Translator(s): Yomigaeru Editor(s): Yuzuha Proofreader(s): Yomigaeru
Eight’s party escorts me back to the entrance under the condition that I join them the next time they go hunting.
「Umm, thank you very much for today…」
Eight’s group had to interrupt their hunt in order to escort me back during the twilight hours just before the break of dawn. I can’t believe I recklessly charged into the labyrinth alone and had to be carried out.
…What am I, a cat that got stuck in a tree?
「Well, these things happen. Don’t worry about it.」
「You’ll help us next time, so it’s fine.」
…Their kindness is killing me. I’m covered in blood, even my hair is stiff from it. One of my shoes is missing, and my clothes are full of holes. I must look like an old wet rag right about now. Considering Yuel was safe the entire time, there was no need for any of this.
「…Yeah, hit me up anytime.」
I ruined an entire outfit and lost a shoe. I was in such a hurry I didn’t pick up anything the monsters dropped either. I’m totally in the red. You could say it was a complete waste.
「Well hey, it’s pretty gallant of you to push yourself that far for a girl’s sake. Right, Geyser?」
I’m deeply moved by Eight’s warm follow-up. He’s a real friend.
「…It was all just a misunderstanding though, huh? Buhahhhahahahahaha!!」
「Wai, Geyser, don’t laugh! …hheh… No, it was really cool, really… heh…」
A real friend…
Geyser is openly howling with laughter while Eight is barely stifling it. The laughter only gets louder as the other adventurers start to join in.
…I wanna punch these assholes.
But, they did cut their hunt short just to bring me back. Hitting them would be ungrateful of me. No, well, after the first hit I’d be the one getting beaten. All I can do is clench my fists and endure it.
…I-I’ll remember this!
Apparently Eight’s group is going to call off the hunt for today and adjourn at the adventurer’s guild. I want to go see for myself that Yuel is okay, but I can’t show up at the tavern looking like this. I’ll head back to the inn, wash up and change my clothes. Honestly, I’d rather clean off all this blood at a public bathhouse, but they probably aren’t open at this time.
When I get back to the inn–
–there’s a black-haired ~16-year-old girl sitting at the front desk, drowsily resting her chin on her hand, watching the entrance with lidded eyes.
「Eh, wait, blood!? A-Are you okay!?」
It’s the inn’s poster girl, Downblouse-san. Why do I call her Downblouse-san? ‘Cause I can see down her blouse all the time. She wears loose-fitting tops and sleeps leaning on the reception desk. Her tits aren’t that big, either. When she puts her hand on her chin she leans forward, and her loose clothing falls away from her small breasts. As a result, I can see her breasts right down her blouse. Therefore, she is Downblouse-san.
This inn doesn’t get many customers, probably because of the location. And it’s not attached to a bar so it doesn’t offer any meals. A lonely inn with just the basic accomodations.
So why do I still frequent this inn? Downblouse-san here is the reason. Well, I mean, it doesn’t hurt that it’s significantly cheaper too.
Usually she’s sleeping and I can call out to her after I get my fill of the view, but today she’s already up. It’s quite early. Is she diligent or lazy? I don’t get her. This ditzy girl.
「Ah, I’m fine, my wounds are already healed. Sorry, but could I get some water? Preferably a lot of it.」
I ask while feeling my blood-soaked clothes. The blood is already drying, so it might be too late to save these clothes. They’re full of holes anyway.
「A-Are you truly unhurt? Um, well then, please wait in your room, I will bring it shortly.」
「I will retrieve it later, please be careful not to spill it.」
I thank Downblouse-san for bringing the washtub to my room.
I remove my clothes. Yeah, these clothes aren’t usable anymore. I should just throw them out. For now, I’ll stuff them into my item box.
I dip the towel in the water to start cleaning myself, then–
–I hear the sound of the door flinging open.
Turning my eyes toward the door, I see Yuel standing there in a waitress uniform, out of breath.
…The skirt is shorter than I expected.
No, now is not the time. This is bad. She’s back sooner than I expected from what Geyser told me. Yuel supposedly works in the tavern until around dawn.
It was my own misunderstanding, but her master went to the labyrinth to look for her and ended up in tatters. How will Yuel feel about that? In the worst case scenario she’ll decide, “It’s my fault that Master…”
「Are… are you hurt!?」
Seeing me all bloodied, Yuel runs over with an upset face.
「Ah, well, you see…」
How can I talk my way out of this one? If I said it was all from my enemies, that would sound kinda cool, but she’d still be worried.
「Geyser-san’s group were talking about it at the tavern. That Master went looking for me by yourself in the labyrinth.」
…She already found out, huh? I thought they would just make fun of me for a while, but to immediately turn it into a drinking story, I sure have some great friends.
I’ll remember this.
「I’m so sorry. I-I…」
Yuel hangs her head with a forlorn expression. But it’s not Yuel’s fault at all. I got hurt because of my own misunderstanding. A feeling of guilt wells up in me.
「It was all my misunderstanding. Yuel did nothing wrong.」
「I’m just glad we’re both safe. Isn’t that what really matters?」
「…I guess so.」
…Silence. Yuel is quiet, eyes downcast, contemplating something.
