14 – Hidden Desires
“Now then, how has Son-in-law been doing lately?”
Giuseppe asked his aide Baldeo who had passed him a cup of tea.
“It seems like he worked as a temple assistant today. He finished his work by the 5th bell and then went out to town with Lady Calcedonia…Excuse my rudeness, your holiness, but who in the world is that man?”
“Hmm? You’re interested in Son-in-law?”
“That, of course I am. I’ve also been with Calsey since that time when your holiness adopted her and I watched her grow up. She’s like a sister to me. So if my younger sister suddenly becomes so intimate with some random Joe, then me as her brother would of course mind it.”
Seeing that his aide was earnestly worried about Calcedonia, Giuseppe grinned.
“It pleases me that you too are concerned about this matter, but now that Son-in-law has appeared before her there is no one in the world that can stop Calsey anymore. Now that she’s decided on something, no matter what kind of obstacle stands in her way she will overcome it….No, she will destroy it. Just like how she has done in the past. You yourself should be aware of that fact, no?”
“Certainly….that’s one of her radical points.”
He was reminded of Calcedonia’s nature so far. Baldeo showed a wry smile.
“But now that you’ve told me this, it makes me all the more curious on that boy’s identity.”
“Ho ho ho. Sorry but I really cannot tell the current you about Son-in-law. All I can say is he comes from a far away land. And every single bit of Calcedonia’s hard work until now was in order to meet Son-in-law again.”
“Is that….so… But if that’s the case, then what of ‘him’?”
Giuseppe frowned after recalling the face of a youth who has been secretly harboring feelings for Calcedonia.
After finishing his shopping with Calcedonia in the town, Tatsumi came back to his allotted guest room and collapsed on the bed.
Originally, Junior priests should be sleeping in the lodging house. But since Tatsumi would be moving in with Calcedonia in their new house soon, out of kindness Giuseppe let Tatsumi use the guest room they talked about on the first day.
This world of course didn’t have mattresses with springs attached but a sheet neatly filled up with dried and processed grass, which Tatsumi was using as a futon.
There also existed ones with feathers rather than dried grass, but those were luxury items only used by nobles.
Every time he threw himself in his bed like this, he would be wrapped up in the peculiar scent of dried grass. Moreover, it seems like a few fragrant ones were included in the dried grass which had the effect of abating fatigue. That’s why every night he could sleep soundly.
As Tatsumi was sprawled on top of the bed in a ‘大’ character, he thought of the bed and guitar that got transported to this world with him.
Those two things are currently in Giuseppe’s custody. After the preparations for the house are completed a few days later, it seems like he will send them over then.
Though he had an attachment to the bed he had been using all this time, Tatsumi quite liked the dried grass-filled beds of this world. So whether he would go back to using his previous bed was a decision that had been tormenting Tatsumi for a while.
Well, today was his first day as a temple assistant. There was also the matter of that strange sense of tiredness that hit him and a few issues adjusting to the job, so as Tatsumi was lying on the bed and thinking of all that he started to doze off.
“….Oops. I should at least take a bath before going to sleep….”
After forcefully pushing up his half asleep body, he left the guest room tottering.
In a corner of the Savaiv temple, there was a huge bath for the use of live-in priests.
Everyone below the rank of High Priest could use it since it was like a public bath, and of course, it had different sections for men and women.
As for those who were on the Supreme Pontiff or Great Priest level–though small– they had a private bath in their own private lounge. And since most of the time they had mansions outside the temple, they didn’t use this bath meant for the live-ins.
By the way, the ranks for priests were the following starting from the highest : Supreme Pontiff, Great Priest, High Priest, Priest, Acolyte, Senior priest, Junior priest.
Among them there was only one Supreme Pontiff per doctrine, and Great Priests usually served as chief for the various branches. As for the various small temples or places of worship in towns or cities, usually a priest or a high priest would serve there.
