“Why do you want to go to Gromble so much?”
“I don’t know. We traveled a lot since entering the dwarf lands, and the miasma thins faster if we are around. Just like it has here. We think that we should keep moving forward.”
Maki and Chiharu both put a hand to their forehead and removed the gem from under the ribbon. Mysteriously, it always fell off at around the same time for them.
“Oh, the Saintess gem…”
The two Saintesses smiled uncomfortably, but Edmond was shaking with emotion. They were almost childish for escaping the stifling castle, and yet they were responsible enough to continue on their path as Saintesses.
“I will give you whatever help you need. Except, there is no way that I could allow Saintesses to work as helpers.”
“Oh, but we know how to cook a little, and can clean too. I think we can survive a week of that.”
“But, could you not reveal your identity and join the group? It will raise the morale of the troops and everyone will breathe so much easier.”
Chiharu thought of Aeris. I’m sorry.
“No, we want to do what we can. Besides, I’m curious to see what we will get to eat as the cook’s helper.”
“It won’t be anything fancy like you could eat at the White Lily.”
“…I suppose you won’t change your minds.”
Edmond sighed in defeat.
“In that case, how can I help you?”
“Yes, this time we want to disguise ourselves as commoners who are brothers. We are going to Gromble to meet some relatives.”
“Hmm, the third son will recognize you.”
“We will change our wigs and I will be a younger brother instead of a sister. But it doesn’t matter if he recognizes us. He doesn’t know who we are, after all.”
And so they asked if he had any old dwarven clothes and if he could trade their nice bags for old ones.
“This is getting quite interesting.”
“We are going to the castle for the interview as soon as we are finished with this disguise.”
“Hmm, I will write you a letter of recommendation then. And it might be best that you don’t return to the inn today. I will have your belongings brought back here, and you should stay at my house tonight. Also, I would rather not lie to my wife. May I tell her and my son the truth?”
“Thank you. And yes, of course.”
Their bodies would create the magic gems whether they liked it or not. And to Maki and Chiharu, these gems were proof of the people’s suffering. If they could not turn their backs on it and run away, it was best to face it head-on.
They didn’t feel like returning meekly either.
They cut the bright brown wigs to a more boyish length and made them dirty with sand. And instead of ribbons, they had old handkerchiefs wrapped around their foreheads to match their old clothes. They were taller than most dwarves but still looked convincing as human boys.
“Oh, I would never take you for Saintesses now. Maybe that third son will be fooled again. But still, I would think that something might give it away. Though, you do wear those pants with the confidence of a man.”
Edmond said with approval.
“It was normal for women to wear pants in the country that we are from.”
“And girls and boys exercised just the same at school.”
“Oh, what a fantastical place that must be.”
“Alright, we will go to the castle now.”
“Yes. Gaining entry through the gates is not too difficult, but it would be easier and quicker if you told the gatekeeper that you are there for the job. Hmm, maybe I should send a servant with you…”
“That would look even stranger. See you later.”
The two of them set off cheerfully. There was no sign of the two women who had acted so elegantly before.
“But I highly doubt that Grudo left them completely alone.”
Edmond muttered to himself.