Short story 2: Little Megu-tan dolls
[thanks to Kasen for the colored images]
Editor: Makentosh, Ulti
Editor: Ulti, Makentosh
[Thanks to Kasen for providing the coloured pictures]
Editor: Makentosh, Marv, Ulti, Xenthur
[Thanks to Kasen for providing the coloured pictures]
Translator: Sine Nomine
Editor(s): Cannongerbil, Xenthur, yuNS
Translator: Sine Nomine
Editor(s): Cannongerbil, Xenthur, YuNS
Fortunately, Rex and the others weren’t badly hurt from Hoost’s attack.
After sending them to the Eris Church, we went to the Adventurer’s Guild.
“Megumin, listen to me. Devils are evil and cunning. They are the most untrustworthy creatures in the world. You must have heard of it, right? The famous story about exchanging one’s soul for three wishes! Supposedly, several mages lost their souls without having their wishes properly granted!”
I had already made my decision.
“The deal with that fellow is definitely unreliable. Once you hand Chomusuke over, he will immediately go back on his word…!”
For now, I needed to deal with this…
“Megumin, your type of character is the best prey in the eyes of devils! I feel that if he says to you, ‘Let me grant you the power of darkness…’, you would blindly follow that devil!”
This wench had been one sidedly lecturing me all this while!
“I don’t want to hear it from someone who would blindly follow a stranger after being treated gently! What is the meaning of this!? I’m the top genius of the Crimson Demon Village! I don’t need to be lectured by the lonely girl who is forever Number 2! I know all those things!”
“Lonely girl who is forever Number 2!!”
Yunyun was on the verge of tears as she strangled me. After I disengaged from her with some effort, I reached out my hand to calm her down.
“W-Wait. This is a big misunderstanding! I exaggerated when I said ‘lonely girl’. After all, since arriving in the town, you have gotten to know a strange old man and a guy who flirts with girls in broad daylight. You have all kinds of friends. I’ll upgrade you to easy girl who is forever Number 2.”
“… I think ‘lonely girl’ is better…”
I thought about my own circumstances. I held Yunyun’s weeping face with both hands and said.
“Okay, let’s have a chat. I should find some time to deal with your social awkwardness. If I keep ignoring it, I feel like you will make some delinquent friends.”
I said as I opened the door to the Adventurer’s Guild together with Yunyun, who was still snuffling.
“—In summary, Rex’s party was defeated by that devil.”
“What should we do now!?” X3
My report sent the guild staff into a panic. I dragged Yunyun to a table further in the guild.
“Okay. As expected, we can’t depend on the guild right now. Let’s evaluate our current situation.”
Yunyun and I started our duo strategy meeting at a table in the corner.
“Current situation… The two most powerful parties in the town were defeated. The life-saving Archpriest can’t be found. The country and other cities are on high alert because a Dullahan, a general of the Demon King’s army, is currently active. Thus, they cannot send any reinforcements. And finally, that devil… is called Hoost? Anyway, there is no deadline for our response and trade, but I feel he won’t just patiently wait.”
Yunyun said with a painful expression.
Since there would be no reinforcements from other cities, the situation wouldn’t improve if we ignore the issue.
And the life-saving Archpriest could not be found.
“Then the only option left is handing Chomusuke over… But I object strongly to this! Even I have developed some feelings for that little one. We can’t hand it over so easily!”
Yunyun angrily said and suddenly picked up Chomusuke, who was scratching itself on the table. I was puzzled by her.
“… You really misunderstood. I never said I agreed to the deal.”
“Eh!? B-But on the way back to the town, you looked troubled and were deep in thought… Ah, could it be…”
“Oh please. How could I possibly yield to threats? Crimson Demons always accept a direct challenge. I have made my resolve. That is… the resolve to defeat that devil!”
“But even powerful parties like those of the famous magic sword user and Rex-san were easily defeated! And you were so frightened when we first met that fellow! Megumin, you are just one step away from being an idiot. Surely you realize the difference in power between yourself and the opponent!?”
“Why are you being so sarcastic!? It’s obvious that the devil is very powerful. It is probably even greater than Arnes. But I have a way to destroy that devil. Or rather, with that legendary Archpriest missing, I’m the only one in this town who can oppose that devil.”
Hearing my words, Yunyun clenched her fists in silence.
Then she slammed the table and stood up…!
“I… I don’t care anymore! Megumin, you idiot… Ugh!?”
As Yunyun was about to run off somewhere, I pulled on her cloak, causing her to turn back.
I smiled gleefully at Yunyun who was coughing in confusion.
“… We are friends, right?”
“You are asking me to help!? You want me to help, right!? We are rivals, not friends! If you think that I will obediently play along just because you say we are friends, then you are wrong! I do feel a little happy about it, but it’s not like I like it!!”
I came to a certain place together with Yunyun, who was still pouting.
“I’m not a fool. I wouldn’t think of directly challenging that kind of enemy. Thus, I need to acquire some war funds first.”
“… War funds? But isn’t this where we live…”
Yes. This was our usual hotel.
“It’s slightly dangerous, so you shouldn’t come. Please wait nearby.”
“…? I don’t mind, but if there’s danger… No. S-Say, Megumin. How do you intend to get war funds…!?”
“It’s best for you not to ask. Then, I’m going!”
“W-Wait! Could it be that you are really going to use your body…!!”
Hearing Yunyun’s voice behind me, I walked upstairs to a certain room in the hotel.
Then I took a deep breath before the door.
I strengthened my resolve and knocked twice on the door. A familiar voice came from within.
I opened the door and saw Cecily sprawling on the bed and munching on some snacks.
As I entered the room, I clasped my hands together and said.
“Cecily onee-chan, please give me some money!”
“Tell your onee-chan how much you need! What do you want to buy? A house? Want to buy a house and live together with onee-chan? No problem. Watch as I use my charms to seduce some rich adventurers!”
I hurriedly stopped Cecily who was about to rush out of the room.
“Nothing as exaggerated as buying a house! No. I want to defeat that devil, so I need some war funds. I remember you said that if that devil is defeated, there’s a reward of 10,000,000, right? Can I borrow a bit of that money?”
