Chapter 194 – As Expected!?
Among the gray buildings of Alanberc, there was one bright beige building.
It was facing the plaza. I looked up at it and muttered.
The building had three stories. And it was wider than it was tall. I could see decorative pillars and carvings of flowers and plants on the walls. And the entrance was decorated with sea shells and instruments from ships.
The overall atmosphere reminded me of Sheorl.
“Mappa. What happened here?”
I asked, but Mappa gestured for us to go inside, as it would be easier than explaining it.
We entered the building and stepped into a large hall with benches, chairs and tables where you could relax. The place was crowded with many of the Arancian people.
At a glance, it seemed like a dining hall, but there was a different space towards the back. It was the same as the one in Sheorl. A bathing area.
Some had already finished bathing and were drying their hair with a cloth.
“Oh, so you made a bathing area in Arancia as well.”
Mappa nodded, and then I heard a voice coming from behind me.
“We made it so that some of the underground water comes here, and not just to the fountain. Because the water was quite hot.”
It was Fule, who held a pickaxe.
Alyssa sounded impressed as she said,
“I am very grateful. Before all of this happened, we Arancians loved to bathe. However, we were unable to secure enough water, and did not have the skill.”
“I’m glad that you like it! We’re going to make more of them in other areas. In any case, you should all go in! Besides, Lord Heal and the Princess…smell kind of sweet.”
Earlier, Rienna and I had fallen into some sweet liquid that was stored underground. And while we had wiped ourselves with towels and washed with magic water, it still remained on our clothes.
“Yes, it would be good to wash our bodies and clothes. Alright, let’s go inside as well.”
I started to head to the changing room in the back. It should be separated for men and women.
However, Fule grabbed my hand.
“Lord Heal. It’s this way.”
Fule walked along the wall to the right. There was a small door up ahead.
She opened the door and we came out into a decently large room.
There was also a door that led outside, and there were tables and chairs here.
“This is a resting place for visitors from Sheorl. Because there is no other place for us to sleep if we have to stay the night.”
“I see. Yes, we’ve been coming here more often.”
There were more occasions now when Mappa and his apprentices stayed here for the entire day.
Fule pointed to the back of the room.
“There is a bathing room in the back. And there are rooms on the second floor. I think we should use it to test things out.”
“I see… But…”
As I looked concerned, Fule grinned.
“Hehe. Unfortunately for you, men and women are separated here as well. Really, Lord Heal. What kind of thoughts were in your head?”
I felt a little embarrassed as Fule laughed.
“I-I didn’t mean anything by it… Anyway, I’m going in then.”
“Take your time! And you two princesses as well! I’m going to bathe too!”
With Fule’s voice at my back, I went to the changing room.
It was properly separated for men and women, and it was wide enough for three people to lie down.
I quickly got out of my clothes and entered the bathing area, which had no door.
It was not particularly big. The bathtub could fit around two or three people, and the washing area was also around the same size.
There was a pipe in the wall where water would come out if you turned it.
As the pipes reminded me of snakes, they were called snake mouths back in Sheorl. The low ones just had normal running water, while the high ones had a sieve-like attachment that made the water come out like rain.
But I didn’t have to use them. I just needed to create enough water magic to wash my body and then dry myself with wind magic.
Still, since I was here, I might as well test them.
And I was quite tired, so it might be nice to soak in the tub a little.
“I’ll wash my body first.”
I sat down on the small bathing stool and turned on the water from the upper pipe in the wall.
Like this, I washed my hair and then my body.
“It really is just warm.”
It made me miss the Sheorl hot springs.
However, this water wasn’t bad either. It was clear and felt very smooth. And I thought that I could smell a faint sweet scent as well.
“Well, the water can be heated easily with fire magic…alright then.”
Once I was finished washing up, I dunked my hand into the hot water.
As it was lukewarm, I wanted to heat it with fire magic.
After some time, steam began to rise and it became the ideal temperature, and so I submerged myself in the water.
“Phew… That feels good…”
Unlike the water in Sheorl, this water felt smooth.
I closed my eyes and started to hum without thinking. I was in danger of dozing off if I stayed inside too long. That was how comfortable it was.
Shiel was also floating comfortably in the water and seemed to be enjoying it.
I didn’t really think about it, since we always bathed together, but I wondered if she minded… After all, she was a woman inside.
The thought made me a little embarrassed. And I found myself closing my legs.
Just then, I heard footsteps coming from the changing room.
I opened my eyes and saw the silhouettes of three people.
Perhaps it was Mappa and his apprentices.
They had been working hard, so they would also be sweaty.
“I heated up the water, and it feels great. You should come in before it gets cold.”
Maybe they didn’t hear me, as the figures approached without answering.
Well, Mappa didn’t talk. And it was possible that the others were influenced by him… But…
“Hey, hey. You have to wash yourselves first. The water will get dirty… Huh?”
The three figures that emerged from the mist were a lot more slender than expected.
Rienna stood in the middle with her long, wet hair. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes moist as she looked hungrily in my direction.
Fule was to the right and had untied her twin tales. The long blonde hair and somewhat sad expression was very different from the usual Fule, who was always so cheerful. Her cheeks were also flushed.
As were Alyssa’s, as she stood awkwardly to the left. She had an almost dazed expression as she looked at me.
I had seen that expression before. I see.
However, I had to avert my eyes, as they weren’t wearing clothes.
That delayed my reaction.
In that split second that I looked away, the three entered the tub, and their hands and feet traced lines along my body.
Rienna clutched my hand tightly while Fule whispered into my ear. Alyssa was the bold one as her hands went around my ankles.
I quickly stood up and tried to leave the bathing room.
However, perhaps my mind wasn’t completely my own, and my body did not seem to have any strength left. Even moreso, because my hands and feet were being held.
Rienna and the other two drew closer to me now. Our bodies were in close contact. I would go mad if it continued.
I tried to use healing magic, but it did nothing. And I was unable to raise my voice in protest.
That sweet smell I had sensed earlier… Could it be that the World Tree sap we found underground was mixed with the water?
That was why I and they were…
This could be quite the disaster for the Arancian people below as well.
However, it seemed as if they were fine… No, I still had to be sure of the situation!
This feeling seemed to rouse me up, and I regained my voice.
“All-all of you, calm down! This is the work of the World Tree sap!”
But Rienna and the others did not loosen their grip.
This was no time to feel embarrassed. I would have to call for help.
“Someone! Help us! Ah…”
A sensed the presence of someone with familiar magic energy.
“Taran! You came! This water is… Taran?”
I saw the ominous red eyes glow through the steam.
Taran’s face was not the one I was used to seeing.
Taran looked more like a wild beast that was targeting its prey.
And that prey was me.
Without saying anything, Taran unleashed her webs.
My body was bound up and pulled towards her, and then I was placed on top of her furry back.
And then Taran jumped out of the window in the building, and leapt from roof to roof through the city of Alanberc.
Eventually, she rushed up the tower in the center of the city. Perhaps due to my hatred of heights, I have no memory of what happened after that.