Chapter 3: One night with this red-haired beauty!
Editors: Deus Ex-Machina, Skythewood
When I came to, we were already in front of the capital.
The soldiers guarding the main gate were probably already immune to the phenomenon of ‘teleport’, and were not in the slightest bit surprised at our sudden appearance. They dutifully checked the surroundings for monsters that may have broken through the frontlines.
Since I’ve come all the way here, I considered going to see my cute sister Iris, but they were probably still searching for the mysterious and handsome thief.
In other words, they wouldn’t be able to resist my special aura, and would capture and interrogate me using the lie-detecting magic tool.
I slowly dropped my knapsack, and said:
“Alright, since we are already prepared upon arrival, my original plan was for us to go straight for the frontlines. However, now that I think about it, we should collect some info on the situation from that person over there. I have a plan-”
Leaving my confused companions behind, I walked towards the guard of the main gate.
“Everyone here is working hard. Ah~, your passion for your work is truly commendable.”
“Thanks, you guys are travelling adventurers right? You’ve probably heard this already, but the capital is currently in a state of high alert due to the the attacks of the demon king army. Anyway, don’t just stand there, if you’re entering the capital then hurry up and come in.”
The soldiers maintained their vigilance as they spoke to me who was wearing a friendly expression..
“No, we are not here to visit the capital. Rather, we rushed here after hearing that the capital was in a state of crisis. We want to go support the fortress closest to the frontlines.
“Oh, you came here to help? …Though I am truly moved, will you be fine on the frontlines with your gear? The enemies gathered near the fortress are all elite troops of the demon king army you know?”
Though in truth, I was fully fitted in expensive gear, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that light armor is unsuitable for the situation.
At first glance, I did appear to be rather weak.
“Oi oi, I’ll feel troubled if evaluate me so lightly. I might not look the part, but I have the accomplishment of defeating a demon king army general… My name is Satou Kazuma, you’ve at least heard of this name before right?”
“Huh!? What are you saying, a man like you…”
Just as the soldier was doubting the contents of my boasting:
“Hey wait a second! I don’t recognize this man, but I’ve seen the people behind him before!”
Another soldier spotted the rest of my group, who were sitting a distance away.
“That’s right! I’ve heard of that great magician who swept away the demon king army with explosion magic!”
“Wait, that is Dustiness-sama! Dustiness-sama who is able to take the blows of a battalion of monsters is here!”
“I’ve seen that blue-haired priest before! When the demon king army attacked a while ago, she cast powerful support magic, and healed all the wounded!”
The soldiers pointed at the people standing behind me, and excitedly discussed amongst themselves.
It seems that they remembered the time when we visited the capital a while ago, and participated in repelling the demon king army.
“It seems that you know your stuff. Yes, we are…”
“Ah, I remember you! You’re the guy that was hacked to death by kobolds!”
“Yeah, now that you say it, I remember now. You’re the guy that embarrassingly charged in front, and got surrounded and mobbed Kobolds!”
“You’re way too weak, don’t even think about coming to a place like this. There’s a faraway town called Axel that’s known as the gathering place for newbie adventurers. Why don’t you go there and level-up a bit first?”
“The monsters around here are all really strong. By the way, are you just their servant or something? Even if you’re just a porter, you need to have decent strength.”
Ah, what should I say?
…No, now was not the time to pointlessly argue with these guards.
“As you can see, we’re a strong adventurer party. Besides me, the leader, the party is composed of an archpriest, a crusader, and two archwizards. It is a rather luxurious group isn’t it?”
“Ah that’s pretty amazing! …Hey, If I may ask, what job do you, the self-proclaimed leader have?”
“…Hmpf, right now we’re going to go help the nearest fortress, but we’re not sure how to get there. That said, if there are any adventurers or soldier going to the fortress, please allow us to accompany them. Of course, since they’re leading the way for us, we wouldn’t charge any protection fees, so you can rest assured.”
I ignored the soldier’s inquiry, and returned to the original objective of this conversation.
Even though it was only a two-day trek to the fortress, there were a lot of strong monsters along the way. So I thought it would be better to have someone guide us, while simultaneously improve our combat capabilities.
To be honest, the only person that was useful in this situation was Yunyun, so in a roundabout way, I was actually looking for some make-shift bodyguards.
But my brilliant plan-
“It’s extremely regrettable, but I would not recommend going there. The enemy general’s siege on the fortress has been relentless. Currently, the wounded adventurers are falling back every day, and his majesty the king and the crown prince – whom were fighting in the frontlines – have been forced to retreat for the sake of their safety. In this kind of situation, no one would willingly go to the fortress.”
–was shattered by the soldiers who described the unexpected circumstances.
The situation was far more dire that I had thought.
The soldiers continued:
“Even though no one can bring you there, as a compromise, I can give you a map that shows you the location of the fortress, as well as the distribution of monsters in the area. I would usually stop other adventurers from going, but with a party like yours, you shouldn’t have any problems getting there. Good luck! Your name is Satou Kazuma right!? I will tell the adventurers and the townspeople that ‘A brave adventurer party led by Satou Kazuma has left for the frontlines’!”
No, actually, I was reconsidering whether or not we should ask for help.
“I’ll leave it to you to help my comrades that have been struggling on the frontlines!”
“Yeah, we saw how you repelled the demon king army last time, you guys can do it!”
“Alright, I’ll go to town to spread the news! Everyone will be overjoyed!”
While I was at a loss for words, the soldiers continued to converse amongst one another.
They handed me the map.
“““Well then, we’ll leave this to you!”””
–With the map in hand, I solemnly returned to my idle companions.
“…Look, after talking to them, I managed to get a map of the fortress and the information about monsters.”
