“Maki-chan, that’s a bit…”
Chiharu was exasperated.
“Oh, but they were very understanding. They said that it must be hard to live in his shadow.”
“Stop that. It’s too funny.”
Chiharu’s stomach started to hurt from laughing too much.
“There’s a door on the opposite side of the stairs that leads to a staircase that’s just for people who work here. And if you go down there, you can go out the back of the inn. They say that if we stay out too late it might get locked. But I’m sure it will be fine. And then we can go to the mountain from there.”
Maki said. And like that, the two of them snuck out the back of the inn. They avoided being seen and went up a path they had seen during the day that led to the mountain. As they would get caught if they used any lights, they had to depend on the light of the moon.
“Haah. Haah. We’ve gone pretty far now.”
“Yeah. Oh, I can see the villa and the lake from here.”
While Chiharu was panting, Maki seemed like she was still full of energy. Still, Chiharu felt that she had become a lot tougher compared to before. Once they were high enough, they moved over to a spot under a tree where they were less likely to be seen. Then Maki and Chiharu stretched their arms to the sky and tried to search for the presence of gazers.
A voice suddenly called from behind them, and Maki was so surprised that she jumped. As for Chiharu, she was too scared to move.
When they fearfully turned around, they saw someone with short, brown hair. When they looked behind the person, they saw large, brown wings.
“It’s a non-white…Sauro.”
“Don’t compare me to him.”
The birdman stared at Maki, who was the one who had said Sauro’s name. This complete lack of tact. He was indeed a birdman. After thinking this, Chiharu wasn’t nervous at all.
“Your hair is unnatural. It must be a wig. And you have black eyes. That means…”
“We discovered the Saintesses!”
Another birdperson appeared. The first one was touching his forehead. Yes, birdfolk generally traveled in pairs. Maki recalled.
“Woah! So small! So cute! She’s just like Saikania described!”
The smaller birdperson started circling around Chiharu.
“We came here in secret, so could you keep it down?”
“Oh, that’s right. We’re also on a mission.”
Maki and Chiharu were very disappointed. However, this was no time for that. For now, they had to figure out what was going on. And so Maki decided to try and talk to them.
Something had rubbed against her foot.
“What? What? Ahh!”
As she moved around frantically, something moved between her legs. It was furry.
“Uh? What? Woah! Ah!”
“You don’t have to be so surprised.”
Something said under her arm.
“Of course I’d be surprised! A two-meter doggy just popped out of nowhere!”
Maki shot back.
“Doggy? Oh, you must mean dog. So the dogs in your country must have been small.”
Before she knew it, Maki’s arms were around the large dog with ash-colored hair. And yes, that gentle voice was Zynis’s. That being said, a dog… Maki looked at everything from the head to the tail. A two-meter dog was the same size as a sofa for three people. And so when he stood, his face reached her chest.
The nose on its gray face started to sniff at Maki. Woah. So big. That’s the only thing she could think of. Maki was quite stunned.
“You look well.”
Zynis said with satisfaction. Chiharu then wobbled up towards them.
“Oh, Chiharu. You seem well too.”
Without saying anything, Chiharu put her arms around Zynis’s neck and buried her face in his fur. Maki held him just as tightly.
“Hmm. What? Do you miss your home?”
Zynis’s tail wagged gently. However, they were not feeling that sentimental. They just wanted to bury their faces in some soft fur. It was so fluffy. It was heaven.
“Zynis. We were talking to the Saintesses before you interrupted.”
Kaela said with some annoyance in her voice. Chiharu remembered and pulled her face out. They hadn’t been talking at all! She always had an urge to fire back when the birdfolk talked, and that had brought her back to reality.
“That’s right. We were going to ask them what they were doing here.”
The other birdperson said. And then Maki raised her head from the fur. Yes, they had something to do.
“Zynis. And you two birdpeople! Could you stand back?”
“Also, please don’t interfere.”
The atmosphere had suddenly changed. Maki and Chiharu stood very straight. While they were suspicious, the three newcomers moved back. Then Maki and Chiharu looked up at the sky.
It was a gazer.