Author’s Note. Well… I managed to squeeze out a chapter after all. It’s not my best, but it’s better than nothing. And a bit of a warning, minor ecchi in this chapter. Blame the actions of a certain kitsune. As for the title, it’s a song by the former Japanese idol group Whiteberry. More will be explained later, so please enjoy for now?
Also, I don’t know enough about Japanese hot spring culture.
Chapter 23 – 夏祭り? (Natsu Matsuri?)
“So Yuki, what do ya think?” (Coy)
I couldn’t believe it… we were finally there. Ritme may be based on pre-Meiji era Japan, but I didn’t expect there to be horse-drawn carriages. They were designed with more of a Japanese feel to them, but those just were not in Japan. Still… better than walking. Or that hay cart again. Anyway, this place was amazing. It reminded me of Hakone, in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture. However… the hustle and bustle going around told me something was up.
“Coy-kun… what’s going on?”
“Natsu Matsuri.” (Coy)
Wait… what!? Did he just speak Japanese!?
“That’s right, Inarihime told me about it. It’s popular for attracting even more tourists from the other territories.” (Coy)
I couldn’t believe it, I hadn’t been to a summer festival in a long time.
“Will there be fireworks?”
“On the final day, Yuki.” (Nakano)
I almost forgot for a second that the other wife is here. But wait a moment…
“Coy, you know I’m not familiar with the seasons of this world, but it does have all four seasons… right?”
“If ya mean Spring, Summer, Winter, and Autumn, then yeah.” (Coy)
At least they’re the same? Let’s see… it was Valentine’s day when I arrived here, so that was in February. I was stuck in the Devil King’s castle for about three months. And it took Coy about three more months to rescue me. Plus we were in Ritme for a month already… wait, that’s not right. Then it would probably be September already. Forget it, I don’t want to even figure out the time difference between my world and this one.
Before I could ask anything, Coy took out something from the sleeve of his robe I didn’t expect, it was one of Kimiko’s Disguise Rings! What is he plotting?
“Coy, what are you up to?”
“It will be explained later.” (Coy)
He then put it on and slightly altered his appearance. His hair and tail were now gray… like his grandfather’s and Nakano’s!?
“Now it will be harder for anyone to recognize me.” (Coy)
“But… what’s with the change of appearance?”
I had to ask. Other than the change of hair color, he looked like he had a cross-shaped scar on his left cheek. Like a certain fictional samurai who fought in the Meiji Revolution.
“I’ll tell you after we check in, I rented us rooms for a week.” (Coy)
“I have my reasons. Now, let’s get going.” (Coy)
All I could do was sigh as Nakano and I followed him. He had some vassals carrying our things, which was better than I thought it would be. Maybe being married to him of all people isn’t a bad thing? But I had a sneaking suspicion at the spring we were staying at. The translation from Japanese was “Moon Rabbit”. And at the reception, was a bunny girl. Well… not like the girls you normally see in the costumes, but a female bunny half-man.
“Greetings, I am Ayame. Welcome to the Tsuki Usagi hot spring. Do you have a reservation?” (Ayame)
Ayame looked to be an average woman from my own opinion. She was wearing a Kimono with a hot spring pattern. Her hair was brown, so were her eyes. And… even she beat me in the bust department.
“I do. It should be under Inuharu, if I’m correct?” (Coy)
“Wait… the long lost grandson of the Lord of Yottsu? Hayate Inuharu-sama?” (Ayame)
“That’s right.” (Coy)
“Yeah… the honeymoon suite and… one regular suite?” (Ayame)
“That’s correct.” (Coy)
“I normally do not pry into the business of the customers, but may I inquire why two rooms for your honeymoon?” (Ayame)
“I have my reasons, all there is too it.” (Coy)
Again… what is he hiding?
“I don’t get you nobility-types, but your money is as good as anyone else’s. So I shall pry no further.” (Ayame)
That’s actually a smart move. I mean… it could be against company policies if she were to inquire any further, right?
“Good. Oh, take this.” (Coy)
He placed a small bag of coins on the reception desk.
“Sir, I don’t understand?” (Ayame)
“It’s a tip.” (Coy)
“But… I have yet to do anything to deserve this?” (Ayame)
“Then call it an advanced tip.” (Coy)
“An advanced tip?” (Ayame)
“Yeah, as in I’m tipping you in advance.” (Coy)
I could see that the young clerk was confused. I would be too if I were in her position. I mean… she’s probably not the one who’s going to be doing the services.
