When they returned, they saw that from the office to the workshop, everyone who was free had gone out to see the honeybees. Of course, some of them had gone out to see the Saintesses as well.
A few that were just as tall as Yowl now came running towards them.
“Why are the bees getting so excited?”
“They are apparently very happy that the Saintesses have come.”
Yowl said with a smile. Maki and Chiharu were very curious about him, as he seemed to act as a sort of interpreter for the honey bees.
“Um, Mister Yowl. Are you able to hear them speak?”
Yowl and the others smiled gently at Chiharu.
“Our tribe originally lived deep in a forest that was very close to the Shadow World. We didn’t meet with other elves very often. If anything, we were closer with other living creatures. And so we naturally started to be able to understand each other. And now they share these gifts of nature with us. In exchange, we help them build better environments for their young and drive away their enemies.”
Yowl looked very happy when he saw that Maki and Chiharu listened to this with wide eyes. And so he continued.
“That being said, this is no longer an age where we can just live deep in the forest. And since we are able to hear their voices, we come out here in order to work.”
Chiharu looked at Maki and then asked a question that had been on her mind.
“Can you also hear the Gazers too? What about the Mandragoras?”
This time it was Yowl’s eyes that widened with surprise.
“Not at all. I’ve never even seen a Gazer. And speaking with a Mandragora? The thought has never occurred to me.”
Yowl then looked at the ground. The others did as well.
“Oh, it looks like nearby Mandragoras have followed us.”
Chiharu chuckled as she squatted down and let a few of them climb onto her hand.
“Now, you left your roots, didn’t you? It’s time to go far away.”
Yes, far, far away. The Mandragoras started to walk.
“I-I could hear it. Your warm feeling and a sense of duty to go somewhere far.”
Yowl and the others were putting a hand to their ears as they tried to listen to the faint sounds.
“But I cannot hear them clearly. Does it really sound like ordinary words to you two?”
Chiharu brushed the dirt from her hands and stood up. She was still looking at the Mandragoras as they left.
“Yes, it sounds normal to me.”
We have to go. Far away.
“They’re saying ‘we have to go. Far away.’”
Yowl and the others were stunned. They then swarmed around Maki and Chiharu as if they were bees.
“I heard that you two came to the elf lands in order to purify them. Would you please come and visit our homeland once you are finished? There are many plants you won’t see anywhere else, and there other creatures that we can talk to.”
“Still, there are certain things that we cannot understand. But if you were to come and to talk to them, I think we should be able to understand each other better!”
While the two were nearly persuaded by their sheer passion, Maki suddenly put a hand on her hip.
“So, what merit is there for us if we go?”
What was she saying now? She clearly had every intention of going already. Chiharu thought with exasperation. Yowl and the others must have assumed that they would agree immediately, as Maki and Chiharu were so kind to living creatures. They were surprised by Maki’s words and began to speak amongst themselves.
“Now that I think about it, the previous Saintesses were shut-ins. They never even came out to the three other territories.”
“But these ones have. I just hope there is something there that they like.”
Like this, they turned to the princesses and Aaron as if for help. Aaron just shrugged his shoulders and said,
“Drink, food, and anything interesting.”
Upon hearing this, Yowl and the others started discussing the matter and then turned back to Maki.
“To begin with, honey wine is our speciality. Every settlement has their own style of honey wine.”
Maki’s eyes glimmered.
“We don’t have any fancy cuisine, but we have various salads and soups made of natural ingredients from every season. There are also various meat dishes that have resulted from our hunting. And if you were to visit near the end of autumn, you will be able to eat the panma fruit, which is rare in other lands so that it’s often referred to as the queen of fruits. It’s so very juicy and rich in flavor.”
“Furthermore, there are countless trees that are so tall you cannot see the top. The rocky mountains that connect to the Shadow World have several rivers flowing from them. And if you want, the birdfolk can take you up to a beautiful waterfall that we call the ‘Sky Garden.’”
“Oh, I see.”
“And by this waterfall, you can find the nests of rock swallows.”
“And I suppose you use their nests for some special dish?”
“Eat their nest? Hardly. The nests often contain rare strands of purple Arachne web, and so we gather it after their eggs have hatched.”
Suddenly, the place seemed a little less inviting. Chiharu wasn’t quite as enchanted as earlier.
“Alright, we’ll go as soon as we get permission!”
But Maki decided first. Oh, well. She did want to see the sky garden. And so Chiharu nodded.
“Of course, I shall accompany you as your guard.”
Hou suddenly added.
“Hou. Don’t you have to stay in the palace…”
“I will take a leave of absence if I have to. These two are much too reckless to be left alone with people who have no sense of danger.”
“I will accept no arguments. Besides, none of this would have happened if you princesses had just stayed in the palace quietly.”
“Oh! Fine! I will also make a request to my father. So stop this lecturing.”
The first princess said as she covered her ears and interrupted Hou.
“You’re very brave, Hou.”
Aaron whispered to him. It was fine that he wanted to protect them. However, Aaron knew that even with guards, these two would end up getting involved in something.
“We still haven’t gone to all three territories yet, so I don’t know when it will happen. But we’d be very happy to visit when things have settled down.”
“Hou, if it wouldn’t be too much trouble, we’d like for you to escort us when the time comes.”
Maki said. And she had been so resistant to being bound up before. Either she was getting used to this situation or she had some other notice. Maki looked at him straight in the face, and Hou looked back at her. Perhaps it was a challenge. Chiharu sighed. Romance only came to the romantic. Damn it.
“No, I don’t see it for you two.”
“Oh, nothing. Now, let’s go to the honey wine.”
“But first, you must watch them being put into jars.”
The fifth princess said.