Maki and Chiharu were taken to a proper guest room, not to the room they had been locked in.
There, they had been put into comfortable clothes and were now sleeping peacefully. Thankfully, they did not seem to be in any pain. Aeris sat by them and did nothing else.
“Aeris. You’ve been here all of this time?”
“Yes. I keep thinking they will disappear if I let them out of my sight.”
“But you said it yourself. No Saintess has ever returned.”
“Still, I am worried.”
Aeris softly touched Chiharu’s hair. Kaider sat near him and watched over Maki.
“They faced those monsters with such thin frames. It looked like they were saying something…”
“‘See you again.’ I think.”
“They were saying goodbye.”
Just then, Edwy and Nyran entered.
“You must be very tired.”
“How are Maki and Chiharu?!”
They sighed in relief.
“I explained things to the Adventurers and soldiers. Grudo. Surely you know what had happened. You were close to them.”
“Yes. I’m not sure where I should start…”
Grudo put a hand to his chin and thought.
“It seemed like Maki and Chiharu understood what the monsters were saying.”
“Do monsters even have hearts?”
Kaider said darkly.
“Adventurers often die. Monsters attack them and suck the life out of their bodies. How can you do that and have a heart?”
“Well, perhaps they are like babies.”
“Their lives are like a circle. They were able to see the outside world, and so they wanted nothing else. And so they allowed the gentle hands of Maki and Chiharu to turn them into magic stones. That’s what it looked like to me.”
“I can’t believe that. Monsters are resources left by God. But it is hard to gather them. That’s why there are Adventurers. I can’t suddenly see them as babies.”
“We can just do things as we always have.”
Grudo looked gently at Maki and Chiharu.
“I just think these two are exceptions.”
“The Adventurers asked me this. If they could erase monsters, why not do it in the beginning?”
“What! What a thing to use the Saintesses for!”
“I think they were only asking because it would come up later. However, if this is the cost of them facing the monsters, I don’t want them near a dungeon anymore.”
“That is good. Perhaps the monsters were happy to see them. But it seemed very painful for Maki and Chiharu.”
Even after their faces had been wiped, you could tell the two had been crying.
“Later, I will send men into the dungeons to search the place. It will take 4 to 5 days. Unless Maki and Chiharu wake up before then.”
“I will stay.”
“At least, Edwy, Kaider, and Nyran have to make reports and send the soldiers back. We’ll be going to the elf lands next, and that will be in the south. In other words, Nyran must contact them in advance.”
“It will be faster by boat then to go through Midland. After making a report at the dwarf castle and Midland, you will have to go back to the south and then to the elf lands. You will be very busy, Nyran.”
“You’re talking as if you are not going to come too, Grudo.”
“Why do I have to go? I only came to help smooth things out in the dwarf lands. Also to find Maki and Chiharu. The young people should go to the elf territories.”
Grudo said with a snort. The three young ones glared at him. But Grudo ignored them.
“Hey, Aeris. Let’s stop by at Corail on the way back.”
“A good idea. Hotsprings. I can help take care of Maki and Chiharu’s glimmering hair.”
“And we can drink every night like back at the health resort.”
“Yes. With our adorable Saintesses.”
“Th-that’s not fair, you two!”
“Aren’t you a little too old to be giving in to such vices?”
Edwy and Kaider were very angry now.
“It’s because we are old, that we can indulge.”
“At least, we will not be spying on them as they bathe.”
Just then, Chiharu began to move.
“She’s saying something.”
Aeris put his ear closer.
“…‘You’re the worst.’ She said.”
Kaider became quiet. It wasn’t clear if she had really said that.