(406) Voyage Night
Rather than a double bed, there was a king-sized bed in the room.
In fact, I was forced to point out the structural defect of the room for having 80% of the room occupied by the bed.
That said, it seemed to have been made with good materials as the futon was light and yet warm.
“This feels great. What fur is this?”
I felt as though I recently just touched this but where?
Just as I came to the answer on my own, Carol gave me the answer.
“This is Fenrir’s fur. Last night, when Sheena No.3 was looking for materials for Ichino-sama’s bed, Miri-sama prepared it for her.”
“ … I heard Fenrir’s mournful howling from a distance.”
Now that she mentioned it, I recall hearing a howling dog last night.
I couldn’t sleep because I had too many thoughts.
That was such a sad story.
With Fenrir’s giant size, this amount of fur might just be a 10 yen-sized bald spot for a human but it was still a pity to be shaved for a futon.
Nevertheless, it truly felt nice.
“Master, if you like stroking Fenrir’s fur, please stroke my tail too.”
Haru said with her usual expressionless face but behind that face, I could tell emotions such as embarrassment and a little bit of jealousy.
If there was a Haru emotion reading test, I would be first-class as I have become able to tell what she was thinking without looking at her tail. Would I be able to get the job if I pay the examination fee?
I thought about such pointless thoughts as I tightly squeezed the very end of Haru’s tail.
Haru made a sound I had never heard before because I suddenly grasped her tail.
Just like a cat.
Then, I loosened my grip a little and massaged it.
Her nerves which seemed to have become sensitive from the initial strong stimulus brought a bigger change in Haru’s facial expression than usual.
That was a technique Neete secretly taught me but it was outstandingly effective.
“Master …. is a little … more than usual.”
“Do you want me to stop?”
“Anything master wants.”
I would prefer if she replied with ‘please don’t stop’ in situations like these but she left the decision to me.
A man who is good at pushing and pulling would loosen his hand here and engrave her expression of regret in his heart but unfortunately, I was not good at that and did not want to stop touching her tail for a second.
“Ichino-sama, please don’t just touch Haru-san, please touch Carol’s tail too.”
“What are you saying? Carol doesn’t have a – -”
I couldn’t complete my sentence.
Because Carol beside me had dachshund-like drooping dog ears and a fluffy tail.
How did she – –
Even though she usually used it to transform into the form of an adult, so it could be used this way as well?
I used my left hand to stroke Haru’s tail and my right hand to stroke Carol’s tail.
So soft … what’s this?
The sensation was more similar to fluffy sheep wool rather than a dog’s tail.
That’s bad, my hand was being mesmerized by the tail. It felt very different from how it looked. What on earth was this? Right, that was only an illusion so the actual sensation was different. Putting it differently, she can manifest any kind of sensation.
“Ich-Ichino-sama, if you stroke me like that … Carol will turn weird.”
Now then, what was I actually rubbing?
Even though I was a little concerned, the fingers of both my hands didn’t stop.
Not just the tails, I also enjoyed their animal ears.
However, it seemed that such times don’t last for eternity.
“Then, next, we will – -”
“Carol and Haru will help to massage Ichino-sama.”
The offense and defense changed sides.
I naturally didn’t have a tail so – –
“What’s this? I might manifest a new inclination.”
A new sensation of two beautiful ladies stroking my ears.
I had my ears cleaned before but that was my first ear massage.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I was the first Japanese person to receive an ear massage?
“I heard from Miri-san. An ear massage will regulate the autonomic nervous system, is effective for bad conditions and malaise, and has a very high relaxing effect. It was apparently a relatively common massage in the world Ichino-sama was born in.”
Carol told me what she heard from Miri.
I guess claiming I was the first Japanese was an exaggeration. It was embarrassing.
“I see. So master always massaged our ears intensively to make us relax.”
Haru was convinced but she was mistaken.
That was the first time I heard of such effects.
However, it was true that an ear massage felt good.
I felt like falling asleep slowly.
Just when I had that thought – –
I inadvertently leaked a cry.
Carol bit my right ear.
Haru-san, say something.
“Please excuse me, master.”
Haru lightly nibbled my ear.
Carol probably realized that I was about to fall asleep.
Ah, I see.
I cast the soundproofing spell.
Now then, the real deal was about to start.
With my condition in great shape with Stamina Heal, I exited to the deck.