In this bath’s case, among the temple those who had an affinity with the <Fire> attribute would take turns to heat it up. Of course, Calcedonia had to do this from time to time too.
After taking off his clothes in the dressing room, Tatsumi entered the bath donning a towel…..or rather something that looked similar to a napkin. [TN: Yep, that’s what it says.]
As priests were people who served god, they were obliged to keep themselves neat and clean. That’s why at the end of the day, after everyone finished their duties, they usually came to this bath to wash off their tiredness and sweat, so it became quite packed.
Among them, Tatsumi was also carefully soaking in the bath.
—Even though the world is different, baths are pleasant no matter where you are. While he was thinking such, suddenly his name was called out.
“Hmm? Is that Tatsumi? You also came?”
As Tatsumi turned around, he saw the Junior Priest called Verse he met at the kitchen today.
As shameless as it was, he was completely naked and after showing a friendly smile, he got in the bath next to Tatsumi.
“You also came?”
“Yeah. When you talk about how to rest after a good days work, it has to be the bath.”
After being pointed out by Verse, Tatsumi looked around and certainly, everyone was soaking in the bath with a pleasant expression.
Wow. So the people of this country also like baths.”
“Oh? That means they also like to take baths in your hometown?”
“Yeah. We take baths everyday. There are also people who take baths in the afternoon.”
“Wow, now that’s a luxury. It’s a hassle to boil water for the baths, so it’s common sense in this country that one can only take bath during a set time period.”
As Verse said, unlike Japan where large quantities of hot water can be prepared quickly, in this country they had limited methods of doing so. That’s why they had a set period of time to take baths each day.
So everyone pretty much takes baths at the same time, and it gets crowded like this.
But well, we can still take baths everyday. Though being a priest means doing some strict ascetic practices and works, at the end of the day it proves to be the right choice to become one.”
“That means, before you became a priest, you couldn’t take baths everyday?”
“Yeah. I come from a small village you see. There were no public bath house like they have in this capital, so the only way we could was ourselves were in rivers. That’s why, being able to take baths like this everyday was one of my long cherished dreams.”
As Verse was washing his body in the hot water, he smiled sating that his dreams finally came true.
“That reminds me. Tatsumi, since when’ve ya been in the temple? I don’t remember seeing you before until recently.”
“It’s only been 2 days since I got here.”
“That so? That’s what I thought. Well from now on we’ll be working together right? Well best regards I guess.”
Tatsumi told Verse that he had already planned to move to a detached house soon.
“C’mon. You just came here and moving to a house already? Hmm, you have a surname right? Are you some kind of noble from where you come from?”
From how Verse said it, Tatsumi could guess that the commoners in this country didn’t have surnames.
“Commoners also have surnames in my country. So I’m not really a noble or particularly rich or anything.”
After splashing his face with hot water a few times, Tatsumi also started to wash his body like Verse.
As expected, Tatsumi once again realized that for a Japanese like him a bath is a must.
“But hey, Tatsumi? Since you’re gonna live in your own house now….you’re not going to live in it alone right?”
Tatsumi who was relaxing in the bath till now, suddenly became stiff in a split second.
And seeing Tatsumi like that, Verse started to grin meaningfully.
“Hoho! Seeing you like that, as I though, you ain’t alone right? So? Who’s your partner? So is it someone from our temple?”
And so, Tatsumi started to worry if it was okay to mention Calcedonia’s name here.
From Bogart’s reaction earlier today, Tatsumi could guess without a doubt that Verse will also show a similar reaction. And besides, there were many people present other then them.
And if they knew that the one he’ll be living together with was Calcedonia, it probably won’t end with just a small shock. Tatsumi already guessed just how great Calcedonia’s status was.
As Tatsumi was pondering how to get out of this pinch submerged in the hot water, Verse looked at him with a gaze that said, ‘Yeah, I get it bro. You don’t have to say it out loud.’
