Sightseeing in this pain in the ass city!
“Well then, please enjoy your vacation in the city of Hot Springs! Thank you everyone, you have been a great help!”
The leader of the caravan kept nodding and bowing to us.
The city of water and Hot Spring, Alcanretia.
After our long journey inside the carriage, we finally arrived here.
Even after telling the leader the truth behind the series of monster attacks, he refused to believe me.
He seemed to think that this was a story we made up in order to refuse his payment.
To reward us in lieu of monetary payment, he gave us five hotel coupons.
He seemed to be the owner of the largest hotel in Alcanretia.
His plan was to head to the next city without stopping.
“”Ahhh… Jarippa… Jarippa is leaving…”
As Megumin saw the carriage off, she mumbled to herself.
There were many adventurers who alighted at this stop along with us. They had already entered the city as Megumin continued to see the carriage leave completely out of sight.
“What is Jarippa?”
Aqua understood it suddenly.
“Could it be that baby dragon? Speaking of which, one of the customer that looked rather rich came to Megumin the arch wizard who helped them a lot to name this dragon.”
… Asking a Magic Crimson race to name that dragon.
“I heard that after a dragon is named, it will ignore any other name it is given…”
Darkness blurted out this important fact out of the blue.
Megumin nodded and was filled with emotions.
That child seemed satisfied with the name Jarippa. I left the note with the dragon’s name on it, I hope the owner will cherish it dearly.”
This girl, what has she done.
My beloved sword was given a weird name which hurt me deeply too. I empathize with the owner deeply…
“Can’t you change your hobby of giving things weird names? It is about time you Crimson Magic race understand how weird your naming sense is.”
“I fully understand Kazuma has no naming sense at all. Such a pity since Kazuma already has a nice name. If Kazuma has children in the future, let me name them.”
“I will never let you get your way… Wait, what did you say about my name? Is Kazuma a good name to the Crimson Magic race? Hey, that makes me depressed.”
With Wiz on my back, I looked around the city.
Wiz was hit by a Turn Undead casted by some moron and had yet to recover consciousness.
And that moron was shouting excitedly right now.
“We are finally here! The city of water and Hot Spring Alcanretia!”
— City of water and Hot Spring Alcanretia.
Lying between the clear lakes and the mountain where the Hot Springs was situated, it was a city surrounded by water.
All the buildings had the base colour of blue, making it look clean and beautiful, full of vigour and life.
The Demon King army was rampaging around the world, but it didn’t affect this place at all.
It was said the minions of the Demon King army fought in this place before. But after that battle, the Demon King army no longer dare to get close to this place.
Some people say that there were too many priests in this city. For the Demon King army, waging war against priests were too difficult.
Others say this city was protected by the goddess of water Aqua.
— There was another saying.
“Welcome to Alcanretia! Are you here for sightseeing? To join the cult? To adventure? For baptism? If you are looking for a job, please come to the Axis cult! We have an opening right now to explain how wonderful the Axis cult is, the remunerations are very attractive. If you take this job, you will get the privilege of calling yourself an Axis cultist! Come come come, join us!”
— As this city had lots of Axis cultist, the Demon King army don’t want anything to do with them.
The moment we arrive in this city, we were swarmed by a group that seemed to be Axis cultist.
What should we do, I didn’t expect them to make their recruitment pitch suddenly.
And why did this city has so many Axis cultists?
“What beautiful blue hair! Are you born this way? How enviable! I am so envious of you! This hagoromo looks like the one Aqua-sama wears, it suits you well too”
When I realized it, Aqua was being welcomed passionately by a female cultist.
… Hey, this is bad.
If she said ‘actually, I am the goddess herself!’ as usual, she will be treated as a hoax and get beaten up by that bunch.
Megumin and Darkness was intimidated by them and was acting timidly.
Wiz was sleeping on my back, which was lucky for her.
Only Aqua was happily mingling with the crowd with both eyes shining, happy about the female cultist praising her looks.
I walked to her side and said softly:
“Hey, don’t tell them you are the real goddess of water. It will definitely get us into big trouble. And don’t use your real name, use an alias.”
“I know that Kazuma, I’m not a dummy. Let’s go tour around! This is the city of water and Hot Spring Alcanretia! As the goddess of water, I am very excited! Most importantly, this is the main base of the Axis Cult!”
So this was the rumoured base camp of the cult full of weirdoes?
The Axis Cult is an organization— that worships the goddess Aqua.
No wonder she wants to come here so much.
We couldn’t leave the hyped Aqua alone, I had no choice but to bow to the Axis Cultist welcoming us and say:
“Sorry, we already have a priest from the Axis Cult. We are here for sightseeing, see you…”
We turn and leave after that. The Axis Cultist waved behind us with all smiles.
“Is that so! Then farewell comrades! May you have a wonderful day!”
After we finally got out of the encirclement of the Axis Cultist, Megumin and Darkness sighed in relief.
How should I put this…
“Welcome to Alcanretia! After joining the Axis Cult, many believers were cured of their illness, strike the lottery and became skilled in their artistic talents! What do you think, want to join us?”
… What a suspicious religious organization.
I looked at the cultist pitching passionately with an indescribable feeling. It seemed that everyone was avoiding them on the streets.
“… An, anyway, let’s head to the hotel. I feel a bit guilty about this, but since we got the coupons, it will be a waste not to use it.”
After I said that, Aqua smiled mischievously.
“Please go on ahead everyone! I will go to the headquarters as an arch priest and receive their worship!”
She said something really unsettling.
