One day, while waiting for the duel with Girard, set to be held 3 days later.
“Falnido is more lively than a country of humans, huh?”
“If I were to say it in a few words, it’s because the customs and cultures are quite different from tribe to tribe.”
Shin, who said so, spoke without any particular reason, but was dutifully answered by Cuore.
Four days had already passed since Shin came to Girard’s place in Elden.
It’s not good to stay in the library all the time, said Schnee and Tiera; which was the reason they were sightseeing in the town. Cuore who heard them, immediately announced she would become his guide, which is how they reached their current state.
Only Cuore walked next to Shin, except for Yuzuha who was sleeping on top of Shin’s head. Tiera was doing a completely different action of siding herself alongside Schnee.
Tiera, who was taken away by Schnee, had a gloomy face, or it was probably just his imagination. Shin deceived himself, she’ll feel better when she comes back.
“Though I only took you to the recommended places until now, is there anywhere Shin-dono would like to go?”
The capital of Falnido was decided on as the city where the king resides. Therefore, the current capital was here at Elden. He had heard the explanation from Schnee, but naturally it was not on a scale that could be called a village. It would be difficult to finish going around it in one day.
“Places I want to go, huh?”
Since Cuore already guided him to some extent, it didn’t occur to him right away.
While thinking about where he wanted to go, what entered Shin’s line of sight was the signboard of a certain shop. Shin who saw it, for some reason, picked Yuzuha up from on top of his head and brought it before his face.
Yuzuha, who was suddenly being held, barked like it wanted to say: “What is it?”
“That reminds me, I have a feeling that Yuzuha’s fur is going from a bad situation to a worse one.”
One of Rokuten’s members, Cashmere, had taught him a lot of things about taking care of monsters. Was this because hugging a monster that had a good coat fur let one thoroughly enjoy its fluffiness? The present Shin understood the disorder of its fur to some degree. Of course, there was no such skill in the game. But when he stared at it closely, he was certain that the coat hair was deteriorating after all.
“For the moment, may I stop at that shop?”
“That one? Ah, I see. I understand.”
Cuore, who saw the shop, somewhat knew what Shin thought, and agreed immediately.
When they passed through the door and entered, a Dog-type woman came over.
“Welcome. What are you looking for today?”
After the woman shifted her attention from Cuore, who was standing next to Shin and Yuzuha, whom he carried, she shifted her pleasant eyes toward Shin.
Shin felt like he was being somewhat misunderstood.
“I need a brush for brushing, but I also want you to show me some combs….”
“Certainly. Here please.”
In the place which that woman guided them, there were big and small brushes displayed. Ignoring the employee who was speaking slowly, Shin looked at the brushes.
Apparently, there were materials that were prefered by different races, although they looked the same, they varied from materials to prices.
Dog, Wolf, Fox, and so on seemed to have similar preferences, as they were sold together.
“Amazing. Do you have something like personalized brushes here?”
“For a particular person, they can get the material by themselves.”
It was not rare, as Cuore had one, too. As Shin felt admiration for the beasts’ obsession to brush, suddenly he remembered these kinds of things. It was by the greatest tamer; the article that had been carefully made by Cashmere. It was something that seemed comfortable when Girard was brushed in the game era.
“I don’t have much time to explore, so I should care for Yuzuha every once in a while.”
He purchased some items to improve the coat of hair, and they exited the shop.
When they returned to the residence, Shin sat on the veranda outside of the room, and took out the brush, ‘Gloomy Star’, from his Item Box. It had a dark appearance, like a common brush. But the handle was made from the World Tree’s trunk, and the bristles of the brush were made from the materials removed from a level 800 gigantic monster with a large mass of hair, called Tyrant Bristle.
By the way, here is the description: <From here on, you are the Brushing Master, may the best coat be with you>, was one sentence that appeared. With brushing alone, cat, dog, horse and so forth, the favorability of the monster for each model increased. It was certainly a super brush.
Originally, there were various kinds of brushes; this brush was for hair loss, the furballs were collected and broken down by the magic item; it was also a magic tool.
Shin said, and he put the brush on Yuzuha’s back. First, it was gentle, as the brush loosened up the hairs.
While being careful not to put in too much power, the entwined hair was unraveled. Did this gentle repeated brushing feel good? Yuzuha let out a bark, like it was losing strength.
Cuore was staring enviously at Yuzuha. Though she should be free, since the town tour was finished, when she heard that Shin was going to brush Yuzuha, she asked him to show her by all means. Shin too had no reason to decline, though it might be boring, so her being there was approved.
