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“Yeah. Are you okay, Ina?” (Souma)
I don’t know why she is this surprised just from opening the door, but I can’t just leave a girl sitting on her butt in the corridor.
For now, I leave the questioning of the situation for later and extend a hand to Ina.
“U-Uhm…I-I’m sorry.” (Ina)
Ina took my hand in a strangely flustered fashion.
Ina was holding my hand way too softly no matter how you see it, so I grabbed her hand tightly instead and pulled her up.
I did try to hold back there, but I pulled her with more strength than I thought, I was about to crash with Ina.
We stopped just before that happened, but the scent of soap wafted from Ina’s hair at that moment, and it tickled my nose.
“I-I’m sorry…!” (Ina)
But that was only for a moment.
She soon moved away from me as if she bounced off from me, and lowered her head.
“Same here…” (Souma)
Even while answering like that, I had my attention taken by Ina who has a different atmosphere from usual.
Maybe because there’s no AI set in Nekomimi Neko to take off your equipment inside the store, it was normal for adventurers to pass their time in the house in full armor.
Ina had mithril equipment at the dining table just now as well.
However, Ina is currently wearing house clothes. Something that looks like a thin one piece.
Ina wearing those clothes that seem familiar from somewhere with her face half sunk into the cushion which made her look more feminine than usual.
Ina was fidgeting and I could smell the faint scent of soap.
When I moved my gaze upwards, there was soft bright chestnut color hair that’s as if it were showing her personality, but it is slightly damp.
“Aah, could it be that you took a shower?” (Souma)
“Eh? Y-Yesh!” (Ina)
The moment I asked this, Ina’s shoulder jumped.
I also noticed that Ina held the cushion tighter.
That’s a bigger reaction than I thought.
(Aah, I see. I messed up there…) (Souma)
Throwing the topic of bathing to a girl must have been a bit tactless -is what I thought, but in the case of our place, the situation changes a little bit.
Our bath has the risk of drowning to death with the underwater DoT <damage over time>.
Even if it is awkward, I can’t just not ask.
By the way, if you equip the underwater ring before you enter, there’s no need to worry about drowning to death, but it also cancels the effects of water, so there would be no point in bathing.
“Ah, no, I am sorry for asking this all of a sudden, but the bath in our house is dangerous. There’s a chance to drown and die, so uhm…” (Souma)
Even when I said it myself, it sounded like such a lie, I could feel my heart breaking.
But Ina shook her head to the sides.
“Y-Yeah, I know that. Hisame-san told me and kept watch for me.” (Ina)
“Eh? Ah, I see…” (Souma)
Looks like Mitsuki has already told her about the bath.
Mitsuki may look like a battle junkie, but she is pretty attentive to the small details.
(Gotta thank Mitsuki.) (Souma)
There’s a variety of things I had to think of today, and in this world where the game settings are sticking, the body and clothes don’t get that dirty.
You end up getting further away from the bathing practice, but that won’t go for Ina who is a girl.
And then, Ina nodded lightly at me as if supporting my thoughts.
“Y-Yes. Uhm, I wanted to take a bath today no matter what…” (Ina)
Speaking of which, thinking about it in Ina’s perspective, she was planning on heading to the capital, but her Magic Airship crashed, she ran around in a high level area, and by the time she noticed, she was in a weird mansion, and ended up living in it; a day full of events.
Of course she would want to take a breather in the bath.
“Sorry about that. You didn’t get much time, right?” (Souma)
Knowing Ina, she probably couldn’t relax with Mitsuki being the one on watch.
I asked this thinking that, but…
“N-No, I properly cleaned every…n-nook and cranny…on my whole body.” (Ina)
Ina said this in one breath, and once again sunk half of her face in her cushion.
I asked her because I was wondering if she managed to take her time and relax, but it seems like she took it as me questioning whether she managed to clean herself properly.
Maybe bathing for the people in this world isn’t a place where you relax in but simply a place where you clean up yourself.
I looked at Ina while thinking this and noticed that her legs were trembling faintly.
Of course she would be cold right after getting out of the bath with such thin clothing.
“This isn’t the best place to be having a talk, so how about coming in?” (Souma)
“Eh, u-uhm…” (Ina)
Ina seemed to be troubled here, but it would be troubling if she were to catch a cold here.
“Come on in.” (Souma)
I pulled her arm slightly forcefully here to guide her in. Ina then took a deep breath and…
She answered with her voice trembling slightly and entered the room.
“This is the room of Souma-san…” (Ina)
Ina said this while looking around the room, but it is not like there’s any noteworthy thing in it.
This room was a Trompe-l’œil to begin with.
