THE RED-HAIRED SERVITOR
Translator: Sine Nomine
Her shoulders shivered as she bowed her head, staying low without rising.
She just addressed me as “great master”.
What was happening? What was she talking about?
But if I asked “Who are you?” to someone in the throes of emotion, it would spoil the mood.
And this feeling was pretty nice. I would play along for a bit.
“So the reception is finally here…”
Hearing my soft voice, the woman raised her head.
She had a serious, yet beautiful face.
Her yellow, cat-like eyes stared from between her red hair.
She tilted her head in confusion as she looked at me and said.
“…When I heard that your seal has been broken, I rushed here from a long distance away. Since the seal was recently broken, it is possible that your memories have yet to be fully restored… Your loyal servant Anis is here to pay her respect. I will be your hands, and will risk my life to defend you.”
Anis bowed her head deeply once more.
—My seal was broken.
I couldn’t remember any such thing, but this loyal servant said that my memories may still be lost due to the seal being broken only recently.
What was I?
No, I felt this before.
I felt that I was different from the others.
I had mana unmatched by anyone else.
And my genius intellect.
…Now, the mystery was solved.
This subordinate who called herself Anis was no ordinary minion.
Her lowered hood was probably hiding something.
From the look of her actions and her gaze, she must be a fairly competent person.
“…You have been troubled to come so far. I’ll be in your care, Anis.”
“Sure. Although I don’t know who you are, please leave my master’s affairs to me.”
“I am not your master who was sealed?”
“No, no. Did you have a reason for someone to seal you?”
Of course, there wasn’t any…
“Then, you said you wanted to welcome…”
“The one who is sleeping on your belly.”
“I have been living with this furball for half a year, so I have some feelings for it. I’m very troubled if you say you are here to take it away.”
“To call my great master a furball and have feelings for it… I’m grateful to you for taking care of my master so far, but shouldn’t you respect my master’s wishes?”
Anis said to me with a serious expression.
Chomsuke, who was sleeping on my belly, yawned and glanced at Anis.
“……It doesn’t look like it wants to go with you.”
“Ahah!? Lady Wolbach!?”
Chomsuke twisted slightly to the side and slept on my belly again.
I said as I scratched the neck of this shameless furball who still intended to sleep under such circumstances.
“Since this kid wants to stay here, it can’t be helped. I will take care of this furball. You don’t have to worry.”
“Pl- Pl- Please wait! Uh, Lady Wolbach!? Lady Wolbach! It’s me. I’m Anis! Come, let’s go back with me, okay?”
Anis said hurriedly to persuade it, but Chomsuke merely purred and curled up as I stroke its chin.
“As you can see, this kid seemed satisfied with its current life. Please go back.”
“Pl- Please wait! Please convince Lady Wolbach to go back with me! Even though it looks like this now, it should be able to understand our language!”
I said to Anis, who continued pestering me.
“This kid’s name is Chomsuke. How could it understand human language? This is just a normal cat.”
“Chom- Chomsuke? Chomsuke!? It doesn’t seem possible, but you can’t be referring to Lady Wolbach!?”
Anis stared in disbelief and shouted.
Why couldn’t it be referring to my cat?
“Isn’t it a great name?”
“Please stop. You must address it as Lady Wolbach! Ahah… If Lady Wolbach actually believes this weird name is her name… What should I do? How do I fix this…”
Anis was on the verge of tears as she saw her master responding to the name “Chomsuke” repeatedly.
She was so rude to call it a weird name.
I thought it was better than that Wol-whatever name.
“This kid is not your master Wolbach, but my important family member Chomsuke. And it wants to stay here of its own volition, so please go back.”
“It’s Lady Wolbach… This is really troubling. Can you please hand him over to me? Of course, I didn’t come here empty-handed. Take it as a thank-you gift for protecting Lady Wolbach…”
Anis said as she searched herself for something.
This was an insult.
Chomsuke was already an important family member.
To trade it away for money…!
“Let me see. Although I currently only have 300,000 eris…”
“No, no. That’s enough. Chomsuke, this person is your new guardian. Be good.”
I picked up Chomsuke and handed it over to Anis.
Sensing what was happening, Chomsuke extended its claws to hold onto my clothes.
I engaged in an intense battle with Chomsuke, who was unwilling to let off…!
“Hm, hm… Lady Wolbach really doesn’t want to leave. Besides, you may need some time to say goodbye, so I will come again tomorrow. Both of you enjoy each other’s company for tonight.”
Anis suggested after seeing our situation.
She then handed over a heavy sack.
It contained a lot of eris coins.
I was dumbstruck. Anis bowed her head to me.
“Then, please take care of Lady Wolbach. I will come to get her tomorrow.”
She said and left.
After Anis left.
“Komekko, say good bye to this furball today. Take this opportunity to do so.”
I said to Komekko as I ate my dinner.
Komekko was chewing on her food enthusiastically. Upon hearing that, her hamster-like face changed.
Komekko silently swallowed the food in her mouth and turned towards Chomsuke, who was eating her leftover fish bones. She placed her hands together as if in prayer.
“…Farewell, Chomsuke. I will taste you tomorrow morning. I won’t leave anything uneaten.”
“No! It’s not like that, Komekko! You won’t be eating it! It won’t be made into tomorrow’s breakfast!”
My sister was really scary.
To think that she would consider Chomsuke, who had been living with us for half a year, as breakfast without hesitation or conflict.
Komekko tilted her head slightly.
“Then what? It has grown so big, yet we are releasing it?”
“We are going to sell it at high price.”
“That’s my sister! So resourceful! We can buy a lot of food!”
