Fly Far Away
“Chiharu. Are you alright then?”
Aeris was clearly worried not just about the Mandragora, but also whether or not she had trouble with the princesses. Chiharu didn’t notice this though, and she just smiled as she replied.
“I’m fine. The Mandragora are nothing but nice.”
Aeris flicked off one of the Mandragora that had been clinging to Chiharu. Immediately, the others swarmed around Aeris and began to slap his feet with their roots.
“It’s fine. I won’t do anything to her. It’s just that you are all in the way right now.”
Aeris said to them, but of course, they did not understand.
“Aeris. I’m having a lot of fun right now. I’ve never seen such creatures before. Please don’t treat them like that.”
Well, there was nothing to be done if Chiharu was asking him. Behind them, the servants had been kind enough to prepare a new set of food and hot tea.
“Aeris. Mandragora aren’t even harmful to people to begin with. Now, they’ve brought us some tea. Maybe you should calm down and have a seat.”
Aaron said. Aeris hesitated for a moment, but then he stepped away from Chiharu. That’s when he finally noticed that the two princesses were there.
“First Princess. Fifth Princess.”
Upon hearing those words, the first princess’s shoulders dropped.
“I can’t do this anymore! You blockhead! I thought you were like that to everyone, but you get all soft around Chiharu. What about all those years I looked up to you!”
“Oh, so you two are on a first name basis now? That’s nice.”
Aeris seemed like he was used to her fits.
“We’re not close at all! Also, why must you call me ‘First Princess’? Call me Aila, like you used to. You’ve built this wall ever since I returned to the palace. But I! I…!”
The fifth princess stopped Aila. Chiharu had been standing behind Aeris and watching them. She knew how hurt they had looked when Aeris had walked past them without noticing at first.
Still, what could she say? Things never went the way that you wanted them to. It wasn’t as if Chiharu could do anything about the way that Aeris felt. And there was no way for her to measure how great or how long lasting their love was. Chiharu looked down at the Mandragoras as they shook their leaves. The sisters would just have to console each other.
“In the first place, if you liked Aeris so much, why did you go off and marry someone else? Besides, I heard that you were very happy. It’s preposterous that you suddenly claimed to have always loved him.”
“What? You’re just a little brat who knows nothing of love!”
“Oh, yes. I had no idea that mature love is all about kicking and screaming.”
So they were rivals after all! But before Chiharu could say anything in exasperation, Aaron sighed and interrupted them.
“We have something very important to discuss, so please be quiet, princesses.”
Aaron was being much more mature. When Aira and Rhea had sat down quietly, Edwy then stood up and slowly walked over to Maki and Chiharu. The Mandragoras swayed their leaves as he approached, but they weren’t cautious like they were with Aeris.
“Will they let me touch them too?”
He said as he stretched out a hand towards them. Then he gently picked one up. And while it moved around, it did not resist.
“Isn’t it cute?”
“Yes. It’s sort of…yes.”
Edwy looked happy.
“Maki and Chiharu. You can stay right there, but listen to me. We’ve been told that monsters are slowly starting to come out of the dungeons. And so we will have to go quickly by airship. And…”
Before Aaron could finish, Aeris continued.
“Yes. And they want to use my airship. I’m very sorry, but both Edwy and I must go with them.”
He seemed terribly disappointed. Edwy kept quiet as he picked up the Mandragoras and put them back down. As for Maki…
“That’s fine. We were just talking to the fifth princess about sightseeing somewhere in the elf lands.”
She answered. Of course, she did feel sad, but they hadn’t come here to play. Just then, something like dandelion fluff came floating towards her. Well, it looked like dandelion fluff, but it was about half the size of Maki’s face. She grabbed it without thinking. Woah. It was so soft.
“Oh? I don’t think that there were any cotton trees here. They must have come in from outside. That’s unusual.”
The first princess said with shining eyes.
“Yes, it’s something that only exists in the elf territories. A very tall tree with white flowers that bloom in the summertime. And when the summer ends, their seeds are carried away in this big fluff. I don’t know if the seeds have a will of their own, but they catch the wind and fly far away. It’s only during the autumn that they lose their power and fall. That’s when they are gathered and put into blankets.”
“I see. So I shouldn’t catch them then. Okay, you can fly away now.”
However, there wasn’t enough wind in the hot house, and so the fluff that Maki caught just drifted back to the ground.
“Chiharu. I’m going to go outside so it can fly.”
“I’ll go too!”
The two looked at Aeris and Aaron, and they nodded in reply, and then followed after them.
“Still, it’s very strange.”
Maki and Chiharu walked carefully so that they didn’t step on any of the Mandragora. But there were so many of them there, that it looked like the whole ground was moving.
Finally, Maki and Chiharu got out of the hothouse. That’s when they saw that the windows of the palace were crowded with elves. Some of them had even stepped outside.
“I wonder what happened?”
Maki looked at the elves and then to the sky. She saw that even more of the fluffs were floating down around them.
“Woah. There must have been a strong wind somewhere. Look, it’s your friends. Go and join them.”
Maki said as she threw it into the air. She thought it turned around once, as if it didn’t want to leave, but then it was caught by a slight breeze and rose into the air.
“Don’t worry, Chiharu. Look up there. There are so many of them.”
The sky was almost filled with white.
“No, that’s not it. Not above. Look down.”
“Huh? Down? I already saw the Mandragora.”
Maki was about to say that she wanted to look at the sky, but then she froze.
There were so many Mandragoras in the palace garden, that it looked like it was swaying.
“Don’t you think this is kind of bad?”
“It totally is.”
“What should we do?”
“Maybe we can talk to them…”
Just then, there was a gust of wind, and all the fluff rose into the air.
“Woah, it’s so pretty.”
“Fly, fly far away!”
And as if Maki and Chiharu’s voices were heard, they were carried by the wind, and flew far away.
It was the birdfolk that had created the wind.
“They are always so popular with strange things. Well, this season is dangerous, because they get tangled in our wings. So it’s best that we blow them away.”
Sauro said as he watched from a distance with a smug expression.
While they had only parted recently, Maki and Chiharu were almost about to cry out of gratitude. However…
“But, what do we do about these noisy things?”
Sauro and Saikania said with puzzled expressions as they looked at the Mandragoras at their feet. The two never looked very heroic for long.