“Won’t they come again?” I was nervous. The three adults in the room, however, seemed very relaxed. They did not respond to my question. The twins bantered while Violet chose the bed that was the furthest away from the sitting area. She dropped down on it as if she was jumping into clouds, with a satisfied childish smile on her. I mean, we haven’t slept in an inn for half a year now. To have a bed with fluffy sheets was a great luxury.
“Dearest goddess, perhaps it would be more relaxing to enjoy a bath first? Since today is Night Market, the public bathhouse might be open as well.” Acacia pointed to the south.
“Won’t they come again?” Feeling ignored, I repeated my question. Acacia turned to look at me with a gentle smile. Finally!
“Don’t worry. As vexing as they may be, the vegetable bunch stirs up trouble only once within Nussud. After all, there are more Orders lurking around. Moreover, the inhabitants of this town do not tolerate people who barge into places with no signs of respect. It doesn’t matter whether they are practitioners or not.”
Immediately, I felt Violet convey the colors purple, green, and gray. “Violet says, she has seen three Orders.” The twins nodded in unison.
“The moment we leave town, we’ll most likely encounter trouble. But for now, after that little demonstration, we will have a peaceful stay. So we should make the most of it!” Sorrel childishly beat his chest in a triumphant matter. Well, let’s hope you’re right, buddy.
The bathhouse piqued Violet’s interest, however. She got up from her cloudy heaven, throwing one inquisitive feeling after another at the twins. They, on the other hand, looked at me with a puzzled gaze.
“She wants to know where the bathhouse is”, I slowly replied. What was so good about a bathhouse? Couldn’t you just hop into the next creek or river to get yourself clean? But before I could put my thoughts into voice, Violet gave off an inner ‘harumph’ in response. She then proceeded to explain to me in her own way, why a real bathhouse could not compare to bathing in a cold stream and how relaxing it was, yada, yada. I guess you could call this a perk of always being mentally connected to each other. She noticed my declining interest and narrowed her crimson-colored eyes. Grabbing my hand and Acacia’s, she pushed the practitioner in front of her, implying she should lead the way.
“Okay, okay, I think I get it”, Acacia chuckled and waved for her brother to join. “Come on, let’s enjoy, tabs are on the Order anyway!”
When we headed downstairs, the tavern was packed. We had to push our way through to get outside. With this much business, we surely should get a free stay for advertising!
Anyway, Acacia led us down the road, over a canal that ran through the entire town. Beyond the wooden bridge lay a one-story building. Massive stone pillars supported the large roof, which was just as sturdy as the pillars themselves. Just like a temple by any Order, you could enter the building from any point. But to get further in, there was only one large hallway. Large paper lanterns were hanging from the roof, illuminating the area with a warm orange glow. Even though it was already late, there were a lot of customers of all ages, both coming and leaving. Therefore, the reception desk was particularly busy and we had to wait until we each received a small reed basket to deposit our clothes.
After taking off our clothes, I followed the adults into a large stone room with colorful tiles all along the walls. Bronze spouts in the shape of fish poured warm water from the top of the walls down to the ground. People stood underneath, their bodies covered in soap foam. The water flowed into grooves, disappearing into the ground. This was truly a decadent scene. How wasteful!
We four chose a spot secluded from the rest. While washing ourselves with the soap provided from the bathhouse, I took the time to scrutinize the practitioners. Surprisingly, like Violet, their bodies were full of scars. But, none of them could compare to Violet’s beauty and grace. By now I had seen her naked numerous times. Yet on that day, I thought she was the most radiant being among all bathhouse guests. Well, she is a goddess after all. Even though her battle experience was etched into her dark skin, her skin seemed flawless, with an almost otherworldly sheen. Her long black hair covered her well-rounded breasts. Lost in my daze, Violet had to poke me a few times, before I realized she had moved. When I finally shifted my gaze, she pointed towards the bath area, to which the twins were already heading.
My face turned slightly red and I wanted to quickly catch up to them. Unfortunately, I slipped, stumbling backward into two soft pillows. Violet’s strong arms wrapped around me and her beautiful, yet mischievously grinning face came into view. The thoughts she sent to me were of mocking nature, making me blush all the more.
“Let go”, I whispered, trying to free myself from her embrace. Yet the more I tried to wrestle myself free, the stronger her grip became. Finally, after what seemed like an incredibly long while, she let me go, patting me on the head. I was angry. But, as always, I would still end up following her. Nothing in the world could separate me from her.
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