Shaman 53: Leader part.1

The Shaman can't become a Hero

Act 5: Worst Harem Party

Chapter 53: Leader part.1

“—So there was a fairy square, we made it”

In a stroke of good luck, right after overcoming the Mantis onslaught, we passed the cave and safely made it to the following fairy square.

The strain of battle. Additionally, with the psychological revulsion of being surrounded by insects for so long, everyone looked more exhausted than usual. Forgetting any work or words, we all dropped our equipment, and eased ourselves onto the soft grass.

“You too Rem, good work”


I wouldn’t mind if she sat down too. Rem was still holding her spear and standing straight, motionless to my side as I lay on the ground.

“Kotarou-kun, everything alright?”

Mei-chan pops in with a smile. I was lying flat on the ground and she was standing real close to my head and, woah, what the, holy-, I can kinda see it, inside—

“Mei-chan! Yup, none at all, no problem!”

It was a moment’s glance. I sit up in a hurry to chase away the visions of pink cloth tucked in those tender, plump thighs. Good Lord almighty, I was this close to being stuck staring.

If I end up adding filthy peeper to my known title of wanker scum, I’ll really lose any dignity I have left within this harem party. And if I lose Mei-chan on top of that, I won’t have any allies left. Thinking about how absolutely terrifying that is, I can easily overcome the bliss of looking at panties. Life. Life is damn important.

“Souma-san’s magic healed me up perfectly”

“Ah, that’s good. You know, after you get healed by magic, sometimes the injuries open up again. It’s apparently like first aid to only block off the wounds right away”

“Eh? It’s like that?”

“It is. Kenzaki-san and Natsukawa-san said they experienced it”

Looks like the vanguard members have been exchanging useful info. At present, Souma-san has something close to the worst impression of me, so I can’t carelessly start a conversation with her. If Mei-chan’s doing even a little bit of research on their powers, then I’m super grateful.

Still, I guess healing magic isn’t all-powerful after all. If the injuries are too severe, it won’t work. It may seal them temporarily, but it won’t grant a complete recovery. That could mean that there’s other types of healing magic that are similar to my ointments. That is, they do healing with actual recovery as the final objective.

That’s good. My meds will still have a purpose now. At least, until Souma-san gets that recovery-type healing magic that is.

“Hey, how about lunch?”

Looking at Mei-chan now, no one would dare say stuff like, “Of course you’d suggest lunch”, and make fun of her.

“Sure, walnuts as usual?”

“About that, there’s a little something I need you to look at Kotarou-kun—”

She says as she sits down beside me, and starts rummaging through her bag. Wonder what it is?

“—So it’s this insect, can you see if we can eat it?”


What she took out towards me was, an insect with many thin legs and a red carapace like crayfish. It looked a lot like a caterpillar.

“Its shell kind of looked like lobster, so I thought maybe it was edible... How about it?”

Mei-chan, you really enjoy these exotic foods, don’t you? I could understand eating snakes and such back on Earth, but do you really have to grasp at these suspicious creatures in another world? She seriously knows no fear man. Someone like her must’ve eaten puffer fish at least once.[1]

(TN: You gotta eat puffer fish real carefully cause it contains lethal poison. Google-sensei says one puffy has enough poison to kill 30 normies. )

“L-let’s have a look see... Ok, no poison, and looks like, there’s no other problems eating it either”

“Really!? Awesome!”

“But I think you should at least cook it first”

And wasting time no further, Mei-chan and I started gathering firewood, and made a hearth like we did for roasting snakes. Souma-san and the girls came by to ask what we we’re up to, but looking at the Lobster Worm, they turned blue in the face and backed away.[2]

(TN: エビ芋虫 — Ebi Imomushi — Lobster Worm, lit. Lobster Caterpillar )

If Mei-chan can draw out her ideal taste from this, I bet another culinary revolution would transpire among the girls. Speaking of which, even Takanashi-san has been actively pursuing the capture of those snakes. The juicy taste of meat is simply unmatched.

“—And, done!”

“Wow, cool, it’s really like lobster!”

