Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
──It was three weeks after Krone’s arrival in Ishtalika. As night falls, the high-ranking nobles dressed in glittering attire make their way to the castle’s grand hall. A party held in a castle would be unique even here in Ishtalika.
The ceiling shines with several huge chandeliers, and the glamour is beyond Ain’s imagination.
“I… I’m sorry to keep you waiting, Ain.”
“Don’t worry; I haven’t waited long at all.”
Krone came in a hurry to Ain, who was waiting in the corner of the party hall. In her cherry blossom-colored dress, she looked lovely and different from usual. Ain, too, was dressed in different formal attire.
“Well, I had to join the greeting for a bit…”
She was attending the party as Warren’s honored guest. This is probably why it took her so long to meet up with Ain.
“As I said, it’s fine. And… that dress looks good on you.”
“──Fufu, thank you. I think you look really good wearing that as well.”
After complimenting each other on today’s attire, they toasted each other with the glasses on the table.
After drinking the fruit water, Krone began to talk with a tired expression.
“I was prepared for this, but when people hear the name Heim, I got some stern looks.”
“N-no. I just felt that… they didn’t like me in an obvious way.”
This is mainly because of the way Ain and Olivia were treated. According to her, there was a lot of hostility in people’s eyes and behavior.
“Warren-san was next to you, wasn’t he? And then… they still do that to you?”
“But Warren-sama condemned them. I think that’s the least he can do.”
“…I don’t want to say that it’s inevitable, but I do know that.”
“It’s okay; I don’t mind. It’s just that it’s such a gorgeous party.”
She said, turning her attention to the table where they were.
“I never thought that they even decorated with magic stones.”
The tables were always decorated with huge magic stones. They were so-called luxury items for decoration, and they were certainly glittering and beautiful.
“Me too. I’ve never been to a party before, so this is actually my first time.”
The innocent demeanor of the man was enough to make Krone feel uncomfortable. Seeing Ain enjoying himself, the tiredness that she had just experienced disappeared.
“Fufu… then why don’t we enjoy ourselves a lot? When is the official introduction taking place?”
“I’ve heard that it will be after the winter and before Krone and I go to school.”
The season is now autumn. The official introduction seems to be closer than expected.
“So, you’ll have to come up with a speech later.”
If it’s the crown prince’s speech, he needs to win the hearts of the people. It may be too much for Ain to think about on his own.
“It’s a common tale… Maybe you could say something about someone you admire?”
“Someone I admire, I see.”
It’s more of a goal, but it’s the first king that comes to his mind. The reason why he aimed at him was because he thought it would be an excellent way to show off the Heim people, and as the crown prince, he would eventually become a great king.
“The only problem is, I’m not sure I can talk like my predecessors.”
“Fufu… Yes, Ain’s speech is gentle, after all.”
Above all, it’s not a pattern. However, he wondered if he should practice his speech and be able to speak respectfully.
As he ponders this, he hears a voice in his ear.
“But I don’t know what the Prime Minister is thinking.”
“You’re right. Inviting Heim’s people to the party would defile the castle.”
” Good grief… that is exactly right.”
(They were complaining quite freely.)
Krone, who was standing next to him, must have heard it too.
Ain continued to be irritated by the words, but Krone probably doesn’t care about it anymore. As soon as their eyes met, she smiled at him in her usual cute way.
“Geez, do I have something on my face?”
“…Two eyes, one nose, and one mouth?”
“Oh, so that means Ain and I are the same. I’m glad to know that.”
…Let’s not worry about it myself, said Ain. And devote himself to enjoying the party with her ─ Ain decided to do so. She also made up her mind, but then she opened her mouth as if she remembered something.
“Ah, by the way, I saw some delicious food over there. I’ll bring it over to Ain if you want.”
“I’ll go with you then.”
“You’re the Crown Prince, aren’t you? I’ll be right back. Wait for me here.”
When he tried to follow her, she stopped him.
“Wait… ah, she’s left already…”
She walks gracefully down the hall and leaves Ain behind.
It’s his way of thinking that he should at least go with her to get the food, but he decides to wait. Then, without pausing after she left, Warren quietly came up to him.
“It seems you’re enjoying the party. I am relieved.”
He smiled softly as he came next to Ain.
“Krone is here, too… By the way, is it okay if you talk to me?”
“No problem. Whenever I’m at a party, I always approach the people who are coming.”
Warren put down the glass he was holding. He must have enough time to relax at this table. If that’s the case, Ain was about to make small talk when Warren opened his mouth first.
“Speaking of which, if I were to use an example of someone you admire, I’d say His Majesty the First would be the best.”
“Oh, did you hear about my conversation with Krone?”
“I apologize. I don’t mean to be rude, but… I happen to be nearby.”
