Turning this masked knight into a slave!
Editor: Adam, Cannongerbil, Veritaum, Boring bone, Xenthur
“Satou Kazuma! Is Satou Kazuma here–?!”
Just like Megumin said, Sena charged in angrily.
“Again? What is it this time? Is it frogs? Or did something else happen?!”
I was a bit surprised by Sena’s aura, but I still managed to ask her.
“It’s the dungeon! What did you do to the dungeon? The Keele dungeon near the town! I heard that many mysterious monsters have flooded out from there!”
Sena who was so angry that her ears were red said.
Mysterious monsters? That should be the one I heard about in town recently.
“No… Wait, that has nothing to do with us! We did enter the dungeon before, but pushing all the blame on me when things go wrong is too much!”
Hearing me say that, the others nodded too.
… Good. From their reaction, they didn’t cause any trouble that I didn’t know about.
But Sena was still looking at me with suspicious eyes.
“That might be so, but I heard that you were the last batch of people to enter that dungeon. Going by your history, the chances that you people aren’t involved is really…”
“What twisted reasoning is this? And we really have no clue this time. Right? There’s no problem this time, right?”
Hearing me say that, the three girls shook their heads strongly.
When Sena saw this, she was still doubtful but believed us for now.
“But this is troubling… I have no idea who else but you guys would cause such trouble. I have to hire people to investigate then…”
Sena glanced at us as she spoke.
She was trying to pull the ‘Is there anyone who happens to be free’ gaze on us.
“Oh, Ms. Prosecutor, could you be asking your original suspect to help in your investigation? We have plenty on our plate trying to prove our innocence in the first place.”
Megumin noticed what Sena’s intention was and struck first.
Sena bit her lips, but she ignored Megumin and looked straight at me.
“… I don’t have the time for this, sorry but I have to reject you.”
Hearing my strong rejection, Sena breathed in deeply and slumped her shoulders.
“You’re right, I can’t force this on you since you’re not related to this. But if you change your mind, please lend me a hand. I’ll be making a trip to the adventurer’s guild.”
After Sena finished, she turned and left the mansion.
When Sena was gone, I sighed heavily.
I’m bad with such people.
Maybe it’s because she was honest and one of the few people with a clear conscience in town.
“Well, I’m curious about the mysterious monsters flooding out from the dungeon… But we have things we need to do. First is clearing Kazuma’s suspicion, next is compensating the landlord for his mansion. In the end, there are no solutions for these two problems yet.”
That’s how it was.
“… Hey, Darkness, can we discuss…”
“Forget about borrowing money, I’ve already helped you plenty. Or rather, I want to see the Kazuma who’s at his wit’s end.”
Darkness said to me with a smile.
Ugh… This girl still had a grudge for the incident earlier.
… But, mysterious monsters, huh.
“To be safe, I’ll ask you all again. You really have no idea what this incident is all about, right?”
When they heard what I said, all of them had a question expression.
“For me, if this has nothing to do with explosion magic, I’m not interested.”
“Same for me. I should say that unlike these two, I don’t cause trouble.”
“Ah…! It’s true that Darkness doesn’t cause any major trouble, but on the other hand you lack any stellar performance like in that battle with Destroyer!”
“Wha…! Me-Megumin, you…”
Leaving the squabbling two aside, I asked the most suspicious person.
“What about you? Any ideas?”
Aqua responded to my uneasy words.
“Of course not. Really, you suspect me too much.”
Seeing her frown while saying that, I sighed in relief.
“That’s right. Even you won’t stir up trouble all day! Sorry, my bad. It’s all because of that trial, which made me so suspicious…”
I apologized to Aqua and reflected on my action of blaming everything on her…
“Really, you should trust me a little. You should say that thanks to me, monsters won’t be approaching that dungeon. Wasn’t there a room where the lich was staying? I put some major effort into drawing that magic circle that purified the lich. And that magic circle’s still there right now, keeping evil beings out of that room!”
… I grabbed Aqua’s shoulders.
“Hey, what did you say just now?”
“…? Why… Why are you grabbing me? Like I said, that was a magic circle I put my all into. It should still be working now keeping the monsters at bay…”
I didn’t let Aqua finish…
I grabbed my head and screamed.
– Walking on the snow-covered road, we headed for that dungeon.
“… Sniff… This isn’t my fault… It’s definitely not…!”
Together with Aqua who was still crying.
I walked in the front with Aqua behind me, followed by Megumin and Darkness.
I turned back and said to Aqua:
“Why do you do this every time; stirring trouble after accomplishing some good? Why? Is it an illness that compels you to cancel out your performance with mistakes?”
For now, the bad part had been overwhelming the good part though.
“Wait! This isn’t my fault this time! Please believe me, all right? I only set up a purification magic circle in the boss’s lair, it won’t cause the mass spawning of monsters! This is different from the wandering spirits incident earlier!”
Aqua grabbed my shoulders and shook it as she spoke.
“Hey, stop that, it’s hard to walk like this! And whether you’re the cause of this isn’t important! Sena finding your magic circle during her investigation is the real problem!”
The magic circle in the depths of the dungeon.
We must destroy the evidence, or they’ll think we had something to do with this.
I brought an item that could dispel a magic circle with me, but if possible, I would like to settle this without going inside.
Aside from the wailing Aqua, we didn’t meet any problems along the way and reached the entrance to the dungeon.
“… I see, it really is a mysterious monster.”
When we reached the dungeon, we observed the monsters that kept on spilling out from the entrance.
Simply put, they were masked dolls.
They were about the height of my knee and bipedal.
“What is that? I’ve never seen or heard of something like this before.”
Megumin tilted her head and watched the dolls with interest.
“At a glance, they don’t seem that strong in a fight.”
Darkness said, her heavy armour clanking.
“How should I put this? I feel a strong aversion to this doll on the bi Why is that? Just seeing that thing makes me angry.”
Aqua picked up a rock as she said that.
– At this moment.
“Satou-san…! What are you doing here? Did you change your mind and came here to investigate?”
Hearing someone calling me from behind, I turned and saw Sena with a large group of adventurers in tow.
Sena was dressed lightly, wearing no armor and holding a talisman with a strange drawing on it.
So, she was already here.
… No choice, I had to accommodate her.
“Now that I think about it, the appearance of the mysterious monsters will affect us too. And protecting the town from these monsters is the obligation of an adventurer.”
“I’ve never wished that I had a lie detection device with me so strongly before…. But I’m deeply grateful for your assistance.”
Sena said and bowed deeply.
Oh no, my conscience was feeling bad about this.
This person didn’t have any agenda against me, she was just inflexible and persistent in investigating me as a suspect.
“If that’s the case, please take this, Satou-san. It’s unknown why the monsters are spawning, but they were probably summoned by someone. If that assumption is true, then please take down the summoner and paste this on the magic circle.”
Sena gave me a talisman as she spoke.
“… What is this?”
“A talisman imbued with powerful sealing magic. By pasting this on, it’ll disable the magic circle, no matter how powerful it may be. There are certain circles that will continue to summon monsters even after its caster has fallen, so please take this with you.”
I see, such a convenient item–but we didn’t need it.
“No, I don’t need that. Don’t worry, I have a good idea. With so many monsters in the dungeons, there’s no need to trouble ourselves by going in… Megumin! Are you ready?”
“I’m already ready, leave it to me.”
Answering my call, Megumin lifted her staff and walked up.
