At a time when most people were asleep, Maki and Chiharu were with Zynis and the others at their campsite. As they had moved at the beginning of the night, they were hidden by the darkness, and no one knew of their presence. It was there that they rested a little and waited for the signal.
This was the plan.
Apparently, there were dwarves who were mining in a cave that was close to the lake. They were still in the early steps, but had recently dug up a vast chamber. And gazers were coming out of it.
And while they worked during the night as well, it seemed that the working environment wasn’t that harsh. Zynis had watched them for several days and then visited their settlement directly in order to speak to them.
All of the dwarves had some reason that prevented them from returning to the dwarf lands. They were suspicious at first, but Zynis told them about his friends from the other territories, including Grudo, and they slowly started to open up.
Even in the dwarf lands, there were rumors that the inland country was full of discrimination, but that hadn’t been the case in this town by the lake. The people who worked at the villa did tend to look down at them, but it wasn’t too bad.
However, monsters would sometimes come out while they were mining, and so they had to work with guards in the area. Not only were the monsters scary, but it was a little stressful to have the guards watching them at all times. They said with a laugh.
Apparently, Zynis had asked the dwarves to create a commotion near the caves. They would shout and say that monsters were coming out of the cave in order to distract the soldiers. A similar incident had occurred recently, so the soldiers would be wary of this happening.
Maki and Chiharu laughed when they heard this. It must be related to yesterday. But it was quite strange to think that it was just the day before. It felt like a long time ago.
While Maki and Chiharu couldn’t hear anything, the ears of the dogs, who were in their third form, began to twitch.
There was movement at the villa. It was time to put the plan into action.
Maki, Chiharu, Edwy, and Aaron were then picked up by the birdfolk, and were raised into the air. The dogpeople dashed through the trees along the lake and headed for the villa.
On the other hand, Maki and the others were let down on the other side of the lake, facing the villa.
“We will be able to see the chief’s room from here. As soon as the guards near the window move towards the caves, we’ll move as well.”
Kleo explained the plan quietly. As Maki and Chiharu couldn’t actually see what was happening in the villa, he explained it to them.
“The soldiers on the lake have moved first. The boats are moving towards the cave. Alright, now the guards by the room have been called. No, wait, something is strange on the lake.”
“Strange? What do you mean?”
Edwy asked. This was not part of their plan.
“Bubbles are rising to the surface. That’s…it’s merfolk.”
Even Maki and Chiharu could see the bubbles. The boats with the lanterns were moving over the black surface of the water. And it looked like a lot of fish were gathered together. However, upon closer inspection, you could see that they had merfolk heads, and they were quietly moving to the shore.
“Hey, Edwy. Why don’t we just let the merfolk help him?”
Chiharu asked. Edwy shook his head.
“That would be bad. If they had to ‘save’ him, it would create hostility between the inlanders and the merfolk. We have to make it so that he visited on his own and then left by himself. The merfolk merely came here to greet him. Aaron!”
“I know. We have to reach the chief before the merfolk do, and release him. Birdfolk. I’m counting on you.”
And so the four humans were picked up by the birdfolk. They would fly down from the cliffs to the other side of the lake all at once. They had plenty of experience when it came to rising in the air. However, when it came to plunging down… Chiharu prayed that she would be able to handle the fear.
“It won’t take long. Let’s go.”