Not much to say! Volume 12 and the other spinoff will be coming out in 2 weeks though.
Intermediates (JP->CN): lolihunter2 yukira 叶子 サダメ
Editors: Deus ex-Machina, Keel the Swift
Chapter 3: Goddess’ Grace on the Pious Follower!
At a time earlier than high noon yet too late to be called “morning”.
About that time when one would prepare lunch.
I entered the living room with a bedhead, holding back yawns. Everyone’s busy making lunch.
“Morning. What’s for breakfast? I won’t be wanting miso soup for a long while after eating weird things everyday in the capital.”
As I tapped my bowl, Darkness glared at me.
“Didn’t you get your memories back? You do remember what the children wrote to you, right? Waking up this late isn’t the way to be. Forget breakfast, we’re having lunch soon. It’ll be lobsters, because when I had Megumin’s secret Crimson Demon lobster dish in Elroad, I was captivated. This time, I’ve finally convinced her to prepare the raw ingredients after numerous attempts.”
Having heard Darkness’ somewhat passionate explanation, I turned to Megumin, who avoided eye contact.
She must have chickened out because she didn’t expect a noble lady to enjoy such a basic lobster recipe.
Hopefully this noble lady who only minds her own business wouldn’t order lowly dishes like lobsters in galas.
I decided not to break the truth to her after seeing her happy expression while preparing the lobsters.
“W-well then. Megumin’s dish is indeed quite delicious. Anyways, what are we doing today? …Are we really going to the guild?”
Having regained my memory, I once again remember the time I spent with Iris after my team had departed.
I even remember Iris saying, “I really like onii-chan.”
Had she not said that, I would likely be bursting with enthusiasm at this point from the children’s fan mail.
“Whatever you like. In Kazuma’s absence, we’ve calmed down a bit… So, if Kazuma is absolutely determined to take quests, I’m all for it.”
“Don’t mind me. Ask if Aqua is absolutely determined to go.”
Aqua and I pushed responsibilities between us. Having little passion left, she probably feels the same way.
Watching this scene unfold, Darkness gained an anger vein as she slammed her fork against the table.
“Didn’t you two gain any motivation from the letters? Hey, Kazuma, you’re no less than an admired idol for those children! Aren’t you going to be a role model for them?”
“I can understand why they admire me, but after calming down… Well, you know the rest. Think again carefully. Since experience can be earned by merely eating special cuisine, there’s no need to do dangerous adventuring.”
Darkness shook her head, as if saying “this guy is hopeless”.
“Hey Aqua, you get along with children too, right? Don’t you often play with kids in the neighbourhood? Don’t you also call yourself a goddess, like you did at the capital? Then, shouldn’t defeating the Demon King be your duty?”
Darkness’ pampering voice grabbed the attention of the self-proclaimed Goddess of Water.
“I am indeed the Goddess of Water, Aqua-sama… Although it’s strange considering how you guys don’t usually believe that at all. Hey, are you all realizing my godhood from heart? Then, since I’ve lived with you for so long, I must be more important than that Eris, right? Why not switch to the Axis cult?”
Aqua has become skeptical due to my earlier incident.
Having thought that Aqua would be a low-hanging fruit to trick, Darkness was shocked to find her firing back.
“…B-but, every generation of my family had been loyal defenders of the nation and its religion. My duty prevents me from believing any cult other than Eris cult…”
“Liar! You still don’t believe me! Darkness, I really am the Goddess of Water! Don’t you ever wonder how a normal person could stay submerged for so long and turn any solution to water with a touch!?”
Pounced on by Aqua, Darkness turned her eyes away.
“A-about that… I heard that Axis priests are very powerful due to the devotion of their followers, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they could turn whatever they touch to water; besides, Axis cultists probably don’t even need to breathe…”
“Apologize, now! Apologize for making my children sound like monsters! On another note… Everything Darkness wrote in those letters were compliments for Kazuma. I believe it’s about time to redeem the name of the Axis cultists; more specifically, I also want fan mail!”
Hearing Aqua’s demands, her eyes glowed…
“I-I understand! I’ll just go there again if that’s all you want, so— “
…and spilled some important truth.
“…Hey, you were saying…?”
Darkness immediately covered her mouth.
But alas, it was too late.
“Go where again exactly? …Oi, Darkness, the letters you showed me earlier were supposed to be from children, Right?”
Under my pressure, Darkness slammed the table and shot up.
“That’s indeed how it happened! Problem!? I even paid the kids to write them! Did you think I had a choice!? You wouldn’t come home any other way!”
When Darkness made such a baseless accusation in response, I stood up as well.
“Way to blame the victim! I even treasured my first fan mail as a memento!”
“W-were you that elated by them? I sincerely apologize for that…”
Darkness mumbled apologetically.
This bastard, acting increasingly noble.
“Back then you were still an honorable woman who refused to abuse her status. Since when did you learn scams like this!? You have been trigger-happy with abusing power lately, threatening this and seducing that. And now you…!”
Indeed, the old Darkness tried her hardest to keep her familial matters separate.
But now that she’s learned to use her power and wealth, it’s as if she’d been swapped for a corrupt old noble.
Is that what growing up is like?
“W-well, whose fault do you think it is!? That’s right, it’s all you! I’ve only fallen this low because of you!”
Darkness is now shamelessly going all-out. Aqua and I decided to strike back.
(Kazuma) “Why the hell am I the scapegoat!? Who are you kidding, bitch!? Your character doesn’t seem at all that different from when we had met!”
(Aqua) “Apologize, now! Those letters really touched me! Not only to Kazuma, you owe me an apology, too!”
(Megumin) “Quiet down everyone, eat the food before it gets cold. I spent a lot of effort in this.”
As the situation turned hairier—chaotic, even—knocking came from the front door.
I’m honestly tired of arguing with them.
So, I swiftly went to greet our guests.
