“We’re just going as guards for the Saintesses. It is all just a coincidence that we were there.”
“It seems too extravagant for guards…”
Chiharu looked a little dazed. How had it come to this? They had wanted to go with some merchants.
“It’s perfect. I brought back a lot of Soluna oranges from the elf lands. We can sell those. They are very popular inland. Even if we stick out a little, people will be happy.”
Aaron said as if it had already been decided.
“Also, it will take three days by carriage to go to the mirror lake after we cross the border. And it takes three days to get to the border from here. So, what will you do?”
He asked Maki and Chiharu.
“We were going to ask Sauro and Saikania to take us. Of course, they would stick out if they went all of the way. So they would take us to a town close to the border. Then we would go by carriage.”
“I hadn’t thought of that. Aeris’s airship would draw too much attention, so we can’t use that… But I haven’t been carried by the birdfolk since I was a child.”
Aaron said with a chuckle. Maki laughed too.
“Well, no one is forcing you to come with us.”
“No, it will be a good experience for me. Besides, if I don’t go, you’ll have no shadow guards or Soluna oranges.”
“Hmph. And you’re ungrateful.”
“We didn’t even want you.”
They glared at each other. Would they be alright? Chiharu was unsure.
However, Aaron was quick to move. Within the day, he ordered that the Soluna oranges be prepared to be taken out, and he sent out some guards on horseback to move ahead of them. This was so they would arrive at the border town at the same time as the birdfolk.
As their plans had changed so suddenly, Aeris, Kaider, and Nyran were incredibly worried. However, Aeris still had to take the airship to the elf lands. And he also wanted to see the dungeon with his own eyes.
Furthermore, he knew that as an elf, he wouldn’t be any help to them anyway. And while Kaider and Nyran wished their duty didn’t demand they be elsewhere, they knew that they couldn’t ignore it and follow the Saintesses. If they did, it was Maki and Chiharu who would be blamed.
And they had to think of all of the other people as well.
“Maki and Chiharu. I wish you didn’t have to go.”
Aeris said sadly. Chiharu took his hand and looked at his face.
“We’re not going in secret this time. And Edwy will be with us. So we’ll be fine.”
“Let me at least replenish myself of you first.”
Aeris said as he sat down and pulled Chiharu to his side.
“You too, Maki.”
And so Maki sat on the opposite side of him. Aeris held them on both sides in order to recharge from their energy, or something. And then he let them go.
Maki and Chiharu then moved over to Grudo and hugged him from both sides. Grudo then patted them gently on the hand.
“I’m not worried about you two at all. You should do what you feel is best.”
Kaider and Nyran watched on a little jealously, but they were not bold enough to say they wanted to be replenished as well.
“Don’t do anything stupid.”
“And don’t work at night anymore.”
That was all that they could say.
“Yes, we won’t.”
“I’ll be careful.”
And so Kaider and Nyran had no choice but to look them in the eyes and cling on to those words.