At 30 centimeters length-wise, the creepy worm that looked like an animated lobster tail, was now on a skewer. It let out puffs of steam and shone in an appetizing gloss.

Peeling away the shell, its tightly packed, previously clear-ish white meat had solidified to a tasty, solid white after baking in heat. There were even semblances of scarlet stripes going across so I couldn’t see it as anything other than a big, roasted lobster tail.

“Well, here goes nothing, Kotarou-kun”

I swallow back my gathering saliva, and carefully watch Mei-chan bring the roasted skewer to her mouth.

“....!? This is-!”

“How is it!?”

The moment of truth. Will it taste like lobster, or will it be worm?

“It’s not that juicy, and the taste is prett-y bland... but it’s lobster alright!”

“All right!”

And thus, we triggered yet another culinary revolution during our time in the dungeon. The Lobster Worm, tasted indeed like lobster. The next time we see these, we’ll be grasping for them like no tomorrow.

“That was great”

We relished the grilled lobster. Saying stuff like, Man, wish there was some soy sauce and mayo, we sit relaxed over the grass, and chat idly. A bit farther away, Souma-san and the girls were gingerly attempting to eat some of the roasted Lobster Worm that we shared.

Incidentally, the one who drew the short straw turned out to be Natsukawa-san. Grabbed in a Nelson hold by Kenzaki-san, her bitter cries as Class Rep inserted the skewered item made me think, she has great potential as an actress.

“Tell me Kotarou-kun... Isn’t it frustrating?”

“Eh, what’s up all of a sudden?”

Mei-chan asked me with a serious expression, but I replied making a stupid face. If you’re talking about frustration, I’m plenty frustrated being thrown into this harsh, life-and-death scenario, but why ask about that now?

“Those girls are bad news. When we were fighting the Mantis, you were almost killed by an Ant, right Kotarou-kun? ... Even when Souma-san and Class Rep, even when both of them were right there”

Her words sounded slightly laced with venom.

“Th-that time... was like a surprise attack, so we just weren’t ready for it”

Since I got to hear that intense dialogue between her and Souma-san, I knew that Mei-chan has quite a bit of dissatisfaction with our clumsiness in that fight. It didn’t turn messy due to Class Rep cutting in, but there’s no way she’s actually fine with it.

“If they just listened to your orders, there would’ve been no problem at all”

“But there’s no way people will move if I suddenly start ordering them around. I’m not their leader and haven’t been approved as one either”

If this was Souma-kun, I bet everyone would very willingly follow his lead even if they were panicking. That’s what it means to be approved of. Literally who in their right mind would listen to some unpopular, short, otaku guy from a corner of the class? Not me, I wouldn’t.

“Then tell me, who do you think should lead us?”

“Well... If you’re asking me, it has to me Souma-san or Class Rep right? There’s also Kenzaki-san, but she’d be too busy fighting up front to hand out orders, so not her I guess”

“You know, I really think we should properly decide on a leader with everyone. To be honest, I was thinking this ever since we made a party with them”

Mei-chan’s concerns are perfectly valid. You can gather up top-class, powerful individuals all you want, but without any proper teamwork, there will only be disorder. And in fact, with the current ability of our party, we should’ve been easily able to handle something like a Mantis and Ant pincer attack.

“Kotarou-kun, I think you need to be the leader”

“Eh, no way, that’s impossible”

“No really, I know you can do it. That’s right, even in the fight just now, if you weren’t there, someone like Takanashi-san would’ve died”

True, I can bet Souma-san or Class Rep would’ve somehow gotten out of it, but I can’t say the same about Takanashi-san. From what I’ve seen of her, she may have powerful skills, but she certainly doesn’t have the ability to make quick decisions and make actual use of them. She may eventually die because of that flaw.

With that powerful Mantis making an appearance, everyone was concentrated towards it up front, and completely neglected to keep an eye behind. Including me. If Rem hadn’t alerted me, I would’ve lost my chance to manifest Rotten Bog.

“Souma-san and Class Rep, they aren’t good enough. Those two don’t have the resolve to make a decision that might or might not lead us to death. The only one here who can do that is you, Kotarou-kun”

“No, I mean...”

