Last intermission before the 2nd arc officially starts.
Inside a room within Amelia’s manor in Aves, “O-one.” Fae’s arms tried to balance her herself as she took a step forward. “T-two.” Each step she took, two books swayed atop her head. “T-three.” On her next step, “F-fo-!” The books fell with a thud. “Auu...” Fae sulked.
“Once again,” A blonde female said, standing near a window in front of Fae’s direction.
Collecting the books from the floor, Fae turned her back against the stone wall and placed the books atop her head.
Then, again, Fae took her steps while balancing the books. “T-three.” But the books fell after a knock interrupted her training.
“Yes?” The blonde female approached the door beside Fae and opened it. “Ah, your Highness.” With a bow, the blonde female greeted with a bow.
“Erina,” Said the girl wearing a frilly blue dress. “Can I play with Fae?” She asked looking up to Erina with her short brown hair tied in a side tail to her right.
Showing a light smile, “Yes,” Erina replied. “of course.”
Embracing the books to her chest, “Eh?” The brown haired Fae said. “Her Highness Elaine?”
Peeking from the side of the door, Elaine said to Fae. “Fae, I told you to call me Ely instead.”
“But...” Hesitating, Fae looked to Erina.
With a nod, Erina said. “Fae, please do as her Highness wishes.”
At the same moment, Erina thought. To think that these sisters would meet each other as friends. Fate sure is unpredictable.
“Fae, you may leave the books behind.”
With a smile, “Un!” Fae happily responded and immediately went to Elaine’s side.
As Fae and Elaine left to the hallway followed by servants, one of the remaining servants asked Erina. “Is this fine? Shouldn’t Fae be trained as soon as possible?”
“Yes,” Erina replied. “Fae and Rick will soon be leaving for the Tribe, so it’s fine to give them more time to play.”
“It’s fine,” Erina assured. “The people who were meant to travel to the Tribe will be given a week to return to Aves once a month. Besides, the route mentioned by her Highness Amelia will reduce the travel time between Aves and the Tribe, so her Highness Elaine will be free to visit the Tribe at her free time.”
“Ah, so her Highness has already considered Fae’s and her Highness Elaine’s friendship?”
“Yes,” Erina answered. Only a limited few know those two are sisters, Amelia has already considered this along with the breaks given to the servants.
“Well then,” Erina walked to the hallway. “I’ll have to inform Ark of the proceedings and the preparations we need to discuss. I’ll leave the cleanup to you.”
With a light bow, “Yes, Head Maid.” The servant answered.
Walking down the stairs, Elaine led Fae down the stairs while lifting her long skirt. “Fae, is Rick around?”
Following behind Elaine dressed in a black and white outfit while similarly lifting her long black skirt, Fae replied. “I think Rick is hunting with Marco.”
Reaching the bottom, Elaine turned to face Fae. “Hunting?”
“Un.” Fae nodded as they restarted walking side by side. “Rick said they were ordered to look for a tall man who usually roams the city in disguise.”
“Ah,” Realizing what it meant, Elaine said. “If it’s Marco, then Rick is probably hunting down Father.”
“The King?” Fae glanced at Elaine wearing a puzzled expression.
“Yes,” Elaine replied with a nod. “Father loves to roam around, so I guess her Majesty has already specialized Marco in pinpointing Father’s location in Aves.”
“Is that okay?”
“Well,” Elaine crossed her arms in thought. “Elder sister told me that Father is doing something every time he goes out to town, so I guess it’s fine now and then. But I guess Father is overdoing it.”
“Her Highness Amelia roams Aves too?”
“Yes, Elder Sister does.” She glanced at Fae, before returning her sight to the carriage at the gate of the Manor. “But Elder Sister told me that being told and seeing the actual situation of the citizens is different.”
“Hmm...” Facing the ground, Fae thought with her finger placed above her lips. “I don’t think I get it.”
“Elder Sister told me that it’s a matter of perspective, but I do get it a little.”
Arriving at the carriage, a servant opened the door and lead Elaine by the hand. After taking their seat, they restarted their talk.
