Gifting the Lord of the Lake with Eternal Slumber!
Editor: TaintedDreams, Darkdhaos
“Oh Kazuma. Your death was really pathetic!”
<TL note: Classic Dragon Quest game over message. 死んでしまうとは情けない!>
A familiar white room.
After opening my eyes with a start, I locked gazed with Eris who said that line enthusiastically.
This person might be unexpectedly mischievous.
And she knew about all sorts of things from Japan too.
“… You are in a great mood, Eris-sama.”
“Sorry. I always wanted to try saying that famous line once.”
Eris squinted her eyes with a naughty look.
When the extremely beautiful goddess acted this way, my heart skipped a beat.
The goddess scratched her cheeks with a troubled expression.
“By the way, Kazuma-san, you aren’t frantic at all even though you’re here… Well, the others are safe, they’re far away from the Hydra right now. Kazuma-san’s corpse has been retrieved after Darkness let the Hydra swallow her.”
What a competent goddess.
She already told me about my comrades’ safety before I even asked her.
“Intentionally letting the Hydra swallow her… That girl is really reckless.”
Back then, we managed to retrieve Aqua who was chased by the Hydra, and Megumin casted explosion.
… Everything was fine then.
“Speaking of which, what the hell was that? That’s foul play, growing back the heads it lost, there’s no way we can defeat that right?”
I started complaining to Eris.
That’s right, everything was fine until this point when it took a shot of Explosion.
However, the Hydra which lost several of its heads started regenerating with magic.
And moved as if nothing happened.
“What happened to my body after I was eaten by the Hydra? I heard that you can’t revive if the damage is too severe…”
Which meant that I would be dead for good.
“Eh… I-It’s fine! You can revive!! About thirty percent of the body is lost, but it will work!”
I shouldn’t have asked.
Looking at the dejected me, Eris asked timidly:
“After you resuscitate, please don’t be blame Darkness alright? She was the one who brought it up wilfully… But she had her reasons too… She is blaming herself for Kazuma-san’s death right now, and is taking it really hard. Of course, the one who suffered the most is Kazuma-san…”
Eris said worriedly with a frown as she consoled me……
What a gentle person…
Was there someone like that around me?
No, the two of them were gentle, but Eris-sama made me feel warm from the bottom of my heart, and put me at ease.
“Don’t worry, I won’t blame her… Instead of that, Eris-sama mentioned that you will go down to the mortal world occasionally to have fun. How about visiting Axel? It feels lonely to not be able to meet you unless I die…”
When she heard what I said, Eris giggled.
“Actually, we already met plenty of times in the mortal world. It’s about time you notice me okay? I feel a little lonely too.”
She said mischievously…
“What did you say? We met? Was it in Axel? Hmm? Ahh!?”
Even if she said that, my mind couldn’t keep up.
Met plenty of times?
Eh, did I meet someone like her?
Seeing me falling into confusion, Eris said with a mischievous smile.
“I will give you a hint then. In the mortal world, my appearance is different from now. I am more energetic and my manner of speech is different.”
More energetic, different way of speaking…!
“And even though I am a goddess, I don’t have to be an archpriest in the mortal world like Sempai…”
“Ahh, I know! It’s Marise-san who broke Keith’s nose after he teasingly said ‘I heard the breast size of Eris priests are inversely proportionally to their faith, so it is true after all, wahahaha!’”
I interrupt the hint and shouted with confidence.
Eris said as she continued to smile:
Ahh, maybe that person!?
“After Dust who was looking for trouble said ‘I heard the goddess Eris wears pads, won’t her devotees get expelled for having large breasts? Are your ones real? Or are the two of you wearing pads!? If not, let me see it as proof!’, the one who beat Dust up together with Darkness, Celeste-san!”
Eris was still smiling, but seemed a little angry.
Not Marise-san or Celeste-san…?
As I was thinking hard.
“Kazuma! Kazuma! The resuscitation is done, so hurry up and come back! Darkness who is smelly right now seems very depressed! Come back quick!”
The voice of Aqua who couldn’t read the mood as usual came.
I was concerned about the depressed Darkness, but instead of that.
“Eris-sama, I give! I give up, sorry! Please tell me the answer, please! If not, I will receive divine retribution if I do anything rude to Eris-sama unknowingly!”
Seeing that I couldn’t guess correctly, Eris looked as if she was wondering what to do…
“… You are still talking about rude things and divine retribution now… Even though you did all that the first time we met…”
“Nothing. My real identity is a secret.”
Eris placed her index finger to her lips as she said that.
“… Also, please don’t listen to everything Sempai says blindly okay? A-at least right now, I am not wearing pads!”
Eris snapped her fingers after saying that with flushed cheeks.
A familiar white door appeared before me.
I panicked after seeing that.
She hadn’t told me her identity yet!
With no regards for the panicking me, the white door opened and brilliant light shone through…!
