Chapter 1-3

Proofreader: Orion Dye

Bathroom 3, reserved for Rine-chan, Arako, and me.

We already prepared a change of clothes, and I’m a bit annoyed at Arako, who doesn’t even want to take a bath, so I had to drag her here.

Bathing in this culture is different from Japan. In Japan you first clean yourself thoroughly, then you go into the heated bath.

Here, some water is heated elsewhere and brought in buckets, while there are also buckets with cold water. So you have to mix them in the wooden tub, where only one person can fit in. Then you clean yourself inside the tub, instead of outside.

Well, I didn’t expect an onsen, but I’m still somewhat disappointed.

I help the handicapped Rine-chan out of her clothes, who then prepares her tub by filling it with the hot water buckets. If we want more, we just have to strike a small brass gong.

Arako just stands around with a blank look on her face. I’m already undressed, so why is she doing nothing? “Arako.” I go to her and begin removing her clothes.

… usually, I wouldn’t feel strange about seeing another girl naked, but Arako… she’s definitely different. The moment I removed the upper part of her chest, I look at her lightly green tinted skin and her areolas, which are… different. I have no other word for it.

Her chest… wait. I think I know why she’s only looking so blankly: She was watching me undressing Rine-chan and saw for the first time what human breasts actually look like. This might be a bit of a shock for her.

I remove her underwear, as she still doesn’t move a muscle. …different again. She doesn’t even have hair. Like, at all. Was she also looking between Rine-chan’s legs?

“Ara? Kyou? What’s wrong?” Sitting in her tub already, Rine-chan waves at us. Actually, that’s the first time I’ve seen Rine-chan’s body completely naked as well, but except that she’s blonde overall and has more pink in some parts, it looks like mine.

“Arako. Just let it slide.” I try not to mind that the girl in front of me is some alien creature without clothes.

“They float.” She looks at Rine-chan, who is half-submerged in the water. “I know that they’re supposed to be made out of fat, so it should be natural, but I still can’t help but wonder what they’re truly made of.”

“Maybe I’ll tell you later. We only have an hour, so let’s enjoy it.” Even though I don’t plan to bath the entire time, I have to account for time to get cleaned and dressed. Also a bit of banter, of course. “Rine-chan, don’t put your splint into the water.” Not that I can get into the mood while looking after these two.

I pull Arako to a tub, make her prepare her own water, and then I turn to the last one to make me a hot bath. Then I clean myself. Just because things are handled differently here, I don’t plan to bath in my dirt. Soap, hair soap, and then finally I take a bucket of the well-temperatured bath and rinse it all down. This room has a drain, so I’ll use it.

Still feels weird to wash my hair with a ring on my finger, I feel it whenever it brushes my head. One of the things I have learned to accept, even though it infuriates me every time i notice it.

Finally, I slowly submerge into the bath. “Aaaah… That hits the spot.”

“…” Arako is on the other side, Rine-chan is between us, but she stares at me. I felt her eyes when washing myself, but I just ignored it.

Now is bathing time, I will not bother with it.

“Kyou, Kyou!” Rine-chan still enjoys her time in the hot water, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t bother me. “Can you help me with cleaning myself later?” Her eyes have their usual sparkle: “You’re very good at it!”

“I’ll help you because your arm is still broken. And why do you even want my help in the first place? It’s not like there is a trick to it.”

“I want to be all glowing when I come out.” I believe she’s thinking about Ken right now.

“…prrrprprprpr…” Arako just blows some bubbles under water. She seems to be unmotivated right now as if she’s just idling her time here.

“*sigh*, I will wash you as well, Arako.” I don’t think she will do a proper job otherwise.

For now, though, I lie back and enjoy the bath. Not thinking or worrying about anything, just enjoying my time in the warm water, closing my eyes and trying to get some mental rest.

“Kyou, Kyou!” Except that there is one girl here, who does her best to annoy me. “How do you get closer to a man from your world?”

Why are you asking me that again? “*groan* Rine-chan, please. Not now.” I’m not against banter, I actually welcome it, but not that subject please!