“Does her Highness teach you a lot?”
Enthusiastically, “Yes!” Elaine answered. “But Elder Sister has been busy lately, so I haven’t heard any stories or lessons this year...” Then she immediately frowned.
“Yes,” Fae nodded along with the neigh of the horses, then the rumble started. “Every year, Elder Sister returns from Academia during the months of spring. And during those times, Sister usually spends her time helping in the palace, taking visits to the Guilds, and playing with me.”
“Then Ely looks up her Highness?”
With a smile, “Yep,” Elaine responded. “Elder Sister is amazing, you know? At age nine, sister took the responsibility left by Grandfather, but since it's too dangerous the King and Queen refused by setting conditions, but sister broke through those conditions and earned the right to travel to Academia.”
“Why did the King and Queen refused?”
“I heard Sister was sick back then, but I was not allowed to see her until she recovered. But I heard that the King and Queen placed conditions to restrict sister from leaving Aves. I also tried asking Sister about it, but she always told me not to mind it.”
“Then why not ask the King and Queen?”
In reply, Elaine shook her head. “They also told me not to mind it.”
“Anyway, Ely, where are we going?” Changing the topic, Fae asked.
“To the Harbor for a quick inspection.”
After a few more minutes, the carriage halted nearby a guard post filled by Knights bearing the crest of the Royal Guards. When the door of the carriage opened, Fae and Elaine alighted.
The moment Fae set foot, “Ooohh!” Her eyes sparkled at the number of Knights surrounding her wearing an armor gleaming in the sunlight. “Amazing!”
Unperturbed, Elaine called Fae. “Come on Fae, we need to go.”
“Ah, un, yes.” Shortly, Fae followed a step behind Elaine.
Near the docks, towering brown pillars attached to numerous threads littered the surrounding.
“Uwaa!” Fae muttered. “I’ve never seen Galleons this close!”
Near their location, Caravels, Carracks, and Galleons dotted the docks. Men, along with conspicuous cats, pushed and pulled on large wooden boxes and barrels into the ship through platforms operated by pulleys.
Everywhere they looked, men shouting in a rhythmic tune were heaving ropes thick enough to fit the arms of Fae and Elaine. In particular, most of the men were tanned and exposed their bulky muscles as they left their tops exposed.
“Hmm?” Grabbing the attention of Fae, she asked Elaine. “Ely, what are those piles of rocks for?”
Shifting her sight towards the barrels filled with sharpened oval rocks, Elaine smiled. “Oh, those are rock bullets!” She proudly exclaimed. “They are used as weapons against beasts from the sea.”
Then she added, “I was told that those bullets are saved up to hunt down beasts from the sea since it's more effective to use earth magic against surfacing beasts rather than water which they are resistant to.” Raising a finger from her hand, Elaine continued. “But since you cannot mold earthen bullets while in the sea, they load them into the ships while docked in ports or harbors.”
“Hmm...” Fae tried to imagine a large fish being shot by rock bullets while sailing the seas. “But why don’t they carry earth instead of bullets?”
“Ah,” Pondering for a bit while scratching her head, Elaine answered. “Because molding bullets consume mana, so firing molded ones makes it more efficient and easier. I think the same thing applies to water. I think it's producing water and using the available ones?”
Facing downwards, Fae tried to think. “I guess?”
“Haven’t you studied magic?”
Shaking her head, “No.” Fae answered. “Mama said that there are requirements for children to learn magic, and I think I haven’t met those?”
“I think Fae is already okay?”
“Then I’ll try asking Head Maid?”
“Yes,” Elaine agreed. “Erina will probably teach you.”
Afterward, Fae and Elaine toured the harbor. They found fishes of different sizes, squids, octopuses, shrimps, scallops, woodworms and more. They also checked the warehouses that contained the trades materials coming from Brent through the trade ships that arrived.
As they went from one place to another, surprised expressions painted Fae’s reaction while Elaine proudly explained based on what she knew.
At the same time, I feel like an older sister! Elaine thought happily.
