You Can (Not) Run
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Right now, I was finishing washing up Ailya, which was going very smoothly since the girl herself was also helping. Although this should have been something enjoyable and relaxing, I was unable to be anything but tense and nervous as Charlotte washed my back in a painstakingly slow manner.

 

No longer able to stand this agonizing situation, I turned my head to look at Charlotte and said:

 

“Hey, didn’t you say that we were taking too long and needed to hurry up? Don’t you think you’re washing my back just a bit to slow…”’ 

 

“Hmmm, well, I normally WOULD be done faster, but someone decided to grow a few inches and make their back bigger, so I’m taking a bit more than I normally would.”

Hearing her answer, I turned my head away and looked forward once more, letting out a silent prayer hoping that she wouldn’t be asking any more questions. Much to my dismay however, Charlotte soon continued with:

 

“Hey, that was a pretty impressive ability you showed me, want to talk about it?”

 

“No…”

 

“Well I do~”

 

As she said this, Charlotte let her hands trail down my sides slowly as my body tensed even further and I felt a shiver go down my spine. Then, stopping just above my hips, she strongly held me before digging her fingers into me as she caused me to let out a:

 

“IIAAAAA”

 

Looking at Charlotte, I screamed at her:

 

“What are you doing! Are you trying to get the attention of everyone in the showers! If people come to see what’s wrong I’m saying you attacked me you know!”

 

“Huh? What’s with that reasoning. Worrying about noise didn’t stop you from making the little elf overthere scream, so why worry now~ Plus, I’ve closed this space from the outside world, so you don’t have to worry about any sound coming out. You can scream to your heart’s content all you want, no one will hear you or come to bother us. Ehehehehe~”

 

Hearing what I thought was my death sentence, I tried to get away from her but found myself rooted in place by her unnaturally strong grip. Looking back at the surprisingly strong witch whose slim arms definitely did not correspond to someone of her strength, I saw a devious smile on her face as I put on a pleading expression and shook my head side to side begging for her mercy. Unluckily for me however, Charlotte slowly nodded her up and down with an evil smile plastered on her face that affirmed my death sentence once more before digging her fingers into my sides as she made me release a loud:

 

“IIIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”

 

Finally releasing me, I quickly grabbed my sides that were pulsing in pain as I glared at Charlotte with an accusing look. Charlotte however, simply took pleasure from my glare as she simply began giggling in an uncontrollable manner.

 

Ailya, who had been watching this from in front of me, took this opportunity to step forward as she tried to stand between me and Charlotte. I, however, stuck out my arm to stop Ailya from going forward any further, as there was no way I was letting that crazy witch lay her hands anywhere near my precious Ailya.

 

Charlotte meanwhile, continued to look at the two of us with an amused expression as she stuck her hands out for the two of us to see and began wriggling her fingers in a threatening manner. Quivering in response to her actions as my body still remembered the pain it had gone through, I primal fear that I didn’t know was possible overtook me as I began to back away slowly in order to get away from the devil-witch in front of me.

 

Seeing me slowly back away as I pulled Ailya along with me, Charlotte slowly began to take steps forward herself until I finally hit against the wall and no longer had any more space to run away to. Feeling the lever nearby, I turned the lever all the way to hot as Charlotte was standing under the water in order to halt her advance. Seeing my actions, Charlotte’s expression immediately turned serious as she quickly closed the distance between us and turned off the water, ignoring the fact that I was still holding onto the lever with all my strength. With the water turned off, Charlotte released a sight before scolding me as she said:

 

“Hey you! That water can get pretty hot you know! What would you have done if one of us had actually gotten burned!”

 

Looking at the genuine surprise and slight anger present on her face, I felt a small sense of guilt at my actions. However, that was hidden by the fear and trepidation I felt towards the witch in front of me, as I was trembling even worse than before after seeing the superhuman speed with which she closed the distance and the overbearing strength she possessed. 

 

Surprisingly however, Charlotte immediately calmed down as rubbed her temples and then turned the water on once more to the previous cold temperature we had, before turning to the two of us and saying:

 

“Finish washing yourselves and head out quickly, we’ll talk about things later.”

 

With that, Charlotte turned around and made her way outside the shower as Ailya and I stared intently at her back until she was finally passed the curtain. With her finally gone, I released a sigh as the strength in my legs disappeared and I began to slide down the rather rough texture of the wall.

 

Seeing me in the floor, Ailya stretched out her hand as she looked at me with gentle expression and said:

 

“Come on Alex, let’s get you up from the floor and cleaned, I’ll help you, so just try to relax and not worry about anything.”

 

Releasing a sigh at the actions of the ever dependable elf, I accepted her outstretched hand and made my way to the water as I began to finish washing myself with Ailya’s help…

 

Finally finishing, the two of us turned the water off and made our way outside the shower where surprisingly, Charlotte was waiting there for us. Standing with her arms crossed as she tapped her foot Charlotte looked at the two of us with an annoyed expression as she said:

 

“Took you two long enough.”

 

Seeing her standing there looking all annoyed, I felt myself getting annoyed as well as I responded with:

 

“You didn’t have to wait out here for us.”

 

“Oh… And how were you planning on drying yourself without me, shaking your body like a dog?”

 

At her response, I decided to just keep quiet and allowed Charlotte to walk up to the two of us as she thoroughly dried our bodies, although the soles of our feet still remained wet. Once again finding myself totally muddled at the actions of the girl in front of me, and what her intentions towards us were, I decided to simply keep quiet for the time being and not say anything that could trigger her and cause a troublesome situation to arise.

 

Once we were finally back inside the changing room, Charlotte opened up our locker and took out her clothes before beginning to dress herself while telling us to do the same. Looking at Charlotte, I saw that after she finished with her top half, she levitated herself off the floor before drying her feet and then finishing dressing the rest of herself. Turning to look at me who was staring intently at her, Charlotte’s expression didn’t even change as she just said:

 

“Go sit down at that bench over there, I’ll dry your feet. You too Alice.”

 

With those words, both Alice and I made our way to the bench with our clothes before lifting our feet for Charlotte to dry them as well as blow off the dirt on them. With that done, we finished dressing up in our new clothes as we put on our boots and followed Charlotte to the reception desk, where she handed back the three wooden passes and then made her way out of the bathhouse, not saying anything to us the entire time as we silently followed her…

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