This kid was inhumane— although it wasn’t really my place to say.
Was she like me?
Maybe it would be better to be a bit more self-dignified.
I was troubled and looked on helplessly at Komekko, who was dancing in joy.
“Well. Today will be the last day to play with Chommy. Chommy, come here.”
Komekko had not been putting Chomsuke in the pot lately, so it had been sticking closely to her. Chomsuke came over obediently into her arms.
Rather than “sticking closely”, it was probably “obeying subserviently”.
Komekko had just finished dinner, yet she was swallowing her saliva. Looking at her, Chomsuke shivered in her arms.
It would yield without resistance even when subjected to annoying things like pulling its ears or tail.
Looking at Chomsuke who had completely given up, I wondered if I was doing the right thing.
The reward of 300,000 eris was exactly the amount for the travel fee to Alcanretia.
This meant that I could go on a journey even without working.
But I still got some feelings for this mysterious furball.
Yet if I left it at home, it would be eaten by Komekko when I left on my journey.
If I brought this small furball along, it would probably be eaten by monsters.
I wanted to make it my familiar previously, but now that I had feelings for it, I was worried about its safety.
In many ways, giving it to Anis was the best option.
Who was Anis? And what was this furball?
Perhaps we might be dragged into a serious affair…
“Sis, can a cat regrow its tail after it gets cut?”
“It’s not a lizard, it won’t regrow… so don’t eat its tail because today is the last day, okay?”
……What exactly was my little sister?
—The next day.
Since this was the last day, I gave a whole fish to Chomsuke as breakfast.
Komekko stared at the fish and brought her face so close that her nose could almost touch it. Chomsuke ate the fish nervously before her.
After breakfast, I carried Chomsuke onto my knees as I waited for Anis. At this time, someone was knocking on the closed door.
Hearing the knocks, I exerted a bit more force on the hand carrying Chomsuke.
Perhaps it was uncomfortable, Chomsuke cried out softly. I told myself that this was the best choice.
“…Goodbye then. Your name is not that weird Wolwhatever that she was calling you. You are Chomsuke. I went through the trouble of giving you such a cool name, don’t forget it, okay?”
As if it could understand human language, Chomsuke cried out softly in my arms.
Good, this was fine.
I couldn’t feed it as an adventurer, yet I would be worried if it was left at home.
It should be better to give it to Anis instead of finding someone to care for it.
She would take care of it.
“……Even if you recover your memories, you mustn’t seek revenge on my little sister, okay?”
I carried Chomsuke up to my face. It brought its face close until its nose was nearly touching me, and snorted.
Really, this cat was shameless.
Recently, it became more like someone. It didn’t react much even when something serious happened.
This cat might be a bright future.
The door was knocked again. I shouted, “Please come in.” to whoever was outside.
I listened to the sound of the door opening.
“This kid likes dark places. It likes to eat fish skin. Please take care of it.”
I handed Chomsuke over—
—To Yunyun, who was standing dumbly at the door.
“Eh? Wh- Why do I have to take care of Chomsuke… Ah, it hurts!? I say, Megumin, what are you doing! Why am I being hit!? Stop!”
After I made the hard decision to sincerely say my farewell, the mood was spoilt. I vented my frustrations on Yunyun.
“What is the meaning of this? I was just making such an emotional farewell speech! Why are you here so early in the morning!?”
“What are you saying!? You are even making a false counterchange!? Didn’t we agree yesterday that I will help you with the work today!?”
Yunyun held back her tears in a bewildered expression.
Oh yes, we made that agreement yesterday. I forgot about it completely.
I showed Yunyun the sack of coins given by Anis last night.
“Look. I was lucky last night to have found 300,000 eris… It hurts!?”
As I was speaking, Yunyun slapped me.
“You finally did it, Megumin! I believed in you, that you won’t commit crimes even though you have financial difficulties! Idiot! Why didn’t you discuss with me first!?”
“Wh- What are you saying? I didn’t commit any crime! This money came from a transaction made between two willing parties…!”
My cheek was so painful that I became teary.
I said as I held onto my cheek.
“Transaction? You said a transaction!? Megumin has nothing valuable. How could you make 300,000 eris in one night……Ahhhh!?”
Yunyun suddenly thought of something and cried out loudly.
“Wh- What? Since just now, you…!?”
“Idiot! You finally sold your body!? I told you to value yourself more! Who was it!? Who was the person who accepted this foolish transaction!? Quick, tell me! I won’t forgive him!”
“Ah!? It hurts, wait—!? ……Ahhh!”
“Ah…!? It hurts, it hurts, it hurts—!”
After being slapped a few times, I finally couldn’t endure it any further and seized Yunyun tightly.
“Seriously, have some common sense! I won’t sell my body so easily! Why must Yunyun, who would be led astray easily by a slightly gentle guy, worry about me so much! This money was obtained in a legal and mutually-satisfied manner!”
“If- If he is just slightly gentle, I won’t be led astray! I already apologized! Anyway, I made such a mistake because Megumin said something about selling her body yesterday…!”
After a great battle, we lay at the doorway as our bodies were covered with scratch wounds.
“It is all because Megumin, who always grumbled about poverty, suddenly earned so much money in one night! If it wasn’t a crime, how could there be so much money!?”
Yunyun collapsed on floor in at doorway, stretching out her legs as if she had given up.
Chomsuke used to avoid Yunyun when it saw her. It seemed to have gotten used to her now, climbing onto her knees as if it belonged there.
Similarly, I stretched out my legs and lay down.
“Actually, there was someone who wanted to adopt this furball last night. She gave me 300,000 eris as a gift for transferring ownership.”
