“Amusingly, he had no idea who they were.”
“Still! I wish I could have been with them too…”
“You can accompany them the next time.”
“Do you really think Maki and Chiharu will return to being shut-ins in the castle?”
“As for me, I’ll follow them anywhere.”
“Me too. Especially since Chiharu can fly much higher now.”
They were too free. Edwy started to sulk a little. Then Sauro said,
“You could always expose their identities and then protect them. But instead of sulking about being left behind, I suggest your observe Maki and Chiharu a little. They are so different now then they were at the castle.”
Even after hearing this, he still felt that they had caused him to worry so much. Tomorrow. One day. Yes, he would observe them for one day. Edwy looked at the group of tents once and then turned back to the mansion.
The morning of the next day, Maki and Chiharu pulled their aching bodies off of the hard ground and dragged themselves out of the tent in order to help with breakfast. Breakfast consisted of soup, bread and a lot of sausages which were cooked on the large grills. While they were called sausages, they weren’t encased in a skin. It was ground, seasoned meat in the shape of a thick bar, like a meatloaf. So all they had to do was slice it before cooking. This could then be placed on or sandwiched in bread.
As for lunch, they had asked the town of Lapondo to prepare it. And so the food for the soldiers was brought from several inns. This was a good way of spending money on each town they visited.
After breakfast, they accompanied Paulo on his shopping before departure.
“The cheese in Lapondo is very famous. But it doesn’t last long, so we’ll eat it today. Look forward to it for dinner.”
Aside from the cheese that would be eaten quickly, they bought hard, long-lasting cheese and some root vegetables.
Chiharu suddenly stopped. She smelled something sweet. A batter made of flour was being spread over a pan. Then it was flipped over and an amber mixture was poured over it. Then it was folded in half and then three more times before it was complete.
“Do you have any change?”
“Do you have money with you?”
“Alright, you can go then.”
“But come back quickly.”
“Yes! Madame, I’ll take two of those!”
“Coming right up.”
“What is that amber colored stuff?”
“This? It’s boiled tree sap. It has an interesting flavor, but is very good.”
The two of them bit into it.
“It’s hot, but delicious.”
“Right? It tastes the best when it’s hot.”
Maki and Chiharu bit into their food as they returned to Paulo.
“Is it good? Tree sap tastes different in every country. You should remember that. Still, haven’t you just eaten breakfast? I guess it’s different when you’re still growing.”
Indeed, Chiharu felt that they might be eating too much. They both looked down at their stomachs. Hmm, it was probably still fine. They were moving, so it would be alright. They hurriedly ate what was left. Now, to carry the baggage.
After that, they continued to follow Paulo and help with his work. Then they got into the carriage and stared at the sky. In the afternoon they rested and played with the birdfolk. Edwy watched them the whole time.
“What’s up with you today, Edwy? You’ve been staring at the cooks all this time. Are you really so interested in those children?”
“He’s still eighteen. Maybe he wants friends.”
Kaider and Nyran said to him. But he didn’t care.
How hadn’t he noticed it before? How cute she looked when she turned up to face Paulo and nod. The way she ran around. She was easily distracted and would stop in her tracks. It was almost always because of food. Even with her different hair and boy’s clothes, it was definitely Chiharu. It was even more obvious with Maki next to her. They covered their foreheads with large handkerchiefs, and today they had removed another magic stone from it.
And why did she always seem to be thinking about Aeris? Whenever Chiharu had time off, she would always look worried and search for him. But Edwy was there too. Grudo as well.
His heart ached. Still, it was as Sauro had said. He had never seen Chiharu look more lively. Never seen her look at the sky with such calm, peacefulness. Never seen her run with so much energy. Never seen her open her mouth so wide to bite into bread.
“Hey, Edwy. It’s time for dinner.”
“Sorry. I’m going to eat with the soldiers today.”
“You’re the prince of Midland, though. Ah, oh well.”
Kaider and Nyran watched as Edwy walked towards the soldiers. How would they explain this to the others?