How did it end like this?
"Here you go, Kazuki."
"Ah, thank you very much."
"Please enjoy. I've made a lot."
I was currently eating homemade cookies while drinking tea... together with lich... in the crypt... on the cemetery.
"So… do you come here often?"
"Ummm… I try to visit here every week but sometimes I have to do this stuff more frequently."
This conversation was weird but I felt that I couldn't just walk away immediately after we agreed to sort of a truce. Well, truthfully it was just one-sided promise from my side to keep silent because Wiz repeatedly said that she wouldn't hurt me even if I were insistent on ratting her out.
Apparently, she was some sort of a big-shot with whom even Demon King had to tread carefully. Wiz had some sort of an agreement with him but she didn't go into details with a complete stranger.
When I asked her about her job on cemetery she showed me some of her magic circles that were emanating white radiance. At one point even one zombie stood up from the grave but as soon as he stepped inside one of those circles he completely froze until his body just totally disappeared.
When I asked why was she doing it and if it isn't a priest's job she answered that clergy in this city is very… greedy. They wouldn't move unless they get paid so families that couldn't afford the service almost always asked Wiz to help their relatives pass on peacefully.
Wait… this was a city with religion mainly centered around goddess Eris… does that mean… no, certainly it is humanity's fault. I refuse to believe that the goddess being worshipped by Chris would encourage greed.
If what she was saying was true, then Wiz was an extremely kind person. Even though she was a lich. There was this feeling in my brain that some blue-haired goddess could learn a bit from this selfless undead.
As she seemed to be knowledgeable about spirits and such I asked her opinion about the feasibility of my revenge plan involving ghosts. She admonished the idea since one shouldn't play around with the deceased but should help them instead. She said that without a hint of anger and with a smile on her face but even then I felt ashamed for asking when she put it like that.
While we were chatting she also asked about my ability to transform because it was her first time meeting someone that was able to change into more than one alternate creature besides doppelgangers. And even they couldn't replicate things like shining eyes while imitating a Crimson Demon.
I just simply answered that I had such ability without mentioning all the details or how I got it. She seemed very impressed by my power and when I asked her if I could try it out on her to which she happily agreed. Though I already kinda knew the result beforehand which was - no change in my [List]. Dead creatures and godly beings seemed impossible to use by my skill.
We chatted some more until I realized that it was getting really dark. I thanked Wiz for the delicious cookies and she invited me to come to her shop someday. After saying our goodbyes I transformed into an owl and flew away.
Had I just made a lich friend? It seemed like this world was adamant about surprising me every hour.
With nothing else planned, I flew towards the inn while wondering if Chris would be already there. I felt like talking to her about what has happened today. This day seemed as if an entire week's worth of events was packed up in it.
After landing behind the inn I transformed into a human and walked in. I eyed the bar area and almost instantly noticed Chris sitting at the table. I smiled and moved towards her but after walking a meter further I spotted another person who was previously behind the inn's beam so I couldn't see her.
What was Aqua doing here?
And why Chris was serving her alcohol with a forced smile?
Chris noticed me approaching and I could see a simple message in her eyes which said: "Help"
So, of course, I sat at their table without hesitating.
"Ah, it's the newbie… eheheh~ Hic."
Aqua was totally smashed.
In the corner of my eye, I could see the Innkeeper Tayla looking at Aqua with worry.
"Hey, what are you doing here."
"One of my cute… hic … believers asked me for help. You see-" there was a short pause in which Aqua tried to remember something but quickly deemed it not important. "Ummm… there's a problem with a spell... so I came to help..."
Tayla's eyes went wide when she saw that I also joined the mix and then she came up to talk with Aqua.
"Archpriest-sama, can we talk privately for a second?"
"There's no problem. Those are my adventure buddies! Hic-"
"Oh… I wouldn't want to bother other customers…"
"But I am also a customer…"
Aqua kept bickering together with Tayla for a little while but soon they both left to the room in the back so only I and Chris were left at the table at that moment.
"How did you get roped into serving Aqua?" was the first question that came up to my mind.
"I was just passing by, without even noticing her but she grabbed me and handed me the bottle."
"And I ended up serving her…"
Chris-san, are you, by any chance… a push-over?
I wouldn't call myself the most assertive person that walks on the planet but I think I would be able to reject something that I absolutely didn't want to do. And Chris looked really upset about her current 'job'.
"She's gone, so you are free to go." I urged Chris to use this opportunity to go away.
"But she will come back and…" Chris sounded unsure.
"And how is that your problem?" But I pressed the issue. Was this because Chris was so nice or was there another reason?
Oh, maybe she put up with it out of respect for another goddess? But especially now, Aqua didn't seem like a proper goddess at all.
Chris's eyes still wavered but there was a tinge of resolution in them and after a few seconds of internal struggles she stood up and went towards the stairs. I went together with her of course. Halfway through the stairs we could hear Aqua loudly exclaiming:
"Where are those guys? Hey, come back! Hic!"
Chris froze mid-step and seemed to consider going down but I lightly pushed her forward. She then broke out to a sprint towards her room. When she opened her door she beaconed for me to come with a smile on her face.
I received a light thanks from Chris and we sat at the table in her room. She then started energetically asking me about my first proper quest so I explained everything in detail. Chris laughed heartily at my mistakes, exclaimed in surprise about the fights with the Gator and pack of goblins and laughed even more about Megumin's 'predicaments' both inside the guild and after the Explosion show.
