By the time they reached the baths, she thought she’d seen more ancient art than existed in Japan’s most prestigious museums. The monk excused himself with a bow, and she quickly headed for the steaming pool beyond the castle doors, disrobed, and lowered herself in with a long, satisfied sigh.
Outrageously hot and steamy, the volcanic water worked its way into every kinked and sore muscle. A string of bubbles wafted up from the stone seat, and she halfheartedly put a hand down to find the source. Apart from a few spots where the rocks were uneven, however, she didn’t find any gaps or holes. A heated bottom perhaps?
The uncomfortable image of a lobster dropped into a boiling pot flitted through her head. She tried to tell herself the springs were natural, which made her feel a little better, at least until she remembered where she was.
Peering about suspiciously, she crinkled her brow and inched toward a far corner. Several pools similar to hers lay scattered about the rocky cliffs, each separated from the other by tall stone walls that looked to Keiko like part of the original landscape.
She planted her hands firmly onto the edge and pushed herself up for a better look when Yui’s voice sounded behind her.
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