greater numbers.
“So, what should we do?”
“If they are part of the Demon King’s Army, I wouldn’t mind taking this chance to reduce their forces, but there is the chance that they are simply unrelated stray devils.”
“Stray devils… Well, there are devils like Vanir-san, so I suppose…”
Plus, it’s not exactly normal for Succubi to coexist with people like in Axel. There are a lot of weirdos amongst both nobles and devils, so it’s hard to completely dismiss this possibility.
It’s not like we can just go “Sorry, we mistook you for devils” if we attack them by mistake.
“But if they are part of the Demon King’s Army, it would be dangerous to make contact with them, right?”
“Yeah… If only there’s a way to know who they are… Ah.”
I thought of a way to make contact with them without raising their suspicions.
I instructed Faitfore to turn back, and we took a long detour to make sure we weren’t discovered as we made our way back to Taylor and Keith.
“Oh, they’re back already.”
“Hey, come on, it might be more refreshing in the sky, but even so, aren’t you a little too quick──”
Ignoring Keith who got blown away by Lynn’s magic, I once again took to the skies.
“I’ll find a way to take care of them, you go back ahead of me.”
“I got it, I’ll explain things to them.”
After letting Lynn dismount, I flew back towards the devils… No, back towards Axel.
“Hey~. Is Lolisa here~!?”
After reaching the Succubus shop, I started calling for Loli Succubus while searching for her.
“Oh, Dust-sama. Are you looking for that girl?”
The manager succubus walked over to me, her body oozing with sexuality.
Unlike Loli Succubus, all the right parts of her are filled to bursting, and every single one of her movements gave off an erotic impression.
“She wasn’t at the magic item shop, so I thought she might be around here, but I don’t see her around at all.”
I did take a look around the store, but all I saw were Succubi with bountiful bodies that made me want to jump on them. There wasn’t a single hint of that shrimpy body around.
“Well, you came in at just the right time. She’s been in a state of depression ever since Vanir-sama left town. We can’t work with her like this, so please take her with you.”
The manager called Loli Succubus over, and she looked like she had the life sucked out of her. She constantly sighed and barely raised her head from the ground.
“You look really out of it.”
“If I don’t see Vanir-sama and take in his scent at least once a day, I lose the drive to do anything.”
“Isn’t Sir Vanir’s body made out of dirt? Just go take in the smell of the dirt outside.”
“Don’t compare Vanir-sama’s body to common dirt!”
No, it is just common dirt.
Sir Vanir told me before. Only the mask is actually part of his true body, the rest of it is just formed out of whatever dirt that happens to be nearby.
“Anyway, I need your help with something. You’re not doing anything else, right?”
“No way. I don’t feel like moving or doing anything today.”
She turned her face to the side and puffed out her cheeks, flatly refusing me.
She really is a troublesome girl.
“I’ll give you something that will perk you right up, so don’t say that.”
“I’m not falling for your tricks anymore. Like that time you lied to me about that cup that Vanir-sama used. Ah, right, what happened to the manju with Vanir-sama’s seal on it that you promised me before!?”
She really has a talent for remembering useless things.
I always have to come up with some random lie to convince her, and she’s really making me work for it.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry. This time it really is a one hundred percent genuine item that Sir Vanir used.”
Her face was pointed away from me, but her eyes swiveled to look my way.
“This item is a must have for any fan of Sir Vanir.”
I pulled out a pair of boxers from my pocket. The moment I did so, Loli Succubus leapt up to it and started intensely looking it over.
“You can’t fool me that… I can smell a familiar scent from this. It smells just like Sir Vanir!”
It’s a little creepy to see her fawn over it with such intensity.
Still, I managed to fool her. I simply got these boxers from one of the stores on the main street and rubbed it in the dirt in the yard of the magic item shop.
“Oh, fine, I’ll help you just this once. Don’t think I’m a cheap woman.”
It’d be a little more convincing if she wasn’t carefully wrapping the pair of boxers in her handkerchief before placing it in her pocket.
“So, anyway, what did you want my help with?”
“Ah, well, you see──”
“So I just have to talk to some suspicious looking devils, right?”
“Pretty much. And if they are part of the Demon King’s Army, can you get more details out of them?”
“It’s fine, we’re good at getting stories from our customers. Plus, we owe quite a bit to the people of this town, so this is just a small way I can repay them.”
She puffed up her chest with a confident look.
When I think of how she was just a moment ago, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy, but right now I have no choice but to leave it in her hands.
I got onto Faitfore who was hiding in the forest in her dragon form, and for some reason, Loli Succubus got on behind me too.
“Hey, you can fly on your own, can’t you?”
“There’s a large difference between Faitfore’s speed and my speed. Plus, I always wanted to ride a dragon. Now, let’s set off.”
I told Loli Succubus who was excitedly waving her arms around to hold on tight before giving Faitfore the signal to ascend at top speed.
“Waaah! It’s too fast! My butt kinda hurts if I sit on her, so I have to float, but I don’t think I’ll be able to fly on my own after experiencing this.”
Is this why you wrapped your legs around my waist?
“Stop shaking! It’s dangerous!”
The voice coming from behind me is annoying.
The reason why her butt hurts is probably because of Faitfore’s sacred attribute. It probably doesn’t sit very well with devils.
“Oh, I can see them.”
I slowed down and observed the group of flying devils from a distance.
Their bat-like wings resembled that of Loli Succubus, but they seem to be all men.
“Do you know what kind of devils they are?”
Loli Succubus spat under her breath while making a disgusted face. It doesn’t seem like she gets along with them.