“Well, after you settle down a bit in your new place, invite me over then kay? And introduce me to your wife then. Rather, should I help you with the moving?”
“Y-Yeah. Roger that. I’ll count on you then.”
As he was able to avoid it somehow, Tatsumi once again relaxed his body in the hot water.
After that, he chatted with Verse some more and when he finished washing his body completely, he and Verse left the bath together.
By the way, soap was generally treated as a luxury good too but for Junior priests, the temple provided them with it.
They wiped their body and got dressed. And just when they were about to walk through the hallway, they suddenly came across a certain person.
“Oh my! Master? Did master also take a bath?”
The one who called out to Tatsumi was Calcedonia who was wiping her wet hair with a towel.
Her slightly blushing pink cheeks steamed in hot water and her wet hair made her even more charming than normal.
Seeing Calcedonia like that, Tatsumi’s heartbeat suddenly intensified with a baam.
“Y-Yeah. Chiiko too?”
As Tatsumi replied while wondering whether or not Calcedonia noticed his heartbeat, Calcedonia continued looking a bit shy with her head hung down cutely.
“M-Master…If Master is okay with it, may I come visit master’s room later tonight? W-We’ll be….We’ll be living together from now on so, we should consult a few things with each other and….Oh right! And I’ll bring a few sweets and tea I made. Or does Master prefer wine to tea?”
“Ah, y-yeah. No I mean, tea’s good.”
“I understand. Then, bye.”
After getting Tatsumi’s okay, maybe she was a bit too happy, Calcedonia showed a sparkling brilliant smile and then almost skipped her way back.
Watching her like that with a smile, Tatsumi prepared to head back to his own room.
But then he saw a petrified Verse with his eyes wide open.
“H-Hey…Yeah…Tatsumi….That…That person right now…That was the <<Holy Maiden>>….Lady Calcedonia…right?”
“Y-Yes. Well…That she was….”
“From your conversation with Lady Calcedonia just now…The one you’ll be living with…It can’t be….”
Now then, how was he going to fool him this time? Well, even a fool would’ve realized that it was impossible at this point.
While thinking that, Tatsumi let out a deep deep sigh as if he’d given up.
He couldn’t help but stare at that man’s back with glaring eyes.
He could barely stop rampaging flames in his hear from breaking out. If possible, he wanted to go and knock out that man right this instant and strangle his neck till he stopped breathing. But with this many people around he couldn’t.
He didn’t want to hear it, but he accidentally ended up listening.
A conversation he simply couldn’t ignore, the subject that man was talking with a fellow junior priest.
It was the conversation about that man moving into a detached house soon.
He knew what it implied when a Priest moved out of the temple to a detached house. And when that man moves out, just who exactly he would live with too.
A man whom the Supreme Pontiff of the Doctrine of Savaiv, His Holiness Lord Giuseppe Chrysophare, called himself from a foreign country.
And that Giuseppe called this man ‘Son-in-law’ without any hesitation what so ever.
In other words Giuseppe, who was Calcedonia Chrysoprase’s Grandfather, and at the same time her foster father, called that man to become Calcedonia’s betrothed.
He respected and admired Giuseppe as the Supreme Pontiff of the Doctrine of Savaiv from the bottom of his heart. To him, that Giuseppe’s foster daughter, who was even called the <<Holy Maiden>> was a person of utmost respect.
But even more than that, all this time he has been secretly in love with the maiden called Calcedonia. There was no way he would let some random boy without any clear background steal that Calcedonia away from him.
He bit down his teeth hard. A co-worker of his turned to look at him after hearing that sound but after finding out who it was, he immediately looked away.
—Like hell I’ll stay silent and let Calcedonia be snatched away from me!
No matter what kind of relation that man had with Calcedonia, that had nothing to do with him.
As the fire burning in the depths of his heart grew larger, the man revealed a dark dark smile that even he didn’t notice.
While he imagined he was embracing his beloved Calcedonia in his arms.