Gifting Beautiful Fireworks To The Night Sky!
Translator: Sine Nomine
Editor(s): Darkdhaos, YuNS, AMetroid, Deus Ex-machina, BlitzBlast
The third day of the Thanksgiving Festival.
Dressed in a one-piece, an astounded Megumin said to (the still lazing in bed) me:
“…Forget coming back at dawn— What are you doing this late in the day?! Hey, come on! Don’t forget that we’re going out to watch the fireworks today. Hurry up and get changed!”
I drank too much yesterday.
After coming to this world with no minimum drinking age, I’d become very familiar with the taste of alcohol.
“Uuuugh… If I tried to squeeze through a crowd right now… All sorts of things would come out…”
“You’re such a weakling, what kind of man are you?! If a guy knew he had a date with a girl, wouldn’t he normally watch how much he drinks? Anyway, what were you even doing last night? You came back in really high spirits.”
I couldn’t possibly say that I was out drinking with the succubus sisters.
“Go talk to Darkness… Tell her to postpone the fireworks a day…”
“I’m glad you don’t want to break your promise to me, but don’t be so willful. You’ll drive Darkness crazy. Especially after today, Aqua and her people really ran her ragged.
Aqua and her people ran Darkness ragged?
I thought they finally got their acts together last night— What happened now?
While I was lazily thinking this, Megumin tore off my blanket and reached for my clothes…
“Woah! Hey, wait a minute, what’re you doing?! Why’re you stripping me all of a sudden?! Sheesh, every now and then you do something completely out of nowhere and freak me out!”
I jumped out of bed before I could be stripped.
“I saw you with your clothes melted off after that fight with the Kowloon Hydra, your naked body doesn’t faze me anymore. Now come on. If you don’t undress yourself, I’ll just do it for you.”
I actually felt that getting stripped by a girl wasn’t all that bad, but I was afraid of what either Aqua or Darkness would say if they saw this.
So I changed my clothes and got ready to wash my face, all while Megumin was watching.
“… I-I really didn’t expect you to change your clothes right in front of me.”
“What, didn’t you just say my naked body didn’t faze you anymore? …Whew, I feel a lot better now that I’ve had some water. Anyway, you said something about Aqua and her people putting Darkness through the wringer, right? What’d they do this time?”
“The Axis Cult stalls were pretty successful last night, their sales were close to the Eris Cult’s. So the Axis cultists got cocky, claimed they’d sell more than the Eris cultists, and demanded more space for setting up stalls.”
What happened to the Aqua I saw last night?
Did she regress?
…No, no, it was too early to make any conclusions. She should’ve been reborn.
Right. It must just be a portion of the Axis cultists getting carried away.
“… I’ve got a bad feeling about this, but let’s leave it to Darkness for now. Yeah, we should just avoid the Axis Cult area today. Let’s go watch the fireworks.”
“Good idea. It’s the summer festival after all, we should try and avoid trouble for once and do something like a date instead.”
Probably feeling the same thing I did, Megumin readily agreed.
That’s right. This was a summer festival.
I was always getting dragged into troublesome matters. Even if it was only once in a while, I should get have a chance to leisurely enjoy a festival too—!
“—Somehow, I saw this coming.”
“Why’re you stopping all of a sudden? Come on, let’s keep going.”
Megumin looked puzzled and dragged me away from leaning against the entrance of the shopping street.
“This is my first time going to a festival and watching fireworks with someone else! Oh, Megumin, I’m not doing anything wrong, am I?! I prepared for this as much as I could!”
“The only thing wrong here is how excited you are. Please don’t panic just because it’s a festival.”
Even though Megumin said it was a date earlier, Yunyun came too.
I greeted Yunyun at the meeting place and dejectedly dragged my feet after them…
TL Note: Insert image — https://i.imgur.com/SvtVqwZ.jpg
“It’s too early for us to be alone right now. After the fireworks, let’s go back home together.”
Megumin walked beside me and whispered in my ear.
“I always just stayed home every festival before this, I never thought I’d participate in one. I’m so glad that I left the Home of the Crimson Magic! …Kazuma-san, are you feeling all right? You look sort of strange…”
“Huh, what?! N-N-Nothing, I’m just really excited to participate in this festival too! It’s, uh, such a surprise to see you again, Yunyun! I guess it’s normal to unexpectedly run into friends at festivals, huh? Oh, and you said you stayed home before? Yeah, I know what you mean, as a high level hikikomori I totally know what you mean. I didn’t want to come either when there were festivals and crowds. Yeah, yeah, that’s just normal.”
I was a mess after Megumin’s successful ambush. Yunyun was a bit surprised at my reaction.
“I wasn’t a hikikomori like you were, Kazuma-san. It’s just that whenever I went to a festival by myself, I’d run into some classmates playing together. Maybe they were just trying not to hurt my feelings, but they’d always say things like ‘Sorry we didn’t invite you too’ or some other apology…”
“I get it already, so cut it out! It was all my fault, so just stop talking, okay? I’ll play with you today!”
Damn. What’s wrong with the plot all of a sudden? Megumin’s been on the initiative a lot lately.
What was going to happen? What were we going to do after we got back? She obviously didn’t mean we were just going home together.
Was it okay for me to have some expectations?
Women were so cunning.
A mere whisper in the ear could cause confusion!
I used Snipe to excel at the shooting game stall, and then abused my naturally high Luck to destroy at the lottery stall.
“… I’m not sure how to say this, but you should really learn some mercy.”
