Hello everyone! It’s been a while. While I’ve been working on TLing on and off, Uranophane has took it upon himself to translate Continued, Explosions! According to him, the translation was done roughly and hastily, but I believe it’s quality is more than passable. He’s available on discord under Uranophane#7912 if you’d like to contact him.
Actually, Uranophane has actually completed the translation of the entire volume, and the posts will be updated as the editing comes along.
As for me, I’m finally back home after a brief disconnection from the world with my laptop charger breaking overseas. Here’s a page from the limited edition artbook that I’ve finally been able to open. On another note, the Drama CDs have been taken down (again) and I’ll be working on some alternative, likely streamable and MEGA.
Finally, enjoy the read, and remember to thank Uranophane (and not me) for his work!
Trivia: It’s been 6 months since the last Continued, Explosions Chapter.
Intermediates (JP->CN): lolihunter2 yukira 叶子 サダメ
Editors: shizubro, yuNS, Deus ex-Machina, Keel the Swift
Chapter 4 – The Striking Thieving Group
(Megumin PoV. “Big Boss” in this chapter refers to Megumin)
…At the rally point that has become of our secret base…
Chris, seeing our thieving group’s invitation list, said,
“I don’t get it.”
I turned my head to Chris, who’s staring stiffly.
“What do you mean ‘you don’t get it’? This is a list of people to join our thieving group.”
“I don’t get how there’s so many people! I don’t get how the most luxurious mansion in Axel became our base, and how this list is filled with famous adventurers!”
What is this underling implying?
“What’s so surprising? Isn’t being a big organization a good thing?”
“Well, you’re not wrong—no, how is that any good!? Hey, does Kazuma-kun know about this?”
I said to the inexplicably panicked underling,
“I have indeed told Kazuma about my followers and our base.”
“R-really? So he understands? …Eh? Am I the only one who feels this is all blown way out of proportion?”
Chris is really quite shortsighted, very befitting of the “underling” title.
“Scared of our ambitious size? Heh, this is but a walk in the park for someone like me.”
“Haha…ha… y-you sure are capable.”
Chris glanced at me with terrified and shocked eyes.
“Megumin is actually scared by the sheer scale herself…”
Yunyun, who had been skillfully building a card tower, rudely rained on my parade.
“Oi, if you don’t want me to destroy the fruit of your entire morning’s worth of work, you better keep your mouth shut.”
“I-I understand. Look… I’m trying to improve my old record for card towers here, please be careful…”
Before I noticed, Yunyun’s single-player gaming skills have soared. Just what is she going for?
Chris looked awkwardly—
“Who is the person that had been stalking me since the beginning?”
—at Cecily, peeking from behind the sofa.
Cecily supposedly loves little girls, but she’s been oddly cautious towards Chris.
“The onee-san over there who refuses to leave is the priest Cecily… Onee-san, what’s going on? You usually behave strangely, but your strangeness reached a whole new level today.”
But she continued to stare suspiciously at Chris.
“I’m not sure what’s wrong myself. Onee-san’s loli radar hasn’t responded at all, for the first time in history. Hey, you aren’t some sort of expert cross-dresser, are you? Not that I mind traps… still, something is amiss.”
“I do get called a boy occasionally because I wear shorts, but I’m definitely a girl.”
Chris looked depressed, probably from her history of gender misidentification. After all, she has short hair and dresses messily.
“Ah, Chris is an Eris cultist, could that be the reason for the hostility?”
Hearing the term “Eris cult”, Cecily sprang up from behind the sofa.
“Unacceptable! Eris cultists are not tolerated inside my holy land of cute lolis! Hehe, must be jealous of me getting so many little girls just by lazing through my days, aren’t you? Wanna steal my harem throne? No way! Disgusting thief!”
“‘Disgusting thief’!? O-oi, hold on, I think there’s some sort a misunderstanding. I was forced to join, not to mention—”
Cecily wouldn’t leave Chris alone. She must be extremely prejudiced against Eris worshippers.
“Anyways, Yunyun, isn’t Alice coming?”
“I went to the usual meeting spot, her servant told me she had some ceremony to attend to… he-hey, don’t blow on my card tower! Speaking of Alice, Megumin, I’m very skeptical of her real identity now…”
So that’s how it is. Tending to royal matters.
I was going to give a “criminal activity briefing” once enough members arrive, but now it’s impossible.
“Guess there’s not much she could do. It’s royal duties after all, dragging her out would have catastrophic consequences.”
“H-hey, Megumin, please tell me who Alice really is… why are you looking away? Why did even Chris-chan turn her head on me? Hey, stop shaking! My tower is gonna fall!”
I shook Yunyun’s shoulder to shut her up.
“Now that we have a proper thief, guess it’s time to discuss our first strike. We’ll attack when Alice has time! Before then, we must find a suitable target; the plans are—” I violently slapped the planning sheet onto the table “—as follows!”
“Waaaah, my tower! Hold on a second! Ahhhhh!”
After we finished dinner at home, I asked Kazuma about something.
“‘What’s the secret to management?’ What kind of question is that?”
Although we are only striking a noble’s home, the members of our thieving group are still too absurd.
So, I’ve come to seek advice from the master of handling insane people, Kazuma—
This is how it went..