“Wait, Eris-sama, I’m sorry! You’re angry right? Throwing a tantrum? No— I’m not really concerned about your breast size!”
“Well then, Satou Kazuma-san! I hope the next time I meet you after your life ends, you will know my identity! Fare well! Have a safe trip!”
The blushing Eris didn’t let me finish.
At this moment, probably because her face was red, I noticed a white scar on her right cheeks.
“Hmm? Eris-sama, your face…”
Has something on it— Before I could say that.
I was pushed into the door from behind by Eris with a ‘pomf’.
“Welcome back Kazuma.”
When I opened my eyes, I found Aqua who was pinching her nose before me.
“Puah! That stinks!”
I jumped when the terrible stench entered my nose.
The stench was coming from…
“Me! The stench is coming from me!?”
It was probably due to the short amount of time I spent in the Hydra’s stomach, my body was covered in a horrendous stench.
… I then noticed.
That no one was willing to meet my eyes.
… And from that I realized.
That I was completely naked.
“Did my clothes melt…”
“They melted. Cover up. By the way Kazuma-san, you were digested so much that you became Ms Kazuma at one point. Your defensive gears are totalled, the only thing that survived is your strangely named katana that was in its sheath.”
“Hmm? I can’t ignore the fact that you say the katana I named has a strange name!”
Ignoring Aqua who was being pounced on by Megumin, I held the katana that was the only thing left in my hand.
“… And so, why are you so depressed?”
I said to Darkness who smells terrible just like me, and was hugging her knees some distance away.
When Darkness heard me, she trembled and looked up with an apologetic look.
“Aren’t you angry about me forcing you to fight?”
“I’m not angry at all. You might be the one who wants to fight, but this isn’t the first time we are fighting high bounty monsters and bosses of the demon king army. I already died a few times too.”
“That is true…”
Facing Darkness who was weirdly straightforward, I couldn’t find my rhythm.
“Really, this isn’t like you at all. I already heard about it from Eris-sama okay? In order to save me after I was swallowed by the Hydra, didn’t you allow yourself to be swallowed too? On a closer look, you are covered in blood. Are you alright? You don’t look melted though.”
Darkness stole a glance at me and said:
“This blood are from the Hydra when I cut open its stomach from the inside after retrieving you. If I spent any more time inside, I would have joined you too… It’s fine now, I am not hurt anywhere else either.”
I said to Darkness who was still dejected.
“Collecting back my corpse was a big help, thanks. Let’s not idle here anymore, let’s go back and shower alright?”
I said with a smile, showing her that I didn’t mind at all.
“Hey Kazuma. It’s fine if you want to console Darkness, but it doesn’t feel right for you to ask someone to shower in that appearance.”
Speaking of which, I was still naked.
“— However, I know why the Knight Corps didn’t deal the final blow to the Hydra. It’s not that they didn’t want to, but they couldn’t.”
On the way back to Axel.
With the awfully depressed Darkness in tow, we thought back about the battle.
“The Kowloon Hydra can use magic to regenerate its lost head. To defeat it, we have to use immensely strong firepower to blow it away beyond any chance of regenerating, or wound it numerous times to deplete its mana before dealing the final blow. Both ways are unrealistic…”
Megumin made a good point.
The Hydra wasn’t stupid either.
If you keep dealing damage to it, the Hydra would escape to the bottom of the lake to recuperate its mana.
That might be so, but there was no way to prepare firepower that exceeds Explosion.
I turned back and looked at Darkness who was dragging her feet at the very back.
“Megumin is right, there is no way to do it this time. We will leave the Hydra to the Knight Corps who will deplete its mana steadily and send it back to sleep. Darkness, you are fine with that right?”
She was completely distracted.
… Why was she so adamant on defeating that bounty monster?
At that moment Aqua puffed her chest out and said arrogantly:
“Eh, it’s not all bad news alright? Thanks to me, that Hydra won’t leave the lake any time soon! I purified part of the lake so it will think its territory had been invaded, and will focus on polluting the lake with its miasma. The Knight Corps will be here before it is done, so we can just dump the task onto them.”
“… Did you eat something wrong? You actually did a great job. That’s really smart.”
As the two of us were chatting happily, Megumin who was on Aqua’s back said something that might raise a flag:
“Whenever Aqua is filled with confidence, things will go badly in the end.”
I was the one who usually piggybacks Megumin, but she said I stink today and asked for Aqua.
“No no no, there shouldn’t be any problems this time. And it wouldn’t be our problem even if there is. After all, we actually bought some time for the Knight Corps.”
“That’s right, you have any problems with my good work!? Really, Megumin! If you say anything weird, I will let Kazuma or Darkness piggy pack you alright?”
“I apologize, please don’t do that, I beg of you!”
— We then returned to town safely.