It was completely dark out and it would have been terrifying to walk if not for the dark vision skill.
“It seems like you had fun last night.”
Miri called out. It was a little strange to use the expression ‘last night’ even though the night was not over yet but it wasn’t the time to point that out.
Her voice sounded like she suppressed and killed her emotions and it was a little frightening.
“What are you talking about? It was just a break.”
I couldn’t hide my anxiety and ended up speaking monotonously.
There was no proof.
The Clean spell is perfect. It was too excessive so I used magic around the entire room to destroy the evidence – – no, to clean the room.
No matter how much Neete and Miri were hinting at it, I didn’t want to be judged with ‘What are you doing in this situation?’.
“Neete went to call because dinner was ready but I heard that nobody answered? As though there was perfect soundproofing.”
“ … Ah, perhaps we were too deep in sleep and didn’t notice.”
I’m glad I locked the room.
“Well, you don’t seem as tired anymore – – eh, Onii, what are you doing!”
“What? It’s an ear massage. Didn’t you teach Carol this?”
I circled around Miri and massaged both her ears.
“Wait … as expected, brother and sisters … shouldn’t do it?”
What was she talking about?
She cleaned my ear for me in the past so there’s no reason why an ear massage was not acceptable.
“Relax. You’re tired too, right? Stamina Heal.”
I continued massaging Miri’s ears while applying magic to restore her stamina.
Her ears were tiny but I felt that it was a little bigger than when she was a kid.
Now that I think about it, it’s been a long time since I had Miri clean my ears.
“It’s been a long time since I let you clean my ears.”
“We can’t really do that on a swaying boat.”
“I know. I didn’t say it because I want you to do it.”
Miri said and then,
“Onii, seiza there!”
Because she suddenly raised her voice, I sat in seiza position like a conditioned reflex.
Then, she used my lap as a pillow and lied down.
“Even if we can’t clean ears, a lap pillow is still okay.”
“ … But, why?”
“Because this is the limit for siblings. Onii, have I talked about my previous life in Japan?”
“Erm, the one where you were the original Princess Kaguya?”
“Yup, the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter was created based on my story and in the first place, the true memories regarding Kaguya were lost the moment I transferred to Otherworld.”
But Miri said that the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter was still created from the little remaining memories and records.
“Nevertheless, there were some truths.”
“Well, the name Kaguya was retained as well.”
“Yes. One was that I was a beautiful woman that was loved by the people.”
Was she joking? Or was she serious?
You won’t get divine punishment if you don’t touch a god, so I’ll refrain from touching upon it.
“Another was that Kaguya was together with the emperor.”
Now that she mentioned it, I heard that the previous life Famiris Raritei was not a virgin. It was a little shocking to hear that my younger sister climbed the stairs to adulthood more than a thousand years before her brother.
“Ah, don’t misunderstand. Kaguya and the emperor had a platonic relationship. They had not even kissed.”
“Yup. They said that I had strong powers as a shrine maiden, right? But a shrine maiden would not be able to channel power if she was not a virgin. So when I was a shrine maiden, I did not experience anything, in fact, I didn’t even experience a kiss. After coming to this world for over a thousand years, such a partner has not appeared either.”
“ … Then the talk about you not being a virgin?”
“I told the Goddesses that. I even lied to my heart. It was a kind of pride.”
Just like how a guy would claim to not be a virgin.
So Miri had such a period too.
“But why bring up that topic now?”
“Kaguya never forgot about the emperor all that time even after transferring to this Otherworld. Because of that, I continued research on Earth and looked for clues regarding the Demon Gods, and then … made a deal with the heroes.”
She wanted to use the power of the Demon Gods to reincarnate at the side of the emperor while retaining her memories.
“It’s a lie that they say love would be lost after two years. I still love the emperor after more than a thousand years have passed. Even though it’s the emperor who easily gave up on me and offered me to the Onmyoji. Since then, I have been working with the hero and Metias. Even though I sealed my powers and didn’t show it. Well, Daijiro knew it. The method to retain my memories and reincarnate in Japan. Our pass fate where we touched sleeves – – since I promised to marry in my previous life, I was certain that I would be reincarnated beside the emperor. But, I didn’t know what circumstance I would meet him in. Perhaps the emperor would be reborn as a girl or he would be an old man with a short life. In the first place, it was a fact that the emperor cleanly forgot about me. Nevertheless, I wanted to go to the emperor’s side. So, I taught the hero … the method to give birth to monsters from the Goddess Statue.”