“Ara, Ara!” Without even batting an eye, Rine-chan turns to Arako. “What do you do to get closer to an alfr man?”

“…” Arako’s ears are twitching, thinking about the question. “Just wait until mating season? Then you might have the bliss of the time during it, and when it’s over, you become friends, I guess? At least until the next mating season. Some stay for centuries as partners for that particular time.” Her eyes wander to Rine-chan, and while her expression remains neutral, her ears are pointing up. “Katarine-san,” she begins with a no-nonsense voice: “May I touch your breasts?”

… Most of the time, I really don’t get her thought-processes. How did she jump the topic here?

The only thing that is more unbelievable is – “Sure.” – the answer. As nonchalant and besides the point as always.

Arako leans from her bathtub to Rine-chan’s, and her hands grasp the blonde girl’s front. “…” Then she kneads it a bit. “…what…” Her fingers bore into the flesh. “Does it hurt, Katarine-san?”

“Not really, but it’s a bit unpleasant.”

“Please bear with it.” Then Arako weighs the left one first, after that the right one. Then she shakes it. “Strange. Is it truly just fat? What else is in there?”

“I don’t know. Milk? Kyou, Kyou! What are breasts made of?”

“Please, don’t drag me into this conversation.” I did pay attention to classes, this includes health classes as well, but it’s not like I will tell them.

“Please!” Rine-chan fires a puppy-eyed look at me.

“Please?” Arako’s ears are lowering, as well as her head.

Why are they… “Not now. I want to enjoy my bath, alright? Another time.”

“Yes!” “Certainly.”

Seriously, these girls. What just happened to my relaxing bath time?

Luckily, after some more groping, Arako had enough of more or less trying to figure it out by herself. Maybe she’s just curious because she has no breasts as an alfr.

Finally, some time to relax again.

Something catches my eye. A scar. I got a scar on my arm. That’s from when a scaleetles bit me. The scar is rather small if I think about how large the wound was, but it’s still a scar.

Maybe I have even more. How ragged will I look, when it’s all over? Should I care? I’m not as optimistic as Ken, really believing that I will come back home. Even though calling him optimistic is a far stretch. Let’s say desperate and stubborn.

Yet something in me is resistant to settling down and trying to start a new life in this world. It’s most likely something that someone put into my brain when I was summoned here.

“Kyou, Kyou!” But when I try to feel down about that, there is another disturbance. Please give me some time for self-pity. “What do Japanese do after a bath?”

“*sigh* Why are you asking?”

“Because I want to do it with Kenta.”

“I should have known…” I can see Arako’s right ear move, she’s clearly listening in again. “Normally, you drink something and either relax or just continue your business. Or watching TV.”

“What kind of drink? How do you relax? And what’s TV again?” She knows almost nothing about our world, even after listening to us for a while, it’s too much of a stretch. Probably, I wouldn’t understand and remember everything she could tell me about this world either, though being here makes it much easier to learn.

I know that she likes to know more about us, but I’m taking a bath! “Rine-chan… *sigh*, just do whatever you like. … but thinking about it, I think I need to borrow Ken for a while after the bath.” Since he’s finally somewhat tidy then. “Time’s almost up. So let’s clean you.”

I climb out of the tub and go to Rine-chan. I apply some of the hair-soap. “You can do the front yourself. Remember your arm.”

“Yes.”

My fingers rub her blonde hair. It’s genuinely blonde. Not that I’ve doubted it, but seeing that the hair grows blonde out of its roots is reminding me, that this is not something dyed. It’s not like I ever got a good look at foreigners heads before.

Though it’s kinda normal to the touch. Not much different from mine, maybe just a bit finer?

While Rine-chan takes care of her body, I scrub her hair, making it foam a bit. “Kyou, it feels good.” She seems to like it, she closes her eyes in joy and smiles. Such a simple girl.

After finishing, I pick up a bucket, fill it with Rine’s tub-water and rinse her hair. “Next up is Arako.”

