On the hill overlooking the capital, I once again chanted explosion magic.
The flash of light was the harbinger of the loud roar.
Accompanying the sound, the capital entered a state of commotion. Simply put, the use of magic in the vicinity caused the order in the capital to break down.
“Demon King Army alert! Demon King Army alert! All the adventurers, please gather up in front of the castle—“
I treated the announcement as somebody else’s problem, and waited there for 10 minutes.
“—We’re here—! Also, can you please stop messing around already! Are you really an idiot!? Hey, are we going to keep doing this everyday!?”
“Forgive my lateness boss. I have managed to rendezvous safely!”
Aware that she was involved in a crime, and with her face hidden underneath her hood, was Yunyun, whose eyes shined crimson in her excitement and anger.
Then, there was Iris, who carried a rucksack over her shoulder, and looked as though she was going for a picnic. They had successfully met up with me, who was resting on the hill.
“Good work you two. Uhm, could you help me up?”
“Don’t ‘good work’ me. Or would you rather I bury you like that!? Hey Megumin, do you know that the capital is in a state of emergency right now? What are you planning to do after this!?”
Iris looked down to face me, who laid on the ground. Yunyun put her hands on her hips, and began to lecture me again.
“You know, this or that? To be honest, we already know what to do in times like these, right? A similar thing happened back at the village remember? Yea, that was a truly painful experience…”
“Y-, You, could it be…”
In the past, Yunyun and I had a similar experience.
Back then, a mysterious female devil after Chomusuke casted explosion magic at the village day and night.
There were a few differences in details, but it was that kind of incident.
“You’re going to blame it on someone else again?”
“W-, What do you mean by again!? If you’re talking about the explosion incident back at the village, that incident was undoubtedly the female devil’s doing. As for this time… ‘By the time I realized it, the demon king, who had decided to take a walk, suddenly casted explosion magic towards the capital and went home’. Go to the police station and give them this eyewitness report…”
“I’m not going to do that ok! I’m not going to give such an idiotic testimony ok!?”
As Yunyun continued to complain, Iris – going about at her own pace – lifted me up in a bridal carry.
“Uhm, I made some sweets today. There’s enough for all of us, so how about we go to a place with a nice view and sit down?”
“Hey, this girl doesn’t have any common sense either! And is she some kind of important person!?”
As Iris continued to carry me, I gave instructions to Yunyun.
“If we stay here we’ll have pursuers, so let’s go back to Axel first. After that, I think that it would be a good idea to eat our boxed lunch outside town.”
<TL Note: Boxed lunch as in ‘bento’>
“At this point, who even cares about the boxed lunch!? Ahh, that’s not what I meant Alice-chan. Could you please not give me that sad expression!? ‘Who even cares’ was just an exaggeration ok? I really want to go on a picnic with my friends and eat a boxed lunch ok? I’m really looking forward to it ok!?”
Yunyun made a loud fuss, and the people in town seemed to have noticed our presence. I could hear shouts of ‘there’s someone over there’ all the way from here.
“Yunyun, they found us because you were being noisy! Also, aren’t you a bit too tense for something like a picnic with friends!? Geez, this is why you’re a loner! Well now, just hurry up and chant teleport magic please!”
“Hey, it’s my fault!? I can’t agree with that ok!?”
Yunyun, who continued to be noisy at this crucial juncture, began to chant teleportation magic.
Grabbing onto me, she frantically casted the teleportation magic.
––––Arriving at the lake near Axel, Iris happily took out the boxed lunches, and placed them on the sheets.
“Hey Alice-chan, who made these boxed lunches? Mm, they’re very tasty! Uhm, they’re just tasty ok, there’s nothing more to that. Also, aren’t the ingredients a bit too luxurious? I mean, I don’t think that this is the kind of boxed lunch that we would bring to a picnic…”
“The maids that I asked: ‘I want to go play with my new friends, so I want to go out in secret. Could you help me?’ were really revved up, and they made these boxed lunches for us.”
“Hey Alice-chan, if your family has a lot of maids, then your family should be fairly big right? If you don’t mind me asking, what is a Chirimendonya? I’m really happy that you called us your new friends, but after that, you said something that I can’t just ignore…”
Yunyun picked up a shark fin with her chopsticks, and gazed at it with a serious expression.
“That doesn’t really matter does it? Regardless of whether it’s the size of your chest, or your height, or the number of friends, or your family matters, there are things that can’t be told to other people.”
“You’re right, sorry about that. It’s just as Megumin said.”
Perhaps there were also things that she didn’t want me to know, but Yunyun agreed with what I said. Then, Yunyun, in a mature fashion, put away her finished boxed lunch.
After that, once I recovered enough of my magic power to eat properly, I enthusiastically digged into my own classy boxed lunch.
“Alice, you are truly quite good when it comes to food. Alright, from now on you shall be our supplies officer. In other words, you are promoted.”
“A promotion! Thank you very much, I will work hard in the future as well!”
“Alice-chan, she just wants you to bring her food from now on. Don’t let yourself be tricked!”
Once we finished eating, we walked barefoot into the lake and began to chase the fish around. Then, we played around by throwing pebbles at the surface of the lake, and taught Iris how to stone-skip. When she hit someone fishing at the other side of the lake, we went to apologize.
As we continued to play around, noontime peacefully arrived…
“I had a lot of fun today, and to be honest, I wouldn’t mind doing this every day either. Anyway, Alice-chan, if we stay here too long, your family will start to worry. Eventually they’ll come here to looking for you. So I guess it’s about time for you to go home…”
As Yunyun sorrowfully said so, Iris returned the sheets and boxed lunches to her rucksack.
