Gifting this upstart adventurer with peace!
Editors: Nate, TaintedDreams
— We received a summons from the adventurers guild some time after returning to Axel.
“Well then, adventurer Satou Kazuma-san. The content of the summons today…”
At the adventurers guild counter, the staff onee-san smiled cheerfully at me with a heavy bag in her hands.
“The payout for the reward is delayed as the amount was very high… This is the bounty for the demon king army boss Sylvia, three hundred million Eris! This is the fourth demon king army boss subjugated by Kazuma-san! Kazuma-san, you are the ace adventurer of the Axel adventurers guild! … Here, please accept this!”
The adventurers watching us burst out into cheers.
I smiled calmly at the crowd as I reached for the heavy bag.
“Hey, take it easy everyone. This is not the first time I took out a huge bounty target right? Really, just a mere three hundred million Eris is… Hmm? Onee-san, you can let go now. I am holding the bag steadily and it won’t drop. Really, hey…! Hey, let go! Hey, let it go!!” I struggled with the staff who was unwilling to give me the bag.
“But Kazuma’s team already defeated four Demon King Army bosses. I was worried that they might get wiped out some day, but they really made it big now.”
“That’s right. They were a team that can’t even take down frogs not too long ago, but that Kazuma-kun is one of the few wealthy and successful guys in town. Truth is stranger than fiction huh.”
Voices came from all corners of the guild.
“No, I always felt that Kazuma was a guy who would make it big when the time was right.”
“I thought you were going about a bet on when Kazuma’s team would get wiped out? …But they are just amazing. Kazuma has the weakest job of adventurer. He doesn’t have outstanding equipment, but he still managed to fight on par with the bosses of the Demon King Army, that’s the incredible part.”
After finally wrestling the bounty over and hugging it carefully in my arms, I turned my face towards those guys who were still yapping.
“Really. Hey, you won’t get anything from praising me like that okay? … At most, I will just treat you to the best wine in the house ahhhh!”
When they heard my cocky words, everyone in the guild cheered.
“Ohhhhh,, Kazuma is so handsome ahhh!”
“Hyaaa—! Kazuma is the boss! Marry me and feed me for life!!”
“The number one upstart adventurer in Axel!”
“As expected of Kazuma who only has great luck!”
“Hahaha, even if you flatter me… Hey, who is the one who said I only have luck, I have many strong points aside from luck!”
It has almost been a year since I came to this place.
I finally welcomed such a moment.
That’s right, the coming of my era.
“— Really! How could you, Kazuma!! We were worried about you since you didn’t come back after so long, and I find you having a party here without us! And I even came here to check on you!” In the guild that was rowdier than usual, Aqua who was seated opposite me complained.
“I am partly at fault for not returning after so long, but you are the one who asked me to come alone, saying that nothing good could come from the guild summoning our entire team. Oh, here it is, the ice cold beer I ordered. For you.”
I placed the beer I ordered for myself before the pouting Aqua.
“Really, if you think my mood will turn better just by giving some beer, you are dead wrong alright? Megumin was pacing around the house and mumbling ‘He is still not back yet…’ every five minutes. Darkness was muttering ‘Is it because of that? Princess noticed the real identity of the benevolent thief after all? Ahh, what should I do to…’ and something like that with her head in her arms! … Hahh—! Hey, give me another beer!”
Aqua who was venting her frustration by rapping the table downed the cold beer in one go and asked for a refill.
Megumin who was taking small sips besides me said— “I’m relieved that the summon is for a good news, which is rare. Because Aqua wanted to bet on whether it is good news or bad news. She even said ‘I bet Kazuma committed a serious crime and has been arrested, three thousand Eris.’.”
“She also said that we should pack our luggage and be prepared to run if Kazuma really got into deep trouble. The bags by Aqua’s feet are the evidence.” After hearing that from Darkness, I checked for the bags by her feet and picked on Aqua:
“What the hell are you so worried about, are you kidding me!? What is with that bag!? Hey, give me that refill!”
“Don’t wanna, order another if you want one! And it’s true that I was worried about Kazuma! You see, wouldn’t it be terrible if Kazuma isn’t with us!? For example…! Like…. Like…? Hey Darkness, how would we be troubled if this guy is not with us?”
“Stop your nonsense, how many times did you think I cleaned up after you all!? I will give you a good whooping, get over here!”
“Ah, where are you pulling! The divine relic is getting stretched out, stop! Staph!!” Aqua slapped at my hand that was grabbing her hagoromo.
“Really. Why is Princess Iris so concerned about this noisy and uncouth man… Hmm, personally, I think it is because he is a rare sight and she did so on a whim…”
Besides Aqua, Darkness was enjoying the fragrance of the wine in her wine glass as she murmured to herself.
A lot of things happened in the capital.
Like routing the Demon King Army that attacked alongside other adventurers.
Protecting the property of a noble from a thief that disrupted the peace of the capital.
Resolving a national crisis in the dark without letting anyone know about it.
And more importantly, Iris became my cute sister…
“I wonder how Iris is doing. I am worried about her crying alone at night because of loneliness… Right, I should ask Vanir to make a doll that looks just like me. That guy did say the Vanir doll that laughs in the middle of the night is a top seller. Let’s get him to make a Kazuma doll that will laugh in the middle of the night for Iris. That way, she won’t feel lonely at night anymore.”
“Hey Kazuma, don’t ever send such a creepy thing over! I can post letters for you, but not that thing! They will think you are a terrorist!?”