“There’s no secret, plus I don’t believe I’m that good at managing. Even a summoner can’t be so precise about commanding his beasts. I’m only providing general guidance, giving you some pointers.”
“Just general guidance, huh. Glad to have you commanding our whole party.”
“Look, you won’t listen even if I do give the details. A ‘ranker’ like me can totally analyze the situation and come up with strategies on the spot. When I was back at home, my guild had many more far hairier problems.”
“‘Ranker’ means… someone high levelled? Kazuma had teammates, right? You told us you used to ravage and conquer together, things like taking out bosses.”
One of the many mysteries of Kazuma.
He claims to have farmed monsters and killed bosses day and night with numerous friends, having gained quite some fame.
“Yeah, I guess I could count as an admin of the guild. I was responsible for helping new members and scheduling boss battles. Maybe I learned my management skills for you bunch from those experiences.”
Kazuma was full of confidence.
I couldn’t say he’s lying no matter how many times I hear it.
“If you really want strategies that badly, it’s to not repel others in times of hardship, but to understand them.”
“…Oi, Kazuma, why are you staring at me?”
So that’s how. Understanding.
“Thanks a lot, I’ll have a chat with everyone tomorrow.”
“Yeah, no matter how shitty someone is, they always have strengths. You’ll find them useful after all when you find their spark. Even if it takes leaving a careless member behind in a dungeon—after some observation, you will find their good side.”
“Oi, as I said, why are you still staring at me…”
Their good side.
To say, I really don’t understand those people well.
“For ace players like me, this is merely a type of handicap. After life becomes easy, I won’t get mad even if you guys leave me behind.”
Hearing Kazuma’s arrogant speech, the captivated Darkness—who had been stroking Chomusuke—reacted.
“Oi, Kazuma, please don’t broadcast degenerate thoughts like that.”
“The handicapping game I talked about is not like your masochistic ones—don’t blame the victim.”
Still, becoming a staff for a guild at this age is substantial; maybe he really is extraordinary.
Just as I was admiring Kazuma, Aqua beside him—who had been concentrating in feeding Emperor Zell—said,
“When you were describing us like hazards, I was not included, right? You were definitely implying those two, right?”
“What are you talking about… You’re the most significant hazard.”
With Chomusuke biting her fingertip, the satisfied Darkness followed,
“Oi, Kazuma, I’m definitely not a problem, am I? I’m clearly the most normal out of the three…”
…Hold on a second.
“Where did that confidence come from? To me, your intelligence is barely above that of goblins.”
“You, come have a walk with me outside. You dare call the beautiful, smart me a goblin!?”
“Ahh, this guy has recently been becoming more and more unbearable. Calling cute girls goblins is unforgivable; you merely defeated a few Demon King Generals.”
They instantly started to focus-aggro at Kazuma, basically like goblins.
“You two are without doubt the problem. Out of the three, the calmest and the most knowledgeable member is me. After all, calmness is a major selling point for archwizards… say, this is getting out of hand. I was planning to manage a treacherous bunch, now I see that everyone is too opinionated; I have zero confidence in taming them…”
“Y-you, the one who would explode without any spark, have the audacity to call yourself calm!?”
“Megumin, I’m confident that I’m much calmer during battles.”
“I’m not OK with being told this by the least patient member of all, Megumin!”
What the hell are those three saying. With my arms folded, I pretended not to hear anything.
“I have a question onee-san: what do you wish for the most?”
“Marrying Megumin, probably.”
The following morning.
Cecily answered instantly. She’s been doing weird dances since dawn.
“…Um, about that. I’m a girl, so I won’t be marrying onee-san.”
The weird dance looks like some form of prayer to Aqua, she’s been saying “Aqua-sama, please bless me with another beautiful day”.
“Unlike the corrupt Eris cult, us Axis cultists have no prejudice against sexual or special preferences, any non-devil and non-undead are marriageable.”
“Er, I appreciate your tolerance, but I prefer to marry as a bride, so I can’t be with onee-san.”
“Guess I can’t help it then. I’ll go the extra mile and become the groom!”
“That’s not what I meant! I mean like… marrying a man! D-don’t be so depressed, I’d have no choice but to pity you if you frown like that!”
Bearing the face of an abandoned puppy, Cecily left me conflicted. She suddenly startedto giggle.
“Pitying me? Would you look at that… my Megumin is simply too cute! Looks like it can’t be helped; I heard that there is a gender-changing divine tool. For Megumin, I’ll find it at all costs!”
“Even if onee-san becomes onii-san doesn’t mean I’ll marry you… please don’t be like this! Do you have nothing better to think about? The onee-san that daydreams all the time must have many other goals, surely?”
I forcefully pushed away the Cecily that has been hugging me and rubbing our cheeks together.
“What do you mean Megumin…? I’m an Axis priest after all!”
“…? And? I know that.”
I don’t understand.
“Axis cultists do whatever they think of immediately. To not ruin Goddess Aqua’s image, we live carefree every day, do whatever we think of. Like right now!”
Cecily hugged me and giggled.
“Even though your deeds aren’t exactly good, your lifestyle is still worth some respect. Full of freedom, full of Axis spirit.”
“Thanks a bunch! I think Megumin’s firecracker-like lifestyle isn’t bad either!”