You should be looking after Wiz!
“… Kazuma, I am a bit worried about Aqua, so I will accompany her. Can you help us bring our luggage to the hotel?”
Megumin looked worriedly at the excited Aqua.
Indeed, we will be dragged into some troublesome matters again if we leave her alone.
Leaving the supervision of Aqua to Megumin, I headed to the hotel with the others.
“Welcome! The master had already informed us about your visit! Please enjoy your stay!”
When we reached the hotel indicated on the coupon, we received a warm welcome.
However, that caravan was attacked by monsters because of us, so my conscience was aching.
As expected of the largest hotel in the city, it looked really big.
Such lodgings were usually reserved for nobles.
When I heard it was a Hot Spring hotel, I thought it would be Japanese style, I didn’t expect it to be western style.
There seemed to be a top class Hot Spring within this hotel.
The hotel staff received us warmly and carried our luggage to our rooms.
Laying Wiz to rest in a room, I put away the heavy equipment and luggage and immediately went into sightseeing mode. This was the first time I was visiting a city aside from Axel after all.
We asked the hotel staff to tell her we went out to play if Wiz wakes up.
We were a bit worried, but doing so won’t make her wake up any earlier.
The main event would have to wait until evening— when everyone was gathered.
“What about you Darkness? Since we are here on vacation, I plan to go sightseeing and come back around dinner time.”
“Yeah, I will go too. I don’t know cities other than Axel well.”
Darkness who was in casual wear smiled.
After putting down my luggage, I decided to tour the city with Darkness.
— As expected of a tourist city, the shops were exceptionally passionate about touting customers.
Or rather, it was like a war zone.
After glancing at a shop, someone talk to us suddenly.
“Customer, people will doubt your taste if you make purchases in such a cheap shop. Here, this is Arcane buns made from all natural ingredients by the elves, it matches your high class status, try a sample.”
The voice came from…
A handsome man with long ears, green hair and white skin.
That’s right it was an elf.
“Hey, don’t be cocky, jerk! Things that are expensive might not be good! Customer, try my special dwarf meat bun. It is full of meat and will remain edible for a long time, a specialty that gives good value for money!”
The one rebuking the elf angrily was the shopkeeper staring at me.
His height only reached my chest level, but he was well developed sideways and had a face full of beard.
What a classic dwarf.
“Elf…! And dwarf…! Hey Kazuma, there are elves and dwarves here! They look just like the way I heard in stories when I was little.”
“Ohhh, indeed, the elves are handsome and the dwarves are stubborn.”
Darkness shouted like a kid in Disneyland, and I replied to her.
Aside from the fact they are displaying items for sale here, they were the most fantasy like existence I have seen since coming to this alternate world.
The elegant and handsome elves.
Dwarves were crude in speech, stubborn in nature and had a thick beard.\
Seeing the two shop owners moved me a little.
I had seen elves and dwarves from afar before, but this was the first time I was talking to them up close.
I switched my gaze between them with sparkling eyes. However, the pure admiration for the alternate world was misunderstood by them.
“Look what you did, the customer is confused. He is just here to look around, but is now at a lost because you pressured him. Back off, lowly dwarf.”
“Stop your bullshit! The customer wants to browse my wares, he is troubled because you are bothering him! He wants to buy my goods, so scram, pale green elf!”
I panicked when the two of them started quarreling.
Speaking of which, I heard the relationship between elves and dwarves had always been bad.
“Hey, don’t fight! Erm, I will buy from both shops, so it is fine!”
When they heard what I said, the two of them stopped squabbling and said to me with a smile.
“Thank you for your patronage!” x2
“— Kazuma, the relationships between elves and dwarves are really bad! Just like the book my father gave me to read when I was young!”
After leaving the local specialty stores, I listen to Darkness talking with excitement in her eyes.
Although I was forced to buy something, but I saw something nice as compensation.
Darkness was carrying a lot of bags and looked really happy. This felt obviously like high pressure sales.
She seemed to be planning to distribute these to his father and the servants.
She had probably never been away from the city before, so she wanted to buy something back.
“Yup, they give off the feeling of being ‘real elves and dwarves’… Ara, I forgot to ask them what fun place we can visit when I bought these stuff.”
We didn’t know anything about this city and didn’t have any place we want to visit particularly.
I asked Darkness to wait for me right here and returned to the shops by myself.
However, I didn’t saw these two shop owners.
Maybe their shift was over and they were resting?
Hearing voices from the depth of the shop, I peeked in.
There was no doubt that this was the voice of the elf just now.
… Hey, wait, I hear the voice of the dwarf too.
Could it be…!?
“Hey you two, don’t fight—!”
I charged in thinking they were quarreling inside the shop…!
“Ah, customer, this is the staff break room, non staff can’t come in.”
The elf said to me lazily, his respectful tone nowhere to be found.
… No, elf… Elf…?
He probably noticed my gaze, so the elf(?) owner tugged his ears and said:
“Oh, this— Let me be clear, I am a real elf, not a fake.”
Simply put, his ears— was round.
It was indistinguishable from humans.
He sat cross legged besides the dwarf, a pair of fake ears on his lap.
… By the way, the dwarf also took off his fake beard and was scratching his chin.
“… Eh, what is going on here?”
I didn’t know what to say. The elf(?) and dwarf(?) looked at each other.
“Ara, well, elves in the forest don’t live together with humans and so their ears are long. For elves like me who live among humans, there would be inter racial children over time. So our ears gradually become rounder. But if I say I am an elf before the customers, the customers might be surprised or disappointed since it differs from what their impression was. That is why I dressed up like a pure blooded elf.”
