Standing Between Two Worlds - Chapter 5: I'll Make You Happy
What with this situation? Am I really going to bathe with Emma-san? No, this has to be a joke, right? That’s what I initially thought until I saw her taking her clothes off. Seriously?! Why am I in this situation? Does she not care about showing her bare body? Or is it normal here in Miltis?
“I’ll go wash my body first, then.”
She’s basically telling me that there’s no way out of this situation. Ah, okay, fine! I’ll go along with this, but I’d best avoid getting too much eye service. It wouldn’t be great if I succumbed to my physical desires.
I had no choice but to go along with her whims. It would lead to nothing if I just stood. So, I hesitantly began to remove my clothing, but before that, I faced the opposite direction, away from Emma-san. Of course, I wouldn’t want anything to harden in this kind of event.
I don’t know what Emma-san’s reason is for doing this, but it was awkward. Is it some test about trust again? Or is it some entirely different reason, like some custom that only exists in this world? Well, whatever it was, it’s making me a bit uncomfortable.
After washing my body, I immediately went to the onsen-like hot tub. I went to the corner of it to get a lot more cover. Then a few minutes later, Emma-san also finished washing her body.
As she walked to the hot tub, I averted my gaze somewhere else. Unsurprisingly, she sat beside me. I thought of it as a possibility, but I didn’t expect that she’d actually do it.
Once more, I faced the opposite direction of where she was, but then, I felt her soft skin rub against my back. But later on, I realized she was leaning on my back. For a second, I thought it was something else.
“Uh… Emma-san, what are you doing…?” I nervously asked.
“Oh, nothing. I was testing how you would react.”
“It looked kind of interesting to try it out.”
“I’m not some test subject. In fact, how are you even calm in this kind of situation?! You’re naked with a guy whom you never met before! How are you not bothered about it?!”
“I’ll just leave the answers to your imagination.”
Our conversation isn’t going anywhere. It would be a waste of time if I kept on asking. But it doesn’t change the fact that it still bothers me. I could feel Emma-san’s soft skin rub against mine. It’s a sensation I never felt before. I admit that it feels nice, but I need to control myself to avoid getting into any trouble.
Suddenly, Emma-san spoke in a calm voice.
“I remember I was also here on that day.”
“On that day…?”
“The day the village was raided by bandits, and the day I lost my older sister, Ruby.”
It immediately caught my curiosity. I wanted to know more about what happened, that I ended up ignoring the current situation. Emma-san is finally open enough to tell me what happened. Based on her tone, it’s going to be a sad one.
“Ruby? The one you mentioned a while ago to Bardrick-san?”
“Yes, she’s my older sister… well, it’s what I see her as.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mentioned that Ruby was my older sister, but we’re not related by blood. I was just an orphaned child in the village. But Grim-san and his wife Mary-san decided to adopt me ten years ago. And when they adopted me, they introduced me to Ruby, who was around ten years old at that time.”
“Wait, so, you were six years old when you were orphaned. Where did you stay at that time? I didn’t see any orphanage in the village.”
“Thankfully, the people in this village were kind. They let me sleep in their houses and give me food. Bardrick-san was one of them.”
“Oh, so, that’s why he was worried about you.”
“Yeah, and it’s also no surprise that the entire village knows about me.”
“Then what about your parents? What happened to them?”
“I can’t really recall, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t from this village in the first place. I can’t even remember how I ended up here. I’ll tell you about it if I remember something.”
“Sure, that’s fine. And you mentioned something about bandits raiding the village, right? What happened?”
“Ah, The raid six years ago. It was the most devastating event that happened in the entire history of this village. I was lucky to even survive unscathed from that.”
“It was somewhere around sunset when it happened. I was taking a bath here. My mother and sister were at the house while my father was at the village entrance with the other guards. It was a peaceful evening, but it wasn’t for long. After a couple of minutes, I could hear the screams of people outside. I immediately knew something terrible was happening. I wanted to check out what was happening, but then Ruby came inside. She kept silent and ignored me whenever I tried to ask something. Then, I noticed that her clothing had blood on them.”
“Did she have any wounds?”
“No, she didn’t have any wounds, but I was still worried about her at that time. When I looked at her closely, her body was shaking, and it looked as if she was about to cry. I continued to ask her what happened over and over. After numerous attempts, she finally spoke, ‘Mom… mom died…’ As a ten-year-old at that time, I didn’t understand.”
“Wait, so, the blood on your sister’s clothes was your mom’s?”
“She didn’t tell me where it was from, but I think it was. Most likely, she ran away while the raiders were busy killing our mother. Which also explains the traumatized look on my sister’s face.”
“How about you? How do you feel about it? You know, about your mother getting killed?”
“Honestly, It felt depressing when she was no longer there. She was always the first person I would see in the morning, making breakfast for us. The house always felt empty.”