“ – – !?”
Famiris Raritei seemed to have researched how the miasma flows through the Goddess Statues and into the Ley Lines before the purified energy returned to the earth.
Part of that research was the artificial labyrinth managed by Sheena No.3.
That labyrinth was located on an uninhabited island with large amounts of miasma, perfect for conducting research without inconveniencing anyone.
“I had quite a terrible experiment there. For example, I was wondering if I could return to earth using the energy from an explosion after purifying a condensed clump of miasma gathered from the manmade labyrinth. That experiment failed miserably and the miasma possessed a nearby sea dragon, turning it into the monster called the Leviathan.”
So the Leviathan was Miri’s – – no, Famiris’ creation from a failed experiment?
When Miri saw Tet-sama’s figure being eroded by miasma, she commented ‘She looks terrible’ and Libra-sama chided her with ‘Have you forgotten what you did in the past?’.
In other words, was Tet-sama’s transformation similar to how the sea dragon turned into a monster?
“The conversation has deviated a little. Returning to the topic, I told the hero. Once the world is peaceful, the power of magic stones is needed for reconstruction. I wanted him to generate monsters from the Goddess Statue and defeat them to gather magic stones and make them into energy. So I told him.”
Then, Famiris Raritei was killed and I was given a new life as Kusunoki Miri. While retaining the memories of my past life.
Without knowing that it was due to the power of Metias who became a Demon God.
“When I heard that there was a large number of monsters spawning in Dakyat, I thought that somebody was abusing the research material hidden in the Demon Lord castle. I ordered them to be disposed of but perhaps the subordinate smuggled it out. But that was not it. Daijiro taught them.”
“Daijiro-san knew about everything?”
“Well, I guess so. Since she has the same goal as I had to return to Japan. But the decisive difference is that Daijiro doesn’t want to destroy this world. Because of that, it seemed that she separated from the hero. That said, she did not plan to stop the hero at all and apparently wanted to transfer to Japan during the chaos once the Demon God revives due to the hero’s actions. So she moved a lot behind the scenes.”
“But why did Daijiro-san travel toward the Eastern continent?”
“Onii, you revived the Salamander and presented it to Setolance, right? Similarly, she plans to revive the Undine sealed in the Eastern continent and present it to Libra. Since she realized that it would be dangerous if the Goddesses are pushed back further.”
Likewise, Koshmar is trying to gain the power of Gnome that is sealed in the Western continent and Torerul is trying to gain the power of the Sylph sealed in the Northern continent.
It would be game over once Metias and others assemble three more Demon Gods.
“The story has gone off the tracks but that’s the situation now. I have a responsibility to stop the incident this time. I came to this world for Onii but also, more importantly, to take responsibility.”
I believe that was a lie.
Before Miri came to this world, she wouldn’t have known how the hero would use the information she passed to him.
Even though it was obvious she came to this world for me, my younger sister told a gentle lie.
“That’s why, I want to tell Onii that even if we fail and I have to become a Goddess, you don’t have to feel responsible. Or rather, I believe I will likely become a Goddess so I’m just saying this in advance.”
“Don’t say that you will probably become a Goddess.”
Doesn’t that mean she thinks that I’m likely to fail?
But I guess that was Miri’s way to show consideration.
Now that I think about it, she didn’t talk about the core of the story.
“So Miri, did you manage to meet the emperor after you were reincarnated?”
“There was no way to tell. It wasn’t easy to investigate the previous life of humans and in the first place, they wouldn’t care about the previous life after they have been reincarnated.”
“Yes – – I wondered just why did I try to reincarnate.”
Miri said as she pressed and drilled at my knee.
It was a little painful.
“Once it’s over, clean my ear for me.”
“I can clean your ear once we land – -”
“Stupid Onii. Don’t you know girls can do their best if they have something to look forward to?”
Miri said as she got up.
Although I couldn’t understand how getting her ears cleaned by me was something to look forward to, I could understand what she wanted to convey.
“Right. When everything is over, let’s eat eel and barbecue together.”
“ … Yup.”
Miri replied and looked up at the sky.
I looked up in response and although it is a conventional expression, the waning crescent moon seemed like it was smiling.