Bastard Swordsman Chapter 30

A Tutorial Where Nothing Happens
You might say, for someone who was so against it, I’m undertaking a risk-filled job just for a few baths?
I’d have no choice but to fully admit that’s right. The risks and benefits are totally unbalanced. I think so too. Laugh at me as a foolish adventurer…
But baths are…I can’t recreate them alone…
If I had a house in the natural, bath-like waters of a beautiful riverbank surrounded by trees I could fell freely (somehow no monsters), living as a lumberjack, it might have been possible. But that’s unrealistic by the common sense of this world.
There are no magical tools providing unlimited water in this world, nor are there any mysteriously ever-heated stones. Even if there were, they probably wouldn’t be at a price or value I could do anything about.
Commoners at most just wash with water. That’s considered clean freak behavior. Guys who don’t wash at all aren’t rare. It’s not unusual to see guys reeking of a terrible mix of sweat and ale.
Even small-time rich guys can just barely boil a tub full of water and take a bath bit by bit. That’s me right now. I’m a seedy guest who buys hot water from an inn every day. Even that much makes you regarded as OCD in this world.
As for the bathhouses…with no showers, water not circulating through filters, basically filthy every time you enter…I think you can understand why I wouldn’t want to use them. It’s at a level where I’d give up if I couldn’t bathe once. They’re seriously gross, to the point it’s not easy to casually challenge.
You can enter nice baths alone if you go to the high-class brothels nobles use, but…yeah…that’s…yeah…I’d get pointlessly caught up in trouble if I spent that much money…
…I wonder why when I reincarnated into this world, I didn’t gain decent magic.
If I had water and fire magic, I could have…done anything and everything…Damn it…
The Kingdom of Harpelea lacks abundant stone and metal resources. It doesn’t have urban gas lines either. And you can’t use unlimited firewood…
Even if I designed something like an efficient wood-burning boiler as Count Chaos, bathhouse prices wouldn’t drop much. And the cleanliness probably wouldn’t change either. It’s an issue of hygiene awareness around these parts.
Building a bath is truly difficult.
So in a sense, in order to casually enter a bath alone in this world…you might have to be a skilled magic user.


“Well, counting on you today.”
“…It’s still before dawn you know.”
On the day of the job, I had come to the front of the Artemis clan house.
Sheena came out to greet me. But she didn’t seem sleepy at all, already prepared.
“I got up early thinking about the bath.”
“You’re not a kid…I heard from Nastasha and the others, you really got persuaded with just that?”
“It’s important to me. I wanna soak in a warm bath three, four times in life, you know?”
“Don’t inflate the number, okay? I heard that too.”
While passing by, I had thought “They must be rich” countless times, but never dreamed I’d visit this building. Let alone speak casually with Artemis’ leader like this.
“…It’s a hat, not a helmet?”
“Oh this? Yeah. Hiding just part of my hair is fine, so I went with something hunters often use. Can’t wear a metal helmet in this season.”
Winter is cold. Various things get cold, but metal especially gets reeeally cold.
It may be underestimated, but metal’s chill is extraordinary. I heard talks of workers using safety shoes nowadays complaining their toes freeze in them.
Metal equipment is on another level. I always wear light, but in winter I only layer leather. In exchange, I carry a small shield.
“I wonder if that noble lady will come in full armor?”
“Hahaha, no way. No one’s that stupid…right?”
“Hopefully not. …If she does come dressed like that and seems she’ll get sick, we’re ending early. It’ll make the job easier if anything.”
“…Is it okay treating a noble lady like that? Won’t the Viscount complain later?”
“You really worry a lot. You should trust the guild’s backing more. We in Artemis aren’t walking on thin ice.”
Sheena opened the door and beckoned me in.
“We’ll join up with Bridget at the guild, then head out from there. Let’s have a strategy meeting inside first. Well, it’s nothing major.”
Led by her, I intruded upon the Artemis clan house.