The elf said.
… What the hell. And I was quite disappointed just now.
Following that, the dwarf continued:
“As for me, having a beard will cause hygiene problems. And I only work in the shop until evening. I have to prepare meals for the hotel guest in the morning and evening. It will be terrible if the customers complain about finding beard hair in their meal… Ah, are you thinking that we might still be quarreling? Sorry, that fight was a performance we put on every day. After all, the rumour says that dwarves and elves hate each other, so we made use of that…”
This was like visiting Africa and seeing the natives holding spears, and discovering them playing with mobile phones when as we are about to leave.
It was dumb of me to look for the feeling of fantasy in this world.
The two of them looked at the depressed me with apologetic eyes.
“Ah… Sorry about that, did we broke your dreams and imagination?”
“Customer, thinking too much is not good for your health. There are definitely clumsy dwarves and elves poor in bowmanship in this world.”
“Hey hey, are you referring to me?”
The two of them laughed.
… This world was too damn evil.
It couldn’t be help if the illusion was seen through, rather than that, more importantly—
“Forget it, I won’t ask for a refund or anything. Can you tell me about the fun place to visit? I am here to ask that.”
Both of them looked at each other.
“Sightseeing spot… Eh, there was a wonderful Hot Spring earlier…”
“Yup, it would be great if customer came earlier…”
“…? I thought there are Hot Springs everywhere, this is the city of Hot Springs after all.”
After hearing my query, the elf wagged his finger.
“I am talking about the mixed gender Hot Springs popular among the young ladies.”
“Are you for real?”
I leaned forward. The dwarf added:
“Of course it’s true. We will enjoy ourselves there after work every day.”
… What a wonderful Hot Springs, why couldn’t it be visited now?
Noticing my question, the elf answered.
“Actually the water quality of the Hot Springs everywhere is dropping.”
… The water quality is dropping?
“That is so, some of the customers even fell sick and develop rashes after going to the Hot Spring… Some even fainted. Experts had already been hired to investigate why the quality of the Hot Spring water was turning bad, but it is still unclear…”
… I looked at the frowning dwarf.
And had the ominous feeling that I might get dragged into something troublesome.
“— How was it? Any good place to visit?”
When I returned to Darkness, I remembered the reason why I returned to the shop in the first place.
I forgot my original objective after hearing about the mixed gender Hot Spring.
“An, anyway, let’s tour around there.”
I suggested while Darkness tilted her head in confusion.
— Holding the kebabs I bought from the street stall, I walked around aimlessly with Darkness and gawked at the scenery.
The city was clean and surrounded by water.
Judging from this point alone, this seemed to be a great city to live in.
… Suddenly, a young girl carrying something heavy appeared before me.
I unconsciously gave way to her, planning to go pass her from the side when—
“Ara!? What should I do, the apples I bought…!”
The moment I passed by her, the lady suddenly loses balance, spilling all her groceries out.
She picked up the apples on the ground and stuffed it into the bag.
Darkness and I helped her to pick up the drop items…
“Thank you very much! You have been a great help! Can both of you allow me to repay your kindness…?
The girl casually tossed her groceries she cherished so strongly and held my hand.
Eh, could it be that kind of flag…!
As I was hoping for teen romance sort of development, she said—
“There is a cafe set up by the Axis cult ahead, want to head there and chat with me?”
“… Forget it.”
The girl grabbed my cloak as I turned to leave with Darkness.
“Don’t need to hurry, I might look like this, but I am actually great at fortune telling. Let me tell your fortune to repay you.”
“No, no need… I am good, let… let go!”
The moment I shook the hand on my cloak off, the girl tackled my waist.
“The fortune telling results are out! Misfortune will befall you if you continue like this! However, you can avoid misfortune by joining the Axis cult! Come join us! How can you not join!?”
“I am already meeting with misfortune right now! Let me go! Help me Darkness!”
Darkness grabbed the hand of the girl on my waist.
And pulled out a small amulet from her chest.
That should be the amulet of Eris devotees.
Maybe it was the same as the cross of Christians in the old world.
“Sorry, I belong to the Eris cult, please stop coercing this man.”
The girl spitted to the side of the road.
She quietly released her hand, took her shopping bags and left in a puff.
The sheltered lady who had never been treated so rudely stood there stiffly. That girl turned back after taking two steps and—
She spit at the side of the road once again and walked away angrily.
“Hey Darkness, erm, how should I put this, the Axis cult and Eris religion seemed to be on bad terms, so keep that amulet… And, don’t take this matter too hard…”
I consoled Darkness who just stood there stiffly.
Darkness groaned softly and trembled.
“… Could it be, you are a masochist?
— As we walked along the deserted street, a menacing looking man and a frail girl appeared before us.
“Hyaa! Save me! The two people over there, please help me. This man who is probably an Eris devotee wants to drag me to a deserted corner…!”
“Hehehe, do you happen to be an Axis cultist? Haha! If I see a strong and handsome Axis cultist, I would definitely run away. Since you are not, I will proceed unhesitantly! If you want to stop me who had been blessed by the dark goddess Eris, you will regret it!”
“Ahh, why is this happening to me! If someone sign on the blank cult entry form, this evil Eris devotee will run away—!”
I pretended to not see anything and was about to pull Darkness to leave with me…
“Ahh, are the two of you leaving me to die! It will be fine, just sign here and you will receive special powers from Aqua-sama, and become powerful and cool! The Eris devotees will run in fear from this power!”