“Well then, let’s go home shall we? I had a lot of fun today as well. Let’s come here for another picnic sometime!”
Walking behind the two who hummed as we walked towards Axel, I realized that…
“This is wrong! What do you mean when you say that she should go home after eating lunch! Since when did this become a picnic? Our activities are just starting!”
Yunyun showed a reluctant expression.
“Well boss, what are we going to do today?” asked Iris.
“Let’s talk about what we will do in the future. The other day, we got our hands on a hideout, and Axel has become our headquarters… We will add branches in various other places, and someday, our organization will operate throughout the entire world. In order to do that, we will need some money. So first, let us secure a steady flow of income.”
“Hey, Megumin, you’re joking when you’re taking about the entire world right? Sometimes, I don’t get if you’re joking or being serious…”
Of course I’m serious, but whatever.
“At the moment, our thieving group has two branches, the main branch in Axel, and the side branch in the capital. From here on out, we’ll need to starting thinking of ways to expand. The hideout in the royal capital is Alice’s house. Alice, I have decided on the insignia of our thieving group, so please put this someone high at your home it? From today onwards you’ll be the leader of the capital side branch. I must say, this is quite a big promotion. You went from supply officer to the capital’s branch leader in one fell swoop!”
“Thank you very much, I will work harder in the future!”
“Alice-chan, don’t let yourself be tricked! She just wants to make your home her territory!”
The day that the royal castle of this nation falls into my hands is not far.
For the purpose, I must secure some funds—
“So basically, we want some work. Ideally, we make a fortune in the long run, and also get some reputation while we’re at it. That’s all we want.”
“Uhm, how about getting a part-time job somewhere?”
We came to the adventurer’s guild to consult with the receptionist onee-chan.
Iris excitedly looked around the guild. As for me; I was given a fairly blunt suggestion by the receptionist lady, but I wasn’t discouraged.
“That’s not what I was asking for. What we want is an appropriate job for the three of us. We are quite confident in our abilities you know? Thus, we would a job like ‘repelling those that threaten the city’ and other jobs like that…”
“Well, a security company began operating in this town the other day, but they were crushed in the blink of an eye…”
For some reason, when Yunyun heard what the receptionist lady said, she turned her eyes away.
Did she know something about the crushing of that security organization?
“Either way, I don’t want to request any rough work from three girls…”
As I thought, there was a problem with how we looked.
The other day, Yunyun and I sat on the bench, and used appearances to judge whether or not someone was suitable for our group. Thinking back, it was a job well done.
“Please onee-san, it’s fine even if it doesn’t give us a huge fortune! The type of job we want is one that allows us to earn money while getting the gratitude of the people. If we earn their gratitude, then they’ll want to join our thieving group as well! Also, if you can, please make it a subjugation-type job!”
“Hm, about requests that match that description, I don’t think there are… …ah.”
The onee-san spoke in a timid voice. Perhaps she actually knew that there were requests that matched that description.
“What’s the matter? So there are some? If that’s the case please entrust it to us!”
“No, while the request does exist, it has already been accepted by another group… The town has requested the subjugation of giant toads at the town’s landfill, but for some reason, an adventurer took the job without asking for compensation.”
Giant toad subjugation.
It was true that doing this job would earn the gratitude of the people. Furthermore, for any combat-type profession, getting work from town itself was a way to get a stable income, but…
Hm, it pointless for a group composed of crimson magic clansmen and the great princess-sama to go subjugating giant toads.
Not only would it be a waste of our talent, it would be completely overkill considering our combat power.
“This request is a bit… As a proud and great crimson magic clansman, I cannot allow myself to live if I ever earn an infamous nickname such as “Giant Toad Slayer”. That aside, are there any other jobs? It doesn’t matter if the town isn’t the client, it could be a famous store, or a renowned group. So are there any stable requests that we can do?”
The onee-san looked a little troubled.
“At the moment, there are requests that match up to your requirements, but…”
––––At the outskirts of Axel. We stood in front of a medium-sized church that appeared as though it had been recently renovated.
“I never thought that we would come here again…”
“Hey Megumin, can we stop? I won’t ask for any more, so could we stop this already!?”
This was the Axel branch of the Axis cult.
“It’s a well-constructed, and rather blue church isn’t it!? …Are you two not going in?”
Perhaps Iris didn’t know about the Axis cult. When she looked up at the church, she voiced her thoughts about it without a single trace of ill intent.
“Alice, this is the base of operations for an extremely troublesome and dangerous group residing in this town. If the people involved in this group appear to be performing suspicious activities, the people in town are allowed to attack them.”
“Alice-chan, Megumin is actually right this time ok? If some weird people come flying out, don’t hold back alright?”
Hearing that warning, Iris tilted her head slightly, and pushed the church’s door open…
At the same time, the sound of something tipping over and breaking was heard.
“Ah! The expensive vase that is rumored to bring happiness to those that possess it that I placed in front of the door! That means you’re a scoundrel that stole away my happiness yes!? Please take responsibility by choosing from the following: To support me for life, to provide compensation, or to join the Axis cult as a devout believer… Huh, Megumin-san and Yunyun-san?”
The priest who had been rattling with high tension a second ago, looked at us with a blank expression.
“Uhm, I came to do the request from the guild… but… is it fine if I go home instead?”
Hearing what I said, Cecily’s expression shined in enthusiasm.
“––Uhm, are you really alright without compensation? If that vase had the power to bestow happiness, then it should have been a fairly expensive magic tool…”
Cecily, who saw Iris’ guilty expression, was moved to tears, and she joined her hands as if she was praying.
…Rather, she was actually praying.
“Ahhhh-, thank you for your grace Aqua-sama! To think that you would bestow me with such an innocent loli child…!”