“I did say that before. Although I was the one who made the request, I think it’s better to give up now. I received additional information on that devil… Just earlier, one of the more powerful parties in this town was attacked by it and was sent to the Eris Church.”
Cecily said with a troubled look.
“I only just reported that to the guild, yet you have already heard of it. This means that the people in the town are that agitated…”
“No. I saw the wounded being healed when I went to throw rocks at the Eris Church. I pestered them and said I wouldn’t leave until they told me what happened, so they gave me all the details… Wait. I can’t endure it even if you shower love on me like this!”
“Sigh. Onee-chan, please be more amiable! Don’t make the situation worse!!”
“(Cough)… Really. You are being coy again, but I don’t dislike it though!”
Cecily tried to pacify me as I strangled her by handing something over.
“Who is being coy!? You should… What’s this?”
She handed over a heavy sack.
Hearing her casual words, I stared dumbly at the sack in my hand.
“I-Is this really okay!? You gave it to me so easily! Aren’t you afraid I’ll run off with it!?”
Cecily listened to my queries.
“I am a holy person, after all. I have some confidence in judging the character of people.”
She said with a gentle smile.
“Th-Then, didn’t you consider what would happen if I lose? By the way, did the sun rise from the west? You suddenly have such an attitude. I don’t even know how to respond… Ugh!”
She then hugged me tightly.
“No problem. As a priestess of the Axis Cult, I, Cecily, make this guarantee. You will definitely win. That’s right. A cute and reliable Megumin can’t possibly lose to devils.”
What should I do? I was a bit upset about it, but my eyes still became wet.
Actually, I was uneasy about challenging such a powerful devil.
At this time, I unexpectedly received such gentle words from someone who was usually unreliable…
“Alright, why don’t you take a look inside the sack? Put them to good use now!”
I struggled to hold back my tears and opened the heavy sack…
—There wasn’t any gold coin inside. It was full of rocks and a piece of paper which said, “Just joking”.
“Ha! Megumin-san is so shocked that she’s in tears! It’s really too cute! Haha. (Cough)… Seriously, how can you be so cute!? Too bad, that’s… Ah, it’s my fault! I went overboard with the joke. I will apologize, so please stop throwing rocks!!”
After going downstairs, I saw Yunyun worriedly pacing back and forth.
“What are you doing, Yunyun? I told you to wait nearby.”
“Megumin! You entered the hotel after leaving some meaningful statements, so I was very worried… Wait. Why are you crying!?”
After being noticed by Yunyun, I quickly wiped my tears away.
“Th-This is—! No-Nothing!”
“Why is the strong-willed Megumin crying!? What happened!? You used that to acquire the so-called war funds!?”
I held up the sack of eris with both hands and shook it for Yunyun to see.
“Here is 10,000,000 eris…”
“What did you do to earn a large sum of money!?”
Yunyun was on the verge of tears for some reason as she cried out in despair.
“Please stop and calm down! This is just a practical joke since I trust you! I knew that you would surely resolve this issue! So I specially prepared this to pull a prank on you when I give you the thank-you gift… Ah. Stop, stop. Don’t be angry!!”
I thought of what Cecily said earlier—
“… I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Megumin, Megumin has been sullied!”
I walked out of the hotel in exhaustion. I didn’t even have the mood to explain things to Yunyun, who was having some strange misunderstanding.
“—Say, Megumin. Whatever happened has happened. Your reason for needing money is to defeat the devil that threatens the town. This is a righteous cause, so there is no shame in whatever method you used to get money. Nobody will look down on you.”
“Yes. After all, the one who is depressed is Megumin. Even the strong-willed Megumin would cry, so… so… Ugh…”
“You’re too irritating! Really. Why must you have such a wild imagination?! You’re always like that!! I didn’t sell my body. I only said something embarrassing to someone who has good feelings towards me. All we ended up doing was a hug!”
“You said something embarrassing and was hugged!? I-I think this was too much already, but was that all that happened? Would Megumin cry merely because of that?”
I considered what she said.
“After that… I was overwhelmed by the sudden gentle treatment, and then I was somewhat played… This is rather embarrassing, so I’d rather not talk about it.”
“As I thought!!”
… I should just ignore it.
“Anyway, since I got the war funds, we should make use of them efficiently to set up the fight in our favour. I need to go somewhere, so take this with you to the magic tool shop. Buy everything you think is useful. If you think there are other expenditures that benefit the fight, spend as you wish. And… buy a black cat doll for me.”
I said and stuff the sack full of gold coins into her hands.
“Eh!? E-Even if you say so, suddenly giving me so much money…!”
And I left the rest to the bewildered Yunyun—
“Please. If we get the reward, you can have it all!”
“Do-Don’t be unreasonable. It’s that devil, right!? Even the magic sword guy and Rex’s party were defeated; this is too much for us!”
I returned to the Adventurer’s Guild and approached various adventurers.
“Ah. Over there… I forgot your names, but we were in a party once! Then, you should know how powerful I can be. Want to defeat the devil together!?”
“At least remember our names! No, no. We refuse precisely because we were in a party before. I feel like we would be dragged into your magic as well…”
“R-Right. And it’s all over if your magic misses. We can’t go along with such a dangerous gambit.”
“Ah. You there! Need an excellent mage? I’m a Crimson Demon! I can be useful, so please help me…”
“No way. We can’t handle that devil! And we’re small fries with basic jobs. If a Crimson Demon Archmage joined us, the party would be somewhat unbalanced, right?”
Even after I discarded my self-respect and begged everyone, nobody accepted my request. This was because everyone knew of my bad reputation and the power of that devil.
My plan was to let Yunyun acquire some magic items that could restrict movements and then employ some defensive adventurers.
If Hoost’s movement could be restricted, it would be ideal. Even if we couldn’t defeat it, we could buy the employed adventurers some time and increase the distance for a one-hit kill.
I thought that would work, but I was too naïve.
… At this moment.
Someone spoke to me fearfully from behind.
“You are the one who is always with that girl called Yunyun, right? We are not that strong, but if it is possible—“
I quickly turned towards the speaker…!
“Power doesn’t matter as long as you are willing to help… Oh, it’s you people. I’m looking for adventurers. This is too dangerous for commoners, so please stand aside! And don’t come close to Yunyun again!!”
