Finally, to the Elf Lands
“Aah, it’s one thing with Maki…but even Chiharu…”
“What do you mean by that, Edwy?”
Edwy watched Maki and Chiharu play in the water with a worried expression. Aaron just chuckled.
“Still, I’ve never seen women play in the water before.”
“I could hardly believe it. And they seem accustomed to wearing bathing suits. Look how natural they are in the water. Ah.”
“She jumped out of the water and was caught by the birdfolk. Maki really is used to them. Ah, she fell.”
But as she fell through the air, Maki put her hands together beautifully and dove into the water. And then her face immediately popped out from the surface.
“That surprised me. So it was on purpose.”
“They are moving around so much that their legs are showing.”
“Well, it’s just us that are here. I think it’s fine.”
Aaron sat down on the sand. Edwy also sat down somberly and sighed.
“Well, I’m just going to see it as a side benefit.”
“Yes, compared to everyone else.”
Edwy shrugged his shoulders. He would never catch up to Aaron or Nyran, no matter how hard he tried. And so there was no point in being upset.
“In the palace, it was always me and Norfe who were treated like children. I thought that I would get bigger one day and catch up with the others. But the gap between us was never filled. Hell, even Aeris and Zynis treat my father like a child.”
“Norfe, huh? From what I saw at the villa, he’s grown up a lot.”
“Yes. He is a little proud for my liking, but he’s aware of his responsibilities and cares about his people. But I don’t know why he acts that way around the Saintesses.”
Edwy recalled the way Norfe had been during the unveiling. And what he saw at the villa had been no different.
“Perhaps for him, you and the others are the ones who changed.”
Aaron pointed his jaw at Aeris, who was watching over the Saintesses.
“I understand that they are important, but to outsiders, they are being pampered to a surprising degree. We’ve never seen birdfolk and merfolk become attached to people like this before. And so I think some will object to it.”
Edwy had never thought about it.
“Other people cannot see the pain that they experience. I think most citizens are very thankful for what they do. But as the Saintesses are human, it’s hard for some to not compare. They are living too lavishly. They are too blessed. Things like that.”
This was a view that he would have to consider carefully when he had time. But not now. The hand that brushed away the wet hair, the delicate arms, the white feet that sometimes showed from below the water. Right now, he could do nothing but watch Chiharu so that he would never forget.
He didn’t care if Aaron was grinning next to him. It was fine. He was young.
Maki and Chiharu came out of the water before it was midday, and they all ate an early lunch and then took a short rest. And then it was time to leave for the elf lands.
“Being caught in a fishing net and being carried by Saintesses. Both were very amusing experiences.”
Amia said before they left.
“If you call it carrying. You were too heavy.”
Chiharu pointed out.
“But it was cute seeing you try.”
“That’s not the problem. You shouldn’t make Saia worry so much.”
As Chiharu looked at him worriedly, Amia nodded with satisfaction. Next to her, Maki looked straight at Saia, but he would not meet her eyes.
While the merfolk just waited idly, Chiharu had practiced flying with the birdfolk in spite of being scared and was exhausted now. And yet she was still worried about Saia. Perhaps this was better than any words that could be said. But if he didn’t feel anything, there was nothing to be done.