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Let’s go back in time a little, to when Ain was visiting Magna.
“Welcome to Ishtalika. And this is Magna, the proud port city of Ishtalika.”
Said one of the civil servants on the ship returning from Euro. The size of this port city is far larger than Roundhart, and the buildings are more beautiful.
The cobalt blue sea, where the fish can clearly be seen swimming, and the many ships at anchor. For Krone, everything was a new world, and everywhere she looked, there was something new to discover.
“Over there is the water train, a vehicle that runs faster than a horse and travels all over the continent.”
Transportation in Heim is basically by carriage. However, when she was told that the train would continue to run faster than a horse, Krone was shocked.
“You mean it’s a vehicle for the nobility?”
“No, it depends on the distance, but if it’s a short distance, it’s even more affordable than a cheap magic stone.”
Even though she hadn’t gotten off the ship, there were too many new discoveries. She wondered if she could get on that water train — the thought of what kind of vehicle it might be lifted her spirits.
“Now, Graff-dono. Let’s go through the formalities to get out.”
He said, and Graff nodded quietly.
“After that, you will meet with my superior… Prime Minister Warren.”
He is the top civil servant in the unified nation of Ishtalika and one of the closest aides to King Sylvird. It was a high wall, and Graff felt very nervous inside.
“…Well then, let me show you the way.”.
They walked down the stairs to the lower level and walked down the corridor again for a short while. After repeating this process a few times, the civil servant turned around.
On the first floor of the ship, there was a large, wide atrium. There was an old man sitting on a sofa, and behind him stood a beautiful woman whom Krone could not help admiring.
“Graff-dono. The person over there is──.”
Just as he was about to introduce them, the old man sitting on the sofa noticed Graff and the others.
“Oh! Well, well, well. Thank you for making such a long journey all the way here.”
He smiled in a good-natured manner and spoke to them in a friendly tone of voice.
“My name is Warren Lark. You must be Graff-dono, right?”
“It is a pleasure to meet you. I am Graff Augusto… and I can only thank you for this opportunity.”
The two men shook hands, and then Warren turned his attention to Krone. She then blinked several times, looked surprised, and turned her head to reflect.
“My name is Krone Augusto. Thank you so much for accepting us.”
Warren, unsure of what to say, fell silent. Krone introduced herself to Warren. After some courtesy and bowing, Warren finally opened his mouth.
“──Y-yes. It’s my pleasure to welcome you.”
Chris, who was standing behind Warren, wondered why he was acting so suspiciously. But she quickly regained his composure.
“Oops… I should introduce you to the people over here, too.”
Warren cleared his throat and regained his composure. He let Chris step forward and introduced her as the chief guard of Ain and the others.
“…Now that the greetings are over, may I ask you a few questions, Krone-dono?”
Then Warren’s face changed.
As a prime minister of the great nation of Ishtalika, he had to find out about Graff and Krone and their personalities. His eyes were sharp, and his voice was soft but somehow powerful.
“If there’s anything I can answer, please do.”
She guessed inwardly. This must be a trial, a final examination, she thought.
“──What brings you to Ishtalika?”
Warren’s good-natured smile gave off a hint that made her skin crawl. Contrary to his facial expression, a piercing gaze was directed at Krone.
“I’m still trying to decide whether or not I should welcome you two.”
Yes, he was asking her to show her own worth.
“If you have any information, you can look it up for us. Lady Krone and Harley-dono also attended the party at the Roundhart family’s new mansion, wasn’t it?”
These words made her feel terrified as she wondered how long they had been investigating.
“I’d like to know if it’s safe for you to stay near Ain-sama.”
He was so overwhelmed that Graff had a wry look on his face.
“…Yes, that’s fine. I’ll tell you.”
Krone just opened her mouth as usual, without pressure. Saying this, she held out her left arm gently.
“I received this from His Royal Highness the Crown Prince ─ I crossed the ocean to meet him.”
“…The Star Crystal, isn’t it?”
Then she replied in a dignified voice to Warren, who was looking at it closely.
“Well, may I ask you something? You know what it means to give a jewel to someone of the opposite sex, don’t you, Warren-sama?”
It’s the catalyst for her love and the driving force that brought her to this point. Just like Olivia, she has a saintly look in her eyes in response to the shooting stare.
“Of course I know about it. But do you have any proof that it was a gift from Ain-sama?”
There is no such thing, said Graff, his wrinkles deepening as he felt overwhelmed.
“Her Highness, the Second Princess, also received a gift from Ain-sama. It was made the same day.”
