After some time passed and the lights in the lobby were turned off, Ruth made his way to the bathhouse.

The Brau family's bathhouse is also a part of the inn. But, since there was no rule saying they couldn’t enter the bathhouse with guests, Rossa often would go in with adventurers to drink with them. However, Ruth always entered after the guests were done. The reason behind it was because Alec insisted, “You gotta stop, it’s rude to use it while the guests are inside.”

(Ah, but there’s still someone in here today…)

Ruth noticed that the sign hanging on the door of the bathhouse indicated that the man's bath was occupied. Because of what Alec has vehemently advised, he usually wouldn’t think about entering when other people were around, but tomorrow was a busy day because of the demon hunt. Because of that, he wanted to quickly bathe and sleep early.

(Oh well, it should be fine.)

Ruth opened the door and went into the dressing room. With the sound of the door, whoever was inside probably realized that someone was coming in. If they didn’t like to bathe with others, they could probably just leave immediately.

In the three tatami[1] mat sized dressing room, there was a bundle of clothes belonging to one person. It looks like only one guy was taking a bath. Ruth took off all his clothes and only held a towel as he opened the door.

The bathhouse was about five meters large and there were three showering stations along with a three-meter wide bathtub. The walls were made of wood and the ceiling had a large custom made window installed into it. As a result, apart from the indoor lights, the bathhouse was still fairly well lit because of the moonlight. Truthfully, Ruth wanted it to be more like an open bathhouse from his previous life, but Alec said “It might bother the girls when they enter,” and was also stubbornly against that. And they also had to pay attention to the ventilation to prevent the wooden panels from rotting.

Ruth strained his eyes to see through the steam and the person there was none other than the subject of the conversation he had earlier.

“Ah, good evening Maxim. Please excuse me for disturbing you.”

“R-Ruth! Hu--!”

Maxim, who was in the bathtub, turned towards Ruth’s cheerful greeting and seemed to jump up in surprise the instant he saw him. He then rushed to submerged his face in the water for some reason.

“W-What’s wrong, Maxim?”

“...”

Seeing Maxim’s exceedingly strange behavior, Ruth called out to him since his entire head wasn’t submerged underwater[2]. And for some reason, Maxim kept his face in the water as he rotated his body so that his back was turned towards Ruth before lifting his head.

“Puah, haha…e-excuse me! I thought I could try some diving training!”

“Ha...diving training? Be careful not to get dizzy.”

“Of course!”

While Ruth found Maxim’s excessively strained voice to be strange, he sat down on the chair in the showering station and began washing his body. With a more relaxed voice, Maxim said things like “The night sky is beautiful” or “Thank you for preparing dinner” to keep the conversation going as Ruth finished up on washing his head. Ruth then made his way to the bathtub with his towel.

“Do you mind if I sit next to you?”

“N-No, go ahead…”

Ruth stepped in the bathtub and noticed Maxim stiffly scooting towards the edges of the bathtub. While he had a towel clearly covering the front of his body, he thought that Maxim might be uncomfortable being around someone while naked and so Ruth also scooted slightly to the edges before completely submerging himself up to his shoulders in the water.

As he soaked his whole body in the mildly hot bath water, his exhaustion was being massaged away all at once.

“Ha~a…it feels so good…”

“Kuh…!”

As if responding to Ruth’s voice, Maxim let out a strange groan. When Ruth looked over, Maxim had his forehead on the wall next to him and was sitting upright in the bathtub.

“Maxim, you should leave the baths as soon as possible if you aren’t feeling well--”

“I-I’m okay. I’m feeling just fine. In fact, My body is doing so great that even it has gotten very lively.”[3]

“Lively?”

“N-Nothing, it’s nothing! I want to enjoy the bath for a bit longer!”

“Well that’s good to hear but…”

Ruth was concerned about Maxim’s odd behavior, but as he thought that it would also probably be rude if he said too much he just relaxed and laid-back in the bathtub. His father, Rossa, always said that interacting while naked in such an undisguised environment was a nice thing, but Ruth understood how hard it was to gauge the appropriate sense of intimacy for that. Even Alec hated to enter the bathhouse with Ruth. There’s just bound to be people who dislike that sort of stuff.

(At any rate, Maxim really does have a nice body too.)

Since the bathtub was filled to the brim with hot water, it was hard to tell due to the ripples in the water but a third of Maxim’s back was exposed because he was sitting upright. From there, Ruth saw his well built lean muscles. He wasn’t entirely made of muscles like Rossa and Clark, but it was clear as day that his body was different from Ruth’s. While Ruth thought that he had some muscles, he didn’t feel that manly when he compared himself to Maxim.

(I knew it, the secret to being popular is all about the muscles…)

Although he liked how his body and face looked, Ruth seriously thought about whether he should put on more muscles.

“...Ah, tomorrow is finally the demon hunt.”

“Ah, yes. It really is tomorrow.”

While Ruth was observing Maxim’s muscles, a voice that has considerably calmed down from before called out to him. Ruth replied as usual and Maxim gradually relaxed from sitting upright. After he rinsed his face with the hot water that submerged his body from the shoulders down, he let out a deep sigh. However, for some reason, his thoughts were already set on something else.

“Sir Ruth, are you not afraid?”

“Afraid?”

“Of the demon hunt.”

“Hmm, if you’re asking whether I’m afraid or not, I guess I’m afraid.”

For Ruth, of course, he was afraid of death. Moreover, the demons were living beings who had absolutely no considerations for humans since it was impossible to communicate with them. He didn’t have nerves that thick to be fine after hearing about how they would approach other living things and eat their heads while they were alive. Even more so, in his memories of his previous life, there was never any threat like that.

“...And yet, have you never thought about leaving this village?”

“Leaving this village, huh…”

“If you come to the Royal Capital, there are no demons to feel threatened by and you don’t need to put yourself in danger to hunt for a living. It’s very safe there.”

Since he was born, Ruth has never left this village. He often heard stories about the Royal Capital from Clark and he also knew that the world was a vast place based on his memories of his previous life. There’s surely a lot of things in this world that Ruth doesn’t know about. He would be lying if he said he didn’t want to experience them.

(But, I never thought about leaving the village.)

Ruth vaguely thought that it was obvious he would inherit his parent’s inn at the village and live that way until he died. He never considered any other possibilities. He basically only realized that there were such means for the first time when Maxim talked about. As he wondered why--

  1. Should be around 5 sqm
  2. Just to be clear, this is what "his entire head wasn’t submerged underwater" looks like visually (but imagine the pillow as water).
  3. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Footnote 2

MARY: Hey guys! So, I don't really have anything to say for myself other than I've fallen deep into (otome) gaming hell LOL. I've been playing Taisho x Alice and it's just so fun and cute ww.

But anyway please support the author by buying the novels here and let me know if you see any mistakes! For the people who haven't bought the novel -wink wink- there's a very nice illustration to go with this chapter too :')