Disclaimer: This fanfiction series contains light novel spoilers.
Chapter 1: A Lopsided Random Encounter for This Unfortunate Party!
It was noon and I had woken up with a hangover from our festivities the previous night. We had just arrived in Axel and we were celebrating our safe return from the city of Axis-cultist freaks, Alcanretia, and our victory against Hans, the giant poison slime.
The girls were lounging in the living room, engaging in activities of varying levels of productivity. Darkness and Megumin were enriching their intellect with books. Darkness with a technical guide about business deals, a reading likely related to her duties as a daughter of Dustiness, while Megumin was reading an encyclopedia of arcane knowledge.
Aqua, however, was idling away, lying sprawled on the sofa. That disinterested demeanor of hers reminded me too much of my NEET days and I cringed at the recollection.
"Oi, sit properly, you sloppy goddess. You don't have a monopoly on the couch."
When I received no response, I started gathering Drain Touch magic in my palms. Aqua immediately rectified her behavior.
"I'm sorry about that, Kazuma-san. Please, take a seat."
This arrogant goddess could switch to a subservient attitude with rapid ease.
I turned to Megumin, who was in charge of making lunch that day.
As if sensing my intentions, without looking up from her book, she said, "There's some beef curry rice for you in the kitchen."
I had a bout of nostalgia as my parents had interacted in much the same way as Megumin and I had done, my father wordlessly inquiring about the food, my mother sensing this and describing the meal she cooked, and my father would reply with, 'Thanks, dear'.
I was tempted to reply to Megumin in much the same way, but the book in her hands was big and heavy and I knew that she wouldn't hesitate to throw it at me.
I was about to head to the kitchen when Darkness suddenly coughed.
Thinking it to be a non-event, I kept walking but she coughed again with deliberate intention.
"What do you want?" I asked.
"You had some sort of meaningful interaction and banter with the other two, but you completely neglected me."
She seemed to be complaining but she didn't sound too offended.
I tried to summon a witty retort but the whole routine with Darkness could drag on forever if you let it, and I was too hungry and hungover to care.
I didn't bother to reply and headed to the kitchen. I saw the curry on the table and there was still some steam rising from it. The curry was good and Megumin was certainly talented as a cook, but her frugal tendency to choose inexpensive alternatives to conventional ingredients kept her meals from becoming truly delicious.
As I was eating, I contemplated about how to spend my day.
Should I patrol the streets of Axel once more, as a good citizen should do?
However, people called me a loitering NEET the last time I did that, completely misunderstanding my altruistic intentions.
Instead, maybe I could spend the day with Dust, or observe the amusing antics of Yunyun, or I could pull a prank on the police officers who had treated me so well during the whole bomb teleporting fiasco.
Well, regardless of what I set out to do, there were certain appointments I had throughout the day that seemed to become, over time, permanent fixtures in my daily life. I refer to events such as my Explosion routine with Megumin, my afternoon socialization with my fellow lonely bachelors in the guild, and finally, my nightly visit to that shop.
In the former world, I would have criticized such an eventful and fulfilling 'normie' lifestyle, but now that I experienced life beyond image boards and MMO'S I began to acclimate to it.
It was kind of strange, how I'd develop such an eventful yet typical everyday life in a parallel, fantasy world.
And some days, life in Axel seemed to be more normal than my previous life on Earth.
But this day was not one of those fulfilling, normal days.
"Intruder alert! Intruder alert! Intruder alert!"
Aqua was bellowing this from the living room.
She really was an idiot, screaming like that. If there was indeed an intruder, what was the point of letting them know that we were aware of their presence?!
However, Aqua likely sensed an unknown presence in our property through the means of her barrier, which had acute radar-like capabilities. Even if it was that unreliable Aqua, we had to take her warnings seriously.
We rushed out and only Megumin had the time and opportunity to equip herself, grabbing her staff, which she inappropriately stashed away in a container meant for umbrellas.
"Where is he Aqua?" Darkness said.
"In the courtyard. Ugh! Be careful! I sense a powerful presence…"
Aqua had scrunched up her face in an unnecessary exertion of focus, and she had her fingers pressed up to her temples in a pantomime of a cliched sensor-type character. She was having fun with this commotion.
We found the supposed intruder by our laundry line. We all collectively gasped.
His appearance, two black horns, crimson armor, and a pair of large bat-like wings, categorized him immediately in the bad guy classification.