“That’s right! And after joining the cult you will gain incredible abilities like ‘art and craft master’ and ‘attract undead monsters easily’!”
Darkness took out her amulet before these two.
“As you see, I am a follower of Eris. Defaming Eris-sama as a dark goddess before me is—”
Before Darkness even finished, the girl and man spit on the roadside and left together.
… Was there anyone decent in the Axis cult?
Darkness stood wordlessly in place and trembled again.
… Were all Eris devotees just like this girl?
— After that.
“Congratulations! You are the one million person to pass through this street! Allow me to present you with a memento! This memento is sponsored by the Axis Cult! In order to collect this memento, you have to join the cult as a formality— you just need to write it on paper, would that be fine?”
I pulled Darkness with me and was about to go back from the way we came.
“… Hmm? Hmmmmm? Long time no see! It’s me it’s me! How have you been? I was in the same class back in school, don’t you remember? I changed a lot after joining the Axis cult, no wonder you can’t recognize me~”
I have never been to school in this world, and never been close to any woman, so I silently walk pass her.
“… What is with this city, or rather— What is wrong with the Axis cult.”
Tired after being tortured by the Axis cultist, Darkness and I rested in an open air cafe.
Due to the Eris amulet on her neck, Darkness was treated terribly. Right now, her face was still red.
While I laid on the table to rest, the server brought the items we ordered to us.
She placed the drinks on our table one by one.
I propped myself up and prepare myself to eat…
“Ah, Eris devotee customer, this is the special service from this shop.”
The server who brought us the stuff placed something by Darkness’ feet.
… It was dog food served in a plate.
“Please enjoy yourself!”
The waitress gave a perfect professional smile and left elegantly.
Darkness’ cheeks turned red and she kept on shivering.
“… Nah, Kazuma, let’s stay in this city forever.”
“… No chance.”
After finishing our meal, I dragged Darkness who was blushing with a blushed face to return to the hotel.
How should I put it, this city is too weird.
… As we were on our way to return, a young girl ran towards us in a hurry.
She was about ten years old.
She fell in front of us.
Darkness and I rushed to her in a hurry. She struggled and said while resisting the pain—
“Ah… Thank you, onii-san, onee-san…”
— She smiled weakly.
My tortured soul was healed by her smile.
“Are you okay? Be careful next time, can you stand?”
I offered a hand to the little girl as I spoke. The girl grabbed my hand happily.
Her smile was so pure. Ah, how healing.
“Uhmm, I am fine! Thank you! … Nah, kind onii-san, can you tell me your name?”
“Kazuma, Satou Kazuma, this scary looking onee-san here is Darkness.”
Darkness used her hands to poke my temples immediately.
After hearing my name, the little girl took out pen and paper.
“Sa tu Ka za mah? How is it spelled? Please write it down for me onii-san.”
“Okay, my name is…”
As I was going to write my name down, I saw the header on that piece of paper.
‘Axis Cult entry form’.
I tore that piece of paper in half.
Hidden in the shadow of the national religion, it has a poor reputation everywhere aside from this city.
But their presence was really strong. I heard that if you meet robbers while traveling, just claiming to be from the Axis cult will make them run away.
That was how feared Axis cultist was.
It was said that even the Demon King army was afraid of them.
— Right now I am…
“Hey! Get me the person-in-charge! I will teach you all a lesson!”
I charged into the church headquarters of the Axis cult with a roar.
“Ara, how may I help you? Joining us? Baptism? Or… Do. It. With. Me?”
Inside the church was a female cultist that was sweeping the floor.
There was no one else around except for her.
“Do, do what…”
“Don’t be shy, I am just kidding. Why would a girl you just met say that, is there something wrong with your head?”
What should I do, I felt like giving her a punch.
“How may I assist you? The leading priest Zesta-sama and the other cultist are busy playing around under the guise of spreading the cult… No, they are busy spreading the holy name of Aqua-sama. If you are looking for them, please come another day…”
“Hey, you said something incredible just now, you are causing so much trouble just to have fun!?… Forget that for now, did you happen to see a girl mage with an eye patch and an arch priest with blue hair? They are my team mates.”
The female cultist said as she continued sweeping.
“Ara, so you are a team mate of that great person. Your two teammates are inside.”
Inside? What are the two of them doing in a place like this?
The female cultist tilted her head and said.
“By the way, your comrade there… The kids are throwing stones at her, will it be fine to leave her like this?”
“Hmm? … Ah! Hey brats! What are you doing! Shoo, go away!”
Darkness was sitting down at the entrance of the church with her head in her arms. The children were throwing rocks at her.
I chased the kids away in a hurry.
“Ka, Kazuma… I think this city is the best… Everyone, even the women and children glares at me as if I am an enemy…! I am going to lose…!”
“Sigh, you better don’t wander around on the streets, so troublesome. And keep that Eris amulet away.”
I dragged the Eris devotees that won’t listen to my advice and enter the church again.
The female cultist gestured to a small room in the church with her eyes.
It was a small house in a corner of the church.
I see, so that was the so called confession room?
“One of your teammates is in there. All the priests in the church are out right now, so this arch-priest is covering for them, and hearing confessions.”
A real goddess listening confessions, I have never heard something like that before.
“Kazuma, I will search for Megumin, I will leave Aqua to you.”
Darkness ventured into the depths of the church after saying that.
… The moment Darkness passed by the female cultist sweeping the floor, the cultist swept all the trash she had gathered onto Darkness.
Darkness stopped as she stepped on the dust and trash with a blushed face.
