Chapter 46 – Earthly Utopia
Even now I’m reminded of it when watching the moon.
──No matter what I did, I was always alone.
When I was walking on the street people would move away from me, sneer at me, and whisper to each other. Some of them were looking at me with scornful eyes because of what was on the back of my hand and some of them were looking at me with absolute hatred.
I remember it took me quite a while to recover from that.
Even then, I decided to live according to this world’s common sense.
I begged to be allowed into the Magic Academy, where I spent all my time learning magic. Even if I was beaten, I did my best so much it proved a risk to my life.
So that somehow, someday, the people would accept me once again.
However, such a day did not come even at the very end.
That’s why I still think about it when I look at the shining moon in the night sky.
My former self, who was all alone and tried to reach for the moon, knowing it to be impossible. My former self that still believed that he would be able to see the sun one day──
──It’s my dark history.
Before I came back, I spent my last years writing poems like that, but I ended up burning it all before I died.
Anyhow, when I’m alone, I can be maudlin about anything. I would ascribe some special meanings to yawns and coughs even. That’s how I was in my later years.
Though now that I think of it, being alone is not that bad either.
No need to needlessly flatter anyone. No one to disturb me while I read a book. I can monopolize the beautiful moon….. and take a bath alone in peace.
So, being alone is not that bad either.
That’s how I see it now.
“Chuu!! Those who finish reading the instructions in front of the entrance go in first!!”
The voices of the mouse people reverberated against the huge domed ceiling.
Perhaps it’s because the floor, the walls, and the ceiling are all made of marble, but sounds echoed really well inside. It made it sound like there were hundreds, no, thousands of mouse people present. Though in total they did have that number…..
I was currently in the grand bathhouse of Alus Island.
Historians frequently liken ancient grand bathhouses to an earthly utopia.
It’s said that the uncommon obsession of the people of the empire about taking baths was about emulating the heavens where the gods reside.
This “earthly utopia” gets frequently brought up as an example when people argue against slothful behavior and needless luxuries, saying that the reason the ancient Luxia Empire broke up and fell into ruin was because they created places like this.
Well, all that doesn’t really matter, but suffice it to say, the accommodations in this bathhouse were simply breathtaking.
The first difference was in its interior design.
The marble walls were all engraved with various images, while the domed ceiling was adorned with glass-like features.
Not only that, but there were also magic tools that create bubble baths and ones that envelop the area with warm steam. Furthermore, all the water that came out of the faucets was hot.
At first, the floor and the walls were covered in moss and mold, and the baths contained some kind of mysterious green liquid. The bathhouse was not remotely in a state that could be used right away.
However, the slimes removed the moss and mold, while the golems and the blue-haired people repaired the broken parts of the floor and the walls.
So by today, it regained a sparkle that makes it seem like it’s a newly constructed building. The baths are filled with hot water that has a restorative effect on people.
“This indeed feels like an earthly utopia…..when talking about the accommodations of course.”
“Chuu! I want to quickly jump into the water-ssu!”
…..even though it’s a wonderful bathhouse, it’s very noisy right now.
It seems the mouse people couldn’t hide their excitement about going into the bathhouse for the first time.
“You need to wash yourself properly before going in! It’s difficult to wash your own back, so ask someone else to do it for you! Dirtying the bathwater is absolutely forbidden!”
Tia shouted at the ones entering the bathhouse.
Everyone seemed to be properly obeying the rules.
The mouse people were scrubbing themselves with a piece of cloth and bubbling soap, then rinsing off with the warm water coming out from pipes like rain.
The slimes also rinsed themselves off with hot water. With how their bodies seemed to be melting in reaction to it, I was kind of worried that they would be washed away.
Also, the golems and armor people were also washing away the dirt from themselves. It seems they were being all proud about their shiny stone and suit of armor bodies.
I also sat down and hurried to wash myself as quickly as possible, like I did before I came back and when I was taking a bath at our headquarters.
“It’s really nice to have all this hot water…..hmm?”
I thought I heard voices different from the mouse people.
However, I couldn’t be sure because the mouse people were just that loud.
I thought it must’ve been just my imagination, so I returned to washing myself.
However, suddenly a woman sat down next to me.
Long and slender arms and legs and silky smooth skin….elegantly statuesque body with a hint of abs.
Raising my gaze, I saw Elysia sitting there with long blond hair tied together in the back.
“Eh, Elysia? W-why are you here?”
“Alec-sama, I will wash your back.”
“N-no need, really…..I can do it by myself.”
“But Alec-sama, we will need to go to the capital soon. Please allow me to learn some things.”
“Learn what exactly….? A-anyway, no one will be able to see me taking a bath in the capital either, so it’s fine.”
Elysia will need to act properly as my servant in the palace and such places. She indeed needs to practice for that, but….
“I-It’s possible that someone might peek, right!?”
“W-why would something like that happen? Well, it’s possible that we could be attacked while we are in the bath though.”
One of the reasons why the imperial family and nobles bring servants into the bath with them is to prevent assassinations. I often heard about cases where mostly lower ranking nobles were assassinated while taking a bath alone.
“I-I’m fine, really!”
“E-excuse me then.”
