Time to Take Off
“I wonder what they are thinking about.”
“Ortha. What we are asking them to do is very dangerous. It is no surprise that they’d want to think about it.”
Zynis answered as Ortha muttered.
“Besides, it’s not as if the beast lands are completely united. The elf lands are connected to the human lands through use of airships, so they are quite friendly towards each other. But there are many humans and beastkin who have little interest in each other.”
“That’s true. We dog people do not mind. But it’s hard to know what the cat people think, even though they have agreed. If anything, it’s their agreement that is suspicious.”
Ortha said with a chuckle.
“The birdfolk are difficult to read as well. Perhaps it is irresponsible to invite them during such a time.”
“It was decided properly in a meeting between the chiefs. So it should be fine, officially. However, some of the races can be very unpredictable.”
But it was also true that there would be no end to it if they tried to protect the Saintesses all of the time. Besides, Zynis was looking forward to their visit.
“Keeping with tradition or only living on your own land. It’s quite boring. I am curious to see what trouble Maki and Chiharu might cause there.”
“You are very strange, father.”
“Am I really?”
“Yes, in some ways.”
Zynis thought about it. Unlike the other territories, the people of beast lands were divided. In fact, there used to be more races than there were now. The legends said that there were once cow and rabbit tribes, who were mostly herbivores. However, through marriages with humans and dwarves, they slowly started to disappear. And now there were only dogs, cats, and birdfolk left. The reason wasn’t known. Perhaps there had just been more of them. Or they were tougher.
“It might have to do with how much freedom I have.”
Speaking of the dog people, they were known to live in large groups and get along with humans.
“Still, we would have liked to have them stay in the elf lands a little longer. I wanted to show them the deep countryside, at least after the monsters settled.”
“Toul. You may want to do all of that, but I doubt you can leave this place. You are the future king, after all.”
“Mother. Eventually, I will be king. And then it will be even harder to leave this place. In that case, is it any surprise that I want to travel far away while I still can?”
Toul had only been forced to become the next king, because the five princesses had all refused the position. And so the first princess had no answer to this.
“I wish that I could go with them and Zynis to the beast lands, but I will just have to wait.”
“I hope that one day, the times will change so that even royalty can travel as they please.”
Zynis said to Toul. It was just the same with Arthur, he mused. These kings had too much work to do.
“Indeed. Oh, it seems like the Saintesses have returned.”
Maki and Chiharu came out of the drawing room looking very cheerful. Their faces were bright.
“Sorry to keep you waiting.”
Maki said as she looked at Zynis.
“After discussing the matter together, we have decided to go to the beast lands.”
Zynis’s kind eyes closed gently. Sauro saw this and acted.
“Then let’s get going.”
“Wait, wait. That’s too fast.”
Chiharu said frantically.
“We understand that you’re in a hurry, but you flew all of the way here.”
“Don’t worry about me.”
“And what about the people being carried?”
“It should be fine.”
“No, no. That’s not for you to decide, Sauro.”
Zynis and Ortha watched this and chuckled.
“Sauro, we’re not as ridiculously strong as you are. Besides, Maki and Chiharu will need time to prepare. So you should let them rest for one night.”
“But the sky is so fun.”
“For you birdfolk, I suppose.”
Ortha shrugged her shoulders. And then she turned to Maki and Chiharu and said,
“You can just prepare the same as you did when coming here. We’re not going to ask you to go to the dungeons or anything. So you can bring the normal clothes you wear in the castle. And while there are representatives in the beastlands, there is no royal family, so you won’t have to worry about any grand audiences. Just relax.”
Maki and Chiharu’s eyes shone as they nodded.
Ultimately, Aeris and Edwy did not return on the following day, when they were ready to leave. And even if they had returned, they would not have been able to keep up with the speed of the birdfolk. And since there was a limit to how many they could carry, it was decided that Aaron would stay behind.
As Maki and Chiharu entered the box after Zynis and Ortha, Aaron spoke to them seriously.
“I am very worried about you two being sent there alone, but then again, you’re with Zynis, who is maybe the nicest of the beastfolk. So I will believe that you’ll be alright. But Maki…”
Aaron said as he stared at her.
“You’re always so reckless. You nearly give me a heart attack.”
“I’ll talk to Aeris and Edwy for you, so don’t worry about that.”
He said and then smiled. Maki felt her heart skip a beat. What was with him? He was always so serious and emotionless. He was Aaron. But he suddenly looked so handsome when he smiled!
“It’s not something you should be stingy about.”
Chiharu agreed. Ortha just laughed. Aaron looked a little awkward after that, but he then took a few steps back. Then the first and fifth princess walked up to them.
“Even though you will be far away, you’re still my rival. And if you hate to lose, you’ll come back.”
“Sister… You two haven’t seen anything of the elf lands yet. You must come back and sightsee.”
They said as they took Maki and Chiharu’s hands.
“Well, I’m not your rival, Aila.”
“We’ll come back, Rhea.
Maki and Chiharu said with a laugh.
“Now, close the door. Here is the lock.”
Ortha explained as she closed the door and locked it from inside. Apparently, they adjusted the weight from outside of the box. They could hear a dial clicking as it was turned.
“Alright, it’s light enough now.”
“Are you all mentally prepared?”
Saikania and Sauro said from outside. At the same time, the other birdfolk prepared to take flight. The flapping of wings could be heard, and then the box lifted off of the ground. It was quieter than they had expected.
It slowly rose into the air.
“I didn’t know they could fly this delicately.”
They said rudely.
“Well, perhaps their usual words and actions have given you a different impression. But Sauro and Saikania are considered to be the most brilliant of their generation. Among the birdfolk, anyway.”
Maki and Chiharu were shocked to hear this from Ortha. Zynis chuckled and said,
“The last part is important. There is no doubt that they are good, but they are so extreme sometimes, that other beastfolk and even birdfolk are sometimes repelled by them. But…”
The box floated gently into the air. Little by little, their speed increased.
“They are brilliant.”
The sunlight bounced off the strong wings above their heads. It was a beautiful sight. Maki and Chiharu watched the elf castle fade into the distance as they thought excitedly about their next destination.