(Darkness) “Oi, Kazuma, we’re not finished yet!”
(Aqua) “Shut up, you deceptive woman! Go eat your crayfish!”
(Darkness) “What are crayfish?”
While Darkness tilts her head in confusion, I opened the door.
(Dodonko) “ Meagerm—! I mean, M-Megumin-san, is she home?”
Before me stood two familiar-looking crimson demon girls, and holding their hands was Megumin’s sister—Komekko.
“Only the finest tea for our respected guests.”
“Thank you very much!”
Sitting on the sofa in the living room, the two girls were offered tea by Aqua.
That’s right, I’ve met them before in the Crimson Demon village. They were…
“So, what brought Punyfura and Dodumko here with my sister in tow?”
“How about you get our names straight first! I’m Funifura, Fu-ni-fu-ra!”
“I’m not Dodumko but Dodonko! Could you be holding a grudge just because I nearly called you Meagermin!? I merely bit my tongue!”
Megumin’s reply reminded me.
They were the duo of Yunyun’s circle in the village.
“Anyway, these are Funifura and Dodonko, two insignificant Crimson Demons. Just keep them in mind for the time being.”
“How could you!? How could you use terms like ‘insignificant’ and ‘the time being’!?”
“While we’re indeed usually treated as a pair and aren’t that important, I still can’t tolerate being judged by Megumin!”
Hearing Megumin’s half-hearted introduction, the two got emotional.
“Here, have a taste of this, too! Don’t worry, we still have a lot; take your time.”
“Komekko, there’s dessert afterwards…s-so, please don’t be so aggressive, you’re worrying me.”
As Megumin and I took the responsibility of dealing with the girls, Aqua and Darkness fed Komekko next to us.
She seemed incredibly hungry as she devoured the food at a dangerous pace.
Still a bit nervous visiting a different home, Funifura then said,
“Long time no see, Megumin. Your sister suffered tragic events, so we brought her here.”
The assertive girl with twintails called Funifura informed Megumin as she gazed at Komekko.
“Yes yes, we’re unsure if it applies only to your sister or your whole family…but needless to say, Komekko has encountered a disaster and has nowhere to seek refuge. We then heard that Megumin and Yunyun are both in Axel, so we’ve escorted her all the way here.”
The girl with the ponytail called Dodonko puffed out her chest in pride.
“What matter could be so grave? What happened to Megumin’s home? By the way, we’ve talked before when I visited the crimson demon village, right?”
Hearing my question, the two shuddered, suggesting they’re highly inexperienced with talking to males.
“Aren’t you Megumin’s boyfriend? Er, do you live with her? Actually, forget your home, the whole village has been hit by a disaster.”
“Yes yes, it’s nonetheless a bit difficult to express…”
Megumin couldn’t stand their dancing around the issue any longer and gazed at the feasting Komekko questioningly.
As if sensing her sister’s glare, Komekko gulped down whatever she was chewing.
“A ’boom’ and my home was gone.”
Her rather unhelpful summary shocked Megumin stiff.
“What did you mean by ‘boom’? Please elaborate!”
Seeing Megumin confused, Funifura and Dodonko shared a glance and hesitated—
“The army of the Demon King’s daughter is invading the Crimson Demon village.”
Hearing that, Megumin became unusually serious.
“The Demon King’s daughter… Does that mean the village’s secret has finally been exposed?”
The Crimson Demon village’s secret.
Crimson Demons were genetically engineered humans made by a lost technological superpower, so their very existence is a mystery.
Is that the reason the Demon King attacked them?
Although, by now the technology used to create Crimson Demons is long gone.
Therefore, that can’t be the motive behind their attacks.
“Kazuma, don’t worry too much. It’s fine. Many Crimson Demons know teleportation, we won’t be dealt with so easily. Even if the whole village burns down, we can still magically repair it in a jiffy.”
As if mistaking me for actually sympathizing the Crimson Demons, Megumin suddenly said such a thing.
“No, while I am quite worried for Megumin’s parents, I’m mainly interested in the secret of Crimson Demons. Don’t you have the tendency to collect…uhm, ‘evil goddesses that had been sealed away’ and other dangerous things to your own village? You also tend of have some sort of doomsday device in store. So, I was wondering if that’s the reason the Demon King’s daughter is attacking you.”
At this stage, whatever that bunch may be hiding won’t surprise me.
So, I hope she could be succinct about it.
“I understand. It seems necessary to tell Kazuma the truth now.”
As if reading my mind, Megumin gazed at me seriously.
“Actually, one of the tourist attractions at the Crimson Demon village is a watchtower that can spy on the Demon King’s castle.”
“Indeed, there is a watchtower upgraded with powerful magic items on a mountaintop near the village. Although it hasn’t reached the stage of ‘Omniscience’ yet…”
Funifura followed up Megumin’s explanation with equal seriousness.
“Us Crimson Demons can observe the Demon King’s castle anytime. His daughter seems to have found out…”
Looking troubled, Dodonko also filled in some details.
…So that’s what happened. Being spied on must be no joking matter for the Demon Army.
After all, intelligence is crucial in war.
So, the Demon King’s daughter wants to destroy the offending watchtower, huh…
“The original selling point for that thing was that it ‘could see into the Demon King’s daughter’s bedroom’. But now that our victim knows about it…”
“Mhm, the Demon Army’s information warfare capabilities are not to be underestimated.”
“What did you just say?”
I put a pause to Funifura and Dodonko’s exposition.
“As they have said, the watchtower can not only generate revenue from tourism but also provide entertainment for NEETs in the village. A piece of equipment this valuable…”
“…would obviously be attacked by the Demon King’s daughter. Hey, I’ve always wanted to ask: why is the Demon King at war with humans? To be brutally honest, aren’t you Crimson Demons and the Axis cultists the main reason we’re still fighting?”
As if agreeing with my logic at heart, the three Crimson Demons averted my gaze.
