The inn that Mister Tanjelin introduced us to was called the ‘Dusky Cloud.’ It was run by a Miss Emelin and we decided to take a room for one night. We were told that there was a separate bathing area for men and women. However, only one side had a bathtub, and so they changed depending on the time. As it was currently being used by women, Daniela went in first and returned very clean and warm. I waited until it was the men’s turn and then took my clean clothes and went to the bath house.
I had gotten completely drenched when going out to save Mister Tanjelin. And while I had wiped myself in the wagon, my equipment was still wet, and my body was cold to the bone. Even while I was waiting for Daniela to return, I had hung my wet clothes out to dry and shivered under a blanket. Even now, I was so cold that I didn’t even want to be naked.
“But the hot water is waiting for me…!”
I slid the wooden door to the side and a thick wall of steam filled my vision. It slowly flowed out from the door and I was able to see where I was stepping as I entered.
There was a small bucket near the tub, which I used to pour water on myself. The long awaited warmth almost prickled as it touched my shivering body. Then I used a cloth to scrub myself down and then washed it away. Once that was done, I prepared to enter the water.
The pleasurable sensation that started at the tip of my toes caused me to moan against my will. By the time the lower half of my body was completely submerged, I noticed that there was someone nearby. The steam had made things difficult to see, and I hadn’t heard anything. But apparently, someone had been here before me.
“Ah, sorry. I thought I was alone here. This water is great, isn’t it?”
I said, half in apology, but there was no answer. Perhaps he didn’t like to talk. Well then. There was no need to force it. And so I sunk down until the water reached my shoulders.
Well…I should be allowed to make noises when at the height of happiness.
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Half an hour passed after that. I took a few breaks sitting up on the edge before going back into the water, enjoying the heat until I felt truly warmed to my core. It was just as I was starting to consider that the other guest had been in for quite a long time…
Was he saying something? I was trying not to bother him…
“Eh? …Was he drowning!?”
After what had sounded like mumbling, I heard the sounds of bubbles popping. I didn’t need to look in order to understand. Someone’s face was under water.
“Uh, are you alright!?”
I waded through the water towards the place where I had seen the figure. I could see his back floating on the water’s surface. A chill ran through me for a moment and I nearly stopped. If this was an act, he deserved an award.
Frantically, I grabbed his shoulders and pulled his face out of the water. As we were close to the edge, I was able to pull him out and lay him on the ground.
That’s when I saw the swaying of two mounds.
“…Well, damn it…”
The time. Our turn. Rescue. An inevitable accident.
Different words swirled in my head. It really wasn’t my fault!
However, I couldn’t just leave her here. And so I grabbed a bucket and created some ice water. Then I removed the cloth she had wrapped around her head and soaked it in the bucket. I couldn’t use my own cloth. It…had been places…
“That’s some odd hair…”
Her hair was an unusual brown color and frizzy. I used the cold cloth to wipe her neck and under her arms. Someone once told me that you were supposed to cool any areas with thick veins. During a heat stroke, anyway. I didn’t know much about such things, but this seemed similar enough. Next, I created a small sphere of water and put it towards her mouth. Her lips then opened and she seemed to drink it without thinking. If she had sweated a lot, then she could be dehydrated.
After repeating this a few times, she began to stir. Her eyes would probably open soon. I had to deal with this calmly. I mean, while I had a cloth around my waist, I was still practically naked. And so was she. It would be no surprise if I received a good slap.
I took in a deep breath and waited.
“Why am I…lying…:”
Then she got up frantically.
“Uh, I don’t think you should move…”
“Oh, ah, AHHH!”
She had tried to stand up, but her arm could not support her weight as she held onto the rim of the bathtub, and she fell back into the hot water.