After Chouze was taken to the castle as well, only Arthur and the others remained. Judging from past patterns, Maki was thinking absentmindedly about how Aeris was probably going to run up to Chiharu and embrace her.
However, they just turned to face Maki and Chiharu. And then Arthur moved first. The rest followed as they fell to their knees and bowed their heads.
“Uh? What’s this?”
Maki sounded frantic. But Chiharu placed a hand on her shoulder and gestured for her to calm down.
“Saintesses. It’s now been half a year since you were summoned to this world. You have visited all of the countries and fulfilled your role of purifying them. We are grateful to you.”
Arthur’s voice echoed. Chiharu glanced over to Maki.
“If our presence here can help the people even a little, then that is enough.”
She said simply. If Maki was being honest, she would rather have them apologize to Chiharu instead. This whole thing seemed like it was for show, and she was a little annoyed.
However, everyone in this world had prioritised their work over themselves. Though, perhaps they didn’t see it that way. But due to being royals or leaders, they prioritised what they were supposed to do.
So they must assume that the Saintesses were no different. But such a mentality was a little heavy for Maki and Chiharu, who were just normal people back in Japan.
In the end, Maki and Chiharu were not only so busy that they felt dizzy, but one of them had even been abducted. Of course, some of it was their own responsibility, like how they had escaped from the castle. But it really had been a difficult time.
As such thoughts swirled through Maki’s head, Chiharu squeezed her hand gently.
This was something they had to choose themselves. They didn’t have to just go with the flow.
That was the feeling she sensed. They couldn’t become blind just because they were important to each other.
Maki squeezed back and then nodded as if in agreement.
“Well then. We’ll deal with the monsters. Maki-chan, are you ready?”
She said quietly. Maki’s eyes widened. She had forgotten about them completely. The gazers had gathered around the top of the castle like a dark cloud.
It wasn’t about hiding or not hiding them now. And so in the end, not just the people of the castle, but inland people who had pressed through the gate also saw Maki and Chiharu turning the monsters into magic stones.
In the midst of the midday light, the monsters quietly made a line and approached the hands of the Saintess as if they were children. The initial fear and disgust of the monsters, and how the hands of the Saintesses turned them into those familiar magic stones. It was like something out of a story.
Once all of the monsters had returned to magic stones, the Saintess with long hair began to sway on her feet, and the white sage rushed up to her and picked her up. This seemed to wake up the audience out of a daze, and they all left the castle. And the people recalled Arthur’s promise that their lives would not change.
“So you were pushing yourself. You promised that you wouldn’t when I am not around!”
While Maki was worried about Chiharu, she also knew that she was just tired and needed sleep. So Maki was able to remain calm.
“I guess this had to happen. It’s like the Chiharu special. It has to happen at the end of an incident.”
“Maki-chan. What are you talking about?”
Chiharu chuckled in Aeris’s arms.
“I mean it won’t feel complete until Aeris the worrywart is there. Hey, Aeris. I’m here too, you know?”
“Of course, you are. Maki. Now…”
Still, Aeris did not let go of Chiharu, but embraced Maki with his other arm. Maki chuckled. How long had it been since worrier Aeris had hugged them both at the same time? But it finally felt like the whole incident had come to a close.
“Good grief, I did not expect to be sent to so many different places at this age.”
After Aeris finally put them down, Maki and Chiharu ran up to Grudo and hugged him from both sides.
“Now, now. Stop hugging me so that I can see your faces. Ah, you look so tired. You did so well.”
Grudo said. And then they hugged him again.
“Don’t forget about us.”
“Well, it sure is lively around here.”
When they turned around, they saw Nyra, Kaider, and Aaron.
“We rushed here from the elf lands, and yet he hasn’t said anything.”
Said Nyran with a shrug.
“I prefer just being near someone instead of saying something. It makes things easier.”
“You never change, Kaider.”
“We just met recently. Of course, I haven’t changed. More importantly, you did so well, Maki.”
Maki said a little bashfully. She and Kaider seemed to be refusing to look at each other’s eyes.
“Are you kids!”
Chiharu said jokingly.
“I know it’s not the right time. But you two have a tendency of disappearing when left alone. So…”
Kaider started to mutter something. Was it a confession! Chiharu and the others were a little nervous as they watched while pretending not to watch.
“Um, when things settle down. Won’t you, uh, visit the dwarf lands to sightsee again?”
That’s it? He was muttering and hesitating just to say that? Chiharu thought with exasperation.
“Oh, really? There are so many places in the dwarf lands that we haven’t been to yet. Thank you!”
Maki was overjoyed.
“Um, and sometimes we could go together and…”
“Hey, don’t you agree? Chiharu!”
“Maki-chan! Uh, of course. But I think I might go to the elf lands and…”
Chiharu did her best for Kaider’s sake.
“Huh? Why? I’ll go to the elf lands with you.”
“Yes. Of course, you would.”
She gave up. She would just have to go with them and be sure to make time so they could be together.
“Well, there’s no need to rush.”
“That’s right. You also promised to go inland.”
Nyran interjected. When they saw them together Nyran looked a lot like Aaron.
“Well, that can wait. We must first let Maki and Chiharu rest.”
Edwy interrupted them on purpose.
“Edwy. You too.”
“You have bad timing, Kaider. From here, I’m going to be very busy in place of my father. It won’t be fair if everyone else gets to take it easy.”
“It’s not just you. When it comes to the inland dungeons and how we regulate and allow Adventurers to enter, it will be the job of Nyran and I.”
Kaider said. Nyran shrugged his shoulders as if to say that it couldn’t be helped.
“In that case, the beast lands will take care of Maki and Chiharu. After all, the matter of the monsters has been mostly settled there.”
“Then the elf lands should be just fine.”
Said Aeris to Leia. Zynis watched them with an amused smile.
Not everything had been resolved yet. While the miasma had become thinner, it was still thicker than it should be.
But everyone was here like this, and they could travel around and have fun, then life in this world would not be bad at all.
“But I’ve had enough of being abducted.”
“You really do get abducted too often, Chiharu.”
Why were they all laughing? Especially Sauro. Chiharu thought with a little annoyance.
“Now, let’s all go inside of the castle. There is so much that we must do.”
Maki and Chiharu followed the others to the castle.
“We’re not guests here anymore, are we?”
It was true. They were heading to the castle in order to talk about the future of this world. They were doing so as residents.
“Of course, I won’t forget about Japan and my family.”
“But I’m going to enjoy my life here.”
A small gazer floated in the corner of her eye.
“It’s the little gazer!”
Beloved child. I’m glad that you’re alright.
“Yes. Thank you!”
Now, I will go.
There are so many places that I haven’t seen yet.
“Just like us.”
We will surely meet again, somewhere. And with that, the small gazer turned around and floated up into the sky until it disappeared.
“We should also…”
“And this time…”
“We’ll actually take our time and wander around!”
One day, we’ll be able to travel at our leisure. The two thought hopefully.