Oh please don’t put it that way.
Cecily said as she patted my head,
“All aside, you can tell any worries to onee-san, alright? After all I’m here to chat with you!”
She’s never changed, still perceptive as ever.
Indeed, the problem that’s been bothering me recently is—
“Megumin likes someone… right? Nothing came of the last time we talked about it.”
Just how am I supposed to lead this team of degenerates to successfully take down a target?
“N-n-not true! I was thinking about how to complete the current mission. I never thought about things like that!”
Cecily’s surprisingly intricate observations made my whole face go red.
The sweetly smiling Cecily looked like an actual saint.
It’s because of her rare, gentle side that we have no way to hate her, despite her interests.
“If I kept playing around, you might actually hate me; so, I’ll believe you for now! —You’re right. We need to first confirm which noble we’re striking, and how we should execute it. We also want the type who did really shady deeds, so that even if we strike, they couldn’t make a huge fuss out of it. In other words, we want the nobles that are reasonably famous, reasonably wealthy and have done nasty things!”
Makes sense. Even though I hated her harassment, her logic was still strangely flawless.
“Having said that, I actually have had a target in mind the moment I found out about Megumin’s plans!”
“What happened to you today, onee-san? You seem oddly reliable.”
What has gotten to her head, today?
Same with that Dust pervert, it seems like like Axis cult also occasionally has their trustworthy side.
I looked at her hopefully, wishing to know about that noble…
“Do you know the ‘Dustiness’ family?”
I had no words. Cecily, however, got excited.
“Since stronger opponents are better; Dustiness definitely fits the bill there. As for wealth—they’re one of the richest in the whole kingdom, definitely workable.”
Can’t call them poor, sure, but they’re not so rich either in the realm of royalty.
“More importantly, they’re a devout Eris worshipping family! Filled with evil Eris cultists, they must have done terrible deeds behind our backs!”
“Sorry, but let’s not bother them. I’m begging you.”
I was so young to believe that Cecily might have a shred of reliability.
“Since Megumin disagrees, I can’t persist… but I also have a second choice, why don’t we start there?”
“Behaim family?…Uh, aren’t they a little too difficult for newcomers? There’s not much info about them, and they have tight defenses. I wouldn’t recommend them.”
I met Chris wandering around at the guild this afternoon, so I asked her about the nobles.
“You mentioned ‘too difficult for newcomers’; the way you put it makes yourself sound like an expert at infiltrating noble mansions!”
“Pffft!” Chris coughed up her wine. “That…! Uh, I’m a professional thief, so even if I don’t steal anything, I should at least scout out the area, right?”
She explained in a hurry.
That’s how it is. As an explosion mage, I, too, subconsciously look for big and hard, obliteration-worthy objects. It seems I’m not the only one with this mindset.
Chris wiped her mouth with her handkerchief.
“I will carefully inspect the Behaim household; although, you should choose smaller families first, alright? If you hit a large family that is a public enemy due to numerous crimes, they won’t report for theft even if you were successful. That way, you’ll never gain recognition.”
“Let me ask this first; these are all hypothetical, right? You’ve never actually stole from nobles…”
“N-n-n-never! Gee Megumin, how could I do something so dangerous?”
Chris is saying that, but her face turned away. Seems like she’s a bad liar.
She kept folding and unfolding the handkerchief, clearly unable to calm herself.
“…Aren’t you an Eris cultist, Chris? Can you swear to Goddess Eris that you’ve never done dangerous tasks like ‘infiltrating a noble’s mansion’?”
“Er… I-I can! I swear… Er, this feeling of not knowing how to answer is sure interesting…”
Chris’ remorseless vow also surprised me.
She’s supposed to be a devout Eris believer, so she shouldn’t be lying.
Looks like I was worrying for nothing.
“Right, I have another question. What do you wish to do the most? What is your ultimate dream?”
“Mine? My dream? …Eh, Megumin, do you really not know who I truly am? Rather than having a wish to be made true, I’m more of the type that makes others’ wishes come true… you know what I’m saying?”
Chris said something weird again.
And here I thought she was the most normal one out of our whole group. Guess that isn’t true after all.
“I actually sought help from Kazuma. He said the secret to organizing a team is to fully understand them. Simply put, I want to understand you more.”
Chris stared at me with disbelief.
“Hey, that’s some deep words from Kazuma. As for my wishes… my bucket list… I’m already doing what I love, so I have nothing to dream of for now.”
“Doing what you love huh… Cecily said the same thing. It seems that the Axis and Eris cults really aren’t that different.”
“Hold up, let me answer that again! I’ll be serious this time!”
Probably unable to bear being compared to the Axis cultists, Chris threw a tantrum.
After some thinking, Chris shyly said,
“What I want to do… is to shop with some girl friends, buy a bunch of clothes, eat at popular restaurants and buffets… That’s about it, some slice of life things.”
She listed some surprisingly girly activities despite being a tomboy.
“You could do that any time, unlike the lonely Yunyun and noble-blooded Alice. From an adventurer’s point of view, a female thief’s life is all party and alcohol.”
“What an outrageous description! I-I’ve never even went on a date!”
I originally thought that Chris, Kazuma’s partner of stripping play on the first day they’ve met, would be more sexually mature, but she is unexpectedly innocent.