“Well that’s a surprise, I didn’t think Kazuma was this enthusiastic. Well then, let’s go!
The options to turn back were quickly sealed.
–If there weren’t any problems along the way, it would take about two days to travel to the fortress.
Anyhow, there were checkpoints along the way where we could rest.
Since a dangerous location like the frontlines wouldn’t have any caravans, we decided to travel to the first checkpoint.
“Oh, if anyone is hungry please tell me, I brought a lot of snacks! Also, since I know elementary-level magic, I can create clean water, so if you’re thirsty you can tell me as well. Ah, Megumin stop! Don’t go there, that path looks like it’s about to collapse.”
“Why are you so naggy? Are you a child going camping for the first time!? We have to walk a long distance today, if you keep this up you’ll be really tired later.”
It seemed that it was Yunyun’s first time travelling with such a large group. She walked restlessly in front of the group, and her eyes were dyed in an excited and bright crimson.
Although she had accompanied us to the Village of Crimson Magic, but overnight trips were a different story altogether.
However, someone else besides Yunyun was equally excited.
“What are these light and fluffy things? I’ve never seen it in Axel.”
“…Mm. Oi Aqua, they’re a fairy-type creature called Kesaran Pasaran. They’re completely harmless, so just ignore them…
<TL Note: Japanese Mythical creature. >
Despite my advice, Aqua continued to chase the curious flying furballs.
“Kesaran Pasarans are a subtype of snow-fairies, so if you bully it around, their guardian will show up alright?”
Ignoring Aqua, who excitedly chased the white furballs around, I asked Megumin an important question:
“Hey Megumin, are you sure it was a good idea to bring it along?”
I pointed at Chomusuke, who walked in front of the group alongside the elated Yunyun.
Although I felt that it was pointless to bring this black furball to the frontlines, Megumin insisted that there would be a time where it would be of some use to us.
“You’ll understand when we get there. In other words, this thing will help us subjugate the demon king army general.”
Megumin answered the question of ‘why?’ before I could even ask.
Well, it was still hard to believe that the furball being fed by Yunyun was in fact an evil god.
“Ah, oi Aqua, it’s dangerous to hold onto it any longer. Just let it go already.”
“Just let me rub it a little while longer. I have been away from Emperor Zell for a long time, and this thing reminds me of him.”
“Didn’t you part with Emperor Zell this morning?”
As Megumin and I listened to the peaceful chatter from behind, I began to doubt whether or not this was really the dangerous frontlines.
As I began to doubt myself —
I was alerted by my ‘enemy detection’ skill.
However, since I was doused by the peace and tranquility of the situation, my reaction was one step slower.
As I was about warn everyone…
“Stop right there adventurers! This path is under our control! Leave your money and luggage here!”
–A group of battle-ready bandits appeared before us.
Seeing this group of unkempt and disorderly men, I became excited like never before.
Though such events were outside my control, since coming to this world, it was my first time experiencing such a ‘fantasy world’-like event.
Of course, it was the same for Aqua.
“Kazuma, it’s bandits! It’s my first time seeing actual bandits! In this world filled to the brim with monsters, there are actually people who take up such a useless way of life!”
Aqua excitedly gazed at the group of men.
At first I thought that the security of an alternate-world would be bad, and that there were probably bandits along the roads.
After all, this is a common thing in the fantasy worlds that I am familiar with.
However, the reality was not that simple. In a world filled with monsters, it was hard to understand why anyone would decide to live outside the walls of a town or city, so to think that there were people that would actually pursue a life of banditry…
If one was capable of surviving in a place filled with monsters, instead of waiting for prey that might not even show up, it would be better to work as an adventurer, and live a more stable life.
Adventuring might not be that stable a line of work, but compared to fugitives that couldn’t enter towns and live in constant fear of monsters and knights, being an adventurer was far better.
Aqua and I were not the only ones moved by the appearance of the legendary mob called ‘bandit’.
“Kazuma Kazuma! The mob that is rarer than onion duck – bandits has appeared!”
“Bandits have really appeared! Even though I travel a lot on my own, but since the day I was born, this is the first time I’ve encountered actual, living bandits! When I return to the Village of Crimson Magic, I will brag to everyone about this!”
The men gritted their teeth in anger as they listened to the excited cries of the two Crimson Magic clansmen.
It was then, that I noticed the heavy atmosphere that surrounded Darkness.
Her body seemed to trembling in excitement.
The bandits’ frustration grew as they witnessed our unfazed reaction toward their appearance.
“Oi, are you guys looking down on us!? Hurry up and hand over your money!”
The bearded man – who seemed to be the bandit leader – gazed at us with bloodshot eyes.
What a textbook performance!
These guys are definitely the real deal!
With each passing moment, we were becoming more moved by their appearance.
On the other hand, Darkness quickly moved in front of the group.
“Just looking at you people, I can clearly tell that you people haven’t had a bath in forever and reek of disgusting body odor! Though I’m not sure if it’s due to the abstinent lifestyle in the mountains, but your gazes are also filled with lust! You imbecile bandits who would ravish weak girls with all your might, my name is Dustiness Ford Lalatina! As a female knight, I will not let you do as you please!”
Darkness valiantly introduced herself, and moved to the front of the party as if to shield us. However, her face – which was a shade of beet red – suggested otherwise.
“Oi, oi, did she just say Dustiness?”
“Dustiness as in the noble house Dustiness? Now that I think about it, she has blonde hair and blue-eyes… Isn’t that evidence of her noble heritage!?”
Without heed for the bandit’s conversation —
“You said to leave our luggage and money, but you bastards won’t be satisfied by just that won’t you? I can tell just by seeing your gazes… Once we remove our battle equipment you’ll say things like ‘Hey, aren’t these girls quite nice? We’ll be able to fetch a high price for them…!’.”