“I will go with Megumin to report to the guild, the two of you stink, so hurry back to shower. After all, Kazuma’s dressing might make someone call the cops!”
After Aqua said that to Darkness and me, we prepared to return to the mansion.
I’m covering myself with Megumin’s cape right now, a stinking man in a cape looked really shady.
“Let’s go Megumin, we have to exaggerate our actions as much as possible! That way, even if we couldn’t get the bounty reward we can earn some consolation pay out!”
“Leave it to me, I will tell them just powerful my Explosion is!”
I was a bit worried, but I still left it to them and returned to the mansion with Darkness.
After coming home, I let the depressed Darkness bathe first, then washed my body carefully to get rid of the odour.
“Being accustomed to something is scary. I died just now, but I’m not panicking at all.”
I muttered to myself as I entered the water, and looked at my body that was thirty percent lost at one point of time.
Aqua said I turned into Ms Kazuma for a while— Was the size back to normal?
As I was observing the part that was lost at some point.
“… Kazuma, you are bathing longer than usual, does it hurt anywhere? Or you have not recovered your strength because you just revived?”
Darkness’ worried voice came from the direction of the changing room.
“N-no problem, I’m fine! You see, it stinks really bad right? That’s why I am carefully cleaning myself!”
I couldn’t tell Darkness who was seriously worried about my health that I was worried and carefully checking my size.
But Darkness didn’t leave after hearing what I said.
She probably had something to say and just stood there.
“… Hey, Kazuma. Erm, it’s my fault this time for being wilful. Maybe things had been going too well recently and I got too impatient. But I want to defeat that Hydra no matter what…”
Darkness said bitterly in the changing room.
“Well, we won’t meet that thing again, so it’s fine. Instead of that, Aqua and the others are really slow. They must be eating something good in the guild. Let’s go too.”
“… Ugh. Yeah… You’re right…”
After hearing my reply Darkness made a dejected sound I had never heard before.
… Did this girl have some history with that Hydra?
Or maybe it had something to do with that rude butler who visited yesterday?
“Alright, I brought you a change of clothes. I will leave it here okay? I will be waiting in the living room…”
I said to Darkness who was going to leave the changing room.
“Do you have a hard to talk about reason why you had to defeat that Hydra?”
“Ugh!? T-that is…”
Seemed like there was.
I didn’t know what to say to Darkness who turned silent.
Normally, I would reject challenging an opponent that killed me.
However, the young lady who was obviously depressed made me want to say that I would challenge it again.
“… It didn’t work today, but let’s come up with a proper plan to take on that Hydra next time, alright?”
I teased Darkness when I heard her surprised gasp:
“What, even though you were on your high horses and talking about the safety of the people, are you going to give up on subjugating the Hydra?”
“What the hell are you talking about!? Who do you think I am!? Protecting the people is the duty of the Dustiness House! I will get that Hydra next time!!”
That usual violent speech returned Darkness to her usual self a little.
— After washing off the stubborn stench, the two of us went to the adventurers guild.
Aqua and Megumin should have finished their report.
When I opened the door to the guild…
“Why are you people always doing unnecessary things!?”
“That’s right! When Aqua-san changed the water in the fish tank into pure water last time, all the fishes caught from the sea died, isn’t that right!?”
“I-I thought it was better if we did that! It was the same for the fish shop, the poor fishes were living in a cramped tank, so I wanted to at least make their water cleaner!!”
“What should we do! We can’t handle a big shot like the Kowloon Hydra!!”
“Mama, I want to go home!”
“Wanted posters, post more wanted posters! Spread the posters to all the adventurers in town!”
Whispers could be heard everywhere as the adventurers and staff shouted.
Aqua who was being accused in the center of the commotion started wailing.
“Ah! Kazuma, Darkness, you came at the right time! Help me take care of this scene!!
Megumin who caught sight of us rushed to our side amidst the chaotic guild.
“No, what is happening here? Why are things so bad? I can see Aqua is getting blamed, but we didn’t do anything wrong this time right?”
“T-that’s right! The Hydra will wake up sooner or later even if we don’t do anything, so there shouldn’t be such a commotion but…”
Megumin wasn’t good at dealing with a crisis, so Darkness grabbed a nearby staff Onee-san and asked:
“Hey, what happened? The subjugation failed, but it’s not that bad right? Isn’t this a subjugation that wouldn’t be a big deal since the Knight Corps is coming?”
“W-well, a big incident happened recently… The Knight Corps is busy dealing with it and didn’t have the time to come here…”
A big incident in the capital!?
“Hey, what happened!? A crisis in the capital!? Is my cute sister in danger!?”
“S-sister? No, the incident happened quite some time ago, and was sort of resolved without any major repercussion. The Knight Corps is sent to restore order in the chaotic capital and search for the criminal who instigated the incident…”
I was relieved after hearing what the staff said.
I was thinking about charging to the capital for a moment there.