“Incubi are the male version of Succubi, right?”
I recall hearing about them being creatures that suck essence from women instead of men like the Succubi.
“Don’t compare me to them! Incubi are the natural foe of all succubi! Sure, we are both dream demons, but they are all creepy narcissists who have an overly inflated opinion of themselves. Just seeing them makes my skin crawl!”
Her face turned bright red as she worked herself up during her rant. It seems like she really dislikes them.
She gets along with just about anyone other than Axis Cultists, so it’s really surprising to see her show such spite and disgust towards someone.
“So I guess going up to talk to them is out of the question. Alright, I guess I’ll think of something else.”
“No, I’ll do it. Please let me do it!”
I thought she would’ve lost her motivation, but she instead said that with a look of determination in her eyes.
“Well, aren’t you motivated. What’s up?”
“I once lost a customer to a cross-dressing incubus… He told me that he liked cute girls like me, but he went ‘Not a boyish-looking girl, but an actual boy!? That is exactly what I’ve been looking for!’ and tossed me aside! Can you believe that!? It’s ridiculous, isn’t it!? I’ll never forget that humiliation! Unforgivable, unforgivable, unforgivable…”
She clenched her fist and started muttering under her breath like she was trying to cast some kind of curse.
It sounds like I’d be better off not prying too deeply into that.
Still, at this rate, she might end up marching up to them and hurling insults into their faces. I should try and lighten her mood a little.
“I-I see. That guy has a really poor eye for people. No matter how you look at it, you’re far more charming. If it was me, I would’ve chosen you in a heartbeat.”
“Ehehe, right? You do get it.”
Her mood instantly improved and she shyly started tracing circles around her cheek with her finger.
Between Yunyun and her, it feels like I’m surrounded by nothing but easily fooled people. Ah, though, I guess that doesn’t apply to Lynn.
“Oh, they landed and seem to be taking a break. If you want to talk to them, now’s your chance.”
“Okay. Oh, Dust-san, please come together with me.”
“Why? Wouldn’t they be on guard if a human like me was with you?”
“It’s fine. I’ll handle that part, leave it to me.”
Seeing her this confident somehow made me even more uneasy, but since I’ve already decided to leave it to her, I have no choice but to trust her with this.
We landed some distance away in order to avoid their attention, and Faitfore turned back into her human form and crawled onto my back as usual.
Then we approached where the Incubus have set up camp, with me standing a short distance behind Loli Succubus.
As we got closer, I managed to get a clear look at them for the first time, but, really, what the hell are they?
They had overly lush and thick hair, they had piercings dangling from their ears, and despite looking clearly male, their faces were caked with makeup. They even had eye shadow.
They wore black suits without a tie. The shirt that they wore underneath were garishly coloured, and had a large gap at the chest area, exposing them for everyone to see. Seeing a man’s bare bosom doesn’t make me happy at all.
They had several rings on their fingers, and the way they constantly caught the sun is kinda annoying.
After landing on the ground, their wings have disappeared, making them look just like ordinary people at first glance.
“Um, what are you all doing here?”
Loli Succubus fearlessly approached and called out to them, despite them being totally suspicious by any metric.
“Oh, hey, aren’t you a cute little thing. Is there something you want with us?”
He glanced at me, but completely ignored me. It seems like they just aren’t interested in men. Well, I suppose I can’t get too angry about that.
“…Umm, I’m just wondering what you are all doing here…”
“Well, we are just taking a break under the shade of this tree, my pretty little bird.”
I think I felt a chill go down my spine.
Can’t you guys say anything without wildly gesturing? And stop flipping your needlessly long bangs every time you talk. If it’s getting in the way, then just cut it off.
“Is that so?”
To think that she would be able to keep smiling despite facing a bunch of guys whose very existence is annoying, I must really hand it to Loli Succubus.
“By the way. You are all incubi, right?”
She said while tilting her head, and all the incubi suddenly stood up at once.
Oh, their smiles are completely gone from their faces. So they can put on a serious look when they want to.
I took a few steps forward and put myself in front of Loli Succubus.
“Oh, wow, that’s so cool──. I wonder, just what are you thinking coming up to talk to us despite knowing our true identities?”
Bat wings sprouted out from their backs all at once. It seems like they have abandoned any attempts to keep their identities secret.
“There’s no need to be so alarmed. I’m a devil too.”
Loli Succubus stepped to the side and turned around, showing off the bat-like wings on her back.
“Oh! If you’re part of the same business, you should’ve told us earlier.”
The tense atmosphere disappeared in an instant.
When he made two finger guns and winked at her while saying “Oh, you’re such a bad girl”, it made me almost want to puke.
“Are you heading towards the town of Axel?”
“Yeah. We have a little job there.”
“Could you be scouting the place in preparation for the attack?”
“Hmm? Well now, that’s a top secret even amongst the Demon King’s Army, so how do you know about it?”
Their tone remained light, but their eyes suddenly narrowed.
There were a few of them who started reaching for the daggers at their waist.
“Well, you see, I’m also sneaking into Axel to gather intelligence.”
“Hmm? But the man next to you is a human, right?”
“Yes, indeed. He’s a collaborator with the Demon King’s Army.”
If you’re going to come up with such a back story, you should tell me in advance. If you suddenly spring that on me, all I can do is just smile.
And I doubt they’ll believe such an obviously made up cover story.
“Come on, look at his flippant face. He really does look like a traitor, doesn’t he?”
“Ah, that’s true. Is the child on his back camouflage too? Not bad.”
