A Hot Spring’s Warmth
I couldn’t help but let out a relaxed sigh as my body sank into the bathtub. I’d recently finished making myself a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn equipped with a hot spring.
The bathtub that the hot spring fed into was made of high quality Japanese cypress. It was quite wide, and could fit at least two people regardless of how they stretched themselves. It was an open air bath without a roof, so you’d be able to see the moon and stars shine down from above so long as you just looked up. The only artificial source of light was a dim lamp, so the dazzling, starry sky was mirrored atop the water’s surface.
At first, I wanted to make it so the inn would be accompanied by an eternal night, but soon realized that it would not only be disorienting, but also lead to potential inconvenience. That was why I ended up giving the dungeon floor a proper day-night cycle that mirrored whatever was outside.
“This sure feels nice, doesn’t it?”
I spoke to Shii, who happened to be floating about in the water. For some odd reason, Shii seemed really fond of bathing; the slime had the tendency to hop in the bath and join me whenever I decided to use it. At first, I expected it to swell up as soon as it entered, but nothing like that ever happened. Instead, bathing caused Shii to gain a sort of sheen and lustre. It was almost like it would cycle all the dirty fluids outside its body and take in cleaner ones after getting in the water.
“Are you done yet?” Illuna slid open the bathroom’s sliding door, and smiled happily as she entered.
“Oh, hey Illuna. I thought you said you weren’t going to get in ’till a bit later?”
The young vampire giggled and broke into an innocent smile as she apologized.
“Can you please wash my hair?” she asked.
“Sure. Grab a seat and I’ll be right on it.”
She cheered as she sat herself down on a chair near the shower. I followed suit and pulled up a second chair, settling myself down behind her as I grabbed the shower head.
“Ehehe.” Illuna giggled happily as I began to wash her.
“Sounds like someone’s in a good mood.”
“Mhm!” The vampire nodded happily. “It’s because we’re spending time together again!”
Now that she mentions it, I’ve been too busy to pamper her lately. I should probably take her out to play in the fields sometime soon. Oh, I know! We could have a picnic. I guess we’d have to invite everyone else, but that could make for a whole day’s worth of entertainment.
The bathroom door opened as I started excitedly fleshing out my picnic plans.
“What a surprise. I expected not for you to be in the bath, Illuna.”
“Oh, it’s just you, Lefi… Wait! Why the hell are you here!?”
“I believe it is I that should be doing the questioning. Why is it that you are staring at me as would a fool?”
“B-Because I don’t know why you’re joining us in the bath.”
“Can I not?” Lefi frowned.
“W-well, I mean you can… It’s just…”
I didn’t mind Illuna joining me because she was still just a kid. Lefi, however, made for a much more questionable bath buddy. Her body was on the verge of maturity, just at the point where I wasn’t sure whether or not I was supposed to think of her as a kid.
“Oh, I know!” Illuna said. “You must’ve wanted to be together with Yuki too! Right, Lefi?”
“W-What a preposterous suggestion! I-I merely wished for him to wash my hair. His proficiency in the task is the sole driving force that has led to the current scenario.” Lefi’s cheeks reddened as she denied Illuna’s assumption.
“I-I see… A-Alright, why don’t you go ahead and get in the tub so I can get Lefi cleaned up, Illuna?”
Illuna, who I’d just finished washing, happily assented and entered the tub. She was soon replaced by Lefi, who naturally moved over and took the younger girl’s seat.
I couldn’t help but let my eyes be drawn to the creamy white skin that peeked out from between the strands of her glossy silver hair. I followed the contours of her body and traced her womanly figure all the way from the nape of her neck, through to her cute, rounded shoulders, and eventually all the way down to the slender curves that made up her back. Oh god damn it, what am I doing!? Alright, alright. Empty mind, pure heart. Empty mind, pure heart.
I took a quiet but deep breath to calm myself down, all while hoping that Lefi wouldn’t notice my fast-beating heart. Only after I regained my composure did I finally start to wet her hair.