“Yes. Both the nice lady at the shooting game stall and the kind old man at the lottery stall were crying. They said they had to close their stalls early today.”
I was strolling through the various stalls with the two girls from the Crimson Magic Clan.
“Listen up. A festival is a war between customer and stall owner. In my country, almost nobody ever wins the lottery’s grand prize, even after the tickets sell out. And even if you do manage to win a prize, after you happily return home you might take a closer look and find out it’s a bootleg.”
“One of these days, you really have to tell me more about your country… Anyway, this year’s festival seems a lot more exciting compared to the years before. Kazuma, were you the one who came up with this costume parade? Everyone is having fun walking around in their favorite costumes. Though there really are too many people dressed up as succubi and incubi… Real succubi might get attracted here.”
A chill went down my spine when I heard Megumin’s sharp observation. I decided to keep nonchalantly watching the festival.
Axel was completely different from normal.
Vanir had opened a stall selling unusual masks.
Seeing all of the smiling customers (which included some succubi), even Megumin wanted to buy one.
Then for some reason, Yunyun suddenly went over and pestered Vanir to go back and watch the shop.
And there were more than just demons at this festival, too. The rarely seen beastmen, the long-eared forest elves, dwarves with full beards, and many other races were all here too.
Watching this fantastical scene under the dim lighting of the festival made me deeply feel how different this world was.
“This really is a parallel world…”
At some point I’d started to smile unconsciously.
Right next to me, Megumin was staring at my reaction with an uneasy expression. It looked like she wanted to say something.
“What’s wrong? You look like someone banned you from casting Explosion.”
Megumin always spoke her mind, even to a cadre of the Ddemon King or to a royal princess. It was very rare for her to be so reserved.
One of these days, I’d have to tell them that I came from another world.
Though I’m not sure if anything would change even if I did tell them.
They didn’t believe Aqua when she said she was a goddess. They might just think that I’d started to talk nonsense too.
Maybe it was because life had been settling down recently, but lately I’d started to feel that coming to this world hadn’t been all that bad.
Someday in the future, I’ll tell them about my country—
While I was thinking that, an alarming amount of noise rang out from the direction of Axel’s cistern.
It seemed the fireworks had started.
The night sky lit up with colorful lights. Cheers rose up everywhere.
Gazing up at the night sky, Megumin dropped her silent mood and tightly grasped my hand…
“Kazuma, let’s hurry! If we don’t join the fight soon, it’ll be too late!”
… And fervently told me that.
“… Join the fight? Uh, wait a seco— Hey! Don’t drag me! Look, can’t we see the fireworks clearly from here?!”
“What’re you talking about? We’re adventurers! If we don’t protect the festival, who will?”
What’re you talking about?
But before I could say that, the behavior of the surrounding adventurers stopped me.
Wizards were running all over in excitement.
Even Yunyun, who was just standing to the aside earlier.
“Hey, tell me what’s going on! Isn’t this just a fireworks show?! Why’s everyone in such a rush?”
I shouted that as I ran after Megumin, and then—
“It’s the insects!”
Yunyun replied on behalf of Megumin, who was running ahead of both of us.
“The insects?! What about them? Are you worried about the bonfires all over place attracting bugs or something? That’s normal, what’s wrong with that?!”
This time Megumin answered my questions.
“Every summer, the guild puts out a request for insect extermination. Insects from the nearby forest and plains will fly over here thanks to how bright the festival’s bonfires are at night. They always circle about in the sky above us, waiting for a chance to attack, so the fireworks show was organized to cast Detonation and Blast magic into their midst.”
Wait, what the hell was going on?
“I don’t know what fireworks are used for in Kazuma-san’s country but… Here, summer fireworks are declarations of war against the insect swarms.”
Like I thought, parallel worlds are just…!
Earlier, Megumin had been whispering sweet nothings about us being together alone into my ear, so my expectations for later tonight were enormous. But once the fireworks started, she went straight to the frontlines.
Incidentally, just as she was about to cast Explosion inside the city, the police arrested her.
…And then took her away.
I can’t believe how unromantic she is.
And here I was, all excited thanks to the summer mood— Give me back my heartfelt feelings!
I helped stop the insect invasion, then dejectedly went back to my room.
But there wasn’t any point in getting depressed right now.
I didn’t bring my bow or any other long-ranged weapon to the festival, so even though I joined in on the defense, all I could do was dodge the flying insects. And while I was just standing there, idling, Chris caught me and hastily made a decision on a particular matter.
—I put on my black outfit and equipped the strange mask.
All of the magic items I purchased today were in my backpack. I was all set to go.
Yes. Now was the time to exact my vengeance on that damned armor.
In order to deal with that armor’s shouting, I’d prepared special magical equipment.
It was nearly midnight.
Aqua was still celebrating the success of the festival, so she wasn’t back yet. And Darkness was probably asleep.
My plan was to head out from my room’s window instead of going out the front door, then group up with Chris.
I’d be in a lot of trouble if someone saw me in this get-up.
Putting aside Aqua, Darkness knew this outfit very well. If she saw me right now, she’d know exactly what I was planning to do.
Okay. Time to leave.
I opened my window and lowered my rope. But just as I was about to head out…
“Kazuma? Your light’s still on. Are you asleep?”
Just as I was about to head out, I heard Darkness speak. I quickly retrieved my rope and closed the window.
“N-No, not yet! I was just about to head to bed, though!”
I hid the rope in a rush, double-checked that the door was locked, then breathed out a sigh in relief.
Darkness would definitely interrogate me about my plans tonight if she saw what I was wearing.
