“Viine, just choose whatever clothes you want.” (Shuuya)
“Yes, Master!” (Viine)
Her silver eyes narrow as she carefully picks through the clothes on display.
“Master, I would like these please.” (Viine)
Viine decided swiftly.
Two cloth panties for underwear and a black dress close to those worn by maids.
She also chose two chemise-type dresses.
One with buttons and one without; but man, what plain choices.
“Got it, give them to me.” (Shuuya)
Once I ask the shopkeeper about the price, I’m told that it will cost seven large copper coins for all of them.
It’s surprisingly cheap. I pass the money to the shopkeeper as soon as I hear that.
“Viine, you carry it.” (Shuuya)
“Yes, thank you very much.” (Viine)
I give the purchased clothes back to Viine.
She puts them into her backpack.
“Well then, are we done? Let’s return to the inn.” (Shuuya)
Which reminds me, Viine doesn’t know the inn where I’m lodging, does she…?
Right after I bought her, we went to the adventurer’s guild, formed a party, and finished the requests… We spent our time well, we worked hard together.
I guess I will try asking her what her story is while slowly creating chopsticks once we get back to the inn.
I have to make sure to not forget to take the rewards from the silver chest and the magic stones that are in the item box.
Alright, enough thinking, time to go back. I collect my thoughts while paying attention to pickpockets.
I wondered whether the previous pickpocket group might actually come to meddle with us as it’s a common development in these situations, but nothing like that happened.
The pickpocket group doesn’t approach us.
As such, we were able to safely leave the market without meeting any kind of trouble.
I don’t sense anyone behind us, and no one seems to be tailing us either.
Well, I guess I will remain cautious for now as it’s still possible that we are being tailed by someone excellent from outside the range of my Grasping Perception.
Though, in the end that’s only a possibility.
I keep walking together with Viine and Rollo for several hours as I start getting hungry.
I got a bit lost, but in the end, we could get back to the First Ring Road.
Rollo is still sleeping inside my hood.
Just as evening came to an end and the veil of darkness was about to cover the city,
“We are close now. It’s in the alley to the northwest.” (Shuuya)
As we are walking along the ring road, Rollo wakes up.
She gets off my shoulder while purring with a quiet, throaty voice.
Rollo pushes her forepaws onto the ground and stretches her back.
It’s a stretch full of vitality as if she’s saying “I’m going to move now~!”
Once Rollo had her fill of stretching her body, she straightens her tail into the air and walks ahead, carefree as she sways her bum left and right.
And then she turns around, she has an expression that seems to tell us, “I want to play nya.”
“Go for it. You can play around here.” (Shuuya)
After meowing something like 『Got it nya』, Rollo vanishes into a narrow path that’s close to the inn.
Viine and I follow the alley and arrive at Lodging Moon of the Labyrinth.
“This is the place. Let’s go inside.” (Shuuya)
“As you will, Master!” (Viine)
When I open the entrance door, a beautiful song reaches my ears once again.
Since it’s dinner time, the scent of food tickles my nostrils.
I’m eager to eat, but…this voice…
Just like the other day, the elven songstress is performing in the dining hall with her delicate voice.
We head over there as if being lured by her singing.
Surprised by the songstress’ magnificent voice, Viine concentrates her eyes on the elf performing on the small stage.
I also tune my ears to her beautiful song while leaning my back against one of the pillars.
…I get lost in it.
After a short time, the beautifully melodious ballad comes to an end.
The other guest shift their attention towards their food and card games after the mood was broken.
But Viine is still out of it.
It looks like the song is still reverberating inside her head.
She continues to look at the small, empty stage.
I address that dazzled Viine.
“Hey, are you awake? We are staying on the second floor. But first, let’s get some food.” (Shuuya)
“…As you say.” (Viine)
We sit down at an open table.
“Oh my, Shuuya-san. I guess you’ve returned from the labyrinth? Welcome back~” (Mel)
The landlady Mel chats me up after we seat ourselves.