She would occasionally leak hot, captivating sighs as I washed her. Hearing them forced my heart to hit the gas and accelerate once more. E-Empty mind, pure heart! Empty mind pure heart! Calm down already, heart! Why the hell are you beating so quickly? This is Lefi we’re talking about here, you know? She’s just a lazy dragon that never does anything but eat sweets!
“A-alright Lefi, I’m done.”
I breathed a sigh of relief as I finished rinsing the bubbles out of her hair.
As soon as I was done, the ancient dragon relaxed herself and let her body lean back against my own. She was warm. Feeling the gentle sensation of her skin on mine caused my heart to once again kick itself into overdrive.
“W-What’re you do—”
“I found that wonderfully relaxing, Yuki, but it appears my sentiment is not shared. Your breath is rather ragged. Did you truly find my naked body that charming?”
She broke out into a mischievous grin as looked up at me from below.
She totally knew!?
“S-Sure does sound all high and mighty coming from someone whose body looks just like a kid’s. There’s no way a child like you you’d ever turn me on.”
“A child!? How dare you!” Lefi shouted in a burst of angry confusion. “Your claim is unconvincing given that its source is an individual that has only just finished panting all over my body!”
“I-I was only panting because my nose was stuffed! It had nothing to do with you!”
“What manner of awful excuse is that supposed to be!?”
“Geez! Come on! You guys are going to catch colds if you don’t get in soon.”
Neither Lefi or I could come up with any sort of reply, so we both quietly ended up getting in after getting reprimanded.
“Ahhh… How splendid. I knew not that hot springs were this relaxing,” Lefi smiled.
“Yup! It feels super good, right Shii?”
Shii flopped around underwater as if to agree.
“Glad you guys are enjoying it.”
And so, the four of us leisurely relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. Quite a bit of time passed by without any of us saying anything, but I didn’t find it the slightest bit awkward. In fact, I enjoyed the silence quite a bit.
I know I’m not old enough to have kids just yet, but I think I’m starting to understand how it feels to be a father.
“I admit that this makes for some good scenery, but remind me. For what reason did you suddenly decide to create this environment?” Lefi was the first to break the silence. Her curious gaze was set on the grassy plains that lay beyond the hotspring’s confines.
“Well, I was kind of thinking about making myself a castle.”
“I fail to follow.”
“You know, a castle? A giant ass fortress? I decided to make this plain so I could get some space ready for it.”
“I… am not quite sold on your obsession with castles,” said Lefi. ”But very well. Let us work under the assumption that this is indeed all for the sake of a castle. What manner of thought prompted you to decide that the most natural building to construct next to a castle was an inn featuring a hot spring?”
“Dunno. I’d already finished building it by the time I even considered asking myself that.”
“T-That… would certainly explain it.” Lefi seemed to acknowledge and accept my reasoning, or rather, my lack thereof, despite clearly being confused.
A bit more time passed in silence, only to be interrupted by something suddenly beginning to shake.
“Illuna? You okay?” I asked.
“Yeah… Just sleepy.”
All the warmth and comfort had caused the little girl to start drifting off.
“Try staying awake just a bit longer, ‘kay? Let’s get you to bed.”
I took Illuna’s hand to steady her and stop her from shaking.
“Could you help Illuna get dressed, Lefi?”
“Thanks. And as for you Shii, you can prob—Woah!”
I looked inside the water only to find that the slime had stretched and lost its usual shape. It was so large and stretched so thin that it looked like it was on the verge of dissolving.
“Are you alright?”
Shii shook itself up and down, indicating that it was perfectly fine. I somehow managed to understand that it was planning to soak a little bit longer, and could get out by itself once it was done.
“If you say so.”
I smiled wryly as I got out of the bath with Lefi and Illuna in tow. A ray of moonlight illuminated the area around us as the three of us made our way back over to the changeroom.