When Sena saw this, she said in a panic:
“What… What is this? What are you thinking? Could it be…!”
“Oh, you figured it out? That’s right, by casting Explosion at the entrance of the dungeon and sealing it…”
“No, don’t! Please find out the reason! No matter how you look at it, these monsters didn’t spawn naturally. The one lurking in the dungeon must be dangerous if it can summon so many monsters. Even after sealing the dungeon, the other party will escape if it can teleport. So, the goal is for you to find the enemy that’s causing this major crisis and defeat it.”
Damn, such troublesome things again.
This is bad, I didn’t want to enter that dungeon at all.
And Megumin couldn’t use her explosion magic in the dungeon…
At this moment, without caring about my problems, Aqua got in position to throw rocks at the masked monsters.
She said that she was unable to accept that creature on a base level. So, she really hated it that much.
The monster that bore no hostility towards us suddenly charged at Aqua who was planning to throw rocks at it.
“Eh, wait! What…? What is this?… Oh?”
And then, the monster didn’t attack Aqua but hugged her knees tightly instead.
“What, does it want to cuddle? The mask makes me mad, but I think it looks cute when it cuddles like this… Hey, hey, Kazuma, I think this doll’s getting warmer. I have an ominous feeling!”
Aqua ran towards me as she yelled. I had the same ominous feeling and hurried to get away from Aqua.
With the sound of an explosion, the doll that was hugging Aqua tightly had disappeared without a trace.
What was left was Aqua, who was lying face down on the ground with her clothes all torn up from the explosion.
“… As you can see, this mysterious monster sticks to people who are moving and explodes. The adventurer’s guild wasn’t sure what to do about this too.”
“I see, this is troubling indeed.”
“Why are you all so calm?! Can’t you worry about me a little?! At least check to see how I’m doing!”
As I was chatting calmly with Sena, Aqua leaped up and protested with a face on the verge of tears.
But she seemed to be fine.
“But this is troubling… This monster can only attack by exploding, and will detonate if we hurt it a little. Even if we don’t harm it, it’ll stick to us when we don’t pay attention and will explode anyway. From the current situation, we can only stay far away and defeat them one at a time.”
Sena said as she looked at Megumin consoling Aqua, who was hugging her knees.
Aqua might act like this, but her hagoromo was the strongest godly equipment.
If not for that, she would’ve suffered a considerable injury from that powerful explosion.
What a troublesome monster.
Do we have to throw rocks at it as we advance?
But there were already many monsters spilling onto the surface, who knew how many more were congregating in the dungeon.
Exterminating these monsters one at a time would be a little…
Furthermore, I couldn’t comprehend what the goal of these mysterious monsters were.
In the end, who unleashed these monsters? And for what purpose?
– As I was pondered over such things, Darkness suddenly approached a doll and punched it without a word.
“Hmm? What are you doing suddenly?!”
As the surrounding adventurers and I were panicking because of her action, the doll which took the punch stuck onto Darkness. Shortly after, the doll exploded splendidly just like the one that stuck onto Aqua.
After that explosion–
“… Hmm, I can take it. No problem.”
Darkness who was saying that was still full of life.
As Sena and the other adventurers were still shocked by the tenacity of Darkness…
“I’ll clear a path, just follow behind me Kazuma.”
Darkness said something manly.
The dungeon exploration this time wasn’t a sneaking mission like the previous one.
The plan this time was to attack openly from the front with the other adventurers.
At this moment, Megumin tugged at the corner of my shirt and said:
“Kazuma, Kazuma, I’ll only get in the way inside, can I standby out here? I’ll be ready to use magic at the entrance of the dungeon. Just run out if you run into a powerful monster.”
True, the one summoning these monsters should be inside the dungeon.
And it should be very strong.
It’s better to let Megumin standby here so she can be the ace if a powerful monster chased after us out of the dungeon.
“If that’s the case, I’ll wait for you guys together with Megumin. I’ll cast buffing spells on you before you go in, so both of you be careful.”
Aqua said as she dusted off her clothes…
“Hey, wait a minute! You’re coming too! You’re different from Megumin and can be of use in the dungeon!”
“I don’t wanna–! I don’t want to go into the dungeon anymore! I’ll be left behind if I go into the dungeon! That’s right, and many undead will chase after me–!”
Aqua covered her ears and squatted down, voicing her refusal while shaking her head.
Seemed like she had a trauma when I threatened to leave her behind the last time we visited the dungeon.
I pondered over it and decided to leave Aqua outside too.
With this girl around, the chances of meeting the undead would skyrocket.
And other adventurers would be entering the dungeon too. If we meet any undead without physical form, someone should be able to attack it.
“The only ones entering the dungeon from my party will be just Darkness and me.”
“Yeah… To be alone in the dark dungeon with Kazuma. I think Kazuma’s more dangerous than the monsters.”
“Be careful, I might just leave you in the depths of the dungeon and give you the same trauma as Aqua.”
As we were squabbling, the other adventurers seemed to have decided the members to enter the dungeon.
Some of the adventurers stayed behind on the surface to protect Sena and exterminate the monsters.
About twenty men and women would be entering the dungeon with us.
The plan was for Darkness to take the lead and the other adventurers to follow behind–
– The oil lamp in my hand illuminated the dim passage in the dungeon.
Darkness, who might be attacked by the suicide bombers, was holding a great sword instead of an oil lamp.
I was several steps behind Darkness and held the oil lamp up high, allowing Darkness who was walking in the front to see the road.
The other adventurers fell into line behind us.
It might be a dark and moist dungeon, but there was nothing to fear with so many people around.
That might be so, but our goal was different from theirs.
The other adventurers were here to investigate the reason why the monsters were spawning, but our objective was to dispel the magic circle inside the lich’s room and destroy the evidence.
And so, having them follow behind was troubling for me.
– But, on the other hand…
“Fufufu, hahaha! Kazuma, look! I hit it, I hit it! Even I can hit these fellows accurately!”
Darkness who was walking before me was swinging her sword happily, slashing at the dolls that made no attempts to dodge.
As expected. The dolls counter attacked by suicide bombing, but that just covered the face and armor of Darkness with a bit of dust. She continued charging happily as though nothing had happened.
Well, she was probably a bit concerned about not being able to land a hit on her opponent.
If that was so, stop being stubborn and learn a Long Sword skill, all right?
Maybe her attacks landing made her happy because she was useful, as Darkness rampaged through the dungeon like a tank.
The dungeon created by the renowned lich was sturdy, showing no sign of collapsing despite the series of explosions.
“Hey–Wait, wait for us! Slow down…!”
I could hear the voice of the adventurers coming from behind.
I turned back and realized we had pulled away from the others due to Darkness’s fast rampage.
And those monsters kept jumping out from either side of the dungeons.
“Wait…! Ahhh, it’s sticking on me! Hey, someone pull it off me!”
“Wahhh, don’t come here! Don’t come–!”
The explosion of these monsters was powerful.
They might not be as durable as Darkness or wear godly items like Aqua, but an adventurer in armor wouldn’t die so easily.
I felt a bit bad about that, but I should use this chance…
“Keep it up Darkness! Go straight down the passage! Keep charging ahead!”
“Okay, leave it to me! Ah, such a thrilling experience! I think this is the first time I’m fulfilling my role as a crusader!”
The excited Darkness didn’t realize what the situation was like behind her.