Mel is a beautiful landlady with light brown eyes and a high nose bridge.
As usual, she is well-endowed and has a long, slender, and well-proportioned lower body.
My gaze is naturally attracted to her plump breasts.
“…Mel, I’m back. Can I order some food? Please prepare her share as well.” (Shuuya)
I casually introduce my silver-haired slave.
“Hee, female company…ah, a female slave. Huh? Rollo-chan is not here?” (Mel)
“If it’s Rollo, she begged me to allow her to go out and play when we entered the alley, so I think she’s roaming around nearby. Sooner or later she will come back, anyway. The food is just for Viine and me. Ah, since we increased by one, I suppose I have to pay some money?” (Shuuya)
“No, it’s fine for today. Or rather, if she’s your companion, she can stay here for free as long as she likes.” (Mel)
Free if they are my companion?
How generous. I should praise her.
“Ooh, as expected of the beautiful landlady Mel-san.” (Shuuya)
“Oh my, oh my, even if you flatter me, you won’t get any service, okay? …Putting that aside, there’s something I’d like to discuss with you about the other side later. Is that okay with you?” (Mel)
Is the other side related to her dark guild?
Suddenly Mel’s gaze becomes sharp.
“Roger, how about my room afterward?” (Shuuya)
“Yes. I will bring Kazun’s special dish.” (Mel)
Mel sends me the special flirtatious gaze of a beauty, bows, then turns on her heels.
She walks towards the kitchen, which is behind the counter, while shaking her ass as if trying to bewitch me.
A moment later she brings our food.
Shrimp is on the menu; its fragrant aroma hangs in the air.
The dish has well-grilled, red-shelled shrimp.
A spiny lobster-like, big shrimp has been placed on top of a large platter, completely covering it.
It’s served with black bread and honey.
Or rather, this large shrimp has been cut in two, making my mouth water.
Bread and honey is placed in front of Viine as well.
“Well then, let’s dig in?” (Shuuya)
“Yes, it’s a big shrimp.” (Viine)
Even in this world, it’s called shrimp?
“True. She said that it’s a special dish, so it should be delicious.” (Shuuya)
I cut down the outside of the shrimp’s shell.
Viine’s share is also large.
I bring a large piece of white meat to my mouth.
Its firm, crunchy volume is simply amazing.
The texture of the meat is splendid, too.
I savor the special sensation of crunchy shrimp, the complex seasoning, and how the aroma spreads the more I chew it.
Delicious, it’s awesome. I wolf down the meat with its slightly grilled surface.
I mean, it’s been a damn long time since I last tasted a shrimp dish.
I remember the past when I ate it in Japan.
Scenery from Japan floated into my mind. Mount Fuji, sea sprays, and for some reason, picturesque females 1who dive with a smile.
Naturally, teardrops stream down my cheeks.
“… Master? Are you crying?” (Viine)
Viine looks surprised.
“N-No — it’s just some dirt that got in my eyes.” (Shuuya)
I shake my head and deceive her.
I pretend to rub some crust out from my eyes.
“I-Is that so?” (Viine)
Her silver eyes are tinged with confusion.
Well, I’m sure it’s fishy.
My gaze jumps down to the shrimp and bread and I change the topic.
“Rather than that, did you enjoy your meal?” (Shuuya)
“Y-Yes. It had a wonderful flavor.” (Viine)
Saying so, Viine bites into the bread and chews.
After that, we eat our dishes without speaking much.
Viine and I finish our shrimp in no time.
As we finish, I eat the rest of my bread and drain the booze.
“You’re done eating, right? Let’s go up to the stairs then.” (Shuuya)
We leave the table and ascend the stairs, which are close to the entrance.
My room is at the end of the corridor.
“It’s here.” (Shuuya)
As usual, the two drawn moons decoration adorns the door.
A large basket was placed on the ground, right next to the door.
“Come in.” (Shuuya)
For some reason, Viine lets out a shout full of fighting spirit before entering the room.
