I Work As A Healer In Another World’s Labyrinth City - Chapter 24
「I want to sleep with Master if possible.」
Yuel tugs on the hem of my clothes while facing Eris.
We're currently at Eris' hospital, where we moved our belongings after picking up Yuel.. We had dinner at the tavern and informed the barmaster that Eris probably wouldn't show up as often since I transferred the hospital back to her. Then, when we got around to saying, ’’alright, let's go home and get some sleep’’... that's when the trouble began.
「But you know, Yuel-chan. Certainly, nothing may have happened yet, but that doesn't mean it won't ever, right? Besides, Yuel-chan is a girl, so it's improper for you two to keep sleeping in the same bed forever, don't you think?」
When it got late and we said goodnight to Eris, Yuel naturally tried to follow me into the same bedroom afterward. Eris wasn't having any of that.
「Look, we have plenty of beds available, okay?」
Eris tries to persuade Yuel like you would a young child, in a gentle tone of voice. Eris is a strict woman when it comes to things like this. It feels a little lonely, but I guess I won't be sleeping together with Yuel anymore. I mean, it's weird that we have been so far. She may still be young, but sleeping in the same bed with a girl I shouldn't be putting my hands on? That's certainly not proper.
Hearing Eris' words, Yuel looks down, lost in thought. Then... seemingly understanding the situation, she faces me.
Eventually summer will come around, and it will be difficult to sleep together all the time. It'll be hot, too. Some convenient air-conditioner-like magic tools do exist in this world, but other than the ones that have been successfully mass-produced for heating, lighting, plumbing and whatnot, magic tools are basically unaffordable due to the high price.
Thinking about the future, Yuel should give up and either sleep by herself or have Eris sleep with her. I nod in response to Yuel to indicate that I agree with Eris. Yuel confirms it and opens her mouth-
「Um, Master promised to embrace me when I grow up, so there isn't a problem.」
-and, fidgeting bashfully, she brings that up.
「...Care to explain?」
Eris cross-examines me in a low voice. I sense some anger in her gaze.
This is awkward. If I bungle this, I don't know what's going to happen to Eris' impression of me. I feel a nervous sweat drip down my cheeks.
No, I need to calm down when I'm in a pinch. First, let me take an objective look at it. How do I look right now to Eris?
Promising a young girl ’’I'll marry you when you grow up’’, a sweet young man who's good with kids...
「...To embrace such a little girl... you made a disgusting promise like that?」
Or not. Eris is looking at me like I seduced an innocent young slave girl in order to prey on her se*ually. She's treating me like a se* offender.
This is not good. Just when I finally managed to make peace with Eris, I feel like my reputation keeps plummeting.
However, it's true that I did tell Yuel that at one point. ’’Once you're older, okay?’’, I promised.
...But that was just so I could get her to sleep on the bed instead of the floor.
「Eris, hold on, that's a misunderstanding.」
When I deny it, Yuel makes an anguished noise. I look to the side, and Yuel is gazing up at me. A sorrowful expression is spreading across her face.
It's an expression like she trusted me and I betrayed her.
It's impossible. I can't do this. I don't want to see Yuel make a face like that.
「Ahh, well no, not exactly a misunderstanding.」
「...So it's true, then?」
When I take back my denial, disdain creeps into Eris' low voice. Her arms are crossed and she's glaring at me. Eris is livid. It's a bit scary.
This is bad. There's nothing I can do.
If I deny Yuel's words then she'll be hurt, but if I confirm them then Eris will detest me. What to do? What can I possibly do?
I might as well honestly admit ’’Yuel was trying to hold back by sleeping on the floor, so I just said whatever was convenient to get her to use the bed.’’
No, that's no good. Yuel would go into shock. Although it was just for expediency's sake, throwing away that promise would be awful. There's no way I can cloud over that face full of sunshine.
I need to come up with a better excuse... wait, Yuel's my slave in the first place, so what I do with her shouldn't be any of Eris' concern, should it?
