THE THING THAT SLEEPS IN THE HOME OF CRIMSON MAGIC
Translator: Sine Nomine
The broken-hearted Buzucoily returned home and stayed there for three days.
I thought there wouldn’t be any other event besides this…
—Yunyun was a bit strange lately.
“Megumin, good morning. Come, take this.”
Yunyun handed me a meal box as I entered the classroom.
This was unexpected, so I did not know how to respond to her.
I held the meal box blankly, and forced myself to say something.
“What? Are you in love with me? This is too sudden a change. For you to behave like a loving wife, I feel…”
“What loving wife!? Hey, what are you saying!? I don’t intend to challenge you today, I just want to give you the packed meal! In other words, ‘I gave you the packed meal already, so don’t pester me anymore!’, understand?”
“The manner you say this seems to suggest that I’m a despicable person who will cheat you of your packed meal by any means necessary if you don’t give it to me.”
“Megumin is a despicable person— but since I bother you daily, it is not like I’m any better.”
Yunyun said bluntly. Just as I was considering how to deal with her, the homeroom teacher entered the classroom.
The noisy classroom quieted down. The homeroom teacher walked to the podium.
“Good morning. I heard that the monster from a few days ago, which was suspected to be the evil god’s minion, appeared inside Home of the Crimson Magic. The current situation demands caution.”
Hearing this, the classroom got rowdy again.
Aside from monsters similar to One Strike Bears, normal monsters would flee just by seeing the silhouette of a Crimson Magic Clansman.
It was definitely unnatural for monsters to enter the village.
“Therefore, even though preparation is not complete, we decided to summon more people and forcefully reform the seal. The ritual will last from tomorrow evening to the morning on the day after. If we fail, Home of the Crimson Magic will be swarmed by the evil god’s minions— Of course, we also have our own means to deal with that. Once the ritual starts, do not roam around, just stay at home.”
The usually frivolous homeroom teacher showed a rarely seen serious expression.
I never paid the homeroom teacher much attention before. Now, the homeroom teacher unexpectedly seemed quite mature.
“Okay. Firstly, I will announce the test results. By our customary rule, the top three students will receive Skill Up Potion! Come forward to receive it when your name is called! …Third place, Nerimaki!”
I listened to the homeroom teacher and examined my Adventurer’s Card at the same time.
Eheheh…… just short of four points.
Another four points and I can learn the Explosion magic of my dreams.
“Second place, Arue!”
I listened to the homeroom teacher, while looking at my Adventurer’s Card with a grin.
…… ……Second place, Arue?
“First place, Megumin! Good job. Come, get your potion.”
I stood up after being called, and looked to the side.
I looked at Yunyun, who was clenching her fists and feeling a bit uneasy.
“The first lesson is about creating cool equipment— such as Arue’s eye patch. Such equipment enhances one’s personality and consumed 1 skill point. For example, fingerless gloves or handkerchief. Everyone must go to the handicraft room!”
After the homeroom teacher left the classroom, I showed off my new Skill Up Potion and pulled my chair next to Yunyun.
Yunyun avoided my gaze awkwardly. I did not say anything and merely dangled my potion before her.
“……Hey, say something! If it carries on like this, the mood will be too heavy!”
As if she had enough, Yunyun slammed the table and stood up.
Then immediately sat back down in regret. Her anger dissipated faster than normal.
“……Then I will say something. Yunyun’s merits are ‘good at cooking’, ‘excellent student’, and ‘no sense of presence’. Well then, what happened to you this time?”
“Hey, the last merit is a bit strange! I have no sense of presence!? Also, my merits can’t be so few!”
I raised the potion before Yunyun, who was blushing and unwilling let go of what I said.
“You said earlier that you do not want a match today, so what will you do now? I remember you said you need 3 more skill points to learn advanced magic. I’m short of 4 points… Is this really okay? You finally got ahead of me and can graduate before me. You don’t wish to be surpassed by me at the last moment right? Hey, hey, hey… What will you do now?”
Hearing my provocations, Yunyun looked at me with mixed feelings…
“I said earlier, today, uh, no need to have a match… You should drink the potion quickly.”
“…Really. It can’t be helped. Then, I will eat the packed meal as well?”
For some reasons, as Yunyun watched me drink the potion and eat my packed meal, she looked relieved.
—As expected, Yunyun was very strange lately.
“Hey, have you heard? It was rumored that a hero candidate has arrived!”
The morning lessons ended and was followed by the noon break.
Funifura mentioned this rumor as she ate her packed meal on our desks.
Surrounded by powerful monsters, Home of the Crimson Magic was a remote and undeveloped place.
Why would a hero candidate come here?
Hero candidate was a collective term for the people who received special powers from the gods. They usually have strange names.
The rumor was that, besides their strange names, their personalities, behaviors, and nick names were also different from others.
“I know, I know! We met yesterday! He’s a handsome guy, supposedly here to recruit party members in order to defeat the demon king. They seem to be short of a powerful wizard! Ah, why did it have to happen now? If they come after I have learned magic, I will definitely follow him!”
Dodonko said, and sighed regretfully.
……Hm. The hero candidate is a handsome guy.
I couldn’t use magic yet, so I could not join a party. But, as an arch wizard candidate, I would meet this hero candidate someday.
After all, the powerful tended to attract each other.
As the saying went, birds of a feather flock together.
Yunyun was curious. She asked Dodonko.
“The hero candidate… What is he like? Is he very strong?”
“He has two girls with him, and wields a powerful magic sword. He is good-looking. I heard his job is sword master? His name is… Mitsurugi, I think?”
A sword master with a powerful magic sword.
Many powerful monsters resided in the area around Home of the Crimson Magic.
He must really be strong to make his way here through the danger zone.
“I see. This man will probably hang around for some time, right? In that case, I will let him join me after I learn magic.”
Hearing what I said, Dodonko turned around.
“He said he is leaving today. If he can stay longer, I will definitely ask him to bring me along.”
That was regrettable.
As a hero candidate, he must be an excellent person, someone who could overcome all obstacles and make history.
I intended to become a wizard and join an adventuring party. In that case, a party with a hero candidate would be the best option.
A party led by the hero candidate, one that can confront obstacles directly, was full of righteousness, and was admired by everyone.