I enter inside without minding her enthusiasm and head to my bed,
“As you can see, there are four beds, three of which are empty. Just use whichever one you like and relax. That’s more comfortable for me as well.” (Shuuya)
She picks a bed and drops her backpack next to it.
Then she takes out the clothes we just bought.
While checking Viine’s actions with a sidelong glance, I take out two daggers from my bandolier and move to the bay window. As I hold the daggers in my hand, I open the wooden window all the way to improve the ventilation.
I place the daggers next to the bucket on the veranda while enjoying the fresh night wind.
Later, I will make chopsticks with these.
I guess first comes a bath.
I retrieve a cloth from my item box and put it next to the daggers.
I return to my bed and begin stripping: I take off the bandolier and the overcloak then I undo the metal clasps of the purple Evil Dragon King armor and remove it .
I put the entire set of armor into the space next to my bed.
Although Viine is present, I am now completely naked.
I’m somewhat worried about how my body smells.
Okay, I will prepare some soap.
“I’m going to get in the bath now, how about you, Viine?” (Shuuya)
“…Yes. I will accompany you.” (Viine)
She readily consents.
But, her expression obviously tells differently.
Her silver eyes with their slight red tinge became sharp.
They showed a look of scorn, colored with contempt.
Eww, I’m in trouble… she makes me think of a cold-hearted, cruel hitman.
Man, it’s not like I’m going to have sex with you.
Even though she just has to say it if she hates it since I haven’t ordered her to do it either.
“Well, we will enter the bath now, so—” (Shuuya)
Since I want to enjoy watching Viine’s nude body, you might say that it’s typical of me to not say anything.
Still naked, I move close to the bay window while fantasizing about her naked body.
I fill the big bucket with hot water while it sits on the drain that’s in the veranda’s floor.
“…mag, but, a man…” (Viine)
“What are you mumbling to yourself about over there?” (Shuuya)
When I turn around due to her murmurs, Viine was just at the point of taking off her long, reddish-brown, thigh-highs while pointing her beautiful ass towards me.
A soft-looking ass above her pliable, muscular thighs and her long, smooth legs.
It makes me want to ask her, “Are you booth babe or a model?”
Man, even among the stunning Japanese actresses there hadn’t been a woman with such style.
As I’m charmed by her ass, Viine finishes to taking off her thigh-highs and turns around. Now she’s also nude.
Whoah, her long, silver hair and the bluish-white skin look gorgeous.
She still has her silver face mask equipped, but she displays her body to me as if provoking me.
Her ass is nice, but after all’s done and said, her tits are the main focus.
Yeah, big breasts with snowflake nipples are wonderful as well.
The curves from her muscular, tight hips to her well-formed, plump ass are also wonderful.
It’s a two-hit-combo of amazing.
She’s too lascivious. A festival of squishiness.
Wow, really? Her pubic hair is a pure white bush.
Also appreciating my nude body, Viine lets her eyes slowly wander from my head to my feet.
As I’m fascinated by her goddess-like radiance, the bath becomes full.
“…Now then, the soap is over here, so feel free to use it when you wash yourself.” (Shuuya)
Viine replies, trailing off at the end as she begins looking slightly embarrassed.
After I suggested it to Viine, I swiftly use the soap to wash my whole body.
Once I finish, I clean off the soap with hot water from my Life Magic and submerge my body in the hot bath.
I lean my body against the bathtub and appreciate Viine from below.
Viine moves her hands seductively, cleaning her beautiful, bluish-white skinned body with the soap.
Her large, springy boobs wobble around.
Once her body is covered with suds, she scoops up the hot water gathered in the bucket with her hands and lets it flow down her body.
I guess she’s rinsing herself off.
I make hot water appear in midair with Life Magic and use it like a shower, letting it gently flow down her back.
“…Thank you very much.” (Viine)
“Don’t mind. Go ahead and use the hot bath.” (Shuuya)
Her silver hair is bewitching now that it’s damp.
