wfb: chapter 97

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Chapter 97: People who grew up with siblings tend to be more used to dealing with intrusions to personal space than people that didn’t. Although their methods of ‘dealing with’ differ from person to person.

“Oh? Sir Ragnall. Pardon me for the intrusion.”

Ragnall, relaxing in the men’s side of the bath, shook off the feeling that he had just heard something like a scream of despair from the women’s side of the bath, and looked up from where he was shoulder deep in the bath.

That deep elf Adventurer had come into the baths.

“No, well, it’s a communal bath, so…”

So far it was Ragnall in one corner of the large bath and several wardens, a beastkin and elf, in the other. Both of them looked so worn out that he’d been worried they would fall asleep in the tub…

Anyway, with Desmond’s entry, there were 4 men total in the bath.

… Even the notoriously pale-skinned deep elves had darker skin than he did.

What can’t be helped can’t be helped, Ragnall thought quietly. Out loud he asked,

“What happened to the others?”

“Aislin and Aidin went out to tend Donal and Liam, our animals. Eadan was too exhausted and went to sleep, so Breamond had to retire without bathing in order to be by his side as a bodyguard. Well, Eadan is the fastidious sort, so he’ll probably come here as soon as he wakes up.”

Desmond finished scrubbing down and rinsing off as he spoke.

He seemed eager to sit and soak in the bath.

Well, there aren’t many places that have large baths outside of the cities, after all. Because they had Hibiki, Ragnall had chosen an escort commission that would lead through the best facilities on the way to Inouria. It’s not good to make a girl so new to traveling endure too much… well, he was being considerate of the hardships she had been forced to endure.

Hm? Jun? He suspected she wouldn’t care in the slightest about such things. Although he suspected that she enjoyed having the facilities as well, it’s not like she would be inconvenienced by not having them.

Well, with Jun she would prefer to push through the night to reach their destination even a little bit sooner.

Thank the heavens she was being concerned over Hibiki’s condition. Ragnall was used to forced marches, but if you didn’t have to do them, what was the point in forcing yourself…?

Yeah, Ragnall was relieved that Hibiki was traveling with them.

There was a moments of silence, only broken by the sound of bath water slowly lapping against the side of the bath.

The baths, on both the men and the women’s sides was a large rectangular tub made of wood, slanted towards one end. Although the slant was so subtle that only people with excellent senses would be able to tell.

A wooden spout ferried hot water in from one end, while a hole at the bottom of the lower end carried water out. Water constantly flowed in and out, with the volume being moved just enough to tell that it was occurring.

Ragnall wondered what they did with all this water… ah, no, here was the forest, so recycled water would have some uses with watering plants too. Nyl City was only stone, so recycled water had limited uses.

All of a sudden, a loud commotion sounded from the women’s side of the bath.

“… Just what are those two doing?”

Ragnall muttered with a sigh that sounded like he was giving up.

Desmond chuckled.

“You seem to have quite the companions. I thought that the White Demon was mostly a loner now that he left Granwit’s mercenaries.”

“Hm… I guess there’s that sort of rumor flying around too. Certainly there’s some circumstances then, and there’s circumstances now, too.”

“Fufu. I suppose that’s all the reliability you can expect of rumors.”

“Yeah. You get it as well, I’d guess.”

“Indeed.”

The deep elf and the part-demon. They shared a strange comradery for being misunderstood and gossiped about.

“Come to think of it, I haven’t heard about you. Although I’ve been staying in Nyl for a while, so I might not have heard the rumors.”

Ragnall said, glancing over at Desmond.

“That is true. You’d expect to hear of a deep elf Adventurer… well, it hasn’t been too long since I’ve started, so it can’t be helped.”

Desmond shrugged carelessly.

“I think it’s weird that a deep elf would leave the deep woods to wander about aimlessly, to be honest. I’ve only met one other deep elf before, though, so that might not be an accurate assumption.”

Desmond made a face.

“Of course the Granwit Mercenaries have met with an ambassador… on behalf of my race, I apologize.”

“…Yeah.”

It had been interesting, working with a character like that.

Desmond continued.

“Well, I’m just the type that didn’t find holing up in the deep woods to be all that interesting. There may not be that many of us, but there are people who think like that among my people as well. Not many leave, though.”