“You really like money, don’t you?”
“I get you, I get you. You might be wearing clothes, but you’re nothing but a pig underneath.”
I’ll kill these guys later.
I really don’t like how they believed it so easily, but for now I’ll have to be patient.
“Incidentally, I’m a subordinate of Vanir-sama.”
“Eh, you’re talking about that Vanir-sama, right? The same one who pulled all kinds of pranks at the Demon King’s castle and gave the Demon King nothing but headaches, right? I heard he was demoted… I really feel for you.”
He used his original way of speaking for a moment there. Still, I can’t believe Sir Vanir used to pull that kind of stuff at the Demon King’s castle, too.
Kazuma told me that Sir Vanir used to be a General of the Demon King while we were sharing a few cups together, but I thought he was exaggerating and dismissed it. I can’t believe it was actually true.
If I recall, he’s working at Wiz’s store because he wants a dungeon of his own and is saving up for that, right?
“Then, shall we exchange some information?”
I feigned an air of disinterest as I listened in on the conversation.
Thanks to Loli Succubus who’ve spent years training her conversation skills while working in the service industry, we managed to gain quite a fair bit of useful information.
In short, the Incubi, who had the most experience with humans and could easily pass themselves off as humans, were chosen to be the scouting part.
While it’s true that they look close enough to humans, their eccentric dress sense and mannerisms meant that there’s no way they can ever blend in.
Still, this is worse that I anticipated.
According to them, the Demon King’s Army dispatched far more forces to Axel than I expected.
Not only did they have an impressive amount of forces at their disposal, but they also sent out these guys to obtain detailed information about Axel in advance. It seems like the person in charge of the army is no fool.
And it would become far worse if they were alerted and reinforced. If they successfully managed to scout out Axel, they’ll be put on guard… No wait, will they be on guard if they know how Axel really is like?
Adventurers who start drinking and partying in the middle of the day.
And the free and spirited inhabitants who wouldn’t lose out to those adventurers.
Plus there’s the Axis Cultists led by Aqua-nee-chan who go around doing whatever they want, causing trouble and being disliked by everyone.
…Wouldn’t letting them see that actually cause them to lower their guard?
“Um, if you don’t mind, I can show you around the town of Axel. I know that town inside and out, ehehehe.”
After they finished talking, I interjected while rubbing my hands together, but Loli Succubus looked at me in confusion.
“Eh? Really? That’ll help a lot! Thanks!”
The incubus replied in a frivolous tone, accompanied with exaggerated body movements.
Ah, I really want to punch him in his face.
“Hold on, Dust-san.”
Loli Succubus pulled on my clothes and dragged me aside.
Once we’ve gotten a fair distance away, she pulled on my ear and whispered.
“What are you thinking?! Why are you helping the enemy!?”
“Don’t yell in my ear! Think about it. Rather than letting them wander around as they will, wouldn’t it be better for us to guide them around?”
“You mean only letting them see stuff that would put them off their guard, right? …Well, it is true. You really did think it through for once.”
“There’s no need to say ‘for once’, but yes. If you ask the other succubi for help, we should be able to avoid giving them information they shouldn’t know.”
“I see. Okay, I’ll go speak to my coworkers and senpais!”
“I’m counting on you.”
Hopefully, this will make the Demon King’s Army lower their guard.
I left dealing with the Incubi to Loli Succubus and returned to the Adventurer’s guild.
After locating Lynn and the others who went back before me, I joined them at the table.
“Oh, you’re back. What happened to the Devils?”
“I’ve taken care of that. Oh, and I heard some really bad information──”
I gave them an abridged version of what happened while leaving out anything that has to do with Succubi.
When I told them that the forces of the Demon King’s Army are far larger than we expected, they gave me wide eyed looks.
“Hey, isn’t this bad?”
Keith muttered under her breath, but none of us replied.
It’s probably because all of us are thinking the same thing.
“We might have a few adventurers above level 30, but even so we really don’t have that much combat power. Wouldn’t this be pretty tough?”
“I agree with Taylor. It might be impossible to simply rely on adventurers alone.”
Taylor and Lynn both said with serious tones.
“Even if you say that, we don’t exactly have a lot of other options. There’s the guards and the cops, but they aren’t particularly strong and there are very few of them. Someone strong enough to fight on par with adventurers…”
“It’d be reassuring if we could get Vanir-san and Wiz-san on our side.”
I did pay a visit to the magic item shop to make sure, but they happened to be out at the time.
I don’t think they’ll fight against us, but it’s unclear if they will actively help us. Wiz will probably be willing to do it, but Vanir is a former Demon King’s general, after all.
“I wonder. I have high hopes for Sir, but I can’t read his mind.”
Even after spending so much time at his side, I still have no idea what goes through his head.
I do know he loves the dark emotions that humans produce when they experience disappointment, but that’s about it.
“In that case, the only thing we can do is get stronger, but there’s a limit as to how many levels I can gain in such a short period of time. We might be able to level up faster if we had the weakest class like Kazuma, but for us, getting one or two levels would probably be the limit.”
“It’s just as you said, Dust. If only there’s a way for us to suddenly become stronger in a snap.”
Taylor’s words caused us to cross our arms and sigh.
Raising our levels would be the best option, but I doubt we’ll be able to gain that much power in such a short time.
In this situation where we had nothing to do but worry, Lynn suddenly looked up from the floor and stared at me.
“But, even if it is impossible for us, can’t Dust do it? If he can get back his strength as a Dragon Knight?”