Another week passed after receiving the bounty from the guild.
After going on plenty of trips recently, we finally enjoyed some peace in Axel town.
“— Hey, who is the one who made this dish!? Tell the head chef that the talk of the town, adventurer Satou Kazuma who subjugated many bounty targets is asking for him!”
“Tell him that the arch priest Aqua is here too!”
After striking it rich overnight, Aqua and I had been visiting the restaurants in Axel town in search of delicious food.
The one who was probably the main chef came to the corner of the shop that was hogged by us.
“M-may I asked if you have any feedback, does something displease you?”
The chef who was summoned out of the blue observed our expression timidly.
“No, I just wish to thank you and offer my compliments for the delicious meal. After enjoying the dishes in the capital, not many chefs can impress my tongue of god.”
“T-thank you for your compliment.”
As the troubled head chef lowered his head in thanks, Aqua wiped the corner of her mouth with a napkin and added:
“You used grape wine in this stew right? The bitterness is that of a red wine. The brand is… That’s right, a thirty years old Romanee-Continue… Am I wrong?”
“It is vinegar on sales that was just purchased.”
“… Is that so. To bring out such a taste with cheap vinegar, that is amazing.”
“I am truly thankful for your compliment.”
Once he learn that we wouldn’t pose a danger to him, the head chef regained his composure and bowed to Aqua.
In response to the polite head chef, I showed him the half eaten meat on my fork.
“The stew is delicious, but my favourite would be this. This meat is really soft. That’s right, if I have to use an analogy… This is like sneaking into the room of the girl you like, and when you open her cabinet with a pounding heart, it turns out to be a mimic treasure chest monster. That intense, unexpected impact… So, do you get what I mean?”
“Is that so. Anyway, it is superbly delicious. I, adventurer Satou Kazuma, gives this restaurant three stars.”
“I will give this restaurant three stars too.”
“Thank you. I will work hard to achieve four stars next time.”
I handed several Eris notes to the chef who was smiling cheerfully.
“Haha, you have a way with words! The meal is splendid, I will come again… As thanks for the delicious dishes, please keep the change. Thank you for the meal.”
“Thank you for the meal!”
“Although you paid the exact amount, I will look forward to your next visit. Thank you for your patronage.”
The chef was courteous to the very end and watch Aqua and me politely until we exited the restaurant.
— After getting the bounty from defeating Sylvia, we lived a lavish life.
The four of us divided the three hundred million Eris from subjugating Sylvia equally. And for me, I will be getting a large sum of money from the business deal with Vanir on top of that.
With that much money, I could live the rest of my life without working even if I splurge a little.
I made it to the winner group in life.
After all the hardships I endured, I finally made it into the ranks of winners among the adventurers.
Aqua and I patted our full stomach as we returned to the mansion that befits our status as first class adventurers.
While discussing which restaurant to visit for dinner, we opened the door…
“Really, what a perverted crusader! Here, you want this huh? Don’t endure it anymore, just give up…! …Ah.”
“I won’t submit for something like that! With my honour as a crusader on the line, I can take it even if it is for an hour or two… Ah.”
Darkness was rolled up with thick blankets and rolled to the entrance.
Megumin was squatting before Darkness and waving an ice cube in front of her.
Both of their cheeks were flushed, and Darkness was even panting.
After meeting their eyes, I closed the door softly.
Megumin then opened the door with a bang and dashed out.
“Don’t close the door! Don’t misunderstand, it’s not what you think!”
“No no, it’s fine, I get it. Aqua and I will come back after dinner, please carry on. If you want, we can spend the night outside.”
“The Axis cult accepts love between the same sex. Do you need a blessing spell?”
“You misunderstood completely! This is, that, Darkness she…”
Megumin grabbed Aqua and my hand, working hard to stop us from leaving.
“Ugh, to think there will be an additional Shame Play…! Even if Kazuma and Aqua see my shameful appearance, I still won’t give in!”
“You are making things more complicated, so shut up Darkness!”
After Darkness who was squirming around in the blankets became quiet, I noticed that hot air was coming out from the opened door.
It was almost summer, but these two had lit the fireplace.
“This is not any special Play, Darkness is just asking me to help her train for the Endurance competition. She seemed to be the winner in the annual summer Endurance competition in this town.”
Megumin whose face was all red pressed the ice cube onto the forehead of Darkness whose face was equally flushed.
“I felt both down and relief at the same time… But if you want to train, do it in Darkness’ house. You are making the living room all hot and stuffy.”
Darkness exhaled blissfully when Megumin pressed the ice onto her head and said:
“Actually, my father is not feeling well recently. if he sees me doing this he will be worried about what his daughter who has yet to marry is doing. I have to be considerate about his feelings…”
“Is your father unwell because you turned on the heater at home?”
Her strange mood probably subsided because of the ice applied onto her—
“Phew… Kazuma and the others are back, so let’s call it a day. Thanks to Megumin, I realized that raising my adventurer level will also improve my resistance to heat. I will definitely win again this year. Hey Kazuma, help me to untie this.”
She said as she wriggled in the blankets.
“Your appearance right now looks really similar to how I was when I was hit by a bind magic in Alderp’s villa.”
“…? Is that so? Maybe that really is. Eh, let’s talk about this later. Untie me first. The blanket is soaked in my sweat, I want to take a bath now.”
After hearing what I said, Aqua and Megumin bent down towards Darkness who was squirming around.