Ragnall shrugged and said,

“Well, I guess that’s the same with people everywhere.”

“Yes. I heard the demons and half-demons to the south tend not to leave their community as well.”

“So I’ve heard.”

Ragnall shrugged again.

“…That’s right. You weren’t from there. My apologies.”

“Nah…”

The two men drifted into silence again.

“…Seriously, what are they doing over there?”

Ragnall quirked a slightly irritated look over at the wall dividing the men’s and women’s sides.

Loud splashing and raucous laughter sounded.

… That laugh wasn’t Jun or Hibiki, that Ragnall could tell. But Jun’s probably the one making the protesting sounds.

Desmond laughed.

“I’m amazed they have that much energy.”

“Yeah… well, that’s how it is.”

“The elf, what territory is she from? I haven’t seen an elf with quite those features before.”

“…”

Ragnall kind of looked away. He had his suspicions, but in the end had decided to just kind of ignore things. Which is why he hadn’t been looking forward to questions like this.

Couldn’t be helped. Even if they weren’t being racist, elves had a natural curiosity towards people’s, especially other elves’, origins.

“Well, you’ll have to ask her yourself.”

Was what Ragnall decided to say.

“Hm… It’s not necessarily that I wanted to pry, but … I’m a little worried about what Eadan’s intentions are.”

“Ah.”

Ragnall understood exactly what Desmond meant. That surveyor had been giving her quite the look.

If Jun had been there, she would have said that Eadan probably had an Asian fetish.

Even though Jun and Hibiki were most likely the first people with Asian features he had seen.

For Ragnall, he’d say that Eadan was into big ones. Hibiki was larger in certain places compared to a normal elf, after all.

“She’s … not in a relationship with you? Or at least that’s what I assumed from your interactions…”

Desmond said, delicately breaking right into the main subject.

“Nope. I don’t really see her like that. Nah, she’s more like a little sister, though.”

Ragnall said, glancing at Desmond. Hibiki made you feel like you had to watch out for her. No matter how womanly she was, somehow she just gave off that feeling of being too young.

Well, it’s not like he felt like she needed to be protected, but if you can help her avoid some troubles in life, it’s still better that way, right?

… Actually, instead of a sister, wasn’t that more like a daughter?

Ragnall felt old all of a sudden.

Desmond chuckled.

“Although I think Eadan’s interested, I don’t think would he act recklessly on it. Or rather, I don’t believe he would be able to figure out how to approach her.”

“Ah. He’s the type who doesn’t know what to do with women.”

“Well, I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell him that to his face…”

Desmond laughed with his normal, refreshing smile.

“Hah-! Yeah.”

“Aislin was surprised that the White Demon was such a womanizer, to have two beautiful women hanging off of him.”

Saying that out of nowhere, Desmond caught Ragnall off guard.

“Haa-?! What’s with that? Sure they’re gorgeous, but like I said, Hibiki is more like a little sister, and she has some circumstances. Jun’s got no interest in love other than swords, so that one’s a strike, too.”

Ragnall snorted in amusement at the thought.

“To tell the truth, I believe they’re with you because they’re the only ones who could keep up with your abilities.”

Although Desmond wasn’t necessarily wrong, for some reason, Ragnall was thinking of four others of Jun’s kin they had left behind at Nyl.

“Aislin and Aidan enjoyed listening to stories about the Granwit Mercenaries, so it can’t be helped that she got jealous, I suppose.”

… What was with this extremely sudden popularity surge?

Ragnall wasn’t amused.

“I find that hard to believe.”

“It’s impressive to have climbed to Rank A without the ability to use any magic. There are still people who value strength over magic. Although, I may have said ‘jealous’, but I suppose it would be more along the lines of wanting to be recognized by a strong person, compared to jealousy in a romantic fashion.”

“Haa…”

Once the world found out more about Jun and Hibiki, Ragnall wondered if that opinion would completely flip around to people wondering why someone like him would be with such capable people.

“… Reputation is a fickle thing, isn’t it?”

He said.

“Well, that might be.”

Desmond agreed cheerfully.

Ragnall understood then that Desmond had just been teasing him.

“Haa… do all deep elves have such bad taste in humor?”

Ragnall splashed his face as he grumbled.

“I wonder… at least I have been told I have an ill nature.”

He wasn’t even denying it.