“I see… I’m sorry that I came so late at night. But, could I have a moment of your time?”
Darkness’ tone of voice was different from normal. I couldn’t let her find out what I was going to do, but…
“…I got it. But could you wait a bit? I can’t let you see me like this.”
“!? O-Oh, I understand. I’m sorry I interrupted you.”
While Darkness was panicking over something, I quickly took off my clothes.
I hid the mask and the backpack in my closet.
“Hah… Hah… S-Sorry for the wait…”
“It’s fine, you didn’t take that lon— Wait, why are you naked?! I-I won’t ask what you were doing just now, but at least stop panting!!”
Seeing me panting hard, Darkness blushed and looked away.
I messed up. I was in my underwear.
……Wait a minute.
“Wait. I wasn’t doing anything indecent! Don’t misunderstand!!”
“I-I know! I won’t misunderstand, so put on your clothes already! And if you’re going to do that kind of thing, then wash your hands before you go to sleep!”
This moron was definitely misunderstanding!
I wanted to explain myself, but there wasn’t any time to.
“…Just forget it— What’s wrong, anyway? Aqua will spread some weird rumors if she sees you hanging around outside my room dressed like that, you know.”
Darkness was wearing some flimsy one-piece sleepwear. I wasn’t sure where I should look.
Though if I didn’t need to recover that divine relic tonight, I’d have stared at her until I was satisfied.
And of course, I was staring right now.
“Um… This isn’t a very good place to talk. May I come in?”
I wasn’t very comfortable with letting her in, since there was incriminating evidence in the closet.
But I couldn’t use that as an excuse.
I let her in, then sat down on my bed.
“Why the sudden visit? Is it something that needs to be done tonight?”
“I-It’s nothing like that! It could wait until tomorrow morning but… Um… Lately, everyone’s been so busy, and we seldom meet even in the house, right?”
Darkness wasn’t being very straightforward. She looked around my room as if she couldn’t calm down, then carefully sat on the bed as well.
Chris was still waiting. I hoped Darkness finished this conversation soon.
Meanwhile, Darkness was fidgeting around, twiddling her thumbs. Then, as if she had finally come to a decision, she raised her head and spoke.
“Kazuma, I, um… I’ve only apologized to you so far. I haven’t thanked you yet so… I was waiting for a chance to be alone with you in order to thank you properly…”
TL Note: Insert image — https://i.imgur.com/JCLhiIv.jpg
Her voice was very soft. She looked at me straight and sincerely.
Oh, was this about…
“Is this about when I stole you away from the landlord? I did that for my own reasons, so you don’t need to thank me. And hey, didn’t you decide to take on my debts on your own? I haven’t thanked you for that yet either.”
I responded jokingly, but Darkness didn’t laugh.
And while we were wasting time like this, Chris was waiting for me.
What a troublesome woman. There was no need for thanks.
As my attention began to wander…
Darkness revealed a pitiful expression as if she was about to break into tears. Forcing out a smile, she said:
“I’ve… I’ve gained so many memories thanks to you. Happy ones, refreshing ones, sad ones, and angry ones, all thanks to you. As the daughter of a noble family, normally I’d never have been able to experience things like that. I’m sure that if I hadn’t met you, I’d never have been able to travel with everyone and enjoy all of those dangerous adventures. I want you to know, this past year since I’ve met you has been the happiest and most blessed time of my life.”
She said all of that in a soft voice, and while I was dumbstruck in response she reached out both her hands to grasp mine tightly.
“So I want to thank you. And not just because you saved me from the landlord. Before, when other people learned of my true identity, they always kept me at a distance. But you, you stayed by my side even after you found out I was a noble. I’m very, very thankful. I’m so happy living with everyone in this mansion. I feel as if… Yes, I’m sure what I’m feeling now is what I would’ve felt if my mother who died before I could even recall her face was still alive.”
She continued shyly.
“So once more, let me grant to you my sincerest gratitude. Both for accompanying me for all of this time and for rescuing me even after I had given up all hope…“
Still gently grasping my hand, Darkness suddenly spoke like a proper noble lady.
—My heart was about to burst from excitement.
What was going on? Why did this lovey-dovey event suddenly happen?
Wasn’t I already on the Megumin route?
I thought I was already past the route split, but a new one-san route’s come out of nowhere.
Most people probably wouldn’t understand what I just thought, but really, I was the one who didn’t understand here.
How did this even happen?!
No, wait, calm down. You need to calm down, Kazuma Satou. She just came to thank you. Don’t panic about it like some virgin.
Wait, no, I am a virgin!
But if I bring common sense into this, I can’t let this drag on. I was so excited to watch the fireworks with Megumin earlier. If I got closer with Darkness on the very same day, I can’t deny that I’d be a total scumbag. Wait, that’s not the problem right now!
What am I even thinking? I’m so confused. I need to calm down. I can’t be reckless. This is Darkness I’m talking about here, the girl who always says the weirdest things. Darkness, the girl who goes on rampages at the drop of a hat. Darkness, the girl who I nearly crossed the line with once.
“So tonight, um… As thanks…”
Darkness was blushing. She was leaning her face closer to mine. She was licking her lips in anticipation. Kazuma Satou, if she’s like this then you need to show her your manliness!
Just calmly take the lead and enhance the mood—
“No, no, don’t worry about it. You know, earlier Megumin thanked me for saving you too. But it’s really nothing special when you consider how close we are!”
Good. I wasn’t all that calm, but I’d say I got at least 80 points. Now to let the scene naturally develop—
“…Good grief. Why would you mention Megumin now? You can’t read the mood at all.”
