7-10. At the Canal's Bank.
Satou's here. There's this famous scene of huge ships joining together while advancing through the river from a movie about the romance of three kingdoms. It's not something that would happen in real life, but I'd like to see it at least once.
A large river is flowing 100 meters away from the highway our wagon is running on. It can't be seen now since there's a hill obstructing it, but it'll be visible in about 10 minutes. A large ship is currently going to the same direction, we might be able to see it.
There's a 800 kilometers long great river in this territory. From the Daregan city that we've ignored yesterday, the river connects to four cities starting from the capital.
If the traveler's journal is to be believed, the canal is made by a large empire that precedes Shiga kingdom. It was made with magic right? I think the figures of giants and golems doing public construction works are great.
Calculating for a bit, if they use soil magic like I've used the other day, they could make 2-3 kilometers long canal in a day, so the whole canal would probably be completed if they work hard for a year. As expected of fantasy. A large construction works sounds quite easy.
I understand that the Oyugock dukedom is vast after seeing such great large river. Isn't it enough to house 10 small countries I wonder?
The oval-shaped Muno territory is about as wide as Hokkaido, and although the dukedom is only about half as wide, the total surface area seems to be about as vast as Japan's mainland. Just like with the baron's territory, most of it consists of undeveloped mountains and forests. Why aren't they developing it I wonder?
Even though the territory is this wide, there are only seven cities. Beside the capital with its 21.000 people, there is also a large city which houses 13.000 people at the mouth of the great river facing the sea. There are 10 villages with various population number near it, ranging from less than 1000 to about 5000 people. The total population is around 720.000 people. 80% of it are human, while the remaining 20% are demi-human. The majority of the demi-human are the ratmen as slaves.
The traveler's journal states that the territory doesn't have demi-human, what does this mean I wonder. Come to think of it, baron Muno told me that he also rarely see beastkin when he was staying in the dukedom.
Since the traveler journal that I always refer writes the baron Muno territory as marquis Muno territory, it might be informations from more than 20 years ago. I'd like a newer book if possible.
As for other things of note, there are about 10 special enclaves that are like the self-governing dominion of the dwarves in the dukedom. Every one of them is about as wide as the dwarves' or wider. There are a lot more small enclaves of only around several kilometers wide, but since I can't be bothered to count all of them, I only mark the ones that are on our course.
According to the traveler's journal, there are sanctuaries for featherkin, and beasthead people in the territory. There should be another one, but it's not listed. Since we would not visit it during our journey, let's leave it alone. It's fine to visit it after we run out of place for sightseeing.
Finally, I narrow down the search for reincarnated or transported person. I'm relieved that there's none of them in this territory.
Today, I drive the wagon after a long absence. Pochi and Tama on my sides are blowing something that seem to be reed flutes as hard as they could, like 'pipupipu'. They've taken Mia's lecture this morning, but it seems they can't do it properly.
Liza with her horse is coming closer. It seems she's found something.
"Master, please look over there. There is something on the other side of the forest."
I look at where Liza is pointing, but I don't see anything beside the ship's sail beyond the forest. No wait, that sail is probably the thing that Liza is talking about. Since the trees are growing on the lower terrain, the sail could be seen on the gaps between them. Unfortunately, we can't see the river yet.
"That's a ship's sail. There's a great river beyond the forest, it's probably sailing there."
Tama and Pochi who still have reed flutes on their mouth produce strange signals. Since I could predict the two's actions after that, I quickly restrain them. I tightly caught Pochi on my arm, but Tama smoothly slipped away.
Tama readily throws away the reed leaf, climbs my body, and look toward the forest. My clothes is stretched. I'd like you to stop gripping my hair since it's softly painful.
However, before I could warn Tama, Liza draws near with her horse and scoops Tama, then she puts Tama on the neck of her horse.
"Ship, I want to see nodesu."
Pochi who seems to have realized that I won't let her go no matter how much she wriggles looks up to me intensely and starts asking.
"You would see it in few minutes if you just sit tight."
She's persuaded and sit on one of my lap. After that, Pochi is acting docile, but then Mia climbs on my shoulder by using the coachman's seat as scaffold.
"Mia, it's forbidden to ride on my shoulder with skirt."
Mia points at the trousers she's wearing. I can't see her face, but I can imagine it looking proud.
