Magical Spring Onsen
“Monette, are you aware that there are places where hot water loaded with magic power spring out in this area?”
The idea of ‘hot water containing magic power’ left me a little confused, so when I tilted my helmet to the side, Gina began to explain more while handing me a towel.
It was said that the ground of this land was complex, and there are many gaps between the rocks where hot water can bubble up to the surface. There also seems to be an area where magic power can get mixed into the underground streams, and many other witches end up visiting this place for that very reason.
There are witches who just come and go as they please, and there are some witches that stop by to say hello to Gina before heading over to the hot water. There was even one witch who likes to send Gina souvenirs strapped to Concetta’s back when he walks by while she is relaxing. But this could all be attributed to the capriciousness of witches, and Gina did not try to drive them away. She actually welcomed the crazy little visits that resulted whenever a fellow witch came by, and she was giving a big welcome to the famous beginner witch armored girl.
Overall her eyes were shining as she boasted about her pride and joy territory, so I ended up giving her a bitter smile while taking the outstretched towel.
“I’ve already cast some magic to repel any prying eyes, so if you’re worried about that, please relax and enjoy yourself Monette.”
“Also if you take Concetta in that direction, could you wash her for me? That child always loves to enter the hot water.”
As Gina was telling me how much Concetta loved the hot water, he magically appeared as if on cue.
As I was looking down on him, he was looking back up at me. Does his eyes half closed mean he is affirming what his master is saying, or is he just sleepy? Somehow I am leaning towards the second answer.
Nonetheless, since the surroundings have already descended into darkness, Concetta’s shine will be imperative to guiding me to the hot springs in the first place and is very much appreciated. When I gave his head a good stroke, his fur began to shimmer once again as if he was telling me he was ready to leave.
So I took Concetta in my arms and left Gina’s mansion.
*Kashan* *Kashan* My armor created its usual loud racket as I walked through the mansion and out the door. On the way, Concetta started to feel sociable and began to go *Nya Nya Nya* as we continued on into the valley. Exactly the sounds you would expect leaving from a witch’s house isn’t it?
Then awhile later, Gina suddenly raised her face because she felt another house enter her territory. Not only that, but they had already ignored the human repelling magic and were heading straight for Monette. As a matter of fact, Monette had placed her doubled down, no, tripled down on the spell, but none of them held up.
Gina confirmed the signs before sinking into her chair with a sigh.
“It’s that kind of curse.”
Unfortunately, the words she muttered under her breath did not reach anyone’s ears…of course, not even underneath Monette’s helm.
“When all of this is finished, I will move here with Robertson, so can we get along as neighbors?”
As I talked about my future plans, Concetta was leisurely swimming through the hot water while shining brightly.
As Gina said, the hot water bubbling up from the broken crevices in the rock were overflowing with magic power, and even though it was not a full moon, the oversaturated magic power cause the water’s surface to radiate light. Concetta had been swimming in this luminescent onsen ever since we got here. While his fluffy hair continued to sway on the water’s surface, the appearance of Concetta gracefully performing the doggy paddle even though he was a cat was beautiful. I narrowed my eyes as I allowed myself to shed off the tension.
Of course, I was not wearing my armor right now.
I was truly hesitant to strip naked, so I was still wearing a thin dress, but when I stretched out my arms, it wasn’t a coat of iron but actual skin that was reflected off the water. A cool wind started to blow and brushed up against my skin. The body reflected on the water’s surface was obviously not muscular nor did it have hardened abdominal muscles.
“Percival should be sorry for trying to make a fool out of me calling me some muscular woman. Right Concetta?”
When I asked for consent, the Concetta who was happily swimming along turned towards my direction and started to swim towards me.
The way this gorgeous cat kicked and clawed with the hot water was mysterious, and the trajectory that his glowing tail took while swaying slightly beneath the water’s surface created a rippling illusion that looked like a falling shooting star that had lost its course.
When he reached where I was sitting, Concetta climbed onto me, and I held him closely to my chest. As I climbed up out of the hot water, I wrapped up his body in a soft towel to fluff up his matted down fur. Afterwards, I wiped down my own body and slipped my armor back on.
The armor had weight reduction magic applied to it, so it naturally had no weight in my hand……..yet it still felt particularly heavy tonight. Is it because with me enclosed in this thick case of iron, I can no longer feel that soft night wind?