“Ah, by the way, you said you and Ms. Jun weren’t like that, but I was wondering; what exactly is the relationship between the two of you?”

“Hm? I wonder… you could say she’s a benefactor, or someone amusing to watch. Comrades, I guess?”

“Hm…”

Desmond only said that in response.

When Ragnall and Desmond finally left the bath, they met Toal laughing boisterously, Hibiki quietly standing near with a complicated look on her face, and Jun, who looked like something had died inside.

◇◇◇

“…To be frank, Jun-kun, most girls won’t do that kind of skinship.”

Thanks, Hibiki-chan, but that doesn’t help matters any at all.

I flop on my bed, face first.

Somehow, I’m more exhausted now than when pulling three all nighters.

I managed to make it through all that by forcing myself to not think about anything, but what was that torture?!

I don’t remember anything that was said at all!

That dang Toal… You know, even if I wasn’t formerly a guy, that kind of treatment would make anyone uncomfortable with strangers freak out!

Just getting naked without trying to cover up, trying to help others take off their clothes, insisting on washing others’ backs, then getting way too close and hugging while in the bath-!

Resistance was completely futile, and I only succeeded in making a mess of the bath area.

It was HORRIBLE.

Even Hibiki-chan was a little weirded out by that kind of thing, although she said that there just were some girls like this.

I get it. I get it, since there are guys like that too, but this and that are two different things.

Or maybe they’re not, because I always ended a guy’s horsing around with a punch to the stomach back in the day, since they made everyone uncomfortable.

… Nonono, it’s different after all. I can’t justify hitting a woman in the gut just because I’m uncomfortable. Although with Toal’s six-pack, I wonder if it would have done anything.

Well, I did learn several things.

I think the scene in the baths was more stimulating for me than Hibiki-chan assumed it would be.

Compared to her lesbian friend, I think as a person who had been male, it’s easier to be aroused just by sight and proximity. Hibiki-chan said it was fine as long as I don’t fantasize about them, but… it’s different, you know?

I think it’s easier for guys to be aroused without thinking about things while girls have to be mentally into it too, so Hibiki-chan still doesn’t really understand what the problem is.

If you think about it that way, it seems I still have the mentality of a guy.

Then we had the problem of Toal forcing us into touching proximity while being naked. Even Hibiki-chan was uncomfortable, so you can imagine the torture that I was going through.

That said, because I didn’t have something annoyingly drawing attention to my arousal, it was easier to not be so fixated on any sexual feelings. It was a LOT easier to try to switch my attention to something else that way.

Well, this also might be because I’ve always had a thinner sexual fascination than most males, but just not having THAT made the situation 75% less painful.

But what made the experience truly painful was the guilt.

I mean, as a guy, you’re told that if you look at a woman in any state of dress less than the norm, even if it’s an accident, it’s not good. It’s not like it is in manga, with (all) girls blaming guys for things out of their control, although there are some, but it’s pretty ingrained in you that you’re doing something wrong just for seeing.

It’s also ‘wrong’ to be aroused at women you’re not in a relationship with.

Yeah, if I was a pervert it would have been different, but I’ve always felt like it would be better if I avoided looking at women with any sort of sexual undertones. Although guys with girlfriends said that’s not always helpful…

Anyway, I’m not trying to say those sentiments are wrong or whatever. To be honest, someone like me in Japan didn’t really care about it as long as the girls weren’t teasing me about ecchi things, but being forced into a gender swap like this… it’s too much.

The final issue is related. I’m just not used to a woman’s body. Ha? I have one now so I shouldn’t be freaked out?

… Are you crazy? I’m not a pervert who’s going to be sexualizing myself, and my chest compared to the others’…

Yeah. It’s still uncomfortable.

You know, if you’re not used to communal bathing, even if it’s the same gender you’ll be uncomfortable getting naked with them. It’s like that.

If I think about it, guys with lazy sisters are pretty desensitized to seeing women’s underwear and stuff.

Haaaaaa…

I’m beginning to be really confused about what’s my natural reaction, what’s my reaction that’s influenced by society, and what part of my reaction is just due to the uncomfortableness from being unfamiliar with everything.

All I know is … I don’t want to go back to the communal bath any time soon. And definitely NOT with Toal, ever again!


