Arc 02.5: Extra Volume #1 – Nagi, Cecyl, and a white knot festival.
Chapter 31: Nagi, Cecyl, and a white knot festival. First Part
[It’s time for an extra volume]. In terms of timeline, it’s the story from around the second part of the chapter #10.
This event took place after Nagi and Cecyl arrived in the Metekal town, and before they linked up with Rita.
“[White knot festival]?”
It’s been a day since Cecyl and I arrived in Metekal. During our walk through the town, we noticed a stone monument on the grounds of an old shop.
It looked very ancient. The surface was covered with moss, the carved letters were already weathered.
“… a [white knot festival] is a feast to thank the slaves. The purpose is to reconfirm mutual bonds… Cecyl, continue reading”
“Yes. It appears that this festival takes place every five years. The next one is… Eh?”
“What’s wrong, Cecyl?”
“It’s today. [White knot festival] is today” — tilting her head like a puppy, Cecyl said those words.
“Ahh, that reminds me, there indeed was a festival like that”
Once we returned to the inn, we asked the landlady about the festival.
“The [White knot festival] is very old. They say that it’s related to [Goddess of Contracts], but nowadays almost no one celebrates it”
“It’s a festival to reward one’s slaves, isn’t it?”
“…You’re interested in it?” — The innkeeper looked at me with an appraisal. Then she looked at Cecyl, breathed a sigh and shrugged.
“There should be some records left behind in our house. My ancestor was acquainted with a magician who lived not far from the town” — The landlady raised her hand and beckoned her assistant.
A festival to reward one’s slaves, huh? In other words, it’s an event where an employer entertains those who work for them with their utmost effort every day.
“… that sounds like a company outing, isn’t it?”
“Well, I was just talking to myself”
Well, we took great lengths to arrive here, so it’s understandable to think about having an event, like a company outing, at our destination.
[White knot festival], a feast to thank those work for your sake every day. Say, this event is like a reward, so it’s natural for there to be a banquet, right?
… Frankly speaking, I admired such a thing as a company outing.
My coworkers from the last workplace complained so much after the trip, saying “It was so much fun! You can believe it was so incredibly fun! Look at the pictures, listen to me!”
It was so mysterious that it grew tiresome. I began to question if they really enjoyed it that much.
“[White knot festival] is an outing to reward the slaves… If that’s the case, I suppose we better do it” — I looked at Cecyl sitting on the opposite side of the table and eating bread.
Such a slender figure.
She’s wearing some short cloths for clothes. On her shoulders was a leather necklace. Cecyl was chewing on a finely cut piece of hard bread dipped in soup.
She just followed after me without a word of complaint, and I didn’t give that much of deal. …Alright, since this world has a festival for slaves, let’s return the favor to Cecyl.
Otherwise, I might just end up becoming a black employer.
“If it’s good with you, can you teach me about this [White knot festival]?” — I asked the proprietress. The massive landlady in turn just shook her slackened cheeks.
“Let’s first do the [Contract], shall we?”
“You will do the [contract] stating that you [won’t use the binding force of the ring for the entirety of today] towards your slave. You will leave everything to the free will of your slave. The ‘reward’ part is about that, don’t you agree? And one more thing, should your slave dislike it, you are to stop the ritual. Be aware that it’s important”
Having said this, the innkeeper presented to me a bundle of parchment that her assistant had brought.
“The details are written here. Well, you should look at them” — The landlady snorted roughly. Then she looked at Cecyl, glared at me, and left us.
Upon the return to our room, I read the parchments. They looked very old, some places here and there already faded. That is to say, this article was the history itself. In other words, the likelihood of it being genuine was high. Even if the landlady was halfhearted about it, I would be okay with that if I could reward Cecyl.
The number of parchements was four. Each one had a ritual written in them that would deepen the bonds between master and slave.
I already finished with the [contract] to not use the ring for a whole day.
So, the first ritual was…
[First Ritual: the master is to wipe clean every part of their slave’s back while thanking them for their constant work]
In front of our door, there already was a bucket of steamy hot water. They even provided cloth to wipe the body.
The inn worker could read the mood and probably brought it here in advance.
I see. I am to wipe clean Cecyl’s back with that, huh? If I am not mistaken, company outing usually took place in hot springs.
I get it now, the company employees washed the backs of company president and people from management during those trips. Or maybe it was the other way?
The hurdle was high indeed. It’s not impossible to assume that they would be worn out by the end.
“Cecyl, listen to me” — I sat down on the bed and called out to Cecyl.