However, her silver-colored eyes feel cold, like those of a dead fish…
“Viine, you don’t need to be so worried. I don’t have any intention of making a move on you.” (Shuuya)
“Eh? R-Really?” (Viine)
“Yeah, I don’t have a hobby of sleeping with women who are unwilling.” (Shuuya)
Though that’s not a line a man with his member standing at attention should say.
“I’m surprised.” (Viine)
Viine stares, her eyes slowly coming back to life.
“As you can see, it’s not because I’m impotent or prefer men, okay?” (Shuuya)
“Y-Yes. But, according to what Chianelas said, my new master would definitely give me a perverted order and then would have sex with me without allowing any refusal, so…” (Viine)
“I guess that’s how it goes most of the time. But, like just said, I have no intention of ordering a woman to have sex with me. That’s something both sides should enjoy, right?” (Shuuya)
Once she hears my words, Viine gives a slight nod and reveals a smile on her face as some of the tension leaves her body.
I nod and add,
“If I want to blow off of some steam, I will just go to a brothel. More than that, I’d like you to open your heart to me, you know?” (Shuuya)
Did I actually make a blunder there?
The instant she heard those words, her relieved expression completely changes.
I don’t know whether she’s angry, but she turns silent and the look in her eyes becomes as sharp as she was cute a few seconds ago.
Did the words open your heart hurt or offended her?
Maybe she even feels like defying me?
And yet, I don’t really want to meddle around with the black ring on her chest.
But, I’m not sure whether she’s going to try something.
I suppose I just have to give her a command.
“Get out of the bath, put on some clothes, and go stand by at your bed. That’s an order.” (Shuuya)
“…gh, yes, Master.” (Viine)
Oh, just now she had mana clad her body for an instant but then vanished in the next.
Viine was apparently about to start something, but in the end, she seems to give up and leaves the bucket, moving according to my order.
Looks like there’s still a long way left until her heart begins to thaw.
『— Your Excellency, this woman called Viine…a moment ago she clad her entire body with mana and emitted a small amount of bloodthirst. That’s impertinent towards you, Excellency.』 (Helme)
Suddenly an angry Helme appears in my sight.
She demonstrates her anger by having her blue and bluish-black hair stand on end.
The hot water in the bucket also stirred as if it too agreed with Helme’s angry words.
She’s small, but her wrathful face has plenty of impact.
『I know.』 (Shuuya)
『…If she becomes harmful — I will erase her, okay?』 (Helme)
At the same time as Helme’s words, the bathwater inside the bucket swells up on its own device, causing waves to rise.
The waves crash against the bucket’s edge, making hot water spill over.
『No, no, wait. Don’t be so angry. There’s no need to kill her. I mean, although she might be called a slave, it’s unfair to suddenly demand instant loyalty to a stranger like me…for starters, or at least for a short while, I think we should give her a chance.』 (Shuuya)
Helme’s loyalty level is at MAX already, after all.
Even as we talk telepathically, she’s still huffy with her cheeks puffed up as I try to I soothe her. I try not to think about how adorable she is right now.
『However…I cannot forgive her for not knowing your greatness, Your Excellency. I think she should be sentenced to decapitation.』 (Helme)
Helme seems to be displeased with Viine’s attitude.
Certainly, until Eva pointed it out, she had been obeying me and hiding her true thoughts, going without suspicion in her conviction by anyone.
That’s probably why Helme won’t calm her anger now that she’s sensed bloodthirst so close to me.
『Helme, you don’t have to worry so much. Besides, I would have understood if she attacked me with the intention to kill, but as it is, your plan to suddenly killing her is too extreme. She hasn’t attacked me after all, right?』 (Shuuya)
『For argument’s sake, if she attacked, I would deal with her directly. And once I had defeated her, I might use the skill <Suzerain of Household> and turn her into my bloodkin. Besides, she might simply hate me. if that’s the case, I will release her. Even if I don’t get back my money, I will have her go back to Chianelas’ place. That’s why I won’t kill her. That’s set in stone.』 (Shuuya)
『Yes, as you wish, You Excellency.』 (Helme)
Alongside those words, Helme’s spikes of hair return to their original hairstyle after some vapor is released from them.