Arisa who gets on the coachman's seat's back while supporting her body with the wagon's canopy looks at Mia and says, "Fearful girl", but I ignore it.
The river comes into view before long.
A considerably large sail ship is advancing to the same direction as us. Since it's traveling downstream, it's faster than us.
Tama who's riding on Liza's horse is waving greatly at the ship. Since we still haven't come that close to the river, I don't think anyone over there could see it.
"Over there is returning the greeting nodesu."
Pochi says so and waves her hands at the ship too.
"They can see eh. I wonder if the one over there is a beastkin too."
Arisa is right on the money. The other party is probably a birdman.
Pochi and Tama are waving their hands until the ship disappears behind the forest.
Our camping location tonight is at a tributary flowing from the large river. There are camping grounds on both sides of the tributary, but we've crossed the bridge to the other side. Normally, there would be a fishing village or the likes in this kind place, but there's only an abandoned village with no one inside.
Confirming the map, I could imagine the cause of the abandonment.
It's probably because of the flock of monster located near the basin on the upstream 15 kilometers away from this tributary. Their levels are on the upper 20s, they're level 26-29 monsters called Hard Newts, they seem to have special attack using acid breath. There are nine of them.
It seems that they're preying on level 10 insect monsters that live in the cave of the basin.
Since I want to harvest the crystals and the stalactites in the cave, I'll go see it tomorrow morning or tonight.
I give Pochi and Tama harpoons and soft baskets that could be attached on their waists, they're going to catch small fish and shellfish on the river.
I go to the abandoned village to check just in case. There's already nothing left inside the houses, but there are traces of paddy fields on the cultivated land. They have plenty of water here, so they might have planted paddies. I try looking for wild growing paddies, but there's nothing after all.
"Big catch~?" "Nano desu!"
When I get back from checking the village, Pochi and Tama have also got back early. It seem that they're putting the spoils since they've had big catch.
There are large quantity shellfish that looks like clams inside the bucket that Pochi is happily showing me. A lot of palm-sized crabs and shrimps in the bucket filled with water that Tama shows me.
I'm drooling at the thought of roasted shellfish on a wire mesh dribbled with soy sauce. Seasoning it with salt and sake sounds nice too, but I'm avoiding everyone getting drunk of the smell situation.
It might be nice to divide the crab and make soup out of the half. The shrimps are to be fried. It's hard to throw away the idea of making tempura out of it.
Now then, I leave the meal's preparation to Lulu, and I make a certain thing on the bank that face river.
It can't be helped that it's hard for me to talk about it, I make a 2.5 meter long bathtub with Mud Wall and harden it with Hard Clay. Furthermore, I collect pebbles on the edge of the river and put it in the bottom of the bathtub.
Everyone can get in if it's this wide.
Just so you know, by everyone I mean the women camp. I've made a bath for one person size in a separate place. It's not like I feel particularly embarrassed and I'm fine even if we get in together, but since I think that Lulu, who's in the height of puberty, would not be able to calm down, I divide the sections for man and woman.
Next I take a large barrel and use it to carry water from the river, repeating it for several trips. It's a hard job, but by making use of my high stats and Sky Drive skill, I've got it done in a blink of an eye. Of course I've already made sure that there's no one who witness it.
Continue on, I warm the water with Furnace Flame (Forge). I stop at 45 degree. Since I always use Furnace Flame every night lately, I've mastered the regulation of temperature.
Finally, I use Pure Water to erase the slight impurity.
In addition, I leave a barrel with fresh water for temperature control and a bucket; it's complete. I also make the washing space with Hard Clay. I put a drainboard below for when we're washing our body and it's complete.
Since there's only Sauna in Muno castle, it's a bath after a long time. Let's enjoy it relaxedly.
Various reactions appears when I tell everyone that the bath is complete. I explain it in simple term since no one beside Arisa knows bath.
"Kuh, mixed bath with a boy! Ah, so this is the rewards for all the hardships until now!"
"The baths are different for man and woman you know."
"W, what did you say----! This is why, herbivores! This should have been the time for love flirt hot spring!"
I've already expected Arisa who's in high tension toward strange direction. It's not a hot spring in the first place.
"Master, I'm applying for the duty of washing your back."
"Yes, that's a no."
I've also already expected Mia and Lulu's refusal to Nana's words, but Lulu's next words are unexpected. Moreover, they know about such custom like washing back huh.
