Return 1 – The Dwarf Castle
Chiharu: Saintess. A good friend of Maki. Age: 25.
Maki: Saintess. Was summoned along with Chiharu. Age: 25.
Edwy: Prince of Midland. Age: 18.
Aeris: Elf. White Philosopher. Age: over 300.
Grudo: Dwarf. Invented the train. Age: over 300.
Kaider: Third prince of the Dwarf Lands. Adventurer and Blacksmith.
Nyran: Fifth prince of the south lands. Adventurer and chaperone to Kaider.
“Maki. It sure is peaceful now.”
“It really is. I can hardly believe it considering how it was recently.”
Maki and Chiharu were talking while they looked at the garden from the castle balcony.
When they thought back on it now, their travels had been going well up until they were kidnapped by the mayor of Gromble.
Though, if Edwy had heard them, he would have said:
“No, things went bad the moment you left the castle.”
Of course, he would. As for Kaider…
“It was when the merfolk tried to kidnap you.”
“What about when you were attacked by the Gazer by the lake?”
He would probably say that. But to Maki and Chiharu, there had been nothing worse than being held by the mayor.
“Well, the stuff with the dungeon couldn’t be helped.”
Maki said. But it wasn’t exactly true. And then Chiharu added:
“Well, at least it’s all been resolved.”
Who cares if we slept an entire day after that. They thought.
“And we ended up at the dwarf castle after all.”
“Kaider’s ‘house.’ Come to my house! He said. But it’s a castle!”
Maki said as she angrily raised a fist into the air. Chiharu said,
“Now, now. He is a prince after all.”
And then she covered her mouth to stop herself from laughing.
“You can’t hide it, Chiharu.”
Well, they had seen the castle from the outside when being interviewed as cooks. But now they could see inside.
At first, they had wanted to continue helping in the kitchen. But they were persuaded that Saintesses were officially above royalty, and so they were forced to present themselves at court.
Along with Edwy, Chiharu was escorted by Nyran and Maki by Kaider as they greeted the king. They were both wearing their layered, formal dresses now, and the hall erupted into cheers. Chiharu had thought this the last time she was here, but the dwarves seemed to care a lot about fashion. But as they were just one race, the trends did not change often. And so they became excited when the saw something new.
When Nyran and Chiharu appeared together, many people said that they made a good-looking couple. As Nyran had lived at the castle since he was a young boy, many of the dwarves were very fond of him. Even more so when he began to act as a bodyguard fo Kaider. Still, as the life spans were different, there were no women who started any serious relationships with him.
Even if they were different in height or size, humans looked better with humans. The dwarves said as they nodded to each other. But then they gasped when Kaider and Maki walked in together. They looked perfect together! Prince Kaider!
While not as tall as a human, Kaider was still quite tall and muscular. And so dwarven women looked very small next to him. But Maki was just a little shorter than Kaider and incredibly slender and delicate-looking as she held onto Kaider’s arm.
It wasn’t bad. Yes, it could work. They looked nice. That’s what the gazes in the audience seemed to say.
On the other hand, Maki and Chiharu’s minds were somewhere else. Back at the castle in Midland, they just had to smile and be quiet. And so it was there first time in a place like this. And they were quite nervous and stiff. Kaider patted Maki’s hand as if to encourage her. Maki gave him a reassuring smile.
“It’s really nothing. You shouldn’t be nervous.”
“You’re right. This is nothing.”
But in the heads of those that watched it looked like:
“Maki, don’t worry, I’m with you.”
“Oh, Kaider. You are so reliable.”
Of course, Maki and Kaider had no idea that this was so.
Nyran seemed worried as he saw how small Chiharu’s steps were.
‘I hope she’s not going to trip on the carpet.’
But in the minds of those who watched:
‘What a delicate princess. I must protect her.’