“No buts. It’s my money and I do what I want with it. Besides, you look like you don’t get too many customers, despite it being Natsu Matsuri.” (Coy)
She looked like she was about to cry.
“You’re right… the Tsuki Usagi is the least popular hot spring here. All the other hot springs have bigger bathing areas, more of a selection of alcohol, and lastly prettier staff.” (Ayame)
Okay… now she’s just depressed. Does Coy have any tact?
“But this place has one thing that the other hot springs don’t.” (Coy)
She took the words right out of my mouth. Or should I say word?
“Honest people for starters.” (Coy)
“Honest people?” (Ayame)
“From what I’ve heard… from a certain person, this place has people who honestly love their work. And anytime a customer loses something, they always go out of their way to return it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a glass marble or a piece of gold, it gets returned to it’s owner. True that there are bigger and more popular hot springs here, but honest people are a great quality to have.” (Coy)
Okay… maybe he was just setting her up to brighten the mood? He’s always full of surprises, both good and bad.
“Thank you. But… I I think that you’re giving us too much credit.” (Ayame)
“Considering that this place is owned by Inarihime, I probably am.” (Coy)
I couldn’t even hold it in. And even Ayame had a surprised look on her face, before changing completely to a… seductive tone?
“Fufufu, now that’s the secret about this place that not too many people know about.” (Ayame)
“Wait… what’s going on?”
Coy then smirked himself.
“This place is only a front, it’s actually a secret base for the Shadows.” (Coy)
“How right you are. But only a few people outside of the Shadows know about that. I can only assume that Inarihime-sama trusts you?” (Ayame)
“Let’s just say that we have some plans in the works?” (Coy)
“Considering the fact that she taught you the secret code that means you need our help, that means we have to help you.” (Ayame)
“Let me explain, it goes in three parts. First part is ordering an extra room that’s not really needed. The second part is saying ‘I have my reasons, all there is to it’ when the clerk asks. You have to say those nine words without fail when the clerk inquires about the extra room. The final part is the huge tip. By claiming that the tip’s in advanced for the services, it means that there’s a reason why you need the help of the Shadows.” (Coy)
This is all very confusing. But…
“Is it all right to be telling us this?”
“As you’re my wives and also friends of Inarihime, I would have to tell you eventually.” (Coy)
Okay, I have no retort or anything for that one.
“Anyway… what do you need our help with, Hayate-sama?” (Ayame)
“The details are written in the bag.” (Coy)
“I see. In that case… allow me to show you to your room.” (Ayame)
Ayame then guided us the to honeymoon suite. It was weird… but I found myself looking at her tail. I don’t swing that way, it was just that I was curious if it was real. From what I’ve learned about kitsunes, they can change their appearance. Inarihime showed me by changing into… me once. It was weird that she had me feel her up, but I couldn’t tell that it was really her. Even the shape and feel of her breasts felt like my own. Trust me, it was embarrassing. Still, she even sounded like me. But she had me hide behind a sliding wall to show me her skills. She almost had Coy convinced that she was me when he walked into the room. The reason I said almost was because Coy could also smell my scent from behind the wall as well.
Anyway, we got to the room and I was surprised. Excluding the closet space, it was about sixteen tatami. Like almost four times the size of a classical Japanese tea room. After our things were placed into the room, the vassals as well as Ayame left. I just couldn’t hold it in.
“So Inarihime owns this place?”
“And it’s really a secret base for the Shadows?”
“Does that mean that Ayame is–”
That was rude, he cut me off.
“Inarihime told me. You know how Nakano here was born from her father’s Shadow, right?” (Coy)
How could I not, that was a story that I know all too well.
“There’s others like her. No offense, Nakano.” (Coy)
“It is all right.” (Nakano)
“Anyway, in most cases the children who were in that position and unwanted like Nakano are actually taken in by Inarihime to become support to the Shadows who are not assigned to nobility. Like this place for instance, it’s a front for a Shadow base. However, the actual employees are the children of Shadows who were born as half-men instead of kitsune.” (Coy)
“Wow… I didn’t know.”
Seriously, I didn’t know.
“But why a hot spring for a secret base?”
“Why not?” (Coy)
Better than stealing his catchphrase again.
“This is a hot spring village, so it’s only natural.” (Coy)
Okay… I had no way to retort or refute what he just said. It makes too much sense, it’s a hot spring village after all. But still…
“Are you going to tell us your plan or not?”