Hearing my carefree words, Yunyun shouted sharply in surprise.
Yunyun got up and hugged Chomsuke tightly as if to protect it.
“You mean you want to sell this kid!? This kid that you have been taking care of so far!? Hey, this kid is…!”
“It is just an ordinary cat. That’s right, just an ordinary cat. There’s nothing strange about it.”
For some reasons, Yunyun was suspicious of Chomsuke’s true identity. She held her tongue.
“This is probably for the best. I’m going on a journey to become an adventurer. If I bring this kid along, it will be targeted by monsters since it is so tiny.”
“Ugh… Bu- But…”
Yunyun hugged Chomsuke and looked at me with pleading eyes.
I said to Yunyun.
“Think about it. If this kid is left at home, Chomsuke will be alone with Komekko most of the time. Uh… Although it is hard to say… I cannot guarantee my sister won’t eat it…”
“You should educate her properly. Aren’t you the elder sister!? Besides Chomsuke, now I’m getting worried about Komekko’s future as well!”
Although Yunyun seemed to agree with me tentatively, she continued to hug Chomsuke.
“If it is someone who can take care of Chomsuke, it might be better to give it to her…”
At this moment.
“Not Chomsuke. It is Lady Wolbach.”
Without us knowing, Anis stood before the open door.
Anis was wearing a hood typical of wizards. From between her red hair, her yellow eyes stared at Yunyun suspiciously.
I got up from my disgraceful position on the floor.
“Oh, you’re here. Yunyun, this is person who will take over Chomsuke.”
“……Not Chomsuke, it’s Lady Wolbach. And it is not taking over… Who is this person whom my master seems to like?”
Being stared down by Anis, Yunyun guardedly hugged Chomsuke tightly.
Seeing this, Anis stiffened her smile.
“I’m the person who took in this kid together with Megumin. Why do you want this kid? And what is this about a master?”
“……I’m grateful to you for taking in Lady Wolbach, but it is better for you not to inquire further. Then, Lady Wolbach, let’s go.”
Anis didn’t seem guarded towards me, but she seemed particularly sarcastic towards Yunyun.
Yunyun was never particularly assertive. She shuddered as she seemed to be overwhelmed by Anis.
“Here, please hand it over to me.”
Although Anis was polite, she had an air that tolerated no refusal. Yunyun fearfully handed Chomsuke over.
Anis took Chomsuke and smiled.
“Thank you. I will protect Lady Wolbach, please don’t worry……Ah!? Lady Wolbach? It hurts, La- Lady Wolbach, please stop playing!”
Chomsuke suddenly struggled and escaped from Anis’ hands.
Anis was hurt more by the rejection than by the pain of being scratched.
Upon reaching the floor, Chomsuke returned to Yunyun’s side.
“Uh, what should we do? It looks like it really hates her. But to return the money…”
“Return the money, Megumin! If you need money, just work! If this kid finds her so repulsive…”
Yunyun said to me as I struggled with the monetary issue. At this time—
“…So what if it finds me repulsive? Lady Wolbach has not recovered her memories, so she is naturally cautious of me. If she is with me, she will recover her memories soon. Come, please come here…”
Anis said as she bended over to catch Chomsuke.
This action caused her hood to slide off, revealing her head.
—A pair of horns protruded from her red hair.
The surrounding mood changed immediately.
Her polite attitude was gone.
“What should I do… Are the two of you tight-lipped?”
Hearing her, Yunyun and I hurriedly nodded.
This was a species that feed on human emotions. They ranged from cannon fodders like gremlins to succubi, who were very popular among males.
There were many different types of demons from low to high levels. Greater demons were particularly fierce and powerful.
Anis was probably a greater demon. It would be difficult to defeat her without many wizards using advanced magic.
Of course, neither of us could use advanced magic.
Yunyun could only use intermediate magic.
And my Explosion magic could not be used within such a short range. More importantly, I would be killed before I could finish the long incantation to cast Explosion magic.
“Wh- Why is there a greater demon here…?”
Yunyun mumbled to herself. Anis smiled as she readjusted her hood.
“I said this before. It is best not to inquire further, right? Come, hand Lady Wolbach to me. I will spare both of you, if you keep my identity a secret.”
Yunyun was paralyzed on the spot. I picked up Chomsuke, who stuck to Yunyun and meowed casually regardless of the situation.
Even demons were involved now. If I continued to keep this kid, I would probably be dragged into further trouble in the future.
Therefore, this should be fine.
At least, it would better than travelling with me. Or staying at home with Komekko.
For Chomsuke, this was probably the best option.
“……Well? Hand it over quickly.”
But I couldn’t move my hand.
I didn’t want to hand over this troublesome furball.
Seeing my hesitation, Anis became impatient and reached out her hand…
Still sitting at the doorway, Yunyun suddenly unleashed a fire ball at full power.
If the fire ball exploded in this close distance, we would definitely be scorched.
However, that fire ball was probably a warning as it flew pass Anis’ head and exploded in the clear morning sky.
“……What is the meaning of this? I already said I will spare you… Are you seeking death? Since both of you took care of Lady Wolbach, I didn’t want to harm you…”
Anis narrowed her beast-like yellow eyes, staring suspiciously at Yunyun, who remained sitting in the doorway.
Despite being frightened, Yunyun stood up and placed her hand on the dagger at her waist, preparing for a battle.
Oh dear. Given our current power, we would probably be killed by this demon instantly.
Anis gave an ultimatum to me, who was secretly anxious.
“I will say it one last time. Hand Lady Wolbach over to me. Or else I will immediately tear both of you apart.”
Her penetrating glare was overwhelming.