"Master's back, I, I'll do it."
"Since master is refined, he might be embarrassed in showing his back to the woman of the same tribe. While it's presumptuous of me, I will wash it."
"Tama will do it~!"
"Pochi will wash nodesu."
Even Liza wants to participate. My back would turn red if so many wash it. I've already made tool for washing the back so there's no problem.
Somehow they look disappointed when I tell them so. Liza and Lulu urge me to take the bath first, but when I tell them that there's a different bath for me, they obediently go to the bathtub. As expected, Arisa says that she will follow me to the men's bathtub, but Lulu drags her away.
I enter the men's bath and look up to the sky. I begin to feel good when I see the stars. It's too bad that the stars aren't reflected on the water surface, but the reflection of the moonlight is quite beautiful. I've not been in an open nature bath since the college time where I go around visiting unexplored hot springs.
The men's bathtub is small compared to women's, it's about the size of a common household's bathtub. The size is only enough for the short me to stretch my legs.
When I relax while leaving my back on the bathtub's wall, I hear splash sound and my body feels heavier. I know that someone is coming with Space Grasp skill, but I don't know who since I've turned off the radar. I look up, it's Mia.
"Mia, this is the men's bath you know."
I gently reprove her, but she doesn't seem to care about it, sits before me and leans her back to me. I'd greatly welcome it if her outward appearance is like Nana, but since Mia doesn't even look like her secondary sex characteristic has begun, it feels like taking a bath together with a kid relative.
I'll let her do as she please since the retrieval squad seems to be heading here.
"Is there a bath in the elf village?"
"A joint one."
It's a public bath I guess?
When Mia leans her small head to my chest while I'm looking at the stars, the retrieval squad, or rather, the second raid squad arrives.
"Together~?" "Entering nodesu."
Pochi and Tama enter from both sides. You girls, no matter how small you are, the bathtub is over capacity. This is more like little girls bath rather than water bath. No, what am I saying. Since Pochi and Tama are taking the same postures as Mia, I support their backs with my hand so they don't sink.
"Wait, you three! Stealing the march is forbidden!"
Arisa is taking a daunting pose with a towel, or rather, a thin piece of cloth wrapped on her body. The cloth that sticks to her body is see-through, but I don't care. More importantly, my line of sight goes toward the senior group that has arrived behind Arisa. Nana is too brutal, no comment there, but I feel that Lulu's proportion has become better since I've met her.
In the end, I am to enter the women's bath per Arisa's suggestion. Of course, I check Lulu's and Nana's wills too, but they easily agreed unexpectedly.
Wide bath is nice after all.
There's a reckless violet-san under the water since awhile go. I can guess what she's up to, but since I've worn brand new trunks, she shouldn't be able to see what she wants. It's boorish, but since this is an emergency, I want you to overlook this.
<TLN: He's talking about wearing trunks in a bath.>
Lulu is submerging until her shoulders nearby, but I feel slightly uncomfortable with her gaze locking on me.
I lean my back on the tub's wall and resume the earlier pose. The steam isn't really doing its work, so the view before me is difficult.
I feel a bit hot, so I take out my arms off the water, and they've become pillows. My right arm is for Pochi and Tama, the left is for Mia. Lulu is waiting for her turn somehow.
"Master, I've discovered a serious matter! I request confirmation."
Nana is calling from behind Lulu. When I see there, defenseless--
"Breasts float in water! Furthermore they're tender, and somehow cute."
There's a figure of beautiful woman who has taken off the cloth which has shrouded her a while ago and floats her breast on the hot water happily. Nana, GJ. This is the scene where I have nosebleed if this is a manga.
Lulu stands before Nana and block my view. It's fine that she turns her back on me, but her cute butt is completely exposed.
The slightly late Mia stands before me and spreads her limbs. Of course she's not wearing anything, so I could see various places that shouldn't be seen. I'd probably be so glad I'd cry if I'm a lolicon.
The bath time passes with such noise.
Liza seems to like the bath, and enters for the longest time. The next morning, since she looks really sad when she sees the bath that has become cold, I warm it and then she takes a morning bath. I should make a folding bathtub I guess?
After that day, Nana begins to study water magic from Mia.
Since she's awfully happy with floating breasts, I wonder if she would make a water dress?