It seemed that Cecily, who hadn’t paid attention to what I said about the request, was in her best form today too.
Looking back, we might’ve been better off just going home.
“Alice, it is onee-san’s fault for putting this vase in front of the door, so please don’t worry about it. Actually, I was just waiting for someone to open the door and break it. The purpose was the make the one who broke it feel troubled, and force them to pay a high compensation or force them into the Axis cult.”
Cecily explained what she did to Iris, who showed a worrying and troubled expression.
Then, for some reason, Iris showed a gaze of respect towards Cecily.
“To use this kind of method to earn money and increase your believers. I would’ve never thought that was the case! Cecily-san, you’re quite a clever person aren’t you!?”
“Alice-chan, that’s not something you should feel moved by! What Cecily-san is doing is almost a crime you know!?”
I don’t think that was just ‘almost’ a crime.
“It is as Alice-san says. I serve as a distinguished figure of this church, and am none other than the beautiful priest of the Axis cult, Cecily! Please feel free to call me Cecily-onee-chan ok?”
“Yes, I am in your care Cecily-onee-chan. I am Alice.”
Having been called ‘Cecily-onee-chan’ in such a forthcoming manner by Iris, Cecily began to pant heavily and hurriedly.
“Hey Megumin, am I going to die tomorrow? Did I use up my entire life’s worth of happiness today?”
“Is that all it takes for you to be satisfied with your life? Also, Alice, this onee-san is mentally unstable, so please keep ‘onee-chan’ to a minimum.”
“Ah, I-, I understand.”
Cecily seemed to be shocked. Hmm… Anyway, since the conversation wouldn’t continue any further like this, I should forcefully change the topic.
“Then, back to what we came here for… We came to perform a request from the guild. Could you tell us the details about the request?”
I showed the request form to Cecily, who sat on the floor with her arms wrapped around her knees.
“Now then, let’s talk about the request. Well, it’s not really that hard of a request; the details are the same as what’s written on the form.”
We received two requests from the guild.
The first was ‘to investigate the suspicious people that have been appearing near the church, and to deter them from it’.
The other was a recruitment request for salesgirls, who would help secure income for the church.
The identification of the suspicious person aside, being a salesgirl for the church was a deliciously easy job.
It simply involved coming here regularly over the course of the month, and showing my face for a couple hours each time.
Just by doing that, I would get a share of the increased sales.
I don’t know what they were selling, but these conditions were truly exceptional.
“The salesgirl request is easy so I don’t really mind. Anyway, about the other request…”
As I asked, Cecily pushed her finger against her cheek, and showed a troubled expression.
“It’s something that started happening recently, but…”
According to Cecily’s explanation, the vegetables that were being grown in the church’s garden were being eaten, and the food in the refrigerator, stolen.
Furthermore, the culprit hadn’t made any noticeable sounds in the process, and by the time Cecily had noticed, all the food was already gone. When she asked the people in the area, all of them replied that they hadn’t seen any suspicious or strange people.
“About the vegetable thief and the refrigerator robber, I don’t understand their objective at all. If the objective was to steal food, then there shouldn’t be a reason to come to a dangerous place like this. I mean, if they’re caught here, who knows what will happen to them? Based on that fact, there are many safer places to steal food from.”
“Hey Megumin, I don’t think the Axis cult are as vicious or hated to the extent that you think they are…”
While I was racking my head trying to deduce the objective of the culprits, Yunyun timidly opened her mouth.
“Megumin, do you think that this could be the result of some grudge? Like say, the people who were given a hard time by the Axis cult are coming for revenge…?”
“A grudge huh… Onee-san, have you done anything that would make people hate you? It doesn’t matter how minor the incident is, please tell us.”
Hearing what I said, Cecily turned her head towards the roof. It seems like something was weighing on her mind.
“…I’m not sure.”
Saying that, she shook her head.
Due to the prejudice towards the Axis cult, there was no way that a priest of the Axis cult would not be subject to hate. Perhaps I did say something disrespectful towards her.
“I see. Sorry, I asked a weird question. Anyhow, the fact that we don’t know anything about the culprit is troublesome, but maybe there’s some misunderstanding or something that we don’t know about…”
“Mm, you’re mistaken. To call it something to hate me over is a bit excessive, and I can’t tell you about the specifics, but…”
“I’m disappointed! Please return my apology! What exactly are you guilty of? Go and apologize to all the people who are involved right now!”
As I thought, Cecily is just Cecily.
“Still, isn’t it kind of strange that despite the frequency of thefts, we still don’t have a single sighting or eyewitness? Cecily-san, is there are certain time during which the thefts take place?”
“Even if you ask that, by the time I notice, everything’s already gone, so…”
Yunyun turned towards Cecily, who seemed to be troubled by her question.
“Onee-san, how about working together with your neighbors? For example, if you’re going to do some unnecessary thing again, why not get your neighbors to be your accomplices?”
“As I thought, associating with my neighbors is important isn’t it? Actually, a while back, I ran into a neighbor in town, and caused some trouble. By the end of it, I was almost kicked out of town.”
Ah, what will I do with this person.
“Anyway, there are an infinite amount of suspects if we don’t have any clues, so let’s leave that aside for now. Now then, could I first ask what we’ll be selling as salesgirls?”
Hearing that, Cecily happily ran to the storage room, and came out with carrying a large crate of something.
Inside that crate was a large amount of white power.
“…Uhm, onee-san, is this what I think it is…”
Before I could ask in detail, Cecily raised her finger to stop me.
“Shh! Megumin-san, you’re not allowed to say anymore. This is just something that brings happiness if you put it inside your mouth. It’s nothing more, and nothing less ok?”