The two of them noticed my intentions and were smiling deviously.
Darkness looked up at us a little uneasily.
I repeatedly opened and closed my fingers and said:
“We have been together for quite long, you should understand my character by now. That’s right, I am a man who will pay whatever is done to me back ten times… Hey, Darkness-san who toyed with me for a long time when I was immobile in the capital! Today, you look really interesting ahhh!”
“Ugh! Just kill me!”
Darkness who started struggling with a blushed face said something crusader like for the first time.
“— Sigh. My steaming, immobile body is going to be toyed by Kazuma…”
“Hey, watch your words. It sounds really lewd when you put it that way.”
After everyone gave Darkness a good tickling.
Darkness might complain verbally, but her body was glowing with satisfaction.
“I plan to train tomorrow too. So Kazuma, want to play the role of the one flaunting the ice before me while I endure the heat?”
“Don’t wanna… I already said no, don’t look at me with such expectant eyes.”
After I chased Darkness who was wearing an expression of pity to the showers, I looked at Aqua who sat barefooted on the couch cross legged.
“Really, where did the awe inspiring Darkness in the capital go? Last night, I went to the public cemetery to purify lost souls alright? Everyone should learn from me who contributes to society every day.”
She said that despite forgetting about her promise with Wiz to purify the cemetery periodically, and only rushed over when she heard about the increase in the number of mischief by the spirits recently.
… No, let’s leave that aside for now.
Instead of that, I was concerned about something else since earlier.
“… What is that thing you are cradling near your stomach?”
A piece of towel was laid out on Aqua’s lap, with a small egg on top.
When we went out just now, she was fidgeting with something inside her pocket too.
“Ara ara, you noticed so soon, Kazuma? Alright, let me tell you. Don’t be surprised okay, this is a dragon egg.”
Megumin and I blurt out in surprise at the same time, while Aqua said with an arrogant face.
“When I was house sitting alone some time ago, a merchant who heard about exploits visited okay? He said ‘it is an honour to meet you! I have been searching for powerful adventurers who can fight on par with the demon king army! Allow me to present you with my precious collection, just for your team that fights tirelessly without regard for your safety against the demon king army!’ He also mentioned that we will need a familiar like a dragon to prepare for our fight against the demon king army in the future. I think that is a good point.”
Heard about our exploits?
What the… this feels suspicious.
Maybe he heard we earned a huge sum of money?
Aqua didn’t notice the awkward look on my face and started talking about that dubious dragon egg.
“Listen well alright? I will tell you since Kazuma is an idiot without common sense, the dragon egg is difficult to obtain. Even when it appears on the market, some nobles or rich people would buy it immediately. Since someone is willing to sell it to us, we have to buy buy buy right? This is a dragon you know? Aren’t you excited?”
… To be honest, if I say I’m not excited, but the more I hear about it, the more suspicious I get.
“… How much did you pay for that egg?”
Aqua said happily when she heard my question.
“Oh, he actually told me that it would be fine to exchange all the money I have for it! Dragon egg won’t be cheaper than a hundred million, so I asked him why is it so cheap? He said that he don’t want the dragon to be a symbol of wealth, but to contribute to the fight against the demon king!”
I felt an onsetting headache as I stood before Aqua who was cradling the egg carefully with both hands.
“… And so, you bought it.”
“I bought it. I already decided on the name. He is Glinsfold Zell Emperor. Since I will be raising it, it will be the Emperor and a King among dragons. You can address this child as Emperor Zell.”
Aqua said as she covered the egg in her palms, showering it in gentle light.
I wasn’t sure if she was maintaining the temperature with magic or using her goddess powers to promote its growth?
But no matter how I look at it, this was an egg.
In conclusion, I won’t take part in any quest before the egg hatches. Hey Kazuma, I can’t take my hands away now, bring my dinner over and feed me.”
Alright, let’s have fried eggs for dinner.
“— I will be back in no time… Sorry for making you do this stuff, Megumin.”
“It’s fine. Aqua refuses to go out if I don’t do this. And it’s true that only Aqua can fight on par with that devil.”
The next day.
With Aqua and Darkness in tow, I headed for Wiz’s shop.
Megumin will watch the house.
Despite the hot weather, she lit the fireplace and sat before it to incubate the egg that was bought by Aqua.
Aside from the temperature, there was also the need to rotate the angle, so it was troublesome in all sorts of ways.
This was the compromise made for Aqua who didn’t want to go because she wanted to incubate the egg.
Together with Aqua and Darkness, I came to a humble shop far from the main streets of the town.
“Open the door! Open the door!! I say open up, it is already morning! Your biggest clients are here! Quick, open up, open up!”
Aqua had gotten used to visiting Wiz’s shop, and was banging on the door early in the morning.
As Aqua was yelling, heavy footsteps came from inside and the door was thrown open.
“Don’t make so much noise early in the morning, think about the neighbours thee public nuisance woman! There is still some time before the shop opens, come back after thou wash thy face!” The one who charged out was a clerk in a weird mask.
The arch devil Vanir roared when he saw us.
“We are here as a guest today, but have some other business! You will be busy when the shop opens right? You should be grateful to us for coming early for your sake. Quick, give me your thanks.”
Aqua who was facing Vanir head on sneered.
The shop was more prosperous than ever, thanks to the new product I developed.
Since the deal I made was from selling my intellectual property rights, no matter how well the merchandize was selling, I won’t make a single cent more.