Finally, I would use my magic to wipe out the demon king’s cadres— or whatever they may be— and leave my mark in history.
After defeating the demon king, I will become the new demon king: Megumin—!
“Megumin, are you listening to me?”
“I was thinking about something very important, so I wasn’t listening. What is it?”
Just as I was getting lost in my fantasy, Yunyun dragged me back to reality.
Funifura and Dodonko were chatting about a different topic now.
Yunyun periodically looked concerned about them, and said embarrassingly to me.
“Hey, Megumin, can you keep me company for a while after school? I have something to say to you…”
Other than Yunyun’s failure to get third place for the test results, there was nothing strange today. After school was dismissed, Yunyun and I were on our way home.
Yunyun said she had something to tell me, yet she remained silent so far. Then, she finally said.
“……Hey, Megumin, what kind of relationship are ‘friends’ exactly…?”
Hearing this unexpectedly serious topic, I stopped walking and put my hand to my face. I held my tears back.
“Hey, wait, wait, Megumin. What’s wrong with you!? Hey, hey! Did I say something to make you cry!? Tell me!”
“No. I knew Yunyun is terribly lonely, but I never thought it would be to the extent that you don’t even know what friends are…”
“I know! I know somewhat! Buying things together, playing together, etc.! —This isn’t what I was talking about!”
Yunyun retorted angrily, then calmed down instantly.
“Hey, Megumin. You always cheat me, but you never covet my wealth, right? —You merely put on an expression of wanting me to treat you, or spin around before me during lunchtime to subtly suggest I share my meal with you.”
“Of course. Concerning this, I have a baseline! If I’m really hankering after your money, I won’t complain even if you want my physical body as a price.”
“I don’t want it. What kind of person do you take me for!? However, I also think that ‘friendship’ should not be controlled by money, but… I recently encountered similar issue… Funifura said her little brother was really sick…”
I did not know what the situation of Funifura’s family, but I heard she had a brother who was much younger than her, and she doted on him a lot.
“And then, she wanted to buy medicine, but didn’t have enough money. If I give them money at this time, will it be very impolite…? I feel that friends should help each other when they are in trouble, but will they hate me if I simply give them money…”
“……Did Funifura ask you for money?”
Hearing this, Yunyun shook her hand hurriedly.
“Ah, no, no. I only heard them complaining about not having enough money to buy medicine. Dodonko said she wanted to support her. So I am thinking, if I should give some money…”
This child is as gullible as before.
I could somewhat comprehend the recent events now.
Those two somewhat disreputable persons suddenly became close to Yunyun. I always felt this was suspicious.
Dodonko intentionally said she wanted to help Funifura in front of Yunyun.
This was to create a mood that suggested, “This is what friends would do.”
Before approaching me, Yunyun probably already sensed that there was something wrong.
But, fearing being hated by her “friends”, lonely Yunyun was about to give in.
“If I’m in your position, I will render non-monetary aid. After all, I have no money.”
“Yes… For example, wear a mask and rob the medicine shop together with my friends.”
“Hey, giving them money is probably more appropriate than that!”
I shook my finger at Yunyun lightly.
“Friends do not merely give of themselves. A part of friendship involves experiencing difficulties together. Anyone can give of themselves, but it is not so simple to share pains with each other.”
“In other words, if Megumin is hungry, I should not give Megumin food, but rather starve together with her?”
“…… ……No, no, no. That’s a different matter… But I feel that if Yunyun can accept it, lending them money isn’t out of question. Friendship shouldn’t be bought with money, but friends should still help each other out with money. By the way, I’m super poor.”
“You just subtly hinted something, right! —Okay, I understand. I will do as I think is right.”
Yunyun smiled and said.
……This kid was too honest, so it was easy to guess what she would do.
Even though she felt it was suspicious, she still decided that she could not ignore it.
She would probably give them money tomorrow morning or after school.
Technically, this had nothing to do with me, but tomorrow—
……Our conversation ended, and we walked on silently. We met my neighbor NEET, Buzucoily.
“Ah, Mr. Buzucoily, nice to meet you!”
“Ugh, Buzucoily, what are you doing here? I heard you stay home all this while after being rejected by Soketto.”
“No, your ‘Shh!’ is even more hurtful! Besides, I didn’t actually confess, so it should not be considered as being rejected.”
After saying such pathetic words, Buzucoily suddenly looked serious.
“I realize it now. The world is waiting for my power to awake. Now is not the time to be horny… Recently, there are eye witnesses that confirmed monsters are appearing within the village. These appear to be the evil god’s minions. I believed the village needs my power, so I took the initiative to come out for patrols.”
Simply put, this NEET wanted to get over his crushed love, so he came out for a walk since he had nothing to do.
“I heard about this. The idle NEET in the village have been organized to form a garrison or something.”
“Don’t call it garrison. We have a cool name. It is ‘Anti-Demon King Army Guerilla Unit’.”
The demon king army was too frightened to even come close to this village. How were they going to wage guerilla warfare?
But giving the garrison a cool and glorious name was typical of Crimson Magic Clan.
“I heard the adults in the village have problems dealing with this monster. Teacher also said they will forcefully reset the seal tomorrow. That’s too troublesome. Why not simply unseal the evil god and destroy him with the combined power of the village?”
Home of the Crimson Magic was the place where first-rate arch wizards congregated.
Even the nearby countries did not dare to interfere with this place.
If the Crimson Magic Clan worked together, it should be easy to defeat the evil god.
“No, someone suggested that too, but this evil god was brought here by our ancestors to be sealed.”
“Ahah!? I never heard of this before! Why was it like that!? Why did our ancestors do such troublesome and pointless work!”
Yunyun shouted, while Buzucoily looked uncertain.
“Of course, it was because sealing the evil god here sounded very cool? …Anyway, everyone agreed to reset the seal. Actually, there are other dangerous things sealed in this place, such as ‘The Forbidden Weapon That Could Destroy the World’ and ‘The Nameless Goddess of Vengeance Who Lost Her Worshippers’.”
“Although hearing it hurts my stomach, I am a bit interested in the forbidden weapon. Well, it’s not like I don’t understand how the villagers feel.”
“You can understand!? By the way, I cannot understand any of you. Am I really the weirdo!? There is really something wrong with my perception!?”