But what was really surprising was that he had Darkness's panties in his grasp, his free hand reaching for Megumin's panties, which were hanging from our makeshift clothesline that was Aqua's staff.
Such an intimidating looking guy now had an ecstatic countenance as he played with the pilfered panties.
"What are you doing with my panties, you creep?" Darkness said.
This glutton for punishment, for once, seemed like she wanted to deal out the punishment instead of receiving it.
"Oi, either I have the police arrest you for sexual crimes or I cast Explosion on you point blank. I'll let you choose your punishment, pal."
And this Explosion addicted little girl was mouthing off some pretty dangerous threats.
"Not like I care, but why isn't he interested in my panties at all?"
Let's not pay heed to this worthless goddess.
As for me, I kept silent. This guy was undeniably 'last boss' material, though I was basing this assumption on his appearances alone.
Then again, that a 'last boss' type would go out of his way to steal the panties of young girls was sort of absurd.
"Eh? How are you four seeing me right now? I casted the most powerful illusion magic on myself before doing this…"
"The barrier I set up around this house can dispel illusion magic. Fufu. My abilities are obviously way superior to yours!"
Aqua gloated before this dangerous looking enemy without any apprehension.
"Hmm, to think that I'd find such a capable Arch Priest here in Axel. Then again, someone like me is fooling around in this city, too, so I guess such freak occurrences do occur sometimes.
He scrutinized the members of our party, eyes settling on Aqua who had needlessly given away our element of surprise by gloating about her powers. I noticed that he was scrutinizing me as well, with more interest than I expected and was comfortable with.
Still observing me, he said, "You have black hair and black eyes. You wouldn't be one of those heroes, would you?"
I had a feeling that those 'heroes' were the Japanese who were resurrected here with cheat items.
"Nope. Definitely not. Not at all."
"What's your name, boy?"
If I told him a Japanese sounding name, then he might associate me with the other Japanese adventurers. And then he'd say something like "I'll kill you right now while you're still weak" or worse, he'll say "I'll make sure that you can never birth any future heroes" and then proceed to emasculate me in the surest way possible.
"His name is Satou Kazuma, what's it to ya?"
Did this retarded goddess have a grudge against me or something?!
"I see. Indeed, you resemble those heroes, which means that you must have a powerful magical item yourself. That makes you dangerous. In fact, if I remember correctly, the legendary hero of past also had the name 'Satou'. Perhaps you are a descendant of his?"
This guy didn't know that 'Satou' was a fairly common surname back in Japan...
"Actually, my name is Mitsurugi Kyouya," I said.
For some reason, I used that good-looking normie as a scapegoat, even though he had a Japanese sounding name himself.
I think the mentality was that if I went down, at least I'd be taking a 'hot guy' like him with me.
"You mean that Cursed Sword user?! Then, while I have the chance, I'll make sure that you never birth any future heroes, Mitsurugi Kyouya!"
I scurried behind Darkness's reliably indestructible frame. "Protect me Darkness! This guy intends to cut off the most important part of my body!"
"W-What?! This guy is planning to cut off your right hand?! Men like Kazuma, who have no way of charming women with natural means, have a very great need for their dominant hands!"
There was no insult so severe as the undiluted truth.
Nonetheless, Darkness, who seemed to be knowledgeable in all sorts of things excluding an essential understanding of common sense, seemed to be misunderstanding something.
Darkness was of no help. I turned to Megumin. "Pubertal and emotionally vulnerable girls like you tend to fall for any guy they have the most interaction with, and that would be me, right? So you're hopelessly in love with me, right? My love-sick minion, protect me if you want any of my babies in the future!"
"W-What the hell are you…?! This presumptuous bastard! Forget this other guy, I'll chop your balls off myself!"
Megumin swung her staff at me with lethal force behind it, but I hid behind Darkness, who eagerly absorbed the blow.
Meanwhile, Aqua was approaching that dangerous guy.
"For awhile now, I've noticed this really terrible smell coming from you, you know? You stink! You stink way worse than Wiz and that masked Devil freak!"
"You've met Wiz and Vanir? What is your relationship with them?"
If this guy didn't seem dangerous enough, he had just admitted to knowing Wiz and Vanir. This guy could be directly involved with the Devil King, or he could be...
Aqua seemed to take this guy's inquiry seriously and gave it deliberate thought. "W-Well, a divine individual such as I is forbidden from perjury and false witness. So I will tell you the truth. I guess you could say that Wiz and that Devil and I, we are...casual acquaintances, or something like that...but nothing more, got it?! It's not like we're friends or anything!"
