Birdfolk and Merfolk
They didn’t bring any spare clothes in order to stay as light as possible. They put what they needed in pouches and then dressed for the cold. And like that, Maki and Edwy left Miragaia to lead the birdfolk, and headed towards Sauro and Saikania.
“It’s two hours to the sea. We’ll take a break, and then it will be another three hours to Midland. To be honest, we’ve never traveled that far with a human before. Maki, Edwy. I can’t say that I’m confident, but can you handle it?”
“Sauro, I knew it.”
Maki chuckled. Sauro looked at her with a puzzled expression.
“What do you mean?”
“Because, ever since we first met you…”
“You were so confident when you told Chiharu that you could cross the sea. But you weren’t actually confident, were you?”
Sauro looked away. It was rare to see him look troubled.
“But you two are so much more important to me than you were back then. So I don’t want there to be even a little danger.”
She had only meant to tease him a little bit. But now she felt a tightening in her chest. What heartfelt words they were. It was like they were all trying to make her cry.
“It won’t do if I can’t move once we arrive. So I’ll tell you in advance if it’s too much.”
“Now, Maki. Let’s go.”
Edwy said, and as the beastfolk watched, they ran until they were picked up by Sauro and Saikania. And like that, they vanished into the forest that would lead to the sea.
“To think that it’s only been a few months since they were summoned…”
One of the human Adventurers muttered.
“Most did not even expect them to be friendly towards birdfolk.”
“Mmm. But these Saintesses are friendly not just towards birdfolk, but dwarves, elves and other beastfolk as well. And they even purified the three territories of miasma. They quickly made up for the six months where there were no Saintesses.”
Zynis said with folded arms. He sounded so proud that one might think he was talking about himself. That’s how he felt about what Maki and Chiharu had done. It was what everyone who lived in the Sun World felt. Our Saintesses.
“As they have secretly visited inland as well, they also owe the Saintesses a debt. It’s too bad it was in secret.”
“Inland… I don’t really understand, as I was born in Midland. But is it true that they hate beastkin?”
An Adventurer asked Zynis, who was thinking aloud. While many Adventurers who went to the three territories were considered to be wild, they were very curious, and did not fear the beastkin or dwarves.
“At the very least, the people that I met seemed to have no negative feelings towards dwarves and Saintesses. But they did treat merfolk like fish.”
“Perhaps it’s because they have never been to the merfolk island.”
If they saw the merfolk standing and walking and selling items at their stores, they would see that they were no different from the other beastfolk.
“So all they need to do is to leave their country.”
“I suppose it’s still expensive now.”
Airships were out of the question, and even trains were still expensive.
“Well, we can think about all of that later. I only hope that they will return Chiharu to us immediately.”
“They will probably pretend to be ignorant. But I do hope that the little Saintess is able to return soon.”
Everyone who knew her felt the same.
On the other hand, Maki felt like she was seeing the serious side of Sauro and Saikania for the first time. While she didn’t mind heights, Saikania was flying smoothly at an altitude so that they weren’t affected by the forest’s winds. And without loosening her grip on Maki, she flew all the way to the sea in two hours.
They were let down once near the beach, where they stretched their limbs and prepared for the next flight.
You had to use your muscles in order to stay in a position that made it easy for the birdfolk to carry you. Being carried took some skill as well. And so Edwy also stretched.
“Let’s take a short break.”
Sauro said, and so Maki walked towards the sea. While there was no time to go for a swim, she wanted to see the waves since she was here. The waves were a little strong, and some were quite big as they crashed on the shore. After a particularly large wave hit, she saw that a few unfamiliar merfolk had appeared.
“Uh, um. Hello?”
She took a step back. It could not be helped, judging by her most recent interactions with them.
However, the merfolk moved towards her without reserve, and they took Maki’s hands with their own, which were damp with seawater.
“We were waiting, as we heard that the beloved child and birdfolk would be passing through. We have a message from our chief.”
“From Amia? Then I must tell Sauro.”
Maki wondered why they needed to tell her.”
“No, while these are difficult times, we wanted to greet you as we were so close. Now, if you could take us to the birdfolk.”
“Huh? Oh, yes. Just wait a minute. Sauro!”
As Sauro and Saikania had stayed close by, she didn’t even need to call them.
“It’s very unusual for you to want to talk to us birdfolk.”
“You must be the next chief.”
The merfolk bowed their heads.
“We have seen from the sea that one of the Saintesses was taken away. Judging by the direction, our chief determined that they are headed inland. We have already sent an advance team to the mirror lake. However, there are no water roads after that. And carriages are too slow. And so we want bird folk to carry us to the castle from the lake.”
“You want us to carry merfolk…”
Sauro was exasperated.
“It will not take you long to go to the royal capital from the mirror lake. Of course, we will send light merfolk to make it easier.”
Sauro scowled. He was able to carry muscular dwarves like Kaider, but he was still only 170 centimeters tall. The merfolk were over 2 meters long. Could he carry them?
“The merfolk are fine being in the sky?”
“Our home is the sea. But we can jump high into the air and dive deep into the sea. We have no trouble being on land.”
He understood that they really wanted to do something to help the Saintess. Under other circumstances, he might have found this amusing.
“When going through Midland, I will tell the birdfolk to go to the mirror lake. And I’ll tell them to spread the word to the other birdfolk as well.”
“That is enough. Thank you, future chief.”
The merfolk said with a bow. Then they all embraced Maki and then jumped back into the sea.
“I feel like I’ve been hugged by all of the merfolk now.”
“Still, to think that birdfolk and merfolk would work together…”
Edwy had an odd expression.
“Uh, is there something wrong with that?”
“Not at all. Especially at a time like this. That being said, I just wonder if once everything is over, that something troublesome won’t come out of these two carefree groups coming together like this.”
As she had been helped by both the birdfolk and merfolk, she could not say any more than that.
“Now, we should head out again.”
They had to go to Midland. And then inland.