I hugged Gaius tightly.
The tornado didn't hit us. We knew that a great force had passed by us.
I heard a startled voice and opened my eyes.
I can see Gaius in my arms is also surprised. What I see when I open my eyes is a bunch of adults frozen in place with surprised faces.
Oh, thank goodness. If that tornado had hit me, Gaius and I wouldn't have survived. Thank God. I'm glad I protected Gaius. But what should I do now? The adults in front of me probably won't be able to reach me. But there's nothing I can do about it. I don't know what to do. I don't know how I can protect Gaius. I hug Gaius tightly. Gaius was trying to move, but I couldn't stop squeezing him.
And then I heard a voice.
"...... What are you doing? Are you a child?
I looked in the direction of the voice. Oh, here come the humans again. In front of the armor-clad people, there's a man in very sparkly clothes. He's older than me and Gaius, but I think he's still a child.
"Prince! This child is protecting a beastman child!
"Strangely enough, I can't do anything about it. I think he's using some kind of strange magic.
...... "Strange arts?
The prince, as they call him, approaches. A prince, a prince? The prince is supposed to be the leader of the ...... country, and he's going to put all the beastmen in a lot of trouble. A sparkling man. She's very beautiful. But her eyes... She's looking at me like she's sad. It looked like that.
She comes close to me and Gaius. He reaches out his hand. His hand reaches for me.
What? I don't know why. But when his hand touched mine, I heard a cry.
Wanong's voice. I heard Wanon's voice, and then the voices of the other gryphons. And Sipho's voice. My strength drained from my body. Oh, they're here. I'm glad. Not all of them were there, but I was relieved that they had come. I was so relieved that I lost the strength to hold Gaius tightly.
The sparkling person who had been reaching out to me withdrew his hand in surprise. The adults stepped back to protect the sparkling person.
Lerunda ...... finally let go.
Gaius finally spoke up as he was released from my arms. Raymar jumps out in front of me and Gaius --- between us and the humans. I'm more and more relieved to see him in front of us, protecting us.
Thank God you're okay.
Raymar says as he cares for us. The glittering man called the prince and the adult humans are shouting, "I can't believe there's a gryphon here!
Only the sparkling man looked surprised, but he was watching me closely and didn't seem as confused as the other adults. A strange person, I thought. His eyes weren't scary like the others. There was something different about the way he looked at Gaius.
I wondered why he touched me earlier. I wonder why.
In the midst of my confusion, Raymar said, "Gurururu (get on)," and I jumped and pulled Gaius' hand. I pull Gaius' hand and tell him to get on top of Raymer. And we both got on top of Raymer. Raymer is an adult gryphon, so it's okay for me and Gaius to ride on him.
Then Raymer soars up.
The other gryphons and the sifo also fly up into the sky. Gaius, riding on the back of a gryphon for the first time, clings to Raymar's body to keep from falling off.
The humans are looking at us. A sparkling person was saying something to stop the adult humans who were trying to do something. The sparkling person's eyes meet mine. She's staring at me. I'm not sure.
"Thank you, Raymer.
I thank you on my back. I honestly don't know what would have happened if you hadn't come. I might not have been able to protect Gaius. I look at Gaius. Gaius is safe. He's alive. I'm glad, I think.
"Gaius, thank God you're okay. I was worried about you.
"...... Sorry. I wanted to see my dad, and I had to go find him. ....... Sorry. I'm sorry I put Lerunda in danger, too.
"...... Yeah. I want to see you too, Athos.
I'm sure you're not the only one. And then the gryphons started acting strange.
I asked. "What's wrong?" I asked, and Raymer said, in a way that was hard to describe.
"We found Athos.
Mr. Athos has been found. I squealed with happiness, but Raymer was acting strangely as he was carrying us. It made me uneasy.
"...... is going round and round...
The next thing Raymer said, my mind went blank.
"Lern Da? What's going on? What did Raymer say? Did you find out something about my father?
I don't know what to say to Gaius when he asks me if I've found out anything about Mr. Athos. I don't know what to say.
I don't know what to say, because what Raymar told me, with difficulty, was that Athos's body had been found.
---- The Girl and the Missing 4
(Maybe the girl who is a godson had a chance encounter with the prince and found out what happened to the person she was looking for.