Hearing that, Taylor and Keith suddenly turned to look at me.
“Oh, yeah, training Dust up is our shortcut to victory.”
“Leaving everything to Dust doesn’t sit well with me, but it seems like that is the only way.”
Normally I would’ve flatly turned them down because it’s too troublesome, but this time is different. If I could regain my former strength, it might open up a path to victory.
“Alright, leave it to me! I’ll endure any sort of training you send my way!”
I put on a strong front in order to inspire my companions.
“What kind of training would be best, I wonder? A painful course that leaves you one step away from death would probably be best.”
Why are you suddenly saying such dangerous things out of the blue?
“Ah, how about we throw him into some dangerous dungeon somewhere. He probably won’t die with a spear in hand. Yeah, that could work.”
Why are these guys saying such callous things like it’s none of their business?
“No, wait, we should think about this seriously. If we want him to regain his strength, the best way to do so would be to fight against large numbers. However, if he’s going up against weaklings, it wouldn’t be much good as training.”
Oh, as expected of Taylor. He’s the only one who has given a proper suggestion.
“So we need an enemy that’s fairly strong, numerous, and is also something Dust will fight against to his last breath. If only there was such a convenient enemy…”
“Would there even be a foe that would fit all those requirements? But, well, as long as Dust is willing to fight them, the rest should fall into place. You’ll be fine with anything that’s humanoid and looks pretty enough, right?”
“Oh, you do get me.”
As I nod in complete agreement, Lynn glared at me.
“Female monsters that come in large numbers… Ah, I just thought of something.”
Keith clapped his hands together before whispering in Taylor and Lynn’s ear.
After hearing it, their faces lit straight up and they started nodding in agreement.
“Oh, that’s a really good idea, Keith!”
“Yeah, yeah, it fills all the conditions!”
“Hey, don’t just keep it amongst yourself, tell me too. It’s just making me more curious.”
“Oh, you’ll know when you get there.”
The wide smiles the three of them gave me made me even more concerned, but they wouldn’t tell me anything more no matter how often I asked.
My instincts are telling me this is a dangerous place to be.
I silently slipped my chair back.
“Oh, I just remembered I have something important to attend to. Seeya.”
I hurriedly tried to get up, but Keith and Taylor grabbed me by the shoulders before I could leave.
“Where do you think you’re going? Didn’t you say you’ll endure any sort of training?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll meet with the female monsters you like so much. And she’ll have huge tits too.”
“Isn’t that great, Dust?”
“Who would believe that!? And stop talking to me in that fake gentle tone! Faitfore, stop eating and help me!”
I called out to my partner, who had been busy filling her belly this entire time, for help.
She glanced in my direction and looked like she was about to stand up, but Lynn slid her dessert in front of her, and she instantly sat back down.
“Don’t let your appetite get the better of you! H-Hey, why are you approaching with that rope!? Come on, let’s talk this out calmly, yeah? C-Come on!”
My companions ignored my words entirely, and soon I was tied up and being airlifted to the destination.
As I swayed in the wind, I could see the plains flying past below me.
We flew along at speeds far surpassing that of any carriage, and Axel quickly disappeared from view.
Did Princess Leonor see the same scenery when she was strung up like this?
“Umm, say, can’t you untie me now?”
“No way. If we untie you, you’d run away.”
“Where would I run to!?”
Right now, I’m currently tied up as we flew through the sky.
To be more specific, I’m currently hanging from a rope attached to Faitfore’s neck.
Lynn is the only one riding on Faitfore’s back.
Having Taylor and Keith along would be too heavy for Faitfore, so Lynn was the only one who came along. They were looking at Fatifore enviously as we left.
…Seems like they really wanted to ride her.
“Yeah, this wind feels good.”
I tried to enjoy the situation in order to escape the reality of the situation, but that didn’t change anything at all.
“Hmm? This scenery looks familiar.”
“Of course it would. You’ve come here before.”
Hmm? I’ve been here before?
We flew in a straight line ever since we left Axel… Ah, right, if we go in this direction, we’ll reach…
“Did you forget? If we keep heading in this direction, we’ll reach Alcanretia.”
“Pfft!? H-Hey, are you serious? What business do you have bringing me to the headquarters of the Axis Cultists?”
I have nothing but bad memories of that city.
Between the aggressive recruitment efforts and the chaos that Sir Vanir caused, I have no desire to go back to that city filled with nothing but crazies!
“Let me down! I’d rather die than go to that city again!”
There’s no way I would come out unscathed if I fell from this height, but it’s better than going to that city.
As I flailed around with that in mind, my body suddenly descended towards the ground.
“If you want to go down so badly, then I’ll give you what you want.”
Faitfore swooped down, stopping right before hitting the ground, at which point the rope attaching me to her was cut and I was tossed to the ground.
“That hurts! What are you doing!?”
“I just did what you asked. Oh, and here’s your spear too. Good luck~.”
The spear she threw impaled itself into the ground just a few fingers away from me. Hey that was dangerous!
Lynn, riding on Faitfore’s back, gave me a casual wave.
“Wait a minute! What are you trying to do, dropping me off in a place like this!? Which direction is Alcanretia!?”
“You don’t need to worry about that. This is our destination. Plus we’ve passed Alcanretia a long time ago. Dust, listen closely. This is the territory of a certain type of monster. All you need to do is survive. Good luck with that.”
After saying that, She and Lynn quickly ascended and took to the air.
I suppose this is better than being taken to Alcanretia.
I don’t know what kind of monster lives here, but I’ll just take them down when they show up.
