Maki said frantically.
“Oh, Prince Amia is interested.”
“Are those Soluna oranges?”
Chouze looked at Chiharu with shining eyes. To be precise, she was looking at the orange that Chiharu was holding. See? Didn’t I say so? That’s what it looked like she was saying. Chiharu had no choice but to nod as if she was impressed.
“Let me eat that.”
Amia said. And so Chiharu tried to pass the orange to Chouze.
“You. I want you to peel it for me.”
He said. Chouze nodded gracefully. It was only natural, since this was the kind of work that maids would do.
And so Chiharu was forced to approach Amia. He told her where to stand with his eyes, as he did not want Chouze to see him as he ate. Chiharu moved hesitantly as if she was afraid.
“Why are you here, beloved child?”
Amia whispered. Chiharu peeled the orange and separated the pieces as she answered.
“I should be asking you that, Amia. Saia is worried.”
“I knew it. This is bad.”
Amia muttered with a troubled expression. His tail slapped the sofa weakly.
“Ah, Princess Chouze. Merfolk really are as beautiful as they say.”
Maki coughed and then addressed her. Now was the time.
“We’ll come to rescue you tonight, on the lakeside. It’s time for you to return.”
“I don’t need help. But I suppose I have no choice. I really am tired now.”
Amia said as he opened his mouth.
“You’re really going to eat it?”
“It’s my favorite.”
Chiharu sighed and started tossing them into his mouth.
Amia said loudly. Then he opened his mouth again. Chiharu threw more orange pieces inside.
“Well, it was a good thing I brought the orange girl with us.”
Yes, yes. The orange girl who fed the prince and the merfolk chief. That’s me. Chiharu couldn’t help but be a little sulky. Once the oranges were gone, Amia said,
What did he mean by leaning forward like that? Chiharu rummaged in her pockets for a handkerchief and then wiped his mouth.
She supposed that was a satisfied grunt. Just then, someone knocked on the door and then entered without waiting for a reply.
The person who came in was Norfe. Both of them came in without waiting. They were very rude siblings.
Chouze brightened up at the sight of him. Norfe glanced at her before turning to Amia. Then his eyes widened. Chiharu was used to seeing them, but she supposed that it was different for most people.
“Merman and orange girl.”
Enough with the ‘orange girl’! Chiharu’s shoulders dropped. Then Maki interrupted them.
“Well, we best be going now. Princess Chouze, thank you for letting us see such a beautiful person.”
Chouze then gave them permission to leave, though she seemed very reluctant to do so.
“Yes, I suppose you must. You may leave.”
Chiharu rushed to where Maki was standing. Then they both bowed and hurried out of the room. The guards glared at them as they ran down the hallway and to the door. When Maki was sure that no one was watching, she whispered to Chiharu.
“I don’t think Edwy and Aaron will come, since they would be recognized. We have to leave town. Or the whole plan will be ruined.”
“Also, you’re going to get lectured later, Chiharu!”
“What? But it was out of my control!”
She groaned. And so they ran from the villa, got made fun of in the market square, reunited with Edwy, and then left the town. Not returning immediately would have invited suspicion.