Weekly chapters (2/2)
Chapter 149 – Magnificent Public Bath
The public bath had properly separated women and men sections.
Personally I didn't think mixed baths are a good thing. The pressure would be too high if I were to enter together with Roxy and the girls.
Recently, we had a soul-switching incident thanks to a certain goblin shaman. Back then, my heart was under heavy pressure. It took every little ounce of willpower I had to not have a look at Roxy's naked body.
I'm after all, a gentleman at heart.
I took off my clothes and entered the bath. By the way I also brought Greed along. After each battle, this black sword is always noisy about being dirty, so I brought him along for some cleaning.
[Isn't it a bit too wide…]
『A perfect kind of bath for me. If it's any less than this, this me wouldn't even bother to enter.』
Regardless of Greed's cockiness, it was a really wide bath! Lishua said that she renovated part of the mansion, but this looks more like complete rework.
The place had an adult vibe to it, probably owing to her personality.
[How luxurious of a bath. This is the first time where I couldn't see the wall at the end of the room due to the steam.]
『A holy knight, who is also part of the five great families they say……。This much is just bare minimum for me！』
[But isn't this a bit too luxurious? You know full well that this kind of thing doesn't really suit me at all.]
『Fuhn, if you say so fine then. Either way it is a fairly luxury bath. Best enjoy the moment, correct？』
[… I guess so]
Before soaking in the bath, I washed the dust and grime that stuck to my body. Travelling in the desert always had this inconvenience of sand entering through the small openings on our clothes after all.
My inner young boy's side was getting excited from seeing such a wide bath. Without further ado, I cannonballed into the bath.
My action made a bigger splash and louder noise than I expected.
『Are you a kid！』
[There is only me in here, so it should be fine.]
While I was arguing with Greed over whether it's okay or not, I heard voices coming from beyond the wall.
[Fai, do not jump into the bath!]
[Such a childish action, it's not fitting for the head of Barbatos family!]
[This bath is an important facility, so please behave yourself!]
Ooo!? Those were the voices of Roxy, Mimir, and Lishua!?
And all of them scolded me.
I looked at the wall from which their voice came out. That wall was most likely the partition separating the men and women section.
Since the wall left some space up to the ceiling, it was possible to talk to other people on the other side.
Out of curiosity, I tried to listen to what happened to Snow who was reluctant to part with me earlier.
[Sorry, my bad. I'll be more careful next time. By the way, I haven't heard Snow's voice. Is she okay?.]
[She is calm and quiet.]
The reply came from Mimir who was apparently the nearest to Snow at the moment. Good, good.
It'll be a big mess if she rampaged in the ladies' bath.
[There, Snow. Fate-sama is just over there.]
[Really? Just over this wall?]
[Yeah, I'm here.]
Hearing an affirmative from me, Snow's voice became lively once more.
Un un, good then. Wait, what are you going to do again!?
[If that’s so, I'll head over there!]
[Fua!? Wait what!?]
Following a female shout, a large hole appeared on the wall that separated the two baths.
Without a doubt, it was Snow who did it.
With a smile on her face, she made her way to me.
[Together again now!]
My eyes moved toward the huge hole on the wall.
There, I saw the nude body of three women… Damn.
[ [ [ Kyaaaaaaah!] ] ]
I turned around at once, but the sight of their naked figure had already been burned into my brain. I could feel my body temperature rise in no time. And that's not because of the already steamy hot air inside the bath.
[No, it is… Snow who broke the wal. It is not Fai's fault.]
Although it's by force majeure, I did still see their naked bodies. But Roxy forgave me.
[How horrible. Seeing me naked…]
[Oi, I can hear the giddiness in your voice. It's not a laughing matter here, you know?]
[That's not really the case. But since it has come to this, then I shall join Fate-sama over there.]
[That's strange. Shouldn't you be angry instead?]
Peeking over my shoulder, I caught Mimir really coming over to the men’s side.
Really now… I wanted to escape, but I couldn't, since Snow was hugging me tightly. This isn't the time and place for you to make use of your Area E power, Snow!