“From what I heard, a duo calling themselves the Silver Haired Thieving Group infiltrated the castle…”
Darkness and I spat out the air in our mouths at the same time.
The staff didn’t notice and took out a slip of paper.
“With just the two of them, they defeated the knights in the castle and powerful adventurers, and daringly stole several treasures…”
As she said that, she handed the paper in her hand to us, which was a wanted poster for the ‘Silver Haired Thieving Group’.
On it was an illustration of a suspicious masked man and a silver haired youth.
The bounty was two hundred million Eris.
How could this be, the bounty was only second to the bosses of the demon king army…
“Two hundred million Eris…. Two hundred million Eris…”
“Hey Darkness, why are you looking at me like that?”
Darkness who was usually uninterested in money looked at me with red eyes with the wanted posters in hand.
The staff was baffled by our actions.
“Eh, in summary, the Knight Corps that was supposed to be dispatched here won’t be coming any time soon.”
Oh no, didn’t that mean we stirred up serious trouble?
I wasn’t sure if she understood the troubles in my heart.
“However, there is still hope. The knights from the capital specifically made a trip to the Home of the Crimson Magic and asked a highly skilled diviner to determine where the culprit had gone to… And the divinations showed that the main culprit is right here in Axel! And so, the adventurers are searching for the criminal zealously right now!!”
I started sweating bullets.
“Anyway, I am looking forward to Satou Kazuma’s team’s performance. After all, your team run into bounty targets frequently! If you can capture the criminal, the Knight Corps can rest easy and dispatch a team over here!”
“You are right.”
After replying emotionlessly, Darkness hit me with her elbow, as if to ask me to act casual.
“Sigh, it is only a matter of time before the culprit is caught. We have a diviner even more powerful than the Home of the Crimson Magic diviner here in Axel!”
She must be referring to that fellow who wore a mask that looked similar to the masked man in the wanted poster, I know him too.
Oh no, even though we were business partners, that devil who wanted money badly won’t hesitate in selling me out.
Darkness who was besides me quivered with a stiff face.
The staff clenched her fists in expectation—
“In summary, please give us a hand too, Satou-san!”
She said with a face full of smiles.
— Naturally, I stayed home.
“One day~, in the forest~, I met a~, dragon~”
Aqua dragged the couch to the window and knelt on it, singing a song while looking at the rain.
She was cradling the egg in her hand as usual, a warm light from her palm covered its shell.
According to Aqua, she was performing prenatal education for the fetus inside the egg through song.
Right now in this living room, Megumin’s clamouring was overwhelming Aqua’s singing.
“Kazuma, revenge! I want to get my revenge against that Hydra!”
She said amidst heavy breathing as I brushed the fur of Chomusuke who was on my lap.
It had been three days since I escaped from the adventurer’s guild.
After I knew I was wanted by the kingdom, I stayed near Aqua to guard against Vanir’s precognitive powers, and shut myself in the mansion.
The stingy devil couldn’t divine the fortune of people around Aqua very well.
Fortunately, Aqua who was busy incubating the egg was also staying put in the mansion.
Megumin probably couldn’t stand the stay at home lifestyle and kept urging me to take revenge.
“You might be saying that now, but how are we going to defeat that monster? I thought about it a lot, but I can’t come up with a good plan.”
When Megumin heard what I said, she hugged her staff tight and grit her teeth.
“Firepower! Use stronger firepower to blow its face up! If one explosion isn’t enough, use consecutive explosion to blast it to bits! Just like the time we fought the Destroyer, with Aqua’s mana and Kazuma’s Drain Touch, it would be possible!”
After hearing Megumin’s passionate speech, Aqua stopped her song.
“Don’t wanna. Why must I suffer the dirty Lich skill, Drain Touch? I won’t ever do it again. That’s right, even if Kazuma threatens me, Darkness coaxes me, or if Megumin acts strangely, I won’t do it. My holy mana isn’t meant to be used by others carelessly.”
I combed the fur on Chomsuke’s tail gently and said:
“And what have been doing with that holy mana all this while? You don’t need to keep cradling the egg, just warm it before the fireplace will be good enough right? If it is overheated, just treat it as a snack and eat it.”
“Hey you, I will let you taste my God Blow if you keep saying snacks or whatever… I am injecting mana into a dragon egg. Dragons which are the crystalization of mana will be stronger if it has more mana. This child will rule over the dragons from the peak. As the parent raising this child, I want to do whatever I can for it.”
… Ignoring Aqua who stubbornly insisted that was a dragon egg.
“By the way, why are you thinking of revenge, Megumin? Aside from Darkness who displayed an abnormal obsession over the Hydra, do you have some history with that thing too?”
“Well, I have been thinking too. It killed Kazuma once before. Won’t I feel really happy if I defeat such an opponent?”