Next to me, Yunyun still drew her dagger.
When this kid wanted to protect someone, she could become so reckless.
She was like this when I was being chased by the evil god’s minions.
Now, she was full of enthusiasm in order to protect the furball in my arms.
She was just a brat who even lacked the initiative to approach others for conversation, yet at this time…
“You want this furball, right? Then catch it, please be careful not to let Lady Fulbach fall on the ground.”
“She’s not furball! Also not Lady Fulbach! She is… Ah.”
I threw Chomsuke towards the socially stiff Anis.
Chomsuke went along the angle of projection, passed by Anis, and flew out of the doorway…!
At the last moment, Anis managed to catch it as she was sliding along the ground with all her might.
Her drastic actions caused her hood to fall off again.
Panting heavily, Anis stood up and glared in my direction.
“You- You- You…! Dare…”
As she was about to reprimand me…
A beam of light flashed pass her cheek just as she was standing up.
The beam of light easily penetrated into my house from outside, creating a hole in the wall.
“My- My wall! I just repaired it after it was damaged by the evil god’s minions!”
As I cried out, Anis slowly turned to look behind. Blood seeped from the wound on her face.
“I was wondering what had happened to cause the explosion… A demon in Home of the Crimson Magic. What is your business here?”
“You are holding on to Megumin’s cat, right? What are you doing, cat thief?”
Several Crimson Magic Clansmen appeared.
Buzucoily the NEET was also among them.
Anis narrowed her yellow eyes as if she was a beast about to attack a prey.
“……Who used that magic on me just now?”
Anis asked softly with barely contained anger.
But the Crimson Magic Clansmen, who rushed over here, did not even care.
……Ah, is it?
They must be the so-called Anti-Demon King Army Guerilla Unit.
This self-defense force was composed of jobless villagers who came together to patrol the region.
Then Buzucoily, who was probably attacked with magic earlier, said.
“I’m the one who used the magic earlier. So what? …By the way, are you the Explosion Maniac who has been disturbing the village? Your characteristics were just as Megumin described. A voluptuous female demon with horns, right?”
Hearing this, Anis lost her impetus and said in confusion.
……The characteristics I had described?
Ah, I did say something like this.
Back then, I said it off-handedly to cover up my usage of Explosion magic.
“And Megumin said she escaped after a fierce battle… I see. You must have come here to seek vengeance on Megumin.”
“…Aha! You took Megumin’s cat to use it as a hostage! For a demon, you are really negligent and half-hearted…”
Confronted by these sudden accusations, Anis was at a loss.
Anis froze in her position to stand up with Chomsuke in her arms.
She was doubtlessly a greater demon.
It was said that the higher level a demon was, the more intelligent it would be.
Therefore, to defeat Anis, many wizards with advanced magic were necessary.
“I say, you are really brave to repeatedly unleash magic in the middle of the night. Because of you, we were forced to go on patrols late at night.”
Anis looked around in confusion at this opportunistic racketeering. Unwittingly, she was surrounded by many newly arrived Crimson Magic Clansmen.
Correct. Normally, many powerful wizards were needed to defeat a demon like Anis.
“Hey, I’m talking to you. What did you think this place is?”
“I don’t know your identity, but you are really brave… Even the leaders of the demon king’s army won’t dare to come to this village alone… Hey, release Megumin’s cat now.”
Slightly trembling, Anis let go of Chomsuke as if she still did not comprehend the situation.
She was probably at a loss about what to do, but she understood that if she did not let go of her master, her life would be in danger.
After being freed, Chomsuke swaggered over to me and lay down at my feet.
Anis reached out to Chomsuke.
“This is Home of the Crimson Magic where even the demon king’s army dare not come near.”
Anis’ mumblings were interrupted.
Yes, this was where Crimson Magic Clansmen gathered, where advanced magic was common – Home of the Crimson Magic.
“A demon who comes here casually must be either very confident or very stupid…”
Hearing this, Anis broke out in cold sweat and glanced around.
She remained in her half-bending pose.
Her expression froze and her eyes became teary as Anis saw the Crimson Magic Clansmen casting advanced magic simultaneously.
—After Anis fled in tears from the chasing Crimson Magic Clansmen, we completed many tasks, including wall repair.
“Really. What was that demon about? But it is good that she left. Chomsuke is fine too.”
Yunyun said as she caressed Chomsuke who was at her feet.
Anis escaped, leaving this furball behind.
If it remained here at home, she would return to take it.
“……Yunyun, I want to ask you for a favor. Can you keep Chomsuke at your home?”
“Eh!? What are you saying so suddenly!?”
I said to the surprised Yunyun.
“Well. I didn’t know that Anis is a demon, but it is good to have someone take in Chomsuke. I said it before, this furball is not suitable to tag along when I become an adventurer.”
“Bu- But! Since the demon has fled, the deal…… Ah!?”
As she was about to say something, Yunyun saw the sack full of coins that I brought out.
“The financial situation is as you can see. It appears she has forgotten about it. I will use it to pay the teleport fee.”
“To- Too much! Is this okay? I say, is this really okay!?”
Yunyun grumbled on. But the money gained from defeating monsters could be spent freely. It had always been like this.
I didn’t actually defeat Anis, but this could be considered as reward for my good karma, so I would use it gratefully.
Yunyun was still mumbling about “Is this really okay”.
“In summary, Yunyun, I intend to go on my journey tomorrow.”
“So early!? Isn’t it too rushed!? You should slow down slightly, so our classmates can send you off or something!”
Not early at all.
I already waited for more than half a year.
Truthfully, I could barely wait to rush out of the village to start my adventures immediately.