Her facial expression turned back from the angry one into her usual, cute one.
『Great. You returned to your usual state, huh? And the bathwater is moving naturally, so make sure to not influence that.』 (Shuuya)
Sensing my feelings, Helme vanishes out of my sight with a bow.
Telepathy is sure convenient; it can be done in an instant, but that was sudden, wasn’t it?
Although I don’t show it, I’m still slightly surprised.
I shake that off as I catch sight of Viine who is trying to dress herself while she is still soaked.
A woman dripping with water is quite nice to look at. I won’t tell her that though.
“—Hey, wipe yourself with this.” (Shuuya)
While still inside the bath, I toss the cloth, which I had placed next to the bucket, at Viine.
“— Uh, thank you very much.” (Viine)
Viine grabs the cloth as if nothing had happened and thanks me with a bow.
She goes back to her bed, dries her body with the cloth, and restarts putting on the clothes I bought her.
Now then, I guess I will pull the knotted bundle of string that binds her heart by asking Viine to tell her story while I work on creating chopsticks.
Let’s postpone offering the magic stones to my item box.
I decide to get out of the bucket and wipe my body with a leather cloth.
I put on the comfortable outfit of a leather tunic and cloth trousers.
But, yeah, if I had something like a jersey, I would definitely wear that.
And then, I would chug down my just-out-of-the-bath milk while pressing a hand against my waist.2 However, there’s nothing like that here.
While I was thinking about such pointless stuff, just as I was about to drain the dirty water,
“Nnn, nya, nyaa.”
Rollo comes back to the room.
“Aren’t you a bit late?” (Shuuya)
Rollo meows towards me as if agreeing and turns her face towards outside the bay window.
A white cat is strutting across the top of the roof there.
“I see, the white cat from the other day, huh? Her name was Magit, wasn’t it? I suppose you played with her.” (Shuuya)
Haha, that means they have already become good friends, eh?
I hug and caress Rollo to reward her.
Mmh, she smells a bit.
“Rollo, get into the bath.” (Shuuya)
She looks as if she isn’t too eager to enter, but I put Rollo into the bathtub and wash her body with soap.
Rollo doesn’t resist.
She stretches out her belly3 and leaves everything to me.
Alright, time to make her sparkly clean then.
I enjoy washing her gently.
Rollo rushes out of the bucket once I’m done washing her.
She tries to hurry towards a bed as if jumping, but I hold her back.
“Wait until I dry you.” (Shuuya)
I let her go after making sure to wipe off all of the water.
The released Rollo dashes across the planked floor and jumps on a free bed, beginning her usual exercise of frolicking.
Viine stops moving and stares at Rollo who is jumping around as if dancing.
She seems to be surprised.
“Viine, Rollo likes that. If you leave her alone, she will fall asleep sooner or later.” (Shuuya)
Well then, guess I should start making those chopsticks.
First, I let the dirty water in the bucket drain with a splash.
Next, I take out olive oil and wood that has tawny-tinged grains from my item box.
I place that wooden chock on top of the big bucket, placing the olive oil close-by.
For whittling the wood, I have the magic daggers which I placed there before my bath.
Just in case, I have also prepared the Ancient Dragon Daggers, but I will use the Shortsword of Yazekapos with its bluish-white blade first.
I’ve set my target on a quadrangular shape that doesn’t require much skill.
Using the shortsword, I whittle the wooden chock with a scraping sound.
Shaving it was simple. It looks like I will be able to make at least four at this rate.
Since it’s not like I have a plane or a template on hand, they might end up crooked, but I will create a prototype.
I was able to finish it with a certain level of standard. At this point, I soak a leather cloth with olive oil.
Using that cloth, I apply oil on the prototype chopstick pair.
I guess that’s all for the first stage.
Well, I do have the experience of making a simple pair chopsticks in a workshop during my previous life, plus there are the woodworking techniques I was taught by Master Achilles.