“Eh, ohh… I-is that so…”
If she put it that way, it makes me feel a little guilty…
“Recently, I had been going after the Hydra together with Darkness. Darkness would draw the Hydra out with taunting skills, and we would escape after casting explosion. Even though we are challenging it this way… Could there be a better strategy?”
“That’s why I was wondering why I didn’t hear the familiar sound outside the town recently, so you had been doing something like that! It’s not showing any intention of attacking the town, so don’t aggravate it! And what are you doing, Darkness, shouldn’t you stop her at a time like this!?”
“Ugh, erm… But I want to defeat that Hydra no matter what… And this will deplete the mana of the Hydra too…
Darkness who was polishing her armour on the rug muttered softly as she averted her eyes.
This girl wanted to subjugate the Hydra personally no matter what.
I didn’t understand the reason though…
“It would be inconvenient to move if the rain doesn’t stop, so it can’t be helped. The opponent lives in water, it will have the advantage if we fight in the rain. I will show my true strength after the rain stops.”
But honestly speaking, I want to hide at home until my wanted notice dies down.
“It’s the rainy season right now right? The weather diviner said that the rain will go on for quite a while.”
“… I will show my true strength when the rain stops.”
“This guy! So you won’t be motivated any time soon right!?”
“Ah, what are you doing, stop! Don’t vent your anger on Chomsuke!”
Only Darkness was working hard on her armour with a serious face.
She ignored Megumin who was grabbing Chomsuke’s tail and obstructing me from brushing its fur.
The rain didn’t stop for the next few days.
While Aqua and I shut ourselves in, Darkness and Megumin visited the Hydra every day.
Of course, today too—
“We are back! Sorry, it is a little inconvenient for Darkness, could you please prepare the bath!?”
Darkness who was piggybacking Megumin came back with a smelly stench.
“… So you got eaten. By the way, didn’t you two escape right after casting explosion? It’s dangerous, don’t go there anymore.”
Darkness put Megumin who couldn’t move after depleting her mana onto the rug, then took off her armour as she breathed heavily.
The armour she was so proud off and polished a few days ago was covered in scratches, and stained with the red blood of the Hydra.
“That fellow probably had enough of the daily explosion, and struck preemptively before I could use my taunt. Megumin was chanting explosion the moment it attacked, it was a close call… After we got out, Megumin shot it with explosion and we escaped as it was regenerating its head… It is not so simple after all.”
Darkness sighed deeply as Aqua came to her side to heal her. After taking off her armour, Darkness thanked Aqua and dragged her feet into the bath.
“… Hey Kazuma. Can’t you think of an easy way to finish off the Hydra? The strong point of the weak Kazuma is your numerous half baked skills, and your ability to use despicable means to solve any problems, right?”
“Oh, I thought of one. We will bind you up with chains and throw you into the lake. When the Hydra eats you, we will gather all the adventurers and pull the Hydra to shore. We will then gang up on it and give it a good beating before it can escape back into the lake… How about it?”
I grabbed the egg from Aqua who pounced over, and shooed her away with the egg as hostage.
“For me, I have no complains about casting explosion on strong enemies… But recently, Darkness seems weird.”
Megumin mumbled softly as she watched Darkness walk to the bath.
“— Phew…? Kazuma, what are you doing with my armour?”
After finishing her bath, Darkness tilted her head at me as I was squatting before her armour.
Megumin was watching me as I worked.
“You damaged your armour in plenty of places today, so I am fixing it up for you. It has been raining these few days, and I have nothing to do in the house anyway.”
I knocked on the dented areas with a wooden hammer, and activated my crafting skills that I have not used for a long time to repair the armour.
Darkness said a little shyly in reply:
“Speaking of which, you also fixed my armour when we went to the hot spring… I want to go on another hot spring trip with everyone once more.”
“I don’t wanna, I hate that city. There are too many people with their screw loose like Megumin.”
“Hey, say that again clearly!”
I shoved Megumin who was hindering my repairs away. Darkness looked at us happily:
“Even so, I want to go again…”
She said in a soft voice that seemed to harbour deep meaning behind it.
— Some time after that.
“Kazuma, she’s not here! She was already gone when I went to her room to wake her up!”
“That girl! I already told her not to go, why won’t she listen!”
Darkness who told Megumin that it would be dangerous had been challenging the Hydra on her own these few days.
She disregarded our advice and keep on returning with wounds all over after making a trip to the lake.
To stop Darkness, we took turns keeping watch…
“Why did you doze off ah———!”
“Wahhh! It’s tiring to incubate Emperor Zell! raising a kid is hard work, be more considerate towards me!”
“Stop kidding me about raising a child! Hand that egg over! I will cook that damn thing nice and fresh!”
“Stop! I already warmed it for so many days, something terrible will happen if it cracks now! You will regret it if you look inside!
In the face of Aqua who curled up like a turtle, I roared angrily.
