Circle Star Adventure. The Ever Blooming Flower.

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Chapter 21. Passion Springs Bath House.

As soon as we stepped outside, a familiar voice shouted from the middle of the square:

- Eve! Is that you?

We turned to see who it was.

- Hi Rori! - Eve recognized her right away.

- Oh my gosh! Look at you! - Rori gasped.

Here comes trouble... for Stan that is. - I cringed.

Rori rushed over and hugged Eve. Stan, Robert and Angi followed her.

- Wow, you look so pretty. You’re absolutely gorgeous. Where did you get this outfit? - Rori was super impressed with Eve’s new look.

- Thank you Rori. Miss Norel made it for me. - she replied happily.

- Norel? Madam Norel? The robes she makes are sooo beautiful. And they are super expensive too. TC is treating you like a queen. - In the meantime, Stan was looking away counting birds.

- Stan! - Rori puffed her cheeks.

- Hahaha! Good to see you too Rori. - I laughed.

- Oh hi TC. - Rori smiled cheekily.

- Hello sir TC. - Robert and Angi greeted me as well.

- My, my, look at you. Congratulations. - I noticed Angi had three stars now.

- Thank you. - she blushed.

- I see Eve evolved as well sir TC. - Robert commented.

- Well... - Yeah, but not the way you think she did.

- Thanks to you sir TC, I realized how much I cared for Angi. Since we met, I never thought about her more than a fighting companion. But after the goblins Quest we became very close and... - Robert stopped mid sentence, but I knew what happens after the ‘getting close’ part.

And here I thought Angi had been already evolved. Me and my preaching about ‘Don’t judge the book by it’s cover’, hah.

- What have you been up to? Haven’t seen you for a few days. - Rori asked Eve.

- Me and Master TC went on a quest to investigate the den of doggons. - she answered.

- Only the two of you? - Robert was surprised.

- Yeah. - I wasn’t surprised at their reaction.

- And how did it go? - Rori was eager to find out.

- We left late in the afternoon and had to camp outside, near the forest. Grog gave us some rabbit stew before we left, but he put only one bowl for us. We had to share and take turns to eat from a single bowl. My Master was feeding me with his spoon, I was so happy. - Eve had no problem telling her about it.

- Waaah! So romantic. Was it then when you evolved? - Rori had no problem asking about it.

- Uh... No. We spent the night and went to the Hunter’s Village on the other side of the forest. We met Nialan and his little brother Korin, who was very cute and funny. My Master healed Marcus, who was badly injured by doggons. After that Marcus helped us find the den. - Eve continued.

- And? - Rori intervened. - You evolved before you went to look for the den?

- No, not then. - Eve answered.

- Oh come on. - Rori was getting impatient.

- We found a cave with the glowing blue crystals. They were shining like stars, it was so pretty. That’s where I evolved. - Eve finished the sentence excitedly.

- Aaaahh... so romantic. - Rori exclaimed. - Sir TC is quite adventurous, isn’t he?

- He’s wonderful. - Eve added.

I’m glad she didn’t mention about the pile of dead doggons lying around. I wonder how romantic that would’ve sounded.

- Oh, by the way. What is this staff you have? It has such a pretty green stone too. - Rori just had to know everything.

- We found it in the cave. One of the doggons was using it to cast magic. - Eve happily answered all of her questions.

- I’m so jealous. You spent such a wonderful time with TC and got so many nice things too. All I did was hard physical labor for the last three days. - Rori was gutted. - Stan?

Stan was still counting birds...

Haha. She’s amazing.

- What have you been doing? - I asked Robert.

- We took the quest to do some work not far from here. They needed people to help build houses. - he explained.

Now I understand what Rori meant by physical labor.

- That’s another form of training I suppose. Where are you-

- What?! You’re entering the Five Star Tournament? - Rori interrupted my question.

Everyone stared at me in silence.

Here we go again...

- Are you really planning to enter the tournament sir TC? - Stan finally addressed me.

- Yeah. We registered just a moment ago. - I answered without hesitation.

