After they had finished eating, Maki and Chiharu left the inn in order to meet the birdfolk as they had promised. They left their large bags inside and carried smaller ones on their shoulders.
The birdfolk were waiting restlessly.
“My name is Orne. This one’s Puel.”
“Uh, call us Norfe and Chouze.”
“Not Maki and Chiharu?”
So they did know. Just like with Sauro and Saikania, Puel was also a woman.
“Yes. We are hiding, after all.”
“Fine. Where should we take you?”
“Somewhere high, so we can see the town and the surrounding terrain.”
“I am fine with just being taken around the town a little.”
Maki and Chiharu had different answers.
“Alright, I’m going to run now.”
Maki started to run down the open street, and Orne swept down and picked her up into the air. She had practiced doing this at the castle with Sauro. Chiharu was still too scared, and so she was only carried to a nearby area.
The children of the town gathered when they saw this.
“That looks fun.”
“I want to do that.”
They looked on with envy. Dwarf children were a little smaller than children of the same age. They all had matching red hair and bright brown eyes. Chiharu was 155 cm, Maki was 165 cm, Grudo was about 150 cm. Grudo was considered about average for a dwarf, which made Kaider quite tall at 170 cm. Aside from being short, dwarves were also known for being powerfully built.
“I do like to carry children, but it can be dangerous when they get scared.”
“Go and ask your parents if you can play with the birdfolk and be carried up in the air.”
Chiharu told them, and they all scattered in different directions. After a few minutes, they returned while dragging skeptical-looking adults.
“Oh my. There really is a bird person here. But, are you sure?”
“Yes, just tell them not to be scared and not to move around.”
Puel answered. Chiharu flew first to show them. And without looking the least bit displeased, Puel took all of the children into the air one by one. Eventually, Maki returned, and Orne joined in the play. This went on until midday.
Kaider and Nyran watched this from a short distance away.
“They clearly have some strong connection with the birdfolk. They would not be able to be carried like that unless they were with birdfolk for a while.”
“But you were with them since you were young, and they always dropped you.”
“By Orne, yes. I guess I was too heavy.”
“Huh? It looks like they are leaving with the other children?”
“It seems that they’ve been invited to dinner.”
“Well, we might as well go to the inn then.”
“I won’t say no to that. It’s good to relax once in a while.”
Kaider looked up at the sky. He didn’t know if it was just him, but the air seemed cleaner than usual.
“So, do you think they are from the midlands and not the inlands? Well, the three human territories are all connected. You can’t really tell just by their names or appearances. But there are hardly any birdfolk near the inlands.”
Their boring days were becoming more interesting. He looked forward to testing Norfe again tonight.
“I know what you’re thinking, but I think that you’ll lose. Also, you better tell Orne to keep quiet. Or you’ll lose before it even begins.”
Yes. Sometimes having a childhood friend around could complicate things.