Then, Chris’s face lit up. When she went to pick up Ain, Olivia had said that Ain had given it to her. But she hadn’t said a word about her Star Crystal being the only one Ain created.
“…Even if you did have one, it may not be the one that was mentioned.”
“There are two Star Crystals in Heim. Both of them are owned by the royal family, but if you have the ability to check them out like you just said, you might be able to figure this one out as well.”
“Fumu.” Warren nodded his head in agreement.
“But Ain-sama didn’t know the meaning of handing it over, did he?”
So there is no meaning. He intended to say that… but at that moment, Krone chuckled.
“Fufu… will it work even if Her Highness the Second Princess is present at that time?”
“──Fumu… I see…”
The second princess never condemned it ─ even if there are detailed circumstances, this can not be ignored. This means that she admits that Krone is close to Ain.
“I have abandoned my country and crossed the sea to come here… It is because I also have a non-negotiable desire.”
What do you think? Do you still want to continue the question and answer? She looked at Warren with an even stronger look. In the course of the conversation, she showed her quickness and boldness ─ and some of her own qualities.
She didn’t come here just to see Ain. She expressed this feeling in her short question and answer.
“──You are smart enough in this conversation. And we also didn’t have a complaint about your appearance… Fumu.”
He carefully examined whether or not the question and answer he had just given her would benefit Ain. Eventually, he nodded with a satisfied expression, and then he suddenly smiled and said.
“Very well ─ but I still have a few questions I would like to ask Graff-dono. Why don’t you go to the pier and have a look at the sea, Lady Krone?”
This implicitly signaled that the test was over and that Krone was allowed to go ashore.
…She was relieved to know that her trial was over. And she knew in her mind that Warren would probably want her to leave her seat.
“In fact, I have been thinking about the beautiful scenery for some time now. So I’ll take your word for it.”
Krone replied with a smile as well. But…
“Chris-dono. Please do as I say, for now, I’ll tell you later.”
Chris closed in, looking flustered. However, she was strongly told by Warren and reluctantly withdrew.
Krone was puzzled, but at his urging, she headed to the pier alone.
There was no one to escort her or keep her company, so she just got off the ship by herself. She felt a little uneasy, but she didn’t think that Ishtalika would harm her after coming so far.
“I don’t know what it means that I should suddenly go check out the pier, but…”
Although she didn’t know the reason for keeping herself away, the Magna sea was very beautiful and soothing to look at. After being on the ship for a while, it was nice to walk outside on her own feet for the first time in a while.
“They gave you a princess from such an amazing country, and then you do something like that. Roundheart was just a fool. Oh… how can I say this out loud?”
She refrained from answering Warren because of her lack of ladylike nature.
“It’s not what I originally planned, but it’s been a good trip, thanks to Ishtalika.”
She planned to prepare a ship and hire an adventurer to escort her across to Ishtalika. After hearing about Euro’s deal, she was only too grateful for the kindness Olivia had shown her.
“…What a nice weather.”
Walking along the pier, she looked out at the beautiful ocean and felt the breeze. She thought about sitting down, even though her clothes would get a little dirty, and noticed a crate that had been placed nearby.
I think I’ll take that one, said Krone. As she walked over, she was surprised by an earlier visitor who was there.
There was no way she could mistake him. He has beautiful hair inherited from Olivia, and his face is gentle, but he seems to have grown up and become more masculine.
He was the reason why she came to Ishtalika. And that reason for her coming to Ishtalika was now enjoying a nap next to the crate.
“Fufu… I see. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it, Warren-sama?”
She understood why he had sent her to the pier. It was to send her to Ain. At the same time, she understood why Chris had panicked. She was probably wary of Krone. That was only natural.
She approached Ain with a light step.
“──Hmm? What is it, this jewel?”
A gift from a woman? When she thought about it, she felt uncomfortable inside. However, she was convinced that royalty would wear at least one piece of jewelry.
“Ain? You probably hurt your head napping here, don’t you?”
An unmarried woman lends her lap. It might be considered indecent, but Krone put Ain’s head on her lap. But she couldn’t help but feel pity for Ain, who was sleeping on the hard floor.
“Hey, sleepyhead-san. Are you enjoying your dream world?”
When she poked him with her finger, he seemed to be tickled and moved his face a little, but there was no sign of waking up. She felt her cheeks relax even more at his cute gesture.
“The lap of an archduke’s daughter? It’s a great social position, isn’t it? …But, you’re the crown prince of a great country, so I guess that’s the right social position.”