As usual, Cecyl kneeled on the floor and looked up at me.
“I’ve been thinking of rewarding Cecyl”
“Yes, Nagi-sama. Thank you very much”
“However, I don’t want to do something that Cecyl doesn’t like”
“Of course, I understand”
“That’s why I think we should leave out the first and the fourth rituals”
“I understand. If that’s what Nagi-sama says”
Cecyl turned her back to me and lowered the clothes to her waist. A luxurious brown back on a glossy, smooth skin. It was bare.
Cecyl told me before that she disliked her brown skin. I think there’s nothing particularly bad about it, it’s lovely.
Then Cecyl placed her hands on shoulders and split her long hair to left and right, making them pour to the front. The metal fittings on her thin neck clanked. Once Cecyl covered her chest with hands, I could see her shoulder blades standing out. There was no wasted meat on them.
It would probably do her well to have a little more meat on her. Even if it’s pretty right now. What surprised me the most in the different world is that there are really pretty girls here who live and work normally.
Cecyl was adjusting her position in front of me so that I could easily touch her back. The clothes rose and slipped down so much that I was to able her buttocks being grasped and let go by her tiny toes.
My head went poof in front of such spectacle. I couldn’t utter no other words to describe it. This brain of mine just froze and shortcutted itself.
“… I leave it to you, Nagi-sama” — holding her silver hair, Cecyl turned to me over the shoulder. Her body was so small yet Cecyl always supported all this time.
Alright, I will reward Cecyl with all my might today…
“…. Wait a minute, let me calm down myself”
What was I trying to do just now? Why have I gotten down from the bed? Calm down~, Calm down~. Become serene~
“…. Listen, Cecyl”
“I said that we would skip the ritual of wiping the back, didn’t I?”
“Yes, it is what I heard”
“Then why do you look like that?”
“It’s because I couldn’t understand the reason why Nagi-sama was hesitating”
“Even Cecyl should be somewhat resistant to acts like having a man wipe her body clean”
“I am fine if it’s done by Nagi-sama”
So she said.
“Nagi-sama always says to me that my skin is beautiful, don’t you?”
“Yeah, it’s lovely”
“Still, I hate my own skin. It’s because of this skin of a dark elf… that I am hated by everyone for being an evil demonkin. They may turn cold shoulder to even Nagi-sama for just being together with me”
Cecyl brushed her arms while speaking.
“Nevertheless, I have a feeling that I may come to like this skin if Nagi-sama washes it for me. There is no way I will hate something that’s made pretty by the person most important to me”
… Looks like I have no way to run from here. No way I can say something like “Cecyl has beautiful skin, but I am reluctant to touch it”. I should resolve myself. I am still Cecyl’s master.
“Got it. However, speak aloud if you want me to stop”
I placed my hand into the bucket and confirm the water temperature. It was a nice, moderate temperature.
I soaked the cloth in water and placed on Cecyl’s back.
“I-I am fine…. Please continue”
Easy there, let’s do it politely.
I put the cloth on Cecyl’s nape. Her sweaty skin was shivering. I would go from above to below, tracing the back. Parallel to her spine, as if I was trying to make sure of the way.
As far as the ritual goes, I just have to “make it clean”. I suppose I can wipe her whole body.
From the right to the left, I was slowly wiping alongside her shoulder blades.
“…Cecyl, do you feel ticklish?”
“…………. It’s not a big deal at all”
Cecyl didn’t move a muscle.
Am I being too conscious of her? That’s probably it. The company outings of my former world were doing it normally (probably).
“… I-I don’t know the reason why Nagi-sama was hesitating. Good grief, it’s not a big deal. It just feels good like usual. I wouldn’t mind it being done every day”
Is that so… My heart wouldn’t be able to endure this every day, but once in a while is fine I guess.
Cecyl also looked calm. She was the same as always, if not for her breath getting rough which she covered with both hands.
“I need a little more time, are you fine with it?”
“….. G-good grief….. It’s nothing…”
Is that so… I will continue then. Since it was a ritual to entertain Cecyl, I have to continue doing it if she wishes for it. …Say, do I need to wipe the sides of her back as well? Oh well, let’s do it just in case.
shiver shiver shiver shiver shiver
Hey, I am nervous as well, so don’t move too much, Cecyl.
Hitting Cecyl in elbow, I dropped the cloth I was holding. My raised hand was still on Cecyl’s… side… ehm…
shiver shiver shiver !
