Chapter 77

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In the end, Fii ended up at the sauna without any ideas.

The problem hadn't changed from an hour ago.
At this rate, she would have to enter the sauna with everyone else.
Not only that, but Doug was reaching the limits of his composure.

"What's wrong, Doug? You're all fidgety. Haha, are you looking forward to the sauna that much?" asked a carefree Slad.

"M-... Mn..." nodded Doug with a pale face.

It was fine since everyone here was dull, but someone sharp like Conrad-san would have seen through it with but a glance.

At any rate, this crowd of relaxed boys could finally see the sauna and the smoke rising from its chimney.

It was a large-ish wooden building, and quite a number of guests were coming and going.
There were two entrances and signs above them labelled them as men's and women's. Apparently they were separated by sex, but that didn't help Fii at all right now.

Before long, they arrived in front of the sauna.

"Phew~ We're finally here."

"I'm looking forward to it."

The boys all wore expectant and relaxed expressions.
Fii had to come up with some reason to avoid entering the sauna.
Sickness? No, that would cause trouble in the future.
But suddenly remembering some errand would be a little too unnatural...

At that moment, before everyone's eyes, a young boy and his mother walked into the women's sauna.
One of the apprentice knights came up with a good joke and turned to Fii.

"Isn't that great, Heath. You can still go into the women's sauna. Guys under eleven are allowed in!"

Fii's age was about the same as his.
In other words, if Fii lied about her age, she could still enter without a problem. That was the idea.
And of course, he was also teasing her because of her girly face.

"Oi, oi, peeping is no good, ain't it."

"Whoa, whoa, he'd just be entering from the front. That's not peeking. You could even call it manly to stroll in boldly for a look at the women!" declared the boy who had first teased Fii.

But despite his joking tone, Fii pretended to think seriously for a moment before looking at him in the eyes and answering,

"Yeah, you're right. I'll go have a look."

"Eh...?"

Time stopped for the apprentice boys.
Gorms, Slad, everyone. They all stared at Fii's face as though they couldn't believe their ears.

Leaving the frozen boys aside, Fii kept her serious expression as she took off her apprentice knight's jacket and handed it to her friends.

"If I wear my jacket in, even I'll get busted, so take care of it for me. Well then, I'm going in."

With that, Fii strode briskly towards the door to the women's sauna.

"O-, Oi...!"

Gorms hurriedly tried to stop her, but Fii turned around with a serious expression and held a finger to her lips.

Don't cause a fuss. They'll find out.

The boys all heard Heath's voice.

An apprentice knight stormed into the women's sauna. The public would find that out.
Everyone understood the gravity of the situation.

The women's sauna.
There was no boy who wasn't fascinated by its allure, but at the same time, it was a sacred and dangerous land that they could never step foot into.
And right now, their comrade Heath, was clearly walking towards it.
Considering the backlash, causing a fuss would be bad. Really, really bad.
But wouldn't failing to stop Heath be even worse...?

While the boys were sewn to the ground by their confusion, Heath began walking again.
Towards the door to the women's sauna.

With brisk, natural steps, as though Heath was doing nothing wrong at all, Heath casually opened the door, and then simply walked right in. Heath disappeared from their sight.
Into the women's sauna...

With the exception of one person, everyone had broken out into a cold sweat at what just happened, their eyes wide open and still dumbfounded by the scene.
Their hearts seemed to pound furiously in their chests...
Pounding both from the shock of what just happened and the fear of the uproar that was to come...

But strangely, they were met with silence.

A boy, who was an apprentice knight of all things, just walked into the women's sauna. It should have been a massive scandal that shook the world.
But even after Heath disappeared into the sauna, nothing had happened. Nothing had happened at all.

And as though truly nothing had happened, time seemed to flow again as the boys returned to the calm evening street.

"H-, He went...?"

"That guy... seriously went..."

"And he even went so casually..."

They boys felt like they had seen some illusion.
But it was reality. Heath had gone into the women's sauna.
Boldly, from the front... and so casually...

And the fact that nothing at all had happened meant that Heath's infiltration had succeeded...

Since the passersby began looking at them suspiciously, the boys flusteredly removed their gazes from the door to the women's sauna.
A group of proud knights had very nearly been treated like perverts.

Without even heading to the men's sauna, they just stood there as their eyes wandered randomly and fidgeted about.

They were searching all around them.
Searching for the figure of that small apprentice knight boy.

And then, they came to a conclusion.
That small boy was nowhere to be seen.

In other words, what had happened just now truly was reality...

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