It was the idle uncle who would be drunk in broad daylight and approach Yunyun for chat, as well as other similar men.
As I drove them off, the guild became noisy.
… What was happening?
I asked a random person nearby.
“Uh, what is happening?”
“Hm. It’s the matter with that devil. Some weirdos declared they wanted to defeat it. It was just a party with two members, yet they suddenly rushed out of the guild. Woah!? Wh-What are you doing!?”
“Where are they!? What do those two people look like!?”
“O-One of them should be a Crusader? The other should be a Thief… Both of them were shouting scary things like ‘Devils should die’ and ‘For a devil to come boldly to this town, watch me kill it!’. They went off after that.”
If I came earlier, I could have invited those people…!
No. Perhaps they would unexpectedly defeat it.
“Sigh. In the end, I couldn’t find anyone. This is going to be difficult…”
“How are things on your side? Found any useful magic items?”
“I went to various magic tool shops and bought several powerful magic items recommended by the shops, but…”
Yunyun said and took out some magic items that looked really familiar.
“… All of these look like they came from our Village.”
“… After all, the magic items created in our village are considered high quality…”
It was somewhat discomforting to buy the magic items at full prices when we could have acquired them easily back in our village. However, since the products were made by our villagers, we could be assured of the quality.
“By the way, where did you go? Were you preparing for the fight?”
Hearing this, I looked away.
“I wanted to find some helpers… but my recent fame had an opposite effect. Nobody responded…”
“It’s because of your usual behavior! What should we do? Without a vanguard, we mages will be killed in an instant!”
I picked up Chomusuke, who was pestering me at my feet, as if I wanted to avoid reality.
“Who do you think I am? Yes. I’m the top mage of the Crimson Demons, user of Explosion magic! I could finish that kind of devil off before it comes close… Ah! Well done, Yunyun! Isn’t this an invisibility spell scroll? It would be easy with this!”
“I bought it anyway, but I don’t know if it would really be useful. The opponent is a greater devil. Party tricks like becoming invisible by deflecting light may be exposed anytime…”
Yunyun mumbled, but this was better than having no plan of action.
I carefully kept the scroll.
“And the black cat doll that you asked for. I don’t know how this thing would be useful…”
I tied Chomusuke in my arms to the doll.
“In this way, the doll will have Chomusuke’s scent. After that, we will place this in the middle of somewhere nobody would come. I will hide with the invisibility scroll. When the devil is lured over by the doll, BOOM!”
“I wonder, will it really be so easy? … Say, it’s still not too late. Let’s escape to another town…”
… It was unbelievable that the kind hearted Yunyun would become so callous in less than a year.
This kid had grown in various ways before I noticed.
Let’s disregard whether it was in a good direction or not
I showed Chomusuke, who was bound to the doll, to the anxious Yunyun and said.
“It will be successful. You are not the only one who has developed feelings for this shameless furball.”
“Although it was only for a short time, there are people in this town who have adventured with me. This incident is because of me and this fur ball, so I must put an end to it!”
Watching my silhouette as I made my declaration and turned towards the hotel, Yunyun sighed helplessly.
“Really. So reckless, so stubborn, and so over-assertive.”
“Stop nagging. You are still a pacifist coward, right?”
I replied without turning back. There was a sound of someone taking a deep breath.
“… But you have changed a lot this year in terms of individualism and callousness.”
Yunyun seemed to be mumbling something softly.
After dinner, I returned to my room. I suddenly thought of something and knocked on Cecily’s door.
“Onee-san, are you there?”
“Yes? Megumin-san? Please come in. The door isn’t locked.”
After opening the door, I saw Cecily lazily lying on the bed.
“You look rather tired. Where were you playing after that?”
“So rude. I was motivated by the hardworking Megumin, so I did some rare work too.”
“So may I ask what kind of work was it?”
“Uh. I went to the Eris Church again…”
I was stupid to even ask that question.
“Wait!? I really worked hard today!? I can only use simple healing magic, but in other words, this is my sole area of expertise! Then…”
“Enough. Then you waited for the wounded to arrive at the Eris Church and ran over to intercept their business, right?”
“Megumin-san, you’re too much! That…! That… Eh? Actually, that isn’t a bad idea. Let me write it down.”
“Do it later. I have something to discuss with you.”
I showed Chomusuke, who was released from the back cat doll, to Cecily as she was busy taking notes.
“I wish to leave this little one with you for a while.”
“… I don’t mind, but isn’t this the symbol of your cuteness? Is it okay to leave it with me?”
“It’s not a symbol. It’s my familiar. We may start the fight tomorrow, so I’m making this request just to be safe.”
I put Chomusuke down on the bed that Cecily was lying on.
Cecily ruffled its head as Chomusuke sniffed at her as if intrigued by a stranger’s scent.
“This is a small matter. Leave it to me. I’ll teach it some tricks while I take care of it. Hm. How about a fire-breathing cat?”
“Pl-Please don’t! Don’t teach it strange things! Then, onee-san…”
“Call me Cecily onee-chan!”
“… Ce-Cecily, I’ll leave that kid to you.”
Cecily seemingly accepted my ultimate compromise.
I watched Cecily play with Chomusuke on the bed and left her room.
“—Ah!? Megumin, what are you doing over here?”
After leaving Cecily’s room, I ran into Yunyun as she was about to leave for somewhere.
“There is an acquaintance in this room. Yunyun, where are you going? It’s quite late out.”
Hearing my question, she looked away suspiciously.
“L-Look. We are adventurers too, so I thought it’d be nice to visit the tavern at night.”
“Yunyun has become a delinquent!”
“No. It’s not like that! I’m just a bit curious!”
Yunyun hurriedly responded as I cried out in surprise.
“… Let’s go together then. Letting the easily persuaded Yunyun go to the tavern alone at night is like letting a group of Onion Ducks walk pass me when I haven’t use Explosion magic for the day.”
“T-There’s no need to come along! Look. I’ve stayed overnight at the guild before. Nothing happened!”
Yunyun insisted on refusing my company.
“Then, see you tomorrow!”
And rushed out into the streets at night.
“… I can’t sleep.”
The battle will be tomorrow.
Perhaps due to the nervousness, I found it difficult to fall asleep.