—On the next day, I dragged the school bag containing Kuro to school. It was earlier than usual. As expected— I saw three familiar faces on the way to school.
“Thanks, Yunyun! This really helps! I will repay you!”
“It’s nothing, no need to thank me! Ah, then, want to go to school together…”
Those three were Funifura, Dodonko, and Yunyun.
Funifura smiled as she took something from Yunyun.
“Ah… So-, sorry. I must bring this money over immediately.”
“Ah, is, is that so… Sorry, I can’t read the mood… Then, let’s meet in school.”
Yunyun smiled and walked towards the school.
Not long after, the silhouette of her drooping her shoulders as she walked on filled the mood with sadness.
Funifura and Dodonko watched Yunyun leave, and said softly.
“My cons-, conscience…”
“Eheheh… In that case, you shouldn’t have done that.”
Hearing my voice behind them, both of them jumped in fright, and hurriedly turned around.
“Megumin!? Where did you come here!?”
“Ou-, our conversation with Yunyun… How much did you hear!?”
I said as I climbed out of the shrubbery where I was hiding.
“How much did I hear, huh…”
“I heard everything starting from you blackmailing Yunyun with ‘If you don’t want your shameful history to be exposed, obediently do kinky things with us.’”
“There was no blackmail! We didn’t do it!”
“Why is it kinky things! You, what do you take us for!”
My skittish joke provoked their embarrassing retorts.
“Wait, uh… I only borrowed money from Yunyun. Actually, my little brother, bec….”
“Right, right. Funifura’s brother is sick, so she needed money to buy medicine. We don’t have enough money, so we let Yunyun chip in to help.”
“Ah, that was terrible… You really keep me at an arm’s length. Why didn’t you approach me?”
Surprised by my words, both of them shouted.
“What? Is it really so surprising for me to help people in need? Or are you two trying to provoke a fight?”
“No, no…! We don’t mean that, but, uh… Aren’t you very poor?”
“Right, right. Even if we are short of money, we can’t borrow from Megumin!”
I swung my school bag, ready to attack. Both of their faces turned pale from fright.
“Then, then how do you intend to help us?”
“Right, right. Even if we ask, could you really lend us money?”
“How could I possibly lend you money? What nonsense are you spouting? If you want to borrow money, you also need to find the right target.”
“You, you bitch…!!” X2
They glared at me angrily, as if their arteries were about to burst. But I wasn’t fooling around.
“Both of you calm down and listen. You wanted money in order to buy medicine. But acquiring medicine does not necessarily need money. Basically, it’s okay as long as you get the medicine, right?”
“Eh…! Uh, that’s true…”
“Do you have a way to acquire the medicine?”
I laughed confidently.
“Leave it to me, the number one genius of Crimson Magic Clan.”
Seeing my confidence, they looked at each other uneasily.
Well, I made a promise, but how exactly was I to get the medicine?
Maybe I could bring Komekko to the medicine shop and subject the shopkeeper to her coyness.
Using my little sister’s Femme Fatale nature, it was possible to gain something out of nothing.
“Kuro! Kuro, pull yourself together! What happened!? Why are you completely limp!? Did Megumin swing her school bag around, forgetting that Kuro was inside!?”
I ignored Yunyun, who was hugging Kuro and making a scene. I concentrated on planning how to get the medicine.
Finally, the lazy homeroom teacher entered the classroom.
And took out the name list as usual…
“Ah, the ritual to reset the evil god’s seal will begin this evening. I mentioned this before, right? Let me clarify, failure is impossible. As an emergency counter-measure, I even prepared ‘that thing’ which I kept hidden for so long… Anyway, I rather not use ‘that thing’ if possible. Since the ritual success rate is more than 90%, I probably won’t have a chance to use it. It is best to resolve the situation like this…”
The homeroom teacher made a speech that would inevitably trigger a flag to guarantee failure.
The uneasiness suggested that the teacher probably wished the ritual would fail.
Then “that thing”, which nobody bothered to ask about, could be used.
“Anyway, that is how it is. Go straight home after school today. Everyone must go home before evening. Next, the first lesson is magic item creation. Everyone go to the lab! Now!”
The homeroom teacher said and swiftly left the classroom. At this moment—
I suddenly had an epiphany. Magic item creation…!
—The lab was built underground, beneath the school.
Its purpose was to store dangerous reagents and various explosive items… not.
I heard the reason was “Wizards who conduct dubious experiments underground are cooler.”
The seating in the lab is random, but I always sit in the front row.
The homeroom teacher lazily walked to the podium.
“We will start magic item creation lesson. Creating magic potions and magic items are an important source of income for wizards. Mastering this skill is definitely without advantageous…… Megumin, it is good to be enthusiastic, but you don’t need to come so near.”
“Sorry. This is my favorite lesson.”
The homeroom teacher waved at me who was in front of the first row, signaling me to back off, and held up a potion bottle.
“We have done this many times before, but the basics must be properly reinforced. Today, we will create a simple healing potion… Yes, Megumin, why are you raising your hand? Do you have a question?”
“Forget such cheap potions. Teach me something more difficult that can earn lots of money.”
“Fine, you will be my assistant for this lesson. I will put you to work until you stop saying such foolish things.”
—As I worked as the assistant unwillingly, the homeroom teacher started the lesson.
“Everyone use your preferred ingredients to create a magic potion. If it is successful, you can try changing the formula. Different proportions of ingredients can affect the potency of the potion. Experiment and create your own unique formula.”
As an assistant, I handed out equipment and ingredients to my classmates. Then, I remembered my original plan.
“Teacher, I have a question. Can I create a potion to cure sickness?”
“A magic potion to cure sickness? It is possible, but such potions are rather difficult to make. Also, the cost of creating such potion is quite high, and it sells well. Basically, it does make good money.”
“I finally understand how teacher sees me. This isn’t for making money. Because someone is sick, I wanted to personally make some medicine to help.”
Hearing this, the homeroom teacher rubbed her chin and said.
“……In that way, you may use any ingredient you wish. This is the formula for that potion. Take it… Anyway, it is surprising that Megumin who is covetous, selfish, and ruthless enough to kill monsters would have such a kind heart.”
“I really completely understand teacher’s impression of me.”