Later that day in the manor, “Suu… Suu…”
It seems the sisters were exhausted from their tour. Beside the door, sitting on a chair, Erina allowed both Fae and Elaine to sleep inside Amelia’s bedroom.
Watching over the two girls facing each other as they slept, Erina’s lips curved into a gentle smile. Quietly, Erina began to stand and moved towards the desk.
I better start writing the letters. Erina thought, bringing out a feather pen and a paper from the drawer.
Inside the library of the manor, Fae and Elaine searched for a book they wanted to read.
“Hmm...” At the aisle between the shelves, Fae’s eyes darted from the left and right. “Ely, what book do you want to read?”
On the other side, Elaine replied. “Maybe a book with drawings on it? ”
“Then storybooks?” Asked Fae.
“Oh, maybe those stories about Heroes!” With a bright smile, Elaine passed through the aisles until she arrived at the corner where a small shelf stood.
“Ely?” Following shortly, Fae called. “What’s this shelf for?”
The small shelf held a fewer number of books, but Elaine smiled still. “It’s Sister’s shelf. She leaves the books she recently read here.” Glancing at the spines of the books, Elaine noticed a book slightly extended among the rest. “What's this?” Reaching out her hand, Elaine grabbed the book and pulled it down.
Checking the title of the front of the brown leather cover, Fae and Elaine muttered. ““'Diaries of the Heroes Comrades'?””
“Ely, want to try reading it?” Fae asked curious of the book.
“I don’t know much about the comrades of the Heroes so I want to know too.”
Carrying the book to the table near the door, Fae and Elaine sat down side by side and opened the book.
“Ely, it says recommended for ages 14 and above.” Pointing at the words written in the book’s preface.
“Hmm...” Looking at the ceiling, Elaine muttered. “I’m still 11 so I’m not allowed to?”
“I’m still 10,” Fae answered glancing at Elaine. “So we’re not allowed?”
“Should we return it?”
“Should we? But I’m curious.”
“I’m curious too.”
Meeting each other’s eye as they faced each other, Fae and Elaine nodded and smiled playfully. ““Then, it’s our secret.””
Flipping through the pages, Fae and Elaine read the book expressing wonder.
“Fae, what’s ‘Slime Play’?”
“It says here that it’s used by the Noble’s.”
“I haven’t heard anything about it though, but have you seen a slime?”
“Yes,” Fae answered. “But I don’t think you could play with them?”
“They’re round and a bit transparent, but they don’t have a face or anything, they’re like a soft ball of liquid.”
“Maybe they throw it at people then they pop?”
After a short moment, Fae replied. “Un, I think so.”
“Maybe I should ask Mother when I return.”
“I’ll ask Mama too.”
Then they continued reading.
“A naked apron?” Fae asked. “But if they’re wearing an apron then doesn’t that mean that they’re not naked?”
“Hmm…” Imagining herself, Elaine replied. “I think?”
Turning to the next page, Fae asked. “Ely, what’s a di-” With a thump, Elaine forcefully closed the book after realizing the contents.
“F-fae, I don’t think we should be reading this.” With her ears painted red, Elaine slowly dragged the book while expressing a twitching smile.
“Why?” Fae asked.
“L-lets just forget it,” Elaine replied as she slowly returned the book to the shelf.
“But what’s a d-”
“Not!” Elaine interrupted. “W-we should forget about it. Okay?”
“Uwaaah...” Elaine muttered while covering her face.
“Ely are you okay?”
“Y-yes, but… Uwaaah…” Elaine muttered as she bent her knees to a squat. “H-how shameful...”
Later that night after Elaine returned to the palace, Fae asked Camille. “Mama, what’s a ‘Slime Play’?”
“F-f-fae?!” Camille shouted in surprise.
That night, Camille was exhausted trying to divert Fae’s attention to something else.
Somewhere in the manor, a blonde female wore a wry smile. Amelia, you forgot to return the book. I just hope you’re prepared to know that you indirectly broke the innocence of your sister.
That day, Erina found another piece of information to bla- tease Amelia.
Feel free to point out errors or give opinions.