24 – A Good Place to Soak In
That’s what I let out involuntarily.
I’m in a big bathtub.
Made for the royal family, within castle walls.
I’m allowed to use this regularly, but after experiencing my first taste of school life, using it today just…feels extra good.
The rabbit-eared Carro scoops up some bath water and splashes it on me, but I used Water Magic to suspend it in midair.
「A Hero never lets his guard down.」
I pool the water into a sphere, float it above Carro’s head and release the spell.
The water splashed on her head and flowed down her hair and face.
「Hey, no magic~ That’s not fair~」
「Oh, is that a rule? Tell me sooner.」
Carro shook her head left and right, shaking the water off.
She’s not the only one here.
Since I was at school today, I couldn’t play with the kids.
They said they felt lonely, so all the kids followed me into the bath.
Since Eleanor fainted after she finished taking pictures of me in a school uniform, I had to consult with Ferris.
As efficient as ever, Ferris quickly prepared several swimsuits for them.
『Hey, no playing in the bathtub!』
Mika was laid atop a wet towel placed on the floor.
This is normal.
Since even at a time like this, being in a bathtub leaves me defenseless so she insists on being nearby, so that’s why she’s there.
The kids are playing however they want in the bathtub.
After playing a quick, but mysterious, game of splashing water on each other, I went back to relaxing.
Doing that, someone slowly inched their way close to me.
It’s the fox-eared girl who doesn’t speak…or maybe she can’t speak.
A child who lost her home and is now in the care of the Demon King Army.
Unlike the other children, she doesn’t join in on their games, and there is no light in her eyes.
However, she crawls into the bed with everyone else.
It doesn’t seem like her heart is completely closed off, but…
I look at her, waiting for her to say more.
She said my name in a raspy voice.
「Yeah, I’m Rain.」
「Y-you saved me.」
「Ah, I guess so? Eleanor was there too, though.」
She assembles words together while a small, but fragile, fire burns in the depths of her hollow eyes.
「C-could you save…」
「You? Are you in trouble?」
She shakes her head and then nods.
Uhm… I guess she’s saying that the person she wants saved isn’t herself, and she is in trouble.
「Do you want me to save someone else?」
「Is this person important to you?」
She nods again.
「As far as you know, did that person do something bad?」
She shook her head in denial.
「Alright, one final question.
And this is important.」
In order not to miss a single word, she moves even closer to me.
「What’s your name?」
「Things’ll be tough if I don’t know what to call you, right?」
For a moment, she looked confused and kept blinking her eyes, but eventually, she spoke.
Glad to finally talk to you, Ur.」
Ur nodded, but after that she just kept looking up at me, not saying a word.
『I think she’s waiting for your answer.』
Sure, I’ll save them.」
Could you tell me more about it?」
This is what Ur had to say.
Her race of people lived in a small village in this world.
The reason that they were able to keep a form that is close to a human for so long is due to the barrier that is constantly maintained by the village’s guardian, a white fox sacred beast.
One day, the village was attacked by a group of people who wanted to add the sacred beast into their Human Territory invasion force.
Taking the villagers as hostages, the white fox was captured without a fight.
After that, the attackers massacred the villagers.
With the help of her parents, who were hunters, Ur managed to somehow escape into the forest, but she was soon caught by the Orcs.
Ur doesn’t know this but…
The people who attacked her village were the army of a hostile nation.
Ever since taking Ur in, the Demon King Army conducted some investigations.
However, they did not grasp any information on a sacred beast being set upon humanity.
「…If you knew where that sacred beast was, this would all end quickly.」
「I know where it is.」
I knew it wouldn’t be that eas-Hm? Wait, you know?」
The people from Ur’s family are blessed by the White Fox.
I can sense its power.」
Well, where is this White Fox?」
Ur pointed at the wall with her tiny finger.
「That way, huh? I see.」
That’s pretty vague.
『Why don’t we just take her along? We’ll just keep moving in that general direction at first, then once we’re close, we can fly with Wind Magic.
If we get close enough, we can start following the mana signature.』
Sure enough, if it’s just Mika and me, we can rescue the sacred beast on top of keeping Ur safe.
「Yeah we could, but why are you so cooperative about this?」
I mean, yeah she’s the Hero’s holy sword, so she’s proactive about saving people but…
『An unsullied sacred beast is about as precious as a holy sword.
No, wait, holy swords are more precious.
Anyway, a being that protected the people of that village for such a long time being used by bad guys sounds horrible.』
Mika seems to be thinking about something.
I want to save the White Fox, but will you be my guide?」
She stood up quickly and nodded vigorously.
Little by little, she’s become more lively.
I grab onto Mika, hold onto Ur, and head for the exit.
「Oh, where’re you going Mr.
「I’ll be back soon.」
Hey, what’s with that look Carro?
「We’re not going out to have fun.」
I’m worried, but that’s fine for now.
I leave Carro behind and head to the changing area.
When I got there, I ran into Eleanor in a swimsuit.
「Fufufu… Today is the day that I shall wash Sir Rain’s bac-Sir Rain?! I-i-in a swimsuit…!!」
Crap, at this rate, Eleanor will faint.
「We need to talk.」
Y-yes…whatever is it, Sir Rain?」
Yes, in normal times, Eleanor would faint in this situation, but when faced with a topic regarding a mission or something of importance, she demonstrates the strength of mind befitting that of a Big Four.
I told her about the situation and Eleanor, while holding a handkerchief to her nose, nodded with a serious expression.
So long as you have Ur’s power, the sacred beast can be rescued?」
I shall accompany you.」
After that, we entered the partitions and changed our clothes, then used Space Elemental magic to go rescue the sacred beast.
While I was changing, I swore I could hear heavy breathing near the partition, but I guess it was just my imagination.
After that, Ur looked at Eleanor with a really odd expression on her face, but I have no idea why.
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