Under the clear sky, the footsteps of three people could be heard. They walked through a sandy path while making their way up the slope.
This place was called 【Rogi Mountains】, it was a place that adventurers rarely visited. The reason for this was because there were too many monsters here. The monsters here weren’t strong but they attacked in overwhelming numbers.
Skilled adventurers did not gain much experience points from such weak monsters. It was also troublesome, tiring, and time consuming to defeat the monsters one by one.
On the other hand, in addition to the vast number of monsters, the terrain was harsher than it looked so it was possible for beginners to get lost, which was grave.
It wasn’t a place that one could enter lightly. Three people were now here, in the mountains that people shy away from, in search of something.
“Hey, it’s really in this mountain, right?”
Hiiro Okamura, having climbed for so long and feeling tired, asked one of his travelling companions, Arnold in a distrusting voice.
Arnold who was full of self-confidence replied,
“Yeah, I told you I’ll let you eat something exquisite for saving Muir. As a chef, I won’t compromise.”
A few days ago, 《Beast Cage》an organisation made up of people who loathed beastman kidnapped a girl called Muir, — — Arnold’s daughter who he cared about more than his life, — — although they weren’t connected by blood.
At that time Arnold had commissioned Hiiro to work together with him to save Muir.
Hiiro did not work for free. Requests made to him came with compensation, which he had to approve of. Hiiro worked on the principle of give and take so for him to lend a hand, he had to receive compensation. Therefore taking into consideration that Hiiro was a gourmet, Arnold decided to pay the fee in the form of exquisite ingredients.
Arnold had to keep his promise and since he was a chef he wanted to let Hiiro eat the most delicious ingredient available in the area.
“Bu-but, Uncle. Slimes and goblins have been coming out in swarms for a while now.” Muir, the girl who was kidnapped, said to Arnold as she continued to walk between him and Hiiro.
Muir had big eyes with sky-blue pupils that snugly fitted on her small face. She had a small cute nose and rosy lips that highlighted her features. She wore a cute thick hat on her head and her glistening silver hair could be seen from below the hat.
Today was a fine, hot day but there was a reason why she wore such a thick hat.
There are four races in this world, 【Edea】.
『Human Race』・『Beastman』・『Demon-kin』・『Spirit Race』
All the races, except the 『Spirit Race』, are currently in conflict over which race is more superior. This issue has led to many wars in the past. The tensions between these races are currently high, it wouldn’t be strange if war broke out suddenly.
Hiiro and co were currently in the human continent also known as the human world. Of course a lot of people from the『Human Race』live here. Although few in numbers, there were also 『Beastman』living here. However there are many people who do not think well of beastman in the world today.
Arnold and Muir were beastman but they hid their animal ears and tails, which were proof of beastman. Amidst the rising tensions, it would not be good if their status as beastman were discovered.
Arnold had no need to wear a hat, like Muir, to hide his animal ears because they had been torn out by a person from the 『Human Race』.
Arnold: “Don’t worry, Muir! Our aim is just a bit further!”
“That’ll be good if it’s true.”
Arnold: “Don’t say such blunt things, Hiiro!”
The three continued walking. Something caught Muir’s attention and she began looking around restlessly. Then Arnold asked,
“What’s wrong, Muir?”
Muir: “Eh, ah, don’t you smell something strange…?”
Muir was sniffing the air.
Arnold: “Eh? Really?”
Arnold also concentrated on his sense of smell and just like she had said, there was a peculiar smell in the air. Moreover it was quite a pungent smell and without thinking, Arnold knitted his eyebrows together.
“Wh-what is this strong smell…?”
Hiiro also looked around while blocking his nose with his hands. Arnold’s eyes gradually glistened and his face loosened. Arnold’s face showed that he seemed to have discovered something that had pleased him.
Arnold: “This is… Hey, let’s go!”
Muir: “Eh, Uncle?!”
Arnold quickly pulled Muir’s hand and ran at full speed. Hiiro lightly sighed when he saw that and dropped his shoulders at the thought of pursing the smell.
However, since he couldn’t just leave, he endured the smell while chasing after them.
Hiiro and co entered an area full of big rocks and memorised the sight in front of them.
Arnold: “Ahaha! I thought so!”
Muir: “Fuwa ~. I see, so it was this smell.”
“I see, it was the smell of sulphur.”
In front of the three’s eyes was a natural hot spring. The steam from the hot spring rose into the air and they could feel the heat radiating from it on their skins.
Hiiro was so impressed by the discovery of a hot spring and the unpleasant smell ceased to bother him… Or rather he completely forgot about it.
All three people were thinking the same thing.
Arnold: “Alright, let’s get in!”
“Well, it’s not bad.”
Their faces loosened and they were sweating because of the heat. Fortunately for them, they could freshen up at the hot spring.
Arnold: “Muir, your swimsuit is in this bag, so go change.”
“Okay, got it!” Muir said and took the bag from Arnold. Muir looked around and went behind a large rock.