It’s not strange that he could hear Ain. To Ain, who is a little embarrassed, Warren begins to praise Ain’s recent behavior.
“Just talking about admiration is a fool’s errand. However, in addition to studying, Ain-sama’s efforts in the military also shine.”
“…Isn’t that too much praise?”
“No, it is not. Even though you’re only six years old, you’ve beaten the knights at your age. The fact that you are aiming to become the first king ─ that will be a strong persuasion to the people.”
Warren said that the proof of Ain’s constant efforts to get closer to the first king would surely resonate with the people of Ishtalika. However, although it was nice to be recognized, Ain was still not satisfied.
“Um, I appreciate it when you say that, but…”
After all, the person he admires and aims for is the man who defeated the demon king. The knights are not weak, but there are still many barriers that are too high, such as Lloyd and Chris.
“Fumu, it’s good to be ambitious… by the way.”
Warren rubbed his long beard and looked at Ain with a smile.
“──Today’s party is a gift from His Majesty to you, Ain-sama, for all your hard work.”
“A-a gift? The party?”
“His Majesty is heartbroken over what happened that day at Ain-sama’s introduction party at Heim.”
The King, Sylvird, is so kind that he cares more about him than the party itself. However, Warren continued to speak with some dissatisfaction.
“Better yet, I thought we could introduce you at today’s party.”
Warren said that it is a common practice for the nobles to be introduced to the public first.
“In fact, as Prime Minister, I have the right to decide on the date for Ain-sama’s introduction.”
“Oh… so you don’t need grandfather’s permission?”
“As a system, no. But it would be polite to ask in advance.”
But if it is to be introduced, Ain will need to make a speech.
(I’ll have to think of something… I guess.)
But when he thought that inwardly ─ that’s when.
“…Excuse me. It seems that something a little out of the ordinary has happened.”
In the direction Warren looked, there was Krone and a nobleman. However, the situation is a little bit strange, and the surrounding nobles seem to be looking at them from a distance.
“Even though you are an acquaintance of the Prime Minister, how could you show your face to Ishtalika─?”
The loud voice of a nobleman was heard, glaring at Krone. The nobleman is giving out a very swift and strong indication that he is about to make a move.
“You are not suitable for this place! Now come on! I’ll show you where you belong!”
Sylvird, who was sitting at a distance, also noticed this and gave Warren a look. Then he saw the nobleman grab Krone’s hand, and Ain’s feet moved as quickly as possible.
“Let’s go, Warren-san.”
He said, but despite that, he started to go on his own.
“P-please wait…! I’m the one who invited that nobleman, so I will…!”
But his words did not reach Ain, who was deep in thought about the current situation.
(It’s just like my mother and me that day.)
On the day they couldn’t attend the introduction party, they and Krone went together that night. Then, strangely enough, his feet naturally moved.
(I’m stronger than I was that day, too. Therefore, I’m not going to run away…)
“That’s why Ain-sama! Leave that nobleman to me ─ no, this is rather…”
Then Warren also had an expression on his face, as if he had thought of something. After taking a few steps, he grinned and spoke in Ain’s ear.
“──That nobleman is somewhat of a strong-willed man. Shouldn’t we attack Heim as well? That’s what he said before.”
Ain finally responded when he was told so in his ear.
“Does that mean he hates Heim more than others?”
“His patriotism is stronger than most people’s, and he has a strong disdain for Heim.”
He did not stop Ain but deliberately started to give such information.
“I understand. I’ll let him know that it’s all too much.”
When Warren heard this, he looked secretly at Sylvird. Warren smiled meaningfully at him as he wondered what he was going to do.
“…That old raccoon.”
Sylvird secretly muttered and held his head, but he watched what the two of them were doing in the end. In the vicinity, even Olivia, who was surrounded by nobles, was looking at them anxiously.
“Ain-sama. I have one piece of advice for you: you are the Crown Prince. Therefore, you should treat him with an appropriate attitude.”
“…Even though I haven’t been introduced as the Crown Prince yet…?”
“Of course. ──Please remember the usual tone of voice of His Majesty.”
He implored him not to take it too hard.
(I thought I was going to practice my speech, but I never thought this would happen.)
The opportunity to practice was lost, but there was no way he would run away from this moment.
All right ─ he told Warren and took a deep breath as he walked. Then, he calmly managed the many emotions of responsibility and anger. Before long, he took on a unique air of dominance.
“Excuse me, do you have some business with my guest?”
Eventually, Ain arrived at the location of Krone and the nobleman. He intervenes between them and protects Krone by brushing off the nobleman’s hand a little roughly.
“A… Ain… I-I’ll be fine…”
She acts stoutly but with a sad expression. Ain is strongly heartbroken and squeezes her hand tightly before looking at the nobleman once more.