Hearing that, Yunyun shouted in surprise. On the other hand, Iris tilted her head.”
“Onee-san, isn’t this illegal? If he finds out he’ll be scold me again you know?”
“Again!? So there was a previous case!?”
Iris’ eyebrows raised in surprise at the mention of illegal goods.
“Fufu, it’ll be alright Megumin-san. This isn’t ‘that’ illegal good. It’s a heavily modified version of ‘that’ that hasn’t been banned yet. We’ve also confirmed that it doesn’t bring harm to the human body. Uhehehehe, if the people in town learn about this, they won’t be able to control themselves!”
Cecily showed a weird smile on her face, and Yunyun drew her wand from her waist.
She pointed it towards Cecily, and appealed to her with a sorrowful expression.
“Cecily-san, your personality and behavior is a bit weird, but I believe that you aren’t the kind of person who would do this kind of thing! It’s not like I don’t know what kind of person you are, so I will do everything I can to turn you back on the right path!”
Yunyun seemed to have a huge misunderstanding.
Following Yunyun, Iris drew her sword from her scabbard.
“Regardless of what this is, anything that is designated as an illegal good will do nothing but bring harm to this nation. Now that I have heard about this ‘special and modified good’, I cannot allow myself to overlook this.”
“Wait you two, why are you looking at onee-chan so intently!? I apologize if I did something wrong, and if you want I can even share some with you!”
Towards the sudden turn of events, Cecily began to panic.
“For you to try and offer us such a thing… Could it be that you… You offered this to Megumin as well haven’t you?”
“Eh-!? …O-, Of course I did, after all, I want her to partake in the wonderfulness of this…”
Yunyun eyes began to shine bright crimson.
Hmm, I can’t help but feel like this has happened before.
“Wait! Can you please listen to what onee-chan has to say!? I think there’s some misunderstanding!”
The two continued to inch towards her step-by-step, weapons in hand.
“Well, I think you guys are misunderstanding something. This is just a luxury good – Tokoroten Slime – In powdered form. Due to how often the children and the elderly were choking on it, it was banned from the market.”
The two stopped in their tracks.
“*sniff*, *sniff*… This is just a new version that the elderly won’t choke on…”
Cecily, who began to sniffle and cry, exchanged glances with the two libelers.
“—Geez! Onee-san won’t deal with that kind of suspicious powder alright!? Despite how I look, I’m still a clergyman you know?”
““We’re very sorry!””
With their positions reversed, Cecily was now lecturing the two who asked for her forgiveness.
Though, I didn’t think it was appropriate for Cecily to continuously return to the topic of the powder.
“This is a special product that I have invested a lot of my time to modify and create. In this powdered form, the people won’t choke on it. However, if we sell it under the name of ‘Tokoroten Slime’, the police will probably come and shut our business down. Therefore, why don’t we sell it under the name of ‘The Axis Cult’s White Powder’?”
“I think the police will definitely come if we use that name.”
The discussion continued for a while, and we finally decided on the mysterious name of ‘The Axis Cult’s That’.
Anyway, was she really planning to sell this?
More importantly, will this even sell?
Before we could go further down this line of thought—
“Now that that’s decided, let’s go! As long as we have you girls here, this product will surely fly off the shelves!”
In a good mood, Cecily picked up the crate that was filled with ‘that’.
––Well, I had a bad feeling about this.
“Boss, will we really be able to earn a large amount of money just by selling this powder? I can’t help but feel that this is too simple…”
Iris, who handed a parcel of powder to a customer, showed a doubtful expression.
I also handed a parcel of ‘that’ to another customer.
“Well I understand why you would think that way, since this job is straightforward and fairly relaxing. However, we are entitled to this high compensation…”
I glanced towards the person beside me.
“Come and look! This is ‘Axis Cult’s That’, handmade by the people of our cult with unspeakable methods! The method for using this is simple as well! Simply mix it with water and eat it! I personally assure you, that the drowsy and drunk feeling you get after consumption is satisfying! Now now, would you like to come try some of ‘that’, handmade by the beautiful girls here!?”
What an outstanding display.
‘Out’ in many ways that is.
Why did this person have to word it in such a way?
Next to me was Cecily, who shouted loudly on the streets, and Yunyun, whose faced was flushed red in embarrassment. Despite that, she still diligently handed parcels of ‘that’ over to the customers.
The request for the salesgirls said that there would be an interview. So this was what it meant…
She planned to have pretty girls personally deliver ‘that’ to the customers.
And that was all we had to do, but…
“Uhm, this is that illegal good isn’t it?”
“You’re mistaken esteemed customer. This is an improved version that satisfies the safety standards, and isn’t ‘that’ illegal good that you’re talking about. There’s no doubt that you’ll be addicted to this immediately!”
“I’ll buy! Give me three!”
Ignoring the customer’s suspicions, the onii-sans lined up one-by-one to buy ‘that’ from us.
“Onee-san, could I ask a quick question? We’re actually selling an improved version of the Tokoroten Slime right? It’s the thing that tastes delicious when you eat it right?”
“Yep. I’m not sure if there’s anything else mixed in, but as you said, there’s no doubt that it is.”
After hearing Onee-san’s conversation with the customer, I can’t help but feel a little uneasy. Rather, the entire thing felt a little suspicious.
“Come and look, come and see! Freshly squeezed and packed by embarrassed and beautiful girls! This is ‘that’! Right now… Hm? You over there, could you be…”
“Hm? Oh if it isn’t Cecily-san. It’s been a long time hasn’t it?”
Cecily called out to an elderly gentlemen as they passed by.
It’s seems like the two were acquaintances.
“Oho? Could this possibly be…! ‘That’!? The thing that you mix with water, and has a heavenly taste…!”