“…” Maybe she tries to send me contempt with her eyes, or maybe she’s looking forward to it, I don’t know. At least she doesn’t move.

“You have such long hair.” Most likely because she just let it grow. Keeping that much hair clean and beautiful is a hard task. I let my fingers run through Arako’s hair. “Hm…” This seems different from mine. “Arako, did you ever have a problem with oily hair?”

“What’s that?”

“Frizz?”

“…what?”

“Splits?”

“Could you please stop saying random Japanese names? The translation process hurts my head.”

I just confirmed three things.

First, alfr hair is soft to the touch. It almost feels artificial, it’s so smooth, that it makes you casually ask yourself if you could weave something out of it. Maybe it has these traits so it won’t get stuck on branches, leaves and similar.

Second, it doesn’t split, has no frizz, the strands slide smoothly over each other without getting caught or coiled. The alfar even lack words for these things in their language, showing how natural it is for them to not worry about stuff like that. Since Arako also translates everything she hears into her native language, there is some linguistic barrier sometimes we talk, and we hit it with that topic of all things.

Still, I can’t see any harm in washing her hair. Because third, I’m pissed that Arako doesn’t need to take care of her hair at all! So I put some hair soap on my hand and forcefully slather it in her hair, rubbing her scalp much more harshly than needed.

“Momo, it hurts.” My finger goes near her ears, and I brush them a bit roughly. “Ouch.” Arako’s ears are delicate, so I watched my strength, but she definitely felt that.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Just a bit of friendly skinship. I can’t even tell if Arako is considered pretty or not for an alfr, but her alfr physique is a bit disheartening for my womanly pride. Especially when the only other girl here has a body like a foreign model.

After that initial irritation, my hands move smoother and more carefully now. Arako doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even make any noise, she just sits there.

I have a hunch. “Arako?” No reaction. This time a bit stronger: “Arako!”

“..W-what?” Yes, she was daydreaming again. “Is anything wrong?”

“Are you tired?”

“I was just thinking about breasts.”

… I’m sure she was. “Anything else?”

“Human reproduction organs.”

My hand wanders to my nose-bridge, but I notice fast enough that there is hair soap on them. Rubbing could be fatal for the eyes here.

So I just sigh.

“Kyou, Kyou!” Here comes the other one. “Am I all glossy? Do I look pretty?”

Sometimes I really feel like a mother. I have two daughters and something I’d rather not call my son.

Speaking of mothering Ken, I guess it’s time to take care of him again.

―○●○―

You know, I used to dislike baths. Even with the proper precautions, it’s hard to bath with a handheld gaming console, so when you’re hooked on a game on PC or home console, you try to make your baths as short as possible.

But now? It’s perfect. Just me, a bathtub, and a relaxing time. “Phew.” In this world are no games, just a bunch of things that want to kill you, party members who don’t stop getting on your nerves, and a lot of things you have to do to keep on surviving.

The walls of the bathroom aren’t very thick, so the moment I realized that I could clearly hear what the girls are saying in the bathroom next door, I switched class to [Pikeman]. Don’t want to spoil my precious me-time with eavesdropping.

Especially after Ara-san brought breasts up.

… Yes, I did eavesdrop a bit, after all. I believe that Ara-san was jumping to touching Rine’s boobs by relating sexual relationships with human body-parts, which isn’t much of a leap for her. Plus for Ara-san, breasts are only there for sex.

Well, maybe they are. Nothing that I’ve heard or read makes me think otherwise.

But seriously, Rine, why did you let Ara-san touch your boobs?

I need to get the picture out of my head!

Meanwhile, my second head is greeting me from below, emerging from the water. I really have to put ‘that’ in motion. A thing that I definitely wanted to do for a long time.

The only question is: Will I be able to open a time-window for it? “Phew.” Maybe I should start thinking about how I will bring the talk about personal time up.

After some more thinking, I notice that the bathing time is almost up. So I dress up and leave the bathroom.

The girls are already there, and not only that… “Ken, let’s go to the room.” I see the utensils in her hands.