Charge into the depths in one shot and we can say goodbye to this dungeon in no time.
We reached our destination in the deepest part of the dungeon a bit too easily, which was near the lich’s room.
If I remembered correctly, this should be the deepest part of this passage.
“… What’s with this? No matter how I look at it, this must be the boss of these monsters.”
Before me and Darkness was a figure sitting cross-legged in the lich’s room, working hard at making the dolls.
He was wearing a suit that didn’t match the dungeon at all, and his hands were covered in white gloves. The mask he was wearing had a similar design with the dolls that attacked us.
The mask that didn’t cover the mouth had an ominous feeling.
Maybe he didn’t see us, even though I was holding up an oil lamp. Or maybe he was too focused on making his dolls, but this fellow didn’t even look at us.
I couldn’t see his face with his mask on, but from his build he should be a man.
As I was wondering what to do, Darkness took large steps towards the masked man.
“Hey… What are you doing here? If you’re making those dolls, that means you’re the mastermind behind this commotion, right?”
Darkness then drew out her sword and took a stance.
The masked man only faced us now, as if he only noticed us after Darkness said that.
Looking closely, that guy was tall.
He didn’t have anything that looked like a weapon on his hands, but it was obvious that he was not a mere minion character.
The eye part of the mask gleamed with a red light, and the exposed mouth smirked.
“Ohhh… I didn’t expect anyone to be able to reach here. Adventurers, welcome to my dungeon! Thou art correct, moi art the source and the origin of all evil! Moi art a general of the Demon King’s army, the duke of hell that commands the devils! The arch devil that can see through anything in the world, Vanir!”
An unexpectedly strong enemy appeared!
– In the dim dungeon, I backed away slowly.
Darkness held her sword cautiously against Vanir. She was tense since this was a general of the Demon King’s army after all.
Oh no, I didn’t expect to face a general of the Demon King’s army with just Darkness and me.
No… Now that I thought about it, there were plenty of signs.
For example, the frogs that emerged out of the ground as though they were fearing something.
What spooked them wasn’t the explosion spell.
Just like that time when Beldia showed up here, the weak monsters had all fled.
“Darkness. Hey Darkness, we can’t handle this situation by ourselves, let’s think of a way to escape!”
“What are you saying? As a devotee of the Goddess Eris, how can I retreat in the face of the devil and a general of the Demon King’s army on top of that! Even if it’ll kill me, I’ll bring him down!”
What a stubborn woman!
After hearing what Darkness said, Vanir smirked enthusiastically.
“Ohhh, thou wish to defeat moi? Defeat Mr. Vanir, who some say is stronger than the Demon King? You… The girl who’s worried that the man over there saw your six-pack when thou were naked in the shower, I can’t fathom why art thou are so angry, but moi heard that eating some small bones will help in alleviating your nature of being quick to anger. Part of my mask was made from the bones of magic dragons, I don’t mind letting you bite it.”
“Six-pack… Six-pack…? You, stop spouting nonsense you minion of the Demon King! Kazuma, this guy’s lying! I don’t have any six-packs, I’m not worried about it!”
“Eh, don’t get agitated Darkness. Calm down!”
I restrained Darkness who was waving her sword and about to attack.
Vanir ignored the enraged Darkness, maintaining his position of sitting cross-legged and said:
“Please calm down. I didn’t come here to pick a fight with thee. It’s because that fellow, the Demon King, asked moi to investigate something. Also, I have some business with the useless general in Axel who became more impoverished the harder she worked.
Darkness and I looked at each other when we heard Vanir say that.
Darkness who was standing at one side kept her sword raised and alert, ready to strike at any moment. I sat on the floor of the dungeon and listened as Vanir spoke.
“First, although I’m a general of the Demon King’s army, I’m just maintaining the barrier of the castle because of his request, so I’m just a general in name. I’m known to others as a devil. The best delicacy for devils are the negative feelings produced by the hatred of humans. In my eyes, humans are the producer of delicacies, so I won’t perform stupid things such as killing or harming thou. Whenever a human’s born, I’m so happy that I’ll dance in the courtyard.”
“I-I see… But to stimulate our negative feelings, that means you’ll harm us, correct? There won’t be any negative feelings if our lives are peaceful.”
He had not shown hostility yet, but since he was a general of the Demon King’s army, we won’t be able to handle him with just the two of us.
It’s better to play along with him and avoid fighting.
Speaking of which, a general in name maintaining the barrier…
He was someone just like Wiz.
Vanir remained seated cross-legged as he created dolls skillfully while speaking.
“For negative feelings, there are tons of them in various intensity. The tastes of every devil are different and have differing preferences. Some devils like fear and despair, while others are like me, transforming into a great beauty to approach men. And after working hard to make them fall for me, I’ll then reveal my true form and say, ‘Too bad, it’s actually moi’. Then I’ll taste their feelings as they cry tears of blood.”
“I’m starting to think it would be better to kill you off.”
I looked with suspicion at the devil wearing a suspicious mask.
– The Demon King seemed to have tasked this devil with the job of scouting out the humans that defeated Beldia.
“As I was toying with the Demon King’s subordinates and feeding off their negative feelings… He pleaded with me, ‘Don’t sloth in my castle and bully my subordinates. Go work occasionally…’ I was thinking about visiting my old friend residing in this town, so I took the job. On my way here, I found this dungeon without a master. I thought that it suited moi and came in on my own.”
What about your work? Your old friend? There had to be a limit on how carefree you could be! I wanted to retort, but if he said, ‘I’ll start doing my work then’, it would be troubling.
The humans who defeated Beldia were us after all.
– Although I wanted to ignore this fellow and scram, there was something I couldn’t ignore.
“You mentioned that it would be troubling for you if humans were harmed, so what’s with these dolls? They kept spilling out from the dungeon and gave plenty of trouble to the townsfolk.”
“… Hmm? These things are used by moi to exterminate the useless monsters inside this dungeon. I see, since they’ve made their way out, it means that there are no more monsters inside the dungeon. It’s time for moi to stop the mass production of Vanir dolls and begin the next phase.”
“… The next phase? What are you scheming?”
Hearing me say that, Vanir returned the half-finished doll into dust and said:
“It’s rude to call it scheming, man who was as worried as a bear and pacing around the room all day because the armor girl didn’t return home for a few days. I have a grand dream as a devil. I came to this place to fulfill that dream.”
“Hey, shut up! You did say that you’re a devil that can see through all things, but why are you describing it as if you’d seen it with your own eyes… And you, you… Stop squirming about!”
Darkness who was blushing and stealing glances at me was annoying.
It was true that I was worried about her, but I didn’t pace around my room… The frequency should be negligible.
“The dreams of a devil don’t sound like a good thing. Anyway, can I ask what kind of dream is that?”
Under the angry glare of Darkness, Vanir nodded…
“For moi who had existed for near eternity… I’ve been harboring the urge to go out with a bang for quite some time now–and that’s to pass on elegantly after dining on the finest negative emotions. I’ve been thinking for a long time, that I don’t even remember when I first had this thought. I had been thinking, what do I need to do to dine on the negative emotion I’m most fond of. And I’ve finally found the best idea…”
Vanir smiled at this juncture, and I waited with bated breath.
“First, I’ll obtain a dungeon. Next, I’ll dispatch my evil minions to standby in each room, setting grueling traps in them! Powerful veteran adventurers will then come forth to challenge themselves! After experiencing numerous challenges, someone will finally make it to my residence in the depths of the dungeon!”