“I don’t care about that egg, Darkness is the priority!! What is she thinking! Did she talk about the obligation of a crusader and the duty of the nobles is to protect the town again!?”
“Now is not the time to determine Darkness’ intentions. The Hydra is also learning and Darkness’ injury is getting worse every day, it’s dangerous!?”
Megumin who couldn’t handle unexpected situations said awkwardly as she hugged her staff.
That might be so, but Darkness probably left before dawn.
“Hey Kazuma. Is there no way to take out that Hydra? I will drop the egg off at Wiz’s shop, then chase after Darkness with Megumin to lecture her… You probably have a phobia against the opponent that killed you once, but Kazuma, do you want to come along?”
Aqua who hated fighting maintained her balled up pose and said something that was seldom heard.
Even this girl was showing her drive.
Being the only one hiding at home would be a little…
… Ahh, damn it!
“I am going to some place, the two of you try to bring Darkness back. Even if you encounter the Hydra, don’t engage and run straight back, alright?”
After hearing what I said, Aqua and Megumin nodded seriously and went out.
Now that I was home alone, I pulled out Eris notes from my room and stuffed it into my wallet.
“That girl is really a handful ahhhh!”
I made up my mind for that stubborn young lady too.
The next day.
I set off for the lake early in the morning.
In the end, Aqua and Megumin met with injured Darkness who was returning from the lake.
Darkness told me with a wry smile about how she was lectured on the way after Aqua healed her wounds.
That girl had no intention of stopping her campaign against the Hydra.
I stood before the lake, waiting for Darkness who will probably come with Aqua and Megumin.
When it was almost noon, Darkness who appeared with Aqua was stupefied when she saw us.
That’s right, she saw the adventurers in Axel who were sitting behind me.
“Oh! You sure took your time, Lalatina!”
“Lalatina-chan is here!”
The adventurers I brought along started teasing Darkness who stood stiff on the spot.
“S-stop it, Lalatina! Those guys were just calling your name, don’t strangle me silently like that! Stop… Please stop!”
Lalatina who was being teased by the adventurers grabbed my collar with tears in her eyes.
“Hey Kazuma, what is happening here? If this is your new way of harassing me, I have my thoughts about that too.”
“That’s not it, why would I gather so many people to do something so stupid!? I just told everyone that you are challenging the Hydra alone here every day, and asked if they could help you!”
Darkness released my collar and looked at the crowd frantically.
“Oh, even Lalatina can get embarrassed.”
“Don’t say that, Lalatina-chan might look like that, but she is actually very delicate alright? To defeat the Hydra, Lalatina-chan’s strength is needed. What if you make her cry and run back?”
“Kazuma had been treating us to food and drinks recently, he even bought us the most expensive drinks yesterday! It’s only natural to return the favour. Let’s go along with Lalatina’s wilfulness!”
The adventurers said out loud.
“Take a good look, Darkness. I merely told them that you were doing something silly every day, and managed to gather so many adventurers. I can’t do anything about your muscled filled brain, but don’t make others too worried.”
The flushed face Darkness replied in a soft voice.
“Hmm? What did you say!?”
Darkness glared at me as I asked her to repeat herself loudly, but she still looked at the adventurers around her shyly.
The adventurers who met Darkness’ eyes either got embarrassed or smiled.
Darkness smiled too when she saw their reaction.
“Everyone, I am very—”
“Waahhhhh—! Kazuma, Kazuma—!! The Hydra woke up earlier than usual for some reason!”
Aqua who went into the lake before I noticed interrupted Darkness’ words of thanks and started shouting.
At the same time, Megumin who was preparing her spell near the lake yelled.
“Like I said, it’s better to wait for Kazuma’s signal before waking the Hydra!”
“But, but!! I want to go back earlier to witness Emperor Zell’s birth…!”
Darkness who made up her mind to thank everyone was cut off at the worst timing, and she started quivering with her face red from embarrassment.
The Kowloon Hydra that was chasing Aqua appeared with a huge splash.
“Why do you people always do that!? The emotional scene is totally ruined!!”
The battle began—!
It started a little early, but that was how a battle should be.
“All thieves, did you bring your steel wire!? Archers, standby with your arrows that has a hook rope tied to it!”
“Waahhhh, hurry up! Hurry up!”
Step one was to let Aqua wake the Hydra and draw it to the lake side.
“Tough adventurers protect the backline, stand by as human shields!”
Next, vanguards wearing armour will protect the backliners from the Hydra’s attack.
“Mages prepare to fire off your magic and stand by! Use the most powerful spell you have! Don’t need to save for the next attack, use all the mana you have in one shot!”
“Leave it to me! I will blow that damn Hydra away with my explosion this time!!”
I made the mages prepare their attack to deal the last blow to the Hydra.
“Darkness, use your Decoy skills right in front of the Hydra! Your toughness will be the key to this fight!! Don’t die too easily!”
