It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (6/32), enjoy~
Chapter 2 – Academy District Tournament
Sound fireworks are set off. It’s the last day of the academy district tournament ─ the most crowded year in the academy district.
(Not that it matters to me.)
Today, Ain just planned to enjoy the event. It’s not that he doesn’t want to participate in the swordsmanship tournament. But if he can’t participate, he’ll just enjoy other things.
Just outside the station of the academy district, Dill said apologetically.
“Well then, Your Highness. I’m sorry, but I’ll be going now.”
“Okay. I’ll be cheering for you.”
“──Thank you for your reassuring words, Your Highness.”
Stiff. Dill is stiff today as well. It seems as if he has become even more stubborn.
“Ah, maybe Dill is…”
Perhaps it’s because they have been working together for a while now, so Ain feels like he can see the difference in Dill’s expression now.
From Ain’s perspective, it’s not just that he has a stiff expression now.
“Yes. Is something wrong?”
“Are you nervous? It’s about the exhibition match today.”
Dill’s eyes widened as if Ain had guessed right.
“H-how did you know that…?”
“No, it’s just a guess, but I thought you might be nervous.”
“Just a guess, huh… It isn’t very pleasant. It seems that I have shown you my inexperience.”
“That’s not true. But I was a little relieved to know that even Dill gets nervous sometimes.”
“W-what does that mean…?”
Dill’s eyes were wide open as he looked at Ain.
“I’ll tell you what it means if you call me by my name; how about that?”
It’s an exchange. Ain felt like he could do it now, but…
“I-I’ve already told you before… it’s impossible. I’ve always said that I’m afraid of doing that since I’m just a guard.”
“It failed, huh… Fine, I’ll try again next time.”
“No matter how many times you try it, the answer will remain the same. …Then, I’ll take my leave now.”
In the end, Dill regained his usual stiffness, but his gait was somehow different from usual, and he left with a nervous look. Ain, who was left behind, approached the two women who were waiting nearby.
“Thanks for waiting. Krone, Chris-san.”
The expressions of the two waiting women were contradictory. Krone’s expression was happy, and Chris’s eyes were vague.
“I can’t believe just being with Ain changed him so quickly.”
“…I was surprised. Dill has become somewhat emotional.”
Chris was especially surprised because she knew what Dill had been through in his training.
Ain smiled happily.
“But he still won’t call me by my name…”
Although it shows his frustration, his expression is bright.
After a while, he started to walk away, followed by two others.
“What are we going to do today?”
“That’s right… we have some time before Dill’s exhibition match starts, and we have free time until then. Should we look around the event for now?”
“By the way, now that you mention it, is Krone going to participate in anything? You know, maybe oratory?”
“I’m not interested in that. I wonder what Ain will give me if I win?”
“…Maybe a pat on the head.”
She giggled, though she couldn’t think of much to say.
“If so, I should have participated. I wish you would have told me that first.”
She was a little bullish about it, and Ain immediately felt defeated. Ain became embarrassed and accelerated his walking speed.
“L-look! If we don’t go quickly, we won’t have time to go around… Let’s go now!”
The two who are walking behind him put their hands over their mouths and laughed at the way Ain was trying his best to hide his embarrassment.
◇ ◇ ◇
Every year, this academy district tournament attracts a lot of people. Especially today, the last day of the tournament, is the most exciting.
This is because there is a special event that takes place over several days. It is said to be the highlight of the battle of the academy district, and even important figures such as King Sylvird and Marshal Lloyd visit the event.
The crowds are the biggest of the entire year. In other words, it’s hard to find a suspicious person.
A man was sitting on the roof of one of the buildings.
“Ha… This is troublesome. This is the assault team… what’s the situation?”
It’s the man in the gray robe. He spoke to the small magic tool in his hand, saying that it looked as troublesome as the other day.
It fits in the palm of the hand and looks like a small pocketbook. When opened, there are only a few numbers inside, and when the number is pressed, the corresponding magic tool can be contacted.
Normally, this magic tool is used to announce the water train’s status and communicate with the people in the castle in a short distance.
Basically, it is not commercially available.
“This is the suppression unit. We’ll be in the position shortly.”
“That’s great. It’s a pain in the ass. I just want to get home.”
“Let’s just get this over with. We’ll get the money from the client.”
“…Oh, that’s good. It’s a hassle, but a little fun.”
Then he looked at his watch, looking annoyed.
The time is…
“It’s about time. Make it easy for me, okay?”
Click. When the magic tool is closed with a sound, the voice that was heard until just now disappears.
He casually lit a cigarette, looked at the Royal Kingsland Academy, and smiled. Two sharp fangs were visible from his upper lip. He finished his cigarette and stepped forward, looking annoyed.
◇ ◇ ◇
There were many stalls. Ain especially liked the grilled skewers, which were quite savory. Krone and Ain looked around at the many events and enjoyed them. Then they went to their final destination, the arena, where the crowd was even louder than before.
“What a great cheer!”
“Yeah, it’s more than I expected too… I mean, the arena is too big.”
The arena is made up of a series of thick columns that form a circle.
How big is the area? Ain overlooked the area, but there was enough space to fit a small castle, and the plaza surrounding the arena was so vast that it was almost too much to walk around.
“Are there any seats available?”
“…Ain-sama? Your Majesty is also here, so of course, they have a special place for you, too.”
“Ah, yes… that’s right.”
It’s natural, but sometimes it’s still hard for him to get used to being treated as special because he’s royalty.
Ain laughed at Chris, who was half-amused. Looking at his watch, there was still about an hour before Dill’s battle. Probably right now, they were still at the stage where Dill’s opponent would be decided.
“──Chris-san. After sending Krone to the place where my grandfather is, can I go to the academy for a while?”
“To the Royal Kingsland Academy? Is there something you need?”
“No, it’s nothing important, but I forgot something, so I thought I’d stop by and pick it up.”
To be honest, it would have been too much trouble to go back another day to get it. So he decided to take advantage of the current time to get it.
“Okay, I understand. Then I will accompany you, so let’s bring Lady Krone to her seat first.”
“Geez… Ain, why did you forget something at this time?”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’ll be right back. Go ahead and sit down and wait for me.”
“…Yes, yes. Please come back as soon as possible.”
Soon after, the three of them stepped inside the arena, leaving Krone alone in the seat where Sylvird and the others were sitting. Ain went outside with Chris in tow.
He walked faster than usual because he didn’t want to keep Krone waiting.
The Royal Kingsland Academy was not far from the arena, and the two of them would arrive there in about five minutes. Ain said he’d be right back, made Chris wait at the academy gate, and hurriedly stepped inside.
“…I have to get back soon.”
Ain was walking alone in the hallway. The academy, with its small number of students, felt even bigger than usual. The only sound to be heard is that of Ain’s footsteps.
The atmosphere is somehow different.
Why is that? Is it because the only thing he can hear is his own footsteps, or is it for some other reason? No, it’s the latter. After all, the academy now is different from usual.
“That’s right. It’s because none of the magic tools are working.”
The doors to the classrooms, which usually glow, are not moving, and not a single bird is chirping from outside. It was hard to believe that it was just the absence of people, and the unsettling atmosphere made Ain stop.
A moment later, a buzzing sound cut through the sky. It rang in Ain’s ears, and the sound of a person falling echoed down the hallway.