Circle Star Adventure. The Ever Blooming Flower.

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Chapter 23. Don and Amelia.

The private bath room was reserved for us only, so we left our stuff inside and went to the open springs pool.

- Enjoy your time with the girls Eve. - I said to her.

- Thank you Master. You too. - she said cheerfully and was soon gone behind the doors with ‘Ladies only’ sign.

I took a deep breath and went through the other one with the sign ‘Men only’. As soon as I stepped outside, a mild breeze and a fresh scent of many different flowers welcomed me.

Wow, it’s lovely in here. And quiet too. Am I the only one here?

I looked around, but didn’t see anyone around.

The others are probably taking their time to... cough... wash themselves. I’d rather not sue my fantasies into other people’s washing business... Let’s enjoy the peace and quiet for now.

The water was warm, almost hot even, but felt soothing and refreshing for my body. It wasn’t too deep, so I was able to lie down with only my head sticking out.

Aaahh... that hits the spot. I can get used to it after a while.

I placed a spare towel on the flat rock, right at the edge of the pool, and placed my head on it. The steam and occasional water bubbles popping, created a perfect atmosphere to relax. This was quite a treat for my body in a long time. Remembering the hot steam bath with Eve, and a grin, even a lion will envy, my mind drifted into sleep.

It felt only as a moment, but when I opened my eyes the hot spring was full of people. Robert and Stan was not far away relaxing. I took a deep breath.

Mhm... that felt good. So glad nobody bothered me while I was asleep.

The warm water and the steam did their jobs to rejuvenate my body.

- Hello sir TC. Did you have a nice nap? - Stan asked me when he saw me awake.

- Yeah. Thanks for letting me sleep. Do you know how long I was sleeping? - I asked him.

- Not sure. I came here not long ago and you were sleeping already. - he replied.

A while then? No matter, it was a good nap.

I felt like I had been reborn again. It was worth coming in here.

- Quite a lot of people. - I commented.

- Many adventurers come in to relax and refresh after finishing their quests. - said Robert.

After finishing their quests? Yeah, right. After ‘being washed’ more like it.

- Now that I think about it, how will I know when Eve is done and goes back? - I realized we didn’t agree on the time.

- You can ask the assistant to let her know. They come in and check on us every so often. Of course the guy who comes in here will pass the message to the female assistant, who checks on girls. - explained Robert.

- Oh, nice. - pretty convenient I thought. - How long do you plan on staying?

- We usually stay for an hour or so here in the pool. - answered Stan.

I was glad they thought about everything in here. Tomorrow was the last day of registration for the tournament. It will probably start the day after. I thought I can use the time to do some reading in the library. Might learn a thing or two.

That sounded like a good plan to me. Relax and gather some information while I can. One of the assistants showed up carrying a tray with drinks. He went around and passed mugs to people in the pool.

- Thank you. - I picked up one. - Excuse me.

- Yes? - the assistant asked.

- Can somebody pass a message to Eve at the ladies side and say that TC will be waiting for her at the Reception Hall? But she can take as much time as she wants to enjoy the hot springs. - I asked him.

- Of course. I’ll let my colleague know. - he replied.

- You’re very considerate sir TC. - Robert commented.

- Eve works hard and never complains. She’s very dedicated to help me any way she can. It’s the least I can do. Besides, she loves spending time with Angi and Rori and you said you’ll be staying here for another hour or so. I’m all for Eve spending some girly time. - I said.

On top of that, we’ll be fighting in a tournament soon. She’ll need all the strength she has.

I drank some of my drink.

Huh? Croberry Juice? Uhh... I hope Eve will be fine...

After few more minutes of chit chat with Robert and Stan, I finished my drink and left the pool to change. When I arrived at our changing room, Eve’s clothes were still there.

So she’s still with the girls. That’s fine.

I quickly changed and went outside. One of the assistants was walking down the hall.

- Excuse me. - I addressed her.

- Yes? How can I help? - she asked with a smile.

- My partner Eve is still at hot springs pool. She might take a while. How do I lock the door from the outside, so nobody gets in? - I asked.

- Not to worry. There’s a clip on the other side of the door. If you release it, the doors will lock itself when you close it. - she explained.

I did what she told me and when I closed the door, it locked and I couldn’t open them from the outside any more.

- Thank you. - Doh...

- You’re welcome. - she smiled and went on her way.

I went to the Reception Hall to wait for Eve. Unfortunately, there were nowhere to sit. I approached the person at the Reception.

- Hi. Is there a sitting area where I can wait and maybe get a drink as well? - I asked.