“Alright, we should change… Why are you already taking your clothes off!?”
Hiiro took his clothes off on the spot, without any concern for Arnold. He was also ready to take off his glasses.
“We-well, it’s fine. Since Muir’s also here, cover up down there.” Arnold said as he took a towel out of the bag and threw it at Hiiro.
Hiiro caught the towel before it hit the ground, wrapped it around his waist and approached the hot water. First, he put his right hand into the water to test the temperature.
“… It’s a bit hot, but this much should be fine.”
The water was about 43-44 °C, which was hotter than an ordinary bath. Hiiro thought that this degree of hotness was fine, so he slowly put his feet in. But as expected it was hot and Hiiro grinded his teeth while putting his whole body in.
“Hah ~…” Hiiro sighed in satisfaction when his whole body was submerged in water. It was his first time at a hot spring but if it felt this good then he would like to visit it many times.
Hiiro looked around a little bit but he didn’t see any monsters. The smell of the sulphur must be so intense that it kept them away.
“Oh ~! Muir ~! Why are you so pretty!?”
Hiiro heard Arnold say in a stupid voice. While thinking that it was irritating, Hiiro turned to look in the same direction as Arnold and there was———
Muir: “… Ah… Mhm… D-don’t stare at me so much.”
For some reason Muir was wearing a navy blue swimsuit. She was crossing both hands over her chest and she was fidgeting by rubbing her thighs together. She was blushing and her face showed that she was embarrassed.
Arnold: “No, no, this is the best! Truly an angel! Oh ~ my angel ~!”
Arnold, who was breathing heavily through his nose, looked like a pervert rather than an idiot parent. Muir turned her eyes to glimpse at Hiiro.
Hiiro noticed her watching him and their eyes met. All of a sudden Muir quickly averted her eyes and then once again glanced at Hiiro.
Hiiro frowned as he pondered over if she had something to say.
Muir gulped and looked nervous,
“Ah… Mhm… Hi-hiiro-san?”
“What is it?”
Muir: “Er… Ah… Is it weird…?”
It seems like she was trying to ask if there was something wrong with her school swimsuit but she was so worked up about it that Hiiro was at a loss for words.
“It’s not weird, instead it suits you.”
Muir: “Fuh! A-aaaaaahh, mhm, thank you… bery much.”
Although Muir had yet to submerge herself in the water, her head was steaming and she was so red that she looked like an octopus.
(She fumbled over her words… Even so, to be happy about suiting a school swimsuit… That’s cultural difference for you.)
In all the books that Hiiro had read up till now and all the girls that he had met, most children wanted to be treated as adults. They would get angry at being told that they suited a primary school swimsuit rather than be happy.
(Or rather, it’s surprising that there’s school swimsuits in this world…)
Hiiro had stated his impressions indifferently to Muir but,
“Awawawawa! I-it suits me ~! Wh-what should I do?! I can’t face Hiiro-san now ~.”
Muir, who had misunderstood Hiiro’s words as praises, put both hands on her cheeks and spoke in a worried voice so quiet that no one heard it. Arnold who saw this happening, glared at Hiro as if looks could kill.
“Muir is cute! Muir is cute… There’s nothing to be dissatisfied about…”
Arnold added, thinking that Hiiro had praised Muir. Because of Hiiro’s words Muir was unable to ease her mind.
“What is it, dammit!?”
Arnold was teary even though Hiiro had only called out to him.
“Her school… No, is her swimsuit a popular item here?”
Arnold: “Hah? That? It should be pretty popular. But it’s all in the past, it was made by a summoned hero.”
Arnold: “Yeah. It’s called 《Sukumizu》, we wear it for bathing but apparently it’s for swimming in the ocean.”
However since there were dangerous creatures in the ocean, most people didn’t like swimming there. Therefore the school swimsuits were mainly used for bathing instead of swimming.
(Anyway… What the heck was the past hero doing…?)
After coming to a different world, the past hero should have created something more productive than a swimsuit…
The past hero was certainly someone from Earth, since he had thought up such a thing. Hiiro remembered that he was stuck here, but for now he wanted to enjoy this wonderful paradise.
(Hah ~. It feels so great…)
While he was enjoying the hot springs,
Hiiro thought that a peddle had fallen from on top of the rock and turned to look at it. When Hiiro looked to the top of the rock he saw someone standing there and focused his eyes to see who it was.
(… Who is it?)
Hiiro couldn’t confirm the person’s face clearly since the sun was glaring in his eyes and he didn’t have his glasses on. He stared motionlessly at the person while feeling like he was looking at something very far away.
The person on the rock suddenly fell face down into the hot water.
Arnold was surprised at something suddenly falling into the hot water. Muir opened her eyes wide in fright and stiffened.
Then the person floated up in the water, it looked like a child.
“… Who?” Arnold murmured as he looked at the child who was holding a big spear in her hand.