But I still needed to make some preparations and arrangements for Komekko.
“I will leave tomorrow morning. There is no need for a send-off. A Crimson Magic Clansman is a mighty and lonely existence. Besides, if it is predestined, we will meet again elsewhere.”
“What are you saying? Wait! I will gather everyone now. I won’t let you leave so abruptly!”
Yunyun said and ran off.
Yunyun, who couldn’t even approach someone to say “hello”, was actually going to gather people.
It looked like she would be fine even without me.
As I thought about this, I picked up Chomsuke who was lying at my feet.
I did not know where Yunyun went.
Then Yunyun returned and dragged me over—
“I didn’t think Megumin would leave the village. As impulsive and argumentative as you are, can you really become an adventurer?”
“It looks like you will have a hard time finding party members!”
The ones who said these rude words were Funifura and Dodonko.
Why must these two always say things like that?
“Megumin would be fine. After all, she is the only one I never managed to win.”
Arue, the classmate with the eye patch, said.
“Eh? I- I did not lose to Arue either…… Ah!?”
Yunyun was about to say something to Arue, then cried out suddenly.
“In the last exam before both of you graduated, isn’t Yunyun’s ranking lower than mine?”
Hearing this, Yunyun lowered her head dejectedly.
Back then, Yunyun intentionally lowered her ranking so she can graduate together with me.
Well, you reaped what you sowed.
Unexpectedly, Yunyun clenched her fists as if she was unwilling to concede defeat. Meanwhile, I was busy stuffing my mouth with cake.
Funifura and Dodonko said to me helplessly.
“…I say. At this last moment, stop eating so much and chat with us. Don’t you have a bit of human emotions?”
“Megumin is still a girl after all, right? Instead of eating, you should pay more attention to how you dress up.”
They could say whatever they liked.
I didn’t even know if there would be a proper meal after starting on my journey.
Eat while you can, rest while you can. This is the fundamental knowledge of being an adventurer……
“……We are not asking you not to eat either. But at least do it after we are done with our farewells.”
Yunyun said as she carried Chomsuke—
This was the biggest house in Home of the Crimson Magic, Yunyun’s home.
My send-off was currently in progress.
It seemed Yunyun only invited the classmates I was closer to in school.
Dishes and cakes were set on the table in Yunyun’s room.
“An adbendurer should eat bhile she can, rest bhile she can…”
“Swallow first before you speak!”
Yunyun grumbled. For some reasons, she seemed extraordinarily excited.
“Ah, Arue, want some more fruit juice? Funifura wants grape flavor, right? Megumin, you will choke if you don’t drink something.”
Yunyun enthusiastically served everyone drinks.
It looked like she was really excited about having friends to visit her home.
When we arrived, Yunyun’s family members were shocked.
This was probably the first time she had friends coming over.
“Hey, Yunyun, you should settle down somewhat.”
“Yes, what happened? You are so excited.”
Her sentiments had soared to the point where Funifura and Dodonko would comment on.
“So- Sorry! This is my first time hosting a party…”
“I- Is that so? Then it can’t be helped, right!?”
“It can’t be helped! So- Some time later, we can have a party during Yunyun’s birthday too!”
……Yunyun must be trying way too hard for these two to become concerned about her.
Arue was just eating her cake so far. At this time, she said.
“By the way, where does Megumin intend to use as a base? I feel Megumin should be capable of taking on areas with powerful monsters right at the start.”
“No. I intend to start with the basics and go to the rookie city Axel. After all, I’m still a rookie, so it’s better to join a party with other rookies.”
“Eh— So you can have a humble disposition too.”
“If you show such humility more often in school, you could have made a lot more friends.”
As I was considering how to deal with these sarcastic duo…
“Megumin. This is my present for you.”
Suddenly, Funifura said and handed over a staff.
“……Uh. What is this? A farewell gift? I feel the mana flow is really smooth when I touch this staff. Isn’t it rather expensive?”
For a wizard, a staff is an important item that could raise one’s magical power.
A staff of this quality must be really expensive.
“No. It wasn’t paid for. This staff was made by Funifura’s father, who was a magic item artisan. By the way, the base materials were collected by these two.”
After Arue explained, Funifura and Dodonko proudly added.
“We went to the forest near the village and selected a tree that was full of mana.”
“Yeah. It was a simple task anyway… If you are grateful to us, bring some handsome studs back to the village after your journey.”
Arue glanced slightly at the self-satisfied duo and said simply.
“After all, these two have not learnt advanced magic, so I went with them to the forest. Every time they met a monster, they screamed…”
After Yunyun and I graduated, Arue also successfully learnt advanced magic and graduated.
Since Arue’s mana was just below and Yunyun’s mana and mine, I thought she would become a magic item artisan or something similar.
But she announced that she was going to be an author and stayed at home all day. I really didn’t know what she was thinking.
I hugged the staff I just received and said.
“Thank you. I will treasure it. Honestly, I didn’t think I would receive something like this from you two. What is it? Is this the so-called tsundere*?”
Note (*): See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsundere
“No, it’s not! I feel very uncomfortable owing you a debt!”
“The potion Megumin created was really effective. Deep down, Funifura is really grateful to Megumin.”
“What? Funifura’s brother was really sick back then? I thought that was just an excuse to scam some money from Yunyun for entertainment.”
“I know my personality is not good, but even I won’t do something like that!”
“Funifura may be a hardcore brocon*, but she isn’t outrageously wicked to that extent!”
Note (*): See http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Brocon
As Funifura and Dodonko argued, Yunyun remained very quiet.
Or rather, she wanted to say something but couldn’t say it.
“Yunyun, isn’t it time for you to bring it out?”