Where did this tsundere come from?!
But, at that moment, the meek Aqua who reluctantly admitted to her cordial relationship with the two former Devil King generals, was admittedly very cute.
I am ashamed to admit that my heart fluttered for Aqua, just for a second.
"What kind of phony Arch-Priest is friends with a Lich and a Devil?"
He made an excellent point.
"Don't underestimate me! I can kill those two whenever I want!"
"Then why don't you?"
Another excellent point.
This guy seemed to be enjoying teasing Aqua. Not that I could fault him. That was one of my favorite past-times, too.
"Hmph. Kazuma tells me that I should let them live because they are in charge of protecting the barriers around the Devil King's fortress, or whatever. After we kill all the Devil King army's generals, then that Lich and that Devil will deactivate the barrier, and then we will storm the Devil King's fortress and lay siege to it! Well, isn't it an amazing plan or what? Kazuma is a really smart and dangerous guy! He's defeated so many Devil King generals already, including that poison-or-whatever creature named Hans! If I was the Devil King, I'd come to Axel and personally assassinate Kazuma while he's still fairly low leveled!"
I was certain that this worthless goddess must have held a great grudge against me.
Maybe it was because of that time I stole a bottle of fancy wine she had been looking forward to drinking, and then I disguised myself as a wine merchant and sold the wine to her for a price worth more than what she initially bought it for.
After Aqua's outburst, there followed a great stretch of silence.
"Um, you guys do know that I'm the Devil King, right?"
I was once again reminded that this world, contrary to expectations, did not adhere to the linear progression of RPG's.
This was the kind of world where you'd provoke a random encounter with a Devil King in a city meant to acclimate newbie adventurers.
And then, for some inexplicable reason, you'd find him in your backyard fiddling with your female comrades' underwear.
Seriously, what is wrong with this world?!
I knew that my party members, who had a tendency to panic in crucial moments, would completely freeze up if I gave them time to render all the new information.
Before that happened, I needed to overload their respective thought processes with rapid instructions.
"Megumin, begin casting Explosion. Darkness escape with Aqua and protect her even if it kills you."
Darkness looked at me and then at the Devil King and then, clouded somewhat in an uncertain daze, she picked up Aqua in her arms and started running away.
I rushed up to the Devil King and casted Steal. His armor, which was apparently a one piece type, materialized in my arms. It was heavy so I dropped it. Then I dove to the Devil King and wrapped my arms around him in a tackle-like grip. I intended to have him fall along with my momentum but his strength stat far surpassed mine. Without pausing, I used all of my mana in casting a super powered Drain Touch. I didn't collapse from the mana exhaustion as the Devil King's abundant mana flowed through and replenished my reserves.
"W-What?! This is a Lich Skill! How did you...that Wiz! She said that she wouldn't intervene!"
The Devil King tried to move but the super powered, full-body contact Drain Touch was rapidly sapping his energy.
"It hurts!" he said. "This my first time (experiencing physical pain in combat) and it huuuuurtsss!"
His speech kind of slurred during an important part so this position of me tightly embracing him was incredibly suggestive!
"Kazuma, I'm done chanting. I can cast Explosion right now," Megumin said.
"OK. Do it."
"Eh?! We will both die too, you know?! Especially you! And Darkness is still in range, she'll die too. I've leveled up my Explosion since the fight with Vanir, you know?!"
"Will Aqua survive?"
"Yeah, she will, if Darkness protects her, but…"
"Then just do it! If there's one thing that worthless goddess is good for, it's resurrection magic!"
"Wait, did you say goddess?! No, that blue hair...don't tell me…?!"
The Devil King managed to get an arm free. He punched my face.
"Kazuma, Kazuma, your whole face is caved in!"
As I was about to fall unconscious due to the pain of having my face collapsed, I felt all the mana in the area gather into the spot above me and the Devil King.
"Damnit, for me, the Devil King, to die like this…!"
The gathered mana was descending upon us.
"Wait, don't you want to hear my back story first?! After my wife divorced me, I've fallen into a state known as the 'midlife crisis' and since then I've been engaging in all sorts of juvenile acts in an attempt to relive my days as a reckless youth. Since then, I've been going around my fortress and sexually harassing my female subordinates...stealing panties, flipping skirts, using the most powerful scrying magic to observe them while they are taking a bath...it was all so much fun! But recently, I got in trouble with a certain big breasted magician in my employ and so now I have to take my acts of perversion elsewhere. Hence why I am here now. Well to be honest with you, I came to Axel to visit Wiz. Hehehehehe, I missed Wiz so much! Did you know? The reason Wiz retired from the Devil King army was because of the constant workplace sexual harassment she had to endure from me and the Dullahan, Verdia…"
"We didn't need to know your pitiful life story! Please, just shut up and die with dignity!"