So that’s how it is. Kazuma was very correct.
Cecily or Chris, they all have a lesser known side.
Speaking of dates…
I haven’t ever gone on 1-on-1 dates either.
“I suddenly thought of another question.”
“What’s up? I’m old friends with Darkness and I have had various incidents with Aqua. With Kazuma-kun also being someone I share secrets with—I’ve just noticed that out of the party, you’re the only one whom I haven’t talked with much. If you have questions, ask on!”
Swaying her beer mug, she lightheartedly said.
“What is your true relationship with our Kazuma?”
I closed some distance with Chris, who’s now avoiding my gaze.
“Aren’t you two a bit too close for friends? In addition, didn’t you mention that you don’t know me well, Chris? How then, would you have major interactions with Kazuma?”
“Eh… about that… Look, I taught him some thief skills, then all kinds of stuff happened! He’s really just a friend! I have no special feelings for him!”
Her reaction gave it all away, plus that “sharing secrets” part caught my attention.
“The only girls he’s met were us three from the party, though he became quite a celebrity recently. Putting aside the women he’s been with since the start, I can’t let a wild thief out of nowhere take him from me.”
The quietly listening Chris blushed and returned a statement.
“Heh, I heard Megumin had been getting along very well with Kazuma. Hey, you like him, right? How true is your love? Let’s hear about it!”
“I love Kazuma. If you say how serious, I’d say pretty damn serious.”
Chris’ blushing intensified, she’s losing her cool.
“In the beginning he was a weirdo, but later I found him reliable and very caring. I guess that’s the ‘gradually fall in love’ trope. To me, Kazuma’s everyday life became as important as explosion magic.”
“I… I-Is that so? Megumin is secretly really assertive. I keep thinking you would be more bashful… your answers are so direct, I don’t know how to respond…”
For whatever reason, her look became more respectful.
“Like this, I would kill off any affection towards my Kazuma while they’re still budding. You and Kazuma are really just friends?”
“We’re definitely friends! You can stop being so jealous! Er, I’ll go scout out Behaim’s home now!”
(TL note: Pun. In Chinese, red-eyed means jealous.)
Chris hastily and shakily left the guild.
I also left the Adventurer’s Guild for my next destination.
Yunyun should be bringing that child over.
“Th-this is really cute! Look, there, too!”
“Indeed, I’ve never been to this kind of store, so I’m very excited…Say, Yunyun-chan, shouldn’t we head back to base now?”
At a streetside store that particularly appealed to girls…
Two familiar figures were wandering about.
“No problem, everyone’s probably having snacks and slacking off. Cecily-san will be angering Megumin, Chris-san will be bitterly giggling elsewhere… Actually, they might be having an equally great time.”
“Shall we go then? Shopping is fun and all, but if the Big Boss finds out, we’ll definitely be scolded.”
Yunyun is slightly concerned.
“Y-you’re right. A-although I’m not afraid of Megumin, it can’t be good to have her wait for long, so let’s…”
“Oi, taking the loli around the town to achieve your own shopping goals aside, those are some bold statements to make.”
Yunyun stiffened at my voice, and with great trepidation, she gradually turned around—
“—Oh, look at you. No matter how lonely you get, you shouldn’t ever take the innocent Alice out here, you know. I gave you the scheduling duty to save time for my explosion magic, and you do this on the first day!?”
On our way to the base.
Yunyun covered her fully blushed face with both her hands.
“I know you really thirst for some shopping with other girls, but your original duty was to bring Alice back. Next time, if you wanted to shop, I’ll take you along; so, stop doing stupid things like this!”
Hearing my offer, Yunyun’s eyes shined with a mixture of hope and surprise,
“R-really? Megumin wants to shop with me? My list of ‘places to shop after I have friends’ has reached 3 notebooks in length!”
“Isn’t that a bit too ridiculous!? We can go to several store at most! By the way, I wanted to ask you something.”
I then asked them the same question from before.
“What I wish to do the most? Er, Megumin… why are you asking that now? I can answer, but it’d take more than a day…”
“As I said, way too long! Surely you have something that you wish for the most, utmost, right?”
For unknown reasons, she started casting furtive glances at me.
“What I want the most is to have a duel with Megumin.”
Some tiny, weak voice said.
“Didn’t we settle that long ago? Both in terms of level and being a mature woman.”
“You, hold on a second! Sure your level might be high and you have killed numerous demon king generals, I cannot however agree in terms of maturity!”
Yunyun’s eyes glowed red. She crossed her arms around her chest, as if flaunting her bust size.
“I wasn’t even talking about physical development. Having such an erotic body at such a young age, yet still unable to find a boyfriend? Why are we even competing?”
“Just because you’re closer to Kazuma-kun doesn’t give you the right to be smug! Had I wanted… wanted to… do that, I…!”
Yunyun’s voice shrivelled. I, in response, puffed out my chest.
“You see, you can’t even find a boyfriend, can you? Ah, who was that blonde delinquent from a few days ago? Doesn’t he suit you perfectly well? Wish you two a happy married life!”
“I won’t tolerate that even as a joke! Being with him is especially forbidden! Alright, I’ll teach you a lesson on which things should never be said! Let’s duel to the death!”
Yunyun’s eyes shined crimson; she stood tall and readied her staff.
