(151) Steam-san, it’s your turn now
Measuring by eye, the water temperature was 55 degrees. However, measuring temperature by sight is a little awkward, as the only thing that can be judged is the amount of steam and that it’s a measuring method that can easily be overturned just by using dry ice. Actually, the amount of steam changes with humidity, wind speed and etc so there’s also a need to measure the surrounding temperature first but I believed that my prediction was roughly correct.
That’s why, I had to lower the temperature by at least 10, no, 15 degrees before we could enter the hot spring. I really wanted to toss dry ice into it.
Thus, I immediately used that.
I tried using the 「Ice」skill I learned after reaching Ice Magic II. A huge icicle pierced the surface of the hot spring and floated up.
I described it as huge but its length was only about 3 meters.
Using that alone would be like pouring water on a hot stone.
“Fumu …. ”
At this rate, even if I continuously used 「Ice」, it would take quite some time.
If that’s the case, I used that skill instead.
“Magical Power Boost!”
Super boosted Ice Magic, to describe it in words, it was as if I released a spell capable of annihilating a company of enemy troops. I felt it rob me of my magical power from the depths of my body.
It was a contradiction to see that magical power accumulating when my magical power was being snatched.
I condensed the power within my hand.
If it’s now, if it’s now, I can use it!
【Ice proficiency level increased to Lv2】
I collapsed as I heard the message that my ice proficiency went up. My magical power had been depleted.
Maybe because I was rushing to enter the hot spring, I forgot to switch my main job to Magician.
That’s why I immediately fell into magical power depletion.
Even so, the power was overwhelming.
Not only was there a huge piece of ice floating in the center of the hot spring, there was a thin layer of ice stretched across the water surface. Just like an ice skating rink. It was glittering.
“I, I overdid it …”
Or so I thought but the ice on the hot spring surface quickly melted and steam once again rose up.
I crawled closer to the hot spring and placed my hand in it.
Water temperature 43 degrees. It was slightly hot but it’s safe to enter.
The ice chunk in the center was still there so maybe the temperature would fall to about 38 degrees in the end?
“I, Ichino-sama, do you really want to enter a hot spring that badly?”
“Precisely by doing this much that it would feel better when I enter — Sorry but could I enter first?”
I said as I somehow got up to and maintained a sitting position before I started taking my shirt off.
” … Er, could Carol enter the hot spring now as well?”
“Carol … you.”
… That’s right, I knew about Carol’s feelings.
“I see, Carol wants to enter the hot spring too. But, I have to be the first to enter the hot spring after all — in Japan, Miri was always stealing the first place.”
Miri liked hot springs to quite a considerable extent. Just like a certain young lady from Genji.
“No, I wish to enter the hot spring together with Ichino-sama.”
Ah, hahaha, so Carol wants to enter together huh.
A male and female entering hot springs together, that’s already a mixed bath.
Mixed bath huh, that’s the dream of most men. A man’s romance.
Now that I think about it, last year, I went to a spa town with Miri. At that time, I heard that there was a mixed bath nearby (But the dressing rooms were separate and men and women could enter together but there was a boundary inside the hot spring that the genders could not cross) and I sneaked away from Miri and secretly went to the mixed bath (Like a crocodile lying in wait for young women to enter).
After waiting for about an hour, I thought I heard the voice of a young woman and turned around to see.
“It’s the young woman Onii wanted to see. How is it, are you excited?”
Miri appeared saying those words.
I wanted to scream “What’s the romance in going to mixed bath with a younger sister!”. I wanted to scream “If I want to, I can do so anytime I wish at home!”. Even before those, I shouted, “I can’t enter a mixed bath with a younger sister who hasn’t even gotten married!” and completely denying what I’ve been doing, I immediately made my younger sister leave the mixed bath. Incidentally, when we left the hot spring, there was a ‘temporary closed’ signage put up at the hot spring house which explained why there weren’t any women or men entering. It’s a pathetic story whereby both the brother and sister overlooked the conspicuous sign.
The next day, in that spa town, I heard a story of a girl who put in a lot of money to book an entire hot spring for three hours to enter the hot spring together with the guy she likes. I cursed that enviable man. As expected, to fully enjoy a mixed bath, unlike a guy like me who travels with his younger sister, it would have to be a Riaju-like guy so after that incident, I no longer held any expectations towards mixed baths.
After that long reminiscence, I shook my head.
“No no, that would be bad. Entering the hot spring together.”
“Usually men and women enter separately for hot springs right?”
“But, Ichino-sama said Carol was still young so, er, you said won’t do e … ecchi stuff.”
” … I did say that.”
I don’t remember saying it so explicitly but I certainly did say something similar before.
“Would Ichino-sama will feel guilty if he sees Carol’s naked body and er, do weird things?”
“Definitely not! I will not do something Carol doesn’t feel comfortable with.”
“Then, there shouldn’t be any problems entering the hot springs together right?”
” … Eh? Really?”
Once she put it that way, I realized that it didn’t seem that there would be any problems entering the hot spring with Carol.
” … There won’t be any problems entering the hot springs together?”
“No problems. Carol will help Ichino-sama wash his back.”
” ……… Let’s enter together?”
Seeing Carol nod with a smile, I somehow could not wipe off the feeling that I had made a huge mistake and that I was talked into it by Carol.
I took off my clothes and entered the hot spring.
Naturally, I did not forget to use the Lifestyle Magic 「Clean」 on myself as a substitute to showering before entering the hot spring.
I also applied 「Clean」on Carol while she had her clothes on.
“It’s a strange feeling to clean the body before entering the bath.”
She said but the purpose of a hot spring is to not only cleanse the body but also for relaxation.
The temperature of the hot spring was lowered to about 41 degrees. It might have been a little hot for Carol.
Putting that aside — I looked down at my feet. From the way the rocks were organized, the hot spring did not look natural no matter how I looked at it.
Even though I say that, there were no traces of anyone living there and there wasn’t any path either.
However, there was something strange.
There wasn’t much debris floating on the surface of the hot spring.
Normally, a natural hot spring like that should have leaves and such floating on the surface. I wonder just what was the reason behind it?
As I was lost in thought.
“Ichino-sama, how is the water?”
“It’s a little hot but it feels good.”
I turned back to reply to realize my enormous mistake — Carol was there without a single thread on her.
This, isn’t this quite bad?
If handled poorly, won’t this enter the adult’s section?
The sole saving grace was that steam-san was still doing his work properly even now.
I’ll continue the story of the mixed bath, oops, mystery story a little more.