- Of course. We have a restaurant in here. If you go through the door on your right, you’ll find it. - she answered.

- Great, thanks. - I thanked her. - Also, when my partner Eve shows up, can you tell her, that TC is waiting in the restaurant?

- Certainly. - she smiled.

The restaurant was big and spacious. Unfortunately, it was almost full too. I found one empty table and sat down. A young waitress came over right away.

- Good evening sir. Welcome to the Passion Springs Restaurant. What can I get you? - she was full of energy.

- Can I get some apple juice for now? - I figured I can wait for Eve, so we can eat together.

- Coming right up. - she smiled.

As much as the steam bath revitalized my body, it also made me hungry as well. But I still wanted to wait for Eve.

They have everything you need in here. Excellent service and no time restrictions. No surprise it’s so popular.

- Here’s your drink sir. - the waitress came back with my apple juice.

- Thank you. - I picked it up.

I wondered how long will Eve stay in the pool. She must be enjoying her time with the girls. On the other hand, I decided not to ask what they would talk about. Knowing Rori, it wouldn’t be about the weather.

- Excuse me friend. - I male voice interrupted my thoughts. - Would you mind if we joined you at the table?

I turned my head and saw a huge muscular figure standing next to me. He was smiling, but with hairy face, massive body and big arms, he looked more like a gorilla, that was ready to bite my head of.

- Move it Don. You’ll scare him off and they will tell us to leave. - I heard a female strict voice behind him.

- Oh come on Amelia. I was being polite. - he stepped aside.

- Please forgive the intrusion. We were looking for a table. And this mountain of muscle thought it will be a good idea to disturb somebody’s else dinner. - she apologized.

- That’s quite ok. - I giggled. - You’re free to join me. It’s a big table for one person. I’m still waiting for somebody, but it can take some time. I don’t mind having some company.

- See Amelia, I told you he’s a nice guy. - Don spread his arms for emphasis.

- Keep your hands to yourself or you knock someone out. - she sighed. - Thank you very much. My name is Amelia and this chunk of meat is Don.

- Nice to meet you. My name is TC. - I almost laughed at her introducing Don.

- That’s harsh Amelia. - he sat down. - Oh and nice to meet you.

The waitress quickly came over to take the orders. Don and Amelia ordered some food and drinks.

- Are you not eating my friend? - Don asked me with a surprised look. - Let me treat you to something.

- Don’t worry about it. Like I said, I am waiting for someone and we will eat together. - I replied. - Are you first time here?

- No, I am not. But Amelia is. - he replied. - I brought her here as a thank you for helping me out.

- Helping you out? - I noticed Amelia didn’t have any stars, which meant she was not Don’s companion.

- Yeah. She agreed to join me in the tournament. She’s very skilled with a blade. - he added a compliment.

- Humph... You’ll lose right away if I don’t watch your back. - Amelia commented.

- Oh, so you are competing in a Five Star Tournament? - I kept the conversation going.

- Amelia sounds harsh, but in reality she’s very sweet and kind. Haha. - Don laughed.

They looked like a couple to me. It was too funny to watch. I knew I won’t be bored waiting for Eve.

- And why did you decide to enter the tournament? - I asked.

- Because of the prize. I don’t have a companion and it would be nice to have someone to take care of and spend my life with. - his open honesty was too funny not to laugh about it.

- You can’t even wash yourself properly. How will you take care of somebody else? - Amelia tried to sound sarcastic.

- I am strong. I can hunt and work hard. And when I have a companion, I will be able to get jobs at the Guild too. - Don took her question seriously and then he added. - But man, being washed by Amelia was really nice.

- W..wha... yo... you didn’t have to tell him about it. Tha... that’s embarrassing.- she didn’t expect him to say that.

- Of course she had me face the wall and smacked me every time I tried to turn my head. Hahaha! - Don continued as if he didn’t hear her.

- Don! - Amelia’s face was all red.

- Sorry Amelia, haha. What I am trying to say is I really enjoyed the bath. - he laughed again.

- Ughh... - she crossed her arms and turned away from him.

I was laughing inside so hard. Don was hundred percent transparent when he spoke.

The waitress came back carrying drinks and food for Don and Amelia.

- Aha, finally some food. - Don’s face looked like a gorilla smiling again. - But I feel kinda bad when you have nothing to eat my friend.

- I’ll get something soon. So you’re entering the tournament, because you want to get a companion? - I change the focus on him again.

- Yeah. They say there will be plenty of them participating. So if I win, I will definitely be noticed. Ahm... - Don bit a chunk of boar meat.

Hah. It sounds like he’s simply looking for a wife. Does he really know what the tournament is all about?