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<a/n:
*Teases female bath scene. Does male bath scene instead.*
… eh?
This wasn’t on purpose, I swear.
But I guess I should have expected it. I feel like DURING the bath Jun’s thoughts would have just been a@!sdf#$%ghjk!
Thnk you patreon patrons! I… wasn’t expecting the sudden influx of support, so let me just say… thanks! And sorry for the scurrying-around-while-still-optimizing-the-patreon-site stuff. Don’t forget to check the posts for the already posted perks.
Cursed chap 13 and 5th son chap5 also posted
…AH. I got too into translating OVRMMO and forgot to finish the picture.
orz>

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35 comments

  1. aHAhahehehe. Poor Jun. Also, what is this *holds in laughter* THING: “I can’t justify hitting a woman in the guy just because I’m uncomfortable.” I find that confusing, but also REAALLY funny. Don’t know why, just do. Anyway, I’m guessing that “guy” in that sentence is supposed to be “back”? That would make muuuch more sense. And I appreciate the chapter… multi-post, I suppose I should call it. Onto the next part.

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      1. Works just as well, if not much better. I thought it said that they punch each-others backs back in the day, but that was just a case of my eyes and brain not communicating, hence my suggestion choice. *FailFish*

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  2. I get it, Jun… You’re confused about just how upset you should be. I think you should definitely give Toal a piece of your mind, honestly — that, or just beat her up a bit. Respect is key! 😛

    Thanks for the chapter! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, Jun should’ve totally kicked Toal’s rear to hell and back.

      Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if this interaction made Jun NEVER enter a communal bath. Ever. And s/he’ll blame this one incident for it, since the first experience of it was like this.

      If it had been the girls from The Queen Mary (iirc that’s the name of it)…at least it would’ve been girls s/he KNEW quite well that were acting this way with Jun, so s/he wouldn’t have been so weirded out. =x

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  3. People who grew up with siblings tend to be more used to dealing with intrusions to personal space than people didn’t.
    People who grew up with siblings tend to be more used to dealing with intrusions to personal space than people that didn’t.

    “I think it’s weird that a deep elf would leave the deep woods to wander about aimlessly, to be honest. I’ve only met one other deep elf before, though, so that might not be an accurate assumption.
    “I think it’s weird that a deep elf would leave the deep woods to wander about aimlessly, to be honest. I’ve only met one other deep elf before, though, so that might not be an accurate assumption.”

    “Although I think Eadan’s interested, I don’t think would act recklessly on it. Or rather, I don’t believe he would be able to figure out how to approach her.”
    “Although I think Eadan’s interested, I don’t think “he” would act recklessly on it. Or rather, I don’t believe he would be able to figure out how to approach her.”

    I’m not the type to be all nitpicky about things like this, but ragnall saying something like “that’s a strike” seems out of place considering he doesn’t know about baseball.

    Jun, that’s what you get for being a pushover, and you can easily overpower her.

    Good job and thank you.

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    1. Well, if we’re commenting about Ragnell’s use of any expression whatsoever, none of them could possibly make sense since this isn’t Earth — and any Earth language being used would be equally crazy. Except all of that is explained by the story (including proverbs etc.) being translated into an Earth language. That’s how proper translation works.

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  4. Thanks for the meal!

    Author-san, your inner S is on full display this chapter lol. No, at this point is it even “inner” any longer? 😝

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  5. “Hey, so what should the chapter name be?” “It should be something that summarises what happens in the chapter while also not giving too much away, like a clue. So maybe ‘Intrusions on Personal space’ or…” “how about this out take from a Wiki page on personal space?” “Oh yeah, that works”

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    1. Agreed, pics or it didn’t happen! Of course since this is a work of fiction (as far as we know, the infinite multiverse and all that), it DIDN’T happen, but the point still stands. I think. Maybe?

      I could just see Ragnall’s face when he kept wondering just what the heck was going on, on the other side of the wall though.

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  6. Well, to me this chapter seems to be a case of handing an idiot ball to Jun: even if she doesn’t want to resort to violence, she has her barriers. What stopped her from cordoning off a private section of the bath? Sure, would have been a bit rude, but considering her opinion on the alternative, a much more preferable outcome. But no, this was a cliché long time coming so let’s ignore the internal logic of the story…
    Only relief is that it was a comic relief moment and not something actually integral to the story.

