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Once I mentioned that it was ’bout time for me to go back, Karen invited me to another place, “Ah! …Just one more place. I know of another nice store I wanted to visit with you!”
“Sorry. I’ve kept Indra waitin’, so it’d be bad if I don’t get back soon.”
“Eh…? Ah, I see, well…”
I used my skill for wardin’ off honey traps I had honed over the years.
“See you. Make sure to stay healthy, ‘kay? I’ll tell you just for caution’s sake, but don’t try the impossible. Overestimatin’ yourself is a big no, got it?”
I raised a hand and tried to leave, just for her to call out to me, “Sword! …Can we meet again?”
I shook my head, “We don’t have any need to meet again, do we? We both have found comrades and now we’re walkin’ different paths. This time I just wanted to report back to you, someone who partied with me in the past, that I had also found a comrade.”
Karen looked like she was on the verge of cryin’. But I pretended to not notice, and continued, “I’m no longer the solo adventurer 【Thunderclap Whitefang】, but Sword of the party 【Allrounders】. I wanted to tell you that, and I wanted to make a clean cut with my past. Tellin’ you that I’m not a loner ‘nymore. Bye. The next time you see me, don’t call out to me ‘nymore. Let us both move on while facin’ the future.”
With those words, I turned around and left.
After several strides, Ryoku suddenly showed up and commented, “Mr. Sword, you held back on the alcohol. I’m sure Mother will praise you, you know?”
“Whoa! Hey, peepin’ isn’t a nice thing to do, ‘kay?”
“I was guarding you!”
“It’s not what you say, but how you say it, eh?” I laughed.
This guy’s learnin’ ability is seriously amazin’!
“Welcome back. Did everything go well?” Indra had come out to greet me.
“I’m home. And, what should have gone well?”
“You being ensnared by a honey trap or you drinking too much after sensing some weird malice. Basically, I’m asking whether you’ve come back without any such things occurring.”
…’kay, Indra’s overprotective mindset towards me has reached a level similar to her excessive care for the Ryokus.
“Fortunately, somethin’ of that level is a breeze for my veteran evasion skills…wait, was it possibly you who sent Ryoku to watch over me?”
“I believe he’d have voluntarily done so even without me saying anything, but since I was worried, I told him to save you when needed.”
Whoa. Just what the hell have I done for a golem to be worried ’bout me?
“Well, it’s just I met this woman who was a member of my first party, so I felt somewhat nostalgic…or maybe, I just wanted to brag a bit?”
Walking in front, Indra looked back at me.
“Did you see!? I’m no loner anymore! That kind of stuff.”
“………I see. Well……..sure, why not.”
“Oh? What’s with that ambiguous phrasin’?”
Indra crossed her arms behind her head, and continued without mindin’ my comment, “All’s fine as long as you had fun. However…I just wonder whether that woman, who used to be in a party with you long ago, didn’t have something she wanted to consult you about.”
Heh, considerin’ how she’s doin’ everythin’ at her own pace, she’s surprisingly quick on the uptake ’bout such things, isn’t she?
“……Pretty much, yeah.”
“Ah, so you played the dense guy despite having realized it!? You sure use that trick quite often, don’t you? But look, you gotta be careful since it comes with the danger of you becoming even more popular!”
“I mean, you’d be troubled if I’m suddenly asked to let someone in our party, no?” I asked and peered at her face, wonderin’ how she’s goin’ to react.
“Ugh…you’re right, that’d be a problem. Or rather, you’ve got the choice to turn it down, no?”
Oh? Is this girl thinkin’ that I have a choice here?
“Hmm… Turnin’ em down sure is hard,” I probed to trigger more reactions.
And that was the end. How disappointin’.
“…What do you think ’bout it?”
“Me? Wouldn’t it be fine to let them enter the party if it’s a talented person who would fit us in your eyes?” She calmly responded.
“Huh? That’s a’right with you?”
“I don’t have a reason to be against it in the first place. If you let a woman, who loves you, join, you’ll be the one troubled.”
…I guess she’s got a point there. It’s just as she says.
“But, let me give you a warning. If you let a woman, who loves you, into our party and don’t change your attitude towards me, that woman might try to kill you and me after becoming half-crazed or completely insane,” she added all of a sudden.
“Bloody Witch is a prime example. We merely slept in the same bed after having a long talk, and that alone was enough for her to pulverize the bed, wasn’t it? If she had seen us bathing together, she might have immediately launched fatal, wide-ranged destruction magic.”
“Ah, so bathin’ together is kinda out?”
I’ve been yearnin’ to bath together with my comrades, though.
“If you base it on the other world’s values, it’s definitely out. I’ve got no clue about this world, though. In the first place, nobles don’t bathe all that often, not to mention commoners. Should I try to ask our maids? However, if it’s a no go, they’ll try to murder you in a fit of craziness.”
“Oof, I can clearly picture that, so please don’t.”
I see, so it was out, huh…?
“Do you hate enterin’ the bath with me?”
“I don’t care either way,” answered Indra, obviously not giving much of a damn.
……So she doesn’t care, huh? I’ve been yearnin’ for it though? Didn’t you look like you’ve been enjoyin’ it quite a bit, too?
“…What, and here I thought you enjoyed it as well.”
When I responded with a sulky voice, she became puzzled.
She stared at me, her eyes repeatedly blinkin’, but then looked as if she’d grasped somethin’, sayin’, “I see. …Okay, so that’s your take on the matter, eh? But, why not. I didn’t know that you wanted to enter with me, but apparently you want to invite someone to bath with you since you experience it as 『fun』. I see. Now I’ve got it.”
Huh? Why is she agreein’ there and to what?
“Why? What do you mean?”
“Don’t mind it. It’s a story you’d hate. You can simply interpret it as me saying, 『Let’s bath together since it’s fun』.”
…In other words, perverted stuff, huh? Then it’s better for me to not probe ‘ny further.
That means her ‘out’ in regards to men and women bathin’ together was about doin’ “that kind of stuff”? …Hey, hey, we’ve bathed together on many occasions, haven’t we? She wasn’t afraid or ‘nythin’, right?
“…Did you possibly dread bathin’ with me?”
She gawped at me, bewildered, “Dread it? Why would I just because your flappy, shriveled dic-gueeehhh!”
I strangled her neck with an arm.
“Dear Indra, were you sayin’ somethin’ just now?”
“N-N-No-Not at a-all. I-I-I wasn’t s-scared, I-I just s-s-sa-said.”
I loosened my hold, causin’ her to cough violently.
…Seriously, that girl’s got no delicacy whatsoever!!! And you tellin’ me I should think of someone like that as a woman!?! Like, no way in hell!!
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