Vanir got more and more excited during his monologue, his hand gestures were larger and his tone more agitated.
“And waiting in the depths of the dungeon will of course, be moi! I’ll then say, ‘It was impressive for you to make your way here, adventurers! Come, great fortune awaits if you can defeat moi…!’ After my opening speech comes the final battle! After a fierce fight, the adventurers will finally defeat moi. In the end, a treasure chest with heavy seals will appear behind my tattered body. As I start to lose consciousness, the adventurers who overcame immense hardships will open the treasure chest before my eyes…!”
Darkness and I gulped and waited in silence.
“… Inside the box will be a piece of paper saying, ‘Thank you for your patronage!’ The adventurers will then look at this paper with a blank face. That’s the scene I want to see as I head towards my demise.”
“Don’t do that. That’s so pitiful, anything but that…”
“Hey, Kazuma, I think we should take out this fellow after all.”
Vanir smirked at me and Darkness lightly and said:
“A friend of mine’s operating a shop here. Moi original plan was to work in her shop to save up money, and use those funds along with the help of my friend to create a large dungeon. But when I passed by this dungeon, I realized there was no owner. So, I changed my mind and decided to use this place instead.”
“Staying here for such a reason is a bit… Anyway, I know what you’re planning to do here. Since you won’t be creating anymore dolls, there’s nothing more to discuss. We’re here because we need to do something in the room behind you. To tell you the truth, we’re here to dispel the magic circle in that room.”
“Huh…? Hey, Kazuma, instead of that magic circle, we should take care of this guy! You want to ignore this General of the Demon King’s army? The enemy of humanity’s right before us!”
That might be so, but what can just Darkness and I do against a general of the Demon King’s army?
As I was getting up and planning to leave to dispel the magic circle…
“… Magic circle? Oh, that magic circle that gave moi quite a bit of trouble. Thou art too kind. I don’t know which annoying fellow did this, but this irritating magic circle’s keeping me out of the room. If thou are willing to dispel it for me, I’ll gift you a Vanir doll made by moi which will laugh in the middle of the night.”
“No… No thanks. It would be troubling for us if this magic circle remains here. We’ll be leaving after dispelling it, so please do as you please after that.”
My plan was to rush off after getting rid of the magic circle, so I said so casually.
“Why would the existence of this magic circle be bad for thee? Let moi peer into thou’s past…”
My words stirred the curiosity of Vanir and he said this light heartedly…
… No, wait…!
Before I could stop him, Vanir seemed to have observed something and laughed dryly.
Feeling a strange aura coming from Vanir, Darkness moved up to protect me.
“Fuhahaha…. Fuhahaha! Fuhahaha! Should I say this is as expected or unexpected?! So, the magic circle that’s troubling was set by thou’s party mate! Even an arch devil like moi couldn’t breach it. To be able to set up such a magic circle, could that priestess be…?”
Damn… I didn’t know what was happening, but this devil appeared to be agitated!
Vanir stood up slowly, his eyes that were looking at me emitted a red gleam.
Unlike the red pupil of the Crimson Magic Clan, it fitted the image of a devil, drawing out the instinctual fear of men. Eyes that were red like blood.
“Oh, the vision’s clear to moi! On the surface! At the entrance of this dungeon! I see the priestess who set up the magic circle drinking tea leisurely while looking bored.”
If what he said was true, I had the urge to go back immediately and beat her up. I want to scold her for making life so difficult for me.
The face below Vanir’s mask was full of life.
“All right. Girl who’s really concerned with the ‘overboard demand’ after losing a bet to this man, can’t get it off her mind, is full of anticipation and keeps squirming around. Boy who’s thinking about what to do to this girl and is itching to do so, open a path for moi! Don’t worry, ‘not killing humans’ is moi iron rule. That’s right, I won’t kill humans… All ‘humans’! That girl who gave moi so much trouble with her magic circle, I’ll show her!”
“Nothing’s on my mind. I’m not anticipating and I’m not squirming, so stop your nonsense! Don’t… Don’t mess around!”
“That-That-That’s right! I’m not itching at all! No… No such thing!
We barely endured the psychological attack of Vanir who could see through our minds as he took a step toward us.
This fellow said he was a devil that could see through all things, and he emphasized just now that he didn’t kill ‘humans’.
Which meant he knew Aqua’s identity…?
At this moment, Darkness lifted her long sword and pointed it at Vanir who was closing in on us.
“If you’re planning to harm Aqua, there’s no way I’ll back down. As a crusader serving the Goddess Eris, I swear on my honor that you shall not pass!”
“Not just your six-packs, even your brain’s hard and inflexible, girl. If I’m serious, it’ll be easy for me to finish you off. But I’m not planning to kill humans. It’s hard to judge which person will produce an exquisite negative emotion after all. Go home and finish that ‘overboard demand’ with each other. This devil with foresight eyes guarantees thou that if you return now, no one will get in your way, things will definitely develop as you hope for.”
This… This guy…
“Ignore him Darkness! These are the so-called whispers of the devil! Don’t get tempted by his alluring words.”
“I-I won’t be tempted! Kazuma, think of the time and place, okay?!”
Strange? My heart was shaken immensely…!
What’s with that foresight-eyed devil? He made me think that ‘Can’t get it off her mind, is full of anticipation and keeps squirming around’ was real.
… I stole a glance at Darkness and found her cheeks slightly red, the tip of her sword was shaking, showing how shaken her heart was.
“Fuhahaha! Both are interested in the other party as a member of the opposite gender, but are too scared to cross that line because thou art party mates! Scurry off! Or thou could rest in that room with a magic circle after I pass through before returning!”
They really were the sweet murmurs of the devil!
None of the enemies I encountered had set such a vicious trap!
“Hey, Kazuma! What are you so hung up about? We live in the same mansion, it would be awkward if we develop such a relationship! Get your act together!”
“Ahhh! That’s right, this is Darkness. I must get my act together! It’s just that her looks and body suits my taste, but it’s that Darkness inside. Don’t be tricked by a moment of lust!”
“You… You… You will get it after we go back…!”
Girls are so complicated.
“Ohhh… You resisted my temptation. But how should I go about this? All my skills are so powerful, they’ll kill you in a single hit. For example, moi lethal laser. Because it’s a lethal laser, thou who art a human will perish with one hit; thou shall perish even if it doesn’t hit. Aside from this, there’s the Vanir eye beams, but it has the side effect of burning moi eyes after using it, so I haven’t tried it before…”
“Enough, enough! I’ll go crazy if you go on! I won’t let you go to Aqua, you’ll have to defeat me first if you want to go there!”
Darkness slashed at Vanir after saying that!
Vanir effortlessly dodged Darkness’s continuous attack as he laughed happily.
“Fuhahaha! Why are the attacks of this fierce girl not landing at all?… Hmm? Where’s the other one? That boy who’s good at talking but mediocre in performance, where did he go?”
Vanir looked around the area, searching for me who suddenly disappeared.
… Sorry for being mediocre. My skills just happened to be plain, all right?
“Stop looking around! Your opponent is me!”
As he listened to Darkness talk…
“Where did the man who looked like a schemer went off to? How should I put this, such unscrupulous jerks are more dangerous than a muscle-headed crusader? I can feel his presence, but where did he…?”