—There was no development. Darkness stood up, slightly troubled.
“By the way, I received a notice from the police earlier. Megumin will be released later tonight. It’s rather despicable of me to take advantage of that to come meet you, isn’t it…”
After saying that, she suddenly bent over and leaned close to me.
Her lips gently brushed my cheek.
She then stood up again and shyly said:
“This is what I promised you. I told you that if you defeated the Kowloon Hydra, I’d reward you with a kiss on the cheek, remember? As for your reward for saving me from the landlord… I’ll give it to you some other day…!”
As Darkness hastily turned to leave…
I shouted at her.
“Are you kidding me?! What the hell was that?! Hold on Darkness, you made the mood this hot just to kiss me on the cheek? Stop screwing with me! Both you and Megumin are the same! Are you two getting something out of messing with my expectations?! Redo! I want a retake! If you really want to kiss me, then I’m sure you can do it! Be brave and take that step!”
“Why are you always like this?! Give that sweet moment back to me!!”
After Darkness angrily stomped back to her room, the first thing I did was furiously seethe in bed.
By the time I realized I’d forgotten about Chris and hurried to the meeting place, I was already two hours late.
When I arrived, I found Chris, who was also dressed in black and wearing a mask.
“You’re ridiculously late! What took you so long?!”
“I’m really sorry, it’s just that I had to do something with Darkness. Man, I really didn’t expect her to come to my room so late at night while wearing something like that…”
Chris was stunned out of her anger.
“S-So you’re doing this again, huh? Just randomly saying whatever to shock me into forgetting to be mad. Well I won’t be fooled that easily. Even if you phrase it like that, nothing actually meaningful happened, right?”
“Yeah, pretty much. Darkness just kissed me all of a sudden.”
Chris, who was pretending to be calm, cried out in alarm. Her face had froze in shock.
That expression wasn’t very fitting for a goddess.
“There’s not much time left, stop making that funny face and let’s go. I’m feeling really great tonight. Maybe it’s because of what happened earlier.”
“Huuuuh?! Wait, wait, why are you so calm after getting kissed?! You’re lying, aren’t you? This is just some unrequited love on your part, isn’t it?!”
I didn’t know why Chris was so stuck on this topic.
“I’m telling the truth. Ask Darkness ‘Did you visit Kazuma’s room late at night and suddenly kiss him?’ if you don’t believe me. But man, what’s going on here? Earlier, Megumin also told me she liked me, and today she said that the two of us should go back home together after the fireworks show— Though she totally ruined that. Big Boss, what should I do? I might take my first step into adulthood this festival.”
“Seriously?! Oh, now that I think about it, earlier you said ‘my relationship with Megumin is pretty good. Darkness seemed to be somewhat interested in me too!’… Wait. Wait, isn’t this a love triangle?!”
Chris covered her mouth with both hands and looked at me in fascination.
“Woooow… When did Darkness get so bold?! And hey you said Megumin likes you too right? What’re you going to do? Who’re you going to choose?!”
“Hey, it’s too early to make a decision like that. I’m having a headache about it, too. The current situation is like the pre-route split section you see in a lot of Japanese novels. Yeah, it’s gotta be that. All of the girls like me and a harem is being formed, after all… But you know, those two girls look pretty enough, but their inner selves aren’t too hot. And if this trend keeps up, I might raise flags for some other girls too. I think I should wait until later to make a decision, but what do you think I should do?”
“I think you should go die. But wow, what a surprise. When did everyone start to…”
Was she unused to talking about love because she was a goddess? Or was she just shocked because her close friend Darkness might have unknowingly stepped into adulthood before her? Chris staggered behind me as I led the way towards Undine’s mansion.
It was a cloudless night with the full moon high in the sky.
There was a reason we suddenly decided to take action tonight.
Our opponents would naturally be on high alert after our previous failure to steal the armor.
But with a festival going on, they should be a little more careless.
And this was just after the fireworks show, too.
The guards of this mansion also helped out with the defense of the city earlier. It was probably the so—called noblesse oblige.
TL Note: The social responsibility of nobility. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noblesse_oblige
So they’re probably exhausted. Plus, since this was the big, annual festival, drunkards were all over the place.
I had a plan to deal with the noisy armor, but if it failed and we had to escape pursuit, we could quickly discard our outfits and masks to mix in with the drunkards on the streets.
—Shortly after, we arrived at Undine’s mansion. The back door we used before was completely locked, and the only other door was the front one with two sentries.
According to Chris, ever since our previous infiltration, there were sentries on duty all night.
“What should we do, Assistant-kun? This mansion isn’t as large as the palace was. Sentries won’t be as easy to get by.”
“Yeah, what should we do? Is there any way we could distract them…?”
While we were observing the mansion from a distance and planning our next move…
“Um… Are the two of you the Band of Silver-Haired Thieves?”
Suddenly, someone spoke out behind us. I immediately turned around.
“P-P-Pleased to meet you! No, wait, actually we met before! I met you in the palace once… I’m your fan, the Arch Wizard Megumin!”
Megumin, who should’ve have been arrested by the police, was standing right behind us.
For crying out loud. How did this even happen?
“Wow, we really are famous! Look, we’ve even got a bounty of 200 million eris!”
After hearing Megumin declare herself as our fan, Chris was shyly pleased.
I wanted to complain that she shouldn’t be shy at a time like this, but I didn’t want to make the situation worse.
Chris and I had intentionally altered our voices, but a clever enough person would still recognize us.