I silently swore that I will “repay” this teacher after graduation, and examined the formula. I collected the necessary ingredients for the potion.
Fire Drake’s liver, mandrake root, Onion Duck’s……
<TL: jap raw is カモネギ. Try googling it.>
“Hey, Megumin, what are you doing with these ingredients? What about the healing potion? Kuro is currently very weak. If possible, make some for this little thing…”
Yunyun, who was next to me, said as she watched me gather the ingredients. She looked worried.
“This is a secret between me and my friend, so I cannot tell my rival Yunyun.”
“Ah! What, what is that about! Is this a revenge for what happened recently!?”
I ignored noisy Yunyun, and put the expensive ingredients into the mortar.
“Enough. Kuro will be saved by me instead…”
I turned and glanced at Yunyun. She put the unconscious Kuro on the table, and enthusiastically started to make a healing potion.
“My family’s education system is Spartan style. Don’t pamper my cat too much.”
“Putting it in a school bag and swing it around is not Spartan, it is torture! It is still only a kitten!? You should dote on it!”
Yunyun said in a fit of anger, gently stroking Kuro.
Although Yunyun was so worried, I did not think this cat would die so easily.
After all, it could climb onto another’s shoulder and frequently displayed an arrogant attitude. It was just a kitten, yet it was choosy about food.
It did not feel cat-like. Was it because it adapted to the rash living conditions of my family?
“Anyway, more action, less talk! Start making the potion! It’s time for me to show my special potion creation technique! Watch me annihilate the bastard known as ‘sickness’! Hahahaha…!”
“Meg-, Megumin. I don’t know what you are doing, but you aren’t making poison, right? You must be making a beneficial potion, right? I thought I heard dangerous words like ‘annihilate’!”
Yunyun remained uneasily next to me, as I started to make this difficult potion—
Firstly, grind the dried Fire Drake’s liver into powder.
Next, use the mandrake root which possessed a strong life force…
“Ugh! Megumin’s mortar is producing sparks! Hey, Megumin, what are you making!?”
“Ah! It is also burning here! Ahahah, fire! Teacher, teacher!”
I ignored the anguish cries of people around me and took the knife to cut the mandrake root…
“Hey, there are some mandrake roots running around! Who took out the mandrake roots!”
“……!? Uh, the plant Megumin is cutting should be mandrake root… right…?”
I ignored the noise made by everyone around me, and cut the struggling mandrake root. I placed the root pieces into the crucible… but this was not enough.
I must capture those mandrake roots that escaped…
“Here, I caught one. I don’t know what you are making, but it looks very interesting.”
Arue held the mandrake root tightly by its leaves, pressing on her eye patch with one hand. She smiled maliciously and handed the mandrake root to me.
“I’m making a high difficulty potion for curing sickness. Arue, are you done with your own potion? If you are so free, come and help me.”
“No problem. Okay, we must first cut this guy into pieces…”
“Listen, Arue. You must press it down like this, or this guy will struggle really hard! It is a plant monster after all, so there is no need to be merciful! How annoying, stop struggling! Be obedient and let me cut you up!”
After Arue joined in, we continued the difficult work. Yunyun looked on with a pale expression.
Under Yunyun’s teary gaze, we were eventually done with the mandrake roots. Next, we finally started on the last ingredient.
A cute duck-like creature which constantly carried onions as a source of food— Onion Duck.
I needed the Onion Duck’s—!
“I won’t let you! I won’t let you continue this!”
Yunyun shouted suddenly and grabbed my hand from the side.
“What are you doing? Don’t interrupt my work.”
“But, but— this, this cute Onion Duck will……!”
Yunyun shook her head vigorously, and said tearfully.
The surrounding students unwittingly looked at me with an expression of grief.
Even the bewildered Onion Duck tilted its head and looked at me with its big round eyes.
Yes, really very cute. Although it was very cute……
“Megumin, this thing is cute, but it is still a monster. There are many monsters in this world that look harmless and are actually very scary. You should known of the Tranquility Girl monster near the village, right? The monster can trigger human’s sense of protectiveness, entice people not to abandon it, and finally starve themselves to death. No wonder how cute a monster is, one must not be merciful.”
“That is true! But, but!!”
Arue put her hand on Yunyun’s shoulder, who was still trying to argue. She said.
“Calm down. Megumin, which part of the Onion Duck do you need as ingredient? If it is the innards , then we just have to kill it. Otherwise…”
Hearing this, Yunyun timidly glanced at me.
I said to Yunyun.
“I need the Onion Duck’s onions… You can relax now, right?”
I said and smiled to help her relax.
Yunyun relaxed and exhaled, letting go of my hand.
“After all, onions have curative properties. There are many uses for onions. You can eat it, roll it up, and even poke it in. And the Onion Duck’s onions are the fighting onions, right?”
Arue said and retrieved a few onions from the Onion Duck.
I watched Arue cut the onions and said to Yunyun.
“Seriously… what kind of person do you think I am? I still have protective feelings towards cute creatures. If possible, I don’t want to kill either.”
“You-, you are right. Sorry, I misjudged you, Megumin! This is great… Because I heard killing an Onion Duck would yield a lot of experience points, and it can also be made into very delicious food…”
A rare monster that gives a lot of experience points?
Very delicious food?
“I’m really sorry. After all, it can be used for making medicine, increasing experience points, as well as becoming a meal. So I thought Megumin would say ‘Truly killing three birds with one stone’ and then……”
“Hand of Explosion!”
The Onion Duck suffocated and groaned miserably as I ruthlessly strangled its neck.
I examined my Adventurer’s Card and noticed that I gained two levels in an instant, as well as two skill points.
I flashed my Adventurer’s Card at the dumbstruck Yunyun in high spirits.
“Megumin, you big idiot! Ahhhh!”
“What is it, Onion Duck murderer? What do you want with me?”
“Megumin, you should apologize to Yunyun. The incident this morning deeply upset her. Even now, she is still crying about it.”
I asked Funifura and Dodonko to meet me behind the school. They said this upon arrival.
“Call me Onion Duck murderer again and I will beat you up. And the disturbance this morning that cast a shadow over our classmates, including Yunyun, was fundamentally because of you. Do you know how much I have done for you?”