As I took up my spear and scanned the area, I spotted a small dust cloud in the distance. It seems to be rapidly approaching.
“What is that? A pack of Lizard Runners?”
I squinted my eyes in that direction, and the figures slowly became clearer.
The moment I realized what they were, I broke out into cold sweat.
“Everyone, look! There’s a handsome blondie over there!”
“That slick and wild look is just my thing!!!”
“He looks like he has a strong sex drive! I can’t wait!”
A horde of female orcs appeared on the horizon with those loud cries.
“Y-You’re kidding me…”
Orcs are a race of monsters with an extremely high sex drive and whose male popluation has been completely wiped out.
Worst of all, they aren’t just attracted to their own kind, but to humans too.
It’d be fine if they at least looked like humans, but even the ones who had hair had pig-like faces and rotund, hairy bodies. For most humans, that’s completely unacceptable.
And now a group of such creatures were rushing over to me while drooling the entire way.
It’s a nightmarish sight.
“Stop joking! Hey, Lynn! Get down here this instant! If you do it right now I’ll forgive you!”
“You can do it. I believe in you. …Make sure you protect it.”
Don’t cry fake tears for me!
“What do you mean by protect!? Make it clear! Are you talking about Axel? Or my partner!?”
I shouted at Lynn, but she simply waved at me as she flew off even further into the distance.
“You seriously abandoned me… You best remember this. When I get back, I’m going to strip you naked and fondle those pitiful breasts of yours!”
Just as I whipped around with my spear, the spear head fell off.
You’re kidding me, right? Without a spearhead, this is just a long stick!
That old man cheated me!
“Oh, my, what are you planning to do with such a long rod in your hand?”
“If you really want to fondle breasts that much, you can do it to your heart’s content!”
I fearfully turned around, only to find that the orcs have already formed a semicircle around me.
All of them were blushing and breathing heavily. Don’t push your breasts together to emphasize them!
Their glowing, lust-filled eyes were just like that of a hunter after having located his prey.
“S-Say, don’t you think humans and orcs are incompatible with each other?”
“It’s fine, we don’t discriminate against other species, so it’s fine! You just need to stare up into the sky and do nothing!”
That’s not reassuring at all!
I looked for a way out, but they’ve already surrounded me. Just how many of them are there?
“I wonder if your hidden weapon is as wonderful as that stick you’re holding. Pant, pant.”
“No, no, it’s just as shabby as a rusty dagger! It’ll definitely disappoint you!”
“I’m not one to discriminate based on your weapon. Even if it is a rusty dagger, I’ll be sure to polish it into a mighty greatsword with my mouth.”
“Seriously, give me a breaaaaaak!!”
I don’t even want to think what would happen if these guys got their hands on me.
If orcs at least looked similar to humans, I’d be happy to go along with them, but no matter how I squint, I can only see them as pigs that happened to walk on two legs.
“A cute adventurer boy got away from me the last time, but there’s no way I’ll let you escape!”
“I was so close to stealing his first time!”
I don’t know who they’re talking about, but if someone else got away from them, then so can I!
“Don’t you move! If you take one step closer…”
I waved my blunt stick around in front of me as a warning.
“No way. There’s too many things I can’t do if I don’t get closer.”
“I don’t dislike pain. We can start with you beating me, then I’ll take a ride on you.”
Crap, these aren’t creatures I can reason with.
If I get taken down, I’ll definitely be squeezed dry!
There’s no way out of this but defeating them with this stick. God dammit all!
“I can’t take it anymore! Let’s get wet and slimy together!”
“I’ll let you take the upper half, but I’m taking the first ride on the lower half!”
The horde of orcs closed in on me.
“Graaaah! I’ll definitely get home with a clean body! I’m getting the best dream from the Succubi once I get back!”
After making that declaration, I shouted to the sky and charged at them with manly tears in my eyes.
Relying on my spear as a walking stick, I barely managed to stay standing. I’m completely naked from the waist up, and the only thing I had below that was my underwear. My hair is a complete mess too.
I took a deep breath and shouted to the sky.
“Hah, hah, hah. I escaaaaaapeeeed!”
The joyous cry echoed throughout the plains.
After taking down a few of them, I managed to break out from the encirclement and use the forest and guerilla tactics to take them out one by one, but their amazing recovery speed meant that they kept coming back to join the battle.
As a result, I couldn’t reduce their numbers at all.
No matter how many of them I defeated, they just kept coming back for more. It was a never ending nightmare.
After fighting for an entire day, I finally managed to escape from their clutches.
“When there’s a will, there’s a way…”
The sense of relief and freedom brought tears to my eyes.
I took a deep breath to calm myself.
“The head might have fallen off, but this still is a pretty good spear.”
The spear turned long stick held up very well. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve stabbed or bludgeoned something with it, and it’s still fully intact in my hand.
I casually swung around the stick that has been in my hand for half a day.
The sound it made as it swung through the air is clearly different. It’s now completely a part of me.
In fact, the more orcs I took down, the better this stick sat in my hands.
“Is it all thanks to them?”
It’s only thanks to being thrown into such adversity that I was able to regain my skills with a spear.
That time when an orc caught me and tore off my shirt──
Or that time when an orc licked my bare chest──
Or that time when I was this close from becoming one with them──
It’s all thanks to those experiences that I became stronger. I should thank my companions who threw me into this desperate situation…
“Like hell I can!”
Just thinking about the despair and fear I felt when I was being cornered made all the hairs on my body stand on end.
“I’ll never forgive you! I’ll never forgive you!”
