Once Maki had woken Chiharu, they quickly ate the breakfast that Sera had prepared. Then they rushed off to Arthur’s office.
“Ah, there you are. I’m sorry, you two must still be tired.”
Arthur looked quite tired himself. Grudo and the prime minister were also present. Aeris, Zynis, Edwy, Kaider, and Nyran were absent.
“Aeris was so excited that he went to prepare the airship. Edwy, Kaider, and Nyran are probably making personal preparations. As for Zynis…well, you know.”
Arthur had read the question on Maki’s face. And then he continued.
“Maki and Chiharu. I heard about what happened in the dwarven dungeons. To be honest, I can hardly believe it. Are you really all right?”
“So far, nothing has happened.”
Maki and Chiharu showed him that they could move around just fine. Arthur seemed to be relieved at this. But then he looked at them seriously and said,
“But if what I heard is true, I think there is even less reason for me to allow you to go to the other territories.”
“Is it because of Van?”
“Elves are not even that annoying. Well, no, they are. But not nearly as annoying as those bird people.”
Arthur said as he massaged his temples.
“So, whose idea was it for us to go?”
Maki couldn’t help but wonder this.
“It was Edwy.”
“And Kaider and Nyran agreed with him.”
Maki and Chiharu looked at each other. That was odd. Hadn’t Edwy been so worried about them?
“After he returned to the castle, he felt the warmth of the people who had been worried and hoping for the Saintesses return. Something about it all felt strange, and then he met Van and made his decision.”
“He decided that after feeling their warmth?”
“I don’t understand.”
Arthur saw how confused Maki and Chiharu were and he chuckled.
“Apparently, the Saintesses he knew from the road were too different from the Saintesses the people here knew about. Every time they would talk about how worried they were and how relieved they are now, he would want to say, ‘no’ and ‘they are not that weak.’”
Arthur put his elbows on the table and rested his chin on his folded hands.
“He said that if you were left in the castle, you would just get involved in some trouble again and eventually escape. And that it would be better if you were close by.”
How rude! Maki and Chiharu thought. But they were smiling. Close by. Chiharu repeated quietly. Not kept away where they were safe. But, close by.
Of course, it was still out of concern for their well being. But now they wouldn’t have to feel like they were being imprisoned. Both Maki and Chiharu’s eyes were shining bright and gentle.
So, my son has returned a little more mature than he used to be. Arthur thought. Edwy was now capable of brightening the faces of women.
“Saintesses! The airship is ready for you!”
“Wait, wait. First, they have to be told where we are going so they can prepare!”
Just then, the door opened and two elves entered.
“Van. Aeris. This is the room of a king…”
Arthur narrowed his eyebrows. Zynis followed the other two and he apologized with a smile.
“I’m sorry. I tried to stop them.”
Aeris finally collected himself and looked at Maki and Chiharu with gentle eyes. When they stood next to each other, it was easy to see the resemblance between uncle and nephew.