The men before us scrambled to get away from the rambling pervert, who once upon a time, said that she would try to act more ladylike.
“Of course it won’t end there! You’ll say things like ‘Boss, before we sell the goods why don’t we try them out?’ with a dirty smile! Then the person over there that looks like your boss will say ‘Oh, of course. Is there a reason not to try out our high quality products…?’ …Oi, what is it? Why are you suddenly running? What is your intention!?”
Darkness stared blankly at the bandits, who turned tail and ran away without a second of doubt.
“If there are nobles here, then that means there are knight squadrons nearby! Hurry up and run!”
“Those red eyes, they are Crimson Magic clansmen!”
“Oi, Oi wait! There are a bunch of young girls here, are you sure you’re fine with this!? Also, there are no knights here! Wait, wait! What about your pride as bandits…!”
To stop her from chasing the bandits while saying idiotic things, I grabbed Darkness by the collar of her armor.
“Because you won’t let those people go, we’re in such a mess.”
“Ah…b-, but as a knight, I can’t turn a blind eye to those that harm the masses…”
The sun had completely set.
After setting up camp, we sat around a campfire.
Because a certain moron suggested we search the area to finish off the bandits, we didn’t reach the checkpoint in time.
“I also wanted to fight those bandits. If we defeat such a rare mob, lots of money will drop for sure.”
“Oi, don’t call bandits a mob.”
Anyhow, those people were outlaws, but squandering our time was a criminal act as well.
“By the way, who’ll keep watch for tonight? The monsters around here are really dangerous.”
As Aqua said that, she added more sticks to the campfire, and curiously inspected the contents of the pot that hung above it.
The pot continued to release a pleasant aroma.
“Ah…P-Please leave it to me. I have confidence in my stamina. Everyone else can take a rest.”
“Darkness-san, this camping atmosphere has made me really excited! There’ll be no problems! Please leave it to me!”
Yunyun spoke to the apologetic Darkness without reserve.
From what I see, it seemed that she was really happy.
Megumin looked up towards Yunyun, and said.
“…Don’t stay up late alright? After all, you were probably really excited about our journey, and didn’t sleep last night right?”
“W-Why do you know that!?”
She was like a child going on a field trip.
“Just let me do it alright? I have the ‘Enemy Detection’ and ‘Night Vision’ skills, and I’m a night owl anyway. Put out the fire after dinner so that we won’t be noticed by monsters.”
Hearing what I had to say, Darkness apologetically lowered her head.
“Sorry Kazuma… because of my stupid actions…”
“Of course, if you really feel bad about it, don’t chase after some random old men again.”
“No problem. I lost my composure because bandits – who are the enemy of all female knights – appeared. I have prepared myself. In the future, I will only allow myself to be led around by a specific person.”
“Oi, I don’t get what you mean, but I feel like I’d be better off not knowing.”
Towards Darkness who said such nonsense with a serious expression, I replied with an equally serious expression.
A while after everyone else had eaten their late dinner and gone to sleep—
I put out the fire, and stood guard over the camp alone.
I maximized the output of the ‘Night Vision’ ability, and tried various ways to see everyone’s sleeping faces.
Then, from somewhere in the faraway darkness, I detected the presence of some monsters.
The campfire had already been put out, and the skies were cloudy without a trace of starlight. The surroundings were almost completely dark, so even if it was a nocturnal monster, our position shouldn’t be discovered easily.
As a precaution, I activated the ‘Hide’ skill on everyone.
Even though it looked like I was assaulting them in their sleep, this was simply a security measure. It was not something I needed to feel guilty about.
Anyhow, I don’t think we will be discovered.
…I thought, but it seemed like the enemy was moving directly towards our location.
The time was not even past midnight.
When I realized that, I figured out the identity of the monster–
It was an undead that was drawn to Aqua’s presence.
Thinking back to my experiences with Aqua in Keele’s dungeon, I remembered that masses of undead that were drawn to Aqua’s presence. It was to the extent that the ‘Hide’ skill had no effect.
It seems that there’s no other way. Should I wake everyone up?
If I had to wake everyone up, then we need to light a fire.
That might attract a bunch of monsters. More importantly, the reaction of undead became stronger in the presence of light.
If it was a couple of zombies or skeletons, then I could deal with this alone.
With my ‘Farsight’ ability, I can accurately fire several arrows if they get closer.
I considered the situation calmly, and silently waited for them to approach.
The heavy sounds that came from the direction made me feel uneasy.
There was the sound of something wet.
At the very least, it was a sound that a mere zombie shouldn’t be able to make.
I tried focusing on it, but I could not identify the enemy.
I had a bad feeling about this, and quickly turned to wake everyone up.
“Oi, there’s something coming. It seems to be an undead…Oi, get up. Aqua, Aqua!!!”
The other three woke up immediately, however, the most important person did not even bat an eye.
I drew my katana and pointed it in the direction of the approaching enemy.
“Hey, hurry up and wake this idiot up! Also, for some reason I can’t make out the silhouette of the enemy with my ‘Night Vision’. Just light up the surroundings!”
Darkness picked up her greatsword and scabbard as Megumin tried to shake Aqua awake.
“Aqua, Aqua! Get up, an undead is here!”
Despite Megumin’s efforts, Aqua continued to lay motionless.
“I’m sleepy…Can you just tell them to let me go for today…”
“Oi you useless livestock, get out of bed already! They’re here for you, so get up and do something! ‘Tinder’!!”
Infusing more mana than usual, I loudly chanted and directed the spell to the space in front of me.
The surroundings – which lacked a fuel for fire – was brightened by the magical luminescence.
