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I’m troubled. I’ve been yearning for such a long time to enjoy myself in a hot spring ever since I’ve come to this world but why did it turn out this way.
I was sweating unpleasantly.
“Ichino-sama… what’s wrong?”
“A… Ah… the view there just seems quite nice.”
I said as I turned to look at the opposite direction from Carol.
“The view there is beautiful? Carol can see nothing but the same forest stretched all around us.”
“Hahaha, Carol, you don’t understand. Scenery can also refer to the shadows created by the position of the Sun and sunlight. The view of the forest can change along with the four seasons.”
“Ichino-sama, the trees in this forest are not deciduous trees but evergreen trees so I don’t think there will be many changes.”
“Oh, is it possible to infer the latitude we are in by the position of the Sun?”
“Carol apologizes, that method does certainly exist but Carol does not know the method to infer latitude from the position of the Sun.”
I could hear her voice directly beside me.
With the sound of water splashing, I felt something hit my back.
It was Carol’s back. Yup, I think it’s probably her back. Even if her chest is equal to nothing, I believe I won’t mistake her back and stomach.
“Ichino-sama, could you look at Carol?”
”… I’m… a little embarrassed.”
“Even though you always look at Haru-san.”
”… No, well, that’s true but.”
She touched on a painful topic.
“But I probably won’t be able to look at even Haru directly in this environment.”
After I said that, Carol laughed happily.
Her small back shook slightly.
”… Fufufu, Carol feels a little relieved. So Ichino-sama properly sees me as a girl.”
“Carol has always been uneasy. Ichino-sama came from a different world. Carol wondered if Ichino-sama would one day return to your former world. Your younger sister… Miri-san was it? She’s still there in that world. That’s why I thought perhaps you would return to your former world for your younger sister’s sake.”
I couldn’t say that I won’t return. But I did feel that I might not return.
However, I planned to meet Daijiro-san not only because I wish to thank him but there was also the faint desire to hear if there is any way to return to Japan.
Of course, I do not plan to ignore Haru and Carol’s feelings but I also feel that I can’t leave Miri there alone.
I felt that I at least had to let Miri know that I was all right.
“Haru-san definitely feels the same way too. That’s why Carol is a little worried about Haru-san now. Seeing Ichino-sama suddenly disappear, Carol does not know how is Haru-san right now.”
”… Haru is strong. She is most likely investigating why I disappeared. Maybe she has already found the reason.”
“Ichino-sama, Haru-san is strong. But do not over-rely on her strength. If you want to rely… please rely on Carol a little too…”
I looked at the blue sky and replied.
“I’m always relying on Carol. I do nothing but rely on Carol’s kindness. Sorry, I’m a useless master.”
“No, Ichino-sama is absolutely not a useless master!”
Carol stood up and shouted. Water splashed around slightly.
Then, her arms wrapped around my neck.
She was hugging me from behind… the slight swell of her chest was touching my back, causing me to involuntarily straighten my back.
“Ichino-sama occasionally says that you are hopeless but that is absolutely not true. Carol… we will not fall in love with a hopeless person. Haru-san does not love Ichino-sama just because you are strong and Carol does not love Ichino-sama just because you saved Carol’s life. Even Malina-san most likely does not travel together with us just because Kanon-san told her to or because you two are from the same world.”
“Carol will wait. Until Carol turns 18 years old or until Ichino-sama says it is okay.”
Saying that, Carol separated from my body.
Then, I heard the sound of Carol leaving.
Is it okay to leave it like this?
Thinking that, I once again heard the sound of Carol approaching. I instinctively turned around.
“Carol! I —!”
Looking around, I saw,
In front of my eyes was a large white monkey. It was a 1-meter tall goblin-sized monkey.
“Carol became a monkey!?”
“No, Ichino-sama, it’s a monster!”
Carol hid her chest with a towel and shouted.
What, damn it, I didn’t notice the monster approaching due to the pleasantness of the hot spring and the tension from just now.
I immediately stood ready — eh?
The monkey did not appear to have any intention of attacking me as it walked by and soaked in the hot spring.
Just like the Japanese macaques that love hot springs.
”… Ichino-sama, look there!”
Near the ice, I saw a bizarre scene.
Monkeys were springing out from within the hot spring.
There were probably close to 50 of them.
They all did not seem to wish to fight me as they merely enjoyed the hot spring.
“A hole where monsters pour out from…?”
Nevertheless, it would be dangerous if I was attacked there so I left the hot spring.
The monkeys completely ignored whatever we did and they didn’t seem to want to attack us.
The monkeys increased slightly after that but it stopped short of 60. It looked like they won’t increase any more than that.
“Is that by any chance the entrance to the hidden labyrinth?”
“It’s certainly a hidden passage but I have not heard of labyrinth monsters not attacking humans. Although it is possible to determine it by killing them and observing if the corpse remains.”
“That’s not a good enough reason to attack them and more importantly, I don’t want to dirty the hot spring with blood.”
“Carol feels that the order of the reason is reversed but Carol also agrees.”
“Then let’s ignore the monkeys… and try diving in?”
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But in this situation, we don’t know the depth of the tiger’s cave nor the value of the tiger’s cub. (Note: It’s the idiom, ‘If you don’t enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub’.)
Nevertheless, I knew something. Although, even knowing that you know nothing can also be counted as knowing something.
I knew that there was something inside the cave and that I was sent to this island for some reason.
If that reason could be found inside the cave, I must then enter the cave.
“Carol, enter My World. Since it isn’t a good idea to either have you wait here or to return to the beach.”
“Understood. Please call Carol once you reach the other side of the cave.”
I used my Hikkikomori skill to open a portal to My World and let Carol enter.
Then, I entered the hot spring with my shoes and clothes on while holding my sword. The monkeys did not stir at all even after seeing my rude behavior.
Perhaps due to the effect of the ice chunk, the water was less warm but still at close to 40 degrees, but I didn’t have the leisure to stay in the water for long.
Looking at the location the monkeys came from, although I didn’t notice it earlier, there certainly was a large pit there. Like a theatre basement.
I took in a deep breath and dived into that hole.
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