Section 2: Primordial World and Goddess’s World
After finishing up at the workshop, I asked some of the villagers for their help in pulling a wagon that would have had the same weight as the one Quinn left in to see how deep the tracks it left were. By the time we finished, the sun had already begun to set, and it was gone completely by the time we finally set foot inside the inn.
This village only had one inn, so we found it pretty quick. It is a two story building that was relatively large compared to most of the other buildings in the village, but was still nowhere near as big as the workshop. We are the only guests right now because of the winter season, but it apparently gets quite crowded here in the spring and autumn with people who are going on a forest bathing trip and visiting some nearby hot springs.
“Oh? Thanks for your hard work.”
Toslin and Rose had already changed out of their equipment and were resting in the room by the time we were guided there through the inn.
“Uwa, what a nice room. It’s so wide.”
As I walked in, the first thing that surprised me was just how tall the ceiling was. I’d say it was at least three meters high. A layer of fur was laid out over the floor, and the already lit fireplace had a generous amount of wood to fuel it. There was also two beds, so we can fit two people per a bed without forcing anyone to spend the night on the floor.
“Yeah, apparently the village headman arranged the place for us, so we can stay here as long as we’re in the village.”
“We’re also free to use the hot springs which has become our own private bath during our stay.”
Unable to speak when the village headman was present, Rose is now allowed to talk without hesitation since it’s just us women here.
“Ehh, a private bath? It’s really fine for us to use it? Uwaa, amazing. Terrific!”
While I clapped my hands together excitedly, a single Carol had her face turned away as her shoulders slightly shook. I wasn’t going to dare touch it, but Toslin and Rose apparently thought Carol’s behavior was suspicious and tilted their heads.
“What’s wrong with you? You haven’t said a word since you got here.”
“Carol? Does it hurt somewhere?”
“Eh, ah no……..it’s not really like that…….. Nfufu, Ahahahaha………”
Carol burst out into another fit of laughter once she saw my face.
“Enough, you’re laughing too much Carol. It can’t be helped if they say something like that while making that kind of face………anyone would’ve………”
My cheeks puff up, and I turned my face away.
“What are you two talking about? What happened?”
“No, that’s it. Iris……….Nfufufu, AHAHAHAHAHA”
Carol couldn’t say anything intelligible between her fits of laughter, and she eventually started rolling around on one of the beds while clutching her stomach.
“That………Iris, what did you do?”
With Rose asking, I (reluctantly) told them about the workshop. About how even though I don’t have any strength of my own, I acted all self-important, pounded on my chest, and told them all to leave things to me
“Hey, that’s not true…….”
Toslin listened to what I had to say intently, and once I was done, she walked over and hit Carol on the top of her head with all her strength.
“That………..hurts! Seriously, what’s that for!?”
“It’s because you wouldn’t stop laughing. Anyway, what was it that was so funny?”
“Yes. Was there something strange in what Iris just told us?”
Carol stopped and blinked when she noticed the two criticizing gazes that had locked onto her. I got a little flustered and tried stepping in between them.
“It, It’s not like that. I……..I’m the one who said I can’t do anything……… I’ll betray Ryland and the others’ expectations and……..”
“Ahahaha, there’s no way.”
Carol interrupted me to tell me I was wrong. Looking over, she was still slightly laughing even while rubbing the top of her head where Toslin had hit her.
“Iris, you’re trying to make yourself an outsider, but after what you said there, I won’t let you say you’re not an adventurer anymore, Heheheh”
Carol suddenly grabbed my waist and pulled me onto the bed with her.
“You see, that’s why I was laughing”
“What’s with that. You should say that from the beginning. Then I wouldn’t have had to hit you”
“I request an apology!”
“Request denied. Anyhow, isn’t it only a matter of time before you do something that’ll make me hit you again? I’ll give you a pass at that time to make up for right now. Assuming I remember in time that is.”
“It-It’s fine! Let me go, ahahaha, I’m ticklish! Wai- Carol……….stop, Ahahahaha!”
With Carol’s arms still wrapped around my waist, the slight tickling I was getting spread out, and even the slightest touch at this point was enough to get me laughing.
“Eh? But I haven’t done anything? I’m just touching you.”
“He, ha………. No, no good……… That’s a little……… Forgive me……….”
Finally I was released, and I could finally start to catch my breath while sitting up on the bed.
“Fufufu, I’ve been found out. I’m strangely ticklish around my hips.”
“Fufufu, is that so? Iris is weak there.”
Rose didn’t mean anything bad by it, but because she said something strange like that, Carol’s mischievous heart was set ablaze. Once again I found myself pinned down by Carol.
“Ah, Ahahaha! W-Wait! No, really! That spot’s no good! Ticklish………Ahahaha! Help, help me Rose, Toslin!”