The moment Darkness slashed at Vanir, I put down the oil lamp and stuck close to the wall in the darkness. Using Lurk , I sneaked to Vanir’s back.
So, what if I was a schemer, no one was stupid enough to fight the general of the Demon King’s army head on.
“Don’t look down on me, face me–!”
Darkness swung her sword sideways.
Vanir leaped backwards.
– His back was right before me as I stood ready.
I stopped using Lurk and used all my weight to give Vanir a flying kick!
“Ugh! Unscrupulous jerk, when art thou sneaked here… Oh, oh no…!”
Vanir who dodged Darkness’s earlier attacks took a few unsteady steps forward, right into Darkness’s attack range. Darkness’s attack, which was powerful but lacked accuracy, cleaved across Vanir’s body.
Vanir’s left hand flew into the air, his torso suffered critical damage and he kneeled onto the ground–!
“To think that… Curses, moi is too careless…! To think a talent like you was hiding in a beginner town…! Ugh… Is this how it’ll end for moi…?”
After his speech, Vanir’s body crumpled into dust along with his tuxedo, leaving only the mask behind.
The lantern lit our surroundings dimly, and only Darkness’s heavy breathing could be heard in the dark dungeon.
“No way… Did I just defeat a general of the Demon King’s army…?”
Darkness had a face of disbelief, gripping the long sword in her hand hard. Her adrenaline from the battle was still running and she kept on trembling.
“… If you say something like ‘Did I just defeat?’’, it most probably means you didn’t. But that guy seemed surprised when he was slashed, so it should be for real, I guess?”
“As thou art hoping it to be true…”
A voice came from behind in response to my words.
The sound originated from the mask that had fallen onto the ground.
The mask absorbed the earth from the dungeon, forming slowly into a body.
In the end, the body was wearing a suit and was identical to the man just now.
“Did thou really think you had defeated moi? Sorry, not at all! Fuhahaha! Fuhahaha! Oh my, the negative emotions coming from thou are delicious!”
I want to kill this guy!
“What kind of absurd body is that? You think you can do such cheat-like things because you’re a general of the Demon King’s army?!”
“Boohoo… I thought I really got him… I thought the me that couldn’t normally hit the enemy had taken out a general of the Demon King’s army… I didn’t do much during the fight against the Destroyer and I thought I finally had the chance to perform…”
As Darkness was saying that depressed with the tip of her sword shaking, Vanir smiled happily.
“Fuhahaha! This body’s just a fake created by moi magic, the mask is my real body. No matter how much thou slash at me, this body will at most return to dust! In the end, the place where moi body dissipates will be fertile as the earth, from my body is full of mana. The flowers will bloom and the butterflies…”
“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about! My headache worsens whenever you speak! Damn it! What now, Darkness? Should we withdraw for now?”
“I don’t wanna! Being made a fool is a shame of the knights! I must make this fellow pay…!”
Darkness made a strong declaration against Vanir.
“Yes, I understand. But I have no desire to play with thou like this. It’s time for moi to use my skill for this type of situation! I have a hidden skill that won’t harm anyone and will only absorb negative emotions, observe!”
After saying that, Vanir used his right hand to lift his mask…!
“Hey Darkness! This looks bad! Let’s get out of here first!”
“Too late! Crusader with a tenacious body, lend thou body to moi!”
Vanir shouted as he threw his mask at Darkness–!
“… Darkness? Hey… Darkness! Say something!”
After getting hit, Darkness’s face was covered by that mask. Her hand holding her sword lowered naturally, and she remained still with her head down.
This development wasn’t good.
According to what Vanir said and the current situation, Vanir probably took over Darkness’s body.
And in fact, the body of Vanir started crumbling into dust after the mask had been thrown out.
Darkness who had put on her mask raised her head slowly…!
“Fuhahaha! Fuhahaha! Listen up kid! This special power of moi, (what should I do Kazuma, my body’s been taken over!) How about it boy, if thou dare attack this girl, (I don’t mind! Don’t hold back, attack as you wish! Quickly come! This is the most wonderful situation!)”
Words that didn’t make sense came out from Darkness’s mouth.
“… What are you trying to say?”
“How can this be, what’s with this (beautiful) woman?!… Damn, damn it, don’t sneak in words and play around! But seriously, this girl’s mental tenacity is too strong… (An excellent role model of a crusader!) … Shut up!”
By right, this should be a crisis, but Darkness was handling this calmly.
Or rather, she seemed to be having fun.
“To resist moi control, thou art a formidable opponent! (No, not really…) But if you keep on resisting my control, thou shall suffer horrible pains! (What, what did you say?!) Fuhahaha! Let’s see how long you can resist!… Huh? There aren’t negative emotions, what’s welling out from her is… Pleasure…?”
Seeing Darkness standing there motionless, I decided to leave her there and finish my original objective.
I entered the room that belonged to that lich to dispel all traces of the magic circle with the magic item I was given.
As I was doing that…
“(I…! I won’t give in to this pain…!) Thou have respectable courage! But enduring it any longer will cause thee to break down mentally…! … Could it be, thou are enjoying this?”
I heard Vanir say this in confusion.
Finally, I finished clearing the traces of the magic circle and returned to the two that was struggling internally.
“All right Darkness, mission accomplished! We just need to return to the surface and that’s it! Let’s link up with Aqua and run away!”
I walked towards Darkness while I said that, but she pointed her long sword at me.
“Don’t come any closer, brat! (Kazuma, don’t worry about me! Just leave me here and go!) Don’t think things will proceed as you’ve wished… (… Ahhh! I always wanted to say that line…!) Thou have feelings for this girl and don’t want to see her get hurt, right? (!) If this girl continues to resist moi power (Ka-Kazuma, this devil who claims to have foresight just said something intriguing.) If you don’t want that to happen, thou should stop this girl. (I’m happy that you feel this way about me. I really am, but the difference in our status is too vast, and we’re in the same party…) Annoying, ahhh!”
“You two are the annoying ones! Please, one at a time, all right? I don’t get what you’re trying to say!”
Seeing Vanir losing it and yelling, I yelled back defiantly.
“Ugh…! Choosing this body was a big failure (Hey, don’t say my body’s a failure, how rude!) Silence! Moi will be leaving, thou shut your mouth!”
Seemed like Vanir couldn’t take over Darkness’s iron-like will completely and was about to give up.
Even a general of the Demon King’s army couldn’t handle that pervert.
Vanir slumped his shoulder tiredly and lifted his arm to take off the mask.
– I remembered something suddenly.
It would be more troublesome if Vanir recovered his original strength.
After all, if his main body–the mask–was fine, he could change to a new one if he got into danger.
And those beams and laser he mentioned sounded dangerous.
Could he use those skills if he was inside Darkness’s body?
If he became serious, Darkness and I wouldn’t be able to stop him from going to the surface.
– What if we trapped him inside Darkness’s body?
Not only was this the body of a human he wasn’t familiar with, there was also Darkness who would get in his way as well.
… How about sealing him inside Darkness’s body, bringing him to the surface and asking Aqua and the others to think of a way to resolve this?
That’s right, since this guy wanted to find Aqua, I should bring him there.
I walked to Vanir who wanted to take off the mask.
– I then pasted the sealing talisman Sena gave me onto the mask.
“What are you doing, brat…? What’s happening? I can’t touch… Hey… What’s this talisman, brat? My fingers get deflected even if I want to touch it! (Yeah, something’s fluttering before my eyes, how irritating… Wait. Hey Kazuma, isn’t that…!)”
