“There is a merman five rooms down from here. We will enter from the lakeside and free him. That’s all.”
“But there are guards out there.”
“You don’t need to be so nervous around me. We look the same age, don’t we?”
“Uh, um, sure. I saw that there were two of them.”
Well, she thought they were guards, anyway. Ortha then made a slashing motion over her neck with a finger. No way!
“Hahaha. Just kidding. We’ll distract them and rescue the merman when they are gone. Either that, or we will have them sleep for a little while.”
Ortha said as she made a fist. Chiharu looked at her wide-eyed. She was better off not asking for more details.
“I would have thought Amia would just leave by himself.”
Chiharu said as she tilted her head.
“Oh, you know the chief? I thought it was strange as well. But I wasn’t allowed to enter the room. It’s guarded all day long.”
Ortha stretched her neck.
“I’m sure you’ve seen this with the birdfolk. But the merfolk are just the same. You can’t control them. Oh, did you see father’s transformation?”
“Yeah. He was very big and beautiful.”
Chiharu said with a sigh.
“Who cares about beauty. In fact, most beastkin think he is a little underwhelming. I honestly prefer people with a more intimidating aura. But that’s just my personal taste.”
Ortha was very scatter-brained, which Chiharu found amusing. And she also wanted to see what such a beastkin would look like.
“You get stronger after you transform. But you’re already strong before you do. Anyway, you know the chief, so that means you’ve seen merfolk before.”
“Yes. I saw that them smack around gazers with their tails.”
“You saw that? You have to tell me about that some other time. Anyway, that’s how strong they are without weapons. So there is no way that the chief can’t escape.”
Chiharu had been thinking the same thing.
“Still, we don’t know what is happening. But if the chief stays any longer, the merfolk will not be silent. And so we bring him back by force if we have to.”
Declared Ortha. Chiharu suddenly remembered something.
“Norfe said something about that!”
“He said he’s going to take the merman to the royal capital. It was an order.”
“He said what?!”
Ortha stood up.
“What is Highland thinking? The merfolk are not from the beast lands, so we can’t launch an official complaint, but it will definitely cause friction between the countries. Who knows what the merfolk will do. But they won’t be able to attack inland either. What will happen?”
Just then, there was a knock on the door. Ortha shook her head and turned to Chiharu.
“Oh, no. I stayed for too long.”
However, the person who didn’t wait for an answer and opened the door was…
Maki was panting as she held a box of oranges. Several maids were also with her.
“You. You should have said something if your brother was coming.”
Rebuked the maid who had thrown Chiharu into the room. But Chiharu thought with annoyance that she had hardly been given the time to do that.
“So, your brother is the orange seller that people have been talking about. Did you know that this child came here with sand all over her clothes?”
Said the maid as she rubbed up against Maki. Maki pulled away.
“Uh, yeah. She fell. I am grateful to Prince Norfe, and to all of you as well. Thank you for taking care of my sister.”
She said politely. The maids squealed and giggled as they stared at Maki.
“My, what dark eyelashes and eyes! It’s just like the rumors said! I’ll bring you some tea.”
“What about Prince Norfe?”
“The older maids have claimed Prince Norfe, and we aren’t even allowed to help. And so we’d rather be here.”
This was not the kind of thing to talk about in a place like this. Ortha watched them with amusement. Then she looked at Maki like she was about to say something.
“You can leave now. Take the oranges and go.”
They said to her. And so Ortha was driven out of the room. And the person who entered the room after she left…
“Brother said that he won’t talk to me until he’s cleaned up. Is it true that the orange seller is here?”
It was the real Chouze.