Return 3 – Night Job
Well, it had been stifling in the dwarf castle, but it wasn’t because of their position. It was just because the dwarves were very kind and friendly. Perhaps too much so.
In other words, there were a lot of people like Kaider, who seemed to like to take care of others.
They would constantly talk to them or try to put them alone with Kaider or Nyran.
“You youngsters should have some time together.”
They would say. And yet they would constantly be watching them as well. Had it not been only a two days stay, Maki and Chiharu would have been very stressed out.
“I’m sorry. My mother, brothers, and their wives really like to fuss over people.”
“It’s fine. We were expecting it.”
Maki chuckled as Kaider apologized. As long as there was no ill intent, it was good to receive kindness as kindness. They were good people. That was all that mattered.
“But to be honest, I want to get away from here.”
It was the same with young people in any country. Especially if they were single.
Even Edwy had worked hard for 2 days as a representative for Arthur.
“I feel like I’m the one who should get to make sweet and bitter memories, since I’m younger. Why is it that Aeris and Grudo get to enjoy their time with Maki and Chiharu?”
“Well, we don’t get to experience such things anymore, in our old age. You should be kind to us older folk.”
Aeris said. But Maki hadn’t forgotten that ‘sweet moment’ he had had or the fact that Aeris was still not retired. And so she felt a little bad for Edwy, who was completely fooled by Aeris. In fact, Aeris had as many years ahead of him as Arthur. And so Maki thought it was very deceptive of him to act as if he were an old man who didn’t have much time left.
Maki also knew that Chiharu was fooled by Aeris as well, but she didn’t feel sorry for her in the least.
Edmond was also invited to the castle, and they were happy that they got to talk with him.
They promised to meet again before separating.
After those 2 days of rest that were really about diplomacy, the company moved on to Noir. Maki and Chiharu returned to their cooking duties. While they didn’t want to disguise themselves as boys again, wearing dresses and staying in the carriage all day wasn’t fun either. And so they wore their boys’ clothes but excluded the wigs. And then they rose in the back of a wagon with the luggage.
The dwarf lands had many mountains, and they went up and down quite a few on their travels, which meant the scenery was always changing. As they excitedly climbed up the mountains, the trees became smaller and of a different variety. Sometimes the air would suddenly feel cool, and they would find a small river with beautiful, clear water. Or sometimes there would be waterfalls.
After fully enjoying the sights, they would pass out soup and then drink wine with the others. Then they would retire to an inn instead of a tent, and go to sleep.
Once everyone was asleep, quiet movement would be heard from Maki and Chiharu’s room.
“Quietly okay? Quietly. Are the lights off? Okay, now I’m going to open the window.”
Maki said in a hushed voice. The two of them always took a room with a balcony. They said it was so the birdfolk could visit them. But there were other uses at night.
The two slipped out of the window and then waited for a few minutes. After a while, something came from the sky. It was black, which made it hard to see in the night sky.
“Come here. That’s a good boy.”
Chiharu called in a soft voice. It was a gazer. It came down to the balcony and swayed happily.
“Did you have a lot of fun?”
The gazer swayed.
“You can go and play more if you like.”
It’s fine. I saw enough.
“I see. Then come here.”
The gazer touched Chiharu’s outstretched hand and then shrunk down. A second later, a magic stone dropped near their feet. Maki whispered,
“Only one today.”
“I don’t feel any other eyes on us.”
Chiharu squinted at the night sky. There were a half-moon and several clouds that cast shadows.
“Okay, let’s go back in, Chiharu.”
They quietly closed the window again.
Once that was done, the shadows underneath the window also disappeared.
After the incident at the dungeon, especially after the incident at the Mirror Lake, Maki and Chiharu started to feel that something was watching them. In fact, it had increased once their identities had been exposed, but there was something different about some of them. They were a little sad.
And then one night, when Maki had been looking out of the window, a large eye looked back at her. Maki thought it was very impressive that she hadn’t screamed. Her first thought was…
“If the soldiers see it, they will kill it.”
And so she called Chiharu, and they had gone out onto the balcony.
“Hey, you. Come over here into the shadows!”