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Interlude: Hot Spring and Bath (Part 1) ※Multiple POV

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Author: Himezaki Shiu Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: PunishedLyly English Source: Re:Library

The 100th stratum of the den. Located in the den’s innermost depths is the white dragon Khyturi’s dwelling place.
We’re at the summit of a tall mountain, and it’s a bit difficult to breathe due to the thin air.
The entrance of the 100th stratum is at the top of this mountain, far up in the sky, and looking down, I can only see a sea of clouds below.
I’m even starting to doubt if there’s anything underneath.

There are no monsters; only Tur is here.
There are barely any plants growing on the mountain, and if we ever lose our footing, we’ll probably tumble straight down below.
Fighting Tur at this place seems awfully disadvantageous for people in general, but to begin with, other than us, Mother Fii is probably the only other person who can reach this place.

As we reached the 60th stratum, it became more time-consuming to defeat monsters, and from around the 70th stratum, monsters that Ciel couldn’t defeat started appearing.
I don’t know how powerful S-rank hunters are, but breaking through the 90th stratum onwards is likely impossible even for a party full of S-rank hunters.

Still, there weren’t any monsters stronger than Tur, so we remained unscathed.

As such, reaching here wasn’t a problem for us, but if it were a normal party, they’d have to fight completely worn out against Tur with absolute field advantage.
Even just that fact, I’m sure, will break their spirits.
And unlike us, Tur both looks and feels overwhelmingly powerful.

Outside the den, it has grown increasingly colder, and I even saw light snowfall on our way here. To tell the truth, I only realized it was cold because I saw the snow.
As Ciel is always moderately warm inside the barrier, she didn’t quite understand what cold is.
So when we tried turning off the barrier’s temperature modulation, Ciel was excited at the feeling of cold. “So this is the cold! It feels somewhat nostalgic,” she said. Perhaps she recalled our time back at Rispelgia’s place?

While the barrier does protect her, perhaps it’d be better not to isolate her from everything.

As for why my mind is aimlessly wandering right now, it’s because Ciel and Tur are currently having fun playing. While it’s good to have fun, their ‘play’ is well beyond the realm of play.
Since they realized from their previous meeting that they can be at full strength against each other, they really aren’t holding anything back.
For example, Ciel is dancing, and it’s quite a sight for the sore eyes, but these same eyes spy a mountain gouged out in the background from an attack’s aftermath.

So naturally, I had mixed feelings and resorted to escapism.

She’s bullfighting, but with a dragon. With light footwork, Ciel dodges Tur’s attacks.
Tur, meanwhile, was charging towards her.
And so he crashes into the mountain, scraping off a chunk of it.

Looking at the whittled mountain, I noticed an unusually white mist rising from somewhere.
Is that maybe… No, I’ll save that for later; I have to focus on singing.

Previously, Ciel ran out of magic power within a single song, but with her in perfect condition this time, she can dance for the duration of multiple songs.

And since this time Tur understands that Ciel meant it when she said she wanted to play, he’s performing some showy attacks as well.
He’d attack with ice at times and fire as well.
While I was impressed that Tur could use sorcery, I wasn’t too surprised that he was capable of doing so.

After all, Tur likely doesn’t fly with his wings but with sorcery or magic instead.
The wings still seem to assist with flight, I think?
So if one were to target Tur’s wings, they should still be able to make him fall.
Not that I think any regular old attack can affect him.

It was around the end of my 10th song.
It likely hasn’t been a full hour yet, but the two of them descend to the ground.