I had the help of the dolls in the mansion and almost all of the drawings on the wall have been repainted, but because most of the furniture was Trompe-l’œil, it is now a pretty tasteless room.
“I am sorry, but there’s no chairs here, so please take a seat on the bed there.” (Souma)
“At the b-bed…?” (Ina)
When I said this, Ina, who was looking around the room, froze.
She headed to the bed with strangely robotic movements.
“E-Excuse the intrusion.” (Ina)
She is acting like a scared student entering the teacher’s office as she sat there.
But it is not like she relaxed after sitting down. She hugged her cushion tightly as if that were her last bastion, moreover, her way of sitting was shockingly shallow.
It is like she is sitting right at the very tip of the bed.
That sight of hers is like that of a small critter in a dangerous place, trying its best to not make a sound. It might be basic practice for adventurers in a sense, but it is far from the sight of a person relaxing in a room.
The moment I was about to speak…
The door of my room was knocked on for the third time today.
I’m having a whole lot of visitors today.
Surprised by that sound, Ina jumped like she was actually a little animal scared of sounds.
I walked over to the door with her at my peripheral.
“Apologies for the late intrusion. There’s something I would like to enquire about…”
The one that was at the other side of the door was Mitsuki speaking to me politely.
I was somewhat relieved by this.
“Mitsuki, huh. That’s a relief. Just now—” (Souma)
Just now Ina came -is what I was about to say, but there was Ina shaking her head profusely in the corner of my vision, so I stopped myself.
“Just now what?” (Mitsuki)
“No…just now, I was about to go to sleep. If you have some business, can you leave it for tomorrow?” (Souma)
When I corrected myself there, Ina sighed as if relieved.
Looks like that was the correct answer.
“I see. Then, it can’t be helped.” (Mitsuki)
“Sorry about that… by the way, what was it?” (Souma)
“It is nothing big. It is just that…there’s someone…that I can’t see, so I came here to check for any ideas.” (Mitsuki)
Ina once again twitched drastically at Mitsuki’s words and slipped down from the bed.
(Aah, she totally knows…) (Souma)
She is talking as if she is searching for someone she can’t see, but she has the Explorer Ring and excels at sensing presences.
There’s no way she hasn’t noticed that Ina is here.
I don’t know the reason why, but she probably came here to put pressure on me or Ina.
“Well then, good night.” (Mitsuki)
“Yeah, see you tomorrow.” (Souma)
However, she didn’t seem to be too persistent about it and easily left.
“…U-Uhm, has Hisame-san left?” (Ina)
“Eh? Y-Yeah.” (Souma)
I was listening to the footsteps of Mitsuki that were getting further and further away, but Ina’s voice brought me back.
When I looked back, there was Ina sitting on her knees on the floor.
“Uuh, I thought my heart would jump out from my mouth there.” (Ina)
That pathetic sight of Ina felt nostalgic and I ended up laughing.
“Can’t get used to Mitsuki yet?” (Souma)
“It is not about getting used to it. It is just that…having other people see me at a place like this is…uuuh—!” (Ina)
Ina flapped her legs as if unable to endure something.
I hope that doesn’t mean it would be so embarrassing to be seen together with me that she would die.
I want to believe that’s not what it is when it comes to Ina.
“W-Well, she is already gone, so it should be okay. More importantly, what business do you have, Ina…?” (Souma)
Just when I was about to finish saying what I wanted to say, the door was knocked on, and Ina jumped once again.
“What is it this time…?” (Souma)
I open the door while letting out a sigh.
The one at the other side of the door was a single doll.
“What. Isn’t that you, Christina? Is something the matter?” (Souma)
Christina is one of the dolls in this mansion, and she is a good girl that proactively helps out in the house chores.
Aside from her blank eyes which I can’t tell where she is looking at, and how she brings out a kitchen knife with a red stain whenever she gets excited, you could say she is really easy to deal with.
It seems like she is currently excited. She is waving around a red stained kitchen knife with her blank eyes, seemingly trying to tell me something, but I can’t tell what she is trying to tell me.
When Christina realized I wasn’t getting it, her eyes turned blank and she left.
I turn back to Ina while hoping this is not the omen of a big incident.
Ina was sitting on the ground as usual, her mouth flapping as she pointed at the already closed door.
“A d-doll…a doll holding a kitchen knife…” (Ina)
“Aah, that was Christina. Don’t you remember? She was the one that carried the tableware at dinner today.” (Souma)
Well, Christina is a name that I just gave her myself, so I don’t know her real name just like the Bear.
“A-As if I could tell something like that.” (Ina)
I was about to lecture Ina, who let out a pitiful yelp, on how to tell the dolls apart, but…
The door was knocked on again.