- Why did you decide to enter? - Robert asked me.

- Why not? - I answered his question with a question.

- My Master said he wants to meet strong opponents. And he said he will defeat them all. - Eve stated proudly.

- So you want to test your strength? - Robert speculated.

I simply smiled. He and Angi looked at each other. From their faces I had a hunch what they were thinking.

- Stan! - Rori shouted, even though, he was standing right next to her. - How about you enter as well and take revenge for that duel you lost against TC?

- I honestly think I’m no match for sir TC... - Stan felt gutted.

- I know. - Rori turned to Eve instead. - Why don’t you come with us to the Passion Springs Bath House? You can tell me more about your adventure too.

Passion Springs Bath House? Does she mean hot springs? I didn’t know they have them here... Of course I never asked anyone about it. Maybe that’s not such a bad idea to relax before tournament?

- What do you think Eve? Would you like to? - I asked her.

- Yes Master. - she clapped her hands excitedly. - I’ll be more than happy to wash your body.

Eve... - I had nothing to say to that.

- Aaahh... TC can get embarrassed too. - Rori quickly jumped in to tease me.

- I mean sure. I’d love to have a bunch of beautiful ladies wash my body. Those are public baths, riiight? - I looked Rori directly in the eyes.

- Errr... no, not public. They are separate for men and women. - she quickly stepped close to Stan and hugged his arm.

Hah, works every time.

- Hahaha. That’s what you get for trying to tease sir TC. - Robert laughed.

- Hihi. - Angi giggled, then added. - There are private rooms for the Master and companion to wash together of course.

Right... wash together... - I knew there had to be something to it.

I noticed Angi looked more charming and even more attractive since the last time I saw her. I had to admit that evolution improves not only companions strength, but her looks as well. She’s more affectionate towards Robert too, and it can be seen.

- We’ll be going in about an hour. You’re welcome to come as well if you wish. - Angi invited us.

- Yeah, sure. - I had goosebumps already.

- Yey! - Rori was excited. - Let’s meet back here in about an hour. See ya.

We haven’t eaten anything since coming back and I still had those crystals from the cave.

- Let’s go see Sieran quickly, then have something to eat at Grog’s place before we go to the Bath House. - I suggested.

- Yes Master. - she was sparkling like a star.

Yes, I’m looking forward to it too. Especially the part where you said you want to wash my body... sigh...

- Hello Sieran. - I greeted him as soon as we entered his shop.

- Welcome lad. - then he saw Eve. - Hello lass, I see Norel did a fine job. And not only that. Congratulations.

- Hi Sieran and thank you. - Eve was happy.

- I found these crystals and was wondering if they are worth much? - I reached into my bag.

To my big surprise, what I place on the counter didn’t look like a crystal at all. It was more like a lump of coal – black and dull.

- Well... - Sieran scratched his beard. - Let me guess. Ya found a cave with blue glowing crystals?

- Yeah... - I didn’t expect him to know that.

- Those are called Stalcrystals. They gather energy from the ground in dark places with no light. After that, they emit dust, which creates sparks in the air. And that what makes them glow. But when you take the crystal out into natural light, it basically dies. - explained Sieran.

- Good to know... - I was gutted.

- Haha. Don’t feel bad about it lad. Most new adventurers make the same mistake. - he tried to comfort me, but it didn’t help much.

- If you say so. - I tried to use his advice and brush it off.

- How are ya new swords holding? - Sieran enquired.

- They did the job against doggons. I probably dulled them a little though. - I remembered slicing that huge rock in the cave. - Mind taking a look?

- Were ya cutting rocks or something? - he inspected the swords.

- Well... - I held of my answer.

- Hah. Leave em with me. I’ll fix em by tomorrow. It will cost ya five silvers if that’s alright? - Sieran added.

- Sure. - I placed five silver coins on the counter. - Thank you Sieran. See you tomorrow.

- Bye Sieran. - Eve smiled.

- Take care ya two. - he said.

We headed towards Grog’s Inn. My stomach was growling. Eve was probably hungry as well.