That might be so, but as the inventor, I will feel happy seeing the merchandise sell well.
“Hearing that thou who can’t read the mood being considerate for moi is nerve wrecking. It makes one wonders what thou is scheming… Never mind, moi knows why thou art here. It’s for the payout of that upstart brat over there. Come in and wait, moi will bring it here shortly.”
Aqua continued to pester Vanir who entered the shop.
“Say your thanks to me! Say ‘I am very grateful that you made time for a useless devil like me’!!”
“Moi already said thou art noisy! The shop owner who stayed up working for consecutive nights is sleeping, so be quiet! If thee tarnish the reputation of moi shop by being rowdy, moi will curse thee with aloe growing from thy butt!”
“Just try it if you can! You think a curse from a small fry devil like you will work on me? Are you dumb? You said the mask is your true body, then where is your brain?”
“Hahahaha! Hahaha! As expected, Moi have to settle things with thee. Alright, let’s take it outside!”
“Don’t bicker every time you meet! And what is the Wiz working consecutive nights about, is business that good?”
I separated the two who was pulling at each other and asked Vanir.
“Yes, this is what it means by laughing all the way to the bank. Since production is equal to sales, moi made the shop owner work in the counter during the day and manufacture the goods at night for about two weeks without eating or sleeping. Recently, she started crying and laughing for no reason and was emotionally unstable. Since she can’t attend to customers, moi allowed her to rest.”
In response to the dumbstruck me, Vanir came back with a bag full of money in one hand.
“Moi had an epiphany. A way for the shop owner who will mess up and run into debt if moi leave her alone. After observing her recently, moi realized that woman will do something unnecessary if she is idle. And so, moi tried making her work 24 hours without even time to eat, and it was very effective.”
Vanir told me something chilling as he handed the bag to me.
Even an undead Lich deserved a break.
I don’t know who is the owner and who is the employee anymore.
“Speaking of which…”
At this moment, Vanir turned and face Darkness.
“Hey, the one who is free all this while. The lust is accumulating in thy mature body over time, even though thou art a virgin, but every night—”
“What are you saying ahhhh!!”
Darkness charged at him with a roar.
Vanir dodged nimbly.
“… Hmm, the top notch negative emotion of shame, delicious… Armour girl, thou have the ‘sign of destruction’ on thee. It’s probably because of the brilliance from the annoying glowing woman besides, moi couldn’t see thy future clearly. In order to repay thy help in formalizing this huge deal, moi will tell thy fortune.”
He had a sinister smile that befits a devil when he said that.
“Hey, is that glowing woman referring to me?”
Aqua kept tugging on Vanir’s shirt.
“… Sign of destruction?”
Darkness asked with a nervous expression, and I…
“Instead of that, tell me what you were about to say regarding what Darkness is doing every night!”
Darkness whose ears were red to the roots pounced on me with tears in her eyes.
I think my front teeth are loose.
“Well then, let moi take a look. Little girl who have a strange sense of obligation from being a noble, but don’t have the capability and only wastes her time. Here, this way.”
Darkness sat opposite Vanir reluctantly.
I nursed my face that was punched hard by the teary Darkness and watched them.
Aqua refused to heal me, saying that I deserved it, so I had to use freeze to ease the swelling.
I will ask Vanir for the details later.
“Hey Darkness, don’t take the divination of a devil wholeheartedly. Instead of that suspicious thing, the advice from the elegant me will definitely be more beneficial.”
“Hmmp. Moi divination isn’t something vague that could be explained in all sorts of ways like the will of the gods. As the devil who can see through everything, moi divination won’t lose to a professional diviner… Alright, moi will ask thee some questions for now. There might be some questions that is difficult to answer, but thou have to answer truthfully.”
“I-I understand… but why is an Eris devotee and crusader like me getting my fortune told by a devil…”
“It’s free, so there is no harm listening. You just need to answer a few questions right?”
When she heard what I said, Darkness muttered that what I said was true, and faced Vanir.
“Hmm, so thou art ready. First, place one hand on this crystal ball… After that, thou just need to wait for a little while. So, please answer moi following questions honestly.”
“Ugh… I-I got it…”
Darkness placed her hand on the crystal ball as instructed by Vanir.
“Well then. Pray tell, why did thou, a crusader who values defensive power and require weight to stand firm and resist attack, start reducing the weight of thy armour?”
When she heard what Vanir said, Darkness quivered violently.
“… T-that is… B-because I am not agile, so I was thinking about reducing the weight of the armour so my attacks can land easier… I-I… think…”
In response to the stuttering Darkness.
“Moi already told thee to answer honestly.”
Vanir said quietly.
“… I am bothered by my abs becoming more and more defined, so I… reduced the armour’s weight…”
Darkness lowered her head embarrassedly, and said as quietly as a fly.
… It became defined huh?
…… She seemed really bothered by that.
Vanir nodded satisfactory after hearing her answer.
“True, true… Pray tell. Why did thou pose in the mirror with thy mage companions one piece dress from the laundry basket, and muttered a little happily ‘Ah, this won’t do, it doesn’t suit me…’ Also, pray tell why thou were smiling so brilliantly with thy head tilted unlike your usual solemn face despite saying thou did not suit the dress. And pray tell why did thou check the surrounding with a blushed face and place the dress back in the laundry basket.”
The devil-sama who could see through everything was absolutely the strongest.
Just how much do you know, Vanir-sama.