- After you win, silver and gold star companions will line up to form a pact with you. - Amelia tried to sound sarcastic again.

- You mean like her? - Don’s jaw dropped.

- Who? - Amelia turned to where Don was pointing.

I looked the same way and cringed. Eve saw me and waved.

- Huh? She’s waving at me? - Don waved back in surprise.

- Do you know her? - this time Amelia was worried.

- No, but she is coming here. - Don was completely flabbergasted.

- Hi Master TC. I see you made new friends. Hello, my name is Eve. - she introduce herself cheerfully.

Both Don and Amelia were speechless.

- Sorry, but Eve is my partner. I was waiting for her, so we could eat together. - I said, doing everything I can not to laugh.

- Ahahaha! My bad, my bad. - Don laughed.

- You muscle head. - Amelia commented, yet she looked relieved. - My name is Amelia and this loud mountain of muscle is Don.

- Nice to meet you. - Eve smiled and sat next to me.

Not surprisingly, the waitress was at our table right away. I placed our orders and we had our food delivered soon after.

- I’m sorry friend, I didn’t know she was your companion. - Don apologized again.

- You’re hopeless Don. - Amelia sighed.

- Don’t worry about it. - I said.

- I don’t see any stars. Are you not Don’s companion Amelia? - Eve asked.

Haha. One thing Eve and Don has in common – they can speak their minds freely without worrying what other people think.

- Haha. No, she is not. - Don scratched his head. - We’re just friends.

- Who would want to be his companion anyway? Humph... - Amelia’s face was all red again.

- We grew up together in the same village. Amelia lost her parents when she was ten years old and my uncle took her in. I remember playing with her when we were kids. I must admit, she grew up very pretty, didn’t she? - Don’s words made Amelia speechless.

- You look cute together. - Eve commented.

- You really think so? Haha. - Don became embarrassed.

Amelia didn’t say anything and focused on her food and drink instead. It was apparent she was out of her comfort zone. I changed the subject and asked Don to tell us more about his village. He was happy to talk more about it.

His big gorilla-like demeanour, didn’t look so threatening. After a while, even Amelia eased up and wasn’t scolding him too much. We had fun, but it was late already and I needed to run lots of errands tomorrow.

- I must thank you for the company, but we need to go now. - I finally announced.

- Thank you for sharing the table with us friend. I thought we’ll have to sit on the floor. Haha! - Don laughed again.

- Quite a gentleman you are, inviting me to a restaurant and having me sit on the floor. - commented Amelia.

- Oh, sorry Amelia. I didn’t think about it that way. Haha. - he became embarrassed.

He’s like a child, honest and straight forward. Reminds me of someone I know, haha. But I think Amelia likes him more than just a friend.

- Good luck in the tournament. - I wished them.

- Bye. - Eve smiled her cheerful smile.

- See you around my friend. - Don said.

We went to Grog’s Inn right away. I had a nap at the hot springs pool, but it was almost midnight. Eve was probably tired as well. I am sure she had a lot fun with Angi and Rori.

- Why didn’t you tell them you’re participating in the tournament as well? - Eve asked me.

- I didn’t see the reason to tell them and they didn’t ask. - I really didn’t know why.

- Welcome back. I was wondering if you come back for the night. - Grog wasn’t sleeping yet when we returned.

- And why aren’t you in a bed yourself? - I asked.

- Had to clean the place and close down. With the tournament coming up, my place has never been busier. You are lucky you paid for the room in advance. - even tired, Grog was in a good mood.

- Hah. I probably am. - I smirked.

- How was your bath? - he grinned.

Was it really busy or did you wait for us to come back just to ask about it?

- It was absolutely lovely. - Eve replied.

- Yeah... It was awesome. - I added.

- Haha. - Grog laughed. - Glad you enjoyed it. Anyhow, have a good night sleep. I’m done here myself.

- Good night Grog. - Eve smiled.

- See you tomorrow. - I said and we went upstairs.

With my mind full of bathing memories and body recovered, yet drained, I fell on the bed looking forward to a good night’s sleep. My face sunk into the soft pillow.

- Master, but we don’t have our pajamas yet. - Eve reminded me.

I did promise her to buy one when we get back. But it was the middle of the night right now.

- Yeah. I’ll get you one tomorrow, ok? - I said, without even lifting my head.

- Ok Master. - she was happy with my answer.

I’m amazed how she is always so cheerful no matter what. And her cuteness is beyond my comprehension. Oh well, sleep fast as they say. Gotta lots of reading to do tomorrow.

It took only few moments for my mind to switch of and I fell asleep in an instant.

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