“Oi, are you girls feeling guilty?”
“Wh-what do you mean, Kazuma? Why are we always to blame…? We just have the Crimson Demon barbeque festival every four years…”
As Megumin’s voice trailed off, Aqua, who’s feeding Komekko, tilted her head in confusion.
“All teleportation-capable Crimson Demons would gather quadrennially and have a barbeque near the Demon King’s castle. After the feast, us Crimson Demons then unleash a whole mess of magic upon the barrier, only returning after the Demon Army comes charging out.”
“You guys are sincerely annoying. Can we stop with these troublesome activities already!? …Nevertheless, I understand the situation now. Thank you for bringing Komekko over, we’ll keep her refuge; alright?”
Funifura and company exhaled in relief.
“Since the child doesn’t really have another home, we sincerely thank you. We ourselves have duties to attend to…”
“Mhm, as the Crimson Demons, how could we refuse free meals delivered to our doorstep?”
Hearing those terrifying statements, Megumin joined in and courageously said,
“Daughter of the Demon King, show yourself! I call dibs on the first strike with my explosion! Funifura, Dodonko, let’s move!”
“How could you even help? Next, we’re going to meet up with the other Crimson Demons and engage in guerilla warfare with the Demon King’s daughter, now that she’s occupied our village. With only explosion magic, you’re at most a backup.”
Feeling betrayed by the term “backup”, Megumin’s eyebrow twitched.
“Yes yes, we were recruited as soon as we learned advanced magic. Feel free to watch in jealousy as we put on a show.”
Now with a second knife in her back, Megumin’s eyes lit up with crimson.
“Ah, speaking of which, Yunyun should be in this city too, right? Do you know where she is? She’s also invited, although we haven’t been able to find her.”
“Mhm, and I remember Yunyun describing in her letters what the friends she made here looked like. Even though we told her in advance that we’d be coming today…”
Yunyun’s friends? Gotta be the masked devil and the delinquent she had been hanging out with.
As for why she couldn’t be found, she probably didn’t want to introduce her so-called “friends” despite desperately wanting to demonstrate her social abilities.
“—L-look, Megumin, we wanted to ask you something.”
Said Funifura as if it were her final words before deployment—
“Yunyun wrote in her letters that she had made a guy friend in Axel… She’s really exaggerating and has no friends in reality, right?”
“I-is that true? Yunyun possibly has more friends besides us! Forget Megumin, please don’t tell me that even Yunyun has more friends than we do…”
Megumin then answered bluntly,
“As for her male acquaintances, first we have Kazuma over here, plus…the chick-magnet Vanir down the street and the notoriously degenerate blonde delinquent adventurer Dust…”
Watching Megumin count with her fingers as she spoke, Funifura and Dodonko panicked.
“Ha…Haha! L-look, she’s already trying her best given her abilities! Unlike the Crimson Demon village, there’re many people here! So, having one or two weirdos befriend her is nothing unexpected!”
Funifura adamantly denied her loss while Dodonko also tried to convince herself…
“E-exactly! By the way, Megumin, what’s up with this guy here? You talked a lot about him back in the village; but on a second thought, it didn’t make much sense. No way Megumin can possibly be this lovey-dovey. Be honest with us, Megumin. The shared bathing, sleeping together and events of the sort are all accidents, right?”
This question spells disaster.
Besides, Aqua and Darkness had just left to take Komekko to brush her teeth after desserts.
Only us four remained.
In other words—
“Uhmm… How should I put this… Er…”
Megumin blushingly glanced over at me, mumbled, then lowered her head.
How strange, this chick doesn’t usually act this timid.
“You…hey, you gotta be joking, right!? How could you possibly react so girlishly…!”
“N-no, I can’t lose to even Megumin… How could I lose to that chronically airheaded Megumin who’s the least likely to touch romance…!”
The two Crimson Demon girls backed closer and closer to the door.
Hope drained from their faces as if they’ve seen the world’s end.
Megumin shyly scratched her cheek…
…then said troublingly,
“Please keep this secret from my parents.”
“AHHHHH! We’ll never…!”
“…lose to you!”
Megumin savored the sight of them tearfully running away.
Then cracked a evil smile of victory.
—After sending them off, we bought a bunch of necessities for Komekko’s stay and returned home.
As soon as we were home, Aqua occupied the sofa as if as a display of power.
Within her grasp was Chomusuke, who had been neglected recently due to our travels and is currently struggling for her dear life.
“So, I’ll share my bed with Komekko. It’s been a while, you must have felt lonely. Here, let me compensate you with some long-awaited bedtime companionship.”
“Onee-chan must have been lonely without me…”
As she responded Megumin’s bed-sharing invitation with a roast, Komekko stared intently at Chomusuke in Aqua’s arms.
“Komekko, we have an abundance of food here, so please leave Emperor Zell and Chomusuke alone!”
Megumin advised worriedly, to which Komekko nodded as she wiped the corners of her mouth.
“You’re right, we must wait till they grow fatter.”
“No, that’s not why, Komekko! Those are our pets!”
Seemingly alarmed by Komekko’s heartless requests, Aqua reflexively took Chomusuke away.
“Since we rarely gather, let’s host a welcome party. Onii-san will bring you all sorts of delicacies!”
“Onii-san is so handsome!”
As Komekko cheered, she took out a small notebook.
“What are you writing?”
Megumin leaned over to see what she’s writing…
“mm/dd/yyyy: successfully seduced onee-chan’s boyfriend. I seem to have shifted his target from onee-chan to myself… Komekko! What do you mean by ‘seduce’ and ‘boyfriend’, who taught you these words!?”
“That damn hikikomori huh!? The NEET really has zero redeeming factors!”
What’s happening? Why do I feel hurt for this totally unrelated man even though I’m no longer a NEET but an adventurer?
“Say, what is this, really? A diary?”
“Mom told me to use this to keep track of onee-chan’s relationship with her boyfriend.”