Thankfully, Megumin was too starstruck—
“It’s so amazing that a band of thieves has such a high bounty! Oh, I’d like to ask, when the two of you snuck into the palace, was it really to protect the princess from a dangerous divine relic?!”
“Yes, that’s correct. We’re the chivalrous thieves. Normally we only help out commoners, but we couldn’t let such an innocent girl be exposed to such danger, even if she’s a princess. Whether it be a noble’s mansion or the royal palace, if someone’s in trouble there’s no place we won’t sneak into to lend a helping hand. That’s what it means to be part of the Band of Masked Thieves.”
I was secretly pleased to see Megumin looking at us with such admiration.
“Hold on a second, Assistant-kun. Aren’t we the Band of Silver-Haired Thieves? You can’t just opportunistically change the name now. And I‘m the boss, remember?!”
“What’re you talking about, Big Boss? Back at the palace, you said I could be the boss too. So there shouldn’t be anything wrong with us being called the Band of Masked Thieves!”
We ignored Megumin and her glimmering eyes and held a private argument. And then—
“So, what’re the two of you doing here? This is the home of a noble, isn’t it? …And his reputation isn’t that good…”
Megumin’s gaze was full of anticipation.
Chris and I shared a look and nodded.
“You’re… Megumin, right? Actually, we’re here tonight after something hidden in this mansion that’s necessary for the continued future of mankind. In all honesty, thievery is not something to be praised for, but… We believe that there are some things that have to be done, even if we end up labeled criminals.”
Megumin looked at us as if we were heroes.
“Yeah, that’s right, we’re going to rob this house. We need to retrieve something that could decisively end the battle with the Demon King’s army. If you want to report us, we won’t stop you but… Please, believe in us. This is for the sake of all mankind!”
“I will. I’ll believe in you, so of course I won’t turn you in! …But, um, I have a little favor to ask.”
Megumin started uncertainly, as if she was embarrassed.
“Please read this! This is a fan letter I wrote about how cool and charismatic the two of you are! I’ve been making sure to bring it with me everywhere just so I could deliver it personally!!”
Bowing her head, she held out a letter.
Oh yeah. After we came back from the palace, she started writing this.
I already knew it was coming, but actually receiving the letter like this made my heart beat faster.
Of course, to Megumin, this was just her writing a letter to her heroes. But to me it kinda felt like getting a love letter.
But just when I was about to take the letter—
“Thank you. As soon as we’re done with our work, I’ll be sure to read it.”
Chris snatched the letter first.
“Hey Big Boss, what’re you doing? That letter was for me!”
“Excuse me? It’s not yours, Megumin said it was for us, the Band of Silver Haired Thieves! I’m the boss, so isn’t it natural that I keep it?!”
As we started to softly argue between ourselves, Megumin bowed again.
“Thank you for taking my letter. I was looking forward to a lot of things tonight after the fireworks show, but I messed everything up. I was a little depressed because of that… But if it meant that I could meet the two of you, maybe it wasn’t all that unlucky.”
She said, smiling innocently.
“You know Big Boss, it’s good that we didn’t expose our identities, but meeting her at a time like this makes me wonder about our luck.”
“With the two of us here, there’s no chance of any bad fortune. Look, we even got a fan letter.”
“I really wish I could help out, but I should probably head back and apologize to somebody…” —Megumin said that and left. She was still worriedly looking back at us, though.
Was she going to apologize to me?
“Big Boss. Do you think I should go back early tonight? Actually if I go back now, I feel like I might get in an event with Megumin.”
“Absolutely not. In just about every way, today’s our best chance to get in! And what do you mean you’ll get in an event with Megumin?! At least choose somebody between Darkness and Megumin!”
No choice then. I’ll just have to finish the job fast.
Then I noticed Chris was keeping Megumin’s letter inside her clothes.
“…Big Boss, after we finish here, let’s decide who gets to keep that latter.”
“Fine. We’ll decide it in a game of rock-paper-scissors.”
“Don’t decide this with luck!”
—Because of some unexpected incidents, I needed to go back earlier than expected tonight.
We should finish this quickly.
“Let’s subdue the sentries. I feel great today, handling just two people will be easy.”
Was my unusual excitement because of how well things were going with those two?
“You were this excited too back when we infiltrated the palace… You get really lively at night. Are you a demon or something?”
“If I was, all of the NEETs in Japan would be demons too. Big Boss, let’s use Hide and get closer to them. It’s a full moon tonight and the festival’s bonfires are still burning, though, so there’s a ton of light. Be careful.”
Chris and I used the Hide skill, then clung to the walls and crept toward the sentries like we were ninja.
The two sentries were leisurely chatting away.
It should be possible to ambush them.
To get the timing right, I calmly listened in on their conversation.
“This festival has been awesome, it’s so different from all of the festivals before! It must be thanks to the Axis Cult joining in. But more importantly, making the poster girls wear swimsuits was a stroke of genius!”
“Same with allowing succubus cosplay, I found one amazing babe. This festival has just been amazing. But did you hear? Supposedly, there was some outside help in the management this time around.”
Oh, they’re talking about me.
I was popular enough to be a topic of interest among soldiers. What a great feeling!
“The outside help was from that guy, right? Pitting the Eris Cult and the Axis Cult against each other, then fanning the flames just so he could get a bigger commission out of it… Talk about a bastard.”
“Oh, right. Bringing in the Axis cultists, allowing for succubus cosplay, making the poster girls wear swimsuits… I hear all of those suggestions were his. What was his name again? It should’ve been something like—”
I jumped out of the shadows.
