Chapter 14. A Place Where Warm Light Gathers (2)
That which is called a “bath” seems to have gone considerable evolution over the past four hundred years. The water is kept warm by being boiled in another place and then used there. That hot water can constantly flow from a faucet without the use of magic astounds Astraea.
Of course, hot water wouldn’t flow infinitely. Instead, it seems like it would continue to flow until water in the water heater is exhausted…
The way lights are turned on, the way foods is prepared, truly… a lot has changed.
Astraea gets out of the bath, which was more comfortable than what she had expected, and dries her hair along with the rest of her body with a towel. She then changes into the spare clothes that were forced on her before entering the bath. They are surprisingly comfortable. Although the result of taking a bath should be the same as using purification magic, the ambience created is completely different. Taking a bath is unexpectedly not bad… maybe.
Upon leaving the dressing room, Eos, who had prepared a wheelchair as he promised, is there. Then, on returning to her room atop of rattling wooden wheels, she discovers that her meals has already been prepared.
“This is freshly baked meat pie. That one is fish sandwich. This last one is a fruit danish. All of them are quite delicious. I don’t think this is too heavy since you said that you’re fine, but… if this is over doing it, I’ll immediately prepare a soup for you.”
The thing called meat pie is something Astrea has never seen before. However, since half of the pie was wrapped in paper, she presumed it could be eaten by hand like bread.
She appreciates having easy to eat foods. However, being watched as she eats is difficult for her. While she was contemplating such, Eos pulls out bread from who knows where. He then sits down on the bay window and stuffs his cheeks with it.
“…Your manners, are terrible?”
“You’re, someone who cares about that kind of thing?”
“I’m not, but I thought that was unusual.”
“It’s just, the wind here unexpectedly feels good.”
With those words, Eos gazes outside.
What a beautiful profile… What am I thinking!? Astraea claps her cheeks as she scolds herself for her weird thoughts.
She grabs the meat pie in front of her and takes a bite. Without once moving it away from her mouth, she finishes it. Only then, upon realizing the meat pie has disappeared, does she realize Eos is facing her.
“Should I ask for a second serving?”
While she doesn’t really care about manners, being too restrained is no good either. With that in mind, she consciously eats the fish sandwich slowly. It also is a very delicious dish.
“You’re still not feeling too well, right?”
“…Well, going back would be a bit troublesome.”
While the distance is close if she flies home, normal walking would take a while. She also can’t ride a horse, not to mention, she would have to bring it back if she borrowed one.
That’s when she suddenly recalls something.
Even though I was given a cake, that shouldn’t be extent of my reward, right? In that case, perhaps I can exchange the rest as having Eos take me home instead?
Astraea, upon coming up with that idea, is about to propose it to Eos. Eos, however, who has been standing since who knows when, makes a different proposal to her.
“Then, you should recuperate here for a while. The necessities of life will be perfectly seen too.”
“Ah, sorry. I have a meeting soon. I’ll come back right after it.” He then leaves while adding, “There’s a guard behind the door. If you need anything, just tell him.”
Only once the door is closed and his footsteps fade away does Astraea make sense of what he said.
“…Wait, didn’t I decide to go home once this was over!?”
Astraea, with that in mind, slowly wobbles her way to the window. However, once there, she notices something.
This room… is at the second floor…!!
Unfortunately, she had no longer has enough magic power or physical strength to jump down like she normally can. Also, she can’t help but to suspect if Eos was confirming the height when he was gazing outside just earlier.
“Generally speaking, arbitrary deciding for someone to stay in a place like this is confinement…….”
Astraea turned back to the room while complaining… That’s when, she notices the final fruit danish.
She returns to the table, once again sits down in the wheelchair, and falls into thought as she slowly eats the pie.
W-well, staying here until I’ve recovered… should be fine?
However, that thought flips after four days.
That doesn’t mean Astraea has anything to do in the forest, but it isn’t in her nature to seclude herself in a room. To begin with, it is narrow, and the ceiling is low. No, as a room, it’s spacious and it has a high ceiling. Just, compared to the forest, it’s extremely cramped.
The food is delicious, and the bath isn’t bad, but she can’t do away with the haunting sense of oppression.
Next, there is also nothing with which to pass the time.
When she took naps in the forest, she never really thought much about it. There, napping is had. All she can do there is sleep.
Several books were provided to her for entertainment, but she isn’t familiar with the letters. Perhaps the letters I know are already be considered old literature? No, they’re probably considered ancient literature. Despite those thoughts, she refrains from saying anything out of fear of being seen as strange.
Finally, above all else, even though she has only been there for a few days, she fears the idea that she might take root there. She questions herself.
So, what should I do?
“Right, let’s run away.”
Her physical condition has improved much better than she expected. Even though her magic power is still far from being fully recovered, she isn’t hindered from using it in her daily life. If she controls the wind, she’ll be able to soften the impact from jumping off.
Just, why am I recovering this fast… maybe it’s thanks to the food?
Astraea rotates her right wrist as a test, but the light breeze she generates doesn’t numb her hand. If it’s this much, I should be fine. After escaping, all she’ll have to do is walk back home.
With those thoughts in mind, Astraea, upon finishing her breakfast, ensures that she is alone. She then walks to the windowsill. Her gait is lively.
She considered leaving a note but gave up the idea. Afterall, she can only write in ancient letters.
Also, Eos might come again if I’m too polite. Not showing my gratitude and being rude might be for the best. Later.
Astraea tells herself such and and jumps out of the window.
Never did she imagine Eos would be standing exactly down below.
Astraea uses all of her strength to levitate herself to keep from crashing into him, but the lack of time makes it difficult. Regardless, Eos prepares himself to receive Astraea. She isn’t the only one reacting to the situation.
Although the impact is unexpected for Astraea, it should be the same for Eos.
“That hurt… Really, what is this…”
“Looks like you’ve become pretty energetic now. I never expected you’d fall from the sky.”
“I-if Eos weren’t here, I would have landed splendidly… Rather, put me down!!”
Astraea protested to Eos, who is carrying her, in a fluster. Internally, just how strong is he? From how close their faces are due to how she’sbeing carried, she feels as though she’ll breath fire.
“In exchange of putting you down, can I ask something?”
“You’re healthy now, right?”
Eos asks as if he were her worried guardian. Astraea sighs deeply.
“I’m fine, really! I’m already well enough to I return to the forest, so there’s no reason for me to stay cooped up in a sickroom.”
“Then, let’s have a date now.”
“That’s why, I’m going ho… eh, what?”
Did I miss hear that badly? I must have rested for too long…
Eos, at Astraea’s stiff expression, puts her down and takes her hand like a knight swearing his loyalty. He once more repeats, “Would you have a date with me?”