I completely didn’t expect there to be a spy among us.
The next day.
Sleeping in till noon, I went downstairs for brunch.
“Onee-chan, another one!”
“Komekko, we always have enough food here, so you can stop stuffing yourself like there’s no tomorrow.”
Before me was Komekko who hopped around to condense the food in her stomach and Megumin who looked worried for Komekko.
“Oi, Darkness, why is the rice somewhat salty…?”
“Hmm… because I’ve been crying buckets…”
…there were also the two people who watched Komekko with teary eyes.
They seem to be strongly empathic about Komekko’s poverty.
“Because she rarely has the chance to fill her stomach!”
“That may be the case, but as your older sister, I’d feel ashamed. Here, have some pudding for dessert.”
After feeling conflicted for a brief period, Aqua pushed her own serving of dessert to the adorably gluttonous Komekko.
Unbelievably, even the most scrupulous person in terms of “food awareness” has been converted.
“Onee-san is full, you can have my pudding, all right?”
“Is that really okay? Wasn’t pudding a super precious snack we only eat on birthdays? Don’t you want it?”
While speaking, Komekko stared intently at Aqua’s pudding. Buckling under empathy, Megumin and Darkness also donated their share.
“Komekko, we’re the most famous adventuring party in the whole nation; no worries for money. Tomorrow I’ll make you a whole tub of pudding. For today, just say thanks and eat all these.”
Komekko bowed deeply in gratitude as she received the pudding, as if it were some priceless treasure.
Aqua and company then continued to dote on her.
Just now, Megumin noticed me spectating.
“Huh, you’re up? Are you here for breakfast?”
“Oh please… Megumin, go ahead and tell me when you need money. You always let me handle most of the income, only taking some change and tax money every month. How about I allocate a portion specifically for your personal spending?”
Indeed, this girl normally has no greed to speak of.
She occasionally gets infatuated with high-tier robes or fancy equipment, but from what I recall, the priciest item she actually owns was the staff she bought with our cabbage quest money.
I felt extremely sorry, like the time I saw all the discount tickets and reward cards in her wallet.
“Thanks for your consideration, but I’m fine. I only send a portion of my savings to my parents every month. Speaking of which, should I send too much money home, my dad would definitely blow through it all making useless magic items.”
“I didn’t know your daddy was that irresponsible.”
As we talked, I began eating my belated brunch.
“Onee-chan onee-chan, your boyfriend is finally here. Can we go to the guild now?”
“Komekko…! K-Komekko, uh… Could you stop calling him ‘onee-chan’s boyfriend’!?”
Aqua watched the bickering sisters with a graceful face as she sipped her after-meal tea. Suddenly, she thought of something.
(Aqua) “Right, so Komekko wants to visit the guild? Since you’re interested, why not let this famous onee-san take you there?”
(Darkness) “That’s right, I had returned here to start from zero, to keep doing quests. Taking Komekko along while we look for suitable quests isn’t a bad idea. By the way, why would you want to go there anyway? That’s no place for fooling around.”
Komekko then said something confusing in response to the unusually pampering duo.
“I want to visit the guild to see how strong onee-chan is.”
However, Megumin seems to have understood it very well. Her whole body trembled.
“In her recent letters, onee-chan told me that she is well-respected within the guild. People would often compliment her and bow down at the mere sight of her.”
Komekko said something I can’t overlook.
My single-syllable complaint intensified Megumin’s shuddering and made her stand up.
“Komekko, why don’t we go play in the yard? You can meet Emperor Zell in the pen there. Besides, it must’ve been long since you last played with Chomusuke, right? So, take her with you and go feed Emperor Zell!”
“Understood! I’ll feed it till it’s super fat!”
After resolutely sacrificing the cat that was sunbathing near the window, Megumin sent Komekko off with a pressured expression. She sighed.
Seeing she has no intention to face me, I then prompted her again—
“It’s not what it looks like.”
Megumin spun around, jumped into seiza (TL note: a formal resting position) and defended herself at the speed of light.
Even though I can’t see how it could happen otherwise, I still decided to hear her excuses first.
After we’ve all taken seat, Megumin stared off into the distance as if reminiscing her past.
“Let me explain; this matter has deep history… That’s right, it dates back to when I first left the Crimson Demon village…”
And thus she proceeded to explain the roots for her stories—
“—Nothing earth-shattering to speak of, is there?”
Hearing the story, I didn’t find anything too worrisome. She merely postured several times in her letters home.
She even took it further and explained it as to prevent her parents from worrying about her struggling in this cruel world.
Now that she mentioned it, I remember how her parents made many exaggerated comments when we had visited the Crimson Demon village.
“I wish I had another way. Should my parents become too worried, they might come take me back—that’d be terrible news. Plus, without me, wouldn’t Kazuma also be distraught?”
Having spilled the beans, Megumin stood up abruptly, flared out her cloak and struck a smug pose as if saying “what do you have to say now?”.
“No, uh…… Eh? If Megumin gets taken away…?”
Would I really be distraught?
Megumin fired back, now that I’m the one deep in thought.
“I’d very much be distraught if Megumin left! Because that way, I’d have to remake the chore distribution charts and do even more work! On top of that, I’d have one less friend to play with!”
Aqua’s careless response only salted Megumin’s wounds as she fell to all fours in grave depression.
Darkness stroked her back to provide consolation.
(Darkness) “L-let’s put that aside for now. You’d better tell Komekko the truth first. Since you can’t hide it forever, confessing sooner rather than later could save you a lot of trouble.”
Seeing us all nod in agreement…
“B-but my pride as an older sister…! No, Darkness is right. Originally, I only wanted to lie about my conditions to keep my parents calm—at first, I wrote the letters sincerely, but my mother was still too overprotective… After all, since we live in a mansion now, boasting about being a frontline hero is redundant. There’s no reason to take me home either at this point. I’d better come clean with Komekko.”
