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Thanks a lot!
The moon starts to rise as the sun falls down to the horizon.
“About what Miss Keine said earlier... I wonder why some parents don't allow their children to receive education... It's free, right?”
“Well, it depends on the family background. Not everyone are aware of how valuable the education is for their children, just like the value of the energy that we're collecting,” Suwako's voice hums, answering Sanae's question.
“I know, but still...”
She hovers down to the lake, but there's no one around. There's also a huge pile of cherry blossom petals at the- Wait a minute.... Sanae puts you on the ground as she lands. Upon closer inspection, those petals are attached to the walls of the bath house as a cover.
“Hello guys!” Suwako comes out from the bath house. “Kanako didn't know any other good cover, so we'll ended up gathered nearby petals and attach it on the outer walls. I guess it's better than nothing...”
The frog on your head hops to her, then poofs out of existence.
“Let's go inside before one of the patrols sees us! I've prepared everything inside, don't worry!”
“Okay, we're coming!”
You enter the bath house. You can see Kanako sitting on a stone bench, with a shogi table just by her side. It seems you are interrupting their match.
“Welcome back. Did Sanae carry you around just fine?”
Uh huh. You nod, then proceed to give her the device that she wanted you to fetch. She takes it and looks at it carefully, before putting it on the bench.
“...I guess I have to ask the Kappa about it. I thought I could make this alone, but...” She turns her head to you. “Go clean yourself, then relax yourself in the hot spring. I'll join you later.”
“Men's room is on the right. Look at the top left locker, I've put a towel inside,” Suwako points to one of the room. “Let's change too Kanako, we'll continue our game later!”
“Yeah, I hear you...”
You walk inside the changing room. It's kind of dark here, since there are only some small candles to fill the room with light. You open the stone locker on the side: There are two towels in it, one to dry yourself, one to cover your private parts during the bath. You also see a soap in it; You take it and go to nearby stone bench to wash your body-
Eh? The water comes out from a stone pipe nearby to fill the wooden bucket under it as soon as you sit on the bench. You stand up, and the water stops coming out. Wow, that's cool. You pour the water on your body with the bucket, clean yourself more with the soap while waiting until bucket is fully refilled, then you pour the water on yourself again to clean your body.
Phew, that's refreshing. You wear the towel and walk to the hot spring area. There's no one here... You slowly enters the hot spring and let the water soaks your body. Ahhh... It feels good...
“I never thought I'll actually wear this in Gensokyo...” Kanako comes out from the girls changing room and submerges on the other side of the pool. She's wearing a white two pieces bathing suit. “Enjoying the bath?”
You nod, trying to look straight to her face instead of her... Assets. You take a deep breath, telling yourself to have a better self control, or get kicked out of the shrine.
“Phew, time to enjoy my hard-work bath house!” Suwako comes out and sits next to Kanako. She's wearing another two pieces bathing suit, only it's purple colored now. She's also carrying her shogi board and put it on the edge of the hot spring, between her and Kanako. “Let's continue out game. I don't want to leave our game session hanging!”
“...You can't wait until our bath is finished, can you?” She sighs and immediately moves a piece. “Your turn.”
Sanae finally walks out slowly from the changing room, and quietly sit on Suwako's side. She wears one piece bathing suit, but it looks the one from high school. She looks uncomfortable in it.
“Lady Suwako, it's a bit too tight...”
“Well, after all you've grown since you bought it... If you feel uncomfortable, you can just, you know, go nake-”
“Okay, okay, just a suggestion...” Suwako sighs as she moves a shogi piece. “I can fetch another spare towel in the shrine if you want.”
“No, it's okay, don't worry about me...”She sighs and closes her eyes, trying to enjoy the bath despite being uncomfortable with her suit.
“What's wrong with being naked anyway? He should have better self control to not think sexually about every naked women that he see. This is mixed bath after all.”
“I won't mind, but the youngsters will,” Kanako moves another shogi piece. Sanae and you nod in unison. “See?”
“Yes, but still, it just a bit of flesh that we cover because of protection and rules of society. In a mixed bath, none of that apply...”