Even though my body was twisting and turning, unable to withstand Carol’s tickling assault, Rose just stood there and smiled. Toslin had her hand to her chin, and I feel like she was just staring at my feet for some reason. Through my desperation, I managed to follow her gaze, and………….
“N- Nooooooooooーーーーー！Don’t lookーーーーー！”
In the kerfuffle, my skirt had gotten turned over, and my thick pink wool panties were completely exposed.
“Ah, s-sorry. They seemed really warm, so…………I just started looking and………”
Toslin got flustered and looked away, but that alone doesn’t solve my problem. It wasn’t for another couple minutes before I was finally released, and the secret wool panties could be sealed behind my skirt once again.
“I see then…….thanks for all the work you put in to gathering information. With this, the range and route of our search has been greatly narrowed down.”
“Indeed. We may may be able to find Quinn rather quickly like this.”
With their backs to the fireplace, Toslin and Rose listened to our report and nodded their heads.
“Yeah that’s right. Let’s finish quickly so we can hurry up and head back. Then on the way, we might get to meet the future king.”
Carol was sitting on the bed, swinging her legs back and forth.
“You’re still talking about that? What are you going to do even if you do meet him? Do you just want to brag about it? It’d be pointless.”
“Muu………I just want to see for a bit!”
Carol puffed up her cheeks and tried to complain, but it was all hot air to Toslin. While those two were going at it, for some reason Rose was looking at me with her radiant smile.
“This too is all thanks to Iris.”
While I was sitting next to Carol, Rose suddenly said that to me when our eyes met. And then Carol and Toslin agreed with her.
“With Iris here, we should be able to quickly find Quinn.”
“Yeah. Look look, you can’t sulk forever. It’s a waste of a rare beauty like you.”
“B-Beauty……….I’m not that………..”
Compared to someone as fair as Toslin, I’m just a nameless blade of grass growing on the roadside. I don’t think anything about wearing wool underwear. Even comparing me to a flower would be a little presumptuous.
“No no, that’s not true at all. You’re so cute Iris.”
While I am still feeling disheartened by the pantie thing, Rose gave me one of her always tender smiles. Ahh, Rose talking like this is a hundred times more cute than I could ever hope to be. She’s beautiful, simply lovely.
“Mm Mm, wool panties are to keep you from freezing. You don’t need to feel down just because we saw them.”
Carol started patting my back. Such a Carol received a direct hit from a thrown leather glove from Toslin.
“Quit saying unnecessary things when we’re trying to comfort somebody!”
“B-Because it’s really true! What? Wasn’t Toslin going to say that you want to put on a pair of wool panties just like Iris is wearing? I just want Iris to be confident. About the wool panties!”
“Oh, ohhhhhh! Everyone quit going on about wool this and wool that! This is so embarrassing, ughhhhhh!”
I threw myself back onto the bed and buried my head underneath a pillow.
“Ah~ seriously……….this is your fault Carol.”
“I don’t want to be told that by Toslin when you were the one who was staring.”
“Excuse me, I may have been rudely watching, but I didn’t stare! I looked away almost immediately!”
“So you admit you were looking!!”
“Then why are you being so defiant!?”
“Uh, um, perhaps we should enter the hot springs soon? Since it is reserved for us, I would think we surely could relax there………. Would Iris like to come along too?”
Uu, Rose is always taking others into consideration. The magic words ‘hot spring’ appealed to my bottom of the heart exhaustion, so I dug my head out from the pillow protecting me and sat up.
“A bath……..yes please…….”
“Yes, we still have some time until supper starts, so let’s enjoy soaking in the hot water.”
With her hands clasped in front of her chest, Rose looked like she was about to start skipping there with or without us.
“Ah………..oh, a bath…….. I’m still good. I’ll watch our luggage, so you can go on ahead.”
In contrast, Toslin was acting flustered for some reason.
“Eh, but………. Isn’t it fine to leave it since we’re the only guests here?”
Is what I thought, but for some reason Toslin stubbornly refused to take a bath with us.
“I guess there’s no helping it. I’ll stay too, so Rose and Iris should go first.”
“Eh? Ah, um……….”
When Carol said she would stay behind too, Rose and I shared a look and tilted our heads.
“Ah, but don’t do anything improper just because you’re alone together.”
“Yes. We understand. Hehe~♪ Then we’ll leave the luggage to you.”
Rose seemed fine with it, so I decided to obediently follow after her.
“Well, we’ll go on ahead.”
“Yes yes~. Enjoy yourself~”
And so we left the room with a change of clothes and a towel in hand.
I plopped my back onto the bed and took a deep breath. The fluffy duvet smells like the sun, and if I were to close my eyes, I’m confident it would only take a few seconds for me to fall asleep.
“Yeah, that was really delicious……..”