Just a year ago, I was still peacefully going to school. How did I end up having to fight a greater devil?
Thinking back, I had experienced a lot of adventures in the past year.
Breaking the seal of the evil god, defeating the evil god’s minions, and fighting with the greater devil Arnes.
And now, I’m defending the town of Axel and preparing to fight with the devil Hoost.
There probably won’t be such a major event in my adventurer life from now on.
What surprised me was that adventurers were people who frequently took on normal quests to make ends meet.
The odd party that would be willing to recruit me probably did not exist. Even if Hoost was defeated successfully, I would still…
I thought about this in the darkness and tucked my head beneath the blanket.
This wasn’t good. My thoughts were just becoming more negative.
Truly, was I becoming more negative because of tomorrow’s event?
As I thought on this, I noticed the sky was starting to brighten outside the window.
Or rather, it was today. I was so wide awake that I couldn’t sleep at all.
I felt as if I had forgotten something very important…
What was it? I said to myself, something very important… Eh, ah!
I forgot my daily practice of using Explosion magic!
No wonder I couldn’t sleep. Just as I was about to get up…
A whisper was heard from outside the door. The room became unlocked.
What kind of pervert would pry open the room’s lock at this time?
Cecily immediately flashed across my mind. I turned my back to the door and pretended to sleep as I clenched my fist to strike at the intruder at any moment.
Finally, the door was gently opened.
“… Megumin, are you asleep?”
I heard a soft, familiar voice. My clenched fist relaxed.
The intruder was Yunyun.
What was this about? Why would she sneak into my room at this time?
It didn’t matter if I was awake, but for some reason, I chose to pretend to be asleep.
“… Megumin. You are very amazing. Faced with that devil, you still refused to run away. If it was me, I definitely would be so troubled that I couldn’t sleep.”
I shouldn’t have pretended to be asleep.
After hearing this, it was more awkward for me to get up now…
As I was regretting my decision, Yunyun softly continued her monologue.
“Can I be honest? When you learned Explosion magic, I thought this so-called ‘top genius’ was mentally retarded.”
I wanted to pounce at her.
“And then, when you were helping those Axis Cultists in Alcanretia with their foolish recruitment schemes… Really, really…”
At this point, Yunyun’s voice ceased.
… Those times were my dark history, so I really wish you’d stop reminding me of it.
Since my back was facing her in the dark, I wondered what Yunyun’s expressions were like now.
“But with only the useless Explosion magic, you destroyed the evil god’s minions in one shot and then defeated Arnes. Now, you even plan to oppose that devil…”
Although I couldn’t see her, her current expression must be—
“I think the current Megumin is really cool, and really amazing.”
Must be really bashful.
… Yes. Just like the current me.
If I got up now after hearing her monologue, Yunyun would receive a deep psychological scar.
But if I didn’t say anything after hearing such an honest confession, it was also…
“But Megumin, you should know it too. Even if you hide with invisibility magic to use Explosion magic, your position would still be exposed by your mana leakage.”
… At this moment, I couldn’t say that I didn’t even think about that.
As I was feeling embarrassed and dispirited…
Yunyun’s tone suddenly changed.
“So that I can continue to be Megumin’s rival, I will borrow this.”
Yunyun said softly in a serious tone and picked something up.
Even if I couldn’t see, I could guess what it was.
It was probably the doll with Chomusuke’s scent, prepared as a bait for Hoost.
Did she intend to lure and defeat Hoost before I could arrive?
But Yunyun shouldn’t have the finishing move to defeat Hoost.
No matter what, it was too reckless for her to do it alone.
“I was in the tavern of the Adventurer’s Guild until now… For the first time, I took the initiative to ask to join a party.”
“And it was one of the top adventuring parties in the town. Rex-san’s party. When I said I wanted revenge on that devil, they readily agreed.”
But they should be badly wounded…
“If I was alone, I probably wouldn’t have the courage to challenge it, but like this…”
I listened to Yunyun’s confession and considered when I should get up.
“Then I’m leaving.”
It was about time.
I pretended to wake up and greeted her sleepily—
“Because you are my most important friend. I knew we would lose, so I can’t let you go on a suicide mission. Therefore…”
… I was speechless. As I considered how I should respond…
Following the soft-spoken apology,
An irresistible sleep magic assaulted me—
I jumped out of my bed as I woke up.
As I quickly took note of my surroundings, I noticed that the sky outside was completely bright.
Then, as evidence that it was not a dream, the black cat doll at the side of my bed was missing.
“You really did it! You were scheming against me right from the start, Yunyun!!”
Before anything else, the first thought in my mind was that I was upset at falling for her trap.
She left early with a powerful party to defeat Hoost because she was worried about me.
Normally, this might be a very good thing, but for me…!
“For a Crimson Demon, it’s the greatest insult to steal someone else’s glory! Don’t think this is over!!”
As I was shouting, I grabbed my staff and rushed out of the room—!
As I rushed out of the door, I nearly ran right into Cecily.
“Onee-san, sorry! The situation is urgent, I have to hurry!! I’ll leave first today!”
“Why are you hurrying? What happened that was so urgent?”
I didn’t have time to explain to Cecily, but it was still rude to ignore her when she was right in front of me…!
I suppressed my urge to hurry and explained the situation. Cecily tilted her head.
“Uh. The party that went with Megumin-san’s friend to defeat the devil is led by someone called Rex, right?”
“? Yes, that’s right. Supposedly, they are one of the more powerful parties in the town…”
Cecily listened and said.
“I healed them!”
She smiled prettily and gave a thumb-up.
“I healed those people! Look, I said yesterday that I worked hard, right? I went to Eris Church to disturb them and saw those people moaning in pain.”
What was this? I had a bad premonition.
“My faith in Lady Aqua was seemingly stronger than any Eris Cultist present. The power of the Eris Cultists couldn’t heal those people enough for them to move. Before the Eris Cultists, I healed them to the point where they could fight if they endured the pain! The dissatisfied looks of those Eris Cultists back then were so awesome!!”
So she was responsible for complicating the situation!
Even Yunyun would not challenge the devil alone without a plan. But—
Except for Rex’s party, no other party would challenge the devil even if Yunyun took the initiative to talk to them.