“I’m sorry, I think I shouldn’t have asked that question.”
“No, it’s fine, really.”
“Then what happened to you two in the bath?”
“Well, after she came in the bath, we just sat here for several minutes. We could still hear the cries of the people outside. And I was very much confused as to what was happening. Suddenly, we heard the door to the bath open. One of the bandits entered. Then surprisingly, my traumatized sister stood up in front of me. She was trying to protect me. When the bandit got down from the stairs, he looked at us and had a creepy perverted smile on his face. At that time, I was fully naked since I was in the bath when the raiding happened.”
“Tch, he’s a disgrace to mankind.”
“Well, during that time, I didn’t know what was happening, on why he had such an expression carved on his face. But anyway, when he got down from the flight of stairs, he immediately drew his sword and pointed it to us. We had no weapons in the bath, much less anything to defend ourselves with, but Ruby trained in combat and knows a bit of magic. When the bandit rushed towards us, Ruby fended him off. She was able to keep up with the bandit’s movement and attacks. But after a while, she eventually got tired. It looked like we were going to lose this one. My sister noticed it too, but it looked like she had a plan in mind. She was casting a magic spell of some sort, but I didn’t know what it was. She then jumped and clung to the bandit. When she did it, the sword pierced through Ruby. But she was still conscious and tried to finish to spell. Before she completely trigged it, Ruby looked at me, smiled, and said, ‘I wish we could have spent more time together…’ And when she had triggered the spell, both her and the man dissolved into nothingness. After a few seconds, there were no traces of her, and the man was left. And I was left there scared and frozen.”
“I’m sorry for letting you explain it to me.”
“Oh, no, it’s okay. It still hurts thinking about Ruby and mom, but I’m not that depressed about it now. Six years was enough to heal most of the mental and emotional scars.”
“If you don’t mind me asking again.”
“What is it?”
“What happened after your sister… you know…”
“Oh, well, after that, I just sat still in the bath. Then after a couple of minutes, national guards started to show up, and the screaming outside stopped. I knew it was the national guards because two of them came down to the bath. They were the ones who clothed me and brought me back outside. And when I got out, I saw a terrifying sight. Most of the houses in the village were burnt. There were dead bodies on every corner. I also saw children who were at least my age or younger among them.”
“So, that’s why I haven’t seen anyone as young as you here.”
“Precisely, which is also why I was happy to see someone like you. I finally found someone around my age whom I could talk to.”
“Don’t tell me it’s also the reason why you want to join me.”
“Well, that’s a part of it. I don’t want to spend my life in a village with only adults.”
“I get your point.”
I didn’t expect to hear that kind of story. I thought it was only some sort of family drama, but I was wrong. I forgot that the logic of this world is entirely different from Earth. And it’s impressive how Emma-san could stay sane after what she saw. Seeing someone you love die right in front of you has got to be one of the worst feelings out there. Meanwhile, I’m here complaining about everyone shunning me.
“Ah, I think we’ve spent enough time in the bath. My skin is starting to get wrinkly.” Emma-san suddenly said.
“I didn’t even notice we were here for that long.”
“We still have to wake up early in the morning for tomorrow’s magic practice.”
“Yeah, I do feel kind of sleepy after all that talk.”
“Don’t sleep yet. We still haven’t had dinner. It would be bad to go to bed with an empty stomach.”
We got out of the bath, dried ourselves, and got dressed using the clothes Emma-san gave me. Wait, now that I think of it. I think I know the reason why she wanted to bathe together. Maybe she knew that I would avoid looking at her if she was naked. So, she didn’t have to worry about making eye contact or me noticing her expression when she talked about her experience. Or am I just overanalyzing it? But it’s still a possibility.
As we went back up the staircase, Emma-san suddenly asked me.
“Bruno-san, do you remember where you got your clothes?”
“I don’t. Why?”
“The cloth is soft, and the sewing of it is precise. If you were to sell it, it would cost around 10,000 zens. I would also like clothing like these.”
“Well, maybe we’ll see one in our adventure… wait, you have my clothes?!”
“Yeah, I’ll wash them tomorrow.”
“No, it’s fine. I’ll do it. You don’t need to.”
“I insist, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
After we got back to the house, Emma-san placed the used clothes in one of the rooms and prepared dinner. And as I was at the dining table waiting, I kept thinking about Emma-san’s experience. I couldn’t get it out of my head. It changed how I perceived Emma-san. And I think I just thought of an additional goal. To make Emma-san happy. I felt like it was something I needed to do.
Then, a few minutes later, Emma-san served dinner. After dinner, we immediately went to sleep. To get ready for tomorrow.
[AT: Another chapter released, at last! Now I can go back to being a lazy bum while you join my discord server https://discord.gg/7E75M6CfkJ.]