After I ended that part she requested to see the owl form I acquired so I happily obliged. Chris seemed to really like animals because even with my scars on its face when she saw my owl form her smile grew even wider.
Suddenly there was a knock on the door and we could hear Aqua's voice from behind the door.
"Hey, Chris, are you there? I am bored. My job starts in three hours and the Innkeeper won't give me more free booze until I am done. So come and talk to me~ Hey, anybody here?"
She sounded a lot soberer than half an hour ago. There was a flash of panic in Chris's eyes but she soon just smiled and put a finger to her lips to form the universal sign meaning "be quiet".
I was currently an owl. I couldn't speak even if I wanted to.
"Did I get the wrong door? Weird." Aqua seemed confused and tried another door. Meanwhile, Chris reached out her hand and started petting the top of my head.
Because of this godly sensation, I barely heard Aqua getting scolded by Teyla for disturbing five more rooms with her antics. After the commotion died down Chris removed her hand from my head and said.
"Now we can talk again."
I tried Puss in Boots' approach to obtain some more 'drugs' but it didn't seem to work so I reluctantly switched back and started narrating the later part of my day. As promised I didn't mention anything about Wiz being an undead or having a deal with the Demon King.
I changed the story a little bit to Wiz being a very kind adventurer who helped the poor and their deceased family members for free and then gave my opinion that priests should take care of that themselves without ripping people off. Surprisingly this erected a nervous laugh from Chris.
Apparently, the Eris church had some problems inside. Well, it wasn't anywhere near the Axis Cult's level of 'problem' but Chris admitted that Eris's priests can easily fall to the temptation of money even though the goddess herself advises being generous. But she also quickly added that those are only a few of her followers.
She sounded very serious as if it was somehow her fault. What could one girl do to humanity's greed?
To not end on a depressing note Chris also mentioned that she heard the recollection of events from Darkness earlier as well and pointed out how different her version was from mine.
Darkness's story was mainly focused on how powerful the monster was and how good it felt to wrestle the monster. Besides that, apparently, Darkness marveled at how vicious my owl face looked. That led to Chris mentioning that she got an answer from goddess Eris about my scars that confirmed Aqua's statement on the matter.
The mood changed from jovial one to a serious one for me in just a second.
"You have to learn to accept yourself as you are."
This would sound like a proper A-grade bullshit on Earth. The rambling of someone that was fortunate enough to never be in the same position.
"I know I was the one that proposed the mask, but you should try sen-... Aqua's proposition."
I was extremely thankful to Chris for providing me with a mask idea. I honestly thought that without it I wouldn't be sitting here happily like this.
"I'm not saying that you should suddenly throw out the thing that helps you so much. But how about not wearing it when you are together only with friends to start off?"
That sounded like a great idea so I nodded enthusiastically. Let's do that.
Chris smiled after seeing my agreement but after a few seconds, she started pouting and tearing up.
"You don't count me as your friend?"
"W-wait. A-already?" I thought I could start from the next day.
"It's gonna become harder and harder the more you try to delay it."
After hearing that statement I was stunned for a second but then I unhesitatingly reached out my hand and took off my mask.
And Chris's expression of wide smile didn't change even a little bit.
"See? You just have to let people get to know you. They can run once or twice but when they start seeing you for who you really are they won't be running again."
Those words really hit me hard. I didn't know what to say beyond my sincerest 'thank you' but Chris seemed to be perfectly content with that. After a minute or two of silence, I remembered that I haven't shown my new Crimson Demon form's outfit to Chris.
"Hey, wanna see something cool?" I asked mysteriously after a round of comfortable silence we had together.
Chris nodded in anticipation and then I transformed into Crimson Demon after standing up.
I… kinda forgot about the state of emotions I was in when I transformed from that form to another.
In a fraction of a second, my face was replaced with a dark mask and the only thing you could see was the crimson glow coming from my eyes.
"Woah!" Chris exclaimed and fell back together with her chair. There was a worried expression on her face.
"Oops, sorry about that." I said while taking off my mask. Red hue quickly vanished as I was already calm.
I showed Chris my smiling face and she quickly relaxed.
And then I started to giggle to which Chris guffawed. Soon we both laughed so hard that the neighbor from the room next door had to hit the wall to shut us up.
I felt like a different guy after this.
(A/N: This marks the first week of me updating this story. I managed to write a whopping 10 chapters instead of 3 that I predicted on the last Sunday. That is bonkers! I got a questions for you people. How do you like the story so far? Do you like/not like some developments? Any thoughts? About what should I write more? Share your opinion with me!)
Please switch to the pop-up to complete the payment.
Complete the daily and EXP missions, as well as every week’s reading missions to obtain EXP and SS as rewards.Learn more about the rules 1. You can obtain the corresponding EXP and Bonus SS as rewards by completing daily missions and EXP missions, as well as weekly reading missions. 2. The obtained EXP can raise your user level. 3. Bonus SS can be used to unlock chapters, gift authors, etc. They are effective for 30 days. 4. Daily Tasks and corresponding rewards renew daily at 00:00 UTC+8. Don't forget to claim your rewards in time. 5. Weekly Reading Missions refer to the time you spend reading novels and comics on Webnovel every week. 6. The weekly reading time is calculated while your device is connected to the Internet. This might result in a delay of several minutes.