Lydia referred us to the 「White-bellied Tanuki」, a three story inn that resembled a private house.
I suppose it’s trying to infer that a tanuki with a white belly isn’t evil and is instead sincere.
But, it gives off the complete opposite impression and is instead kind of suspicious…
The landlady seems to be good natured on the outside, and the flowerbed looks to be watered.
I felt some relief as it didn’t seem particularly suspicious.
「We’d like to take up lodging here for a while, are there any rooms open?」
「Oh, welcome……..a, could you guys be the three child adventurers Lydia-chan talked about?」
「That’s ri~ght! We’re the guild “Blue Sky Hunters”~! If you ever have anything you need done, please come ask us!」
Whoosh, Milly bows her head.
Shortly after Claude does so as well, and I, reluctantly, follow suit.
She shrewdly takes the chance for some early advertising.
Earning money from the people around here isn’t really efficient or enjoyable, but it might be good hear their requests and take part in activities in the area to familiarize ourselves.
If anything were to happen, it’d be awkward if people focused on us, so I’d like to avoid that.
「Ahahaha, well then if anything comes up I’ll be asking for you. The rooms can be readied soon, so as soon as you sign your name I can take you in.」
Lydia’s talk helped us out, and without any particular issues, we settled down at the inn.
Children staying and lodging by themselves for a long time could cause various problems after all. After we’d written our names in the register, we were given the keys and led to the rooms.
We rented two rooms.
One for Claude and Milly, and my room/storeroom.
Bags and various items are scattered about, livingware, clothes and luggage are tossed about even though we’ve just arrived.
By the way, most of the luggage is Milly’s.
We’ll have to clean it up later.
But I’m already worn out for the day. At times like this there’s nothing better than taking a bath.
I heard there was a bath on the first floor so I grab a change of clothes and decide to head on down.
I opened the door and immediately ran into Milly and Claude both holding towels.
「Zeph you’re going to take a bath too?」
「No peeking ok?!」
Bleh~ Milly sticks out her tongue at me.
Who’d wanna peep on you?
The three of us go down to the first floor bath and separate into two different changing rooms. I take off my clothes, open the door and look at the big bath room spread before my eyes.
The bath looks large enough to fit 10 adults easily and there are some rocks placed around that gives the bath a certain charm.
Come to think of it the landlady said that the White-bellied Tanuki’s selling point was its large public bath. Certainly it’s rare to see such a big bath anywhere.
I rinse myself, then thoroughly immerse myself in the hot water. The water surrounding me makes me spit out a sigh from my lungs.
Being able to have this big bath all to myself, is a so called luxury I’d say.
As I think that, the door clatters open and I hear people’s voices coming closer.
Has this luxury ended already…?
I thought in disappointment as two shadows appeared in the steam.
They were a small shadow with long hair and a slender shadow with short-cut hair.
「Woah, what a big bath!」
「That’s right, I’ve never been in such a bath before either」
It’s Milly and Claude.
The two of them are walking with their fronts covered with a towel, talking amicably with each other.
This…This is BAD!
I dive under the water immediately and slowly move away from the exit and into the shadow of a nearby rock.
Why were they here? This was mixed bathing?
Keeping quiet while my mind is in chaos, I let my head break the surface of the water.
Splash, I hear the sounds of people rinsing their bodies, followed by a splash as a body crashes into the water. The surface of the bathwater ripples.
「You can’t do that Milly-san. You don’t want to bother the other guests do you?」
「 There’s no one else here. Claude you should come in too.」
「That’s no good, mou~」
Claude smiles as she calmly enters the bath. The strict teachings of a high class family of knights have been thoroughly ingrained into her body I see.
Claude will never change in matters like this.
「Fuu~It feels sooo good」
Claude is sitting still in the bath as Milly paddles around her.
And I’m sitting here wanting to move yet unable to.
What am I supposed to do? I think as I hear the sound of water splashing again.
「Fufufufu~ Claude-san seems to be quite stiff~I’ll rub your shoulders for you~」
「Wai…..stop it plea….those aren’t my shoul…n’, that tickles」
Claude says that and twists her body, while Milly tries to hold on. I guess no one taught her to be calm and abide by rules in the bath.
She wasn’t able to put up much resistance.
Claude’s charming voice faintly echoes throughout the big public bath.
……..wait, this ain’t funny…….
This is so vexing, I’m caught in between a rock and a hard place.
As the sounds and voices continued, I sank my head under the water and somehow managed to endure this situation.
And, suddenly Milly stopped moving around and Claude was left breathing heavily.
「Milly-san? What’s wrong?」
「…..Claude, your body’s covered in scars…even though you’re a girl」
Milly already knew that Claude’s body was covered in scars. However, even if she knew it, when the hot water turned her skin red and the scars were laid bare, it was enough to stop Milly completely.
Even though Healing can cure most any injuries, one thing it cannot do is heal the scars left over.
Even though she knew that, it seems she tried Healing over and over.
How should I say, it seems like a very Milly-like thing to do.
「Oh, please don’t worry about it Milly-san」
The large bath fell silent and then, splash, the sound of water echoed.
Claude put her hand on Milly’s head and slowly patted her.
「Zeph-kun taught me that, if I do this Milly-san will quiet down. Though I might be insufficient…..」
「Ohh….. that Zeph……」
Claude continued to hug Milly and patted her head. And though Milly was confused at first she had now quieted down.
Though I hadn’t meant to teach her something like that…
Ah well, it’s fine. I’ll let her do it this one time.
The two finally left, and I rose from the bath completely dizzy and red.
I somehow made it to my room and flopped onto my bed when, the energetic Milly and Claude barge in. I get the impression that they asked me about some perfume and played around or something and asked me questions, but I was too light headed to remember much.
Later on we heard that the large bath apparently had a time for men to bathe and a time for women to bathe.
When Milly heard this she started to question me relentlessly. My bath was really short and I got out quickly, so I wasn’t in there when you girls took your bath; was my answer. Despite that, even now she still suspects me.
Shit, I won’t be able to take my time and enjoy my beloved bath for a while now.