Even though I used a large amount of magic power, the light still could not be sustained for long.
Once I saw the enemy, I understood why my ‘Night Vision’ could not see this enemy clearly.
The reason I could not identify the enemy, was because it was too large.
“Ah-….Wawawawa….Wh-…What what what is this…!”
Megumin immediately lost her composure.
“How could it… Why, in a place like this…!?”
Yunyun, who had faced off against numerous powerful enemies, froze at the sight of the monster.
Even Darkness, who happily rushed into the most dangerous situations, was at a loss of words.
“…H-Hurry up and w-…wake Aqua up…”
Gazing at the monster before us, I murmured stiffly.
A difficult to describe noise reverberated in the night.
It’s vocal cords had probably rotted, so it could only utter such a sound.
It opened its maw wide, and whenever it tried to roar, something sprayed out.
The thing it spitted out that fell to the ground with a wet thud was a part of its rotten body.
“The walking corpse of a dragon, there is no better adversary for a crusader! The three of you, back away!”
Darkness took a stance with her sword to protect us.
As if reacting to Darkness’ meager hostility, it once again released a disastrous sound, as it pulled it’s gigantic body in our direction…
“Aqua–! Aqua-samaaaaaaa-! It’s a dragon! A bone dragon has appeared! Hurry up! I beg you, please do something about it——!”
It’s gigantic body seemed like it could topple houses just by leaning on it.
The bone dragon extended it wings, and it’s massive body seemed to become even more daunting.
With a sense of dreadful hopelessness, I looked towards Aqua.
Aqua seemed to unfazed, and continued to roll in her sheets.
“Hm…It’s just a bone dragon…let Emperor Zell deal with it…”
“Stop dreaming and get up, or you’ll become bone dragon food!”
The bone dragon pounced at Darkness!
“‘Turn Undead’ –!”
After being hit by Aqua’s holy magic, the bone dragon released a dreadful cry, and was purified.
If Aqua had any redeeming qualities, it was that she was reliable against the undead.
I was about to show my gratitude towards Aqua…
No wait a second, it was her fault that the bone dragon showed up in the first place!
I looked at Darkness, who lay on the floor as Megumin and Yunyun kneeled beside her.
“Darkness! Please Darkness! Your injuries are not deep, so open your eyes!”
“Megumin, don’t shake her! I-I-I-In times like these we have to stay calm!”
In the first place, if Aqua had woke up immediately, then Darkness – who protected us – would have not been struck unconscious.
“Hehe, how could a mere bone dragon be my worthy opponent. Kazuma, praise me however you wa – ahhhhhh–!?”
Without another word, I grabbed Aqua’s face and began to use ‘Drain Touch’.
“W-Wait, what are you doing!? Doing this when I can’t resist, are you looking for a fight!?”
Aqua cried as she flicked my hands away. She then proceeded to tackle me.
“It’s because I don’t want to give you time to resist! Just look at Darkness! It’s your fault that the bone dragon showed up! Just get up when we tell you to get up! Give me some of your energy to make up for mine when I stayed up all night to keep watch!”
“What!? W-Why should I!? Didn’t you just ambush me? I won’t let you drain energy from me ever again. Here, I’ll let you try, but not even a real lich could drain from me!”
This selfish idiot!
Ignoring Aqua who showed a strange defiance, I ran towards Darkness, and used ‘Tinder’ to check her condition.
When I was busy trying to wake up Aqua, Darkness had taken the attacks of the bone dragon on her own…
“‘Heal’–! …Well, as expected of Darkness. Even though a dragon’s signature breath attack can’t be used, their physical limits are removed after they become undead. So basically, a bone dragon’s physical attacks are more powerful than living dragons you know? Taking its attacks head on, I’m surprised she didn’t turn into paste.”
Aqua said such dangerous things as she healed darkness.
When I think about it, it was rare for Darkness to be knocked out so easily.
Were the monsters in the frontlines this vicious?
… Well, if there were bone dragons, doesn’t that mean that there were also live dragons here?
Hmm… Although the map mentioned bone dragons, I’m fairly confident that it never mentioned live dragons…
Megumin and Yunyun sat worriedly beside Darkness, whose armor had been deformed from the vicious blows of the bone dragon.
Then, I noticed the things looming in our surroundings.
“Damn, the monsters have noticed our presence because of the light and noises from the fight. My ‘Enemy Detection’ is showing a huge return signal. We don’t have a choice. Let’s move somewhere else. I’ll take Darkness’ and your luggage, so Aqua, carry Darkness.”
“What!? You’re asking me to carry Darkness!? With her armor she’s really heavy. Also, are we going to walk around in the dark?”
I deftly gathered their belongings, and said:
“Cast some strength enhancing magic on yourself. With your high stats besides luck and intelligence, you should be able to easily carry her if you cast it. Cast a buff on me too while you’re at it. Also, with my abilities it’s already hard to carry 3 people’s worth of luggage, so there’s no way I can carry Darkness. Megumin and Yunyun will hold my hands, and we’ll proceed using my ‘Night Vision’. Be careful not to trip.”
As I said that, I picked up the luggage.
Ugh…As expected, it’s a bit too much…
“By the way, even with armor, isn’t Darkness rather heavy? Also she was bitten by the bone dragon, so she smells really bad…”
“…That’s because Darkness’ body is full of muscles. Don’t tell her that though.”
Darkness’ armor made clattering sounds with each step that Aqua took.
Under the cloudy skies, without the slightest glint of starlight, we proceeded forward through this black landscape.
Aqua – whose ability to see in the dark was far superior to mine – happily said:
“Ah, this reminds me of the time when Kazuma and I went to that dungeon a while ago. If I remember correctly, Kazuma tried to touch my butt in the darkness.”