Carol’s head plopped down on the bed same as I did, her hair still a little damp. After that, Rose and I changed before enjoying the hot springs, then sharing supper together afterwards. I can’t stress just how tasty that meal was, and there’s a small part of me that just wants to live here from now on.
“Hold on you, you’ll catch a cold going to bed like that. Come over here, and I’ll dry your hair.”
Even though she was calling Carol over, Toslin’s long hair was still pretty wet as well.
“Ah, then I’ll dry Toslin’s hair.”
“Oh, really? That’s a huge help. Well then I’ll leave it to you.”
The three of them gathered in front of the fireplace, Toslin sitting behind Carol and Rose sitting behind Toslin, and they began drying each other’s hair with a towel. Meanwhile I stayed on the bed, and as I watched them, the fairy I met yesterday popped up into my mind.
“That fairy, I hope she managed to get away all right……….”
Overhearing my whisper, Carol tilted her head.
“About that, it’s fine right? I don’t think she’d ever get caught unless something big suddenly got in her way.”
“And if that happens, maybe she’ll finally have the idea of flying up?”
Toslin and Carol started to laugh.
“But, I heard that goblins can be very persistent, and how long can a fairy fly once it gets tired?”
“Well, that’s a good point. It’s something we can’t do anything but worry about though. The most we can offer her is a prayer for her safety, and it’s not like we have a duty or obligation to offer her that much.”
Each time the towel rubbed against Carol’s head, her eyes narrowed like it was feeling good. Carol gave me a sound argument, but, just because it’s true doesn’t stop me from worrying about her safety. Because I saw it happen.
“I understand Iris’s feelings. But well……..we just have to accept that she had some bad luck. It would’ve been extremely dangerous for us otherwise.”
In the end, that’s the conclusion that has to be drawn. That’s especially true for someone who couldn’t do anything besides stand there and be scared like me.
“Speaking of which, fairies are believers in the Goddess right? I only ever thought of them as a bunch of harmless beetles.”
“Mm. You don’t see them too often unless you go visit a temple. And they usually only ever come out at night.”
Just as Toslin said, except for the occasional exception, fairies are known to basically only ever come out at night. You’ll mostly see them around temples, but occasionally you might see one near town or in a small village after the sun has set and most people have gone to bed.
You can’t normally go out and just see one, but apparently if you place a sugar cube and a cookie out on the railing of a bridge or on a branch of a tree, a fairy will almost assuredly fly by and start a tea party. Then you can illuminate a drab road at night with the light of a fairy without needing any lanterns.
At Carol and Toslin’s words, Rose, who had been drying Toslin’s hair with a friendly smile, suddenly stopped her hands.
“That’s right…….. Long ago the fairies were hostile towards the Goddess………until a thousand years ago. From then on the fairies have been loyal, devout believers to the Goddess.”
“Hoh, is that so. Then what about werewolves? I don’t know much about that stuff.”
“Umm…….. To explain that, I’d first have to talk about the Primordial World………”
“Ah, that’s okay. Do it, do it. We can do it while my hair dries.”
“Oh, I would like to hear about it too.”
I lent my ear to Rose while obediently listening on top of the bed.
“It’s really okay? Well then……..*COUGH* We’ll start off with how the world began.”
【Rose’s tale………..The world’s origins as detailed from the bible’s opening】
Primoridal’s beginning, but……..but
Souls dance in circles, the beat of life, everything to feel
Fangs are sharpened, Leaves grow, the Undecided madly dance
Primoridal’s beginning, but……..but
Souls resent, life dwindles, everything for the reason of the ring
Fangs devour everything, Leaves are taken in, the Undecided madly rage
Persistent obsession with life
That is the world’s beginning.
She who had remained silent for thousands of years now sat on the branch of a large tree, and she sang.
The melody galloped through the hills and fields, crossed the sea, and penetrated everything.
Her song of admonishment
A spell on everything that is
As the song swells
The people welcome her, and they begin dancing to her song
The world is calm
That is her decision
Harmonize with others and join hands
That is the world she wanted
“And that’s how it has been for the last thousand years. We are living in the world she made for us. Hyurians, elves, dwarves, werewolves, and fairies under Drifting Silence…….we are the ones who decided to live in the world the Goddess Illya had desired.”
“So the Goddess Illya and this ‘Drifting Silence’ are supposed to be the same person? Or the same goddess I guess?”
“Yes that’s right. Our ancestors, along with everyone else who follows the Goddess are the ones who lent their ears to her song. Not her power, but her words. The Goddess preached that the world should be governed by kindness rather than hatred. However, there are those who resisted that message.”
Rose was being quite talkative, and she continued explaining things to us without pause.
“Dark elves, goblins, orcs. And then……..trolls. They are the typical……….let’s say inhabitants of the Primordial World. With their leader the Primordial King Osnell, they would often collide with the Goddess’s believers. That all came to an end after the battle…….”
“The Illyarian War a thousand years ago.”