No way, isn’t something I can say. To be perfectly honest, I really want to complain about what was up with Souma-san and Class Rep in that fight.

But, there’s a big but. My orders were only good in retrospect. If that Mantis happened to be so strong that they needed both Souma-san and Class Rep’s help to get rid of it, then my choice would’ve been the wrong one. The frontliners would be defeated, the rear then attacked, and we’d face total annihilation, the end.

Then again, we couldn’t just ignore the Ants behind us either. With just Rem and me, they would’ve gotten through, no doubt about it. In fact, one still did. If the Mantis was stronger, it could’ve come to the point where, I’d have to sacrifice myself to attempt stopping all the Ants alone.

“No listen, it’s not like I’ll always make the best choice and...”

“I can gladly leave my life in your hands Kotarou-kun. Anything you say, I’ll listen”

Mei-chan stares fixedly at my with a smile so charming I’m sent into shivers. With how she said that right in my face, it’s like she’d even try doing the impossible if I just ask.

“Yeah. You know Mei-chan, you’ve been following along with what I said all this time. I ended up giving you orders all the time back then but... I think I finally get how lucky I was being in that position. Thanks, Mei-chan”

“I only did what was right you know? Becoming a Berserker did make me a bit stronger... But that’s it, only a bit. I’m always being saved by you after all. And Kotarou-kun, even when that 2nd Armor Bear came, you didn’t run, did you? You stayed beside me the whole time right?”

“Well uh, worst case, I’d get eaten and take down the Bear with me... Yeah no, actually, maybe my knees just gave out”

Right. Even after those girls swooped in and saved us, my legs were still gone. I couldn’t even try to stand up.

“No, I’m sure about this. That’s why you have to do it, Kotarou-kun”

Man, this is the kind of stuff you say when you completely trust someone huh. Like, I know we’re having a serious conversation and all, but my cheeks feel a little itchy. My lips might start twitching upwards any second. No, stop that, me. Yeah, I’m super weak to getting praised. An easy catch, if I do say so myself.

“... But me becoming everyone’s leader, that’s still impossible”


“You may believe in me, Mei-chan, but the others, all of them don’t. You remember right? What happened when I was going to make Rem? With that one incident, their trust in me hit the dirt”

“But you were just—”

“Class Rep only got them to understand, and that’s still better than nothing. Souma-san and Kenzaki-san were really disgusted you know. The two of them are seriously uptight about that sort of stuff, so they could still be holding in their anger”

On a side note, Takanashi-san seems to be making a shield out of me on a daily basis. I’d be very offended if she had dark intentions like wishing I’d die like that.

“You can’t make someone leader if everyone can’t trust him. Even I can tell that our party is a mess... But if I start getting cocky now, the party itself could be broken apart”

More like, they could just throw me out.

“But I agree with you that we need a leader, at least in appearance. Mei-chan, can you talk to Souma-san or Class Rep, see if any of them want to do it?”

We should’ve decided this from the start. For example, if Class Rep had the awareness that she was leading us, she could’ve given out orders even in that sudden pincer attack.

And even if we didn’t decide, we should’ve at least discussed and simulated cases of surprise attacks, pincer attacks, or traps.

We may have been granted special powers, but ultimately, we’re only students. We aren’t trained soldiers or nothing. And this dungeon isn’t nice enough to let us off with just relying on our skills.

“Kotarou-kun, are you really fine with that?”

“I don’t think we have a choice. It’s fine. If we get better as a team, we’ll have a little less stress and... Maybe they can find it in themselves to forgive me a little too”

I said to Mei-chan with the best smile in my arsenal. Yeah no, it’s not like a smile from me can put someone at ease though. But I’m trying to get the point across that I really am fine with that.

“Huh... I understand, Kotarou-kun”

Being looked at with a slightly worried face from Mei-chan, I thought of myself, kinda pathetic.

[1] You gotta eat puffer fish real carefully cause it contains lethal poison. Google-sensei says one puffy has enough poison to kill 30 normies.
[2] エビ芋虫 — Ebi Imomushi — Lobster Worm, lit. Lobster Caterpillar