“Oi, if you’re going to make groundless accusations I’ll leave you here alone.”
Megumin giggled at our pointless banter.
“Even though we just encountered a bone dragon and barely escaped a group of monsters, I can’t help but feel reassured. While we can’t be called a powerful party, I feel that as long as we stay together, we can overcome anything.”
Megumin tightened her grip on my hand.
…Well, maybe I expected too much of her thoughtless, but honest behavior.
“How great… When will I be able to encounter companions like Kazuma-san’s group?”
Yunyun – who held my other hand – said with a hint of envy.
When Yunyun said that, Megumin clenched my right hand tightly for some reason.
“That’s impossible. After all, Yunyun needs to be able to make friends first.”
“Y-You, don’t diss people at a time like this!”
After a long trek, Darkness finally woke up.
A while after, we saw the light of the checkpoint residence, and we collectively breathed a sigh of relief.
I heard there was a place to stay, but I was not expecting a building as large as a noble’s mansion that was surrounded by solid walls.
As we moved closer, we saw a billboard indicating the specialities here.
“So the living accommodation here is a hot-spring inn… when I think of hot-springs, I can’t help but remember the time where we went to Alcanretia.”
Said Megumin nostalgically.
Darkness and Megumin giggled, as if resisting the urge to outright laugh.
“Yes. Back then, Kazuma tried to eavesdrop on us when we entered the bath.”
“K-, Kazuma-san, did you really do that…?”
Yunyun’s jaded eyes stared at me as if she was looking at trash.
“Hey Kazuma, the bath here is probably a mixed-bath, so can you wait till we’re done to go in? I feel like this is a crisis for my chastity.”
“That’s merely wishful thinking, after all, even I have the right to choose.”
Aqua and I pushed our palms against one other, as if we were sumo-wrestling. Then, Megumin happily said.
“Let’s go. There aren’t many people who would come to a hot-springs inn in this kind of place, so we probably have the place all to ourselves.”
“I’ll go first! Actually, why don’t we all wash together!?”
“I don’t mind.”
And of course, my reply was ignored.
“Wait, didn’t Aqua ruin the hot-spring in Alcarentia? Aqua, can you go last?”
“Hmm alright. Taking a bath last is pretty enjoyable y’know, after all, being able to take my time is one of the merits of a vacation.”
“T-T-Taking a bath…with everyone…”
Despite the time, the girls rowdily entered the inn.
…Would it kill you guys to listen to what I had to say?
Then, Megumin turned to face me, who was left behind by the group.
“Well then, would you rather take a bath with me?”
Megumin delightfully giggled to herself
Oi, what are you trying to do all of a sudden? If I say ‘alright, why not?’ then you’ll be flustered won’t you.
When I was at a loss for words, Darkness turned and said.
“We’ll finish quickly, after that you can take your time in the bath. After all, you seem to take a long time to bathe.”
Japanese people tend to take long baths, so it can’t be helped.
“Well otherwise, if you would like to, I can scrub your back like I did before…”
Darkness showed the same expression as Megumin.
“What are you guys saying? Did you eat something wrong? Even though there’s a saying that states that people become really open when they are travelling, you guys should think it through first. If you say such suggestive things, then when I say ‘Well sure!’ then what are you going to do…”
“I’m fine with that. When do you want to go to the bath?”
“Sure, if you really have the guts to do it, then I’ll scrub your back whenever.”
As if they already predicted what I was going to say, the two replied without a moment’s delay. They also showed rather provocative expressions…
What’s happening, since when were these two so accepting?
If I just say the word, these two would actually do it?
Hmm, what should I do… I should say ‘Well sure!’ shouldn’t I…
“Then let’s go, Kazuma.”
Once I saw Megumin’s serene and happy expression, I understood.
That was the expression of someone who believed that I was just shooting my mouth off, and won’t actually do anything in the end.
Ah, what is this feeling?
To be honest, I want to do some lewd things, I want to do some affectionate things, I really do.
But I didn’t want to betray their trust.
Ah, what were they planning to do? What exactly did they see in me?
Megumin easily said things like ‘I don’t dislike you’, and joking said things like ‘I like you’, but never said anything like ‘Please go out with me’ or any other decisive lines for that matter.
On the other hand, Darkness – even though we had almost crossed the line together, even though our relationship had become rather close at the mansion; it feels as if my affection points had been reset.
What did they want from me!?
A girl’s heart was hard to understand, so I can’t go on the aggressive either…
Even though I thought it was fine, if they told me ‘Please don’t misunderstand’, then our good relationship would crumble.
Damn, since when was I so weak! I, Satou Kazuma, should not be such a feeble person!
Now that I think about it, did I really like them that much?
I couldn’t be sure.
Maybe I won’t like them so much after I go for a succubus service.
I’m really the worst, but I won’t find the answer even if I keep thinking about it
Well, there was need to rush it.
I’ll should just go take a bath, and think about it slowly.
Putting these thoughts on hold, I removed my clothes.
— As I posed before the mirror, I can’t help but think that this quickly levelling body has been developing quite well.
We arrived at the inn a little past midnight, so there shouldn’t be anyone here.
However, a pleasant humming came from the bathing area.
Hearing these hums that showed the owner’s good mood, I was sure that there was a girl in the bath.
Even though everyone already knew that I would enter the bath after them, there was still someone here.
This kind of rare situation… was Megumin or Darkness trying to tempt me?
Heh, did they really think I was that much of a wimp?
…Alright, I’ve decided.
This is too much of a pain.
I don’t care if it’s Megumin or Darkness, if they would resort to these dastardly methods to tempt me, then I’ll show them what’s up.