Megumin smiled in relief after seemingly making up her mind.
“—Komekko… I have some serious matters to discuss with you.”
After getting the dirtied Komekko who seemed to have had a great time to sit down, Megumin faced her and told her seriously.
Hearing that, Komekko was aghast.
“Could the tub of pudding onee-chan promised to give me…be a ruse?”
“It’s nothing insignificant like that, the pudding isn’t a trick! I’m here to tell you something far more important!”
Seeing that her pudding is genuine, Komekko sighed in relief.
Resolutely, Megumin began,
“You remember how I claimed in my letters that we were the strongest party in Axel, right?”
“Mhm, that onee-chan is a super-duper mage that can kill any monster in a single hit and she’s well-respected by other adventurers because of it…”
“Right. About that…”
Hearing Komekko’s recital, Megumin nodded.
“And the blonde onee-san never backs down before any monster, she’s a reliable crusader who can withstand any attack. The blue-haired onee-san is a priest that never loses to any undead or devils; she can even revive dead people like a goddess.”
As Komekko continued, Megumin stood up in a hurry.
“Onee-chan’s boyfriend is a very lucky and smart man; he killed many strong enemies. Even though he often complains, he still stands up for his friends when they’re in danger. Very gentle.”
At that moment, Megumin covered Komekko’s mouth.
“Komekko, you didn’t have to say everything! The truth behind these descriptions…”
Just as Megumin blushingly prepared to tell her the truth.
“As expected of Megumin, at least acknowledging that I’m like a goddess—even though I am one. It’s fine Komekko, your sister ain’t lying.”
Smiling, Aqua said somewhat arrogantly.
“Er, hmm. While I’m surprised at how Megumin sees me, those aren’t really lies. Hehe… A reliable…crusader, huh…”
Even Darkness became uncontrollably flattered.
“Wh-what happened to you two!? D-don’t get the wrong idea, Komekko, what I wrote in the letters were all…!”
Before Megumin could finish, I announced succinctly to Komekko—
On our way to the Adventurer’s Guild.
Megumin berated us under her breath for taking Komekko along.
“You guys just had to mess up this matter even more. I was already prepared to be despised by her when I confessed…”
I responded to Megumin’s continued mumbling,
“Relax, you. I really don’t think what you had told Komekko was that inaccurate. While it was indeed exaggerated, they were true for the most part.”
“That’s right, they were exaggerated just a tiny bit. Besides, many things can’t be explained clearly in letters, so those mistakes aren’t even your fault.”
As I gave such an answer, Darkness said excitedly as she led Komekko by her hand.
“Blonde onee-san, are you really super strong? Sturdy enough to withstand explosion magic? Too powerful for even devils to possess?”
“Mhmm, those are indeed true. Hmm, er… Man, did Megumin include even these details…? Needless to say, they’re still true.”
The usually compliment-deprived Darkness abused this opportunity to fish for admiration from Komekko.
She must enjoy Komekko’s compliments a lot because she rarely gets to shine as a meat shield.
“So, what about me? Why not talk about me a little?”
The similarly compliment-deprived Aqua nagged Komekko tirelessly from behind.
…I should also ask her to describe me later—
—Megumin’s voice echoed within the moderately spacious guild hall.
“I have something to say!”
Megumin had yelled as soon as she entered the guild. All the adventurers turned their attention to her.
Megumin and I let Darkness and Aqua handle Komekko temporarily, and had come to the Adventurer’s Guild to explain the situation.
“Everyone, listen, we actually have a request for you all!”
As everyone still paid attention to us, I began to elaborate.
About how Megumin’s sister had come and how Megumin had been exaggerating our performance to her parents.
Having also mentioned that she had become idolized within the guild.
“So, you just have to cooperate. We aren’t sure about the reward yet, but at least for the time Megumin’s sister is around, I’ll pay for all your drinks.”
Hearing my offer for free drinks, several people seemed to light up.
However, most were still reluctant, seemingly against lying to a child.
“I know what I’m asking is stupid, but…you have my sincerest gratitude should you accept.”
I deeply bowed to the audience.
Megumin stood dumbstruck, not knowing what to say.
She then smiled at me.
“You didn’t have to go this far for me. I should better tell Komekko the truth. Compared to keeping her onee-chan’s dignity, not troubling Kazuma is more important. Everyone, please forget what he just said. Sorry for dragging you all into this mess.”
Saying that, she also bowed to the guild members.
“Don’t act like a stranger, Megumin. We got no problem with cooperating; after all, drinks are on Kazuma.”
Suddenly, one of my drinking partners from the guild spoke.
“Speaking of which, Kazuma and company were the one who rescued me when I first came to this city. They bought me meals and taught me adventuring skills. Now, take it as a return of favors.”
It was her, the newbie female adventurer I had randomly chosen to dine and share adventuring wisdom with while pretending to be a seasoned professional.
“Indeed, Kazuma’s party defeated powerful Demon Generals multiple times. That’s no exaggeration. Speaking respectfully around Megumin? Piece of cake. After all, I had earned a hefty sum fighting strong monsters with you.”
That was another familiar adventurer.
Facing these adventurers, Megumin cried tears of genuine joy.
“Uh… Thank you all very much. However, I still can’t fathom everyone lying for the sake of my petty dignity. So, while I understand your good intentions…”
Just as Megumin said that with her head down.
The door to the guild flew open.
“And here is the Axel Adventurer’s Guild! Sure, this might be a beginner’s town and everyone here are low-levelled, but it doesn’t lack in gentlemen who would eat and drink with you just for hanging around!”
Everyone’s eyes now focused on Aqua, who’s sent some mixed messages. Then, Komekko, coming in while holding Darkness’ hand—
“But onee-chan said that this city was filled with powerful adventurers!”
—said such a thing with an earthquake-inducing volume.
