Soaking Under the Waterfall
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“This… this is the life…”
I sighed in relaxation and joy as I leaned back into the rocky outer edge of the hot spring that Nell had happened to score. It was comfortable, and incredibly so. It felt so much better than your average garden variety hot spring that I couldn’t help but suspect its comfort came as a side effect of its incredible effects. After all, one of its greatest features was how invigorating it felt. Soaking in it almost made me feel as if I was slowly being filled with renewed energy. Oh man… this is great. I could sit in this thing for hours.
I would have been satisfied with an infinite supply of hot water alone. Having such a thing in one’s own home was nothing short of a luxury. As far as I was concerned, the permanent stat boosts were just nice extras to have on top. This is the best. Literally nothing beats it.
…You know, thinking about it, Nell’s gacha luck really is pretty insane, huh?
“Look Yuki, it’s an octopus!”
Illuna grabbed a nearby towel and folded it such that it had a big round head and a sprawling underside.
“Wow, that really does look like an octopus,” I said. “Almost makes me wish Lefi was here to see it.”
“Why doesn’t Lefi like octopuses? They’re really tasty…”
“I think she mentioned not liking tentacles last time they came up in a conversation,” I said.
As someone from Japan, I personally loved eating octopus, and so did just about everyone else around me. But I did understand that not everyone thought as we did. The fact that westerners had the tendency to dislike them was often a point of discussion. Moreover, it wasn’t like I couldn’t see their point. I too felt a natural repulsion to non-molluscs with too many legs. Something about them irked me and threw me for a loop.
Lefi and I seemed to be the only two that felt that way, however, as Nell, Lyuu, and Leila didn’t have any particularly strong feelings about creepy crawlies. The kids were even further on the other side of the spectrum. They seemed to love insects, and would often catch centipedes and the like for fun. I’mma just blame it on them being this world’s residents. Man, non-earth people are OP as shit.
“Octopuses are all wriggly, right?” Illuna attempted to imitate a set of tentacles by moving her fingers in a wave-like fashion.
“Yup,” I said, while following suit and doing the same.
“I can wriggle too!”
Shii, who had been half dozing off in the water, shapeshifted as she jumped into the conversation and formed a series of long, thin tendrils.
“Wow! That’s so cool!” said Illuna. “They’re all springy!”
“Wriggle wriggle wriggle~” said Shii.
Illuna began poking the tips of Shii’s tentacles, which made her giggle as one would upon being tickled whilst also wriggling them around even more. Have you ever seen a more cute and wholesome scene that involves little girls and tentacles like literally anywhere ever? And before you say anything, I’mma go ahead and say that the correct answer is silence. That was supposed to be a rhetorical question, so don’t go corrupting it or taking it out of context.
“Wait a second…” I looked away from the two girls next to me and towards the third, who was sitting right underneath the water source. “You okay, Enne? Isn’t it kinda hot over there?”
“The water’s really hot over there,” said Illuna.
“I’d be boiling!” added Shii.
“I’m okay,” said Enne. “I’m meditating. Like a warrior.”
“Uhh… If you say so…” I said with a wry smile.
The waterfall was where all the heat in the room came from, so the spot right underneath it was much hotter than it was anywhere else. But apparently, Enne was perfectly fine and didn’t mind the change in temperature at all. Wait, where’d she learn about the whole warriors meditating under waterfalls trope anyway? I’m pretty sure I never actually brought it up… Man… you know, I always used to think that Shii was the most mysterious of the girls, seeing as how slimes aren’t supposed to be able to talk—or take on human-like forms, for that matter—but Enne’s starting to give her a real run for her money. At this point, she might even take the crown and become the dungeon’s most mysterious little girl.
After confirming that Enne was fine, I kicked back and spent a few more minutes relaxing. It wasn’t silent, as Illuna and Shii were still playing, but it was quiet enough for me to hear a set of footsteps wander into the dressing room. It was followed by the rustling of clothes, and the creaking of the door as it opened to reveal Lefi, whose current equipment could best be described as nothing but a bunch of empty slots.
“Oh, hey Lefi,” I said. “Wait, why are you here? Weren’t you supposed to be helping the others clean up?”
Normally, doing the dishes and putting everything away was meant to be a communal task; everyone did their part to make sure that no one person was particularly overburdened with chores. But, today was a bit different. Tidying up a barbecue that still happened to house hot coals was a task far too dangerous for a child, and as such, we’d sent them off to the baths such that they wouldn’t get in the way. I hadn’t planned on joining them at first, but they apparently really wanted me to come, so they’d dragged me away before I could actually do my fair share of the chores. I would have expected Lefi to be in the midst of getting everything sorted, given the relative increase in the amount of work per person in my absence.
“I was driven away and asked to join you after announcing that I would dispose of the charcoal by incinerating it and ensuring that no ash remained.” The dragon frowned. “I do not understand. It is almost as if they feared that I would employ an excessive amount of force and set fire to the ship.” She plopped her cute butt down on top of one of the stools underneath the showerhead situated right beside the hotspring and turned on the water. “There was no reason for them to remain so vigilant. I would not have erred.”
So what I’m hearing is that they were getting rid of her before she messed everything up. Yup, makes sense to me. I was rather content with the decision that Nell and the maids had come to. I wouldn’t exactly have been thrilled if Lefi ended up accidentally burning down the fleet I’d only just acquired.
“But that is of little matter. I care not,” she said, as she grabbed a second stool, placed it behind her, and gave it a few meaningful taps, “for I would much rather have you wash my head.”