They can beg for mercy all they want. I’ll do it no matter what.
Like I care anymore about ‘party chemistry’ or such troublesome things!
Now that I’ve finally decided to do it, I can’t help but feel a sense of inner peace.
It was foolish of me to trouble myself with such problems.
Those acts were unbecoming of myself.
Yes, from now on, I will live according to my own will.
With a newfound sense of vigor, I proudly pushed open the door–
There was a red-haired onee-san in the bath.
“…Eh? Why, and here I was thinking who it was. It’s you again. Do you still remember this onee-san? We met in the hot-springs at Alcarentia…”
Towards this welcoming and smiling onee-san, I shouted without a trace of hesitation.
“I’ll kill you!!”
–I entered the bath a fair distance away from the frightened onee-san.
“Ah, this hot spring is quite nice. Also, can you not act so scared of me? I was just a bit frustrated that my ‘moment of clarity’ had been wasted. I thought that one of my companions was in the bath…”
“I-, Is that right? Also, it’s perfectly normal for me to be scared of you, after all, you declared your intention to kill me, even though this is practically the first time we’ve met. How should I say this, your eyes were totally serious, and I could feel the murderous intent from all the way here…”
The onee-san’s cat-like eyes seemed to dilate in fear.
“Well… Now that I think about what onee-san said… If I remember correctly, you’re that teary eyes onee-san whose breasts I stared at right? Of course I remember you, they’re big after all.”
“Umm, I-, … Even though this is the second time we’ve met, you’re able to say ‘they’re big’ without any hesitation… Isn’t this sexual harassment…?”
“No, I’ve decided. From now on I will no longer hide my true self. I will not avert my gaze, nor will I resist my urges. I will live life my own way.”
“Even though what you said sounds good, but in this situation, I can’t help but think that I’m in a crisis…”
For some reason, the fear in her gaze seemed to increase. As if to hide her body, she submerged her shoulders in the murky-white spring water.
TL note: http://imgur.com/DZYuHnc
In the face of the kind samaritan Satou Kazuma, was there really a need to be so cautious?
I thought back to my first encounter with this onee-san.
If I remember correctly, she had been talking to the general in charge of destroying Alcarentia – the poison slime Hans – as if they were companions.
That would mean that this onee-san was involved with the Demon King Army. To begin with, shouldn’t I be the one who should be cautious?
“By the way, why are you in a place like this? You said you were an adventurer, but aren’t there a lot of powerful monsters here? Though saying this is a show of bad manners, but you don’t look very strong… Will you be fine?”
Ah, this onee-san wasn’t suspicious of me, but rather, she was genuinely worried for me.
Seeing this onee-san’s attitude, I released a long sigh.
Usually, I – who barely counts, but am still an adventurer – should be trying to figure out this onee-san’s true identity. However, I could not bring myself to hate this onee-san that I just met.
“There’s no problem. Even though I’m really weak, but there’s a reliable Crimson Magic clansman with us. Anyway, I didn’t want to come to this place, but my companions wanted to…so… why is onee-san in this place?”
“Me? …Well I guess that’s true. After working hard every day without rest, to reward myself, I came to my favorite hot spring. Also, I’m looking for an important companion that I can’t be found that easily…”
This onee-san seemed to come with good intentions.
“Important companion? So you came to find your lover?”
“No, it’s not a lover… hmm, more accurately, I’m looking for my partner, a part of myself that was sealed away somewhere… Well, at this point I feel like giving up.”
As onee-san said that, she showed a lonely expression.
“Give up on what? One of my companions is a bit weird, like there’s something wrong with her head…No, she is a person of special circumstances… Do you want to discuss with her? She’s here as well.”
“Ah… Is that person a Crimson Magic clansman? I’m not that type of weird person, so don’t worry.”
Although the onee-san’s expression was stiff, she replied with a bright smile.
“Eh, is that right? Well then… I can listen to your problems I guess. If you don’t mind, could you tell me about it?”
Seeing my relaxed attitude, the onee-san said to me with a smile.
“You’ll listen to my complaints? Hmm… somewhere in the village of crimson magic, something like my other half or companion or evil god…basically, my partner who is a black cat was sealed in a gravestone.”
I feel like I’ve heard this onee-san’s story before.
This was extremely similar to the story I had recently heard from a certain improper crimson-eyed girl.
“When it was released with me, it accumulated intense grudge, and was too hard to keep under control, so I allowed it to slumber a little longer…But when I went back to check on the situation, the seal had already been released, and my partner had been taken by someone.”
Though it was unlikely, could it be–
“… I’m just a bit curious, but is your partner a black cat that can fly and breath flames?”
“Sorry, but I don’t understand what you mean.”
The onee-san gazed at me in serious disbelief.
No, wait a second, why was someone who was just talking about a sealed evil god looking at me with such a gaze?
I quickly recomposed myself.
“Well, my Crimson Magic clansman companion proclaims that her pet black cat is an evil god.”
The moment I mentioned it, the onee-san’s expression became more sinister.
“…A black cat raised by a Crimson Magic clansman? And that person called the cat an evil god? It sounds a bit chunni though…”
“Um, mhm, well that’s all there is…Well anyway, that person said that she was a god of destruction or something in her previous life, so there’s no need to take her seriously.”
I was slightly uncomfortable towards her sudden shift in attitude.
“I-, Is that so? If you don’t mind me asking, is that black cat… Right, does it like lazy people?”
“…I don’t think so? I think that cat is the closest to me, and I don’t think I’m really lazy at all. I put in the most effort in my entire party, and I’m fairly certain I have the most common sense as well.”
“I-, Is that so… Then is it really ferocious?
For some reason, the onee-san seemed to flinch.