“She said they faced off against Demon General Beldia, the Mobile Fortress Destroyer and the Kowloon Hydra without faltering. They’re super courageous, and super handsome!”
She announced with a face full of smiles.
Following that, the adventurers all uniformly turned their gazes to Megumin, whose own face is now blushed crimson as her robe. She pulled her hat’s rim way down, avoiding any eye-contact.
Komekko found nothing weird about the state of her sister, even casting a look of admiration upon a nearby adventurer.
“R-really? Perhaps. Adventurers from other cities would have abandoned post instantly. We may be strong, but your sister is much more powerful!”
Seeing the adventurer smile as he spoke, Megumin turned away in surprise.
A female adventurer beside the last also said proudly,
“Mhm, even though we’re low-levelled, our passion for adventuring surpasses that of any city. But of course, we still are no match for Megumin-san!”
Megumin desperately tried to stop the female adventurer from inflating the boast even more, but others have already begun racing to compliment her.
“Megumin-san was being honest, lil’ girl. The adventurers of this city are all very brave; the ones like me had charged directly at that bastard Beldia’s face only to be slaughtered by him. Hehe, while it was for the good of the city. Granted, back then I could’ve used a little more finesse… Although, courage wise, I’m still no match for Megumin-san, who had faced off Beldia one-on-one.”
Earning an admiring gaze from Komekko, an adventurer told something Megumin doesn’t know how to react to.
“When I first heard that the Mobile Fortress Destroyer, having laid waste to numerous nations, had come to Axel, I shuddered in fear. But then, I decided that I must protect the city that nurtured me for so long. Of course, that machine was also blown up by Megumin-san’s explosion magic. By the way, it was from that battle that I got this scar on my head…”
Eyes glimmering, Komekko listened intently to the scarred adventurer’s story.
“I remember the fight with the Kowloon Hydra. It was a tough one… It was supposed to be a match for only the royal knights, yet because the capital had been busy dealing with the Demon Army, they couldn’t find time. Alas, we had to take care of it ourselves. Was I afraid, you might ask? Ha, I unfortunately don’t understand what fear is. And the hydra? He was terminated by none other than Megumin-san!”
Another adventurer joined the show. Everyone nodded approvingly except Megumin and Komekko.
“Onee-chan and everyone here are all so great!”
Komekko’s innocent compliment brought smiles onto everyone’s faces. Megumin was in shock with horror and muttered something cryptic like ‘demonic imouto’.
“Come, little one. Have a taste of Axel’s specialty, roast shrimps!”
On a table at the center of the guild hall—A chubby-faced adventurer placed a plateful before Komekko.
“Idiot, little kids obviously love hamburgers way more! Here, try this shrimp hamburger!”
As if competing, a female adventurer nearby served up hamburgers.
The young girl then let out a heart-melting yet sly smile and…
“I’ll take both!”
…made her call.
“—How terrifying. I’m truly worried about her future. It’d be a real problem once she starts exploiting men for her own benefits.”
Using a volume only I could hear, Megumin said as she watched Komekko get drowned in hospitality.
“Being the older sister, you’re also pretty skilled at making waste out of men. See, on the rare occasion things get steamy, you would kill the mood…Owowowowow!”
Just as Megumin pinched me for saying something unnecessary, the receptionist approached Komekko with a smile.
Judging by the plate of ice cream in her hand, she seems to have also been infected by Komekko’s charm… Hold on, something’s amiss.
Komekko silently stuffed food into her mouth like a squirrel.
The onee-san stood right behind Komekko—
Still smiling, she took out a stack of paper.
And passed one to a nearby adventurer.
“A subjugation quest for Lucy the Spectre? Hmm, could that be…”
Hearing that, people all around shared glances.
The stack of paper that onee-san had were copies of a subjugation quest.
On top of that, the adventurers internally refer to the quest as the “durian quest” (TL note: lit. “kimchi quest”. I used durian here because it was more relatable) because nobody would touch it with a ten-foot pole. Like so, the quest fell into neglect.
To this, Aqua frowned and leaned over to me.
“Kazuma Kazuma, I have an ominous feeling. We’ll definitely end up being forced to take this hairy quest.”
“Coincidentally, Aqua, that is what I’m thinking, too.”
Feeling the perilous atmosphere surround me as I watched from afar, I backed off step by step.
Just as I prepared to run should things go awry, the onee-san said to Komekko who has difficulty standing up after finishing two meals,
“You are Komekko, yes? I have ice cream for dessert here; could you listen to onee-san for a while in exchange?”
She answered swiftly even after eating so much. The onee-san then placed the plate of ice cream before Komekko.
“Yes, there was a priest called Lucy who had, due to circumstances, become a monster known as a spectre … To this day, she still spends her time in anxiety near the ruins of what used to be her church. Komekko, don’t you feel bad for spectre-san?”
Gulping down the ice cream she had received, Komekko agreed naturally.
The onee-san nodded in satisfaction to her response.
“Komekko thinks so, too? But worry not, for our powerful adventurers will certainly finish the quest with little effort!”
Onee-san’s inconsiderate comment made all the adventurers exclaim in shock.
“H-hey, Luna-san, what are you talking about…”
“You guys will finish it, right?”
Luna interrupted the adventurer beside her.
Beside the onee-san, Komekko expectantly stared at the adventurers. In the end, nobody had the courage to refuse—
“—Well then, let’s fly before we also get dragged in. Look at that onee-san’s brilliant smile. She must be incredibly happy that the unwanted quest has finally been answered.”
I said as I pointed at the subject with my thumb. The adventurers that got invited looked dreadful.
Not a single person questioned my suggestion. Everyone sneakily crept to the gates of the guild.
Lucy the spectre.
In the mountains near Axel are the ruins of an old church.
It belonged to neither the Axis nor Eris cults.
While we don’t know which god the small cult followed, rumors say that Lucy was the last of their kind.