Hearing my words, they looked at each other…
“Don’t tell me…”
“The potion you are holding is…”
“Yes. I made this potion for curing sickness.”
Both of them displayed a very disgusting expression.
“I know you are cautious, but this was made according to the teacher’s formula, so there should not any problem. I used a bit more ingredients, but this should make the potion more potent. Come, come, no need to polite.”
Funifura took my potion unwillingly. She looked very uneasy.
“You won’t need to borrow Yunyun’s money now. Thus, hand over Yunyun’s money.”
“Eh! Wait, wait. We don’t know if this potion is really effective…!”
Without waiting for her to finish, I loudly interrupted.
“This has nothing to do with me. By the way, whether Funifura’s brother is really sick or not also has nothing to do with me.”
I said decisively, causing them to be silent.
“Uh… no, this…”
“No, no… He, he is sick! Funifura’s brother is really sick!”
Dodonko said loudly, defending the speechless Funifura.
But this was irrelevant to me.
“I’m talking about you manipulating the lonely and friend-less person’s conscience to scam money. That kid’s intelligence is second only to me. She is not an idiot. Even I think this event is suspicious. She definitely can sense it too.”
I said and moved forcefully towards them. They turned pale and said hurriedly.
“I know, I know! I will return the money! Hey, you-, your eyes are turning bright red!”
“Don’t be so serious. It-, it’s really scary!”
They begged for mercy as they handed over Yunyun’s money.
Ugh, so embarrassing. It looked like I was really very angry.
When a Crimson Magic Clansman became excited, their crimson eyes would glow.
With this incident, my image as an ice queen was ruined.
“……So be it. I will hand this money back to Yunyun. If you get close to her because you really want to be her friends, then I guess it’s fine. But if you merely want to exploit her kindness and gullibility— I advise you not to do so. Or after I learn magic, you will become my first target.”
“I, I understand! You say that, yet your eyes are still bright red! How deeply do you like Yunyun!”
“We won’t bother both of you in the future. We won’t interfere. You two can be lovey-dovey…!”
Funifura and Dodonko said this anxiously…
“……You must have misunderstood something. My relationship with Yunyun isn’t that good… And we are not really friends.”
“Fine, fine. No need to explain further.”
“Then again, for you to do so much for her. If this isn’t a friend, then what is it?”
Both of them impatiently fanned at their faces.
As if saying “Hot! Hot!”.
“If you ask me our relationship, it should be… purely, purely, rivals…”
“Fine, fine. Stop explaining. We understand. But to an onlooker, both of you are totally yuri*.”
Note (*): See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_%28genre%29
“Megumin’s eyes are totally crimson. This really is Crimson Magic Clan’s natural weakness— we cannot lie under such condition.”
“Okay, we will stop here for now. You should not be too conceited just because you are Number 1.”
“Right, right. While you are being intimate with each other, we may overtake you. If I become Number 1, maybe your loving wife will become my rival instead? So if you want to get intimate, do so now…”
I did not listen to their rumblings of defeat to the end. I simply pounced on them.
“Wait! Ahah! Don’t attack the magic potion that was so difficult to make! You are too cunning! Despicable! No, stop it…!”
“This person just can’t read the mood! That was just a speech to make our defeat look cool…! Ah, don’t…!”
After defeating them successfully, I happily returned to the classroom, planning to retrieve my school bag and Kuro. At this time, only Yunyun remained in the classroom.
“……What are you doing here alone?”
“What is this sarcastic remark!? I’m waiting for you! Where did you go, abandoning Kuro here!?”
It looked like she wanted to go home with me.
“Nothing much. I had something to handle with Funifura.”
Unwittingly, going home together after school became our common practice. I thought of what Funifura last said.
……Well, after all, the evil god’s minions were roaming in the village. We should temporarily end our rivalry.
Yes, we are not friends, but in this dangerous time, we should…
Yunyun still sounded angry, but she was also gratified. Probably because she was lonely after being here alone for too long.
“This is rare. Megumin actually had a matter to do with Funifura. Let’s go home. The teacher said the ritual to seal the evil god will start this evening, we should go quickly…”
“Here. This is for you.”
As Yunyun tidied her things in preparation to leave, I handed over the money I received from Funifura.
Yunyun held the small bag of money, looking perplexed.
My job was done here.
I took my school bag and tried to put Kuro inside, but for some reasons, Kuro was unwilling to enter the school bag.
It used its claws to cling to my shoulder, resisting vigorously.
“Hey, this money…”
“It’s from Funifura. The issue with her brother’s medicine was resolved, so she returned the money. Congratulations.”
I answered Yunyun as I struggled to remove Kuro’s claws from my shoulder.
This, this guy… resented the school bag this much…!
As I started a fierce battle with Kuro, Yunyun said.
“Hey, Megumin. Did you do something for Funifura’s brother? For example, making… a potion for curing sickness or something…”
She asked timidly.
See, Funifura and Dodonko? This kid’s intelligence was second only to me.
“As a realist, why would I do something that does not profit me?”
“When you put it like that, it is super convincing!”
“Hey, why did you leave with a word!? I was waiting for you all this time, don’t leave me behind!”
—After leaving the school, the sun was already close to setting.
It was almost evening.
Yunyun hurriedly caught up from behind.
Since Kuro refused to enter the school bag, I left it on my shoulder and walked home.
“Hey, Megumin. You really did not do anything?”
“You are too suspicious. Even if I made a potion for Funifura’s brother, nobody will complain, right? Isn’t that great?”
“Then the disturbance that troubled everyone this morning was…?”
I chose to remain silent, quickening my pace. Yunyun hurriedly caught up again.
Then, she said to my side.
“……Hey, Megumin. Want to go there for a stroll… No-, not to repay you, just a sudden impulse… Since I got the money back, let me treat you.”
I stole a glance at her. She was smiling happily.
……My clever rival already had a general idea about what happened.
“I said I will treat me. Ugh, yes, I really said I will treat you.”
We walked out of the shop, intending to go home.
Yunyun examined her money bag, and sighed deeply.
“Thanks for the treat. I have never ate so much in my life. It looks like I really cannot eat anymore today.”
“That’s great! Sigh, really…! Although I said you can order anything…!”