When they noticed me, they immediately went for the swords sheathed at their waists—
“Double Drain Touch!”
But I covered their mouths with my hands and used Drain Touch to drain their mana.
The sentries, who nearly exposed some important secrets to Chris, soon quieted down.
“Don’t be so reckless, Assistant-kun! It’s good that you surprised them, but they nearly raised the alarm!”
“I’m in great condition today, so I was sure I could take them. And I managed it in the end, right? So there’s no problem, just leave this to me.”
That was too close.
I wasn’t afraid that they’d shout, I was afraid that I’d get some divine retribution if they kept talking.
The two sentries were unconscious due to mana exhaustion. Chris dragged them away into the trees.
“Even if it turned out well, you shouldn’t be so reckless. Most of the soldiers helped defend against the insect invasion. They were only so careless because they were tired, you won’t be able to do this again.”
“I know. Let’s keep on going, then. I want to head back early and be lovey-dovey with Megumin.”
“Weren’t you just getting along well with Darkness? I won’t agree to another resurrection if you end up dead because of this.”
Don’t say things that make people feel uneasy.
“By the way, about what those sentries were just talking about… So there was outside help with the festival Assistant-kun, do you know anything about this?”
…That was another reason to finish this job fast.
—Our infiltration into Undine’s mansion was much smoother this time.
Part of it was because we were more familiar with the layout since this was our second time.
But most of the reason for our safety was because we had a goddess of luck present.
I didn’t really want to think about it but— If I hadn’t triggered the alarm in the treasure vault back when we infiltrated the palace, that mission might have gone smoothly too.
We soon arrived at the treasure vault and nodded at each other in front of the hidden door.
I grabbed an essential item from my pocket then pushed the door open.
Before Aigis could shout, I smashed the magic crystal I had bought earlier as I entered the room.
As the crystal shattered, the entire room was magically sealed off from the rest of the mansion.
I didn’t buy this from Wiz’s Magic Tool Shop. It was a regular magic item that was actually useful.
It didn’t last very long, but this magic crystal could create a weak boundary field.
So even if Aigis shouted with its telepathy again, nobody outside the room would hear.
Meanwhile Chris pulled out a magic sack that could block weak magic from her backpack. It was from the same magical tool shop.
If Aigis was covered by this sack, he shouldn’t be able to use telepathy.
“I was wondering who it might be. You’re those thieves from before! Haven’t you given up yet? Thieves! THIEVES—!!”
Aigis immediately shouted as soon as it saw us.
I ignored its shouts and started to remove the chains binding Aigis.
“Hey, what’re you doing? Why aren’t you afraid?! This is a noble’s mansion, you’ll be executed if you’re caught— Wait. The mansion is too quiet. What’s happened?”
“Hah, did you think we came unprepared? Too bad, your telepathy’s being blocked from everyone else in the mansion!”
I vengefully mocked Aigis as I removed the chains.
“What did you do?! Okay, fine, I understand! Let’s make a deal, then!! You want my power, right?! Then find a worthy master for me, and I’ll gladly cooperate! I can compromise a bit regarding the master, so please!!”
Aigis fervently beseeched us. Where was its previous arrogance?
“You should’ve said that the first time we came, you dope! And guess what, moron? We’ve decided that your master’s going to be a man with big, shiny muscles! You’d better get ready to serve your new master!!”
“Don’t speak nonsense, you bastard! Stop and think about this from the perspective of an armor! Please, just do it! You wouldn’t want to be worn by some slovenly old man, right? If you had to protect someone, it’d be better to protect some cute girl, right?!”
“I agree completely, but it’s your fault that we were so miserable last time. We’re not going to kindly listen to your requests anymore, idiot! Yeah that’s right, you’re a giant idiot!”
“A-Assistant-kun. I know I did it too last time, but getting into an argument with some armor is just too childish.”
Chris was holding the sack open. She couldn’t take any more of watching me argue with Aigis just like she did last time.
“Aaaaagh! No, no, no! A woman! I must be worn by a woman! I don’t care if it’s a black-haired beauty, or a blonde lolita, or a sexy brunette. At this point, I’m fine as long as it’s a woman! You know, my wearer would sweat a lot in the heat of battle. Consider how I felt about being drenched in a man’s sweat!”
Aigis cried out in anguish. I felt a bit of pity for it.
It was given the disgusting task of protecting a man, and ended up drenched in his sweat. That wasn’t something you could excuse as just a “punishment game”.
“Just give up. Oh, don’t bother trying to shout for help on the way out. Chris’ sack there can block weak magic, we’ll be wrapping you in it. Anyway, you’re not even alive, so why do you have so many demands? Stop being so willful”
As I said that, the last chain on Aigis was removed.
The shout was followed by a dizzying blow to my jaw.
“A-Assistant-kun?! Wait, what!? Why are you moving!?”
I steadied my shaky head and looked at Aigis to get a grasp on the situation—
“I’ve decided. I will go on a journey in order to find a pretty woman worthy of wearing me. It may be nice being waxed daily by the maids in this mansion, but people like you might show up again. So I’ll just have to find my own master.”
After being freed from the chains, Aigis suddenly punched me.
Then it started speaking nonsense. Chris was still trying to persuade it.
