Edwy and Kaider made sure to post some guards to search for any remaining gazers. Then they had the other soldiers rest, before they retired to the mansion.
In the meantime, Maki and Chiharu were resting in Aeris’s room. Nyran had gone with them, and he now leaned against the wall and folded his arms, refusing to leave.
“Ry-ryan. I was very worried.”
“Aeris, I was so worried too.”
“I am no use in battle.”
Aeris groaned as he slowly held Chiharu’s hand.
“You should at least go and take a bath. It is early summer, but you may still catch a cold. Besides, you smell like merman.”
“Huh? I stink?”
Chiharu sniffed at her arms. Amia hadn’t smelled like anything. It must be the lake.
“You should go too, Maki. It’s that door over there. You can wear these for now. I will have your things brought over.”
They took Aeris’s shirts and went to take a bath. Aeris sent word to the servants so that their belongings would be brought to the mansion. And he also ordered some hot tea.
“It must be nice to be the Philosopher. If I ever said that they smelled like merpeople, Chouze would have looked at me with cold, judgemental eyes.”
“It’s probably because of how you act during the day. I am grateful that you accompanied them on their way into the dwarf lands, but…Chouze? Ah, so that is what you called her.”
“They went by Norfe and Chouze. They pretended to be dirty, sibling commoners. So we didn’t treat them too carefully. Well, Kaider was quite nice to them.”
“You have my thanks. They do not like it when people fuss over them too much.”
“So that’s why… Norfe always seemed a little annoyed.”
Nyran thought back on these fond memories. Though, it was not even that long ago.
“I wish I could have seen them.”
Aeris said with a gentle expression.
“So, you are going to tell me everything, aren’t you? I hope you are not underestimating me just because I am a fifth son.”
“That is not it. None of this was planned by Midland or the elves.”
Just then, the door opened and Kaider and Edwy entered. Grudo was with them.
“We gave a brief report of the night’s events to the mayor.”
“We should all settle down now.”
“Where are they?”
Aeris was the ‘White Philosopher.’ He was treated like royalty. And so his room was very large and all five of them could sit comfortably inside. However, Nyran and Aeris continued to stand. All of them looked like they weren’t sure of what should be said, and a long silence followed.
During this time, Maki and Chiharu were enjoying their bath. While it was a little cramped, the tub was made for human guests, and so they fit in just fine.
“We were able to wipe ourselves when we were staying at inns, but it’s hard when we live in tents.”
“My wig got all sweaty.”
They washed their hair thoroughly and put on Aeris’s shirts. Of course, they had to roll up the sleeves about five times and the hem nearly dragged on the floor. But at least no one would complain about seeing their legs.
And so they opened the door. Oh, everyone was here. They all looked back at the same time. Their eyes widened.
Maki and Chiharu tilted their heads. Edwy shrieked and covered his eyes.
“Aeris! The sheets!”
Aeris and Grudo were quick to act. They began to wrap up Maki and Chiharu in sheets, as the two stood there in surprise.