“Mhm, it’s ‘that’ you know? ‘That’! It’s something that will push human bodies to their very limits! I’ll share a little with you, since you and I have similar tastes…”
“This is really Tokoroten Slime right!? This is really just that illegal good, Tokoroten Slime right!?”
Unable to endure this any longer, I shouted at the two. For some reason, I felt irrationally angry.
In the end, ‘that’ – which was suspicious in a multitude of ways – sold out in the blink of an eye.
A lot of obscene and dangerous words were said in the process, but the Tokoroten slime was unexpectedly popular. Even I couldn’t hide my surprise.
As we were walking back to the church, Cecily – now in a good mood – thanked us for our work.
“Good work you three! Next is… I’ll have you dissolve ‘that’ in water, and slurp and react to it in front of the customers…”
“I’m not doing that! Hey Megumin, we’re not going to keep doing this are we!? I don’t feel good about doing this suspicious part time job…”
Yunyun’s expression made it seem like she had lost something important today.
Anyway, we earned a lot of money in a short amount of time, so there was no reason not to continue.
“Cecily-onee-san, I had a lot of fun today! It was my first time earning money!”
“Ah! Wait Alice-san, please don’t look at me so earnestly! Otherwise I’ll feel the need to confess my sins to Aqua-sama!”
Cecily writhed in agony as she was bathed in Iris’ pure gaze.
Finally, as if running away, Cecily told everyone ‘we should all eat Tokoroten Slime together’ and ran into the kitchen…
“AH—! I’ve been had again!”
—-We ran into the kitchen and looked for clues.
“We put the food here before we left the church didn’t we?”
“Yep, I’m sure we did, after all, this is where we put the Tokoroten Slime for safekeeping as well. I even counted the amount of food before we left.”
The crime occurred in the short hour during which we were selling the strange powder.
I don’t know how much food they stole, but it seems that the culprit had kept watch outside the church, and waited for us to leave. I didn’t think that the culprit would be so adept or dedicated.
Then, Iris suddenly shouted.
“Cecily-onee-san look at this! Look at these strange marks! It’s obvious that someone dragged something through here, but how do you suppose they stole the food?”
There was a mark that clearly indicated that something oily had been dragged across the floor recently.
Seeing that, Cecily put on a serious expression, and nodded her head.
“If I remember correctly, I was making tempura the other day, and I accidentally tipped over the pot and spilled the oil on the floor. Then I tripped over it in my heels and fell on my back.”
Is she for real? What the heck was this person doing?
Then, Yunyun, who had opened the magic-powered fridge, looked like she had discovered something.
“Cecily-san, please look at this! Inside this fridge, uhm-, there’s a piece of male underwear! He put this kind of thing in the fridge of a church where girls live! There’s no doubt the culprit is a huge pervert!”
Hearing what she said, I took a look inside the fridge. Inside it was a piece of cold underwear.
As a female as well, there was no way she could overlook this blatant sexual harassment, right?
Yunyun disgustedly grabbed the piece of underwear out of the fridge.
However, Cecily once again nodded her head with a serious expression on her face.
“Oh, those were placed inside by a male follower of the Axis cult who doesn’t have a refrigerator in his home. Apparently he refuses to wear anything but cold underwear after leaving the bath, so, everyday, after going to the public bath, he comes here to pick it up before he goes home.”
Yunyun violently threw the underwear out of her hands.
Then, Cecily raised her voice with resolve.
“That aside, we won’t make any progress if we keep doing it this way. Megumin-san, let’s go to the people who have hatred towards me and question them one-by-one! All you have to do is stand behind me with shining crimson eyes as you slap your staff against the palm of your hand. Then I’ll say to them: ‘You have something to tell me don’t you? If you don’t give it to me straight, I don’t know what the Crimson Magic clansman behind me is gonna do…’”
“I won’t help you threaten people ok!? Just talk to them normally!”
Our first suspect was the oji-san who lived the closest to the church. We walked into his butcher shop to talk to him.
“Now then, why don’t you confess already!? A while back, when I asked for ‘Meat as soft as the cheeks of a fourteen year old girl’, you stood there with a shocked expression, since you clearly had no idea what I was talking about, right? Then, to take revenge for spreading the rumor that ‘that failure of a butcher shop doesn’t even know the difference between good and bad meat’, you committed a crime…”
“Oi wait a second, after making such a sick-minded order at my store, you went on to spread that kind of rumor!? Come with me to the police station, I’m gonna report you for obstruction of business!”
“Ah-, Pl-, Please hold up a moment, don’t go to the police, I beg you! When I went there recently, I had a good vibe with a young onii-san, but he ended up looking at me with a contemptuous gaze while saying ‘you again?’ At the very least, I want to check if that onii-san has a lover or not…!”
…Should we just leave this case alone and go home?
I turned towards Yunyun, and on this rare occasion, we nodded to each other in understanding and agreement.
Alright, let’s go home.
“…Uhm, oji-sama, could you please wait? I will apologize with her, so could you please forgive Cecily-onee-san?”
From the audience that decided to not interfere, came the voice of a pure and innocent girl.
“E-Erm… Well, ah, I uhm, well, I guess going to the police would be too extreme… A-Alright, in light of this ojou-chan’s words, I’ll forgive you this time. Just don’t do this ever again.”
Bathed in the gaze of the implorable Iris, the oji-san abruptly turned his face away.
Cecily – who we were about to send off – clung to Iris with tears in her eyes.
“Ahhhhh Alice-san thank you very muuuuchhhh! As thanks I’ll let you be onee-chan’s little sister!”