After vowing revenge on my companions, I spotted a small white dot in the distance.
Seems like Faitfore is coming to pick me up. Though I still held a grudge against her for choosing to fill her belly over helping me, she definitely didn’t understand the situation at the time, so I think I’ll let her off.
However, I’ll never forgive those guys! Just wait till I get back to Axel.
“We’re sorry, Dust. This is our apology, please accept it.”
When Taylor spotted me entering the guild, he immediately approached me and said before I could even get a word in.
“You can’t resolve this with a single apology… Hey, what are you trying to do?”
I glanced into the bag he placed on the table and noticed quite a bit of money was in it.
“You can take it all with you. Go ahead and use it on women or gambling or anything else you want.”
“I’ll pretend nothing happened today.”
I was taken aback by the sudden kindness of my friends, and my rage immediately subsided.
With this much money, I can pay off all my debts and still live comfortably for a few days.
“We’ll take care of Faitfore-chan for you too, so feel free to let loose.”
How considerate of you.
“If you’re willing to go that far, I’ll forgive you. Alright, I’m going to find a pretty lady to play… play…”
A sudden chill went down my spine.
Why did that orc’s face pop into my head? I’m about to go have fun with a pretty lady…
“Ara, Dust-san, you’re back.”
In response to that voice, I turned around to see Luna walking towards me with her respectable pair of breasts wobbling──
“Eh? What’s the matter!?”
For some reason, I let out a scream upon seeing her chest.
“Ah, no, I mean, umm, sorry, but stay away from me.”
Luna walked away with a suspicious look on her face.
W-What’s wrong with me? For some reason, the moment I saw her breasts, my heart rate immediately spiked.
“You look pale. Is something wrong?”
Seeing Lynn’s face calmed me down.
J-Just what was all that about?
I took a deep breath and looked around the room to calm myself down.
Upon seeing the waitresses and the female guild guild staff, my heart started beating rapidly and I once again broke out in cold sweat.
“What’s wrong with my body?”
I pressed my hand against my chest and looked at Lynn’s face, and the feeling immediately went away.
…It can’t be. I had an idea about what’s going on, so I decided to test it.
I looked back to the large chested waitress. Immediately, my heart began beating wildly.
I turned to Lynn, and I immediately calmed down.
So that is what is going on.
“Why are you glancing at me like that?”
Lynn said, her cheeks flushing slightly as she put on a mask of anger.
“Well, you see, after having all those orcs chase me, I can’t help feel queasy when I see big breasts, but when I look at you I’m suddenly calm…”
With a slight crick, Lynn stood up.
Keith took his mug and backed away, and Taylor quickly led Faitfore away from the scene.
That was when I realized what a terrible mistake I made.
“Oh, so seeing large breasts reminds you of the orcs, but looking at me makes you calm, huh?”
“Ah, no, I don’t mean it that way”
“Then what exactly do you mean? Fufu, fufufufu.”
Don’t wave your staff at me while laughing like that!
What are you going to do if even flat chests give me goosebumps!?
“Sigh~. I really feel safe next to you.”
“Where did that come from? Ah, did you finally notice my charms?”
After somehow escaping from a really angry Lynn, I found myself in front of the Succubus shop before I realized.
I saw Loli Succubus cleaning the floors with a broom, so I sat down and looked dreamily up at her.
“W-What happened to you? If you keep staring at me like that, I’m going to get all hot and bothered.”
Loli Succubus placed a finger on her cheek and started nervously twisting around.
Her body has no protrusions at the front or the back, so it doesn’t remind me of an orc at all.
It really helps that I don’t feel fear even when I’m next to her.
“Come to think of it, what happened to the Incubi?”
“It’s going well. My colleagues and senpai are showing them around town. It seems like what they see is causing them to relax.”
“It’d be great if this could cause them to reduce their forces.”
“Ah, speaking of which, it seems like Kazuma is back in town. Vanir-sama told me when he was back at the shop.”
Oh, so Kazuma is back from his training. I heard that he went out with Sir and Wiz for some exercise, but I wonder how strong he has gotten.
He’s probably hanging around the adventurer’s guild, so I suppose I can buy him a drink and listen to his stories while I’m at it.
“Right, I’m heading back to the guild to ask him about it.”
“Please wait, I’m going with you. I want to hear all about Vanir-sama’s accomplishments too.”
“Couldn’t you just ask Sir directly if you want to know?”
There’s no need to go around him to hear it from Kazuma, right?
“Well, see, Vanir-sama said ‘I’m busy arranging a large business deal, so I don’t have time to concern myself with you’ before chasing me out of the shop. Ah, but his cold attitude is nice, too.”
She really is a diehard fan of Sir to the end, isn’t she?
“A large business deal, huh? Did he find a way to make a large amount of money? I really want to be a part of it, but I suppose I can ask him about it later. You can follow me if you want.”
“Okay, I’ll go with you~.”
With Loli Succubus in tow, I returned to the guild and joined up with my companions.
Lynn was glaring at me, but it seems like her mood is much better than it was before.
“I’m back. I heard Kazuma’s back?”
I avoided meeting Lynn’s gaze and asked Taylor.
“Kazuma just left. It sounded like he exaggerated things, but he really spun an interesting tale about his trip to the dungeon.”
“So I just missed him. Ah, I wanted to share a mug with him while trading stories.”
“That’s a shame. Oh yeah, Kazuma is planning to leave tomorrow, so he asked us to teach him as many skills as possible before he leaves. It seems like he spoke to pretty much everyone who was here before he left.”