“Yes. You made so much effort to prepare it, right?”
Then, Yunyun took out a paper bag.
And forcefully shove it over.
“For you. Megumin, you are still using the school uniform as your casual wear, right? You don’t seem too particular about what you wear, so I made a wizard’s robe for you. How is it…?”
The paper bag contained a robe, a cloak, and a hat.
Truthfully, this was a blessing.
My school uniform was already torn and tattered.
“Thank you. I will treasure it.”
Hearing this, Yunyun exhaled in relief.
At this time, Funifura said to Arue maliciously.
“Arue? Hey, didn’t you prepare a gift?”
“Yeah. We already prepared the staff and whatever. Didn’t Arue have anything?”
As usual, this duo’s personalities were terrible.
Arue nodded and acknowledged. Until now, she had been concentrating on her food.
“Then, let me reveal the rare item I have hidden away.”
Arue said and took off her eye patch, which she had never taken off during her school days.
“This is the first time I see Arue without her eye patch!”
Arue ignored the loud duo and gave me the eye patch.
“This is a high quality item filled with great power. Wearing this will strengthens one’s mental fortitude and resistance against mind control, charm, and similar magic. It can also restrain one’s mana. I was born with a vast amount of mana. To keep my magical power under control, I have been wearing this since I was young.”
Arue’s past was finally revealed.
Normally, nobody had a clue what Arue was thinking of. It was unthinkable that she had something like this.
“I- Is it really okay to give Megumin something so important?”
“Yeah, aren’t you worried your power would go out of control?”
Arue answered Funifura and Dodonko with a smile.
“No problem. I don’t need to wear this anymore. Although I learnt magic as my family wishes, my dream is to become an author. I want to be an author who writes things that will make people happy. Since Megumin is becoming an adventurer, please tell me about what your adventures sometime. I want to write about the adventures of Megumin’s little party.”
She said something so cool.
The other three persons started to be uncomfortable.
“Ah, what should we do? We only gave a staff.”
“Our staff, uh, was made from stretch, so we can consider it as being full of good will…!”
“Wh- What should I do? I bought my gift directly from a shop!”
I said to the three mumbling persons—
“They are fine as they are. I will treasure all of them. Thank you all.”
I smiled and said.
“Ye- Yeah! The most important thing is good will!”
“Right! …Ah, Arue, if Megumin wears the eye patch, won’t her mana be sealed? Won’t that reduce her magical power?”
“Ah… If she wants to use her full power, she can just take off the eye patch…”
As they chatted, I was preparing to wear the eye patch…
At this time, Arue took out a beautifully wrapped box and said without looking me in the eye.
That box contained a new eye patch.
“Ah, no problem. Actually, there is no such effect. When I was young, my grandfather bought me the eye patch for the look. It is worn out now, so I just bought a new one. Didn’t I say my goal is to become an author? It is normal for an author to make up stories…”
I threw the eye patch I was about to wear at Arue and snatched her new eye patch.
After the sending off party ended, everyone left.
Yunyun said she wanted to send me home.
Was she treating me like a kid who would be lost that easily?
On the darkened road.
Yunyun said softly.
“Megumin. Will you come back to the village after meeting that elder sister in robes?”
Her voice was somewhat stuttering as if she was forcefully trying to be cheerful.
I said to Yunyun who was walking next to me.
“No. I won’t return to the village. After entering the world outside, I must become super strong along with my party. I might as well defeat the current demon king and become the next demon king. At that time, I will let Yunyun become a leader in the demon king’s army.”
“I don’t want! Why must you become a villain!? Anyway, it is impossible since you can only use Explosion magic.”
I didn’t want to hear such realistic words.
“……I will leave the village tomorrow morning. So if you want to send me off, wake up early.”
“Why must I intentionally do such things! Hey, are you really leaving tomorrow? Komekko is so little…! If it is her, she would probably be okay…”
“That kid is more independent than me. I made arrangements with my neighbors. My parents are not always away from home as well.”
Compared to that.
“Can I pass this furball to you? I still feel it is not a good idea to bring it along on dangerous journeys.”
Chomsuke was sticking to my shoulder and reluctant to move. I tried to push it to Yunyun.
“……After giving it such a name, you now want to give it away……”
Yunyun caressed Chomsuke in sympathy.
“But isn’t it very close to Megumin? I feel that there are very few places more dangerous than Home of the Crimson Magic. You might as well bring it along.”
“……Well, it can be bait or emergency ration, so it isn’t as if it is useless…”
“Don’t! Why are your thoughts always so savage and vicious!?”
As we argued on, my home came into view.
If Yunyun wouldn’t come to send me off tomorrow, we should say our farewell here.
“Yunyun will take over as chief after learning advanced magic?”
“Yes. But I won’t do it immediately after learning advanced magic. I think that would be in the distant future…”
Yunyun seemed troubled as she mumbled softly.
As if she lacked the courage to speak up, she made several attempts to say something and gave up midway.
What did she want to say?
……I arrived at the door.
“Then, Yunyun. As my self-proclaimed rival, please work hard. If you take too long, I would become the demon king who rules the world. It would be too late to say you wanted to be a leader at that time.”
“I won’t say something like that! If Megumin become the demon king, I will defeat you!”
Yunyun grumbled as usual.
As I stood at my door, I felt relieved to hear her said that.
I said a very normal farewell to Yunyun.
I felt Yunyun’s eyes on me as I turned my back.
I opened the closed door.
“Welcome home, sis! Let’s eat dinner!”
Komekko ran lightly over. I would be apart from her for a while.
Would my sister cry?
What should I do if she cried and pestered me not to leave?