I wonder what it is? This is awkward. I dip the towel into the water and start to wipe my body.
「Master. Let me help.」
Yuel takes her own towel out of her item box and soaks it in the water. She’s still dressed like a waitress, though.
「Won’t your uniform get dirty? It’s fine, I’ll do it myself.」
「Ah, that’s true. I’ll take it off.」
…Okay that’s not what I was getting at.
I hear the rustling of clothes. With smooth motions, she unties her corset and removes her skirt, shirt, and slip. She’s standing there in nothing but her panties. …It would’ve been fine to leave the slip on.
「L-Look, I can handle this by myself, okay?」
「Your back is sticky with blood too. I need to wipe it properly or it will get on your other clothes.」
「Yuel, um, shouldn’t you put something else on?」
「It would get dirty.」
She’s right, I can’t argue. This is a problem, though. I’m in my underwear, getting my back washed by a young girl wearing nothing but panties. Did I feel the same way on that first day after I purchased Yuel? At that time I was only focused on how thin she was, I wasn’t really conscious of much else.
But Yuel has become a lot more girly compared to then. She’s put on some weight, her complexion has improved, and she’s softer.
Don’t look. If, just if, by some infinitesimal chance, that got like that, Yuel might want to help me with it. I try my hardest to wipe my body without looking at Yuel.
Neither of us speaks.
I wash my hair and wipe my shoulders and arms. And then, once my back is clean–
「…Thank you very much, Master.」
I suddenly feel a warmth on my back. It’s Yuel, hugging me from behind. Her upper torso is bare. Through my moist skin, I feel her modest, childish swellings directly.
「I… was frightened when I heard that Master went into the labyrinth by yourself.」
She hugs my lower back even tighter. I’m sure this situation wasn’t her aim. That much is clear from her earnest tone of voice.
「Seeing Master like this made me sad, but also really happy. I understand how important I am to Master.」
…I thought it was a waste, but it unexpectedly turned out not to be.
I’ve said countless kind words to her, but actions speak louder than words. She must have been worried about what would happen to her, if she would be thrown away or sold. The fact that I shed so much blood in order to find her must have done wonders for her self-confidence. This should calm down her feelings of insecurity as well.
Thank goodness. It’s such a relief.
…I’m relieved, but.
I still need to do something about this situation. We’re having a serious conversation, yet I can’t help but notice the various things pressing against my back. And Yuel has no intention of letting go.
This is bad. This is bad in various ways.
The longer this silence goes on, the harder it will be to say anything.
「A-Anyway, how are things at the tavern?」
「There are a lot of nice people. My senpai waitresses, the kouhai I got today, everyone’s nice to me, so it’s fun. It’s all thanks to Master!」
No, I’m pretty sure it’s thanks to your personality, Yuel-san. I doubt it has much to do with me. No matter what I do, it feels like eventually somehow you’ll give me credit. Your respect feels more like religious reverence.
「T-That reminds me, about how long do you work?」
This is something I have to ask. Yuel has been working while I’m asleep. Which means there’s a good chance she’s not getting a decent amount of sleep herself.
「Ummm, they are always short-staffed, so I was told to come whenever. Today I worked since 4 hours before dawn or so.」
Is that alright? Let’s say dawn is at 5am, that means she’s been working since 1am. And it takes time to get ready, so she probably has to get up by midnight. We went to sleep in the evening yesterday, so she got 6 hours of sleep at best?
If that’s how it usually is, then she’s not getting enough sleep. But she looked so happy when she talked about the tavern, so I can’t just tell her to quit. And I already gave her my permission, apparently. Hmm, what should I do?
「Could you change your working hours? Like to the evening. That’s usually when I go to the tavern anyway.」
「Then I wouldn’t be able to stay by Master’s side.」
「…But you aren’t getting much sleep like this, are you?」
Yuel’s head droops. She doesn’t have time to sleep after all.
「You know, Yuel, that uniform looks really good on you. I’d like to see you work while wearing it. But I can’t do that late at night, right?」
「I-It… looks good on me?」
Yuel lets go of me and starts to put on the waitress uniform. …F-Finally I’m free.
「Yeah, I was thinking of giving Yuel a skirt as a present before today. But, if I can see you wearing a skirt in the tavern every evening, I’d be happy to buy you something else you want?」
「S-Something I want…? …Umm, I will try to discuss my hours with the barmaster.」
To be honest, it feels like Yuel would be happy no matter what I gave her, which makes it hard to choose. On the other hand, Yuel rarely talks about what she wants for herself. I should make use of this opportunity. Frankly, I have no desire to enter the labyrinth today, so I’d be fine spending the whole day shopping.
While I’m thinking about it, I hear a knock at the door.
「Here is some additional water, once you are done please bring it down or leave it in the room as is.」
The voice of the inn’s poster girl, Downblouse-san, calls out.
Upon hearing that, Yuel notices. That we’ve only wiped the upper half of my body.
「I’ll help with the lower half too.」
「……I’ll do it myself.」