Are you Stupid?
Chiharu awoke suddenly. It was quite bright around her now. She was still wrapped up in a blanket, but her face was sticking out. And she could stretch out her arms and legs freely. Apparently, they had rewrapped her at some point. She then tried to sense their presence, but it seemed like the gazers had not followed her here. Hmm, wait. There was something.
Chiharu moved her head and looked around.
When she looked up, she saw that a small gazer was stuck to the corner of the box.
“You’re that small gazer. The one I met in Midland.”
The gazer floated out and then spun in a circle. It had been so small that it could fit in the palm of her hand. But it seemed to have grown since then, and she would need to use both hands in order to carry it.
“So you did follow me.”
Chiharu could imagine the gazer sneaking in under cover of night and hiding near the ceiling. However, it appeared to have been searching for something fun to do, so perhaps it had only followed her because it was bored. Still, Chiharu was relieved. She felt a warm sensation.
No friends. Nearby. Don’t like the day. She felt it’s emotions.
“Yes. But still, there should be other gazers close by once it becomes night time. And then I should be able to contact Maki.”
The gazer spun in a circle and then returned to the ceiling. As the blanket was only loosely around her now, Chiharu slipped out of it and moved towards the window.
“Huh? There’s no water below us now. If we’re still in the beastlands…”
This is where I first met you, precious child. She heard the little gazer’s voice.
“Yes, I thought so.”
Borders had no meaning to gazers, so it probably meant that she was close to the place where they had first met. In other words, they had crossed the sea and come to the human territories. When she looked down, she saw wheat fields instead of paddy fields. So she felt that they were flying in Midland, but trying to avoid being seen.
Still, where was their destination?
They had said that they would set her free. What did that mean?
People recognized them as Saintesses no matter where they went. Perhaps it was true that they could live freely if they went somewhere remote. However, Chiharu did not want to live by growing all of her food.
As she thought this, they moved away from the fields and approached the mountains.
“Surely not? Are they taking us inland? But we were just there? And isn’t the idea of freedom there completely ridiculous?”
But her thoughts were ignored as the birdfolk continued to move towards the mountains. Finally they landed in a clearing. Thump.
“You really aren’t very good at this. I’m surprised I was able to sleep at all. I must be really tired.”
As she grumbled, the door opened.
“Now, Saintess. You must be exhausted. You should come out.”
It was the four brown feathers. Uhh, Maro and Omi? Something like that.
That’s right. And the others had longer names…
“Alectro and Erulian.”
The four of them were standing there, looking a little tired. They probably thought they had done something very admirable. Their faces were filled with a sense of achievement. And so Chiharu could not hide her anger. She came out of the box on unsteady legs and put her hands on her hips.
“Hey! Abductors! Take me back to Maki-chan!”
She could not help but shout at them.
“You haven’t eaten or drank anything in a while. Here, have some food.”
As Chiharu coughed, Moa took out a sandwich and water bottle and handed it to her. And while she was angry, she accepted it silently and sat down. Then she began to drink the water and eat the bread. She could not fight on an empty stomach. Besides, she had had a fever just the other day.
While they had abducted her, it was important to thank people for food. Chiharu continued to sit there as she repeated her request.
“Now, take me back to where I was.”
“But if we took you back, they would force you to work again. We cannot allow that.”
“And I’m telling you that I’m fine with it. What gives you the right to decide what I should do?”
“It’s because you are so overworked that you cannot make the right decisions. I heard all about it. About how much they made you work after you were summoned. More work than a bird person would do in their lifetime.”
Indeed, she had done a lot of work. But she had been working just as hard back when she was in Japan. And it wasn’t like it would continue forever. Chiharu knew that they were just making up for the six months of there not being a Saintess at all.
She didn’t like how they called her that. And so Chiharu told Moa her name.
“Hey, aren’t you just saying that because you like them? And you can’t say no, even though it’s too much for you?”
At least Moa was speaking some sense compared to the others.
“You’re right that I’m doing it because I like them. They’ve been good to us. As for whether I’m pushing myself too hard, maybe I am. But if I don’t, there are people who will get injured or sick.”
“But that’s not something you have to worry about. It’s the beast lands, after all.”
Up until now, Chiharu felt that it was mostly the humans who had prejudiced feelings towards the three territories. However, according to Moa, whatever happened in the human territories was not their concern.
She had not noticed it when in Midland. But perhaps there was a much greater distance between the humans and the other territories than she had thought. What if both sides didn’t care about what happened to the other? A chill ran down her spine.
“And so we’re taking you to the human lands, where they have promised to treat you better. You should stay away from the three territories.”
“Wait a minute! Do you mean…”
“We’re talking you inland.”
There was no way that they would treat Saintesses well.
“Don’t you know that they said that we weren’t needed? There was even a blockade!”
“I know. However, all of the good humans I know are from the inland country. I won’t believe the lies.”
Was he stupid? Really?
“They warned me about this. They said that you wouldn’t believe me, because of what the others told you. And so I am to ignore everything you say and take you there.”
“You are stupid then?”
“We leave at night. You should rest until then.”
She could no longer hold back. However, while Moa did look at her with an expression of concern, they did not answer her after that. Chiharu could do nothing but pray to the gazer that was hiding in the box. Apparently, they are taking me inland. Tell the others to help me.