[Fate… not gonna let you off this time.]
[You too!? At times like this! Snow.]
There's no escape for me. Meanwhile Mimir unhesitatingly entered the men's section. I was like prey being cornered by the hunters.
[Where did your embarrassment from earlier go!]
[There is no getting back on what you've seen earlier. Now Fate-sama should also experience the same embarrassment!]
[You just enjoy teasing me, don't you?]
That's a straightforward reply. How refreshing… very straightforward.
Mimir always seemed to get excited whenever she's teasing me. Just like when she's sucking on my blood.
At this rate, I would be swept along by Mimir's pace.
Snow also prevented me from moving away.
And that was when Roxy interrupted.
[Hold it right there, Mimir!]
[As if I want to. Alright, I'm taking the first dip.]
[You, hold it.]
Though she couldn't stop Mimir at all. Again, I peeked over my shoulder towards the direction of their voice, and saw Roxy following behind Mimir. Did she even realize that she's also still naked!?
The situation was only getting worse.
[Awawawa, please don't. Everyone, not in this place.]
As if it wasn't enough, way behind the two was Lishua, trying to stop them.
My head could no longer handle the heat. But at least I should try to voice out my concern before getting swept by the flow.
[In the end, everyone ended up coming over!]
I cried, but my voice was easily drowned by the noise of water splashing as they entered the bath.
[I told you, hold it right there!]
[Everyone! Please stop!]
There's no stopping them now… all three came to at the same time.
Mimir, Roxy, and Lishua jumped to the bath.
They raised large water columns and rolled up lots of steam. It was a mess!
There's no way I could enjoy a relaxing bath… not after all these. I didn't even realize that I no longer held Greed in my hand, as the poor sword was left submerged at the bottom of the bath. He'll definitely keep a grudge for that.
Oh well, it can be said that he's enjoying a thorough bathing there.
All that fuss, coupled with the heat from the bath itself had ended up knocking most of the girls out. I, especially, felt really hot, in various different ways.
Feeling dizzy, I fought my way out of the bath, only to hear another voice coming from the entrance.
[You guys, what are you all doing here? I was asleep, but that doesn't justify leaving me out from all the fun.]
Are you kidding me? At times like this, when I was already at my weakest…. The most dangerous adversary actually showed herself.
This one, it's way, way too dangerous!
Mimir rushing to me while naked felt like a joke compared to this.
This one, well, this one is real trouble! Far too dangerous!
[By the way, everyone seemed flushed from the heat. Can you even lift all of them?]
[Ooh, you come to help!]
[I want to join in as well!]
Uaaaaaa! It was stupid of me to expect otherwise.
Eris took off the towel that was wrapping around her body. My head was already too dizzy, I couldn't afford to see her naked now.
Though, what's left of my clear mind started wondering. If you think about it, Eris… she had deliberately entered the men's bath.
It's already suspicious from the very start.
From the beginning, she intended to enter the men's bath where I was in.
[Oya oya, is that cursing because you're too happy?]
[That's a very positive thinking coming from you!]
No good. I couldn't beat Eris. Perhaps because she didn't fare that well during the sacred beast fight… she's looking to release some stress now.
But why does her outlet have to be me!?
Damn, both Roxy and Lishua who could help were still knocked out in the hot bath.
On the other hand, Snow somehow still stuck to me. This… felt like hell on earth.
Maybe, just maybe, I could ask Snow for help?
[Fate, I'm dizzy.]
[Well of course you are!!]
No good. This was really no good.
After saying so, Snow let go of me, and joined the other three girls floating unconscious in the hot bath.
[So somehow, the sacred beastkin has become that little girl huh? That means my natural enemy is down for the count now.]
[Calm yourself down.]
[It'll be alright, no worries! Once I feel refreshed, I'll carry everyone out from the bath…]
Eris' voice sounded so distant to me now. Probably, I was already at my limit.
It's a fleeting hope, but I had no choice but to believe in Eris to do the rest.