I didn’t make so many shogi-like soldier pieces in vain.
That’s why this here is easy-peasy.
Well… that’s how I motivate myself, but I still haven’t been able to acquire the <Woodworking> skill…
It’s sad to say, but I don’t appear to have any artistic sense.
Sighing, I turn my gaze towards Viine.
She’s wearing her new one-piece dress.
Her silver eyes are glued to my fingers.
It seems she’s curious as to what I’m carving.
“Viine, are you interested in this?” (Shuuya)
“These are used at the time of eating. They’re a simple tool called chopsticks. They’re a reproduction of what are used in my birthplace.” (Shuuya)
“Chopsticks…birthplace, you say?” (Viine)
She shows a subtle reaction to the word birthplace.
I guess it’s just the right time to bring up the topic of the 【Underground City Da’Umezalan】, Viine’s city of origin.
Before that, I place the oiled chopsticks close to the bay window.
The wind should make it easy for them to dry there. Somehow, it feels like they will harden from the ultra-violet rays and not so much from the wind.
Though that only applies if this oil is the same as the one on earth.
Now then, I suppose it’s time to have a talk.
I speak up while closing in on Viine.
“…Speaking of birthplaces, you were born as the second daughter of the Sorcery Noble Azmail Household in the 【Underground City Da’Umezalan】, weren’t you Viine?” (Shuuya)
“…Yes, you did well to remember that… As expected of you, master.” (Viine)
Uwah, her words are dripping with sarcasm.
Her words are respectful, but her tone is chilly.
“…Well of course I do. I’m interested in the culture of the dark elves who raised such a beautiful woman like you, Viine… What kind of place is the Underground City Da’Umezalan?” (Shuuya)
Just like that, I invade Viine’s personal space.
I approach the bed where she’s sitting.
Hearing my words, Viine’s thin eyebrows twitch as she’s enduring her anger. She casts her face downwards and looks off to the side.
Because I will make her talk, even if it’s by force, I guess I will dig even further here.
Let’s try poking a bit deeper.
“Say…is there anything bugging you about me?” (Shuuya)
Viine raises her head.
With her forehead wrinkled and her eyebrows scrunched, she shakes her head, making her long, silver hair sway left and right.
“Yes. Or, no, or…I don’t know either. My heart…is in turmoil, so it’s difficult to judge.” (Viine)
Is she hesitating? Or baffled?
What’s the reason for it? Me? Is my existence causing her own sense of values to shake?
I don’t know. But I think she opened her heart to me a bit.
But, her perplexed expression is beautiful as well, therefore I can’t ignore it.
“…Mmh? Your heart is in turmoil, you say?” (Shuuya)
“…mag, ul, master is, gh…good, male.” (Viine)
Viine shakes her head fiercely but I can’t understand her reply.
Her voice is quiet…
However, the bluish-white skin on her cheeks is slightly red.
“Hrm? I couldn’t catch that just now, so please say it clearly.” (Shuuya)
Hearing those words, she whips up her head and gazes at me with uncertainty showing in her silver eyes.
She averts her eyes, but I can still see the blush of her cheeks grow stronger over her silver mask.
Once again she gazes at me.
It looks like she’s made up her mind to speak properly with me this time.
“… Master, your fighting strength is magnificent.” (Viine)
“Well, I am confident as long as it’s related to fighting.” (Shuuya)
I agree with her by nodding.
Is Viine showing such an angry-looking, confused expression because of something like that?
She moves her purple-tinged lips again,
“…I have a secret. It’s a secret about my dark elf abilities; I haven’t told it to any of the maguls, including you, Master.” (Viine)
Ooh, this tone…is it going to be the root of her problems?
“No one? Even not Chianelas who bought and educated you?” (Shuuya)
“Of course not.” (Viine)
Viine nods calmly.
“Hoo, then please allow me to hear your story so that I can understand it from the beginning.” (Shuuya)
I really want her to share it with me.
And then Viine begins to confide her secret.
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