Another haircut? I guess, it brings some WP, but why do I have to get my hair cut again?

Kyou-san looks at me as if I have just questioned why fishes are living in the water. “Ken, your hair grows.”

“Of course?”

“And because your hair grows, you have to cut it.”

“Why are you talking to me, like I didn’t get something simple?”

“Because you don’t. Ken, I’ll be honest here. You have no sense of fashion, don’t care about your appearance and, when left alone, you only do the minimum of personal care. The moment I let you decide about your looks, you’ll end up looking as much of a slob as Arako is.”

“Momo, did you just casually insult me?”

“And while you look in a mirror only sometimes, we have to deal with your appearance all the time.”

Ara-san, who was just ignored looks at Kyou-san with one ear pointing up, but says nothing. Rine is touching my cheeks for some reason. “So flushed!” Her eyes are sparkling, and whenever I shove her hand aside, it just comes back again.

“You know what, Ken? Let’s decide it democratically: Who likes Ken with short hair?”

Without hesitating, all the girls raise their hands.

Rine: “Long hair gets in the way when fighting.”

Ara-san: “We want to gain more WP.”

Both have such practical reasons that I have nothing to argue with.

“Phew, let’s just get it over with.” I don’t like it much when Kyou-san touches me all over my head. On the other hand, she’s the only one I would let cut my hair, since neither Rine nor Ara-san gives me the feeling that they could handle that kind of responsibility.

We go upstairs into the room. I sit down on a stool from our package and just wait.

“Staaaaaare.” For some reason, Rine sits on a bed and stares at Kyou-san and me, while she provides her own soundword.

Meanwhile, Ara-san has turned one of the beds into a mess in record time, she lays on top of it while writing on a piece of paper, while being surrounded by others. Wait, she’s not writing, she is drawing something.

Breasts.

It hurts. My head hurts, and I catch myself at asking if these are Kyou-san’s or Rine’s. Doing so causes my-

*snip*

-to do nothing… Kyou-san is now slowly cutting my hair. That first cut was undoubtedly near my ear.

Does she know what I was just thinking about?

Nah, she wouldn’t care, I think. But for some reason, she has gotten a bit protective of Rine and Ara-san, so maybe she actually would?

While Kyou-san takes care of my hair, I should bring up my proposal. “I thought it’d be great if we had a bit of time off. You know, to recharge our batteries.”

“Sounds good,” Kyou-san complies.

“OK.” Rine lifts her hand to show her consent… Wait, didn’t I say batteries? So proverbs are also translated into something that makes sense.

“…” Ara-san doesn’t even listen, her eyes are wandering between Kyou-san, Rine, and her drawing.

Well, let’s just go on: “And for that, I thought that we might get some spending money. Just to buy a thing or two.”

“In general, I’m fine with it. But what are your intentions?” Kyou-san totally knows that I’m planning something.

“Erm…” I don’t know how to answer that. “That’s my business, OK!?”

“Fine, fine. But before that, there are more important things to consider.” Kyou-san carefully cut my bangs.

“Like what.”

“Rine-chan and I need to visit a hair salon, for example, and I don’t plan to pay from my personal money. Also, some more ingredients to cook, I would actually like to eat human food for a change. Also, a new change of clothes.”

“I would also like to buy some more cloth,” Rine adds to the discussion.

“Since we need to consider how much we’ll spend and how much we need to save for later, and we still have monster materials to sell, while we need to look for an option to increase our traveling pace… We have still much to do.”

“I get it. Well, almost. Why do you want to go to the hair salon and make it a party expense? Why not let someone else cut your hair?”

“Three reasons. I like to have a professional do my hair, it’s a girl’s life, after all. You benefit as much as I do when I take care of my appearance. Finally, how much is it worth to you, for me to not ask questions about why exactly you want to have some time alone and money to spend?”

“…alright.”

“Good.” The innocent, refreshing smile Kyou-san flashes is the opposite of the face she should have. “The moment I’m finished with this excuse you call hair, we can go through the stuff we need to get or look into tomorrow.”

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