Chiharu Does Her Best
In the end, the birdfolk would not listen to Chiharu no matter what she said. And when she tried to walk down the mountain on her own, they stopped her. As it was day time, there were no gazers around, and so Chiharu had to give up being rescued immediately.
If she was able to talk to a gazer, she felt that she would be able to convey to Maki what had happened to her. However, that would not mean that Midland and Lowland would immediately be informed, and would come to rescue her.
In that case, she could not stop them from taking her inland. And if she couldn’t change anything, then there was no point in being angry, as it would just make her tired. Once Chiharu had reached this conclusion, she wrapped herself up in the blanket and went to sleep. On the ground? She told herself that she was already used to it now. And like that, she recovered her strength.
They had one more meal before it became dark, and then Chiharu thought they would set out again. But she was made to wait until it was quite late. And even when she tried to talk to them, only Moa would seem to understand. In exasperation, Chiharu wondered just how far they had been brainwashed. But judging by the incident at the hot spring, it was clear that they had been overindulged in the beast lands as well. They must have been living in a very small world.
That being said, she didn’t want to blame Sauro for exposing them to the wider world either. However, if she had the opportunity, she did have something to say to him.
They should not rush things. Maki and Chiharu had always been able to stay light hearted both abroad and in their country. But perhaps their way of thinking was too extreme for the people of the Sun World. Perhaps it would have a negative effect on this world and its people, culture, and those cute creatures in the elf lands that all existed within a certain balance.
Well, if she ever did get to return. Chiharu thought about the inland prince and princess and the king’s brother and then chuckled. While her opinion of the prince and princess had changed a little after the matter with the merfolk, her first impression had been very bad.
However, there was no way that the childish prince and princess thought about this troublesome abduction. In that case, the situation that she was facing might be more severe than she thought.
It seemed like an odd thing to have to wait until things moved. Chiharu saw that the birdfolk were waiting until night, and thought with annoyance that they at least had the brains to keep out of sight. Still, she waited. Of course, the gazers had come out now, and she continued to keep them up to date.
Apparently, Maki and the others now knew that she was being taken inland. We don’t know the reason, but the birdfolk took her and are currently waiting in the mountains. The messages were slowly sent back and forth. The small gazer would float out of the open box and then return with a different gazer.
This gazer had come from the deep mountains, and appeared to be very angry. It asked Chiharu if it should weaken the birdfolk. Chiharu was sad that even gazers would listen to her opinion when the birdfolk would not.
I’m fine, you shouldn’t weaken living creatures. Just tell Maki-chan my location. Chiharu pleaded with them. Though it was getting late into the night, the birdfolk had yet to notice that there was a communications network of gazers. In spite of the fact that there were now many of them in the area.
And when it was nearly midnight…
“Alright, let’s go.”
They said to her. However, she didn’t feel like going inside willingly. But before she could do anything, they wrapped her up again and pushed her in. Freedom! Important! They ignored her shouts and took to the air. Likely with a crowd of gazers following them. This time it didn’t take them long to land. The box opened again and they picked her up while she was still wrapped in the blanket.
“Is it really the Saintess?”
“Yes, the small one.”
Small one? How rude. And that voice was familiar. It was that horrible Lord Adol! Chiharu suddenly realized it.
“Good work. Now the Saintess will be able to live quietly in the castle without doing any work. She can just stay in her room.”
“Indeed. They were forcing them to work by returning many, many gazers into magic stones. She even fainted from being overworked.”
“Oh? Are you saying that she can create a great quantity of magic stones before fainting?”
“They are not making magic stones. They are returning the monsters to magic stones.”
Lord Adol purred like a cat.
“Well, then. We must go down the stairs to the place I told you about.”
“Inside of the castle?”
“Yes. We have prepared a special room.”
Then he told them to carry Chiharu. She was apparently at the inland castle. And they were going to one of the rooms. Chiharu desperately sent word to the gazers. As the birdfolk had large wings, they usually could not fit through doors. However, this passage was clearly large enough for them to walk in, and she could tell that they were going down stairs. How many floors was it?
Then she heard the creaking of a large door opening. The birdfolk were saying that they could not go any farther, as it was underground. Hey, at least take responsibility for me until the end! Do you really think that anything good is awaiting me from this point on? Be a witness! Chiharu shouted, but her words did not reach them. She was then handed over to some humans, who carried her even more roughly than the birdfolk. And like that, she was carried down another flight of stairs.
“Are we really safe?”
“Don’t worry. It is completely isolated from the other side.”
She heard the ominous conversation. It sounded like they were saying that while they were fine, the same could not be said about her?
After going down the stairs, they walked down a normal hallway. This continued for quite some time, and then she sensed that they had opened a door.
“Alright, get inside.”
She heard a high-pitched sound and then the person who was carrying her seemed to crouch a little and move forward.
“Saintess, I am sorry.”
She heard the quiet voice from under the blanket.
“What are you doing? Get rid of the blanket and come out.”
Chiharu was put on her feet and they unwrapped the blanket from her. Then she was made to sit down on something like a sofa. Chiharu sighed with relief and then frantically looked around. There were lights on, but it was still quite dim. As she thought, she was sitting on a sofa, and there was a table and chairs in front of her. At a glance, it seemed like a proper room.
As she sat there without being able to move, the person who had carried her stepped outside while facing away from her. And then the door was immediately locked. She knew that she would be locked in. They had abducted her, after all.
However, behind the iron bars, she saw a knight with an apologetic expression, someone who looked like a low ranking official, and the unwelcomely familiar face of Lord Adol.
“This is a prison!”
“You are wrong, Saintess. We have just prepared an underground room for you where you can rest quietly. There is even a bedroom beyond that door. In other words, it’s a guest room with it’s own living area.”
“Then why are there iron bars?”
Indeed, the sofa was soft and covered with a cloth that had pretty flower patterns on it. Were it not for the iron bars, it would have been a nice room. However, it was clearly a prison. The knight was still looking down with shame. If that’s how you feel, why don’t you help me!
“Hey, hey, I understand what you want. You can ask for food through that wall over there. But first, you should rest.”
“What are you talking about? Let me out!”
Lord Adol laughed and then left with the others.
“What is this! You can’t do this to me!”
Just then, a small gazer floated down.
“So you followed me down here!”
Beloved child. Listen to the presences. It sounded like a strong warning.
On the other side of the iron bars, beyond the walls, she sensed numerous gazers.
“Could it be…”
There was a grating sound and then part of the wall started to be lifted.
They were going to do something.