This guy's tendency to completely perv out reminded me way too much of myself and I didn't feel too good about that for some reason!
"Kazuma, I-I'm really gonna do it! I'm not going to chicken out, if you're counting on that! You can stop me now if you want to change your mind!"
Megumin said this as she was quivering. She couldn't even stand up properly and was leaning on her staff for support.
"Who are you trying to convince, me, or yourself?! I thought that you were a great magician this and the number one in Axel that. If you don't back up all that haughty talk with proof then you're nothing but a fraud, you delusional loli!"
That seemed to break her out of her apprehension. Megumin straightened herself and flicked her cape. And her eyes were glowing crimson.
"How dare you insult me! Insulting my prowess is the same as insulting my lineage and race! Fine, I will show you the ultimate power of the Crimson Demons!"
I had witnessed Megumin's magic activate many times and I could feel that the Explosion was looming.
She raised her arms in the sky and then let it fall in a chopping motion to the direction of the incapacitated Devil King.
"Hear me, Devil King! I am Megumin! The number one Arch-Wizard in Axel! One who wields Explosion magic! I have overcome many tribulations to reach the epitome of my craft, and you shall witness my full power! I am the bone of my sword! The hammer of my infinite destiny, oh, the beautiful distortion of my wicked soul, shall cruelly extinguish your..."
The Devil King punched my face once more.
"Megumin, get on with it!"
"...your brittle existence! Here it comes! My beloved...EXPLOSION!
The last thing I saw was the clear, blue sky.
It was a beautiful day.
Then the sky was swallowed by the golden flares of Megumin's Explosion.
And then we, the Devil King and our rag tag group, was devoured by the flames.
With the Devil King in my arms, I felt how his body slowly disintegrated.
"Damn you, Mitsurugi Kyouya! When I come back as a specter from hell, I will scour the earth for you and destroy you!"
Maybe I shouldn't have used Mitsurugi's name.
Megumin, Darkness, and I awoke in a familiar room. The goddess, Eris-sama, was seated in front of us.
She smiled gently and raised her arms towards us. "Brave adventurers, allow me to commend you on your valiant…"
Darkness rushed towards Eris-sama and fell to one knee, and she sort of drifted along the floor a little, and the spot where she initially fell received multiple deep cracks radiating from it. "Eris-sama, it is an honor to be in your holy presence!"
Eris, who was not an egomaniac like Aqua, began to feel flustered at Darkness's reverence.
"Um, there's no need for such formalities, Darkness."
'Formalities' was an understatement.
"You know my name?!"
"Fufu. Of course I do. I've always been watching over you, Darkness."
Darkness was crying tears of joy. "If meeting Eris-sama requires the condition of death, then I will gladly die a thousand times!"
"P-Please don't do that."
Megumin was equally enamored with Eris-sama, specifically, her eyes were gravitated to a particular part of Eris-sama's divine anatomy. "Um, Eris-sama, an arch-priest teammate of mine always says that Eris-sama pads her breasts..."
"Geez, that Aqua-senpai...um, I mean, no, I don't wear pads…"
"No, I refuse to believe that such a slender body can support those jugs. Please tell me where I can purchase such effectively deceptive breast pads."
Darkness unsheathed her sword and raised it against Megumin. "You dare blaspheme in the presence of Eris-sama?! Even if it's Megumin, as an Eris cultist I…"
I wedged myself between Darkness and Megumin. "Wait, there's really more pressing matters at hand here." I turned to Eris-sama. "Can you check up on Aqua and see if she's making any progress in resurrecting us?"
Eris nodded. Her eyes took on a detached look. After a few seconds, her gaze refocused. "Aqua-sen...I mean, Aqua-san has scavenged half of Darkness's body. Megumin-san's head, and somehow Kazuma-san's...erm, private parts have remained intact..."
"Take that, Devil King! My manhood lives!"
"We actually did it! We defeated the Devil King!"
"Fufu. Now that the position is open, perhaps I, the great Megumin, should take up the Devil King's mantle as supreme ruler and tyrant? The crimson demon blood in me boils at the possibility."