“It’s so timid that a newborn chick was chasing it around.”
“Thanks, that’s enough. It’s not the one I’m looking for.”
Hearing my reply, the onee-san appeared to have confirmed something.
As she stood up from the bath with effort, beads of hot water dripped from her towel and trickled down her skin.
“Then I’ll be going. This place is close to the main front against the demon king army, and the security is lacking to the extent where I encountered the rare existence known as bandits on my way here. You’re better off going back to the capital alright?”
The onee-san squinted her cat-like yellow eyes, and revealed a sincere, heartwarming smile.
“…How should I say this, I can’t explain but I don’t want to treat onee-san like a stranger. I don’t really get this strange feeling… Ah no, I’m not trying to pick you up or anything like that ok?”
Though I said something absurd without thinking, the onee-san didn’t seem troubled at all, but rather, she opened her squinted eyes in surprise.
“This…Um, what a coincidence. To me, you don’t feel like a stranger either. That’s why I’m giving you some advice to get away from here as quickly as possible…After all, there’s the chance you encountered my other-half, and have taken good care of it?”
The Onee-san teased playfully, then left with a happy smile.
As I saw the onee-san off, I got the feeling that I didn’t want to see her as a dangerous person, even if she was related to the Demon King Army… I couldn’t understand why…
If I get the chance to talk to her again, I’ll ask her why she joined the Demon King Army, then…
“…Damn, I didn’t ask for the onee-san’s name!”
Morning the next day—
Having slept well at the inn, our party moved towards the fortress with renewed vigor.
“Kazuma, you seem to be in a good mood. You stayed a long time in the bath yesterday, did something happen?”
Walking on the paved road, Megumin happily said.
“I guess something happened. When I went into the hot springs yesterday, I encountered a beautiful onee-san that I met before in Alcarentia.”
In response to my cheerful reply, Megumin suddenly stopped walking.
“Oh, huh? I suppose that’s pretty good. By the way, did you meet in the mixed bath?”
“Yeah. Mhm, now that I think about it, they were quite big. They were probably even bigger than Darkness’.”
It seems that Darkness was listening to the conversation, as she practically jumped when she heard me say that.
“What are you saying all of a sudden! If I leave my eyes off you for a moment, something like this happens… but isn’t a solitary young girl at a fortress checkpoint a bit suspicious?”
Darkness carried her broken armor pieces, and showed an expression between anger and embarrassment.
“It’s fine, that onee-san gave me a warning, just like back in Alcarentia. She also said she encountered some bandits last night so we should be careful.
Yunyun – who energetically listened in on our conversation – asked.
“Uhm, that person was fine after encountering bandits? It’s probably the same group of bandits that we saw yesterday. If it’s a beautiful onee-san, then she shouldn’t have been able to get away…”
“Eh~. Despite your honest appearance, you have such perverted fantasies.”
Megumin – even though she was busy dodging Chomusuke who ran excitedly at her feet – found the time to make snarky remarks at Yunyun.
Hm? Yunyun has a point.
How did that onee-san be unharmed after encountering those bandits?
…Well, that was because she was affiliated with the Demon King Army, but…
Despite her mellow appearance, maybe she was really powerful.
Well, I had no idea what to think of that onee-san.
I should’ve been more cautious towards her than the bandits, but because we were in the same bath, I didn’t think that she was dangerous.
“Wait, isn’t it normal to think that way if we’re talking about bandits!? Also, I don’t want to be called a pervert by Megumin of all people! Haven’t you already taken a bath and shared a bed with Kazuma-san!?”
“Hey, it’s fine if I say it myself, but it’s embarrassing for someone else to say it so shut up!”
Looking at Megumin who received retaliation for her remarks, I thought about that onee-san.
“…Ah, really big.”
–After that – with the exception of Aqua being attacked by a great kesaran pesaran after chasing them around – nothing happened in particular that was worth mentioning.
Finally, we arrived at the fortress at the break of dusk.
Now, we were looking up at a fortress, which was about the size of the royal castle.
As expected of the frontline fortress, it looked as if it was impregnable.
The fortress had an overwhelming presence as the cornerstone of the fortress, and was said to be able to accommodate over a thousand people.
“Did those guards say that this fortress is falling to a mere Demon King Army’s general? Even if it is a general, I doubt that it can be done.”
“That’s what I thought, but a Demon King Army general is said to be able to destroy an entire city on its own. In another sense, what’s abnormal is our ability to easily defeat them.”
Hearing Darkness’ response, I thought back to the generals that we had encountered in the past.
–Despite being attacked from numerous directions at the same time, he showed no opening in his defense. His overwhelming swordsmanship was accompanied by his limitless stamina and high magic defense as an undead. No matter what kind of powerful enemy he faces, he can defeat them using the power of ‘Proclamation of Death’. The dullahan knight, Beldia.
–Having the power to change into human form, absolute resistance to magic attacks, and a poisonous composition that would fatally harm anyone that touched him, he was able to use his overwhelming size to crush and devour anything in his way. The poisonous slime of fatality, Hans.
–By constantly evolving by combining with monsters, she (?) possessed the power to various unique traits and all forms of energy as she pleased. The limitless chimera, Sylvia.
–Possessing an indestructible form, his existence could be said to violate the rules of the world itself. The duke of hell, Vanir.
–Not only did she have the ability to use all forms of advanced and teleportation magic’, but she could also use explosion magic. Not only does she have body that is invulnerable to physical attacks, but she also has the ability to use all sorts of special skills like ‘Drain Touch’. The queen of undead, the lich, Wiz.
…When I really thought about their absolute power, I couldn’t help release a long sigh.
It’s a miracle that we’re alive.