“Oh… that. Remember when that guard told me on the way though the border gate that my old party was in Ritme?” (Coy)
“I’ve actually made an agreement with Inarihime to make sure that they toured as much of Ritme as possible.” (Coy)
“I had to secure my place as the lord of Yottsu first to get power, but as you can see it took a month. They think that Coy the Hero’s dead, but they will be meeting with Hayate Inuharu. Hence the disguise ring. My old party should be coming for Natsu Matsuri, as I doubt any tourist would refuse this chance. Pretty much… I call this plan a ‘tourist trap’.” (Coy)
“A tourist trap?”
I know this is a pun, but still…
“Yeah, tourist trap. This is a hot spring village with a festival going on. So there’s no way that they will avoid it. Anyway, my plan is to mess with Nanashi’s mind and getting him to confess what he did.” (Coy)
I knew it was a pun. But how complicated is his plan? It sound’s like it’s more work than he’s normally willing to do.
“And how are you going to do that?”
He then snapped his fingers. A second later… Asuka appeared in an instant. I was caught of guard as I normally don’t even socialize with her.
“Asuka’s my trump card for this one.” (Coy)
“Wait… your Shadow’s your trump card?”
“Well… she’s the most important piece to the plan. Show them, Asuka.” (Coy)
She then did a transformation. And… she looked like Coy in his 16-bit era game attire!?
“She’s going to be the psychological warfare of the plan. I don’t know if Nanashi is clever enough or not to see through the disguise ring. So Asuka’s going to make some timed appearances as the me that he tried to kill. Just enough for him to lose composure though.” (Coy)
Okay… this is way more than anything he normally plans. From what I’ve known of him so far, he normally tries to find a simple solution that’s less complicated. Straight forward would be better worlds to Coy’s personality.
“But… wouldn’t it be simpler to just be yourself and confront him?”
“Yuki, the old me would had just hunted him down and riddled his body full of holes. Besides… this is more entertaining.” (Coy)
I know that Coy has a temper sometimes. I’ve had to stop him before. But… to do something that’s entertaining? This is new.
“Yup. But… I need you for the plan too.” (Coy)
“And why me?”
“It’s a hunch… but I think that it’s a good idea. But whether I’m right or wrong, I need you around.” (Coy)
Just what is he up to?
“And what’s the hunch?”
“Just… please just trust me?” (Coy)
Okay… now he’s making me not want to trust him. But when I’ve put my trust in him in the past, he’s never let me down. And I don’t have the feeling that he’s going to let me down now.
“Good. Now… how about a soak in the hot springs?” (Coy)
That moment, Asuka canceled her transformation. The three of us looked at her before hearing the door slide open. The person there… was Inarihime.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” (Coy)
I wanted to ask the same question.
“Young Hayate, I am the owner of the establishment. So why would I not be here?” (Inarihime)
“Because normally you’re at the Inuharu manor.” (Coy)
“I go where I think the most fun will be, yes? And I think witnessing your plan will be entertaining. But… do you know what really makes this place special, yes?” (Inarihime)
“The fact it’s a Shadow Base?” (Coy)
“Actually, the mixed bathing.” (Inarihime)
“M… mi… mix… mixed… bathing!?”
“That is right Yuki-chan. The Tsuki Usagi is a mixed bathing hot spring. So I figured it would be good for a honeymoon, yes?” (Inarihime)
“Sorry, but we’re taking them separately.” (Coy)
Wait… he knew and decided to be separate?
“But young Hayate, this is a good moment to get closer to both your wives?” (Inarihime)
“Good moment or not… I don’t feel ready.” (Coy)
“Wait… do not tell me that you have yet to caress your wives’ bodies?” (Inarihime)
Okay… Coy, Nakano, and I are all red right now from the blushing. Neither Nakano or myself has really kissed Coy yet, it was more of an indirect kiss from drinking from the same cup of sake at the wedding. Let alone… did anything indecent.
“Inarihime… can’t we just take our time?” (Coy)
“Fufufu, young Hayate is a shy one. Then again, your father was the same way. Nagisa had to literally force him to–” (Inarihime)
Coy cut her off by throwing a pillow. He’s the man, Nakano and I should be the ones doing that!? But Inarihime still caught it.
“I don’t need to know about that side of my parents.” (Coy)
Well… there’s that. Anyone would be embarrassed hearing those stories when it comes to their parents.
“Fine then. But… you must at least enter the bath with your wives.” (Inarihime)
Is that fox woman a pervert or something!?
“Sorry, I’m sticking to my principles on this one.” (Coy)
“If you do not take the bath with your wives, I will start telling you about your parents’ life in the bed room.” (Inarihime)
Wait… what kind of threat is this!? And don’t tell me she actually spied on Coy’s Parents? All I know is that Coy’s just trying to keep his calm right now.