I listened to Yunyun’s complaints, while walking slowly on the road dyed red by the setting sun.
“Huu… It’s really agonizing to walk after eating too much. Want to rest for a bit first? Let me digest my food.”
“Seriously… Seriously…! Why did you insist on eating so much? How desperate were you…!”
I brought Yunyun, who was slightly angry and slightly resigned, to the park in the Home of the Crimson Magic.
It was called a park, but there was only a small pond, some benches, and a few small structures as shelters from the rain.
I took Kuro down from my shoulder and lay down on the bench.
“Meg-, Megumin! Your skirt has flipped— Your panties can be seen! Ah, really…! So uncaring. It isn’t like a girl…”
Yunyun meticulously arranged my skirt.
“Yunyun would make a good wife someday. After graduation, do you want to take care of me as your mistress? Even if you feed me plain rice daily, I will still say, ‘It’s delicious!’”
“N-, no! Why would I do that! You think I would be happy if you simply say my food is delicious!? …Simply saying daily it’s delicious… daily… Ugh, ugh…”
Like a super loser, Yunyun started to be seriously troubled.
She was always like this. This was probably why Funifura said she was yuri.
“Speaking of graduation. What would Yunyun do after I graduate? I can graduate with just one more skill point.”
“Eh, why? Megumin, didn’t you say that you are still short of four points to learn magic? After getting the Skill Up Potion yesterday, you should be short of three points, just like me… Ahah!!”
Yunyun understood as she spoke.
“The Onion Duck in this morning! After killing the Onion Duck, your level…!”
“Yes, killing the Onion Duck increased my level by two. With the Skill Up Potion, I have gained three skill points. Just one more point to learn magic. I probably will graduate after the next test.”
Kuro climbed onto my belly as I lay on the bench.
This thing is too shameless.
—Yunyun said softly and tearfully.
“Wh-, why is it like this… cannot graduate together… I intentionally slow down to match Megumin’s pace…”
Yunyun said sadly—
—I jumped up from the bench.
I ignored Kuro who fell off my belly and interrogated Yunyun.
“What did you say? Did you adjust your skill points just to graduate together with me? So the previous test result was not an accident. You intentionally did not get into the top three, so as to avoid receiving the Skill Up Potion, right?”
Yunyun shivered, “Oh no”— Her expression seemed to say.
There was no need for confession. This reaction was more than sufficient.
“Look at this silly thing you did! If you want to graduate with me, it could be achieved simply by refusing to learn magic after accumulating sufficient points! You do not know this trick, and yet won’t tell me that you want to graduate together. You secretly did this on your own— How clumsy are you!”
“Be-, because! Megumin, who was always ahead of me, suddenly fall behind! I always thought Megumin would graduate before me…!”
“Ah! You just said you have surpassed me!? Dream on! You never surpassed me! I’ll be honest with you. I don’t intend to learn advanced magic like the rest of you! I want to learn an overwhelming powerful magic that far surpasses advanced magic! Look at my Adventurer’s Card! I have more than enough points to learn advanced magic long ago!”
I excitedly stood up and flashed my Adventurer’s Card in front of Yunyun’s face. Yunyun stared at my card, as if she wanted to swallow it whole.
“Re-, really like this…! What, Megumin is better than me as expected…!”
“Uh… Hm, right. I’m really good. So don’t think you can easily surpass me.”
Yunyun smiled really happily. I did not know how to respond to this reaction.
As expected, she wished her rival to be better.
“Th-, then, I’m sorry I intentionally shaved my points. By the way, a magic more powerful than advanced magic… are you going to learn Blast magic? Or is it Detonation magic…”
…… ……Hearing this, Yunyun suddenly became silent.
“Uh, you just said, what? I thought I heard ‘Explosion magic’……”
“Correct, it is Explosion magic. It is the one known as the most powerful magic.”
After Yunyun spent another moment in silence—
“What are you talking about! Explosion magic, as in really that Explosion magic? The Explosion magic that is considered useless? The one that requires the most skill points out of all the skills in all the jobs. Even if it is learned, most people cannot activate it due to insufficient mana. Even if it is activated, the caster would be unable to move due to mana exhaustion……”
“Yes, that Explosion magic.”
I nodded vigorously. Yunyun sucked in a deep breath and—
“Are you stupid!? What are you saying, Megumin! What are you going to do with that!? That magic basically cannot be activated by anyone. Even if activated forcefully, it is only possible once per day. That is a faulty magic with harsh requirements and impractical usage! What are you thinking? The difference between a genius and an idiot is just one step apart. Megumin, if you persists like this, you will become an idiot, okay?”
“Ev-, even if it is Yunyun, I won’t accept being called an idiot. Or I will make you suffer! …Anyway, I understand everything you said so far. I researched Explosion magic thoroughly. I dare say that I’m the one who understands Explosion magic best in this entire village.”
“If you understand it so well, why do you still want to learn it!? If it is Megumin… You can definitely learn a lot of advanced magic, accumulate a lot of experience, and finally become an arch wizard who make her mark in history…! Hey, what exactly is the reason!?”
I could not understand why Yunyun was shouting so agitatedly. This was my personal decision.
“Obviously, that is because I love Explosion magic.”
I gave the most honest answer.
Yunyun thought I had more complicated reasons. Hearing my answer, she widened her eyes.
“……As expected, Megumin is not a genius, but an idiot.”
“I just warned you not to call me an idiot!”
After saying this, I pounced on Yunyun.
“Ha… Ha…! I won…! My first victory over Megumin…!”
Yunyun was overjoyed. Her face was flushed red.
Dam-, damn it…! My first loss to Yunyun.
“Well, I did not fully expert my power just now. I cannot do so until there is a full moon.”
“That’s impossible since you are not a demon! Just admit defeat!”
I fought with Yunyun in the empty park for a while. Eventually, I was pressed down by Yunyun.
My hot sweaty body was pressed down on the cool floor. It felt very comfortable.
The sun had almost set, so the surrounding darkened. Both of us were panting in the park.
In a moment of impulse, I engaged her in melee combat, in which I was disadvantaged.
“Sigh… I will admit defeat. Let go of me. I admit defeat. I lost, okay?”
So Yunyun obediently released me.