“U-Uhm, about that… I recently got a new onii-chan, so…”
Looking at Iris’ bewildered reaction, I thought that this turn of events was rather regretful. After all, this was a good chance to leave Cecily behind for good.
“That was dangerous~. I got done in by that oji-san’s loaded questions.”
“Onee-san, didn’t he just take the opportunity to arrest you once you let your crimes slip?”
Ignoring my straight-man act, Cecily said:
“We’ll go there next! It was a mistake to go to all the places nearby with a brute force method! We should question the places with the highest probability first!”
Without waiting for our reply, Cecily took off.
“She sure is energetic…”
Iris harbored such thoughts towards the situation. As for me, well, rather than ‘energetic’, I would call that ‘mindless’.
“…Hey Megumin, wouldn’t it have been better for us to go home after eating lunch?”
I couldn’t find the words to refute.
Sure enough, the people Cecily went after were the ‘fated enemies’ of the Axis cult.
“Come on out you Eris cultists! Give my important Pucchin Pudding back to me!”
Cecily vigorously kicked on the door of the Eris cult’s church.
“Don’t look Alice-chan! Remember to look away from things like that, and grow up to be a fine person ok?”
Seeing the way Cecily was acting, Yunyun covered Iris’ eyes from behind with her hands.
“Onee-san, what are you trying to do all of a sudden. Even if the Eris cultists did something wrong, this is still too much.”
No matter how much I asked her to go back, she won’t separate herself from the church’s door.
That was when—
“So you came again didn’t you!? How many times have I told you to ‘please don’t come here again’!?”
The church’s door opened, and the priest of the Eris cult showed herself.
––After we explained the situation, the Eris cult’s priest released a deep sigh.
“Uhm, we’re always busy trying to heal the wounds of the adventurers, so we don’t have the free time to go to your church and do such a thing. We don’t have a shortage of food either. Why would we, who serve Eris-sama, do something like theft?”
“You filthy liar! If you didn’t have a shortage of food, then you wouldn’t have looked at me like that back when I was ate a skewer in front of your face!”
“Did you do such a thing?”
Muttered the Eris priest. For some reason, she seem to flinch for a brief moment.
“The Eris cult believes in the humbleness of poverty. If it’s only just eating a skewer in front of us—”
“Ah, you’re lying again! Because you Eris cultists don’t get enough protein, your chest doesn’t grow! And I know that you people are always troubled by that!”
“D-Damn you, how dare you say such a thing you disbeliever!”
Trying to break up the fight, I put myself between them and wryly said:
“I understand that two cults have a bad relationship with each other, but is it appropriate for religious representatives to fight in such a manner?”
The Eris cultist – who realized that she had dropped to the level of Cecily – blushed in embarrassment.
“Erm… T-That would be truly shameful…”
“Bleh, you’re the one who got angry!”
“Onee-san, I’m talking to you as well!”
Cecily, who continued to jeer at the Eris priest from behind me, seemed rather shocked.
“But if this breast-pad priest doesn’t know anything about it, then who would… and If we don’t find any clues here then there’s no way we can find the culprit…”
“You, I won’t hold back anymore! I’ll bring my mace and raid your paltry church if I have to!”
After that, I forced Cecily to apologize to the Eris cultist priest, who seemed to be covering her chest. Before Cecily could cause any more trouble, we decided to leave.
How should I say this? Could this really be called a grudge?
Take that Eris priest for example; No matter how pissed one got, no one really wanted to be involved with the Axis cult.
But perhaps this was something like ‘an eye for an eye’ for all the trouble the Axis cult caused?
“Onee-san, why don’t we return to the church?”
I suggested that to Cecily, whom Yunyun and Iris were trying their best to stop from scribbling on the Eris cult’s signboard.
“—We’ve been had again.”
“How much did we lose? It doesn’t seem any worse than what happened earlier today…”
Cecily, who sat in front of the refrigerator didn’t seem to have any particular reaction.
“The Tokoroten Slime that I put in the innermost area is lost… How many times has this been… Whoever the culprit is, they keep taking my favorite things with pinpoint precision! Is this the doing of the demon king army?”
“The demon king army won’t just steal from the refrigerator of a single church. Anyway, I have something I’m curious about.”
The trace of ‘something being dragged’ that Iris found earlier seemed to have extended from the kitchen to the back door of the church.
And if I remember correctly, the damage was limited to the garden and the fridge.
I slammed open the back door of the church and—!
“…Uhm, onee-san. Do Tokoroten Slimes eat vegetables?”
“Ah, what do you mean by that!? It’s true that the captured slimes will sometimes become energetic and swell…! Oh, could that have been a miracle brought upon by Aqua-sama!?”
“Cecily-san, no matter how I look at this, the culprit is the slime! Go and apologize to the people you accused!”
“—Don’t wanna… It’s a lot of trouble…”
The culprit was the Cecily’s magically modified slime, whose life force had increased as a result of the modifications.
Yunyun and I continued to lecture Cecily, but she didn’t seem to reflect on her actions whatsoever. At this point, Iris had already stopped lecturing her.
“Geez, Alice, you should at least know about the Axis cult. No matter how little you know about the world, there should be a limit.”
“Even if you say that, I didn’t think that Cecily-onee-san was a bad person… I have faith in my ability to judge people.”
But those were the same eyes that graded Aqua as ordinary…
Then, Cecily – who had been scolded by us – showed a strange face.
Kneeling on the bed, she began to tremble…
“Alice-san, you must join the Axis cult! Yes, you must!”
“Alice, let’s go home. It was a mistake to bring you here. We won’t ever come here again, so just forget about what happened today ok?”
Taking Iris out of the royal castle was already a crime, so making her an Axis cultist would surely result in the death penalty.