Keith said something strange as he nursed his drink.
“Even if he knows the skills, where is he going to get the skill points from? He couldn’t have leveled up that much.”
“Vanir-san and Wiz-san helped him level up. From what he said, it went really well.”
Lynn joined in the conversion, still sounding somewhat grumpy.
“I heard that Adventurers find it easier to gain experience. Also, they do say that people without talent gain levels more easily.”
Hearing Taylor’s statement, I instantly understood.
By all metrics, Kazuma is by no means talented. His high luck and his ability to pull through at the last moment is remarkable, but his physical attributes just aren’t suited for an adventurer.
That’s why he could level up so quickly.
“But, even if he has gotten stronger, is it really okay?”
I can understand Lynn’s worry.
“Going after Aqua-nee-san means getting close to the Demon King’s castle. If he messes up, he might even end up right inside it.”
I said it jokingly, but knowing Kazuma’s knack for getting into trouble…
Kazuma has already gotten involved with several Generals of the Demon King’s Army on multiple occasions. Considering his luck and his performance so far, it wouldn’t be surprising if he really ended up fighting the Demon King.
“Well, I’ll help him out. It’s just skills, after all. If he wants them, he can have as many as he likes.”
“Yeah. And if a beginner adventurer from Axel really did end up defeating the Demon King, it’d be an unprecedented feat.”
“They could even turn this place into a tourist attraction as the town that raised the hero!”
“Taylor, Keith, you’re being way too optimistic. But, well, it sure would be nice if it did happen.”
My companions looked at each other and shared a laugh.
If Kazuma really did manage to defeat the Demon King, he’d probably be hailed as a hero.
“As his best friend, I’ll support him to the best of my ability. If he really succeeds, I’d be hailed as the good friend of the hero too, right? So everyone would be all over me too!”
“No, no, that’s not happening.” x3
“No one would believe you even if you say you’re the good friend of the hero.”
“Kazuma would just go ‘I don’t know that guy. He’s a stranger.'”
“Yeah, that sounds like him!”
Not just my companions, but the other adventurers in the guild who happened to be listening in joined in as well.
They’re having a blast saying all kinds of bad things about me.
“Hmph, Kazuma isn’t that heartless of a person!”
“But the last time you were arrested for sexual harassment and turned to Kazuma for help, he said you were a stranger, didn’t he?”
“Come to think of it, didn’t he act like you’re a stranger during the trial too?”
Now that they mention it…
“No, no, that’s just him being embarrassed! Isn’t that what friendship between men is all about?”
“Not at all!” x3
“Whoever said that just now, stand right up! I’m going to feed you my iron fists of fury!”
When I woke up, it was morning.
It seemed like I fell asleep on the guild floor. I stretched my stiff body.
I don’t remember too much about the big fight, but it seems like I fell asleep immediately after that.
“How long are you planning to sleep for? Everyone’s already at the meeting point.”
Lynn was looking down at me.
If she was wearing a skirt, this would be the perfect angle, but there’s nothing to get excited about when she’s wearing a pair of shorts.
“What meeting point are you talking about?”
“You really are… Kazuma and the others are boarding a carriage to leave town. Didn’t you say you’ll teach him skills before he leaves?”
“Ah, yeah, come to think of it, I did say that.”
I stood up and picked up the sword that was propped against a nearby wall.
This sword was given to me by Princess Leonor. At first glance, it’s just a regular sword, but it is a genuine magic sword.
If I trust what Princess Leonor told me, this sword is worth an untold amount of money.
She gave it to me even knowing that…
“Hey, what are you doing? If you don’t hurry, you’ll miss Kazuma.”
“I know, I know. I’m coming.”
I hung my sword on my waist and followed after Lynn.
There already was a crowd of adventurers waiting at the carriage pick-up point. Kazuma, Megumin, and Darkness were there, too.
And with them was Sir Vanir and that giant bird.
They seemed to be talking about something, but they soon wrapped up. I took a step forward as the representative of the adventurers and pulled out my sword.
“──Right, then, Kazuma, are you ready to learn some skills?”
The next step is for all the adventurers present to teach him skills.
“You’re heading off to fight the Demon King mano a mano, so it’s only right for us to beat you… I mean, properly train you before you go. Think of it as our farewell gift.”
“You were about to say beat me senseless, weren’t you? And I’m not planning on charging at the Demon King and fighting him one on one! Truth be told, all I really want to do is bring Aqua back!”
Kazuma was desperately denying it, but Megumin and Darkness simply nodded along behind him with wry smiles on their faces. It seems like they fully intend on fighting the Demon King.
Despite his words, I’m still surprised that Kazuma chose to go on such a dangerous journey to retrieve Aqua-nee-san. The other adventurers seem to share similar sentiments.
“Say, Kazuma, maybe it’s best if you don’t go on this journey.”
Suddenly, such worried words came from the crowd.
“I’m glad for your concern, but right now I’m one of the strongest people in this town. Leave Aqua and the Demon King to me, you guys just make sure to protect this town where my mansion is located.”
Seeing Kazuma brazen bragging, all the adventurers, me included, tensed up.
This is followed by a storm of insults and complaints.
It’s all stuff like “weakling who relied on Vanir and Wiz’s power to become strong”, or “scumbag who used money to buy power” and other similar sentiments.
“You guys will make a great warm up before I take on the Demon King! Show me all the skills that I haven’t learnt yet! My name is Satou Kazuma, I’ll take you all on!”
Kazuma’s statement pushed everyone present over the edge.