In this world, a god’s power is proportional to the faith of their believers.
Which implies that if a god loses all their believers in the mortal world, they will vanish as they’re stripped of power.
The devoted cultist Lucy didn’t want the god she follows to disappear, so she chose to continue praying for them even after death.
Because she kept praying even as a spectre, the virtuous disciples were touched by her ardent faith and are reluctant to let her pass on.
Besides, as an ex-crusader herself, Lucy has high resistance to holy magic even though she’s a spectre.
To let such a spectre pass on, an extremely powerful archpriest is needed; yet the powerful archpriests are more than often peaceful and virtuous.
Thanks to this incompatibility, Lucy still wanders around the ruins to this day.
“We need a strong archpriest to let Lucy pass on; a lousy one who’s ignorant of faith and virtue, at that. Do those really exist?”
“We do have a plenty of trashy cultists, but the emphasis is on ‘powerful’. Most of the priests in this city stink of corruption and are barely skilled.”
“What about the Axis followers? They should be happy to send Lucy into the afterlife, right?”
Facing my back to the discussion among the adventurers, we snuck over to the gates and were just about to open the door silently as possible…
Megumin’s shaky voice made me turn around uneasily…
…to find everyone’s gazes focused on Aqua.
The next day.
Departing early, we came to a mountain north of Axel.
“Hey, Aqua, this must sound puzzling coming from a crusader, but—do we really have to vanquish Lucy? To be honest, I’m not very convinced…”
Yesterday, after all that happened, we couldn’t help but accept the subjugation quest for Lucy.
Those adventurers were feeling relieved after they’ve shamelessly pushed the mission unto us, only to be buried in countless other “durian quests”.
On a side note, Komekko seems to have figured that she could get free food from anyone, so she headed to the guild early in the morning.
“What are you talking about, Darkness? You have heard of the reason she stays on this world, right? She’s a different case from a certain earth spirit in our house who is lonely and enjoys adventure stories. Should she pass on automatically after her soul’s been satisfied, it’d be no problem. However, Lucy will forever remain on this world. That way, I have the responsibility to force her into the afterlife.”
What happened to this woman.
The rare sight of Aqua making a goddess-like oath shocked everyone. Aqua didn’t seem to notice and continued,
“While I know not of which unpopular god she worships, having fewer competitors is nevertheless better. I’ll let their final follower pass on and eliminate this reject god for good.”
“You good-for-nothing woman, give us back that feeling of slight compassion.”
We chatted as we moved along, finally sighting the remains of what seems to be a minor church.
“This has to be it, the church of the reject god! Who cares if she’s the Goddess of Vengeance and Manipulation, I’ll destroy her together with Lucy!”
“I’m inclined to agree with Darkness… Seeing that the endangered god is female only made me even more reluctant. After all, I can’t really bring myself to hate a spectre living in anxiety…”
Aqua ignored my complaint, started panting out of sheer joy and walked towards the church faster. Megumin suddenly stopped.
“…Aqua, you were saying? Goddess of Manipulation and Vengeance?”
“Indeed. That’s what the receptionist lady told me. Lucy the spectre worships the Goddess of Manipulation and Vengeance; she still prays to this day.”
Then, Megumin tugged my shirt.
“Kazuma, could I say something?”
“What? Don’t tell me you want to let us have mercy on Lucy because the goddess of ‘manipulation and vengeance’ sounds too cool to be lost.”
My semi-serious comment made Megumin shudder.
“…N-no. While the goddess of ‘manipulation and vengeance’ does sound cool, she is more importantly related to me.”
“Oh you, this demon that goddess… Why do you always manage to involve yourself with such insidious entities. It’s annoying enough as it is with Aqua around.”
Although I felt speechless, I still let her continue. Megumin then reminisced,
“Kazuma, remember when you went to the Crimson Demon village?”
“Mhm, I do. How could I forget such a unique place? Shared a bed with Megumin and got ♂ poked by Sylvia…” (TL note: this♂is a reference to Van Darkholme. They mark homosexual innuendos.)
“I’d rather you not remember sharing a bed! Besides that, I’m asking if you remember the attractions in the village.”
“Right. Stuff like the nekomimi shrine and the Excalibur rock. What about them?”
Megumin still hesitated to tell me.
“There were also the ‘tomb which seals the evil god’ and the ‘sealing grounds of the nameless goddess’, right?”
“Mhm, I vaguely remember. Both seals were broken if I recall correctly. Sealed in the tomb was the Demon General known as Wolbach, and?”
“The seal of the evil god was accidentally broken when I was young, but at this point prosecuting me is senseless. Let’s set that aside that for now. The problem lies within the grounds of the sealed nameless goddess.”
“What do you mean by ‘senseless’? I think letting that evil god escape is poking a wasp’s nest and very significant.”
Megumin ignored my accusation and said in a somewhat casual tone,
“…Yep, it dates to when I had first learned Explosion magic. To defeat an invading evil god’s subordinate, I chanted the explosion spell as I protected Komekko and Yunyun.”
“Oi, don’t you try to change the topic, look at my eyes while you talk.”
Megumin still had no intention to turn around, instead she continued to talk to herself.
“Simply put, the target location of my explosion magic just so happened to be the sealing grounds. As a result, the Goddess of Manipulation and Vengeance that was trapped there escaped, and we haven’t seen her since.”
“What the hell are you saying? Hey, just what are you implying!?”
She said nonchalantly—
“The holy being that Lucy worships must be the goddess that had been sealed in the Crimson Demon village up until that point. By now, the goddess has been free for two years; she most likely has gained new followers besides Lucy. Therefore, don’t sweat making Lucy pass on, the goddess won’t vanish even then.”
I was dumbfounded by the matters that were just shoved into my face.
“What the hell is wrong with you Crimson Demons? Bringing an evil god from elsewhere on your own accord just to seal her at your home, even making it an attraction. Aren’t your lives too lawless!? Consider at least a little how others feel!”