“Ara, I beg your pardon. I saw the Eris amulet and thought it was trash, sorry about that.”
“… No, no it’s fine…”
Darkness kept trembling as if she was enduring something as she squeezed out a sentence. The Eris devotee who was really sick wandered into the depths of the church.
Seeing her figure disappear into the distance, I hurried into the confession room. I really don’t want anything to do with the cultist anymore.
The door to the confession room was locked and I couldn’t go in.
There was no answer even when I knocked.
Was she sleeping?
I had no choice but to enter the space where the one making the confession was suppose to be in.
The moment I went in, what I heard was—
“Welcome, lost sheep… Come, confess your sins, the goddess will listen to you and grant you compassion…”
Taken in by the atmosphere in the confession room, Aqua was acting in character.
She seemed to like this job after hearing a few confessions.
I couldn’t see her face because of the screen, but I could imagine her excited face easily.
“Sheep your head, it’s me it’s me! Hey, what is up with this city, it makes my head hurts. I can’t even sightsee properly. Aren’t they your believers, can’t you do something about this?”
After hearing what I said, Aqua turned silent for a moment…
“… I see, this is the ‘it’s me it’s me’ scam… Please repent seriously and deeply, the merciful lady Aqua will definitely forgive your sins…”
“Hey, I already said it’s me, why are you still telling me nonsense. You must be really happy right? You can finally work like a priest.”
When I said that, Aqua was quiet for a short while.
“Do you have anything else to confess? If not, please leave this room, and live on happily…”
“Hey have you played enough, listen to me! Aren’t you one of those arch priests that this city worships? The problem will be solved if you give the word, ask them to buck up!”
And Aqua quieten down again…
“I think you have nothing else to confess… Well then, I will wait for the next sheep to come… Please leave.”
“Hey, what are you talking about…! You are chasing me out…”
“I said leave! If your confession is done, then get the hell out!”
This scumbag, hearing the thanks made her so happy that she turned cocky.
Why was she so easily influenced by external factors?
I sat on the chair once again, made a deeply repentant face and said:
“… Actually, I have something I have to tell you, priest-sama.”
“!? I will listen, I will listen! Here here, I will share your confession, so repent! Are you interested in the underwear of your crusader teammate? Or the urge to plunge your nose into your mage companion’s black hair and sniff hard? Or the sins of treating your beautiful and elegant priest comrade so crudely, even though you are just a hikikomori?”
I said clearly to the excited Aqua.
“Actually, I accidentally broke the glass my priest teammates used for party tricks. I repaired it with rice and put it back secretly.”
“… Also, she looked so happy when she got her hands on good rare wines, so I wondered just how nice they were, so I wanted to try a little… But it was too tasty, so I finished it all. I know she can’t appreciate wine, so I filled the empty wine bottles with cheap wine.”
“!? What are you saying Kazuma, what is all this about!?”
My confession continued.
“… That priest caused me too much trouble… So before I came to this city, I secretly posted a request in the adventurer’s guild to look for a new priest of the Eris cult.”
“Wahhh! You renegade, taste my holy wrath!”
Aqua opened the screen in the confession room and pounced on me—!
“— Really, calm down. I was just joking. Anyway, Darkness and I got a headache dealing with these cultist, and can’t tour around in peace. They are your devotees right, so rein them in.”
Aqua retreated back to the other side of the confession room.
After finally calming the crying Aqua down, I stayed together with Aqua in that room.
“It can’t be helped, this is the first time I am facing my believers face to face… Anyway, you are lying about sourcing for a new priest right?”
“Leaving the first two aside, the last one is a lie, so don’t worry.”
“Hey hold it, did you just say ‘leave the first two aside’?”
… Suddenly, there was knocking on the door to the confession room.
Hey, are you kidding me, someone was here for a confession.
The door opened with a creak, and the sound of someone entering the room on the other side could be heard.
I poked Aqua who was sitting on the floor, then pointed to the floor, and then myself.
“Is it fine for me to be here?”
That’s what my gesture meant. Aqua had a serious face, crossing her finger and gesturing at the screen as if she was saying ‘look over there’.
Before my eyes— the fingers formed a shadow because of the light. I knew what that was with a glance, that moving shadow was the Destroyer…!
Ah! This idiot, she didn’t understand what I meant!
“Welcome, lost sheep… Come, confess your sins, the goddess will listen to you and grant you forgiveness…”
As I was about to leave the room, Aqua who was satisfied after showing me her shadow play calmly announced to the person who came for a confession.
“Ahhh…. Please, please hear my confession! I had been in the Axis cult for a very long time, and worship Aqua-sama resolutely. But…! The drawing of goddess Eris, that bountiful breast… they are enticing me! Those are the breast of the devil! Ahhh… Please, please forgive me for the sin of lusting over another goddess…!”
Don’t run here for a confession whenever you run into a boring problem— That thought welled up in me, and I had the urge to charged into the room next door to beat that guy up, what should I do?
However, Aqua kept a straight face and said gently.
“Do not worry, the goddess will forgive all your sins— Thou, give in to your love to big breast, thou, give in to your love to small breast. The Axis cult is a cult that accepts everything. Be it homosexuals, animal ears lovers, lolicon, NEET, undead or succubus. If there is love and is not a crime, the goddess will grant compassion to all.”
I felt Aqua glancing towards me when she said NEET.
The voice of the person confessing was trembling with emotion.
From this voice, he was probably about to cry.
