What is it, it smells so good … in here? I almost fell asleep again, feeling safe as I sank into a soft cushion. …Hmm? What’s this smoothness? It feels like soft to the touch…? With my eyes closed, I put my cheek on it, enjoying the soothing feeling and texture.
As it was, for a while, I casually rubbed an arm that held me in a slight sleep.
In my blurred consciousness, more and more strings were being connected, and a bad premonition was expanding into reality… No way.
Furthermore, the situation I had just been in came back to my mind. I became fully awake and tried to get up.
Just as I was about to get up, the arm that was holding me tightly came down on me and I failed to stand up.
Kimishima??? At this point, I finally realized that I had been lying there leaning against Kimishima and panicked. It was smooth and comfortable… That’s not it! Looking at her from the side, Kimishima was also furious! When I opened my mouth to apologize in a hurry, this time the hand that had been restraining me blocked my mouth with a “Shhhh”.
At that moment, I heard a monster’s snorting sound from a short distance away. Realizing the reason why my mouth was covered, I immediately quit resisting.
After confirming my silence, Kimishima reached out a finger to gently open a gap in the foliage in front of us. A short distance away, there seemed to be that hippo-like monster. She was probably trying to show it to me, and she quickly closed the gap and held me again.
Maybe it was the monster in front of us, or maybe it was Kimishima’s body heat that did it, but I remained silent and felt my heart pounding. Kimishima was probably planning to just let it pass.
After sitting still for a while, the rain that had stopped when I woke up started to fall again. I listened to the sound of the rain hitting the leaves and looked at the leaves that were covering us. I was amazed at the way they were layered. They overlapped like tiles, so that the water did not drip inside.
The waterfall was very close by, and the sound of the water stream hitting the waterfall basin was quite loud. Still, I repeated deep breaths desperately trying not to let Kimishima realize the sound of my heartbeat. With no sign of abating, I gradually felt both embarrassed and miserable. This would normally be the other way around. Why am I being hugged from behind by a woman?
… When we fell from the waterfall. I felt that an unusual amount of magic power, different from the one I had felt before, was consumed when I drew my sword with all my magic power. Since we had been in the underground water network for a while at that time, my magic power must have been completely restored. All of it was consumed by that sword draw. And the more I passed out, the more it was completely exhausted…
But I was still alive, so I must have succeeded. However, I must have fallen straight into the basin after that. From there to this point…, Kimishima helped me a lot, after all. It was disgraceful that I, who came to help her, was saved by her instead…
Would this be considered s****l harassment…
Somehow I felt like running. But for now, we had no choice but to stay put. We kept waiting for the monster to leave.
“Is it about time… Are you okay?”
“A little bit more… Just like this.”
“Hmm? Huh? Mmm?”
“Hehehe, just kidding.”
“O-Oh. Yeah, right. Uh… Well… I mean… Um, you know…”
“What… do you mean?”
“Huh? No, well… That…”
We must have been sitting still for about an hour until the monster’s presence disappeared. I was still in close proximity to my student… I was plagued by a complex mix of emotions, difficult-to-express guilt, embarrassment, preciousness, and more.
However, Kimishima herself smiled at me, her expression indicating that she wasn’t concerned at all.
“Teacher, my clothes are completely soaked, so I’d like to change. I might end up catching a cold.”
“O-Oh, right. Yeah… I should change too. Oh, I will go outside.”
“Yes. I’m sorry.”
I went outside and opened my bag. Despite being swallowed by such a muddy stream, there was no water in my bag at all. …Could this also be due to the effects of magic?
Moving to a spot out of sight from the leafy tent, I removed my belt and sword from my waist, then undressed. I changed into the dry clothes that were in the bag. I hadn’t noticed, but my body had grown quite cold from wearing the wet clothes. Only my, which had been in contact with Kimishima’s body, strangely radiated warmth…
Putting on dry clothes alone was quite a relief, as expected.
I squeezed out a little water, wringing out my wet clothes for the time being. Although the rain had stopped, the sun was still in the clouds. I couldn’t even hang them out to dry. I put the wet clothes on a nearby stone. I glance back at the leaf tent that Kimishima made. No wonder the monsters did not even notice that there were humans there. It was amazingly perfect.
Drinking water from my canteen, I looked at the map and wondered about our route. The map showed a line that seemed to be this river. I felt that we could probably follow the river, but there was also probably an old road, so perhaps it would be better to find that. As I was thinking about it, Kimishima came out of the leafy tent, having finished changing her clothes.
“It feels refreshing to change, doesn’t it?”
“Y-Yeah. Being in wet clothes was really tough.”
I felt my heart beat again at the sight of Kimishima coming out of the tent. I desperately tried to respond to her like nothing was wrong.
Both Kimishima and I were given these clothes in this world. My shirt had been scorched by Kohinata, and my pants were not suitable for walking in such a place, as they were not elastic enough. Kimishima was wearing a kendo uniform for the closing ceremony, but no one wore a kendo uniform in this world. Wearing martial arts attire as casual clothing might be awkward.
In terms of time, how long had it been? Judging by the angle of the sun, it seemed like sunset might be in another 1 or 2 hours.
“What should we do… Is it a bit tricky to start walking now?”
“Yeah… Should we rest here for the day?”
“I want to make some progress, even if it’s just a little…”
“There’s the sound of the waterfall here, so I think noise will be less likely to be noticed.”
“I see… You’re right. Let’s rest today.”
Certainly, rushing and not finding a hiding place before nightfall could be dangerous. I was sure I consumed a lot of energy… I still didn’t have enough magic power. In accordance with Kimishima’s opinion, I decided to rest.
Suddenly I looked at Kimishima’s figure and noticed something strange. How could she have fallen down such a waterfall and not dropped her spear? … Or rather, was she carrying a spear? She was walking behind me in the dark in the underground canal, so my memory of that part was questionable.
“Speaking of which, Kumashima, did you have your spear with you when we were walking through the underground waterway this morning?”
“Ah, I stowed it away in my bag. I wanted to focus on magic.”
“In your bag? Your spear?”
“Yeah, this bag is a magical tool, so it can hold pretty much anything.”
“I-I heard that, but… something as long as a spear…”
After thinking for a moment, I decided to remove the short sword from my waist and place it inside my bag. Hmmm, indeed, it fit without any issue. Magic was really something else…
Kimishima also mentioned that she practiced imbuing weapons with magic, similar to what I did with the melons in the Sky Temple. She said that she could handle mid-level weak monsters this way. Considering that even high-level monsters were roaming around here, the spear might take up a lot of space and hinder our escape.
Still, even with Kimishima having significantly more magic power than me, she’s considered to have only mid-level magic capacity? I recalled feeling something similar during the trial with drawing my sword. If that was the case, my level of concentration in Iaido might have indeed been abnormal.
Instead, the maximum number of times I could draw my sword was only two. In fact, the Iaido with wind magic imbued in it was so powerful that it knocked someone out with just one hit. I was wondering if I could use it properly without more training and climbing up the ladder.
… If I could control my magical power output a little more, it would be good. That was one of the things I was thinking about.
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