“Who do you think I am!? Other things aside, my defence won’t lose to anyone!”
Darkness attracted the Hydra’s attention and blocked it from the front!
“Hey Kazuma! What about me? What should I do!?”
“After casting support spells on everyone, you don’t need to do anything unless someone gets injured! Go and cheer them on, don’t get in my way!”
“What! Let me play a big role too!!”
After that, as Darkness was blocking the Hydra’s movement…!
“Darkness, I’m leaving it to you!”
“You can count on it! Your opponent is me! Decoy!”
Darkness who took a stance by the water activated her decoy skill.
When all the heads of the Hydra focused on Darkness, I used hide to erase my presence as much as possible, and charged the Hydra.
Darkness was frowning, but still managed to withstand the fierce attack from the eight heads that would send anyone, including me to Eris in just one hit.
The instant when the Hydra turned all its eight heads to the same spot, all the thieves used bind on the long necks and tied it with wires.
At the same time, the archers shot out arrows with hook ropes attached.
Although the hooks were deflected by the hard scales of the Hydra, it still managed to get entangled with the wires binding the necks.
After confirming the hooks were secured, the adventurers grabbed onto the other end of the rope and pulled as if they were competing in a tug of war.
We dragged it far from the lake, preventing it from escaping.
At the same time, I erased my presence and drew near, climbing onto the back of the Hydra whose heads were focused on Darkness even though it was bounded. I touched the hard scales up close.
“If you won’t go down unless your mana dries up, I will suck you dry!”
The moment I used Drain Touch, the Hydra started to thrash about wildly.
As expected of dragons that were known as the crystallization of mana, it was sensitive to the fact that its mana was being absorbed.
“Yosh! It’s working it’s working… Woahhh!?”
Realizing its mana was being siphoned, the Hydra started struggling in an attempt to break the bounds on its neck. But the bindings held and the eight heads couldn’t reach its back.
At this moment, one of the adventurers screamed:
“Get out of there Kazuma! Are you dumb!? What the hell are you thinking, going way up there!?”
“It’s fine, watch me use my secret skill to weaken this big fellow! Tell the mages to get ready to bombard once its mana is depleted…!”
When I was saying that, the Hydra twisted its body in an attempt to rub its back against the ground.
“Wahhhh, I’m going to get squashed!”
“Moron! What are you doing!!”
Darkness who was in front of the Hydra grabbed onto me as after I was thrown off the back of the Hydra, and pinned me under her.
Despite the situation, my face was beet red because of how close I was to Darkness’ face.
The Hydra’s colossal body rolled on top of us, and Darkness protected me from being crushed by propping herself up with her arms.
“As expected of Lady Dustiness, your arm power and endurance is marvellous.”
“Is this the time to say that!? Ugh, I can’t, hold on…!”
If we get crushed like this, leaving Darkness aside, I will suffer a horrible fate.
While I was pinned under Darkness who was pushing up against the ground with a flushed face, I reached out for the Hydra that was right on top of us.
“Darkness, not yet! Endure it and don’t let up! Stay in that position!”
“!? You are going for abandonment play now? N-no, I really can’t…!”
Darkness challenged the Hydra every day despite being wounded all over, grinding away its mana slowly and steadily.
How could I give up this chance and waste all the effort of this girl!
I used Drain Touch with all I have got despite the situation and started lecturing Darkness.
“You have always been useless, and when your chance to be of use come, you are going to let it end like this!? Aren’t you planning to defend your title in the endurance tournament this year too!? If you can’t even endure this thing, can you even win!? How spineless! Can you show your shameful appearance before all the adventurers here!?”
“Ugh, the Hydra’s heavy play and the verbal abuse play from this demonic man, what a reward this is…! Of all days, why does it have to be now…!”
Darkness face was red and trembling, her neck was full of sweat and a bit of tears were in her eyes, but she still hung on.
As I sucked the mana of the Hydra at full force, the Hydra swung its necks that were bound, struggling as it laid on top of Darkness.
“Pull, pull now!”
The heavyweight adventurers who had been serving as the human shields of the backline pulled on the ropes entangled on the Hydra hard.
They were probably trying to rescue Darkness who was trapped below.
Darkness had a satisfied smile as she said softly with her voice breaking intermittently.
“I-I… can’t… K-Kazuma… Don’t worry… We will die… together…”
“How will that stop me from worrying, don’t give up! In the end I will the only one who will die! You even received magic buffs, and won’t die just by being crushed by the Hydra a little!!”
All my gears except my katana were melted, so I was still wearing casual clothes.
If I get squashed in such a situation, my weak defence won’t even buy me any time before I kick the bucket.
I would rather not die twice in such a short period of time!
“I-If I give up, Kazuma will die… Ahhh, what is this situation…! Even though you are ordering me to hold on like a master, your life is in my hands, how contradictory…! Who is the master in such a situation!? This is a new feeling, a new feeling, Kazuma…!”