“Thou sincere cultist, I will bestow you with a holy incantation that will spare you from the clutches of the devil. ‘Eris stuffs her breast with pads’— Whenever you feel lost again, just repeat this incantation. If you see someone troubled like you, do tell them this too.”
“Eris stuffs her breasts with pads… It, it is as if I made it through a bottleneck! Thank you for your wonderful incantation, thank you very much!”
The person who came for a confession left while thanking Aqua profusely.
“… Hey Aqua, you are slandering your junior, is that really adequate for a goddess?”
“What are you talking about? For a goddess, the beliefs from the devotees are very important. It will directly affect the power of the goddess. Eris has a lot of devotees, while my believers are fewer in numbers but stronger in their belief. I am willing to do anything to protect my precious cultists.”
— When we exited from the confession room, Darkness brought the worn out Megumin to us.
“Kazuma… You are finally here…”
“Hey, what happened, you look really pale.”
Megumin shook her head gently.
“This is like the home of the demons, let us leave right now, I want to get away as soon as possible.”
“What, what in the world happened?”
I was really concerned and kept asking, but she was unwilling to answer.
However, from the huge amount of cult entry forms stuff into all her pockets and gaps between her clothes, everything was clear.
“Are you going back already, Arch priest-sama? Want to visit the Hot Spring reserved for our cultist? This is the main source of income for the Axis cult, the best Hot Spring in the city, using it will improve your health.”
The lone female cultist watching over the church tried to persuade Aqua who was going back with us to stay.
“Ara, that’s a great idea, what do everybody think, want to go together?”
“I want to return to the hotel and rest… And for some reason, Chomusuke is very afraid of this church. Could it be this child hates churches?”
“I’m going back too. There is no telling what troubles there will be when the other Axis cultist returns. Let’s go back, I have enough for today.”
After Megumin and Darkness express their thoughts, they looked at me who had not spoken yet.
They were asking for my opinion.
“Is there a mix bath here?”
“You will receive divine retribution for saying something so despicable in a holy church.”
… After hearing what the female cultist said, I decided to return for the day.
Back in the hotel, we found the revived Wiz relaxing her warm body.
“Ah, welcome back everyone! Sorry for making everyone worry. I already bath. The staff told me where the mixed bath was, it is much wider there. And there was no one at all, as if I had booked the whole place for myself.”
… The mixed bath was wider?
… Hmm, her body was still emitting heat, and she said she just bathed, so that means—
Wait, now that I thought about it, if Aqua didn’t pull that confession stunt, I would already had…!
“So, did anyone had fun sightseeing… Kazuma-san, what is the matter?”
“Ahhhh, ten minutes, at least five minutes earlier… No no no I didn’t say anything!?… Eh, nothing happened during sightseeing today… I don’t want to leave the hotel tomorrow, this city is weird.”
“The Axis cultists are too scary. I understand now why people say they are as scary as the Crimson Magic race.”
Megumin and I said tiredly. But Darkness—
“I, I… plan to tour around tomorrow too…”
“You, you really… Sigh, do what you want, I am going to take a bath.”
I had no words for Darkness who wanted to walk around the streets by herself, stood up, and prepared to go to the bath.
I needed to return to my room to get my underwear.
As I was the only man in the team, I had to stay in a separate room from them.
“… I am going to bath now.”
“I heard you, take your time.”
“I already bath, please take your time Kazuma-san.”
Megumin and Wiz replied.
I looked at Darkness and said once more—
“… I am going to b—”
Darkness said coldly.
— After leaving their room, I took my underwear and came to the hotel’s Hot Spring.
It was a bit lonely since no one came with me, but I expected it from the beginning.
That’s right, the main event for today was only beginning.
There were three entrances before me.
From right to left were the men, mixed and female Hot Spring.
I chose the middle entrance by instinct without any hesitation.
Since this was a mixed bath, I didn’t need to feel shy and just head right in.
When I entered, I saw a basket with clothes inside.
Which meant there was someone in there.
Calm down, I need to calm down. It was uncertain the one inside was a woman
I forced myself to cool down, took off my clothes with my heart beating first and entered the mixed bath.
… At this moment, I heard someone talking from the mixed bath.
“That damn cult is finally going to be destroyed. The work in destroying the secret Hot Spring is complete, the progress in the other Hot Springs are also proceeding smoothly. Now, we just need to wait. For us who have long lifespan, waiting a decade and two is no big deal.”
The classic antagonist speech of a man plotting some schemes could be heard—
These lines could often be heard in movies and mangas.
He just said ‘that damn cult is finally going to be destroyed’.
Probably referring to the Axis cult.
He then said:
‘For us who have long lifespan, waiting a decade and two is no big deal.’
From this, I can conclude that something inhuman was planning to destroy the Axis cult.
… I will make it clear. I don’t want to be involved in any troublesome matters.
And I had another idea too.
Wouldn’t it be better if the Axis cult was destroyed?
Fortunately, although I wasn’t using skills to hide myself, they did not notice my presence.
I will just pretend that I never heard about this, and try to get away before I get dragged in. I put on the clothes I took off…
“Hans, don’t need to report such things one by one. I already said this plenty of times, I am here for the Hot Spring healing, don’t drag me in too.”
When I heard the female voice, I took off the clothes I put on half way instantly.
“Hey, don’t say that Wolback. This is a great chance to destroy the cult we have no chance of defeating head on. I will come here to report periodically, so you have to keep visiting the Hot Spring in this hotel.”
I wrapped a towel around my waist, head towards the screen door and opened it.
The sudden sound of the door opening startled the two inside.