Did we really do it? That easily?
These surreal thoughts occupied my mind.
We defeated the Devil King, and there was no need for arduous treks to the boss's lair and fighting his henchmen in solo battles filled with backstory and exposition. There were no delays, no tournament arcs, no fillers. The final boss literally delivered himself to our door step and we killed him in under a minute of fighting.
That's right, this wasn't like the stories in anime and manga. I wasn't like the dense protagonists who'd allow their enemies to compose themselves in battle for the sake of 'honor' and 'pride'. I'd strike whenever an opportunity presented itself to me.
I was the type of guy who'd use Steal to strip the Devil King off of his equipment while ordering a fourteen year old girl to unleash the most powerful spell in existence, point blank, to kill the enemy along with herself and her best friends.
To defeat evil, fight with equal malice…
"Now then, it is time to impart on you victorious adventurers the ultimate reward for defeating the Devil King!"
I had almost forgotten about the wish given to the heroes who defeated the Devil King.
"Eh? Reward? I didn't know anything about that, do you, Megumin?" Darkness said.
"None of our legends and myth say anything about a reward," Megumin said. "Maybe it's because we died at such a young age and the gods felt sorry for us?"
"No, it's nothing like that, really," Eris-sama said.
I bet that the gods only bothered to tell the resurrected heroes about the reward because only those Japanese cheaters with cheat weapons had any real chance of defeating the Devil King.
"W-Well, nonetheless, there is a reward. You are given one wish, and this wish might be anything and is not limited by the constraints of reality, physics, or even ethics. Though, as righteous heroes, I expect that…"
"Please resurrect the Devil King and have me be his s-s-sex slave!"
Eris-sama visibly recoiled at Darkness's sudden change in disposition from loyal disciple, to worthless degenerate. However, Eris-sama's reaction was more subdued than what was warranted, as if she somehow anticipated such behavior.
On the other hand...
"I want you to make my breasts really big and shrink the breasts of all the other big breasted women in the world." Megumin looked at Darkness. "Please start with this meat bag over here."
What an idiot. They're both idiots.
"I'm sorry, but I can only give you one wish. I suggest that you three take some time to decide while Aqua-san restores your bodies, as the process may take awhile."
Translation: there's no way I'm granting those wishes.
Eris-sama showed us to a room as she resumed her goddess business. It was a plain bedroom. The walls were painted white and the furniture was colored the same violet as Eris-sama's eyes. Could this be…
"Could this be Eris-sama's bedroom?!"
I jumped on a bed covered in violet bed sheets and rolled around in it, sniffing the sheets, shoving my face in the pillows.
"Hah, hah, hah…*sniff*, *sniff*...hmmm...Eris-sama's scent…"
"You scoundrel! Get out of Eris-sama's divine resting place!"
Darkness lifted me and threw me onto the floor. But I didn't really feel any pain.
To experiment, I pinched my arm. There really wasn't any pain! I even casted tinder on the skin but not only did no burns appear, it didn't hurt or even feel remotely warmer at all.
"It doesn't hurt. Is this an ambient effect of heaven? Or perhaps it's because we are now in our spiritual forms?"
Darkness gasped. "A world without pain?! Heaven sure is a hellish place."
There were many things wrong with that statement.
Megumin sat on the sides of the bed and she was swinging her feet. She said, "Why don't we discuss what we'd wish for, for now."
"Right, I suppose it's time to go to business."
I joined her on the bed. Darkness, saying something about respecting Eris-sama's private space, stood quite a ways from us.
"Since Aqua is not here, I feel that we should keep her in mind when making the wish, too," Darkness said.
I had somehow forgotten about Aqua's involvement in this. In fact, now that she helped me defeat the Devil King, though, she really didn't contribute in the actual battle, she could finally return and reclaim her position in heaven.
"OK, now that we got out of the way, can I go first?" Megumin said.
The order didn't really mean anything so Darkness and I acceded.
"I want big breasts."
And immediately regretted our decisions.
"Are you crazy?"
"I reject this motion."
This was probably the stupidest thing that has come out of Megumin's mouth.
"In the event I get big breasts, I will allow Kazuma to grope them for two minutes."
"Are you crazy?!"
"I second this motion."
This was probably the smartest thing that has come out of Megumin's mouth!
I raised a hand. "Show of hands of those who approve."
Megumin raised her hand.