“… B-because, because cute dresses don’t suit me, so it is embarrassing to buy them or ask someone to buy them for me, that’s why I have never touched them before… I saw it by chance and tried it on a whim… I-I am sorry that an uncute muscle woman like me posed with it… Sorry…”
Darkness covered her flushed face with both hands and apologized in a trembling voice.
I don’t think she needed to apologize so seriously just for posing with Megumin’s clothes, but Darkness was really embarrassed, her mental resistance was almost zero.
“I think Darkness will look good in a cute one piece dress! After all, you are always wearing the cool type or mature type of dresses! You also wore an aristocratic lady style of dress before, so trying a cute one piece is nothing much! There is nothing wrong with Darkness trying out a cute dress in secret!”
Aqua who didn’t mean any harm clenched her fists as she encouraged Darkness.
It was another blow for Darkness, who laid onto the table with her face in her arm, her ears completely red.
Vanir looked at Darkness and nodded with a pleased look.
“Alright, the last question. Thou knew that the man who under the same roof as thee will look at you with lewd eyes, but pray tell why you wandered around the mansion in an attire that accentuates the curves of your body—”
“What! What does this have to do with the divination!?”
Darkness stood up with a face that was on the verge of tears.
Vanir was puzzled and tilted his head.
“Moi didn’t say the divination couldn’t be done without asking questions. Moi merely asked you out of curiosity. The divination only require thee to place thy hand on the crystal ball. Moi was just killing time with moi questions while waiting for the divination results… Hey, hey stop! Why art thou touching moi mask as thee please!? Don’t attempt to unmask moi in tears!”
— She was probably unhappy about being played with, even though Darkness had her hand on the crystal ball, she refused to look at Vanir. Vanir stared at the crystal ball and told her:
“… Hoho, I see. Yes, the sign of destruction. Thy family and father will meet with misfortune in the future. And then, thou who is stupid will think everything could be solved by sacrificing thyself, and take reckless actions. No one would be happy about that. Thy father will live in frustration and regret for the rest of his life. A good way to avoid it would be to…”
After hearing Vanir’s words, Darkness had a very serious expression.
“… Ho, in conclusion, thou couldn’t do anything with thy strength. It would be better to abandon everything and go. In a faraway place thou can start over with that man who is thinking ‘If I am a bit more forceful, I should be able to do it with Darkness right?’, but is too scared of crossing the line and compromising the current relationship.”
“Hey, wait right there, really now. Every time you open your mouth, my teammates trust towards me turns negative.”
Darkness stood up silently.
I shivered, but she didn’t seem to be angry.
That was expected, I just thought forcing myself on her might work, but had not done anything yet.
“… Vanir, thank you for your divination. No matter what happens, I won’t run away… Well, I will believe half of what you said. Kazuma, you won’t be going out for missions any time soon after getting so much money right? I am not bothered by the divination, but I am planning to return home to visit my father after being away for so long.”
Darkness said as she exited the shop.
“Hey, useless devil, can’t you be more specific? And you were just saying that the signs from the gods are too vague. Tell my fortune too. Anyway, try divining what sort of dragon Emperor Zell would be. And does he have the power to rule over the dragons. Ah, also— I ran out of money after buying Emperor Zell, so teach me a way to earn money easily. You can see through everything right?”
After Darkness left the shop, Aqua said something like that.
Vanir’s mouth twisted with disgust coming from the bottom of his heart.
“This is moi first time seeing such an uncouth goddess. If moi have an easy way to make money, moi would have told the debt ridden shop owner, and save up the funds to build my dungeon. Moi ability is to see what someone has done and what will happen to that person in the future. Nothing good will come of using this skill on thy greed… Thee don’t even understand this, are you really a goddess?”
Aqua sneered at Vanir.
“In the end, you are just a devil, you over advertised yourself. Hah— How useless. Let’s go back, Kazuma. I will continue incubating Emperor Zell. After that child hatches, I will turn this devil into that child’s feed.”
“… Ohh, moi sensed a revelation. Thou can rename Emperor Zell to Teriyaki. It will be loved by everyone during dinner tonight.”
Vanir and Aqua stood up with cold smiles on their face.
“Ara ara, what is with that name. The one hatching from the egg is a dragon alright? I spent loads of money to buy it. Why should I give it a name that sound so delicious?”
“I bet moi name as the devil Vanir who can see through everything. The thing that will hatch from the egg favoured by the cockeyed goddess will be delicious chicken meat…”
I decided to ignore the two of them who were staring at each other and stood up with the money held carefully in my hand.
In order to not lose it to thieves or carelessness, I decide to bank it in.
I was in a great mood after getting a huge sum of money, and ignored the two who were staring at each other, and left…
“Wait, the brat who wants to make a booking at that shop and spend the night outside after getting a large amount of money.”
I stopped in my tracks.
Please don’t see through the part about my booking tonight.
“Do thou remember what moi said to thee the first time we met in this shop?”
“… What you said? What about it?”
How would I know if he ask me something from so long ago.
“To forget such important advice, thou’s memory is as bad as a goddess… Never mind, moi will give you new advice. Thou should not rest on thy laurels and develop more merchandise. Thou think thou wouldn’t be troubled by money anymore? I said to the crusader girl just now that she couldn’t do anything with her strength… However, depending on the effort thou put in, it might not be hopeless.”