Ina jumped as per tradition and directed a scared gaze at the door, but I myself am already getting tired of this.
Could it be that I am getting so many visitors today because I defeated the Demon Lord?
I had that harmless thought while I opened the door.
The one standing at the other side of the door was, as expected, a resident of the mansion.
“What. Isn’t it Reiko-san? Is something the matter?” (Souma)
Reiko-san is an original resident of this place and the only humanoid.
Her bangs are always hiding her face, and she has the bad habit of running back inside the TV if something happens.
Her default stance is to be on four, so our heights don’t match when I talk to her, and she would never make eye-contact with me when talking which you could say is a bad point of hers, but if you can literally close your eyes to all that, you could say she is someone you can hang out with without much worries.
That Reiko-san seems to want to tell me something. She is desperately disheveling her hair, but unfortunately, I can’t understand what she is saying at all.
“Ah, right.” (Souma)
Even if she can’t talk, she might be able to write.
Thinking that, I bring out the notepad and the pen, and give it to Reiko-san.
It was just a hunch, but Reiko-san grabbed the pen and notepad without hesitation and began writing something in the notepad.
I probably can look forward to something here.
I wait for a few seconds.
And then, Reiko-san put down the pen and gave me the notepad while still on her fours.
“Let’s see…” (Souma)
I took the notepad and checked what was written there…
[ Resentment Curse
Resentment Resentment Curse Resentment Resentment
Curse Resentment Resentment Resentment Resentment
Resentment Resentment Curse Resentment
Resentment Resentment Resentment The Resentment]
“Wasted expectation!!” (Souma)
I slammed the notepad on the ground the moment I saw it.
Most of the pages were filled with curses.
Moreover, there’s strange blank spaces which annoy me.
But it seems Reiko-san herself had confidence in that.
When she saw my reaction, her shoulders drooped and she left in fours.
But I can finally talk with Ina now.
I once again look back at Ina.
“A-A girl came out from the box…ah, handprints on the wall…crawling…making sticky sounds…” (Ina)
A traumatic experience must have been stimulated from this, Ina covered her face with the cushion and was trembling.
It took a few minutes before I managed to calm Ina down.
On top of that, even when I think she has calmed down, every time she would hear even the faintest sound, she would go ‘hya!’ or ‘hih!’ and get scared, so I would have to comfort her at those times.
“It was probably something that flew with the wind and hit the window. It happens sometimes.” (Souma)
“I-Is that so? Sorry.” (Ina)
Actually, the windows in this room are fake, so there’s no way things would hit it, but let’s just leave it at that.
After calming down…no, after I thought it had calmed down, a clunking sound rang from the corridor.
Ina trembled again and I calmed her down with a smile.
“It is probably the night parade of one hundred demons. Happens sometimes.” (Souma)
“I-I see… Wait, that’s scary!!” (Ina)
And that’s how it went.
A conversation can’t be established like this.
Ina was worried about the door the whole time after that, so I decided to erase that worry.
I cast the silence spell on the door.
It is something that couldn’t be done in the game, so I was a bit worried, but when I tried to hit the door to test it out, it didn’t make a sound.
“With this, we won’t be hearing sounds from the outside. The sounds from the inside won’t be heard outside either.” (Souma)
But the spell will run out quickly like this.
That said, I can’t overlap the same spell effects or overwrite them.
That’s why I set several time activations for when the spell runs out, so it activates right after.
If my calculations are not wrong here, it should work for around an hour.
But Ina still seemed uneasy.
She is probably thinking about what would happen if someone were to open the door, wondering why there’s no response.
That’s why, for the next one, I took the key of the room that I left at the desk and headed to the door.
And when I locked the door without hesitation…
“[Magical Pocket].” (Souma)
I activate the wind spell, Magical Pocket.
I throw the key into the space pocket that was born from the spell.
A few seconds after, the space pocket melted and disappeared as if nothing happened.
Of course, the key is not coming back.
Ina raised her voice in surprise, but I answered calmly.
“That just now is a spell called Magical Pocket. To put it simply, it is a spell that lets you bring out an item box that can take in items infinitely. With this, only I can take out the key.” (Souma)
Honestly, this is a big lie and the security of Magical Pocket is the worst, but giving peace of mind should be the priority here.
I am thinking about taking out the key as soon as this matter is wrapped up, but I didn’t show that at all and smiled at Ina.
“Can’t hear sounds…and no one can get out… Isn’t that…” (Ina)
Ina muttered this with a red face, but it rang strangely loudly in this closed room that has been isolated from the outside by magic.
—The night of the two has just begun.
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