Now that she mentioned it, I really want to slap whoever that gave birth to the Crimson Magic Clan right across their face.
…Although, at least we know that vanquishing Lucy won’t harm the goddess.
That way, the only key difficulty left is overcoming her strong resistance to holy magic; however, that shouldn’t be a problem since we have Aqua.
Well then, time to do what needs to be done—!
“Stop right there, Axis scum! Don’t come any closer!”
“What did you say, you damn ghost!? I feel that even using purification magic on you is a waste! Let me send you on your merry way with a God’s Beating!”
After arriving at the church, we quickly got on with our spectre-removal duty.
“Great Regina, Goddess of Manipulation and Vengeance, please bring divine retribution upon this blue-haired woman! You despicable Axis cultist, taste my curse!”
“You have the audacity to curse a pure goddess, don’t make me laugh! Darkness, give me your sword! Watch as I obliterate the hell out of the ruined church that this ghost calls home!”
Lucy, the ghost that resides here, must have been a virtuous devotee to keep praying even after death.
Currently arguing with Aqua is a translucent female spectre about the age of 20.
Megumin and I watched them fight dumbly. Then, Darkness interceded.
“Calm down, you two. Aqua, we’re both disciples. Lucy, you must have been a disciple too, right? Then, let us stay calm and talk this out. The goddesses that you two worship wouldn’t want a fight, would they?”
Darkness said while bitterly smiling. The goddess and the spectre then lashed back.
“Oi, what do you mean by ‘the goddesses that you two worship’!? Didn’t you say that you recognize my godhood!? This spectre dare look down upon a goddess, don’t you think she should be destroyed as soon as possible!?”
“Regina-sama, who I faithfully worship, is the Goddess of Manipulation and Vengeance! We believe in the eye-for-an-eye ideal! So, an outsider like you can go mind your own business!”
Darkness was unexpectedly counter-attacked. Those two weren’t even finished yet.
“Man, that’s what I meant when I say Eris cultists are absurd! Eris has many followers, of course she has no need to fight! Although, acting arrogant to the bone just for being the national religion couldn’t possibly be beneficial. Darkness, why not come pray for the Axis church once in awhile?”
“I’m so envious of the amount of followers Eris has! Unpopular religions like us must fight for survival everyday! Wanting peace? Don’t bring up such a first-world problem!”
Darkness returned speechlessly after being verbally abused by the duo.
“Look at you, just had to go meddle in other people’s business. Aqua would have purified her either way.”
“I’m also a devotee, so I’ve always wanted to convince a ghost into ascending on its own device…”
As I half-heartedly consoled the depressed Darkness, the fighting over yonder intensified to the brink of major violence.
“Go repent! Go repent in the underworld for angering a goddess! Ahahahaha! Watch as I God’s Blow the reject goddess Regina along with her final follower into oblivion!”
“Grrr! The scent of a nemesis I’ve been smelling up till now… I didn’t believe that someone like you could be such a…!? Regina-sama, Regina-sama, I still have favors I’ve yet to return! Regina-sama who sent the man that wasted all my hard-earned money to hell! Regina-sama who robbed penniless the woman that married my brother only to scam him of all his wealth! I have to keep you from fading, at least in the name of all who’s unfortunate!”
Lucy prayed in tears in contrast to Aqua who wore an evil smile as she approached while swinging her fist.
“Don’t worry, the goddess that you praise was relieved of her seal two years ago. She must have garnered other followers by now.”
Megumin, who had been calmly observing this whole time, said to Lucy.
She looked like a disciple, too.
“…Really? How would you know about this?”
Lucy gazed pleadingly at Megumin as if seeking salvation.
“Because I was the one who saved the goddess you worship. Go, you can rest in peace now.”
Seemingly finding no lies in Megumin’s firm statement, Lucy smiled tranquilly as if her prayers have been answered.
“Thank you so much, kind stranger… While I want to properly express my gratitude—it seems that the sole desire keeping me on this world has been satisfied—I couldn’t stay much longer. Sorry that I couldn’t return your favor…”
Saying that, Lucy smiled bitterly. Megumin returned with one of her own.
“The essence of us Crimson Demons is to never refuse gratitude. This is quite fitting to the eye-for-an-eye teaching of yours. We seem to click well with the Goddess of Manipulation and Vengeance, so you have no need to stress.”
Now relaxed, Lucy smiled gently at Megumin—
The utterly mood-blind True Priest suddenly punched Lucy.
“The hell are you doing all of the sudden! Why did you have to mess it up after finally reaching an understanding!? At this rate, she was in shape to naturally ascend!”
Facing the scene that is more than ‘slightly outrageous’, Darkness and Megumin stood frigid.
“Exactly because she was going to leave soon! I can’t stand being looked down upon by this questionable reject goddess and having her follower escape after defiling me!”
Lucy trembled severely as she caressed her cheek at the absolutely immature goddess before her.
“No way you’re a goddess! It’s gods like you whose followers become outcasts! Don’t you feel ashamed of having less followers than your kouhai Eris-sama!? Your kouhai’s cult has become a national religion; meanwhile, the number of Axis cultists…pfft!”
Lucy then chuckled under her breath as she pointed at Aqua.
Aqua’s eyebrows shot up.
“Oi, hold it you! I won’t accept being scolded this way by a reject cult with such few members that they might disappear any second!”
Completely furious, Aqua tried to grab Lucy, but she had nearly faded away. Her body floated up into the air.
“Great Regina-sama… As the follower of the Goddess of Vengeance, in my final moments, I have unleashed an epic roast upon the goddess that lost to her own kouhai… Having finished acting badass, I shall be on my way now. I wish you a bright future…”
And like that…
…the believer of the Goddess of Manipulation and Vengeance—
“WAAAAAAH! How could she run from this!”
Happily disappeared after successfully doing critical damage to the Goddess of Water.
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