“I will give you a piece of advice too. All the money you worked so hard to earn will all be squandered by Wiz recklessly in just a matter of days… How is it? How is it? This is the future the Aqua who can see through everything divined for you.”
— With the sound of bottles breaking, explosions and the voices of these two arguing behind my back, I set off on the trip back home.
I thought about the words Vanir told me as I was leaving the shop.
According to Vanir, Darkness’ father and her House would meet with misfortune.
Darkness would sacrifice herself with a stupid way of solving the problem.
Whether these problems could be resolved would be dependent on my efforts.
He told me to invent products that would sell like hot cakes to prepare for this.
… What did he mean?
One day, when I had almost forgotten about Vanir’s divination.
Without any premonition like knockings, the door to the mansion opened suddenly.
A man wearing the attire of a butler entered the mansion without permission, wearing a solemn expression on his face.
“My apologies for intruding during a meal at such an hour. I am here for Lady Dustiness because of a very pressing matter… Pardon me, could I take some of your time?”
After the man finished without even introducing himself, he stared at us coldly while we were having our dinner.
Darkness who looked displeased said while holding a fork that had some vegetables on it.
“Since you are addressing me as Lady Dustiness, that means you are an envoy from some aristocratic House… I will humour you then. What is this about?”
When he heard the annoyed reply, the man acknowledge softly.
“My master, Alexei Barnes Alderp, is seeking your presence. It is not convenient to talk in a place like this, so I have prepared for a carriage outside. We can discuss the details in my master’s mansion. This way please.”
The man arrogantly referred to our mansion as ‘a place like this’, and gestured outside without any sign of remorse.
In response to this man’s attitude, the fork in Darkness’ hand twisted with a creak.
I was worried that the short tempered young lady might say something scary and pounce on him, but Darkness simply placed the twisted fork onto the table..
“… I will be going out for a bit. If I don’t return after it has gotten late, lock the door… Well then, I’m off.” She said and left with the man, before we could keep up with the sudden development.
“… What’s with that guy?”
“He mentioned Alderp. I remember that is the name of the old man landlord right? I am not certain, but did she get involved in something weird?”
I hope the situation won’t become weird… We turned quiet as a gloomy cloud covered our faces.
“If Darkness is going out, I will take the rest of her hamburg steak. Hey Megumin, can you feed me today? Kazuma is terrible at feeding. He even shove a spoonful of stew into my nose yesterday.”
There was someone who couldn’t read the mood and refused to let go of her egg.
— The next morning.
“It’s almost summer and you still won’t shed. You are not like a cat at all… Hey, what do I need to do to return you to your original form? You are in that situation right? Your cat appearance is just a disguise correct? You are actually a beautiful cat eared girl who ends her sentence with ‘nyaa’, am I right?”
Sitting crossed legged beside the living room window and basking in the sun, I brushed the fur of Chomusuke as I talked to it.
I had been trying to talk to it from a long time ago, but I had yet to receive any reply. It showed responses that seemed to imply it understood human speech, but it didn’t revert to its original form.
I was certain this was no ordinary cat.
Going by the development in mangas, it would definitely transform into a beautiful girl…
“Let me make this clear first, I don’t hate inhuman beauties, and will not dislike you no matter if you are human or not. Even if you transform into a pretty girl and I find you in my blanket naked in a cold morning, I won’t panic at all. And of course, you can keep staying in this mansion even if you are not human, so don’t worry. Not just that, I will grill delicious fish for you every day too.”
When it heard the word fish, Chomusuke who was enjoying its fur being brush raised its head and sniffed.
“Oh, you reacted to the word fish, you glutton. Listen up, Chomusuke. If you transform into a human, your size will increase and you can eat more fish. You understand?”
After meowing in reply, it grunted at me as if it was asking me to brush its fur some more, snuggling its forehead against my hand that was holding the brush.
“Good, good, good, you are a cutie after all. Stay this way after turning into human form, alright? Don’t join into the ranks of those regrettable heroines. If you stay good, I will treat you to the meat of a chicken that just hatched.”
When I was ready to start brushing again after saying that, the door to the mansion suddenly opened.
“Kazuma! Let’s go hunt a bounty monster!!”
The queen of regrettable heroines that had me worried after not returning last night said something stupid when she came back in the morning.
“… What are you saying after playing outside until morning? Who you are intimate with is none of my business, but you are still an unmarried daughter of a noble house, so don’t go too wild okay?”
“Moron, I didn’t spend the entire night raving! I thought it would trouble all of you if I came back in the middle of the night, so I went back to my home! Instead of that—!!”
Darkness came to my side and shove a piece of paper to me who was sitting cross-legged on the carpet.
“Hurry, look at this!”
“… Bounty monster ‘Kowloon Hydra’? … What is this, a monster like Yamata no Orochi?”
Darkness showed me a drawing of the bounty monster known as the Kowloon Hydra, with detailed information such as its habits besides it.
After I took the paper reluctantly, Darkness tilted her head and asked “Yamata no Orochi?”
“Kowloon Hydra. This fellow lives in the hills near Axel, a big bounty target that usually lies dormant. It will hibernate in the bottom of the lake after exhausting the mana inside its body, and will absorb mana from the land around it. The hydra will need ten years to replenish its mana after it hibernates. The last time it did so was about ten years ago.”
Which means this fellow was waking soon?
From the details written on this piece of paper, its size was in a word, enormous.
It was about the size of a house.
And it looked scary.
From the name and appearance, it reminds me of the final boss in a game.
