Chapter 16: The fat aristocrat knows the bath best
The bath pool made of polished marble appears luxurious even to Mitrof, who was raised as a noble.
Hot water gushes like a fountain in the center, and it flows endlessly from the edges.
In a noble’s house, not filling the bathtub with water is a matter of hygiene and effort.
Transporting a large amount of water to the bathtub and boiling it is a great burden.
It is impossible to leave the bathwater once a person’s body has polluted it.
But what about this bathhouse?
By continuously flowing the water from underground, the bathtub is always filled with clean, hot water.
Regardless of how many people use it, it doesn’t become unsanitary.
Mitrof slowly dipped his feet into the bathtub.
It was warmer than the shower, but his feet still tingled.
He gritted his teeth and slowly sank into the water up to his waist.
The inside of the bathtub was sloping like a mortar.
It seemed that there were places to sit on the edge, and many people were soaking only the lower half of their body.
In the center, he noticed men standing and chatting.
There were young men laughing, while letting the flowing water massage their shoulders from the center.
It seemed that there was no right way to enter the bath, as Mitrof observed.
He slowly descended into the water as if scooping it up with his hands, and soon the water was up to his shoulders.
He was speechless.
It was like a pig’s cry squeezed out of his throat, but Mitrof trembled with the pleasant sensation that ran up his spine.
It is as if his whole body is wrapped in hot cotton.
His limbs seemed to dissolve and disappear, and the hot water soaked into his bare spirit.
Lanterns were hung here and there, but because steam rose up thickly, the bath was dimly lit no matter where one looked.
But that dimness was also good.
The steam seemed to create a thin film between the people around him.
Within the group, he was an individual.
And yet, there was a sense of unity.
He was alone, but not lonely.
The strange sensation was not just from the warmth and comfort of the water.
This space, this place called a bath, was good.
The pleasant sensation of soaking in the hot water almost made Mitrof slip down in the tub.
He hurried back to the edge and sat in the available seat.
The water warmed Mitrof’s stomach.
The steam enveloped his upper body, and countless droplets had condensed into tiny beads.
Mitrof soaked in the spacious bathtub, and as people came and went, he vaguely watched them exchange places.
Mitrof was in a daze.
His thoughts, worries, loneliness, and anxiety had all vanished like steam.
His mind was now empty, and Mitrof was glad for it.
“…I could stay here forever.”
He muttered softly.
“That’s true—there’s no better place than this comfortable spot.”
An unexpected response was returned.
Surprised, Mitrof turned to face the man who was entering the bath.
“Is it okay if I sit next to you?”
“Y-Yes, of course.”
The man who sat next to Mitrof had a huge build that made Mitrof look up at him.
And above all, that face was that of a fierce beast.
The mane around his face extended, and sharp eyes looked down on Mitrof.
“What, is this your first time seeing a beastman?”
“I, I am sorry—it’s my first time seeing someone from the Lionhead tribe.”
“I see—our tribe doesn’t settle in cities so often—I’m a bit of an oddball.”
His throat rumbled like thunder.
It was an intimidating presence, but the man with the beast’s head seemed to be laughing.
“This is the first time I’ve taken a bath in this city, and I loved it so much that my friends got fed up and went home, but I decided to stay in this city.”
“You stayed because you wanted to take a bath?!”
“That’s right! I love taking baths!”
His throat gurgled and growled.
“If it feels this good, I’d want to take one every day…”
There’s no place like this in the whole country, and it’s cheap.
There’s even a labyrinth.
Earn some money, eat some food, and enjoy the baths here—It’s full of the joy of living.”
“The joy of living…?”
“Isn’t that right? Just moving, eating, and sleeping like a beast will keep you one.
Enjoying the hot springs is a form of entertainment.
It’s also interesting to be able to enjoy a conversation with strangers like this—being naked in the hot springs makes one’s speech more casual.”
‘I see,’ Mitrof nodded.
It seems that the people enjoy the bathhouse not only to keep their bodies clean and calm their minds but also as a place for social interaction.
“I’d live here, too.”
“If you can appreciate the charm of this place, then you are a real man.”
If he had continued to live as a noble, he would never have met Grace.
He would not have been brought to the bathhouse and would not have been sitting naked in the hot springs next to this huge male with a beast’s head.
In just a few days, Mitrof’s life had changed dramatically.
It was a strange and perhaps unfortunate thing.