What should we do… I thought that we would be fine with such a sturdy fortress and explosion magic, but now I just wanna pack my bags and run away.
It was then —
Just as we were starting to get cold feet, the guards on the fortress walls spotted us, and a group of knights made their grand entrance.
“Adventurers, this is the fortress of the frontlines tasked with repelling the demon king army, what brings you here?”
A knight cautiously approached us.
“We heard that the capital of the nation was under threat, so we came to support the fortress. We have a lot of top-tier jobs, so we thought we would be useful here.”
“Top-tier jobs… I see, then allow me to thank you for your help. However, first I would like you provide proper identification. We need your cooperation with this, since there’s a demon king army general hiding around here. So, first is…”
Megumin took out her adventurer card, and handed it to the knight.
“…Megu-, Megumin…-san… right?”
“Yes that’s my name, you got a problem?”
“No, no! None at all! Please excuse my behavior. You can come in… And you are…Yunyun-san?”
“Y-Yes… That’s my name… I am Yunyun…”
“Oi, from the beginning you seem to have some misgivings about our names. Let’s hear it shall we!?”
Megumin pointed her staff directly at the knight, who replied frantically.
“No, there’s no problem, please excuse my behavior! Then next is… Satou Kazuma. Satou, Kazuma?”
The knight hurriedly returned the adventurer cards to Megumin and Yunyun, and quickly revealed an expression of wonder.
Ah, unlike the two people with weird names, the reason he reacted to my name was probably because I was famous.
After all, our group has had a lot of achievements —
“Satou Kazuma! Are you that dirty rascal Satou Kazuma!? You’re that person who planted devious ideologies in Iris-sama’s mind, and gave Claire-sama and Rain-sama a lot of trouble. You’re the atrocity that was driven out of the castle –!”
“Oi wait a moment.”
The knights here were still spreading this kind of lowlife gossip?
Well, they weren’t wrong, but still…
“I’m extremely sorry. Uhm, this is an important checkpoint for defending the nation from the Demon King Army, so we can’t allow some nameless stranger to enter…”
“Didn’t you just describe me in detail?”
To think he would treat me like some troublesome brat…
Then, the person that looked like their commander came forward.
“So you’re that dirty scum called Satou Kazuma huh? You’re only a petty adventurer so what kind of attitude do you think you’re showing? I have the authority to execute any suspicious people here you know? You’re just a dirty lowlife adventurer, get the hell out of here!”
To show his threat, the commander put his hand on his sword’s hilt.
Megumin angrily gripped her staff, and Darkness walked to the front with an uncharacteristically sinister expression.
Seeing the two, the surrounding knights prepared to draw their swords.
“What do you think you adventurers are doing!? You want to fight us, huh!”
Sigh, why were these fellows so impatient.
With the exception of Darkness, it seems that the nobles of this world held very little value towards human lives and rights.
With a serious expression, I walked to the front of the group, and pointed at Darkness who was about to say something.
“Know your place, do you not know who this esteemed lady is!? She is the daughter of the Dustiness family, Dustiness Ford Lalatina-sama!”
Hearing what I said, the knight’s hurriedly kneeled. Their faces were a shade of deathly white.
Surprised at the sudden turn of events, even Megumin and Yunyun kneeled with the knights.
“Why are you two kneeling as well?”
“Ah, my bad… It happened all of a sudden, so I was caught up in their pace…”
“I-, I didn’t know that Darkness-san was a noble…”
The two of them stood up and patted the dirt off their knees. On the other hand, the captain replied to my declaration with a trembling voice.
“A-A-A-, Are you really Dustiness-kyō…? Um, please forgive me for my insolence and my failure to recognize your greatness…! …Ah…Then please allow us to confirm your identity…It’s not that I suspect you, this is part of the job…”
<TL Note: kyō is a honorific for lord>
Without another word, Darkness pulled out her necklace that was evidence of her heritage, along with her adventurer card.
Seeing the two items, the commander’s eyes widened like never before, and his face became devoid of color.
“P-P-P-P-P-P-Please excuse my insolence! Not only did I fail to recognize Dustiness-kyō, but I even showed such disgraceful etiquette towards these esteemed man and ladies!”
“Huhu, that is barely enough of an apology! Ah~, when I think about how I was about to be slashed viciously, I can’t help but feel shaken and hurt to my core~. That was an incident that would forever be a mental scar.”
“AUGH! When I think about what just happened, my heart feels as if it would explode…!”
Facing the commander that was putting his full effort into apologizing, I intentionally pressed on my chest.
It seems that Megumin had caught on as well–
“That won’t do! Ah, what kind of attitude was that? To think you would show such disgraceful behavior towards the followers of Lalatina ojou-sama!”
As Megumin said that, she let out her anger by poking the end of her staff at the commander’s face.
“Hurry up and apologize! Towards us who you were planning to attack a second ago, please say ‘I’m very sorry!’!”
As Megumin poked his face, Aqua – who had been uninvolved until just now – began to restlessly shake the commander’s shoulders. Although the commander seemed to be at his wit’s end, he closed his eyes as if to declare his intention to surrender. All he could do was lower his head towards Darkness.
“S-, Sorry. I’m very sorry. For such insolence towards Dustiness-kyō and her subordinates, the punishment should be seppuku… but, uhm…”
As if I was his trusted companion, I put my hand on the choking commander’s shoulder.
“No no, we won’t ask for so much, after all, you were just doing your jobs. Anyhow, we’re tired after a long day’s trek, so we won’t ask too much of you. That said, could you prepare an accommodation that we can use during our time here?”
“Of course! We will provide Dustiness-kyō and her followers the best rooms available here!”
Darkness could only wordlessly lower her head towards the captain who remained in his bowing position.