Just as I thought that Cecyl shivered with strong force —
Cecyl just fell forward.
“I am fine, Nagi-sama. I have not a single problem”
“Was it a bad spot to be touched by other people for a demonkin?”
“No, that was an extremely normal reaction for girls”
tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock bzzzzzzzzz
Cecyl was nodding frantically, and then she shook her head.
I have absolutely no idea what’s going on anymore.
“I’ve wiped pretty much all of your back, so we’re done here, right?”
“It would be troubling if it wasn’t”
“Still, I wasn’t very skillful, so I better do it carefully one more time”
“Does Nagi-sama have a wrong assumption that my reasoning is infinite?”
Why is she looking at me with teary eyes?
I obediently left the room.
Good grief… “Do not misunderstand that my reasoning is infinite”… what’s with this line.
As I was waiting in the corridor for Cecyl to finish putting on her dress, the innkeeper lady passed me by.
She saw me standing outside the door, to which she laughed and shook her jaw in visible satisfaction.
[Second Ritual: Slave and Master are to share and partake the same food in person]
Yeah, that one I can understand.
In short, it was like pouring sake at a banquet. With that reasoning in mind, Cecyl and I went into the town.
The main street was lined up with food stalls. The pedestrian traffic was befitting the title of a commercial town.
I chose the stall with the most people. After all, I was ignorant of what was strange and what wasn’t. I would be putting my trust in other people on this occasion.
“Thank you for waiting, Cecyl”
We sat down in the shrubbery that was growing in the street corner.
The food I bought at the stall was called “Kelpana”. It consisted of minced meat that was wrapped in a fried dough and then poured with sauce. It looked like a non-sweet crepe, or a soft spring roll.
“We are supposed to share and eat the same thing, right?”
“Yes, in person”
“It’s very painful to request such food from the position of slave” — Cecyl stood up, faced me, and bowed deeply.
“However, I believe in my desire to respond to Nagi-sama’s will and accept this reward” — Cecyl said and lowered on her knees in front of me. Closing her eyes, she opened her small mouth. She was like a baby bird, waiting for her parent to give her the food.
… The meaning here was that I had to feed Cecyl with this Kelpana by my own hand.
Indeed, [White knot festival] had a high degree of difficulty.
The main street was flooded with people. Everyone was focused on their purchases and didn’t give us even a glance.
Having a girl like Cecyl be on her knees in front of oneself with her mouth open — it was on the level where I would’ve been questioned by the police in my world and then taken in custody.
“Okay, here I go, Cecyl” — I held a small piece of Kelpana, and took it before Cecyl’s lips.
“What are you doing over here?”
A voice rang out. I turned my head and saw a man standing behind us with a hood on his head.
“If it isn’t our adventurer friend and a wicked dark elf? What are you doing here?”
“… the Iturna cult?”
I remembered him. The man before us was acting as a messenger for the Chief priest Rita when Cecyl and I met them on a highway. He was supposed to be paralysed by an attack of Leviathan, but it seems like he managed to recover and arrive in Metekal.
“So you are still walking in the company of a dark elf slave and her ilk”
“It’s none of your concern”
“I’ve told you this before, but you mustn’t believe demonkins or dark elves!” — The man moved his face closer as if he was trying to lord over the surroundings.
“The likes of demonkins and dark elves are betrayers from their birth. Even if it seems like they pledged you their allegiance at first glance, their true feelings are incompatible with humans”
“That’s probably the case, with ordinary people”
I was a visitor from another world, and didn’t fall into the category of being “ordinary”.
“Cecyl helps me greatly. I don’t care what how you view it, but my trust in Cecyl is solid”
“What sweet swords. Those like her only capable of despising humans!”
Don’t point your finger here. You stand out so don’t raise your voice as well.
“A legend was left behind in the Iturna Cult that demi-humans, who have high magic power, treat the fact of touching humans as something filthy as well”
“Don’t ‘he-e-e’ me! They must be bound with the power of the ring at all times!”
… Why don’t you go somewhere else already, huh? If you don’t, Cecyl will continue sitting in that pose.
And yet, the man from Iturna Cult continued talking to me.
“You do not know of this, dark elves believe that touching humans is filthy. They won’t ever swear loyalty from the bottom of their heart. Even this girl probably considers the mere possibility of touching you as — ”
It happened suddenly.
The kneeling Cecyl moved to touch the crepe from another world, called Kelpana, that I was holding. She stretched her head, her face was moving closer. With cherry blossom lips.
The story will continue in the second part.