Darkness instead raised her fist to threaten us. Using violence during a civil discussion, she really was a muscle brained brute.
"There are more imperative matters to use our wish on than Megumin's breasts! What about wishing for world peace? Or maybe we can go back in time and kill the Devil King before he ascends to the throne?"
"Silly Darkness. You really don't know how wishes work, do you? Sure, world peace sounds great and all, but how do you think such peace will be granted? I've read enough fantasy and sci-fi literature to know that such a wish will turn the world as we know it into a brainwashed dystopia, where no one has any free will, or personalities and individuality, for that matter. And about going back in time and killing the Devil King, haven't you ever heard about the butterfly theory?"
In reality, when you are given an all powerful wish, those on a grand, global scale, or anything involving time travel will surely lead to disaster. That's why selfish but innocuous wishes like, for example, increasing Megumin's breast size, is our safest option.
But most importantly...
"I want to grope those big breasts and nothing you say will change my mind."
"Geez! If you want to grope big breasts so badly, there's a pair right here, you know?!"
By the time Aqua finished repairing our bodies, we had yet to decide on a wish.
"It's OK. Take your time. There is no time limit," Eris-sama said.
"Eris-sama, how should we contact you once we make up our mind?" Darkness said.
"Don't worry. Once you decide, just call on me and I'll personally come to you."
"Eh?! Eris-sama will descend to the mortal realm?!"
"Fufufu. Kazuma already knows this, but of course this will surprise you. I come down to the world of the living sometimes to play, but keep it between you and me, OK, Darkness?"
Darkness was stunned when Eris winked at her. Not like I could blame her. Eris, whenever she did such simple things like smiling or mischievously winking, would effortlessly elevate her waifu potential from the realms of best girl to god-tier waifu.
"Thank you, Eris-sama. And I'm very honored to have met you in the flesh today."
"Hm? And what makes you think that this is our first meeting, Darkness?"
Suddenly, a bright light enveloped us.
"Oi! Kazuma! Megumin! Darkness! The great me has finished resurrecting you! Stop chatting it up with that breast padding, slutty kouhai of mine and come back here!"
Aqua's loud voice intruded the serene space of Eris-sama's realm.
"W-Well then. It is time for you to return."
"Wait! Eris-sama, what did you mean by…?"
"Brave heroes, resume your great deeds! You have defeated this world's greatest evil and in doing so, have enriched the lives of the future generation, while also avenging the extinguished souls of the heroes past. Go forth, my children! I bless your souls! And in turn, may you spread my blessing on this wonderful world!"
In an instant, we were with the graceful goddess, Eris-sama, and then we were with the disgraceful goddess, Aqua.
I found myself being given a lap pillow by her, and her blue hair draped over me.
"Kazuma...I don't know if the Explosion destroyed a large chunk of your thing or if it really is originally about that size, but...I just want to let you know that there are many other ways to please women, don't be discouraged…"
"Hah?! Why you…!"
I looked at our estate...or what was left of it. The explosion completely destroyed our mansion and grounds as well as some of our neighbor's property. Furthermore, when I looked around, there seemed to be a multitude of people observing us, and the Axel police force was containing them in a perimeter.
I expected such a commotion, of course, as I doubted that casting an Explosion in the middle of a residential area would escape the public's attention.
"The police came here to arrest us, something about terrorist charges," Aqua explained. "They were about to haul me away but that prosecutor lady from before saw that armor over there."
Aqua pointed to the Devil King's crimson armor, which survived the full brunt of Megumin's Explosion.
The Devil King's personal armor must be quite famous and distinctive. If the armor hadn't survived the Explosion, Sena-san, or any rational person, really, wouldn't have even believed that we'd defeated the Devil King, or that the Devil King had even been romping around here, in Axel.
"Hmph. To think that there's anything that can withstand my newly upgraded Explosion. I must use the skill points I gained from defeating the Devil King to further increase my explosive power."
Did she intend on cultivating a power that could rival a nuclear weapon?!
Aqua had mentioned the prosecutor, Sena, the woman who had nearly given me yet another trip to the afterlife. I found her discussing something with an officer writing on a notepad. We made eye contact and she nodded dismissively to the officer and started heading towards us.
"Well, well, Kazuma Satou-san, we meet again. However, it seems that our meeting this time is not due to a criminal offense...well, at least, it isn't anymore."
Aqua did say something about 'terrorist charges'. The insinuation sent a chill up my spine.