“Aigis, wait. This world needs your power! If it’ll help, until we find your new master, I can wear you…”
“To hell with that! What fun would there be in being worn by an androgynous thief?! Like I said, I will find my own master. But since you want to wear me so much, I might as well evaluate our compatibility. Hmm, your face is an A. Our job compatibility is a C. But your breast size is below even an F. I’m sorry, but our partnership simply wasn’t fated to be”
“Arrrgh—! I was trying to be nice, too! Fine, I’ll just have to use force! Bind!”
Chris finally blew her top and screamed as she tossed the wire at her waist.
A metallic wire stole Aigis’ freedom—!
“Oh? And just what were you trying to do with this wire? What, do you want me to tie you up with it? Heheh, you looked so pure, but it looks like you’ve got some heavy tastes!”
—But it didn’t work.
The wire Chris tossed fell off for some reason.
Aigis shrugged and mocked the astounded Chris.
I used the same skill as Chris, only for my wire to fall off as well.
“Haven’t learned your lesson yet? What, do you really not understand what’s happening? Who do you think I am? I’m the legendary Sacred Armor Aigis, the toughest thing in this world. I’m immune to magic and skills. I can heal my master. I’m the sacred armor that can ever sing and dance! I won’t lose to thieving brats like you!!”
“Big Boss. Skills might be useless, but it can’t be all that powerful if it could be chained down. Let’s work together and take it down!”
“I-I understand! I’ll go from the right. Assistant-kun, circle around it!”
Hearing our plan, Aigis made a fist.
“So you still want to fight? I’ll have you know that my fists are literally fists of steel. Yes, that’s right, I’m a walking weapon!”
“What’s this guy even saying? It’s so noisy and annoying! It’s way too talkative for a suit of armor! Hyah!”
“Yes, I caught it!”
Chris and I pounced on it at the same time and pressed down on Aigis’ body.
“Big Boss, take its arm off! Take it apart and stuff it in the sack! And it talks too much, so just leave the helmet behind in this room!”
“Hey there, that’s a dangerous line of thought. But unfortunately, my body can’t be disassembled. When my master wanted to put me on, he had to say a chant to do it. Instead of carrying me away, wouldn’t it’d be easier to just equip me? The chant is ‘I want to be an armored girl!’, come on, try saying it.”
“I-I want to be an armored gi…”
“There’s no way the chant would be stupid, Big Boss, you’re being tricked! Hey, woah! Th-this thing is a lot stronger than I thought.”
Aigis shook us off from its arms and started walking towards the room exit…!
“Big Boss, this isn’t good! If it leaves the room, it won’t be silenced anymore!”
“Ooooooh, I guess there’s no choice then. Hey, Aigis, obey my commands! I am Eris, the goddess in charge of this world. I have an obligation to manage you, so be obedient and come with me!”
“You’re trying too hard. What a waste. Your face is cute, but I suppose one must still consider the inner self. I’ll need to be more mindful while I search for my new master.”
“What did you say——?!”
Chris flew into a rage when she heard Aigis doubt her divinity.
“Well then, it’s time to part ways. If you want me so much, learn to be charming enough to get a man’s attention first, little girl. Just so you know, breast size is the most essential factor. Some people may say that flat chests are more novel, but personally I think that’s a bluff by people who just don’t have what it takes.”
Even though Chris had a furious grip on Aigis’ arm, it simply dragged us with it out the hidden door.
“To the Undine household who couldn’t keep me, a world-class treasure. You have taken good care of me up till now! Please forgive me for leaving on my own to find a new master. If you want me back, then prepare a world-class beauty! If you do, then I will surely return!”
A telepathic message strong enough to hurt everyone’s heads rang through the mansion.
“Ah, freedom! Yes, I’m completely free! The sky’s the limit now! Aigis Flying Kick!!”
After shaking us off, Aigis came out of the treasure vault and left through the third floor window with a flying kick.
At the same time, the lamps in the mansion all lit up. There was shouting everywhere.
The commotion must have woken everyone up.
“What!? The thieves are back again!?”
“That was Aigis’ voice just now! Check the treasure vault!”
This was bad. There were voices coming in this direction!
Last time, we made a rope out of the window curtain to escape from the treasure vault.
But there wasn’t anything like that this time, maybe as a defensive measure or just because they didn’t have a new curtain ready yet.
“Big Boss, this is bad. This is the third floor and we have no escape route. We’re going to have to secure your wire onto that pillar then go down from there!”
“Hey, you’ve got a wire too. Use yours!”
“This is an expensive, custom-made special item! They’ll track me down if they investigate it!”
“So that’s why you were in such a rush to pick it up after your Bind failed! But mine is also custom-made, so they can track me down with it too!”
Then there was no other option. We were going to have to forcefully break through like we did at the palace.
“Get ready, Big Boss. It’s been awhile since we’ve had to show our true ability.”
I steadied my breathing.
“There’s no need to panic. Don’t worry, there’s always a way out when we’re involved. Did you forget who I am? I’m the goddess of luck!”
Chris was smiling playfully as if she was just pulling a prank.
Suddenly, there was a bright flash of light outside the window. Every window in the Undine mansion shattered simultaneously.
As the broken glass flew, the explosive roar that everyone in the city was so familiar with tore through the summer night sky.
—This was all that damn armor’s fault.
“Get out of there, Kazuma! I promise that if you come out now, I’ll only lecture you!”
Darkness was kicking my door in a rage.
“This is unacceptable, young lady! Shouldn’t a lady of a noble family behave more demurely?!”
I shouted from the other side. To prevent the door from being kicked open, I was using all my strength to push it closed.
“Don’t treat me like a noble lady only at times like this! Come out and explain yourself, Kazuma! Or else Chris here will receive your punishment too!”