“You say you are going to hunt this thing… it might be foggy outside, but stop dreaming. And what is with that butler yesterday? Megumin was worried that the unworldly Darkness would just follow some weird nobles to some place unknowingly and have bad things done to you.”
“Last night…! Last night’s incident has nothing to do with you all. It is just some squabble between nobility, don’t interfere unless you want to be dragged in. Instead of that, where is Megumin? If it is Megumin, she will definitely be hyped about this right!?”
“Megumin and Aqua went out. They wanted to prepare a cool collar for the dragon that is going to hatch.”
“Aqua asked me to help her build a small house for the dragon after it hatches, but no matter how I look at that egg…”
I said to Darkness who had a complicated expression:
“It looks like a chicken egg… Anyway, I won’t hunt something like that alright? If you want, just go with Megumin and Aqua. I won’t go even if you cry and make a scene like usual.”
“When did I ever make a scene! …Actually there has been report that there is something wrong with the lake a few days ago. It seemed that weed has started growing out of the barren land around the lake. This meant the Hydra didn’t need to absorb mana from the land anymore. Which is a sign that it is awakening.”
After pausing for a moment, Darkness said loudly:
“… Listen well, Kazuma. The only ones who can save this city is our team that has taken down bosses of the Demon King Army! You are also an adventurer in this town, and want to protect this land right? …The hero who defeated numerous bosses of the Demon King Army, Satou Kazuma! See, now is your chance to shine!!”
Standing before Darkness with sparkling eyes and clenched fist, I snickered.
“You think I am a moron who will charge forth after someone swoons over me and calls me a hero? After our time spent together, you should understand this much. Don’t you have anything else that will motivate me? By the way, I am not talking about money alright? I have plenty of cash anyway. Think about it, there are other ways to get my attention right?”
After hearing what I said, Darkness lowered her head for a moment.
Finally, she clenched her fists and said with her cheeks flushed.
“…I-I get it… I will give you a reward that will make you happy after defeating the Kowloon Hydra. Erm…. A k-kiss to your cheek.”
“Are you retarded? I’m not a kid, in this time and age, who will risk their lives for a kiss?”
She probably made a huge resolution before deciding on this proposal, but my unexpected cold rejection made Darkness dumbfounded.
“In the end, just the thought that a mere kiss has such an exaggerated value irks me. Or rather, just how confident are you? Did the flattery from the nobles in the capital make you arrogant?”
“Why, you, you…!”
I picked up Chomusuke that was on my lap and said to it before the trembling Darkness:
“Hey Chomusuke. This Onee-san thinks that there would be a guy who will risk his life for her, huh? Just how high does she evaluate herself? Really, isn’t there a better way to entice others?”
Chomusuke purred as if it was replying to me.
“Oh, is that so, so you think the same huh. That’s right, there are plenty other ways right?”
“Don’t be cocky! Put the cat down, I will kill you!”
I enjoyed the sensation of Chomusuke’s soft fur in front of Darkness who was shaking her fist with murderous eyes.
“Oh? What is it, is that the only method you know, by brute force? I have the skill ‘bind’ now. If I use that, you will be tied into a dumpling in an instant. You want to experience ticklish hell again? If that is what you want, bring it on!”
Before my arrogant taunts, Darkness’ cheeks started turning red for unknown reasons.
“… Bind, huh. By the way, you even learned that skill before I realized it. O-okay. No problem, let’s spar then. If you can bind me, I will let you do as you wish just like that time a few days back. But I won’t give in just because you tie me up and toy with me a little!”
“What are you so happy about!? And I don’t need to go anyway right? Just bringing Megumin along will do. No matter what that is, one shot from Megumin’s spell will finish it off. If that doesn’t work, just run away. In the end, Hydra is a subspecies of dragons right? The scales are tough, the powerless me can’t do anything…”
As I was saying all this.
Darkness didn’t lose her temper or pounce over.
She suddenly turned silent with a dejected face, which made me speechless.
… She wanted to defeat that bounty target that much huh.
“S-say… You really won’t help, no matter what?”
Darkness squatted down and looked up at me with sad eyes.
… Using puppy eyes attacks, this girl was getting good at coercing others!
— After journeying half a day south from Axel town, we could see a small hill.
Traveling deep into the hills, we reached a murky green lake.
“Neh, what if we fail to defeat the Hydra? If we attack now, wouldn’t the worst case scenario be us aggravating a docile monster?”
“No! I don’t want that!!”
Darkness replied to my question:
“That isn’t a problem. The way to fight the Kowloon Hydra in the past was to surround it with an army, make it exhaust its mana by rampaging around, so it would hibernate again after depleting its mana. And of course, the capital is keeping track of the time and will be sending a Knight Corps over soon.”
“I don’t want this Hydra or whatever ahhh! Why must Darkness aim for this bounty monster? Kazuma mentioned it occasionally too, but are you really an impoverished borderline noble? I will smash the piggy bank containing the money I worked so hard to save and lend it to you, can you just bear with it a while more!?”
I see, so there was the insurance of the Knight Corps even if we fail.
“But the Hydra has awakened before the Knight Corps is scheduled to arrive. Also, the Knight Corps can induce the Hydra into deep slumber, but they can’t finish it off. In that case, the root of the problem remain unsolved. That’s why you are asking me, who have defeated countless foes, correct?”
“Let me go back! Hey, please let me go back! I have a bad feeling about this!”