“……Hu. I admit defeat. Sigh. After eating so much food, it’s almost natural to lose. Thinking about it, I did not even exert half of my true strength.”
“Ahah! It’s too cunning to make excuses after I released you!”
I said to Yunyun as I cleaned the dirt off my knees.
“It’s great for you to win once before I go on my journey. Yunyun will succeed as the chief of Crimson Magic Clan one day. During my tour of the world to become an arch wizard, it will enough if you can become the next chief and spend your whole life peacefully in the Home of the Crimson Magic.”
“Can’t you praise me for winning just this once!? You are saying such sour words because you are just unhappy about losing! …And, you… after graduating, intend to travel?”
I carried Kuro who ran over to my feet, then said to Yunyun, who was feeling uneasy.
“Correct. I intend to travel. Actually, there is a reason why I love Explosion magic. I will reveal this reason only to you.”
Kuro held firmly onto my cloak at my shoulder, maybe he really liked this spot. I patted its head and told Yunyun what I did not even tell my parents.
“When I was small, I was attacked by a monster. There was a big sister, a wizard passing by, who used Explosion magic to defeat the monster. The devastation caused by the Explosion magic then was so great. It was an overwhelming power, an absolute force. It was really so awesome that it deserved to be called the most powerful magic. When you have seen it once, you won’t be interested in other magic.”
I cannot remember the cloaked sister’s voice and aura clearly anymore, but the scene of Explosion magic was deeply engraved in my mind.
Whenever I remembered it, I felt my chest getting hot and painful.
I wasn’t interested in gossip like Funifura and Dodonko. I did not have a great ambition like Yunyun, who was working hard to become the next chief.
I only wanted to meet that cloaked sister again and showed her my Explosion magic.
To meet her again and thank her… And ask her—
—My Explosion magic which I learned from you… How was it?
After hearing my only dream, Yunyun did not seem dissatisfied as before, but had a clear, understanding expression. She sighed.
“Since there is such a reason, there’s nothing more for me to say. But life as an Explosion-using wizard would be really difficult. With Megumin’s mana, you may be able to activate it, but after that, you would be helpless due to mana exhaustion. Going on a journey is great, but if you are alone, wouldn’t you be attacked by other monsters after you are unable to move? Do you have a way to find travelling companions?”
“I am like Yunyun who have no friend. What can I do?”
“Why are you saying such things so boldly!? Hey, even if you are going on a journey, it won’t be immediately after learning magic, right? You would still be staying in the village for a while?”
“Hm, yes. I can’t just abandon my sister. I will train my level near the village. After some time, I will leave the village when my preparations are done.”
“Yunyun will be staying to succeed as chief, right? After all, the chief of Crimson Magic Clan is hereditary.”
“Yes. I felt I will succeed as chief, but I must accumulate various experiences before that. Currently, I am being taken care of by Megumin, but one day, I……”
At the moment when Yunyun was about continue, Kuro who was sprawled on my shoulder suddenly reacted to a small noise.
It was the sound of paddling in the water.
I turned and looked—
“Ah, this is rare! A wild Onion Duck! To think it would appear inside the village…!”
An Onion Duck was paddling in the pond of the park, coming towards us.
It was delicious, yet for an unknown reason, it was never attacked by other monsters. This was an unique attribute of the Onion Duck.
A certain monster biologist once said that its cute appearance aroused the protectiveness of other monsters.
The Onion Duck left the pond and walked towards us in swaying steps.
To avoid scaring off the duck, Yunyun squatted down slowly. She looked at it gently, and continued the conversation.
“……Up to now, Megumin has been taking care of me, but one day I will become the village’s most powerful wizard and be capable of protecting delicate life forms like the Onion Duck……”
I did not intend to let the Onion Duck escape. Without waiting for Yunyun to finish, I strangled the Onion Duck’s neck.
I held up the limp Onion Duck’s neck.
“Megumin, dinner. GET ☆ DAZE!”
“Megumin, you big idiot ahhhh!”
Yunyun cried and pounced on me.
“……Really, it’s all Yunyun’s fault. The sky is almost completely dark now.”
“Me!? It’s my fault!? Why is it that Megumin can ruthlessly kill such adorable creatures? Although Megumin can do anything, it is still too brutal! Can’t you have a bit of compassion!”
Yunyun walked angrily ahead by herself.
After that, because of the second round, the surrounding became dark.
The magic lamps around the village lit up, illuminating the road as if it was daytime.
“Today is basically one victory and one loss. In other words, a draw. We’ll count it as nothing ever happened. You don’t mind, right?”
“Of, of course I do! It is a fact that I won once!? As the perpetual loser, it doesn’t matter if I lose again. But this cannot be considered a draw or cancelled. One victory and one loss, that’s it! Eh, eh. I must write in my diary— Today, I won Megumin.”
“Also write down that you were pressed down helplessly on the ground by me after that.”
“I won’t admit that! And you shouldn’t always use Kuro as a shield! …Why is it so close to you, even though you keep abusing it?”
Perplexed, Yunyun turned to look at Kuro, who merely sprawled on my shoulder and sneezed.
It really was a strange cat.
Under normal circumstances, after being subject to so many abuses, it would not be unusual for it to run away or be angry.
I happily took the Onion Duck as my victory prize, and hurried home.
Although I was full after Yunyun’s treat, my little sister was still starving.
I must hurry home and cook this duck for her to eat.
Yunyun stared straight at me, who was humming a song while holding onto the duck.
“Is Megumin really a girl? Where are your gentleness, consideration, and looks?”
“Is Yunyun really the chief’s daughter? Where is your noble taste of Crimson Magic Clan?”
After a while, both of us silently stopped and smiled maliciously at each other.
Today’s result was one victory and one loss.
Why not let’s settle it now— But Yunyun suddenly turned away.
“Sigh… Seriously. Why is every day like this when I’m with Megumin?”
“That’s my line. Why do you find fault with me every day?”
“Uh… This, this…”
Yunyun tried to gloss it over by walking on ahead, ignoring me, who was smiling and coming closer.
I continued to smile maliciously as I followed behind Yunyun.
“…How annoying! To think I finally achieved a beautiful victory today! Is Megumin uncomfortable if you don’t do this daily? When you join a party in the future, you will surely trouble others!”