“Komekko, I have something to say before dinner.”
I sat up straight before her.
At the same time, Komekko also sat up straight on the floor.
I said to Komekko as she looked bewildered.
“Komekko. I will be leaving tomorrow on a journey.”
“Komekko, it is a journey. Sis will be away on a journey. Of course, I won’t be back for some time. You won’t be able to see your beloved sister for a long time.”
“I know! I will endure it!”
What a strong kid.
“If you feel sad, you can try a bit to make me stay. Of course, I made up my mind, so I won’t be persuaded. It would be useless to do so.”
“I understand! I won’t say useless things!”
“Komekko. Sis is happy that you are so strong, but I’m also a bit hurt.”
“Sis is so tsundere.”
—After bathing with my sister, I invited her to sleep together.
“Sis is a willful brat.”
“Ko- Komekko!? Where did you learn such terms like ‘tsundere’ and ‘willful brat’!?”
“From our neighbor, Buzucoily.”
“That blasted NEET huh.”
I should beat him up before leaving tomorrow.
Komekko deftly made her bedding in the living room.
After sneaking under her blanket, she didn’t mention ‘willful brat’ anymore and quietly slept with me.
What was happening? I felt our roles were reversed.
As the elder sister, I wished she would be slightly willful.
In the dark room.
I held her hand tightly under the blanket. Komekko returned the grip.
“……Komekko. If anything happened when I’m not around, tell the adults nearby immediately.”
“Yes, I know.”
My sister was very reliable, but she was still small.
I should entrust her to my neighbors tomorrow.
“Although he isn’t reliable, you can discuss matters with Buzucoily, since he is basically free every day.”
“I know. I will find him when I’m out of food!”
Did that NEET have such capabilities?
“If you are lonely, you can go to Yunyun’s house. She will happily take care of you. Or rather, she would be lonely herself, so patronize her sometime.”
“Okay. I understand……”
Komekko’s voice was getting softer.
Her voice sounded sleepy.
“……I will leave a note for our parents. When they return, remember to pass it to them. I told them previously that I would leave after saving enough money, so they won’t worry even if they didn’t see me.”
Komekko sounded like she was about to sleep.
I hugged her little body as I listened.
I might be a siscon.
I should take this chance to stock up on some siscon energy.
……At this time, Komekko said in the dark.
“……? What is it?”
As I hugged her, Komekko tightly hugged me back and said softly.
“Come back soon.”
……I didn’t mind being a siscon then.
I hugged Komekko until morning.
—The next morning.
I quietly got out of bed without waking Komekko who was still sound asleep.
I put on the robe given by Yunyun.
Then, I wore the eye patch given by Arue and stood before the mirror.
……Eh, not bad. This eye patch looked quite nice.
Next, I put on the hat and picked up my staff.
I was charmed by my own image in the mirror.
“Sis, what are you playing?”
I made a pose in front of the mirror. Komekko suddenly showed up and copied it.
After breakfast, I carefully checked my luggage.
It didn’t seem like there was anything missing.
Or rather, there was barely anything for me to bring along to begin with.
As I was about to leave the house.
“Sis, you forgot something!”
I checked thoroughly, yet Komekko ran after me with something.
“What is it?”
Komekko pushed the big brick-sized item into my hands.
…… It looked like she prepared a packed meal for me.
There were a lot of rice balls inside.
Komekko did something like this before I left. It made me hesitate if I should cancel the trip and live happily with Komekko.
“Also, I will give you this, so that willful brat Sis won’t be lonely.”
Komekko said rudely as she handed me the picture book she frequently let me read to her before bed.
This should be her treasure.
I smiled bitterly as I put the picture book into my luggage.
Komekko saw this and smiled in satisfaction.
“Sis, work hard! You must become the strongest!”
“……I know. I promise you I will become the most powerful wizard one day!”
I acted cool in front of my sister and flipped the cloak Yunyun gave me.
This was not bad.
Yunyun really gave me something good.
Komekko held up her small fists.
“You must defeat the demon king!”
“De- Demon king? I said something like that before, but…”
“Must defeat him!”
“……I will work hard at it.”
I replied forcefully. Komekko smiled in satisfaction.
Outside, the sunlight was so glaring that it hurt the eyes.
It was a good weather for travel.
Before leaving, there was somewhere I had to go.
“Good morning. Is Buzucoily around?”
Oh, Megumin. Welcome. My son is still sleeping.”
I came to my neighbor’s shoe shop and asked the shop owner to help my sister in times of need.
“No problem. Your parents asked me to take care of both you and Komekko before! Leave it to me. Megumin, you too. If there is any problem, just say so.”
I felt relieved after hearing this.
“There is something troubling me.”
“Oh? What is it?”
I frowned and said gloomily.
“Actually, Buzucoily has been teaching my sister some bad words. I hope he won’t do that anymore…”
“Ba- Bad words!? What was it…”
“As a girl, it is hard to say it out.”
The shop owner shouted Buzucoily’s name as he rushed upstairs.
This was good.
After this lesson, he wouldn’t teach Komekko strange things for a while.
I left the shoe shop and carried my luggage to the teleport shop.
A single trip ticket to the City of Water Alcanretia cost 300,000 eris.
That was almost all the money I had.
If I didn’t find some work there…
No, I could become an adventurer immediately.
Even though I could use magic only once per day, I wouldn’t lose to anyone as long as I didn’t mess up its use.
It would be good if I could meet a party that could make use of me effectively…
As I thought about this, I arrived at the teleport shop.
“You’re so slow. You really put on airs to let everyone wait for you early in the morning.”
Someone called me from behind as I was about to enter the shop.