She joked and brushed his hair, happy to see his sleeping face that didn’t seem to wake up. A little while later, Ain woke up and was surprised to see Krone in front of him.
“Hey, what is it with the necklace?”
Krone asked Ain as he got up.
“It is said it was to protect the royal family. It was given to me by Warren-san.”
Krone replied simply and brushed her hair. It was a relief, of course, but it was also frustrating, so she didn’t show her feelings about it.
“Thank you for the lap pillow. Thanks to you, I was able to sleep comfortably.”
“Fufu, that’s good to hear.”
When Ain looked around, people were looking at Ain and Krone. Everyone was smiling at them in a friendly manner, while Ain, in contrast, looked uncomfortable and embarrassed.
“What do you think of royalty taking a nap in a place like this?”
“Do you think the future of the country is uncertain?”
“I know, right? I’ll try to refrain from doing that next time… By the way, are you alone, Krone?”
I think Krone can manage on her own. I asked, half-jokingly.
“I’ve come with grandfather and some of the old servants. Oh, look, that’s the ship.”
“So that’s Archduke Augusto. He’s an important man of Heim, with a lot of dignity.”
He has reigned as a great noble for many years. Ain said frankly.
“The former archduke. My grandfather is getting old. He came here after he gave the title to my father.”
Then a silence fell between them. As they pondered what to say to each other, Krone opened his mouth first.
“…I was surprised to hear you were royalty.”
“I was also surprised when I was told that so suddenly.”
“When I heard you went to another continent, I thought I couldn’t talk to you anymore.”
“But now you can.”
It was a bullet-point question and answer, but she wanted to find out what was going on. The two of them were satisfied with this unreserved relationship.
“Look, since you’ve been sleeping here. Your clothes are all dirty.”
She removes the dust from Ain’s back.
…It’s embarrassing for Ain. Because he became royalty, he had to bother her with this kind of thing, Ain thought.
“Somehow, I’ve been taken care of since the moment we met again.”
“──I think you don’t have to worry about this at all.”
In the meantime, Krone had already cleaned off the dust that was sticking to me. It really feels like she is a young lady in this way.
“Sigh… I hope this is the only time you are taking a nap in a place like this.”
“I know… I was also quite embarrassed by all the attention.”
Chris, who had just arrived, spoke quietly. From where she was standing, it must have been evident that Ain had been taking a nap. Since she didn’t come to punish him for it, she must have missed Ain’s nap.
“Are you finished with your work?”
“Yes. I leave the rest to Warren-sama.”
He had something to discuss with Graff, so Chris came over ahead of him.
“I don’t think I need to introduce her to you, but this is Krone Augusto-sama.”
Although it was a bit late, it was just part of the formalities. When Ain said this to Chris, Krone opened his mouth with a courtesy.
“I’m Krone Augusto. I am struggling to find the right words to express my joy at being reunited with His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for responding to my offer.”
“Um, Krone? I think that attitude is a little too much for you now…”
She acted politely, and considering the reason for it, it made sense, but it felt too late.
“A-Ain-sama… As expected, that kind of words may be a pity for Krone-sama…”
“It’s because I was sleeping on her lap a while ago… so I feel a little sad that she’s acting that way now.”
Krone couldn’t follow up on what Ain had just said. But at the same time, she was truly happy to see that Ain has not changed.
“Sigh… Krone-sama, can you stay with us for a moment considering that Ain-sama is like this now?”
“Y-yeah… I don’t mind, but what is it about?”
“We are going to buy a souvenir for Olivia-sama. If you don’t mind, please come with us.”
When she said that, it meant that she had permission from Warren, Graff, and the others. Of course, as for Krone, she would agree at any cost.
“I’d be happy to accompany you.”
When she agreed, she smiled mischievously.
“Your Royal Highness, will you allow me to accompany you?”
“Y-yes… It would be my pleasure…”
There is no need for you to ask. This is also the thing that I would like to, said Ain. However, Krone continued to take a firm stance towards Ain. It’s probably revenge for earlier.
“By the way, as I told you, you really came to the port city, didn’t you?”
“…Yes. But the port city you mentioned is far away. It took me a long time to get here.”
Krone went on the day she had promised. She also said that she was going to the port city. It took a long time, and the place has changed. But there was no lie in his words. The two of them looked at each other and laughed, happy to see each other again.
(I never thought it would be today that I would see Krone again…)
The feeling of surprise was great, but the feeling of happiness asserted its presence in equal measure. After enjoying the city of Magna with her, they all boarded the same water train in the evening. Thus, Ain’s first official duty came to an end with a lively turn of events.