Still, Cecily only healed the wounded, so I couldn’t blame her for anything!
“I can’t wait anymore. I need to…!”
At this moment, Cecily grabbed my hand as I was about to run off.
“Onee-san, I really don’t have the time to play with you now…”
I looked at Cecily’s expression and swallowed what I wanted to say.
She was mumbling something and looking at me seriously.
“May the Goddess Aqua bless you! Blessing!”
A gentle glow came from Cecily’s hand.
That glow engulfed my body…
“I can only vaguely remember chants not related to healing. It’s great that I could cast it successfully.”
Cecily smiled and breathed out in relief.
Looking at her expression, I could only smiled stiffly.
Then, I silently thanked this weird onee-san from the Axis Cult.
In this urgent situation, I didn’t notice that I was panicking.
Thanks to this, I was much more relaxed.
“At this time, I wish you can call me Cecily Onee-chan…”
I smiled stiffly again.
“Cecily onee-chan, I’m going.”
In the plains outside of the town.
The Giant frogs that are usually hopping around were missing.
“We’ll block it again! Please use that spell one more time!!”
“Un-Understood! Leave it to me!”
At this time…
“If you think you can stop me, then stop me! You annoying bugs!!”
Yunyun and the others were in battle with the devil Hoost.
“Rex, stand back! You’re at your limit!”
“Yes. Your right arm is broken, right!? Your face is pale!”
The situation wasn’t good, but unexpectedly, Hoost was not without injuries.
After losing one wing to the magic sword hero, Hoost currently has minor wounds on its body.
And it gave the impression that it was weakened for some reason.
“… Damn. Normally, I should be able to easily finish off such trash…”
Hoost threatened Terry and Sophie who replaced Rex in the frontline while complaining in a tired voice.
“Then, what should I do? Join the fight now…?”
After becoming invisible with the magic scroll that deflected light, I watched the battle from a distance—
Seeing Hoost struggling, I started to think victory might be possible.
I wanted to rush into battle, but it was probably better to observe for a while.
Or rather, this was not a good moment for a Crimson Demon to debut.
It was fine to come forth at a dangerous moment, but doing so when one’s side was already winning was too lame.
At this time, Yunyun held out her staff in one hand and gripped a small rock tightly in the other.
She shouted in a resounding voice. The small rock in her hand disintegrated…!
“Ah! … It hurts! This magic is so annoying! Damn. After losing almost half of my power, I don’t really want to use too much mana, but…!”
After being attacked by lightning, Hoost raised its arms up high—
“Go to hell! Inferno!”
It brought its arms down as it shouted!
But Yunyun seemed to be expecting this. She released her staff and opened a scroll towards it with both hands.
The spell that was supposed to emerge from Hoost’s hands did not appear.
At the same time, the scroll before Yunyun turned black and was torn into pieces.
It seemed the magic in the scroll worked, cancelling Hoost’s spell .
Yunyun picked up the staff at her feet and took out a rock from her pocket.
The rock was manatite.
This rock was filled with magic power, but its price depended on its size and purity.
Although various expensive magic items were used, Yunyun managed to fight on par with Hoost.
“So annoying! That’s why I said I don’t want to deal with you Crimson Demons!! You bastards fight whichever way you like! Grah! Time to apply some force!”
The enraged Hoost closed the distance with an agility that seemed completely at odds with its huge body.
Noticing the situation, Sophie and Terry came in front of Yunyun to block it.
“Everyone, use Plan F!”
Yunyun shouted and retrieved a scroll in preparation.
“No problem here!”
“Okay, let’s do it!”
That was probably a codeword for a battle plan that she and Rex agreed on.
“”What is this now!? You’ve been playing all kinds of tricks right from the start. If you can do it, then…!”
Hoost charged forward without concern…!
At the same time, Rex and the others covered their faces.
As my eyes opened wide to see what they were up to—
Following Yunyun’s voice, there was a bright flash of light!
“Ha! We devils do not see with our eyes! This body is just for temporary use. This trick is useless!!”
“D-Damn! … Ugh!?”
From the conversation, the two frontline fighters other than Rex had collapsed.
There were then two sounds of something falling on the ground.
“Damn. It had no effect!? I thought I heard a soft cry of agony…!”
The evidence was Rex’s anguish suspicion.
By the way.
The soft cry of agony was probably referring to me as I rolled on the ground while covering my eyes.
I pressed my eyes, which were injured by the light, and squatted on the ground, trembling.
“Okay. There are only the two of you left. Do you still have something else up your sleeve?”
I heard Hoost’s arrogant voice.
I painfully opened my eyes and looked at Yunyun opposing Hoost directly.
Rex stood at her side, holding his great sword in his left hand.
The other two were on the ground. That guy named Terry or something was unconscious.
As if to answer Hoost’s provocations, Yunyun quietly said to Rex.
“Rex-san. Although I don’t know if it will be effective against a devil with high magic resistance… I still have one more magic item.”
“… I know. What should I do?”
What should I do? The mood had become even harder for me to debut.
Both of them endured the tense mood, then finally said something to each other that was too soft for me to hear.
“Oh. You still have tricks? Good, try it! If you attack, there will be a fault in your defense. I wonder which of you will fall first if you fail!!”
Although Hoost mocked Yunyun, its yellow eyes showed signs of caution.
At this time, Yunyun took out a bottle—
“…? Magic Potion!!”
Hoost charged at Yunyun again as she drank the potion.
“The rest is up to you, little girl!”
Rex shouted and threw his great sword at Hoost.
As if surprised by the enemy tossing away his weapon, Hoost was slow to react as its hardened arm blocked the great sword.
Then, it used its broad arm to smash Rex, sending him flying away.
At the same time, Yunyun finished her potion and used a spell infused with all her magic power.
The magic she used was to temporarily paralyze an opponent.
But since devils used temporary bodies anyway, paralysis was—
“Ha! You are a Crimson Demon, yet you don’t know this! To us devils, paralysis is…!?”
Hoost gloated before trailing off.
“Paralysis is useless against devils. I know it very well! After all, my study results were Number 2 in class!”
The potion Yunyun drank was commonly known as Magic Potion.
Drinking it could increase the power of specific spells or directly change the spell’s effect.
Since Hoost couldn’t move, the magic was probably effective.