“Wh-what, wanna fight? Come at me! I got seriously restless back when you told Kazuma that you wanted to bear his child! Now, let me also teach you a grave lesson—I’ll teach you to not meddle in others’ boyfriend business!”
“D-don’t mention that! That was a total accident and misunderstanding, please forget about it!”
Tossing her staff aside, Yunyun cried indignantly. I made a mental note—”I win again!”.
“Just how many girls have relationships with Kazuma? Stealing Chris’ panties in public, doing unspeakable things with Lalatina, then having Yunyun’s ch-child!”
“Please don’t! This was a misunderstanding, I really don’t have any feelings for Kazuma-kun! I-instead, why not let Alice describe her dreams? Megumin must be interested, right?”
Yunyun tried extremely hard to change the topic. Alice on the other hand started to blush—
“A-as for me… I…”
…What is happening with these people…
“W-with onii-sama, I… I…”
“That’s enough! What has gotten into you all!? Why is everyone so infatuated? Has this become the norm for young girls nowadays!?”
Bringing the two lusty underlings back, I saw strange scenes at the base.
“You have some pretty good eyes for an Eris cultist. Indeed, Aqua-sama is very admirable and cute.”
“Er… eh, at least she’s isn’t a bad person. Sure.”
Curled up into a ball on the carpet, Chris listened to Cecily’s preaching.
It seems they’re talking about goddess Aqua’s strengths.
“Welcome back, Megumin. I’m convincing Chris-san to join the Axis cult!”
“Eh!? Hold on a second, since when did I mention converting!?”
Chris refuted violently, having no plans to change faiths even after all the preaching.
“What are you talking about? Let me ask you, how do you feel about devils and the undead?”
Chris’ instant response brought smiles onto Cecily’s face.
“Excellent answer Chris-san, you have indeed become a high quality candidate for the Axis cult! That’s right, Lady Aqua once said, devils must be purged, the demon king must be tortured and the undead must dive right back into the dirt, where they came from! Come, become a part of the Axis cult-“
“Eris cult also condemns the undead and devils! And I never expected you to lure me into joining the Axis cult… Why am I always finding myself in unusual situations lately…”
And here I thought the Eris and Axis cults were like oil and water… Those two are getting along just fine.
Deciding to discuss the plans, I gathered the two quarrelling devouts.
I pressed my arms on the table and leaned forward.
“Anyways…For one, I thank you all for your attendance. Our thieving group has obtained a base, solid backing, and a stable source of funding. We have no worries about numbers. The situation is looking exceptionally well.”
“Agreed, both the member count and attendance rates have gone up, I guess we’re on the right track.”
Yunyun nodded in agreement.
“That’s right, everything is going as planned. At our current size, I’ve decided to embark on our first mission.”
Iris is slightly confused,
“‘Mission’? What are we doing today? Last time we picked herbs from the mountain, then fished by the river. I don’t have lunch packed today, so could we delay the mission till tomorrow…”
(TL note: more specifically a bento)
“Who said we were going on field trips!? True, our recent activities have been questionable, but please don’t lose sight of our original goal. Please recall, what were we here to accomplish!?”
They each said their answers.
“To make friends…”
“Onee-san wanted to form a harem of cute lolis, so I was attracted here by all these little girls…”
“Wha-!? That’s not what you said back then at all!”
Looking at these lost souls, I banged the table repeatedly.
“This isn’t right! I see we’ve lost sight of our goal. We were originally modelling the Silver Haired Thieving Group, to form our own! We’re thieves! We’re here to rob the nobles and distribute their riches! Now, please allow Chris to share her findings!”
“Long story short—they’re innocent, they don’t seem to have done any suspicious activities, so let’s change our target. Plus, why did we choose them in the first place?”
Cecily answered light-headedly,
“Because when I went there to preach, they said ‘we don’t want anything to do with religion’, and something like ‘Eris and Axis cultists, please leave us alone’…”
But Chris suddenly got excited.
“That household it is! We must bring divine retribution upon those who badmouth my religion!”
“That’s right! Chris-san is a lady of justice! You’re indeed a great Axis candidate! Megumin, we should definitely target this family, shouldn’t we?”
I said to the two topic derailers,
“Completely disagreed. We don’t attack those without bad history. Let’s change our target, neither Eris-sama nor Aqua-sama will tolerate this.”
“I agree on the attack! I…Eris-deus will definitely vult!”
“Aqua-sama will also agree for sure! I can feel Aqua-sama whispering in my ear, ‘go do it now’!”
What can I even do with them.
Yet, I’m surprised at how oddly proactive Chris is being.
Now I truly feel the importance of “understanding”, as coined by Kazuma.
“So that how it is then, I get it. I guess we’re finally becoming sisters of justice! Actually, the royals have a blacklist for corrupt nobles, so let’s strike those first. And if we end up raiding an innocent household, just let my dad apologize…”
“Don’t be so careless! Don’t you ever bring your daddy into this!”
Just as I scolded the even more excited Iris, Yunyun tugged my robe.
“Why not let us be a simple hangout squad? Look, Alice’s servant’s snacks are delicious; have a taste, Megumin…Ahhhh!”
I ate all of the food Yunyun passed over in one big gulp.