I'm counting on you, Eris.
Something cool was draped over my forehead.
It felt good, making me want to sleep longer. Along with the feeling of relaxation, consciousness gradually returned to me.
The warm hand stroking my cheek also added the sense of comfort.
When I slowly opened my eyes, I found myself laying on a bed in the guest bedroom.
[Looks like you're finally awake. I guess it can't be helped since fighting the sacred beast must've been very tiring.]
[Eris… did you carry us out of the bath?]
Hearing my first question after waking up, Eris angrily puffed her cheeks.
[That was upsetting. Even so I did carry all of them out of the bath, called the maids to put some clothes on them, then brought each of them to their bedrooms.]
[Thanks. What was I thinking…? Here I am doubting you. ]
[Ahaha, no matter what kind of person do you think I am, I still have a conscience. I couldn't just leave those girls to stay unconscious in the hot bath area.]
[I see. Sorry then, for many things.]
Eris grinned in return.
[Who said that I did not do anything to Fate?]
This little devil. The moonlight shining through the window only added to Eris' bewitching air.
[What…did you do?]
I gulped, waiting for Eris' answer apprehensively.
As if playing with my impatience, she deliberately slowed down her reply.
[After having the maids to take care of Roxy and the others, I got to be alone with a naked Fate.]
[That means, there is no one else to help you to put on some clothes.]
You arranged all that! So don't give me that "what to do?" kind of face.
[So I pulled you out of the bath house, wiped your body gently with a towel, and carefully put some clothes on you. Then very carefully brought you to this room and laid you comfortably on this bed. I've been watching your sleeping face after that.]
[…doing whatever you want as usual.]
[No need to thank me. I enjoyed it, in a lot of ways.]
[Don't say it in such a cryptic way. After all, you simply did what I asked of you. I've spent a considerable amount of time around Eris. I should at least understand one or two things about you.]
She told me parts of her past back when we were nightgazing atop the hill at Tetra. Eris usually acted laid back, but I came to know that despite her having lived a very long life, she's not without a moment of weakness. Thanks to that, I realized that she's still human, and it relieved me. It made me want to help her more than anything.
In turn, it also sparked my interest to know more about Eris. The way she speaks and her actions might feel like a huge tease, but I knew that she had a good head on her shoulders.
And now Eris, bathed in moonlight, I'm not really sure why, looked at me shyly.
[It was a privilege. But, thank goodness. We actually won the fight against the sacred beast… I mean sacred beastkin. Meanwhile I was stuck there getting cold feet. Sorry.]
[That’s what the other team members are for. Don't be too worried about it.]
[Thank you, Fate. Although I haven't told you why I acted like that…]
I already had a rough guess from what she said back at the bath house.
[Eris' natural enemy…that Libra, he is also a sacred beastkin, isn't he? The battle must've reminded you of him, therefore you acted like that.]
[That's a good guess. And that's indeed how it is. But Snow actually has nothing to do with me. Now that I think about it, this is the first time for me to meet her. I guess there were many kinds of sacred beast out there. It's just that, Libra's image kept flashing in my eyes when we fought Snow.]
[I see… that's relieving.]
If Eris and Snow actually kept a grudge to each other, the situation would become more complex than already is.
Having that worry to disappear put an ease in my mind.
Eris chuckled, then looked out through the window.
[Fate, I realized this upon seeing your father in the previous fight. Fate's father, he is…]
[Sorry. But I want to ask Dad personally for that matter.]
I interrupted Eris before she could finish. It's after all, something that I, as Dean Graphite's son needs to ask him directly.
Eris relented and didn't pursue the topic any further. After some moment of silence, a sigh escaped her lips as she muttered.
[Your life, it's actually much more complex than we all thought.]
I didn't reply to that. Because there was no need to in the first place.
Something was definitely going on even before I was born, the first being I somehow was born with Gluttony skill. All I knew about my Mom's death was that she died from illness… But now that I think about it, that's probably just Dad's white lie… because I was still a child back then.
I needed to know what really happened.