There was a man and woman in the bath.
The man wasn’t in the bath, he had a towel around his waist and knelt with one knee besides the woman.
He was tall and well built with short brown hair. He had a surprised expression when he saw me.
That was the person who was plotting some scheme.
However, it doesn’t matter to me.
I looked to the other side, and saw the woman who seemed a bit nervous soaking in the Hot Spring.
She was an onee-san with short red hair.
Her yellow pupil looked feline, a beauty with large breast, she had a great figure.
I was charmed. At this moment, the man whispered to the woman.
Did he hear what we said…?
No idea… And he is staring at me…:
After hearing their discussion, I came to my senses.
No no, this might be a mixed bath, but staring at the body of a lady was still rude.
And so, I nonchalantly walk towards the bath and prepare to clean my body.
I started showering before the eyes of the two of them.
… I am too conscious of that onee-san, and glance at her every now and then.
I really couldn’t help it, I am a young healthy boy after all, so this was normal.
… Hey, he seems to be only looking at me, what is going on…
… Eh, well… He doesn’t seem to have heard what we discussed. That isn’t a suspicious gaze, but one filled with curiosity.
After hearing what the man said, maybe I was mistaken, but the onee-san’s seem to be hiding her body deeper into the Hot Spring.
That man said something unnecessary…!
After my shower, I kept a distance from the two of them and entered the Hot Spring.
It had nothing to do with me.
Even though I did hear about their conspiracy, I didn’t need to be sneaky about it.
And looking at another person’s naked body is normal in a mixed bath, I didn’t do anything wrong.
That’s why I am staring right at her without hiding it.
Nah, hey, this is…
It, it’s better than being suspected by him. Ah, I have something to do and will make a move first!
After saying that, the man left in a hurry.
… I suddenly realized that man wasn’t wet at all.
I don’t care what scheme you were plotting, but soaking in the Hot Spring wasn’t a bad idea.
Or did he had some reason why he couldn’t take a dip in the Hot Spring?
… Ara, not good, today, I am just here for the Hot Spring.
Who they were, what conspiracy they had was none of my business.
After that man named Hans left, the atmosphere inside the Hot Spring turned awkward.
What should I do, I am getting nervous.
The two of us were alone now, it was awkward to stare at her like that.
I stretched my body in the Hot Spring and exhaled deeply.
“… Erm, you don’t seem to be a resident of this city. At you here on vacation?”
The onee-san suddenly spoke to me.
It seemed that the atmosphere on the other side was awkward too.
“You could say it is a vacation. I am here with my teammates to enjoy the Hot Springs.”
After she heard me, the onee-san sighed softly.
“What a coincidence… I am here for the Hot Spring too. But you seem so young, why are you here to recuperate through the Hot Spring? Are you injured?”
“That’s correct, I might look this way, but I am actually an adventurer. After a fight to the death with a powerful adversary, my neck suffered a serious injury. You could say this is like an honour badge for men.”
The onee-san laughed in response.
“As for me, while I was fighting my other half, I couldn’t snatch my powers completely back. So in order to recover my original powers, I am here for therapeutic Hot Spring baths.”
She said something incredible like a joke.
“I think the mage in my team will be excited if you tell her that.”
“Hahaha, is your teammate from the Crimson Magic race? I wonder how that Crimson Magic girl is doing, I even taught her magic… Actually, I won’t need to take a bath in Hot Springs if I find my other half. However, it won’t be so easy to find my other half.”
The onee-san sighed deeply. I felt that her joke seemed a little bit too real.
“Well then, it is about time I return… Also, maybe it is better if you don’t visit the Hot Springs here anymore.”
After saying something confusing, the onee-san wanted to get out of the water…
“… Ah, erm, can you please don’t watch my defenceless body when I get out…”
“It will be fine.”
When the onee-san who was preparing to get up heard what I said, she made a hapless expression.
Couldn’t be helped then.
I turned around. The onee-san said ‘thank you’ softly.
“Sigh… Such a wonderful Hot Spring city, such a waste. I have to search for a new place to recuperate…”
After leaving the Hot Spring, she said something confounding.
— I was left alone in the bath, thinking about the conversation between the onee-san and that man.
‘That damn cult is finally going to be destroyed.’
The onee-san even told me it was better not to visit the Hot Springs here anymore.
I didn’t know why she was telling me this, but I think the onee-san meant well.
That was to say, the source of the Axis cult’s fortune— these Hot Spring was being sabotaged by someone.
As someone who knew about the conspiracy, it wasn’t right to ignore this, but I have no intention of getting involved.
Or rather, I really, really didn’t want to be dragged into trouble anymore.
… That’s right, I am here purely on a vacation, so I will pretend I didn’t hear anything this time.
As I was running away from the truth.
“Wooahh! The Hot Spring in our hotel is really huge, as expected of a high class hotel! This is big enough for a swim!”
“Hey Megumin, it is poor etiquette to swim… Hey, what are you doing! The towel, why… Ahhh!”
“This is not a mixed bath, so why are you being so shy. Adventurers has to take on dirty jobs all the time, how can you be so squirmy!”
“No, that way of putting it is too weird! Megumin you are too bold! Ahh, not my towel…!”
Familiar voices could be heard from the female bath.
Megumin was apparently stripping Darkness’ towel.
Good good, continue— I wanted to say that, but I couldn’t see anything and had to imagine it.
I unconsciously swam to the side near the female bath.
The female and mixed bath was only separated by a wall, and the top was open.
By piling things like buckets together, it would be easily to peek over the other side.
