Now, Go Forth
“I’ll try talking to them a little.”
“Talk? To them?”
So saying, Chiharu and Maki sat down heavily on the ground. The elves stirred when they saw this, but the two could not be concerned with such things. Their skirts spread out as they sat, and the Mandragoras gathered around them.
“They kind of remind me of the gazers.”
“They do. So cute.”
However, this was no time for that.
“You guys don’t really know why you’re here, do you?”
She didn’t know why, but she felt that they had just come because they wanted to. The gazers didn’t speak with clear words either. However, they could somehow tell what they were feeling.
“But, don’t you have to go out and multiply?”
Chiharu asked. Oh, that’s right. They seemed to realize. And then they spread out like waves, with Maki and Chiharu in the center.
“Now, do your best and go out as far as you can.”
“If you take root too close to each other, you’ll have to compete, and won’t be able to grow as much.”
No, we’ll grow big and leave again next year. That’s what it sounded like they were saying.
“Okay, then you should start your journey now.”
Chiharu’s voice spread out to the Mandragoras. And the sea of Mandragoras began to move. By the time the last one moved away regretfully, the sun was already starting to set.
They stretched their stiff bodies as they stood up.
Sauro and Saikania, who had been watching the whole scene, let out a sigh of relief.
“Now, since the fluff also flew away, we should go and rest.”
“Ah, Sauro, Saikania. Aeris and the others will be leaving. But we’ll be staying near the castle.”
Chiharu said. Maki put her hands behind her head.
“The elf princesses are going to show us around.”
“Hmm. Well then, we will stay here in order to play with y-…in case something happens.”
“We can carry you any time that you want. And that includes the heavy princesses.”
Sauro had every intention of playing, and Saikania seemed like she was provoking the princesses. They were already getting angry. Damn it.
Chiharu just shrugged her shoulders as if it couldn’t be helped. In fact, she was actually glad they were here.
“Now, you must be tired. Let’s return.”
Aeris called to them, and so they said goodbye to the birdfolk. Apparently, an inn had been prepared for them, so there was no need to worry.
That night, they had dinner in their room with just Aeris, Edwy, and Aaron, and then retired for the night. However…
“As Edwy will be gone tomorrow, we should do it tonight.”
“Yes, we don’t know what will happen, and it could be bad if Aaron was the only one here.”
Maki and Chiharu were in Aeris’s room now, and they said that they would search for the presence of gazers, and if needed, return them to magic stones.
“In the first place, what will you do if someone sees you doing that?”
Edwy asked worriedly. However, Maki said,
“Well, the elves already saw all those Mandragoras moving. They now have a very strong impression of the Saintesses. Unlike the dwarf lands, I don’t think there is much point in hiding it.”
And Chiharu continued.
“About the Mandragoras, even we’re surprised. Though, it wasn’t exactly the first time something like that has happened. I think it was the same with that fluff that stuck onto Maki. I’m sure everyone in the castle knows about it now.”
Then she looked out of the window. The others followed her gaze, but they didn’t see anything.
“Don’t surprise us like that, Chiharu. I thought there were gazers out there.”
Chiharu said to Edwy before looking towards the window again.
“I can sense them, but they’re still far away.”
“Can you feel it too, Maki?”
Aaron asked, and Maki nodded. Chiharu had a faraway expression on her face. As Maki and Chiharu were normal people, they could not read each other’s minds. However, they could hear the gazers. While they hadn’t reached the castle yet, they sounded tired and like they wanted help. Not only that, but Chiharu then sensed that the gazers were happy now that they were getting closer. And so she told them to wait just a little longer.
While Chiharu focused on the gazers, Maki did what she had to. She turned to the others.
“There are a lot of them. Maybe the ones that came out of the dungeon are headed here too. While Chiharu is telling them to come slowly, you must tell the elves to have their guards ready, as they might need to fight them.”
While Maki’s words brought up several other questions, there was no time for that. The castle would likely move if Aeris gave the word.
“Will it be in the garden?”
“Yes. There’s more space there.”
And with that, Aeris quickly left the room. Chiharu looked a little dazed, perhaps because she had been trying to talk to the gazers.
“Chiharu, let’s go to the garden. And I will talk to them now.”
“Mmm. It’s fine. But if you could just lead me by the hand.”
Edwy took her outstretched hand.
“Then I will lead you.”
Aaron said as he opened the door. Edwy then guided Chiharu through and out to the hallway. Maki also listened to the voices of the gazers as she followed from behind. She could guess at what Chiharu was saying from sensing their reactions. Since it was quite late, there were not many people awake in the castle, and so this odd procession did not attract much attention.
When they reached the entrance, Aeris rushed back towards them, along with the future king, Toul.
“For now, I’ve gathered the castle guards. We’ll station them in places where they won’t stick out. Is that fine?”
“As we won’t be harmed even if the monsters touch us, they must not attack them unless Edwy or Aaron tells them to. However, that doesn’t include situations where someone else is being attacked.”
Maki said to Toul.
“Um, is Chiharu really fine? She seems dazed.”
Maki answered for her, and Aaron nodded.
“Let’s go out into the garden then.”
And so the group walked out of the castle and stopped near the center of the garden. They stood on the stone path that led to the gate.
Lamps that used magic stone were then set in a circle around Maki and Chiharu. Like that, the royal palace was illuminated by a soft light in the middle of the night.
And then soldiers with bows were placed around them in the shadows. There were likely others lurking in the darkness with swords, but Maki could not see them.
Chiharu gently let go of Edwy’s hand.
“Maki-chan. Let’s hold hands and call them together. There are a lot of them this time.”
“Yes. Are you ready?”
Chiharu’s left hand went inside Maki’s right hand. Then their voices rang together.