“Cecily-onee-san, I don’t know very much about the Axis cult, so could I ask what they usually do?”
“Well asked! Well aren’t you impatient Alice-san? But that’s good, cause here at the Axis cult, we believe that self-control is poisonous to the body! We believe that we must live life the way we desire! Do what you please. Do it even if it’s selfish. If there’s someone you like, regardless of the difference in status between you and your companion, even if there’s an imbalance of identities, you can pursue them as you please.”
“Alice-chan, don’t listen to what she’s saying! Here, I’ll block your ears!”
As Cecily continued to happily preach, Yunyun plugged Iris’ ears with her hands.
––It was then.
As door of the church were flung open, a familiar voice resounded through the church.
“I heard that a blond-haired blue-eyed lovable young girl is here! Do not try to resist, and like real adults, we… Ah-, Alice-sama, I finally found you!”
Standing there was the white-suit wearing bodyguard, Claire.
Seeing her, Iris seemed to shrink in despondence.
“Is it already time to go home…?”
“Alice-sama, this is not a matter of ‘time to go home’! In the first place, you were not given permission to go outside!”
Though Iris’ behavior was as it usually was in this situation, Claire was unexpectedly playing the straight-man role. Cecily inched towards Claire and said:
“Erm, and who might you be? Nice to meet you, I am the priest in charge of this church and the leader of the Axis cult’s Axel branch, Cecily. Alice-san has been under the protection of this church, so there is no need for you to worry. Please do rest assured.”
Rather, we were the ones protecting Cecily. Though, unlike what would be expected from Axis cultists, she returned a sincere reply.
“Eh? A-, Ah… Nice to meet you as well.”
Claire showed a moment’s hesitation before replying.
“I am Alice’s guardian, Claire. Thank you for protecting Alice-sama during this time. It would appear that the Axis cult has esteemed people like you as well.”
Saying that, she lowered her head towards Cecily.
This short-tempered onee-san had attacked Kazuma last time, but it seems like she was putting up this front for Alice’s sake.
Just as I began to feel moved by her actions—
“I see, so you are Alice-san’s guardian… Well, I was teaching Alice-san about the doctrine of the Axis cult a moment ago. Would you, as her guardian, like to join the Axis cult as well?”
“Join the Axis cult!? N-No, that would be a great problem… Rather, Alice-sama is not a full-fledged adult yet, so it would be troublesome for her to do such a thing… Furthermore, since Alice-sama must maintain an equal perspective on all things, it would be inappropriate for her to join a specific denomination…”
It would seem that Claire, realizing that her opponent was a skilled female with a holy affiliation, had decided not to use force. Instead, she tried to break the flow of the conversation, however—
“I understand that you are opposed to the Axis cult. However, I can sense the scent of a fellow comrade on you.”
“T-The scent of a fellow comrade…”
Though Claire seemed slightly disturbed, she still raised her arm to smell the sleeves of her suit.
“Are you not suffering from your unrequited love? Are you not carrying some unforgivable thoughts? In the Axis cult, it doesn’t matter if your companion is an undead or a devil, nor does it matter if they are of the same gender or of different statuses, we shall allow it regardless.”
“Same gender or different statuses!? TT- That is… No, but—”
Claire seemed to be intensely moved. Perhaps some teaching of the Axis cult pulled at her very heartstrings.
“Now, self-control is poisonous you know? Self-control is a violation of the Axis cult’s doctrine. Your dear wishes, your dear thoughts-…!”
“Ahhhhh! P-, Perhaps we can continue this another day! Alice-sama, please say your farewells!”
It appeared that Claire thought that it would be a bad idea to stay any longer. She quickly grabbed Alice’s hand and hurriedly left the church.
“…Well then, boss, Yunyun-san, Cecily-onee-san, see you tomorrow!”
“It’s not ‘see you tomorrow’! I’ll keep an eye on you the entire day tomorrow, so you won’t be allowed to come here!”
Iris, who had been feeling despondent about going home a moment ago, suddenly become clear and energetic. She waved to us as she left.
“—Even though I got that kind of response, she still got away…”
Cecily murmured to herself in regret.
By response, did she mean Iris or Claire?
Though, knowing that both would join the Axis cult if given a little push, I felt a little scared.
“Hey Megumin, that person named Claire said that ‘Alice-sama must maintain an equal perspective’ right? So Alice-chan…”
Without saying anymore, Yunyun vigorously shook her head.
She seemed to think that it was impossible.
Leaving her be, I turned towards Cecily.
“Could you go back to calling me ‘Cecily-onee-chan’ please?”
As usual, she did and acted as she pleased.
“Actually, we want our part-time job to continue after this, so we can keep earning money.”
“Well I’m grateful that you want to. Other than ‘Axis cult’s that’ I still have a lot of good money making ideas you know? For example, ‘Rice balls made by Beautiful Girls’, ‘Balloons Blown by Beautiful Girls’, ‘Beautiful Girl’s…’”
“Aren’t these all just things that are made by beautiful girls!? It would be better to think of slightly more proper ideas…”
Hearing what I had to say, Cecily began to happily laugh.
“Since you want to make money so badly, could this be related to Alice-san?”
Of all times, she decided that now would be the moment to see through my thoughts. Even though she usually acted so dumb…
“Well, it’s kind of related to that girl. What we want to do is secure a source of income, and expand our ground. It’s not just a dream; I strongly believe that we will one day help that person defeat the demon king…”
“To say that defeating the demon king is not just a dream, you ambitions have grown bigger again!”
Yes, I’m sure that it’s not a dream.
I felt that that distant masked thief would be the one to defeat the demon king.
And then, if he defeats the demon king…
“In a peaceful world without the demon king, I’m sure that that girl would be able to step out into the world with far more freedom.”
