Volume 3 is starting!
Chapter 1 – Toward The Demon Castle
On the Apricot continent where the demons live, there is a demon castle. We were summoned to defeat the demon king who lives there, but ― we didn’t actually plan to fight him. We had a different goal altogether.
I still don’t know what kind of person the demon king is. It’s important to mention that the human king who summoned us was a piece of shit. He might actually be thinking he’s the superior being. He kept shouting for us to defeat the demon king, but he’s the worst kind of person that would throw you away the instant he finds out you didn’t do what he wants. You may remember that when I put all my first status points into evasion, I was thrown in jail.
I’m Hiroki Sakurai, my job is a Priest, and I specialize in evasion. Human Priests are said to be quite rare, but there’s a lower-rank version of the job called Healer. Because of my habit in games of referring to a Priest as a Healer, the human king misunderstood my job… Since it was a convenient misunderstanding, I wasn’t going to try to resolve it.
Thanks to my clothes ― dark blue jacket, flexible pants, boots ― hardly anyone would think I’m a Healer at first sight. I’m an evasion Healer, and I raised my evasion stat because my recovery stat was already more than sufficient, and I liked to walk in front and act as the party’s vanguard.
“Hiroki, I see the city!”
“Oh! We’re finally back.”
After a long climb, Lusha, Ren, Ruri and I all came back to the city. Lusha laughed and happily called to me, but to be frank, I’ve been walking for a long time. I’d like nothing more right now than to run into a coffee shop and have a good cup of iced coffee. No, wait, the one thing I want more is to go to the inn and sleep.
“Didn’t you take enough breaks?”
“No, I’m okay.”
Lusha was still full of energy and looked at me with concern. My physical strength is higher than when I was summoned to this world, but I still feel tired… though not to an extent that’s a problem. I just need to be extra careful of making mistakes, so I wouldn’t fall off the cliff.
I told them I was fine and spurred us to increase our walking pace.
Lusha Plum. With honey-colored hair and the long, pointed ears that are characteristic of elves, the pink ribbon tied under her ear makes the tomboyish Lusha look like a proper girl. She has big round pink-pearl eyes, and since her job is Archer, she has excellent long-range vision. She wears a high-mobility yellow-green outfit and wields a large bow. She’s my partner, with very low accuracy but powerful shots.
Walking behind us was Ren and Ruri. Ren still has a cool and cheerful expression due to his stats as a hero and vanguard, but Ruri, being a wizard, looked pretty tired. Like me, she doesn’t have much physical strength, so she’s pretty much almost at her limit.
“Ruri, are you okay?” I tried to ask her tactfully, but she shook her head dismissively.
“Yeah, somehow. I just want to rest as soon as possible.”
Lusha was also worried and asked her the same, but Ruri refused her as well.
“Would you like to take another short break before we get back to town?”
“No… let’s just keep going. I’m afraid if I sit down, I won’t be able to stand up again.”
Ruri smiled and did her best, as it was only a short distance to the city.
Ren chimed in this time with a courageous proposal. “Would you like me to carry you on my back? Since Hiroki’s around, we’ll be safe even if monsters come out…”
“I don’t wanna, it’s embarrassing to get a piggyback ride like some tired old lady.”
“You’re just a high school student, aren’t you? The city’s still a long way out.”
He was turned down just as easily as the rest of us. Lusha and I laughed at their banter.
Ren Watanabe. Like me, he’s a college student who was summoned to this world, and his job is Hero. He’s the serious honor student type, who’s good at cooking and can take care of himself. He negotiated with the king for my sake, and was forced to sign a bad deal, so I want to do what I can to help him.
Ruri Takanashi is the youngest of us to have been summoned. She has glossy black hair and classy mannerisms. I know she’s a proper young lady at first sight, but the reality is… Well, let’s leave it to your imagination. Her wide range of magic skills are tremendous, and her high firepower is also one of her best assets.
“But when we get back to town, we’ll be parting ways with Hiroki and Lusha. I’m going to miss both of you.”
Ruri stood next to Lusha and showed a slightly lonely expression. They were talking about the future.
Lusha and I were going to the demon king’s castle to deliver things to Pino’s master. By the way, her master’s name is Cruz-san. Due to the presence of guards dispatched by the human king, Ren and Ruri decided to act as if they were moving to defeat the demon king. Gathering information and leveling up in dungeons will be their main objectives.
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We finally passed the city limits. It had a fantasy atmosphere with a variety of lamps hanging to light the streets, and there were many stalls selling magic tools. It’s much more fantastical than the human country.
There were several soldiers in the city monitoring Ren and Ruri. They could be reporting to the king as frequently as a daily basis, which is one of the main reasons we can’t openly cooperate.
Ren looked at the soldiers and sighed a little. “I’ve been absent for a while, so I’ll be going over to show myself to them, and make sure they know we’ve been working properly.”
“Oh, I see. Then we’ll say our goodbyes here.”
The soldiers seem to have noticed Ren and Ruri, and were sending looks our way. Some of them seemed to be talking. I was sure they were talking about me, because they wouldn’t have known about Lusha. It would be better for us to not be seen together for too long.
“I’ll be even stronger by the next time we meet.”
“Yes. I’ll do my best not to fall behind either.”
“You know you’re already pretty strong, Ruri…!”
Lusha and Ruri hugged tightly, regretting their farewell. I was looking on, smiling, and wishing we could party more together. It’s all because of that king who orchestrated this whole thing.
After finishing her farewell with Lusha, she looked at me.
“Don’t be too reckless. If you need anything, contact me via the Adventurer’s Guild. I’ll get in touch with you as well, if I learn something.”
“Got it. Right now, I just wonder if I’ll be able to meet the demon king.”
If he’s the king of this entire continent, he might have the information on the summoning magic system that we need to return to Japan. The only question is whether or not we can actually meet…
“I wanted to see the demon king, too. But if I go, I’ll have to fight him, so I can’t. I guess he looks like a big guy wearing black clothes.”
“You think it’ll be like a manga?”
I inadvertently played the straight man to Ren (the demon king, often regarded as a villain, is almost always dressed in black). Ren laughed at the joke and said, “Hey, you gotta get me his autograph!” It’s kind of surreal to think about a demon king being asked by a fan for his signature.
“Alright then, see you later. Hiroki, make sure you protect Lusha properly.”
“Of course. You too, Ren ― don’t do anything reckless. You’re also prohibited from signing any strange contracts. If anything happens, you have to tell me first.”
“Do you really not trust me?”
“I trust you.”
“Do you really?”
Ren always tries to sacrifice himself for the sake of his friends, so I’ll be nervous if no one keeps an eye on him. He laughed warmly at that, and went to the inn with Ruri.
Lusha and I stayed where we were and watched them leave. It’s been a long time since I’ve been alone with Lusha. Since the party of four had gone back to the original party of two, capturing dungeons would be difficult again.
“It’s been a long time since it was just us.”
Lusha seemed to have a sort of cheerful atmosphere around her. What could she be thinking about? She is who she is, though.
“Let’s become strong enough to not be left behind by Ruri or anyone else! Let’s conquer all the dungeons along the way while heading to demon king castle! Yeah!”
―Well, she’s right, but I think it’s a bit reckless to conquer all the dungeons along the way.
“Yeah, let’s do our best…”
“Come on, Hiroki, where’s your fighting spirit!”
Lusha completely forgot how tired I am. I’m afraid that when she starts talking about dungeons like this…
“Oh, jeez! It’s better if we go to the dungeon as soon as we can, right?”
Well, at any rate, that sure is a nice smile.