“Guess it can’t be helped. Because we don’t have a target, we’ll stay put for now.”
After all, I’m much wiser than back when I was fighting solo.
This time, I carry the responsibilities of a leader.
“I never let you eat my half tooooo-!”
I worried silently as Yunyun shook me back and forth.
“Welcome home, you look exhausted.”
After that, the topic had zero development and time passed by swiftly.
Because Chris was so confident that she could find a suitable target, we dismissed early.
“Sigh, I didn’t think understanding others would be so difficult. Got harassed by a certain priest, found a certain level-headed thief to be a secret activist, argued with a certain self-proclaimed rival, got heartbroken by a certain little girl’s affection for a certain asshole adventurer…I’m tired to death.”
Usually being the troublemaker, managing other troublemakers was unexpectedly difficult.
“Sounds harsh, even though I have no clue what you’ve been doing. You must’ve felt how exhausting my role is through this experience.”
I limply laid on the sofa beside Kazuma, staring blankly up at his face.
“Oi, what’s the matter? Why are you staring so straightly at the face loved by many female adventurers from the guild? Did you only now realize how attractive I am, just like them?”
Why does Iris love guys of his kind so much? —Like I have the right to question.
He must be trying to put on a smug expression, but this raised eyebrow and these skyward pointed nostrils are really…
“You’re indeed loved by the guild girls. You’re their money pig, because all it takes for you to pay the bill is some seduction…”
“Remember those bastards for me, next time I’ll use ‘steal’ on them!”
Gritting his teeth, Kazuma spat out some usual female harassment claim.
Why do I even like this guy.
I thought back to the speech I gave at noon.
I called Iris and Yunyun infatuated; but nonetheless, aren’t I, who accuses competitors all the time for Kazuma, also infatuated therefore?
Usually a lackluster lazy-bone, easy on the mouth but clearly devious, shamelessly bragging about his achievements at the Adventurer’s Guild.
He appears pretty normal. Humanity wise, he’s neither a good Samaritan nor a despicable villain.
“…Hey, what now? I’ll feel shy if you keep staring like that. What are you implying? Do you like me?”
Shyness? Uncharacteristic of a huge pervert.
In reality, any tiny little act of intimacy is enough to…
“Of course. I was just wondering why I do.”
…result in this.
“Y-you…! How many times have I told you, don’t use those words so lightly, I’m very prepared. If you want to speak of this subject, schedule it and write down the time in a letter, accurate to the hour, minute…second!”
“Your awkward demands made no sense. I just wanted to say whatever I felt needed to be said. Didn’t Kazuma talk about understanding yesterday? Now I’m wondering how should I go about understanding Kazuma.”
Continuing to stare straight at him, Kazuma seems to panic, making all sorts of wild gestures.
“It’s because his understanding of me that allows Kazuma to lead battles so well, right? Then, do you know what I’m thinking of right now? It’s only us in here, do you know what I want to do next?”
“… Wait a second, that didn’t count!”
“Why don’t you clearly repeat what you were going to say to a young girl under such an atmosphere!?”
Seeing the red in my eyes, the current Kazuma, who is desperately trying to take back his words, made my earlier philosophies seem totally senseless.
That’s right, making exact plans before striking is not my style.
Leading, managing the team then worrying about the fallout—isn’t like me at all.
I’m always at my best.
What was I thinking.
“No, your questions were too unexpected. Say, if you gave me a three-way multiple choice, I’ll definitely choose the right option! Please give me another chance!”
I’ll come back to him after I encounter a situation that I can’t deal with myself; I feel too guilty to keep nagging for an answer.
I said to the still dumbstruck Kazuma,
“You can stop now, I didn’t mind that.”
I gave him a gentle smile, to show that I’m not mad anymore.
“Wait wait, I know I messed up, please forgive me! Let me have another chance to consider carefully! …To be honest, starting on the hardest difficulty skips too much content, we should have started with kissing…!”
“I told you, I didn’t mind! Plus, you’re being too loud! Aqua and Darkness are right beside us in the kitchen, what would they think if they hear—!”
It was too late.
Kazuma wasn’t looking at me, something ominous has happened.
Before Kazuma was Aqua, clutching a rag, half hidden around the corner of the hallway. From the looks, she had come to clean the tables.
Still staring, Aqua fearfully stumbled backward.
“Hey, Darkness! Terrifying things are happening! Kazuma and Megumin were cuddled together, faces beet-red, and were talking about kissing or something!”
I urgently chased after to halt Aqua’s announcement.
The next day.
At the secret base, I flared out my cloak as I stood in front of everyone.
“I’m feeling able today! The weather’s nice, the perfect time to raid has come!”
I struck a sick pose with my beloved staff.
“Oi, I just wanna clarify; we are only sneaking in to steal some treasures, right? What do you mean by ‘raid’? Why does it sound so scary…?”
Yunyun asked worriedly.
“Raiding is raiding. Kazuma taught me that. We have to use professional language when strategizing. Anyways, we’ll first scout out the mansion, then successfully breach the defenses, and finally finish the battle with ease.”
“Hey, aren’t we a thieving group? Are you sure we’re thieves and not terrorists?”
I ignored Yunyun who’s been shaking me this whole time, and instead questioned Chris,
“So, have you decided on the noble whom we shall raid?”