Yunyun didn’t use this at the start because she was unsure if it would be effective.
But Yunyun won the gamble.
Then, it would be finished if someone dealt the final blow to the paralyzed Hoost.
“Tsk. How powerful was that Magic Potion to be effective against me? But your magic power is almost depleted, right? Can you finish me off with your remaining magic power before the paralysis ends? A mere paralysis would last at most a few minutes. If its effect ends abruptly, the situation will turn in my favor.”
As if it realized it was in real danger, Hoost was suddenly very talkative.
“Let’s negotiate. How about both sides retreat today? You want to hurry up and treat those three people too, right? If both sides are retreating, even when the paralysis ends, I guarantee that I won’t attack anymore today. You may not believe me, but we devils definitely do not break our promises.”
But Yunyun did not answer as if she couldn’t believe the devil.
Faced with her silence, Hoost became anxious and said.
“… Aren’t you the second in class? Then you should’ve learned that devils do not break promises and contracts!”
It shouted anxiously and angrily…
“…… That’s not it.”
At this time, Yunyun softly said while trembling.
By the way, Yunyun hadn’t moved from that spot for awhile.
“That’s not it? What’s not it?”
Hoost asked in confusion.
“… Uh. The deal you mentioned… I can accept it. Uh, both sides will retreat today, then. Uh…”
Yunyun said in a stuttering voice.
At this time…
Rex said from the side.
“That’s right. Forget about us…”
Terry joined in as he regained consciousness.
“… We are fine… Quick. Give it the final blow!”
As if those words were the final blow itself, even Sophie urged her on.
… But I already understood Yunyun’s current situation.
They looked at the unmoving Yunyun.
“… Hey, you… Are you…”
Hoost also noticed it.
“Could it be that you are paralyzed as well?”
Its question resulted in an awkward silence.
Finally, only Hoost’s laughter echoed across the plains.
“You… You Crimson Demons. I’m not good at dealing with you people, but I really can’t bring myself to hate you! How did you even managed to paralyze yourself!?”
Hoost said and laughed out loud. Yunyun replied on the verge of tears.
“I don’t know either! I got that potion from the last magic item shop I visited. A beautiful onee-san said, ‘This is a potion that will enhance the power of paralysis and area of effect.’ She then sold it to me at a very cheap price!!”
Normally, I should scold her for doing such a foolish thing. But after looking at the bottle at her feet, I hugged my head uncontrollably.
That idiotic product that would drag its user down as well was probably created by my father.
“Ha. This joke is killing me. Then? What do you intend to do? I’ll say it again. You might see me as an untrustworthy devil, but do you still want to make a deal or not? Look, I can’t move now, so is it okay not to give me the final blow? I had a good laugh, so if you want to make a deal now, I can still let you leave.”
Hoost mocked her as it remained paralyzed.
Rex and the others were still rather imposing earlier, but after hearing that conversation, they couldn’t say anything else.
—It was time.
“Ugh… I-Is that a challenge!? Cri-Crimson Demons never back down from a fight! Even if I can’t win, I will…?”
Yunyun stopped in mid-sentence while she was on the verge of tears.
“Ugh!? Wh-Wh-Where did you come from!?”
Hoost had the same reaction.
After dispelling the scroll’s effect, I suddenly appeared. Its paralyzed body became even stiffer. It wore an expression of surprise.
“No one can move anymore?”
It was so rude to leave me behind.
“Hi. I’m a passing Archmage. You people stand aside. I’m going to have a good time.”
“You-You are! The mage who was all talk and no action! Hey. What are you doing here? It’s dangerous, run!!”
As if his pain was numbed, Rex lay motionlessly on the ground and warned me anxiously.
A frightful voice said.
As if she was a kid afraid of being lectured, the paralyzed Yunyun said and observed my mood.
I didnt reply.
“Last night, I forgot my daily practice of using Explosion magic. When I was about to get out of bed, someone used Sleep magic on me…”
“!? You-You-You-You-You were awake!? Wait! Were you awake the whole time!?”
I raised my staff before me and pointed at Hoost.
“Therefore, the magic power from yesterday was entirely wasted… I’m currently looking for a good target to use magic…”
“Hey, hey. You… That eye…! W-Wait. Okay, I understand. Calm down! Calm down first!”
Hoost shouted at me in a stuttering voice.
“Megumin, please answer me!? When were you awake!? Last night, when did you start listening!?”
At the same time, Yunyun was shouting on the verge of tears.
“When did I start listening? Well, it was when the door was unlocked and you asked, ‘Megumin, are you asleep?’”
Yunyun cried out in anguish as she blushed deeply.
She wanted to run away from here, but she couldn’t move since she was paralyzed.
“Next is— You dare to torture my amusing compatriot who made embarrassing confessions regardless of whether the other party was awake or not. She even managed to paralyze herself.”
“Stop it! Don’t say anymore! Don’t say anymore! I was wrong, please stop! You’re angry because I came early to the fight after making you sleep!? Or because I took the doll!? I’m sorry, so please don’t say anymore!!”
“She is a shy girl who would say things like ‘I think the current Megumin is really cool, and really powerful’ when she thinks nobody is listening…”
“And ‘Because you are my most important friend.’ … Yes. After hearing her confessions, I cannot stand by and ignore this!!”
“Kill me! I can’t run away or even kill myself now that I’m paralyzed, so give me a quick clean death!! I can’t live like this! Just kill me already!!”
Yunyun cried like she was about to have a mental breakdown.
For some reason, Hoost was happily looking at us.
Then Rex, who remained silent all this while, shouted.
“Hey, mage who is all talk and no action! How long are you going to keep fooling around? If you want to do something, hurry up and…? Wh-What is this? Hey, what’s happening? Is something wrong!?”
In this situation, those words were unnecessary.
While I was making psychological attacks on Yunyun, I was also gathering magic power.
“My magic is a massive skill that requires charging. This situation is a match made in heaven for me.”
“When you say charging, you mean you need to continue charging beyond this? I’ve live for a long time, but I’ve still almost never seen such a frightening amount of magic power…”
Hoost said somewhat helplessly, and yet slightly happily as well.
“Next is my finishing move, which is also the magic that defeated your comrade Arnes.”
