“Chiharu. What happened? You do know that we have to go back soon? You shouldn’t be so angry.”
Chiharu didn’t answer. She just kept walking.
“Chiharu’s just venting.”
“If you say so!”
Chiharu was fuming as she replied.
“We were able to travel safely because of those two. At least for the first half of the trip. But I remembered the sadness of playing the part of that quiet younger sister.”
“What? So you weren’t getting angry on my behalf, Chiharu?”
Edwy said with a little disappointment.
“There was a little of that. Right Maki-chan? But we were sort of angry at being treated like children again.”
“For Chiharu, she is usually very talkative. So it was painful to have to be silent.”
“But that’s just your own fault for dressing as children.”
“You say that, Edwy, but it was even worse when we dressed as adult women in Greige.”
“You did that… Really, you two are too much.”
Edwy was amused and exasperated.
“I feel a little better knowing that you weren’t enjoying it the whole time.”
“Ah, Sauro and Saikania!”
They had now reached the bird people.
“So you got found out then.”
“We sure did.”
Though, they had known that it would come, ever since they left the capital and headed for Gromble.
“Since you came all the way here, why not fly in the night sky with us, Edwy?”
“Yes. I think I will, Sauro.”
“Maki and Chiharu too.”
The three of them flew together for the first time. Flying in the night sky like this was incredibly fun and it was something they had not been able to do back at the castle.
“Maki, Chiharu, I will have to tell the people at Midland about this.”
“I know. But allow me to talk to Aeris first.”
Chiharu said, after making up her mind.
“You should do that. I’ll tell me him to come and meet Sauro.”
Edwy said and then left.
“I wonder if Aeris will be angry?”
“Of course, he won’t be. It’s Aeris. Chiharu, we’ll have to apologize.”
After a while, a tall elf walked quietly from the mansion.
“I heard you wanted to see me, Sauro.”
Aeris said after glancing at the two children to the side. Chiharu had not seen him in a while and thought that he looked tired.
“Ah, yes. Hey.”
Sauro muttered and then pushed Chiharu forward. Aeris narrowed his eyebrows.
“What? Do you want an autograph or to shake hands? Regardless, it is too late for children like you to be out. I will meet you tomorrow, go back to your bed now.”
He said with a kind expression. The White Philosopher. Everyone’s hero. He was clearly used to this kind of thing.
Chiharu took out a magic stone from her pouch and handed it to Aeris.
“Thank you, boy. But I do not accept gifts. Let me return this to you. Wait…”
Aeris stared intently at the stone now. Then his other hand rose towards Chiharu’s cheek. It was shaking.
“Your face. Let me see your face…oh…”
Chiharu allowed her cheek to touch his hand. He was silent as she raised her face to look at him. His eyes were closed and tears were running down his face.
“This isn’t a dream, Aeris.”
As Aeris hugged her tightly, Chiharu could do nothing but apologize.
“Maki. Where is Maki!”
He hugged Maki with his other arm.
“I was so worried about you two!”
“And why are you dressed as boys? What would you have done if you encountered danger!”
“I was, I was so!”
What else could they say to the worrywort elf?
“I kept telling you that they were alright.”
Sauro muttered with annoyance.
“How could I believe you until I saw them for myself? Oh, was it very hard for you two? Did you have enough money?”
“We sold the scales from the merpeople to get money.”
“Merpeople! Those free-spirited sea creatures! They are called the birdfolk of the sea! How could this have happened?”
Aeris said in despair. These Saintesses attracted the worst people.
“And what’s wrong with being free spirited? It’s better than being a worried shut in.”