Some members had already gathered in the lobby by the fireplace and were preparing for the trip.
Participating from Artemis were Sheena, Nastasha, Gory, Ulrika, Raina, and Jona, six people. Plus me, making seven.
Jona is a married woman in her late thirties. She lives with her husband after having children, and is registered with the clan house, working there as a bow user it seems. Her main job is keeping the clan house clean, rarely going on hunts, apparently. I heard Artemis has quite a few members like that. Fitting for an all-female party, they also serve as a daycare substitute sometimes.
I see, so that’s why I keep seeing the same members despite their numbers.
“Since this job will finish in a day, it’s easy work appreciated by semi-retired guild members like me.”
Jona said that, laughing loudly.
…Maybe I’m being overly wary about this job?
“Vanguard will be Gory and Bridget assisting her. Middle guard will be me and Jona, keeping watch ahead while handling Bridget. Rear guard is Raina, Ulrika, and Nastasha. Mongrel, leave the back to you.”
Thoughtfully, I was placed almost opposite Bridget, guarding the rear.
I may rush out to engage if something happens ahead but…well, it’s winter. It’s highly unlikely.
“We’re counting on you to guard us, Mr. Mongrel.”
“It’d be best if nothing happened needing guarding.”
“Mongrel senpai, the shield is rare for you.”
“Oh this? I’ve hardly used it, but just in case. I have another shield at home but that one’s big and heavy so I went with a small shield.”
“First time hearing that…”
“It’s a nice shield. I’ll show Raina sometime.”
“Why’re you so happy…”
And so, our formation was decided.
All that’s left is meeting up with that unruly noble lady.

“I am Bridget, Iron Class. I have skill with the blade but have never crossed swords with a creature before, hence I accompany you today for training. I will make efforts not to hinder you of Artemis. Please treat me well.”
There was Bridget, fully armed in metal armor inside the guild.
…I appreciate her attitude as a noble not being too overbearing, but will you be okay in that armor? It’s quite cold today, and we’ll be walking the forest for a good while…

“Nice to meet you Bridget. I’m Sheena, leader of Artemis. As a completely inexperienced beginner, during the job, follow our instructions.”
While Sheena blatantly acted high and mighty, I see, treating her not as a noble but an ordinary guild member. Hard on the heart, but natural.
Well, I’ll avoid speaking as much as possible to avoid complaints later.
“Understood. Please advise me when needed, as I am ignorant.”
“Certainly. However, if any issues arise, we will promptly abort the mission and return. Remember that.”
“I see, such as if a creature appears and injuries occur?”
“Yes, of course that too. Now then, let’s begin traveling. It’s far from East Gate to near Barowa Forest.”
And so we departed for Barowa Forest in winter.
We briefly exchanged greetings and introductions while walking, just stating names.
Bridget seemed to have almost no interest in each of us, only replying “please treat me well” together when we gave our names. She’s probably the silent type. Easy company for us.

While walking, Bridget seemed to exchange some words with Gory-san and Jona occasionally.
I couldn’t quite make out the contents from a bit of distance, but from what I could catch intermittently, it seemed to be talk about the job and creatures.
Despite barging in, she has a decently serious personality apparently.
“Mongrel senpai, I haven’t gone into Barowa Forest much in winter. What creatures are around this season?”
I whispered back softly so Bridget couldn’t hear.
“Really nothing comes out in winter. There are discovery reports, but they just say such things have happened before to some degree. Beasts hibernate or withdraw deep into the forest’s depths.”
“Seriously…? So any creatures that failed to hibernate…”
“Don’t come out. Well, if you went for five days straight, there might be some. Basically nothing comes out.”
“That’s true, nothing comes out in winter huh.”
“Guess that’s really how it is…”
If prey could be caught every three days or so, adventurers might take on forest jobs even in winter.
But everyone stopping their forest work means…that’s how it is.
It’s not some foreshadowing of unease or a flag or anything.
Barowa Forest in winter is genuinely empty.
Part of why I hated the job was that sense of void, but…can’t be helped for the bath. Let’s undergo ascetic training together, Bridget…!

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