“Fine… I’ll do it.” (Coy)
“That is wise, young Hayate.” (Inarihime)
And with that she left. Asuka had taken the chance to disappear herself in all the embarrassment. Personally, I think she was the smartest for doing that.
“Yuki, Nakano, I’ll head there first. Don’t worry, I’ll wear a blindfold after scrubbing off.” (Coy)
He then left. I will admit, it is nice of him to at least wear a blindfold. I mean… I do remember when he took the bath with me and the other girls back at the temple, but he was a girl at the time. With him actually being a man again… it’s a little weird to think about bathing together. Even if it’s just a soak in a hot spring.
After a bit, Nakano and I headed for the spring. We saw that Coy’s clothes were already in a basket, so we started stripping. I will admit… Nakano does give me breast envy. Hers are no where near as big as Wells’, but they were still pretty big compared to my own. I’d have to say that they’re at least a D-cup. Just… why are mine barely bigger than an A!?
“Hayate-san, is it safe?” (Nakano)
And she’s taking the infinitive on asking?
“I’m scrubbed, rinsed, and in the spring. I got the blindfold on, so it’s safe.” (Coy)
Both Nakano and I entered with towels on. Coy was already leaning with his back against a rock. It’s just a good thing that we’re the only ones here, I might get even more nervous. Still, we scrubbed ourselves off before putting the towels back on and entered ourselves. It was an awkward silence, I decided to start the conversation.
“So… anyone else feeling relaxed?”
“The temperature’s just right.” (Nakano)
Nakano said that with a relaxed smile. I will admit, it felt a little relaxing. Even with a blindfolded man in here with us.
“It’s my first time in one of these things, but it feels nice.” (Coy)
Well… he did pretty much grow up in somewhat of cowboy town, so I doubt he’s really been in a hot spring before.
“It’s not my first time, but it feels so nostalgic.”
I couldn’t hold it in, I missed hot springs. Even with a big bath at the Devil King’s castle, it just wasn’t the same. I remembered when I was younger, my mother and I would go to Hakone once every few months to try out the different springs. We never really did overnight stays, we just were being connoisseurs. It saddened me that we could never do this again, but I’ve gotten used to that pain.
“Yuki, something wrong?” (Coy)
“Well… not really.”
“Yuki, I can hear it in your voice.” (Coy)
What does he mean by that?
“It’s the truth, I can hear it in your voice. Don’t think that I wouldn’t notice, we’ve been together for a while now.” (Coy)
Well… he did have a point. Other than Kimiko, he’s the only one that I’ve been around since I’ve come to this world. Or does he just care about me that much? But that didn’t stop what happened next.
“Why is young Hayate wearing a blindfold?” (Inarihime)
Inarihime walked in to the spring to soak herself. And… Asuka’s in tow?
“What’s wrong with that?” (Coy)
“I made sure that you could get to know your wives a little better. I even brought Asuka so you would know her better as well. So this will not do.” (Inarihime)
She then rushed in and grabbed the blindfold. Coy tried to fight her off, but she took it. And… her towel fell as well.
“Young Hayate… do not tell me that you are interested in this body as well?” (Inarihime)
I will admit… she does have a beautiful body. And due to her breasts being smaller than Nakano’s as well, it did make me feel a little more secure about my own.
He tried to leave the spring, but she stopped him. All I remember from that moment as a little anger about Coy seeing another woman naked. And the embarrassment of Inarihime’s actions. But still, Coy’s plan had yet to begin.
After Note: Looks like Inarihime’s shenanigans continue. Still, this was difficult as I don’t fully understand Japanese Hot Spring culture. I just took tidbits that I remembered from anime, manga, and novels. I will admit that I winged a lot of this chapter, I mainly thought about Coy’s confrontation with his old party when I started this mini-arc.
As for the song the title’s named after, I first heard it when watching ReLIFE’s anime. I love that Japanese Webtoon a lot, and was originally over-excited when I first found out that there was going to be an anime. And since it was all posted on KissAnime on the same day, I binged it. And when the dub came out… let’s just say that the English cast of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” was what was in my head when I read the webtoon. I disagreed with Ryo being voiced by Josh Grelle, I will say that much. But I liked how for the EP that they would play older songs (from the 2000’s). And when I first heard Natsu Matsuri… I fell in love with the song.
Anywho, that’s it for the chapter. As for a live stream tonight… I must cancel on the account that I’m not fully recovered. But I’m close to it. Still, thanks for reading.