“Who are you to interrupt me out of the blue? She’s the Prime Minister’s guest, isn’t she?”
But Warren had disappeared before anyone could notice, and the only one who had arrived was Ain. He stood as if to protect Krone and never stepped back.
“No, she is my guest, approved by His Majesty.”
“…I see. I don’t know whose son you are, but you certainly are rude.”
But Ain is not intimidated and looked back at the nobleman.
“It should be taken into consideration. It is only natural for us nobles to hate Heim.”
Unfortunately, there were a few nobles who nodded. This was inevitable, Ain agreed, but then he thought of something.
(…It’s not Krone’s fault, it’s me who caused it.)
He couldn’t stand the fact that he was being disinherited because he wasn’t worthy, and like Olivia before… even Krone and the others were being affected.
(Oh, I get it. I… I have to do it myself.)
After making a strong decision inwardly, Ain looked straight at the nobleman and opened his mouth.
“──If you hate Heim, you should address your complaints to me.”
As Warren had advised, Ain changed his tone at this moment.
“Huh… I have no idea what you’re trying to say.”
“Right. But I do know what’s wrong.”
Then the atmosphere that Ain wore changed, and he exuded a special kind of supremacy, like that of Sylvird. At the same time, he took a step forward, and the nobleman unconsciously took a step back.
Ain’s unmistakable power overwhelmed him.
“I’ll repeat it. If you hate Heim, I am the cause of it all.”
What was he trying to say? The nobleman was puzzled by the phenomenon of being pressured by such a small child, but there was no sign that he could push back.
“Even though I have royal blood, I am inferior to my brother. There is no way to accept a man who has royal blood but is inferior to his brother, who was disinherited and brought back home by his mother.”
“…Royal blood? You’re not going to tell me you’re the Crown Prince, are you?”
It is still a long way off for the Crown Prince to be introduced ─ well, at least, it is unthinkable for him to come before the nobility without any prior notification, which is normal.
Perhaps because of the sudden turn of events, the nobles did not believe that Ain was the Crown Prince.
“──After all, in the face of the hatred for Heim, it is… likely.”
However, when he saw that Ain did not answer the question, the nobleman, rather than pointing out his rudeness, felt a sense of supremacy that he should be silent before this word.
“What do you have against the Crown Prince who was born in Heim, which you consider to be a rural state, a low-class state, and who was disinherited in Heim?”
Whenever he complained to the girl from Heim, he would point out his own inner thoughts. Unfortunately, he sees that this is exactly what he was thinking and that it was a feeling similar to venting his frustration.
At the root of it all, he was dissatisfied with the existence of Ain, and that was what he had revealed.
“──No! I’m not complaining about the Crown Prince…!”
But it would be disrespectful not to deny it.
The nobleman hurriedly said, but Ain held out his hand to restrain him.
“I do not mean to reprimand you for that. On the contrary, I am inclined to forgive you. …But I’m not going to forgive you for putting your hands on her, though.”
──Before long, all the attention in the hall was on Ain and the nobleman.
Moreover, because Sylvird and Warren did not intervene to stop them, the other nobles also closed their mouths in unison. Some of the nobles looked at the current situation and wondered if the boy was really the Crown Prince. They became lost in thought.
(Warren-san. It seems that you were right to use today as an opportunity to introduce myself…)
Thinking back to the conversation they had just had, he turned his head and let out a laugh.
“The feelings you have are natural.”
He took a deep breath and opened his mouth.
“I was born helpless. My mother suffered, my father abandoned me, and even my brother looked down on me.”
Why is he talking about himself? But it was enough to get the attention of those around him.
“I wrote many books, snapped many wooden swords, and worked hard all by myself ─ but the result was disinheritance. In the end, I lost the leading role at the party to my younger brother.”
The story was so pathetic that he couldn’t help but smile wryly. But the story doesn’t end there. There were more important events to unfold.
“But I met her that night, and that gave me the opportunity to prove my worth.”
At the same time, he looked at the anxious girl behind him and told her it would be okay.
“After that, I found myself crossing the sea to come here to Ishtalika. It was only then that I heard that I have a great grandfather.”
It’s not bad to be called great by his grandson. As he listened to his words, Sylvird smiled despite holding his cheek.
“I want to apologize to everyone for my weakness. But…”
Then Ain reached out his hand and grabbed the blue magic stone on the table with his bare hand.
“──W-what are you doing…? Don’t do that, let go of it!”
“──No need to worry.”
Ain answered stubbornly, not caring about the nobleman’s warning.
“I’m already strong… and have turned into a worthy presence in this land.”
The hall began to buzz, and Ain’s every move drew attention. Naturally, grabbing an expensive magic stone with bare hands is nothing but a suicidal act that strongly affects the body.