"But to think that a party lead by the man many regard as 'Scum-zuma' and 'Kazu-trash', who was reported to be a constant public disturbance and an unprecedented sexual predator, would accomplish such a great deed…"
"I'll say this again, give me the names of those bastards who ceaselessly malign my good name!"
Sena turned to Darkness, who, as she was observing our interaction, had on a lewd smile, as if she were imagining herself in my shoes, being lectured by the domineering female prosecutor.
"Dustiness-sama, I am sorry to ask this of you, but there are certain...legalities that must be taken care of, and I am aware that this party is led by Satou-san, but seeing as you are of the Dustiness family…"
At the mention of noble related duties, Darkness's countenance quickly shifted to one of composure and professionalism.
"Very well. I will act as the representative of this party." She then looked at me, as if asking for permission, but it's not like I was the prideful and petty sort to be worrying about group hierarchy, and I was more than content to let Darkness take care of the aftermath.
Darkness followed a man who wore clothes similar to Sena's. They rode off on a carriage drawn by exceptionally groomed horses. They were equipped with saddles I vaguely recognized as belonging to this land's royalty.
Sena then turned her attention back to us, first to Megumin, then Aqua, then, lastly, to me.
She then gave a deep bow.
"I am sure that someone of a higher station will do so in the near future, but I still wish to commend and applaud your efforts, which have gone beyond the call of duty. The world's oldest and most powerful enemy has been neutralized thanks to your extraordinary bravery and unique talents."
She smiled stiffly, but with much sincerity, raised her head, turned on her heels, and resumed her business.
"Heh. You heard that, Kazuma? We're heroes! Yeah! I knew that coming along with you to this world would be a good idea!"
This delusional goddess spouted out the most absurd, and totally untrue, thing.
"Fufu. I had always been confident in my own abilities...but I suppose that none of this would have been possible if I hadn't joined this party. I realize that I should have done this long ago...but thank you, Kazuma, for accepting a somewhat troublesome mage like me."
Megumin struck one of her chuuni-poses, but her smile was one without any pretensions.
There was a good mood going on.
I could feel our bonds deepening.
Surely, after a victory like this, we had all reached the acme of our camaraderie...
"Oi, Kazuma! Is it true? Did you really kill the Devil King?!"
"I-I've always kind of thought you were cool, Scum-zu...I mean, Kazuma-sama! N-Now that I look at you, you're really kind of handsome!"
"Hey! It's me, it's me! We went to school together, remember?"
"Megumin! It's Yunyun! Are you and your party OK?! I heard that you encountered the Devil King but that can't be, right?! I'm trying to push past the crowd but I can't...oh, n-n-no, I'm sorry for stepping on your toes, sir. Eh? You'll forgive me if I go on a date with you?! I-I-I don't think I can...!"
I heard a familiar voice among the crowd desperately calling out 'Help me!', but I was too pissed off by the sudden shift in public opinion!
"Oi, you band wagoners, what do you figure me for, hah?! Do you think I forgive and forget that easily?! You think I have the retention abilities of a goldfish, or something?! None of you are getting a single Eris from me, no matter how much and how hard you kiss my ass, you losers! Go rot in this stupid city forever!"
"This guy! He already let the fame and fortune get to his head?!"
"You really are Scum-zuma!"
"Like we need your filthy money you bastard!"
"Megumin, there's a bunch of scary looking guys surrounding me! Help me!"
Megumin and Aqua was pulling me away from the crowd, which was growing increasingly enraged, and the police perimeter was struggling to contain them.
Sena-san, who had so elegantly pulled off the 'giving an inspirational speech to the heroes and then walking away without looking back' maneuver, was forced to awkwardly return and assist with the placating of the forming riot. She looked at me with a look of disappointment that was devoid of all the newfound respect she had shown me only seconds ago.
"So this is what comes before the fall, huh?"
"Don't rebuke him, Megumin. Kazuma here is merely living out the teachings of the Axis cult! Hubris over humility, pride before meekness! That is how one should live life in this world!"
"Satou-san, please refrain from instigating the crowd any further! Any more of this and we will have a riot in our hands!"
We had just defeated the Devil King.
Of course, with this party, every victory is short lived.
When Darkness returned, she came with news.
"It seems like we have an appointment with some very important people."
The ambiguity and her refusal to meet my eyes told of pivotal yet unspoken details.
"Who, what, when, and where?" I asked, urging Darkness to get on with it.
After all, if the matter was not all that impertinent, I already had my hands full, quite literally, with hors devours on one hand, and the most exquisite champagne money can buy on the other.
