Paulo was surprised that the bird people knew his name, but he was even more surprised that they wanted to fly with the children. Oh, well. Perhaps they were just really bored.
“Do not stay out too late. You have an early morning.”
“Very well. Ryan, can you run?”
“You better pick me up properly, okay?”
The two of them began to run in the open field. First, it was Maki. And then Chiharu. Sauro and Saikania picked them up and rose into the air. Their white wings glimmered from the light of the fires below for a moment, then they disappeared into the night sky.
“That was impressive.”
“Those two are clearly used to doing that.”
“It’s very unusual to be friends with the bird people, unless you’re royalty. Isn’t it, Jean?”
“Yes. There is definitely something strange about them.”
“It’s just until Gromble. We don’t know anything.”
If she was wearing pants, Chiharu could run and jump up just fine. The camp bonfires grew rapidly smaller. Not being able to see the ground like you could during the day actually made it less scary, she realized. Once they had gone high enough, Sauro and Saikania flew more slowly. They could now see the town of Lapondo underneath them. The main street of the town was lined with lampposts. Soldiers were moving by the bonfires around the mayor’s house, lanterns separated the town districts and a soft glow came from the windows of the houses. When she looked to the mountains, she could see faint light coming from the small villages that dotted the area. And when she looked up, the sky was slightly brighter than the rest, making the outline of the horizon very clear. And above that was a large moon and a sky full of stars.
The sun world and the shadow world. The sun, moon and stars of this world. The laws of physics were completely different here compared to earth. There would be no end to it if she kept thinking about it.
“You will be able to see the sea if we fly even higher.”
“No, I’m fine. Thank you.”
While it was early summer, the night wind was cold. Flying during the night had been much funner than she had expected, but she was ready to go home.
After being let down by the bird people, Maki and Chiharu dove into their tents.
“So that’s not Norfe?”
“Chouze wouldn’t be able to fly like that.”
The three princes had been watching them for a short distance away. They had come to watch when they heard that the bird people were flying with children.
“Kaider, Nyran. By Norfe and Chouze, do you mean those Inlanders?”
“Uh, no. Not that Norfe and Chouze. It’s the names of these two children that we’ve been traveling with until recently. They said that they were going to Gromble, but we separated in the city.”
“And those two were often surrounded by birds. They said that it was normal for children to play with birds in Midland. It’s not like that at all in the south, so I was rather impressed with Arthur’s country.”
Edwy looked serious.
“Well, the birdfolk do like children and will sometimes play with them. However…”
Edwy hesitated and Kaider and Nyran looked at him suspiciously.
“There are no children other than me who are close enough to the birdfolk to be carried.”
“But Norfe said…”
“Norfe. Norfe, eh? And Chouze? I see.”
Edwy smiled sarcastically.
“Edwy, what are you saying?”
“Those two. Do they know how much we have been worrying about them?”
“Sorry, I’m going back now.”
This was all because they had listened to the bird people.
Plan C. It was about to fail.