We traded glances, weapons in our hand, and immediately rushed Kazuma all at once.
“…W-What happened here?”
A voice that sounded very much like Wiz’s echoed around the carriage pick up point.
I somehow managed to turn to face her, and saw Wiz fumbling with a large package. It seemed like she had something to give to Kazuma and was late because of that.
Well, normal people would be taken aback upon seeing such a sight.
Countless adventurers lay sprawled all over the ground.
After a fierce battle with Kazuma, everyone is laying on the ground, unable to move. Of course, that included Kazuma too.
I admit that I underestimated him as the bearer of the weakest class, but even so, he did pretty well.
Sure, he used all kinds of underhanded tricks, but his growth really surprised me. I can’t believe a single adventurer managed to push us this far all by himself.
But don’t get the wrong idea.
It’s not like Kazuma defeated all of us by himself.
Things only ended up this way because quite a few of us saw how he was about to cry and went easy on him. That’s a very important point!
Still, Kazuma should’ve learnt all kinds of skills from that exchange.
With his current strength and his ability to make snap decisions and his knowledge of underhanded tactics, he might actually give the Demon King a good run for his money.
“Are you taking a nap, Dust-san?”
“If you really think so, you might as well gouge out your eyes and throw them away.”
Loli Succubus crouched down next to my head. Don’t take this opportunity when I can’t move to poke my cheeks.
“What are you doing here? Did you come to see Kazuma and the others off, too?”
“That’s part of it, but I’m mainly here to see you, Dust-san. I happened to be passing by the old man who runs the general store, and he asked me if I could give this to you.”
Saying that, she left a spear in front of me.
I paid a visit to him yesterday, complaining about the poor quality of the spearhead that fell off so easily, and he promised to fix it by tomorrow. I never expected him to really do it.
“All customers who are taking the carriage to Alcanretia, please board immediately.”
Hearing the driver’s voice, Kazuma and the others got onto the carriage.
The rest of us gathered by the carriage to see them off.
“Now then, I’ll be heading off to bring that idiot back!”
In response to Kauzma’s words, the adventurers responded with shouts of encouragement.
Rather than giving him any kind of strange pressure, it sounded just like our usual ribbing.
There is one thing I’m worried about, though. His weapons.
The sword Kazuma had hanging off his waist isn’t a bad weapon, but it’s just an ordinary sword. It’s not really an adequate weapon for someone heading off to fight the Demon King.
I let out a huge sigh and looked down at my waist.
This precious sword has been with me all this time ever since I left that country.
The truth is, this sword has a special ability that I’ve yet to tell anyone.
If the wielder is attacked by a spell that would cause fatal damage, it has the ability to completely nullify it once, no matter what it is.
Princess Leonor entrusted it to me because she was worried about me after I became an exile.
I was planning to keep it with me for the rest of my life.
But it’s not only a protective charm; it’s also a chain that ties me back to my home country… To Princess Leonor.
As long as I have this, there’s no way I will be able to forget my past as a knight.
“Hey, Kazuma! That sword of yours, it’s just an ordinary sword without any sort of magic on it, right!? Just in case, you should take this with you!”
I removed my sword from my waist and tossed it to Kazuma.
“That’s technically an enchanted weapon. It isn’t a legendary-tier weapon that can only be equipped by a specific class, so even you should be able to make use of it. Just make sure you bring it back to me after you defeat the Demon King!”
I put on a cool front and grinned at him, and Kazuma responded with a look of surprise.
It seems like he finally realized how manly I am.
Lynn stared at our exchange from the side, before something sparked in her eye and a mischievous grin came over her face.
“Oh, I see. In the one in a million chance that Kazuma actually defeats the Demon King, that sword would become known as the sword wielded by the hero, and be worth a whole lot more. Kazuma, I’m pretty sure Dust picked up that sword from the body of a fallen adventurer he ran across in a dungeon, so there’s no need to give it back~.”
“Dammit, Lynn, how could you ruin my get rich quick plan!?”
I pretended to be angry and chased after Lynn. While we were running around, Kazuma’s carriage departed.
Naturally, we stopped and turned to look at the carriage as it went off into the distance.
“Was it really okay? Isn’t it an important item you got from the Princess?”
Lynn stared at me with a serious look that was at complete odds with how she was just a moment ago.
She knew how important that sword was to me and still went along with my story. I’ll have to thank her later.
Thank you for everything you’ve done, my partner. Please protect my friend.
“It’s fine, I have this spear. Plus… I don’t need that sword anymore.”
Now that I’ve cut ties with Princess Leonor… with my past, it’s no longer of any use to me.
I’m sure it’d be more useful with Kazuma than with me.
“If he really did defeat the Demon King and bring that sword back, I’d be sure to make a fortune.”
“Defeating the Demon King sounds like some far-fetched story, but for some reason, I really feel that Kazuma and the others might actually do it.”
“He’s my best friend, after all. Now then, it wouldn’t be much of a funny joke if he defeated the Demon King only to come back home to a pile of rubble. We should do our best, too.”
We don’t have time to worry about him now.
The Demon King’s Army would be attacking Axel within a few days. We need to clear our mind and make ready to intercept them.
Earlier, when Kazuma and Wiz were talking, I overheard them saying that Sir Vanir and Wiz will lend their power to the defence of the town.
This would greatly increase our strength, but it’s far from a sure-fire thing.
There’s a limit as to how many levels the adventurers in town can gain in a few days, and I can’t expect them to get dramatically stronger in such a short amount of time.
Now, then, what should we do…