“…I’ll show you why now.”
He lifted the stone to the sky and absorbed its contents with his usual toxin decomposition. The blue color gradually fades, and what emerges is a crystal clear white ─ in other words.
“Our Ishtarika… and its symbol, the white silver, is in my hands.”
What it means is the pride of the country of Ishtarika.
(…I guess I’ve grown up a little… too.)
Perhaps there is no day that he is more grateful for the gifts of his training than this day.
Ain smiled for a moment and looked around at the nobles in the hall. In imitation of the white silver that the first king is said to have liked to use, Ain declared in a high-pitched voice.
“I created this white silver, undaunted by the power of monsters.”
The nobles were stunned, but Ain continued to speak.
“──Therefore, I ask you. Is there anyone who thinks that our white silver pride… is weak… or not?”
Ain smiled bitterly inwardly. In fact, this question is too unfair. If anyone disagrees, that person indirectly disagrees with the first king.
“Let me repeat the question. Is there anyone who thinks that our white silver… Ishtalika is weak… or not!”
That’s when it happened. To that word, even Sylvird widened his eyes and looked at him from behind.
“Ain, you… are…”
He was certainly surprised, although his muttered voice did not reach him. The words that Ain said were words that those who lived in Ishtalika would never forget.
The nobles in the hall listened intently to the exchange between the two ─ or rather, to what Ain was saying.
“If there are no objections, it proves that I am different now than I was before.”
What do you think? He gave the nobleman a straightforward look of high spirits.
“If my efforts and qualities are not enough for you, you can always visit the castle. I always train early in the morning and stay in the library until the sun goes down ─ there is nothing to be ashamed of.”
Ain said that he was just trying to be the best he could be and not sitting around.
When the nobleman was puzzled by his inability to raise any objections, Ain finally decided to explain himself.
“Therefore, I shall now confidently proclaim my name.”
His mouth moved without feeling the slightest bit of guilt at bearing the name of Ishtalika.
“My name is Ain… Ain von Ishtalika.”
The nobles in the hall all trembled as Ain spoke these words. He had never said his name until now. In other words, it was only at this moment that they became aware of the fact that their hearts had been shaken by the words alone.
Among them, the nobleman standing in front of Ain was particularly strong. Pushed by a powerful force, he almost unconsciously fell to his knees.
“…If you accept me, you must also accept her.”
Ain gently raises his cheek as if smiling bitterly and quietly looks back at Krone. After seeing her clasping her hands on his chest, Ain returned his gaze to the nobleman.
“So, I want to ask you once again. This time, I want to ask everyone.”
A little further away, Olivia gasped, and even Chris and the others gasped. The hall was silent, and Ain gave off the most powerful energy of the day.
“Whether or not I’m still weak, and whether or not I’m still worthless…!”
These words were not directed only at the nobleman in front of him but at all the nobles in the hall. Some of the nobles stared at Ain, while others were just amazed by his actions.
“If not, I would like to make a promise to you ─ or rather, to everyone here, to Ishtalika.”
A powerful voice with an inflection tells them that Ain’s speech is coming to an end. He thought he had come in to defend Krone, but he was delivering his speech before he knew it.
But it was his own fault, and he began to speak his last words.
“I promise you this as the Crown Prince and as someone who admires a great being.”
Suddenly, Ain felt a refreshing breeze blowing through his heart.
“The glory of Ishtalika will last forever.”
Then a sense of fatigue washed over him.
Yeah… he must have had his fill. So, he spared a few minutes to get to this point.
──Then, he realized at this point.
The entire nobility in the hall was as quiet as the dead.
“…I see, I.”
Sylvird, who sat in one of the most prominent seats, sensed something in Ain’s words. He had a smile on his face and watched Ain with a knowing look on his face.
Olivia, standing a little further away, also smiled, tears welling up in her jewel-like eyes.
(I’ll have to apologize later. I took the liberty of saying my name, after all…)
He said he couldn’t overlook the matter of Krone, so he took the liberty of doing the introduction, which had not been planned.
He didn’t want to think about… how he would be scolded later, but he couldn’t stop any longer.
When this happens, a surprising situation happens to Ain.
A small, worried voice leaked out, but it didn’t reach anyone and disappeared into the void.
The male nobles kneeled in respect, and the female nobles kneeled in a respectful gesture.
When he turned around and looked at Krone in confusion, he saw that she was also surprised.
What’s going on all of a sudden? ─ He finally turned to Olivia.
No, not only her, but Lloyd and Warren as well.
The only one not on his knees was the King, Sylvird. And the only people Princess Olivia has to bow to are the king and the Crown Prince.
At this moment, Ain has truly become the Crown Prince of Ishtalika.
“W-what should I do…?”