The two of them tried their best to remove the talisman, but it seemed that the one being sealed couldn’t touch that talisman.
“It’s the talisman Sena gave me. Darkness, maintain this and return to the surface with me. Keep Vanir within your body and bring him to Aqua and the others. We’ll then ask Aqua to cleanse that thing within you!”
That scream sounded so uniform as though only one of them did so.
Most of the doll-like monsters in the dungeon had been cleared, so we didn’t meet any resistance.
“Brat! This girl’s suffering tremendous pain as she resists moi control! If this goes on, she’ll suffer mental trauma! It’s in your best interest to tear off the talisman and let moi go! Or else… (It’s true Kazuma! I’ve been feeling something terrible… Very terrible…! Ahhh, this is the first time I felt something so intense, as expected of a general of the Demon King’s army! I can’t take it anymore…!)”
Probably because of the pain, the back of Darkness’s neck was sweating as she followed me while panting.
From the looks of things, Darkness still had control over her body.
On the way back, the adventurers who entered the dungeon with us were stunned when they saw Darkness wearing a mask, but I didn’t have time for them right now.
“Just hang on a little while longer, Darkness! We’re almost there! I’ll release you from the pain when we reach the surface!”
“Ugh… What’s with this weird situation… (It’s fine, just leave me.)”
“What did you say?” x2
Vanir and I cried out in unison.
– To be honest, bringing a general of the Demon King’s army back to the surface made me feel uneasy.
But he was using that body as a container.
Frankly speaking, Darkness was incredibly clumsy.
Even when she slashed at a target right before her, she would hit once for every five tries.
I wanted to ask her how she could be so clumsy to such an extent.
Anyway, the adventurers on the surface should be enough to suppress Darkness.
“Darkness, great work for enduring this long! Leave the rest to Aqua, the other adventurers and I will restrain your body…”
I said that when I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. But before I finished…
“… Fuhahaha… Fuhahaha! Art thou speaking to moi?”
The voice spoke very clearly and wasn’t interrupted by Darkness like earlier.
“Taking over complete! Brat, you underestimated moi! I was holding back earlier! If I approach thou’s companion with such an appearance, she’ll welcome moi with her guard down! When I see thou’s priestess companion, I’ll cleave her right in the head!”
As Vanir was shouting this, he dashed up the stairs faster than I could, even though he was wearing heavy armor.
Oh shit, oh shit!
That fellow’s target was Aqua. She might be wearing a strange mask, but no one would stop Darkness from getting near Aqua!
“Wake up, Darkness! You’re better than this, do you want to give in to the minions of the devil?!”
“Fuhahaha! It’s useless, brat! I don’t know what this girl’s thinking, but when the pain exceeds a certain threshold (I-I can’t anymore…) will hand over the body… Damn, damn it! Don’t make such weird noises!”
Oh no, that pervert can’t stand it anymore!
Vanir moved the body he had total control over and said:
“All right, time for a touching reunion for comrades who made it out of the dungeon alive! My hated enemy! I want to see what thou will do to a comrade whose body has been taken over by the enemy…!”
He shouted and leapt outside…!
Aqua, who was waiting at the entrance of the dungeon, cast her spell without warning, enveloping Darkness in white flames.
Vanir who jumped out of the dungeon was on fire. He couldn’t withstand it and fell on one knee.
And of course, he did so while controlling Darkness’s body.
I rushed out of the dungeon, rushing to Darkness’s side to check on her.
But on the surface, Darkness had no signs of burns at all.
“Fu… Fufufu… Fuhahaha! Fuhahaha!”
And unexpectedly, Vanir who was hit by Aqua’s spell didn’t seem to be bothered.
“Hey Aqua! Don’t attack Darkness with magic so suddenly, it’s bad for my heart!”
I lectured Aqua, but she said unapologetically:
“What are you saying, that spell’s harmless against humans! I felt something evil coming out, so I was thinking I should cast the spell first and…”
“(I-I see… That’s fine, I was just surprised… Please give me a heads up next time, all right…?)”
That attack probably made Vanir relax his control, allowing Darkness’s will to show up.
“Hey Aqua! A general of the Demon King’s army is trying to take over Darkness’s body! The enemy appears to be a devil! An opponent you’re great at dealing with!”
“A… A general of the Demon King’s army?!”
When I said that, Sena who was observing the situation from a distance shouted before Aqua could react.
When she heard me say that, Aqua frowned and walked towards Darkness with an irked face.
She slowly covered her nose and said:
“Smelly! This is too smelly! That’s right, this is the stench of a devil! Really, how did Darkness get stained with this filth?”
“(Hmm?! I-I don’t think I’m smelly…)”
Aqua’s words made Darkness tear up under the mask.
“Fufufu… (Kazuma, smell me… It isn’t smelly, right?) Fuhahaha, fuhahaha! (Even if there’s a stench, it must be due to me charging around the dungeon just now.) Shut up! This is the scene where moi makes a cool speech, so keep quiet!”
Darkness became depressed when even Vanir lectured her.
“Fuhahaha! Greetings, cursed priestess that shares the same name as that notorious goddess of water! I’m Vanir! Duke of hell, one of the generals of the Demon King’s army, arch devil Vanir!”
Vanir had control of the body’s speech function, but Darkness had control over the body. While Vanir was making a grand monologue, his body seemed bored as it kicked at the small pebbles on the ground.
… By the way, he mentioned the priestess who shared the same name with the goddess of water.
Seemed like this devil realized Aqua’s identity.
“Not bad, greeting me with exorcism magic without hesitation! Fuhahaha, that’s the reason why the infamous Axis devotees are shunned by all! Does thou not know basic courtesy?”
“Annoying–being courteous to the devil, what nonsense are you saying? Devils are worse than the undead who go against the will of the gods. A parasite that can’t survive without the negative emotion of humans–! Puhehe!”
The two were silent for a moment after this exchange…
“Sacred High Exorcism–!”
Aqua cast a spell without warning, but Vanir dodged to the side at the last moment.
“Why are you dodging, Darkness? Be a good girl and keep still!”
“(I-I know, but my body’s moving by itself!)”
As Aqua and Vanir began their fight, Sena and Megumin came to my side.
“Kazuma, Kazuma! What’s with this situation? Why’s Darkness wearing that mask…? How sly, I want a mask like that too! That mask’s stimulating my blood of the Crimson Demons!”
“What stupid things are you talking about, now’s not the time for that! Darkness’s body has been taken over by a General of the Demon King’s army, his main body is that mask! You have any ideas?”
“Satou-san, how did it turn out this way? That’s indeed a Demon King’s army general on the wanted list, the one who possesses foresight and clairvoyance. The devil of foresight, Vanir. What’s a big shot like him doing here?”
Sena, whose face was ash white, said in a voice closed to screaming.
“That guy’s here to investigate the people who defeated Beldia, a general of the Demon King’s army. He had another more troubling objective, but let’s talk about that later. Right now, I’ve sealed him using the talisman you gave me. He’s that mask on Darkness, and he’s trapped inside her right now.”
Hearing me say that, Sena commented with a bewildered expression.
“Trapped… In her body? You sealed a general of the Demon King’s army inside the body of your comrade?! What’s wrong with you? What were you thinking?”