Toslin whispered while combing her hair.
“Yes. That is correct. The armies of the Primordial World ruled by fear went into all-out war with the Goddess’s armies who wished to reach a mutual understanding through words. The war was a time of chaos……..but we succeeded in breaking apart the Primordial World. Along with the elves, the dwarves, the werewolves, and the fairies.”
“Hoh……..what a grand story. It makes it hard to identify with really.”
Once Rose’s story was finished, Toslin let loose a bright laugh.
“Fufufu, that might certainly be the case. Me as well, I thought the same way until I joined the faith and heard the bishop tell the tale.”
“Then Rose, does that mean even now it’s your duty to defeat goblins and others who stood on the side of the Primordial World?”
“That’s right. To be precise, it’s my duty to correct anyone who would disrupt the Goddess’s rules.”
I always wondered why members of the clergy would travel with adventurers, but I guess I can understand if that’s the reason.
“Uh, ummm……… S-So does that make someone like me Rose’s enemy?”
Carol had remained unusually silent for most of the story, but she now worked up the courage to ask an uneasy question.
“No no. As I said, whether they be hyurians, elves, or any other race, it is my duty to spank the bottoms of anyone who goes against the Goddess’s teachings. For thou, evil is unforgivable. Thus thou must cleanse evil.”
Rose laughed and tried giving Carol a calm smile to reassure her. On the other hand, Carol timidly pulled out one of the daggers she was keeping in her bag.
“Uh, um……… I swiped this dagger from a grave a while ago……..is that evil? Am I?”
Carol was holding one of the two daggers she carries with her. Unlike my own cheap dagger, you could feel the age to this one, and it apparently had magic cast upon it so it would never break. Just like in a story I read a long time ago.
“Oh my, that was certainly wrong of you.”
With her usual calm smile, Rose grabbed Carol by the nape of her neck and picked her up. She then sat down on the nearby bed, and she placed Carol’s small body over her knee.
“Eh, huh? What? What are you doing? KYAaaaaaaaa!”
Suddenly, Rose yanked down Carol’s spats and slammed her hand into Carol’s small, round butt.
Even though it wasn’t happening to me, there was such a loud smack that I had to close my eyes. And then Rose’s prayer sounded overtop Carol’s screams.
“Goddess, forgive this person for their sins. I pray that those who sleep may have peace.”
A tender, kind smile was still floating across Rose’s face as she once again brought a hand down on Carol’s bare bottom.
“Don’t do anything to disturb the peace of the dead without good reason. Do you understand?”
“I’m, I’m sorryyyyyy! I got it! No more! I won’t do it ever again!”
Just as Rose was about to bring her hand down a third time, Carol started shouting out her apology as fast as she could. Rose nodded her head, satisfied with the answer she got, and she let Carol go.
“Uu, Uuuuu! Iris……. Rose, she, to my butt……….”
Carol jumped into bed with me nearly about to cry.
“Ah, um…….yeah. I saw……. It looked like it hurt……”
When Carol put her head down in my lap, I started petting her already dry hair.
“This is a good opportunity. Iris, you too Toslin. If there is any sin plaguing your conscience, you are more than welcome to confess here. The Goddess and I are merciful in most things.”
Even if she says that…….. I don’t think I’ll try any confessions after what I just saw. I don’t think I really have any kind of deep sin that I could confess in the first place………
“No, not really, such a thing is……….”
“I, There’s nothing like that for me!”
Toslin hurriedly denied any wrongdoing, but then Carol bolted up from my lap with a twinkle in her eye.
“She’s lying! When I took the dagger, Toslin swiped a bunch of money that was buried with it!”
“Wha? That much is fine though! What would money in a tomb be………. Wait, hold on a minute Rose! Listen, even if you say I stole it, there wasn’t that much!”
Toslin turned her head away and tried desperately to explain things to Rose.
“Goddess, have mercy on this sinful elf. Now, please stick out your hips Toslin. If you’d rather not, you could always put that money to a noble cause and donate it to the church as an offering?”
“Wha, Why would I! This is how the church gets its donations!? ………hold on, with your strength a hit will definitely swell! Wai……….Carol, what are you doing!?”
Without noticing, Carol had scraped herself off of the bed and attached herself to Toslin to completely seal off her movements.
“Wouldn’t it be strange if I’m the only one who gets beat? Hihihi, meekly accept your punishment Toslin.”
No matter how much Toslin struggled, she was going to have a hard time when she’s getting double teamed by Carol and Rose. Just like Carol had been, Toslin was brought over Rose’s knee.
“Wai, WAITWAITWAITWAITWAIT! Don’t strip me stupid Carol! You can’t be serious Rose……..wai………I’m already 18………”
Toslin’s resistance was entirely in vain. Soon her trousers were pulled down, and her pale white butt received two of Rose’s strikes.