Since the Knight Corps was coming, we could just follow them and take out the Hydra together. Why is Darkness so anxious about subjugating the Hydra?
At that moment, Megumin who was full of spirit took off her eye patch with a laugh.
“Fuhahaha, leave this to me! Hydra might be a subspecies, but it is still a lesser dragon. After defeating it, I can call myself a dragon slayer! I wanted the title of dragon slayer in the past, so I blew up a wyvern which is also a subspecies of dragons. But it was probably a youngling, and wasn’t recognized as a kill. I will take the title of ‘dragon slayer’ for sure this time.”
After hearing Megumin’s reliable words, I nodded and looked towards the center of the lake again.
“Alright, first off…”
“I still need to go back early to witness Emperor Zell’s birth! Waahhhh!!”
“You have been so noisy all this time! A chicken egg needs twenty days before it hatches, it’s still early! And it is about time you give that up. If you go back, who else can wake the Hydra!”
I couldn’t take it anymore and lectured Aqua who had been noisy all this while.
“Why would a chicken hatch from a dragon egg!? And why must the important Emperor Zell be entrusted to that sort of place!?”
The egg Aqua bought was placed in the care of Wiz’s shop.
“No choice, we couldn’t ask someone else to do something as stupid as incubating an egg. If we ask an adventurer we know to do that, there is a high chance it would be eaten.”
Now that I thought about it, I was a bit concerned about Wiz gulping when we handed her the egg.
“But, but, how can I pass the egg to a lich and a devil? I am worried about them negatively influencing Emperor Zell who is about to hatch! Dragon eggs will have higher mana and take from their parents the longer they are held! I hope the child would be a holy white dragon, but wouldn’t it be affected by dark powers and hatch into a black dragon!?”
“Even if it is black, it’ll just be a crow. If you’re that worried, then beat the Hydra fast and go back soon. If we can’t beat it with Megumin’s magic, there wouldn’t be any other way. We’ll just have to run then.”
Aqua finally accepted it and became docile. At that moment, Darkness drew her sword.
“Alright, are you ready? Well then, let’s begin, Aqua!”
The plan was simple.
Amphibious monsters tend to hate clean water.
So it was time for Aqua whose strange body type that was usually useless to shine.
“You guys can’t do without me huh. Personally, I don’t hate the act of purifying water… I will be back in a jiffy! If Megumin’s spell doesn’t work, you have to escape immediately alright!?”
Aqua then jumped into the murky lake unhesitantly.
Swimming in the lake, she took some water with her hands and splashed it around, like a crazy woman.
Megumin muttered as she watch this scene from afar.
“… She is purifying the water? Isn’t she just playing with water because it is too hot?”
Indeed, she look just like a retarded girl playing with water by herself, even though she was doing her job for the subjugation properly.
Watching from afar, we saw Aqua floating on the water with her eyes closed. She probably got tired of cleansing the vast lake.
“… Hey Kazuma, Aqua is taking a nap right on top of the place where the high bounty target is hibernating. Is that really fine? I have been thinking for a while now, why can Aqua purify water even without any chanting or gesturing to cast her spell?
“I am bothered by that too. I thought it was just another one of her party tricks, so I didn’t comment on it.”
“According to what she said, the reason is because she is the goddess of water.”
Even though I said that, the two of them didn’t believe it at all just as I expected. In the meanwhile, the goddess of water was drifting to the center of the lake because of the wind.
I was thinking about tying her with a rope so she wouldn’t drift away, but it was too late.
The three of us didn’t feel tense despite the surreal scene. Just when we were yawning from boredom.
When small ripples appeared on the surface of the water, the dozing Megumin opened her eyes wide—
“This is…! It’s here, it’s here! I can feel powerful mana clearly! The source is coming from the bottom of the lake!”
As Megumin was shouting urgently, a growing shadow appeared right under the sleeping Aqua.
Something unbelievably big was surfacing.
“Aqua! Stop sleeping, get up! It’s coming from below! Megumin can’t cast her spell with you floating there!
Aqua woke after hearing my cries, and paddled the water deftly even though she just got up. She stretched and looked around her.
She probably realized the situation and swam our way in a panic.
“Hey, this is larger than what I was told! It was supposed to be the size of a large mansion, but this is much bigger than our home!”
Darkness and Megumin’s expression froze in the face of the shadow that was growing in the lake.
When I heard it was the size of a large mansion, I figured that Megumin’s spell should be able to work.
But with its size right now, she won’t be able to blow it away in one shot.
“K-Kazuma, Kazuma! Something humongous is chasing after me!”
The gigantic shadow finally took form, and its eight heads could be clearly seen under the water.
The heads were reaching right for Aqua…!
“It’s coming! Megumin, ready your spell! Darkness, stand before Megumin and defend if anything happens! I will secure our retreat route!”
“Leave the defence to me! But there are no other monsters, so securing the retreat route is unnecessary!!”
“I-It might be larger than expected, b-but I will settle it with the power of my explosion magic! Watch me destroy the entire eco system of this lake!”
“Whatever, just hurry up!”
With no regards for our confusion, it appeared.
I seemed to be underestimating the bounty monsters because of my recent successes.
Eight giant serpentine heads slowly emerged, with water dripping from it.
The Hydra’s roar shook the air, unleashing unspeakable terror.
Half of its back surfaced to the lake, the size of a small island.
Looking up at the snake head that rose high into the air, I muttered to myself:
“I can’t deal with this shit.”