Starting to think that way, I sighed inside my helm.
How comfortable would it be if I could enjoy the refreshing feeling of the hot water and then return home while feeling a cold night breeze on my warmed up limbs.
Occasionally my hair would rustle along with the wind, and I could look up at the night sky without having to squint through an iron frame.
Somebody would be walking next to me, and we could naturally look at one another. I could talk without iron masking my voice, I could listen with iron muffling their voices……
Imagining myself in such a situation, I uselessly shrugged my shoulders.
Being able to take off my armor and enjoy myself, even if I can imagine it, there is no way I could imitate it. It is a dream inside another dream, and just imagining it is pointless.
Throwing aside pointless thoughts, I instead turned my attention to the present. Currently, a loud suit of armor was shambling down a deserted road with a glow-in-the-dark cat walking alongside it. It’s the setting of a good ghost story. Laughing to myself lightly, I made my way back to the mansion.
“Miss Monette! Miss Monette!”
After finishing my soothing bath, I locked the door to my room tightly and threw myself on the bed.
This room, which Gina had so graciously provided me, was large, luxurious, and the bed was so soft that it would not lose out to those luxury beds at any inn. When I lied down, my body comfortably sank into the fluffy cushions, and my exhaustion was sucked further in.
All of my problems melted away, and right as I was about to fall into a blissful sleep, a loud banging started resounding from my door followed by a constant, “Miss Monette! Miss Monette!” being repeated endlessly in the meanwhile. I slowly and disgruntledly got up out of my bed. The pounding and yelling continued on while I grabbed my armor from its resting place in the corner of my room, and it echoed inside my helmet after I finally managed to get it on. Once my armor was completely fastened, I slowly trudged over to the door and threw it open.
Obviously it was Percival who was standing there. He must be really excited because as soon as the door opened, he stormed in as swift as the wind.
“Monette, the Lady of the Lake! She was there!”
“Lady of the Lake? She was in such a place?”
Appearing for a second time, and I am starting to get suspicious. A persistent occurrence cannot be just written off as Percival’s general delusions…This could be troublesome. I should close the door if I get a chance, but unfortunately this star-eyed man is keeping his foot firmly planted and not giving me any gap to run away. Unscrupulous…..
It seems that Gina had asked him to pick some herbs that were growing in the area. Although he initially had reservations about it, when she claimed it was part of her ‘guide fee,’ he didn’t have any other choice than to go along with her request.
And then he found his Lady of the Lake……….
“She looked brilliant even in this dark night… Perhaps my Lady of the Lake is actually a water fairy.”
Percival’s excitement was reaching a new high, and I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes inside my helm. You’re getting so worked up over a water fairy yet you have been traveling alongside a witch all this time.
“By the way Percival, I never expected you to be the type of person to enjoy a woman’s nakedness while they are taking a bath.”
“I didn’t look.
“I didn’t see anything! I would never mare her elegant self so boorishly. So beautiful……surely she is a foreign princess traveling to keep her true identity of a water fairy a secret!”
“That’s…certainly quite the set-up. All that aside, it certainly feels a bit……”
A thought suddenly struck me.
Gina had said that there were multiple places where hot water boiled out of the rocks. Of those, there are several locations where the hot water mixes together with underground magic power to form a magical spring onsen. She recommended one for me to use because she had human repellent magic placed there beforehand.
It sounds like Percival headed out around the same time as I was soaking in the hot water and found that Lady of the Lake of his. As I continued to think about it deeper, the deeper the crease in my brow beneath my helmet got.
A so-called Lady of the Lake appearing near a town is one thing, but up hear in the rocks is something completely different. There is no easy way to get up here; just large mounds of rocks and boulders. Speaking of places to stay, there is only Gina’s mansion.
Normal people would not be immersed in hot water up in such a place, they would not even come to this area in the first place. However the Lady of the Lake was seen bathing in this place…..
The behavior of this Lady of the Lake is really is causing an itch at the edge of my helm.
Why…….I sorted out my thoughts and took a small breath before turning back to Percival.
Perhaps, this Lady of the Lake is really……….
“Percival, this Lady of the Lake. I think maybe……”
“Did you figure something out?”
“I think she is another witch.”
As soon as I told him my hypothesis, Percival’s bright blue eyes opened wide in shock.