「I don’t know human sensibilities, but I never get tired of seeing your dances.」
「Oh, is that so? I enjoy dancing with Tur, too. After all, there isn’t anyone who can keep up with me for so long.」
「That would be impossible for those with insufficient strength. The monsters of the depths should be able to survive it, but…」
「Monsters don’t pay proper attention to my dance.」
「I expected as much. How about Ainsel?」
「Ain can’t dance with me. But she does sing.
Ain’s songs are amazing! Amazing, you know? Even with a single song, I can listen to it for hours on end!」
「I have heard it once… but I immediately fell asleep.
I could have resisted if I wanted, but it would’ve been boorish to do so.」

Come to think of it, when Ciel lost consciousness due to magic power exhaustion, Tur did sleep until she woke up.
And I remember singing a lullaby to help him sleep.
Still, he could resist it if he wanted to? To be able to resist the Song Princess’ power, as expected of Tur.

I’ve never considered the possibility of someone resisting the Song Princess’ Job ability, but I have previously resisted the appraisal ability of a Job Appraiser with my barrier as well, so I guess it shouldn’t be impossible.
If I take my Job’s Princess status for granted, it might end up badly for me in the future.

And now that I think about it, there have been monsters that could completely disregard a Song Princess-buffed Dance Princess attack.

「In that case, it would be nice if you could properly listen sometime.」
「Then could you ask Ainsel in my stead?」
「The most I can do is ask, okay? I can’t promise that she’ll sing, alright?
And so, Ain, how about it?」
『It’s a bit difficult to sing at our current location; can I inform you when I can sing at a better time?』
『Fufufu, Ain is so bashful.』

Hearing that makes me feel somewhat ticklish and embarrassed, but it’s really difficult to sing when there are high expectations.
I would have been able to sing regardless up until some time ago, but recently I’ve gotten more conscious of my surroundings.

How do I say it? It’s like a portion of my previous life temperament has popped up.
This is why I’m grateful for Ciel’s response.
She doesn’t try to persuade me, knowing that I would accept; she properly asks for my opinion.

「It’s a shame, but it’s no good right now.」
「I see.」
「Since we’ve done playing, what should we do?」
「As you can see, there’s nothing of much interest here.」

Tur gazes at the surrounding area.
All that’s here is the mountain Ciel is standing on and the sky extending as far as the eye can see.
The grand expanse is quite mesmerizing, and the clear air here feels great.
Still, there’s not much we can do here… or so it seems, but I saw that earlier.

『I suspect that there are hot springs around here.』
『What’s a hot spring?』
『A well that naturally produces hot water, I suppose? Think of it as a naturally occurring bathtub.』

「Tur, are there hot springs(?) around here?」
「What is that?」
「Is there something like hot water?」
「If it’s hot water, there is. Those keep springing forth and drying out in a moment’s notice, so I have no idea if those in my memory still remain.」
『Ain, did you know there are hot springs because you saw one?』
『That’s right. I saw something resembling one around that direction.』

I guide Ciel towards the origin of the white mist, and there we see a moderately sized pool of water on the whittled part of the mountain.
As it produces steam, it’s sure to be hot water.
While the mountain’s thermal heat must have turned it hot, I wonder where the actual water came from.
An underground reservoir? Is there even ground underneath the mountain? I had the impression that the foot of this mountain was connected to another dimension.

It could have also come from rainwater, but I don’t even know if the weather changes here.
As I was caught up in my thoughts, Ciel put her hand in the hot spring.

And that ends this half of the interlude! AinCiel vs Tur rematch just came and went really quickly, lol

It’s nice to see our dragon grandpa being like an uncle with his nieces, lol. I need my own gruncle dragon, to be honest. And as for the girls, Ciel is having fun and Ain is trying her best to ignore the monstrous beast she raised, lol. It’s also nice to see Ain feeling comfortable with lowering some of Ciel’s defenses, because her overprotectiveness, while justified, can really lead to Ciel missing out on necessary experiences. The fact that the last time Ciel felt cold was in the cold dungeons of Rispelgia is… really not good. Who knows what other things she is missing? Seriously, if this was any other story, Ain could be the evil step-mother type, purely because of how smothering she can be.

Now then, I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please feel free to comment. Stay healthy, stay safe, and have a nice day~!

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