In Love With the Strongest Man

Translator: Shizukuku

Editor: Evelet

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!

Arc 1 The Strongest Man and the Cursed Merchant

Chapter 3 Warmth

“Printemps, this way!”

At Ideal’s call, a large black horse galloped nimbly toward us.

“A horse? It’s huge…” I remarked.

“Printemps will get us there in no time. I know it’s a little cold, but you’ll have to bear with it.”


Ideal placed me lightly on the horse’s back. Once mounted, he unfurled the blanket that was tied to the saddle and began wrapping me in it.

“Ideal! I’ve got to go pick herbs soon!” I tried to appeal to him that it wasn’t the time for this, but I was at a loss for words beyond those.

Ideal’s eyes were unusually sharp. There wasn’t a hint of murderous intent in those eyes, but I couldn’t help but shrink back like a frog staring at a snake.

“–Right. Now keep your mouth shut. We’re in a hurry, and you’ll end up biting your tongue if you talk,” he warned.

Once Ideal had finished wrapping me up in the blanket, he called out to Printemps and we started to move.

Printemps was big, but both Ideal and the horse were tremendously skilled. We rode like the wind through the not-so-wide streets of the small town.

In the blink of an eye, we arrived at the largest and most luxurious inn in town.

At the sound of the loud hoofbeats, a man who appeared to be the innkeeper came out to see what was going on. As soon as he saw Ideal, he bowed his head.

“So it is our guest! You’ve returned early,” called the innkeeper. 

“Get the hot water ready in the room right away. I’ll leave the horse to you,” Ideal ordered.

Ideal must be a very good guest. The innkeeper was humble and did not complain about the early morning noise.

However, without even a glance at the innkeeper’s bald pate, Ideal told him only what he wanted and dismounted from his horse. He dismounted me as well, and I was once again held in his arms.

“Guest, that is…!”

The mere sight of me peeking out through the blanket was enough to color the innkeeper’s voice with disgust.

Ideal, who was about to carry me into the inn, stopped in his tracks.

“Is there a problem?” Ideal asked in a low voice.

It was a dark and cold voice that even I, who had been subjected to nothing but hatred, had never heard before.

“Hic! No, no!”

The innkeeper went pale and collapsed, scraping his head against the ground. He was so terrified that when he tried to stand up, his legs didn’t seem to have the strength to do so.

“…I guess I’ll get my own hot water,” Ideal sighed, then he swiftly ascended the stairs of the inn.

* * *

“Ah, a room with a fireplace!” I exclaimed.

“Just wait, I’ll get the fire going soon.”

“Fire magic ore! It’s bigger than a fist… You’ve got to be kidding me, that’s not something you can use in a fireplace, that’s…”

“If it’s bigger, there’s less smoke and it’s easier to adjust the heat level. I’ll prepare the hot water now, so sit down.”

The room where Ideal brought me was too large. The entire third floor of the inn was devoted to just one room. 

I’d heard rumors that the inn was built decades ago when a nobleman stopped by on a hunting trip. 

Usually, there were no guests to rent it and the third floor was mostly used for storage, but currently, every corner of the place was lavishly furnished as a space for Ideal.

Of course, it was nothing compared to the mansions of the nobility, but it was full of furnishings that commoners could not afford.

There was a living area with a fireplace, a vase with fresh flowers, and a bedroom with two large beds.

There were no doors in the room, but it was divided into several spaces by walls and partitions.

There was even a bathtub, apparently at the end of the room, which was where Ideal had headed. I could hear the sound of water being poured into the tub.

“…Sit down…” I said to myself, at a loss when I saw the carpet in front of the fireplace.

The carpet had exquisite patterns woven into it, a specialty of this region.

There was no way I could sit on something that fine. There was no place for me in this room to begin with.

I took off the blanket and laid it in front of the fireplace. It had soaked up a lot of water, but it would dry out this way.

I turned on my heel and headed for the doorway.

I opened the door quietly, trying not to make a sound.



The sound of water coming from the bathroom had somehow disappeared.

Instead, what reached my ears was Ideal’s low voice, seemingly stripped of all emotion.

“Would you rather have me strip you naked right now and wipe you all over, or would you rather wait quietly and take a bath by yourself?”

“I’ll wait.”

“Okay then. Stay in front of the fireplace. You’ll get cold.”

Ideal must have guessed something when he saw me soaking in the river with my clothes on.

To show my body or not to show my body?

If I had to choose between the two, it should be obvious which one I would choose.

It’s strange that he allowed me to choose what I wanted, I thought. 

Ideal should have also had a strong dislike for me because of the curse.

And yet, he was too kind.

I was a little scared of him sometimes, but I didn’t feel any malice coming from him.

I clutched my robe tightly and timidly sat down on the blanket in front of the fireplace.

The fire magic ore glowed brightly on top of the wood set in the fireplace. It was an expensive stone made of magical elements that could both ignite and control the heat of a fire.

The fire wasn’t any hotter than it needed to be. It warmed my body pleasantly.

The numbness that slowly circulated through my body made me realize that I was completely frozen.

It’s been a long time since I sat by a fire…

With my mangled body composed of bones stuck together in strange ways, any movement was slow and sluggish.

Because of this, I rarely had time to gather firewood.

I stockpiled a little each day and made a fire only on the most unbearably cold of winter nights.

A fire just to warm up my cold, wet body was like a dream to me.

The orange flames flared, and the fine wood cut from logs would occasionally crackle and pop.

I gazed at the fire for a long time without getting tired of it.

“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, Shuka-san. Wasn’t it cold?” Ideal asked.


“I’ve warmed up the bath, so come in quickly. Don’t fall asleep in there,” he warned.

“Oh, I’ll go in later. Ideal, you should get in first.” I offered.

“I’ll get in after Shuka-san.”


“Or did you want to get in together? It’s spacious, so two people can fit comfortably.”

“No!!!” I exclaimed while Ideal looked at me with mischievous eyes.

Ah, I realized he was teasing me.

It had been a long time since I’d had this kind of exchange with someone – twenty years, in fact – and my head was spinning.

“Go soak your shoulders in the water and relax. If you get out too quickly, I’ll put you back in the tub as many times as I have to,” he threatened.

In the midst of my confusion, Ideal had picked me up again and was carrying me to the bathroom.

There was a screen in the bathing area, and behind it sat a bathtub that could certainly accommodate two adults.

The bathtub was filled with clean, steamy water and I wondered how it had been heated.

“Well then, take your time,” Ideal instructed.

Leaving me alone, he disappeared behind the screen.

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