“What are you saying? After I learned Explosion magic, I will be the party’s strong damage dealer. The demon king’s cadres won’t even be my match. With a rare genius of the Crimson Magic Clan like me, the party will be famous worldwide. It will be an elite party full of advanced jobs…!”
I shared with Yunyun my imagined future. At this moment—
—Dang, dang, dang. Sharp noises echoed through the Home of the Crimson Magic.
I remembered this bell towed only for emergency situations.
What happened? —I turned back to look……
A countless number of flying monsters in the dark sky entered my vision.
They seemed to be searching for something, dispersing and looking everywhere…!
“Meg-… Meg-, Megumin! That! Isn’t that—!”
“Ca-, ca-, calm down, Yunyun. The homeroom teacher said they will forcefully seal the evil god! And that irresponsible homeroom teacher also said that even if it fails, there is still ‘that thing’ to use! Therefore, this matter will be resolved quickly!”
Or rather, the homeroom teacher was hoping for the seal to fail.
So there should be nothing to worry about.
I even thought that the homeroom teacher would mess up the sealing ritual on purpose.
Kuro, who was lying on my shoulder, hid itself into the school bag, which he refused to enter previously.
Although it was a rude kitten, it would still be afraid of monsters.
“Hey… Meg- Megumin!”
I closed my school bag over Kuro. At this time, Yunyun pulled on my sleeves.
She looked at the sky with a pale expression.
“Did… did you notice they are flying towards us?”
She pointed at the monsters flying towards us.
“We are running! My home is closest from here! Yunyun, if something happens to me, don’t bother with me. And don’t look back. I’ll leave this place to you, I’m leaving now!”
After Yunyun heard this…!
“Id- idiot! What are you saying! How can I abandon Megumin an-… and… Eh, uh? What did you just say!? Hey, what did you just say!?”
Yunyun, who noticed my attempt to gloss things over, protested angrily and nearly cried.
I ignored her words, turned to look, and discovered that the monsters were closing in on us.
“Yu-, Yunyun! How many skill points do you have!? You still don’t have enough to learn advanced magic!?”
“Of course not! If Megumin give up on Explosion magic and learn advanced magic, these monsters won’t stand a chance! Hey, just do it!”
Yunyun cried out. But this was the only thing I would not compromise.
The reason I worked so hard until now was to learn Explosion magic.
“We are finished, they caught up…! …Eh?”
“……It looks like they merely flew pass.”
Some monsters ignored us and flew off somewhere.
I exhaled in relief, turning to look at where the bell was towing.
Between each bell tow, white light flashed across the dark sky.
Surely it was the adults in the village who found an opportunity to vent and unleash their power.
The monsters should be suppressed by them soon, but we should still hurried home.
“Yunyun, come to my home. Stay over for tonight.”
“Eh!? Sta-, stay over at your house? Is that really okay!?”
“No problem. Anyway, there are monsters about, do you intend to go home alone? You can wear my pajamas, but if you dare to complain about the chest area being too tight or size is too small, I will let you sleep naked.”
“I, I won’t say that! I can endure such trivial things!”
Yunyun did not deny that the clothes might be too small or chest area too tight.
Although I very wanted to start Round Three, now was really not the time.
“My house is just ahead, let’s hurry. Only my sister will be home today. Even if she is hungry, she will obediently watch the house with the door and windows closed. Although it’s a small and broken house, if the windows and door are closed properly, even those monsters won’t—“
Get in— I wanted to say.
—And I saw the completely ruined front door.
I dropped the school bag in my hand, and said softly.
“…… …… ……Komekko?”
INTERLUDE: SCENE 4
—Oyakodon* For the Femme Fatale little Sister!—
Note (*): Rice with chicken meat and egg. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyakodon
“Sigh. Finally solved that puzzle, and another one appeared again, Komekko.”
“I can’t read the words on them. Lord Hoost, please read.”
“Better not call me Lord Hoost. I will call you Komekko directly too.”
After both agreed, Hoost read the words that appeared on the tombstone.
“‘Ye who desire to break the seal, present thy oblation of a female bird and its child. Offer thy oblation and pray……’ I can’t read the last part. Basically, need to present an offering. Female bird and child, huh. The offering to break the seal should be more formal. But it is difficult to find such creatures in this forest…”
Annoyed, Hoost smacked his fist on his palm.
“Right! Hey, Komekko, I will give you money. Go into the village and buy a female bird and its child. Make sure it is of high quality!”
I took Hoost’s money and returned to the village.
—One hour later.
“I’m back! I bought it!”
“Oh, well done, give you a bit of… uh, what is this?”
I was holding a bowl carefully in both hands, so as to not spill it. Hoost tilted its head and looked at me in confusion.
I put the bowl respectfully on the altar.
“This is the offering, okyakodon.”
“Are you an idiot!”
Hoost opened the cover of the bowl and looked inside…
“Oh… You are right. It is indeed in line with the tombstone text. It’s a female bird and child. But I have never heard of okyakodon being able to break seals. I thought I would be able to see Lady Wolbach’s other half……”
“Who is Lady Wolbach?”
“Uh? Lady Wolbach’s true form is a huge black monster. You will pee your pants when you see it! …Seriously, it looks like I must prepare the offering myself. No other choice. I feel this offering will be problematic, it will take some time……”
Hoost said and spread its wings.
Then, Hoost turned around suddenly to ask me.
“……This is how it is. It may be some time before we meet again. When I return, I will play with you again. Don’t tell anyone about me, okay? …You can eat that okyakodon. Bye bye.”
After saying that, he finally flew away.
—Some time later.
I sat on the altar, eating the okyakodon. At this time.
Suddenly, I heard a noise from the bushes, so I turned to look.
In the end, a black beast emerged from the bushes.
……Its body was really small.
The beast slowly moved to my side as I recovered from surprise and hurriedly ate the okyakodon.
It looked like it wanted to eat my okyakodon.
It seemed to be asserting that this bowl of rice belonged to him. But no, this was something Hoost gave me.
I stood up to eat the okyakodon. The black beast suddenly attacked me.
—Although it kept running between my legs and struggled for a long time, after a long battle, it finally gave up and no longer moved.
Even when I carried it and bit its head a few times, the beast did not move.
After the fierce battle, I carried my battle prize home.