Those crystals tricked me good. That’s what I get for being too greedy. Heh. Anyway, at least I will enjoy a nice meal at Grog’s place.

The Inn was as busy as it could be. Grog was taking orders and serving customers left and right.

- Welcome back. How did it- Grog cut his question short after seeing Eve.

Happy now? - deep down I felt good knowing what he didn’t know.

- Drinks are on the house. - Grog grinned from ear to ear.

- Only drinks? - I pretended to be disappointed.

- Haha! Yes, only drinks. - he didn’t give in.

- Booo... - I added.

We sat down at one of the tables and were served the food soon after. Needless to say, it was extremely delicious. Grog brought us some drinks after we finished.

- Your room is cleaned and ready if you want to rest. - Grog informed us.

- Actually we’re not staying just yet. - I said.

- Really? Another quest? - he was curious.

- Rori invited us to visit Passion Springs Bath House. - Eve replied excitedly.

- Aha. Sounds like fun. - Grog grinned at me again.

Yeah, yeah. Can’t wait.

- By the way, I thought Robert and others will be here as well. Now that I think about it, I never saw them at your place. - I was wondering.

- Ghm... You mean Robert and Angi? And since you mentioned Rori, she must be Stan’s companion? - Grog wanted to make sure.

- Yes, that’s right. - Eve answered.

- Right. They don’t visit my Inn too often. There’s another place, close to Military Quarters near the Castle. They probably go there most of the time. - he explained thoughtfully.

- Too bad for them. They are missing on the best food in Saramis. - I commented.

- Glad to hear you think so. But you’ll still have to pay for it. - that compliment wasn’t enough to get us free food.

- Haha, fine. - I laughed and stood up, ready to leave.

- Where are your swords? - Grog noticed. - Don’t tell me you broke them again?

- Nah, but they needed some sharpening, so I left them with Sieran. I’ll tell you more about the quest later. - I replied.

- Looking forward to it. - he smiled.

- See you later Grog. - Eve was already waiting for me at the door.

- Enjoy your time at the Bath House. - Grog smiled.

We went to the square to meet up with Robert and the others. Nobody was there when we arrived.

Huh? Did we come too early? We rushed to get here of course. No matter, I wanted to talk to Farla anyway.

- Hello TC. - she was right behind me.

At least there’s one person who talks to me normally.

- Hello Farla. - I turned around.

- Hi Farla. - Eve waved.

- Oh my! - Farla exclaimed. - I barely recognised you. You look fantastic. And also, congratulations.

- Thank you. - Eve was happy to see her again. - How have you been?

- Pretty well, thanks. It’s been much busier lately. A lot more adventurers were coming to trade stones and perform summons. - she answered.

- I bet. Listen Farla, I wanted to ask you something. - I addressed her.

- What is it? - she was ready to help.

- Is there a place I can learn more about summoning and evolution of companions? Like a library of some sort? - I asked.

- Well, of course. We have one right inside the Temple. - said Farla.

- That’s good to know... - Of course you do...

- Where are you headed? - Farla asked Eve.

- We’re going to Passion Springs Bath House. - if Eve could be even more excited, she would fly.

- Oooh... TC is in for a treat. - her smile said it all.

At least she didn’t ask where Eve evolved.

- Hey Eve! - Rori shouted.

- Here they are. Enjoy your time. - Farla winked at me.

I’ve seen that wink before.

- Bye Farla. Was nice seeing you again. - Eve waved and ran to meet up with Rori.

- See you later Farla. - I followed Eve.

- Bye TC. - she added.

I was glad to know they have a library here. I should’ve checked it out before doing anything else as soon as I got here. But I did need to make money fast, so I wasn’t giving it much thought.

Maybe I can check it out after the bath? Maybe...

- Ready to go? - Rori was eager to go.

- Yeah. Lead the way. - I said.

Eve was as charming as ever. Angi was hugging Robert’s arm, they looked adorable together. And Stan, for better or worse, was letting Rori act however she wanted. We were off to the Passion Springs Bath House.

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