This girl was enjoying herself huh. Her stubbornness and serious expression when she challenged the Hydra alone were gone.
… When I my was just a step away from death.
“Look, the Hydra is becoming really weak right!? And it can’t move too! I will take the head of the large bounty target, the Kowloon Hydra! The one who scores the last hit can collect the entire bounty, I don’t want to share it with anyone else!”
“W-wait, what are you talking about in this situation!? And even though it is immobile, if you let down your guard because its necks are tied together… Ahhh! Dust! Dust!!”
I heard a familiar scream, and the pressure on us suddenly let up.
It seemed that a brave soul had drawn the attention of the Hydra.
We crawled out from under the struggling Hydra and ran towards Megumin.
“Light of Saber!”
After hearing that spell plenty of times in the Home of the Crimson Magic, I looked towards the source and saw Yunyun from the Crimson Magic Clan join the fray and cut off a head of the Hydra.
Seemed like someone was eaten and Yunyun saved him.
… Speaking of which I finally noticed that Yunyun who had a weak sense of presence followed along.
No, on the way here, I remember someone chatting to me timidly, but because my mind was occupied by Darkness… At that moment, someone from the adventurers shouted.
“Hey look, the head that was cut off didn’t regenerate!?”
I looked over when I heard that shout, and saw that the Hydra only had seven heads.
The Hydra wanted to escape back into the lake, but the heavyweight adventurers pulled on the rope, but letting it go.
When they heard my yell, they all focused their mana and prepared to cast their strongest magic, waiting for the signal with sparkling eyes.
On my mark, large number of spells flew towards the Hydra.
Amongst the flying fireballs and lightning, the two Crimson Magic Clansmen showed their might.
“Light of Saber!!”
After chopping down at the Hydra with a brilliant light, Yunyun showed a smug expression at Megumin.
Megumin raised the corners of her lips, pointing her staff at the Hydra with light shining from her vermillion eyes.
“Explosion is coming! Everyone near the water evacuate!”
“Cover your ears!”
After living in Axel for so long, the adventurers who had gotten used to Megumin’s spell covered their ears in a practiced manner.
“Kazuma, I will avenge you now! A bouquet for the one in heaven…!”
Hey wait, avenging me is fine, but I wasn’t in heaven, but right here.
The brilliant light from Megumin’s palm pierced the Kowloon Hydra that was on the brink of death after taking hits from numerous spells.
The large bounty monster that turned the area around this place barren all year round didn’t even scream before falling into eternal slumber—
“Admit my victory! I blew off six of the Hydra’s heads! Yunyun only cut off two! It is obvious who has the upper hand!”
“W-what is that Megumin, you are just waiting idly before the Hydra was pushed to the verge of dying! I even saved someone who was bitten by the Hydra, that should count too!!”
“Saving a delinquent who wanted to hog all the bounty should only count for one point. You are a Crimson Magic Clansman too, you should understand the importance of stealing the limelight!”
After subjugating the Hydra, we and the large number of adventurers returned to Axel in high spirits.
Megumin forcefully named Yunyun to piggyback her, and they had been bickering besides me all this while.
Even though the opponent was a large bounty monster, the only casualty was one person.
And that person was resuscitated by Aqua.
“But we are more capable than we thought! Ara~ but we wouldn’t have made it without Kazuma’s party.”
“That’s right, Kazuma is great as expected! Even though we agreed the bounty for the Hydra would be shared equally, but Kazuma’s group should take more. There’s a moron who said ‘The one who scores the last hit can collect the entire bounty’, so take that share with you too.”
Keith and Rin who formed a party with me before told me.
However, this raid only succeeded because of everyone.
“Well then… Everyone must be tired after the intense battle with the Hydra, let’s rest for today and drink our hearts out with the reward tomorrow!”
“Are you kidding me ahhh!”
Even though I thought I heard someone screamed, I still shift my eyes to Darkness who was walking happily besides me.
Darkness who looked anxious and sad recently had a refreshing expression as if her burden was all gone.
“Hey, how does it feel after you defeat the Hydra you are so obsessed over? You can sleep soundly from tomorrow onwards right?”
“Yeah, thanks to this, all sort of things seem trivial to me now. I think brooding over it by myself is silly. But that isn’t because we took down the Hydra.”
I saw Darkness smiled for the first time in many days.
“I learned once again how much I like the people in town. Thanks to them, I found my way again. There is nothing to be afraid of, nothing to regret.”
“You will say really embarrassing things sometimes.”
Darkness elbowed my sides a little angrily after I teased her. And then…
“I am really blessed.”
She said something embarrassing openly again.
“Really, show more reverence to me! Say that you are very grateful to Aqua-sama for granting you a new life, compliment me more!”
“Hey Kazuma! I am thankful for being revived, but the priest from your party is really annoying!”