Perhaps because I answered too strongly, Elysia looked really downcast.
──There is no need to feel that down from something like this.
Come to think of it, I didn’t really do anything for Elysia, despite her faithfully following me until now…..I kind of feel bad about it now.
I don’t see how letting her wash my back would serve as thanks to her, but for some reason she keeps asking to do it for a while now.
Well, if it’s just washing my back, then….
“W-well, uhm, if it’s just my back, then…..”
As I said that, Elysia’s expression lit up in an instant.
“Y-yeah. But, just my back though.”
“I understand that perfectly. It’s too early for Alec-sama…..though I would welcome it anytime myself.”
What would she welcome exactly, I have no idea…..
“A-anyway, if you want to wash it, then hurry up…..or I will do it myself.”
Elysia replied, then moved behind me and started to wash the hard to reach places, like my neck and back, with her bare hands.
“A-are you not using a washcloth?”
“You….don’t like it?”
“I-I wouldn’t go that far.”
Feeling the silky skin of Elysia’s hands, I felt kind of embarrassed.
That being said, getting touched like this by another person is something that never happened to me before I came back. Elysia’s gentle ministrations made me feel kind of relaxed.
My embarrassment steadily went away.
Even the voices of the mouse people that I’ve found grating until now started to feel lively instead. There were even some that were humming to themselves.
“What is it, Alec-sama?”
“No, it’s just….this is kind of great. Perhaps even a bit more would be….”
It’s good to be alone, but sometimes being part of a lively scene might not be that bad either. It would be fine if it was a bit more lively, even.
Before I came back, all I wanted was to get back at people or have them accept me or such.
However, in reality….I might’ve been just simply sad about being alone.
Of course, I still want my alone time, but I would like to be able to live together like this with everyone forever if possible.
There are still many things to feel anxious about, like the reason why the Angel attacked me and the fact that I’ll have to meet the emperor soon. There are many things I still don’t know about Dark Magic as well…..
Only after overcoming those will I be able to live my life in peace.
Anyhow, right now I need to be thankful to Elysia, who accompanied me until now.
As I thought that and turned to Elysia….
I saw Elysia with a rapturous expression on her face.
“A-Alec-sama…..thank you very much!! Then I will do that ‘more’ right now!”
“T-that’s not what I meant at all! ──!?”
“Alec-sama! I will meticulously clean every inch of your body, Alec-sama! Buhihih!”
“Stop it, Elysia! I can wash there myself! T-this is already….-!?”
I tried to stand up and leave, but then I noticed a group of breathtakingly beautiful women standing nearby.
“Yuuri…..Serena. Also, Tika and Nat.”
They all had towels hiding their chests and hips, but…..I was still unable to look straight at them.
Then Yuuri spoke with her cheeks puffed out.
“That’s so unfair! Leaving us out like this, Elysia!”
“That’s right! Trying to hog Alec-sama’s cute body to yourself like that…..!”
Everyone looked at Serena in shock after she said that.
Then Tika spoke up in panic.
“T-that’s not it. We agreed on the pretext that we need to act like proper servants while in the capital, so we need to learn how to wash your body.”
“Tika…..You’ve also said something that shouldn’t have been said out loud.”
Hearing Nat’s words, Tika covered her mouth with both hands.
Serena turned towards me and tried to speak while trying to not look me in the eyes.
“W-we also wanted to learn how to act like proper servants while in the capital!! P-please teach us how servants should act when an imperial scion takes a bath!”
“You just blurted out your real thoughts…..Did you really expect for him to believe all that at this point?”
Just how are they looking at me….? I’m still a child, you know.
“A-anyway, enough about my body already! I can wash it by myself!”
“T-there’s no need for that, please!”
Elysia tried to stop me in a panic.
However, I used 《Teleport》 and…..
“….what? I can’t use 《Teleport》? Ah……”
The water from Alus used in this bath is filled with Holy Mana. Not just the water, even the strangely thick steam originally came from that water as well.
Therefore, this bathhouse is currently suffused with Holy mana, making using Dark Magic here highly problematic.
“No way, did you all….plan to take advantage of this to….”
Elysia and the others’ expressions turned a tad apologetic.
It seems their plan was to trap me in the bathhouse.
“W-we just wanted to….with Alec-sama….”
“I know that you didn’t have any ill-intentions with this, but…..I will just wash myself and──ah!?”
Saying that, I tried to sit down on my seat, but then I slipped on a bar of soap somehow.
I tried to quickly dampen the impact with Wind Magic, but everyone still rushed over to me.
The one who managed to catch me first was Elyc, the slime. Then some other slimes came to support me as well, making them feel like I was lying on a sofa.
“T-thank you, Elyc, everyone.”
“Alec-sama, I’m terribly sorry!? Are you alright!? ….kyaah!?”
Serena also slipped, making Elysia and the others fall beside me.
Trying to catch Elysia and others as well, the slimes spread out their bodies.
However, thanks to that we just got covered in a viscous liquid.
Elysia and the others were pale as they looked at me. The towels they all had around themselves fell away somehow.
…..when taking a bath, it’s best to be alone.
Even while I was thinking that, seeing the apologetic group, I allowed everyone to wash my back.
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