I turned around and saw my classmates with Funifura, Dodonko, and Arue in the lead.
They seemed to be here to send me off.
“……Everyone is so free.”
“Will it hurt for you to be thankful at the final moment!?”
Funifura blushed and complained.
At this moment, I noticed that someone was missing.
Seeing me looking around, Funifura said lazily.
“Yunyun won’t be coming. She said she had something important to discuss with her family.”
“I- I didn’t say anything!?”
Hearing this, Funifura and Dodonko smiled viciously.
……Ugh. If I wasn’t leaving today, I would definitely make them cry.
As I was grinding my teeth, Arue pointed at my eye patch and said.
“It suits you.”
“I will treasure it.”
I said my farewells to my weird friends.
“The teleport to Alcanretia will start shortly. Each trip is limited to four people. The next trip will be in the afternoon. If you wish to teleport, please hurry.”
Hearing the shop owner’s announcement, I waved my hand and turned my back on everyone.
In the end, I didn’t get to see Yunyun.
She said before that she wouldn’t be sending me off. Since she didn’t have any friends, she would be very lonely. If she came, she might want to leave with me, so it was better this way.
There was a certain reluctance to leave…
I handed the sack of silver coins to the shop owner and stood on the teleport platform along with other customers.
Using a magic platform could reduce teleport accidents and mana consumption.
The destination was the City of Water and Hot Springs, Alcanretia.
It was impossible not to be nervous on my first trip outside the village.
But anxiety was accompanied by a similar expectation.
As I was now, I would not lose.
I promised Komekko.
A promise to become the strongest wizard.
“Okay, let’s get going. Please relax and not resist the magic.”
I relaxed my body and closed my eyes as I listened to the shop owner.
And then, I thought of my classmates who came to send me off.
My body was naturally filled with strength.
My mind imagined the unknown world.
“Then, have a good trip. Teleport!”
I gave myself in to the teleport magic—
INTERLUDE: SCENE 2
—Lady Aqua, I Would Not Admit Defeat!—
I plotted to get a treat from the handsome youth who wielded the magic sword, but he managed to escape.
I cried and begged him not to leave, but he vanished in the morning, leaving a letter behind.
The letter mentioned strange things like “using the power granted by the goddess to save the world”. I wished he would save me from poverty before saving the world.
I thought he would become a devout Axis Cultist…
Since he was already gone, it couldn’t be helped.
I had to think of a way to get a meal…
What about putting a donation box near the school?
Naïve children may put their pocket money into the box.
……But I felt that I would lose something important if I did that.
Or perhaps make some money using my beauty?
……No, no, no. Since I’m famous as the beautiful priestess of the Axis Cult, doing this would bring disrepute on the cult itself.
If it carried on like this, I could only eat Tokoroten* Slime every meal daily.
Note (*): A kind of gelatinous cuisine made from jelly and algae. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokoroten
No matter how much I liked it, I would still get sick…
Then there was only that move—
“—It’s Cecily! Cecily is here! The precept-breaking priestess from the Axis Cult is here again!”
“Hey, Cecily! Why are you here!? There aren’t any more young Eris Cultists that you love so much here. Because you always make trouble here, those Eris Cultists who brought their children have left for other cities! Because of you, the Eris Cultists in this city are rapidly reducing! If you still insist on doing something stupid, then let me be your opponent!”
Two men stood before the Eris Church, blocking my way and saying such rude things.
“Don’t say it like I am responsible for your loss of believers! I merely told those poor ignorant kids how great my cult is! Is there a law that forbids preaching to the pagans?”
“You and your cult’s doctrines are having a bad influence on the kids! ‘Axis Cultists are good people, so when things go wrong, it’s not your fault. It’s the world’s fault!’ And ‘Instead of stiffly suppressing yourself, relax and live without care. Who knows what tomorrow may bring? Instead of expecting the void of tomorrow, enjoy your life today!’ The children who went over to play at your side always return with weird perspectives! I will say this bluntly, your very existence is trouble! Don’t come near those kids again!”
As the famous beautiful elder sister who loved kids, I was being scolded by Eris Cultists.
“……It’s true I come here frequently, but to think that was how you thought of me… Although we have different religions, I believed that as fellow priests, we could come to understand each other one day…”
Being assaulted by harsh words, I lowered my head, clenched my fists, and spoke in a trembling voice.
“……Ce- Cecily? Hey, don’t play this trick. I suddenly have a sense of sinfulness… Are you joking? You are just pretending to be hurt… right…?”
“No, no. We were too harsh! It was too much to say you are trouble and ask you not to get close to the children. We don’t mean it like that. Because of your usual behavior, we wanted to ask you to…”
I lowered my head and walked pass the two pale-faced people who were hurriedly explaining themselves. For some reasons, there was a sack full of bread at the entrance of the Eris Church. I grabbed the sack.
“Eh? Ce- Cecily? What are you doing…”
“……Hey, hey, that is…!”
I raised my head angrily.
“For bullying the cute and beautiful priestess, Eris Cultists can all go to hell!”
I took the sack of bread and ran.
“Hey, wait! Don’t leave! Those bread were donated by everyone to feed the poor……!”
I glared at the man who intended to pursue me.
“First the handsome youth with the magic sword escaped, then I was bullied by you people. Am I not the poor!? Why be so gentle to me now? Don’t make me stay! Just ignore me! Don’t come over!”
I ditched my two pursuers.
I offered a prayer to Lady Aqua, who must be watching over me right now.
—Lady Aqua, I would not give in to defeat!
“Stop messing around! Who wants to keep you! The important thing is the bread! Leave the bread behind!”