“… But, this situation’s not good. That devil can even endure a hit from Aqua’s exorcism spell. He can do so because he’s possessing Darkness’s body. Crusaders are holy knights that serve the gods, that’s why Darkness has strong resistance against light magic. It’d be better to tear off the talisman and release that devil for now.”
After hearing Megumin say that, I looked at the devil Vanir who kept on dodging Aqua’s spell.
Under his skilled control, Darkness’s clumsy body wasn’t affected by the heavy armor, toying with Aqua with his agile movements.
What the hell, I thought we would win if we trapped him inside Darkness’s body!
I was surprised by how high Darkness’s physical specs were.
“Release that guy? He’s trapped in Darkness’s body right now, so he can only attack with a long sword. But that devil said he could use a killing laser. That’ll be hard to handle if we release him from Darkness’s body.”
When I looked again, the other adventurers had also joined the fray. They were providing support, attempting to slow Vanir down so Aqua’s spell could hit.
“… This… This is bad… If this goes on…”
“… Things don’t look good…”
Following Megumin’s gaze, I confirmed the situation–
“Damn! That Darkness is so strong…!”
“I can’t hit her! She parried my attack with her sword easily! Her strikes are heavy and amazingly fast! We’re only alive because she was holding back…!”
“Fuhahaha! This body isn’t bad! The strength and stamina are great! The resistance against holy magic makes it even more splendid! (Boohoo… I’m causing trouble for the other adventurers, but I’m a little happy to gain the upper hand against so many opponents…!)”
That girl… Now’s not the time to be happy!
“Hey Darkness! Enough, stop thrashing around–! Do you or don’t you want to be saved? Or are you feeling great because you’re showing the adventurers who looked down on you who’s boss?”
“(No-No, I’m not!) Fuhahaha! What’s wrong thou weaklings, come at moi! Don’t hold back!”
As Darkness was trying to explain herself Vanir spouted taunting words, making the expression of the adventurers around her turn sour.
“Darkness, you little…! Acting cocky because your attacks are landing!”
“I thought you were the one that was the most level-headed in Kazuma’s party! To think that you…!”
“Surround her! Encircle that crusader!”
“(The-The one taunting wasn’t me!) Fuhahaha! No matter how many minions you throw at moi, I’ll beat all of you off! (Ahhh…)”
Vanir was talking in Darkness’s voice.
To the adventurers, there was no way to differentiate which was Darkness and which was Vanir.
And because of that, Darkness was drawing more and more hate from the crowd. For some reason, the adventurers were scolding Darkness instead of Vanir.
“She’s obviously being manipulated by the enemy, but everyone’s scolding her, how pitiful! Isn’t there anything we can do?”
In fact, Darkness was being scolded as she overwhelmed the crowd with her abilities…!
“(Ahhh… The adventurers that talked to me so nicely are looking at me with eyes of disdain…!) I sense feelings of joy… Why’s that so? What’s happening…?”
“But she seems so happy.”
Megumin tugged on my shirt and said:
“… That-That’s why we have to save her! Don’t you have any ideas, Kazuma?”
Even if you asked me, the current Darkness was beyond what I could handle.
In the current situation, we didn’t have the means of defeating that devil.
Even Aqua’s spell didn’t have any effect. There was nothing we could do…
“You’re so annoying! Why are you so hard to deal with?”
“That’s what moi wants to say! Damn it, how despicable to attack in waves! Don’t think you can play around because moi don’t want to kill thou, adventurers!”
Meanwhile, Aqua and Vanir were still battling.
When the adventurers figured out that Vanir’s target was Aqua, they formed a human wall to hold Vanir back.
Aqua kept casting her exorcism spell from behind the human wall, but both parties couldn’t break the stalemate.
The balance was finally broken by Vanir.
He probably had gotten used to controlling Darkness’s body. Swinging the two-handed long sword with ease, he began destroying the weapons of the adventurers one by one.
In terms of her strength and stamina, Darkness was well ahead of the other adventurers.
And with the vast combat experience of the devil and agility, the sub-par crusader Darkness was powerful enough to win against an adventurer’s party of ten.
“I think that girl seems a little blessed today. Her performance has been eye-catching in all sorts of ways…”
“Don’t just say that leisurely, think of something… Ahhh!”
Finally, an adventurer couldn’t withstand Vanir’s fierce attack and fell to its blunt blow, crumbling the line of defense.
Megumin yelped when she saw what happened.
“Fuhahaha! It’s time to settle our score, moi rival! To die under the blade of your companion, how blessed art thou!”
“Hey Darkness! I believe in you! You won’t lose to the devil, right? It’s… It’s fine, right? Hey, Darkness, can you hear me?”
Aqua retreated slowly as she shouted, but Darkness didn’t reply.
The balance between Vanir and the adventurers had broken down. It was only a matter of time before Aqua, who was hiding behind them, was attacked.
“Satou-san, are you not going to join the battle? Aren’t that priestess and possessed crusader your party mates?! Are you not going to save them?”
Sena asked me urgently, now what should I do?
“No, you should know that I’m just an adventurer. Guys that are stronger than me are falling one after another. I can’t turn the tide even if I join the fray.”
“You! What is with you?”
As Sena’s face was cramping from disgust, the adventurers lost their ability to fight one after another.
“Ka-Kazuma–! This is a big crisis! The biggest crisis I’ve ever met–!”
Aqua who was on the verge of tears pleaded for help from the distance. Megumin hugged her staff as she looked up at my head with unease.
Even if you looked at me like this, the weak me couldn’t do anything…!
Even Sena, who was focusing on the adventurers being forced into a corner, was looking up at me with a pale face.
I really wanted to give Sena a good lecture right now.
I wasn’t the one who started the commotion, but I got dragged in as a victim every single time.
… Sigh, I kept getting dragged into troublesome matters. Where did my luck go off to?
People who said I had good luck must’ve lied to me, I complained in my mind.
– I listened to Aqua’s pleas for aid.
“… You guys are really troublesome, ahhh!”
I shouted a little disparagingly as I prayed. I hoped that if my luck really was good, everything would turn out well as I charged in with my sword drawn.
Vanir seemed to have completely taken over Darkness’s body.
“Fuhahaha! Fuhahaha! All right… Prepare yourself, moi rival! To think I can destroy thou in such a place, even I couldn’t have foreseen that! Oh, the weakest man among the adventurers present here… Thou true nature has been seen through by moi, allow this devil of foresight to give you my prophecy.”
Vanir spoke to me, who was standing before Darkness.
“Thou who seeks peace and stability, listen well. Don’t waste your efforts; just pretend you didn’t see anything. Thou have good luck, but it’s canceled out by the bad luck of your companions. For your own safety, thou should find other party mates, that way…”
Before Vanir could finish, I already slashed at his mask in silence!
But as I expected, that was easily dodged by him.
“The boy who values his safety before all else, what caused you to have a change of heart? No matter what thou do, it won’t help the current situation. Aside from the Vanir doll, I can also throw in a mask that looks just like moi. Just take these and be gone.”
“I-I don’t want such things… Anyway, what’s up with you Darkness, why did you let your body get taken over so easily? You got tamed by that devil who suddenly showed up in no time? Are you really a gullible and easy woman?”
I said my taunting words.
“Fuhahaha! It’s useless, now… (Jerk, who are you calling gullible and easy? He didn’t tame me! It’s just that the way this devil’s manipulating and hurting my heart is too skilled…!) As thou can see, this girl can’t hear you any… Hmm… What an iron-like will, moi didn’t expect this. I’ve lived in this world for such a long time, but I’ve never met someone I couldn’t dominate.”