“An agreement is a form of rule, right? In this case, you agreed with Nobu that we'll have a bath if we use something to cover our genitals. If you break it, he's free to leave the bath.”
“Oh, and checkmate.”
Suwako take a quick glance to the board, then sighs.
“Fine, I won't talk about it anymore. Mishaguji!”
The giant snake comes out from nowhere. Suwako knocks it's head, and it opens it's mouth, revealing a picnic basket inside. Suwako walks and sits next to you.
“Surprise!” She put some small bottles and cups from the basket. Wait, you know this smell... Alcohol? “Nobu, we decided-”
“No, it's just you.”
“Fine. I decided that you have to learn how to drink sake. You have to know how to drink these properly! All of us have drunk alcohol before, even Sanae!”
“Uhm, Lady Suwako I only drink it as part of a ritual, not to-”
“The point is still same,” Suwako cuts her statement. She hands you the cups and pour some sake in it. She also does the same to Sanae and Kanako. Uh... Can't you refuse the offer? After the incident with Sanae, you don't really wa-
“A word of warning Nobu: Don't drink sake from Oni or Tengu, no more than a few cups, unless you have exceptional alcohol tolerance! Their sake is much stronger than what humans serve. If you're offered sake by one of them, just drink one cup as a sign that you respect them then stop. Politely refuse if you offered more, say that your alcohol tolerance is-”
Yep, it seems you can't refuse the offer. Well, it's not like yo'veu never drunk sake before... You nod when she stops talking, and she smiles.
“Good! First, put your hands under the cup while the other hand holds the cup, so it won't spilled. Next, sip the sake, savor it-”
You slowly take a sip of the sake. Hmm... The taste is different from the one from the horned girl's bottles.
“...Yep, like that. Note that if you are offered to drink by another person, you may want to wait until the person signals you to drink. It depends on the person though, we don't mind about it, while the Tengu are really... Observant about it.”
“The same rule applies to commoner and higher ups of the village. Basically, be wary of your drinking companion, and act appropriately according to their status,” Kanako adds, then drinks all the sake on her cup in one sip. “Feel free to enjoy the sake while drinking with us though.”
“Uh huh! Basically, that's it,” Suwako pours to everyone's cup, and this time pour one extra cup for herself. “Cheers everyone!”
She raises her cup and drinks the sake, and followed by the others. Phew, you're even more relaxed now. Let's hope the hangover won't be as bad as the previous one.
“Hey, tell us what happened in the village! I heard from my other self that something happened back there!”
“About the trip to the village...” Kanako starts talking again. “Did you find anything interesting there Sanae?”
“Huh? Nothing important in particular. We met with the kid who owns the console that Nobu is trying to fix. We told them that we'll give the console to him tomorrow, and that's it.”
“You didn't telling him who's really fixing the console, did you?”
“No... What's wrong?”
“...Never mind.” Kanako glares to Suwako. Did something happened to them? “Tell the kids and the villagers that's interested in them that this is another miracle by our shrine. Do not mention that the Kappa fixed the thing.”
“Wait Kanako” Suwako stares back to her. “That was Nobu's idea to fix the game device, he should be the one who's explaining things to them. And why did you strictly want Sanae to say that this is our miracle? Nobu's supposed to choose whether he wants to tell them the truth or not!”
“Suwako, as a reminder, he can't speak. Explaining this to kids and villagers will take a long time to write. And don't you remember the villager's distrust of Kappa's works? It'll hurt our reputation if anyone finds out.”
“The truth will hit harder when you didn't tell it right away. I mean, there's that reporter...”
“We can deny any claims made by her, but if we outright say that we are working with the Kappa...” Kanako turns to you. “I hope you understand. We're helping each other here.”
Well, the Kappa are also helping... And they helping with the console even more than her, who's only donating a television to help make the console work. You won't bring the point up to her though, right now you only want to relax and enjoy the bath. You write that you don't want to talk about it, you want to enjoy the bath now.
“Fine,” she sighs. There was a moment of silence after that, until she grabs one of the sake bottle and pour it into her cup. “Want another round of Sake?”
No thanks, that's enough alcohol for you.
Sure, why not? It's not as strong as the one that the horned girl gave to you.