The noble position he held was in an environment surrounded by luxury, with no danger to life and no trouble eating.
The excess fat on Mitrof’s body is a symbol of the wealth of the nobility.
Living a life of only accumulating excess fat, Mitrof must have missed out on experiencing this scenery and moment.
Sitting in the hot spring at this moment, Mitrof thought that it wasn’t so bad.
Being shoulder to shoulder with a total stranger with a beast’s head was an interesting experience.
Mitrof repeated the phrase ‘the joy of living.’
“Ah, this feels good.”
“Exactly—hot springs are truly amazing.”
Mitrof and the man with the beast’s head sometimes exchanged conversation as if they’d suddenly remembered.
When the conversation ebbed, they’d fall silent and stare thoughtfully at the scenery.
Occasionally, someone who seemed familiar with the man with the beast’s head would pass by.
They would wave and exchange a few words before moving on.
“Being in a hot spring means being liberated—not forced, not rushed.”
The man with the beast head said as he rumbled his throat.
Looking up at the ceiling, Mitrof nodded vigorously.
“Baths are the best.”
The two of them remained in the hot spring, listless, for a while.
Amazingly, the public bath is never closed for 24 hours.
Regardless of whether it is late at night or early in the morning, one can always soak in the tub.
Because it is run by the government, it is there as a paradise for people, disregarding profits and relieving their fatigue.
For adventurers returning from the labyrinth, there is neither morning nor night, and those who work with adventurers have irregular lives.
Bakers start working from late at night, and lower-ranking officials and soldiers working in the royal castle also have changing work hours from morning to night.
Tired people exist at any time.
There are people who want to take a bath.
Mitrof and the beast-headed man got out of the bath at the same time.
Mitrof was a little dizzy.
“You’ll feel that way when you’re not used to the hot water—the body gets too hot.
It’s essential to drink plenty of fluids before entering.”
“I see—so that’s how it is.”
They left the bathhouse under the beast-headed man’s direction.
He thought it was only a dressing room, but there was a resting area beyond the shelves.
There were wooden benches, and naked men were sitting and chatting.
Menial workers were blowing wind with large fans.
The beast-headed man ordered something at the reception by the wall and came back with a wooden jug in both hands.
“Here, drink this.”
“What is this…?”
Looking closely, it was a white liquid with foaming bubbles.
“It’s Milk Ale—try it—It will make you fly.”
Saying that, the beast-headed man swung the jug and gulped it down.
Mitrof stared fixedly at the contents of the jug.
It seemed to be some kind of milk.
But isn’t ale beer?
Perhaps the two were mixed together.
Would it be delicious?
Normally, he might not have drunk it.
The values and common sense he had learned as a nobleman could sometimes lead to strong aversion.
Especially, nobles do not drink milk or ale.
Nobles drinking ale at the table is a symbol of decline, poverty, and shabbiness.
Drinking milk is for peasants, and the nobles who manage their land should not drink the same thing.
An old custom still remains.
Mitrof had only heard about both and had never drunk them before.
‘However, I am already an adventurer.’ Mitrof thought to himself.
Both milk and ale were unknown to him.
He had a strong curiosity to taste them.
Mitrof took a sip and quickly gulped it down.
The liquid flowed into his mouth, and he was surprised by its coldness.
He swallowed it down.
It’s so cold and easy to drink!
And yet, it’s like alcohol! The slightly fermented carbonation tingled his throat.
It was a liquid, yet it had a certain presence.
His throat made a sound on its own.
Mitrof closed his eyes tightly, and the bubbles popping in his throat were irresistible!
There was a slight bitterness, yet a sweetness and a rich flavor that could be felt through the nose.
Perhaps the chill is what made it so delicious.
Despite there being a lot of ale in the tankard, Mitrof gulped it all down at once.
He exhaled and took in the forgotten oxygen.
The cold milk-ale spread throughout his overheated body.
His whole body felt weightless, and he felt comfortable as if he were floating.
“I can’t believe this is legal.”
“You drink well—you’ll become a good man.”
The beast-headed man laughed and slapped Mitrof’s back, spinning around.
“I’ve made up my mind—I’ll come here every day and drink this—and I’m grateful for showing me something wonderful.”
The beast-head grinned, showing his fangs while his mouth was wide open.
“Let’s both survive and meet again tomorrow, little adventurer.”
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