After they returned to the shrine, Mutsu took off her mud-covered clothes and went to take a bath together with the kitsune who was equally mud-caked as her. After she had scrubbed herself clean, her cheeks turned a faint rosy hue, possibly due to the fact that she had properly warmed herself up.
“Mucchan, could you give us an explanation?”
“The kitsune’s health is important right now. How is he, by the way?”
Mutsu approached the unconscious kitsune’s makeshift bed that had been made by placing folded blankets on a flat cushion. After putting her hand to his mouth, she determined that he was properly breathing, seemingly asleep.
“We found ripped off pieces of the paper figures I’d sent out and decided to follow the trail of pieces further into the mountains. Then, something sticky began to twine around my feet, making me unable to move.”
Mutsu took a sip of the tea that Sousuke had offered her. Then she brought the cup to her mouth again, as if planning to drink some more, but placed the teacup back on the table without taking a second sip.
“Then, the sticky stuff pulled me, so I fell down and it started dragging me into the forest. The save me, this guy gnawed through the sticky stuff, but it got him instead.”
“So you’re saying that he let himself be caught instead of you?”
Mutsu nodded. Then she rubbed the rhythmically rising and falling belly of the kitsune.
“Then he suddenly stopped moving and white threads started to twine around him. I was going to try to cut it away… but suddenly something hit me and the other kitsune from the side with a terrible force.”
“It was something like a log, I think.”
“Yeah. It sent us flying into that mud pit.”
Hiroto finally understood why even her hair had been covered in mud.
“So you didn’t find anything in the end, then?”
Mutsu meaningfully smiled when she heard Sousuke’s disappointment. She called over a paper figure and pried its hands open.
“This is… a spider?”
A small spider lay motionlessly in the cupped hands of the figure. It seemed like if it was already dead.
“Correct. When the kitsune started to be covered in white thread, these things appeared.”
“Spiders are common in the mountains, though.”
Mutsu simply sipped on her tea. This time the kitsune who had accompanied Mutsu was the one to meaningfully smile, wagging his thick tail.
“These guys were making the thread.”
Sousuke and Hiroto became quiet.
Mutsu took out a talisman, placing it over the spider. In the blink of an eye, it burst into flames. Mutsu then went into the bedroom before returning with a pouch. She sat down in front of Sousuke and silently grasped his hand.
“This is my fault. I’m sorry…”
She took out an anti-septic from her pouch and started to disinfect the cuts on Sousuke’s hands, before drying them with a clean paper towel. Then she put a salve on them and wrapped them with gauze.
“I am really thankful to you. Hiro-chan, were you injured anywhere?”
Mutsu’s uncharacteristic kindness made Hiroto flustered. His face turned red, his eyes even seemed to moisten, and he looked quite touched.
“I’ll go lie down for a bit.”
Mutsu took a deep breath and tried to stand up but staggered, unsteady on her feet.
Hiroto immediately reached out his hand to support Mutsu, making sure that she didn’t fall.
“Yuno-san! Mutsu seems to be running a fever!”
Sousuke put his hand on Mutsu’s forehead, and voiced his agreement:
“Yes, I think she is.”
He then led her to their futons and helped her lie down. Then he carried over the kitsune who had yet to wake up and placed him next to her.
“Let’s let them rest. Do you have any medicine around? And also, Hiro-chan, send a message to the boss.”
As soon as Mutsu had lay down on the futon, she had started nodding off. She did her best to keep her eyes open but gave up almost immediately and let them close.
“Maybe Mutsu-dono got poisoned? My friend told us that he had been bitten before he lost consciousness.”
The kitsune who had just spoken came into the room. He parted the fur around the base of one of his friend’s forelegs.
“This small mark is from the bite. Mutsu-dono sucked the poison out of the wound. Maybe that’s what’s affecting her? My friend also has a high fever.”
With these words, the kitsune placed a wet towel on Mutsu’s forehead.
Hi everyone, raggy here. It seems we’ve finally gotten to the spiders that the book is named after! By the way, we’re about halfway through this volume (and arc presumably) now.
Hope that you enjoy this chapter, and I would appreciate any comments on the plot, my translation or even anything unrelated. Unless its outright spam at least… So yeah, do comment, unless you’re trying to tell me about the hot singles in my area lol