Then I will invite him to a picnic like the one we had today.
I’m sure that girl would be happy as well.
“I’m not very skillful with money, so could I ask for onee-san’s cooperation? I mean, onee-san, you already look like you have a lot of good ideas.”
Originally, I thought that it would be better to leave it to that man.
But well, if the organization becomes bigger, I can boast to him about it.
Yunyun didn’t seem to be against leaving the task to this troublesome onee-san either. Rather, she seemed to be a bit happy.
“I’m not going to join you that easily”
Cecily firmly shook her head as she mercilessly said those words.
“First and foremost, I am an Axis cultist that loves lolis. So if Alice-san, Megumin-san and Yunyun-san are going to do something so interesting…”
Her eyes seemed to sparkle as she continue to run her good-for-nothing mouth.
“Then this onee-san won’t mind mixing in with this strange organization!”
“Ah, welcome back Megumin. With my skills, I’ve made a brilliant feast for tonight! Look forward to it!”
Returning to the mansion like I usually would, I was proudly greeted by Darkness.
Then, Kazuma, who laid down on the couch in the living room, said:
“Hey Megumin, can you try to stop this person over here? She keeps complaining about what I cooked yesterday, and she even told me that ‘Today, I shall triumph over you!’. To be honest, it’s kinda getting annoying.”
“You just said its annoying didn’t you! How dare you mock me you imbecile! Everyone, witness me! Today, as a humble lady, I shall defeat this NEET’s cooking!”
In reply to Darkness, who shouted angrily form the kitchen, he said:
“Yo Darkness, yesterday’s Shabu Shabu didn’t really suit my taste alright!? I mean, it might be what you call ‘high-class cuisine’, but I prefer things like junk food over that. If you could, I want to eat something greasy today.”
<TL Note: Shabu Shabu is a Japanese-style hot pot, primarily consisting of thinly sliced meat and vegetables.>
“Something greasy… I’ve already prepared the food, but I guess it can’t be helped. I’ll make something right now. Geez, if you have selfish request like that, tell me earlier…”
Then, Aqua barged her way into the conversation.
“But I want something simple and light. Ah, I think something I can slurp would be great!”
“Something you can slurp… Uhm, you mean something like noodles? Ugh, well it can’t be helped, I’ll make that as well… M-, Megumin, what about you?”
After getting Aqua’s order, Darkness – making an valid assumption – turned to me for my request.
“You’ve made enough already haven’t you? I’m fine with anything. You’re cooking is pretty plain, so there’s really nothing to complain about.”
“Megumin, please don’t call my cooking ‘plain’! Anyway, thanks for not ordering something out of the blue. I’ll make the extras now, so please wait a bit.
Saying that, Darkness returned to the kitchen. Meanwhile, Aqua retrieved a board game from the shelf, and brought it to Kazuma, who was sleeping on the sofa.
“Kazuma-san Kazuma-san, let’s play until dinner is ready ok? Today’s me will be different from the usual me, after all, I have a great secret strategy to use today!.”
Aqua mindlessly raised a ‘loss flag’ and lined up the pieces.
“What do you mean be ‘great secret strategy’? Last time we played, you said that: ‘Since there’s no time limit, I can use a stalling strategy! I might not be able to beat my opponents in a match of intelligence, but I absolutely won’t lose in a match of endurance! I can stall until morning, so try your best ok!?’ and other meaningless things, but after we started you fell asleep in 10 minutes you know?”
“Shut up Kazuma. That was that, this is this. Heh, the strategy this time is really amazing you know? Well then, Kazuma, you can go first. Don’t hold back ok?”
Sitting across from Aqua, who was brimming with confidence, Kazuma made the first move.
“You fell for it Kazuma! I have used my wisdom to figure out this brilliant strategy; I will make the second move, and play the exact same move as my opponent! Basically, I will use the same force as my opponent in order to defeat them! Ah well done me! Yes, if I can make this an evenly matched game, then it’s a net plus for me!”
Whilst boasting, Aqua played the same move as Kazuma.
“Yes, this is a revolutionary strategy that will instill fear into my opponent! All I need to do is make the same move as my opponent. And if I don’t need to think, that means my opponent will be tired out first! Finally, at the instant they make a mistake, I bring out my full…!”
Aqua stopped right there.
It seems that she had somehow fallen into a pinch already.
If one were to play the same move as their opponent, then the one with the first move would have the advantage.
As I looked down at Aqua, who grunted in distress, I picked up Chomusuke who was cuddling near my feet, and gave today’s activity report.
“Kazuma, the spoils of battle today were quite splendid. First, my army has successfully secured a source of income for the sake of our future activities. I suppose it is a great leap towards achieving our goals.”
Without removing his gaze from the board:
“Well that’s great. Also, by ‘a source of income’, you mean you did something like a part time job?”
“Yea I guess. We accepted a request from the guild, and defeated some slimes.”
Knocking a piece over:
“Slime extermination huh. Well if it’s like that then it shouldn’t be too dangerous. If the other children get into a pinch, remember to help them out ok? Oho, a quick check.”
“Hey, isn’t this a bit weird? If we’re playing the same moves, why am I at a disadvantage?”
It seems that he still thought that I was playing around.
Well, I guess its fine as it is now.
Someday, when our group becomes big enough to make him fall on his butt, I will tell him all about it.
That wouldn’t be too bad.
“Everyone, dinner is ready! You’re not allowed to complain alright? Well then, get seated!”
I guess I should go help Darkness arrange the table.
“Now that I think about it, there’s one more thing––”
I said to Kazuma, who counterattacked Aqua’s move without hesitation:
“My group has gained another member.”