The Mystery Box
The suspicious looking box had ropes attached to it, and it was being carried by two birdfolk. In towns, they had often seen people use magic stones to help carry heavy luggage. These stones were even used in trains and airships to make them lighter and also power them. And so even a box of this size should not be too difficult to carry if they were using magic stones.
However, the problem was what they were carrying inside of it.
The birdfolk quietly landed and set the box gently on the ground.
Saikania said with a smile as she walked towards them.
“We wanted to be with you, but there was trouble in the beast lands. And so we had to go back.”
She said with an annoyed shrug. However, another voice then rang behind her.
“Huh? Zynis? And Ortha?”
Surprisingly, the cheerful voices that came after were from Zynis and Ortha. The two of them came down from the strange box that the birdfolk were carrying. Maki and Chiharu looked at it with serious expressions.
“It’s what I’m thinking, isn’t it? The thing I accidentally mentioned.”
“Maki-chan, there’s no doubt about it.”
But before they could talk to Zynis, Sauro moved in.
“Maki, Chiharu. The thing that you requested has finally been complete!”
“No, I didn’t request anything.”
Maki muttered, but no one heard her.
“Now, come over here.”
He pulled them past Zynis and Ortha and towards the box. It reminded them of the boxes in Ferris wheels. Zynis was looking at it as if there was nothing he could do.
There were two benches facing each other, and there was plenty of legroom for four people, even beastkin. There was even space underneath the seats to stash your belongings. But while the windows were made of glass, the outside was reinforced in a way that looked very much like a cage.
“I kind of feel like I’m in a dream.”
Chiharu muttered. This too was lost in the wind.
“Isn’t it heavy?”
“These kinds of manmade contraptions can be fixed with magic stones. It’s just like the trains. They can become lighter. That means the weight is adjustable after people go inside.”
They answered. And then…
“Well, it was actually finished a while ago. And we now know that it’s quite useful for short distances. This was the first test flight at a longer distance. However…”
Zynis folded his arms and sighed.
“It should be quite comfortable if they fly carefully. But do you think Sauro is one to be careful?”
“Besides, there will always be unpredictable wind currents. So there will be some rocking up and down.”
Judging by Zynis’s expression, Chiharu decided that he was downplaying it a little.
“Sauro. Father. I understand how you feel, but this isn’t the time. We should talk in front of the king.”
Ortha said. Zynis looked like he suddenly remembered something.
“Yes, it’s something that involves the Saintesses as well. So you must come with us, Maki and Chiharu.”
He said. Then he noticed the elf princesses in the back.
“It’s been too long, Your Highnesses. Unfortunately, this is an emergency. We must meet the king and the future king at once.”
“Zynis, it’s very good to see you again.”
“Sister, let’s go.”
Apparently, they were quite close with Zynis. After greeting him, they quickly gave the order and had the group escorted to the king.
“Well, let’s go then.”
“Maki, Chiharu. Come with us.”
The fifth princess called, and Zynis told Maki and Chiharu to follow. He also called out to Sauro and Saikania.
“Sauro. Saikania. I know you don’t like being indoors, but this is your duty as representatives of the birdfolk. You must come with us.”
“If you insist. We are envoys, after all.”
Sauro said. And he and Saikania folded their wings. Maki and Chiharu walked on either side of Zynis.
“Maki, Chiharu. I see you’ve really purified the place. There is one thing I realized after traveling to all three territories. The beastlands has the thickest miasma.”
It was the first princess, Aila, who reacted to this.
“It’s only been a week since they came here. But most of the miasma was gone on the first day. It seems to have continued at a rapid pace. However, we have yet to hear any news from the farthest regions. Would you tell us about how it went in the dwarf lands?”
“Well, the dwarf lands were the first place that the Saintesses visited. So the miasma was the thinnest there. However, it’s not like there is a wall that separates the sky.”
Zynis then explained it to her.
In other words, the miasma became thinner the closer you got to the dwarf lands. It was only then that he realized just how thick it was in the beast lands. On the other hand, the miasma was starting to leak back into the dwarf lands as well. And so the area around the border with the beast lands was quite bad. Still, he barely noticed it there, but he could sense it increasing once he got closer to the elf lands, even though it wasn’t as bad as the beast lands.
“While I’m sure it’s not quite back to normal yet, it is still a big improvement from before. After all, the Saintesses were in the dwarf lands for a whole month.”
“Maki, Chiharu. Thank you. I’m so grateful that you two came to the elf lands.”
Said the first princess. Maki and Chiharu found it very heart warming. However…
“You say that now, sister. But I’m sure you’ll be singing a different tune once Aeris comes back. So let’s not get carried away.”
Said the fifth princess, rather mercilessly. And they couldn’t help but laugh.
“I knew Maki and Chiharu would be able to befriend the troublesome princesses.”
“Did you say something, Ortha?”
Ortha had only been mumbling, so Maki and Chiharu pretended that they didn’t hear it.
And like that, they headed towards the audience hall. When the guards opened the door, this time only the king and future king were waiting inside.
Toul came down happily and hugged Zynis and Ortha. They seemed to be good friends.
“Father is the goodwill ambassador, after all. He has lots of friends in all of the countries.”
Ortha whispered to them.
“While I’d like to talk to you as an old friend, I suppose we have more pressing matters. After all, not only have you come from Midland, but you even brought the prince of the birdfolk with you. It must be very important.”
Toul said. His expression quickly turned serious. In the meantime, the group walked towards the king.
“Zynis. And the rest of you. What happened?”
Even the king seemed concerned for once.
“It’s been too long, Your Majesty. As you know, the dungeons in the beast lands are managed by the country. And while Adventurers are allowed to enter, it’s usually people from out country, like my daughter, who hunt the monsters.”
Zynis began. This explanation was likely for Maki and Chiharu as well. And so they listened carefully.
“And so we had decided that the dwarf lands could wait until matters were finished here. However, the monsters are increasing at an unexpectedly fast rate. And it’s possible that we won’t be enough to stop them.”
“Truly? Beastkin have never relied on Adventurers, but now…”
The king stroked his beard.
“Of course, we have sent messengers to Midland and the dwarf lands as well. And they should send what men they can. However, as you know, there are many mountains along the border, and they will be forced to travel with small carriages. Obviously, airships are not an option.”
So that’s why airships were only used to travel to the elf and human lands. Maki and Chiharu realized this for the first time.
Zynis turned to Maki and Chiharu.
“We have no choice but to rely on the power of the Saintesses. I came here to ask on behalf of the beast lands.”
Maki and Chiharu were quite taken aback.