Should I say this was as I expected? The crusader whose interest were in endurance still had control over herself.
“Darkness, listen carefully. I’ll break the seal on the mask in a moment. It’s fine even if it’s just for an instant, but you must wrest back control of your body from Vanir. Then rip off that mask and throw it away. After that…”
Once the mask was removed from Darkness, it would be Aqua’s turn to shine.
… It was as though he saw through what I was thinking…
“Hmm, that isn’t a bad plan, but there’s a problem. How will thou who is weak break the seal of moi who has fully unleashed the powers of this girl? It would be so much easier to defeat my hated enemy by maintaining the current status quo. If you want to break the seal, wait until I’ve finished off that woman. (Yeah, don’t look down on the current me. I don’t think I’ll lose to anybody right now!)
That’s what Vanir said and…
“You… You moron… Are you on his side too?!”
– The adventurers, who lost consciousness after getting hit by the blunt side of Vanir’s sword, collapsed around the area.
And Aqua, who was casting healing spells on the adventurers who were down, stood behind me when she saw that I was opposing Vanir.
“Kazuma, I’ll support you from behind! Use my buffing spells and destroy that devil like a hero!”
After Aqua said her irresponsible lines to fan the flames…
“Fufufu, I’ll help you from behind too. All right Kazuma, it’s time for you to awaken the power sleeping inside you. Stop playing around and liberate Darkness from that devil!”
Megumin, who was also standing behind me, also taunted irresponsibly.
What do you mean by the power sleeping inside me?
But Aqua and Megumin seemed to think that I would challenge Vanir head on and then break the seal.
Vanir took up a fighting stance when he heard what they said.
“Fuhahaha! You want to defeat moi?! (If) you want to take off this (talisman!), come (at me bro). Shut up! Don’t snatch the cool lines from moi!”
“Didn’t the two of you hate that talisman? And now you don’t want me to take it off, make up your mind.”
As I couldn’t help but retort, I instructed Aqua to prepare her exorcism spell.
“Brat, thou must have a scheme in mind. It’s all because of that woman who’s emitting bright flames, shrouding thou’s mind from me. But thou don’t seem to be planning to fight moi with swords… Hmm, thou must be thinking of using some skills, right? (It’s Steal! Kazuma must be using his best skill, Steal!)”
“You… You idiot! Why did you reveal my trump card?”
I couldn’t help retorting when I heard Darkness gloating. Vanir smiled deviously.
“Kazuma, the spell’s ready!”
“Great, leave the rest to me! Well then, time for me to move. Darkness, just like that time in the dojo, let’s make a bet! If I win, I’ll add in something even more overboard on top of my ‘overboard demand’. You can do as you wish if you win!”
“(Ahhh… To-To use such tricks at a time like this…!) Damn… Damn it… Don’t get taken in by the tempting words of that man! Don’t show your weak side, refresh your soul! Increase your power to resist his Steal…!”
As Darkness was struggling internally, Vanir couldn’t move well and stopped.
At this moment, I heard Megumin start chanting explosion spell behind me.
I was stunned for a moment, and saw that Megumin was staring at the entrance of the dungeon when I turned back.
Adventurers were rushing out of the dungeon, and Vanir’s dolls were chasing them.
When Vanir saw that, the eyes of the mask gleamed eerily, and the dolls flooding out of the dungeon started swarming towards us.
Megumin seemed to be targeting them.
“All right, I’m coming Vanir! Darkness, keep resisting Vanir. Don’t let him move!”
I said as I reached out towards the mask…!
“Just a Steal from a mere adventurer! If thou think it’ll work on moi, thou art going to be disappointed! Just try it, don’t hold back…!”
… After all that build up, what I shouted wasn’t Steal, but the fire magic Tinder.
I didn’t need to tear or steal the talisman.
I just needed to burn it with fire…!
“… Fuhahaha! Fuhahaha! Fuhahaha! (Ahhh… How despicable, Kazuma you scoundrel!) To think thou could trick moi, the devil of foresight, splendid!”
The talisman on the mask caught fire and the thing bounding Vanir and Darkness together was gone.
“Hey Darkness, show me your mental toughness! Take off that mask and throw it away!”
Darkness placed her hand on her mask when she heard me say that and–!
“(…! I can’t take it off…!)”
Under the strong resistance from Vanir, the mask was still sticking tightly to Darkness’s face.
Vanir’s dolls were swarming in.
And the adventurers who escaped the dungeon formed a human wall to block them.
Everyone seemed to sense that we were facing a boss-level enemy, and were planning to hold back the minions for us.
“Kazuma-san–! What should I do? Can I cast my spell?”
“No… Wait, the mask is still on Darkness! Even if you cast your spell like this, it’ll be resisted by her…”
– At this moment.
“(Don’t worry, just do it.)”
With her hands still trying to take off the mask, Darkness muttered.
Even if she said that, it wouldn’t be effective.
“(If Aqua’s spell doesn’t work… Then don’t worry about me and cast Explosion, just blow me away with him.)”
… Hey, what are you saying?
“You idiot! No matter how tough you are, you can’t survive explosion magic!”
“(How would you know if you don’t try it!) Wait… Don’t be rash, let’s talk this over.”
When Darkness said that, Vanir who was calm all this while started to panic a little.
Darkness then told Aqua and Megumin behind me who had finished preparing their magic:
“(Aqua! Cast the exorcism spell the moment this mask leaves my body!) How about calling it a draw today? (If this mask keeps sticking onto me, then cast your Explosion, Megumin…!) To fight to a draw with moi who is a Demon King’s army general and the duke of hell, it’s something thou could boast to others about!”
“I-I understand Darkness! I’ll do it once that annoying thing’s out of the way!”
Aqua watched that mask closely, ready to cast her spell at any moment.
“Kazuma, Darkness is insane… Even she can’t survive that!”
Megumin cried to me with tears in her eyes.
Suddenly everyone, including the dolls charging us, Sena and the adventurers stopped.
They stood far away from Darkness, not daring to move.
– In this situation.
“(… Hey Vanir. The time was short, but it wasn’t too bad hanging around with you. So, at the very least… I’ll let you choose. Do you want to be purified after getting away from me, or do you want to be blown up by Explosion together with me? Which one do you prefer?)”
Darkness forced Vanir to make such an unreasonable choice.
Both meant his destruction.
“… I’m a devil.”
Vanir answered with a heavy heart…
“As an existence that opposes the gods, I don’t want to be purified. Fuhahaha… My wish for destruction’s coming true in an unexpected manner. Goodbye, it was fun possessing thou’s body.”
He chose Explosion.
Hearing him say that, the masked Darkness went far away from us.
“(Do it, Megumin!)”
Darkness’s cruel request made Megumin shake her head in refusal. I went up to Sena who was watching the events unfold with a blank expression and patted her shoulder.
“If something unfortunate does happen, please be the witness and testify that it was my instruction. It’s the same this time too, I’ll bear the full responsibility.”
When she heard what I said, Sena nodded firmly with a pale face and gulped.
The crusader that was the pride of our party was tough and tenacious.
– The toughest in all of Axel.
“Do it, Megumin!”
Shortly after I gave the word.
A loud explosion took place a short distance before the dungeon–