...No no, even if that's the case, I'll be spurned if I tell her ’’that's none of your business.’’
This time for sure, Eris would be done with me.
Eris won't want to live with the kind of guy who buys a young girl as a slave and ends up venting his uncontrollable lust on her underdeveloped body. As the one who bought back her hospital, she probably won't kick me out, but there's a high probability she would leave herself. How do I get out of this without making Eris hate me or hurting Yuel...?
「Eris, you're so beautiful.」
「I'm not falling for that.」
Of course not.
What happened to that pleasant Eris from the time before my lie was revealed? After that dogeza, I tried nonchalantly patting Eris' ass when Yuel wasn't looking, and she hit my arm. I heard that girls become docile when you pet them, but that was a lie apparently.
「Eris, later, let's talk later. There are some complicated circumstances, so I can't explain right now.」
I speak while glancing back and forth between Yuel and Eris. Based on Yuel's expression earlier, Eris should be able to guess the reason that I can't explain. But will she? If she doesn't we'll be at an impasse.
Eris sighs at my attitude and looks me straight in the eyes. She seems more astonished than angry. Did she understand? No, now that I think about it, Eris didn't think I would really make a promise like that to Yuel. The subject being what it is, she just wanted an explanation. She should have said that from the beginning.
「Fine... But, Yuel-chan, sleeping together with a man is no good after all. If it's lonely sleeping by yourself, why don't you sleep with me?」
Then the conversation goes back to where it began.
Yuel is considering Eris' words. She doesn't say she hates the idea.
Looking at Yuel... her fingertips are tightly gripping the hem of my clothes. In her eyes, tears are welling up and about to spill over, and her lips are clenched in a pained frown.
I can pretty much tell what she's thinking. But even so, she doesn't say that she hates the idea.
I'm certain she thinks that if she insists ’’I want to sleep together with Master’’ any further, it would be selfish of her. Yuel very rarely mentions her own desires. She properly draws a line between what she considers to be good behavior and bad behavior. I don't know if it's because of her position as a slave or the way she was brought up, but Yuel definitely has some criteria she uses to restrict her own behavior.
She wants to sleep together, but continuing to say so would be crossing that line.
On one hand, she wants to sleep together no matter what. On the other hand, she doesn't want to be called selfish. Those two feelings are at conflict, and that's most likely why she's making that face and remaining silent.
So... so pitiful...
I feel ashamed for thinking it would be fine if she slept by herself or with Eris.
「Sorry, sorry Yuel-chan. Come sleep with me. We can still sleep together from now on.」
「....! Yes! Yes, Master!」
I get down on my knees to match heights with Yuel and hug her. Right, Yuel is still a kid. Of course a child wouldn't want to be separated from their parent. I'm not her father, but I'm the nearest thing to that for Yuel. The feeling is probably similar.
Yuel was being forced to make a tough choice. I gently hold Yuel's head against my chest and slowly brush her soft, silver hair like you would pat a child's back.
I was wrong. Since Yuel can't express her own wishes, I have to do it for her.
While I'm hugging Yuel, I stare into Eris' eyes resolutely. I'm determined to hold my ground now. I can't let Yuel suffer any more than this.
Maybe I'm spoiling Yuel too much, but I don't want to see that mournful face anymore. I want Yuel to be able to smile.
「Fine, I understand. But... in that case, I'll be joining you.」
It turns out she didn't mean that we would all share the same bed.
Now there are two beds laid out in this 8-tatami room. Yuel and I will be sleeping on one side, and Eris on the other.
To be fair, I didn't expect Eris to even go this far. She's quite the prim-and-proper type. It might be thanks to Yuel becoming good friends with her. Our beds are separated, so you can't exactly call it ’’sleeping together’’, but just sleeping in the same room with me is major progress.
If we're together in the same room, I could slip into Eris' bed late at night when I come back half-asleep from the restroom, or pass out onto her when I get drunk.
This time I'll be careful not to overdo it.