However, I wouldn’t do such things as I am a gentleman.
Hearing a ‘hyaa’ scream and being hit by a flying bucket, ending things so cordially was only possible in a Manga.
This was reality, if I peek at them, they wouldn’t hesitate to call the police.
The sound of people entering the bath could be heard from the other side.
“Phew… it is great to soak in a Hot Spring once in a while. I only wanted to drag the lazy Kazuma out, and let him grind levels by fighting the undead Aqua will attract. It seems that choosing this place was the right move.”
What, what did you…!
“That was why you told him to come here to recuperate in the Hot Springs. It’s true, if we continued staying in Axel, he would never agree to participate in quests. What kind of man is he anyway? Conservative and timid, but did not care about the status of others and has a strong attitude against the nobles… He gets chased around by toads, but has the guts to fight the boss of the Demon King army. Rather than strange, he is a confounding guy.”
“Shh! Darkness, don’t say anymore. The mixed bath is on the other side. Given the choice of men bath and mixed bath, which one do you think Kazuma will choose?”
“Definitely mixed bath. That coward always holds back at the crucial moment. However, when he has a legal choice, he will openly choose the mixed bath.”
I felt like going over to beat them up.
But what they said was true. And I was indeed inside the mixed bath.
I didn’t know if Megumin and Darkness realized my dilemma when they suddenly shouted.
“Kazuma! You are there right? You must be sticking your ear on the wall and imagining which part of the body Darkness washes first and panting in excitement right?”
“Me, Megumin, why are you dragging me into this…! Hey Kazuma, you heard that right? I know you are there!”
The two of them started talking to me, but I didn’t have any obligation to tell them I am here.
I won’t be frustrated because they saw through how I would act.
… I won’t be frustrated…
I kept quiet. After a while, I could hear them debating softly.
“That’s strange, is he not there? But that is impossible…”
“Eh… But no one is answering…”
I continued staying mum, in the end…
“It seemed like Kazuma is really not there. That makes me feel guilty for suspecting Kazuma. I will nonchalantly treat him to some fruit juice later.”
“True, that was rude of me. We were blinded by our prejudice of him.”
The two of them seemed to be reflecting on their actions.
“Anyway, he is rather dependable. I have to repent on suspecting him…”
“That’s right, he might be like that, but he is a man who will help when his comrades are really in danger. Aside from not being straightforward sometimes, his personality isn’t bad. I should reflect on myself…”
I felt embarrassed just listening to that.
After taking the bath, I will nonchalantly treat them to something.
As I was preparing to leave the bath—
“By the way Megumin, it has been bothering me, your buttocks there…”
“Ara, even if you are the one saying that, I won’t forgive you if you go on!”
With the sound of splashing, the water from the Hot Spring next door flew to this side.
“Really! What is this pair of lecherous things! If you can spare the effort to notice my butt, why don’t you keep those large pairs of yours away!”
“Ahhh! Wait! Me, Megumin, stop…! No, not there ahhh…!”
— I was about to leave because of my guilty conscious, but returned to my original spot.
And as a precaution, I activated hide and placed my ear on the wall…!
My temple that was rested against the wall was hit by something, and I fell into the Hot Spring.
Darkness smashed through the wall with her powerful punch.
“What did I tell you! This man is definitely here!”
“As I expected! My guess was spot on, he always look at me with lecherous eyes! How could that man full of lust not be in the mixed bath!”
I nursed my head painfully as I listen to the two of them boost their victory.
I cast water magic at the top edge of the wall.
The two of them were splashed with water and screamed.
To counter attack, they threw all sorts of things over from the other side.
Soap, shampoo, buckets and Chomusuke.
“Hey! Don’t throw the cat over! It almost fell into the water!”
“That child hate baths, I am scratched all over after bathing it. As compensation for eavesdropping, give it a shower!”
Megumin said without mercy.
It was probably terrified of water as Chomusuke in my arms grabbed tightly onto my hand. That hurts.
It must be hard on you to have such a weird owner…
Since my existence was known, there was no need to hide anymore.
“Hey, it’s such a rare occasion to visit a Hot Spring, why can’t we go in together like a family. I already bathed with the two of you before, you won’t feel shy about it now right?”
“That man always treats us like a burden, and will only sprout nonsense about being companions at a time like this!”
“I can’t tell if you are a jerk or a lecherous pervert anymore!”
— I left the noisy bath and went back by myself.
“That, that is so mean! I…! I didn’t do anything…! I only visited the bath!”
“Aqua-sama, how terrible… Erm, please, don’t cry anymore! When your tears touch my skin, it feels like an electric shock, it hurts…”
After that, I met Aqua who was weeping in Wiz’s arms.
“What is it now? Today is a bad day, trouble keeps coming one after another!”
“What do you mean by bad day! What trouble! Why are you blaming everything on me!?”
Aqua suddenly raised her head and snapped at me.
“Erm… Aqua-sama went to the secret Hot Spring of the Axis cult, and the Hot Spring turned into normal warm water, after that…”
“They chased me out! But I am a goddess! Why must I be chased out the church worshipping me!? That is too nasty!”
By the way, this girl will purify water just by touching them.
“And…! The thing that made me angry was when I told the Hot Spring manager ‘sorry for turning the Hot Spring into warm water, but it couldn’t be helped since I am the goddess Aqua herself!’, that manager… that manager he… he laughed with a ‘puhehe’!… I am the goddess! That’s me!”
Aqua started wailing again as Wiz patted her head to console her.
I looked straight at Aqua.