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    1. Well to defend Jun(and the author(I can never remember his name XD)) the situation was very confusing and stressful I don’t expect anyone in a situation like that to think through all the options they have…

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  7. I love how Jun is a manto-woman who is uncomfortable and yet slowly getting used to her own body and how it is to be a girl~ It’s somewhat refreshing and fun to see [read]~

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  8. I seriously despise how the MC still acts so beta, why does he even care if he sees women naked ? Can’t he just fucking relax and stop being such a moral busybody with himself ? Is that the author just trying to make some cheap ecchi ? I just feel that there no reason for him to act shy when it’s not even his first time seeing naked women yet he’s still so conscious of and puts so much emphasis on their bodies. I just don’t understand japan making it out to be something to feel guilty of, just seeing someone naked, it’s fucking retarded.

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    1. Can’t there just be people who are uncomfortable with nakedness and sexuality? Just like there are people who are progressive with the expression of their bodies, there are also people who aren’t. I don’t get why prudishness is considered a flawed character trait. Just like flaunting it doesn’t hurt anyone as long as you don’t force it on others, prudishness doesn’t either. Or like, in this story it’s specifically the one weakness that makes the MC’s transition into a girl difficult. If he didn’t feel uncomfortable with seeing his and others’ female bodies, it would literally be like, why didn’t I write him as a girl in the first place? In fact, the whole point of this episode is to force him/her to face the problem, instead of avoiding it like she has been this entire time.
      And actually, in Japan, they’re not as freaked out about nudity as you’d think, since there’s public bathing.
      As much as you think it’s ridiculous to feel guilty to see someone nude, I think it’s ridiculous to assume that everyone should be okay with seeing people naked. It’s not just a question of decency or sexualizing someone or whatever, for some people, you just get a genuine feeling that you’re violating someone’s privacy to the highest order, and so you try to avoid those situations out of courtesy. It’s not guilt about seeing someone naked, it’s guilt about violating the limits you set for yourself regarding the privacy of others. It’s similar to the guilt of looking at someone putting in their PIN at the atm. Even if you’re not going to use it, it’s uncomfortable to have done it.
      Yes, the MC is an exaggeration of this type of person. Have I not mentioned he’s the stupidly “good samaritan” in the description? Well, he is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s not a person, he’s a caricature, you can be uncomfortable with being around naked people, yes, but urgh that inadaptative mind and that over the top exaggeration destroys my suspension of disbelief. Also, feeling guilty, sure why not, though that’s pushing it, but I don’t see any reason for him to be so outspoken about it, as he has a clear, glaring reason for doing it, even more so when he never really considered himself a manly man, never had a girlfriend (if I’m not mixing up LNs) or really done things only men, or attributed to the male gender role, as such, him being a man or a woman does absolutely nothing to his character. Also, I could agree with you that it’s just them trying to make him accept his newfound femininity except for the fact that he doesn’t change at all ! It’s been going on for the whole fucking novel and he keeps on getting told that it’s fine and everything but it just keeps happening, he just keeps on needing to be reaffirmed that it’s fine, without getting the hint that it’s actually fine. The only thing that could save this novel at this point would be him getting in a relationship with his BFF who’s obviously attracted.

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      2. As stated, this is not so massive a transition for him as it may be for other people. He was never excessively male about most things(The thug extermination was A: not that odd a response from someone who had that much physical power at their disposal and has a violent profession considering the circumstances, regardless of gender; and B: Referring to it as “unladylike” would not be a tendency with a strong evolutionary bias.) so the social transition is not usually that overbearing. So there is very little pressure for them to deal with the situation. I, for one, can certainly imagine that they do not want to deal with the situation.