“Assistant-kun, save me!!”
I heard Chris’ voice from the other side of the door.
“Too bad, Darkness. That trick won’t work on me. That may have sounded like Chris, but my reliable Big Boss would never give in so easily. You’re using Aqua’s Super Entertainer spell to mimic her voice, aren’t you? Don’t underestimate my brain. I’m sure of it, that was your voice just now!”
“No it wasn’t! What are you even talking about, Assistant-kun?! That’s crazy, even for you!”
After I reasoned it all out, I heard Chris’ agonized voice.
I was currently hiding in a certain hotel.
After Aigis defeated us, Chris and I broke through the ranks of the servants, who were stunned by the explosion. We ran all throughout the city, and finally hid inside a random hotel…
I heard Darkness from the other side of the door again.
“It’s about time you came out, Kazuma! Chris and I are the only ones here. There’s no police, or anyone from the Undine family. So get out of there, or else your boss might really get it. Are you okay with letting that happen?”
My response was simple:
“Do as you please.”
“You traitor! Hey, Darkness, untie my rope! I’ll help you get Assistant-kun out of there!”
“Y-You two are just…!”
—An hour later.
Darkness had kicked the door down and subdued me. With my upper body bound, I was sitting up straight nearby Chris.
“So is that why you did this? Good grief, didn’t you promise to tell me if you were going to do anything last time? Now there are eyewitnesses from the Undine family. Don’t you know how many people are hunting you down for your bounties? Even Axel’s adventurers are after you!”
After hearing our explanation, Darkness pressed her hand to her forehead and sighed.
Since I was tied up, I had to move my head to indicate things to Darkness.
“Just for the record, earlier I said ‘If the other party is a noble, maybe we could ask Darkness for help? Use the authority of Darkness’ family to make things easier’. But Big Boss here…”
“Huh?! That’s right, Assistant-kun did say that! But Darkness, that noble acquired the divine relic illegally! His reputation isn’t good either, he’d definitely deny he had it! Also, you were busy with your duties as the lord!”
Darkness sighed heavily.
“If you’re going to commit a crime otherwise, I’ll think of something no matter how busy I am. Nobles have their own ways of dealing with things, even for something acquired illegally. As long as the price is right, it’s always possible to negotiate with nobles. They’re very sensitive to benefits, after all. But more importantly…!”
“It hurts! It hurts! Darkness, stop! I’m sorry! Next time, I’ll definitely tell you before I steal something!”
“Don’t you have other options besides thievery!? Anyway, the person I’m really angry with here is—!”
Darkness was drilling Chris’ temples angrily when she gave me a fierce glare.
“How could you just leave immediately like nothing had happened after you had that moment with me last night? Unforgivable! Didn’t you have any complex feelings of excitement or confusion? Do you know something? Whenever I think back on what I did then, I’m filled with embarrassment for a long while! I’m still struggling internally about it!”
“Ugh! It’s going to crack, it’s going to crack! My head’s going to crack! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it’s all my fault! But you know, if it’s that embarrassing then just don’t do it in the first place! And that cliff-hanger kind of kiss was unbearable for me too!”
Darkness had grabbed my head and was clamping down…!
Chris suddenly cried out after hearing our conversation.
Then she started trembling…
“No way… So what Assistant-kun said last night was actually true…! Darkness really did it! She really took the initiative and kissed someone!!”
“Gah?! Chris, that’s not what’s important right now! Also— Kazuma, I can’t believe you told her!”
“I didn’t have a choice, Big Boss wanted to know why I was so late! Anyway, given our current relationship, should you really be this embarrassed over a kiss? Haven’t we seen each other naked and washed each other’s backs in the bath before? You even said we should become adults together back when I snuck into your house.”
“Ugh! Kazuma, you—! Fine, I understand how it is. This topic is over, I don’t have the time to fool around with you! I’ll undo the ropes, so just get out of here!”
Darkness blushed and hurriedly removed the ropes.
“I just heard something amazing again. What was that about!? What stage has your relationship reached?! Am I the only child here?!”
“We’ll talk about this some other time, Chris! Here, let me remove your rope…”
“Don’t put this off, I want details! Wait, Darkness, why aren’t you telling me anything? What happened to our friendship between girls?!”
Watching this sudden role reversal, I massaged the part of my body that’d been tied up.
“Y-You’re being annoying, Chris! This isn’t important right now! Honestly, the two of you, Aqua, Megumin… Why are you all causing trouble while I’m acting as the lord?!”
Said Darkness as she pressed her forehead again.
“…Huh? Hey, putting me aside, did Aqua and Megumin stir up some trouble too?”
“… Megumin is being held at the police station. Supposedly, she used Explosion magic for no reason within the city. And no matter how she was interrogated, she only gave the same unreasonable response: ‘It was unbearable not being able to use magic during the fireworks. My Explosion magic is much prettier than any firework. Anyway, I won’t apologize, but I’m willing to compensate.’ So they decided to lock her up till the end of the festival.”
Obviously, Megumin was the one behind the shockwave that assaulted Undine’s mansion last night.
After she saw us off, Megumin was still concerned about us. When she saw the lights in the mansion turn on, she realized we were in danger and used her magic to save us.
And then she was arrested since she couldn’t move after casting Explosion.
I felt sorry for her. I should bring her something later.
“And Aqua? What’d she do this time?”
Darkness frowned unspeakably.
“Thanks to how unexpectedly popular and profitable this festival has been… The Axis cultists want the Goddess Aqua Thanksgiving Festival to be the only event next year.”