“Er, aye, I guess so. I’m not as worried as Yunyun, but I still have to confirm; we are stealing, right? Not like, barging inside and causing a disaster?”
Even though Chris seemed doubtful, she still pulled out a map and showed it to everyone.
It’s a map of Axel suburbs.
Chris pointed at a forest next to the city.
“Er, there’s actually a noble’s mansion here. Some suspicious things have been happening around there.”
According to Chris, many powerful monsters not seen anywhere else in Axel have been showing up there.
“Isn’t this business for the Adventurer’s Guild? I’ve heard that the adventurers have gotten lazy after some successful boss fights had paid them well. Because of this, could the strong monsters have come out to feed on the weaker ones?”
Chris nodded with a complicated expression.
“Maybe, maybe not. But there is one possibility, and that is this family having used a divine weapon…”
A divine weapon, one that summoned and controlled monsters at will.
Very worthy of its title, but…
“If this thing is so powerful, how could a nameless noble get their hands on it? It would have been ridiculously expensive…”
“In actuality, to prevent problems like this, the weapon was originally sealed in a lake, guarded by a fearsome huge beast.”
Fearsome huge beast…
…I remember some recent events involving a fearsome beast in a certain lake in Axel.
“Indeed, that is a Kowloon Hydra. That area had had its magic drained by the hydra, polluting the water. So to prevent anyone from obtaining it, the divine weapon was sealed there. However… the habitat around the lake recovered at a staggering rate, attracting many residents. So, the person who originally sealed it away came to transfer it, but found that…”
“—the divine weapon was gone. So that’s how.”
And then came the reports for strong monsters.
Now thinking closely, the motive for living by a remote lake rather than within the city walls is pretty suspicious.
After all, the weapon summoned random monsters, so undesirable ones may have been stashed in the forest.
“Also, this divine weapon… seems to have been passed around different nobles. Its original owner was a noble called Alderp.”
The guy who had unspeakable desires about Darkness; the one who disappeared into thin air.
“As a royal, I cannot let such a dangerous weapon be out and about. Big boss, let’s go find the owner!”
“Hey Alice, did you mention ‘royal’?”
Stared at by Yunyun, Alice backed off innocently.
Suddenly, the so far quietly tea-sipping Cecily chimed in from the sofa,
“Will do…that divine weapon has huge potential. Use it to summon a lot of monsters, then just as they’re making all sorts of noises, the Axis cultists would enter spectacularly and save the day—this way, our numbers could grow exponentially!”
Alright then, it can indeed be used for nefarious purposes.
That only makes its retrieval all the more important.
Speaking of which, isn’t the situation already dire?
Not sure if the task is too grand or takes too much skill, but I have bad feelings about it.
“I remember collecting dangerous divine weapons was a primary goal for the Silver Haired Thieving Group, so let’s start here!”
—it’s a pretty and clean little house, looks to be pretty new.
The house was surrounded by sturdy metal fences, filled with traps. Probably anti-monster.
Eh, not bad.
No problems with the house…
“Things are sure escalating!”
“Hey, don’t say that now! Go save them!”
The nobles we were planning to strike were being attacked by a large mob of monsters.
“Ah, unless the weapon summoned uncontrollable monsters? But even then, there shouldn’t be a whole horde of rogue monsters…right?”
As Chris on the side observed carefully, Alice unsheathed her sword.
“No matter the cause, we still have to save them. Those guards can’t handle it by themselves…”
She requested guidance from me.
A few guards were attacking from within the fences using spears and bows.
“Don’t, onee-san has an idea. Let’s leave them for now.”
Cecily suddenly said something like that.
“You’re not wrong, as thieves, calmly observing the situation should be the right course of action. If they really have the divine weapon, they would deploy it to command the monsters.”
Even Chris agreed.
“I unbelievably came to an agreement with an Eris cultist! That’s right, we have to wait till the last moment, till they’re truly in grave danger, then be their heroes and rescue them! Then, the monster count would have decreased, too, making our job easier.”
“Wrong! That’s not what I meant! I was saying, thinking as a team of thieves, we probably should make sure if they even have the weapon first…!”
Cecily nodded toward the desperately explaining Chris.
“Then, we can ask for the divine weapon as a reward for our acts. As expected of Eris cultists, your strategies are truly evil! Not that I mind!”
“Th-th-that’s not right at all! I didn’t even say we should sweep in only at the last second!”
I understand Chris’ thinking.
Indeed, if they really had the divine weapon, they would surely deploy it in the face of serious danger.
There’s no need to risk searching inside the mansion to confirm its existence.
“I didn’t expect Chris to be so cold-blooded, but that idea isn’t half bad.”
“Even you, Megumin!? You guys misunderstood, let me explain!!”
“So that’s why I said, definitely not in a place like this!”
“What can that achieve now!? Our Lady was always this arrogant!”
Hearing the banter from the guards inside, Yunyun and Iris looked at me worriedly.
“Where’s the Lady!? We have to make sure she gets away…”
“Never saw her before this, so we can’t really abandon our post here!”
Then, we heard a conversation like this.