        So yes, someone who neither needs nor wants to deal with something is not adapting to it. And it makes perfect sense that a human of all idiots would rather confront symptoms than causes… It is only natural to void communal baths rather than go on some week-long naked meditation binge to condition themselves to identify as female and be accustomed to the appearance of naked females from a starting point of zero. Throw in that they might still end up going back to their old life and that learning magic, weaponsmithing, and combat, and earning a living are all rather more pressing issues…

        Now, if they were the typical power-fantasy hero who is more interested in reproduction than survival(To be fair, humans tend to massively elevate the value of whatever they are thinking about at the time, and don’t spend much time thinking about mortality, thus won’t particularly value survival until it is too late to do anything about it.) and rely purely upon plot armour to get them through life(and romance too for that matter…) then yes they would immediately adapt themselves to be able to take full advantage of their circumstances to shortcut their way into the pants of whoever takes their fancy(although no doubt it will play off as some sort of destiny or how lucky the plot-mind-control victim is so it is oh-so-romantic-and-noble…). Here, on the other hand, we have a character who is more interested in elven technology than elven children-who-are-older-than-you and willing to protect the seemingly innocent even if they are not designated for harem or adoring underling duties(Granted, they have generally been helpful, but “escort to the nearest city” or “a place to stay while i am here” are not outrageous requests that only that one person could have provided and being saved from potentially fatal misfortune tends to put people in a generous mood. On the other hand, in reality, people despise genuine heroes with a furious passion and will tear them apart with all possible haste. Just something about someone who is genuinely looking for a better world and doesn’t much care about competing with others triggers a massive surge in competitiveness towards them. Something about “they think they’re better than me” that I never really understood… Like, do normal people maintain some sort of constant list of their quality relative to others so that being better than someone else is something that might actually warrant consideration?).

        In short. You are looking for a different story. One in which the character instantly adapts to everything as soon as it confronts them with much drama but no real challenge and loads of angst but mere ragged scraps of personality. And one in which the character is far more sexually-minded. I may sound harsh but I honestly respect these works. They are entertainment and entertain, I can’t think of higher praise… And I do share your pain. I have myself found numerous works in which I like the artist’s abilities and style, but dislike their subject matter. It is natural to want the people whose talents appeal to me to create works that appeal to me, but such is so often not the case. It is generally true that the quality of art drops as the interest of the artist wanes, so you really can’t expect them to change from what they were doing of their own accord. It would just end up breaking everything good about what you first saw and then people wind-up complaining about getting what they asked for…

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    2. T.P.O., or time, place, occasion. For Jun who used to be a guy up until a short while before, he had been taught and practiced that it was only ok for HIM to see women nude under certain conditions (like a mixed bath, etc). Since he is now a she, there are a host of new rules she thinks she should be adhering to, but she still has the natural reaction to act in the old ways. While Japan as a whole is less body conscious than many western cultures, individuals can (and are) more sensitive about nakedness, especially around the opposite sex. Jun’s reactions are mild compared to how some westerners behave the first time they are faced with communal (public) bathing.

      It’s not being beta, it’s not being prepared to handle a situation she was never expecting to have to handle. Not everyone is as mentally flexible on such subjects.

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      1. “Literally no one acts like that” is a rather extreme statement and thus sounds like
        A: a lack of awareness of how varied people can be.
        B: a lack of self-awareness of the difference between observing a situation and being immersed in it.
        C: a troll looking to provoke a response by being a strawman.
        D: all of the above.

        But I am frequently mistaken, so my opinion should not be given too much credence. This really is just a knee-jerk reaction to what looks like an extreme statement.

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      2. “Literally no one acts like that”….

        hahaha… it seems someone forgot that humans are feeble… and that there are so many different kind of humans, of cultures, of behavior, of… etc.

        It’s completly the reverse for me. The guy that adapts to all, that never falters, that always has the solution when put into situations he is not prepared to (so don’t speak to me about trained people: training means being prepared to it 🙂 ).. those are people that don’t really exist much… there are only a few of them in history, otherwise they only exist in fiction, or … they exist a lot in the minds of Internet Readers that read about many things, played many games and think that they “would have made the same (clever) choice” or “would not have been as stupid”… I mean, young people that still think they are invincible.

        Reality is not as clear as fiction; so when a fiction tries to make a character behave as “real” people, they are often disapointed… like you seem to be. Real people are like you seem to think they are.

        I’m often disapointed when I read comment like yours saying that “no one acts like that”… about stories or chapters that seemed to me to express the most “real” behavior : maybe not my behavior, but the different behavior of a real person, with it’s flaws, it’s greatness, it’s shortcomings, it’s talents, it’s own blindness to its flaws….Etc

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  9. I’d say poor Jun but really it’s just bathing. She seems a little over the top in her reactions by now. I get it at first but after her first period, really. Then again, denial ain’t just a river.

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