“I figured you’d ask for that.” I stood up and walked over.
“Wow! You’re getting him to wash your hair again!?” asked Illuna.
“It is only natural. Yuki has fallen head over heels for me. He will abide by my every whim,” she said, with a conceited grin. “Are you envious of my control over him?”
I’m not so sure about the ‘every whim’ part. In fact, I’m pretty sure I ignore and mess with you more than I actually listen to you…
“Nope! I already had him wash mine too!”
“Oh? To what degree did he perform?”
“He did a really good job! My hair’s all shiny now!”
I gave Lefi’s head a good scrub as the two chatted. Looking at her from behind was a test of will in and of itself. My eyes were drawn to her skin, to the soft, lustrous flesh to which her silky silver strands clung. I wanted to touch her, caress her, and embrace her. But I knew I couldn’t. Knowing that Illuna was literally staring at us allowed me to keep my eyes focused on her head.
That said, staring at her head didn’t actually help all that much either, especially when taking into account the fact that I was touching her hair, which was just as if not more appealing than her skin. I could’ve easily fallen into a trance and started playing with it if I loosened my restraints even just a bit.
We’d bathed together many, many times, but for some odd reason, I couldn’t get used to her allure. It just wasn’t possible. Lefi made my heart work overtime. Period.
“Rejoice, Yuki. While you remain defective at large, I cannot deny that you possess talents to be proud of. Your ability to wash heads is unrivaled.”
“I mean, I’ll take the compliment, but just saying, you’re the last person I want to hear calling someone else defective.”
Shii approached right as I finished lathering Lefi’s head and covering all of it in shampoo. The slime’s form had yet to revert; it still featured a number of tentacles.
“Look Lefi! Wrigglers!” She extended her tendrils and began wrapping them around the other girl’s limbs.
“W-what is touching me!?” shrieked the dragon. “Shii!? I-I recognize your voice and the sensation of your body, b-but I do not enjoy being touched in such a manner! S-stop it, s-stop it immediately!”
She began writhing around each time the tentacles moved around, albeit in a relatively restrained manner. She knew she couldn’t randomly flail about if she didn’t want to hurt the slime. Having her head covered in shampoo didn’t exactly help either, as it prevented the dragon from opening her eyes. Not being able to see evidently only made her even less comfortable, as could be fathomed from the way she was screaming at the other girl to stop. Oh my. There’s a beautiful girl being assaulted by tentacles right before my very eyes. How lewd. How very lewd indeed.
“Good job, Shii,” I said, with a content smile. “Lefi’s really happy you’re doing this, so keep it up.”
“Really? Yay! I’ll keep going!”
“Do not listen to him! He is deceiving youhya!? I a-am not the slightest bit pleased! It is better for you to pay no regard to his idiotic ramblings!”
Despite her protests, the slime continued until she had her fill of fun.
Once Shii was gone, Lefi lifelessly leaned back into my chest and simply lay there as the showerhead slowly did its job and rinsed the bubbles out of her hair. The truth was that I could have very easily rinsed her off long ago, but I refrained and more or less just kept scrubbing instead so I could watch Shii grope her some more. Errrr, I mean, I was being super careful and making sure I got every nook and cranny because of how much I appreciate her. Yeah, that.
“I cannot believe you simply sat idly and observed as I was subjected to such a horrible experience,” she grumbled. “I know full well that you intentionally refrained from rinsing me clean.”
“Well, I’m sorry I was being diligent and trying to show you how much I appreciate you.”
“Hmph… I will not fall for your deception. You are merely twisting your words for the sake of your own convenience.”
I didn’t confirm or deny the accusation. Instead, all I did was laugh.
Once I was done, we both stopped talking and spent a moment in silence. Sweet, warm silence. The running of water and the laughter of children was all that there was to be heard.
It was a brief moment.
But a peaceful one that filled my heart with love and warmth.
“Yuki…” She muttered my name as she went from lifelessly leaning on me to snuggling up against my chest.
“…It is nothing.”
“Oh come on, don’t leave me hanging like that. All you’re doing is making me curious as hell.”
It was rare for her to mince her words. She was typically direct and to the point, even in situations in which she was embarrassed.
But she didn’t answer. All she did was show me a soft, gentle smile. Soon, even that vanished, and in its place appeared a wide, mischievous grin.
“It is unfair for me to remain the only one to be serviced. I shall repay you by washing your head as you have mine.”
She was fully rinsed off, and my job was done, so I immediately stood up and took a step back.
“N-nah, I’m good,” I stuttered. “I already washed my own hair earlier.”
“You do not need to show such restraint. It is not necessary given the extent of our relationship.”
“Alright, if you’re going to play the us being close card, I’mma just be straight with you. I hate it when you wash my hair., It hurts like hell. Last time you did it, it felt more like you were trying to tear off my scalp.”
“Do not worry. I have become more skilled at the art of restraining my strength. I am somewhat confident that you will not experience any pain.”
“And I’m somewhat confident you’ll tear my hair out!”
“That is because I desire vengeance.”
“Wow, and now you’re not even trying to hide your intentions! What happened to being subtle!?”
Despite my protests, I was eventually overpowered and forced to sit down in front of the shower. Needless to say, the bathroom was then filled with a series of pained screams, followed by a pair of angry shouts that only grew louder and louder as we screamed our hearts out.
In other words, it was nothing out of the ordinary, just another peaceful evening at home.