“… I see. You defeated her. From the magnitude of this magic power, I don’t think that fellow could have survived it either.”
Perhaps because I didn’t use magic yesterday, the amount of magic power emitted today was abnormally high.
The unrefined magic power spilled forth, causing the surrounding atmosphere to tremble slightly, accompanied by some static electricity.
“Wh-What is this… Hey, what is happening… I have been an adventurer for so many years, yet I’ve never seen this kind of magic…”
Rex mumbled to himself as he scanned the surroundings.
“What are you trying to do? Really. Aren’t you a mage who is all talk and no action…?”
He then turned his pale face to me and asked timidly.
I didn’t respond. I merely smiled bitterly and said.
“This is it. My finishing move— Explosion magic!!”
Upon hearing the words “Explosion magic”, Hoost sighed deeply like a human.
… It was difficult to read the expression of a devil, but it was probably smiling bitterly too.
“Seriously… If I was at full health, I might’ve been able to somehow endure this attack. If only I wasn’t assaulted by that ridiculously durable Crusader and that Thief yesterday.”
Hoost still couldn’t move—
“After that, I was pissed off about being injured, so I decided to attack the town… A weird woman who was repairing the town wall suddenly slapped me in the face with a vicious anti-devil spell…”
It grumbled as if it was making a confession.
“This means one less life then. My contract with Lady Wolbach will also be forcibly broken. I’ll happily regain my freedom… I’m really impressed. Maybe one day that brat will really summon me back.”
Then it happily said some strange things.
“Really. What is wrong with this town? It’s full of weird people. They are all too unorthodox! Of course, as someone who uses Explosion magic, you are one of them too! What a day—!”
Hoost was finally defeated, but after exhausting my magic power, nobody except Yunyun could move.
It seemed everyone else was brought back on stretchers by the guild staff. That pathetic incident happened yesterday.
“I’ve always believed! Yes, I’ve always believed in you, Megumin-san! I’ve always believed that you would win!!”
I was embraced by Cecily at the hotel entrance, letting her rub her cheek against mine.
How should I say this? Yunyun was still watching from the side. It was a bit embarrassing.
“Call me Cecily onee-chan! Didn’t you already call me that yesterday!?”
“Onee-san. Uh, it’s very hot. Isn’t it about time you let go…?”
“Really. This kid is too coy!”
Cecily finally let go of me as she spoke such nonsensical words.
Then, she silently stared at my face and said with a laugh.
“But Megumin-san, is this really okay? To give all the reward away…”
That’s right. We gave the reward for defeating Hoost to Rex and the others.
Or rather, I was the one who lured Hoost to the forest near the town.
More accurately, it was the furball that was still pestering me at my feet right now
“No problem. After all, I stole everyone’s thunder by dealing the final blow. I wasn’t the one who fought that devil and was forced into that situation.”
“You’re so cute when you are forcing yourself to act tough! I can tell you really wanted the money!”
“I-I’m not forcing myself! Really! I just thought that Rex and the others were hurt because of me!”
“Really. You are not honest at all! But I don’t dislike that either!”
I stiffly smiled as Cecily enthusiastically hugged me again.
“… Okay. I’m a bit reluctant, but it’s about time I leave.”
Cecily said as she picked up the luggage on the ground and hung it over her shoulder.
“Are you going back to Alcanretia like this?”
Hearing my question, Cecily showed an expression as if she was a kid plotting a prank.
“No. I’m on a new journey! I’ve learned something from this incident. Healing magic alone isn’t enough! I learned healing magic only because I was frequently injured when I was messing about. This time, when I blessed you like a real priestess, I suddenly thought— A nickname like ‘powerful and beautiful priestess’ is better than a mere ‘beauty’.”
This was totally unimportant.
“And after reaching a certain level as a priest, I will be sent to a town of my preference to support and govern the local church!”
This was actually somewhat important.
“… Onee-san, are you planning to be sent to this town?”
“It’s a secret!”
… It seemed she was eyeing this place.
“In any case, don’t curl up into a ball and cry because I’m not around, okay?”
“I won’t… But I’ll still say this. Onee-san, take care. After all, you are a beautiful woman if you keep your mouth shut, so don’t let bad guys pester you.”
“That’s my line! Listen. Be careful when you choose a party!!”
Cecily said and left as suddenly as she came—
Then Yunyun, who was watching us so far, said seriously to me.
“Megumin. Can you follow me outside the town?”
—On the plains outside the town. The Giant frogs, which were hiding in fear of Hoost yesterday, were jumping vigorously all over the place.
The silhouettes of adventurers hunting the frogs could be seen everywhere on the plains.
“Here should be fine.”
At this time, Yunyun, who was walking in front, stopped suddenly.
“My good rival, self-proclaimed top mage of the Crimson Demons. Megumin!”
Yunyun blushed and pointed at me.
“——My name is Yunyun! As an Archmage who uses intermediate magic, I’ll become the chief of the Crimson Demons! … Next, I’ll be going on a journey. Yes, a journey to defeat you, my rival. A journey to learn advanced magic!”
“… You didn’t call me rival yesterday— ‘Because you are my most important friend.’”
“Wah! I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you! La La La La!”
Yunyun blushed as her eyes were filled with tears.
“…Are you leaving on a journey to cool your head off because you said something embarrassing recently?”
“My brain isn’t that damaged! Uh, uh. So-Somewhat… just… just a little bit… An-Anyway!”
She retrieved her staff and pointed it at me.
“Once I’ve learned advanced magic, we will have a real duel! … I’m a bit upset, but Megumin was the one who defeated that devil in the end. I will admit I cannot win against you for now. I feel that it would be difficult to surpass you if I keep hanging around with you.”
“From our duel records so far, I’ve basically won all the matches.”
“I’m trying to have a serious talk here, so don’t interrupt! So how about it!? If I learn advanced magic, do you intend to have a proper duel with me!?”
Yunyun shouted loudly on the verge of tears.
I said to Yunyun.
“Fine. At that time, we’ll have a proper duel without any tricks.”
I smiled to one of my few friends.
——The One Who Would Become The Chief of The Crimson Demons!——
It had been two weeks since I bid Megumin farewell and left Axel.