With her admiration for Shin continuing to accumulate from Girard’s stories, his courteousness and skillful brushing of Yuzuha was seen, so Cuore unconsciously thought about these kinds of things.
――Is it no good if I request it of him?
――No, it’s rude to him…he’s a High Human, yeah.
For a beast, having the opposite sex do the brushing and grooming had a special meaning.
It was an expression of one’s intention towards their lover, or someone close like a family member. A woman requesting it from a man, although it wasn’t necessarily a confession, the fact of it being special didn’t change.
While her tail and ears were twitching, Cuore was inwardly troubled about what to do, and the figure of someone she knew approached from the other side of the veranda.
“Hmm? Shin? Didn’t you go sightseeing in the town?”
“I have to take care of my partner occasionally, hence the brushing.”
“I see. Fumu…It’s been a long time. Can I request it too?”
“Sure, it’s almost over, so please wait a little. Come to think of it, this brush was made by Cashmere for Girard’s sake.”
They exchanged such a conversation, as Girard sat next to Shin. Yuzuha’s brushing ended after a few minutes, and the brushing of Girard, who transformed into a beast, began this time.
Cuore was speechless at seeing such a scene. The current Girard who hadn’t let anyone, except his deceased wife, brush him was well known to Cuore.
However now, Girard was lying down and had his eyes closed before her; while Shin carefully moved the brush using one hand. That appearance, which looked like a large dog that entrusted its body on the knee of its master, was captured by Cuore’s eyes.
Though Wolf Types hate to be treated like a dog, it couldn’t be helped but to think so. Cuore felt the reliable bond between the two people.
(For Girard-sama to make such a face, I’m seeing it for the first time.)
The expression was hard to understand when Girard was in beast form, but Cuore, who was a similar Wolf Type, understood well that Girard was relaxing and loosening his whole body.
Unlike Yuzuha, Girard had a large physique, but eventually it ended in less than 30 minutes.
“I feel refreshed after such a long time.”
“I’m glad you feel that way!”
“Now then, on this occasion, how about you do it to Cuore as well?”
It was a dream come true for Cuore, but at the unexpected development, she shouted out unintentionally.
“I’m fine with it, but is it okay to do it? Apart from the monster Yuzuha, and the man, Girard, Cuore is a woman. To do that to the opposite sex, there tends to be a lot of strange meanings that could arise though.”
Shin turned toward Girard with a suspicious face. Even without the knowledge, he thought there was some meaning to the act.
“That will not be a problem. To let my master take care of my descendant, there’s no motive. Cuore also seems to anticipate it.”
Cuore’s face reddened from Girard’s remark. But no words of denial came out from her mouth.
While she tried to say something in a hurry, eventually she finally looked downward embarrassed, answering “Yes” in a faintly audible voice.
“Well then, I’ll do it as carefully as possible, it’s my first time brushing a woman. If the power is too much for you, I want you to say so without any reservations.”
“Understood. Please treat me favourably.”
Cuore transformed into a beast, and put her body weight on Shin the same way as Girard did. Immediately she felt the brush touch the back of her head. Slowly and carefully, the entwined hairs were pulled apart without causing any pain; it was a skilled hand movement.
Was it because of the superior tool, or because of Shin’s technique? Choppy voices leaked out from Cuore’s mouth, as she felt the comfort that she didn’t experience in everyday brushing. With each stroke of the brush, she felt calmness. Before several minutes had passed, Cuore was in a dreamy state of dreaminess.
“Kukuu, she somehow looks pleased.”
“Kuu. Shin is skilled.”
Girard and Yuzuha understood. Understood in that territory, but Cuore didn’t notice. Within that comfort, just like receiving a first rate massage, her cheeks loosened.
“Alright, it’s done.”
“*Woof*…Thank you very m…What did I just say!?”
“In the presence of others, make sure to not let your mind wander.”
“Ugh…I think I let my guard down a little, anyway it’s different!”
The feeling of being embarrassed rose, when she said things that she only spoke about in her own room. However, when her head and neck were being gently stroked by Shin, she was able to regain her composure a little. If she looked at the front, Girard being patted the same way was relaxing. Before anyone noticed, Yuzuha was already sleeping on top of Girard. At that appearance, Cuore had a soft smile.
Tiera and Schnee came back after a while, Shin at that time, was like a master that was surrounded by his pet dogs; wry smiles on their faces.
That was just a few days before Girard died.
It was like the good old days they spent before, a peaceful time.