We were given our own rooms in the most sophisticated hotel in Axel, our temporary accommodations as we waited for our mansion's reconstruction, all paid for by the city. Although, if it were up to me, I'd rather have a permanent residence in this luxurious suite in exchange for the keys to that formerly haunted mansion of ours.
"As for the who, they are very important. For the what, it's about our victory over the Devil King, obviously. As for the when and where...two days from now and the event will beheldintheDustinessestate.
She attempted to bury the important details at the end but I heard it quite clearly.
"The Dustiness estate, huh? So I guess it's finally time for our royal visit."
I snapped my fingers. The butler, who, was not named Sebastian, much to my disappointment, prepared my velvet robe for me as I rose. "Would you like your pipe, sir?"
He held out an ivory box that held a pipe that I never used for its actual tobacco-related purpose, but more for aesthetic, feeling-like-a-badass reasons. These days, I was more concerned with the visual aspect of things rather than the practical. After all, a big shot like myself should mind the constantly watching public.
I placed the pipe in my mouth. "Did you tell Megumin and Aqua yet?" I had also mastered the art of speaking coherently with a pipe in my mouth.
"I asked them to come here but they're late..."
As Darkness said this, the door opened and Megumin and Aqua and their entourage of butlers and maids entered the room. I looked jealously at the butler by Megumin's side. It hardly seemed fair that she was the one to receive a butler named Sebastian.
Megumin and Darkness were wearing similar robes and they also sported similar pipes, though Aqua was using some kind of trick to make bubbles come out of hers.
They both clapped and their servants wordlessly exited the room. I gave my butler, not-Sebastian, a meaningful glance, and he bowed and followed after the exodus of uniforms.
"Megumin, Aqua," I greeted them, making sure to seem as aloft and indifferent as possible.
"Kazuma, Megumin," Aqua said, in much the same, snooty, way.
"Aqua, Kazuma." Megumin said, following suit, though, she almost dropped her pipe as she spoke. Clearly, she hadn't mastered the art of speaking coherently with a pipe in her mouth, what a poser! But Aqua and I didn't laugh at her blunder, as such a petty style of humor was reserved for the uncultured.
Darkness looked at us with some exasperation. "Ugh. I hardly recognize you three! Have you never heard the concept of integrity? Keeping to your roots? Does this ring any bells? You bunch of sell-outs!"
"Lady Dustiness, please don't raise your voice indoors," I said. "Now, about the royal visit...?"
"D-Don't call me 'Lady Dustiness'!"
Megumin and Aqua, for a moment, had a flash of emotion on their countenance.
"Oh? Is it already time for me to grace the royalty of this land with my divine presence?"
"Fufu. For a societal maverick like myself to associate with royalty...what are the odds..."
Darkness petulantly stomped her foot, but the lush and thick carpeting absorbed the impact and sound, making her even more frustrated.
"I was initially worried about your potential conduct towards the royal family, but with your newfound holier than thou attitudes, you might just fit right in!"
I twirled the pipe in my hands. "Oh, how droll of you, Lady Dustiness. We are practically royalty ourselves."
Darkness, unexpectedly, looked away from me. "Funny how you say that..."
"Hm? What's this? I sense trouble."
Darkness kept from making eye contact. I turned to Megumin, who was quite knowledgeable, though her application of said intellect leaves much to be desired.
"She's probably talking about that tradition, about how the hero who beats the Devil King will marry the current princess. It's how they keep the royal family strong, by integrating the blood of each era's strongest heroes into theirs."
"What is this?! This is totally awesome! Finally, this world got something right! The hero who saves the day always gets the princess!"
As I was celebrating, Megumin said something to Darkness and they started snickering.
"Oi, you two, stop giggling like schoolgirls and tell me what's so funny."
Megumin said, "Kazuma, don't you know that the princess of this country, Iris-sama, is twelve years old? I wonder what people will say when you get engaged to such jail bait."
Said the pot to the kettle! Megumin was barely legal herself! And Megumin really shouldn't call the princess of this country with such disgraceful names like 'jailbait'.
"H-Hold on, it's not like I have to marry her, right? They wouldn't do something like force the hero of the country into an arranged marriage, right?"
I could feel an intense glare from behind me. I turned around and saw that Aqua was looking at me with smoldering contempt.
Chapter 1 End
Next chapter: An Adoring Imouto-type Princess for this Brave Hero!