“With so many monsters, defeating them might be too hard even with our help…”
I didn’t respond, but instead kept my attention on the nobles under attack. Then I responded calmly,
“Well then, as the leader for the thieving group, I have responsibility to not let anyone get hurt. If you’re a smart Crimson Demon like me, you should understand that ‘leaving them be’ is the most logical choice.”
Yunyun clearly understood, so she depressedly went quiet.
Alice, on the other side, her stance with her sword drawn still held, looked back and forth between me and the nobles.
I faced by back to them, and took a step forward.
“However, while I’m the leader for this thieving group, I’m even more of an adventurer. I, who shall one day defeat the Demon King, will never let people be kfilled by monsters in front of my eyes!”
Saying this, I held my staff high. Giggles were heard from behind me.
“Really. Megumin is indeed better as an adventurer than a thief!”
Hearing this neither praising nor offending statement from Chris, I started chanting my spell.
Even though I wanted to be like my two thief idols, I can’t really help it.
I cannot hide and cower in front of monsters.
“Megumin, I’ll take care of any survivors.”
To my right, Yunyun raised her own staff.
She dare question the deadliness of my explosion magic…how brave.
“The monsters will definitely find us after the explosion. I’ll take out those coming in my direction! I’ll be Big Boss’ shield today!”
Even though I feel she should be the subject of protection, she adamantly held her sword up to my 7 o’clock.
“Onee-san will do the cheering from back here! Don’t hesitate to come for healing if you get hurt, lying is for the naughty!”
The unchanged Cecily made everyone smile a little.
Chris behind me unsheathed her dagger.
“Then, I’ll play real this time, too. Let me show you all how strong thieves can be. Megumin, proceed!”
Looks like starting a real thieving group would have to wait much longer.
Maybe even after the fall of the Demon King, after peace prevails.
“I’ll leave the first strike to you, take this chance to show us how powerful Big Boss is!”
I happily agreed to Yunyun’s challenge.
“E X P L O S I O N —!”
I unleashed my fully charged attack-!
After my mana was restored, I walked my lead-filled legs back to home.
“Welcome back! Megumin, listen, we’re having frost crabs again tonight! Really nostalgic of the days when we first moved here!”
Aqua, full of smiles, greeted me while cutting up the crabs.
“Very luxurious, I thought I only had one chance to taste frost crabs in my life.”
I dragged by mana depleted, tired and unstable body over to the sofa.
“You sure are way more tired than usual. I heard the explosion all the way from here, the atmosphere it created was very different, too. I’d probably give it a 95.”
Kazuma said, waiting at the table.
“By the way, Megumin, you look a lot more joyful than usual. Did something great happen?”
Darkness asked gently while placing the steaming pots onto the table.
“Today I figured out what I truly wish to do. Maybe that’s why.”
“You have other wishes besides using explosion magic?”
My rarely joyful feelings were shredded by this Kazuma guy.
It’s about time for him to treat me more than a crazy explosion maniac girl.
Today, I merely brought the squad to a noble’s home then saved their butts with explosion magic—
“…Eh? Did you think I only unleashed the explosion and did nothing afterwards this time?”
“What are you saying? No, why are you saying this now? Haven’t you always only been good for explosion magic? Without the explosion magic aspect, you’d be only a regular loli, isn’t that right?”
Kazuma poured his wine while answering me in a particularly disrespectful manner. This guy, just had to use the term “loli”.
“Then isn’t the guy who’s constantly sexually harassing me a loli…con? Let me go broadcast this news at the Adventurer’s Guild.”
“D-don’t drag us both down, alright? You’d be officially be labelled as a loli, too, you know!”
Aqua selfishly started cooking the crabs.
“Really now, what are you all thinking, don’t argue in front the crabs! Can’t you just be like me and live care-freely?”
“You were just bouncing around excitedly when you took the crabs from Darkness’ father, before crying from hitting your foot on the sofa.”
I was going to wash my hands when Darkness came over and said,
“You seem especially happy today, why not share with us what you did during dinner? Actually, for the past few days, you’ve seemed very happy in general!”
She smiled joyfully.
—Let’s go over the resolution. That noble we saved? Total asshole.
After we’ve dealt with the monsters, a girl about our age showed up. She seemed to have escaped by herself.
Before we could ask for payment, she told us something as rude as “I never wanted you guys to help”.
Had I some mana left, I would have slapped that bitch with all my might.
Why was that household surrounded by monsters.
Why did they settle in such a place.
Though we had many questions, Darkness promised them to be answered soon.
From what I’ve heard, the Masked Thieving Group have also targeted that noble.
I am curious as to how Chris would know this, but the thieves probably have their own underground network.
“Darkness made a good point, I’m actually intrigued by what Megumin had been doing recently, too. Is it anything strange?”
Kazuma asked while staring intently at the crackling crabs in the pot.
“I know. I heard it all from Cecily. She also mentioned inventing a money making tactic using the cuteness of little girls!”
Kazuma and Darkness stared at me accusingly, as if I had been involved in some shady business.
“Fine, I’ll report in detail what I did. It’s nothing unspeakable after all…r-really! So it’d be nice if you stopped looking at me that way!”
I explained while reminiscing my thieving group experiences.
Though things could have gone better, as long as my two idols are picking up our pieces, I’m happy enough.
“‘Twas the night of the fireworks show. On my way home after being released from police custody—”
I wish that one day, I’ll get to see them again—