During this time, I visited two cities, but I didn’t find any adventuring companions.
… Actually, it didn’t matter anymore that I couldn’t find any companions.
As long as I had enough power, I would be able to gain levels faster by hunting monsters alone.
And I was aiming to become the top mage of the Crimson Demons.
Not merely to catch up to Megumin, but to surpass her.
To accomplish this, I was willing to take risks and fight powerful monsters.
So I had no time to look for companions anymore…!
I sat in the shaking public carriage and repeatedly tried to convince myself.
… What should I do? I was about to cry.
Goddess Lady Aqua. I’m very sorry that I lied. I really want some companions. I want reliable companions, preferably humans— No. As long as we can converse, it doesn’t matter if they are humans or not. I want companions that can adventure with me…!
Just then, I heard a voice next to me.
“Hey, are you okay? You have been shaking your head for some time. Are you unwell?”
It seemed I was so troubled that I unknowingly started acting strangely.
I shook my head at the worried onee-san who was talking to me.
“No-No problem. I’m just bothered by something! Sorry. I’m not a suspicious person.”
I said hurriedly as I felt my face heat up from embarrassment.
That onee-san smiled gently.
“Is it? From your appearance, you must be a traveling mage. Don’t strain yourself too much, okay?”
The onee-san said and handed something over to me.
It was some packaged snacks.
“This is very tasty. Why don’t you have some?”
She smiled at my confusion.
“Th-Thank you very much.”
I remembered when I came to Axel with Megumin, I got some snacks on the public carriage too. It was the aunt who had a kid with her.
Those memories flashed across my mind as I took the snack.
“Oh. Your eyes… Are you a Crimson Demon?”
The onee-san removed her hood and looked at my eyes.
There was only yellow in her eyes. The onee-san had short red hair. She looked at my eyes in nostalgia.
“Ah, yes! I’m a Crimson Demon. Uh… My-My name…”
“It’s fine. You don’t need to say it if you’re embarrassed! I know the names of Crimson Demons are very special!”
The onee-san hurriedly stopped me as I was about to announce my name.
… What a kind person. I felt it was rare to meet such a knowledgeable person.
There were only two of us in the carriage. It seemed there were few passengers today.
“By the way, what’s bothering you? If you don’t mind, you can talk to me about it.”
As I said “Itadakimasu!” and ate the snacks, the onee-san continued smiling.
“My trouble… Uh, it’s a bit embarrassing…”
I told her everything that happened so far, even though she was a stranger.
The events involving how I left the Crimson Demon Village with a friend for the town of Axeltown.
Even with the most favorable qualities and conditions, I still couldn’t find any companions.
I left my old friend behind and began my own journey in order to surpass her.
As the onee-san listened to my story, she closed her eyes.
After a while—
“… Is that so? I’m the same. My subordinates who were with me for a long time… They left this world one by one. Separation is really so painful.”
She said and smiled in a somewhat lonely look.
This onee-san must have experienced a lot.
“Uh… Don’t feel sad…”
“Oh. Sorry, no problem. We merely parted our ways for a while. It isn’t as if I will never see them again… What do you intend to do next?”
“Me? I haven’t decided. Since I want to gain levels quickly, I should be going somewhere with more powerful monsters.”
The onee-san nodded in understanding.
“Then, do you want to travel with me? I’m going to visit the hot springs in a certain city. Sometimes, I travel with adventurers too. I might look like this, but I’m actually very strong.”
I quickly agreed as I suppressed the urge to interrupt her. The onee-san was shocked.
“Is-Is that so? Uh… The city I’m planning to visit is Alcanretia…”
Someone finally invited me to travel together, yet her destination had to be Alcanretia.
I didn’t think that I would return to the city with those people…
“What is it? Something wrong with Alcanretia?”
“Hm… That, uh… Actually, I stayed in that city for a while. I got dragged into an incident involving the minions of the Demon King’s army.”
The onee-san’s expression changed when she heard “Demon King’s army”.
“Minions of the Demon King’s army? … But it’s too early for the plans involving Alcanretia…”
She softly mumbled to herself.
“Then? What did the Demon King’s army do in Alcanretia?”
“Uh, there was a terrorist attack to turn all the hot springs in the town into Tokoroten Slime…”
“Wh-What…!? Hey, are you sure this is the work of the Demon King’s army? I-I have never heard of such a ridiculous terrorist act.”
“Because after the incident, someone saw the silhouette of a female devil… So the Axis Cultists were certain that it was doubtlessly the work of the Demon King’s army. They said, ‘Everything bad happening in this city is due to the Demon King’s army’…”
“What do they mean by that!?”
The onee-san violently grabbed my shoulders. It was useless to complain to me.
“Uh. Anyway, that’s how it was. A lot of things happened, so I don’t really want to go to that city now… And, onee-san, please be careful. There are very strange people in that town.”
“I realized that from your statements earlier. Thanks.”
—Then the carriage slowed down and finally stopped.
“It seemed we have arrived. Then, I suppose we’ll part here? I need to get on the carriage leaving for Alcanretia.”
The onee-san stood up and sighed without enthusiasm.
“Ah, that… I’m really sorry, even though you invited me… I have never been invited by others before. I-I will never forget this!”
“It-It’s fine to forget it! I just feel that your magic power is especially strong. You have a lot of potential, so I was rather interested in you! Don’t be too serious about this!”
The onee-san smiled anxiously.
“Then I’m leaving. Both training and making friends are very important. Be sure to work hard in both areas. Or else you would become the Demon King, okay?”
She got off the carriage and waved at me.
After the onee-san left, the carriage slowly started to move again.
I put my face out of the window and waved to the onee-san. I engraved her words in my head.
“Or else, you would become the Demon King, okay?”
That was a famous story about the Demon King.
It was a story about the lonely Demon King with a very strange name.
The story about the powerful Demon King was to avoid letting one’s children become lonely like the Demon King. If one was alone, that special power would be meaningless.
But that’s not a problem.
I still had that… How should I say it? Companion, or friend, or crony… Yes, that rival. I still had that rival.
—One day, I will surpass her and become the chief of the Crimson Demons…!
I watched the onee-san walk away and silently made my resolution. Then, I suddenly realized something.
“I forgot to ask the onee-san’s name!”